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Recology in San Carlos: 4 Months Later…

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The Big Change.

It has been four months since the South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA) switched garbage and recycle service on the Peninsula from Allied Waste to Recology San Mateo County.  Recology kicked off the new year with quite a bit of fanfare — between the distribution of brand new Smart Carts, and the parade of shiny new collection trucks rolling out of the facility, it was a certainly a noticeable change.   Recology’s approach to a streamlined recycling curbside recycling program (no more sorting recyclables), and the automated pickup certainly seemed to be an appealing and progressive step above what Allied Waste was offering.

During the first few weeks of service there were certainly glitches, as one would expect from such a wholesale change.  Some streets didn’t get their carts delivered on the designated week, and there were missed deliveries on other streets as they worked out kinks in the logistics.  Even residents had adjustments to make with how to use the new carts.  But with four months under the belt, one would expect that things should be working smoothly.     But are they?

Growing Pains?

Over the past few weeks, I have asked friends and neighbors about their thoughts on the new service, and the answers I got back were surprisingly mixed.  While to many, garbage pick-up is a “don’t care”,  there were a surprising number of people who are not happy with the new service.   One of the biggest complaints I hear about is about what you see below:

This nice little mess is what I found on my sidewalk last week when I came home from work. About a third of what was in the bin somehow ended up on the sidewalk when the robotic arm picked up the bin. I’m not sure how this could have happened, because the bin certainly wasn’t anywhere near full.  But I guess there’s no policy in place at Recology about cleaning up after mishaps like these.

In another incident,  a White Oaks resident looked on in amazement as the robotic arm deftly plucked their recycle bin — along with the front license plate of her car and a chunk of the front bumper.   When they reported the incident to Recology customer service,  they were left with the feeling that it was Recology who was the one being inconvenienced by the accident.

Finally, I watched the City Council meeting last week as the future of the San Carlos Fire Department was being hotly debated, one resident patiently waited his turn for his two minutes at the podium — not to discuss the fire issue, but to voice his dissatisfaction with his garbage pickup.  So clearly, there are some bumps in the road with the new service.

And let’s not forget about the whole discussion of rate hikes for garbage service in the near future…

What Are Your Thoughts?

So, has the transition to Recology been a positive or negative experience for you?  Or is it a don’t-care?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and vote in poll at the top of the right side-bar.
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Dates Announced for 2011 San Carlos Hometown Days.

HomeTown Days

31st Annual:  May 20-22.

The San Carlos Hometown Days committee announced the dates for this year’s edition of the city’s long-standing tradition:  San Carlos Hometown Days.  Over the weekend of May 20-22, Burton Park and various parts of the downtown area of San Carlos will once again be transformed into party-central for kids and adults alike.   A fun-run, parade, live music, great food, and other events will be just part of the Hometown Days festivities for this year.    It’s a fantastic event, and a great way to reconnect with friends and neighbors that you haven’t seen in a few months.

Be sure to check the Hometown Days website for updates on the planned events… and enjoy this great tradition that is uniquely San Carlos!

 
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May is “SCEF Month” at Bianchini’s Market in San Carlos.

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Spare Change for Big Change.

The great folks at Bianchini’s Market in San Carlos have declared that the month of May will be “SCEF Month” at their popular neighborhood market.   During the month of May, you’ll find San Carlos Educational Foundation collection jars located throughout the store.   Just a little spare change here and there adds up to a whole bunch of goodness for San Carlos Schools, especially with all of the anticipated cuts in the State of California budget.   All donations in the jars go directly to SCEF.    But that’s not all they’re doing in May…

May 11 =  5% Day.

Circle Wednesday, May 11 on your calendar.  On that day, Bianchini’s will donate 5% of their total sales for that day to the San Carlos Educational Foundation!  That is a fantastic gesture on their behalf, and is just one of many ways that Bianchini’s has given back to the community in the two short years that they’ve been part of the San Carlos downtown.  (By the way, Happy 2nd Anniversary to Bianchini’s in San Carlos.)

So make May 11th your big grocery shopping day, and shop local at Bianchini’s.   You’ll be supporting your local neighborhood market AND your local schools at the same time!

 

 
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Breaking News: San Carlos City Council Votes to Move Forward with Redwood City for Fire Services.

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A Riveting Evening.

Just moments ago, the City Council of San Carlos voted to move forward with the City of Redwood City to provide fire services for San Carlos, once the existing Joint Power Agreement with Belmont expires in October.    The vote by the council was ultimately unanimous in favor of the Redwood City proposal over the bid submitted by Wackenhut Services, a private company based in Florida — but not before an extensive discussion by the City Council, and the impassioned comments by nearly 50 members of the community, most of whom were strongly in favor of joining forces with Redwood City.  It took a ton of guts for those residents to get up and speak to a packed house, complete with a full wall of TV news cameras.  Their comments were sometimes passionate, sometimes entertaining, but all very well thought out.   It was an absolutely riveting night of drama and politics.

Here is additional coverage by the Daily Journal and the San Jose Mercury News.

There is much work that needs to be done between now and November to button down all of the details of the contract, and the city staff hopes to have that first draft in place by June.  But choosing to stay with a regional model was an extremely smart move by this City Council, and they should be commended for the effort and thought process involved in coming to this decision.

 

 
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Privatization of Fire Services Divides Residents, Council in San Carlos.

