Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



April 29, 2009


May 5, 2009







Honorable Board of Supervisors


David S. Boesch, County Manager


County Manager’s Report #5



Commitment: Responsive, effective and collaborative government.

Goal(s): 20 – Effectively communicate, collaborate and develop strategic approaches to issues affecting the entire County.



Resolution approving the 2009-10 State Legislative Session Program for San Mateo County



Adopt a resolution approving the 2009 State Legislative Session Program for San Mateo County.



The 2009-2010 State Legislative Session Program articulates the state and federal legislative priorities for the County. These priorities in combination with positions taken by the Board of Supervisors guide the County’s advocacy efforts.



Due to the protracted state budget crisis, the County is sponsoring just two initiatives: Assembly Bill 861 (Ruskin) would consolidate health contracts and Assembly Bill 787 (Hill) would improve the outcomes afforded at-risk youth under juvenile justice realignment.


Protecting funding and increasing program flexibility remain the top priorities. Additionally, staff anticipates corrections reform, foster care, federal health care coverage and stimulus funding will receive considerable legislative attention.






Resolution in support of Assembly Bill 84 (Hill), Vote by mail ballots



Adopt a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 84 (Hill), Vote by mail ballots.



Under current law elections officials must establish procedures that allow a vote by mail (VBM) voter to find out if their ballot was counted, and if not, why not. Voting by mail has increased significantly over the past few years as a convenient method of voting. Safeguards built into the method of voting included requiring elections officials to verify the signature on a VBM ballot envelope with the signature on the voter’s registration card. In some cases, a voter’s signature may have changed over time from the signature on file as a result of age or illness. During the signature verification process, if the signature on the ballot envelope does not match the signature on file, the elections official will not count the ballot.


Assembly Bill 84 would extend VBM voters the same rights afforded provisional voters, by requiring local elections officials to inform voters whose VBM ballots are not counted the reason why and affording them the opportunity to take corrective action.


The San Mateo County Assessor, County Clerk and Recorder and Board Legislative Committee have reviewed Assembly Bill 84 and recommend support.



The County of San Mateo implemented a process for VBM voters to confirm if their ballot was received at the county elections office. VBM voters can log into the San Mateo County Elections Office website by entering three unique identifiers and find out when the elections office received their ballot. According to the Elections Office, the cost of doing this was minimal since county elections officials already log in VBM ballots into their computerized elections management system.



Minor state reimbursable costs.



Resolution in support of Assembly Bill 31 (Ma) Property Taxation: certificated aircraft assessment



Adopt a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 31 (Ma), Property taxation: certificated aircraft assessment.



In 1997-98, a group of counties and air carrier industry representatives met to resolve issues related to the property taxation of property owned and used by air carriers, which resulted in a written settlement agreement to dispose of outstanding litigation and appeals over the valuation of certificated aircraft. The settlement agreement was codified in Assembly Bill 1807 (Chapter 86, Statutes of 1998), Assembly Bill 2318 (Chapter 85, Statutes of 1998) and Senate Bill 30 (Chapter 87, Statutes of 1998). In 2006, Assembly Bill 964 (Chapter 699, Statutes of 2006) established the current centralized assessment procedure to tax aircraft. Building on the agreement, Assembly Bill 964 (Chapter 699, Statutes of 2006) established the Centralized Fleet Calculation Program, which has resulted in administrative efficiencies for both the air carriers and the counties. This measure established the lead county provision, which requires airlines file only one property tax return.


Assembly Bill 311 would extend the Centralized Fleet Calculation Program for statewide assessment of certificated aircraft for property tax purposes until the 2015-16 fiscal year. Additionally, it would extend to 2015-16 the application of the current assessment methodology for determining the fair market value of certificated aircraft owned by commercial air carriers for property tax purposes; the requirement that commercial air carriers file one annual property statement with a designated “lead” county; and the procedures for selecting the lead county to calculate an airline’s fleet value and coordinated multi-county audit team to perform mandatory audits of commercial air carriers. Absent this agreement, airlines could be taxed differently by each county and cause considerable fiscal implications.


The San Mateo County Assessor, County Clerk, Recorder and the Board Legislative Committee have reviewed Assembly Bill 311 and recommends support.






Resolution in support of Assembly Bill 624 (Monning), Election precincts



Adopt a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 624 (Monning), Election precincts.



