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February 2018 Newsletter
Promoting Healthy and Affordable Food Choices


Improving Access to Healthy Foods is not Enough  
Get Healthy SMC promotes access to healthy fresh food. Most recently, with the support of Get Healthy SMC partners, Daly City adopted the Kids’ Healthy Meals Ordinance which will require restaurants to replace sugary beverages with healthier options such as water and low-fat milk as the default beverage in children’s meals. Read more about this policy victory in this month’s case study, Are We Sweet Enough? Yet we understand that expanding access to healthy foods is not enough. Affordable access to fresh food is key to achieve a sustainable and equitable food system. In an effort to increase access to healthy, affordable food, Get Healthy SMC partnered with Pie Ranch, a farm located in Pescadero, to pilot a healthy meal kit program with local low-income families. Pie Ranch was able to offer discounted meal kits for a family of four. The families reported that they enjoyed the opportunity to try new recipes with local, organic, seasonal ingredients and would definitely purchase them in the future, if it remained within their budget.


2018 SMC Legislative Platform
On February 13th the Board of Supervisors passed a legislative platform to guide the County’s policy priorities for 2018. Key priorities identified include transportation funding, affordable housing and homelessness, parks funding, cannabis regulation, preserving the Affordable Care Act and continuing to support coordinated care and in-home supportive services. Supervisors requested a couple of changes to the draft platform presented, one of them being increased support for bail reform. The platform will not come back for public discussion and will be finalized based on the Supervisors’ input. We will share the final version on social media once available. The platform aligns well with Get Healthy San Mateo County’s priorities to build healthy communities by addressing equitable opportunities to financial security, housing stability, education and complete neighborhoods. Notably, support for limiting access to harmful sugary drinks was included in support of making the healthy choice, the easy choice. This builds on Daly City’s leadership on passing the first Default Beverage Kids Healthy Meals ordinance earlier this year, which removes sugary drinks and sodas as the default beverage in kids’ meals

Items to include in this newsletter


Are We Sweet Enough?

Childhood overweight and obesity increase the risk for serious health problems in adulthood. Feeling a sense of urgency to reduce the growing number of overweight kids and witnessing the health issues in their families, young leaders organized a diverse coalition called Youth Organizing San Mateo County or Yo! Mateo. Learn more about their victory in Daly City and their plans to advocate for more health-informed policies across the county in this case study. 

Read the full case study here.

Health by Numbers

Low Student Participation in Free and Reduced-Price Meals

According to the California Food Policy Advocates, not all low-income students eligible for free or reduced-price meals participate in these meal programs. In San Mateo County, only 36% of low-income students participate in free or reduced-price breakfast and only 69% of low-income students participate in free or reduced-price lunch. We need to do more to make sure all eligible students don’t miss a meal.


Redwood City is Closer to Adopting Increased Minimum Wage

Redwood City concluded its one-on-one outreach to businesses and hosted a couple of stakeholder meetings with business owners and residents to discuss increasing the minimum wage higher than the state’s. Overall, the city is receiving positive feedback on increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2019. Council members are expected to vote on an ordinance in March. If adopted, Redwood City will be the third jurisdiction in the county with an increased minimum wage.


EMS Corps is providing Brotherhood

The four San Mateo County residents selected for the Emergency Medical Services Corps started their 5-month training last month as part of the Health System’s effort to diversify and build a more inclusive workforce. We went to visit three of the San Mateo County students on the training site in Alameda to hear their experience so far as part of the 25-trainees EMS Corps cohort. Emmanuel, Filisione, and Julian had just finished a lecture on patient assessment when we sat down.


1 in 4 at Risk for Hunger

A recent study by the Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, shows that as many as one in four people are at risk for going hungry. This report highlights the fact that geographic access to healthy food is only part of the problem. Economic access is key – you have to be able to afford the food near you.


Millions to Improve Walking and Biking

City and County Association of Governments (C/CAG) received 17 applications totaling more than $8 million in requests for their active transportation grant program. Ten projects are recommended for a total of $5.7 M in funding. The San Mateo County Transit Authority will vote on the recommended projects in March 2018. Click here to learn more about the process and recommended projects.


Tired of Traffic? Ballot Measures Are on the Horizon

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) approved adding Regional Measure 3 (RM-3) to the ballot for June 5, 2018. This measure will increase bridge tolls by $1 on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges in 2019, with additional $1 increases in 2022 and 2025. The total of the $3 increase would increase funding for numerous public transportation improvements, including BART, Caltrain, Muni and other projects throughout the Bay Area.


How to Fund Restorative Justice Practice

Restorative justice practice (RJP) is a discipline approach that focuses on repairing harm through inclusive processes that engage all impacted stakeholders, limit punitive suspensions and expulsions and help improve health and educational outcomes. Unfortunately, lack of funding for teacher training is one of the biggest obstacles to strong RJP implementation.


More Affordable Homes Near Transit Are Good for Health

There are a number of local city conversations around increasing affordable housing near regional transportation hubs. In Belmont, officials took the first steps in reimagining Downtown Belmont into a more walkable, complete neighborhood. Based on report findings by the HdL Company, city officials discussed ideas to bring recommended retail and residential uses into Belmont Village.


Can the City of San Mateo Grow Taller and Denser?

San Mateans for Responsive Government (SMRG) are saying no. Since 1991, San Mateo has had a height limit on commercial and multi-family residential development to up to 55 feet, with some projects allowed to go up to 75 feet, and a density restriction of 68 units per acre. But SMRG, a citizen group, will start gathering signatures to extend Measure P that is set to sunset in 2020. The measure limits heights and densities.


Contractor Selected for CCCS Project

Get Healthy SMC is pleased to announce that a contractor has been selected for the Community Collaboration for Children’s Success project! Raimi and Associates will conduct neighborhood planning, work with youth to identify barriers to success, and determine interventions to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable youth in San Mateo County. Raimi and Associates will lead the place-based, trauma-informed planning initiative using innovative outreach approaches, art, and deep community engagement.