Youth for Environment and Sustainability Conference to be held February 25 in San Francisco
The annual Youth for Environment and Sustainability, or YES, Conference, returns to the Bay Area at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2017, at the new Bay Area Metro Center at 375 Beale Street in San Francisco.
The free day-long regional conference will bring together middle and high school students from the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties to discuss topics ranging from climate change and public health to transportation and air pollution. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission sponsor the annual conference.
“The YES Conference is an awesome regional gathering that jumpstarts student-led climate action in our schools and local communities,” said Noah Preute, a student from St. Vincent de Paul High School in Santa Rosa and a member of the student planning committee for the YES Conference. “I’m excited to help plan the conference and inform my generation on the serious consequences climate change and air pollution have on our lives and the planet.”
Registration for the event is now open at http://bit.ly/2cEYWkh. Teachers or youth development coordinators who register their studentsbefore October 30, 2016, will be entered into a drawing for a $250 grant for classroom youth leadership activities involving science, technology, engineering, art and math curriculum and sustainability.
A call for presentation proposals invites pioneering students, youth-leaders, teachers or youth advisors to present at the annual YES Conference. The deadline to submit a proposal is Wednesday, January 3, 2017. The online proposal submittal form is available now at http://bit.ly/2dhuevv.
Attending students will have the opportunity to learn directly from their peers’ efforts by discussing advocacy, communication, leadership development and skill building. The program will include interactive presentations led by students and youth leaders from various schools and cities in the region. The 2017YES conference will be the fourth year of bringing youth together to share information to address climate change. The conference was awarded the 2014 Breathe California Award in the public awareness category.
There is no cost to attend the conference and breakfast and lunch will be provided for participants. Parents and teachers are also welcome. Students are required to have their parents’ permission to attend. For complete conference details, visit www.sparetheairyouth.org/2017-yes-conference/.
The goal of the Spare the Air Youth program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and driving by increasing walking and biking as a transportation mode among youths and their familiesthereby improving air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Air District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.MTC is the transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced legislation in response to the Mylan hearing at which the CEO acknowledged that salary for the position increased 600 percent in less than a decade, and other reports that companies like Wells Fargo pay its CEO nearly 500 times the rate of its average employee. The CEO Accountability and Responsibility Act (H.R. 6242) would increase corporate tax rates on publicly traded companies that exploit workers and pay CEOs astronomically high salaries
“America has a problem, as we see company after company come before Congress to apologize for bad behavior. One would ask, what has happened to our business culture?” asked DeSaulnier. “Too many executives at the top are incentivized to put profits before people by catering to shareholders and padding pockets on the back of consumers. Corporations should have a moral and social responsibility to workers, consumers, and American democracy. This bill sets the stage to stop fueling excessive income inequality.”
“It seems like every day we see a new story about another company taking outrageous steps to maximize their profits – insane increases on lifesaving drugs to fund flights on private jets, sky-high salaries for CEOs who oversee severe and possibly criminal mishandling of consumer information,” said Watson Coleman. “If we’re serious about bringing back a thriving middle class, we need to lift up the companies who are investing in their workers at every level, not just lifting their leadership higher into the 1-percent. The companies responsible for recent CEO pay trends are wreaking havoc. It’s time we hold them accountable.”
On average, CEOs of the largest companies in the U.S. earn three times more than they did 20 years ago and at least 10 times more than 30 years ago. In fact, between 1978 and 2014, inflation-adjusted CEO pay increased by almost 1,000 percent, while the typical U.S. worker saw their pay increase by only 11 percent during that same period. Today, we see the pay disparity between the average American CEO and average worker is 303-to-1.
“Corporations that pay their top executives vast multiples of the typical worker’s wage should face higher taxes than corporations whose top pay is closer to the typical worker’s. The CEO Accountability and Responsibility Act is an important, and necessary step,” said Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley and former U.S. Secretary of Labor.
