Supes seek input to shape county’s future

From stimulating the economy to promoting the arts, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is updating its priorities — with the help of the public.

County supervisors are holding a series of public forums to solicit ideas for Shared Vision 2025 — a plan that will update the goals and commitments supervisors set eight years ago.

“We put our money where our vision is,” Supervisor Jerry Hill said. “Those commitments and goals guided each one of the $1.7 billion we spent last year.”

The last time the board solicited public opinion on the matter was in 1999 for its Vision 2010 plan, when the area was in the midst of the dot-com boom. But the Peninsula has changed in the last eight years, and so have people’s priorities.

“The county has become visibly and physically more congested. People feel more of a need for spatial freedom and independence. I don’t think we saw that in ’99,” Hill said.

An aging population, rising housing costs and the diminishing middle class are also bigger issues today, he said.

Hill said the county’s pilot program to provide health coverage to low-income adults, the Housing Our People Effectively program for the homeless and its Housing Endowment and Regional Trust were all products of the goals set by Vision 2010.

However, county officials have not met all of their community engagement goals.

“Voter participation is down. Because of what it takes to survive here, people are working harder and they have less time to run for office or get involved in the grand jury,” he said.

So far, officials have held one community forum regarding Vision 2025 and several meetings with key stakeholders in education, government and the nonprofit world.

Tyler Hammer, executive administrator with Sustainable San Mateo County, was at the table during the stakeholder meetings. He said he liked the idea of a road map to the county future.

“It forces the county to look long-term. From a sustainability standpoint that’s crucial, to look at how our actions now affect the next generation,” he said.

Board of Supervisors President Rose Jacobs Gibson said the public’s input is crucial to the plan’s success.

“Do we still have the same areas of interest and concern? What do we need to consider as we move forward?” she said.

The remaining public forums will be held Tuesday at City Hall in Foster City; Wednesday at Millbrae City Hall; Thursday at City Hall in Daly City; and Oct. 22 at I.D.E.S. Hall in Half Moon Bay.

tbarak@examiner.com

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