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We are One San Mateo. Our dream is one San Mateo—a city of, by, and for all its people.

Who We Are

We are a community coalition working for a fair & inclusive San Mateo.

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The San Mateo Housing Stories Project

Giving a voice to the voiceless in the conversations around housing.

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Change Language / Cambiar Idioma / 改變語言 / …

Giving a voice to the voiceless in the conversations around housing.

The San Mateo Housing Stories Project is an ongoing project of One San Mateo.

Far too often, those affected most by changes in our communities are those who leaset have a voice in the matter. They lack a voice in the media, and they lack a voice in politics, one feeding the other in a vicious cycle.

Again and again, we hear powerful interests say that we lack the data to take action on housing. But then when we push for government to collect the relevant data, those very same powerful interests do an about-face and cynically stand in the way of the collection of data.

Only government can collect the necessary data on the full extent and nature of the housing problems we are suffering from. However, we will not standby and allow those affected by housing to be silenced by the inaction of others.

The San Mateo Housing Stories Project is aimed at gathering stories from and providing a forum for those being impacted by the continuing housing crisis. You are not alone. By raising our voices together we have power.

Share your story.


What: Candidates’ forum for San Mateo City Council
When: Tuesday, September 15 from 7 to 8:15 p.m.
Where: Virtually by Zoom (link provided to those who register)

Three candidates are vying for two available seats. The voters must decide.

Which of the candidates will enable the city to meet its urgent affordability needs? Which will commit to prioritizing the interests of inclusion and racial equity?  Which will position the city to meet the challenges that lie ahead?

To help voters decide, One San Mateo, in conjunction with the People’s Alliance of San Mateo County, will conduct a candidates’ forum on Tuesday, September 15.  All three candidates—Diane Papan, Amourence Lee, and Lisa Diaz Nash—will be present.

To register for the forum, please click here.

The Candidates

Diane Papan

Bio (from dianepapan.com):

Former Mayor and San Mateo City Councilmember Diane Papan provides San Mateo families with the experienced, effective leadership we rely on in extraordinarily challenging times.

A recognized regional and local leader, Diane champions San Mateo’s interests on regional boards including the City & County Association of Governments, Council of Cities, 101 Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority, and Flood & Sea Level Rise Resiliency Board – where she advocates for regional emergency preparedness, traffic relief, and conservation for our safety and quality of life.

As your Councilmember, Diane has promoted efforts to effectively respond to the health crisis locally, while continuing to address traffic reduction, affordable housing, and public safety.

Diane has experience not only in the public sector but in the private and non-profit sectors. She has her own law practice, specializing in commercial law, representing individual and small family businesses. She runs a non-profit providing new clothes to in-need school-aged kids and a scholarship program that provides unique scholarships to special ed students and “late bloomers” many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Prior to being elected to the Council, she held positions of leadership in her daughter’s public school and in her neighborhood.

A graduate of UCLA undergrad and Hastings Law School, Diane, her husband Dan, their teen-aged daughter who attends Aragon High School and their dog Juno live in the Baywood neighborhood.

Amourence Lee

Bio (from amourencelee.com):

“11 years ago, we found our forever home and started our family in San Mateo. It was truly the first place I felt an instant sense of belonging. At the time, I couldn’t have known all the things I’d come to love about San Mateo, but I did feel it. There’s the beautiful tapestry of Art Deco, Craftsman, and Spanish Revival architecture – not to mention 200 acres of open space. Authentic bratwurst, empanadas, Irish brew, Taiwanese stinky tofu — all on a single downtown block. I felt a kinesthetic sense of familiarity and, on my first visit, the decision was made that this is where we’d make our life.

​As your Councilwoman, I am working every day to build a future for all of us, without sacrificing what makes our City so special. We face generational social and economic challenges. Too many San Mateans are being left behind, priced out and excluded from our governance. In this moment more than ever, we need experienced leadership with proven ability to bring people together at City Hall to protect the safety, vibrancy and diversity of our community.

