Archive for the ‘State of California’ Category

Glazer, 42 other state legislators from both parties call for increase to Renters Tax Credit 

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

From $60 to $500 for single residents and $120 to $1,000 for single parents and couples in eligible households. Focused on poorest. Last changed in 1979.

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

SACRAMENTO – Low-income California renters who have been drowning in unaffordable housing costs would see much-needed relief under a bill unveiled Wednesday by State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) and co-authors representing more than one-third of the Legislature.

The legislation, SB 843, would increase the California renter’s tax credit for the first time in more than 40 years and would represent significant help to renters across California. Eligible households would receive $500 for single residents and $1,000 for single parents and couples. Currently, eligible renters have their tax liabilities offset by only $60 for single filers or $120 for joint filers.

The bill would make the tax credit more valuable to the poorest Californians by making single parents eligible for the same credit as couples and allowing people to receive the full credit even if the amount exceeds their tax liability.

“We’ve treated renters like the doormat outside California’s economic recovery house,” Glazer said. “We cannot make an economic comeback without renters having their rightful place inside. Renters have waited 42 years for a modest level of fairness in our tax code. We can’t make them wait any longer.

“An increase in the renters’ tax credit will mean that people don’t have to choose between putting food on the table, taking their kids to the doctor, and making the rent.”

Those eligible for the new renter’s credit would be single filers making $43,533 or less and joint filers making $87,066 or less. Nearly 2.4 million renters would be eligible for the tax credit, according to 2019 Franchise Tax Board estimates.

California has not increased the renter’s credit since 1979. The proposed increase accounts for inflation since then. SB 843 provides direct help to renters – those who typically struggle the most to find affordable housing, and who have been hit hard during COVID-19.

Glazer’s previous attempt to increase the credit – SB 248 – was described by CalMatters as the “most bipartisan bill of the year.”  That bill had 30 co-authors. SB 843 already has 43 — and counting — from across the state and all parts of the ideological spectrum.

Assemblyman Steven Choi, R-Irvine, a principal co-author, said: “Nearly half of the state’s residents are renters, but we simply have not done enough to help them with our state tax policies. This legislation can serve as one tool to make renting more affordable. It would be a real boost to working families who are struggling to make ends meet with the high cost of living in California.”

Too many renters have struggled for too long, said Senator Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger.

“California renters have struggled to meet rent prior to the pandemic, and have faced rents that in some areas have tripled,” said Senator Hurtado. “Even with steps we have previously taken, many renters face homelessness. This tax relief credit will provide much needed relief for renters, and I am happy to support it.”

Senator Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, said there couldn’t be a better time than now to help renters.

“We need to help California renters, many of whom are struggling, with permanent financial relief,” said Senator Susan Rubio. “I want to thank Senator Glazer for introducing this bill, and I’m happy to be a co-author. Increasing the renters tax credit, while we have a healthy budget surplus, will put money where it’s needed the most and help families now and in the future.”

Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said so many historic moments have come and gone without much help for renters. Until now.

“A lot has changed since 1979: my LA Clippers relocated to Los Angeles, the internet was ‘born,’ the Berlin wall fell, and a NASA spacecraft flew past Pluto,” Wilk said. “One thing that hasn’t changed? California’s $60 renter’s tax credit. Offering low-income renters such little assistance is inexcusable and reflects a bygone era. I am excited we are taking serious steps to put this behind us, too.”

Senator David Cortese, D-San Jose, said: “I’d like to thank Senator Glazer for his leadership as well as my colleagues for introducing this bill that will significantly expand our state’s renters tax credit and provide much needed relief to not only millions of low-income renters, but also our ‘missing middle’-income population that is often overlooked. And by doing so, this bill will provide stability to our families and prevent the displacement of valuable members of our communities – including our teachers, nurses, nonprofit employees as well other essential workers who are being forced to leave the state due to high cost of living and skyrocketing rents.”

 

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, a co-author, said, “Renters have been disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19. Until the pandemic is fully behind us and jobs can return to full capacity, some renters may continue to face a risk of homelessness or housing instability. Updating the renters tax credit is a way of providing critical direct relief to some of California’s most vulnerable.” 

Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, R-Huntington Beach, said: “After a difficult two years throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is my priority to find and work toward solutions that lower the cost of living. This tax credit will help many families in our community not have to choose between paying for rent and providing food for their family. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to get this bill passed through the Legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.”

Jiseon Kim, a University of California Los Angeles senior majoring in history and public affairs and Head of Advocacy at Swipe Out Hunger at UCLA, said that students are among the many Californians facing high housing costs today, “one of many obstacles they face in being able to earn their degrees. This bill would help address our cost of living issues and will contribute to all students’ overall educational success.”

Senator Brian Jones, R-Santee, said the bill recognizes the needs of working families.

“The State’s $45 billion budget surplus was built on the backs of hardworking Californians, including renters, who now deserve a break,” Jones said.

The Renter’s Tax Credit is a common-sense idea that offers urgently needed relief to California’s millions of families burdened with high rent, said David Knight, Executive Director of the California Community Action Partnership (CalCAPA). While California homeowners receive $5.8 billion in tax relief through mortgage deductions, renters’ relief has been barely a blip on the radar, Knight noted. The cost of the new renter’s credit would be around $1.2 billion, according to 2019 Franchise Tax Board estimates.

“It’s a matter of fairness,” Knight said. “California’s housing policies have favored homeowners for decades by offering them a tax credit for the interest on their mortgages. But, renters haven’t been granted similar benefits. CalCAPA is proud to support this important bill, which makes our housing policy more fair and equitable.”

Senator David Min, D-Irvine, said: “Housing remains a top issue for Californians in every corner of our state. From the rising cost of living to the COVID-19 crisis, California renters have faced no shortage of challenges in recent years. I’m honored to be a coauthor of SB 843, which will help thousands by making crucial and long overdue updates to the California Renters Tax Credit.”

The renter’s credit was established in 1972. Since its only increase in 1979, rents in California have more than quintupled while the renters credit remained flat. Median state rent exceeds $1,500 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, and rentals in cities like San Francisco average more than $2,700 a month.

Senator Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, said: “Expanding eligibility for the renters tax credit is incredibly important. Especially now, as Californians continue to struggle with the pandemic, it is important we do everything we can to make California more affordable for all Californians. I am proud to be a coauthor of Senate Bill 843, and thank Senator Glazer for his leadership on this issue.”

Assemblywoman Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel), a co-author, said, “California is facing a housing crisis unlike anything we have ever seen before. In addition to a lack of housing, we also have one of the nation’s highest costs of living. The existing renters tax credit has not been raised since 1979 and due to inflation plus a stagnant economy, Californians are hurting now more than ever. Modernizing and updating this credit to keep up with 21st century living standards is the right thing to do to provide relief to low-and-middle income renters.”

Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, D-Stockton, said: “The ever-rising cost of housing in California has led us to a worrying poverty rate that is unsustainable for our families today and for future generations,” said Assemblymember Villapudua. “Too many of us now spend well over 30 percent of our income on rent which forces struggling families into making difficult decisions and cutting priorities. An increase in this tax credit for renters across California would provide essential relief for these individuals as they work to meet these rising costs to keep a roof over their heads.”

 

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Gov. Newsom sends National Guard to assist with COVID-19 testing in Antioch Saturday

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

California National Guard personnel arrive at the Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Photo: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Four sent to help at Prewett Family Park site in unusual deployment of state’s military personnel

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday that he had activated the California National Guard to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. The California National Guard is part of the National Guard of the United States, a dual federal-state military reserve force. The CA National Guard has three components: the CA Army National GuardCA Air National Guard, and CA State Guard.

According to their website, the California National Guard is “a community-based land force maintained at the optimum level of preparedness and readiness for service to the state and nation” that “organizes, trains, equips, and resources community-based land forces. On order, mobilizes to support state and/or federal authority.”

Under the control of the governor, National Guard functions range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full scale law enforcement of martial law.

Residents stand in line in Antioch for a COVID test on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Video screenshot. Source: Office of Governor Newsom

“California has led the country’s fight against COVID-19, implementing first-in-the-nation public health measures that have helped save tens of thousands of lives,” said Governor Newsom. “We continue to support communities in their response to COVID by bolstering testing capacity.”