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Here We Go Again.

Just as the dust seemed to settle from the impassioned debate regarding outsourcing police services in San Carlos to an outside agency, the San Carlos City Council must again decide whether to do the same with the other critical element of public safety in San Carlos:  Fire services.  After a lengthy mediation over the weekend failed to save the Joint Powers Agreement with Belmont, both cities left the table in different directions to seek their own solutions for providing fire services before the October dissolution of the Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department.

The failure to revive the Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department now leaves the City Council with the following three alternatives to provide fire services to the City of San Carlos:

  1. Create an standalone San Carlos Fire Department.
  2. Merge fire services with Redwood City.
  3. Outsource to a private company – Wackenhut Services.

The latter two solutions are the ones being most strongly considered by the City Council, since a standalone department isn’t economically feasible with the current budget deficit.  And it’s the choice between these two that is polarizing many in the City of Good Living.

Firefighters Against Privatization.

This past weekend, nearly 100 firefighters canvassed the City of San Carlos distributing flyers that decry the option of outsourcing fire services to Wackenhut.  Unlike the police solution where a known, local entity (San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department) took over the reins, the fire solution is a bit more nebulous.  Wackenhut, a company that specializes in security and emergency services, is a corporation that is located out of state, so there is a palpable uneasiness with many about handing over such a critical piece of public safety to a corporation that doesn’t appear to have a single firefighting contract in the state of California.

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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A Quick Resource for San Carlos School Boundaries.

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Got Schools?

Have you ever been wandering through an open house in San Carlos and wondered what elementary or middle school boundary that home resides in?  What about the high school?  That’s always a hot topic!  You could always ask the agent who is holding the home open, but as I’ve found on numerous occasions, they don’t always know (which is not a good thing), or they are just guessing (even worse.)    As I’ve outlined on this site, there are indeed web resources that will give you the school boundaries for the San Carlos Elementary Schools or the Sequoia Union High School District, but doing so involves visiting two different websites, downloading a pdf file, and then searching for the home address.  That’s probably OK if you’re sitting at home in front of your computer, but not ideal if you’re in a hurry and all you have is your smartphone.   Well, there’s now a better way..

SchoolandHousing.com

The folks at SchoolandHousing.com have created a cool little site that aggregates all of that information for you on a single page.  All you have to do is type in the address of the home you’re interested in, and voila!  Up pops not only the San Carlos elementary AND middle school that it’s zoned for, but also the high school in the Sequoia Union High School District you can plan on attending.   It also includes the API scores for each of those schools, and a map of where those schools are located relative to that property.  All of that on one easy to read web page.   Nicely done!

Here’s a screen shot of the output for my listing at 2623 San Carlos Avenue.  Note how it provides a list of the three respective schools at the bottom:

Tastes Great, Less Filling?

For those who want a “light” version of the site with just the pertinent info (sans the map and all of the sidebar ads) they even offer a mobile version that should load very quickly on your phone.   Here’s what the mobile output looks like for the same address search as we did above:

So there you have it — all of the pertinent school info you need, right on your smart-phone!

Of course, I would be remiss and slightly reckless if I didn’t make the following disclaimer – these boundaries do not guarantee that you’ll get into the home your school is zoned for.  Placement in each school is dependent on the available space for a given year.  Contact the respective school district for more info…You know the drill.

 
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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San Carlos Measure A Ballot on the Way to Homeowners.

MeasureA

Ballot in the Mail.

In the next few days, San Carlos homeowners will be receiving their official ballots for Measure A — the parcel tax initiative aimed at helping fund the San Carlos School District.  Measure A proposes extending the existing $111 per parcel tax that is currently in place under Measure D for the next 8 years, since Measure D is set to expire this year.  This $111 per parcel equates to about $1M annually for the schools, according to proponents of Measure A.

The discussion for and against Measure A among San Carlos residents has been vocal and passionate.   Proponents of the measure fear the loss of $1M in annual funding will severely hurt the quality of our schools.  Opponents have spoken out against long-term taxation, especially in such difficult economic times.

Be Sure To Vote!

Regardless of which side you’re on, it’s vital that you make your submit your ballot and ensure that your voice is heard.   There are only a few thousand households in all of San Carlos, so every vote will count.  Note that Measure A is a mail-only ballot, so votes must be returned via mail or dropped off at the San Carlos City Hall before May 3 @ 5:00 PM.

 

 
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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San Carlos Gets a “Green” Challenge.

San Carlos Green

The “Drive Less Challenge”:  April 6th – April 15th.

The nice folks at San Carlos Green invite you to take part in this year’s Drive Less Challenge, a friendly competition that rewards participants for reducing their individual car miles around town.   Join thousands of Peninsula residents, including 3,000 San Carlos students, in this fun and educational event. Challenge yourself and your family to drive less as part of this year’s Earth Day celebration.   Now that the weather is finally turning nice again, what better reason do you need to pull those bikes down off the hooks in your garage and pedal around San Carlos?  Or how about walking to downtown instead of taking the car?

Visit San Carlos Green online and win prizes – If you live or work in San Carlos, at the end of the challenge, tell them about your green trips and you will qualify for great prizes from their sponsors.   Be sure to visit www.sancarlosgreen.org between April 15th and April 25th for more details and updates.   Keep it Green!

 
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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