State lawmakers react to Brown’s inaugural speech

From state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose:

Jim Beall“This may have been Gov. Brown’s best State of the State address. He laid out a long-term vision for California’s future. As chairman of the Senate transportation committee, I agree with his mission to maintain our roads, highways, and bridges. By investing in infrastructure maintenance and effective mass transit projects we can cut pollution and create new jobs. The BART extension to San Jose is projected to generate 19,000 jobs (one job for one year). We have to keep the state moving and I’ve introduced SB 9 to allow multi-year funding under the Cap and Trade program for large, innovative mass transit projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I also agree with the Governor that we can no longer make students the ‘default financiers’ of our colleges. SB 15 would freeze tuition rates and that’s why I co-authored it. I believe there has to be a more public investment in education rather than have the students pick up higher and higher percentages of the cost. The Governor was right to point out that California cannot afford to pour more money into the prison system. This costs higher education dearly because it is money that could be spent on our universities.’’

From Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin:

Catharine Baker“As we prioritize our budget, we must focus on what is needed for a strong and prosperous state. Education, transportation, and an environment that promotes job growth must be our focus in the coming years.

“I was pleased to hear the Governor’s commitment to some shared priorities we have. Ensuring our schools receive the necessary funding to provide all of California’s children the education they deserve should remain a top priority. We need to ensure that funding for education is going directly to the classroom to benefit our students and teachers, and not to a bloated administrative bureaucracy. And we cannot continue to defend the status quo and the policies addressed in the Vergara decision. Those policies are denying students the opportunity to get a good education. Finally, in the true spirit of local control, we must eliminate the cap on savings reserves that was implemented last year. It endangers the financial health of every school district in our community.

“Republicans and Democrats worked together last year and supported the rainy day fund, and the state needed that reform. Our school districts need a rainy day fund, too, and state law now prohibits them from having the savings they need to protect against cuts. Ensuring we have reserves to continue necessary programs in the midst of a fiscal crisis is the right thing to do. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the cap on reserves is eliminated.

“As Vice-Chair of the Higher Education Committee, I will work to fight tuition increases that hinder our students’ ability to attend college, and I hope the Governor will join me in this pledge. Under the UC proposed tuition hike, students and their families will pay 25 percent more for their degrees in 2020 than they are paying today. Lawmakers and the UC must work together on long-term planning to keep higher education affordable, and I will fight for that.

“The Governor and I agree that it is time Republicans and Democrats come together to address California’s transportation needs. We have a crumbling infrastructure that was built for a population a fraction of the size it is now. But directing public funds to High Speed Rail as it starts breaking ground this week is a poor use of taxpayer dollars. We should be breaking ground on BART to Livermore, expanding parking at BART, and improving our road capacity instead of funding the bullet train project. This is money that should be spent easing congestion and increasing mass transit in the most high traffic regions of the state.

“I applaud the Governor and my predecessors that have worked to turn our economy around over the past few years. There is a still a great deal of work to be done, and our economy is fragile. Unemployment is dropping, but there are still too many Californians out of work and too many businesses leaving our state. We have to make it easier for employers to do business here. I would like to have heard the Governor address this, but I look forward to working with him on improving California’s business economy.”

More from the Bay Area’s lawmakers, after the jump…
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The tastes of Gov. Jerry Brown’s 4th inauguration

Experience the tastes of Gov. Jerry Brown’s fourth inauguration.

The Orange County Employees Association, California Labor Federation and other partners are holding a “People’s Inauguration” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the State Capitol’s north lawn, serving up free hot dogs. The labor groups say inaugurations usually are exclusive events designed for politicians, lobbyists and other insiders, but their party is a testament to Brown’s commitment to representing all Californians.

“During his last inauguration, Gov. Brown came out and shared a hot dog with the people he represents, right in the middle of the crowd,” OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino said in a news release. “It’s inspiring that he stands with all the people – especially all of us in the cheap seats.”

But if Brown grabs grabs a frank, I’d bet he’ll be saving room for the “Taste of California” reception, hosted from 5 to 7 p.m. at the California State Railroad Museum by Visit California and California Grown with food, wines, beers and ciders produced here in the Golden State.

“Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy California’s culinary bounty, and this reception is an opportunity to showcase the wine and food that make our state a premier travel destination,” Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta said in a news release.

California Grown is an initiative of the Buy California Marketing Agreement, a joint effort of agricultural industry groups representing the products of California’s farms, ranches, forests and fisheries. Working as an advisory board to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, BCMA brings together industry and government resources to increase the awareness, consumption and value of California agricultural products.

BCMA Executive Director Nick Matteis said the menu will include:

  • Braised chicken mole tosdadas
  • Roasted pasilla pepper and artichoke cream cheese on California endive
  • Beet hummus on crostini with goat cheese
  • Harris Ranch Oak smoked prime rib slider with creamy horseradish sauce on a smoked Gouda cheese roll
  • Hamachi poke on taro chip with ginger beef sauce and micro shiso
  • Duck pastrami in a rye cup with sauerkraut salt
  • Grappa-soaked cherries and micro greens
  • “I can’t think of a better way to make sure that the Governor and his guests are enjoying the best agriculture products in the world,” California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said in the release.

