December 2011 Newsletter

December 13, 2011

OPEN HOUSE

On Thursday, Feb. 9, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., I’ll be holding my annual District Office open house. It’s an opportunity to meet my staff and me and to find out how my office can help you. Light refreshments will be available.

The District Office is located at 100 Paseo De San Antonio, Suite 319, in downtown San Jose. To view a map location, click here.

Please RSVP by either clicking here or by phoning the District Office staff at (408) 282-8920.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

California is gradually rising out of the recession and Silicon Valley is leading the way. A U.S. Labor and Statistics report for the 12-month period ending in October shows the South Bay’s job growth rose by 3.2 percent, the highest in the nation.

Tech stalwarts like Google and Apple are adding more workers but California’s small businesses remain our state’s economic backbone, providing more than half the private sector jobs in the state.

At a Small Business Roundtable I held on December 1, I heard some business owners cite the lack of access to capital as one of the impediments to growing their operations and adding more jobs. One suggested creating a state bank that can provide, amongst other things, loans to small businesses.

I support the concept. Last year, the Legislature passed AB 750 to create a blue ribbon commission to investigate the establishment of a state bank. Gov. Jerry Brown did not sign the bill. But his veto message indicated he did not disagree so much with founding a state bank as he was opposed to generating another commission and another feasibility study.

A proposed state bank would hold the state deposits, temporary idled money that is not immediately needed for expenditures. In the prior fiscal year, there was more than $423 million in state money kept in various investment banks and insured institutions.

A state bank could have put that money to work filling the capital gaps for California-based small businesses, start-ups, and microenterprises. When we spend our money on small businesses it means our dollars stay in California, helping to employ our neighbors. Let’s keep our money here and working for Californians.

FORECLOSURE HELP

Last year, our state received about $2 billion in federal funding to finance Keep Your Home California, a state program aimed at helping at least 100,000 eligible homeowners avoid preventable foreclosures.

Nearly 8,000 homeowners have benefited or are in process to receive funds from the state-run program, which began full operations in February.

Keep Your Home California addresses various aspects of the current housing crisis by helping low- and moderate-income homeowners retain their homes if they either have suffered a financial hardship such as unemployment, or experienced a change in household circumstance such as death, illness or disability, or are subject to a recent or upcoming increase in their monthly mortgage payment and are at risk of default because of this economic hardship when coupled with a severe decline in their home's value.

In order for homeowners to qualify for any of the four Keep Your Home California programs, their mortgage servicers must be participating. Almost 50 mortgage servicers now participate in the program; these servicers cover more than 85 percent of the mortgages in California.

Homeowners seeking information about the program are encouraged to call

(888) 954-5337 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org. A  Spanish-language site is available at www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org.

MY EDUCATION CORNER

Fighting for and preserving the rights of people with disabilities is something we need to champion at every level, especially starting with our youngest leaders.

Students with disabilities have the opportunity to come to Sacramento and attend the California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities from July 23-27. Geared towards high school juniors and seniors, students will experience life on a college campus while working alongside 900 alumni who have participated in this unique leadership program.

They will meet and network with role models and leaders from the disability community, making connections that can help them achieve their personal, academic, and career goals.

This program is provided at no cost to the students that are chosen to participate in the forum.

For more information and to submit an application, click here. The deadline for applications is January 13.