Apr 13

Does your CA Representative represent you or corporations?

Here’s a handy website that provides you with information about your current representatives voting score on whether they side with policies favoring citizens or corporations.  It’s called the CourageScore.  Click HERE to check out your representatives score.  Check these scores out before the June 7th Primary election.

Ted Gaines’ (Senate District 1 – Republican) score is: 0 (F) – So, vote for Democrat Rob Rowen in SD1 June 7th!

Brian Dahle (Assembly District 1 – Republican) score is: 6 (F) – Sorry, Brian has no Democratic challenger

Frank Bigelow (Assembly District 5 – Republican) score is: 0 (F) – So, vote for either Democrat Kai Ellsworth or Robert Carabas, running against Bigelow in AD5 June 7th!

Beth Gaines’ (Assembly District 6 – Republican) score is: 0 (F) – So vote for Democrat Brian Caples in AD6 June 7th!

 

 

Mar 05

League of Women Voters Newsletter

VOICES OF THE LEAGUE (League of Women Voters)
FEBRUARY 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON: Voting Brings us Together As Americans

(Click on the blue titles to view full article)

Compare the Presidential Candidates with our Voters’ Guide

By: Stephanie Drahan
2/12/2016
With the election cycle now in full swing, we’re pleased to share the League of Women Voters’ presidential voters’ guide to help voters learn about the candidates and their visions for America’s future.

Take Control – Vote

By: Wylecia Wiggs Harris
2/29/2016
For voters voting on Super Tuesday as well as those with upcoming primaries and caucuses, it is time to get ready to vote! Simply enter your address at VOTE411.org to find everything you need to know about upcoming elections in your state.

League Sues to Stop Documentary Proof-of-Citizenship Requirement on Voter Registration Form

By: Stephanie Drahan
2/25/2016
The League of Women Voters of the United States, alongside its Alabama, Georgia and Kansas affiliates, filed a federal lawsuit against the executive director of the Election Assistance Commission to prevent these states from requiring documentary proof-of-citizenship when registering voters using the federal mail voter registration form.

Presidents’ Day, Primaries and Parties

By: Elisabeth MacNamara
2/14/2016
In honor of our 96th anniversary as well as Presidents’ Day, we are calling upon our supporters to help us in Making Democracy Work and bringing new voters into our electoral process this year.

Compare the Presidential Candidates with our Voters’ Guide

By: Stephanie Drahan
2/12/2016
With the election cycle now in full swing, we’re pleased to share the League of Women Voters’ presidential voters’ guide to help voters learn about the candidates and their visions for America’s future.

U.S. Supreme Court Temporarily Halts Implementation of Clean Power Plan

By: Jessica Jones
2/10/2016
Leagues across the country can expect to have a busy 2016 legislative session, with the majority of state legislatures beginning their sessions in January. Voters’ rights and election laws will be brought to the forefront once again in 2016, and with elections at every level of government, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
League of Women Voters
1730 M Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

Feb 01

Get a free copy of “A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security”

Social Security is the nation’s most successful anti-poverty program and it remains a fundamental pillar of the American economy—one that is critical to the long-term economic security of today’s young people. The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and EPI just released an updated and revised version of A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security, a comprehensive 60-page guide written by young authors for students and young workers. The new edition, published jointly by NASI and the Economic Policy Institute, reflects the latest official estimates in the 2015 Social Security Trustees’ report.

Click HERE to download your FREE 60 page “A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security”

Jan 21

Governor Brown’s State of the State Speech 2016

Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State of the State Address
Remarks as Prepared
January 21, 2016

It was 41 years ago that I first spoke in this chamber. At that time, my father was rather surprised to see me make it to the governorship at such a young age. Now I’m kind of surprised that I am still here – and three more years to go.

Back then, California was amazingly dynamic and it still is. We, who live here, love and know this land as a unique place which draws people from every part of the world because of the tolerance, the creativity and the sheer openness. There is much to be thankful for.

And yet we live today in a world that is profoundly uncertain. What happens far away can touch us very directly. A slowdown in China or turmoil in Iraq or Syria or virtually anywhere can send the stock market reeling and put California jobs and state revenues in jeopardy. And the battles far away sometimes come right here to our soil, as the unprovoked and brutal attack in San Bernardino so clearly showed us. What occurs daily in so many different parts of the world could occur here. That is why we have to be prepared and vigilant. I wish it were not the case but it is.

