Pat's Perspective: February 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Message from Pat

Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Pat’s Perspective,” my California State Senate newsletter!

As a new Senator, I am honored to serve the fabulous 36th Senate District, which covers Southern Orange County, Northern San Diego County, and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. I will always work hard to be the strong voice that our region deserves in Sacramento.

My philosophy about public service is simple – listen to the people you represent and don’t be afraid to take a stand. I hope this newsletter will help facilitate a conversation over the next four years to ensure that we have a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Please know that my office is open to assist you with any problems you may have with a California state agency. My district offices are also accepting resumes for internships, so if you know someone who may be interested, please pass this newsletter along.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page, and visit my state website regularly. I encourage you to contact me regarding any concerns you may have. While we may not agree on every issue, your thoughts do help me to better represent our district in the Senate.

Warmest Regards,

Pat

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First Day of the 2015-16 Session

After being sworn–in in December, the Legislature reconvened on January 5 to begin the 2015–16 legislative session, and to witness the inauguration of Governor Jerry Brown. His inaugural address also served as his constitutionally required “State of the State” address to the Legislature, where he laid out his goals for the year.

As the Governor looks towards securing his legacy, I hope he will successfully resist the pressure to raise taxes yet again and spend us back into multi-billion dollar deficits. While I strongly disagree with his focus on the high-speed rail project that I see as a long-term financial drain, I hope we can make progress in other areas, such as paying down debt and prioritizing spending for essential services, such as schools and road maintenance.

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Committee Assignments

As a new Senator, I received my committee assignments for the 2015-16 legislative session:

  • Appropriations (Vice Chair)
  • Business, Professions and Economic Development (Vice Chair)
  • Transportation and Housing
  • Governance and Finance
  • Environmental Quality
  • Joint Legislative Budget
  • Legislative Ethics

I am pleased to be able to serve on committees that reflect many of the priorities of the taxpayers of Orange and San Diego Counties, including job creation, transportation, and protecting our beautiful natural environment. Working with my colleagues, we can strike a fair balance between protecting public health and safety and allowing our economy to thrive. For more information about the Senate committees that I am serving on, please click here.

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Governor’s Budget Proposal

Governor Brown released his 2015–16 budget proposal on January 9.

The good news is that his budget contains some common sense concepts such as building the state’s rainy day fund, further reducing debt, and investing in priorities such as education.

However, I am disappointed that the proposed budget continues to tax job creators to fund high–speed rail. We should use those dollars instead for urgent needs such as repairing our roads and highways. This would help our economy, local governments, and California’s drivers.

There will be strong pressure on the Governor and the Legislature to live beyond our means and raise taxes yet again — even as this proposal grows total state spending by $15 billion over last year’s budget. If we work together, we can produce a balanced plan that funds California’s priorities without higher taxes. Stay tuned.

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Governor’s Appointments

California’s Governor makes roughly 3,000 appointments to his own office and to a large variety of state agencies, boards, and commissions. About 750 of these must be confirmed by the State Senate within a year of their appointment by the Governor.

Some of these appointments are relatively high–profile such as the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles, while others are less publicized such as a Member of the Contractors State License Board. By having a senatorial “Advise and Consent” requirement, each major gubernatorial appointee is fully vetted to ensure they are qualified to do the job for California’s taxpayers.

I recently joined my Senate colleagues to approve several appointments made by Governor Brown. Here are two individuals that are of interest to our district:

Frances (Fran) Inman — California Transportation Commission
Fran is the Senior Vice President of the Majestic Realty Company and is an effective member of the California Transportation Commission. I became acquainted with Fran when I served on the Orange County Transportation Authority and was very pleased to vote for her re–appointment.

Michael R. Eaton — Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Governing Board
The board oversees the implementation of ecosystem restoration in the Delta and supports efforts that advance environmental protection, a major concern for our district and our state. Michael is the owner of Kingbird Farms.

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Environmental Honor

Senator Pat Bates with Melanie Schlotterbeck
With Melanie Schlotterbeck, Outreach Coordinator of Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks.
Photo Credit: Lou Delgado, SpotLight Photography + Associates.

Recently, I was honored by the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks with the Green Vision Award for my work on the Measure M Freeway Environmental Mitigation Program. I served as chair of the program’s Environmental Oversight Committee for seven years while on the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors.

During my service, I worked with resource agency members, landowners, and environmental organizations to help preserve open space while making needed improvements to local roads. We did not always agree on everything, but working in good faith, we crafted a consensus that will create Orange County’s Natural Community Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan (NCCP/HCP).

I believe protecting our environment and building our economy are not mutually exclusive, and as a County Supervisor I have strived to do both to help preserve our quality of life. I will continue to do so in the Senate.

