Thursday, December 20, 2012


Students at Borel Middle School in San Mateo, California are making sure that U.S. troops stationed overseas are getting their share of holiday cheer.

Yesterday, Borel Assistant Principal Lana Fenech delivered 38 gift-wrapped boxes containing various goodies to San Mateo City Hall for delivery to troopers of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, which is currently stationed in Afghanistan.  The 101st Airborne Division is the adopted unit of the City of San Mateo.

According to Borel Middle School teacher Susan Goldfarb, over 90 students grades 6-8 were involved in a weeks-long project to make holiday cards, collect gifts, and wrap the boxes as part of a community service effort to share the holiday spirit with the young men and women serving our nation far from home.  The students involved the entire Borel Middle School community, including students, parents, and teachers to raise the money necessary to buy gifts for the 101st Airborne soldiers. 

“The best part of the process is to watch the students as they make the packages and realize that they are doing something special for our soldiers who are protecting our country around the world,” said Goldfarb. 

City of San Mateo employee will take the final step of mailing the packages to Afghanistan, where they will be distributed to the soldiers.

 The 101st Airborne Division, Alpha Company, 1/327 Infantry Regiment, the “Screaming Eagles” have been the adopted unit of the City of San Mateo since 1968.  Earlier this year, the unit visited San Mateo and marched in the Memorial Day parade in Downtown San Mateo.

San Mateo Mayor David Lim said, “I am so proud of the spirit of goodwill exhibited by the students of Borel Middle School.  Their generous display of appreciation for the men and women of the 101st Airborne shows us all the true meaning of the holiday season.” 

Gifts from Borel Middle School Students to the troops of the 101st Airborne Division sit in the
Mayor's Office at San Mateo City Hall.  Next stop:  Afghanistan!

DUI Checkpoint in San Mateo Tomorrow

Thank you to the San Mateo Police Department for keeping our streets safe during this holiday season!

San Mateo County – Avoid the 23
DUI Checkpoint Planned this Friday (TOMORROW)
December 21st – 6pm to 2am on Peninsula Avenue in San Mateo

SMPD will be working collaboratively with other San Mateo County Law Enforcement Agencies at a DUI Checkpoint in San Mateo. The Following information was provided by the Daly City Police Department via Press Release:

December 14th, 2012

San Mateo County's "Avoid the 23" DUI enforcement activities will include a
checkpoint in San Mateo this weekend.

A sobriety checkpoint will be staffed by personnel from various San Mateo County
police agencies on Friday, December 21st,2012. The checkpoint will be held on Peninsula
Avenue near N. Delaware Street, San Mateo.

This checkpoint will be held in conjunction with other special DUI enforcement patrols occurring throughout San Mateo County as part of the statewide Drunk Driving, Over the Limit enforcement campaign.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information, please visit

Contact Person: Sergeant Michael O'Rourke, 650-520-3310
Daly City Police Department

Friday, December 14, 2012

School Safety in San Mateo

As our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and community in Newton, Connecticut affected by the senseless tragedy of today, as Mayor of San Mateo I want to address our community on the issue of school safety.

In the short term, as today's events unfolded, the San Mateo Police Department increased their presence at our local elementary and middle schools in the San Mateo-Foster City School District to conduct safety checks and reassure students, educators, and parents. 

Although the events in Newton were ultimately deemed to be a localized event, our police officers took the opportunity to review crucial emergency response procedures within our local schools.

I want to personally thank San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer and all her officers for their sensitive response to this situation to reassure our local community.

In the long term, the City of San Mateo Police Department has worked consistently with the school district to constantly update emergency security plans, and review the layout of our schools to increase the overall safety of our campuses. 

While we can never be 100% protected from the dangers of this world, our Police Department and entire City Staff are dedicated to doing everything we can to provide our school district with the tools necessary to protect our children.

I have also been in touch with School Board Trustee President Lory Lawson and Superintendent of Schools Cynthia Sims to renew our commitment to work with our school board to provide any City resources that are needed to help them keep our children safe.

