San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum was elected president of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 5, by his fellow board members.
He represents District 4, which covers east Menlo Park, North Fair Oaks, East Palo Alto and Redwood City.
In his remarks, Mr. Slocum laid out his priorities for the new year. He said many constituents are concerned with "quality of life issues," such as noise, streetlight outages, gang activity, traffic, flooding and residents being displaced by high housing costs.
"The bottom line is that there are powerful new forces reshaping our county," he said. Silicon Valley corporations generate "immense wealth" he said, but that prosperity has brought with it skyrocketing housing costs and widening inequality in health care and education.
"It's clear to me that our overarching challenge is how to build and sustain livable communities on the Peninsula," he said. "By that I mean communities in which prosperity is broadly shared, children have the opportunity to succeed and are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, resources are used in a sustainable way and people are civically engaged."
Over the next year, he said, his priorities will be increasing affordable housing, ending veteran homelessness, improving infrastructure to deal with flooding, increasing accessibility of government operations, especially for the Latino community, and addressing traffic problems on the Peninsula.
His listed some action items:
● Rebuild and repair creeks and canals, and invest in ways to divert water from flood areas.
● In North Fair Oaks, increase the parking supply and create a neighborhood response team to coordinate better code enforcement.
● In East Palo Alto, strengthen programs like the David E. Lewis Re-entry Program, which helps formerly incarcerated people transition back to home and community life, and the Students with Amazing Goals program, which helps at-risk youth graduate from high school.
He pointed out the board's accomplishments of the past year, including creating more affordable housing units, opening new parks and closing a half-mile gap in the Bay Trail, funding additional mental health services, approving improvements for Middlefield Road, closing nine illegal massage parlors, and increasing funding for emergency shelters and social service programs.
Mr. Slocum's remarks were part of a program that also featured a reading by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Caroline Goodwin and performances by Ballet Folklorica del Circulo Cultural and H2O, East Palo Alto's hip hop orchestra.