Please read my June E-Newsletter to learn about what I'm doing on your behalf in the Capitol and at home in the 23rd Senate District.
In this issue
Difficult State Budget Adopted
The legislature's adoption of the budget on June 15 met the state's Constitutional deadline and concluded five-months of legislative review, with public hearings held by both houses. The leadership of both houses and the Governor negotiated compromises on several sticking points ensuring that the state budget remains balanced in the future.
California's Fiscal Year begins July 1, 2012 and the good news is the state's new budget is balanced, does not rely on borrowing and contains an emergency reserve of approximately $500 million. The budget continues repairing structural gaps and projects that future budgets will remain balanced for the next four fiscal years with a projected reserve of over $2 billion by FY 2015-16.
This budget was adopted to close a $16 billion gap this year between revenues and expenditures. The gap was closed mostly by making dramatic cuts, especially to our courts, health and human service programs and assumes the proposed November ballot initiative will pass to avoid further cuts to schools and colleges.
The new budget delicately balances many needs while maintaining a balanced approach to long-term fiscal stability. The FY 2012 – 2013 budget continues to provide as much protection as possible to K-14 education and public safety programs.
The bad news is many Californians are going to directly experience difficulty and real hardships due to program cuts – especially more deep cuts in health and human services. California's fiscal condition, coupled with a sluggish global economy, continues to force us to reduce programs and services.
In this budget, the cuts are real and are fiscal necessities – they have not been done to make a point. However, cuts alone will not fix the structural imbalances.
Over the past four decades, when the state was faced with a dramatic drop of revenue, the legislature would usually adopt a budget with a 2/3rd vote to make BOTH cuts and increase revenue (fees and taxes). Our revenues are lower than they have been since 2002, yet the cost of living, infrastructure needs and California's population has greatly increased.
We need to find greater efficiencies in delivering services and we also need to return to what made California great – investing in our human capital (our schools and colleges) and in our infrastructure.
State Budget Update: Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg today (Thursday, June 21, 2012) announced an agreement on actions the Legislature will consider next week to finalize the 2012-2013 state budget.
The conceptual agreement protects education, permanently reforms welfare and includes tough ongoing cuts. The Legislature will take final votes on the budget trailer bills in the coming days.
Visit to Mountains Recreation and Conservation
Authority Education Program
Sen. Pavley interacts with students learning about the environment in the Santa Monica Mountains.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) at King Gillette Ranch, which was formerly Soka University, and met some of the students participating in the MRCA's Education Program which is using the Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum.
The MRCA is successfully accomplishing the goals of the EEI curriculum utilizing the tremendous natural assets we are so lucky to have around us. MRCA is fully using these resources to engage our children in real life lessons and connecting their classroom studies to the Santa Monica Mountains.
As a former middle school teacher, I am passionate and committed to quality education for our children. With my teaching background and my strong support for environmental protection, I was proud to author Assembly Bills 1548 and 1721 when I represented our community in the State Assembly. These bills, sponsored by Heal the Bay, authorized the creation and implementation of the EEI curriculum which was adopted by the State Board of Education in January 2010.
The EEI curriculum was created to teach California children about the environment and make these lessons a part of their everyday learning experiences in school. The EEI curriculum provides a basic understanding of science, technology, history, economics, social impacts, and health consequences of our environment. Children learn that how we treat the environment is crucial to the future of our society and the planet.
I had envisioned this curriculum as the catalyst for engaging teachers and students on the environment, opening students to potential career pathways and allowing educators to tap into the many wonderful local resources available: classroom speakers, assembly programs, field trips to nature centers, aquariums, science centers and our state parks.
Starting with my service on the Board and Advisory Committee of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, I have been a longtime backer of the MRCA education programs, supporting grants for the growth and development of the environmental education programs. It was a pleasure to visit the MRCA's interpretation program for children and view firsthand the curriculum in action. Thank you to the staff of MRCA for all you are doing to educate our children.