Here at the state Capitol we often think we have more control over things than we actually do. But the truth is that global events, markets and policies set the pace and shape the world we live in.

The challenge is to solve today’s problems without making those of tomorrow even worse. We face a future that is partly determined and yet in many ways unknown. Our job is to clearly face the facts we do know and prepare for the many unknowns as best we can.

In that spirit, you are not going to hear me talk today about new programs. Rather, I am going to focus on how we pay for the commitments we have already made.

Budget

Let’s start with the budget. What we do know is that since the Second World War, we have experienced 10 recessions, none of them expected or accurately predicted. Economists are unable to pinpoint when a recession will begin or how long it will last. Historically, California budgets have been built around forecasts that assume uninterrupted growth. Just looking at the last two recessions, we notice that ongoing state spending accelerated right into the downturn.

That is why if you add up the deficits and surpluses between 2000 and 2016, you find that the total deficits were seven times as large as the surpluses, resulting in painful and unplanned-for cuts. Schools, child care, courts, social services and other vital state programs were deeply affected. So too were our universities which had to reduce classes and double tuition.

I don’t want to make those mistakes again.

According to economists at the Department of Finance, the next recession, even if it were only of average intensity, would cut our revenues by $55 billion over three years. That is why it is imperative to build up the Rainy Day Fund – which was recently overwhelmingly approved by the voters – and invest our temporary surpluses in badly needed infrastructure or in other ways that will not lock in future spending.

We must also be realistic about our current tax system. California has a very progressive but volatile income tax that provides 70 percent of General Fund revenues. If we are to minimize the zigzag of spend-cut-spend that this tax system inevitably produces, we must build a very large reserve.

Inequality

We also know that inequality has risen sharply in recent decades. We have seen the disappearance of many middle class jobs and the growing share of income taken by the top 1 percent and even more so by the top .01 percent. In fact, the proportion of income earned by the 1 percent has almost tripled. This contrasts sharply with the virtual stagnation in the wages of so many ordinary Americans. And CEO pay has risen from 22 times the average worker pay to 352 times.

Such inequality is reinforced by national regulatory and tax policies and driven by globalization and the relentless influx of cheaper goods and outsourcing of higher-paying jobs. Technological change also plays its part through sophisticated software, robotics and global communication. Of course this creates jobs, keeps inflation low and makes available phenomenal amounts of information and undreamed of conveniences. But it also makes for higher pay at the top and a huge number of low-paying service jobs below.

In the face of this growing inequality, California has not been passive. We have enacted or expanded many programs to counteract these powerful trends:

– We raised the minimum wage;
– We now have our first Earned Income Tax Credit;
– We strengthened our already strong prevailing wage laws;
– We made sure that 6.5 million workers will now get paid sick leave;
– And with respect to helping low-income students, we provide over $2 billion in Cal Grants and we pay the enrollment fees for 65 percent of community college students;
– We have added back hundreds of millions of dollars to our CalWORKs, foster care and child care programs; and
– In May, we will start providing full health care coverage to the children of undocumented workers.

Health Care

Most importantly – and this is truly monumental – we have wholeheartedly embraced the Affordable Care Act. As a result, we are now enrolling 13.5 million Californians in Medi-Cal and another 1.5 million in Covered California. This is an historic achievement. It will provide health security to so many who could not otherwise afford it.

Another area where we are leading the nation is how we provide health services to people in their own homes and, in the process, give jobs to their providers. Over the past two years, we have expanded this In-Home Supportive Services program by serving more recipients, giving current recipients more hours of care and by giving – for the first time – overtime pay to those workers who provide the services.

While the benefits of these programs are enormous, so too are the costs – both now and into the future. In four years, total Medi-Cal costs have grown by $23 billion. As the state begins to pay for its share of the millions of new enrollees, the cost to the General Fund will also rise. In 2012, the General Fund paid $15 billion for Medi-Cal, but by 2019, that number is expected to be $25 billion, an increase of two-thirds. For In-Home Supportive Services, in just two years, total spending will jump by $2 billion – to $9.2 billion – a 28 percent increase.

As the economic recovery reaches its end point and turns downward, it is crucial that we honestly face and plan for these increased costs. In this regard, I ask you – Republicans and Democrats alike – to seriously consider the newly revised MCO financing reform. Other states have taken advantage of this federal program and California should not shortchange itself. This is not a tax increase, no matter what anyone tells you. The arithmetic is simple: California comes out a clear winner.

