Pat's Perspective: December 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

This holiday season and recent wildfires such as the Lilac Fire remind us of the importance of serving others and to be thankful for the first responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

We mourn the recent loss of CAL FIRE Engineer Cory Iverson, of Escondido, who passed away while working the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. Engineer Iverson was an 8-year veteran of CAL FIRE and is survived by his pregnant wife Ashley, and their two-year-old daughter, Evie. Please keep Engineer Iverson’s family in your thoughts and prayers, as well as all first responders continuously working to contain California’s remaining wildfires.

As the New Year approaches, it is never too late to make a difference in the life of another person. Whether donating to your favorite charity or volunteering at a local organization, every act of kindness helps. If you are looking for opportunities to serve, please visit www.serve.gov or www.CaliforniaVolunteers.org. Working together, we can help our neighbors in their time of need.

I wish you and your family the very best as we head into 2018.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Pat

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Lilac Fire

stock photo of firefighters battling a wildfire

The Lilac Fire in North San Diego County and others that have raged throughout California have caused injuries and significant damage. I am grateful to our first responders for working so hard to limit the loss of life and property, and to community volunteers for helping neighbors in need.

I also thank the Governor for quickly declaring a state of emergency in San Diego County and the President for quickly approving the state’s request for federal assistance. As those affected by the wildfire focus on recovery, there are resources available to help.

Residents who live in the unincorporated part of the county may call the Recovery Assistance Hotline at 858.495.5200 or email CountyFireRecovery@sdcounty.ca.gov. Residents in incorporated cities looking for recovery assistance are encouraged to contact their city. The county has also launched a recovery website at www.sdcountyrecovery.com.

My Encinitas District Office is also available if you need assistance in navigating state agencies. The office phone number is 760.642.0809.

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Legislative Report Cards

image with Report Cards text

Each year, several non-partisan organizations issue “report cards” of legislators on how they vote on bills important to their membership. The scores provide Californians a measuring stick to judge their legislator’s effectiveness on various issues.

I’m pleased to report that I received high marks or perfect scores from the organizations below. Click on each link to learn more about my score.

Finally, “Paw PAC,” an organization dedicated to protecting animals, gave me an “A” grade for my votes this year on legislation to treat animals humanely.

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REAL ID

DMV logo

Beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will require your California driver’s license or identification card to be “REAL ID” compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board an airplane or enter military bases and most federal facilities.

The California DMV will provide a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card as an option to customers beginning January 22, 2018.

If you have a U.S. Passport, passport card, military ID, or another form of Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) approved identification, these documents will still be accepted to board an airplane. Federally compliant identification will also be required to access military bases and most federal facilities.

The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 was passed in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. For more information, click here or go to www.dmv.ca.gov.

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Sober Living Homes

generic image of a house labeled Sober Living Homes

Last month, a bipartisan group of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to six state governments (including California), requesting information and staff briefings on allegations of patient brokering.

This type of brokering is where men and women with addiction issues have been recruited to out-of-state facilities through offers for free travel, rent, cigarettes, and even manicures. Upon arrival to the treatment facilities and sober living homes, the patients frequently find they have been deceived, and are merely pawns in a profit scheme, resulting in chronic relapses, overdoses, and even death.

Bipartisan congressional committee leaders launched their investigation in July, writing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the issue.

This news from Washington, D.C. is a step in the right direction to help address concerns from residents about the overconcentration of sober living homes. Much work remains, but I am encouraged by the bipartisan cooperation that I am seeing on this issue in Congress, and the potential of that cooperation assisting us in our local efforts to create stronger oversight on this industry.

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Tax Return Assistance

Image of tax form

With tax season coming up soon, free tax return preparation is available for qualifying taxpayers.

IRS-certified volunteers can help people with household incomes of $54,000 or less prepare and electronically file a basic tax return for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. To find a VITA site near you, go to https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep.

Appointments fill up fast and the wait list for assistance can be long. So schedule an appointment as soon as possible!

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Environmental Good News

Image of nighttime traffic

Sen. Bates and local leaders break ground on the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project. Photo Credit: @BuildNCC.

