While controversy usually dominates the news headlines, there are good things happening in our district. This edition of my newsletter highlights some of those things, such as federal progress to move nuclear waste away from San Onofre and the finalization of a natural conservation plan.
Of course, the State Capitol is continuing to discuss many controversial issues. I have received significant feedback on many of these issues, such as health care and the gas tax increase. I appreciate these messages as they help keep me informed on how I can best represent our region.
Finally, summer means wildfire season. Please check out the resources in the next section to help protect your community.
As always, feel free to contact one of my offices if my staff and I can be of assistance.
Click here to view a 30 second public service announcement on wildfires.
With wildfire season in full swing, California’s firefighters are hard at work putting out fires as they pop up.
CAL FIRE has put together materials to show how we can do our part to minimize the dangers of wildfire. Its website, www.readyforwildfire.org, has information on how to prepare your home and family in case a wildfire starts in your area.
It is never too early to be ready. Please visit www.readyforwildfire.org.
My Senate website also has a Wildfire Information resource page that you can visit here.
Click here to watch Senator Bates’ remarks on “Cap-and-Trade.”
The Legislature has approved legislation to extend “cap-and-trade,” which seeks to address climate change emissions.
The real threat of climate change should not be used as an excuse to increase the cost of gas, food and electricity on those who can least afford it. Cap-and-trade essentially takes money from the wallets of Californians and deposits it into a Sacramento slush fund to pay for questionable priorities such as high-speed rail.
I support the goal of cleaner air and reduced emissions, but I found it telling that I could not get a straight answer from the Governor’s representatives on what extending cap-and-trade would cost taxpayers. One nonpartisan estimate says that cap-and-trade could add up to another 63 cents per gallon of gas starting in 2021. Furthermore, the legislation does not provide any guarantees that the money will directly support air quality programs.
I cannot support legislation that will ultimately force hardworking Californians to pay the price.
The decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Photo Credit: Southern California Edison.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce recently advanced legislation to help move nuclear waste out of our region. The waste is from the decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).
The legislation would proceed with the long-awaited permanent nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and authorize the U.S. Department of Energy to open an interim site. I strongly support off-site storage of SONGS’ nuclear waste and commend the efforts of U.S. Representative Darrell Issa for his work on this issue. Click here for more information.
California State Capitol
As you may have heard, the Democratic Speaker of the State Assembly recently decided to hold Senate Bill 562, the government-run health care monopoly, “in the Assembly Rules Committee until further notice.” In other words, the bill will not be heard in the Assembly this year.
The speaker said that SB 562 is “woefully incomplete.” I agree. I recently wrote a column for the San Diego Union-Tribune explaining my opposition to SB 562 that you can read here.
Senator Bates presents Dan Pingaro, CEO of the Ocean Institute, with a resolution at the State Capitol honoring the Institute as the 36th Senate District’s Nonprofit of the Year.
I recently honored Dana Point’s Ocean Institute as the 2017 Nonprofit of the Year for the 36th Senate District. This recognition is part of a larger celebration of “California Nonprofits Day” at the State Capitol.
The Ocean Institute’s work is a fantastic example of nonprofits strengthening our communities, while inspiring everyone - especially children - to learn more about the marine environment.
Learn more about the Nonprofit of the Year award and the Ocean Institute here.
Stakeholders celebrating the finalization of the Natural Community Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan at O’Neill Regional Park.
At a ceremony last month at O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) celebrated the finalization of the Natural Community Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan for their Measure M2 mitigation properties.
The conservation plan ensures more than 1,300 acres of OCTA wilderness remain forever protected from development and provides habitat restoration for more than 350 acres in exchange for accelerated Measure M freeway improvement projects.
As the former chair of the Environmental Oversight Committee during my years as a county supervisor, I am very pleased to see all of the hard work come to fruition. While I was unable to be at the ceremony due to Senate business in Sacramento, thank you to all who took part.
Special thanks also need to go to San Clemente Councilwoman Lori Donchak, Chair of the Environmental Oversight Committee (6th from left in photo above); Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett (7th from left); and Melanie Schlotterbeck, Committee Vice Chair (8th from left); as well as all of the current and past members of the committee. I appreciate all of your hard work to get us to this important milestone!
Massive changes are underway at the Board of Equalization (BOE) that I wanted to bring to your attention. A recently passed law will restructure the agency into three separate entities.
The BOE will remain an independent entity headed by its five-member board and will continue performing its constitutionally-assigned duties: reviewing, equalizing or adjusting property tax assessments; assessing taxes on insurers; and assessing and collecting excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. The board will continue to hear current and new appeals on all tax and fee matters until December 31.
Starting January 1, 2018, appeals of all tax matters other than those constitutionally assigned to the BOE will be heard by the newly created Office of Tax Appeals (OTA). OTA appeals will include: franchise and personal income taxes, sales and use taxes, and other special taxes. Each appeal will be heard by a panel consisting of three administrative law judges.
There will be a newly created California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). It will be part of the governor’s administration and report to the Government Operations Agency.
During the transition period (July 1 - December 31), people paying taxes and fees should continue to file and make payments to the BOE as regularly scheduled. The BOE appeals process also remains the same through the end of the year. As changes are made to these processes they will be announced and posted on the new CDTFA website.
If you have questions about a tax issue or appeal during the transitional period, contact the BOE Call Center for simple questions or a referral to a new department. For more serious or complex issues contact the office of the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate. Of course, you also can contact one of my offices, and we’ll be pleased to assist you.
