Making Democracy Work

San Mateo County Positions

Members of the Leagues of Women Voters of San Mateo County adopted these positions after study and uses the positions for advocacy and education.

Community College in San Mateo County

Support the San Mateo County Community College District functioning as:
1. A two-year transfer institution that meets the standards of the state universities
2. A technical/vocational training institution that meets the need of our community employment market. Highest priority should be given by the district to efforts to serve the needs of the community in these areas. We also recognize that community service and continuing education programs are legitimate functions of the community college district.

Corrections System

Support a corrections system which has as its primary goal rehabilitation, i.e., the prevention of recidivism, with emphasis on alternatives to incarceration, and on compliance with state standards for facilities and staffing. Support programs and public education to involve the community in rehabilitation.

County Charter

Support a charter for the County of San Mateo which establishes the basic framework of county government, which is as free as possible of operational details, and which provides an integrated governmental structure in which lines of authority and responsibility are clearly drawn. The charter should be reviewed periodically.

Support a governmental structure for the County of San Mateo in which:

1. The Board of Supervisors, the District Attorney and other policy-making county officers are elected by the people.
2. The ultimate policy-making authority remains with the Board of Supervisors.
3. The Board of Supervisors appoints a County Manager who has primary responsibility for county governmental operation and for policy recommendation and implementation.
4. The County Manager appoints county officers whose positions are administrative, subject to ratification by the Board of Supervisors.

Support measures to ensure an orderly, open and fair process for filling vacancies in elective county positions which occur between regularly scheduled elections.

County Government

Selection of Supervisors: Support procedures to ensure an open and responsive process of selecting supervisors in San Mateo County.

Long-Range Planning: Support a process in which the Board of Supervisors takes responsibility for setting goals, priorities and long-range planning for county needs. Public participation in this process should be encouraged.

County Boards and Commissions: Support procedures for appointment to county boards and commissions which promote responsible and effective citizen input to government in accordance with state law.

County Superintendent of Schools: Support the appointment of the County Superintendent of Schools by the elected County Board of Education.

Health Care Delivery in San Mateo County

Support an adequate health care system accessible to all throughout the county. The County should assume responsibility for those who cannot pay for health care, for those who are left out of every other health care system, and for those who face access problems in obtaining care.

Homeless in San Mateo County

Support measures which provide for the needs of the homeless, with responsibility shared by the public and private sectors with government assuming the primary role.

Support the provision of permanent housing affordable to low income persons as one solution to the growing problem of the homeless.

Support emergency, transitional, and long-term plans to meet the needs of the homeless. The primary focus should be on single parent families and families who do not qualify for federal or state assistance.

Support making public and private buildings available for emergency shelters where facilities meet health standards. The private sector should be provided with financial support from the county and cities to develop long-term shelters.

Support programs to help the homeless become self-sufficient, including: counseling; job training and vocational counseling; child care; medical/dental and mental health services; tutorial programs; first month's rent and deposit assistance; and transportation.


Support a housing policy which provides that San Mateo County and all cities within San Mateo County identify housing needs of their residents, advocates for affordable housing, and provides for housing production, including workforce housing. Consideration should be given to environmental quality, safety, design standards, traffic patterns and infrastructure.

Support a variety of means to increase the housing supply, especially for moderate and low income persons.

1. Promote infilling to use existing infrastructure and protect open space by: (a) identifying empty space within developed areas; (b) increasing density near transportation corridors

2. Promote mixed use development by: (a) combining residential/commercial use in commercially zoned areas; (b) encouraging adaptive re-use, building conversions and air rights dedication, enabling building over existing use

3. Promote housing diversification by: (a) development of family rental housing; (b) permitting development of second units on single family properties; (c) utilizing manufactured housing; (d) facilitating shared ownership; (e) building smaller units with fewer amenities; (f) shared housing programs

4. Encourage zoning which allows such uses as foster homes and halfway houses.

Support a variety of monetary and non-monetary measures by jurisdictions to develop below-market-rate housing. Cooperative efforts are encouraged between private and public sectors to provide needed housing through a combination of the following practices:

1. Provide local sources of subsidy for affordable housing through: (a) inclusionary zoning ordinances;(b) in-lieu fees; (c)commercial linkage fees; (d) contributions to housing trust funds.

2. Provide financial incentives to developers through: (a) tax-exempt financing; (b) land banking and set-asides for capital improvement/basic infrastructure; (c) encouraging priority processing for affordable housing developments; (d) assisting developers with site and subsidy information.

3. Assistance to buyer by equity sharing and other home assistance programs (local, state or federal)

4. Re-zone for development to meet housing needs

5. Bonus density incentives.

Support the Housing Trust Fund for San Mateo County through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the County and interested cities within the county.

Support stabilization and preservation of low and moderate income housing through the following measures:

1. Strict code enforcement to prevent the deterioration and to correct code violation

2. Utilization of public rehabilitation funds, including home repair programs for low income households

3. Preservation of below market rate housing through long-term deed restrictions

4. Attempts should be made either to prevent demolition of moderate and low income housing or replace it with comparable housing.

5. Ensure, when condominium conversions are permitted, the following restrictions apply: (a) vacancy rate of rental units in the community is at least five percent; (b) Tenants are offered right of first refusal; (c) Long-term affordability is assured through deed restrictions in below market rate units.

Encourage public education and public participation in order to further the housing objectives.

Land Use Policies and Procedures

Support land use policies which provide a quality human environment for residents of San Mateo County, including a balanced consideration of social, environmental and economic concerns.

Support measures which direct growth, control the effects of transportation facilities, maintain, preserve and protect unique natural resources, control the use of hazardous areas, and which meet the housing and social needs of all citizens.

Support full utilization of a general plan which meets these criteria and which conforms to the adopted Bay Area regional plans and to state requirements.

Support substantial citizen participation in land use policy making.

San Mateo County Library

Support a public county library that provides library services to residents not serviced by a city library.

Support measures which ensure that essential services are provided at all branch libraries.

Support adequate funding for essential library services.

Support the Materials Selection Policy of the San Mateo County Library of July 1999.

Support the continued cooperation and sharing of services among all public libraries in San Mateo County.

Special Districts

Support the effective coordination of services and planning among special districts and other governmental units in San Mateo County, and the reduction in the number of autonomous special districts, where such reduction increases efficiency and facilitates citizen scrutiny of performance or where functions are provided by existing agencies.

Transportation in San Mateo County

Support continued county and regional efforts to establish a coordinated regional system of rapid and other mass transit geared to public need.

Support a feeder service to transfer points of regional mass transit systems.

Support a variety of funding sources for both capital and operating costs to finance mass transit, including sales tax, gasoline tax, federal and state funds, fares, and vehicle fees.

Support efforts to provide local transportation systems in San Mateo County which should tie in with neighboring systems and regional transportation.

Efforts should consider all aspects of transit, such as buses, jitneys, car and van pools, and parking facilities. Areas with the greatest transportation needs and areas causing the greatest pollution should be serviced first, with expansion to other areas as financially feasible.