Currently, there are approximately 6 million voters (32 percent) statewide registered as permanent absentee. Current law establishes the number of registered voters per precinct at 1000. In high turnout elections only about 50 percent of the electorate goes to the polls to vote. In lower turnout elections only about 15 percent of electors go to the polls. Thus, precincts typically will only serve a maximum of 250 voters on high turnout elections and less for lower turnout elections.


Assembly Bill 624 would allow counties to reduce the number of required voting precincts by subtracting out the number of permanent vote by mail voters and resizing the precinct boundaries. This measure would also allow counties the ability to move polling locations from areas with a high concentration of Permanent Vote By Mail Voters (PVBMV) and few poll voters into areas with low concentrations of PVBMVs and higher levels of poll voters. This measure would reduce the number of poll workers required to conduct an election, keep the day interesting for poll workers, and save the dollars and effort necessary to recruit, train, and deploy poll workers.



Approximately 43 percent of San Mateo County’s registered voters are permanent mail ballot voters; and a majority of votes cast at County elections are done so by mail. Nonetheless, current law requires that the County staff and supply the polls with ballots and materials for precincts expecting a 75 percent turnout—or 750 voters each—even if more than half of the voters in the precinct vote by mail. Lower voter turnout at the polls has created duplicative costs for the elections office, enormous waste, and contributed to poll worker boredom.


San Mateo County Assessor, County Clerk, Recorder and the Board Legislative Committee have reviewed Assembly Bill 624 and recommend support.



Significant savings statewide; an estimated $180,000 savings per election in San Mateo County.



Resolution in support of Assembly Bill 1487 (Hill), Inmate medical expenses



Adopt a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 1487 (Hill), Inmate medical expenses.



State law authorizes the county sheriff or chief corrections officer to charge a three-dollar fee to each inmate in county jail who has money in their personal account for inmate-initiated visits. Existing law also authorizes the medical provider to waive that fee and requires the fee be waived in life-threatening, emergency situations and for follow-up medical visits. As a result, all emergency, mental health and chronic care is provided to inmates free of charge.



There are no federal or state health care funds afforded those incarcerated, regardless of eligibility. San Mateo County pays for all emergency, mental health and chronic care provided to inmates free of charge. Indigent inmates also receive free medical care.


Assembly Bill 1487 would authorize a county sheriff to increase the fee charged to an inmate for an inmate-initiated medical visit from three to six dollars per visit. The revenue generated from the fee would be placed into the inmate welfare fund.


According to the sponsor, the California State Sheriff’s Association, this fee has never been increased since the fee was established twelve years ago.


The San Mateo County Sheriff supports this measure. The Legislative Committee has reviewed Assembly Bill 1487 and recommends support.



The increased fee would add approximately $12,500 to the county inmate welfare fund.



Resolution in support of Assembly Bill 47 (Ma), Income taxes: credit adoption costs



Adopt a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 47 (Ma), Income taxes credit for adoption costs.



Less than 11 percent of the adoptions completed annually in California are for foster children 12- years of age or older, despite the fact that older youth represent approximately 40 percent of the foster care caseload.


Assembly Bill 47 would increase the maximum tax credit allowed from $2,500 to $5,000 per minor child, if the child is over age 12 at the time of adoption, or if the child was living in a group home or residential treatment facility for a period of at least six months within the 18 months preceding adoption. For younger children, the credit would remain at the current $2,500. This credit would begin on or after January 1, 2009, and before January 1, 2015. On January 1, 2015, the adoption tax credit will revert to its current form (with a credit cap of $2,500 per minor child).



The intent of this measure is to create an additional incentive for prospective adoptive parents of older foster youth. This measure was introduced to complement the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351), which provides enhanced funding to states that successfully increase adoptions of older foster youth. There is evidence that when other adoption incentive measures have been enacted, the numbers of adoptions in California have increased.


The Board Legislative Committee has reviewed Assembly Bill 47 and recommends support.



The Franchise Tax Board estimates that this bill will reduce State General Fund revenues by $45,000 annually.



Resolution in support of Senate Bill 26 (Simitian), Home-generated pharmaceutical waste



Adopt a resolution in support of Senate Bill 26 (Simitian), Home-generated pharmaceutical waste.



