Monthly Archives

December 2015

Happy New Year 2016 graphic with fireworks

Happy New Year!

From the City of San Mateo

As we say goodbye to 2015 we would love to wish all of our readers and subscribers a very Happy New Year! Best wishes for health, happiness, and success. May you conquer your New Year resolutions and make the best of 2016!

In light of celebrations commencing we would like to remind you to stay safe this New Year’s Eve. We have compiled some tips from the San Mateo Police Department to ensure your safety.

If you are hosting a party…

  • Serve non-alcoholic beverages as an option other than alcohol.
  • Make sure you have plenty of food for guests.
  • Stop serving alcohol several hours before the party ends.
  • Provide your guests a place to stay overnight if need be.

If you need a ride…

  • Plan ahead by naming a designated driver.Man drinking and giving car keys to a friend
  • Use public transportation, some services offer free rides and/or extended hours.
  • AAA is offering a safe ride program for members and non-members.

If you are celebrating outside…

  • Do not fire weapons into the air.
  • Keep an eye on your pets, fireworks and loud noises can be frightening to animals. Make sure they are wearing identification in case get lost.
  • Remember that fireworks are illegal in San Mateo according to the San Mateo Municipal Code.

Thank you for your support in reading and subscribing to the San Mateo City Insider. Your engagement is inspiring and much appreciated. We cannot wait to bring you fresh and exciting content in 2016! Happy New Year!

San Mateo's adopted unit

101st Airborne

The City of San Mateo’s Adopted Brothers and Sisters

San Mateo is full of rich history and engaging stories. Many residents may not know that San Mateo adopted and currently supports an army unit. San Mateo is a proud supporter of those who currently serve and have served previously in the armed forces. Our history and continuous support for our adopted unit of the 101st Airborne is an indication of this dedication.

Airborne logo with an Eagle headLinda Patterson, a resident of San Mateo, had a brother who was a member of the 1-327 Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. While Linda’s brother was overseas he would write home to Linda discouraged about his unit not receiving a lot of letters and wished there was something that could be done to boost morale.

Linda came to the City of San Mateo and proposed that the City adopt her brother’s unit. On March 4, 1968 San Mateo officially adopted A Company of 1- 327. To show love and support, letters, care packages, and more would be sent overseas to the members of the unit.

In 1972 Linda Patterson went to the Pentagon for permission to have the unit flown to Travis air force base and bussed to San Mateo, instead of back to their base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky for a welcome home parade. Linda succeeded in her request and the men of A Company were welcomed home with a parade in their honor during a time when many Veterans were not supported.

San Mateo has shown 47 years of continuous support for its adopted unit. When the 40th anniversary of the welcome home parade came around in 2012, San Mateo replicated that original welcome for those who serve over Memorial Day weekend. San Mateo continues to send care packages, banners, boxes of goods, letters, and more to the adopted unit.40th anniversary welcome home parade

San Mateo City Council has generously donated $10,101 in support towards a project in which a memorial will be constructed to honor those lost from the 327th infantry regiment during the Vietnam war. This memorial will be dedicated at the Don F. Pratt Museum in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

This story comes at a perfect time to share. On Saturday, February 6th College of San Mateo will host the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Game. Veterans will play against members of San Francisco’s NFL alumni and it’s bound to be a game you will not want to miss. The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) is currently undefeated. Come show your support for these Veterans and cheer them on in this exciting game!

Tickets for the game are $10 for adults and free for children. Tickets can be purchased online here or on game day at College Heights Stadium. There will be autographs, photo opportunities, and raffle prizes. For more information check out the College of San Mateo’s Event Calendar.

Honoring the memory of Sergeant Joseph Gregory Artavia (1949 – 1968), brother of Linda Patterson and member of the A Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.

Rendition of what the bike for the bike share program will look like
Community, Sustainability

San Mateo Pilots Bike Share Program

On November 16th the San Mateo City Council approved a plan for the City to pilot a bike share program beginning May of 2016 in a pursuit for sustainable transportation.

