Archive for the ‘State of California’ Category

Governor Newsom announces Water Supply Strategy for a hotter, drier California in Antioch on Thursday

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

With local and state officials joining him, Gov. Newsom speaks during a press conference at the site of the Antioch Brackish Water Desalination project to announce his Water Supply Strategy on Thursday, August 11, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Outlines actions needed now to invest in new sources, transform water management

Without action, state officials believe California’s water supply could diminish by up to 10% by 2040

Introduces former L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa as state’s new infrastructure czar

Antonio Villaraigosa was introduced by the governor as the state’s new infrastructure czar.

ANTIOCH – Hotter and drier weather conditions could reduce California’s water supply by up to 10% by the year 2040. To replace and replenish what we will lose to thirstier soils, vegetation, and the atmosphere, Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced in California’s latest actions to increase water supply and adapt to more extreme weather patterns caused by climate change. Click here to read California’s Water Supply Strategy.

Thursday’s announcement at Antioch’s $110 million Brackish Desalination project follows $8 billion in state investments over the last two years to help store, recycle, de-salt and conserve the water it will need, generating enough water in the future for more than 8.4 million households by 2040.

The actions, outlined in a strategy document published by the Administration called “California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future” calls for investing in new sources of water supply, accelerating projects and modernizing how the state manages water through new technology.

This approach to California’s water supply management recognizes the latest science that indicates the American West is experiencing extreme, sustained drought conditions caused by hotter, drier weather. It means that a greater share of the rain and snowfall California receives will be absorbed by dry soils, consumed by thirsty plants, and evaporated into the air. This leaves less water to meet the state’s needs.

“The best science tells us that we need to act now to adapt to California’s water future. Extreme weather is a permanent fixture here in the American West and California will adapt to this new reality,” Governor Newsom said. “California is launching an aggressive plan to rebuild the way we source, store and deliver water so our kids and grandkids can continue to call California home in this hotter, drier climate.”

To help make up for the water supplies California could lose over the next two decades, the strategy prioritizes actions to capture, recycle, de-salt and conserve more water. These actions include:

  • Creating storage space for up to 4 million acre-feet of water, which will allow us to capitalize on big storms when they do occur and store water for dry periods
  • Recycling and reusing at least 800,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2030, enabling better and safer use of wastewater currently discharged to the ocean.
  • Freeing up 500,000 acre-feet of water through more efficient water use and conservation, helping make up for water lost due to climate change.
  • Making new water available for use by capturing stormwater and desalinating ocean water and salty water in groundwater basins, diversifying supplies and making the most of high flows during storm events.

These actions are identified broadly in the Newsom Administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio – the state’s master plan for water released in 2020 – but they will be expedited given the urgency of climate-driven changes. To advance the infrastructure and policies needed to adapt, the strategy enlists the help of the Legislature to streamline processes so projects can be planned, permitted and built more quickly, while protecting the environment.

Over the last three years, at the urging of the Governor, state leaders have earmarked more than $8 billion to modernize water infrastructure and management. The historic three-year, $5.2 billion investment in California water systems enacted in 2021-22 has enabled emergency drought response, improved water conservation to stretch water supplies, and enabled scores of local drought resilience projects. The 2022-23 budget includes an additional $2.8 billion for drought relief to hard-hit communities, water conservation, environmental protection for fish and wildlife and long-term drought resilience projects.

Newsom also introduced former Los Angeles Mayor and Speaker of the Assembly Antonio Villaraigosa as the state’s new infrastructure czar.

“With this influx of federal dollars, we have an incredible opportunity to rebuild California while creating quality jobs, modernizing crucial infrastructure and accelerating our clean transportation progress, benefiting communities up and down the state,” Newsom said. “Antonio has the extensive experience and relationships to deliver on this promise and bring together the many partners who will be key to our success. I look forward to his collaboration with the administration as we build up communities across California.”

Antioch’s $110 million Brackish Water Desalination plant project is currently under construction.

Construction on Antioch’s desalination plant, located behind the city’s water treatment plant at 401 Putnam Street is expected to be completed next year, city Public Works Director John Samuelson shared following the governor’s press conference.

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California State Park Adventure Pass available for 4th graders and families

Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Visit 19 state parks!

By California State Parks

Hey, fourth graders! Are you ready for an adventure?

