January 2014 Newsletter
Happy New Year! We closed 2013 spreading cheer with toy and food giveaways for needy families throughout the district. These spirited community celebrations were an invigorating endeavor. Seeing kids benefit from events like car seat drives, Toys for Joy, and Casa Familiar's Toy Party left an invaluable impression, fueling my drive to continue to be a strong advocate for organizations that work to support our communities.
Now looking to 2014, we are in the final phases of completing our draft legislative packet. We are currently considering policy ideas in economic development, education, environment, health, human services, labor, local government, public safety, transportation and veterans' affairs. We hope to have a final list to share with you by next month.
With regard to the Governor's recent budget proposal, I am encouraged to see that all the years of hard work and tough choices are beginning to take shape. I appreciate the commitment to rebuild education funding as well as giving our local jurisdictions the tools to improve their neighborhoods. In addition, a well-placed rainy day fund will help offset the volatility of our tax system, thus protecting our investments and the people of California. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to formalize the budget and strengthen our economy.
Lastly, I want to shine our Community Spotlight on Linda Pennington! For over 30 years Linda has been actively involved in improving San Diego through community clean-up efforts and beautification programs. Now as Community Organizer for San Diego Canyonlands, she continues to lead the way in community improvements with strong support and partnership from local non-profits. Please join me in thanking Linda for her impressive and tireless service to our district! And please feel free to contact our office with any questions you may have about our legislative process or about the information that you find in this newsletter.
January 6 - Legislature reconvenes
January 10 - Budget must be submitted by Governor (on or before this date)
January 11 - National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 20 - Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday (observed)
January 24 - Anniversary of first gold discovery in Coloma, California in 1848
See more legislative dates at: http://senate.ca.gov/sites/senate.ca.gov/files/2014AGREEDlegislativecalendar.pdf
Community Spotlight: Linda Pennington
Since 1981, Linda has been actively improving San Diego through community clean-up efforts and beautification programs that have helped low-income, seniors and disabled homeowners with exterior paint and landscaping for their homes. To date, more than 500 homes have received a "FaceLift" through the Community Housing Works special program and Project CLEAN has facilitated the filling of hundreds of 40 yard dumpsters with hazardous brush and illegally dumped trash and debris. Now as Community Organizer for San Diego Canyonlands, she continues to lead the way in community improvements with support from local residents and organizations like Price Charities, Ocean Discovery Institute and I Love a Clean San Diego as well as other strong partners. Please join me in thanking Linda for her impressive work in serving our community!
Toys for Joy (San Diego)
In December, I presented a resolution to the Rock Church commending their seventeenth annual Toys for Joy campaign. This important event unites schools, businesses, community organizations and other local churches to bring toys and food to children and their families. Over the past 15 years, this endeavor has served over 35,000 grateful families. I was proud to present a most heartfelt commendation to Pastor Miles McPherson and the members of the congregation for their tireless and invaluable contributions to our community.
For more information on Toys for Joy, please visit: http://toys-for-joy.org/.
Car Seat Clinic (El Centro)
I had the opportunity to collaborate with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Kiwanis Club of El Centro to host a Child Car Seat Safety event to provide information on how to keep children safe while driving. CHP officers were on hand to answer questions regarding child safety seat installation and compliance with the law. The event also included a drive-through with four officer technicians to inspect safety seats for proper placement. If officers found unsafe car seats and the parents could not meet the expense of a new one, a new child safety seat was made available. The event provided an opportunity for the community and law enforcement to work together to safeguard our children against vehicular injury.
Gold Discovered in California, January 24, 1848
While many people in California figured gold was somewhere in the state's mountains, it was James W. Marshall on January 24, 1848, who first discovered gold when he saw something shiny in Sutter Creek near Coloma, California. He discovered gold unexpectedly while overseeing construction of a sawmill on the American River.
Read more about an important date in California's history at: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/reform/jb_reform_fortyniners_1.html
An Estimated 370,000 Begin Covered California Applications
Covered California is proceeding with additional consumer assistance and an updated website. According to the program, the number of applications completed through Covered California has reached more than 10,000 a day, and the state accounted for a third of all Affordable Care Act related enrollees nationwide in the first month of sign-ups.
