Supervisor Wilma Chan's Winter 2014 Newsletter


Supervisor Wilma Chan's District Newsetter

                                                                                                        Winter 2014

In this issue:

Declaring a New War on Poverty

Alameda Community Garden Project Day of Service

San Lorenzo Library Expansion Project Groundbreaking Ceremony

Alameda County's First Healthy Nail Salon Program

Building a Community Garden at Wood Middle School

Holiday Cheer at Centro Infantil de la Raza Childcare Center

Fighting Against Senior Fraud

Newest member of Alameda Health System Board of Trustees

$2,000 for East Bay Asian Youth Center

New Community Park in San Lorenzo

Upcoming Events

Community Resources

In the News...



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Oakland Office
1221 Oak Street, Suite 536
Oakland, CA 94612 (map)
Phone: 510.272.6693
Fax: 510.268.8004


District Office
15903 Hesperian Boulevard
San Lorenzo, CA 94580 (map)
Phone: 510.278.0367
Fax: 510.278.0467


Housing Information and Critical Health & Human Services


Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to update you on the work I have been doing to make Alameda County an even better place to call home.

In this edition you can read about my work on Alameda County's New War on Poverty,  the upcoming groundbreaking of the San Lorenzo Library Expansion Project, and the Alameda Community Garden Day of Service.

You can also learn about Alameda County's First Healthy Nail Salon Program, my annual Holiday Toy Drive and much more.

It is an honor to serve you.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns that you may have regarding the district or Alameda County.



Wilma Chan
Supervisor, Third District 


             Declaring a New War on Poverty 

                         in Alameda County


On January 7, the Board of Supervisors joined me in passing a resolution declaring a New War on Poverty in Alameda County. I was later joined by community leaders and advocates on January 8 for the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty at a press conference hosted by De Colores Head Start in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. Together we addressed the urgent need for poverty fighting tactics based on lessons learned from the past 50 years and how we can now build upon these programs and strategies with new technologies, new ideas, and new digital approaches.

The press conference also launched the Human Impact Budget website, a vital tool for informing and connecting those committed to ending poverty in Alameda County. The Human Impact Budget project aims to put a human face on the impact of budget cuts by sharing personal stories of people that have been directly impacted by state cuts to safety net services. In addition, the website provides facts regarding these trends, and empowers people to take action. Click here or visit to learn more about the Human Impact Budget and experience the stories of Alameda County residents who have been affected by state budget cuts and persisting local poverty trends.   

Below is my editorial on Alameda County’s New War on Poverty:

In 1964, as the U.S. poverty rate grew to 16%, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a nationwide priority to address the issue of the growing poor in America. In his State of the Union address, he launched a War on Poverty and pledged to build “a nation free from want” and proclaimed that “we shall not rest until the war is won.” 

The nation rallied behind his call with programs such as the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, expanded Food Stamps and the Higher Education Act.

Today, 50 years later, persistent poverty again plagues our nation.  While the nation has been slowly recovering from the recent five-year Great Recession, many have not found a way out.

Increase in Poverty

The U.S. Census Bureau, using a new calculation that takes into account factors such as the cost of living, estimates that today 16% of the nation lives in poverty – the highest percentage of Americans in poverty since 1965. By that same calculation, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.8%.

In Alameda County, there were 197,283 residents living in poverty in 2011 – an increase of 40,000 individuals in just two years. During that same time period, the number of children in Oakland who were living in poverty grew from 18% to 29%.

Even more staggering, there are 15 neighborhoods in Alameda County with child poverty rates above 50% and another 42 neighborhoods where the child poverty rate exceeds 30%. In addition, there are 50 neighborhoods in Alameda County with overall poverty rates – including both adults and children – that exceed 25%. This is at a time when income inequality is at a historic high.

It is clearly time that we declare a New War on Poverty and launch a campaign that examines both the legacy of the past 50 years and opportunities for moving forward into the future. Our pledge will reflect a cross-generational commitment – from Baby Boomers to Millenials – and an urgency to protect democracy through the eradication of poverty.

Lessons Learned

During the past 50 years, we have learned many valuable lessons and waged countless partisan battles. Some anti-poverty programs proved to be very successful. Others were not. But one undeniable fact remains: far too many Americans live in poverty 50 years later. And the challenge to lift families out of poverty has become even more difficult with the staggering rise of income inequality during the past three decades.

The New War on Poverty in Alameda County will address critical elements that lead to economic security including nutrition, education, employment, housing, transportation and child care. To ensure that we make a significant impact, we will focus our initial efforts on jobs, early childhood education and food security.

The campaign will rely on proven strategies that combine the best elements of self-reliance, community engagement and government support. We also will deploy the latest technology and call upon the entire community to become involved in helping individuals and families lift themselves out of poverty.