The California State Park Adventure Pass is just for you. See how you can visit some of the most amazing parks in the country with your family and friends—for free.

What?

In partnership with the First Partner’s Office and the Natural Resources Agency, the California State Park Adventure Pass provides free entry for fourth graders and their families at 19 amazing state parks throughout the state. Mountains, deserts, forests, rivers … the choice of where to visit is yours.

Who?

You (a fourth grader from California), your family (up to three adults and other kids) and friends (everyone in your car) can enjoy all sorts of adventures at 19 state parks during your whole fourth grade year—and the summer after, too. (So, it’s good this summer for those going into fifth grade).

How?

Have your parent or guardian go to ReserveCalifornia.com or call (800) 444-7275. All they have to do is set up a profile by providing their name, address, phone number and email address, and we’ll send them your free California State Park Adventure Pass to their email right away!  For individuals that do not have access to a smartphone, computer or printer and/or do not have an email address to use when applying online, they can still apply for a pass by visiting a State Parks Pass Sales Office. Click here for a list of locations.

Where?

Once you have your Pass, you can use it by either printing it out or keeping it on your phone to show a uniformed state park staffer at one of these 19 state parks.

Recreate Responsibly

Getting into the outdoors is the perfect way to connect with nature, family and friends but it is important to do so responsibly. Please protect yourself and your family by learning about the park you are visiting before heading out, wearing appropriate clothing, staying prepared by bringing the essentials like enough food and water, and knowing your comfort level to avoid injuries. For additional safety tips, click here.

Your Parents Speak Spanish?

¿Tus padres hablan español? Tenemos personal que les pueden ayudar en su idioma. Diles a tus padres que nos llamen por teléfono al 1-800-444-7275 o nos visiten en ReserveCalifornia.com

Learn more at www.parks.ca.gov/AdventurePass

 

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The California State Fair & Food Festival returns July 15-31 in Sacramento

Thursday, July 7th, 2022

Photos: CA State Fair

Back Together!

After a two-year hiatus the California State Fair & Food Festival is back July 15-31 at the Cal Expo. It will include exhibits, programs, competitions, thoroughbred horse racing, carnival rides, freestyle motocross shows, concerts and lots of food! We’re excited to be BACK TOGETHER with everyone!

SPECIAL FAIR DAYS

$2 Taste of the Fair – Wednesdays & Thursdays, 11 am – 4 pm – Sample a variety of fair foods with $2 menu specials from your favorite food vendors.

Senior Savings Friday – Discount admission of $10 for seniors 62 & better.

Tuesday Kids Free Day & $2 Rides for All – July 19 & 26 FREE admission for kids 12 and under. Rides cost $2 each for all fair goers.

Military, Veteran & First Responder Appreciation Day – Thursday, July 21 – FREE admission all day for active duty, reserve and veterans from all branches of the military, active first responders.

SMUD Giving Mondays at the Fair – Monday, July 18 & Monday, July 25 – BRING 3 non-perishable, non-expired food items to the Fair Gates before 3 p.m. and receive FREE admission. The collected food items will benefit the Elk Grove Food Bank.

FOOD FESTIVAL

Over thirty food vendors will have a special Food Festival item for you to eat by yourself or share! There’s something delicious for every palate.

From savory – like sweet BBQ pulled pork, to sweet – like the bacon and pecan cinnamon roll and fried of course! – deep fried apple pie anyone?

Come visit all of our award-winning Food Festival Pass participants, see their well-deserved ribbons displayed at their booths and taste their delicious entries!

Main Gate Hours

  • Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 10 pm
  • Friday – Sunday: 10 am – 10 pm

Carnival Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Opens at 2pm
  • Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday: Opens at 11am

Kids Park Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Opens at 1 pm
  • Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday: Opens at 11 am

The California State Fair & Food Festival is located at the Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento. For more information and details on all events, activities and competitions visit http://calexpostatefair.com/event/ca-state-fair/ and for the programs and exhibits visit https://calexpostatefair.com/fair/.