"Rampture" Begins THIS Month
New configuration of the Wilshire Blvd./I-405 interchange. Photo courtesy of Metro.
The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project has announced Friday, June 22 as the start date for the first extended, 90-day closures of key Wilshire Blvd. on- and off-ramps to the I-405. The contractor will begin demolishing and reconstructing eight heavily traveled freeway ramps. Demolition and reconstruction of the Wilshire Blvd. ramps is required to build a 10-mile carpool lane on the northbound I-405 between the I-10 and U.S. 101. This interchange is one of the nation's busiest with tens of thousands of freeway-bound motorists utilizing the ramps daily.
Ninety-day closures for the first two Wilshire Blvd. ramps are as follows:
- Westbound Wilshire on-ramp to the Northbound I-405. Detour: Motorists should travel northbound on Sepulveda Blvd. to access the Moraga on-ramp or travel southbound on Sepulveda Blvd. to access the Santa Monica Blvd. on-ramp.
- Northbound I-405 off-ramp to Westbound Wilshire. Detour: Motorists should exit freeway using Santa Monica Blvd. off-ramp, then proceed northbound on Sepulveda Blvd. to Wilshire Blvd. Another alternative includes the off-ramp at Sunset Blvd.
Additionally, vehicles traveling Northbound/Westbound on the I-405/I-10 will be directed to exit at Bundy Dr. to reach their original westbound Wilshire Blvd. destinations. All recommended detours are on major city streets. Motorists should not use local residential streets to detour through the area, as these streets are intended for local access only.
To help manage impacts for these closures, a network of changeable message signs will be used to facilitate detours and provide motorists with information that will give drivers the opportunity to choose an alternate route. Initially, traffic control officers will be at key intersections to help traffic movement, particularly during peak travel periods. As traffic patterns develop, traffic officers will be deployed accordingly. The timing of traffic signals will be monitored closely by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, which can make adjustments to manage traffic conditions.
Motorists who commute in the area are advised to plan ahead and select their detour routes in advance and monitor real-time traffic conditions at go511.com or local traffic news reports before beginning their trips. Drivers should avoid discretionary trips at the Wilshire/I-405 interchange, especially during the peak-hour commute periods.
For more information on alternative transportation through this corridor, including vanpools and bus service, please visit http://www.metro.net/around/.
Grand Opening of the Anthony Beilenson Interagency Visitor’s Center
Joe Edmiston, Executive Director for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, introduces Sen. Pavley at the grand opening.
On Saturday, June 9th, I was honored to speak at the Grand Opening of the Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). The new visitor center is located at King Gillette Ranch (formerly Soka University) near the intersection of Mulholland Highway and Malibu Canyon Road.
It was a gorgeous day and over 400 people attended the event for the ribbon cutting as well as tours and hikes. Many of the attendees were activists who have worked decades to conserve land in the Santa Monica Mountains for the public. It was a moment to celebrate achievements and refocus on the future. The lovely new Center is positioned in the heart of the SMMNRA and will serve to welcome and educate the 35 million visitors the area receives each year. s
View of audience and new visitor's center.
It is the first zero emissions (net-zero) visitor center in the National Park Service and is certified LEED Platinum for its environmentally friendly features. It is also a great example of a single joint-use facility serving three public agencies and a model in saving taxpayer dollars.
Memorial Day Remembrance
Sen. Pavley riding in the parade which wound through the heart of Canoga Park.
Sen. Pavley with local Veterans at the Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade
I had the great honor of participating in Canoga Park's Memorial Day Parade. I was riding in a modified, all electric Ford Ranger pick-up truck which saves fuel, helps clean up our air and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
Residents throughout the community were in attendance, watching the parade with their family and friends. I enjoyed engaging with constituents and reflecting on our brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country while serving in the armed forces. Thank you to the parade organizers and participants for putting together such a wonderful event!
