Senator Cortese Newsletter: Gearing Up for Our Big Bus Trip for Education



Dear Neighbors‚

As we welcome the vibrant month of May‚ a time rich with renewal and the promise of summer‚ our community stands on the cusp of meaningful engagement and advocacy. With the celebrations this month of Teacher Appreciation Week and the anticipation of graduation ceremonies‚ we’re reminded of the critical role of public education.

You are invited to the 21st Annual Bus Trip for Education on May 15th. Twenty-one years ago‚ I led a small shuttle of passionate Santa Clara County residents to California’s Capitol to advocate for our schools. I’m proud to report that our bus trip has blossomed into an extraordinary annual expedition‚ with three charter buses filled with students‚ parents‚ and community leaders making the trek from San Jose to Sacramento to advocate for better education policies and funding.

On this day‚ attendees engage directly with key policymakers‚ sharing their stories and helping elected officials understand what is important. The deadline to sign up for the bus trip is Friday‚ May 3rd. Spots are limited‚ so I urge you to register soon to secure your place. Find out the details and register in the ’Dave Days’ section later in this newsletter or with this link.

As always‚ my team and I are here to serve you. We encourage you to reach out with your ideas and concerns‚ or to share how you plan to make a difference this April. Please get in touch with me at



Senator Dave Cortese

Announcing our 2024 Nonprofit of the Year: Community Seva!

From left: Nathan Ganeshan, Founder and Board President of Community Seva, Senator Cortese, Core Volunteer Aminder Patel

I’m excited to let everyone know that Community Seva Inc. has been selected as Senate District 15’s Nonprofit of the Year for 2024. Founded in 2013‚ Community Seva has dedicated itself to providing essential services to the homeless and hungry across the Bay Area. With the support of over 2‚900 volunteers‚ they’ve served more than 320‚000 meals‚ provided over 2‚000 mobile showers‚ and distributed over 10‚000 essential items like winter kits and hygiene products. Their activities include cooking and serving meals at various shelters and organizing backpack drives containing winter essentials for those in need. These activities are helping build a community where everyone has the chance to thrive. This work‚ centered around compassion and action‚ aligns perfectly with our values of community service and support.

Recognizing Community Seva this year acknowledges its critical work and profound impact on our community. Community Seva’s efforts are a call to action for all of us to get involved and help make a significant difference in the lives of our neighbors. Let’s rally around Community Seva and support its mission to serve those who need it most.

Announcing our 2024 Woman of the Year: Saratoga Mayor Yan Zhao!

Announcing Mayor Yan Zhao of Saratoga as our Woman of the Year for 2024! Mayor Zhao’s leadership in Saratoga‚ staunch advocacy against anti-Asian hate‚ and commitment to public health and community engagement stand out. Long before being elected to the City Council in 2018 and serving as Mayor‚ Yan has been a formidable force for progress in Senate District 15‚ leveraging her extensive experience in the semiconductor industry and her deep roots in community service to make a significant impact.

Yan’s dedication goes beyond her professional achievements. Her actions include speaking out against injustice and supporting diverse community initiatives that resonate most. She has shown exceptional courage and compassion‚ whether addressing hate crimes or promoting public health during the pandemic.

Her work‚ including advocating for AAPI rights and engaging with our youth on these critical issues‚ exemplifies leadership that inspires change and fosters a more inclusive‚ understanding community. It’s my honor to recognize Yan Zhao’s contributions and unwavering commitment to making a difference in the lives of those she serves. Please join me in recognizing Mayor Yan Zhao for her many contributions to our community.



Join Senator Cortese’s 2024 Sacramento Bus Trip for Education 

  • WHAT: Town Hall on Racial Justice and Poverty in Santa Clara County
  • WHERE: Leave San Jose at 6:00 a.m. for the State Capitol and return at approximately 5:00 p.m.
  • REGISTRATION: Saturday, April 6th, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • PARKING: Click HERE to register.



Senator Cortese at his Unhoused Health Fair, an annual event where dozens of local service providers give free health and dental screenings, showers, haircuts, warm meals, and other services to people living on the street.

There’s no question that the homelessness crisis has become California’s most visible challenge. Since 2017‚ our homeless population has surged by about 38 percent‚ rising by approximately 50‚000 individuals. There are now over 180‚000 people experiencing homelessness in California. Many people have been asking how the $24 billion that California has allocated for homelessness and housing over the past five years has been spent. Last year‚ I requested an audit of San Jose’s homelessness spending as a member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

After a year of persistent inquiry‚ we received the results from the audit conducted by the California State Auditor last month. The findings show that the state and local approach to tackling homelessness lacks clarity and coordination. However‚ there were also positive results. In San Jose‚ 58% of people placed in permanent housing maintained their homes. The data for people placed into interim housing is less clear‚ highlighting the need for more structured housing solutions.

