Surfer’s Beach Highway 1 Repair Set to Begin Monday, Nov. 23

The popular Surfer’s Beach area of Highway 1 along the northern coast of Half Moon Bay’s city limits has been in danger of eroding and the possibility of major storms this year, due to El Nino, has increased local anxiety about a catastrophic failure of the sole north/south artery along the Coast. Caltrans has announced it will begin a long-awaited repair of that section of roadway during Thanksgiving week, with an estimated completion date in January 2016.

Surfer's Beach Area Pic

This eroding area of Highway 1 at Surfer’s Beach in Half Moon Bay will be receiving a repair beginning Nov. 23.

“The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) along with the County of San Mateo will begin a construction project on November 23, 2015, to install Rock Slope Protection along an approximately 175-linear foot section of eroding ocean bluff adjacent to Route 1 at Surfer’s Beach in the City of Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County,” stated an official Caltrans release.

The project’s objective is to reduce erosion and prevent the collapse of the Route 1 highway embankment while also enhancing coastal access and recreation. This project would provide an interim solution to reduce erosion. Construction activities will be performed during the day between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Some night work may be required, according to Caltrans.

Construction signs will be posted to advise the public of construction. Minimal lane closures may take place during construction. Route 1 will not be impacted with any detours. The pedestrian trail will be temporarily detoured. Final construction for this project will be completed by January, 2016.

While the gradually eroding section of Highway 1 has long been known to travelers and residents, it required a comprehensive and collaborative effort to arrive at a solution.

In September of 2013, Supervisor Don Horsley initiated conversations with Caltrans and the City of Half Moon Bay regarding the opportunity to form a partnership to proactively protect Highway 1 at Surfer’s Beach.

Horsley knew that if a project was not done, the highway would surely fall into the ocean due to coastal erosion. Waiting for the highway to collapse and fixing the problem under an emergency declaration was not the desired option.

Any failure of the roadway would negatively impact the quality of life for residents, damage the local economy which is heavily dependent on tourism and inhibit people’s ability to access the natural resource of the San Mateo County Coastside.

The Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce estimates that 80% of working coastside residents commute over the hill to work. The segment of Highway 1 that is in danger of failure is a critical route for kids getting to school. It connects Half Moon Bay, Miramar and Pescadero to the only emergency room on the Coastside in the County. It is located just south of Pillar Point Harbor playing a critical role for freight for the commercial fishing industry. The loss of the highway would turn an existing congested, although crucial, traffic area a disaster.

San Mateo County had received grant funding in 2014 but was unable to convince Caltrans and powerful regulatory agencies to agree on a project scope or even how to fund the overall project. In fact, when Supervisor Horsley initiated conversations with Caltrans, the likelihood of agreeing on a scope and funding agreement was limited.

For more than eight months, the County and Caltrans held regular conference calls to discuss the very real threat of losing Highway 1 at Surfer’s Beach, what type of project would be needed to protect Highway 1 there along with a variety of environmental and regulatory constraints.

Following long hours of conversations and countless emails, and some help from State Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblymembers Rich Gordon and Kevin Mullin, the County and Caltrans finally agreed on a scope of work, project priorities and funding agreement.

The County and Caltrans then negotiated with the California Coastal Commission to identify a project scope of work that was agreeable to Coastal Commission staff.

The agreed-upon project will consist of a retaining wall to protect the highway on an interim measure. A condition of the Coastal Development Permit stipulates that this project is intended to protect Highway 1 only until a long-term solution is identified. The project will also consist of a 400-foot long segment of the Coastal Trail to complete the gap currently existing at the project site. A formal staircase providing safe pedestrian access to the beach will replace the inaccessible and deteriorating existing structure.

In August 2014, the County entered into an agreement with WRECO, Inc. for consulting services to develop all necessary technical reports and project designs. Between September 2014 and June 2015, all environmental assessments were completed, federal regulatory consultations convened and permits obtained.

“I am extremely proud of San Mateo County’s ability to foster this collaborative solution to a very real and potentially devastating infrastructure challenge,” said Supervisor Horsley. “I am particularly proud of my Senior Legislative Aide Nicholas Calderon, who was instrumental in bringing this project to a successful launch. I am certain the community will be pleased when they see that Highway 1 will be more stable at the popular Surfer’s Beach. This will be a major benefit to the entire community, not to mention a general peace of mind for commuters.”


For the latest road conditions, try Caltrans Quick Map:

Or follow Caltrans on Twitter at:

You can go to the project website to be added to the group e-mail list or get more information on the project at:





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San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Appoints Veterans Commission

Eleven men and women, both military veterans and those who serve them, were named to the newly created San Mateo County Veterans Commission by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors which also expanded the panel’s size.