The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the globe, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan deployed over 200 Cal Guard members across 50 Optum Serve sites around the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians. Additional members of the Guard are being deployed this week in similar capacities.

As part of the highly unusual deployment of the National Guard, four personnel were in Antioch at Prewett Family Park’s Community Center parking lot on Saturday. They made sure everyone was signed up for a test. In an ABC7 News report, Mayor Lamar Thorpe said, “We’re excited to have the National Guard show up and provide us support. In eastern Contra Costa County, we have some of the highest rates of COVID infection. I’m excited we’re working collaboratively to solve this pandemic.”

Click here for vido of California National Guard personnel assisting the Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday, which doubled the number of testing windows and the number of appointments available per day.

This new action is on top of the existing 6,000 testing sites that have been set up across the state, the recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since early December.

According to the governor’s office, these measures will bolster California’s already robust testing program – the most extensive in the nation. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. Amidst the surge, the state has been able to maintain a 48-hour turn around for PCR tests.

To date, California has administered almost 67 million vaccination doses and over 122.7 million tests. In recent months, Governor Newsom implemented a series of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including first-in-the-nation vaccine and masking measures requiring that workers in health care settings be fully vaccinated, announcing plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in-person when fully approved, requiring masking in schools and implementing a standard that all school staff and all state workers either show proof of full vaccination or be tested. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Californians are encouraged to get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask indoors and get tested if sick.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

Photo Cutline – California National Guard personnel arrive at Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday. Source: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

 

Video screenshot

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Two more days to offer input on California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s final maps for state districts

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

The commission’s final map shows Antioch (in red) divided into Congressional Districts 8 and 10. Source: WeDrawTheLinesCA.org

Antioch still split into two congressional districts; shares State Senate district with San Leandro; shares State Assembly district with Concord and Crockett

Divides Contra Costa County in multiple ways, combining portions with communities in other counties as far away as Sonoma and Yolo Counties over 90 miles away

By Allen Payton

On Monday, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission completed and approved final maps for the state’s Congressional, Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts that are significantly different than the draft maps presented last month. The new maps, which will be in place and affect elections for the next 10 years, split up Contra Costa County in multiple ways and combine portions with other counties and communities as much as 93 miles away.

The California Constitution states that public comment shall be taken for at least three days from the date of public display of any final statewide maps. Additionally, the Commission shall not display any other map for public comment during that period. (To offer additional public comment click here)

“We have reached the finish line for the people’s redistricting process in California. When voters approved the Voters FIRST Act, it created a monumental shift in this decennial process,” stated Commission Chair Alicia Fernandez. “As Californians, my colleagues on this Commission and I answered the call to serve for this great state we honor and love. We conclude our map drawing responsibilities with pride in our final product. We started this process leaving politics out of the equation in hopes of achieving fairer and more equitable maps. I think I speak for my colleagues when I say mission accomplished! Thank you to all that participated in this process.”

The Commission drew 4 Board of Equalization districts, 52 Congressional districts, 40 Senatorial districts, and 80 Assembly districts. All districts were drawn within the permissible population deviation.

The commission’s final map shows all of Antioch (in red) in State Senate Districts 9. Source: WeDrawTheLinesCA.org

Maps Split Up Contra Costa County More

While the current maps approved in 2011 divide the county amongst four Congressional, two State Senate and three State Assembly districts, what the Commission did to Contra Costa, this time, was split it up even more into three Congressional, three State Senate, and four Assembly districts.

For the State Senate map, the majority of the county, from Crockett in West County to Antioch in East County is combined with San Leandro, Castro Valley and San Lorenzo in southwest Alameda County. Like the draft maps issued by the Commission in November, the new Senate map includes the Far East County cities of Brentwood and Oakley and communities of Discovery Bay, Byron, Bethel Island and Knightsen in the same district as Vallejo, Napa, Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, over 90 miles away.  In addition, the map combines all of West County with the cities of Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda.

For the State Assembly map, the Commission keeps the county split in four districts keeping Far East County except for Brentwood, in the same district as most of Solano County including Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville and Dixon. It keeps most of West County in the same district, except for Crockett, which is included in the same district as Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Clayton, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch and Brentwood.

