November 2014 Newsletter

November 17, 2014


I will be convening a town hall meeting on transportation in December to investigate how California can finance highway maintenance as the gas tax revenue, the main funding source for road improvements, continues to fall. This hearing will consider the pros and cons of various strategies to increase the amount of funding available for transportation projects.

The residents of Senate District 15 are invited to attend this hearing to understand the challenges and possible solutions we face as California grapples with the question of how to pay for road repairs and maintenance.

Transportation Town Hall
Thursday, Dec. 4; 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Bascom Community Center, multi-purpose room
1000 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose
RSVP by contacting the SD 15 office, (408) 558-1295,
or emailing


There have been reports about eliminating one of the BART stations panned for San Jose – the 28th Street station behind the majestic Five Wounds Church.

As a former member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors who worked hard to pass two ballot measures to help finance BART to San Jose, I have actively opposed eliminating the Five Wounds station.

Earlier this month, I have received a letter from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors that the station will be included in the board's environmental review of possible BART stations. So for the time being, the station remains in the mix but there are no guarantees. The possibility that the Five Wounds station could be rejected has many in the community up in arms.

I believe bringing BART to San Jose, and its four proposed stations, including Five Wounds station, are essential for managing San Jose's growth and improving our quality of life.

Why is BART so important?

We have to improve transportation because we will grow. By 2035, San Jose's population will grow by about 260,000, a 26 percent increase. And people from outside Silicon Valley will be commuting to here because we will have more jobs. The Santa Clara Valley is no longer a bedroom community for San Francisco; we are now a center for good paying jobs and it will stay that way.

The county and the state are not going to build another freeway in the Bay Area, which is prohibitively expensive and unfriendly to the environment.

BART to San Jose will cut greenhouse gases by 16,000 tons a year and get cars off Interstate 880 and 680. Building BART also keeps people working and money circulating. It will generate 19,000 jobs (one job for one year).

The Five Wounds stations also have the potential to revitalize the surrounding community. East San Jose is a historically underserved area and home to many low-income working families; many who are dependent on mass transit. Access to affordable and reliable transportation can expand opportunity – making it easier to reach jobs, good schools, colleges, and health care services.

Retaining a station in the Five Wounds neighborhood will enhance the BART-to-San Jose project's ability to compete for funding available through California's Cap and Trade framework as adopted by the Legislature under SB 862 and SB 535.

As Chairman of the Senate's Budget Subcommittee on Transportation, I helped craft how the state's Cap and Trade auction revenue will be divided.

At least 25 percent of auction revenues in all categories must be set aside for projects that benefit disadvantaged communities. The Five Wounds neighborhood has been identified as Santa Clara County's most disadvantaged community, according to environmental health screening tools used by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Local projects eligible for Cap and Trade funding are BART to San Jose, electrifying Caltrain, and preserving old growth redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains and open space. We can and will get millions to extend BART all the way to Santa Clara.


Last year, I introduced SB 347 to allow counties that sell youth shelters financed with Proposition 86 bond funds to re-invest the sale revenue in other local runaway and homeless youth shelters.

With the passage of SB 347, Santa Clara can now re-invest $1 million in proceeds from the sale of the Children's Shelter that was located on Union Avenue.

Thanks to SB 347, the Housing Trust Silicon Valley will make available $1 million in forgivable loans and grants. These funds shall be used for youth shelters serving unaccompanied minors under 18 years of age.

To be eligible for funding, all proposed properties must be located within Santa Clara County. The housing trust invites eligible non-profit entities to submit applications for Youth Shelter Capital Facilities Program funds that may be used for:

  • Acquisition
  • Rehabilitation / Renovation
  • Construction
  • Equipment replacement
  • Furniture and fixtures.

The due date is open. Over-the-counter, applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted.

Notices of Funding Availability and related document can be found on the housing trust's website.


For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time to indulge in pies and sweets. But, it can be a precarious period for people with diabetes who are trying to maintain safe blood sugar levels. To help them, the American Association of Diabetes Educators has created a diabetes-friendly guide for Thanksgiving that includes tips and recipes.