January 2016 Newsletter

January 20, 2016

MY EVENTS

I'm beginning the New Year in Senate District 15 with two events this month. On Friday, Jan. 22, I'm holding a community coffee meeting in San Jose. Residents can sit down with me and have a one-on-one discussion about any state-related issue or question. Click here for the time, location, and more details.

On Jan. 23, I'll be at Overfelt High School for my second annual Cash for College South Bay Kick-Off. This free, no-pressure event will give families solid information about their options for paying for college. Get personal and professional assistance with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, also known as FAFSA. In conjunction with the Cash for College kick-off, a college fair will be held for high school students preparing to apply to universities. Representatives from local colleges will be on hand to answer questions.

On Friday, Feb. 26, I will be holding a Senior Scam Stopper Town Hall. And, on the following day, Feb. 27, I am hosting a free community pancake breakfast to discuss the future of K-12 education with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

 

BUDGET

This month, Gov. Brown released his budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, a $122.6 billion general fund plan that invests more money in education and the "rainy day" fund.

But there are still many pressing issues to resolve, such as funding the long-term maintenance of highways, eradicating homelessness, and keeping the promise of the Lanterman Act.

I'm optimistic that the Governor and the Legislature can work together this year to enact lasting solutions to these problems because we've done it before, most notably erasing the $18 billion "Wall of Debt" that was accrued with the passage of Proposition 57 in 2004.

I also believe we have an opportunity to begin carefully restoring human services budgets to address issues such as homelessness. Earlier this month, the Senate unveiled a proposal to increasing housing for the chronically homeless, many of whom suffer from a mental illness.

The Senate's "No Place Like Home" initiative calls for building 10,000 units and paying for it by re-purposing Proposition 63 revenue and augmenting that money with state, federal, and local funding. The initiative is patterned after Utah's successful and effective "Housing First" program that has reduced chronic homelessness there by 91 percent.

Restoring funding for Department of Developmental Services programs that support the lives of over 300,000 Californians with developmental disabilities hinges on the fate of the Governor's proposal to overhaul a tax on health plans to save over $1 billion in federal healthcare dollars that the state receives. However, I am encouraged by strong bipartisan recognition that the developmental disabilities services budget needs help.

As the new legislative year begins, I am continuing my work to find a solution to finance the long-term maintenance of our roads and highways. Besides catching up and getting of the $59 billion backlog in repairs for state-maintained highways, California must help local governments reduce their $78 billion backlog, too.

A common dilemma confronting local governments is spotlighted in a San Jose City Transportation Department memo presented to council members last March. It calculated the city would have to spend $683 million over a 10-year period just to keep the overall condition of its streets at the current level of "fair"; $1 billion to bring them up to "good."

Preserving our transportation infrastructure is a necessity. Investing in maintenance has many benefits by:

  • Making roads safer.
  • Saving money. A dollar invested in maintenance now saves us $4 to $16 in rebuilding costs
  • Creating jobs. Investment in road and bridge repairs generates 31 percent more jobs per dollar than new construction of roads.
  • Circulating money in our economy faster than new road construction. Repair and maintenance projects spend more money on workers and less on equipment.

Good roads are a necessity, not a frill. When we invest in them, we invest in our economy.

 

INTERNSHIPS

My Senate District 15 office in Campbell offers internships to capable college and high school students who are interested in how state government works and the issues that affect California.

Qualities and skills we look for in applicants are excellent writing; initiative; deductive thinking; reliability; good interpersonal skills; proficiency in typing, and knowledge with Microsoft Word and Excel.

Among an intern's responsibilities are data entry; research; handling inquiries from constituents; community outreach, such as staffing events and projects; the ability to work a few hours at an occasional weekend or evening event; and more.

If you're interested please contact Senate District 15 Senior Field Representative Domingo Candelas by email or call (408) 558-1295.