Good morning to you all. I’d like to acknowledge my colleagues Former Mayor Ray Buenaventura(Vice Mayor), Former Mayor(Councilmember) Glenn Sylvester and our (Former Mayor) County Supervisor of San Mateo County David Canepa It is my honor to be here today and I am truly humbled address each and everyone present or via online. I extend a special welcome to Mayor Rae Gonzalez and our friends from the Town of Colma.
These are definitely interesting times for our City and our nation. Last weekend, cities all over the country were filled with communities marching in the streets both and globally voicing their concerns for equality.
While the nation appears to be mired in this perpetual state of chaos fed by a 24-hour news cycle, things in Daly City are progressing. Our government here did not shut down. I am here to say emphatically, the state of our city is strong. The will and determination of our residents is strong. And the future of our community is strong.
I became Mayor on December 11, 2017 – filled with hope and optimism for the community I was raised in.
Houses in Daly City were routinely selling and we are poised to start 2018- with prosperity we never imagined. The total general tax revenue Daly City stands to receive is $33.4 M, the second highest in the county.
Daly City closed the year the way it started – with development booming throughout the community. Serramonte Center ushered in an expansion of an already thriving retail center. Nordstrom Rack opened in September and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. TJ Maxx, Buy Buy Baby, Ross Dress for Less, and Party City all opened in time for the holidays and shopping rush .The shopping center of my youth has been transformed into a bustling regional destination for people throughout the Bay Area. Just this week Peet’s Coffee, Xfinity (Comcast) is opening near Nordstrom Rack. And people around town are raving about California Fish Grill.
Historically, Malvina Reynolds had a hit with her song, “Little Boxes” – and the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen famously mocked Daly City as “Modesto by the Sea”.
But today Daly City is a place with diverse families. – Daly City has become a thriving community where people want to live, work, and play. It’s truly an exciting time to be Mayor.
There are so many remarkable things to say about Daly City-I’m so excited.
Daly City continues to be one of the safest cities with a population of 100,000 or more in the United States. I’m proud of our reputation as a safe place to raise a family.
The Daly City Police Department is under new leadership today, with our new Chief of Police, Patrick Hensley, who has full support of the City Council. Chief Hensley is a Daly City product. He grew up here, he went to the schools here, and he knows the community as well as anybody. He’s the right person to lead our police department and I am proud of his commitment and dedication to our community members. Even though I’m a highschool Jefferson graduate, I’m comfortable saying that that rival Westmoor High School graduate Chief Hensley has a great future as our Police Chief.
This past year, several officers in our police department were honored for the compassion they have shown victims of domestic violence. Specifically, I would like to mention Captain John Gamez, Sergeant Ron Harrison, and Officer Raul Andrade. They each received awards for their professionalism, leadership, and most of all, empathy and compassion. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a trusted, professional, and sensitive police force serving our community. In the wake of the #metoo movement, I am comforted knowing that victims can come forward, out of the shadows, to seek protection and justice. And for that, I am grateful to the DC Police Department.
It was very unfortunate to see the horrifying wildfires in Northern and Southern California. Our Daly City firefighters courageously took the call of duty to help save lives during this tragic time. I want to commend all of the first responders-here in the back for their commitment and bravery in times of these disasters and protecting us here in our neighborhoods.
Daly City takes care of its residents. We have a skilled workforce that strives to provide a great service to all members of our community. There is a famous quote from Maya Angelou, “IN DIVERSITY, THERE IS BEAUTY AND THERE IS STRENGTH” this rings true in Daly City. We are a City of immigrants. Did you know that 53% of the people who live in Daly City are foreign born? That’s roughly 55,000 residents from all corners of the globe.
That’s one of the compelling reasons our City Council, at my urging, adopted a resolution last year to affirm our commitment to support and respect the rights of community members irrespective of ethnic or national origin, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, economic or immigration status. Now more than ever, the residents of Daly City need to know that we welcome everyone and we wish to cherish our cultural and ethnic diversity. Our diversity is our greatest asset. To commemorate this, Daly City will host it’s first Multi-cultural street fair in 2018. Yes!
