July 2012 Newsletter
Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, will join me at my free pancake breakfast next month to discuss California’s school budget and how it will affect classrooms. Be sure to mark your calendar for this informative meeting about the future of our K-12 education.
State of Education in California
Saturday, Aug. 25
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Campbell Community Center
Orchard City Banquet Hall
1 W. Campbell Ave., Campbell
Click here to RSVP for express check-in. Your RSVP is appreciated. For more information contact Hope Cahan, Assembly District 24 field representative at (408) 282-8920.
Two projects on my agenda with significant benefits for Santa Clara County residents were recently approved by the Legislature – an additional seat at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for San Jose and a new courthouse in downtown San Jose that will create jobs.
This month, Gov. Brown signed Assembly Bill 57, my legislation to add a new member to the MTC who will be appointed by the Mayor of San Jose. The additional member is an acknowledgment of the tremendous growth in population and jobs we’ve seen in Silicon Valley during the past 40 years.
The new representative increases the number of members from Santa Clara County to three on the commission which acts as the regional transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the Bay Area’s nine counties. The approval of AB 57 gives our county a greater voice in prioritizing the ranking and funding of freeway and mass transit projects, such as BART to San Jose.
I’m also glad to report that our Superior Court will be able to begin construction next year on a new 234,000 square-foot courthouse after I fought to include $208 million in state-backed bond funding in the state budget. The bonds will be repaid through a fee, approved in 2008, that is assessed on tickets for the rebuilding or construct of courthouses. Construction on the county’s new Family Justice Center is scheduled to break ground next year and be completed in 2015.
The new courthouse will enable the local Superior Court to consolidate six leased facilities into a single building that will save taxpayers $2 million to $3 million annually. The courthouse will be built on a lot at North Market and West St. James streets, steps from the Downtown Superior Court. It will be home to 20 courtrooms for divorce, juvenile dependency, child support, drug and mental health hearings.
The building will also contain self-help centers and waiting rooms for children. According to court officials, the facility will be “designed to help mitigate the tremendous and unavoidable stress put on children and their families by . . . creating a welcoming, family-friendly environment.’’
It will also generate 1,500 craft jobs and several thousand other construction-related jobs, court officials say.
This month, the Legislature approved the Homeowners Bill of Rights, a landmark in foreclosure reform that was quickly signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. This bill arms homeowners with new consumer protections, including allowing them to sue lenders who failed to follow proper procedures.
I was an early supporter the Homeowners Bill of Rights, a series of reforms that included a bill I co-authored to extend previous basic foreclosure protections for five years beyond their Dec. 31 expiration date.
This “Bill of Rights’’ requires banks and mortgage servicers to give homeowners a single point of contact. This step prevents lenders from redirecting a homeowner to different representatives who are not acquainted with their problems and who may not have access to the necessary documents.
The reforms eliminate robo-signings and “dual tracking,’’ stopping lenders from starting the foreclosure process while the property owner seeks a loan modification.
The bills forces banks and mortgage lenders to provide homeowners with a single point of contact for loan modification negotiations.
My goal is to keep California’s hard-working families in their homes. These reforms will enable them to keep their lives intact, as well as our neighborhoods intact, while they pursue solutions with their bank or mortgage lender.
HOW COOL IS SAN JOSE?
Learn how you can cut your energy bill and earn 70 percent-off discount coupons to local businesses by helping San Jose officially become the “Coolest City in California’’ through a program sponsored by the city of San Jose, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and others. This program provides a software analysis of your energy use and makes recommendations to cut your energy bill.