For example, the Human Impact Budget, an innovative process adopted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2012, utilizes digital media to both educate and mobilize communities around the local impact of multi-year budget cuts on our most vulnerable populations. Residents can access the latest county-level data, share their personal impact stories as well as connect with policy makers and advocates with only a few clicks of the mouse.

Our multi-pronged approach – self-reliance, community engagement, government support, and technology solutions – combines the best strategies that have been put forth by liberals, moderates and conservatives. This New War on Poverty should and must be a bi-partisan effort.

Role of Government

We want to be clear that there is a critical role for government in providing the resources for lifting millions of Americans out of poverty. Many of the larger programs from the War on Poverty – such as the Civil Rights Act, Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, and Food Stamps– helped millions move from poverty to the middle class.

At the same time, we know that many families did not escape persistent poverty, and they would have benefited from strategies that promoted individual responsibility, self-sufficiency and community-based support systems.

No political party holds the key to eradicating poverty. We must work together. We must put aside our differences and find common ground. Millions of families are depending upon us, and we cannot afford to wait another 50 years to deliver on the bold and noble promise made by President Johnson.


                  Alameda Community Garden 

                               Day of Service


One in six Alameda County residents depends on the support of their food bank. In the City of Alameda, over 4,000 residents currently receive food stamps also known as CalFresh. Over the past few months, I have partnered with the City of Alameda Recreation and Park Department on a Community Garden Project with the goal of improving food security for local residents by growing fresh produce for Alameda Food Bank recipients.

The community garden will be a plot-based garden and include educational opportunities and most importantly, increased access to nutritious food for local residents in need. The vision of the community garden is also to provide gardening information and education through demonstrations and teaching gardens along with more growing spaces for Alameda residents. This effort is supported by the Alameda Food Bank, Alameda Backyard Growers and Project Leaf.  The community garden site is located at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Constitution Way directly behind the Alameda Food Bank and is part of the 22-acre Jean Open Space Park.

On Saturday, January 18, as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and in partnership with the Alameda Recreation and Park Department, community members helped clean up the future site of the Alameda Community Garden. Over 315 volunteers attended and built planter boxes and compost bins, painted several murals and created art that will be displayed throughout the garden, including painting over blighted walls and wooden art displays designed by children and youth volunteers. Alameda Backyard Growers also provided educational workshops about various gardening topics. Click here to see photos from the day of service.

           San Lorenzo Library Expansion Project

                    Groundbreaking Ceremony


I am pleased to announce that construction is set to begin this February- only a couple of weeks away! Please join me on Wednesday, February 19 at 11:00 AM to celebrate the start of the construction of the San Lorenzo Library Expansion Project. You are invited to a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the next step of this exciting community project. All members of the community are invited to be part of this celebration. I would like to thank everyone that was involved in the planning process of the San Lorenzo Library Expansion Project. 

The expansion project will nearly double the size of the library to 19,500 square feet.  Construction is expected to last up to 15 months and be complete in the spring of 2015. During construction, the library will be fenced off and the adjacent lot will be protected from any construction debris. Minimal impact to the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association parking lot can also be expected.

The temporary library will operate out of the building adjacent to the Lorenzo Theater, located at 16032 Hesperian Boulevard. The library is currently moving into the temporary site and will open to the public on Wednesday, February 5. If you have any questions or concerns during the construction period, please do not hesitate to contact my district office at (510) 278-0367.


               Alameda County’s First Healthy 

                          Nail Salon Program


Every day, nail salon owners and workers handle solvents, glues, polishes and other beauty care products containing a number of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, allergies, and respiratory, neurological, developmental and reproductive harm. In Alameda County, there are more than 350 business establishments and approximately 1,000 nail technicians that are exposed daily to these harmful chemicals. Numerous local consumers are also exposed to hazardous chemicals and poor air quality inside nail salons that can cause harmful effects and health risks.

In order to address this health concern, I partnered with the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health and the California Healthy Nail Salon to develop and implement Alameda County’s first Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program, which rewards nail salons that make safer choices for their employees, customers, and the environment.

On December 18, I held a celebration in honor of Alameda County’s First Healthy Nail Salon Day.  I recognized the first seven nail salons in Alameda County to use healthy nail practices and presented a proclamation to Leann’s Nails of Alameda as the first ever recognized Alameda County Healthy Nail Salon. As part of this celebration, all seven nail salons offered free manicures and pedicures to their first five customers.

Among other requirements, participating salons use only nail polishes without chemicals that are linked to reproductive and developmental harm or cancer. Nail Salons that join in the voluntary program receive formal recognition on the Alameda County Environmental Health website as well as receive assistance with improving their businesses’ air quality and ventilation. 

As a County leader, I will continue to support programs that aim to create a healthy and safe environment for all workers and residents in Alameda County. For more information about the CA Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and the nail salon community, visit: To find out where you can find a recognized Healthy Nail Salon in Alameda County, click here.  