The CEO Accountability and Responsibility Act would increase corporate tax rates on companies with larger than a 100-to-1 ratio of pay between CEOs and their average workers. At the same time the bill would reward companies whose CEO to worker ratio fell below that threshold, demonstrating that corporate social responsibility is an essential practice in American business.
More than 1,000 people picket against county executives, Board of Supervisors on Tuesday
Nearly 1,000 workers from across Contra Costa County voted to extend their three-day unfair labor practice strike to a fourth day, after more than 1,000 people picketed against county Executives and the Board on Tuesday.
The picket line is being held, today, Wednesday, October 5, 2016 in front of the County Administration Building at 651 Pine Street in Martinez.Read More
Finishing out the last year of the 2015-16 legislative session, Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) announced that all of the nine bills she authored, were passed and sent to the Governor have been signed.
“Having nine bills pass with strong, bipartisan support and the Governor’s signature affirms my belief that bipartisanship can and does work,” said Baker.
The following bills were introduced by Assemblywoman Baker, received broad bipartisan support in the Legislature, and were signed by Governor Brown:
AB 1058 – Child abuse prevention training
Preventing child abuse by requiring the State Department of Education to establish guidelines and best practices for child abuse prevention in schools and school programs for the first time in California history.
AB 1284 – Bringing transparency to the Bay Bridge
Promoting much-needed transparency over the Bay Bridge Project by requiring the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee (TBPOC)—which oversees the Bay Bridge construction—to be subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act for the first time in the Committee’s history.
AB 773 – Addressing shortage of mental health professionals
Addressing the red tape and lack of consistency for obtaining psychology licenses by replacing the outdated system of licensing with a new system in which psychology licenses will expire two years from the date of issuance.
AB 1401 – Supporting veterans in higher education
Providing veterans of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, and the Naval Militia with greater access to student financial aid services as they pursue higher education after active duty.
AB 1399 – Supporting local domestic violence support programs
Increases available resources for programs serving victims of domestic violence by adding a donation option on California tax returns to the California Domestic Violence Victims Fund.
AB 2295 – Ensuring victims are allowed full restitution
Dissolving any ambiguity in California law to ensure convicted criminals are required to provide full restitution to their victims.
AB 2346 – Streamlining government hearings
Modernizes and streamlines the hearing process at the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) by making position statements available to Californians electronically, in person, or by mail, at least two working days before a hearing.
AB 2486 – Fighting underground economy and scams
Making it easier for consumers to find and check for a licensed contractor for construction projects by requiring the Contractors State License Board to update its website to allow consumers to search for licensed contractors by zip code, not just by license number or exact name.
AB 2263 – Protecting victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and reproductive health care service providers
Closing a loophole in the state’s “Safe At Home Program” to better protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking from their abusers.
Baker added, “During the past two years, the greatest successes in the Legislature were the direct result of bipartisan efforts, championed by those who were willing to work across the aisle to put the needs of our State ahead of party politics. I remain committed to fostering strong bipartisan relationships and inspiring greater cooperation between Democrat and Republican members, and I’m hopeful that our state will make even larger strides in this area in the coming years. It is what our constituents deserve.”
Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.Read More
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is pleased to announce that it has received a $324,000 California Office of Traffic Safety grant to purchase new breath alcohol analyzers, which are routinely used to test the breath alcohol content of drivers suspected by police to be under the influence.
The Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory is responsible for ensuring breath alcohol analyzers are working properly and providing accurate test results. The “DUI Breath Alcohol Instrumentation” grant will fund the purchase of 24 new breath alcohol analyzers replacing the ones that are currently in use by law enforcement agencies throughout the county.
“The replacement of the older breath alcohol analyzers ensures that the Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory continues to maintain the highest quality analyses in driving under the influence of alcohol cases,” said Chief Pam Hofsass of the Sheriff’s Office Forensic Services Division. “This is part of our effort at making our streets, roads, and freeways safer by reducing the numbers of people killed or injured in alcohol related traffic collisions.”