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Senate Fellows Program

Image of a graph showing the percent of change in California Jobs

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

Former fellows have enjoyed successful careers in public service and other fields. Notable alumni include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen. It is no surprise that career website Vault.com has ranked the fellows program as one of the nation’s best!

In my first year in the Senate, I am especially pleased to have Sarah Couch serve as a Senate Fellow in my Capitol office. A Sacramento State alum with a Master’s degree in English Literature, Sarah is part of my Capitol team. Prior to entering the fellows program, she served as President of the California State Student Association, the largest statewide student association in the nation.

Talking about her experience so far, Sarah said, “The opportunity to work in the State Capitol and learn about every aspect of government from the center of state government itself is a phenomenal educational experience.” I couldn’t agree more and I encourage all college graduates to apply.

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College Financial Aid

Image the California Student Aid Commission logoNeed help to pay for college? If you’re a graduating high school senior or recent graduate, meet academic, financial and eligibility requirements and submit two forms by the Cal Grant deadline, you may receive a Cal Grant. You must apply by March 2, 2015, in order to maximize your opportunity to receive an award. Click here to learn more.

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Commemorating Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a time when we reflect on the significant contributions that African Americans have made to our society throughout our nation’s history.

As we all know, our nation was founded on the belief “that all men are created equal.” Tragically, we know that ideal was not realized for generations of Americans because of the color of their skin. It wasn’t until 1926 that the United States first commemorated the contributions of the African American community with Black History Week, marked by the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. In 1976, this week was extended to the entire month of February.

This year, I join my colleagues in recognizing the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Their contributions have had a profound influence on our society to ensure justice and opportunity for all Americans.

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American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, a time dedicated to promoting heart health. This month at the Capitol, we will participate in the national “Wear Red Day” to raise awareness among women, as one in three women die of heart disease and stroke. Go to GoRedForWomen.org to find out ways to keep yourself heart healthy.

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Boy Scouts’ 105th Anniversary

Congratulations to the Boy Scouts of America on its 105th anniversary. It was incorporated on February 8, 1910, in which for more than a century the Boy Scouts has inspired generations of boys to become men of character. It is organizations like the Boy Scouts that help make our state and nation stronger.

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Senate Fellows Program

Oceanside: Science Fun @ the Library

Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Civic Center Library, 300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054
Explore science through stories, hands–on experiments, and lots of fun. This program is free and for ages 0–12 years. Parent participation is encouraged.
More information: 760.435.5600

Laguna Hills: Daddy Daughter Dinner Dance

Date: Friday, February 6, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Laguna Hills Community Center

Laguna Niguel: Heart Health Lecture

Date: Monday, February 9, 2015
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Sea Country Senior and Community Center, 24602 Aliso Creek Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Is your heart all a flutter? Come learn about heart rhythm disorders. Special guest speaker is Dr. Teferi Mitiku, M.D. Assistant Clinical Professor at UC Irvine Health and Cardiology, Board Certified in Cardiology and Electrophysiology. Dr. Mitiku will help attendees to understand the cause, treatment, and prevention of Heart Rhythm Disorders.

Mission Viejo: Senior Empowerment Series

Date: February 5
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA 92692
This 8-week educational support group facilitated by Human Options is for people 50+ who have experienced or witnessed abuse (verbal, financial, psychological, physical) and are interested in learning to set limits to manage conflicts within their families. Registration is required.

San Clemente: Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers and Directors

Date: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Bella Collina Towne & Golf Club, 200 Avenida La Pata, San Clemente, CA 92673
In addition to the Installation, the Chamber will be honoring the 2014 Citizen, Business and Educator of the Year, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

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36th District Wrap‐Up

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

  • Attended South Orange County Economic Coalition’s Legislative Meet and Greet
  • Attended Dana Point Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Annual Meeting and Installation
  • Participated in San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association’s Legislative Meeting
  • Attended California Senior Legislature’s Meet and Greet Breakfast
  • Had dinner with Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown

On my behalf, my office staff also:

  • Attended San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s State of the City address
  • Toured Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
  • Attended the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County’s luncheon
  • Attended the swearing–in of Hugh Nguyen as Orange County Clerk–Recorder
  • Attended the swearing–in of Michelle Steel as the Orange County Supervisor for the Second District
  • Participated in the ribbon cutting of Alta Dermatology in Laguna Niguel
  • Attended the retirement ceremony of Wayne Lindholm from the Hensel Phelps Construction Company
  • Attended the 33rd Annual Installation Breakfast of the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce, honoring the 2014 Chairman of the Board – Daniel Abrams – and the 2014 Board of Directors.

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