Interview | Vice Mayor Jimenez

Journal Entry For
Project 3 - Interviews

Context: Joaquin Jimenez serves as Vice Mayor of HMB and is on the City Council; he is heavily involved in community in helping farmers with housing crisis


  • What are the biggest constraints/limits in building new houses/improving existing designs?
    • The land is the biggest constraint
    • funding for building is not an issue — need to get the land first
    • Takes about 4 years to build a structure / 1 year if pre-fabricated
    • Takes years for farm zoning to be re-zoned as residential area
    • infrastructure (Water/sewer/electricity)
    • 1 acre = 1.5/2 million dollars
  • How could socioeconomic classes be better integrated - why do farmers live on one side of town and tech workers another side?
    • give farmworkers land themselves to help integrate
    • farmworkers need to be convinced that they can handle the land themselves
    • Build relationship — have interactions between people growing food and people consuming — let them see how its done
      • Tourism?
      • Especially with the children
    • Why do you think the housing situation reached this point in the first place?
      • not a lot of interest on living conditions/health
  • What, in your opinion, is the biggest issue you have seen the farmers struggling with in terms of housing? Are there any stories/examples of housing situations that are particularly memorable to you?
    • The income disparity is a big gap: farm workers make $14k/yr vs certain residents that make million of dollars per year,
      • Rent in Half Moon Bay is not affordable; a 1-2 bedroom apartment is renting for $2500+
      • Half Moon bay Living cost is very expensive: $250~300
    • the shooting is a breakthrough of what happened in the pandemic, essential workers. The tragedy made more visible, living conditions and working conditions
    • wages that they are receiving Is less than minimum wage - average 25k — need to get together to rent
    • Farmers⇨Insane incidents happening
  • Where are farmworkers from? Do they migrate?
    • Many of them migrate from Oregon, Washington, California
    • Stay for short terms (2 month)
    • Essential workers but not paid attention but recognized
    • Their salaries: Less than minimum wage, but workers do not recognize
  • Where do farmworkers live now?
    • Very crowded houses (Ex: one family one room )
    • Barracks style housing: big rooms like a warehouse, that has beds for people to sleep, and they usually bunk beds, not a lot of privacy, blankets for privacy, dangerous electrical problem, 5 refrigerators, same bathroom/showers
    • Live in shipping containers
      • Unsafe: Cannot escape easily
    • Live in Vehicles
      • Couple died bathing in a pond, drowned
  • How do farmworkers cook now?
    • Stoves, kitchen out side
    • Share kitchens, showers,
      • Have to prepare for next meals
  • Who owns the housing on the farms now?
    • The owner of mushroom farm brought in the shipping containers
    • The victims were trapped inside the shipping container, no way out
    • fifth wheel trailers and RVs can sometimes be owned by farmers and some by farmworkers
  • After the shooting, there is now a Housing task force - county is checking in the living conditions
    • people are cooking on outside stoves, propane and wood stoves
  • Farms are being shut down on the coast:
    • mushroom farm - everyone got infected with Covid
    • farms are being shut down, red tagged, because there are areas , couldn’t find a place to stay. had to move out of the country.

How are current solutions doing?

  • Land very expensive (main issue)
  • Mid Pen, Mercy Housing, San Mateo under measure K, property owners to bring in module homes. mobile homes. pre-fabricated homes. having the land to built.
  • have the land and bring in prefabricated homes - takes one year (ten months for permit, 2 months for adjustments and set the homes and make connection)
  • versus four years for building something from scratch.
  • What is the biggest change that

The farmworkers need to be convinced that they can actually manage one acre of land. and they can make a better living, better income than working for somebody else.

they have to see that. many workers don't like to take the risk.

one acre of land, you produce for your family and to sell.

1000 acres of land lost because there are no farmworkers. 25-30 years.

go back and make the transition for farmworkers to take over the land and b

Info on farming as a co-op?

  • Joaquin shared model in 2020, how it can become a farming coop. Rancho San Benito: Organization with Co-op, that in 10 years we are going to have over 100 farmworkers becoming farmers, with the 1000 acres that we have
  • The coop model model works because you share pretty much everything
  • Building relationship: Rancho Sen Benito, is in town, in the suburbs, can actually walk to the farm and see how food is being grown. Builds a relationship with the people who are actually growing the food.
  • Community members come into the farm. especially with the young kids realize and understand they're doing something good for the community. especially when its organic, no pesticides.
  • Farmers have lots of overhead costs, equipment, tractors, When you work as a co-op, everyone collaborates to buy a tractor, used in the next farm. no overhead cost.
  • 1 acre per person, 10 months of the year. rotation of crops. double or triple the income.
  • education of the farmworkers, how to run a business, plants for the year. once you go to 2 acres, you have to hire someone to do the irrigation, planting.

How do farmers view the alternative of co-ops in the vacant land?

  • Farmers don’t want to give up their land.
  • It’s a threat to the farmers, because they feel they will lose their workers, and lose their income
  • How many farmworkers typically live together in a room?
    • Family units
  • What are the main energy sources for the farmworkers?
    • Camp stoves
  • In 25 years, what do you envision being the biggest issue for farmworkers in the area?
  • What is the adoption of organic farming like in your community?
  • What are some funding sources for paying for building new units of housing, who would own it?
    • Currently — after shooting — county community housing
    • 2 people shot - 1 dead 1 injured - inside shipping container during shooting - no way out
  • In your opinion, what role should the government have in investing and improving housing for farmworkers?
  • What technologies can you imagine being implemented in the next 25 years which would alleviate the housing struggles?
  • Current situation
    • Half Moon bay
      • Living cost is very expensive: $250~300
    • Farmers⇨Insane incidents happening
      • Many of them migrate from Oregon, Washington, California
        • Stay for short terms (2 month)
      • Essential workers but not paid attention but recognized
      • Their living conditions are worse
        • Live in shipping containers, wehicles
          • Unsafe: Cannot escape easily
        • Stoves, kitchen out side
        • Very crowded houses (Ex: one family one room )
        • Share kitchens, showers,
          • Have to prepare for next meals
      • Their salaries: Less than minimum wage, but workers do not recognize
      • Living area were shout down: not housing
  • Future vision
    • Plan: 4-5 years to execute
      • Have lands for farmers: take long time
      • Construct necessary infrastructure (Electricity, water): 10~12 months
      • Bring residents to houses: 1 year
    • Difficulty
      • How do we convince the current land owners to share land to farmees?
        • They dont want to give up their lands to farmers, thinking it as threats
      • Farmers do not want to take risks
      • Expensive land costs
    • Necessity
      • Co-ops helps distribute these costs
        • Helps distribute the costs to become farmers
          • No over head cost
        • Also less working hours
      • Entrepreneurship education to farmers
        • Convince farmers to start their own farming
        • Encourage them to start their business to make income

        • Marketing, Management
        • Increase the number of farmers in 10 years
        • Adequate farm land: 1 acre per person

        Encourage them to start their business to make income

      • Integrate farmers to community
        • Build relationship