As a parent of kids in our public schools, and as Mayor of San Mateo, I extend my deepest condolences to the community of Newton, and remain committed to protecting our children in this uncertain world. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Councilman's role with 7-Eleven questioned

December 03, 2012, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

A councilman's role in a controversial 7-Eleven set to open today in San Mateo is being questioned by Deputy Mayor David Lim, who supports an outside investigation into whether city staff was influenced to grant a building permit by Councilman Jack Matthews or staff from his architectural firm.

Matthews had involvement with Portfolio Development Partners and its project at 501 N. San Mateo Drive up until February of this year, shortly before city planners abruptly ended a public process for a zoning code amendment to allow a market use on land technically zoned residential.

City staff ended the zoning code amendment process shortly before a neighborhood meeting in February and granted a building permit to Portfolio, which set in motion the construction of a new 7-Eleven at the former Stangelini’s Italian Deli; Hilltop Market.

Phone logs released Friday by the city show a number of calls between Matthews and his staff to city planners in February that Lim is curious about.

The phone logs “raise legitimate questions about communication between city staff and members of the City Council that might be seen as having influenced the granting of the building permit,” Lim wrote in a statement.

Lim told the Daily Journal yesterday that Matthews has a “sterling” reputation but said “tough questions have to be made.”

The old deli on the property was considered a legal non-conforming use and the council is currently going through a series of public hearings to determine if the 7-Eleven is also a legal non-conforming use for the land.

Matthews’ firm had been beaten back repeatedly by city staff when making inquiries into whether a new market could replace the old market because the property had stood vacant for more than six months after Stangelini’s closed its doors for good in 2010.

Lim called the sudden change in land use for the property back in February, however, “very unusual.”

Matthews told the Daily Journal yesterday he had no clue that city planners were seeking a second opinion on city code and did not know a building permit was issued for the site until reading it in the newspaper.

He also said there was “no attempt on our part to influence the process.”

The second opinion given to city staff by an interim city attorney in February indicated that since the owners of the building had no intent of abandoning the market use for the site that it still maintained its legal non-conforming use status.

The controversy has caused the neighborhood to hire its own attorney to keep the 7-Eleven out of the San Mateo Heights Neighborhood and to raise myriad questions as to why the building permit was issued at all.

The phone logs, Matthews said, show that his firm made contact with the city on a variety of projects, including Mission Hospice and others.

“While there is most likely a reasonable explanation for what the phone logs appear to show, even the appearance of impropriety is unacceptable in serving the residents of San Mateo openly and honestly,” Lim wrote in the statement.

Matthews also wants the process to be as “open and transparent” as possible.

“I am fully in support of a transparent process. The public needs to have faith in this process and I have faith we behaved in an ethical manner,” Matthews said about his office.

Matthews has recused himself from hearings on the matter since his firmed did some work for the developer on the project.

Officials with 7-Eleven told the Daily Journal last week the store was scheduled to open today. Lim is also set to be sworn-in as mayor tonight.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

San Mateo High School Caned Food Drive

San Mateo High School, in connection with Samaritan House and Second Harvest Food Bank, is hosting their annual canned food drive.

This is a great opportunity to help our those in need. According to Second Harvest, over 90,000 local kids will rely on the Food Bank to receive the healthy food they need.

If you are able to donate to the San Mateo High School canned food drive, follow the link below to make an online donation:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Update on 7-11 Development at 501 N. San Mateo Drive

On September 17, 2012, after receiving numerous complaints from San Mateo residents about the opening of a 7-11 store at 501 N. San Mateo Drive, I called for public hearings on the continuation of a non-conforming use of the property at 501 N. San Mateo Drive.

Hearings on the issue of whether the property owners at 501 N. San Mateo Drive have a right to continue to use their property for a non-conforming use were held on November 15, 2012. Further hearings have been continued into next January 2013. In the interest of providing a fair and unbiased hearing for the property owners and the neighbors, I will continue to keep an open-mind on the issue, and not render an opinion or judgment on the issue until the public hearing is held.

