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Corbett offers care-home bills after East Bay snafu

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett introduced two bills Monday that aim to prevent future snafus like that which led to more than a dozen senior citizens being abandoned at a Castro Valley residential care home in October after the state ordered it shut down.

Ellen CorbettCorbett says her SB 894 will strengthen and clarify the obligations of the California Department of Social Services and a licensee when that license is suspended or revoked, to ensure safe relocation of residents when a facility closure happens. And SB 895 will bolster the assisted-living facility inspection process by requiring that unannounced, comprehensive inspections of all residential care facilities for the elderly occur at least once per year, and more often if necessary to ensure the proper quality of care.

Corbett, D-San Leandro, said in a news release that the bills “are a direct result of the tragic gaps in care that occurred in Castro Valley at the Valley Springs Manor facility.”

“Particularly since the California Department of Social Services recently admitted that their oversight and response at the facility was inadequate, I believe that there continues to be an urgent need for increased protections for residents at these facilities,” she said. “We must ensure that families have the peace of mind of knowing that there are safeguards in place to protect their loved ones when they are residents of assisted living facilities, as well as if and when those facilities are closed by the state.”

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Barbara Lee’s statement on Bay Bridge closure

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, just issued this statement on the Bay Bridge closure:

“First, I want to say I am relieved that no one was injured in the incident that forced authorities to shutdown the Bay Bridge. My office has been in constant contact with Caltrans, and I have been closely monitoring the circumstances surrounding the closure of the Bay Bridge and the work that is being done to repair the bridge.

“I have received assurances from Caltrans officials that crews are working as quickly as possible to make the necessary repairs and to be certain that the work is done properly. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) provided funding for the initial repairs that were done during the Labor Day weekend closure of the bridge. The FHA has been contacted again by Caltrans to secure emergency funding for the repairs. These emergency federal funds will assure a speedy response to repair the bridge.

“The Bay Bridge is a vital transportation link between San Francisco and the East Bay, and it is imperative that we all work together to ensure the bridge repairs are done as quickly and safely as possible.”

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Lawmakers’ plea for NUMMI goes unheeded

California’s U.S. Senators, joined by much of the Bay Area’s House delegation, wrote to Toyota today to forestall closure of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, but apparently it’s too little, too late.

NUMMI is a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota; GM announced last month it will withdraw, and Toyota has been considering doing the same. The plant’s closure would cost 4,500 California jobs directly, and an estimated 35,000 or more indirectly.

The lawmakers wrote to Toyota Corp. President Akio Toyoda to emphasize NUMMI’s importance to California’s economy and to offer to work with Toyota to keep the plant open. Also, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., reports she recently spoke on the phone with Toyota Motor America President Yoshimi Inaba about her willingness to help find solutions to keep the plant in operation’ other California lawmakers have talked to company officials as well.

But even as the lawmakers announced their effort, media began reporting Toyota’s decision to pull out of the venture and close the plant.

UPDATE @ 5:11 P.M.: Never say die, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office insists. The governor has talked with and written to the Toyota execs, too, and has formed a “Red Team” of stakeholders to work on keeping the plant open. “The Schwarzenegger Administration is actively engaged with NUMMI’s partners, Toyota, federal officials, local officials, labor, suppliers and other stakeholders to work together to ensure the future success of the facility,” David Crane, the Governor’s special advisor for jobs and economic growth, said in a release. “Our office will continue to respect Toyota’s wishes to keep discussions private as we work together to determine the best path for ensuring NUMMI’s continued operations in Fremont.”

See the letter, after the jump…
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