L.A. River Habitat Restoration Grant
Project area in the San Fernando Valley. Photo courtesy of CCS.
The L.A. River in the San Fernando Valley will receive much needed habitat restoration through a state grant that Community Conservation Solutions (CCS) has received to remove non-native plants and plant more than 4,000 native trees and shrubs. The $339,000 from Caltrans will go a long way toward river revitalization and restoration of native habitat. CCS will work with Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and Mia Lehrer & Associates on this restoration project.
As Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Urban Rivers, I was happy to provide a letter of support for CCS's grant application. I hosted a standing room only hearing of the subcommittee on the LA River last year. This project addresses a gap in the L.A. River Greenway Trail in the San Fernando Valley, adding to the nearly two miles of adjacent L.A. River Greenway already planted by the City of Los Angeles.
By providing a vital link for the 51-mile Los Angeles River Greenway, this grant represents a significant step forward in the revitalization of the River in the San Fernando Valley. The project is adjacent to the proposed L.A. River Natural Park at Weddington Golf & Tennis in Studio City, which is under consideration by the City of Los Angeles for Prop. O funding in order to preserve the property as open space.
UltraGlas, Inc. Honored at California Small Business Day in Sacramento
Sen. Pavley with Jane Skeeter, Founder and CEO of UltraGlas, Inc., accepting her award as a California Small Business Day.
California Small Business Day was first established in 2000 by a unanimous vote in the Legislature decreeing and honoring the contributions of small businesses to the State of California. Small businesses provide industry leadership, innovations and significant economic benefits to the State of California.
This year I was honored to nominate Jane Skeeter, Founder and CEO of UltraGlas, Inc. Located in Chatsworth, UltraGlas, Inc. is the choice for architects and designers looking for unique and artistic architectural glass. An industry leader and innovator, the company has patented UtlraGlas-E, made from salvaged glass diverted from landfills. Additionally, the company is pioneering the U.S. market for Building Integrated Photo Voltaic. These are glass windows that provide insulation and photovoltaic – solar – power to the building. Jane Skeeter has been a leader in regional business through membership in several business-oriented professional associations including VICA, Valley Economic Alliance, Valley Green Team and NAWBO-LA.
Santa Monica Business Receives Statewide Award
I am pleased to announce that a Santa Monica environmental consulting business, Three Squares International Inc. (TSI), has received a 2012 CoolCalifornia Small Business Award from the California Air Resources Board.
Three Squares International Inc. is a globally recognized environmental consulting firm, specializing in developing comprehensive sustainability plans for corporate entities, government agencies and academic institutions. A registered woman-owned, small business, TSI is a leader in sustainable event production.
In addition, Three Squares develops campaigns to expand markets for environmentally friendly products and services and create strategies supporting technologies promoting livable and sustainable communities. They have spearheaded environmental initiatives on behalf of a number of public agencies and corporate entities, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Port of Los Angeles and many others.
The CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards recognize businesses in California that took voluntary actions during 2011 to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, promote climate-friendly business practices, and integrate the use of CoolCalifornia.org tools into their business operations.
Congratulations to everyone at Three Squares International Inc.
Protecting Our Citrus Growers
California's citrus industry brings nearly $2 billion a year in revenues to the state and accounts for nearly a third of the U.S. citrus production. Accordingly, agriculture officials were understandably alarmed when the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease was found in a Hacienda Heights neighborhood in March of this year. HLB, also known as the citrus greening disease, affects all types of citrus. Infected trees produce fruit that is bitter, misshapen and oddly colored. There is no treatment or cure for a tree once infected and it invariably dies. The disease is found all over the world and has devastated orchards in Florida and Brazil.
Asian citrus psyllid insects on a leaf. Photo courtesy of Ventura County Farm Bureau.
The disease is spread by an invasive insect pest known as Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). It's a small insect, about the size of an aphid.