The City is funding the purchase of the bicycles and plans to offset the operation costs with user fees and local partner sponsorships. The program will be run by Social Bicycles, a bike share company, and Bikes Make Life Better, a local bicycle company that runs bike share programs throughout the bay area.

Man riding a bikeThe plan includes 50 bicycles and 10 to 12 bike stations to park the bikes throughout San Mateo, conveniently located near Caltrain stations, high density residential areas, and major employment centers. Riders will also be able to park the bikes at regular bike parking racks, including mid-reservation, making this system more accessible to riders than other programs that need to be locked at specific docking stations.

Bicycles can easily be reserved and paid for through the Social Bicycles website, app, or the bike’s keypad itself. Bikes will cost $15 a month to rent under the membership plan, which includes one hour per day of use. To use the bike for additional time or as an occasional user, riders will pay a $5 per hour pay-as-you-go rate.

By adopting the bike share program, San Mateo will join Portland and Santa Monica who already have the Social Bicycles program in place. Social Bicycles hopes to eventually launch a regional bike share system that will include use in nearby cities on the Peninsula and greater area.

The bike share program is another step forward in pursuing the City’s mission of having more sustainable transportation. This program that is revolutionary, flexible, and convenient for users is a key component to this vision.


Community, Community Events

Wounded Warrior Amputee vs. San Francisco’s NFL Alumni

College of San Mateo and the City of San Mateo are honored to host football season’s most memorable game

wwaft14While football fans across the nation descend upon the Bay Area to celebrate the most watched sporting event of the year, the San Mateo community is prepping for another event of equal excitement and significant importance.

On Saturday, February 6th from noon to 3:00 PM College of San Mateo will open College Heights Stadium to the undefeated Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) in a moving match against San Francisco’s NFL Alumni.

The WWAFT formed in February 2012 and is made up of men and women who lost a limb while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Its first game against the NFL Alumni was played prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. The WWAFT record vs. the NFL Alumni now stands at 13-0 and the WWAFT has defeated the NFL Alumni at the last four Super Bowls. This year’s game in San Mateo will be their fifth appearance during activities leading up to the Super Bowl.

“College of San Mateo is honored to host this very special tribute to our veterans who have given so much of themselves to protect our country and our freedom. The Super Bowl is one of the most celebrated events of the year, and the eyes of the nation and the world will be on the Bay Area. Our goal is to make this game the second most visible event of the week – an honor our veterans deserve,” says Andreas Wolf, College of San Mateo Dean Kinesiology, Athletics, and Dance/Athletic Director. “What is even more special is the opportunity for the community to be active participants in this event, rather than simply passive observers. I would expect nothing less from our community than to come out en masse to pay their respect to these heroes.”

San Mateo, located on the 50-yard line of the San Francisco Peninsula, is mid-way between San Francisco and Sunday’s game. It’s an ideal location for visitors as well as those living in the Bay Area to watch a live game, participate in Super Bowl activities, and experience the San Mateo community.

wwaft20“Hosting this tribute at the College of San Mateo is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! CSM is a terrific school and all of us with the WWAFT look forward to showing the nation what San Mateo already knows,” says Chris Visser, founder, and CEO of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team. “We hope all of San Mateo will join us for this game at CSM on February 6th. It will be a lot of fun, so let’s make some history on February 6th at the College of San Mateo! ”

While San Mateo’s location makes the Wounded Warrior Amputee game accessible to football enthusiast, a little-known fact about the San Mateo community makes its location significantly appropriate. San Mateo has a history of supporting its Veterans and has prioritized these relationships since the Vietnam era. In 1968, during the Vietnam War, San Mateo adopted 1/327 Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. The community embraced this relationship and built morale with letters of support and gratitude from home. When the war ended, San Mateo was the only city in the United States to welcome troops home with a parade. This relationship continues today with letter drives and care packages being sent to troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The San Mateo community is proud to host the Wounded Warrior Amputee game. It makes a tremendous contribution to the Super Bowl events and is a striking contrast to Sunday’s game. One built on months of rivalry and competition, and the other rooted in the perseverance and bravery needed to face life’s most challenging circumstances. Both games will inspire viewers, but as Veterans from around the nation walk onto the field in San Mateo, there will be a profound difference when the two teams face-off.

wwaft2“Saturday, February 6th will be a poignant moment in San Mateo,” says Joe Goethals, San Mateo Mayor. “The Wounded Warrior game showcases the very best of our community. We are honored to host this game; show our support and gratitude to the brave men and women on the field, and welcome guests from around the world to our city.”

