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Friday Items of Interest

Good morning, and happy Friday to you!

Here is a short selection of items that you may find interesting:

  • Redwood City’s Low-Interest Home Improvement Loan Program
  • The San Mateo County Eco-Friendly Fair on April 6
  • A Conversation with Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas

Please read below for information on those events.

Some of you have also asked about what’s going on with the scaffolding around the flagpole at City Hall. The flagpole, first presented to Redwood City 105 years ago, is getting a new coat of paint, plus some other refurbishment. You can see some pictures from the top of the 121-foot high scaffolding here.


~ malcolm



Low-Interest Home Improvement Loans Available!

The City of Redwood City’s Home Improvement Loan Program has low interest home improvement loans available to eligible owners of single-family homes and owners of rental housing located within Redwood City.

Loan terms:

  • 3% Fixed interest
  • Fully amortized over 15 years
  • No points and no “out-of-pocket” expenses

Repairs may include but are not limited to:

  • Roof replacement
  • Kitchen and bathroom rehabilitation
  • Foundation and structural repair
  • Interior and exterior paint
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Energy-efficient window replacement
  • New floor coverings

Basic loan qualifications include:

  • Property must be located within incorporated Redwood City.
  • For Single-Family Homes, structures include 1-4 units, one of which must be owner-occupied and income must not exceed the income eligibility shown below.
  • For Rental Housing, Owners must rent 51% of their units to low-income tenants. Income must not exceed the income eligibility shown below.

2013 Income Eligibility (subject to change):

Number of Persons in Household / Maximum Household Income
1 / $59,100
2 / $67,550
3 / $76,000
4 / $84,400
5 / $91,200
6 / $97,950

Call 650.780.7229 for more information or visit the program website.




San Mateo County Eco-Friendly Fair

Shop Green — Eat Green — Be Green!

Enjoy great food, informative workshops, fun prizes, numerous vendors – this event will introduce youth to the importance of being green and supporting sustainable, local businesses. Sponsored by the San Mateo County Youth Commission
Saturday, April 6 2013

County Center in Redwood City

10 am – 4 pm

For more information visit



A Conversation with Immigrant Rights Activist and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist

Jose Antonio Vargas
Sunday, April 7th
3:30 pm
Carrington Hall on the Sequoia High School Campus
1201 Brewster Street, Redwood City

Tickets can be purchased online at Tickets are $25 general admission and $5 for students.

Jose Antonio Vargas has quickly become one of the nation’s most sought-after speakers on immigration.  He will talk about his personal experiences and give his perspective on the larger issue of immigration reform.

When he was a child, Vargas’s mother sent him from his home in the Philippines to live with his American grandparents in the United States.  He grew up in Mountain View and went to public schools there.  He had no idea that he was undocumented until, at age 16, he went to the DMV to apply for a driver’s license.

As an adult, Vargas worked briefly for the San Francisco Chronicle and then for the Washington Post.  While at the Post, he was awarded a Pulitzer for excellence in journalism. In 2011, he wrote an essay for The New York Times Sunday Magazine in which he revealed that he is an “undocumented immigrant”, detailing how he came to discover this as a teenager and kept it hidden for almost 15 years, during which time he worked, paid taxes, and worried that his status would be exposed.  His story touched a nerve in our nation and catapulted him to the cover of Time Magazine on June 25, 2012. And just this past February, he testified on immigration issues before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In addition to Vargas, several adult immigrants in English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) classes will briefly share some of the challenges and victories they have experienced in their efforts

Event sponsor and purpose:
This event is sponsored by Sequoia Adult School Scholars, a small non-profit foundation that provides scholarships for Sequoia Adult School graduates–primarily adult ESL students–who want to attend community college.  More information about SASS is available at


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City Files Suit to Retain $10 Million in Affordable Housing Funds

Good afternoon – Below is a City news release that I think you’ll find of interest – it’s about the City filing suit against the State, to retain $10 million in City affordable housing funds, which the State is trying to grab as part of the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. Please read below for the details.