As we work diligently to reform this complex system of homelessness and housing programs‚ I’ve recently introduced legislation to address our community’s immediate needs. Senate Bill 1431‚ for instance‚ will transform the former Fairmont Hotel annex into Spartan Village on the Paseo‚ providing about 700 San Jose State University students with affordable housing. This project offers immediate relief and serves as a model for other regions facing similar issues. I’ve also authored SB 333‚ legislation that represents a transformative investment that will prevent young people from descending into the devastating cycle of homelessness and its associated public expenses. SB 333 will give unhoused students exiting high school $1‚000 a month for four months to help them enroll in college or enter the workforce. I’m proud to report that the bill is sponsored by Tony Thurmond‚ California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

As your State Senator‚ I am committed to redirecting our efforts to address homelessness‚ and I will continue to do much more.


Community Updates

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Boogie Campbell's Music Festival

May 18th & 19. The Prune Festival began in the late 1970s, celebrating Campbell's fruit-producing heritage. Evolving into the Cajun-inspired Boogie on the Bayou in the early 2000s, it's now the music-focused Boogie Festival. This award-winning event spans two days in Historic Downtown Campbell, featuring delicious food, beer, wine, over 100 artisans, and live music. 267 E Campbell Avenue, Campbell.



Live Well Age Well Health Expo

May 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Discover tailored resources for those 50 and older to lead positive, healthy lives. Explore booths, educational sessions, and activity demonstrations. The first 50 attendees receive a free lunch, and $5 boxed lunches are available for purchase while supplies last. Take advantage of this opportunity to invest in your health and well-being! Senior Center, 21251 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino. Contact

Free Home Composting Education Workshop

May 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Learn to build compost piles and worm bins. Join the UC Cooperative Extension Composting Education Program, sponsored by the Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission of Santa Clara County. Explore community classes teaching residents how to compost and apply it in their landscape. Take advantage of this chance to enhance your sustainability efforts! Cupertino Library, 10800 Torre Avenue, Cupertino. Please register in advance at the UCCE Composting Education Program or by calling 408-918-4640.



This Weekend: SCC Wildfire Preparedness Workshop

May 4‚ 2024‚ from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Join the first in a series of essential workshops aimed at enhancing wildfire preparedness. This two-hour session will focus on crucial topics such as evacuation planning‚ enhancing property resilience‚ and the effective use of emergency alerts. With the impending fire season‚ gaining these insights is more crucial than ever. The workshop will also address specific concerns for properties in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and issues related to insuring homes under Assembly Bill 38. A representative from the state Department of Insurance will be available to address any questions from property owners. 14855 Oka Rd‚ Los Gatos‚ CA 95032. Learn more and register at SCC Fire Department.

LG Creek Trail Clean Up with the Key Club

May 11, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Help keep our trails clean! Meet at the Old Forbes Mill Parking Lot behind 55 Church Street and the trailhead. Kiwanis provides garbage bags, gloves, and more. Enjoy light snacks and coffee while making a difference. Let's keep our town and trails pristine! For more information, visit The Old Forbes Mill Parking Lot is behind 55 Church St and at the trailhead. Contact:

Preschool Storytime (Ages 2)

Join us for Preschool Storytime in the Children's Room every Wednesday at 11 am! Sing, move, and read together to develop early literacy and school readiness skills while building community connections. This program is tailored for toddlers ages two and up. Due to the large nature of our Storytime programs, masks are highly encouraged. The Los Gatos Library is committed to accessibility for all patrons. For accommodations, contact Grace Song at Children's Room 155 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Girls on the Run 5K

Saturday, May 18, 2024. Join us for the Girls on the Run 5K Celebration, promoting confidence through accomplishment. Participants of all abilities experience a sense of achievement crossing the finish line at Vasona Lake County Park. Each program member receives a commemorative medal, celebrating this remarkable milestone. Take advantage of this joyful event! Register at Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032. Register with the nonprofit Girls on the Run.


San Jose

Vietnamese Áo Dài Festival Returns

May 18, 2024, 2:00 PM. Celebrate the beauty and cultural richness of Vietnam at the Vietnamese Áo Dài Festival in Downtown San Jose. This vibrant event, Áo Dài Festival VI: A Modern Fairy Tale, showcases the traditional Vietnamese áo dài through the lens of renowned designers, artists, and performers. This year's theme explores the enchanted narratives of Vietnamese fairy tales, celebrating the art of storytelling through fashion, music, and dance. Attendees are encouraged to wear their áo dài to become part of this celebration of Vietnamese heritage. San Jose City Hall Plaza: 200 E. Santa Clara St. San Jose, Ca. Learn more here.