Living in the Bay Area – including Daly City – is becoming more expensive every day. The cost of housing has pushed many hardworking families further and further away from the region – often times resulting in long, miserable commutes from distant locations such as Lodi, Merced, Tracy, and Manteca.
While Daly City cannot possibly provide housing for everyone seeking a place to live, we have a proven track record of providing more affordable housing units than any other city in San Mateo County. In just the last five years, we have added 132 affordable housing units. 84 of those are affordable rental units, while 48 provided home ownership opportunities for low and extremely-low income families. Last year we welcomed new residents to 52 very affordable units at Sweeney Lane Apartments – a joint effort between the City of Daly City and Mid-Pen Housing. When it comes to affordable housing, Daly City is a regional leader – and we have more projects in the works. There are currently 217 more affordable units under construction – 206 apartments at Brunswick Senior Housing, 5 houses in the Garden Villa development, and 6 townhomes/condos at Wellington Heights. Housing is Health and Daly City understands how important it is to support the creation of new affordable housing.
Also, Habitat for Humanity is a nationally recognized advocate for affordable home-ownership, and is a long-time partner of the City of Daly City. Habitat for Humanity has constructed 49 units of owner-occupied housing in Daly City to date, and has plans for 6 to 8 more homes in the near future. Those of you are familiar with the old fire station on Geneva Avenue know that that parcel has been vacant for more than 20 years. Habitat for Humanity recently acquired the property and is developing plans to build homes there in the near future.
On December 11,2017, at my first council meeting as Mayor, the council voted to re-join HEART(Housing Endowment and Regional Trust) program which began in Daly City and provides loans to multifamily loans and long-term loans to affordable rental housing. Countless times, I’ve heard community members wanting the opportunity to own. HEART provides first-time homebuyers, down payment assistant and essentially the stability of owning their own home here.
Most very recently, MidPen will be developing the Midway/Bayshore site with more affordable units, something we all know is needed in Daly City.
2018 promises to be an exciting year in the commercial development. The City Council has reviewed proposals for several properties that were once assets of the now defunct Daly City Redevelopment Agency. We anticipate approving a proposed new hotel near the intersection of Junipero Serra and John Daly Boulevard – the northern most parcel of DC Station. And when the hotel is completed, it will represent another milestone that keeps Daly City moving forward. Look for a ballot measure this up coming November that will increase the transient occupancy tax – or T.O.T. – is charged to travelers that stay in our local hotels or lodging to generate more revenue to fund vital government services.
We also look forward to new commercial development on the parcel on the southernmost end of DC Station – along the east side of Junipero Serra just south of Westlake Avenue. We also anticipate an expansion of Duggan’s Serra Mortuary in the near future.
The other exciting development we look forward to is the expansion of 88 Hillside Apartments. If you drive north on Mission Street from Daly City to San Francisco, you probably undoubtedly passed the triangular plot of land where Hillside Blvd. meets Mission Street. The owners of 88 Hillside have plans to extend the apartments to the corner of that parcel and City of Daly hopes to see below market units onsite. Fun fact-This parcel is where John Daly’s dairy farm stood a hundred years ago.
I am encouraged by the flurry of commercial development happening in Daly City, but I am especially pleased to say that we will be looking at making improvements at our parks in the upcoming years. The first step in the process will be a comprehensive Parks Master Plan – an undertaking that will rely on extensive community participation. At our meeting scheduled for February 12, my colleagues and I will review a proposed contract with a consulting group to help facilitate the Parks Master Plan process. If you value our parks, if you have suggestions for how we can make them even better, please engage in the community dialogue that will be taking place over the next six months. Your voice is important in this process – and you will be heard.
The Parks Master Plan will be directed by our Public Works Department, the city department that maintains all of our public spaces – parks, community centers, fire stations, City Hall, and our streets and sidewalks.
Also,we have been in the process of gearing up for what will one day be Daly City’s largest Public Works project in history – a massive overhaul to our storm water drainage system. When completed, the Project will mitigate storm-related flooding in what is known as the Vista Grande Drainage Basin in parts of Daly City and in unincorporated Broadmoor Village. In a nutshell, parts of our City, as well as Broadmoor, are prone to flooding when we have significant rainfall in a short periods of time. The existing storm water collection system includes a tunnel to the Pacific Ocean that is more than 100 years old and is in defnitely need of replacement. The Project includes a larger capacity tunnel to alleviate the potential of flooding. We are seeking additional sources of funding to make this project a reality. We hope in the next few months we are able to share good news about the project.