The commission, only split the county amongst three districts for the Congressional map. But it splits up East County into those three, new separate districts by carving out Discovery Bay and Byron and leaving them in the same district as most of San Joaquin County. The proposed final map also combines the southern portion of Antioch, plus Brentwood, Oakley, Bethel Island and Knightsen with Central County, including most of Concord, plus Lamorinda, the San Ramon Valley and a portion of Dublin in the same congressional district. Finally, it splits off the northern portion of Antioch, plus Pittsburg and Bay Point, and includes it in a district with the other part of Concord, plus Martinez, West County cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules and Crockett with most of Solano County.

Independent Commission Creates Maps That Benefit Democrats

The place of residence of any incumbent or political candidate may not be considered in the creation of a map, and districts may not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.

However, according to a news report by the left-leaning Politico, “California’s new congressional map boosts Democrats” in their “uphill quest to maintain their minuscule House majority”. The new lines “create more challenging districts for Republican incumbents without substantially undermining the prospects of vulnerable Democrats.” The “map could point to Democrats holding ground or picking up seats.”

The commission’s final map shows all of Antioch (in red) in Assembly Senate Districts 15. Source: WeDrawTheLinesCA.org

See Shape Files/Equivalency Files/Stats and Map Viewer: https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/final_maps

In accordance with the California Constitution, the Commission followed these criteria, in this order, to draw district maps:

  1. Districts must be of equal population to comply with the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
  3. Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
  4. Districts must minimize the division of cities, counties, neighborhoods and communities of interest to the extent possible.
  5. Districts should be geographically compact: such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for a more distant population. This requirement refers to density, not shape. Census blocks cannot be split.
  6. Where practicable each Senate District should be comprised of two complete and adjacent Assembly Districts, and Board of Equalization districts should be comprised of 10 complete and adjacent State Senate Districts.

The last of the criteria makes sense, as there are twice as many Assembly districts as Senatorial districts, and the Commission could have simply divided each Senatorial district into two. But they chose not to follow it when drawing the new maps.

Additional Commission Meetings

The Commission is continuing to hold meetings Sunday and next Monday and accepting additional public comments on the final maps. At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Chair Fernandez announced that the meetings scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday, as shown on the Commission’s website, have been cancelled.

December 26, 2021 CRC Business Meeting – 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission Meeting – 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. daily or upon conclusion of business  Public Input Form

December 27, 2021 CRC Business Meeting  – 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission Meeting – 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. daily or upon conclusion of business  Public Input Form

Background on Redistricting and Commission

Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its electoral districts so that the state’s population is evenly allocated among the new districts.

In 2008, California voters passed the Voters First Act, authorizing the creation of the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization district lines. In 2010, the Voters First Act for Congress gave the Commission the responsibility of drawing new Congressional districts following every census.

For more information, please visit www.WeDrawTheLinesCA.org. To offer additional comments to the Commission about the proposed final maps visit www.wedrawthelinesca.org/contact by Thursday, Dec. 23 at 5:00 p.m.

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Antioch Police report shooter in Friday standoff was unarmed when shot, killed

Monday, December 13th, 2021

Antioch Police and other local police agencies were staged on Hummingbird Drive in Antioch one block over from Dove Court where the shooter was holed up in a house shooting at officers and others on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. Photos by Allen Payton

Following new state law California Department of Justice investigating

By Strategic Communications Officer Darryl Saffold, Antioch Police Investigations Bureau

On Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at approximately 1:11 PM, Antioch Police Department Dispatch began receiving numerous 911 calls of multiple gunshots being fired in the area of Dove Court. Several callers reported a neighbor on Dove Court was repeatedly shooting at homes and cars as he was walking down the street in the neighborhood. All available officers responded to the area. Officers arriving at the scene reported hearing gunshots and confirmed one male suspect was armed with a rifle. The 55-year-old male suspect was wearing military-style, camouflage-patterned clothing, and it was later learned he was also wearing body armor.

