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  • Fri, September 15, 2017 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With over 430 attendees, the 2017 SGV Awards Gala celebrated the honorees who have contributed to job growth, stability, expansion, economic vitality and the future for the next generation. Laughter and bugler notes filled the historic hall of Santa Anita Park, as guests networked with one another against the the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank you for showing up in your bold, beautiful hats and making the gala a memorable evening for all of us.

    We created a 2-minute video for each honoree this year to capture their contributions. Enjoy! 


     
  • Fri, September 15, 2017 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    A significant housing package passed the State Assembly late last night and now moves to the State Senate today, the close of the 2017 legislative session. Lawmakers have submitted nearly 130 housing-related bills this year, indicating the near crisis in the state with extraordinarily high housing costs sapping the spending power and financial stability of California's middle and lower classes.

    The Partnership supported SB 3, an affordable housing bond that includes mortgage assistance for veterans which would be added to the 2018 ballot for statewide approval by voters. The bond would raise $3 billion for affordable housing throughout the state and would leverage additional housing dollars from the federal government. It would have to be approved by California voters, most likely on the November 2018 ballot.

    SB 2 was the most significant bill of the package, placing a new $75 fee on real estate transaction documents, excluding home sales. The fee will generate an estimated $350 million for affordable housing annually for use throughout the state. This is the first permanent funding source established for affordable housing since the dissolution of redevelopment agencies back in 2012.

    Other significant bills passed to streamline approvals of housing, notably SB 35.

    Here's a brief look at the housing bills passed by the Assembly:

    SB 2 - Adds a new $75 fee on real estate transaction documents (no more than three per transaction), excluding home sales.

    SB 3 - Places a $4 billion general obligation bond on the November 2018 ballot, with $1 billion set aside for a veterans' home loan program.

    SB 35 - Forces cities and counties that fail to meet state-mandated housing production goals to approve multi-family, urban development projects that meet certain requirements, such as paying construction workers a prevailing wage.

    SB 540 - Allows cities to create priority housing zones with front-loaded planning and environmental reviews, so development projects that meet certain requirements would win expedited approval.

    SB 166 - Requires cities and counties to always ensure their general plans include enough potential development sites to meet their unmet housing needs.

    SB 167 - Increases the burden of proof a city or county must meet to deny a housing project, awards damages to developers if local governments act in bad faith, and requires courts to fine cities and counties for not complying with the Housing Accountability Act.

  • Fri, September 15, 2017 9:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Sacramento Bee: Housing package clears State Assembly after tight vote

    The major components of a legislative package aimed at addressing California’s housing affordability crisis cleared their biggest hurdle late Thursday night when the Assembly passed six bills in a tight vote.

    Legislative leaders had previously negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown over measures to generate money for low-income housing development, fund housing programs and streamline the approval process for new projects. But Democrats in swing districts hesitated for weeks to pass one funding bill that could be described as another tax hike, after earlier this year raising the gas tax and renewing a climate change program that could also increase prices at the pump.

    Senate Bill 2, from Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, imposes a $75 to $225 fee on real estate transactions and is expected to generate as much as $258 million per year for low-income housing development and programs to combat homelessness. Atkins and others have long argued that the state needs a sustainable funding source for housing after the elimination of redevelopment agencies.

    Other stories on the housing package:

    Los Angeles Times: State lawmakers advance housing bills, including a $75 fee on real estate documents

    Capitol Public Radio: Housing bills eke through Assembly after dramatic (and lengthy) vote


    San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Expansion of LA County Board of Supervisors edges closer to state ballot

    A state effort to expand the number of seats on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors moved a step closer Thursday to being placed on next year’s ballot after it won two-thirds of the majority needed to pass the Senate floor in Sacramento.

    The constitutional amendment submitted in May by State Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, passed on a bipartisan vote of 27-7. The measure now heads to the State Assembly for consideration. If it is passed, the bill then will be placed on the 2018 statewide ballot.

    Mendoza’s bill, Senate Constitutional Amendment 12, aims to increase the number of members on California’s county boards of supervisors from five to seven in areas with 2 million or more residents. That means Los Angeles County is the main target of the bill, since the five-member Board oversees an area of 10 million people.


