Pictured here with Casey Hashimoto, TID General Manager and Gary Soiseth, Mayor of Turlock.
The State Water Board held a meeting in Modesto last month to discuss its plans to take even more of our water. It was well attended, and folks were not shy about voicing their views. Our farming communities feed this state, our nation, and the world -- and that takes water. California wouldn’t be the sixth largest economy on the globe without its farmers, but bureaucrats crafting water policy seem to miss that fact. So do the coastal and urban elites running this state who rely on agriculture tax dollars to fund their pet projects. Despite the state’s dependence on agriculture, policy makers do everything in their power to regulate agriculture into an arid oblivion.
Governor Brown presented his plan for the state’s spending earlier this month. While he clearly tried to rein-in spending, the budget still calls for more and continues to be a mess. A $1.5 billion dollar calculation error in the budget was shrugged off by his staff – the “math was wrong”. As cliché as it sounds, we are stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. Shrugging errors off as merely a math mistake denigrates the importance of prioritizing where our money goes and meeting the needs of our citizens.
My priorities remain the same:
- Improvements to our transportation infrastructure WITHOUT an increase in the gas tax and other automotive fees;
- Building the long awaited Sites and Temperance Flats dams;
- Keeping college affordable for California residents;
- Helping communities impacted by the Tree Mortality Crisis and the Asian Psylliad
The Atmospheric River that recently pelted Northern California underscores how poorly prepared our infrastructure is to capture water in rainy years. Our roads continue to crumble, but our limited resources are budgeted to go to High Speed Rail. We have plenty of existing problems that need addressing -- which is where our spending should be focused.
The Little Hoover Commission is reviewing the state’s forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis in the Sierra Nevada. The first of the Commission’s public meetings will be held next week in Sacramento.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in November 2016 that approximately 62 million trees have died statewide on federal, state, and private lands this year, up 114 percent from the 29 million that died in 2015. The tally brings to 102 million the number of trees that have died in California forests during years of drought and bark beetle infestations since 2010. Most of the dead trees, the USDA stated, are in the southern and central Sierra region, though northern counties are showing increasing tree mortality.
Where and when:
Thursday, January 26, 2017
State Capitol, Room 437
There have been some changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application now requires your 2015 tax returns instead of your 2016 returns. To help folks navigate the changes, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education has released an informative and easy to understand article of the 7 things you need before you fill out your 2016-2017 FAFSA application. Read the article here: http://blog.ed.gov/2016/09/7-things-need-before-fill-out-fafsa/. More information about completing the FAFSA can be found here.
Congratulations to these budding authors. The Inyo County Writing Contest winners were presented with $50 from the Bishop Rotary and a congratulatory letter from me. To win was no walk in the park. There were over 400 essays submitted. Two students from each grade were chosen as the winners for the topic, “Heroes of Change.” From left; Phil McDowell of the Bishop Rotary, Ella Boehme, Alexandra Morales, Delia Boyer, Santana Rodriguez, Brooke Winzenread, Natalie Blakey, and Fran McDowell of the Bishop Rotary. Congratulations – and thank you to the Bishop Rotary for encouraging such great work.
WONDERFUL PUBLIC SERVICE GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP - DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING
Applications for two $56,000 Fellowships due February 24, 2017
Through the generosity of The Wonderful Company, San Joaquin Valley students will have the opportunity to become the next generation of Valley leaders through The Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowship. This program helps students obtain an advanced degree from a top graduate program, return home, and apply what they have learned to help make the Valley a better place.
The Maddy Institute will award two $56,000 Fellowships to Valley students who are accepted into a nationally ranked, qualified graduate program in the fall of 2017. This Fellowship, now in its third year, is made possible by a generous gift from Lynda and Stewart Resnick, co-owners of The Wonderful Company. The Resnicks are dedicated to making the Central Valley a better place to live, work, and learn, and share the Maddy Institute’s commitment to opportunity and excellence in education for regional youth. Please visit here for a general overview of the Fellowship.
Deadline: Application must be postmarked, delivered, emailed, or faxed by 5:00 p.m. PDT on Friday, February 24, 2017.
Small Business Seminars
Throughout the year I co-sponsor various business seminars and meetings with Board of Equalization Member George Runner. There two events right around the corner. I wanted to put these on your radar and hope you can join us. More information will be coming as we get closer to the dates.
March 16, 2017 – Fresno
Fresno Hispanic Small Business Resource Fair
7435 N. Ingram Ave., Fresno, CA 93711
April 5, 2017 - Oakhurst
Oakhurst Small Business Seminar
TBD - morning most likely
The Pines Resort & Conference Center
54432 Rd. 432, Bass Lake, CA 93604
Please join me in welcoming David Scheidt to Team Berryhill. David is a Legislative Assistant in my Capitol Office. While he is new to Team Berryhill, he is not new to the Legislature. After graduating from the University of the Pacific in Stockton with a B.A. in History, David interned in former Assembly Member Donald P. Wagner’s office; eventually becoming the Assembly Member’s Legislative Director. In his free-time, he enjoys traveling, camping, and playing golf or softball. He is also an avid sports fan, closely following the Sacramento Kings, San Francisco Giants, and (unfortunately for him this year) the San Francisco 49ers. David is a great addition to my office.
Welcome David! My website has a complete listing of staff. It can be found here.
The 8th Senate District is 27,000 square miles – one of the largest districts in the Senate and about the size of Rhode Island. To better serve you, I have set up three regional district offices with great staff available to listen to your opinions on legislation, lend a hand with problems you may be having with state agencies, or arrange an appointment with me. We also hold Mobile District Office Hours throughout the district. The schedule for those can be found on my website. Please do not hesitate to contact one of my local offices if we can be of assistance.
State Capitol, Rm 3067
Sacramento, CA 95818
6215 N. Fresno St.
Fresno, CA 93710
33 C Broadway
Jackson, CA 95642
102 Grove Ave, Suite B
Oakdale, CA 95361