Pat's Perspective: November 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

As another holiday season approaches, I wanted to reach out with some important updates primarily from the state and local perspective.

With the California Legislature returning in January to begin a new session, I have been busy attending meetings throughout the district and listening to how the state could better respond to local needs. My staff is also collecting ideas I received for legislation next year and researching what the state can do to help, such as addressing the tragic opioid epidemic.

As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns. May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving.



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Holiday Open House - Laguna Hills

Image containing words of “Holiday Open House”

You are invited to a holiday open house at the Laguna Hills Civic Center (24035 El Toro Road, Laguna Hills, CA 92653) on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

This is an opportunity to meet me and my district staff and to learn ways that we can be of assistance on state issues. We will serve light refreshments.

Space is limited. Please RSVP by e-mailing me at or calling 949.598.5850.

To view the event flyer, click here. I look forward to meeting you!

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Gas and Car Tax Hike

generic image of fuel pump and cash

California’s higher gas and car tax increase took effect on November 1.

In my view, drivers are being punished with higher gas and car taxes for a problem they did not create. The state’s General Fund has grown from $100 billion in 2013 to more than $125 billion this year - a record high. Yet the supermajority in Sacramento allocated very little from those additional revenues for road repairs. At the same time, the supermajority continued diverting $1 billion each year from existing transportation dollars to other general state expenses.

It did not have to be this way. I supported a transportation plan that would have provided $7.8 billion for our crumbling roads without raising taxes. Instead, drivers will be paying more to fund not just road repairs that could have been paid for with existing dollars, but also other projects such as bike trails and potentially high-speed rail. Californians deserve better.

Senate Bill 1 does the following:

  • November 1, 2017: imposes an initial 12 cent per gallon gas tax increase.

  • November 1, 2017: diesel drivers will see a jump of 20 cents a gallon in the base diesel fuel tax. The diesel sales tax goes up from 1.75 percent to 5.75 percent.

  • January 1, 2018: drivers will have to pay higher vehicle registration fees and can expect an increase of $25 to $175 depending on the value of their car.

  • July 1, 2019: the total amount in gas excise taxes will go up to 47.3 cents a gallon, an increase of 19.5 cents a gallon compared to when the gas tax law was enacted.

  • July 1, 2020: imposes a $100 annual registration fee for zero-emission vehicles.

  • All of these fees and taxes will be increased annually for inflation.

Car Tax Calculator
To determine how much your family will pay under the new car and gas tax, click here.

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Hepatitis A Outbreak

person receiving a vaccine

As you may know, there have been hepatitis A outbreaks in San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties. There is currently no outbreak in Orange County; however, the risk of hepatitis A is real.

The majority of people who have contracted hepatitis have been homeless and/or users of illegal drugs. The outbreak is being spread person-to-person and through contact with fecally contaminated environments.

Last month, Governor Brown issued an emergency declaration to help control the outbreaks and increase the supply of vaccines for the disease. The California Department of Public Health has purchased additional vaccines from manufacturers and is coordinating distribution.

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San Onofre Update

Image of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
The decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating
Station. Photo Credit: Southern California Edison.

Removing the nuclear waste currently stored at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is a top priority for me. I recently joined forces with Democratic and Republican state legislators from our region to ask U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to provide a timeline regarding the removal of the SONGS waste to a safe and secure environment.

Click here to read our letter to Secretary Perry.

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Identity Theft

picture depiction of thief stealing Social Security card from a wallet

The Equifax data breach earlier this year underscored the growing threat of identity theft, a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or social security number, to commit fraud. While state and federal lawmakers are considering ideas on how to best respond to the Equifax data breach, it is never too early to take steps to protect yourself.

Here are some resources from government websites that may help you:

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Grand Jury Opportunities

courtroom stock photo

The California Grand Jury is unique in its function and selection process compared to other juries. Each county is required by law to impanel a body of 23 or 19 members, depending on county population, to serve for a term of one year. This body is mandated to investigate and report on both criminal and civil matters within the county.