    UPDATE @ 3:10 P.M.: And in case you wondered how Jerry Brown takes his hot dog, the Sacramento Bee has video:


    Governor Jerry Brown’s fourth inaugural address

    My esteemed colleague Jessica Calefati has the story on Gov. Jerry Brown’s fourth inauguration and address – a speech encompassing not only the sweep of California’s history, but also the governor’s own:

    “As I embark upon this unprecedented fourth term as governor, my thoughts turn to a time long ago when I first entered this chamber, January 5, 1959, for my father’s inauguration. I sat there in front of the rostrum, next to my 81-year-old grandmother, Ida Schuckman Brown, feeling awkward in my priestly black suit and Roman collar. My perspective was different then. The previous August, as a young Jesuit living in what was then a pre-Vatican II seminary, I had taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. To me, the boisterous crowd, the applause, the worldliness of it all was jarring.”

    Read the entire text of Brown’s inaugural speech, after the jump…
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    Ideas that won inauguration tix from Mike Honda

    As President Obama’s second inauguration approaches, members of Congress have been handing out tickets to the big event. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, took a slightly different approach, asking applicants for the tickets to offer good legislative ideas. Honda today released excerpts from the winning submissions.

    From Kennon Lee of San Jose, a recent college graduate:

    Sometimes the simple solutions are the most effective. So this is mine: expand the Peace Corps. Forge a partnership with California’s public schools to integrate Peace Corps service as a complement to our world-class university system. Establish a university fellowship for students with financial need, funding their public education in exchange for a Peace Corps tour after graduation. Awardees can be encouraged to continue their careers as civil servants at the state or government level; their cross-cultural skills would be invaluable as California grows ever more diverse. Lastly, engage youth at an earlier age. Convince local school districts to work closely with Peace Corps recruitment centers so that RPCVs can inspire young students. I still remember when an RPCV visited my elementary school class; it was magic.

    Of course, there must also be a financial element– in order to accommodate more Volunteers, the Peace Corps must receive additional funding. However, the cost is so small and the benefits so great. How many Volunteers, and future civic leaders, could be funded by the equivalent of a single Lockheed F-35? In return, we will strengthen our future pool of talented young (and old!) professionals. They will make lasting connections overseas, strengthening our global ties and prompting future cultural and commercial exchange. We will also provide an outlet for job seekers discouraged and disillusioned by the dismal financial climate. They can focus their energies overseas, gain practical skills, and return to the U.S. as highly marketable employees and job creators.

    Despite these benefits, I concede that it will not be politically expedient to request additional funding for an organization like the Peace Corps. But I believe that you have earned the trust of constituents and colleagues alike, and can convince them with reasoned arguments that long-term solutions are what California needs. Fight the good fight. I and every other Peace Corps Volunteer, past, present and future, thank you for it.

    From Abdul Banafa, 20, of Milpitas, a Mission College student and IT support intern at ProHealth Home Care:

    Invest in small business’s not the banks, put money back into public education, invest more in the people less in the military. Unit prices are going up every year and I know so many people who have gotten accepted but couldn’t attend universities because of the price including me. Invest in the new working class! Ask people what they want, more accessible and well-advertised means of contacting our representatives, I know a lot of people who don’t even know who our rep is, we need to put it in people’s faces that you guys are here to help us and maybe an idea will come up from there. I don’t know if you remember me, but when I was a senior in high school you were going to come to my American Government class but were busy so you sent a representative, from Milpitas High!

    From William Zhoa Wilson, a 9th grader from Los Gatos* who attends the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach:

    Our top priority must be to give the children of America a solid, thorough education. However, in order to achieve this goal, our current system requires a severe revamp. Our education system hires teachers that, whether good or bad, are essentially non-dischargeable, so that there is little to no motivation for some of these teachers to expend effort on teaching. These teachers are usually hired by public schools, and this discourages parents from sending their children to these schools, resulting in a loss of funding and a downward spiral. In order to ensure our children’s education, we must be able to:
    1. Ensure that our educators are up to the task.
    2. Attract teachers who are well trained and suitable for the job of educating children of any age.
    3. Identify struggling students and be able to give them help in whatever subject they require.

    (* Per Honda spokesman Michael Shank, “Since the Los Gatos (address) idea was so good, and since it was a high school student submitting it, we decided to take one from CA-15, Honda’s old district, since the transfer just happened.”)


    Act now for tickets to Obama’s re-inauguration

    Bay Area members of Congress are offering their constituents chances to win free tickets to President Barack Obama’s re-inauguration Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C., but one lawmaker wants applicants to sing for their supper.

    “Please write a paragraph of at least 5 sentences, submit a video, or draw a picture suggesting an innovative idea either to put Americans back to work, or ensure that each and every child has access to a quality education,” Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, asks 17th Congressional District constituents seeking tickets.

    Entries (only one per person) must be posted as responses on the congressman’s Facebook page by Thursday, Jan. 3.

    Other local members are doing it on a more straightforward lottery basis; you can apply only through your own House member, or through either of California’s U.S. Senators.

    Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield: Call 202-225-1880

    Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa: Email here or call 202-225-3311 or 707-226-9898

    Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton: Call 202-225-1947 or 209-476-8552

    Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez: Apply here

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco: Call 202-225-4965

    Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: Apply here

    Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo: deadline already passed

    Rep.-elect Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin: available in January

    Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto: deadline already passed

    Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose: Call 202-225-3072

    Rep. Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz: Join stand-by list here

    U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif: Apply here

    U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.: Apply here

    If leaving a voice-mail message, be sure to include your full name, address, city, phone number, e-mail address and number of tickets requested.