When Dave Pine is sworn in as president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors this evening, the ceremony will echo elements of his joining the board nearly three years ago.
The board reorganization is again at Burlingame High School and attendees will be entertained once more by the Ragazzi Boys Chorus of which Pine’s son is a member. There will be an air of celebration. But Pine said there are some marked differences between 2011 at the tail end of the recession and now when the economic picture is quite rosier.
“When I first joined, the environment focused on budget cuts and tremendous uncertainty. We were really just trying to keep the boat afloat,” Pine said. “Now it’s radically improved and an entirely different atmosphere.”
Pine’s turn as president will be as the county launches programs funded by Measure A’s half-cent sales tax revenue, more residents have health care coverage because of the Affordable Care Act and supervisors settle into a new election system in which they are chosen by only their district.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “I feel very privileged to serve on the Board of Supervisors and its a terrific opportunity to make a difference in the community.”
In May 2011, Pine, 55, won a six-way countywide race for the District One seat vacated when supervisor Mark Church was elected chief elections office and assessor-county clerk-recorder. Pine was then re-elected to a regular full term the following year.
Prior to becoming a county supervisor, Pine was a past president of the San Mateo Union High School District board and worked at Handspring Inc. and Excite@Home.
Among his surprises in office was just how much there is to learn about health care, mental health and substance abuse and the array of municipal services the county provides to its unincorporated areas.
Pine is a vocal advocate of supporting children and youth, bolstering the county’s cash-strapped parks system and finding greater governmental transparency and efficiency. Heading into his presidency, Pine said all that remains a priority while the infusion of Measure A money will help keep many programs a reality.
“It’s a really good time for us to make investments in prevention and early intervention,” he said, ticking off initiatives like sustaining third-grade reading, services for youth with mental illness and development alternatives to jail for those with mental illness.
Pine has also added to his plate the issue of sea level rise. He recently helped host a conference on the environmental topic in San Mateo County and said it is time to make it a priority.
“It’s been described as a slow-moving emergency and it’s one we would be better served to get ahead of,” he said.
Looking into the proverbial crystal ball, Pine said all signs are for the most part good for the county with a few cautionary notes due to the uncertainty of state funding.
Pine, a proponent of district elections, is also excited to have the switch finally in place and new boundaries finalized. He said everybody is waiting to see to what extent the supervisors, including himself, will be less concerned about the entire county versus an individual district but feels becoming more attuned to constituents is a positive development.
“I’m confident we can handle both,” he said.
The reorganization and swearing in is 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Burlingame High School Theater, 1 Mangini Way, Burlingame. A reception will follow.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102