    San Gabriel Valley Tribune: California's 100-percent clean energy bill is dead, protestors take to the streets

    In a last-ditch effort to revive landmark clean-energy legislation, environmental groups on Thursday rallied outside the offices of Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, who chairs a committee that is holding up the bill and preventing a floor vote in the final hours of the legislative session.

    Senate Bill 100, which requires California to deliver 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources by 2045, had cleared several committees and seemed likely to end up on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

    However, this week the ambitious bill ran into a buzz saw of opposition from the state’s top independent utilities, which say buying exclusively solar, wind and other renewable power to keep the lights on in California would unfairly burden their customers with higher electric bills.


    Politico: Trump, Democrats confirm outline of DACA deal

    President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders reached a tentative agreement Wednesday night to provide a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants known as Dreamers — but after a conservative backlash, the president and his aides sent conflicting signals about how firm the agreement was.

    After a meeting with Trump at the White House on Wednesday night, Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said they had come to terms with Trump on a plan that would provide protection for Dreamers in exchange for beefed-up border security — but, notably, no additional funding for a border wall.

    "We all agreed on a framework: Pass DACA protections and additional security measures, excluding the wall. We agreed that the president would support enshrining the DACA protections into law," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Thursday.

    The news triggered an outcry from the right, which accused Trump of abandoning his tough-on-immigration campaign stance. So Trump and his aides rebutted Democrats' claims that an agreement had been struck — while at the same time acknowledging the outlines of a deal.


    Mercury News: New poll shows Newsom still leads governor's race

    It’s still nine months away, but Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to lead the pack of contenders in next June’s “top two” primary election for governor, according to a UC Berkeley poll released Friday.

    Results show that the Democrat, a former San Francisco mayor, is favored by 26 percent of likely voters. Three other candidates vying for second place are trailing far behind, including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat who garnered only 10 percent of likely voters in the poll, which was conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.

    Two Republicans, San Diego businessman John Cox and Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen, posted similar numbers: Cox was favored by 11 percent of likely voters, Allen by 9 percent.


    Los Angeles Times: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Whittier Narrows Dam is unsafe and could trigger catastrophic flooding

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the 60-year-old Whittier Narrows Dam is structurally unsafe and poses a potentially catastrophic risk to the working-class communities along the San Gabriel River floodplain. According to an agency report based on research conducted last year, unusually heavy rains could trigger a premature opening of the dam’s massive spillway.

    “Under certain conditions, the spillway on the San Gabriel River can release more than 20 times what the downstream channel can safely contain within its levees,” the report said. “Depending on the size of the discharge, flooding could extend from Pico Rivera, immediately downstream of the dam, to Long Beach.”

    In addition, engineers have found that the mile-long earthen structure could fail if water were to flow over its crest or if seepage eroded the sandy soil underneath. On Thursday, the agency said it was developing measures to address problems at the dam, which the corps recently reclassified as one of its highest priority safety projects in the nation.

    Henry Olsen: Forget Left v Right; it's In v Outs

    Political observer Henry Olsen argues at UnHerd.com that much of contemporary politics is not so easily characterized as a classically Left vs. Right dynamic, rather it's Ins vs. Outs. Ins represent a group of well-educated, successful, wealthy and prosperous class that benefit from the global economy and status quo. Outs are those who have less wealth, prosperity, stability, and suffer more from economic displacements due to globalization. The recent turmoil seen in the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump indicates that the Ins have to adapt to the needs of the Outs.

  • Fri, September 08, 2017 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Sacramento Bee: Trump makes deal with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and pass $15.3 billion Hurricane Harvey aid package

    This is the Donald Trump many Republicans feared.

    The president delivered a resounding victory to congressional Democrats Wednesday – and embarrassed stunned Republican leaders – when he agreed on a plan to raise the debt ceiling, provide aid to storm-ravaged Texas and keep the federal government running through Dec. 15. And he may have made it easier for Democrats to overturn his plan to kick Dreamers out of the country in six months.

    Just hours before Trump and top congressional Democrats agreed on the deal at a White House meeting that included Republican leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan had called the idea of tying storm aid to the debt limit as “ridiculous and disgraceful.” Senate GOP leaders had made it clear they wanted a longer debt limit extension.