 

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Update regarding the California DOJ’s CCW permit holder data breach

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022

SACRAMENTO –  The California Department of Justice has announced that personal information was disclosed in connection with the June 27, 2022 update of its Firearms Dashboard Portal. Based on the Department’s current investigation, the incident exposed the personal information of individuals who were granted or denied a concealed and carry weapons (CCW) permit between 2011-2021. Information exposed included names, date of birth, gender, race, driver’s license number, addresses, and criminal history. Social Security numbers or any financial information were not disclosed as a result of this event. Additionally, data from the following dashboards were also impacted: Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Safety Certificate, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards. DOJ is investigating the extent to which any personally identifiable information could have been exposed from those dashboards and will report additional information as soon as confirmed.“This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “I immediately launched an investigation into how this occurred at the California Department of Justice and will take strong corrective measures where necessary. The California Department of Justice is entrusted to protect Californians and their data. We acknowledge the stress this may cause those individuals whose information was exposed. I am deeply disturbed and angered.”On the afternoon of June 27, 2022, DOJ posted updates to the Firearms Dashboard Portal. DOJ was made aware of a disclosure of personal information that was accessible in a spreadsheet on the portal. After DOJ learned of the data exposure, the department took steps to remove the information from public view and shut down the Firearms Dashboard yesterday morning. The dashboard and data were available for less than 24 hours.In the coming days, the Department will notify those individuals whose data was exposed and provide additional information and resources. California law requires a business or state agency to notify any California resident whose unencrypted personal information, as defined, was acquired, or reasonably believed to have been acquired, by an unauthorized person.DOJ asks that anyone who accessed such information respect the privacy of the individuals involved and not share or disseminate any of the personal information.  In addition, possession of or use of personal identifying information for an unlawful purpose may be a crime. (See Cal Penal Code Sec. 530.5.)We are communicating with law enforcement partners throughout the state. In collaboration, we will provide support to those whose information has been exposed.In an abundance of caution, the Department of Justice will provide credit monitoring services for individuals whose data was exposed as a result of this incident. DOJ will directly contact individuals who have been impacted by this incident and will provide instructions to sign up for this service.Any Californian may take the following steps to immediately protect their information related to credit:Monitor your credit.  One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to monitor your credit history.  To obtain free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com.Consider placing a free credit freeze on your credit report. Identity thieves will not be able to open a new credit account in your name while the freeze is in place. You can place a credit freeze by contacting each of the three major credit bureaus:Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/; 888-766-0008Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html; 888-397-3742TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze; 800-680-7289Place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert helps protect you against the possibility of someone opening new credit accounts in your name. A fraud alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed. To post a fraud alert on your credit file, you must contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies listed above. Keep in mind that if place a fraud alert with any one of the three major credit reporting agencies, the alert will be automatically added by the other two agencies as well.Additional Resources. If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local police department or sheriff’s office right away. You may also report identity theft and generate a recovery plan using the Federal Trade Commission’s website at identitytheft.gov. For more information and resources visit the Attorney General’s website at oag.ca.gov/idtheft.

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Brentwood man enters special April 5 Assembly election race as write-in candidate to challenge Suisun mayor

Monday, March 28th, 2022

Supports cutting gas taxes, opposes facemask mandates for school children, announces endorsements; district includes all of Antioch

Erik Elness. From his campaign.

Erik Elness, a 25-year Brentwood resident and business owner, filed paperwork with the Contra Costa County Elections Department on Friday, March 18, 2022, and was certified as an official ‘Write-In Candidate’ for the April 5, 2022 Assembly District 11 Special Election. The AD-11 seat was vacated when former Assemblyman Jim Frazier resigned on December 31st.

“I decided to run as a write-in candidate, because I wanted to give the hard-working voters of our Contra Costa and Solano district a choice of who they want to vote for in this special election,” Elness stated. “Government has grown bigger and more controlling, and individual liberty has been gradually taken from us.”

A Republican, he is challenging Democrat Suisun City Mayor Lori Wilson who is the only candidate to file in the race. While her name will appear on the ballot, voters must write in Elness’ name to vote for him.  The winner will serve out the remainder of the term through the end of the year, in the current district which includes Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron, Knightsen and portions of Pittsburg in the Contra Costa County part of the district.

Within several days of announcing his candidacy, Elness was unanimously endorsed by the Solano County Republican Central Committee and endorsed by CD-8 Congressional Candidate, Major Rudy Recile (U.S. Army, retired), former CD-9 Congressional candidate Antonio Amador, and former AD-11 Assembly candidate Dave Miller. In addition, former AD-11 candidate Lisa Romero has endorsed him, as well.