The grant includes training for approximately 4,000 law enforcement personnel on the theory and operation of the new breath alcohol analyzers. The roll-out of the new analyzers, including training of law enforcement personnel and validation of the breath alcohol analyzers, is anticipated to take approximately one year.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Read More
Walnut Creek, CA – Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) will continue his longtime practice of meeting one-on-one with constituents during Mobile District Office Hours on Wednesday, October 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. during the El Cerrito Senior Resource Fair. Since being elected to Congress, DeSaulnier has hosted twenty-nine Mobile District Office Hours and Town Halls throughout Contra Costa County.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is the people. Meeting one-on-one with constituents and hearing first-hand about issues that impact their lives, families or our community helps inform my work in Congress. These conversations are critical to effectively representing the people of California’s 11th Congressional District. I invite all residents to drop by our Mobile District Office Hours to discuss important topics or learn about the services our office provides. I look forward to seeing you there,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
Congressman DeSaulnier will be on hand to share thoughts and to answer questions about federal legislation, and to assist with issues related to Social Security, Medicare, the Veteran’s Administration, or other federal agencies. Prior to hosting office hours DeSaulnier will speak at the El Cerrito Senior Resource Fair.
What: Congressman DeSaulnier’s Mobile District Office Hours
When: Wednesday, October 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Where: El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerrito, CA
Details: First come, first served. No appointment necessary. This event is open to all residents of California’s 11th Congressional District.
For more information or to confirm you are a resident of the 11th district, please email CA11.RSVP@mail.house.gov or call (925) 933-2660.
Concord Councilmember and State Assembly candidate Tim Grayson released a statement on Monday regarding the weekend shooting that left bullet holes in the office of the Concord Police Department.
“I am thankful no one was hurt, but this is a stark reminder of the dangers officers face every day when they are serving their communities,” Grayson said. “As Police Chaplain I’ve seen firsthand how guns in the wrong hands can ruin lives. Our leaders need to be doing more to responsibly reduce gun violence. Ensuring public safety is a priority for me, and in Sacramento I will work to make sure our families and communities are safe.”
An investigation in to the shooting is ongoing.
Grayson has served as Concord’s Police Chaplain, aiding first responders and crime victims, since 2007 and has served on Concord’s City Council since 2010.
More information on Tim’s work is available at www.graysonforassembly.com.Read More
SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Bonilla’s groundbreaking AB 1592, which was signed on Thursday, September 29th by Governor Brown, will authorize the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) to test the first fully autonomous vehicle, not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator, on a California public road. This bill, which expands CCTA’s existing transportation technology testing program, will help advance the development of connected vehicle and autonomous vehicle technologies.
“California has always been a global leader in innovation and as transportation technologies evolve, so must our laws and regulations,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord). “With the passage of AB 1592 our state will prove to the federal government and the rest of the nation that California remains the leader, and that the deployment of autonomous vehicles without the presence of a driver can be done safely and successfully.”
CCTA is currently testing autonomous vehicles at GoMentum Station, one of the world’s largest secure transportation proving grounds, located within the former United States Navy weapons station in Concord. AB 1592 authorizes CCTA, to conduct a pilot project to test fully electric and autonomous, low-speed, multi-passenger, vehicles at GoMentum Station and a private business park in Contra Costa County. The shared autonomous vehicles, referred to as people movers, have the potential to transform mobility as the first-and-last mile connectors to larger mass transit platforms. Upon completion of the pilot project, the vehicles will be utilized to increase transit ridership, eliminate the need for expensive and space-consuming parking structures, reduce the use of single occupancy vehicles on the state’s congested roads and highways, while improving the safety, convenience, and efficiency of transportation.
“Our state has been in a transportation infrastructure crisis with a severe shortfall in funding for repair and improvements to our roads and highways,” said Bonilla. “In addition, we have set necessary, but stringent statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals, which driving our cars and sitting in traffic accounts for a large portion of the pollutants. AB 1592 will move us one step closer towards implementing safe, low-cost, low-emission, and flexible transportation modes, which will help us address both of these pressing issues.”
