Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, introduced legislation today to designate Interstate 580 through Castro Valley as the Sergeant Daniel Sakai Memorial Highway, in honor of one of the four Oakland Police Department officers slain by a gunman in March.
“Sergeant Daniel Sakai served with valor, and his tragic death was a tremendous loss to the community,” she said in her news release. “By naming this section of Highway 580 after Sergeant Sakai, we have the opportunity to pay tribute to his courage, and forever be inspired by the heartfelt dedication and strong values he demonstrated throughout his life.”
Sakai, 35, lived in Castro Valley and is survived by his wife and their 4-year-old daughter.
“I am shocked and saddened by the horrific deaths of four Oakland police officers. My deepest condolences go out to the families of the officers and the Oakland Police Department. I will remember their service and sacrifice. I also want to express my support and gratitude for all of the law enforcement officials who protect our communities on a daily basis.”
“This was one of the most horrific acts in Oakland’s history. These officers made an historic sacrifice, and I have deep appreciation for how neighbors responded to the shooting and led police to the perpetrator. I also believe it is necessary for the entire community to come together to support these officers’ families, as well as the men and women of the police department who continue to put their lives on the line every day for the safety of our community.”
“Such a shocking tragedy is a wake-up call to the terrible shortcomings of our criminal justice system. Not only did it utterly fail to rehabilitate this individual, it also released him back into our community without sufficient oversight to keep us safe and keep him from returning to a life of crime. We need to acknowledge these failings, and reform our system so that it truly protects the public and ensures that those who serve their time are rehabilitated and do not re-offend.”
“Most importantly, the State Legislature needs to revisit its regulations and supervision of the sale of assault weapons. These guns have a deadly purpose that far exceeds any recreational use. In the hands of criminals, they expose our police officers to unacceptable risk and further endanger our community.”
Even as Oakland author/activist Van Jones heads to Washington to become President Barack Obama’s “green jobs czar,” the Assembly is looking at ways to use federal economic-stimulus money to create some green jobs by renovating state government buildings.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, had directed Hayashi to hold the hearing. “The energy efficiency improvements the President’s stimulus package is helping California make to its state buildings will not only help us lead the fight against global warming, they will lead to greater energy independence,” she said.
According to Taylor, California could get up to $239 million in State Energy Program funding and $22 million from Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grants designed to create jobs that support clean energy and improve the state’s infrastructure. State buildings now consume more than $500 million worth of electricity per year, and California has set a goal to reduce grid-based energy purchases for its state-owned buildings at least 20 percent by 2015.
“If you’re looking for a poster child for how to spend one-time federal funds, this is as good as it gets,” Taylor said.
Reacting to a new regulation issued last month by the departing Bush Administration to give new protections to health workers refusing to provide care that violates their personal beliefs, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has introduced a bill aimed at ensuring California woman have all the information and access they need to make reproductive choices including abortion.
“California licenses healthcare practitioners to ensure patient safety,” said Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, who chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. “The personal views of providers should not interfere with the reproductive rights of women and families.”
The Bush Administration’s regulation, which takes effect Monday, lets healthcare providers not only refuse to assist in abortion related activities, but may also withhold information and access to birth control and other family planning services. Hayashi’s AB 120, introduced Thursday, would require California doctors, nurses, and physician assistants to fully disclose all reproductive options to a patient and declares legislative intent that a healthcare licensee may not withhold services or information from a patient; failure to do so would be professional misconduct punishable by discipline from the appropriate state licensing board.
UPDATE @ 3:50 P.M. FRIDAY: I forgot to mention that California Attorney General Jerry Brown joined several other states’ attorneys general in filing a lawsuit Thursday against the federal government, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt regarding this regulation.
County Boards of Supervisors clearly have power to investigate the deaths of children connected to county child protective service agencies under a bill authored by an East Bay lawmaker and signed into law by the governor Friday.
AB 2904, from Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, clarifies that the supervisors have access to otherwise confidential case information regarding child mortalities in all 58 counties in California.
“It is unconscionable that a child would continue to suffer neglect or abuse after their case is reported to child protective services, and even more deplorable that they would lose their life,” Hayashi said in a news release. “These deaths can be prevented, and counties need to be able to investigate these cases and make changes to the system.”