Opportunities exist for interested Californians to serve on a Grand Jury for 2018/19. For more information click on the links below for your county:

Orange County

San Diego County

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Cash for College

Cash for College banner

Cash for College is a statewide program that brings together local schools, college financial aid experts, and community organizations to provide college-bound high school seniors and their families hands-on help applying for financial aid. Parents and students complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at these workshops to start the process of qualifying for financial aid.

Workshops are held throughout the state between now and March 2, 2018, which is the deadline to apply for most state-funded financial aid. Cash for College events are usually held at local high schools or colleges on evenings or weekends.

Click here to find Cash for College workshops near you.

Find out more about applying for state and federal financial aid on these websites:

California Student Aid Commission - Learn about major state financial aid programs, including Cal Grants and scholarships.

Federal Student Aid - Learn about grants, loans, and work study options, AmeriCorps awards, military tuition benefits, and vouchers for current and former foster children sponsored by the federal government.

The College Board - Use online tools for college planning and find ways to pay for college.

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Environmental Good News

Aliso Creek

It is a pleasure to report that a long-awaited plan to restore a seven-acre estuary along Aliso Creek in South Orange County is underway.

I participated in a ceremony last month to unveil a plan for the estuary’s restoration. I support efforts to make the restoration a reality, and thank the California State Coastal Conservancy and Laguna Ocean Foundation for their work.

When the restoration is complete, the estuary will support a wide diversity of fish and wildlife species and result in cleaner water entering the ocean. Click here to learn more.

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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?

Laguna Hills: Sen. Bates’ Holiday Open House

Date: Wednesday, December 6
Time: 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Laguna Hills Civic Center (24035 El Toro Road, Laguna Hills, CA 92653)
About: Join neighbors, community leaders and local elected officials in meeting Senator Bates and her district office staff. Learn how they can be of assistance on issues that are important to you. Light refreshments will be served.

Carlsbad: Volunteer Trail Event

Date: Saturday, November 18
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m
Location: La Costa Glen Trail
About: The volunteer trail work at La Costa Glen Trail will include weed removal, vegetation trimming, trail erosion repairs and litter pickup.

Aliso Viejo: All is Bright Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting Event

Date: Thursday, November 30
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m
Location: Aliso Viejo Town Center Fountain (Aliso Viejo, CA 92656)
About: There will be several children’s activities, Victorian Christmas carolers, photo opportunities, tons of holiday cheer, and a visit from jolly Ol’ St. Nick.

Dana Point: Winter Festival & Tree Lighting

Date: Saturday, December 2
Time: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: La Plaza Park (34111 La Plaza, Dana Point, CA 92629)
About: Activities throughout the day include Santa visits, carnival games ($1), craft fair, Dana Point Police Services Kid Print ID, face painting, cookie decorating ($2), holiday crafts, Lego Santa’s Village Workshop, the Mini Express Train, petting zoo, pony rides and the Annual Tree Lighting! Most activities are free.

Encinitas: Holiday Parade

Date: Saturday, December 9
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
About: For the 60th year, Encinitas will kick off the holiday season at the 2017 Encinitas Holiday Parade, presented by Lazy Acres Natural Market on Saturday, December 2. Thousands of people will be on floats, on foot, in cars, and marching in bands while tens of thousands cheer them along the Parade route along Coast Highway 101. The nighttime parade theme for 2017 is “Celebrating the Arts!”

San Clemente: Santa’s Village by the Sea

Date: Saturday, December 2
Time: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente, CA 92672
About: The event begins with the annual tree lighting ceremony to usher in the spirit of the season with Christmas at the Casa, Snow at the Community Center, and the Del Mar Glitz. Take a picture with Santa and delight in a night filled with holiday fun, carolers, cookie decorating, and activities for the whole family to enjoy!

San Juan Capistrano: Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Date: Saturday, December 2
Time: 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Location: Historic Town Center Park (31852 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675)
About: Don’t miss the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration which includes dance, orchestra, mariachi and musical theater performances.