All proceeds from the game benefit the WWAFT and Disabled Veteran’s Initiatives in the Bay Area. Tickets are $10 for adults and admission is free for children and non-profits. They are available online at or on game day at College Heights Stadium. Free autographs and photo opportunities are available as well as a raffle prizes including 49ers, Raiders, and NFL autographed jerseys, helmets, and footballs. For more information, please visit CSM’s event calendar.

Sculpture at San Mateo Central Park
Community, Community Events, Downtown

Local Love San Mateo Photo Contest

Show your love for San Mateo! Bay Meadows is hosting a San Mateo photo contest for you to show off what you love about this city. San Mateo is full of awesome restaurants, events, public spaces, and more. Capture your favorite in a picture! Snap photos of your friends, the boba tea you grabbed while downtown, the view from your home or office, anything that speaks to you in San Mateo.

You will have the chance to win fabulous prizes!Person taking a photo with a camera

  • One winner, selected by Bay Meadows, will receive a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card.
  • One Grand Prize winner, chosen by you (the public) will receive $500.
  • Contestants could be featured in a live pop-up photo exhibit!

When the contest is over and photos have been compiled there will be a live pop-up art exhibit at the February First Friday event (February, 5th) in Downtown San Mateo that will also tie into the Love on the Run event which is focused on giving back to the local community. This is when you (the public) will tally your votes and decide who the grand prize winner will be!

The contest ends at the end of the month so be sure to get those photos in using one of these fun and simple methods. Contestants can enter up to 10 of their spectacular photos a month! Click here for official rules.

We can’t wait to see what you love about San Mateo! Get snapping and submit your photos!

Volunteers at the 25th Avenue cleanup event
25th Avenue, Community, Community Events

25th Avenue Holiday Spruce Up

Visa Community Service Event

Dec 3rd, 2015

26 Visa Volunteers = 78 hours

26 Bags/Compost & Garbage RemovedVolunteers cleaning at San Mateo 25th Avenue cleanup event

As part of the 25th Avenue Improvement Initiative 2015 and with the forecasted heavy El Niño rains coming soon, the 25th Avenue Holiday Spruce Up event again played a significant effort in making sure that fallen leaves and trash will not block the sewers on and around 25th avenue.

Sweeping up leaves and trash, cleaning sidewalk garbage cans, weeding and replanting, painting silverVolunteers gardening at the San Mateo 25th Avenue cleanup event sign polls, removing graffiti and helping merchants decorate for the Holidays. Visa volunteers enjoyed their team building service day merchants were most appreciative of the spruce up efforts and our City Support Staff coordinated on another very productive community service event. Great teamwork by all involved! Check out the photo video of this event here.


"A Wish for Wings" logo of a penguin
Community, Community Events, Parks and Recreation

Holiday Festival of Dance

San Mateo’s original holiday tradition!

Performing in the Holiday Festival of Dance is a time honored tradition in San Mateo. Parents, who are now grand-parents, watched their kids perform, who are now grown and have kids of their own to watch in this long standing community production.

The Holiday Festival of Dance, now in its 43rd year, is a celebration of theatre, dance, and community. It is sponsored by the San Mateo Parks & Recreation Department and the San Mateo Dance Association, and is the culmination of those participating in the City’s dance program.

Child dancers in the Holiday Festival of DanceThis year’s production “A Wish for Wings” will enchant viewers of all ages. It brings together favorite characters including the magical snow queen, frolicking penguins, dancing reindeer, and the arrival of everyone’s favorite elf.  More than 500 dancers, of all ages, styles and caliber, will take to the stage to amaze and entertain.

This holiday celebration takes place in the San Mateo High School gymnasium where the room is turned into a magical holiday wonderland.