Boards of Supervisors are not regularly involved in the oversight of these deaths, so it has been hard to determine whether they can make effective procedural changes, Hayashi said. Under the new law, a Board of Supervisors may receive and review any records in the custody of the juvenile court or other county agency relating to the death of a child who was receiving county child welfare services. The bill was sponsored by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, particularly Supervisor Gail Steele, who said she’s grateful to Hayashi for carrying the bill to enactment.
“This bill is a necessity because children in our care are dying in California and there is no accountability for the Board of Supervisors to look into what happened,” Steele said in Hayashi’s news release. “Boards now have the opportunity to look into these events and make corrections. I hope Supervisors will take this to heart and work to protect children.”
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today vetoed AB 2106 by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, a unanimously supported bill which would’ve prohibited making and selling cosmetics containing any of nine harmful chemicals.
In his veto message, the governor wrote:
While the intent of the author is laudable, there is an existing science-based process by
which chemicals are determined to be harmful to the public. I signed legislation in 2005 to require manufacturers that sell any federally regulated cosmetic products to submit a list of their products sold in California along with an identification of any ingredients that cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. This bill circumvents our state’s existing process and lacks enforcement and oversight provisions.
Harmful ingredients should be regulated based upon California’s existing science-based process, rather than through legislation.
The substances listed in the bill at one time were used in cosmetics such as hair dyes. However, most are no longer in commerce or used in cosmetics. For example, the first two used to be prevalent in coal tar hair dyes and if used require a warning level from the federal government that they have been shown to cause cancer in animals. The third also used to be used in hair dyes but was shown to cause cancer in animals in the mid-seventies and phased out. The nine substances have been declared to be “unsafe or use in cosmetics” by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel.
According to the sponsor, the Personal Care Products Council, this bill is needed because most, but not all, manufacturers have agreed to never use “unsafe” ingredients in cosmetic products. The author’s office states that the bill will level the playing field in California.
The bill had been passed by the Assembly on a 77-0 vote, and by the state Senate on a 35-0 vote.
“I’ve been working really hard with the indusrty to come up with a policy they could support, this has been in the works for quite some time,” she said, adding she disagrees with the governor about the bill’s enforceability. “If he signs the bill, it actually adds the nine chemicals to the Health and Safety Code… so absolutely it’s enforceable, especially civilly.”
Bay Area Legislative Democrats did the latest installment of their roadshow this morning in Oakland to critique Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget-cut proposals.
Last month they were at Highland Hospital to highlight how the cuts will affect emergency medical care; they’ve also done events at local schools to underscore the impact of proposed education cuts. These are being replicated all over California as Democrats try to drive home the need for more tax revenue to help close the state’s $17 billion budget deficit.
Today they were at Las Bougainvilleas Senior Housing in Oakland’s Fruitvale District to talk about social services for the elderly, including a cut to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on which many seniors depend on to remain independent and in their homes.
Swanson afterward issued a news release saying the governor’s budget plan “will inflict irreparable harm on human service programs vital to many in California. his amounts to turning our backs on the elderly, the disabled, and the most vulnerable in our society. Such cuts are not only a bad moral decision, but a bad economic decision as well.”
Swanson’s release repeated one of the talking points from the Perata news release which had announced today’s event:
One program set to receive deep cuts is In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), which is set to be reduced by $266 million. IHSS provides medical care to low-income, disabled and aged Californians in their homes, which allows them to avoid more expensive nursing home care. The Governor’s planned cuts would result in reduced State reimbursement of wages for IHSS workers and lower hours of provided care, eliminating IHSS for an estimated 83,000 recipients.
Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s press secretary, begs to differ.
“That is inaccurate – it will not eliminate anyone from the program,” he told me a short while ago. “It will however reduce hours for about 83,000 recipients.”
McLear said state officials went case-by-case through the hundreds of thousands of Californians who rely on IHSS, identifying about 83,000 who could have their hours rolled back; on average, he said, the decrease would be from about 74 hours per month of in-home aid to about 52 hours per month. “But no one is being eliminated, and a vast majority of folks are not going to see a change in their service hours at all.”
McLear noted a quarter of IHSS funding comes from the state and a quarter from counties, with federal matching funds filling the rest. Counties could choose to step up and fill the gap left by state cuts, he suggested; I replied he’s risking angry phone calls from every cash-strapped county Board of Supervisors in California.