​As a mother, nonprofit executive, and successful businesswoman, I have dedicated my life to creating healthy communities and families. I have extensive training in public policy and public health from Columbia University, combined with a 15+ year career building strong organizations and communities. Since 2019, I have had the privilege and honor to serve on the City Council representing you and championing our values of inclusivity, prosperity and resilience.

​When I was appointed to the City Council, San Mateans coalesced around the promise and hope for our future. I received a broad-base of community support from all neighborhoods and across all of the traditional divides in our community, and the “people’s choice” could not be ignored. We all shared one thing, a desire for a new generation of leadership with a fresh perspective, a track-record of meaningful community service, and the courage to be an independent voice for all San Mateans.

​In the community and in City Hall I have demonstrated integrity and impact. I stand on my record and our community stands with me because I am always on the side of San Mateo. I humbly ask for your vote this November, together we can build bridges that will bring us together and forward!”

Lisa Diaz Nash

Bio (from lisaforsanmateo.com):

“Our family has lived in San Mateo County for nearly 30 years. After our two daughters grew up, my husband and I moved near downtown San Mateo, drawn to its beauty and unique neighborhoods.

I was eager to serve my community. I applied and was appointed Vice President of the San Mateo Library Board and Chair of the Measure S Citizens’ Oversight Committee, where I serve today. I also currently am a Director of San Mateo’s Neighborhood Watch Board and my Baywood homeowners’ association. Finally, I am Co-Captain of the Peninsula Chapter of Sister District Project, working to engage voters in state legislative races across the country.

I have a rich and diverse heritage. My mother’s family were pioneers who settled Michigan in the 1830’s. My father’s family were first generation immigrants from Italy and Spain, by way of Cuba. I grew up in New Jersey and Peoria, Illinois.

After college, I studied Mandarin Chinese in Hong Kong and Taiwan and worked in China. I stayed in Asia nine years as an Asia-wide marketing executive with American Express. My husband and I lived in Hong Kong, Seoul, and Sydney, Australia, where the first of our two daughters were born.

Upon returning to the States, we were recruited to VISA in San Mateo. I went on to help launch international online trading for Charles Schwab, manage all customer relationships at E*TRADE, lead marketing for the millions of customers on the Yahoo! website and guide Bay Area start-ups.

​In 2005, I overcame a near-death PG&E accident that made me stronger and taught me deep empathy for people struggling with serious life challenges. That experience reinforced my commitment to working with my community to improve the lives of others, and to act with a sense of urgency to achieve my goals.

​After my accident, acting on my passion for the environment and women’s empowerment, I led a global clean water and sanitation nonprofit. Over the next eight years, I’m proud to have helped enable health care, clean water and economic opportunities for over two million people, the majority of whom were women and girls. I continued to be deeply involved in local and national progressive, environmental and women’s issues in order to contribute to my larger community.

As a San Mateo City Council Member, I will tap into my 30+ years of experience as a successful business executive, nonprofit CEO and San Mateo civic advocate. I will use what I have learned from San Mateo residents to deliver a better tomorrow for all San Mateans.

I welcome your input and look forward to being on this exciting journey together!”


To register for the forum, please click here.

One San Mateo, a community group working for a more fair and inclusive San Mateo with a focus on issues of housing affordability, and the People’s Alliance of San Mateo County (PASMC), an alliance of organizations in San Mateo County whose mission is to support candidates and policies that enhance equity in the areas of housing, immigration, criminal justice, education, and the environment, are cosponsors of this event.


Renters by the thousands are at immediate risk.  Unless our Supervisors take action now, a tsunami of evictions will begin crashing all around us, forcing families from their homes and leaving many without a place to live.

The People’s Alliance of San Mateo County (PASMC), in conjunction with LUNA and El Comite de Vecinos, is planning an action for Friday, August 21 to pressure the Board of Supervisors to convene a special meeting for the purpose of extending the eviction moratorium in San Mateo County.  If the Supervisors fail to act, ours will become the only county in the Bay Area that has allowed its moratorium to expire on August 31.