The doors open at 4:30pm and the show begins at 5:00pm. Shows run approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes in length.  Tickets are on sale now at the Beresford Recreation Center, be sure to get yours before the shows sell out! Tickets are $12 in advance and $13 at the door. Admission for children under 12 years of age is free.

Volunteers are welcome to help in organizing this exciting holiday extravaganza. For more information about volunteer opportunities and ways you can help, please call 650-522-7444 or 650-522-7448.

Bring your family and friends to this annual tradition and enjoy an enchanting evening of dance and magic.

City Council

Welcome 2016 San Mateo City Council

Monday, December 7th was the last meeting of the 2015 San Mateo City Council, and it was a bittersweet evening beginning with a moving tribute to Councilmember and former Mayor, Jack Matthews.

Fond Farewell to Councilmember, Jack Matthews

Councilmember Matthews is a long-standing public figure and business owner in San Mateo. He first joined the city’s Planning Commission in 1995 and served for two terms before being elected to the City Council in 2003. After three terms on the City Council, Matthews has left a lasting impression on San Mateo and is “keeping the faith” to see more of his vision realized.

The development of affordable housing is a significant part of Matthews’ legacy to San Mateo and the Bay Area. A constant supporter and advocate for affordable housing – he was at the helm of projects such as the Vendome Hotel, 2000 Delaware, and Penn Station. Matthews also served on the board of HEART where his passion for affordable housing could more broadly serve the Bay Area.

He also influenced the guiding policies of the Rail Corridor Plan, Bay Meadows, and Downtown San Mateo; worked to ensure the completion of the Main Library, the Police Station, and the renovation of several fire stations; and encouraged the installation of public art throughout the community.

Matthews’ fingerprints are on everything in San Mateo, and it is now a more beautiful, livable community; he is leaving San Mateo a better place than when he started.

Councilmember and 2015 Mayor, Maureen Freschet begins second four-year term

Mayor Freschet was sworn in for her next four-year term on the City Council and was recognized for her contributions as Mayor.  These include the passing of Measure S, the adoption of the Climate Action Plan, and implementation of several sustainability programs. She held a public forum to address housing, sat on the Oversight Board, which successfully retained San Mateo’s redevelopment properties, and initiated a living memorial at Central Park to recognize San Mateo’s fallen veterans.

Freschet was seemingly everywhere at all once. She stated, “being Mayor was one of the most rewarding, wonderful, and demanding experiences.” She is proud of her accomplishments and looks forward to serving the San Mateo community throughout her second term.

Councilmembers Bonilla and Papan sworn into City  Council

Councilmember Bonilla was sworn in for the remainder of his two-year term. Although he ran unopposed, he feels supported by the community and appreciates the level of engagement demonstrated by our residents.

Councilmember Papan was also sworn in for her first term on the City Council. She shared her passion for improving San Mateo’s infrastructure and is excited to work with those we serve to reach the decisions that will preserve San Mateo’s status as a leading community.

Councilmember, Joe Goethals appointed 2016 Mayor

Finally, Councilmember Goethals was appointed as San Mateo’s Mayor. His enthusiasm is contagious, and it will be an exciting year with Goethals at the helm. He is excited to embark upon this journey with the community and believes that San Mateo is at the forefront of a new era.

“Cities are where things get done,” he stated. “We are entering a time where San Mateo is thriving and can accomplish the things that matter.”

Infrastructure, sustainability and the preservation of our community’s health and safety are areas of passion. He sees a great deal of sustainable innovation coming our way – specifically in the use of recycled water produced at the Waste Water Treatment Plant and in the use of renewable energy.

The 2016 San Mateo City Council includes Mayor Goethals, Deputy Mayor, Lim and Councilmembers Bonilla, Freschet, and Papan. The enthusiasm and passion for San Mateo will continue to make our community a premier city along the Peninsula.

Carolers at the San Mateo on Ice opening event
Community, Community Events

San Mateo Events Update

December 9th – 14th

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Kids are getting excited about Santa’s arrival and there are still plenty of things to check off your holiday to-do list. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy any of these festive events taking place throughout San Mateo. They will surely put you in the holiday spirit!

