Coronado Bridge Suicide Prevention Initiative
Senator Hueso, City of Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, survivor Bertha Loaiza, and Wayne Strickland of the Coronado-San Diego Bridge Collaborative for Suicide Prevention hold a press conference in support of Senate Bill no. 656
This week, the State Senate unanimously passed a bill I authored that would create an advisory committee to provide input into the selection of a suicide deterrent system for the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
The Coronado Bridge Suicide Prevention Initiative, Senate Bill no. 656, will ensure a broad section of regional stakeholders have a seat at the table to help inform the selection process and lead to a decision that best meets the needs of the community. More importantly, this bill will give community members the opportunity to provide feedback as Caltrans continues to review possible long-term solutions to help prevent these lamentable deaths. In addition, I sent a letter to the budget subcommittee chairs in both houses of the State Legislature asking them to allocate $10 million toward the permanent suicide deterrent system on the bridge.
It is imperative that we pass SB 656, as it will serve as an instrumental step in ending this tragic piece of history which prevails in our community today. I encourage you to contact your representative in the State Assembly to express your support for this bill - every call helps!
End Child Poverty Tour
Earlier this month, I took part in the End Child Poverty rally and statewide bus tour that kicked off in Chula Vista and then continued north to Sacramento, stopping in various cities along the way. The bus tour aimed to bring awareness to the issue of deep poverty and promote efforts to eradicate it.
I believe very strongly that a child's zip code should never determine that individual's destiny; however today, the community that a child grows up in impacts their odds of graduating high school, accessing healthcare, and lifetime economic opportunities. It is shocking to me that, despite being the fifth largest economy in the word, California has the highest number of children and highest percentage of children living in poverty of any state in the nation.
I have worked very hard in the State Legislature to support comprehensive work in underserved communities - I believe this is crucial to eliminating deep child poverty. This includes introducing legislation this year and in past years to support state efforts to complement the federal Promise Zone and Opportunity Zone programs. Both Promise and Opportunity Zones are characterized by high unemployment, low educational attainment, insufficient access to health care, concentrated poverty, and high crime. These programs have been very successful at bolstering communities that have historically been left behind.
San Diego is working collaboratively and strategically with all levels of government to enhance these programs to increase economic activity and job growth, improve educational opportunities, and enhance public health outcomes. I'm very proud to be a part of that coalition, and will continue to work to end deep child poverty in our state and beyond.
8% Funding Increase for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Earlier this month, I joined The Arc of San Diego and their clients and staff, family members and other stakeholders to support an eight-percent rate increase in the State Budget to provide for services that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This increase is critical for local and state service providers like The Arc of San Diego, and would begin to stabilize California's crumbling developmental disabilities system and ensure vital services are protected.
At the direction of the State Legislature, the Department of Developmental Services recently completed a rate study to address the sustainability and quality of community-based services for Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The draft report concluded that developmental services in California are underfunded by $1.8 billion.
This is unacceptable. We must take immediate action to stabilize the developmental disability system to ensure that the state is meeting its obligation to provide services to eligible individuals. I have joined a growing group of colleagues in the State Legislature to request an 8% across-the-board rate increase to serve as a "down payment" on the rate study to address the crisis in community services and temporarily stabilize the system so that we can begin to implement broader reforms.
San Diego Unified School District's 2019 Teachers of the Year
A huge congratulations to three exceptional teachers from San Diego Unified School District who were recently honored as 2019 Teachers of the Year! It is especially exciting that all three teach at schools located in the 40th Senate District:
-Hilda Martinez, Zamorano Elementary
-Roosevelt Johnson, Mann Middle School
-Jenny Lieu, Lincoln High School
Congratulations on this exciting honor, Hilda, Roosevelt and Jenny! And, thank you to the thousands of teachers throughout the district who every day make a difference in the lives of students throughout San Diego.