October 2009 E-Newsletter
JOBS THAT WORK
I’ve been holding a series of informal meetings in Assembly District 24, touching base with people at coffee shops to hear what’s on their minds. Many have told me they are unemployed or they are worried about the lack of job opportunities.
California’s unemployment rate surged to 12.2 percent in September and economic forecasts predict it will remain above 10 percent until late 2011.
Our job recovery hinges on many factors that are out of our control - the national consumption for goods that will spur the need for California-produced products, and increased investments in our businesses. But there’s a third factor the state can control - public works construction.
I’m not for pork barrel projects. I’m for projects that make sense, create good jobs, and have a high public benefit, such as fixing our aging levees and building the high-speed rail.
We court disaster by delaying repairs on our crumbling 1,600-mile system of levees. The levees have two vital roles - protecting areas from flooding and bringing water to 35 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland. A magnitude 6.5 earthquake could take the levees down and our valley would be left with only half its water supply.
The high-speed rail is a rolling economic development and transportation stimulus plan for all of California. Once the system is completed, a passenger could buy a $55 ticket, board a train in San Francisco, hurtle down the state at 180 mph in comfort, and arrive in Los Angeles just two-and-half hours later.
Projections say the system can carry 88 million to 117 million passengers a year by 2030 and eliminate 12 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually. There would be 160,000 jobs linked to construction of the system.
And for cities that are stops on the system, such as San Jose, high-speed rail will increase tourism and business, revitalizing the Delmas Park district that surrounds the train station.
Thanks to voters, $14.5 billion in bonds were approved for both high-speed rail and levee repairs. Sacramento needs to respond to the will of the voters and get both of these worthy projects moving fast.
It’s also incumbent on us to explore how we can create private industry jobs and keep them. On Oct. 8, the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and Economy, will be holding a hearing in San Jose to focus on how we can improve California’s competitiveness in manufacturing and innovation. As the local committee member, I will be playing host for the 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. session at the Roosevelt Community Center, 901 E. Santa Clara St. This meeting is open to the public.
LET’S MEET AND TALK
With a deficit looming, Sacramento is facing tough budget choices again. That’s why I’ve been going out into the community to hear what citizens care about – what state programs you want protected, where you think cuts should be made.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., I’ll be at the Heartbeat Café, 14392 Union Ave. It is located at the Cambrian Park Plaza, Union and Camden Avenues, San Jose.
This is the fourth of my “Coffee Klatsch” meetings. I hope you can come on out.
STOPPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In observance, the Domestic Violence Council of Santa Clara County will be holding its annual conference on Friday, Oct. 23, at the Marriott Santa Clara, and I plan to attend.
Over the years, local agencies and authorities have made progress in reducing the number of homicides related to domestic violence. But this disturbing problem remains prevalent and persistent. Felony cases of domestic violence in Santa Clara County from January through August have increased by about 60 cases over the same period last year.
DISABILITY AWARENESS DAY
Knocking down barriers that prevent people with disabilities from leading fulfilling lives has been a top priority for me. That’s why I am encouraging you to visit San Jose City Hall on Disability Awareness Day -- Thursday, Oct. 8 -- to learn more about the challenges our disabled population face.
City Hall’s Plaza and Rotunda will be filled with art displays, workshops, sports exhibits, live music, games and activities to promote awareness and appreciation of people with disabilities. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.
Click here for more information or call (408) 369-6438 or email DAD@sjdistrict1.com.
HALLOWEEN COSTUMES NEEDED!
CommUniverCity – a partnership of neighborhoods, San Jose State University, and the City of San Jose – is once again collecting new or gently-used costumes. Those costumes will be handed out free to needy children. Last year, about 1,400 costumes were given away at its Safe and Green Halloween event.
If you can help, please bring your costumes to the South Bay Labor Council, 2102 Almaden Road, Suite 107, San Jose, 95125, no later than Wednesday, October 14. Or for a limited time, Omar Torres, a committed community activist, will come to your house or work to pick up your costumes. Call Omar on his cell phone, (408) 390-0728, and leave him your name and phone number so he can swing by.
CommUniverCity’s Halloween event takes place Friday, Oct. 23, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Martin Park, located behind McKinley Elementary School, 651 Macredes Ave., San Jose.
If you have any questions, call event coordinator Vanessa Goulart at 408 297-3301 or Steve Preminger at 408 266-3790 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
RETIREMENT PLANNING HELP
The Los Gatos Senior Consortium is sponsoring a Retirement Housing Options Information Fair on Saturday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the Los Gatos Neighbor Center, 208 E. Main Street, Los Gatos.
Learn about available options as you plan for your retirement. Presentation topics include: Independent senior living communities; continuing care facilities; rental options; assisted living facilities; low-income senior housing; and financial planning.
Call (408) 354-1514 for more information.
DEALING WITH DEPLOYMENT
How do you cope with the military deployment or enlistment of a friend or loved one?
A free workshop, open to the public, tackles that issue by exploring ways to achieve peace of mind and maintain your relationship.
The workshop – sponsored by the 3 Principles Service Division of the Santa Clara County Department of Alcohol and Drug Services – is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 9, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Masonic Temple, 2500 Masonic Dr., San Jose.
For more information phone Christine Cantu at (408) 792-5219 or email email@example.com.