Please read my May E-Newsletter to get information about what I'm doing on your behalf in the Capitol and in the 23rd Senate District.
In this Issue
- Energy efficiency bill signed by Governor Schwarzenegger
- Cadmium bill passes Senate
- Support for ABLE Act
- El Camino Real High School wins sixth national title
- May is National Foster Care Month
- Halaco Clean-Up and Restoration of Ormond Beach Wetlands
- Palisadian Post honors Citizen of the Year
- Protecting your family from wildfires
- Honoring Port Hueneme educator
- Support the arts in California schools with license plate
- Team Marine honored with Ocean Hero Award
- District Event: Government Reform Town Hall May 21st
- Constituents in the Capitol
Energy efficiency bill signed by Governor Schwarzenegger
Sen. Pavley and Gov. Schwarzenegger at SB 77 press conference
My energy efficiency bill, SB 77, which will reduce the cost of consumer and small business loans for energy improvements, was recently signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This bill passed with well above a 2/3 majority in both houses- when it comes to energy efficiency and jobs, we can all agree!
SB 77 is also known as the PACE acceleration bill. One of the most promising new financing mechanisms for property improvements is called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). PACE allows property owners to finance energy retrofits using bonds and/or loans, with repayment via assessments added to their property tax bill. Using the PACE loans, property owners can lower energy bills while experiencing lower financing costs for the improvements. The rapid growth of energy efficiency materials and services means a growing demand for trained labor and businesses that know how to deliver these services. This will assist one of the hardest hit labor markets - construction workers.
SB 77 will bring down the cost of energy efficiency loans and help spur job creation. It will benefit workers, consumers, small businesses and the environment. Homeowners and small businesses can have a difficult time coming up with the up-front costs for energy improvements and this bill will help them overcome that obstacle. It is estimated that SB 77 will create more than 10,500 jobs.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on May 25th to consider an ordinance to adopt its PACE program. The Los Angeles County program is focused initially on residential improvements and is expected to begin financing by this fall. The County is also developing a program for commercial projects that it plans to roll out next year. Residents of unincorporated areas will apply directly to the county, and city residents will need to have their cities pass simple resolutions to participate. For more information on Los Angeles County's PACE program, visit http://www.lacountyenergyprogram.org/.
Ventura County's PACE program is in development and all cities have already passed resolutions to be part of the program. The County program is part of a larger statewide program consisting of cities and counties called CaliforniaFirst.
For more information, visit Ventura County's website http://portal.countyofventura.org/portal/page/portal/GreenInitiatives or the CaliforniaFirst website http://www.renewfund.com/node/220.
Cadmium bill passes Senate
A child's cupcake necklace that is 75% cadmium
I am happy to report that the Senate passed my bill, SB 929, to ban the use of cadmium in children's jewelry sold in California. This legislation follows the passage of a bill I authored in the Assembly to ban the use of lead in children's jewelry. It has been discovered that manufacturers of children's jewelry have replaced one dangerous metal for another.
Cadmium is a known cancer causing agent. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks cadmium seventh on their priority list for most hazardous substances in the environment. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, cadmium does not have to be ingested by children for them to be exposed to the metal. They simply have to bite or suck on the jewelry items to be exposed to a high level of the metal. SB 929 will now be considered by the Assembly.
Support for ABLE Act
Senator Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) and I recently introduced a resolution, SJR 31, which urges the United States Congress to pass, and President Barack Obama to sign into law, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2009 (H.R. 1205/S. 493).
Commonly referred to as the ABLE Act, this federal law would create savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families that would accrue interest tax-free, as a way to save for future needs, very similar to "529" tuition savings plans. These "ABLE accounts" would be available for a variety of essential expenses including medical care, education, employment training, housing, transportation and other life necessities.
These accounts would provide substantial and much needed flexibility to individuals with disabilities and their families, who often have to plan and save for unique and unpredictable expenses. The measure is sponsored by the Alliance of Autism Organizations and the Association of Regional Center Agencies.
El Camino Real High School wins Sixth National Title
El Camino Real High School Academic Decathlon Team at national competition
Congratulations to the El Camino Real High School Academic Decathlon Team and coaches! The Woodland Hills' school won the National Academic Decathlon Competition in Omaha on April 24. This is the record-breaking sixth national win for the school since 1991.
The students and coaches, El Camino teachers John Dalsass and Stephanie Franklin, have been training and studying for eight months. Their hard work paid off earning them the national title and 21 individual prizes. This year's team members are Vivian Cheng, Daniel de Haas, Evan Edmisten, Andrew Fann, Audrey Goldbaum, Jessica Lin, Daniel Moreh, Adriana Ureche, and Michael Walker.
May is National Foster Care Month
In celebration of this month, I would like to highlight a story about a new father and his adopted son. Richard Winzeler was motivated by a desire to adopt a child, but was interested in adopting an older child. Winzeler worked with an organization called Kidsave which advocates for older children looking for permanency. He had the opportunity to interact with potential foster youth at several events. It was at a basketball game where he met his future son - there was an instant connection.
Winzeler first became a licensed foster parent with help from Westside Children's Center. The organization provided support and foster parent training courses. Winzeler has since legally adopted his foster son. His son is in his freshman year of high school, getting A's and B's and has been honored as an outstanding scholar.
Here are a few resources that Winzeler found helpful.
Halaco Clean-Up and Restoration of Ormond Beach Wetlands
Halaco site clean-up in progress
Field Representative, Callie Hurd, met with Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Regional Superfund Director Keith Takata, and local officials to mark a milestone in the cleanup of the former Halaco metals recycling plant. The EPA cleanup of Halaco started three years ago and recently completed demolition of two large, dangerous structures that once housed the site's smelters and air filtering equipment, thereby removing an on-going public safety hazard at the site.