Phone numbers for questions regarding taxes, fees and tax and fee appeals:
- BOE Chairwoman Diane Harkey (her district includes Orange and San Diego counties): 949.724.2578
- BOE Call Center: 800.400.7115
- Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate: 888.324.2798
I wrote a column for the Orange County Register explaining why Orange County should not rush to implement so-called “vote centers.” Click here to read the column.
Also, the Register has an article highlighting a legislative committee approving a request from me and Assemblyman Bill Brough to audit the South Orange County Wastewater Authority. You can read the article here.
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.
Costa Mesa: Orange County Fair
Date: July 14 - August 13
Time: Visit https://ocfair.com/oc-fair/ for details.
Location: 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
About: Farm animals, zany and delicious food, concerts, midway games, blue ribbon winners, shopping, and much more!
Laguna Hills: Shakespeare in the Hills
Date: July 28 and 29
Time: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Location: Community Center & Sports Complex (25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653)
About: This summer’s production of Romeo & Juliet transports the well-loved story to 1845 and the conflicted world of Alta, California.
Vista: BBQ Classic
Date: Saturday, July 29
Time: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: Historic Downtown Vista
About: The Vista BBQ Classic is an official Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned event. For the past eight years, teams have traveled from all over the state to compete for prize money, trophies, points and bragging rights.
Mission Viejo: National Night Out
Date: Tuesday, August 1
Time: 5 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Target parking lot (25601 Jeronimo, Mission Viejo, CA 92691)
About: Receive valuable information regarding crime prevention, drug awareness and more while enjoying free food, crafts and entertainment.
Rancho Santa Margarita: Low Cost Pet Vaccination Clinic
Date: Wednesday, August 2
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Bell Tower Regional Community Center (22232 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688)
Dana Point: Emergency Expo, Summer Concert & National Night Out
Date: Sunday, August 6
Time: 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Sea Terrace Park (33501 Niguel Road, Dana Point, CA 92629)
About: This year Dana Point is combining three excellent events: the Emergency Expo, National Night Out and one of its summer concerts for all day entertainment.
Oceanside: North County Health and Wellness Fair
Date: Thursday, August 10
Time: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location: Oceanside Civic Center Plaza (300 N Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054)
About: The North County Health Fair is FREE to the public and a great way to receive information, meet a new health specialist, take advantage of free screenings and to learn more about healthy living.
Laguna Niguel: Shakespeare by the Sea Presentsâ€¦ The Taming of the Shrew
Date: Sunday, August 13
Time: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Location: Crown Valley Community Park (29751 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)
About: For audiences seeking quality, family entertainment, Shakespeare by the Sea’s free performances can’t be beat. Pack a picnic, a blanket and beach chair, gather loved ones, and settle in under the stars for a night of classic entertainment.
Encinitas: Cardiff Dog Days of Summer
Date: Sunday, August 13
Time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Location: Encinitas Community Park (425 Santa Fe Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024)
About: Cardiff Dog Days of Summer is a free event with over 200 dog related vendors and rescue groups with pet adoptions, live music, beer garden oasis, dog contests, local makers market, food trucks and more!
San Clemente: Fiesta Music Festival
Date: Sunday, August 13
Time: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Location: Downtown San Clemente (100-200 Blocks of Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente, CA 92672
About: The Fiesta Music Festival features activities for the whole family, including food and game booths sponsored by local nonprofit organizations, three stages with continuous live music throughout the day, contests for all ages, a salsa challenge, arts and crafts show, business expo, children’s rides, action sports expo, exhibits, clowns, jugglers, face painters and more.
Carlsbad Music Festival
Date: August 25 - 27
Time: Visit www.carlsbadmusicfestival.org for concert times.
Location: St. Michael’s by the Sea (2775 Carlsbad Blvd.) and Magee Park (258 Beech Ave.) in Carlsbad
About: The Festival programming is an eclectic mix of creative and adventurous music ranging from contemporary classical, to indie rock, to world music, to electronic, to jazz, to musicians who work across genres.
San Juan Capistrano: Farmers Market
Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Location: Yorba Street between El Camino Real and Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
About: The Old Capistrano Certified Farmers Market promotes a healthy lifestyle by providing fresh fruits, vegetables and other farm products to shoppers.
Note: While my office strives to include accurate information at the time of publication, events are subject to change by the organizers/sponsors.
In addition to many meetings, briefings, and other Senate activities, I also:
- Delivered a legislative update to the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce.
- Met with officials from Shanghai, China, who were in California to learn more about California policies on areas such as the environment and education.
- Met with Amy and Jason Martel, and Ben Stone (Vice President of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association) regarding mountain bikers using the trails at Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve. It is my hope that outdoor enthusiasts and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife can come to a consensus that ensures safe access for people and protects the natural environment.
- Met National Spelling Bee Champion Ananya Vinay at the State Capitol. Ananya is from Fresno.
- And more!
On my behalf, my staff also:
- Presented a resolution to Dr. Ray Gatfield, the retiring principal of Mission Viejo High School. Rhonda Reardon of my Laguna Hills office is pictured with Dr. Gatfield.
- Attended a meeting of the Vista Chamber of Commerce.
- Participated in the ribbon cutting of new businesses in Dana Point, Carlsbad and Encinitas.
- Attended Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett’s “State of the County” address in Mission Viejo.
- And more!
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