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) was elected in November 2010 and represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which includes Contra Costa County and Solano County.Read More
For Hispanic and low-income residents in STEM fields
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced that Contra Costa College (CCC) will receive a $1,199,013 grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The grant will be used for the College’s Caminos al Exito Project, which aims to improve access and opportunity in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields for Hispanic and low-income residents.
“Having a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. Improving access to and participation in STEM education will help today’s students be better prepared for tomorrow’s careers,” said Representative Mark DeSaulnier. “Through this grant, Contra Costa College is not only investing in its student body, but is also helping to better our communities and create a strong economy.”
“These federal dollars will strengthen our community by helping make sure someone’s first language or family income isn’t a barrier to fully achieving his or her educational goals,” said Representative Mike Thompson. “A quality STEM education can open doors for our students as they look to secure well-paying jobs after graduation. And we know that demand for qualified employees will only continue to grow in the STEM field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of science and engineering jobs will grow at a faster rate than that of the overall projected workforce in the years ahead. As we work to close opportunity gaps for our Hispanic and low-income students, we must make sure that a STEM education is a real option in our schools.”
“We are so pleased that the U.S. Department of Education selected Contra Costa College (CCC) to receive another Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grant focused on expanding exposure, access and completion in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for Hispanics and low-income residents in our region,” says President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh. “Many areas of job growth in our community will require a strong STEM foundation, and our proposal is designed to help more students successfully achieve the confidence, education and skills to be competitive for these opportunities. In addition, we are excited because this grant allows us to continue our important work in promoting and supporting STEM literacy for elementary students and their parents.”
The grant is provided through the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institution’s Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics and Articulation (HSI STEM) Program. The purpose of the HSI STEM Program is to increase the number of Hispanic students attaining degrees in STEM fields and better facilitate transfers between two-year and four-year institutions in such fields.
Specifically, the funds will be used to help the Caminos al Exito Project:
- Increase access and college readiness to accelerate success in STEM for Hispanic and low-income area residents;
- Increase the number of articulation agreements in STEM disciplines with the University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Davis, University of California-Santa Cruz, California State University-East Bay, San Francisco State University, and San Jose State University; and
- Increase the retention, graduation and transfer rates of students in STEM through case management advising and high-impact educational practices.
Contra Costa College is a public community college in San Pablo serving the diverse communities of West Contra Costa County with over 6,500 enrolled students, 41 percent of which are Hispanic. Forty-five percent of the Hispanic students enrolled at Contra Costa College are both low-income and first-generation college students.Read More
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, September 26, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09), who serves on both the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, introduced legislation to increase broadband internet access for veterans. The Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2016 (H.R. 6165) directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate a Notice of Inquiry examining veterans’ current access to broadband internet service and what can be done to increase access, with a focus on low-income veterans and veterans residing in rural areas.
“Broadband access is critical for the more than 20 million veterans living across the nation, with the highest population in California. Broadband access enables veterans to more easily apply for jobs and obtain necessary vocational training, connect with family and friends, get important information about their benefits and military records, and access health care services. Veterans, who fight tirelessly to protect our country, face many challenges when they return home. Not having internet access makes what is already an incredibly difficult transition process even harder,” said Rep. McNerney.
Veterans living below the federal poverty level or in rural areas are less likely to have broadband access. According to the Pew Research Center, less than half of Americans living below the federal poverty level have broadband internet access at home. Analysis by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce further finds that internet adoption in rural areas is lower than in urban areas.
“It is critical that we find ways to ensure that the more than 1.4 million veterans living below the federal poverty level and the 5.3 million veterans residing in rural communities have broadband access,” said Rep. McNerney. “By directing the FCC to examine current broadband access for veterans and what can be done to increase it, the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act will pave the way for getting more veterans online. By further directing the FCC to focus on veterans residing below the federal poverty line and in rural areas, my bill will help make sure these veterans are not left behind.”
Congressman Jerry McNerney represents California’s 9th Congressional District which includes portions of Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.Read More