Education

With respect to education, the strong economic recovery and the passage of Proposition 30 has allowed us to increase spending on public schools and community colleges from a low of $47.3 billion in 2011, to $71.6 billion this budget year. That is a 51 percent increase in overall spending, with significant sums allocated under the Local Control Formula to provide for the unique challenges that face low-income students, English learners and those in foster care.

This pattern of educational spending reverses the historic practice of assuming that all students encounter similar circumstances. They do not. The Local Control Formula, now in its fourth year, recognizes this fact with extra funding to enable educators to overcome the barriers that confront non-English speaking families and those with low and very modest incomes.

I am proud of how California has led the country in the way it is returning control to local school districts. For the last two decades, there has been a national movement to micromanage teachers from afar, through increasingly minute and prescriptive state and federal regulations. California successfully fought that movement and has now changed its overly intrusive, test-heavy state control to a true system of local accountability.

Other Commitments

We also know that the state has made other commitments – ones that we have yet to fully pay for. Our retirement liabilities – for pensions and lifelong health benefits for state and university workers – total $220 billion. Each year, the budget must allocate billions to slowly chip away at these obligations. Since 2012, we have taken steps to reduce the future costs of these pensions and put the teachers’ system back on solid fiscal footing. Still, we have more work to do. To date, we have set aside only a token amount to pay for $72 billion in future retiree health benefits.

These liabilities are so massive that it is tempting to ignore them. We can’t possibly pay them off in a year or two or even 10. And there is little satisfaction in the notion of chipping away at an obligation for three decades to pay for something that has already been promised. Yet, it is our moral obligation to do so – particularly before we make new commitments. We have promised our workers these benefits in exchange for careers spent serving the public. If we fail to acknowledge and pay for these obligations, we will unfairly burden future generations of Californians with these debts.

Infrastructure

Another long-term obligation we have to face is our deteriorating infrastructure. From state office buildings here in Sacramento to levees and facilities in our parks, universities, prisons and state hospitals – serious deficiencies abound. In this year’s budget, I am proposing that we use $2 billion of our temporary surplus on one-time investments to repair and replace aging structures. Neglecting what we have built over many years and letting it further deteriorate makes no sense and will just pile up costs in the long run.

But that is not all. Our overall state deferred maintenance is staggering, estimated to total $77 billion. Most of that is in our roads, highways and bridges. Here is our challenge: We have no choice but to maintain our transportation infrastructure. Yet, doing so without an expanded and permanent revenue source is impossible. That means at some point, sooner rather than later, we have to bite the bullet and enact new fees and taxes for this purpose. Ideology and politics stand in the way, but one way or another the roads must be fixed.

Water

One of the bright spots in our contentious politics is the joining together of both parties and the people themselves to secure passage of Proposition 1, the Water Bond. That, together with our California Water Action Plan, establishes a solid program to deal with the drought and the longer-term challenge of using our water wisely. Our goal must be to preserve California’s natural beauty and ensure a vibrant economy – on our farms, in our cities and for all the people who live here. There is no magic bullet but a series of actions must be taken. We have to recharge our aquifers, manage the groundwater, recycle, capture stormwater, build storage and reliable conveyance, improve efficiency everywhere, invest in new technologies – including desalination – and all the while recognize that there are some limits.

Achieving balance between all the conflicting interests is not easy but I pledge to you that I will listen and work patiently to achieve results that will stand the test of time. Water goes to the heart of what California is and what it has been over centuries. Pitting fish against farmer misses the point and grossly distorts reality. Every one of us and every creature that dwells here form a complex system which must be understood and respected.

Climate Change

Besides the immediacy of the drought, there is the overarching threat of a warming climate. Incredibly – though last year was the hottest on record – there are still those, particularly in Washington, who are in denial. But even the deniers can’t deny the carbon pollution that exists all over the world. It is causing serious injury and respiratory disease to people of all ages, but especially the young and very old.

Thankfully the rest of the world has heard the message: Humankind must change its ways and radically decarbonize the economy.

The Paris climate agreement was a breakthrough and California was there leading the way. Over 100 states, provinces and regions have now signed on to our Under 2 MOU. The goal is to bring per capita greenhouse gases down to two tons per person. This will take decades and vast innovation. But with SB 350, we’re on our way.