However, in early November, as I learned more about the issue and timeline related to the granting of permits for the 7-11 by City staff, I made a request to the City Attorney’s Office to begin gathering all public records related to this issue, including “Any correspondence (email, letters, phone logs)” between City staff and City Councilmembers related to the development of 501 N. San Mateo Drive.

Earlier today, as a result of my earlier request, the City Attorney’s Office released phone logs from the City Planning Division which raise legitimate questions about communication between City staff and members of the City Council that might be seen as having influenced the granting of a building permit for the 7-11 at 501 N. San Mateo Drive.

While there is most likely a reasonable explanation for what the phone logs appear to show, even the appearance of impropriety is unacceptable in serving the residents of San Mateo openly and honestly. For that reason, City staff will continue to investigate the matter. The results of those investigations will be released and scrutinized in public hearings by the City Council. I will also personally support the role of outside agencies, including the media, to fully investigate and get to the truth of this matter.

Moving forward, I will continue to work as I have since I first learned of this issue – asking questions and making inquiries for all relevant information on behalf of the citizens of San Mateo.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Apologies for typos!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Leaf Blower Ban - A Win-Win-Win for Our Community

Last night, the San Mateo City Council voted 3-2 to continue a discussion about banning all gas-powered leaf blowers in the City of San Mateo. However, there is still much work to be done on this issue, and I invite all residents to join me in the discussion.

I support a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, but I do NOT support criminalizing the ban to punish local gardeners who rely on the leaf blowers for their livelihood. Here is how I see this issue:

Gas-powered leaf blowers are relics of the 1970's. While every other piece of technology has improved in the past 40 years, most leaf blowers still use the same engines developed in the 1970's. Emission standards for leaf blowers have not improved. Sound dampening for leaf blowers has not improved.

An hourly wage-worker who straps on a gas-powered leaf blower is exposed to carbon emissions well above what any of us would expose our own friends or family to. We wouldn't buy a car with similar emission standards, and yet we resign our gardeners to clean our yards with a 1970's gas-powered engine strapped to his back.

Particulant matter driven into the air by leaf blowers is also a source of unhealthy air quality for an entire neighborhood. Asthma among Americans is at an all-time high, so it is incumbent up municipalities to help protect air quality for our residents.

Despite these well-known facts about leaf blowers, enforcement of a full ban on gas-powered leaf blowers is problematic for two reasons.

First, a ban on leaf blowers is difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Police and code enforcement officers in jurisdictions where leaf blower bans exist report that it is very hard to enforce bans on leaf blowers.

Second, enforcement of a leaf blower ban through fines against gardeners is unfair to the gardener. Most often, these gardeners are local residents who run their companies as a small business. It is simply unjust to punish gardeners for trying to make a living.

Therefore, my proposal is to ban leaf blowers to protect both workers and the community from the ill-effects of leaf blowers, but at the same time find ways to educate and offer incentives to gardeners to stop using leaf blowers.

I believe the technology exists in 2012 to stop using 1970's-era leaf blowers.

I believe that by banning leaf blowers, we should offer alternatives to gardeners, and we should help them find the mean to pay for these alternatives. That is why I proposed the following steps last night at our City Council meeting:

1) Ban all gas-powered leaf blowers in the City of San Mateo.

2) Offer monetary incentives in the form of grants or subsidies to local gardeners to purchase more worker and enviornmentally friendly garden vacums.

3) Use education and outreach to encourage gardeners to apply for these grants to use these more moden technologies to transform their businesses into more "green-friendly" businesses.

In the coming months I will be seeking state, federal, and foundation grant funds to fund this process. I will be holding community meetings and demonstrations to assess these new technologies. I will be reaching out to the gardener's groups and neighborhoods to seek their input.

