I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. During these difficult times, I want to remind you that my office is here to help if you have any questions about state assistance for the pandemic or any other issue.
July has found us seemingly back where we started with additional business closures, changes to other industry guidelines, and other measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In order to get off California’s County Monitoring List, we need to work together. Please remember to:
- Wear a mask in public
- Keep physical distance
- Wash your hands often
- Limit in-person socializing to people in your home
Additionally, as cases rise, some people will be receiving calls from contact tracers. If a public health worker calls, please answer the phone. They're helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by alerting people who may have been exposed, and connecting people to free testing and health care resources. Your name and personal information will be kept confidential and secure. Contact tracers will NEVER ask for your social security number or financial information.
As always, and especially now, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if you have any questions about the state’s response to COVID-19 or any other state issue.
||July recess begins
||Independence Day observed
||Legislature reconvenes from recess
|For the complete legislative calendar, please visit: Legislative Calendar
Binational Meeting on Tijuana River Valley Contamination
On July 9, I convened a half-day meeting at the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant between officials from both sides of the border to discuss the binational efforts that are underway to stem the flow of toxic wastewater in the Tijuana River Valley. Highlights from the discussion include:
- $300 million has been allocated in the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) to fund projects outlined in the County of San Diego’s needs assessment (commissioned by my bill SB 507 from 2017).
- The State Senate recently passed my bill, SB 1301, to create a Binational Watershed Management Plan for the Tijuana River Valley.
- In addition to the $15 million I secured in the state budget in 2019, I am currently working with colleagues in the legislature to provide an additional $30-plus million through a bond measure
- The State Public Utilities Commission of Tijuana announced the procurement of three new effluent pumps to replace the outdated infrastructure currently in place.
- Tijuana’s water agency confirmed the replacement of three existing pumping stations with the newly acquired pumping systems in order to re-direct contaminated flows to the Punta Bandera Effluent Outfall, located more than 12 kilometers south of Imperial Beach.
To learn more, please visit my website.
Plastic Roads in California
(With BVHS Progressive Club President Bryce Garrod and BVHS team members during a visit to MacRebur Southern California offices to see this technology in action)
The California State Senate unanimously passed my bill (SB 1238) that would task Caltrans with studying the use of recycled plastics in asphalt used for the construction or repair of a state highway or road. The idea for this bill came from students at Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista!
Prior to 2018, California was sending two-thirds of its recyclable materials to China. After beginning to cut back on their recyclable imports, the Chinese government announced that, in 2018, they would be banning almost all plastic trash imports. This shift has led to loss of markets and a surplus of unrecycled plastic in our state, which is now either burned or sitting in a landfill. As a leader on environmental justice issues, California is uniquely positioned to innovate the transportation industry by introducing new technology that could revolutionize the way we look at recycled plastic.
California for All Small Business Month
Governor Newsom issued a proclamation declaring July 2020 as “California for All Small Business Month.” Additionally, the State has launched a new campaign to encourage Californians to help small businesses in their community operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign, called “Calling All Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal,” also gives small business owners resources to help them adapt to new challenges and consumer demands. For more information, visit https://business.ca.gov/shopsafeshoplocal
Supporting small business is an important part of helping California’s economy recover. I highly encourage you to support local businesses, and do it in a way that protects both you and workers.
- Wear a mask
- Keep at least 6 feet of distance whenever possible
- Use curbside pickup where available
- Shop local retailers online
Citizen of the Month: Olivia Carrillo
Congratulations to Olivia Carrillo on her selection for the 2020 California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship! This is an exceptional achievement, and I am very proud of her representation of Imperial County and the 40th Senate District.
Olivia is enrolled in SDSU’s Doctorate of Audiology program, a highly-competitive program that only accepts 10 applicants per year. For her undergraduate studies, she attended Imperial Valley College then transferred to SDSU to complete her bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. As a Latina growing up in Imperial Valley, Olivia says she experienced firsthand the need for affordable and accessible healthcare in underserved and impoverished areas. Her personal experiences with past and current insufficient services inspired her to work to be part of the solution to this disparity in quality healthcare access. She chose the Doctorate of Audiology program to be able to give back to Imperial County, which does not have any audiologists despite the immense need for affordable health services.
This is the sixth year that the Foundation has run this scholarship program to honor hardworking California students, and this year received a record number of applications. The pool of applicants was highly competitive but Olivia’s application stood out among the rest. Her drive is unmatchable, and I was touched by her strong desire to create positive change in the world, especially right here in Imperial County. Best wishes at San Diego State University and in all your future endeavors. I know you will continue to make the 40th Senate District proud!
Nonprofit of the Month: Community Through Hope
(Earlier this month, we brought lunch to CTH volunteers as a small token of our gratitude for their herculean efforts)
This month, I want to shine a huge spotlight on Community Through Hope, a truly heroic nonprofit organization located in Chula Vista. CTH is a grassroots nonprofit that relies on volunteers who have given their time to fight hunger during the COVID-19 crisis. These incredible volunteers have logged nearly 10,000 hours since the start of the pandemic, working tirelessly to meet the surge in demand for food by many families, seniors and the unsheltered/homeless. In that same amount of time, CTH has distributed more than 2 million pounds of nutrition to those in need in our district.
During these difficult times, it is so important to not only take care of yourself, but to help your neighbors if you are able. None of us can do this alone, and CTH has proven time and time again to be a beacon of hope for so many in our community. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for everything you do.