The Board increased the Commission from nine to 11 members in light of the number and quality of applicants to the panel. Ninety-six applications were received and 35 individuals interviewed by Supervisor Warren Slocum, a Vietnam veteran, Supervisor Don Horsley and Human Resources Director Donna Vaillancourt, who is also a military veteran. Of those appointed, six will serve three-year terms and five will serve two-year terms. Following, each term will be three years.

The San Mateo County Veterans Commission.

The San Mateo County Veterans Commission.

On June 2, 2015, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution establishing the first-ever San Mateo County Veterans Commission. Slocum, who spearheaded the creation, said he was honored and privileged to do so.

“As a Vietnam veteran, I know firsthand of the personal sacrifice, camaraderie and dedication to purpose that veterans share. I am proud to be counted in their ranks,” Slocum said. “With veterans representing all ages and branches of the Armed Services, the Veterans Commission will examine the needs, set the priorities and help the County do its part to take care of those who have taken care of us.”

Members with terms ending June 30, 2018 are:

  • Lisa King, of San Mateo, retired U.S. Army major with 23 years of service;
  • Edmund Bridges, of Redwood City, served four years in the U. S. Navy;
  • Mark Leach, of San Mateo, served six years in the U.S. Navy;
  • Paul “Hank” Scherf, of Menlo Park, retired U.S. Navy captain with 30 years of service;
  • Myra Weiher, of Redwood City, active in Veterans Treatment Court and provides pro bono legal work for veterans;
  • Kai Martin, of Pacifica, served 14 years in the U.S. Navy.

Members with terms ending June 30, 2017 are:

  • Sherry Corcoran, of Menlo Park, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Iraq War veterans with five years of service;
  • Ron Dickson, of Foster City, served five years in the U.S. Army;
  • Fred Baer, of Foster City, served two years in the U.S. Army;
  • Alfred Banfield, of South San Francisco, Vietnam veteran who served two years in the U.S. Army;
  • Francisco Oliva, of Redwood City, Vietnam veteran who served four years in the U.S. Air Force.

The Veterans Commission will identify unmet needs, work with existing advocacy and service organizations to coordinate systems of care and benefits and fulfill other duties as directed by the Board.  The creation of the commission addresses the County’s desire to increase access by veterans to critical services, especially underserved populations like senior and women veterans. The Commission will also be a platform for addressing housing and services for low-income and homeless veterans.

The commission will work with the Human Services Agency’s County Veterans Services Office that helps veterans with claims and referrals, manages the newly launched ID project, which gives veterans easy-to-carry proof of service and provides community outreach.

The Veterans Commission’s first meeting is Nov. 16, 2015.

To make an appointment with the County Veterans Services Office, call 650-802-6598 or email

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New Affordable Housing for Seniors Opens within Innovative Half Moon Bay Senior Campus

The celebratory ribbon-cutting for Half Moon Village took place Nov. 5, 2015.

The celebratory ribbon-cutting for Half Moon Village took place Nov. 5, 2015.

Grand Opening of Half Moon Village Phase 2, a development of MidPen Housing, celebrates success of Half Moon Bay Senior Campus

On Thursday, November 5th, California State Senator Jerry Hill, San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, Half Moon Bay Mayor Marina Fraser and other City and County leaders celebrated the Grand Opening of Phase 2 of Half Moon Village, an affordable rental apartment community developed by MidPen Housing Corporation.

Half Moon Village is a response to the tremendous need for affordable housing for seniors in San Mateo County which tied for the most expensive housing market in the nation this year. Phase 1 opened in May 2014 with 45 apartment homes. Phase 2 provides an additional 115 new homes on an adjoining parcel. The two sites connect through a tree-lined pedestrian walkway and include several community gardens and a bocce ball court.  Residents also enjoy a fitness center, a computer lab and community rooms for social activities and gatherings. The 149 one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom apartments at Half Moon Village are for seniors earning between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income which for households with one or two people is between $23,250 and $53,160.

“Housing in Half Moon Bay has become increasingly more difficult for our valued senior residents to afford,” said Half Moon Bay Mayor Marina Fraser.  “So we are excited about Half Moon Village which provides 160 senior households with a beautiful and affordable home in a way that maintains the neighborly essence that Half Moon Bay residents have come to love and enhances the rest of the Half Moon Bay Senior Campus.”

“Today we celebrate the realization of a dream born years ago,” said Don Horsley, District 3 Supervisor for San Mateo County. “The completion of Half Moon Village marks the final phase of our longtime vision to create an innovative campus where seniors on fixed incomes can live, socialize and have easy access to services and community resources.”

