Great Highway event raised 100k+ for Neonatal ICU

The Redwood City-based event center The Great Highway hosted their annual Lobster Feed on February 4th with one thing on their mind – babies! Founder Rozalyn Mendence toured VMC in early 2016 and was inspired by the life-saving work of VMC staff of the Neonatal ICU (NICU). As she learned, the VMC Foundation was actively fundraising to replace the Giraffe Bed isolettes that house the newborns during their first weeks of life in the NICU. The machines simulate the safety and conditions of a mother’s womb and help VMC staff save lives. Roz committed to raising $40,000 at her annual fundraiser, almost double what they raised last year, enough to buy a single Giraffe Bed unit.

With her partner Gary Pollack, Roz got to work and organized the most successful Lobster Feed in her company’s history. Over $100,000 was pledged! Which means we aren’t just buying ONE giraffe bed, we’re buying TWO! The event was attended by over 150 of their friends and colleagues and was truly memorable. From giant boats of lobsters to pristine classic cars, a signature drink (the “Oh Baby”) and giraffe themed decorations, this event was eye catching, fun and inspiring. Thank you The Great Highway for a night we will never forget.

The State of the County 2017

Last night the President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Dave Cortese gave his State of the County Address to a standing-room-only crowd. He spoke for sixty minutes, far longer than his previous SOC address.

…because in 2017, I think you’d agree, there’s more to discuss.

President Dave Cortese (second from  left) with a crew of us who fought for Measure A last year: Ben Field, Betty Duong, Tom Steyer, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, me, Supervisor Cindy Chavez and Derecka Mehrens. 

A reminder: The County owns and operates Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and the Health & Hospital System of which it is part–the busiest healthcare deliverer in Silicon Valley and making up roughly half of the 19,000 employees of Santa Clara County (not including some 25,000 home care workers, according to President Cortese, whom he also praised).

But no matter where in the County one works, Dave’s message resonates and in my view, informs how we must think and act: 2017, Dave proclaimed, will be the Year of Compassion.

I was sitting in a section of the Board Chambers last night reserved for we who helped pass Measure A, the County’s historic supportive housing bond. Along with my colleagues Kevin Zwick and Derecka Mehrens, we applauded throughout Cortese’s speech and took pride every time he referenced the bond measure to upend the housing crisis. And the reason we did, he reiterated again and again, was that ours is a compassionate community.

At times he openly defied recent federal threats to our region’s marginalized and underserved, referencing the recent County lawsuit to defend sanctuary policies. It says a lot about our County that this was the strongest applause line of the night: All the work we’ve done, all the people we’ve helped, all the distance we’ve come… We are not going to turn back and abrogate our responsibilities now.

His message of dogged determination and the need for deliberate compassion certainly resonated with me. See what you think; here is Dave Cortese’s State of the County Address (and it’s been edited somewhat; don’t be afraid). Read it and let me know what speaks to you.