Under existing law, Senate Bill 966 (Chapter 542, Statutes of 2007) requires the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) to identify and develop model programs for the safe disposal of household-generated pharmaceutical waste; and Senate Bill 1305 (Chapter 64, Statutes of 2006) prohibits a person from disposing of home-generated sharps waste in commercial and residential waste collection containers after September 1, 2008.


Senate Bill 26 would authorize pharmacies to accept the return of home-generated pharmaceutical waste and home-generated sharps. It would establish requirements for the management of the waste that parallels that for home-generated sharps waste and defines “home-generated pharmaceutical waste” as prescribed and over-the-counter drugs derived from a household. The measure would allow for grants provided by the Integrated Waste Management Fund to fund local government programs to help prevent the disposal of home-generated sharps and pharmaceutical waste at disposal sites.



After passage of Senate Bill 966, the State Board of Pharmacy indicated that because the Business and Professions Code does not specifically authorize pharmacies to accept prescription drugs from the public, pharmacies that operate drug take-back programs are in violation of the law. Representatives of the State Board of Pharmacy have shared their opinion that until the Business and Professions Code is updated to reflect the new Drug Waste Management and Disposal law under Senate Bill 966, pharmacies cannot directly accept unwanted and/or expired pharmaceuticals.


According to the bill’s sponsor, the Californians Against Waste (CAW), few safe and convenient ways for consumers to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs currently exist. A 2006 study by CAW reported that only 5 percent of pharmacies provided consistent messages to patients on the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals. Nearly all unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals enter either the solid waste system or the sewage system. Neither disposal method is environmentally sound. Pharmaceuticals flushed down the toilet pass through sewage treatment plants, which are generally not designed to screen for these chemicals. Pharmaceuticals discarded in landfills can seep into the surrounding groundwater.


San Mateo County’s own Pharmaceutical Disposal Program, created in 2006, has through the end of September 2008, collected over 9,190 pounds (or 4.6 tons) of volume diverted from solid-waste and wastewater streams. Waste is collected at 13 secured sites throughout the County where anyone can walk in and anonymously deposit their expired and/or unwanted medicines. In 2008, the County’s program received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award and in 2007 it received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties. San Mateo County’s program has served as a national model.


The Board Legislative Committee has reviewed Senate Bill 26 and recommends support.



Unknown, but significant environmental restoration savings.



Resolution in support of Transportation for America Campaign platform



Adopt a resolution in support of Transportation for America Campaign platform.



Transportation for America is a broad coalition of housing, environmental, public health, urban planning, transportation, equitable development, and other interest organizations. The organization’s platform is to align national, state, and local transportation policies thereby creating a national transportation program that will modernize infrastructure and build healthy communities where all people can live, work and play. Their six main priority areas are: establish accountability for responsible investment; invest to compete in the 21st century; invest for multiple payoffs in solving our energy, air quality, and climate challenges; reward and support smart local land use planning; invest for public health and safety; and find new ways to pay for what we need.


Partners benefit from this alliance through participation in earned and paid media that ties partner organizations’ work to a unified campaign effort, access to shared internet advocacy tools, campaign web materials, trainings, and organizer support, as well as possible financial support to hire state organizers to advocate for critical elements of the Transportation for America campaign platform, or support state transportation campaigns.


In May 2008, the Board conducted the Livable Communities for Successful Aging forum, which brought together planners, senior citizens, policy makers and others to discuss design principles for transit-oriented development for the County’s growing senior population.


The Health System’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division, in March of 2009, adopted a comprehensive prevention framework, recognizing that physical environments, including access to safe and environmentally friendly public transportation, impact health outcomes and quality of life for local communities. The framework highlights the importance of local governments’ collaboration in the development of physical environments that provide residents access to healthy options, and to clean, affordable modes of transportation. The linkages between the principles of the built environment and health are well established. These principles include the preservation of open space, as well as the promotion of walkable neighborhoods and varied transportation choices, resulting in lower transportation and infrastructure costs.


In alignment with the County’s Cool Counties Declaration, the Health System’s prevention framework and the Board’s own efforts to promote healthy communities and transit-oriented development, it is important to endorse the Transportation for America campaign as a means of keeping San Mateo County at the forefront of collaboration and to promote policies that advocate for alternative modes of transportation. In return, we will stand behind our promise of a cleaner, healthier San Mateo County for tomorrow.


The Legislative Committee has reviewed the Transportation for America campaign platform and recommends support.