Finally, we know that in life, disasters happen. Fires, floods, earthquakes – they will occur and we must be prepared to respond. That too – by the way – requires that we save and maintain a solid reserve.

Closing

This morning I have talked a lot about the difficulties that lie ahead, but let’s not forget how far we have come.

In 2011, the state deficit was $27 billion, our credit rating was the worst in the nation and unemployment was 12 percent.

Now:

– The budget is in surplus;
– Standard and Poor’s has raised our credit rating three times;
– We have paid down accumulated debt – $26 billion worth;
– We created a solid Rainy Day Fund to offset the next economic downturn;
– We have increased funding for schools 51 percent;
– We are covering, under Medi-Cal, 13.5 million people, a 74 percent increase;
– We enacted – for the first time – an Earned Income Tax Credit;
– We raised our minimum wage, to $10 an hour, and that’s 38 percent higher than the federal minimum; and
– Two million new jobs have been created and unemployment has dropped in half.

Yes, it is clear that California is still The Great Exception. We dare to do what others only dream of.

Difficulties remain, as they always will. That is the human condition. And finding the right path forward is formidable. But find it we will, as we have in the past and as we will again – with courage and confidence.

Thank you.

Jan 07

Stop Oil Trains – Take Action links from Environmental Action

The worst thing about the vote to lift of the crude oil export ban last month is that it puts dozens more towns and communities in the path of dangerous bomb train shipments of crude oil by rail. Now that Big Oil companies can sell the more-explosive Bakken and Tar Sands crude anywhere in the world, they’re rushing hundreds of new shipments of this dirty stuff towards our coasts every day. That’s why we needed 2016 to commence with renewed energy and a revolutionary fervor to reject fossil fuels and resist climate change – And I saw just that first hand yesterday in Vancouver, Washington at one of the best anti-oil rallies I have ever attended.

Check out my whole report in the blog now!
And then sign on here to make 2016 the year we ban bomb trains and keep extreme oil in the ground for good!

Tesero Corporation and Savage Companies (Tesero-Savage) have applied to build the largest oil train facility in the country just along the Columbia River. The facility would handle 360,000 barrels of oil per day (over 15 million gallons) and require, at minimum, four one mile-and-a-half long trains each day — that’s over six billion gallons of oil per year traveling in 43,000 train cars. Tesero-Savage recently completed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed facility, which is currently under review by the State of Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Committee (EFSEC) who will eventually recommend Governor Jay Inslee to approve or reject the project.

They held a public hearing yesterday, and if the people who attended are any indication of the type of activism to expect in 2016, it’s gonna be a very good year. Halfway through the hearing I got to take part in a rally organized by a coalition of friends from great organizations like Climate Solutions, Friends of Colombia Gorge, Forest Ethics and Washington Conservation Voters. But the real leaders of this coalition are representatives of First Citizens like the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Read all about our action in the blog, and then sign on here to make 2016 the year we ban bomb trains and keep extreme oil in the ground for good!

Thanks,

Anthony and the ban-the-bomb-trains crew at Environmental Action

Dec 24

May 5th – AADC’s next meeting – Centennial Reservoir – a good idea or a bad one?

 

wollan_o

Otis Wollan

At the next AADC meeting on May 5th, Otis Wollan will discuss the sustainable water future of California, considering climate change and the uncertainties in Sierra water management.  He will give us an update and perspective on the Centennial Reservoir Project proposed on the Bear River by the Nevada Irrigation District.

Currently Wollan serves as the President of the American River Watershed Institute.  Previously, he was with the Placer County Water Agency for over 20 years, where he was elected Director five times.

An AADC Business meeting will follow Wollan’s speech.

 

May2016AADCSpeaker.jpg

 

Dec 24

Brady Campaign (Nevada/Placer Chapter) – Update

Nevada-Placer Brady Chapter Meeting next Wednesday! 

What: Nevada-Placer Brady Chapter Meeting
Date: April 27, Wednesday
Time: 7 pm
Place: Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office (112 Nevada City Hwy, Nevada City)
Mark your calendar and plan to join us!

Brady Table at Upcoming Event
We plan to have a table at the Day of the Young Child Keeping Kids Safe Carnival at Sierra College, Nevada County Campus. The event is Saturday, May 7th, 10 am – 2 pm. Please let me know if you can help with our table. We will be promoting the “ASK Campaign”, which urges parents to ask if there is an unlocked gun where their child visits or plays.

