Published in the January 3 -16, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Mike Wasserman

Every day, Santa Clara County employees work hard to provide “real life help” for our nearly 2 million residents. Many of the county’s vital services go unnoticed and unseen. Here are a few highlights from the past 12 months that we accomplished on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors:

Adding housing

We approved funding for local housing developments that will benefit special needs seniors and the chronically homeless, funded by the 2016 $950 million affordable housing bond (Measure A). The six projects in Cupertino, Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Jose will add more than 350 units to the housing supply.

Helping the homelessness

We worked with cities and providers to expand cold weather shelter services to add beds and ramp up warming centers for homeless individuals and families. More than 1,700 homeless were housed the previous year according to the 2016 Annual Report for the Community Plan to End Homelessness.

Transporting older adults

In September, we started a new door-to-door transportation program — R.Y.D.E. (Reach Your Destination Easily) — for adults ages 55 and older living in the West Valley cities. Discounts of up to 90 percent off the standard fees are available for those who meet income qualifications. This pilot program is supported in partnership by Santa Clara County, VTA, the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council (SASCC), West Valley Community Services (WVCS), and the five West Valley Cities: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Campbell, and Monte Sereno. For  more information visit www.wvcommunityservices.org/ryde.

Caring for our animals

In November, we announced that planning and funding has begun to replace our current antiquated animal shelter in San Martin with a modern Animal Services Center designed to be a welcoming destination for visitors focused on animal welfare, care and education. Learn more here at www.countypet.org.

Planning for parks

We launched a comprehensive update to the County Parks Department Strategic Plan to chart the course for the Parks Department’s next 20 years. The outcomes will support programs and provide facilities for the more than 2.5 million visitors who enjoy Santa Clara County’s 29 parks each year.

Responding to disasters

In March, we responded to flooding, mudslides and road failures with support and resources to local agencies, jurisdictions and the community, including property tax relief for qualified homeowners. About $35 million in road repairs are ongoing in many areas and progress can be followed on the County Roads website at www.sccgov.org/sites/rda/RT/Pages/stormdamage.aspx.

Opening the VMC

medical center

In December, the Sobrato Pavilion at Valley Medical Center opened its doors. The long-awaited six-story, 370,000-square-foot, 168-room state-of-the-art building, is named after Silicon Valley philanthropist John Sobrato, in appreciation of his generous $5 million donation to the project.

Reforming jails and

public safety

In January, we approved body-worn cameras for 1,142 sheriff deputies and jail officers. The goal is to help restore trust and confidence in law enforcement. By using this technology, the public can be protected against officer misconduct, and officers can be protected from unfounded allegations. Jail reform efforts continue to be a priority with improvements to the public website www.sccgov.org/jailreforms, making it more user-friendly with a robust search capability, meeting schedules and searchable updates of more than 600 jail reform recommendations.

Increasing drone safety

In November, I co-sponsored a proposal to restrict private drone use during emergencies so as not to interfere with emergency aircraft. It also intends to prevent them from flying in airspace above correctional facilities to prevent the illegal transportation of drugs and contraband to inmates.

Preserving agriculture

and the environment

Working with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, we launched the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan in order to conserve the Santa Clara Valley’s farmland and ranchland as an innovative climate change mitigation and economic development strategy. In the past 20 years alone, Santa Clara County has lost 45 percent of its farmland, and much of the 27,000 acres remaining are at continued risk of conversion as a result of intense land development pressure. To learn more, visit www.sccgov.org/sites/dpd/PlansOrdinances/Studies/Pages/CAPP.aspx.

Celebrating local wine month

We declared September “Wine Month” in Santa Clara County, and celebrated the three-year-old Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, a 28-mile loop showcasing 25-plus wineries throughout South County.

Accepting partial property

tax payments

In October, we launched a new Partial Payment Program for property taxpayers, along with other new features including email notifications and announcements. The program can provide significant relief to taxpayers who need the flexibility of making multiple partial payments prior to the deadline.

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Adopting children

There were 157 children who were formally adopted by local families in Santa Clara County. The county’s Department of Family and Children’s Services manages foster care and adoption services to provide a stable and supportive home for children in need.

I wish each of you a healthy 2018 and I look forward to another productive year. As always, you can reach my office at (408) 299-5010, or you can email me at district1@bos.sccgov.org.

Mike Wasserman is the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors for District 1, which includes Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Martin.

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at editor@morganhilllife.com.
Robert Airoldi