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Senator Ben Hueso

August 2014 Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 82 percent of the state is now suffering from extreme drought conditions, the second highest level of drought; and 36.49 percent of the state is in “exceptional” drought conditions, the highest level of drought. The Washington Post has created an animation showing the progression of drought affecting areas of California since the start of the year.

Compared to one year ago, no region in the state was experiencing such conditions. Parts of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties have worsened within the last month. A recent article by the Los Angeles Times states that California is likely headed into a deeper drought. Climatologists at the National Drought Mitigation Center said dry conditions will probably continue and will not improve much in the next few months. In response, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) approved emergency water conservation regulations. Any infraction is punishable with a $500 fine for each day a violation occurs.

Back in February, I distributed a drought update and filmed a public service announcement encouraging residents to conserve water. I urge you again to watch the PSA and share it with your family and friends so that we can all work together to conserve water and help stretch limited supplies. To watch the video, go to or

For more information on how you can help increase our water resources, please visit the following links:

DWR Tips for Household Water Conservation
DWR Handbook on California Drought
American Red Cross Drought Preparedness Website
Save our Water Website

In closing, this month's Community Spotlight focuses on Maria Cortez. Since 1985, Ms. Cortez has been a strong advocate for the Centerline Transit, a City Heights plan intended to speed up travel to job centers in Downtown San Diego and North County. In addition, working with Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH), she helped secure funding for a Free Youth Bus Pass pilot program serving four high schools in the San Diego Unified School District. Maria is now advocating for legislation that would allow the use of Cap and Trade monies to fund these same types of bus passes for youth all across the State. Join me in congratulating Ms. Cortez for her dedication and commitment to efficient transportation in our community!

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: Maria Cortez

Maria Cortez

Ms. Cortez is passionate about improving transportation in City Heights. In 1985, Caltrans announced that they would build a freeway thru the middle of City Heights. In response, she organized residents in the area to make sure the I-15 extension would not divide the community in half. They advocated for a park on top of the freeway and rapid transit down the middle. In response to her knowledge and tenacity on the issue, she was appointed by then Councilmember Toni Atkins, now Speaker of the Assembly, to a working group on Centerline station designs. Her hard work will soon be realized as the Centerline project was recently fully funded and scheduled for completion in May of 2015.

Her advocacy efforts at MTS, SANDAG, and the City of San Diego have led to additional accomplishments including the development of medians on El Cajon Blvd., installation of crosswalks, improved lighting and pedestrian signals on El Cajon Blvd and near the Transit Plazas.

Ms. Cortez is a true gem in our community. I applaud her efforts at improving the lives of families in District 40. Congratulations, Ms. Cortez!

Diamond Neighborhood Family Health Center Ribbon Cutting -
Health Fair and Back to School Kickoff
Saturday, August 9, 2014

Family Health Centers of San Diego cordially invites you to celebrate the grand opening of their newest facility, Diamond Neighborhoods Family Health Center, open since March 17. Please join us in an official ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of this special event. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Diamond Neighborhoods Family Health Center
4725 Market Street, San Diego, California 92102
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Official Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony ~ 10:00 a.m.
Health Fair and Back to School Celebration ~ 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Health Fair is open to the public. Booths will offer free health screenings and information while the fair will feature a Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway, children's games, activities, food, music and more. The Health Fair is co-sponsored by California State Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D.

Read more:

Calexico Pool Funding

Oscar de la Hoya on the Senate Floor

This year I helped secure funding for a new pool facility for the City of Calexico and Calexico Unified School District.

In 2010, the City of Calexico was struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that severely damaged the only public swimming pool in the area, condemning it from public usage, and pushing residents to swim in the All-American Canal - a dangerous aqueduct that supplies water from the Colorado River into the Imperial Valley.

No resident in the State of California should be left without the use of a local public park-especially in a desert community that ranks as one of the hottest places in the world with an average daily temperature of over 100 degrees and record highs of over 110 degrees. Hearing about the loss and the ensuing potential threat to public safety, I made a promise to the community that I would help rebuild this important recreational asset.

Read more:

Minimum Wage Increases to $9.00 an hour

As of July 1st, the state's minimum wage increased to $9.00 per hour. The one dollar increase from $8.00 to $9.00 per hour is the first minimum wage increase since 2008. The increase came about with the passage of legislation last year which will raise the minimum wage further to $10.00 in 2016.

As of June 1, 22 states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage above the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour and was last raised on July 24, 2009. The National Conference of State Legislatures has published a survey of state minimum wage rates from across the country. California's Department of Industrial Relations maintains a wage history for the state.

According to coverage in the Sacramento Bee, the minimum wage increase is part of a nationwide effort in some states and communities to raise the standard of living for minimum wage earners. The minimum wage increase will be welcomed news for entry-level workers in the California economy. It follows a spate of good economic news, including an on-time, balanced state budget with increased revenues, and the fact that the state's unemployment rate continued to fall in May to 7.6 percent.

Minimum wage ahead

California Highway Patrol - El Centro Area, Safety Tip


The Move Over, Slow Down Law can mean the difference between life and death; the only way to prevent tragedies from occurring on the side of the road is by giving emergency personnel, highway workers and the public space. The law requires motorists to move over to a lane not immediately adjacent to a stationary vehicle displaying either the flashing emergency lights, or amber warning lights, or slow down if a lane change cannot be safely made.

California State Senator Ben Hueso - Fortieth Senate District
Representing portions of San Diego County and all of Imperial County.
Web site:
Contact: Senator Ben Hueso
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4035
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4040
Fax: (916) 651-4940
Chula Vista Office
303 H Street., Suite 200
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Phone: (619) 409-7690
Fax: (619) 409-7688
El Centro
1224 State Street, Suite D
El Centro, CA 92243
Phone: (760) 335-3442
Fax: (760) 335-3444

California State Senate Majority Caucus (c) 2017 California State Senate