By working together I believe we can craft what will be a "win-win-win" situation: A win for neighborhoods bothered by leaf blowers, a win for gardeners and their workers, and a win for the environment.

I hope to hear from all of you intersted in this topic.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween Party at CuriOdyssey

San Mateo is host to many fun Halloween events. Tonight we are at CuriOdyssey's Halloween event. Lots of fun learning about "spooky science"!

Silicon Valley Leadership Group Luncheon

On Friday I attended the Silicon Valley Leadership Group annual luncheon of CEO's and community leaders of Silicon Valley.

I pay my own way to events such as these (not using taxpayer money), but my goal is to promote San Mateo.

At these events I am always on the lookout for new businesses looking to relocate to San Mateo. I am also networking with regional and state leaders on issues important to San Mateo.

While being your Councilmember only pays part-time wages, I am always working full-time for our City!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

San Mateo Park Neighborhood Association

Tonight I was happy to meet with neighbors at the San Mateo Park Neighborhood Association to give them an update on the City.

As a City Councilmember I am happy to meet with groups to give them updates on issues on the City!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Meeting With Regional and National Leaders to Discuss Issues Important to San Mateo.

Today I was honored to meet with former Transportation Sectetary Norman Mineta and SF Mayor Ed Lee.

While the event was campaign related, I also had a chance to discuss transportation issues important to the City of San Mateo.

Keeping open lines of communication with regional and national leaders is an important part of being on the San Mateo City Council to make sure I best able to represent the needs of our community!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl

OP-ED: International Day of the Girl
October 11, 2012, 05:00 AM By David Lim
San Mateo Daily Journal
David Lim

Sponsored by the United Nations, “International Day of the Girl” is described on their website as a day to “highlight, celebrate, discuss and advance girls lives and opportunities across the globe ... by speaking out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere.”

Last week, 17-year-old San Mateo High School senior Karen Chee came before the San Mateo City Council and asked us to pass a proclamation naming Oct. 11 “International Day of the Girl” in the city of San Mateo.

The City Council approved the proclamation by a vote of 5-0, thanked Ms. Chee for her involvement in our community and moved on to other matters before the council.

Two days ago, the small but significant symbolism of supporting young women like Ms. Chee took on greater import for me.

In Pakistan, Taliban gunmen boarded a school bus and shot 14 year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head for advocating for girls’ rights. Ms. Yousafzai has been a tireless advocate for girls’ right to education and equal treatment.

Ms. Yousafzai was awarded a national peace prize by the government of Pakistan, but was targeted by Taliban radicals for daring to stand up for the rights of girls. Ms. Yousafzai survived the assassination attempt, but is in critical condition.

When I read the news about Ms. Yousafzai, I could not help but draw comparisons to the advocacy of Ms. Chee and other young women in our society.

I am grateful that we live in a society that will declare our support for girls who want to do great things for our community and country. I am grateful that as a council we are able to publicly proclaim to Ms. Chee and other girls (including my two young daughters) that they will not have to live in fear of retribution for standing up and daring to be who they are.

As a City Council and as a community, we often forget that small gestures like proclaiming today “International Day of the Girl” serves to reaffirm our commitment as a society for equality and freedom for all.

In honor of Ms. Yousafzai, and in thanks to Ms. Chee, I hope you will all take a moment to encourage and recognize the young women in our community on “International Day of the Girl.”
David Lim is the deputy mayor of the city of San Mateo.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fundraiser to support research for food allergies

San Mateo residents support all manner of wonderful causes.  San Mateo resident Sharon Wong is supporting the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) as they host a  walk in San Jose this Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.

FAAN is a non-profit organization that provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials.

If you are interested in helping to raise money for this worthy cause, click here to sign up! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Western Dental Grand Opening

Today I welcomed Western Dental to 4100 El Camino Real in San Mateo.

Western Dental offers general dentistry, oral surgery, and orthodontic care to adults and children. All types of insurance are covered.