~ malcolm


For Immediate Release
March 27, 2013

Robert B. Bell
City Manager

Redwood City Files Suit Against State to Retain $10 Million in Affordable Housing Funds


Redwood City, CA – The City of Redwood City has filed a lawsuit against the State of California to retain $10 million in funds earmarked to provide for below-market rate housing in the community, which the State claims must be turned over as part of the State-mandated dissolution of the City’s redevelopment agency. The suit was filed Friday, March 22, 2013.


Prior to the statewide dissolution of all California redevelopment agencies last year, the Redwood City Redevelopment Agency was accumulating funding above and beyond the required 20% affordable housing “set aside,” to provide for low and moderate income-level housing in the community (state redevelopment law had required that redevelopment agencies set aside 20% of their tax increment revenue for the provision of affordable housing). Redwood City had $10 million in its housing fund, which was committed through a 1990 agreement with the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County (LAS), a nonprofit organization focused on housing issues.


Redwood City intended to utilize these funds to develop the former redevelopment sites on Bradford Street and Heller Street, which the City took on as the “housing successor” to the defunct redevelopment agency. Redwood City also intended the funds be used to assist in the development of other affordable housing projects. Instead, when State legislation required the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, Redwood City was notified that those funds committed through the 1990 LAS agreement were required to be turned over to the San Mateo County Auditor-Controller as part of the wind-down of redevelopment agencies, along with the unspent 20% affordable housing set aside funds.


At the direction of the City Council, City staff met with staff for the California Department of Finance in Sacramento, making the argument that it was Redwood City’s right to retain those funds for purposes intended under the 1990 LAS agreement. When the State denied that argument and demanded the funds be turned over, the City Council directed the City Attorney to file suit seeking to have the courts order the State Department of Finance to allow the City, as the housing successor, to preserve those funds for affordable housing purposes.


“We believe we have an obligation to the Redwood City community and to the Legal Aid Society to keep these funds so they can be used for their intended purpose – affordable housing,” said Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre. “Not only would turning over these funds be a breach of our agreement with the Legal Aid Society, it would cripple what little ability the City has left to directly promote the provision of affordable housing in Redwood City.”


It’s unclear when the suit will be heard, but it will likely not be until summer, at the earliest.


Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City’s email newsletter and other City documents by visiting




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Council Approves “Safe Routes to School” Study, and Food/Shelter Grant Application

Good afternoon – I’d like to share with you the news release below, which was just distributed. It notes action that the City Council took last night on two items – funding a study for “Safe Routes to School” and approval of a grant application for food and shelter services at Fair Oaks Community Center. These are two very important programs that help a wide variety of people in our community. Please read below!
~ malcolm


For Immediate Release
March 26, 2013
Malcolm Smith
Public Communications Manager


City Council Approves “Safe Routes to School” Study, and Grant Application for Food & Shelter Services
Redwood City, CA – At last night’s Council meeting (March 25), the City Council of Redwood City approved items focusing on two critical needs: study and expansion of the Redwood City 2020 “Safe Routes to School” initiative, and a grant application for funding to provide additional food and shelter services through the City’s Fair Oaks Community Center.


Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs seek to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation choice, thus promoting a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age, reducing traffic congestion around schools and lessening air pollution, and forging a closer connection between neighborhoods and schools. The City-supported collaborative Redwood City 2020 began a Safe Routes to School program in 2009 as part of its work to improve the health and safety of children in the Redwood City School District.


