A few highlights of the past 12 months from Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman
Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman
Mike's Monthly Message
January 2020 Edition
2019 in Review
2019 in review, Dog looking back over shoulder
A few highlights of the past 12 months from
Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman
(representing San Jose, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno,
Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy)

Sheltering Animals. Animal lovers gathered in November to witness a monumental construction milestone: The “topping off” of the new Santa Clara County Animal Services Center in San Martin. After years of planning, the new LEED Silver certified Animal Services Center is on track to open in 2021! Fundraising efforts for the Center are underway to complete critical infrastructure of this state-of-the-art facility. Please consider supporting local animals with a tax-deductible financial contribution.

Housing Homeless Veterans, Kids, People in Need. Residents understandably are asking, “What is being done to address homelessness?” The answer is that we are housing people. In fact, in the last five years the County has helped to house 12,400 people -- including about 1,600 veterans and 3,800 kids! We are using voter-approved funds and other public investments to create affordable housing for residents in need. The County is now almost a third of the way toward our goal of financing 4,800 new affordable units through Measure A by 2027.

Modernizing 9-1-1 Services. 9-1-1 texting services will now be available throughout Santa Clara County in 2020. This new option will help those who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired and anyone who feels unsafe speaking over the phone. The County operates an emergency communications center that is staffed by 130 employees, including 80 dispatchers who answer approximately 45,562 calls per month, 62 calls per hour, 1,497 calls in a 24-hour period and 546,750 calls per year. Dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to request help, and the public is reminded to “Call if you can. Text if you can’t.”

Cordoba Moving Forward. The South Valley Islamic Center’s Cordoba mosque and cemetery in San Martin was approved in December. Many perspectives were expressed during the multi-year process and all sides were listened to and respected. Compromises were made and it was determined that the resulting use is appropriate and lawful. The project ensures that water quality will be monitored on an ongoing basis. The project will enable its members to move their services from a converted barn to a much more suitable – and beautiful – place of worship.

Preventing Wildfires. Throughout my time in office, I have been working on improving wildfire safety and I am proud that in 2019, Santa Clara County was the first county in California to receive $4 million from Sacramento for wildfire preparedness funding. Communications are critical for emergency notifications and coordination of resources. The money is to purchase Mobile Operations Satellite Emergency Systems (MOSES), designed to ensure that firefighters and residents can maintain communication with one another if internet service providers’ systems break down.

Turning Lives Around. The County celebrated the grand opening of a 31,000-square-foot expansion of the William F. James Boys Ranch near Morgan Hill, a County youth detention facility that helps 15 to 18-year-olds turn their lives around while in custody. The expansion allows the County to provide additional services, including rehabilitation, substance abuse counseling, gang intervention, and education in trades and skills. I’m very proud of the work being done at the James Ranch by both the staff and the young people who are committed to improving their lives.

Working with PG&E. The handling of power shutoffs in our County by PG&E has frustrated many of us. PG&E’s decision to execute power shutoffs are very costly, both to local governments and to our residents, who understandably feel ignored, scared and angry. While the County can’t control what PG&E does, we are making it clear to Sacramento leaders who regulate PG&E that their actions have consequences for our residents. As County Supervisor and Chair of the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee, I’ve requested PG&E representatives to appear before our Committee. We need real solutions and those usually happen by working together.

Voting Improvements. Big changes are coming to Election Day with the County’s implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act. Beginning with the March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election voters will be able to cast their ballots at Vote Centers or use Vote by Mail Ballots. The new system will make it more convenient for our 900,000 registered voters to cast a ballot and is anticipated to increase voter participation. In addition, Voters will benefit from a new, modern and secure voting system that includes new ballot scanners, tabulators and ADA-compliant ballot-marking devices at Vote Centers. The new system will enable a decentralized count which is expected to expedite election night results considerably.

Counting America - Census 2020. Since the very first Census in 1790, the Federal government has undertaken the constitutional requirement to count everyone living in the United States every 10 years. Accuracy matters: Congressional representation is based on the Census, as are significant amounts of funding; nearly $2,000 per person per year in federal money comes into California based on census-derived data. To ensure that every household is on the Census Bureau’s address list to be officially counted, the County funded an unprecedented $1 million to launch a Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) effort.

Keeping Gilroy Strong. The shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in July was a senseless tragedy that has rocked our community and shocked the world. Six-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and 25-year-old Trevor Irby were killed and 15 others were injured. My heart goes out to the families affected and as a community, we are deeply grateful to the thousands of local firefighters and law enforcement, EMS, physicians, nurses, medical personnel, emergency management staff, volunteers and community members who sprang into action during this crisis.

Balancing $8.1 Billion. The needs of our County’s 2 million residents far outpace revenues, which made this year’s budget a herculean balancing act. The County’s 2020 $8.1 billion budget funds vital services that hold the fabric of our society together but are often invisible to residents. At the county level of government, we don’t control the decisions made in Washington and Sacramento or what happens with the economy. But we must adjust to them. Much of the County’s budget is comprised of “pass through” State and Federal funds that pay for mandated services, which is why we are constantly adjusting to change and challenges in these uncertain times.

