Saturday, January 22, 2011

Helping to Create More Sustainable, Affordable Housing

I was honored this week to be appointed to the Housing Methodology Committee for the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), a regional effort of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC). 

As the lone elected representative for San Mateo County on this important commitee, I will be attending monthly meetings over the next 18 months in San Francisco to develop the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) Plan.  Working with representatives from nine Bay Area Counties, this committee will be tasked with creating a framework to guide long-term development of our regional housing needs that promotes reductions in greenhouse gases, offers more housing and transportation choices, and promotes a higher quality of life and a vibrant economy.  An emphasis on affordable housing needs for all our neighbors will also be an important factor in developing the RHNA plan. 

An important component of my work will be to ensure I am hearing from all residents of San Mateo County about their questions, concerns, and ideas regarding housing needs in our communities.  The goal is to provide a sustainable housing environment not only for ourselves, but for our children and our children's children.  Please contact me if you'd like to discuss this important endeavor in further detail.

For more specifics on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation plan, visit their website by clicking here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

White House Summit on Entrepreneurship & Small Business Growth

This is a press release issued earlier this morning:

San Mateo City Councilmember David Lim will attend a White House Initiative Summit on Entrepreneurship & Small Business Growth in Mountain View on Friday, January 7, 2011.

Featuring U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as the keynote speaker, the summit is full day event designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs find ways to collaborate with government to help create, grow, and maintain vibrant businesses crucial to our Country’s economic recovery.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the City of San Mateo to collaborate with federal and regional entities, and to invite up-and-coming businesses to plant roots in San Mateo,” said Councilmember Lim. “A strong, diverse business community with owners who have a stake in our neighborhoods is crucial to keeping the City of San Mateo fiscally and culturally vibrant. “

Councilmember Lim plans to use the summit to actively lobby businesses to consider the City of San Mateo their home.

This effort is in line with recent efforts by San Mateo to drive business growth. In June 2010, the San Mateo City Council voted to provide $75,000 in start-up money for the EDGE (Economic Development Growth Enterprise), an initiative of the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce which seeks to create and grow local corporate businesses in San Mateo. In November 2010, the EDGE secured close to $50,000 from corporate sponsors, Franklin Templeton, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Kaiser Permanente, and Glenborough Real Estate.

Councilmember Lim noted, “The business community has stepped up and created a vehicle to encourage dynamic business growth in our community. I am excited to do my part by attending this summit, where I will be able to share with a larger audience all the wonderful things that make the City of San Mateo a great place to do business.”

Monday, January 3, 2011

San Mateo's New Garbage Collection and Recycling Program - It Saves "GREEN" In More Ways Than One.

This evening, the San Mateo City Council approved sending a proposal to neighbors to ask them to allow a 23.3% increase to garbage collection rates as the City moves to expand it's recycling and composting program with our new garbage collection company, Recology San Mateo County. 

If you are like my family, when you first saw "23.3%" you thought -- WHAT?  There is not doubt that 23.3% sounds like a huge rate increase.  

However, after reviewing the staff report and going through the details, you will find as I did that our new garbage and recycling program saves you GREEN in more ways than one.  First, despite the increase in rates, less garbage can save you GREEN money in the long run.  Second, less garbage means a more GREEN San Mateo!

The 23.3% increase is less than a $2.00 increase per quarter for a 20-gallon trash can.  In return, residents of San Mateo will be getting:
  • Single stream recycling -- No more sorting bottles, cans, paper, and plastic.  Now residents of San Mateo will be able to put all recycled materials into the big blue bin.  The ease of this process will make recycling easier for everyone.
  • Recycling of food waste -- No more throwing food waste into the garbage!  Food waste will now be placed into your green bin, which will shrink our trash cans even more.
  • Weekly pick-up of recycling materials -- No more waiting for pick up every other week.  Now, all three of your bins will be picked up every week.
With your increased recycling, you will be doing two things. 

First, the size of your trash can should get smaller.  For example, our family has gone from four trash bags a week to one!  Instead of paying to use a 32-gallon trash bin, we are using the smallest bin available, a 20-gallon bin.  This means we will pay less on our average garbage bill each month, even with the increase in rates.  And if you reduce your bin size from 64-gallons to 32-gallons, you will save over $50 per quarter on your garbage collection rates. 

The key is to use the smallest trash can available, because you pay more for the larger cans.  So if you haven't done so already, order the smallest trash can you can manage!

Second, and more importantly in the long run, you help reduce the size of our landfill, reduce the carbon emissions of our City, and leave our children with a more sustainable San Mateo. 

So while the number "23.3%" seems large, it is actually quite manageable, especially in light of the impact it will have in protecting our environment for future generations of San Mateo residents. 

I urge anyone with questions about our new recycling and garbage collection services to contact me directly, and I'll be happy to talk to you.  Or you can call the City of San Mateo Recycling Programs Coordinator Roxanne Murray at (650) 522-7346