During the police response, the suspect entered a house at 3809 Dove Court, which was later determined to be where the suspect lived. Based on the ongoing danger to the public, residents were advised to shelter-in-place or were contacted by law enforcement personnel and safely evacuated. Mutual Aid was requested and the Brentwood Police Department, Pittsburg Police Department, and the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff responded to provide immediate support. The Antioch’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) were activated and responded to the scene.

Antioch Police established a command post at the scene of the active shooter at Hummingbird Drive near James Donlon Blvd. on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.

As officers established a perimeter in an attempt to contain the incident, the suspect remained barricaded inside the home and intermittently fired the rifle at officers, homes, and vehicles. During the stand-off, which spanned the course of several hours, Antioch CNT made numerous attempts to contact the suspect, to de-escalate the situation and negotiate a peaceful resolution. CNT members asked the subject to exit the house unarmed, so he could be taken into custody without being harmed. The subject refused to exit peacefully and disconnected with CNT several times and continued to fire rounds from inside the home. During the stand-off, the suspect fired approximately 30 times in the direction of officers and other residents in the area.

At approximately 7:07 PM, a fire started inside the home, which spread to the garage. As the fire quickly began to engulf the house, the suspect exited the residence. The suspect fled to the backyard, and then to the side yard where he was contacted by members of the SWAT Team. Upon contact, SWAT officers fired their weapons and struck the suspect. Afterwards, the suspect was evacuated from the side of the house due to the encroaching fire and immediately administered first-aid. Ultimately, the suspect succumbed to his wounds at the scene and was pronounced deceased by medical personnel.

Smoke billows up from the fire at the shooter’s house that was on fire. Photo by Ronn Carter

Due to the circumstances surrounding this incident, the countywide Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident (LEIFI) protocol was initiated. Antioch Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigators and Detectives with the Investigations Bureau, along with a team of Deputy District Attorneys and Inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigators responded to the scene and took over the investigation. Additionally, in accordance with Assembly Bill 1506, the California Department of Justice, is investigating this incident and will independently review the officer involved shooting.

AB 1506: https://oag.ca.gov/ois-incidents. According to that website, “signed into law on September 30, 2020 and in effect on July 1, 2021, AB 1506 provides the California Department of Justice with an important tool to directly help build and maintain trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve by creating a mandate for an independent, statewide prosecutor, moving forward, to investigate and review officer-involved shootings of unarmed civilians across California.”

Police did not yet identify the shooter. Due to the ongoing and active nature of the investigation, no further information will be released at this time.

This information is made available by the Support Services Division. Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa Probation Department awarded grant to supervise people convicted of DUI

Friday, November 19th, 2021

The Contra Costa County Probation Department is the recipient of a one-year, $389,700 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to monitor high-risk, repeat DUI Probation clients.  Currently, the Probation Department is supervising 202 DUI probation clients.

Grant funding will be used to make sure DUI probation clients are following the court ordered terms of their probation, including home, work and office visits, alcohol testing and warrant service operations.

In addition, funding will be used to develop the Habitual Offender Tally, also known as “HOT Sheets,” that identify repeat DUI probation clients to local law enforcement agencies.  The funds will also be utilized to assist Probation in working with Court officials to establish probation orders for the DUI clients being placed on probation.

This grant is aimed at reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol-related collisions as well as lower DUI recidivism rates.

“Prevention and treatment are valuable tools in reducing DUI recidivism rates,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Monitoring programs are intended to steer probationers in the right direction.”

The ongoing partnership between the Contra Costa County Probation Department and the Office of Traffic Safety has spanned more than 15 years.

“The support and assistance provided by OTS, coupled with strong working relationships with state and local law enforcement agencies, have allowed the Probation Department to closely monitor and rehabilitate our clients,” said Chief Probation Officer, Esa Ehmen-Krause. “Reducing the traumatic impact that impaired driving causes across our community contributes to improving public safety.”

The grant will fund Probation Department personnel to monitor drivers on Probation for felony DUI or multiple misdemeanor DUI convictions, including conducting unannounced fourth amendment waiver home searches, random alcohol and drug testing and ensuring those on probation are attending court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs.  It will also fund the continued training of the Probation Department personnel in an effort to keep up with current trends and equipment use.

While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, Contra Costa County Probation supports OTS in its statement, “DUI just doesn’t mean booze.”  Prescription medications and marijuana can be impairing by themselves, but also in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.

