April 2012 Newsletter
A date to remember: April 12, 2012, the day we broke ground for the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension.
After decades of planning and haggling for funding, we are finally beginning construction on BART. Trains are expected to begin rolling into San Jose’s station on Mabury Road in a little more than four years.
Sharing a laugh with Congressman Mike Honda and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta at the BART ground-breaking ceremony.
The landmark ground-breaking ceremony was the culmination of a community-wide effort to bring BART here. The biggest credit goes to voters who voted not just once but twice to build the extension and to the Valley Transportation Authority and the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group for their hard work and vision.
The day was personally rewarding because not long ago as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, I fought to get the BART-to-San Jose project in the regional transportation plan making BART eligible for federal and state revenues.
This once-in-a-lifetime project has many benefits, including creating an estimated 6,520 direct jobs. When trains are up and running, they will reduce congestion on the Interstate 880 and 680 corridors, cutting greenhouse gases by 16,000 tons a year. Plans call for two BART lines – Berryessa-Daly City and Berryessa-Richmond – to each run trains every 15 minutes.
Getting cars off the road is essential because Santa Clara County is projected to add about 680,000 residents and about 210,000 households by 2035, according to the Association of Bay Area Governments.
Assembly Bill 1816, my bill to return nearly $2 million in lost property tax revenue to the cities of Saratoga, Cupertino, Monte Sereno, and Los Altos Hills, was approved by the Committee on Local Government and moves to the Appropriations Committee.
If the bill is approved and signed, it would return about $1.1 million to Cupertino; more than $517,000 to Saratoga; more than $172,000 to Los Altos Hills; and $170,000 to Monte Sereno. The bill ensures those four cities get the same standard percentage of returned property tax revenue as the rest of California’s cities.
Currently, they are allocated less than 7 percent of the property tax revenue they generate. Since the passage of Proposition 13, the four cities receive about 4 percent of their property tax revenue.
Assembly 1682, legislation introduced to strengthen protections against child abuse in response to a notorious molestation involving a San Jose swim club coach, recently passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee and now will be considered by the Judiciary Committee.
I introduced this bill in February after meeting a San Jose teen-age girl who had been abused by her swim club coach several years ago. She went to police and reported the crime. Subsequently, the coach, who had left two other swim clubs under a cloud of suspicion, was arrested and convicted in 2010 of 20 counts of molestation.
The girl, her family, and her attorney, came to me urging the law be changed to stop pedophiles like her coach from freely roaming from swim club to swim club without having his past activities uncovered.
My bill, if passed and signed into law, essentially bans confidential lawsuit settlements involving allegations of child sexual abuse, stopping molesters who are were never prosecuted from hiding behind secret settlements that shield their actions.
It also lengthens the statute of limitations for victims to file civil actions against their abuser, from age 26 to 35.
It also requires private organizations that work closely with children to establish an internal reporting process for allegations of child abuse and molestation and to instruct its employees and representatives in filing complaints.
Under my proposal, these organizations must conduct an enhanced background check on virtually everyone in the organization if they use public property, such as a soccer field or swimming pool, in their activities with children.
Malinda Markowitz, Assembly District 24’s Woman of the Year.
It was a pleasure to accompany Malinda Markowitz at the Assembly’s annual Woman of the Year ceremony. Before the formal ceremony, I shared brunch with Malinda, her husband, Paul, and her granddaughter, Abby.
As a registered nurse for more than three decades, she has been an outspoken advocate to improve health care and to make it accessible for everyone. She also serves on the Council of Presidents of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
MY EDUCATION CORNER
Over the last several months, I’ve been visiting PTA and Home and School Clubs across my district. The purpose of these visits has been to talk to parents, teachers, and administrators about the budget and funding for K-12 education, the Governor’s current proposal to close our $9.2 billion deficit, and important education related legislation that has been introduced this year.
It’s clear parents and educators are equally concerned about the future of our children’s education and the possibility that schools will have to shoulder even more cuts in the fall. These discussions on education and the budget have been incredibly helpful in revealing what parents, educators, and students care most about.
If the PTA or Home and School Club at your local school would like to schedule a discussion on the budget and other state-level education issues, please contact our office at 408-282-8920.