               Building a Community Garden at 

                      Wood Middle School


I have organized many Adopt-A-School projects at public schools throughout my district. This past October, I organized a volunteer day at Wood Middle School in Alameda, where over 120 community members helped enhance the school grounds. Parents, students, and community members transformed a sandpit into a beautiful garden and built 12 planter boxes that will be used to teach students about earth science and gardening. Other projects included an oceanography mural, landscaping work throughout the school and art that will be displayed around the garden site. Click here to see photos on my Facebook page.

During the volunteer day, I also presented a commendation signed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to James Fritz, owner of Future Building and Design. James has volunteered his time and expertise to help build community gardens at Henry Haight Elementary School (Alameda), Allendale Elementary School (Oakland) and most recently at Wood Middle School as part of my Adopt-A-School initiative.

I would like to thank the members of SEIU-ULTCW, Wood Middle School staff, students, parents and all of the volunteers that helped make the day a success. I would also like to thank our community donors whose contributions made this day possible. If you are interested in volunteering on future Adopt-A-School projects, please email us at


      Holiday Cheer at Centro Infantil de la Raza

                            Childcare Center 


Many families facing financial uncertainty often experience additional stress during the holiday season. For example, Oakland’s child poverty rate increased from 18% in 2009 to 29% in 2011 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is why every year I partner with a childcare center to provide holiday gifts for low-income children in my district. Last month, I held my 3rd annual Holiday Toy Distribution, where we collected over 100 toys, books and educational materials for the children of Centro Infantil de la Raza Childcare Center in Oakland.

Centro Infantil de la Raza is a Childcare Center that prepares children from low-income families to succeed in elementary school and beyond. The generous contributions we received from community members throughout District 3 helped provide these children with a little extra cheer during this holiday season.

 I would like to thank Kat Romo, Centro Infantil de la Raza’s Site Administrator for helping coordinate the distribution as well as the wonderful teachers that provide quality early care and education to the children. I would also like to thank community donors, including my District 3 county board and commission appointees whose generous contributions helped create a successful toy distribution at Centro Infantil de la Raza.  


                 Fighting Against Senior Fraud 


Nearly 25 million Americans are victims of consumer fraud each year and almost half of those people are adults over the age of 50. In order to take on this wide-spread issue, I developed an educational series last year to help older adults learn about how to identify and protect themselves from financial fraud and scams. On October 24, I held my fourth senior fraud workshop at Mastick Senior Center in Alameda where over 50 older adults received important information on common forms of fraud and scams aimed at seniors, including identity theft, fraudulent bank withdrawals, fake sales and much more. Attendees also received educational tools and resources, including important tips and contact information to agencies to contact if they think they may be a victim of fraud. The speaker panel included representatives from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Alameda County’s Adult Protective Services and Legal Assistance for Seniors. Click here to check out photos on my Facebook page.

I would like to thank Jackie Krause, the City of Alameda Senior Services Manager at Mastick Senior Center for helping put together the event. Our next workshop is scheduled for Thursday, February 6 at the Temple Israel of Alameda. Please scroll down to the “upcoming events” section for more information. 


                         Newest member of 

        Alameda Health System Board of Trustees


Kinkini Banerjee, Principal at the public health consulting firm, Sage Transformations, is the newest member of the Alameda Health System Board of Trustees. Kinkini partners with community and public health stakeholders to build and sustain strong multi-objective initiatives impacting health, employment, civic engagement, safety, and community capacity. She currently works with the United States Breastfeeding Committee spearheading a national initiative to build state, territorial and tribal breastfeeding coalitions to implement the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.

Kinkini began her career as a dietitian at Sion hospital in Mumbai, India. She has a Masters in Nutrition from Washington State University. She is currently the President of the Board of Trustees of Building Futures with Women and Children, Alameda County’s lead agency in providing housing, safety and stability to homeless and domestic violence survivors.  I am happy to have Kinkini on the Alameda County Health System Board of Trustees and look forward to working with her as San Leandro Hospital joins the network of Alameda Health System and its facilities throughout Alameda County. 


        $2,000 for East Bay Asian Youth Center


This winter, I donated $2,000 to the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), which serves nearly 2,000 children, youth and young adults in Oakland’s San Antonio, Eastlake, and Chinatown neighborhoods. EBAYC partners with 12 neighborhood schools, U.C. Berkeley, and the Alameda County Probation Department to provide young people and their families a continuum of support and opportunities.

The $2,000 grant will provide much needed funds to support the various services that EBAYC provides such as intensive support for youth who are on court-ordered probation, high school outreach to close the academic achievement gap of students, summer and after school programs and the annual camp that serves 200-300 youth. Additionally, EBAYC provides nutritional snacks, academic support, enrichment workshops, mentorships and family engagement events for neighboring elementary schools. 