    Those hopes evaporated quickly, and after the late morning White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reluctantly went along with the deal. But he carefully labeled it a solution “the president and the Senate and House Democratic leadership agreed to.”


    CalChamber: Many Harmful Bills Stopped, But Many Remain in Closing Days of State Legislative Session

    Strong opposition from business groups around the state have helped to stop numerous harmful bills from continuing past the appropriations committees on Friday to reach the Senate or Assembly Floors for a final vote by lawmakers.

    Of the 25 identified job killer bills, just four are still actively moving.

    The list of bills in this linked article were on the suspense files and considered by the Senate or Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday, September 1.

    Legislators have until Friday, September 15th to pass and send legislation to the Governor’s desk for consideration.


    Time Magazine: Q&A on American politics with Governor Jerry Brown

    With Republicans dominant in Washington, the most powerful Democrat in America might be a man who lives about 2,700 miles from the capital: California Gov. Jerry Brown.

    As Brown nears the end of an unprecedented fourth term as governor, many are looking to California to push back against a Republican agenda. And it is. Cities, counties and the state itself have filed lawsuits over everything from sanctuary city funding to energy-efficiency standards. After President Donald Trump decided to leave the Paris climate agreement, Brown happily jumped into the task of serving as America's global climate change crusader — a position that would not have been so available had Hillary Clinton won the election.

    Brown has a to-do list a mile long and limited time to take advantage of his "Trump bump." As he nears the twilight of a career that spans nearly half a century, TIME spoke to Brown in his Sacramento office about his passion on climate change, Trump's election and why Brown doesn't want people asking about his legacy.


    CNN's The State: The California GOP's Last Gasp

    It’s easy to forget today that California was once a Republican state that sent Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the White House. Their legacy remains in parts of Orange County, the Inland Empire and even pockets of suburban Los Angeles County that still send Republicans to Congress.

    But that hold is fading fast. Republicans within California’s congressional delegation, which includes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, hold the last vestige of GOP power in the state.

    The party’s share of California’s electorate has declined precipitously since the mid-1990s, when the GOP backed the anti-immigration measure known as Proposition 187, which denied basic public services to immigrants. Prop 187 was ultimately blocked by the courts, but it altered the image of the GOP – making it harder for them to appeal not only to minorities, but to wealthy, white voters in places like the Bay area.


    Washington Post: The top 15 possible 2020 Democratic nominees, ranked

    We are a little more than a year away from the start of the 2020 presidential race.

    In many ways it's already begun, of course, with President Trump running ads and doing campaign rallies. One Democratic congressman has even launched a campaign. But November 2018, right after the midterm election, is when a slew of Democrats are going to be really tempted to throw their hats in the ring. Given the field is likely to be as big as any we've ever seen, there will be a premium on getting started early, raising money and building a base.

    It will also be tempting because there's no 800-pound gorilla in the field. There's no Hillary Clinton or even a Barack Obama — a high-profile rising star who seems destined for big things if he wanted to run — that we can see right now. Yes, there are front-runners, but both of them — Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden — would be the oldest president ever elected by more than half a decade. The Democratic Party is in a huge state of flux, and it's not clear who's leading it. It's basically Lord of the Flies.


    Forbes: Joel Kotkin: U.S. Cities Have a Glut of High-Rises but Lack Affordable Housing

    Perhaps nothing thrills mayors and urban boosters like the notion of endless towers rising above their city centers. And to be sure, new high-rise residential construction has been among the hottest areas for real estate investors, particularly those from abroad, with high-end products accounting for 8o% of all new construction.

    Yet this is not an entirely high-end country, and these products, particularly the luxury high-rises in cities, largely depend on a small segment of the population that can afford such digs.

    No surprise, then, that we see reports of declining prices in areas as attractive as New York, Miami and San Francisco, where a weakening tech market is beginning to erode prices, much as occurred in the 2000 tech bust, John Burns Real Estate Consulting notes. There have been big jumps in the number of expired and withdrawn condo listings, particularly at the high end; last year, San Francisco saw a 128% spike in the number of withdrawn or expired listings for condos over $1.5 million.