The City Council awarded a $76,500 contract (using Federal grant funds) for a consultant to work with schools to determine the local conditions that may keep children from walking or bicycling to school, and to make recommendations for education, enforcement, and engineering (such as sidewalk or roadway improvements) to increase walking and bicycling. Among other elements, the consultant’s work will include identifying barriers to walking/biking, developing recommendations for improving the safety and convenience of walking and biking to school, and recommending specific SRTS elements that are tailored to students’ geographic location/school and specific needs. The schools involved represent the wide diversity of Redwood City’s population: Adelante, Fair Oaks, Garfield, Hawes, John Gill, and Roy Cloud schools. The study’s report is expected to be presented in mid-summer.


The City Council also authorized the Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) Department to apply for an $80,000 grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to help fund essential human services at the Fair Oaks Community Center. The grant application builds on the increased funding granted to Fair Oaks by the Foundation in 2012, which directly addressed critical needs of the City’s low-income community, including food assistance services, homelessness prevention and services, legal aid and housing advocacy services, and food and nutrition programs.


By submitting a collaborative proposal which involves a number of service agencies, including the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Public Allies, and Peninsula Family Service, the City is a strong candidate for this new funding. Such partnerships are an effective way of bringing these resources to the most needy in our community, and the Fair Oaks Community Center has a strong track record of success in forming those collaborations and leveraging efforts to meet these critical needs.


The Safe Routes to School program offers a great way for our youth to gain healthy exercise habits, and this study will closely examine how the schools and the City can best bring this option to all parts of our community,” said Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre. “The Fair Oaks Community Center’s vital human services programs continue to be a crucial part of helping those in need throughout our community – approval of this grant application illustrates our commitment, and it’s especially representative of the wide partnerships we foster for the benefit of the most-needy residents of Redwood City.”


Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City’s email newsletter and other City documents by visiting




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City Adopts Reusable Bag Ordinance – Implementation is 10/1/13

Good morning – I wanted to let you know that at last night’s City Council meeting (March 25), Redwood City’s reusable bag ordinance was unanimously approved. This was the “second reading” of the ordinance, and follows the introduction of the ordinance which took place at the March 11 meeting.

As most of you know, this ordinance bans distribution of single-use carryout plastic bags by all retailers except restaurants and nonprofits (not including protective bags for produce or meat, dry-cleaning, and newspapers, among other exemptions), and requires retailers to charge a minimum of 10¢ per paper bag used (25¢ as of 2015). Enforcement will be complaint-based, and conducted by San Mateo County. More details are on the City’s reusable bag ordinance information page and on the County’s information page at

While technically the ordinance becomes effective in 30 days, the actual implementation and enforcement of the ordinance is scheduled for October 1, 2013. This is to provide an ample transition period for affected retailers to use-up existing stock of the single-use carryout plastic bags that will no longer be distributed as of October 1.


~ malcolm

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T-Shirt Design Contest; Free Docent-Led Wildflower Walks

Good evening – two quick items I wanted to get to you today! First is a t-shirt design contest for the best design capturing the excitement of our Downtown, and second, check out the wildflower walks at Edgewood County Park, offered by Friends of Edgewood.
~ malcolm

Calling all Redwood City Artists – T-Shirt Design Contest!

Submit your original design for Redwood City’s  first ever “Summer Event T-shirt Contest.” We are looking for  the artist who creates the image that best captures the excitement and fun of  our Downtown “on the Square” events, including ART on the Square, Dancing on the  Square, Movies on the Square and the wildly popular Music on the Square. Submissions must be received NO LATER THAN APRIL 22nd.  Go to for all the details and the contest entry form.

Images may be used on T-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, as well as on the  web, and for other advertising/PR purposes by the City of Redwood City. The  winner will receive $250, courtesy of the Redwood City Parks & Arts Foundation and be acknowledged  via email, social media platforms, and by the City.

