Pat's Perspective: September 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Message from Pat

Dear Friends,

The Legislature concluded the 2015-16 legislative session in the early hours of September 1, after sending hundreds of bills to Governor Jerry Brown. While the Legislature passed bills ranging from allowing felons to vote behind bars to allowing taxpayer-funded election campaigns without voter approval, there was no transportation funding and maintenance fix.

The main issue behind the transportation stalemate is that the majority party wants higher gas and car taxes to fix our roads. Their proposal includes little reform, yet spends more money on the Governor’s high-speed rail project. Drivers should not be held hostage to protect funding for a high-speed train, the need for which is questionable, or to protect funding for a state transportation bureaucracy that has been found by the State Auditor to have wasted tax dollars.

There is talk that the Legislature might reconvene before the end of the year to vote on a transportation fix. In the meantime, I look forward to devoting my time on district issues and events, such as an upcoming Veterans Fair on September 28 that I am co-hosting with Assemblyman Bill Brough.

I am also considering bill ideas to present next year. If you have an idea to improve our state, please send me an e-mail at My staff and I will follow-up with you if we need more information.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.



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Legislative Update

Image of CA State Senate Chambers
California State Senate Chambers

As of this writing, there are 789 bills awaiting action by the Governor by September 30. Let me touch upon a few of them:

I hope the Governor will veto Assembly Bill 2466, which would allow convicted felons serving their sentences in county jail to vote while behind bars. This is a bad idea and I recently wrote an op-ed for the Orange County Register explaining why. The op-ed can be read here.

I also hope the Governor will veto Senate Bill 1146, which would take the state down the road of undermining the religious freedom of California’s faith-based colleges and universities under the guise of non-discrimination. While the Legislature passed a watered-down version of SB 1146 that addressed some concerns, the bill still targets religious institutions with the goal of making them conform to values they may not agree with.

On an upbeat note, I hope the Governor will sign the measures below that I have authored or co-authored. They include:

SB 807 (Gaines) - would limit the exposure to civil liability of an emergency responder for damaging a drone if the drone was interfering with the delivery of emergency services, such as a plane dropping water on a wildfire.

SB 1046 (Hill) - would expand California’s pilot program for ignition interlock devices statewide, requiring all convicted DUI offenders to use them. The devices test the breath of a driver and prevent the car from starting if the driver has been drinking.

SB 1137 (Hertzberg) - would make “ransomware” the criminal equivalent of extortion and punishable by up to four years in jail. Ransomware involves infecting a user’s computer with a virus that locks it until a ransom is paid. Earlier this year, the Orange County Transportation Authority spent $660,000 to fix servers that were held for ransom by hackers.

SB 1458 (Bates) - would make California law consistent with federal law so that any veteran receiving service-connected disability benefits at 100 percent will be eligible to receive the state’s disabled veterans’ property tax exemption on their home.

Finally, SB 1436, my bill to make local government more transparent, was signed by the Governor last month! Local governments will now be required to publicly announce pay and benefit increases for agency executives before voting on them. In the wake of the financial scandals exposed in the city of Bell and others, this will provide the public with a level of scrutiny as to where and how their tax dollars are being spent.

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Veterans Resource Fair

You are invited to the second annual Veterans Resource Fair in Laguna Hills (25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653) on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Assemblyman Bill Brough and I are hosting the event in conjunction with U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa and Mimi Walters.

The fair will have many resources from businesses, government agencies and non-profits on the benefits that veterans have earned. All are welcome and lunch will be provided to the first 400 attendees.

For more information, click here or view the event flyer below. To RSVP, click here.

Image of Veterans Resource Fair flyer


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Coastal Cleanup Day

beach photo with “Protect Your Coast” written on sand

Join the state’s largest annual volunteer event! This year’s California Coastal Cleanup Day takes place on Saturday, September 17, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., along more than 2,000 miles of coastal and inland shoreline. There are numerous sites in Orange and San Diego counties where you can volunteer.