    Several factors suggest the high-rise residential boom is over, including a growing recognition that these structures do little to relieve the housing affordability crisis facing middle-class residents, the inevitable aging of millennials and their shift to suburbs and less expensive cities, and the impending withdrawal of some major foreign investors who have come to dominate the market in many cities.


    The Federalist Podcast featuring Henry Olsen: How do Reagan, FDR, and modern conservatives view 'The Forgotten Man'?

    Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and the author of the new book, “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.”

    Olsen’s book makes a surprising claim that Reagan was not in opposition to the Neal Deal, but actually shared many of FDR’s philsophical positions.

    “As I looked at contemporary politics, I thought that the conservative movement and the Republican party needed to find what had been missing, that during Reagan era had given them not only control over politics but over the intellectual discussion,” Olsen said.

    Domenech and Olsen discuss what Reagan believed about the role of government, entitlements, and taxes. “Part of what is going on in the conservative movement is that it speaks a language that cannot be applied to actual policy prescriptions that they support.”

  • Fri, September 01, 2017 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    We were pleased to have George Kardously of Strategic Business Resources to talk to many nonprofits in the San Gabriel Valley about dealing with cyber threats. Here is a cyber security checklist for companies of all sizes.

    Big thanks to our strategic Partner, Bolton  & Company, for sponsoring the Nonprofit Network Breakfast.

  • Fri, September 01, 2017 11:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Partnership's Legislative Action Committee met this week and took positions on six major pieces of legislation now pending as the legislature moves into the final days of this year's session.

    SUPPORT - SB 3 (Beall) - Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018

    This bill places a $4 billion general obligation bond on next year's ballot to fund affordable housing construction in the state and provide state funding to leverage additional federal housing dollars.

    Neutral - SB 2 (Atkins) - Fee on real estate documents

    SB 2 places a $75 fee on real estate documents to raise roughly $300 million for affordable housing annually. While the Partnership is supportive of building additional affordable housing, committee members expressed concern about placing such a significant fee increase on real estate documents, which is a narrow base for such a crucial program. Lawmakers and the state would be better served by finding ways to incentivize housing construction.

    OPPOSE - SB 35 (Weiner) - By-right housing approval process

    While the aim of this bill is to streamline the approval of multi-family housing projects over local opposition, it is unlikely to significantly increase housing construction while eroding the local land use authority of cities. 

    Support if Amended - AB 1180 (Holden) - LA County Flood Control District Stormwater Parcel Tax Authority

    This bill enables the LA County Flood Control District to place a parcel tax before voters to fund stormwater projects. The Partnership believes that an oversight mechanism is necessary to ensure that the money raised is properly allocated.

    OPPOSE - AB 978 (Limon) - Injury and Illness Prevention Programs document requests

    AB 978 creates an unlimited right for employees or their representatives to request documents related to employer Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. The open-ended nature of these requests, which appear unlimited in the bill, would subject more employers to litigation and frivolous documentation dumps.

    OPPOSE - AB 1565 (Thurmond) - Acceleration of minimum salary threshold for exempt employees

    This bill accelerates the movement of exempt employees to a higher salary before the end of the year. This adversely affects small businesses with less than 25 employees who may have to pay nearly $4,000 more per exempt employee before the end of the year.

  • Fri, September 01, 2017 10:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership Board members and staff met with Asm. Freddie Rodriguez in his Capitol office last week.

    Partnership Board members and staff traveled to Sacramento last week to lobby SGV lawmakers on major pieces of legislation in the closing days of this year's legislative session.

    Top priorities for the Partnership were the affordable housing package, with a housing bond of $4 billion under consideration, along with new fees on real estate documents to provide ongoing funding for affordable housing along with new legislation to rapidly approve multi-family units. While the Partnership is supportive of efforts to fund more affordable housing, the real issue facing the state is housing affordability generally, where extremely high rents and prices are caused by a fundamental inability to build new housing. Incentives need to be put in place that ties new housing construction to transportation and economic development, providing motivation for local cities to approve and build more housing.