Western Dental occupies the corner of El Camino Real and 41st Ave. Be sure to stop in for a teeth cleaning and check-up!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Walk to School Day

Today is International walk to school day. We are helping teach kids to lead healthier lives!

My girls wanted to walk so early this morning we beat the teachers to school!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Supporting Business Development Downtown

Tonight the City Council took the first step in providing flexibility for business offices to co-exist with retail and restaurant space in Downtown San Mateo.

Under a new ordinance proposed by the City Council on a 5-0 vote, office spaces will now be able to take up ground floor space in downtown, provides at lease 75% of the front 60 feet of the space is used for retail or restaurant space.

While the final ordinance will be reviewed and voted on in 30 days, if passed the new law will give greater flexibility to fill long vacant space in our downtown, help to speed recovery of our local economy.

Thanks to the staff, businesses, and community who helped make this new law a reality!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

San Mateo Sister City Ambassadors Announcement Dinner

On Thursday Sept 27 at City Hall the San Mateo Sister City Ambassadors were formally announced to the City of San Mateo.

Sharon Borden, Cameron Hill, and Guy Geva, accompanied by their families were introduced at a welcome dinner. Highlights included music by the Hillsdale High School Jazz Band and speeches by each of the ambassadors.

Ms. Borden and Ms. Hill will travel to San Mateo's sister city of Toyonaka, Japan in July 2012 on a goodwill cultural exchange, while Mr. Geva will host the Toyonaka students when they visit San Mateo later in the summer.

Congratulations to our new student ambassadors!

Wine Walk

Congratulations to the Downtown San Mateo Association for a successful Wine Walk event!

Th bands were awesome, the crowds lively, and the wine superb, all on a beautiful, sunny San Mateo Saturday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The San Mateo Sister City Association is proud to introduce its inaugural Student Ambassadors to Toyonaka, Japan.

Student Ambassadors Sharon Borden and Cameron Hill were selected to travel to Toyonaka, Japan in July 2013 as part of a goodwill exchange tour. Student Ambassador Guy Geva was selected as an alternate, and will serve as a host ambassador for Toyonaka students that will visit San Mateo in 2013.

The Student Ambassadors will be honored at an announcement dinner being held on Thursday, September 27 from 6-8 PM at San Mateo City Hall. Individuals interested in attending may contact David Lim at (415) 290-4044 for more information.

Ms. Borden is a senior at Aragon High School, where she is secretary of the student body, serves on the recycling club, and participates in mock trial, Harvard Model Congress, and is on the varsity swim and water polo teams. An avid surfer, Ms. Borden is looking forward “to observing and partaking in Japanese daily life and having the chance to share my knowledge of San Mateo and American culture with the people of Toyonaka.”

Ms. Hill, a lifelong resident of San Mateo, attends Castilleja School in Palo Alto, where she is involved in community service, journalism, and debate team. A sophomore, Ms. Hill plays varsity basketball and softball and has previously travelled on an exchange program to Kenya. Ms. Hill is excited to connect with her ancestry and share her pride in the city of San Mateo.”

Mr. Geva is a sophomore at Aragon High School. A member of the robotics team and chamber orchestra, Mr. Geva is interested in math and computer programming, but also found time to volunteer as a junior lifeguard for the City of San Mateo for two summers. Mr. Geva is excited to serve as a host/alternate ambassador “to see and learn about the relationship between San Mateo and Toyonaka.”

The Student Ambassadors were selected by the San Mateo Sister City Association after a competitive application process open to all San Mateo residents between the ages of 16-20. The two Student Ambassadors will receive an all-expense paid trip to Japan in July 2013, where they will stay with host families in Toyonaka , and represent the City of San Mateo as cultural ambassadors.

