Press Releases

April 06, 2012

Cites New Wealth/Health Study by Univ. of Wisconsin as Proof of Need

             Los Angeles - A recently released University of Wisconsin and Robert Wood Johnson study that ranked U.S. counties’ health found there was a strong parallel between wealth and health. Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), author of 2007’s Assembly Bill (AB) 31, which is the source of park grants that were awarded this week to some of Los Angeles County’s poorest communities, cited the study as further proof that we must do more to provide disadvantaged neighborhoods with greater access to recreational opportunities.
            “This study just identified what we already know,”
emphasized Senator De León. “Without parks or other recreational amenities, the people of LA’s poorest communities are further challenged to live healthier, more prosperous lives. I am so happy to see AB 31 benefiting disadvantaged communities. All children regardless of where they live or where their parents come from deserve green parks and open space. A family’s financial wherewithal should not dictate a child's access to nature."

            AB 31 (Community and Neighborhood Park Revitalization Act of 2007) created guidelines and criteria for Proposition 84 park funds, which targeted underserved communities suffering from significant park poverty.  These communities, largely disadvantaged, suffer from higher rates of crime, unemployment, poverty, school drop-outs, and health ailments, including obesity and asthma.

           "Senator De
León has been a leader on urban environmental issues since he came to the legislature in 2006. As author of AB 31, he immediately saw the dire need for green spaces and places to play in under-served communities in California. AB 31 not only will provide recreational opportunities within walking distance for millions of Californians, but additional economic, health and environmental benefits as well,” said Sam Hodder, California Director for The Trust for Public Land. 

Between both rounds of Proposition 84 funding, 103 new parks will be created and 23 existing parks will be expanded or substantially improved for a total of 126 projects.

A complete list of recent park grants can be found here. You can also find a copy of the University of Wisconsin study here.

March 28, 2012

 Reports Note that Potential Voter Fraud Occurring

 Sacramento, CA – In response to numerous reports that there may be voter fraud occurring in the city of Vernon, Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement:

  “This is the last stand of the old guard in Vernon and if they think they can steal an election they’re badly mistaken. Old habits die hard, but this investigation demonstrates that the necessary safeguards are in place to root out corruption and fraud wherever it rears its head.”

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March 22, 2012

 Letter Cites Need for “Shared Sacrifice” and Negative Impact on Student Access

              SACRAMENTO – In a scathing response to the California State University Trustees, Senator Kevin de León today released a letter he submitted to the board about their March 20 action that raised campus president salaries while the institution simultaneously froze student enrollment.

              “Your vote yesterday sent the message that you are willing to put the needs of CSU presidents above the needs of students and their families,” wrote Senator de León. “The decision was callous and oblivious to CSU’s responsibility to ensure that higher education opportunities are available and affordable for low- and middle-income families across our state.”

              The full letter is available as a PDF below.

March 20, 2012

California State Senator Kevin de León Invites you to attend a free Women’s Health & Fitness Fair

Ramona Gardens Housing Projects located in Boyle Heights Participants will receive FREE on-site health services such as: Family planning, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, vision screenings, dental screenings, STD testing, and nutritional education from the St. Vincent Medical Center, United Nurses Association, Weingart of East LA YMCA, USC County Hospital, AltaMed Medical Group, CA Dental Association, Planned Parenthood and East LA Occupational Center.

March 13, 2012

 Consumers’ Retirement Outlook at Historic Low

 14% Confidence Mark Underscores Need for Sen. De Leon’s SB 1234

              SACRAMENTO – Only 14% of U.S. workers are certain they will have enough to live on comfortably in retirement according to a survey released today by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) marking a drop from 2007 when the figure hit a high of 27 percent in the annual assessment, which is the longest running retirement survey of its kind in the nation. Senator Kevin de León and Senator Darrell Steinberg have introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1234 – the California Retirement Savings Act to help address this mammoth challenge.

February 23, 2012

SB 1234 Press Conference

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.” 

February 22, 2012

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.”

February 08, 2012

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.

February 07, 2012

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.