The grant program runs through September 2022.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

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Delta Conveyance (tunnel) Project Case Study Workshop on community benefits programs Nov. 17

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

Proposed Delta Conveyance Project Facility Corridor Options. Source: Scoping Summary Report.

Learn from other projects

Haga clic aquí para ver este aviso en español.

As part of ongoing development of the Community Benefits Program for the proposed Delta Conveyance (tunnel) Project, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is holding a virtual workshop on Wednesday, November 17th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm to hear and learn from representatives of several different example community benefits programs around the country. (See related articles here and here)

Members of the local Delta community are encouraged to attend this event and hear firsthand experiences about the development and implementation of these programs, including different organizational structures, development timing, important milestones and lessons learned.

There will also be an opportunity to ask the panelists questions and engage in dialogue about their experiences and insights. Although these types of programs are not uncommon, there are various ways to go about setting them up. This workshop gives both DWR and the local community the chance to learn more about how it could be done for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. (See details of the proposed system, here)

The workshop panelists represent a diverse set of projects and community benefits programs from different parts of the country:

  • Oakland, California, Partnership for Working Families 
    • Ben Beach, Legal Director
  • North Charleston, South Carolina, LowCountry Alliance for Model Communities Port Authority Redevelopment and Transfer Station
    • Omar Muhammed, Executive Director, LowCountry Alliance for Model Communities
  • Morro Bay, California, Castle Offshore Wind Project 
    • Scott Collins, City Manager, City of Morro Bay

While no other project or community benefits program exactly matches the specifics of the proposed Delta Conveyance Project and what might be most appropriate for the Community Benefits Program for this project, the example projects that will be discussed in this workshop offer different and valuable perspectives and examples with varying structures, locations and challenges. In preparing for this workshop, DWR researched community benefits programs for large infrastructure projects that had long-term construction impacts, where the benefits of the project were not local, but impacts of the project were, and where location and potential for environmental justice and economically disadvantaged community concerns were also involved.

Workshop Details & Registration

  • Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | 6:00pm – 8:00pm | REGISTER HERE
  • Workshop will be conducted on Zoom with a call-in option available

Agenda

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Presentations from the three project representatives
  • Focused panelist discussion:
    • How did the idea develop in your project?
    • How did the community come together to provide input?
    • When in the project lifecycle did people come together?
    • How did you solicit priorities?
    • How did you formalize the program?
    • How are community benefit funds distributed?
    • How are you measuring and monitoring community benefits?
  • Public questions/discussion

Participation Accommodations & Additional Information

  • Closed captioning will be provided
  • Workshop materials will be available in English and Spanish, and a simultaneous Spanish translation will be offered
  • Workshop access information and materials will be sent out prior to the workshop through Eventbrite
  • If you cannot participate in the workshop but have questions, please email us at DeltaConveyanceCBP@water.ca.gov
  • A recording of the workshop will be posted on the project website, along with the background material, when available

To register, click here.

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Gov. Newsom signs bill extending government agency online meetings through end of 2023

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Was set to expire at the end of this month

By Allen Payton

On Sept. 16, Governor Newsom signed into law AB 361, entitled “Open meetings: state and local agencies: teleconferences,” extending the time period for online meetings of government agencies until Jan. 1, 2024. The current order allowing the online meetings until the end of this month, will expire on Oct. 1 under an executive order he signed, on Monday, Sept. 20.

According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, “This bill, until January 1, 2024, would authorize a local agency to use teleconferencing without complying with the teleconferencing requirements imposed by the Ralph M. Brown Act when a legislative body of a local agency holds a meeting during a declared state of emergency, as that term is defined, when state or local health officials have imposed or recommended measures to promote social distancing, during a proclaimed state of emergency held for the purpose of determining, by majority vote, whether meeting in person would present imminent risks to the health or safety of attendees, and during a proclaimed state of emergency when the legislative body has determined that meeting in person would present imminent risks to the health or safety of attendees, as provided.”

However, government agencies can still choose to return to meeting in person. Both the Antioch City Council and Antioch School Board planned to return to in-person meetings next month. But now they will have the option to continue to hold their meetings online.