Free Docent-led Wildflower Walks
Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, located near I-280 and Edgewood Rd. in Redwood City, is famous for its spectacular spring wildflower displays.  Friends of Edgewood docents offer free wildflower walks every Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:00 from March 16 through June 9.
The approximately three-hour walks through grasslands, chaparral, coastal scrub, and foothill woodlands, offer a surprising amount of biodiversity.  You are likely to see 50-100 plants in flower on the moderately paced, three-mile journey. Edgewood supports over 500 distinct plant species, four of which are federally listed as endangered or threatened. In addition, the fragile Bay checkerspot butterfly, one of the threatened species, has made its home in the unique habitat afforded by the serpentine grasslands. The various plant communities also provide habitat for frogs, lizards, foxes, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, deer, and over 70 resident and migratory birds.
Visitors can complement their docent-led walk by visiting the new Education Center located near the main entrance and featuring interactive exhibits that explain Edgewood’s connection to the surrounding landscape and its history.
Go to or call 1-866-GO-EDGEWOOD (1-866-463-3439) for more information.

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Relay for Life; Sierra Club Workshop; Social Media Workshop

Good afternoon –

I’d like to share three items with you this afternoon, which I think you’ll find of interest.

  1. Information about the purple ribbons going up Downtown this weekend, as part of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser, coming up in May
  2. A Sierra Club workshop on March 25 to help you reduce energy use and save money – “How to Go Green Without Going Broke”
  3. A Social Media workshop at Cañada College on March 28

Please read below to learn more – and have a great weekend!


~ malcolm



American Cancer Society Kicking Off Annual Relay for Life with “Paint the Town Purple”  


Each year, the America Cancer Society sponsors the Relay for Life fundraiser, an

overnight community gathering that gives everyone an opportunity to fight cancer and help save lives. In Redwood City, teams will camp out at Sequoia High School, and take turns walking or running around the track, raising money from sponsors.


The Redwood City Relay for Life takes place May 18-19, and to kick it off and raise awareness, Relay volunteers will be tying purple ribbons on trees in the Downtown area beginning Friday, March 22nd and they’ll stay up through the weekend (to be taken down on Sunday, March 31st).


So when you see these purple ribbons Downtown, think about visiting the Relay for Life Redwood City website at and joining in this important fundraising effort.

At Relay For Life, you will celebrate survivors, remember loved ones lost to the disease, and learn more about how to fight back against cancer. While you’re raising much-needed funds, you’ll also be raising awareness of the importance of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and patient support. No matter who you are, you can help and there’s a place for you at Relay. Visit the national Relay for Life website for more information, and contact contact Julie Pierce at 650-207-9905 / for details on the local effort.





The Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter Invites You to an Important Workshop:

How to Go Green without Going Broke


Monday, March 25, 2013, 6:30 to 8:30PM

Downtown Library Community Room

1044 Middlefield Road


Whether you rent a studio or own an estate, we can help you reduce your energy losses!


Join us for healthy snacks and a short overview of home energy issues. Then bring on those questions! Our panel of five experts will provide FREE actionable advice and coaching, including information about Energy Upgrade CA rebates.


RSVP requested at



Here is your opportunity to learn

Everything You Wanted to Know About Social Media!

A workshop by the Center for Entrepreneurial Opportunities at Canada College


…Google…MySpace…YouTube…Blogs…and more!


Join the Center for Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) as we welcome Michelle Sargent, a renowned expert, humorous author, and advertising executive in the Social Media arena.


Learn the best ways to utilize social media and maybe launch a new company! See your profits grow! Land a great job! Find a date!  Or?????


Thursday, March 28 from Noon to 1 p.m.
Cañada College, Bldg. 6, Room 102
Bring a lunch or pick one up at The Grove.
Parking is free in lot 6. Go through the loading dock and down to level one.

Visit the Center for Entrepreneurial Opportunities website.

