Letter to Editor: Magnolia Senior Center Closure

South San Francisco, CA   May 20, 2020 by Margaret Baxter, SSF Resident

{Dear City Manager Mike Futrell, Mayor Richard Garbarino, Vice Mayor Mark Addiego, and City Council Members Karyl Matsumoto, Mark Nagales, and Buenaflor Nicolas.}

In response to the San Mateo County Health Department’s recent guidance to cancel or postpone large events in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the County, South San Francisco postponed, canceled, or modified several events and programs.


I have heard that deep budget cuts to the Senior Recreation Program are being discussed at the City level, and that the Magnolia Senior Center may not be reopening after these health restrictions are lifted.   I am one of the many residents who participates in many functions at our only senior center – The Magnolia Center, and its closure would be a great disservice to those of us who have lived in, and supported this city for decades. Our senior citizens (myself included) rely on the center for the important emotional and physical health benefits that it’s programs support, and I am calling on all of you at the city management level, not make the temporary cancelations of these programs permanent.


The 10% pay cut for all state workers (including Governor Newsom) is the current proposal at the state level to mitigate some of the shortfalls produced by the economic slowdown from the  Covid 19 Pandemic.  I think that before you consider shuttering this senior center, that you might first consider proposing a temporary 10% pay cut for all city workers to show solidarity with all those who rely upon our city budget for these services.   A reduction in some services to all of us is to be expected, but the total end of service to all senior residents of South San Francisco – most of whom are retired and living from a fixed budget, is unconscionable and cruel.


We all understand the needs for an economic recovery after the incredible drop in city revenues, but this pain should not be born by just one group, and one that can least sustain the impact of these cuts – our Senior Citizens. Thank you for your consideration.




Margaret Baxter

9 comments for “Letter to Editor: Magnolia Senior Center Closure

  1. mel perry
    May 21, 2020 at 1:14 am

    you sincerely can’t expect our elite city
    employees to take a pay reduction,
    thus depriving our seniors, who btw, have
    supported this town for a generation,
    what little enjoyment they have left in
    their wanning years? we must have a
    bunch of trump supporters running city
    hall? remember folks you voted for these
    clowns, time to drain the south city swamp

    May 21, 2020 at 1:33 am

    Seniors are dedicated voters and have shown their unconditional dedication to the local leadership. I would like to ask all of these seniors to just once stop being so loyal to these politicians who have shown a lack of utter concern for all South City citizens. It is time to vote against any city councilman or woman who has had 2 or more terms.

    • Local Citizen
      May 23, 2020 at 4:45 am

      Bro, our City Council and Administration has performed and accomplished a bit more than what
      may be realized.Yes it is a fact that some of our Seniors may be dedicated voters and shown dedication to our City leadership however, to disclose the notion of of such leadership as Political and displays utter lack of concern for all citizens of our community is rather harsh and unfortunately un-supported. During these trying times they too are striving to continue working to support our community and its citizens. Unfortunately, I disagree with your recommendation.

  3. Cheryl peruchetti
    May 21, 2020 at 3:09 am

    Cutting the senior center completely seems ridiculous. Maybe the could consider at least a couple days a week. Is there a senior center still at Arroyo municipal building?

  4. Cory Alan David
    May 21, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    But just think of the lovely civic center we are going to have. Our city government certainly has its priorities straight. Maybe they could send a shuttle so our seniors could visit it some time. Here’s a thought. Maybe an investigation into past negotiations for the sale of city properties between the city and developers would reveal potential lost funding. I wonder how that “bug” got into my ear.

  5. your neighbor
    May 22, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Potential Lost funding, well take a look at the canary in the mine example, just about 1 yr. ago the Cadence project opened its doors to higher end much” needed housing” apartments albeit unaffordable to a developer who could only provide a few below market or, affordable units, etc.

    165 units later Cadence has had consistently 40-50 unit vacancies at any given time with all the thousands of units the city is jamming the community with, it is harbinger of things to come. Who can afford 3-5K apartment with views of San Bruno Mountain?
    Theyre also offering 6-8 weeks free rent.>

    In 5 yrs after they hired a new city manager, our nice small town has been turned into into a commuter village.

  6. Cynthia Marcopulos
    May 23, 2020 at 12:42 am

    Yes, I always hate to point fingers at salaried employees because the governmental employees are always the first to be targeted as not being worth their salaries. Having been one for 30 years, I think that is an unjustified assault.

    But what I can say is that it is time to look at the Community Civic Campus, its doubled cost from inception, and the need for it. We have the Municipal Building, and despite what staff reports indicated in 2016, it works! It needs a retrofitting and maybe a remodeling, but with the PD moving to its own location, that opens up an entire wing of the building for classes offices, rentals, etc.

    Do we really need a new library? Well, Orange Library was remodeled a few years ago, and Grand Avenue was totally remodeled just a few years ago, too.

    So, if there is any cost cutting, I’d recommend cutting our losses on the expense of the architects for the Civic Center Campus and that’s where the savings should come.

    How about a real park, not one with ball players accosting those looking for a peaceful communal feeling with nature, at the proposed campus location?

    That would cut gridlock and congestion since it would not have students and instructors taking parking from the neighborhood that is already a traffic nightmare (without even the car wash or the PUC site in the equation), and Council meetings so people can attend and do their civic duty?

  7. Stephennie Laxamana
    May 23, 2020 at 1:00 am

    South City has one of the highest population of senior citizens in San Mateo County. For years the Magnolia Senior Center has been the key to socialization for seniors who are isolated, widowed, or find comfort through the weekly Alzheimer’s Support Group.

    Councilmen – when SIP is lifted what are your expectations for alternative resources where seniors can congregate for their extra curricular needs? At the Municipal Building, which has great programming, however more so attracts a younger, “newly retired” demographic? Or are the expectations to direct older seniors to San Bruno and Daly City’s existing senior centers, allowing these centers to benefit from the state and federal money for South City residents?

    The community welcomes the solutions we hope will be put in place to sustain adequate social programming for our local seniors. As a care manager in the geriatric field and SSF resident, my hopes are that city budgets are invested when considering the future development of our city.

    May 23, 2020 at 5:12 am

    We are in a budget crisis and we continue to build unnecessary city buildings and oh, by the way let make the Seniors pay the price. You are drinking too much koolaid.

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