The 2021-2022 legislative session is history --- we adjourned around 1:30 a.m. on September 1st. As usual, some of the most significant legislation was delayed until the last days, with votes sometimes occurring late at night and in the wee hours of the morning.
California’s mental health system is struggling to keep up with demand. Those seriously in need of treatment are trapped in a rotating cycle that takes them from living on the street, to the emergency room, sometimes to jail, then back to the street. Since more serious cases get the most attention, people with milder symptoms don’t receive needed care and often fall into the same cycle.
California is once again in a serious drought, the second in a decade. This is a recurring problem in the arid West, but even in dry periods, we should have enough water to meet our needs. Voters understood that in 2014 when they approved a $7.5 billion water bond, which included $2.7 billion to fund construction of new dams and reservoirs. Unfortunately, few projects are underway, or even in the planning stage.
Our veterans have never failed us, but sometimes we fail them. Adrian Darren Bonar, a U.S. Army Veteran, is a tragic example. After serving three tours of duty in Iraq, he returned home to North County suffering from PTSD. But due to poor consistency of local treatment services; turning to drugs, he was ultimately murdered.
We’re in the last month of a two-year legislative session. During August, we’ll be voting on approximately 1,200 bills, over 500 in the Assembly and about 700 in the Senate.
California’s spending priorities are often seriously out-of-whack. We spend billions on a bullet train to nowhere that few will ever ride, yet we refuse to spend available funds on new dams, reservoirs and aqueducts during repeated periods of drought. Once-in-a-while though, we get it right.
Supply chain problems have been negatively impacting California and the rest of the nation for months. Look at any new car lot and you see the lack of inventory. Even buying products at the store is difficult. A big part of the problem has been the backup caused by the lack of trucks to move products from the ports to markets and consumers throughout the United States. Now the problem may become much worse.
Tribal fire departments are an integral part of California’s wildfire defense. The growing cooperation between Cal Fire, and local and tribal fire departments throughout California is testimony to the dedication of our first responders who safeguard our lives and our homes every day.
Last week, the Governor and his Supermajority allies in the Legislature agreed on final budget trailer bills for the new Fiscal Year. Spending will reach a record $307 billion. While I have concerns about many of the budget’s priorities, there is some good news.
California agriculture produces one-third of the country’s vegetables, two-thirds of its fruits and nuts, and generates around $50 billion in annual revenue. We are the nation’s breadbasket, and we help feed much of the world by exporting over $20 billion in agricultural commodities every year. According to the San Diego County Farm Bureau, the County’s agricultural production ranks 19th out of over 3,000 counties nationwide.