By Cherie M. Querol Moreno
Daly City, CA - First-term Supervisor David Canepa returned to his home turf last week to a rousing reception at the debut event hosted by his new office on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors that he claimed last year in two successive landslides.
Billed as a Cultural and Resource Fair, "District 5 Together" March 18 at Jefferson High School marked Canepa's premiere toward fulfilling his campaign promise to give northernmost towns a strong voice and their representative's full attention. The community gathering of leaders, organizers, advocates, students and teachers, and residents was free and open to the public.
"Today is not about politics...but about volunteerism," Canepa said at the crowded school auditorium before inviting state Senators Jerry Hill (Dist. 13) and Scott Weiner (Dist. 11) and Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin (Dist. 22) to join him onstage to affirm the diversity of the constituency and assure their support "especially in this administration.”
Arriving a half-hour after the event officially opened, Canepa waded through throngs, shaking hands and trading air kisses with his boosters including Filipino Americans: Daly City Personnel Commissioner Perla Ibarrientos, board chair of Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center; SM County Commission on Aging Member Aurea Cruz, and former San Francisco Commission on Aging Member Puchi Carreon di Ricco.
Daly City Mayor Glenn Sylvester and wife Nida, Vice Mayor Juslin Manalo, and Council Member Ray Buenaventura followed suit, whiffing the damp but aromatic-of-barbecue air as the "Jeff" marching band kept attendees on their toes.
Colma Vice Mayor Raye Gonzales, in her self-described "low-key" style, made the rounds of resource providers led by a strong contingent of County programs and contractors of the San Mateo County Health System.
County and town agency representatives distributed informational tools and the usual fair goodies to appreciative visitors.
Carmen Babasa supervised the staff of Health Plan of San Mateo between perusing brochures offered by Nicole Fernandez of Elder and Dependent Protection Team. EDAPT, which detects and monitors incidences, found that financial abuse is the most prevalent form of abuse against seniors in San Mateo with Daly City often accounting for highest number of reports.
“This is an ideal way to let newcomers know about resources they would not know about otherwise,” said Healthy Adults Response Team director Chito Patricio, who rewarded visitors with health bars while responding to their questions.
The weather went typically overcast following sunswept days, but the nimbus clouds did not deter revelers of every generation and heritage to partake of the goodwill and complimentary food offered by neighborhood businesses.
“I'm glad I came," Mercy Alcantara said while reviewing Medicare booklets at the HICAP (Health Insurance & Advocacy Program) of San Mateo table. “Knowing what resources are available is important to self-sufficiency and independence.”
“This event is wonderful for families,” said Daly City resident Carol Escobar, who attended with her husband and their daughter.
Behind the fair was Canepa chief of staff Tony Bayudan, a FilAm who grew up in Daly City, studied business at San Jose State, met his current boss some six years ago and ultimately engineered their drive to County Center.
Bayudan heads a four-person crew with former San Mateo Daily Journal reporter Bill Silverfarb, registered nurse and Burlingame Council Member Ann Keighran, and social media maven Mike Richardson as legislative aides.
Canepa won the race for District 5 representation against then-fellow Council Member Mike Guingona, the first Filipino American elected in Daly City.
District 5 covers Brisbane, Colma, Daly City, parts of San Bruno, South San Francisco, unincorporated Broadmoor and Brisbane.
Last year, voters passed Measure K to extend one-half retail sales and use tax to “ensure county quality of life” by continuing support for initiatives such as District 5 renovations for Daly City Youth Health Center, literacy programs for children, a new library in Brisbane and gun control aimed at educating women against purchasing firearms for those legally barred from possession.