Holiday in Whoville

December 12th 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Children of all ages and families are welcome to join Masterworks Chorale in festive Christmas sing-along. Sing the songs of Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman with the Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club and enjoy a reading of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The holiday songs, the story, and the Christmas cookie buffet are sure to put you in the Christmas spirit!

Holiday Festival of Dance

December 12th & 13th 5:30pm "A Wish for Wings" logo of a penguin

Don’t miss the 43rd anniversary of the Holiday Festival of Dance co-sponsored by the San Mateo Parks & Recreation Department and the San Mateo Dance Association. This year’s production, “A Wish for Wings” will warm hearts both young and old. This magical performance features dancers in the City’s Youth and Adult Dance Programs, as well as city employees. The Holiday Festival of Dance is a community favorite and is a traditional holiday celebration in San Mateo.

Celebrate the Season with Santa Pancake Breakfast

December 13th 9:00am – 11:00am

The San Mateo Firefighters Toys for Tots program is hosting its annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa at Fire Station 2 on Ellsworth Avenue in Downtown San Mateo. Admission is $10 or an unwrapped toy. Let’s come together as a community to help those in need.

December Momdays – Santa is Coming to Bay Meadows

Child on Santa's lapDecember 14th 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Being a mom is no easy job. Bay Meadows hosts a different Momdays  event every week for those moms who need some fun and relaxation. This week bring your children and join the community at Paddock Park to see Santa!

We hope you have another splendid week in San Mateo! Check out our event calendar for more happenings this week and subscribe to the San Mateo City Insider blog to stay informed about news and events happening in San Mateo. You’ll never miss out on the buzz!City of San Mateo Seal

PLEASE NOTE: We strive to ensure all events listed here are accurate and up-to-date. However, event dates, times, locations, and other details are subject to change without prior notice. Therefore, we recommend you contact the specific event organizer to confirm details. Thank you for visiting!

Children with San Mateo firefighters and donted toys

Give to those in need this holiday season

Helping others during the holidays is a wonderful way to give thanks and give back to our community. San Mateo is home to many programs that give to those in need. This holiday season, participate in one of these organizations to spread some holiday cheer and give to those less fortunate.

One Warm CCoatDriveoat

Reaching for a warm winter coat is something many of us may take for granted as temperatures drop. However, there are many that go without. Samaritan House has partnered with One Warm Coat and is accepting donations of new or gently used coats at Hillsdale Shopping Center through December 16th. Bring a coat or other household items such as towels and toiletries to Concierge Services.

The Children’s Fund Holiday Drive

“The ChTreeildren’s Fund is dedicated to helping low-income and foster children maintain and improve their quality of life.”

Make a child’s wish come true! This year the Children’s Fund of San Mateo County is sponsoring its annual Holiday Gift program, which reaches nearly 3,500 children. Children create a wish list and community volunteers graciously fill these wishes by donating a new gift from the child’s list. In many cases, these gifts are the only ones that these children receive and are therefore very special to them.

Businesses can participate by hosting a barrel drive or individuals can participate by bringing a gift to one of the many drop-off locations on the peninsula. Individuals can also volunteer at the “Holiday Central” to pack gift bags for children.

Toys for Tots @ Hillsdale

ToysforTotsThe San Mateo Firefighters’ Association is sponsoring its annual Toys for Tots toy drive at Hillsdale Shopping Center. Having hosted the toy drive for 36 years, the Toys for Tots program is near and dear to the hearts of our local firefighters and supports children in need throughout San Mateo County. Simply drop off a new toy at Hillsdale Shopping Center or bring it to your nearest fire station. You can even host a toy drive at your school or office to donate a barrel of toys!

These annual giving opportunities support many throughout our community while providing others a chance to give back. For details about these programs or to support these organizations in other ways, please contact them directly.
If you know of another organization that will be hosting giving or volunteer activity such as these, please leave a comment and share with the rest of our community so others can learn more and participate. Happy Holidays!