 

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State Senate Election Committee Chair Glazer calls for recall system reform

Friday, September 17th, 2021

Senator Glazer calls it “flawed” “broken” in spite of only two recalls of governor in state history; joins Assembly member Berman, Assembly Election Committee Chair to hold hearings to examine needed changes in wake of recently concluded recall election

By Scott Harmon, Policy Analyst/Communications, Office of Sen. Steve Glazer

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

Sacramento – Following Tuesday night’s recall election of the governor, only the second one to qualify for the ballot in state history, the California Legislature’s two leading members on election issues on Wednesday announced a coordinated effort to examine reforms to California’s recall election system.

Senator Steve Glazer (D – Contra Costa) and Assemblymember Marc Berman (D – Menlo Park) and said they are determined to fix a broken system in the wake of the 2021 gubernatorial recall election, which raised questions about whether a system designed in the early 20th century has enough checks and balances to ensure democratic and fair elections.

Berman, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Elections, and Glazer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, will hold a series of bipartisan joint hearings in the coming months to begin a statewide discussion regarding potential improvements to California’s recall laws. The intent is to produce a proposal that will be taken up in the Legislature during the 2022 legislative session.

“Now that the recall is over, I believe it is time to re-evaluate and update California’s recall process,” said Senator Glazer.  “The voters want to see a more democratic process put in place that keeps elected officials accountable but, prevents political gamesmanship of the rules.  We hope to work with policy experts and stakeholders of different political perspectives on a viable solution that ultimately makes sense for a modern-day California.”

The recall process is one of four ways the state’s voters can have direct impact on the legislative and governing process, which also include electing representatives, as well as the referendum and initiative. (See CA Constitution Article II) Under the leadership of then Gov. Hiram Johnson came into office proposing the three major populist changes, bringing direct democracy to California. According to Ballotpedia, “Johnson and the new Progressive majority in the legislature made the most sweeping governmental changes ever seen in the history of California. Among these were the introduction of initiativereferendum, and recall at both the state and local levels. Voters ratified these amendments in a special election on October 10, 1911.”

At that time, Johnson said, “they do give to the electorate the power of action when desired, and they do place in the hands of the people the means by which they may protect themselves.”

According to the Secretary of State’s website, “Since 1913, there have been 179 recall attempts of state elected officials in California. Eleven recall efforts collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and of those, the elected official was recalled in six instances.” Of those 179, 55 were attempted recalls of the governor, two qualified for the ballot, Grey Davis and Newsom, and only Davis was successfully recalled.

The committees will evaluate recall laws in other states, and will invite experts to examine California’s recall process, including issues such as grounds for removal; signature gathering requirements; process of succession if a governor is recalled; and other issues. The process will be open to the public in an effort to maintain the utmost transparency, and the committees also hope to include the expertise of elections officials, political scientists, legal experts, and others.

“While the recall is an important tool for voters to address misconduct or corruption by elected officials, yesterday’s election highlighted the fundamentally undemocratic nature of California’s existing recall process,” said Assemblymember Berman. “California law should not allow someone else to be recalled and replaced by a candidate who receives far fewer votes. I look forward to hearing from a bipartisan group of experts about how California’s recall process should be reformed.”

Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said that she supports examining recall reform.

“A thorough review of California’s recall law is timely and worthy of debate, and I would like to thank Senator Glazer and Assemblymember Berman for spearheading the efforts to start this important conversation,” Atkins said.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said, “It is totally appropriate to begin discussion of reforming the recall process. We came far too close to having a governor elected by a tiny fraction of eligible voters. While that is no way to pick the leader of the most populous state in the nation, it would be equally wrong to make any changes without a thorough study of alternatives. I look forward to hearing the discussion.”

The recall process was adopted in California almost 110 years ago but, has been used sparingly for most of the state’s history. More than 70% of the attempts to recall elected state officials that have qualified for the ballot, including the only two statewide recall elections in California history, have occurred in the last 27 years. Each of California’s last nine Governors has faced multiple recall attempts, though only two of those attempts have qualified for the ballot.

Two recent polls, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California and by the Institute of Government Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that a majority of voters favor keeping but reforming the recall process.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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