Last month, I was proud to help break ground on the San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project in North San Diego County.

The project will revive wetlands and help native plants and animals to thrive. Public access and educational opportunities will also expand. I look forward to the completion of the project as it will enhance North County’s environment. Learn more at www.sanelijo.org/revivingwetlands.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has also announced that it has awarded a $1.1 million grant to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy to help with watershed enhancement and resiliency.

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CalVet Connect

CalVet Connect banner

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has made it easier than ever for military veterans to connect with the department - and to stay informed and get involved with the veterans issues that are important to them.

“CalVet Connect” features relevant and timely stories about the work being done by the CalVet team, plus links to important veteran-related articles.

You will find information about veterans benefits and events, CalVet programs and services, as well as news from around the country. If you are a veteran, you will find something interesting on CalVet Connect. Go to www.calvetconnectblog.com to learn more and subscribe to its mailing list.

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Career Education

images of career education programs

Did you know that by 2020, 65% of all jobs in the U.S. will require training beyond high school?

While a high school diploma is one milestone on the path to a rewarding career, most jobs of the future will require training beyond high school. Career Education programs are the smart, affordable and accessible way to get the practical skills needed to land a good-paying job and a meaningful career.

With 114 campuses throughout the state, California Community Colleges such as Saddleback College in Mission Viejo and MiraCosta College in Oceanside offer more than 200 career training programs in new and growing fields.

They offer practical, hands-on training in various fields, including: Advanced Manufacturing, Biotechnology, Clean Energy, Health, and many more! California Community Colleges have instructors with real world experience in these industries.

Visit www.CaliforniaCareerEducation.com to learn more.

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Senate Fellows Program

previous class of Senate Fellows

The Senate sponsors the Senate Fellows Program that gives college graduates the opportunity to work as paid legislative staff for a year. Fellows do substantive work such as drafting policy analyses, writing speeches and conducting meetings with stakeholders.

I have had the privilege of hosting a fellow in each of my first three years in the Senate. Each has used their fellowship as a springboard to further their professional growth. Abigail Gore (2016-17) is now in law school, Alex Khan (2015-16) is an analyst with the California Department of Finance, and Sarah Couch (2014-15) has returned to my office to serve as a legislative assistant.

I highly recommend the Senate Fellows Program for those about to graduate from college or in mid-career. For more information about the fellows program, please click here. The deadline to apply is February 12, 2018.

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Upcoming Events

The events below are just a sample of what’s happening in our beautiful district. Do you have an event that you would like me to include in my newsletter? Please let me know by sending me a message on my website. In addition, you can find more events in your community by visiting these links:

Aliso Viejo
Carlsbad
Dana Point
Encinitas
Laguna Hills
Laguna Niguel
Mission Viejo
Oceanside
Rancho Santa Margarita
San Clemente
San Juan Capistrano
Vista
 

Encinitas: Garden of Lights 2017

Date: December 2 - 23 and 26 - 30
Time: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Location: 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024
About: After the sun goes down, the Garden is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 125,000 sparkling lights illuminating the Garden for a magical holiday experience! Festive holiday activities abound including snow (on select evenings), horse-drawn wagon rides (also on select evenings), holiday crafts, marshmallow roasting, visits with Santa, hot mulled wine and refreshments.
More Information: Click here.

Oceanside: Holiday Gift Market

Date: December 21 and 28
Time: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Location: Downtown Oceanside
About: Discover unusual and exotic holiday gifts from 200 artisans and merchants at San Diego County’s top weekly food and music street market. Enjoy one-stop shopping and dining with hot foods from around the world, plus gourmet holiday goodies, live music and more!
More Information: Click here.

Carlsbad: LEGOLAND® California Resort’s Kids’ New Year’s Eve Celebration

Date: Sunday, December 31
Location: One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
About: New Year’s Eve festivities kick-off early at LEGOLAND® California Resort with a party that lets kids ring in 2018 without missing their bedtime! Like the famous ball dropping in Times Square, Kids’ New Year’s Eve features live music, entertainers and a countdown of its own with a huge LEGO® brick that drops 22-feet into 2018 followed by a spectacular fireworks display at 6 p.m.
More Information: Click here.