Improving Nail Salon Worker Health. Supervisor Cindy Chavez and I launched the Healthy Nail Salon Program, a free and voluntary program for the 850 nail salons in Santa Clara County that employ more than 5,000 nail technicians. In a joint effort with the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Santa Clara County implemented the Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program to protect the health of nail salon workers and customers. A recognized Healthy Nail Salon offers safer products, safer practices, and proper ventilation to reduce exposure to more toxic products.

Combating Wage Theft. The pervasive problem of wage theft disproportionately affects immigrants and low-wage workers. The County’s new Office of Labor Standards Enforcement and the Department of Environmental Health launched a Food Permit Enforcement Program that will enable the County to suspend food permits from businesses who have not paid their judgments. This new effort helps protect workers and gives an advantage to the majority of businesses who do follow the rules.

I look forward to facing challenges in 2020 head on with my colleagues on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and working with all of you to create a better community. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

Upcoming Events
1/3/20 Morgan Hill Library: Tiny Tot Jamboree
1/3/20 Morgan Hill Library: Itty Bitty Jamboree
1/4/20 Saratoga Library: Saturday Family Storytime
1/7/20 Morgan Hill Library: Snack Break
1/7/20 Morgan Hill Library: LGBTQ Youth Meetup and Safe Space
1/8/20 Gilroy Library: Teen Tech Program – Adobe Premiere
1/8/20 Gilroy Library: Photoshop for Adults
1/11/20 Gilroy: Book Sale
1/11/20 San Jose: Family Lunar New Year Night Hike
1/11/20 Gilroy Library: Open Poetry Readings with the Garlicky Group of Poets
1/14/20 San Jose: County Board of Supervisors Meeting
1/16/20 Saratoga Library: Baby Storytime
1/18/20 San Jose: Martial Cottle Park Experience
1/18/20 San Jose: Mysteries of the Cosmos
1/19/20 Saratoga Library: CoderDojo Coding Club
1/20/20 San Jose: 40th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon
1/21/20 Morgan Hill Library: Library Ukulele Society
1/22/20 Gilroy: Age Well, Drive Smart
1/23/20 San Martin: Town Hall Meeting
1/25/20 Los Gatos: CrabFest & Auction
1/28/20 San Jose: County Board of Supervisors Meeting
1/28/20 Saratoga Library: Mandarin/English Storytime
2/1/20 Gilroy: Spice of Life Awards
3/14/20 Los Gatos: Police Officers Ball

Community Announcements
San Jose Art Museum Docent Recruitment
San Jose Museum of Art is recruiting for its 2020 “Let’s Look at Art” docent class.  Give back to your community in a meaningful way by becoming a part of the largest arts education program in Santa Clara County. Docents are trained to take portfolio art into K-5 classrooms or digital art into 6-12 classrooms and give FREE presentations that foster communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. No previous art experience is required. Email for more information or call 408-291-5393.

Office of Women’s Policy Civic Engagement Mini-Grants Round 2 open!
A second round for applications is open as of December 16, 2019 through February 28, 2020. As part of the commemoration of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage movement, the Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy (OWP) will offer $75,000 in mini-grants to Santa Clara County residents who want to organize their communities to promote civic engagement and participatory democracy in honor of the legacy created by the women who fought for the 19th amendment. Find the link to the application on the Office of Women’s Policy site page. The deadline to submit application is February 28, 2020.

Helping Homebound Library Users
The Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) is making it easier for homebound County library district residents to receive items from the Library. Those who find themselves confined at home for three or more months, for any reason, can now designate a person to pick up items for them at their local library or the SCCLD Bookmobile. Homebound persons can specify a Designated Borrower by filling out an application on SCCLD’s new website.

Hiring Blitz!
The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters has more than 1800+ openings throughout the County. With the upcoming March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary just around the corner, they need staff for the 110+ New Voters Choice Act-Vote Centers. Apply Now!

Drive Safe on Highway 17
Santa Clara County Fire Department is proud to partner with five fire agencies in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties to launch their annual 'Safe on 17' highway safety campaign. The Highway 17 corridor was identified as a high collision corridor in 1998 as a result of collision data analysis and recommendations of local, regional, county and state agencies. Collision reduction strategies, including enforcement and road improvements have made some positive impact. However, in recent years, Highway 17 from Los Gatos to the Summit has seen a steady rise in collisions. How can you stay safe? Find out at:

Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman is an elected official representing District 1, which includes Gilroy, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, San Martin, parts of San Jose, and surrounding unincorporated areas.

Office of Supervisor Mike Wasserman - County of Santa Clara
70 W. Hedding St.
East Wing, 10th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110
United States

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