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Reminder: City to Turn Out Lights for Annual “Earth Hour” Saturday Night

Good morning, and happy Friday!
This is a reminder that Redwood City is taking part in the World Wildlife Fund’s annual Earth Hour, by turning off all non-essential lights at City Hall and in Courthouse Square from 8:30 – 9:30 pm tomorrow night. You and your neighbors are encouraged to participate in this symbolic activity – please read the news release below for all the details.
~ malcolm



For Immediate Release
March 4, 2013


Malcolm Smith
Public Communications Manager
(650) 780-7305

Community Members Invited to Join the City for the World Wildlife Fund’s “Earth Hour” – Lights Out for One Hour on March 23rd

Redwood City, CA – On Saturday, March 23, at 8:30 p.m., thousands of cities around the world will go dark for one hour during Earth Hour, the annual campaign by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to raise awareness of the environmental challenges we all face, such as climate change.


The   entire Redwood City community is invited to participate in this  symbolic gesture, by turning off the lights in their homes and  businesses for an hour. It is easy to forget how much   we depend on the planet for so many things like food, fuel, water, and   fresh air and that the actions we take – from the energy we use to the   food we buy – have an effect on the world. Earth Hour is an opportunity  to share in exhibiting a commitment to protect our planet not just for  one hour a year, but every day.


Redwood   City will be turning off all non-essential lights at City Hall and in Courthouse Square for one hour, from 8:30 – 9:30 pm, on Saturday, March   23rd, 2013, and encourages community members to join in the effort.


On  Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people, organizations, corporations  and governments around the world will come   together to make a bold  statement about their concern for climate  change by doing something  quite simple-turning off their lights for one   hour. Participation is  easy. By turning off lights on March 23 at 8:30  p.m. local time  community members will be symbolizing making the switch to a cleaner, more secure nation and  prosperous America.
To learn more, and to discover what else community members can do, visit For an update on the City of Redwood City’s environmental initiatives, see the City’s 2013 Strategic Initiatives Update.


Visit Redwood City’s website at for information about the City and its services. Subscribe to Redwood City’s email newsletter and other City documents by visiting



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Join Earth Day/Spring Cleanup on April 20

Good morning – happy first day of spring! That’s our cue to announce the annual Earth Day/Spring Cleanup Day in Redwood City. This year, it’s on Saturday, April 20, so it’s an opportunity for you to get a jump on Earth Day (which is April 22). Please read the news release below, and plan on bringing family and friends to join the fun at this great community building activity, brought to you by the Redwood City Pride and Beautification Committee.




~ malcolm
For Immediate Release
March 20, 2013
Crystel Tuifua
Office of the City Manager
Celebrate Earth Day by Joining Redwood City’s Pride and Beautification Committee for the Annual Spring Cleanup! 

Also, Recology’s “Great Compost Giveaway”    


Redwood   City, CA – March 20, 2013 – The community is invited to join the  Redwood City Pride and Beautification Committee for the fun,  family-friendly annual Spring Cleanup Day on Saturday April 20, 2013! Get a head-start on Earth Day, which is April 22, by participating  with friends and neighbors in this very popular community-building  cleanup activity.

  • Redwood City’s Earth Day/Spring Cleanup 

    Saturday, April 20, 2013 – 8:30 am Public Works Services building

    Meet at 1400 Broadway (between Chestnut and Woodside)

This year, Redwood City’s Earth Day/Spring Cleanup Day will focus on:

  • Bayfront Canal
  • Hoover Park
  • Downtown
  • Little River Park
  • Marshall St. and Chestnut St.
  • Redwood Creek
  • Union Cemetery
  • Woodside Road

The more debris and litter that is cleaned up in these areas, the nicer our community’s appearance and the less that ends up in our coastal  waterways and the bay.Participants   should meet at 8:30 am on Saturday April 20 at the City’s Public Works   Services building, located at 1400 Broadway (near Woodside Road). After a  complimentary continental breakfast, clean-up teams will move out and  descend on this year’s targeted areas. Then at noon, volunteers will  meet for a special free BBQ lunch as a ‘thank you’ for participating in  this annual fun project that helps the entire community.