“MidPen is proud to be a partner in building this service-enriched, affordable housing campus for low-income seniors,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “We believe that this community will become a model for housing our state’s fast growing population of seniors – to help them maintain a high quality of life and successfully age in place in a cost effective way.”

The former community of Half Moon Village, which provided 60 homes originally built in 1964, had been owned and operated by the San Mateo County Housing Authority. The County also owned the adjacent vacant parcels of land. As they considered what to do with this underutilized site and nearly 50 year old housing in need of repair, the vision for a Senior Campus was born. With the completion of Half Moon Village Phase 2, the campus now provides a total of 264 affordable rental homes within three distinct housing communities that include:

  • Half Moon Village – 160 affordable apartment homes owned and being developed by MidPen Housing
  • Coastside Senior Housing – 40 affordable apartment homes developed by Mercy Housing California and Lesley Senior Communities which also includes the new facilities of Senior Coastsiders and the Coastside Adult Day Health Center
  • Lesley Gardens – 64 affordable rental homes developed by MidPen Housing in 2004 which is now owned and operated by Lesley Senior Communities.

Half Moon Village residents also have access to the adjacent Coastside Adult Day Health Center and community center managed by Senior Coastsiders – both of which provide a range of health care services and other supportive programs. MidPen Resident Services Corporation offers additional onsite services. MidPen Property Management provides professional onsite property management.

Financing for the $56.6 Million community (Phase 1 and Phase 2) was provided by San Mateo County Department of Housing, the Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Union Bank and Wells Fargo. Herman Coliver Locus Architecture is the architect and Segue Construction, Inc. is the contractor.

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Free Wi-Fi now available in Pescadero

San Mateo County provides needed service in pilot project

There are few regions in San Mateo County more rural than the coastal community of Pescadero. Blessed with gorgeous views and secluded valleys, Pescadero has a unique charm that makes its small but vibrant business community especially desirable.

However, in an age of ever-increasing internet connectivity, the lack of viable wi-fi services in the core downtown area was becoming a limitation.

San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, who represents the Third District, has launched an outdoor public Wi-Fi pilot project, focusing on the Pescadero commercial district on Stage Road and also serving Puente de la Costa Sur, a well-respected local non-profit that supports farm workers.

Horsley selected the Pescadero area for the pilot project, which will be paid for by Measure A funds derived from the half-cent increase in sales tax approved by voters in 2012, because it would serve the dual purpose of improving connectivity for the agricultural community as well as the commercial district.

Providing wi-fi connectivity for the underserved members of the region was the most critical element of this pilot project. Children in the area who have not had access to the internet will be able to log on where the free service is provided. There will be a connecting point, similar to the free wi-fi available to the public at the County Center offices in Redwood City. It will not require a password to use the service.

Providing support to the businesses and their customers along Stage Road was also an important factor, according to Horsley. “Pescadero is known for Duarte’s artichoke soup,” said Horsley. “There are also other noted businesses, like Harley Farms, the Pescadero Country Store and Arcangeli Grocery Co./Norm’s Market, which makes the most amazing artichoke garlic bread. Many people already know about the hidden treasures of Pescadero, but by patrons being able to connect to their social media accounts through the new wi-fi service, even more people will find out about them.”

Making wi-fi available to the Puente de la Costa Sur community is also an important step in providing a way to narrow the digital divide that sometimes keeps low-income people from actively participating in social media and internet research. “The work of Puente is crucial to the quality of life of a great many people on the Coastside,” said Horsley. “I am grateful for the work the group does and happy to include them in this public wi-fi pilot project.”

The Pescadero wi-fi project was launched on August 14, 2014. It is free to anyone with a wi-fi compatible computer, smartphone or tablet in the vicinity of Stage Road or Puente in Pescadero.

SF Gate looks at lovely Pescadero.

For more information about the wi-fi project, contact Senior Legislative Aide Nicholas Calderon at Supervisor Don Horsley’s office, 650-599-1016,

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Recommendation to make appointments to the LGBTQ Commission on Board Agenda

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – On Tuesday, September 9th the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a recommendation to appoint 11 residents to the first California city or county commission dedicated to the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. at the Board Chambers, San Mateo County Hall of Justice, 400 County Center, Redwood City.Rainbow Flag_0

On June 3, 2014 the board adopted a resolution establishing the San Mateo County Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Commission. Following a five week application period, fifty San Mateo County residents applied for nine available seats.