          New Community Park in San Lorenzo

In the spring of 2012, I initiated talks with PG&E to establish a park at the site of their gas line testing station at the corner of Grant and Washington Avenues in San Lorenzo.  PG&E agreed and continues to make progress on developing the park, which is located across the street from San Lorenzo’s Gateway Park – a $120,000 project that I saw through to its completion in 2011.  PG&E conducted a community meeting in early October that provided attendees with an opportunity to offer feedback on the draft park design, and will soon schedule a second meeting to gather additional community feedback.  The site has already been graded and a security fence was installed around the testing station.  Residents and visitors will now be greeted by two attractive parks at the corner of Grant and Washington welcoming them to San Lorenzo Village

Please join me and PG&E on Monday, February 10 at 11:30 AM to celebrate the beginning of another beautiful park to the San Lorenzo community. The ground breaking ceremony will be held at the site of the new community park located at the corner of Grant and Washington Avenues in San Lorenzo. 


                          Upcoming Events 

Love Your Bones
Are you ready to improve your bone health? Join me on Thursday, February 20 for a “Love Your Bones” presentation about osteoporosis, treatment options and improving bone health at Mastick Senior Center located at 1155 Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda. A limited number of participants will also receive a free bone density screening (P-DEXA scans). Please contact Jackie Krause at (510) 747-7510 to schedule a free screening.

Business Expo
Do you own a business in the Eden Area of Alameda County? Would you like to promote your business and meet prospective clients? The San Lorenzo Village Homes Association and The Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber are hosting their 2014 Business Expo on Saturday, March 1 from 10AM to 1PM. The Business Expo will be held at the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association Community Hall, located at 377 Paseo Grande in San Lorenzo. For more information, please call (510) 276-4554.

Covered California Open Enrollment Deadline
Have you signed up to receive health insurance for 2014? The deadline is Monday, March 31 to sign-up for Covered California or Medi-Cal for 2014. Penalties will be addressed for those without adequate insurance. Go to today to find out what’s available and to sign-up for health insurance. Use the “Shop and Compare” tool to get started. You can also call (800) 300-1506 and apply over the phone.

Upcoming EALI Working Group Meetings
At the November “Community Charrette,” Eden Area residents, business owners and property owners voted for priority goals in the areas of economic development, agriculture and environment, local governance, public safety and realignment and education.  Groups for each of the areas have been formed in order to work toward implementing the goals that were voted at “Community Charrette”. Click here to see the schedule of upcoming work meetings.

Arts Grants & Youth Arts Education Programs
Are you a non-profit organization that provides arts programs for youth? The Alameda County Arts Commission is now taking applications for their 2014 ARTSFUND Grants Program, which supports all types of programming, including dance, literature, media, arts, music, theater, visual arts and multidisciplinary arts programs. Grants of $1,000 to $2500 will be awarded to 40-50 arts organizations in 2014. The Arts Commission will also host 3 free workshops to assist organizations preparing for their grant applications. Click here to download the application or visit for more information.

                       Community Resources 


Alameda County Resource Guide
For information and referrals on Alameda County programs, check out our resource guide:

Starting a Local Business
Do you want to open a business in Alameda County and don’t know where to begin? Alameda County has two great guides that will help you get started

(Ashland, Castlewood, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Happy Valley, Hillcrest Knolls, San Lorenzo and Sunol)

Boards and Commissions
Are you interested in serving Alameda County and District 3? There are currently several opening to become a District 3 representative. Learn more at Applications including a cover letter and resume can be submitted to

Lead Grants
Lead poisoning, asthma triggers and safety issues in the home are a series threat to our children’s health.  The Alameda County Healthy Homes Department has services to assist low-income residents and property owners in making their homes safer for young children.  If you own a pre-1978 home or apartment building in Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville or Oakland, you are eligible for a free in-home or phone consultation to help you identify and reduce lead hazards. Other services include free lead paint repair and free training. For more information or to sign up for these services, call 510-567-8280 or at

Help Me Grow
One of the challenges of parenting is knowing when it is time to get help for a child's development, behavior and learning. When a child seems behind or something just doesn't seem quite right, it can be difficult to know what to do. Visit or call the "Help Me Grow" phone line at 1-888-510-1211 to learn more about essential parent resources.


                            In the News...

San Leandro Hospital ownership to transfer at end of October

Supervisor Wilma Chan Volunteers at Alameda Food Bank

WABA Member Among the First to Celebrate Healthy Nail Salon Day

 Making Nail Salons Safer For Workers, Clients

Alameda County Supervisor Chan launches ‘New War on Poverty’

Alameda County Supervisor declares “New War on Poverty”

Alameda: Sweeney Park’s first community cleanup draws hundreds