March 2014 Newsletter
Last week I sent out an update about our state's drought. I want to continue to remind you to please do all that you can to conserve water. California's drought has several communities facing possible drinking water shortages. I urge you to contact your local water agency about water conservation steps being implemented in your region. Please follow indoor tips and outside tips that help save water and read more at Save our H2O. Lastly, please share my public service announcement video in English and Spanish at http://sd40.senate.ca.gov/multimedia/video to support our public awareness campaign.
In closing, our Community Spotlight shines bright on Mireya Hernandez. Ms. Hernandez is a 23-year veteran at Casa Familiar managing various programs including truancy prevention, transitional housing placement and parenting programs. She volunteers for the food bank on her furlough day and does this out of love for the community. She is a tremendous asset for Casa Familiar and our district. Join me in congratulating Ms. Hernandez for her tireless dedication to public service.
As always, 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.
Community Spotlight: Mireya Hernandez
Mireya Hernandez has been working with Casa Familiar for 23 years running various important programs including truancy prevention, transitional housing placement and the "University for Parents." The latter is a program that is truly unique. "University for Parents" is a 15-week course designed to help parents understand the public education, develop skills that can be useful in an educational setting, master parent involvement and develop effective parenting skills. Field trips include visits to universities, schools and other cultural/educational settings. I appreciate her commitment to improving the lives of the families in District 40. When you see her in the community, please help me congratulate her for all of these accomplishments!
Senate Veterans Hearing and Job Fair (San Diego, CA)
Our Senate Veterans Affairs hearing was held in San Diego last month to explore ways in which we can increase employment rates of military veterans and discuss the effectiveness of initiatives to assist veterans entering the labor force. To solidify that message, and in cooperation with the California Employment Development Department, we hosted a job fair after the hearing to connect veterans and transitioning military personnel with employers and contractors. Military personnel face many challenges when seeking employment. This event is the first of many efforts to address and minimize those challenges. As Chair of Senate Veterans Affairs, my goal is to create opportunities and implement policies that increase gainful employment for those that have served our country.
The hearing is archived on our website at http://sd40.senate.ca.gov/.
For additional information, you can visit: http://workforce.org/news/senator-ben-hueso-holds-job-fair-and-
Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce (Chula Vista, CA)
Last year I worked with the South County Economic Development Council and our local chambers to retain the hiring credit for small businesses in our district. Our hard work paid off and we now have an improved economic development plan for our state that will drive California to economic prosperity. All of this could not have been accomplished without the help of my capable staff that always strives to go the extra mile for our constituents and our great state. Our staff champion on this issue was Jacob O'Neill. His work did not go unnoticed and I am proud to announce that he was honored at the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce annual dinner. When you call my office, please congratulate him on a job well done!
To read more, please click: http://chulavistacacoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/External/WCPages/
Second Annual Mariachi Festival (San Diego, CA)
This year I will be participating in the National City Mariachi Festival and Competition. Last year, the National City Chamber of Commerce began incorporating a Mariachi Competition into their yearly Cinco de Mayo celebration. This year's event will offer workshops for students at the University of San Diego. Classes will take place Thursday, March 13 and Friday, March 14 and are open to all Junior High and High School mariachi students who wish to improve their mariachi music skills.
The second Annual Mariachi Festival and Competition is the largest in San Diego and will take place at Pepper Park in National City on Saturday, March 15. Admission to the event is FREE and will offer the community a healthy environment to celebrate culture, diversity and an active lifestyle. Please join us!
Registration is open, but space is limited. For more information and to sign-up please visit www.mariachifest.com.
Le Tour de Manure Bike Ride (El Centro, CA)
On Saturday, March 29 I will take a 50 mile bike ride through the heart of our agricultural region while participating in the Le Tour de Manure Bike Ride in El Centro. I invite you to join me in promoting health and family at this fun event that benefits the Imperial Valley Special Olympics. The Law Enforcement Torch Run Committee will be assisting riders on the road and law enforcement agencies will be patrolling the route. I look forward to seeing you there.
To learn more and to register, click: http://www.cityofelcentro.org/parkandrec/index.asp?m=1&page=37
Protect your family and property
Though CAL FIRE has additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing to help address the increased fire threat during the drought, dangerous wildfires continue to threaten Southern California every year. To reduce the risk of fire to your family and property, take a moment to read Living with Wildfire, provided by the Burn Institute. It is also available in Spanish. This public education program provides fire prevention tips that will help protect your family and property. Information is found both in English and Spanish.
Follow this link for more information: http://www.burninstitute.org/fire-and-burn-prevention/wildfire-program.
California Foreclosures Decline
In late 2013, foreclosure filings in California dropped to their lowest level since the beginning of the housing crisis, according to a new report by DataQuick.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, "notices of default" - the first step in California's formal foreclosure process - were down 10.8 percent from the previous quarter, and a whopping 52.6 percent below the same period a year earlier. All total, 18,120 default notices were filed during the final three months of the year - the lowest since 2005. Completed foreclosures also declined to 8,205 - down 61.2 percent from the previous year.
The California Homeowners Bill of Rights which took effect last year, is credited with slowing the rate of foreclosure in the state by providing new protections to homeowners facing financial difficulties.
$56.7 Billion Five-Year Infrastructure Plan
In February, Governor Jerry Brown presented the Legislature with his five-year infrastructure plan. The plan details the proposed investment of $56.7 billion in state infrastructure from 2014-2019. Since 1999, the California Infrastructure Planning Act has required that the governor submit such a plan for consideration with the annual budget bill.
Reflecting the sheer size of the state's transportation system and the state's commitment to a new high-speed rail system, over 94 percent of the proposed funding in the 2014 plan is dedicated to the state's transportation system. There are also significant investments proposed for addressing health and safety issues at various state institutions, including prisons, state hospitals and the state special schools for the blind and deaf.
Like most states in the nation, the fiscal challenges created by the Great Recession resulted in California deferring many infrastructure and maintenance investments. Consequently, since 2008, the Governor had not submitted a plan.
Renewing its commitment to longer-term infrastructure planning, the state's 2014 effort recognized two shortcomings of earlier planning documents. First, prior plans often lacked prioritization and included hundreds of projects that state departments identified as needed, but did not identify funding to pay for them. In addition, prior plans failed to discuss the costs to maintain state assets as well as the backlog of deferred maintenance.
Since the Planning Act ties infrastructure planning to the budget, the Governor's Department of Finance is responsible for drafting the plan. The Department hopes that their 2014 effort corrects previous shortcomings and makes the planning document more relevant.