Following extensive interviews, the interview panel, consisting of Supervisors Dave Pine and Carole Groom and Kerry Lobel, the Executive Director of Puente de la Costa Sur, recommended in a report to the Board that the commission be expanded to 11 members due to the depth and quality of applicants.

The panel is recommending the following candidates for appointment to the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission:

Dr. Jei Africa, San Mateo
Richard Faust, Pacifica
Jason Galisatus, Redwood City
Gabe Garcia, Portola Valley
Stan Kiino, San Mateo
Kate MacKay, South San Francisco
Alex Neumann, Atherton (Youth Representative)
Glenda Savage, East Palo Alto
Lynn Schuette, Pacifica
Stevie Stallmeyer, Menlo Park
Jennifer Walter, Half Moon Bay

“With so many outstanding candidates for the new LGBTQ Commission, it was very difficult to select the 11 proposed members,” said Dave Pine, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and author of the resolution establishing the Commission. “We are excited to recommend such a talented and diverse group of individuals who will be charged with launching the commission and defining its short and long term goals.”

The LGBTQ Commission was established to promote programs and policies that foster the well-being and civic participation of LGBTQ individuals in San Mateo County. Potential areas of focus include:

•     Bringing greater recognition and visibility to the LGBTQ community in San Mateo County by supporting such events as the County’s Pride celebration.

•     Reducing harassment and bullying of LGBTQ youth in local middle schools and high schools.

•     Developing policy recommendations to improve outcomes for underserved and at-risk segments of the LGBTQ population, including youth, communities of color, non-English speakers, seniors, and immigrants.

•     Promoting transgender inclusion among private and public entities in San Mateo County including access to health care and to gendered spaces such as bathrooms and shelters.

•     Recommending initiatives to support LGBTQ families with children.

•     Taking positions pertaining to federal, state and local policies, programs, and procedures, and any legislation affecting LGBTQ individuals.

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Devil’s Slide Trail now open to the public

The ribbon-cutting for the Devil's Slide Trail Park took place on March 27, 2014.

The ribbon-cutting for the Devil’s Slide Trail Park took place on March 27, 2014.

MONTARA, Calif. – For the first time ever, you can stop along the rocky cliffs of Devil’s Slide and gaze over the blue Pacific Ocean now that the Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail has opened to the public as of Thursday, March 27.

The trail follows the former route of Highway 1 along what many considered a treacherous 1.3-mile drive. With that section now bypassed by tunnels, San Mateo County spent nearly a year building three scenic overlooks, resurfacing the road and making other improvements for hikers, cyclists and equestrians.

“This is a great opportunity for people to come out and explore the trail and take in the views that drivers in the past wished they could have glimpsed at but didn’t dare,” said Don Horsley, a member of the Board of Supervisors.

Parking is limited so Parks officials recommend people carpool, take public transportation or cycle to the trail.

“San Mateo County Parks is thrilled to provide this new perch overlooking the Pacific Ocean,” said Parks Director Marlene Finley. “Our next focus is working with our eager partners to design and build the connecting trails.”

The trail is a segment of the California Coast Trail, which will eventually allow visitors to explore 11 miles of the California coast, from Mori Point in Pacifica to Pillar Point north of Half Moon Bay.

The details:

The parking lot on the northern trail entrance (nearest Pacifica) can only be entered when you are heading south on Highway 1. The lot includes 17 parking spaces, one accessible space and one space for a recreational vehicle.

The parking lot on the southern trail entrance (nearest Montara) can be accessed when traveling north and south on Highway 1. The lot includes 24 parking spaces, one accessible space and one space for a recreational vehicle. Both lots have toilets.

No motorized vehicles of any type are allowed on the trail. Dogs are permitted on a six-foot leash. Informational kiosks and pet stations are located at the north and south trailheads.

The trail includes three overlook sites featuring benches and observation scopes allowing visitors to observe marine life that live or migrate along the San Mateo County coastline, including: harbor seals, bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, northern elephant seals and humpback, grey and killer whales. Visitors will also see interpretive panels detailing the history, geology and animal and plant features of the area.

San Mateo County Parks


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District 3 Photo Gallery – Send Your Favorite Pix of Devil’s Slide

The Devil's Slide Trail Park will offer unique, world-class views.

The Devil’s Slide Trail Park will offer unique, world-class views.

I’m sure that everyone who visits the Devil’s Slide Trail Park will be enjoying the vistas and trying to capture them through the lenses of their cameras. If you’d like to share your best shot, that shows off Devil’s Slide and your experience of the park, please send them to me at Include your name and address and any description of the photo.  I’ll share them on this website. Thanks.

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