July 2014 Newsletter
With the recent on-time passage and signing of the state budget, the legislature moves past one of the busiest times of the state's fiscal year. The final budget includes a $2.1 billion Rainy Day reserve fund and pays down the state's "wall of debt" by $12.4 billion. Budget highlights benefiting the 40th Senate District include $1.2 billion in infrastructure spending; a $3 million increase in funding for local library and literacy programs; an increase in the Cal Grant B stipend from $1,473 to $1,648; and $100 million for the Multifamily Housing Program Supportive Housing (MHP-SH) for new construction, rehabilitation, and acquisition of permanent rental housing. More importantly, our state budget allows overtime work for IHSS providers, augmenting the Governor's May Revision budget by $66 million.
This budget is fiscally responsible, helps create jobs, and strengthens our commitment to veterans, schools, and affordable housing. In addition, it ensures stability of our in-home caregivers and improves the lives of working families, seniors and disabled Californians. We are investing in our communities and creating a foundation for our state's future while reducing debt. I am proud to know that we are preserving and investing in a better California. For details on the budget, please visit Enacted 2014-15 Budget (summary).
In closing, we shine our Community Spotlight on Sandra Tauler. Ms. Tauler is the local Librarian and the Community Services Director for the City of Calexico. She also oversees the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center, the Carnegie Technology Center, and handles the day to day activities for the City's Recreation Department. Ms. Tauler is dedicated and committed to our district. Join me in congratulating Ms. Tauler for her tireless community service!
As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions you may have about our legislative process or about the information that you find in this newsletter.
Community Spotlight: Sandra Tauler
Ms. Tauler is much more than our local librarian and Community Service Director for the City of Calexico. Her unwavering energy leads her to also volunteer with the Calexico Chamber of Commerce to organize various local events like Farmer's Markets, which are held annually from November through April.
Through her work in the library and her service as Vice President for the Desert Valley Library Association, she actively organizes Summer Family Reading Programs and Fun Family Friday's in the Park. Lastly, Ms. Tauler serves as a board member for the Calexico Educational Foundation and periodically volunteers at the local Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Calexico.
Sandra Tauler is a tremendous asset for the Camarena Memorial Library and for our district.
I appreciate her commitment to improving the lives of families in District 40. When you see her in the community, please help me congratulate her!
Senate Concurrent Resolution 90: Tijuana River Valley Protections
Senate Concurrent Resolution 90 (SCR 90) declares the Legislature's commitment to collaborate with the Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team (Recovery Team) to protect the valley's diverse and unique ecological, recreational, cultural and educational opportunities. The resolution has received unanimous support in the Senate and Assembly and is now on its way to being chaptered by the Secretary of State. This effort represents an important step in preserving the Tijuana River Valley and provides an opportunity to enhance cross-border relationships and partnerships that will provide binational watershed-based solutions in the region.
The Tijuana River Valley is a broad floodplain of international importance. This watershed is made up of diverse and complex drainage systems ranging from pine forest-covered mountains to the tidal saltwater estuary at the mouth of the Tijuana River. It is a valuable ecological, recreational and economic resource continuously threatened by sediment, trash, and other contaminants carried in stormwater runoff.The pollution poses ecological, human health and safety hazards that cannot be solved unilaterally by the United States.
The Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team is a collaboration of more than 30 federal, state and local agencies and other interested parties from both sides of the border. This important coalition has drafted a recovery strategy for the valley that addresses pollutants and associated environmental problems in the region. This plan combines the collective knowledge, enthusiasm, and resources of the many agencies involved, and provides first-phase actions to restore and protect the valley.
Honoring Oscar de la Hoya
The California State Senate honored Oscar De La Hoya, nicknamed the Golden Boy of boxing, for his leadership and contributions to the state.
De La Hoya, a California native and son of Mexican immigrants, has helped California's economy by creating Golden Boy Promotions, the nation's first boxing promotional company owned by a Hispanic-American. Having grown up in East Los Angeles, one of the toughest neighborhoods in the state, he established a foundation in the area to support a charter school, a medical center, and after-school programs to lead youth away from gangs and drugs.
De La Hoya, an Olympic gold medalist and winner of 10 world titles, thanked lawmakers for the recognition. Earlier this month, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Eds
I am pleased to share two opinion pieces that appeared in the Union-Tribune last month. The first article describes the $3 million budget allocation to County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO) to increase the number of veteran claims processed - a win for California veterans! The second article describes a process of building coalitions and fighting for equitable funding to support San Diego water needs. I have included a short excerpt and a link to each article. I encourage you to read both.
State's veterans benefit from funding bill
Historically, California veterans have endured some of the nation's longest wait times when it comes to receiving their benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We owe our military heroes better than that, and the California Legislature should take every reasonable step to expedite the claims process. Read more: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jun/20/California-veterans-benefit-funding-bill/
San Diego legislators in pivotal role in water bond fight
State lawmakers are deep into what hopefully are final negotiations for a major bond issue asking voters to provide billions for critical water projects throughout this drought-plagued state. As always in water matters, San Diego County has much at stake. The region's legislative delegation must continue to present a united front and to play an aggressive role to assure the region is not shortchanged. Continue reading at: http://m.utsandiego.com/news/2014/Jun/30/san-diego-legislators-water-bond-wolk-hueso/
Water and Energy Conservation
In an effort to help residents reduce energy consumption and reach climate goals, the state's program, Energy Upgrade California, has launched a new outreach campaign for the summer. Energy Upgrade California is supported by the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, utilities, regional energy networks, local governments, businesses and nonprofits. Interested in learning more about water conservation? Please visit SaveOurWater.com for indoor and outdoor water saving tips.
California Drought Conditions to Blame for Increase in Food Prices
As farmers leave thousands of acres of California farmland idle as a result of the drought, it is estimated that fresh fruits and vegetable prices will go up 6 percent in the coming months, and prices are expected to continue to rise according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. California farmers produce half of the nation's fruits and vegetables, in addition to a majority of its high-value crops such as broccoli, tomatoes and artichokes. Consumers should also expected to see a jump in dairy prices and staple crops like rice as the result of the dry conditions in the state.
Record Breaking Temperatures
Due to unseasonably hot temperatures, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an excessive heat warning for parts of the Southwestern United States. This weather not only wreaks havoc on California's already dry landscape, but sustained hot weather can harm children, the elderly, homeless individuals and pets. The NWS is asking members of the public to take extra precautions, especially if they work or spend time outside.
The first five months of 2014 recorded an average temperature of 55.2°F in California, which beats 1934 -the beginning of the Dust Bowl - as the hottest year on record. Sacramento, San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego all reached record highs earlier this year.
However, federal forecasts have said recently that there is an 80 percent chance of an El Niño this winter, which could lead to abundant rain and cooler temperatures in the future.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments to reduce the risk of heat stroke when doing outdoor work.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale and clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
What You Should Do:
- Move to a cooler location.
- Lie down and loosen clothing.
- Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
- Sip water.
- If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
- High body temperature (above 103°F)*
- Hot, red, dry or moist skin
- Rapid and strong pulse
- Possible unconsciousness
What You Should Do:
- Call 911 immediately - this is a medical emergency.
- Move to a cooler environment.
- Reduce the body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
- Do NOT give fluids.
For more weather updates please visit http://alerts.weather.gov/cap/ca.php?x=1.
California Highway Patrol - El Centro Area, Safety Tip
The law and common sense make it absolutely clear that driving any vehicle after drinking is a critical mistake. A DUI crash or arrest can be averted in a number of ways: not drinking, riding with a designated sober driver, using public transportation, calling a taxi or staying where you are for the night.