Experience Art Like Never Before at South First Fridays Art Walk

Friday, May 3, 2024, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. FREE. Immerse yourself in an evening filled with artistic exploration and cultural vibrance at the South First Fridays Art Walk. Held in the heart of downtown San Jose’s SoFA district, this monthly event invites locals and visitors alike to discover the pulsating arts scene that San Jose has to offer the first Friday of each month, nearly 20 galleries, along with shops, bars, and even a yoga studio, open their doors late into the evening for a unique and enriching art walk experience. SoFA District, South First Street and William Street, San Jose, CA.



Community Wildfire Preparedness Workshop - 2024

May 14‚ 2024‚ from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Join the Santa Clara County Fire Department and the California Department of Insurance for an in-person wildfire preparedness workshop. This workshop will educate residents on how to prepare and be ready for wildfire‚ as well as help homeowners navigate the buying‚ selling‚ and insuring processes of homes that reside in the wildland urban interface (WUI). Joan Pisani Community Center. 19655 Allendale Avenue Saratoga‚ CA 95070. Learn more and register at SCC Fire Department.

Saratoga Rotary Art Show & 5K Run/Walk For a Cause

Saturday & Sunday, May 4-5, 2024. Dive into a world of creativity at the 65th Saratoga Rotary Art Show, featuring over 125 regional artists showcasing unique artworks across all mediums. For the first time, join our 5K Run/Walk to support local charities. Enjoy art, live music, food, and more. Free admission. A portion of art sales benefits the Saratoga Rotary Charitable Foundation. West Valley College, 14000 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070.



Cultural Exchange Host Families Needed

Early to mid-August. Engage in a rewarding cultural exchange right in your own home! CIEE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering global understanding, is seeking families in the Bay Area to host high school foreign exchange students. Hosts provide a warm home, a comfortable bed, three meals daily, and transportation to the local high school. These fluent English-speaking students come equipped with their own spending money and insurance. Hosting options range from 8-10 weeks to an entire school year. Open to individuals over 25, couples, or families with children. This experience promises to be life-changing, enriching both your family's and the student's perspectives on the world. For more details, visit CIEE Host Families or contact Ashley at

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Wind-Down Update

In April 2024, the Affordable Connectivity Program, offering a $30 internet service credit, ended. Enrolled households received the last full credit in April and a partial credit in May 2024, based on the remaining funds. Next Steps: Contact your broadband provider for options: apply for a low-cost plan, change your service package, or cancel. Not sure where to start? Call the number on your bill or visit your provider's website for guidance.

FasTrak Fraud Alert: Beware of Text Scams

Customers have reported scam texts about toll payments linking to fake websites. Do not use these links. FasTrak never requests payments via text. Contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately if you've paid through a fraudulent site. For secure payments, visit or call 877-BAY-TOLL (877-229-8655).



In The News

Senator Cortese at a March panel on the fentanyl crisis hosted by Capitol Weekly. Photo credit: Capitol Weekly






State Resources

I was impressed by the dedication and clarity of the GENup

youth at the unveiling of their April policy slate. I am grateful that these young leaders support my SB 333 to give limited guaranteed income to graduating homeless high school seniors and my SB 483 to end violent prone restraint in schools.

The Iftar dinner held in the Capitol area on the final day of Ramadan was a special interfaith gathering that left Pattie and me with tremendous hope that peace is possible in the world. Thank you, Pacifica Institute, for offering us a moment to reflect and deepen our connections. We appreciate Pacifica’s community and interfaith work in Senate District 15 as well.

It was also great to be with Pattie and friends from SEIU 2015 and the broader community at the Ramadan Iftar in San Jose on April 4, uniting in our commitment to justice for all. SEIU 2015 represents nearly 470,000 home care, skilled nursing facility, and assisted living center workers in California.

 It was wonderful to welcome another group of bright young minds to the Capitol on April 9! Meeting with students is always a highlight of the job, and it's inspiring to see the next generation actively engaging in our democratic process. Thank you, St. Lucy’s 8th graders, for visiting us from Campbell!

Reflecting on an inspiring day at the California State Capitol, we celebrated an important holiday in the Jain religion with Ambassador of Peace Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, who visited from New Delhi, India. I am honored to stand with the Jain community in our shared commitment to peace, non-violence, and compassion. It was wonderful to have Jains from Senate District 15 and other areas of the state join us for the ceremonies.



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As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns. I can be reached at or by calling (408) 558-1295.