    Board members also highlighted specific bills. The Partnership is strongly opposed to AB 375, a bill that adds unnecessary privacy regulations on internet service providers. It also opposes AB 1000, a bill that would add another environmental review process for major infrastructure projects and SB 623, a bill adding additional fees on water as a public goods charge.

    Meetings were held with Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), Asm. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Asm. Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), Asm. Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), Asm. Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), Asm. Phillip Chen (R-Diamond Bar) and the staff of Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Pomona).

    The Partnership was represented by Lupe Valdez, Director of Public Policy and Community Affairs for Union Pacific; Peter Hidalgo, Director of Government Relations for Charter Spectrum; Bob Kuhn, Vice-Chair of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority; Kirk Howie, Assistant General Manager of Three Valleys Municipal Water District; and Brad Jensen, Director of Public Policy for the Partnership.

  • Fri, September 01, 2017 10:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Former Partnership Board Chairs Carlos Illingworth of Coca-Cola North America and David Reyno of Foothill Transit stand with Partnership CEO Jeff Allred and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez

    At last week's breakfast with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Montebello) at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Partnership members heard an in-depth political update on policy developments in Washington, D.C. and the state of affairs in Congress. Rep. Sanchez is a long-time member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for overseeing Social Security, healthcare and social welfare programs, and taxation policy.

    When Congress reconvenes in September, Congresswoman Sanchez said that it will be a packed schedule in September, with key votes on raising the debt ceiling, passing a budget, and trying to get some sort of tax reform package through both houses of Congress. She said that was an ambitious agenda and it was unclear if House Republicans could find enough common ground to get a majority of votes on each of those major items. The Congresswoman noted that the last significant tax reform was in 1986, over 30 years ago, and that much has changed in our economy and society since then. Simplification, modernization and fairness in taxation were top priorities for her in any type of reform effort. Greater certainty for businesses is absolutely essential as research and development tax credits need to have clear time horizons so businesses can count on them in their long-term planning.

    Congresswoman Sanchez expressed frustration with her Republican colleagues when it came to repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The GOP decided to pursue a Republican-only approach to repeal and have struggled to put together a repeal bill that can win a majority of their members in both houses. Without the repeal of Obamacare and the savings that would have resulted, Congressional Republicans have been frustrated in their attempts to find revenue to pay for tax reform, tax cuts, and infrastructure spending.

    Finally, the Congresswoman lamented the harsh partisan atmosphere in Washington, D.C. Although she has good working relationships with her fellow Democrats and Republican colleagues, bipartisanship largely happens under the radar while sharp conflicts draw media attention. She encouraged Partnership members to be engaged, pay attention and express their opinions to their elected officials.

  • Fri, September 01, 2017 9:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Sacramento Bee: Democrats seek $4 billion water and parks bond

    As torrential rains and dangerous floodwaters pummel large swaths of Texas and parts of Louisiana, California lawmakers are eying legislation to prevent similar damage from the state’s own disasters.

    Senate Bill 5 from state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León would ask voters this upcoming June to approve a $4 billion bond to fund water, flood and parks projects across California.


    Capitol Public Radio: Governor, Legislative Democrats at odds over inclusionary housing

    Although Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have reached agreement on three key bills that seek to reduce California’s high housing costs, they’re still working to flesh out the rest of the package.

    The biggest sticking point is an issue called “inclusionary housing,” when a city or county requires a developer to build a set percentage of affordable housing units as part of a larger project. More than 100 local governments have inclusionary ordinances. But a 2009 state appeals court ruling exempted rental units. So as part of an overall package of housing bills, Democratic lawmakers want to overturn that exemption.


    Los Angeles Times: Lawmakers reach deal on affordable housing bond

    Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders agreed late Monday to a $4-billion bond aimed at the 2018 ballot that would fund low-income housing developments and subsidize home loans for California veterans.

    "The bond agreement we have reached provides badly needed funding to help Californians, including our veterans, find safe, affordable housing," Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said in a statement announcing the deal.

    The decision comes as the Legislature considers a package of legislation designed to address the state's spiraling housing affordability crisis. The bond measure, Senate Bill 3, is one of three key bills designed to increase state spending on low-income housing and ease local restrictions on home building.



