December 2014 Newsletter
I am humbled by the trust you have put in me and proud to have the opportunity to continue to represent the 40th Senate District. I am excited about this legislative session and I am more prepared than ever to adequately serve the needs of our community. We accomplished many great things in 2014. For 2015 my plan is to continue to build the middle class, create jobs and secure opportunities for the future through access to quality education, clean water and the protection of our public's health.
As you prepare for the holidays, please remember to support local business. Supporting local businesses helps increase our local tax base, which in turn funds local public safety, libraries, parks and infrastructure improvements. It also creates more local jobs. From San Diego to Imperial Valley, you're sure to find unique stores with exactly what you need for the holidays.
This time of year is also a good time to pass down family traditions. Whether it's music, recipes, or fun activities, holiday traditions make this time of year extra special. Below, I've listed a few favorite area traditions that might be of interest. Let us know what you like to celebrate most during the holiday season.
Lastly, Margarita Holguin closes the year as our Community Spotlight. Ms. Holguin is the Director of the Chula Vista Community Collaborative (CVCC) and works closely with local schools and service providers to ensure that families have access to needed health and safety resources. She developed capacity building opportunities for Promotoras, including the Promotoras Academy, an annual conference. Promotoras are local Spanish-speaking residents that, as mentors and educators, serve as a liaison between the community and integrated health and family support programs. Please join me in congratulating her for her pertinent work!
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: Margarita Holguin
As the Director of the Chula Vista Community Collaborative (CVCC), Margarita Holguin draws together the local community to develop strategies that protect the health and safety of residents. CVCC operates five Family Resource Centers and seeks to increase access to health and safety services for underserved populations. Ms. Holguin works closely with local schools and service providers to ensure that families have access to needed resources. She has been passionate about working with the community, and empowering community residents. In developing Promotoras, she ensures that participants are trained on a variety of leadership and health-related topics by CVCC administrative staff and partner agency professionals. Ms. Holguin is a gem in our community and we applaud her dedication and efforts. Thank you, Ms. Holguin!
To learn more about CVCC and the Promotoras Program, please visit their site at http://chulavistacc.org/.
CALENDAR: Event Reminders
Safe Toys and Gifts Month
National Influenza Vaccination Week
Bill of Rights Day
Christmas in the Park
December 11, 2014, 6p - 9p
City of Holtville, includes the local Farmer's Market and Santa visit.
December 13, 12p - 3p, artificial snow December 1-24
Village Walk, Eastlake Chula Vista
Christmas in the Dark Parade -
December 13, 2014, 12p - 9p, 6:00p Parade of Lights
Rademacher Park, Calipatria
Christmas Day -
New Year's Eve
2014 Legislative Accomplishments
The 2014-15 State Budget is the fourth budget in a row that Democrats have delivered on-time and balanced. The finalized plan appropriates $156.4 billion, with $108 billion of General Fund spending. It remains balanced through the five-year forecast period of 2019.
With a focus on fiscal stability, children and education, the budget provides for today and saves for the future. It reinvests in the state's social safety net with a commitment to increases in child care payments, overtime for home care workers and a five percent increase in CalWORKs cash aid benefits. In addition, the state has taken steps to pay off debt, save for the next "rainy day" and fix a long-term shortfall in the teachers' retirement system, CalSTRS.
SB 1228 - Continues the existence of the Trade Corridors Improvement Fund (TCIF), allowing for cap and trade dollars to be spent on construction projects enhancing our local land and sea ports.
AB 1522 - Requires employers to provide up to three paid sick days to employees who work 30 or more days within a year from commencement of employment.
SB 1167 - Requires property owners to abate substandard building conditions causing pest infestations, in addition to destroying causes of pest infestations.
Small Business Protection
SB 1171 - Protects business owners looking for a new location or starting a new business by requiring commercial real estate brokers to disclose if they are acting as an agent for both sides of the property transaction.
AB 13 - Allows veterans to pay in-state tuition at state universities and colleges regardless of their official state residency status.
SB 1265 - Enhances the state car fleet by allowing for the purchase of plug-in hybrids to reduce the state's carbon footprint and save taxpayer dollars by reducing fuel costs.
AB 1471 - Placed a water bond on that ballot (Proposition 1) allocating $7.5 billion for water-related projects, including groundwater clean-up and water storage.
Calexico - Secured over $2.7 Million to fund reconstruction of the Calexico municipal pool that was destroyed in 2010 by the Easter earthquake.
National City - Hosted public safety and child car seat safety clinic distributing over 60 new car seats to the community.
Tijuana River Valley - Secured $5.6 Million in federal funds for the California Department of Parks and Recreation to restore and maintain the trails.
Calexico, National City, Chula Vista, San Diego and Riverside - Distributed over 800 turkeys throughout the region, putting dinner on the table for needy families.
San Diego & Imperial County - Secured $5.6 million for the County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO).
Imperial Valley - Preserved $4.1 million in funding for the Agricultural Incentive Grant Program.
San Diego - Secured $3 million in funding to maintain the sediment basin at Goat Canyon.