According to new figures released by the Bay Area Equity Atlas, 6,900 households in San Mateo County are at imminent risk of eviction, including 4,100 children.  The end of the $600 in Pandemic Unemployment Insurance puts yet another 5,600 households at risk.  These thousands of families will be subject to devastation if the eviction tsunami is allowed to crash.

The press will be invited to the action on Friday, and a strong turnout by tenants and advocates will be crucial to demonstrating a high level of community concern.  Please plan to attend and make every effort to get others to do the same.  Everyone can be assured that COVID-19 protocols will be observed, including social distancing and the wearing of masks.

The details are here:

Protest and Pressure Event to Extend Eviction Moratorium

Friday, August 21 @ 4 P.M.

Courtyard in front of 400 County Center in Redwood City

To stop the eviction tsunami and keep people in their homes

For those so inclined, there is another way you can contribute to the success of the event. We will be preparing a collage to present to the Supervisors, and we invite attendees to bring a sheet of paper no larger than 8-1/2” X 11” to add to it.  This should contain a message that you would like to be sent to the Supervisors, such as:

  • A compelling statistic or set of statistics
  • A letter to the Supervisors
  • A photo
  • A few bold words
  • A poem
  • A statement of how much back rent you owe
  • A handmade drawing

Please mark your calendars and help to make this a blow-out event that puts the Supervisors under enough pressure that they decide to act.  The end of August is near, and the well-being of thousands of families is at stake.  Help stop the wave!

During these extreme times, there is enormous strain on every aspect of the social safety net. There is simply not enough help for everyone who might need it. And while we may wish to heal the world, we find ourselves more immobile than ever. It is precisely this sense of helplessness from which we must struggle to liberate ourselves.

It was in such a spirit that One San Mateo began some months ago to search for ways we might still be of service to our community. While we are a group that focuses primarily on housing issues, we decided that the most immediate way we might be of help to those in severe need was by getting grocery gift cards into the hands of families in the local undocumented community. Many have been without work for months. At the same time, they are cut off from critical forms of assistance.

We were deeply gladdened to see what a showing of community generosity our efforts unleashed. As things stand, the funds have been raised (more than was expected!), the cards have been purchased, and now, through the help of Reverend Jorge Bautista of the Congregational Church of San Mateo, those cards are making their way to the families that need them. Throughout the process, it has only become clearer and clearer just what a lifeline kindnesses like these are. To quote Reverend Penny Nixon of the Congregational Church of San Mateo:

“It allows CCSM a way to channel this generosity with people connected to us who really are in need of it because of the disparate way this pandemic affects many people in North Central. Our CCSM assistance fund is solid and because of your help, we should be able to continue to support these families for some months to come.”

So thanks once again to everyone who contributed to our “Stock the Cupboards” campaign. Rest assured that it is making a difference as we speak. As we all know, the crisis has unfortunately continued to rage on, and the need for action, particularly at the governmental level, has only grown more intense. However, we continue to have faith that by remaining engaged and tapping into our better natures, we will be able to rebuild together our beloved community.

GoFundMe collage fitted png highest res looser kerning


The COVID crisis is in danger of fast becoming an eviction crisis. But if we act quickly this is at least one catastrophe we can stop before it gets out of control. The People’s Alliance of San Mateo County—of which One San Mateo is a member—is circulating a petition calling upon the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to take decisive action to stem the tide of financial and personal ruin facing many tenants right now. Make no mistake about it, this is both a matter of protecting tenants from mass displacement and of protecting the general public health from the consequences of people being forced to scramble for shelter. Will you take a moment to sign and share this petition?


“This is the worst economic crisis the United States has seen in generations. […] If nothing else changes and evictions continue as normal, then this public health crisis will turn into a full-blown homelessness crisis.”–Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

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