Click this link to find a cleanup location near you, along with all the information you will need to volunteer.

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La Pata Gap Connector

Image of Sen. Bates and other local dignitaries
Sen. Bates and other local dignitaries help to officially open the La Pata Gap Connector

On August 13, I was pleased to help officially open the La Pata Gap Connector in South Orange County. The new roadway will improve traffic flow and directly connect San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Santa Margarita and other communities.

This project to provide traffic relief for local commuters was decades in the making, including the eight years I served as an Orange County Supervisor. After years of working with other leaders and community members, the La Pata Gap Connector is now open! Learn more about the project at this link. You can also watch a short video of the ribbon-cutting event here.

Image of La Pata Extension Project Map
La Pata Extension Project Map


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California Job Information

Employment Development Department logoEarlier this month, the Labor Day holiday honored the contributions of American workers to our economy. In that spirit, I urge anyone looking for jobs or for career enhancement to check out resources from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) website. It has useful resources to help connect you with employment opportunities.

Features include:

  • A list of top in-demand jobs in 14 state regions: each infographic shows the top five in-demand middle-skill occupations and median annual wages;
  • A Toolbox for Job Seekers with resources for career exploration, job seeking, and training, including CalJOBS - California’s online job matching system; and

Employers also benefit from learning more about our area’s leading jobs, and how to partner with the state and local entities in training talented job seekers to fill employment needs.

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Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month Photo

Each year, Americans celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 through October 15 in recognition of the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans. It is a time to celebrate the histories and cultures of Americans whose families came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It is also a time to acknowledge the many ways that Hispanic Americans help shape the United States.

As the fastest-growing ethnic group in California, Latino Americans are a significant part of many Orange and San Diego County communities of the 36th Senate District. Hispanics have made incredible contributions to California’s economy and political landscape. There are more than 800,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in California that are contributing over $100 billion annually to the economy. There are also currently 23 Hispanic members serving in the California Legislature, including Oceanside Assemblyman Rocky Chávez, a retired Marine Corps Colonel.

As we observe this month, may we honor the rich heritage of the Hispanic community and celebrate its countless achievements.

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California Humanities Grant

California Humanities organization logo

Thank you to the California Humanities organization for awarding a $10,000 “Community Stories Grant” to support a project called Indigenous Voices of San Juan Capistrano, The Acjachemen (Juaneño) Indian Community sponsored by the Orange County Public Libraries in Santa Ana.

California Humanities is a non-profit that promotes the humanities in California in order to help create “a state of open mind.” Its grant will highlight the culture of the Acjachemen (Juaneño) community. Interviews with tribal members will provide material for 10 digital videos to be archived and made available on the library’s OC Stories website. The project will help preserve the stories of Native Americans in our district.

For more information about the Acjachemen (Juaneño) community, please visit

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Community Spotlight: Rancho Santa Margarita

Photo of Rancho Santa Margarita
Photo Credit: City of Rancho Santa Margarita

Located in South Orange County, the City of Rancho Santa Margarita (“RSM”) is home to more than 49,000 people. It has been described as a “small city with the soul of a village,” a sentiment that many residents would agree with.

On July 23, 1769, the area now known as the city was visited by a Spanish expedition under Captain Gaspar de Portola, who camped near the site of Tijeras Creek Golf Course. The Spaniards founded Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776, and ruled the region until 1821, when California became part of Mexico.

The area remained remote until 1986, when the first homes in the new master planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita were sold. In November 1999, local voters opted to incorporate the Rancho Santa Margarita Planned Community and neighboring communities. The newly formed City of Rancho Santa Margarita incorporated on January 1, 2000, and became Orange County’s 33rd city.

Learn more about Rancho Santa Margarita by visiting its government website at and its chamber of commerce website at

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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: Veterans Resource Fair (Co-Sponsored by Sen. Bates)

Date: Wednesday, September 28
Time: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location: Laguna Hills Community Center (25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653)
About: The fair will have many resources from businesses, government agencies and non-profits on the benefits that veterans have earned. Lunch will be provided to the first 400 attendees.