El Centro - Secured an $11 million bond for the construction of the El Centro Aquatic Center.
Imperial County - Facilitated $187,000 for the County of Imperial to fund an early warning regional earthquake detection system, the first of its kind in the nation.
Tijuana River Estuary Award from the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve,
Border Field State Park
I want to thank the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) for honoring me this year with the Tijuana River Estuary Award. It has been an honor to protect this important asset in our district. Resilient estuaries are fundamental to coastal economies. Congress recognized this in 1972 by adopting the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) where it created the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and national coastal zone management program. Essential to the success of these programs are the federal, state, and non-profit partnerships that leverage innovative, scientific expertise, while sharing a strong commitment to ensure that coastal communities thrive.
For more information, please visit: http://trnerr.org/
Chula Vista Starlight Parade, Chula Vista
I had the distinct honor to participate in this year's Chula Vista's Starlight Parade. First held in the 1940's, the parade was the only night-time parade in San Diego County and drew thousands of people to Third Avenue Village. Following a two-year hiatus while Third Avenue was spruced up, the parade came back to celebrate its long-standing tradition.
Holiday Tradition Ideas
Family traditions are important. They create culture and maintain a story of the past. Whether you are passing down cherished traditions or creating new ones, traditions are a fun way to celebrate the season. Here are a few ideas on holiday traditions that you can make your own this winter or any time of the year:
- Take the same picture each year - on your front porch, in front of the fireplace or in front of the Villa Montezuma in Sherman Heights.
- Pass down a toy or a favorite keepsake or create new art at the Barrio Art Association.
- Go see holiday light decorations at Balboa Park December Nights or walk by the decorated homes at Christmas Circle in Chula Vista.
- Support local agriculture by buying fresh produce for your holiday meals at your local Farmers' Market.
- Walk the trails at the Tijuana Estuary or visit Border Field State Park.
- Take a walking tour of the historic homes located in Sherman Heights or Chula Vista.
- Visit the garden and historic Victorian home at Olivewood Gardens or the Kimball House Museum.
- Learn about local wildlife at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
- Visit the U.S Olympic Training Center- walk -in tours on Saturdays.
- Take the family for ice skating at Horton Plaza.
- Attend local holiday parades and festivals.
Measuring the Health of Latino Children and Families in California
There is a significant difference between the overall health of Latino children compared to their white peers, a fact that will have an impact on the future well-being of California's population and economy. A new report, "¿Cómo Están los Niños? The Health of Latino Children and Families in California," uses data from three national and statewide health surveys to discuss the health status of Latino children in California, as well as their access to quality healthcare. The study is intended to provide data for policymakers and advocates working both to improve the current health and well-being of Latino children and to ensure a healthy future population for California.
The report finds that fewer California Latino children than white children experience a minimum standard of basic health care, family, and community factors, and this is especially true for Latino children living in Spanish primary language households.
The health disparity is significant to California's future economy and workforce as more than 4.7 million Californians are Latino children under age 18. Latinos make up 37.6 percent of California's total population, but 51.2 percent of the child population. More than 94 percent of Latino children in California are U.S. citizens, but 45.7 percent of their mothers were born outside the U.S. Over 30 percent of California children live in households in which the primary language spoken is Spanish.
More than 370,000 Latino children in the state have no health insurance, despite being eligible for government-funded programs. A leading factor in this is that undocumented immigrants may avoid enrolling their children, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens, in programs out of fear that the family's immigration status will be discovered in the process. Limited English proficiency may also contribute to a lack of knowledge or understanding about eligibility and the enrollment process.
The report recommends the use of a "whole child" approach to health policy by expanding access to healthcare, overcoming culture and language barriers, and educating families and communities on the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition.
The study was conducted by researchers from the university-based Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative and commissioned by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. The researchers examined data on physical health, as well as on family, school and neighborhood environments, to create a picture of the current status of Latino children in the state.
California Highway Patrol Changes Guidelines on Lane Sharing
The California Highway Patrol and the state's Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) have updated their advice to motorcyclists regarding motorcycles passing other vehicles proceeding in the same direction within the same lane, a practice often called "lane splitting," "lane sharing" or "filtering." In California, lane-splitting is considered legal, though the practice is not taught or endorsed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles nor by most motorcycle training schools.
The updated information on lane sharing follows the release of statewide driver survey results compiled by OTS and the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley.
The DMV reminds motorcyclists and drivers that creating a safer highway environment is the shared responsibility of drivers and motorcyclists alike. This is achieved by staying alert and using common sense and courtesy while on the road. It is also important for motorcyclists to minimize their risks by riding responsibly, always wearing a helmet and other protective gear and to never ride under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants. Here are other important safety reminders:
- Watch your speed-a motorcycle collision is highly likely to cause injury or death.
- Assume people in cars do not see you.
- Avoid blind spots in other vehicles, particularly large trucks.
The California Highway Patrol also strongly encourages all motorcycle riders to sign up for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, which is administered by the CHP as California's official motorcycle safety and training program. The program offers courses for new and experiences riders.