Mission Viejo: OCSD Partners in Crime Prevention Workshop Series — Fraud & Cyber Crimes

Date: Wednesday, January 24
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center (24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA 92692)
About: Fraud & Cyber Crimes are currently some of the most common, fastest growing crimes. Don’t miss this opportunity from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to gain valuable information and become vigilant on ways to avoid the web of thieves.
More Information: Click here.

Oceanside: Meet the City of Oceanside Reception

Date: Thursday, January 25
Time: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Location: 3202 Vista Way, Oceanside, CA 92056
About: Each year, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce hosts a “Meet the City Event” to give members and guests the opportunity to network with local elected officials, City of Oceanside staff members and other business and community leaders.
More Information: Click here.

San Clemente: 90th Anniversary Celebration

Date: Saturday, February 24
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Location: Ole Hanson Beach Club (105 W. Avenida Pico, San Clemente, CA 92672)
About: The City of San Clemente Celebrates their 90th Anniversary (1928-2018) on San Clemente Day! To commemorate the great history and traditions of the City there will be open houses, historians, and discounts at City facilities including free recreation swim at the Ole Hanson Beach Club.
More Information: Click here.

Note: While my office strives to include accurate information at the time of publication, events are subject to change by the organizers/sponsors.

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36th District Highlights

In addition to many meetings, briefings, and other Senate activities, I also:

  • Participated in an event announcing good news for Camp Pendleton families with young children. The Armed Services YMCA, United Health Foundation and Fisher House Foundation recently announced a $150,000 grant (from United Health Foundation) that will enhance the services provided by the Fisher Children’s Center at Camp Pendleton.

Images from the Fisher Children’s Center

  • Hosted an open house for San Diego County residents at the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce.

Image from Open House
Image from Open House

  • Had the pleasure of meeting Adam Byzak at the Oceanside open house. He liked the cookies and candy we had on hand for guests!

Photo with Senator Bates and Adam Byzak

  • Led a meeting of local business and community leaders in Laguna Hills to listen to their thoughts about how the State Legislature can help encourage economic growth.

Image from a meeting of local business and community leaders in Laguna Hills

  • Hosted an open house for Orange County residents at the Laguna Hills Civic Center.

Image of Senator Bates open house
Image of Senator Bates open house

  • Spoke to the Rotary Club of Carlsbad about my experiences as a state senator.

Image of Senator Bates with the Laguna Niguel Rotary

  • Met with members of the Associated General Contractors of California.

Image of Senator Bates with members of the Associated General Contractors of California

  • Joined Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Carol Gamble (left) to thank the student council of Mission Hills Christian School for their civic involvement. The students expressed appreciation for military veterans and the work of city leaders at a Veterans Day event.

Image of Senator Bates at a Veternas Day event

  • Met with members of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Image of Senator Bates with members of the American Society of Civil Engineers

  • Celebrated Laguna Niguel’s 28th birthday with Mayor Elaine Gennawey and friends at the Laguna Niguel Historical Society.

Image of Senator Bates and Mayor Elaine Gennawey

  • Joined Orange County Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen (2nd from left) and local realtors in celebrating the installation of the 2018 officers of the Orange County Council of Women Realtors.

Image of Senator Bates celebrating the installation of the 2018 officers of the Orange County Council of Women

  • And more!

On my behalf, my staff also:

  • Participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony of a new mural at Aliso Viejo’s Don Juan Avila Elementary School. The mural promotes auto and pedestrian safety, and was funded by State Farm.

Image from a ribbon cutting ceremony at Aliso Viejo’s Don Juan Avila Elementary School

  • Presented a certificate to the Moulton Niguel Water District to recognize the removal of five million square feet of turf in its service area. The removal of this turf amounts to 500 million gallons of water savings!

Image from a certificate presentation

  • And more!

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Connect on Social Media

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To learn more about my work in the Senate, please “follow” me on Twitter and Facebook.

To contact me, you can send a message on my website or mail a letter to:

Senator Patricia Bates
State Capitol, Room 305
Sacramento, California 95814

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