Historically, the relationship between federal and state governments and Native Americans has been fraught with violence, mistreatment and neglect. In 1887, the General Allotment Act broke up reservation lands and resulted in the uncompensated loss of 90 million acres nationwide. Taking steps toward restoring tribal lands through fee-to-trust transfers is one way to correct past injustices, restore tribal sovereignty, self-determination and economic independence.
Reality is setting in for the high-speed rail project. Cost overruns, construction delays and false promises may have finally doomed the project.
During California’s disastrous 2020 fire season, almost 4.2 million acres burned. Tragically, 33 people died, thousands of homes were lost, and an estimated 112 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere. Now we’re in the second year of a drought and the 2021 fire season has begun. The Dixie Fire is raging across the Northern Sierras and Cascades, and the Concord Fire, southwest of Lake Tahoe, has ravaged the community of Grizzly Flats.
I have long been an advocate for expanded access to mental health care as way to restore lives and to save taxpayer dollars by reducing costs associated with treatment, along with many related societal costs including homelessness and public safety.
The crisis at the Employment Development Department (EDD) is continuing. Many claimants had to wait months for their benefits, thousands have had their finances devastated, while others filed phony claims that reportedly defrauded the state of over $30 billion.
Droughts are a fact of life in California and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Yet somehow we don’t seem capable of preparing for them. We are now in the second year of severe drought, and much of California’s agriculture, especially in the Central Valley, is facing devastation.
High-Speed Rail. The Bullet Train. The 19th Century concept of rail travel, updated using 21st Century technology that will speed passengers from Los Angeles to the Bay Area in about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Barely enough time to enjoy a casual meal, and maybe settle in with a cocktail, while enjoying California’s blurred landscape as it rushes by at 220 miles per hour.
The CA 2021/22 budget passed last month, but a series of “trailer bills” to fund specific programs passed on July 15. Many of these were policy priorities for myself and for my caucus. Programs receiving funding ranged from foster youth to childcare and development programs, to housing and homelessness.
Access to the internet has become a critical part of everyday life, something many Californians take for granted. But usable broadband service has been unavailable for many. Over 670,000 Californians do not have access to a high-speed broadband connection, including 30% of rural households and 24% of homes located on tribal lands. My district is one of those. That’s why my caucus and I have long supported efforts to close the digital divide statewide.
According to a report by the FBI, 2020 was the deadliest year in California since 2007, with homicides increasing by 31%. Public safety should be our priority, but we’ve been moving in the wrong direction.