October 2013 Newsletter
With the busy legislative session behind us, I am proud to say that this year the Senate took the lead on several major policy reforms, including changing the way California distributes funds to K-12 education, lowering the state's recidivism rate, and raising the minimum wage. Our office had its own share of accomplishments, including the Governor's signature on SB 134, a measure which puts our military heroes first by eliminating barriers to the CalFresh nutrition assistance program for veterans, and securing $3.3 million in state funds to the Imperial County Transportation Commission to build a new Downtown El Centro Bus Transit Terminal. In addition, I was able to designate a day to recognize the role of safe, clean beaches and waterways. I am known for my passion for kayaking and ocean swimming, therefore designating a day for Californian's to enjoy waters that are clean and safe for recreation was important to me.
Closer to home, the new San Diego Central Library is simply spectacular. I am honored to have been a part of making this indispensable resource a reality for all of San Diego. A diverse group of proud San Diegans deserve endless accolades: Mel Katz, Dr. Irwin Jacobs, the Shiley family, the Hervey family, and so many more.
In closing, meet Steve Arends, Senate District 40 Citizen of the Month in October! Mr. Arends comes to us with a long history of service to the community. He founded the Chula Vista Veterans Home Support Foundation and has served on the San Diego County Veterans Advisory Council for over a decade. Join me in congratulating him! It is an honor to represent people like Mr. Arends and privilege to serve you. If you have any questions, please contact my district office. For now, I leave you with articles that I have found important for our constituents:
Ben Hueso Unveils Safety Beacons for Heber Cross Walk
State Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), alongside State Department of Transportation and Heber School and Public Utility officials unveiled newly installed solar powered safety beacons and school crosswalk signs that will be placed at the intersection of Heber Avenue and State Route 86. For more information please go to: http://sd40.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-08-02-senator-hueso-unveils-safety-beacons-heber-cross-walk or http://www.ivpressonline.com/photos/ben-hueso-unveils-safety-plan/collection_dcd50ff6-fc66-11e2-aa39-0019bb30f31a.html
Senator Hueso Presents $3.3 Million in Transportation Funds to County of Imperial Transportation Commission
State Senator Ben Hueso, with State Department of Transportation and local officials held a check presentation ceremony at the construction site of the new Downtown El Centro Bus Transit Terminal. Approximately $2.4 million of those funds will be used for the purchase of six large standard 40 ft. transit buses to be used on the Imperial Valley Transit fixed route service. The remaining funds will be used to purchase twelve smaller buses which will be used on intra-city circulator services in the City of El Centro and Brawley and other transit services where less capacity is required. For more information please click:
First Users Hail New Library: Newcomers Line Up for Library Cards,
Regulars Find their Niche
Newcomers lined up for library cards and regulars found new niches for reading as only minor glitches marred the long-awaited opening of the $196.7 million San Diego Central Library at Joan and Irwin Jacobs Common. To read more, go to: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/sep/30/library-open-downtown/
Central Library at a Glance
Location: 330 Park Blvd.
Hours: noon-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
Parking: 170 spaces in two basements, temporarily free until an operator comes on board. The garage will close one hour after the library closes each day.
Information: (619) 236-5800; sandiegolibrary.org
Citizen of the Month: Steve Arends, Chula Vista, CA
Steve Arends has a long history of service to the community. He is one of the founders of the Chula Vista Veterans Home Support Foundation, a City of Chula Vista sponsored 501(c)(3) charity which supports the 300+ elderly and disabled veterans residing at our California Veterans Home in Chula Vista.
He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the San Diego "One VA" Community Advisory Board, as well as having served on the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Legislative Committee. In addition, he was the Legislative Representative for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors' Veterans Advisory Council and the City of Chula Vista's Veterans Advisory Commission.