You may have noticed major improvements on John Daly Boulevard last year – from the Top of the Hill all the way down to the thoroughfare. This was transformed into a highly walkable, very attractive public space. How many of you have seen it? Yes-it’s beautiful. The plants along both sides of John Daly Boulevard and in the median are actually drought tolerant. If you ever drive along John Daly, take a closer look – the entire area looks great.The pedestrian path between the Top of the Hill and the BART Station has never looked so good. And if you ever look to the westside of BART, you can beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean-not on a foggy day.
So,speaking of golf, last month the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) announced the 2018 tour schedule – including a stop right here in Daly City, from April 26th to the 29th. The top women golfers from around the world will compete at Lake Merced Golf in Daly City.Many of you remember the Swingin’ Skirts event that took place at Lake Merced for several years. We hope this is the start of another recurring stop in Daly City on the LPGA tour.
Last year, The Filipino Channel(TFC) returned to Daly City and continues to be an integral partner in the community.
Earlier I mentioned how Daly City takes care of its residents. But I also want to highlight our wonderful volunteers who often work behind the scenes. The Doelger Senior Center is an outstanding example of people helping people.
The center thrives in part because of the many active senior volunteers. They help if the office, function as hospitality ambassadors, lead exercise classes, maintain a small library, and even assist in meal preparation. Last year, volunteers teamed up to serve 38,203 meals to seniors at the Doelger Center and Lincoln Park. In this case, volunteers are literally serving the community – in the form of nutritious meals. I thank our senior community for staying active and helping each other with acts of kindness and compassionate caring. An exemplary person who we lost recently Eleanore Charleston was volunteering for 30 years at the Doelger at 101 years of age- so in her honor dedicating the senior center library to her.
We take care of our seniors and youth in Daly City. Our Department of Library and Recreation Services does an exceptional job of providing quality programs for our youth. If you walk into any gym in Daly City and I did a couple of weeks ago, you’ll likely encounter an exciting youth basketball game. Right now there are more than 1,000 kids playing for a hundred different teams in the league. And each team has a volunteer coach or two – making up a volunteer core of about 150 individuals who are doing their part to help instill the values of good sportsmanship in our youth.
In October our Make a Difference Day had Ninety-two volunteers participate in seven hands on projects, including park and neighborhood clean-ups, planting and tending to the Project Green Space gardens at the Top of the Hill. I salute all of our volunteers and look forward to celebrating the City’s 20th anniversary to Make a Difference Day this coming October.
Our libraries continue to serve as ever changing centers of learning and research. Daly City residents have a thirst of knowledge and have checked out 400,368 items from our libraries. And in an era when you can Google just about anything, nearly 4,000 new patrons were issued library cards – proving that Daly City residents value their access to library and learning.
While I am confident that our State of the City is strong, I am fully aware that our economy is cyclical. And while we are experiencing a slight increase in property tax, we are still recovering from the recession that sent more than 1,700 Daly City homes into foreclosure.
But I am hopeful as mentioned that we will have a strong economy moving forward.
As I conclude today, I want to say thank you to each and every person here.
I am most definitely hopeful that we all of the work together, as we support large businesses and small, as we continue to volunteer, be active in this community we call home Daly City, that things are going to be better.
I want to thankGeorgette Sarles and the Daly City/Colma Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event each year. I also want to acknowledge two members of our Executive Management Team who will be retiring in 2018 – Director John Fuller and our City Manager Patricia Martel. One of the Council’s priorities will be to find a new City Manager – and this is a daunting but most important task for us all. I feel confident with my collegues that we will find the best fit for Daly City.
Thank you all for attending today from the residents, city employees, our representatives from the legislature, small businesses and large, community members it is truly my pleasure to share all of the amazing things taking place in Daly City.
The state of our city is strong. The will and determination of our residents is strong. And the future of our community DALY CITY is strong.