Elness said he was shocked to learn the Assembly Democrats recently voted against temporarily suspending 50 cents per gallon off the state gasoline taxes. He agreed with the bill to cut state gas prices, adding, “the people of California need relief, now from increasing gas prices, impacting their budgets and our economy. That bill was one simple way to help accomplish that.”

Elness also stated, “I’m ‘pro-choice’ when it comes to COVID vaccines and masks. I don’t believe our children should be forced to wear masks at school.”

“Sacramento politicians are out of touch with the needs of the people who live and work in our neighborhoods. I worked corporate jobs for 23 years and I’ve been a small business owner for nearly 13 years, running a successful family business with my wife,” Elness shared. “We deserve a representative in Sacramento in tune with the issues, concerns, and challenges facing families in our community.”

“I support equal opportunity in education, with every child in every neighborhood receiving a quality education,” he stated. “I applaud successful public schools (my kids had a lot of great teachers in public schools.) But I believe families should have choices when it comes to home school, private or charter schools.’

“I strongly support the U.S. Constitution and I will strongly oppose any new State laws that infringe on our Civil Rights, including our Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Elness continued. “I support our firefighters, local law enforcement officers and deputy district attorneys who work tirelessly to protect our Constitutional liberty and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

To learn more follow his campaign on Facebook at Erik Elness for CA Assembly, District 11 and Instagram at erikelnessforassembly.

To vote for Elness in the April 5 Special Election, simply fill in the ‘bubble’ in the write in section and neatly print his name, “Erik Elness” on the write in line.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Gov. Newsom lifts mask mandate for unvaccinated indoors March 1, schools March 12

Monday, February 28th, 2022

Still required on public transit

Joined by governors of Oregon, Washington to offer more updated health guidance for the three western states

SACRAMENTO – With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the West, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance. After 11:59 p.m. on March 11, California, Oregon and Washington will adopt new indoor mask policies and move from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.

State policies do not change federal requirements, which still include masks on public transit.

Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom: “California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic. Masks are an effective tool to minimize spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward.”

In California, starting March 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. After March 11, in schools and childcare facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended. Masks will still be required for everyone in high transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities. As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance.

Newsom also presented his COVID SMARTER Plan introduced on Feb. 17, which stands for Shots, Masks, Awareness, Readiness, Testing, Education and Rx.

Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown: “Two years ago today, we identified Oregon’s first case of COVID-19. As has been made clear time and again over the last two years, COVID-19 does not stop at state borders or county lines. On the West Coast, our communities and economies are linked. Together, as we continue to recover from the Omicron surge, we will build resiliency and prepare for the next variant and the next pandemic. As we learn to live with this virus, we must remain vigilant to protect each other and prevent disruption to our schools, businesses, and communities––with a focus on protecting our most vulnerable and the people and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

In Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority rules requiring masks in indoor public places and schools will be lifted after 11:59 p.m. on March 11. Other state and federal requirements, such as those for health care settings, public transit, and other specialized settings, will remain in place for a period of time.

Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee: “We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health, and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement. While this represents another step forward for Washingtonians, we must still be mindful that many within our communities remain vulnerable. Many businesses and families will continue choosing to wear masks, because we’ve learned how effective they are at keeping one another safe. As we transition to this next phase, we will continue to move forward together carefully and cautiously.”

In Washington, indoor mask requirements will be lifted as of 11:59 p.m. on March 11. This new date does not change any other aspect of the updated mask requirements Inslee announced last week. Masks will still be required in certain settings including health care, corrections facilities and long-term care facilities. The Washington State Department of Health will be issuing new guidance for K-12 schools next week so schools can prepare to implement updated safety protocols.

 

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Assemblywoman Bauer-Kahan, Supervisor Burgis introduce bill targeting illegal dumping

Thursday, February 17th, 2022

Supervisor Diane Burgis stand in front of a truck with nine yards of garbage illegally dumped on roads in the county during press conference in Antioch on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

AB 2374 increases fines, adds teeth to state law on illegal dumping 

At a press conference today, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Antioch, Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (AD16-D-Orinda), District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, the bill’s sponsor, and local county leaders announced the introduction of AB 2374. Entitled “Crimes against public health and safety: illegal dumping”, the bill was introduced in response to the rampant illegal dumping plaguing communities across California.

