Following is my editorial that appeared in today’s Sacramento Bee regarding the power of an engaged citizenry in transforming California’s structurally deficient democracy using our homegrown social media tools. Below the editorial is a letter I submitted to Governor Brown outlining my plan and recommending he assert his leadership in helping to reshape our governance structure. California’s innovation has helped shape governments around the world and should be used to help improve our own state.
Los Angeles, CA – Senator Kevin de León testified at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) hearing in strong support for the full suite of clean vehicle and fuels policies that will be good for public health, our environment and green jobs for California. CARB then passed the package of regulations that was years in the making and has once again put California at the forefront of taking action on clean vehicles and clean air for the future.
“These rules will help improve the air quality for many of my constituents who live around these freeways and endure some of the worst air quality in the State,” said Senator De León. “Chairwoman Mary Nichols and CARB have worked closely with the Obama administration to cooperatively develop greenhouse gas standards that will not only benefit Californians but also the entire country.”
17th Annual Community Job Fair
Saturday, March 10, 2012
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
1000 Elysian Park Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Employers will be recruiting!
On site Interviews!
Dress for success!
For Resume prep, interviewing skills check
your local city/county worksource center
SACRAMENTO, CA – Appearing on the Senate Floor today with one of the faces of the horrific gun violence that has plagued Mexico, Senator Kevin de León applauded the vote that passed his Senate Joint Resolution 10 (SJR10) calling for comprehensive measures aimed at stopping the obscene flow of weapons from the U.S. into Mexico that fuels that violence.
Before debate on the resolution, Senator de León introduced Mexican exile and peace activist Saul Reyes Salazar. The Reyes Salazar Family has lost six family members in the last two-and-a-half years because of their outspokenness about the suffering endured by innocent, everyday citizens in Mexico at the hands of violent drug cartels.
“You listen to the horrific events that Mr. Reyes Salazar’s family has endured and you realize that we must do what we can to help stop this senseless violence,” said Senator De León. “This resolution is a small step but highlights the giant challenge before us. Weapons flow freely from the U.S. to Mexico and provide the fuel for the reckless violence that plagues innocent people on both sides of the border.”
SACRAMENTO, CA – Calling for a bridge between “mainstream” environmentalists and inner-city denizens less typically identified with the environmental movement but equally concerned about shared issues, Senator Kevin de León gladly received the Planning and Conservation League’s (PCL) Legislator of the Year Award at the organization’s annual Environmental Legislative Symposium.
“The environmental movement must learn to speak Spanish,” said De León as he accepted the award, emphasizing the need to translate the environmental movement for urban and rural Latinos who share the same concerns with those who are referred to as traditional environmentalists, but often speak different languages, both figuratively and literally. “The oil industry benefits from divisiveness among those of us who are making efforts to pursue alternative energy all with the same goal of a healthier environment for everyone regardless of race, economic status or geography.”
Senator De León noted that he represents a district criss-crossed by six freeways and has some of the country’s worst air quality. To mitigate the direct impacts of climate change largely affecting disadvantaged communities already suffering from adverse health impacts, Senator De León has proposed Senate Bill 535 to create the California Communities Healthy Air Revitalization Trust (CHART). He believes this is important to delivering on the promise of clean air for California’s children and families. The bill will also help provide job opportunities in the new clean tech economy for the hard-working families of California.
SACRAMENTO, CA – An innovative and pioneering energy efficiency and renewable energy finance mechanism took a step closer to reality today with the introduction of Senate Bill 998 (SB 998) by Senator Kevin de León. The bill would authorize the Public Utilities Commission to establish a first-in-the nation On-bill Repayment (OBR) program allowing consumers a creative way to save money and energy by financing energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy projects through their utility bills.
The OBR program was envisioned by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which is the principal supporter of SB 998. Assuming a 1% annual participation rate by homeowners, EDF estimates the program could generate more than 20,000 jobs for the hard-hit construction industry and reduce more than seven million tons of CO2 emissions per year. “Banks want to participate in funding energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in California. This gives them a great opportunity to help fund these worthwhile projects at no cost to taxpayers,” said Brad Copithorne EDF’s Energy and Financial Policy Specialist.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today the Commission on Teacher Credentialing suspended the teaching credential of Miramonte Elementary School teacher Martin Springer who has been charged by the District Attorney with committing lewd acts against children. Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt’s credential was suspended on January 31, 2012, after he was charged by the District Attorney. Their credentials were suspended by law because of the charges of sex crimes involving children.
SB1130 to Create Jobs and Save Energy
SACRAMENTO, CA – Continuing his push to dramatically increase the pace and scope of energy efficiency retrofit activity in California, State Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and State Controller John Chiang today unveiled legislation sponsored by the Controller and co-authored by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), expected to promote cost-effective retrofits of commercial buildings throughout California. The “Building the Economy Through Energy Retrofits” (BETER) program, is expected to create construction jobs while helping business owners save tremendously on their energy costs.
“This bill will help drive private investment into energy efficiency retrofit activity in California at no cost to taxpayers,” said Senator Kevin de León, author of Senate Bill (SB) 1130. “And it is precisely this activity that will help further stimulate our job market putting the exact industry segment back to work that is most in need – the construction trades.”
Bill Helps Address Massive Personal Retirement Savings Deficit
SACRAMENTO, CA – Addressing the looming “retirement tsunami” represented by the massive shortfall pending in most people’s retirement, Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and Chair of the Assembly, Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee, Warren Furutani (D-South Los Angeles County), today unveiled Senate Bill 1234 (SB1234) the California Retirement Savings Act, which creates a comprehensive retirement savings plan for the seven million private sector workers without access to a workplace retirement plan.
“California threatens to become home to a sea of discarded seniors unless we wake up and address the looming retirement tsunami,” said Senator De León referencing the $600 billion personal retirement savings deficit in the state. “This bill allows people to take personal responsibility for their own retirement without a cost to taxpayers helping us avoid potentially catastrophic conditions in California.” According to experts, nearly 50% of middle-income Californians will retire at or near poverty given present conditions.
California workers in the private sector need a lifelong retirement savings system that provides them with the opportunity to build their assets and achieve financial stability in retirement. SB1234 would provide a vital supplement to Social Security income and pool employee and employer contributions into a professionally-managed retirement fund that leverages economies of scale to offer portable, efficient, low-cost defined benefit retirement plans. If workers contributed just 3% of their earnings towards a retirement fund, the fund would generate an estimated $6.6 billion in the first year alone.
“We should be doing all we can to help all workers in both the public and private sector have an opportunity for a secure retirement,” said Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. “For millions of Californians now working without a retirement plan, this proposal can provide a better financial future as a safe, low-cost supplement to their Social Security and personal savings.”