    The Hill: Senators to try bipartisanship on Obamacare

    The Senate will take a new approach to ObamaCare next week: bipartisanship. Following the stunning defeat to the GOP’s repeal bill, the Senate Health Committee will turn to passing bipartisan legislation aimed at shoring up insurance markets for 2018.

    The odds are against bipartisanship — particularly when it comes to ObamaCare. And the effort stands in sharp contrast to moves by President Trump, who has talked about letting ObamaCare “implode,” and suggested he has little desire to sign legislation improving the markets. The administration on Thursday slashed 90 percent of funding designated for advertising and other outreach to boost enrollment.


    The Hill: White House briefs state, local officials on Trump's infrastructure plan

    President Trump’s infrastructure package will be broken up into three pieces, with the largest chunk of funding dedicated to projects that already have some private or local money secured, the administration told state and local officials on Wednesday.

    “We’re looking at breaking this up into pieces,” Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said at a White House event. “The largest piece of the package is going to be wrapped around incentives.”

    The administration hosted an infrastructure meeting at the White House to brief around 150 state, local and tribal leaders on Trump’s rebuilding initiative, which has yet to be finalized. Trump unveiled a broad set of infrastructure principles in his budget request this spring. A more detailed legislative proposal was expected to be released this fall, though the timing could slip as the GOP tries to tackle other priorities like tax reform.


    New York Times: A 2:15 am alarm, 2 trains and a bus get her to work by 7 a.m.

    STOCKTON, Calif. — Sheila James starts her Monday, and the workweek, at 2:15 a.m. This might be normal for a baker or a morning radio host, but Ms. James is a standard American office worker.

    She is 62 and makes $81,000 a year as a public health adviser for the United States Department of Health and Human Services in San Francisco. Her early start comes because San Francisco is one of the country’s most expensive metropolitan areas. Ms. James lives about 80 miles away in Stockton, which has cheaper homes but requires her to commute on two trains and a bus, leaving at 4 a.m.

    Ms. James used to live closer, in Alameda, Calif., about 15 miles across San Francisco Bay from her work. But three years ago, after a developer bought her building and evicted Ms. James and her neighbors, she moved to Stockton. Stockton has more for the money: Ms. James pays $1,000 a month in rent for her three-bedroom house, compared with $1,600 for the one-bedroom apartment she had in Alameda. She can work from home some of the time, so she now has a home office with a desk and a computer, as opposed to the “home corner” she had in her apartment.

    The trade-off is a brutal commute.

  • Fri, August 18, 2017 11:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) joined over 30 Partnership members for breakfast this morning in Pomona. With the State Legislative scheduled to start their final session of the year on Monday, a number of crucial items are pending for lawmakers as they return to Sacramento.

    The Senator affirmed her strong support for the Foothill Gold Line extension which, when completed, will have two stations in her district – Pomona and Montclair. She also discussed her vote to extend the cap-and-trade program, which will make funds available for environmental mitigation and mass transit projects and the Senator vowed that she would look into funding for the Gold Line.

    When asked about environmental regulation and indirect source rules, Senator Leyva said that this is a big issue for her personally as she grew up in Chino in the 1970s when the air quality was so bad that you couldn’t see the mountains and your lungs hurt from breathing the air. Her district has the worst air quality in the state and has an alarming number of children with asthma. The Senator said that she supports strong regulations for trucks which pollute but that she works to find funding from the state to help companies and businesses quickly comply with any new regulations. “My job is trying to find money [to help] when we ask businesses to do this,” she said.

    Housing will be the primary topic of discussion as lawmakers reconvene for the final session of the year. Governor Brown has made streamlining the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) a top priority, as the law is frequently used to halt or slow projects around the state. State lawmakers are looking at a possible statewide bond measure to provide billions of funding for affordable housing. Senator Leyva, who spent many years working as a leader in the labor movement, noted that CEQA has been “a sacred cow” for labor but that many labor officials have come to see that the law must be altered in order to improve the housing situation in the state.

    Senator Leyva also said that she will be seeking the office of President Pro Tem of the Senate next year. She has served as Chair of the Democratic Caucus since being elected to the Senate in 2014.

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