State Legislation Update:
The last few weeks have been very busy and it has been difficult to keep up with both the hearings and communication.
Unfortunately, one of our priority bills (AB 2459 – videotaping of gun sales and prohibiting residential gun dealers) failed in the Privacy & Consumer Protection Committee earlier this week. This was a new and challenging committee for us and, as is often the case with new bold policy, we needed this first round to vet the bill, hear the arguments, and strengthen our case. We will make adjustments for a good strong bill next year. We appreciate that Assemblymember McCarty (Sacramento) was willing to introduce this groundbreaking legislation.

Also last Tuesday, the Senate Public Safety Committee passed a package of gun bills: KCRA – Gun control advocates score key victories at Capitol
Meanwhile, a number of other good gun bills continue to move through the State Assembly. Stay tuned for future actions!

Newsworthy:
Sacramento Bee: Hazardous lead levels found in Mangan Park outside shuttered gun range
Opioids and firearms kill roughly the same number of Americans — but prompt very different political responses. In an opinion piece for WBUR, writer Ben Jackson wonders if the racial breakdowns of the epidemics explains the discrepancy…
Sinking Gun Stocks Have Wall Street Wondering If Epic Sales Boom Is Ebbing: Read on for the full story

Amanda Wilcox
Nevada-Placer Chapter
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
530-432-2171
CABrady@live.com
www.bradycampaign.org/CA
States with strong gun laws have lower rates of gun deaths.

Dec 07

Bob Derlet, M.D., and Jim Reed, J.D., join race for Congress in District 1 and 4

bddc165

Bob Derlet, M. D.

2016 CONGRESSIONAL RACE UPDATE:

Democrat Bob Derlet, M.D. has filed to run against Republican Tom McClintock for the US House of Representative seat in District 4  (City of Auburn and Newcastle).  For more information about Bob and his campaign, go to his website: Bob Derlet for Congress

jimreed

Jim Reed, J.D.

Democrat Jim Reed, J.D., has declared to run against Republican Doug LaMalfa in District 1 (North Auburn, Meadow Vista, Colfax, Weimar, Applegate, and Lake of the Pines).  For more information about Jim and his campaign go to his website: Jim Reed for Congress

Dec 05

Sierra College’s Puente Club attends AADC Meeting

December 3rd Sierra College’s Reyes Ortega and the Puente Club attended AADC’s meeting to discuss their program and to exchange ideas of how to increase voter turnout in the Latino community.  The Puente Club presented AADC’s President, Sunny Carraway, and AADC’s Voter Registration Chair, Paul Comiskey, with Puente Club T-shirts (see photo).  Both groups agreed to work together in the future to increase Latino voter turnout within Placer County.

SierraCollegePuenteClubatAADCMeeting2015

Oct 29

Oil Trains rolling through Auburn – at what risk?

Did you know that oil trains traverse our little town of Auburn?  Did you know that these trains pose a danger to our families and our property?

If you want to know if your home is in an “Oil Train Blast Zone”, click on this link and type in your address: Oil Train Blast Zones

Click here to read a recent article about Valero’s proposal to increase oil trains to its Benecia refinery.

“Wide gauge” is the single largest cause of accidents involving track defects. In the case of the Pennsylvania derailment, it was broken spikes that caused the rail to widen, even though the track had been replaced in 2012, according to Federal Railroad Administration officials. – Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2015 by Ralph Vartbedian

Did you know that the rails running through our community are insufficient to handle this type of load and therefore increase the danger of a derailment?  According to some sources only 3.5% of the Union Pacific line through Donner Pass to Sacramento has the Class 4 or 5 rail necessary to safely transport numerous oil trains.

la-na-crude-train-safety-20150928-003

Sarah Feinberg, chief of the Federal Railroad Administration, said “We have been incredibly lucky that the accidents have happened mostly in rural areas. Some of them have been very close calls.”

Is that comforting to you?? – since Auburn is a rural area, ask yourself – are we the next “close call”???

Click here for AADC member Rosie Wohlfromm’s editorial against Oil Trains.

la-na-oil-train-explosions-20150313Come to AADC’s February 4th Meeting to hear more about this local issue.  Lynne Nittler of Cool Davis will lead a panel discussion on the topic. We meet at 7 pm in the Placer County Library, 350 Nevada Street, Auburn.  Our speaker series is free and open to the public.