January 2015 Newsletter

January 15, 2015


I have re-scheduled this month's litter and graffiti clean-up of the Arbuckle Elementary School neighborhood to Saturday, Jan.31, 9 a.m.-noon.

Volunteer check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. at Arbuckle Elementary. For more information, please contact Senate District 15 Field Representative Domingo Candelas by email or call (408) 558-1295. Volunteers will be picking up litter from sidewalks and streets and depositing it into trash bags.

The event is also being sponsored by San Jose City Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco and the Arbuckle Neighborhood Association.

The clean-up is an outgrowth of a productive meeting with residents who were concerned about litter and illegal dumping.


Police officers are not mental health professionals. But they have become the first responders for people with mental disorders in crises who have fallen through the cracks of a broken mental health system.

It is not wise to ask officers, who have scant training in dealing with the mentally ill, to defuse these potentially volatile situations. Because of this, there is growing recognition of the importance of mental-health training for officers throughout law enforcement agencies across the nation.

The existing California Peace Officer Standards and Training curriculum for prospective officers mandates 664 hours (16 weeks) of training. The program includes 72 hours on how to handle firearms and pepper spray and 40 hours for investigative report writing but just six hours of mental health training.

This is why I have introduced Senate Bill 11 to increase mental health training for peace officers to better prepare them for coping with people who have mental health disorders.

California must intensify mental health training at police academies because the number of people with mental disorders will grow. For example, about 7.5 million of the 40 million Americans age 65 and over have a mental disorder and the number will increase as this population ages.

About 8 percent of the state's adult population reported a need for mental health treatment, according to a UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study. Also, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders who have ended their hitches in the service are returning home, too.

But we need to do more than increase training for police officers. To achieve the best outcomes, we must build the mental health crisis response system so those in need will have an appropriate place to go besides our jails.

In 2013, I worked with Senate leaders to significantly improve access to mental health crisis services available to Californians by funding a major statewide expansion of crisis residential and stabilization beds and mobile crisis capacity. It resulted in Santa Clara County receiving $4.7 million for the development of two community-based Crisis Residential Programs and one Crisis Stabilization Program. The funds will enable the development of three new programs in Central/East San Jose and South County.


Over the past year the lights along Highway 680 from Berryessa Road to Bird Avenue have been out due to copper-wire theft.

During the holiday season, Caltrans Maintenance Specialty crews began repairs and replaced junction boxes in certain areas. Caltrans maintenance crews are continuing to resolve problems as fast as possible, in spite of increasing vandalism.

My staff has been monitoring Caltrans maintenance issues including littering, graffiti and road repair issues. If you have an issue to report, visit the Caltrans website and provide detailed information regarding the location.

Once you have submitted a request for service you will receive a tracking number. My office can assist you with the status of the repair request through the tracking number. If you have any issue relating to Caltrans, please contact my Senior Field Representative Frances Hebert.


High school seniors, parents, and guardians in Senate District 15 are invited to several "Cash for College Workshops" that I am co-sponsoring with the California Student Opportunity and Access Program.

The free workshops will arm high school seniors who plan to attend college with essential information about applying for student financial aid, such as Cal Grants (March 2 deadline) or the Middle Class Scholarships (June 30 deadline).

The workshops are intended to assist in filling out applications; it is not an assurance of a grant or scholarship.

Workshops are scheduled for:

Thursday, Feb.5; 4 p.m. - 7 p.m., Pioneer High School
Thursday, Feb. 5; 4 p.m. - 8 p.m., Homestead High School
Tuesday, Feb.10; 3:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.; Leland High School
Wednesday, Feb.11; 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.; Willow Glen High School

Representatives from the California Student Opportunity and Access Program will be on hand to answer questions, and guide students and parents through the application process.

To expedite completion of student financial aid applications, it is recommended that parents and students bring any of the following applicable items:

  • Student's Social Security card and driver license or government-issued identification.
  • Parent or guardian's Social Security card.
  • If not a U.S. citizen, bring alien registration card; if you do not have an alien registration card, visit dream.csac.ca.gov to learn if you qualify for California Dream Act financial aid.
  • Parent's Federal Income Tax return, current W-2 forms or other records of income.
  • Records of untaxed income such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, veterans, or Social Security benefits.
  • Student's W-2 forms, pay records or other records of income earned.
  • Bank account records or bank statements.
  • Records of stocks, bonds or investments.
  • Business and farm records.
  • A list of the colleges you are applying to.