Aliso Viejo: Trails and Creek Clean-up Event

Date: Saturday, September 17
Time: 8 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Aliso Viejo Ranch (100 Park Avenue, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656)
About: Complimentary refreshments will be provided for volunteers who should come wearing sunscreen along with appropriate clothes and closed-toed shoes or hiking boots. Bring gardening or work gloves if you have them. For more information or to pre-register, contact Moy Yahya at 949.425.2538

Rancho Santa Margarita: RSM Chamber State of the City Address

Date: Friday, September 23
Time: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Location: Dove Canyon Country Club (22682 Golf Club Drive, Dove Canyon CA 92679)
About: State of the City Address 2016 Delivered by Mayor Tony Beall. Sponsored by the Rancho Santa Margarita Chamber of Commerce.

Vista: Mobile Pet Clinic Event

Date: Saturday, September 24
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Brengle Terrace Park (1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA 92084)
About: San Diego Humane Society will be on site providing affordable vaccinations and microchips. If you are a resident of Oceanside or Vista, you can stop by to renew or purchase a new license (late fees will be waived).

Oceanside Harbor Days

Date: Saturday, September 24
Time: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Location: Oceanside Harbor
About: This is an annual event consisting of art & crafts, food and vendor booths, fishing derby, live entertainment, contests, pirates, and much much more. Sponsored by the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce.

Laguna Niguel: NFL PUNT, PASS & KICK Competition

Date: Sunday, September 25
Time: 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Marina Hills Park (24802 Marina Hills Drive, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)
About: Boys and girls, come show off your football skills at the City of Laguna Niguel, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick local competition! Top finishers in each of the boys’ and girls’ divisions, (6-7 yrs., 8-9 yrs., 10-11 yrs., 12-13 yrs., & 14-15 yrs.), will advance to the Sectional Competition.

Carlsbad: Motorcycle Cannonball

Date: Sunday, September 25
Location: Carlsbad Village
About: The Motorcycle Cannonball from Atlantic City to Carlsbad is the Race of the Century featuring 100-year-old motorcycles racing 3,400 miles across America. The race will end at Carlsbad’s historic Sante Fe Train station in Carlsbad Village.

Mission Viejo: Movies in the Park ’The Lego Movie’

Date: Saturday, October 1
Time: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Location: Napoli Park (27682 Napoli Way, Mission Viejo, CA 92692)
About: Movies begin at dusk. Drop off blankets and chairs early. Refreshments are available along with fun games and music.

Aliso Viejo: Annual Founder’s Day Fair

Date: Saturday, October 1
Time: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Location: Aliso Viejo Ranch site at 100 Park Avenue (across from Aliso Viejo Middle School)
About: Event features interactive historical and art exhibits, local entertainment, community booths, pony rides, a petting zoo, old-fashioned games and mechanical rides, inflatables, amusements and activities.

Encinitas Oktoberfest

Date: Sunday, October 2
Time: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Location: Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real, Encinitas
About: The event entertainment feature the Bluebirds, a German-American Band, Bavarian dancers and a street craft faire featuring over 200 vendors including artisans with unusual arts and craft items.

San Clemente: Free Shredding Event

Date: Saturday, October 8
Time: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Maintenance Yard (390 Avenida Pico, San Clemente, CA 92672)

San Juan Capistrano: Vintage Food & Wine Festival

Date: Saturday, October 8
Time: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Location: Mission San Juan Capistrano (26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675)
About: More than twenty local restaurants, bakeries and other dining establishments offer tastes of their great cuisine. Local wineries, breweries and spirit makers offer samples of their drinks as well.

Laguna Hills: Scavenger Hunt

Date: Saturday, October 22
Time: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Community Center & Sports Complex (25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653)
About: This city wide scavenger hunt will have you compete in challenges including photo snapping, visiting important places, Q&A and scanning QR codes. Once the hunt is complete, join others at the Laguna Hills Community Center for a results party with light refreshments and prizes.