Vista: Christmas Parade

Date: Saturday, December 2
Time: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: Historic Downtown Vista Village
About: The parade route starts at Civic Center parking lot, turns right on Eucalyptus, right on S. Santa Fe, right on Broadway, left on Citrus, left on Main Street and ends at the Wave Waterpark. Parking can be found at Cinepolis, the Wave, side streets and parking lots.

Oceanside: Holiday Tree Lighting & Sunset Market

Date: Thursday, December 7
Time: 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: Regal Cinema Plaza (403 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92054)
About: On this special day, we honor and remember the men and women of the Armed Forces. Light refreshments will be provided.

Laguna Hills: Breakfast with Santa

Date: Saturday, December 9
Time: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Location: Community Center & Sports Complex (25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653)
About: Special celebration complete with a scrumptious breakfast, photos with Santa and holiday crafts. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult. Resident Adult/Child: $10. Non-Resident Adult/Child: $15.

Laguna Niguel: Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade

Date: Saturday, December 9
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Crown Valley Parkway (Between Nueva Vista and Central Park Drive)
About: View over 100 exciting entries including marching bands, floats, special guests, youth groups, equestrian units, exotic cars, military members, local heroes and fun attractions! No hometown holiday parade is complete without a dazzling entrance by Santa Claus!

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 the dedication of a Laguna Niguel memorial honoring those lost to drug overdoses. Click here to learn more.

    Senator Bates at a Laguna Niguel memorial

  • Attended the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Awards event.

    Senator Bates at the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Awards event

  • Participated in a panel with Senators Janet Nguyen and Jean Fuller regarding women’s leadership at Illumina Inc.’s San Diego headquarters.

    Senator Bates participated in a panel with Senators Janet Nguyen and Jean Fuller

  • Helped award a $5,000 grant from the Barona Band of Mission Indians to San Clemente’s Clarence Lobo Elementary School. The funds will provide additional artifacts and educational materials for the school’s Native American museum.

    Senator Bates helped award a $5,000 grant from the Barona Band of Mission Indians

  • Hosted a meeting of local elected officials in Laguna Hills. I gave a Sacramento update and they shared their priorities regarding what the state can do to help their communities.

    Senator Bates hosted a meeting of local elected officials in Laguna Hills

  • Delivered comments honoring military veterans at Rancho Santa Margarita’s (RSM) Veterans Day Recognition Ceremony. Pictured below is RSM Mayor Carol Gamble (in white) congratulating veteran Paul Cote (wearing a cap), who previously received special recognition from U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis for his service.

    Senator Bates delivered comments honoring military veterans at Rancho Santa Margarita’s (RSM) Veterans Day Recognition Ceremony

  • Met with U.S. Army veteran Ralph L. Freeman (2nd from left), who served in World War II and the Korean War, at RSM’s Veterans Day ceremony. Mr. Freeman is 100 years young!

    We are pictured with RSM Councilmember Brad McGirr (left) and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Vaughn (right).

    Senator Bates met with veterans at the RSM’s Veterans Day ceremony

  • Presented a certificate to owner Bob Mardian (left) and general manager Jay Styles (right) in recognition of the 45th anniversary of their Wind and Sea Restaurant, which serves fine cuisine to Dana Point Harbor visitors. Congratulations!

    Senator Bates presented a certifcate of recognition of the 45th anniversary of their Wind and Sea Restaurant

  • Attended the 20th anniversary event of “Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks” in Newport Beach. As its name implies, the organization is dedicated to protecting Orange County’s natural environment. I am pictured with “Dragon”, a rescued Hawk.

    Senator Bates attended the 20th anniversary event of Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks

  • And more!

On my behalf, my staff also:

  • Met with members of the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative regarding senior citizen issues. My legislative assistant, Sarah Couch (center), met with the Collaborative in my Capitol office.

    Team Bates met with members of the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative

  • Attended the California Coastal Law Conference in La Jolla.

  • Presented a certificate recognizing Mission Viejo Library’s 20th anniversary.

  • Attended the North County Business Champions Breakfast in Carlsbad.

  • Received a briefing of U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in the San Diego area.

  • Participated in a North San Diego Small Business Development Center event in Carlsbad to help veterans succeed in small business.

  • 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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