March 7, 2015

Evidence-Based Practices Seminar

I AM PLEASED to announce a special seminar, "ABC's of Evidence-Based Practices and How to Apply Them for Funding." The event will take place Monday, March 9 - from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Sobrato Center for Nonprofits, 350 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City (Shoreway Conference Room).

Supervisor Adrienne Tissier and I, in partnership with the Probation Department and County Manager's Office will share strategies on how to serve people more effectively and track outcomes efficiently. Attendees will also gain an understanding of the Community Corrections Partnership priorities, review the grant application process, and learn strategies for creating successful applications.

This workshop will help you better serve your clients, and create more competitive applications to attract funding.

Lunch will be provided and everyone will have the opportunity to network and share ideas.

To RSVP - https://eventbrite.com/event/15527966566/

March 6, 2015

Parks Make Healthy Communities

I'M PLEASED TO report that the County's 91-year tradition of maintaining large-scale regional parks and trails is about to change. Supervisor Don Horsley and I represent districts with communities that want and need smaller neighborhood parks and green spaces to promote health and well-being. We asked the Parks Department and the Parks Commission to see what might be feasible for the County.

On April 9, the Board of Supervisors will consider a proposed Mini-Parks Policy for the unincorporated areas. If adopted, the policy will authorize the parks Department to create and maintain mini-parks in the unincorporated areas of the county. It will support the County's strategic goal of building "Healthy Communities" as well. Mini-parks like the FOBA Pocket Park and Friendship Park in North Fair Oaks as well as Quarry Park, the Moss Beach Park and the Clipper Ride Community Park on the coast will now have a legitimate "home" in our family of parks and fall under the Parks Department's mission.

Kudos to the Parks Commission Subcommittee who drafted this policy. Special thanks to Park and Recreation Commissioners Neil Merrilees and Meda Okelo, Pescadero Municipal Advisory Council member Nic Erridge, Midcoast Community Council Member Chris Johnson, North Fair Oaks Community Council member Linda Lopez, and Fair Oaks Beautification Association member Laura Caplan along with North Fair Oaks Forward Outreach consultant Patricia Brown and Margy Kahn, an interested resident of North Fair Oaks. I also want to give a shout out to our amazing Parks Director, Marlene Finley, who worked with the Parks Commission Subcommittee to develop this policy for our consideration.

March 5, 2015

AB 60: Supervisor Slocum to Host Panel on Getting a Legal Driver's License

FOR THE FIRST time, undocumented drivers are eligible to apply for a California driver's license. Assembly Bill 60, the law to license drivers in California regardless of immigration status, took effect on January 1, 2015. To date, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reports it has issued more than 60,000 driver's licenses to illegal immigrants under AB 60.

Those in San Mateo County who have not yet applied and are interested in learning more about AB 60 can attend a free panel discussion "Getting A Legal Driver's License" which is being hosted by my office and Sheriff Greg Munks, California Highway Patrol
, Mexican Consul from San Francisco and California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The panel discussion takes place on Tuesday, March 17 from 7 to 8:30 pm. It will be held at the Fair Oaks Community Center, Multi-Purpose Room, 2600 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.

The panel presentation will be made by DMV officials in Spanish with a question-and-answer session to follow. This will be an opportunity for those interested in applying for a dirver's license to hear from the experts, learn about the process and requirements and ask questions.

The passage of AB 60 is now creating thousands of legal, well-informed drivers, and removing the driver angst among the many undocumented people who regularly drive with licenses to go to work, pick up their children and run errands. Our roads are safer as the result of this law.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Irving Torres, Legislative Aide at 650.363.4801 or itorres@smcgov.org.

February 20, 2015

Civic Technology Helps Build a 21st Century Government

CIVIC TECHNOLOGY IS changing communities for the better. Over the past decade, the number of civic tech companies has grown at a rapid rate, bringing with it a slew of new applications and platforms that streamline government and make it more accessible to the public.

Quoting the Knight Foundation, one of the biggest sponsors of civic tech projects, "Civic leaders, organizations, funders and citizens increasingly recognize the power of technology to connect people, improve cities, and make governments more effective."

Civic tech spurs people to participate in public good development, enhancing citizen communications, improving government infrastructure or generally making national and local governments more effective. It encompasses civic applications, platforms supporting government bodies and institutions and other software enabling those goals.

The Knight Foundation's 2013 study and its 2014 update suggest that new civic tech falls under two categories: open government and community action. Civic tech in each category seeks to make data more accessible to citizens and allow them to share civic-minded solutions. Here are six reasons for the emergence of civic tech platforms and how civic tech is helping changing communities for the better:

1. Citizens want more information about their government.

In San Mateo County Socrata is helping the county to provide information to citizens in a more efficient and accessible way. In addition, Code for America helps jurisdictions create custom apps that target specific areas of community need like locating free food sources.

2. Citizens want to be more involved with how government operates.

TurboVote and TrusttheVote allow more citizens to get involved in the electoral process. The platforms allow citizens to track elections, register to vote, view ballots before going to the polls and fill out the paperwork that keeps busy people from the polls.

3. Citizens want to interact with their government, but hate all of the red tape.

In San Mateo County SeeClickFix allows citizens empower to provide feedback on public services and report things like crime, downed power lines, potholes and illegal dumping.

4. Citizens want to share their knowledge, but have nowhere to put it.

Information crowdsourcing tools like Waze make it easier for citizens to share their knowledge with their community.

5. Citizens are passionate about a project, but need to find funding to complete it.

Civic crowdfunding platforms like Kiva and Lenddo provide platorms for passionate citizens to connect with people who can help fund their projects.

6. Citizens want to change or support something, but don't know where to go.

Community organizing has been used for decades to get people who care about an issue, candidate or problem all in the same place to focus their energy on action. Civic technology is streamlining that process. Organizations and platforms like Causes and EngagementHQ allow citizens to connect with other citizens around issues they care about and officials to connect with those group.

February 18, 2015

iPads Used to Gather Petition Signatures

THE DENVER ELECTIONS Division is doing something California couldn't get implemented. That's using technology - specifically iPads - to modernize the petition signature gathering process.

The election office in Denver has come up with what's believed to be a first-in-the-nation way to gather signatures that is fast, efficient and better serves constituents as well as the election workers who have to verify thousands of signatures.

Beginning with the qualifying process for elections scheduled for this May, the office is test piloting a program that allows candidates to use a tablet and stylus to gather ballot petition signatures. eSign, as the office is calling the new application, allows circulators to gather signatures on a tablet that is registered with the Elections Division.

The app allows circulators to verify the voter registration of the signer before collecting the signature and keeps a running tally of the number of signatures collected. Tablets can be borrowed from the Elections Division for a $375 deposit or campaigns may register personal iPads with the Elections Division and download the app to gather signatures.

Currently about 18 campaigns are using eSign for the May election cycle and as the deadline for qualification approaches, more campaigns may sign up.

The office worked with a local vendor - 303 Software - to create the app, which cost about $60,000 to create and implement.

The hope is that following their successful pilot, eSign can be adopted not only statewide, but also for other jurisdictions throughout the country.

I'm not trying to brag here but San Mateo County had this idea way back in 2010. We wrote:

"A new Silicon Valley company launched a smart phone app yesterday...that will allow signature gatherers to collect your signature on a cell phone app!" "California may become the first state in the nation to apply this kind of technology to the collection of signatures for initiatives, referendums and recalls headed for the ballot."

Well, that never happened because California law evidently doesn't allow for electronic signatures for petitions. But, just in case your curious, here is a video of how the Verafirma app worked.


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