November 2009 E-Newsletter
THE DUVALL CASE’S FALLOUT
For the Legislature to begin reforming government, it needs the support of the governed. If polls are any indication, Sacramento is a long way from gaining the public’s confidence.
A Field Poll last month showed a record-low job rating for the Governor and the Legislature.
The public’s anger is understandable. People are losing jobs. Wall Street got its massive bailout but not Main Street. Retirements have gone up in smoke. Health care costs an arm and a leg. And the cost of a college education spirals out of control. The public expects action from Sacramento.
There are any number of structural impediments to doing our jobs better. But it will always come down to one question: Do we have the public’s trust?
If the answer is “no’’ how can we hope to convince people that the decisions we make on their behalf will ensure our government serves us appropriately?
So, when a lawmaker – like Michael Duvall – resigns under a cloud of scandal, it damages the covenant between the people and their representatives.
Duvall, the vice chair of the Assembly’s utilities committee, abruptly resigned his Assembly seat on Sept. 9 after he was caught on an open mic chortling about alleged assignations with a female lobbyist. His indiscreet remarks received big media play throughout the state.
Duvall denied any unethical relationship with the lobbyist and dismissed his offhand comments as “inappropriate storytelling.’’
In a prepared statement, the company that employs the lobbyist “denied the speculative media reports’’ about her reputed involvement with Duvall. The company also said it would conduct an investigation into the matter. Early this month, the lobbyist said in a statement that investigations by the FBI and other authorities “found no violation of legal or ethical standards.’’
Whether or not investigations were being conducted by outside agencies, I would have preferred the Assembly to carry out its own fact-finding mission. Instead, the Assembly terminated its own investigation because Duvall is no longer a member of the Assembly. Personally, I believe an Assembly inquiry would have demonstrated our resolve to find the truth.
If we intend to restore trust in government then, at a minimum, the Legislature must send a clear message that it isn’t afraid to investigate its own and doesn’t fear the truth. It is a matter of trust and demonstrating that no one is above the law.
Here’s the rundown on my bills and resolutions that were signed by the Governor.
AB 303—Hospital Seismic Safety Financing; provides hospitals with the means to finally meet requirements to make seismic safety facility upgrades.
AB 287—Developmental Disabilities Employment Policy (SB 1270); promotes gainful employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, setting the stage for future legislative initiatives to expand employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
AB 116—Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Procurement Thresholds; raises the competitive bidding requirement to $100,000 from $25,000, thereby freeing up funds for more transportation projects.
AB 407—Requires Continuing Care Retirement Communities to give at least 120 days advance notice of its closure and to adopt a relocation plan for clients to ensure that the closure is orderly and all residents are adequately provided compensation or alternative arrangements.
AB 1525—Election Recounts; increases trust in elections by permitting a voter to request a recount in an election conducted in more than one county, but not statewide, within 5 days beginning on the 29th day after the election.
AB 112—Flexibility to Spend on Cities; allows the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to also allocate funds for the repair of all types of transportation facilities, not just transit facilities.
AB 140—Alternative Dispute Resolution; develops procedures and sets timelines to resolve disputes between a regional center and a provider agency over the provision or payment of services for individualized family service plans or individual program plans for children under 6.
AB 706— Foster Care; increases the ability to reunify families by making juvenile courts more family friendly.
AJR 6—Elder Economic Security Index Resolution; helps seniors in California by urging the federal government to use the Elder Economic Security Index to update antiquated federal poverty measures and guidelines.
AJR 90 – Recognizes September 2009 as Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in California.
California’s unemployment rate has hit record levels. Many people who had never been without work now find themselves jobless for the first time. Here’s a link to help you understand how to start your unemployment benefits. In the coming weeks, I plan to hold free seminars to help people cope with unemployment and find work.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Each year, the California State Assembly celebrates Women’s History Month by honoring a Woman of the Year for each Assembly district throughout the state. Every Assemblymember is asked to select a woman in their district whom they feel exemplifies leadership, dedication, and community service through their profession and/or volunteerism.
This year, Assemblymember Beall invites you to nominate a woman in District 24 who demonstrates these characteristics and gives back to the community in an invaluable way. The Assemblymember will then choose a winner and she will be honored during a ceremony at the State Capitol in the month of February.
In previous years, Assemblymember Beall honored astronomer Sandra Faber, whose work has increased our understanding of the universe, and Lee Sturtevant, a pioneer who has opened the door to politics for many women in Santa Clara County.
Click here to nominate a Woman of the Year. The deadline for nominations is January 10, 2010. Nominees must reside within the boundaries of District 24.
One out of 150 children is born with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since 1989, Pacific Autism Center for Education has sought to provide programs for individuals with autism /developmental disabilities.
“A Roaring 20th’’ is the theme of the annual PACE fundraiser that marks the non-profit organization’s two decades of service. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Hayes Mansion, 200 Edenvale Ave., San Jose. Proceeds from the event help finance PACE’s continuing programs.
For more information about the event and tickets, please visit www.pacificautism.org, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 408-245-3400.
JOB READINESS WORKSHOPS
What: Receive free coaching and feedback on your job readiness skills. The workshops are co-sponsored by the Friends of San Jose Public Library, the Workforce Institute, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
When: Online Search & Follow-up – Nov. 3 from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Interview Techniques – Nov. 10 from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Room 125, 150 E. San Fernando St., San José.
More Information: Sign-up by calling (408) 808-2397.
What: This is a free full-day conference for families and friends caring for an aging loved one. Seminars include Self Care, Dementia Communication, Relaxation Techniques, Medicare/MediCal, and Caregiver Stories of Healing and Hope. Seating is Limited. RSVP by Nov. 9.
When: Nov. 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Sobrato Center for Non-Profits, 1400 Parkmoor Ave., San José
More Information: Visit www.healthtrust.org/
caregiverscount or call (408) 559-5589.