“The illegal dumping of trash, furniture, mattresses, appliances, and toxic materials is out of control in both our rural and urban areas – it isn’t just unsightly, it is putting the health of our communities and environment at risk,” said Bauer-Kahan. “Every Californian deserves the right to live in clean, garbage-free neighborhoods.”

“We started this out when we were trying to figure out how to handle it. That’s when we learned of the multiple agencies each responding,” said Burgis. “We formed a Think Tank of agencies in the county, plus East Bay Regional Park and our garbage haulers. And it’s expensive.”

“What people were doing was instead of taking it to the landfill or transfer station, they were just dumping it on the side of the road,” she stated. Pointing to the truck filled with items picked up along East County roads that was at the press conference Burgis said, “That’s nine yards, but they usually pick up 15 yards of large and small items in East County, each week.”

This bill builds upon previous legislative efforts of Bauer-Kahan and Contra Costa and Alameda Counties in 2019. These efforts provided funding to the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa to establish a pilot program for additional enforcement of illegal dumping laws in both counties. This program has been successful, but more tools in the arsenal to fight illegal dumping are necessary. Policies like increased enforcement, street lighting, and cameras throughout the East Bay region have also helped, however, California still lacks sufficient penalties to deter people from this harmful behavior.

AB 2374 raises fines on illegal dumping of commercial quantities up to $5,000 upon first conviction, up to $10,000 on a second conviction, and up to $20,000 on third or subsequent conviction. Additionally, this bill will give judges discretion to require the convicted to pay for the removal of their illegal dumping, suspend the business license of any individual convicted of dumping waste connected to their business, and allow for that person’s name and name of the business to be publicly displayed as convicted of illegal dumping.

“We want everyone to be doing the right thing, but there’s a limit to what we can do to educate and incentivize good behavior,” said Burgis. “It’s important for the public to understand that dumping has an impact on the quality of our drinking water, and that it disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. I applaud Bauer-Kahan for her efforts to empower us with the tools we need at the local level to start getting greater control of this problem.”

Contra Costa County District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, who also serves on the County’s Illegal Dumping Ad Hoc Committee, added, “Residents deserve beautiful land and clean neighborhoods to live and work in. We want to be sure that everyone, including commercial businesses, hear loud and clear that they cannot illegally dump in our community without hefty fines, hence the need for this legislation.”

“Illegal dumping is a plague on our entire state – impacting our most urban, suburban, and rural communities. In a pilot project in my Supervisorial District alone we’ve removed nearly 1,200 tons of trash from our streets. This legislation provides needed enforcement authority to combat illegal dumping and blight in our neighborhoods, while alleviating the unfair burden of clean up from residents and local businesses,” said Alameda County Supervisor and Board Vice President Nate Miley.

“By upping the fines and providing tools for the courts to publicly hold violators accountable for committing these acts, we disincentivize actors and create public knowledge on who not to work with,” Bauer-Kahan added. “I want to thank Contra Costa County for bringing this bill idea to my attention and look forward to getting it implemented statewide.”

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Candidate filing period for June 7 Primary Election begins Monday

Saturday, February 12th, 2022

For county DA, sheriff, supervisor, Superior Court judges and other offices, U.S. Senate, Congress, governor and other statewide offices, and State Assembly

By Dawn Kruger, Civic Outreach/Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department

On Monday, February 14, the June 7, 2022, Candidate Filing Period will begin, and nomination papers will be available for candidates running for Statewide Constitutional offices, County offices, Superior Court judges, United States Senator, United States Representative in Congress and Member of the State Assembly. The nomination period runs through 5:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2022.  A list of offices currently up for election can be found here: https://www.cocovote.us/wp-content/uploads/22Jun07_PositionsUpForElection-1.pdf

Papers for offices that are up for election will be available at the Contra Costa Elections Office, 555 Escobar Street, Martinez.

For further information on the primary election and key dates, visit www.cocovote.us.

With COVID-19 still in play, the Contra Costa Elections Division is asking interested candidates to schedule an appointment through email at candidate.services@vote.cccounty.us or by calling 925-335-7800. Walk-ins are accepted, but subject to the availability of staff. Appointments are available on weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Filing documents and information will be provided to interested constituents at their appointment. The process takes 20 minutes.

All visitors will be asked to check-in at the Elections lobby and will be required to wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines.

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