Laguna Niguel: Orange County Alzheimer’s Walk

Date: Saturday, October 22
Location: 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
About: Join us again this year for your favorite Alzheimer’s walk, the Walk4ALZ, at the OC locations you’ve always loved: Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach and Angel Stadium! Sign up for free. The Walk4ALZ is the only Alzheimer’s walk in Orange County where 100% of the funds raised stay local here in our community, to help local families affected by the disease.

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

  • Participated in Congressman Darrell Issa’s sober living home forum in San Clemente. We discussed potential federal legislation. You can read more about the event here.

District Highlights photo 1 District Highlights photo 2

  • Met Kendall Stier (2nd from right), her mom Shannon (right), U.S. Olympic Coach Rich Robert (left) and her service dog Bekryn. Kendall competed in the 2nd annual Angel City Games, a four-day event promoting sports among athletes with physical disabilities. Read more about Kendall’s inspiring story from the Orange County Register here. Photo Credit: Scott Marshutz

District Highlights photo 2

  • Met Shirley Babashoff (fifth from left), an Olympic champion swimmer from Orange County. During the 1976 Olympics, Shirley was vilified for exposing East Germany’s steroid use, which would be confirmed years later. The Senate approved Senator John Moorlach’s resolution requesting that the International Olympic Committee right the injustices that Shirley and others faced due to cheating by others.

District Highlights photo 4

  • Congratulated interns in my Laguna Hills office for the fabulous work they have done this summer helping serve the people of the 36th Senate District. They have very bright futures and I wish them well in their endeavors!

Ashley Bonetto was home-schooled and is now a sophomore at the University of Southern California.
District Highlights photo 5

Ingrid Gonzalez graduated from Laguna Hills High School this year and was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkeley.
District Highlights photo 6

Morgan Yurosek is a graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High School and is a competitive golfer. She will be attending Amherst College in Massachusetts.
District Highlights photo 7

Molly Bourne will be a junior at the University of the Pacific in Stockton and is an accomplished softball player.
District Highlights photo 8

Sarah Hall is a senior at Tesoro High School in Las Flores and is the editor of the school’s yearbook.
District Highlights photo 9

Thea Dunlevie is in her second year at Saddleback College and will be transferring to a university next year. She is an accomplished speech and debater, having won many awards.
District Highlights photo 10

  • Congratulated Priya Jupudi, who interned in my Sacramento office. She is part of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) intern program and is a senior at the University of California, San Diego.

District Highlights photo 11

  • And more!

On my behalf, my staff also:

  • Participated in Dana Point Harbor’s 50 Year Time Capsule Celebration. With the Legislature in session in Sacramento, Rhonda Reardon from my Laguna Hills office spoke on my behalf.

District Highlights photo 12 District Highlights photo 13

  • Celebrated the new location of Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks at the Shops at Mission Viejo. My staff and I are honored to show our support of local businesses!

District Highlights photo 14

  • Attended the Women2Women Conversation Tour with Congresswoman Mimi Walters (middle) and Board of Equalization Vice Chair Diane Harkey (right). The purpose of the tour is to promote civic participation among women throughout the U.S.

District Highlights photo 15

  • Participated in Rancho Santa Margarita’s Patriot Day ceremony. Rhonda Reardon (in white jacket) from my Laguna Hills office posed for photos with Rancho Santa Margarita residents Lane and Kelly Keran and their daughter Amy (left photo) and Mission Viejo residents Joe and Marie Rossi (right photo). Joe and Marie’s grandson was in one of the Boy Scout troops who participated in the ceremony.

District Highlights photo 16 District Highlights photo 17

  • Attended the GO-Biz Tax-Credit Workshop at the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.
  • And more!
  • On a special note, congratulations to Erik Weigand, my Orange County District Director. He recently won all the ribbons pictured below for his hydrangeas at this year’s Orange County Fair. He has a fabulous green thumb in addition to his hard work serving the 36th Senate District!

Photo of Hydrangeas and ribbons


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