But IHSS has doubled in size over the past decade, he said, and couldn’t be entirely spared as the state grapples with its gargantuan deficit: “We can only spend the money we have, and this is a program that he reduced in his budget but we did it in a way that mitigated the effects of the cuts.”
As with all cuts, he said, “We don’t want to do this but we have to live within our means. This is exactly why we need budget reform – so we don’t have to go through this cyclical instability of the budget year after year.”
But Swanson said there’s not only a moral imperative to preserve IHSS – there’s an economic imperative as well. “As Chair of the Assembly Labor & Employment Committee, I am concerned about the effect of the Governor’s proposed cuts on jobs in our state. IHSS allows families to care for loved ones who need medical assistance, without jeopardizing their own ability to work. Furthermore, cuts to health services in general would force mass layoffs of health care workers. Such a move will further damage California’s economy at the absolute worst possible time.”
UPDATE @ 5:52 P.M. MONDAY: Here’s video of today’s event in Oakland:
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will host a free forum to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in the African-American community from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow, Friday, May 9 at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St. CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding will discuss ongoing efforts by the agency to address the local HIV/AIDS crisis, and the Bay Area Black Nurses Association, CAL-PEP, Healthy Oakland Preventative Care Pathways and experts from local HIV/AIDS prevention or advocacy organizations will participate in a panel discussion. Participants can receive free on-site health screenings and HIV/AIDS testing, and hyper-allergenic pillow cases and sheets will be distributed.
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, in cooperation with Kaiser Permanente will host a free Women’s Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10, in the Karp meeting facility at the San Leandro Public Library, 300 Estudillo Ave. The event offers free screening on bone density, blood glucose levels and more as well as information on nutrition, fitness, cancer, heart disease, mental health and other women’s health concerns. Advance reservations are required; call 510-583-8818 or visit Hayashi’s Web site to RSVP.
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his running mate, former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, will speak at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 11 at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St. in San Francisco; organizers request a $10 contribution, $5 for students or low-income people, but nobody will be turned away. Nader will be in Berkeley at 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 12, to speak to the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, at 1924 Cedar St. And Gonzlaez will address the Commonwealth Club of California at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 14 at the club’s offices on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco; tickets cost $12 for club members, $20 for non-members or $7 for students with valid ID, and are available through the club’s Web site.
Assembly Budget Committee Chairman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, will make a presentation on the budget, while assemblywomen Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, also will take part.
Swanson says there’s “an incredible outcry” against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to cut all government services by 10 percent across the board, as this would cripple schools, social services and other vital public functions. “In these incredibly difficult budget times, and with so many vital services at stake, it is important that we have a conversation about what our priorities in this state really are. That discussion has to begin in our communities.”
So this Saturday’s meeting will include discussions of the education and health care budget-cut proposals, as well as other areas; Swanson said attendees — of which he expects hundreds — will direct the conversation in a question-and-answer session with elected officials present. He said he wants people to leave “informed and energized.”
“We will provide specific and effective ways for individuals to make their priorities heard in Sacramento,” he said. “At the end of the day, that is what is going to sway the conversation. It will take ordinary people standing up and telling their elected officials, including the Governor, that they will not accept a budget balanced on the backs of our children and our most vulnerable.”
Indeed, expect more and more meetings and events such as this as spring warms toward summer, as lawmakers have said all along that this year’s budget battle will be won or lost based on the public’s outcry.
In fact, elected officials are joining the Oakland school officials, teachers, students, parents, businesspeople and community leaders for a demonstration against education budget cuts at 4 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, April 30, in Oakland’s school administration building, 1025 Second Ave. They say they’ll offer “specific proposals for addressing California’s budget crisis without gutting the state’s education system and invite Maria Shriver, a longtime advocate of children’s rights and educational issues, to come to Oakland and discuss alternatives to cuts in school funding.” (Hmm, good luck with that one.)
Perhaps most importantly, attendees at tomorrow’s event will visit “action stations” to contact residents of Republican-held legislative districts, asking those voters to pressure their lawmakers to oppose school funding cuts and find alternative revenue to help close the budget deficit. So this won’t just be a rally for the cameras; they’ll be taking the battle right to the ballot boxes, turning up the heat on GOP lawmakers to back off their adamant “no tax hikes” pledge.