According to the Ventura County Farm Bureau, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has imposed a quarantine in areas where the psyllid has been found, and is applying treatments to control the infestation. Host plants cannot be moved out of the quarantine zone unless they have been inspected and certified as pest and disease free, and fruit cannot be moved out of the zone unless it has been commercially cleaned. The quarantine area extends from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border.
Ventura County agricultural commissioners, CDFA and USDA, along with industry groups such as the Citrus Research Board, are working together on increased surveying and trapping.
While commercial growers are well aware of the restrictions placed on them at this time, our backyard growers may not be. Please follow these guidelines to protect our state's citrus industry:
- Don't move plants or fruit into Southern California from other areas.
- Inspect your citrus trees often for ACP and report suspicious finds to the CDFA at 1-800-491-1899.
- Support efforts to eradicate any ACP infestation swiftly and completely.
“Mow No Mow” Rebates
Sen. Pavley and Little Drop, the mascot for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, at the Calabasas Earth Day Celebration.
Just in time for summer, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD) is rolling out a new front yard turf removal and landscape runoff elimination program. "Mow No Mow" will provide a maximum incentive up to $2,500 for qualifying homeowners in the LVMWD service area who pre-apply for the water-saving incentives. The program will save you money, reduce urban runoff from improper watering and help the water district progress towards its goal of reducing water use by 20 percent by 2020. A recent survey conducted in the LVMWD service area showed that nearly 70 percent of all water delivered to its customers is used outdoors!
Why not park the lawnmower in the garage and enjoy more time with your family this summer? Visit www.lvmwd.com to see if you qualify to participate in the "Mow No Mow" program.
The Child Development Institute's Early Learning Center in Canoga Park is this month's Sustainability Award honoree. From L to R: Lindsay Hargett, Communications Specialist; Dr. Joan Maltese, Executive Director; Edith Villarubio and Enalei Villarubio, Center participants.
Each month I recognize a business, person or organization in my district that is dedicated to preserving our environment by living and working responsibly. This month I'm proud to announce the June Sustainability Award was presented to the Child Development Institute's Early Learning Center (ELC) in Canoga Park.
The Early Learning Center brings a holistic approach to early childhood experience and focuses on environmental literacy, by integrating nature into all their programs. With the support of Nature Explore, the ELC has transformed a parking lot into a Children's Garden where tomatoes and squash thrive along with children's curiosity about growing and harvesting. By involving kids in science and cooking activities, an interactive climbing tree, a zoo garden, and many other projects centered on the environment, the Center strives to instill a love of nature into young children, helping them grow into responsible stewards of the planet.
In addition, the Early Learning Center has creatively reimagined and rehabilitated the historic Canoga Park Library, leveraging existing furnishings such as the card catalogue, cabinets and bookshelves into an intriguing, welcoming space of exploration for the children and their families. Congratulations to the Child Development Institute's Early Learning Center on providing supportive, inspiring programs for families in the community.
Connecting with Constituents
Gov. Brown and CA first dog, Sutter, join press conference to promote AB 610 which would create Spay & Neuter license plates.
Sen. Pavley at the 2012 opening of the Westlake Yacht Club.
Sarah Tamor, Pavley staffer, joined the Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys' 3rd Annual Women Empowerment Build.
My staff joined the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley to recognize outstanding small businesses that have increased employment opportunities for residents and demonstrated exemplary community involvement. Congratulations to the awardees and to the United Chambers for another successful event!
Esther Feldman (R), President of the Board of Directors for Community Conservation Solutions, was honored by local elected officials, legislators and open space advocates for her career dedicated to the preservation of our natural resources.
Sen. Pavley presented Don Zimring, the outgoing Superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District, with a Senate Resolution for his service and dedicated career.
The Greater Conejo Valley Community Foundation, a charitable entity of the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, honored educators and community leaders, at the 10th annual Spirit of Community Awards in Westlake Village. Pictured are the 2011 Teachers of the Month at the 2012 Spirit of Community Awards.