Steve is a retired Navy Captain, and Naval Aviator, having served on active duty 1966-1994. He is especially proud of having been an unrestricted Naval Aviator, and we are too. If you see Steve in the community, be sure to congratulate him. Here is a link to a recent article highlighting his work: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/May/06/california-grappling-with-costs-of-veterans-homes/
Our Region's Waters Define Us
For residents like me, our coastal waters provide a place to play. I'm known for my passions for kayaking and ocean swimming, and others enjoy coastal hikes, boating, fishing, surfing and natural spaces to gather with our family and friends after work. Read more: http://www.thestarnews.com/chula-vista/our-region-s-waters-define-us/
No Hunger for California Heroes
Due to the Great Recession, and slower-than-expected economic recovery, approximately 50 million people nationwide -including one in five children -regularly struggle against hunger. While hunger is a travesty in any family, it is especially disconcerting to see the number of hungry veterans and families of active-duty personnel. More at http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/09/20/no-hunger-for-california-heroes/
Job-Creation in California Continues To Expand
California's Employment Development Department (EDD) reports that California employers continue to add jobs with a total gain of 807,700 since the state's job market hit bottom in February 2010. The report shows primary job growth in the professional and business services, as well as in the leisure and hospitality industries, accounting for more than half of the net new jobs. Educational, health services, and trade, transportation and utilities have also seen steady increases.
EDD projects a job gain in California of 680,700 in the two-year period between 2012 and the third quarter of 2014, with only the government sector losing jobs.
The full report can be seen at www.calmis.ca.gov/specialreports/Labor-Day-Briefing-2013.pdf
California Minimum Wage Increase
President Obama, in his State of the Union Address this year, called for an increase of the national minimum wage to $9 an hour from $7.25 and to automatically adjust it to inflation. According to a California Research Bureau report on the minimum wage, the first minimum wage law in the United States was enacted in Massachusetts in 1912. It was voluntary and only protected women and children.
The first California minimum wage was passed in 1913 and set the rate at $0.16 an hour. The Supreme Court overturned the first national minimum wage, passed in 1933, citing the rights of businesses to contract. The high court reversed direction in the late 1930's and the Fair Labor and Standards Act passed in 1938 setting the national minimum wage at $0.25 an hour.
Most recently, Senate joined the Assembly in a vote to raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour within three years under AB 10 and Governor Brown signed the bill into law. The bill will gradually raise California's minimum wage from the current $8 an hour to $10 by 2016. It will be the first increase in the state's minimum wage in six years. According to an analysis by the Assembly, the move will increase earnings for a projected 2 million Californians by $4,000 a year and put $2.6 billion into the economy.
California has most often set the bar higher, requiring a greater minimum wage than the national standard. Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina have no minimum wage laws on the books.
This year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Cyberbullying Research Center reported that California ranks number one in the nation with the highest level of cyberbullying. Approximately 35% of California students were cyberbullied, and of those students only 52% actually reported being cyberbullied. Cyberbullying takes place using electronic technology such as cell phones, computers, tablets and other communication methods, including social media sites, text messages and chats.
Cyberbullying has become a troubling issue in schools across the nation, from elementary school to college, and has even entered the adult work place. Many students who have been the victims of cyberbullying have resorted to abusing alcohol and drugs, skipping school, receiving poor grades and/or generally feeling a lower self-esteem. Some of these youths have even taken their own lives.
Cyberbullying can happen at any time, reaching kids at any moment. It can be done anonymously and can be quickly distributed to a wide audience. The effects of this abuse are often long lasting; it is difficult to remove abusive messages on social media sites or from texts and videos that have been distributed.
Some California school districts are attempting to curb cyberbullying by implementing new policies. The Lodi Unified School District, located in the northern part of the Central Valley, for example proposed requiring student athletes and those students participating in extra-curricular activities to sign a social media contract. After much debate over free speech rights, the school district was forced to modify its proposed policy. Debates over students' free speech rights and preventing cyberbullying likely will continue.
It is important to understand how to deal with cyberbullying. There are a number of resources available to educate parents, teachers and students on how to prevent and respond to cyberbullying.