The most recent demolition work was budgeted at $1.6 million, but to date the project has come in ahead of schedule and under budget. Also, much of the material — the metal and wood — will be recycled and the profits will largely off-set the demolition costs. The EPA must now determine what to do with the 700,000 cubic yards of waste left in a huge slag pile on the property, and I am working with Oxnard city officials to advocate for removal of the remaining structures.
Ultimately, conservationists would like to see the site returned to a functioning wetland. To facilitate this restoration, I am advocating for the City to zone the site and surrounding parcels for "resource protection" in the 2030 General Plan. The City is scheduling a new round of public workshops for the 2030 General Plan over the next few months. Get involved and let local officials know that you would like to see the area zoned for resource protection and help us restore the Ormond Beach wetlands. Information about the public workshops will be available at the City's website: www.ci.oxnard.ca.us.
Palisadian Post honors Citizen of the Year
I attended the Palisadian Post's 62nd annual Citizen of the Year dinner, honoring four of the community's most outstanding citizens. Palisades High English teacher Rose Gilbert was awarded the top prize as Citizen of the Year, not just for her 54 years (and counting!) in the classroom, but the $2.1 million she has donated to help build the new Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center on the campus.
During the evening I was also joined by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley and City Councilman Bill Rosendahl in honoring the three Golden Sparkplug Award winners. Eric Bollens was honored for his work with Safe Westside to improve road safety, particularly among youth. Linda Jackson Vitale received a Spark Plug award for co-founding the Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera Company, bringing a rich cultural experience to the Pacific Palisades. And Marge Gold was selected as a recipient for her vision and leadership that has made the Palisade's Village Green the true heart of the community.
Over 180 Palisadians joined in the celebration along with 16 previous Citizens. I would like to personally thank each of these honored individuals for their contributions to making the 23rd State Senate District the wonderful community it is today.
Protecting your family from wildfires
Due to longer and warmer summers the number of major forest fires in California each year has quadrupled since 1986. And while this is not usually the time of year we think about wildfires in Southern California, because of all the rain we got this winter, it's likely that we will see tremendous new vegetative growth in the Santa Monica Mountains this spring. As a result, fire danger this summer and fall may be higher than ever. It's not too early to make plans for how you will protect your family and your home in the event of a wildfire.
The Santa Monica Mountains Fire Safe Alliance, a collaboration of city, state, and federal agencies, has recently published a new brochure entitled "A Road Map to Fire Safety: How to create defensible space in the Santa Monica Mountains". The brochure contains specific information on how to protect your personal property by addressing vulnerabilities in and around your home and helps you design a fire safe plan. You can download a copy of the Road Map here.
Honoring Port Hueneme Educator
Mrs. Garber with her family at the ceremony
Recently, the Hueneme Elementary School District Board of Education said goodbye to its longest serving board member. Eighty-two year old Elaine K. Garber retired on March 21st after serving the families of Port Hueneme continuously for more than 50 years. Her service has been recognized by the California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association.
Mrs. Garber is credited with bringing computers into the classroom at Port Hueneme, which has earned national recognition for its use of technology. She is also an advocate of higher teacher salaries, more books in schools, improved teacher training, and expanding the ways reading is taught in classrooms.
Starting in 1959 and for the first 25 years in office, Mrs. Garber was the only woman on the board. Today, three of the six board members are women. In 1959, there were only five schools compared with 11 today. The 8,000-student district is also more diverse, with the percentage of white students shrinking from 85% to 19%.
Although Mrs. Garber is retiring, she will continue to work for the children of Port Hueneme. She has agreed to serve as an unpaid consultant to share her wealth of knowledge and history.
Support the arts in California Schools with license plate
It's a critical time for the arts in California. While creative minds, artistic organizations and innovative workers are a vital part of our economy, California's per capita state investment in the arts is the lowest in the nation. Here's how you can help. The Artists in Schools program is supported by proceeds from the sale of the Arts License Plate, a specialty plate designed by noted California artist Wayne Thiebaud to support arts education and local arts programming.
Since the Arts Plate first went on sale in 1994 it has raised over $20 million for California arts through sales and renewals. Currently, over 60 percent of the California Arts Council's budget comes from the Arts Plate. All fees for the Arts Plate are considered a charitable contribution to the Arts Council and are now tax deductible. For more information on the Arts License Plate, click here or call 916-322-6555.
Team Marine honored with Ocean Hero Award
The members of Santa Monica High School's Team Marine in the Capitol Building
Nine members of Santa Monica High School's Team Marine spent their spring break in Sacramento to take part in Ocean Day at the California State Capitol Building. The students met with me and other legislators to ask for our support on bills that reduce plastic marine debris and curb carbon dioxide emissions. Team Marine also encouraged the drafting of new legislation to make environmental sustainability a core subject in K-12 grade levels.
While in Sacramento, Team Marine was honored with the Ocean Hero Award at a reception celebrating Ocean Day. The team received the award for their hard work to protect the marine environment.
District Event: Government Reform Town Hall May 21st
I would like to invite you to my upcoming Town Hall Meeting on State Government Reform with guest speaker Former Assembly Speaker and California Forward Co-Chair Bob Hertzberg. The Town Hall is on May 21 from 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. at Providence Tarzana Medical Center Women's Center Auditorium. Come hear proposals and share your ideas on how to improve state government. For more information, and to RSVP, please contact Kara Seward at (310) 314-5214 or email@example.com.
Constituents in the Capitol
Officer Jennifer Rodriguez and teens from the Santa Monica Police Activities League