Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, this afternoon announced that Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, and Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, will be among the 10 members of her chamber (eight Democrats and two Republicans) serving on the Joint Select Committee on Reform.
Bass and state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, are forming the panel with the goals of making the Legislature more transparent and effective and making state government more efficient and customer friendly. Steinberg announced his appointments last week, including state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, as co-chairman .
Hill issued a statement saying he’s “eager to answer the call of our constituents for a more efficient and transparent government. I’m confident this group will lead the way to a more productive government with thorough analysis of potential reforms.”
Bass said her appointees “are ready to hit the ground running on reforms. I look forward to the Committee’s recommendations as they work throughout the coming weeks to produce a roadmap to help California work better.”
According to last week’s news release announcing the committee’s formation, the panel will be tasked with:
- Giving Californians more value for their tax dollars by making government more efficient and accountable.
- Prioritizing key issues, so government makes the tough decisions and only turns to the voters when absolutely necessary.
- Cutting through the gridlock caused by outmoded rules and undue partisanship.
- Making government more transparent and accessible from around the state.
- Diminishing the influence of special interests.
- Making government more customer-friendly.
- Creating a process that encourages decisions that reflect long-term thinking, not short-term band-aids.
The Public Policy Institute of California found in July that only 17 percent of California adults, 14 percent of registered voters and 10 percent of likely voters it had surveyed approved of the way the state Legislature is handling it’s job, and I’m willing to bet the last two months haven’t brought any significant improvement. Re-instilling faith in our state lawmakers won’t be easy or quick; here’s hoping these and other appointees are up to the task, and that the task itself isn’t inherently impossible.
Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Jerry Hill, Karen Bass, Mark DeSaulnier, Mary Hayashi | Comments Off
Chicken and waffles with a good book, food for body (and soul) and mind – these are a few of my favorite things. And local Assembly members singled out purveyors of these delights as businesses from each district around the state were honored this week by the California Small Business Association in Sacramento.
Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, D-Alameda, picked Derrick Johnson of the Home of Chicken and Waffles in Oakland’s Jack London Square as his district’s honoree, praising Johnson’s practice of hiring and training local workers including many at-risk youth.
Although originally from Oakland, Johnson’s father and uncles opened a small chain of Los Angeles restaurants called Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. In the late 1990s, his cousins invited Johnson – then living in Florida – to invest in the first Roscoe’s restaurant in Oakland; that investment eventually turned into ownership, with Johnson eventually moving, renaming and reopening the Jack London Square eatery.
“As a small businessman, Derrick Johnson has created an enterprise that is not simply a financial success, but a community achievement as well,” Swanson said. “By hiring local residents, particularly those who often have difficulty finding work, Home of Chicken and Waffles contributes to our economy while creating a better quality of life for many people. I was very pleased to nominate such a deserving business.”
Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, honored Michael Barnard, owner of Rakestraw Books, as the 15th District’s winner. Rakestraw hosts a regular program of author appearances and events with local Schools, and has created community partnership events with other local businesses and non-profits; Barnard has served on the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce board and is now president of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.
“Through his hard work, Rakestraw Books – ‘The Bookstore in Danville’ – continues to be a community institution,” Buchanan said. “Small businesses make significant contributions to the California economy. They are the heart and soul of our communities, and Rakestraw books is just that,” Buchanan said.
More local Bay Area honorees, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
Under: Alberto Torrico, Assembly, General, Jerry Hill, Joan Buchanan, Sandre Swanson | 2 Comments »
Assemblyman Jerry Hill said he’s temporarily shelving his bill to crack down on pollution at the Port of Oakland, at least until the Legislature’s Select Committee on Ports holds a hearing by the end of next month on pollution controls being implemented by the ports of Oakland, Long Beach and Los Angeles.
“One thing has remained the same since I served on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District: the Port of Oakland continues to drag its feet when it comes to cleaning up the air,” Hill, D-San Mateo, said in a news release today. “This hearing will review the steps California ports are taking to control pollution and highlight areas of improvement that need to be made.”
Hill said research has found truck pollution alone at the Port of Oakland brings health costs of $153 million as well as 18 early deaths per year; West Oakland residents are exposed to three times more diesel particulate matter than other Bay Area residents.
The Port of Oakland commissioners recently adopted a Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan which Hill said didn’t include meaningful commitments to achieve clean air goals such as improvements recommended by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, local environmental, labor and community groups.
Statewide, goods movement pollution already accounts for a quarter of the diesel pollution in the air. The Air Resources Board recently estimated that, if left unregulated, ports alone will constitute the largest source of pollution in the state by 2020—larger than the combined impact of every car on the road in California. Controlling pollution from ports and the rest of the goods movement system is vital to the state’s ability to attain federal and state health-based air quality standards.
“While the recession is putting new pressures on our ports, we still have to prepare for a future of greener operations,” said Ports Select Committee Chairwoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach.
Posted on Monday, April 27th, 2009
Under: Assembly, Environment, Jerry Hill, Oakland | 1 Comment »