Redwood   City thanks the generous sponsors of the Annual Spring Cleanup Day –  San Mateo Credit Union, Recology San Mateo County, Shinnyo-en, SIMS  Metal Management, and Keep California Beautiful.

On the same day, Recology San Mateo County sponsors the Great Compost Giveaway  at the Public Works Services parking lot. Compost is an excellent  addition to existing soil, and also makes a great ground cover to help  with weed and erosion control. From 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday, April 20,  residents of Redwood City can take up to one cubic yard of free compost  (that’s about three garbage cans full) – a limited supply will be shared  among Redwood City community members on a first-come, first-served  basis.

Twice  a year, Redwood City’s Pride and Beautification Committee holds these  special volunteer cleanup days to focus efforts on beautifying specific  sites or areas, and to promote a year-round pride in Redwood City. In  past years, Redwood City’s Fall and Spring Cleanups have targeted school  sites, the waterfront, parks, streets, and other areas. These cleanup  days have shown great success, bringing together volunteers from all  walks of life who share the pride of helping to keep Redwood City clean and attractive.


Visit  for more info on this and other beautification projects. Please call  650-780-7300 for more information about the Spring Cleanup.

Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community,  recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood   City’s newsletters and other City documents at


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Redwood City Public Safety Town Hall Meeting TONIGHT

Good morning – many of you have been waiting for the next round of Town Hall meetings with our Police Department. The first one of the year is TONIGHT and I’ll remind you that these will include command staff from not only the Police Department but also the Fire Department.
Tonight’s Town Hall Meeting:TONIGHT – Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 7-8:30 pm 

Fair Oaks Community Center 2600  Middlefield Road


The theme of this year’s quarterly Town Hall meetings is: “Residents and Public Safety working in partnership to improve our neighborhoods.” This is a great opportunity for you to meet with police and fire staff, ask questions, learn about services, and get to know the folks who work every day to keep our community safe.


For more information on the Public Safety Town Hall Meetings (and also the famous “Coffee with the Cops” program!) please see the news release at




~ malcolm


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E-waste Recycling Event This Saturday

Good morning –

There’s an Electronic Waste Recycling Event coming up this weekend! This one is being put on by the Redeemer Lutheran School, and it’s taking place Saturday, March 23 from 10am – 2pm. Redeemer Lutheran School, 468 Grand Street (note: come to the parking lot at the corner of Hudson and Harrison)


For more information call Susie Gilbert at (650) 714-7197.

Please note that this is a private fundraising e-waste event for Redeemer Lutheran School, and is NOT City-sponsored. The City provides this information as a courtesy only and is not responsible for any aspect of this event. This is a great opportunity to help our community get rid of e-waste the right way by diverting it from the landfills into a proper recycling process. E-waste is defined as any consumer electronic equipment that has reached its ‘end-of-life,’ ‘end-of-usage,’ whether in full or non-working condition. Here is a partial list of what’s accepted:

  • Television Sets (Plasma, LCDs, CRTs)
  • Computers, laptops, tablets/E-readers, iPad, Amazon Kindle
  • IP Phones, Cell Phones, Smart Phones
  • DVD Players, VCRs, Receivers, Amps, Record Players
  • Xbox, PS3, Wii
  • Any wire, cord, power cable, chargers
  • Computers Components including Hard Drives, Circuit Boards, Power Supplies, CPUs
  • Computers Peripherals such as Speakers, Keyboards, Mice, USB Drives Cables/Cords, Modems
  • Servers/Switches
  • Scanners, Faxes, Printers, Paper Shredders
  • Microwaves, Refrigerators, Toasters, Blenders, Electric Tooth Brushes, Curling Irons, Hair Dryers
  • GPS System
  • Remotes
  • Ink Cartridges,Toner Cartridges, Cameras, Electronic Birthday Cards
Again,   if you have any questions on this e-waste collection event, please call  the Woodside Road United Methodist Church (650) 714-7197.


~ malcolm

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