Covered California and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) have announced that as of November 19, Californians had completed 360,464 health coverage applications and had their eligibility determined for premium assistance or no-cost or low-cost Medi-Cal. About 39 percent, or 135,000 of the completed applications, will likely result in Medi-Cal coverage for currently uninsured or underinsured individuals.
At full implementation in 2019, more than 2 million Californians are projected to be receiving subsidized health coverage for themselves and their families through Covered California.
For questions about enrollment in Covered California, please call 1-800-300-1506 or visit
Valuable Services for State Military Veterans
Whether it's an affordable education or an affordable home loan, veterans and their families living in the Golden State are entitled to a variety of benefits from the State of California, above and beyond those already guaranteed by the federal government.
Among these benefits, the CalVets Home Loan Program offers low-interest, low down-payment financing for veterans in the market to buy a home, with special rates for first time buyers. The California Department of Veterans Affairs also maintains a system of eight veterans homes throughout the state, which provide long-term residential care for an estimated 3,000 senior and disabled veterans. The veterans home system provides "a comprehensive plan of medical, dental, pharmacy, rehabilitation services and social activities within a homelike, small community environment." Other benefits include higher education assistance.
Service-members that have recently relocated from other states may qualify for instate tuition rates at California's community colleges or publically-funded universities, and a veteran's dependents may be eligible for tuition and fee waivers from California's publically-funded institutions of higher learning.
Lean more about potential veteran's benefits here: http://www.calvet.ca.gov/VetServices/
Population in California over 38 million
California grew by 332,000 people between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 to total more than 38.2 million, according to official population estimates released by the Department of Finance. The growth rate of 0.9 percent and the 332,000 numeric gain are the highest for California since the pre-recession year of 2003-04.
Although the birth rate itself continues to decline, California births were slightly higher than last year. Births less deaths, called natural increase, remain a primary source of the state's population growth. The state's natural increase of 266,000 is composed of 507,000 births minus 241,000 deaths.
California Department of Finance
- Alpine County, with just over 1,100 residents is California's smallest county in terms of population.
- Los Angeles County, with over 10 million residents is the largest county in California.
- Seven out of ten Californians live in the state's nine largest counties: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento and Contra Costa.
- Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Clara, and Alameda counties posted the highest population gains.
- Alameda, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, Placer and Kern counties had the largest percentage increases in population, each growing more than one percent.
Before tossing that item in the trash, here is a list of five common items that can be recycled:
Paper: Most paper, either through curbside programs or local drop-off centers, can be readily recycled. Foil or metallic paper is not recyclable, but you can use it for other purposes like packaging or craft material.
Cardboard: Most curbside recycling programs collect cardboard, but if your hauler does not, make sure to check where your nearest recycling drop-off center is. Additionally, to save space in your bin, break down the boxes so that they become flat. The cardboard boxes you recycle will one day turn into paper bags, paperboard packaging and new cardboard boxes.
Foam Packaging, Cups, and Food Containers (commonly mistaken as Styrofoam): Polystyrene foam can be identified by a #6 - PS symbol, often found at the bottom of the material. It has a wide variety of uses, from the large molded blocks used to package electronics, such as TVs and computers, to food service packaging, including foam cups, bowls, egg cartons and "clamshell" take-out containers. Not all cities in California accept foam in their curbside recycling bins or at neighborhood drop-off facilities, but many have been adding it, so check with your city to see if it is accepted where you live. For more information about foam recycling in your area, visit http://california.gofoam.org/.
Holiday Lights: Holiday light strings that are old or no longer work can be recycled. In fact, there are programs in place that allow for you to ship your old lights for recycling, but you can also check with your local recycling center or hardware store to see if you can drop them off there. For more information, visit http://www.holidayleds.com
Holiday Trees and Wreaths: If you want to recycle your tree in your green (yard waste) container, then you can cut up your tree into small pieces. However, if that is something that you do not have the ability to do, many communities will collect trees curbside for two weeks after Christmas or offer free drop-off locations. Before you recycle your tree or wreath make sure to remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights and other non-organic decorative materials. For more information, visit http://www.pickyourownchristmastree.org/disposing.php.
It is important to remember, when it comes to recycling, every community is different, so please take a moment to help the environment by recycling all of the holiday materials accepted in your community.
Check with your local solid waste and recycling office about your neighborhood's recycling options. If items are not accepted in your community, then look online to find companies that will take your items.