“We are thrilled to have three intelligent and outstanding Student Ambassadors representing the City of San Mateo in this inaugural year of our student exchange program,” said Anne Harris, a Board Member of the San Mateo Sister City Association, and member of the selection committee. “We are confident these Student Ambassadors will represent the best of San Mateo, while making memories and friendships to last a lifetime.”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Community Meeting for Beresford Park Playground Sept 26

On Wednesday Sept 26 at 7 PM the City will host a community workshop to discuss redesign of the Beresford Park playground.

All interested neighbors should plan to attend this event and be heard. The event will be held at the Senior Center across from Beresford Park on Alameda de las Pulgas. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Coastal Cleanup Day 2012

Last weekend I was happy to attend Coastal Cleanup Day at the San Mateo Shoreline near Ryder Park.

With over 500 volunteers in attendance, we cleaned up over 3 miles of San Mateo shoreline!

Thanks to sponsor Whole Foods for their donation of food for the volunteer picnic!

With San Mateo Public Works Commissioner Joe Goethals

With Assemblyman Jerry Hill

With Planning Commissioner Joshua Hugg
Thanks to our great city staff!

7-Eleven approval met with scrutiny

September 19, 2012, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff
Daily Journal file photo The former Stangelini's Italian Deli & Hilltop Market in San Mateo has been vacant for nearly two years.

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Map data ©2012 Google
Map data ©2012 Google



A 7-Eleven has been approved to replace the vacant Stangelini’s Italian Deli & Hilltop Market in San Mateo by city staff but Deputy Mayor David Lim has requested a series of public hearings to determine whether the land should be kept as residential, as it is currently zoned.

The deli was vacant for so long, nearly two years, that the property on North San Mateo Drive is now zoned for multi-family residences. A 7-Eleven or any other retail establishment proposed for the site is considered a non-conforming use since the land is zoned residential.

City staff approved 7-Eleven’s zoning application Aug. 30 after developer, Portfolio Development Partners, held a community outreach meeting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in February.

Portfolio was granted a zoning code amendment, since the building is now considered non-conforming, to re-establish a grocery store use on the site.

Lim requested a hearing regarding the possible termination and removal of the non-conforming use at 501 N. San Mateo Drive, near the Burlingame border, after hearing from neighbors near the site who complained about the potential for increased crime, traffic and the oversaturation of convenience stores in the area.

Lim suspects neighborhood residents would be more favorable to a use similar to Stangelini’s rather than a 7-Eleven, which stays open 24 hours a day and sells alcohol and cigarettes.

An official with Portfolio would not comment to the Daily Journal yesterday on the issue.

The initial plan was to restore the property as a grocery store but Josh Amoroso with Portfolio previously told the Daily Journal that housing was also a possibility for the site.

Lim and other councilmembers have received numerous emails from neighbors near the site in the past week saying they had concerns about a 7-Eleven popping up in the area.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing in October on the use of the property and the City Council is tentatively scheduled to hear the matter at its Nov. 19 meeting.

If the council finds the 7-Eleven to be a non-conforming use for the site, the developer will have a minimum of two years and maximum of up to five years to maintain a non-conforming use on the site. After that, the use would revert to residential.

Lim is seeking to have the hearings soon since the developer has not invested any serious money in improvements to the property, Lim said.

Lane Kashiwahara and his wife attended the community meeting at the King Center in February and left it with the impression that a “neighborhood market” was proposed for the site.

“City employees assured us that there would be additional information and notices sent out related to this project. As you know, we received no further communication,” Kashiwahara wrote Lim in an email.

The Kashiwahara’s contend a 7-Eleven would “sacrifice the integrity of the neighborhood and its charm.”

There are plenty of other markets in the area, they wrote, that already serve alcohol and cigarettes.
Lim is seeking a review of the non-conforming use since the deli’s use was authorized more than 20 years ago.

Now is the time to determine whether the non-conforming use is proper, so as to minimize the impact on the property owners, Lim wrote City Manager Susan Loftus when making his request for a public hearing.

“The surrounding community deserves a public hearing to weigh in on whether the current non-conforming use should remain in the community,” Lim wrote to Loftus.

Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.