Op-Eds

Mobs of people have been raiding department stores and walking out with thousands of dollars in stolen goods. In some cases, up to 90 people have stormed into stores at one time, and thefts have not been confined to department stores. Union-Pacific freight trains entering Los Angeles are being systematically looted. In October 2021, the railroad reported a 356% increase in thefts over the previous year. Union-Pacific is reportedly considering bypassing Los Angeles, its major hub on the West Coast. What are the causes of this seeming breakdown in civil order, and what can be done about it?… read more
Last week the Assembly Health Committee reviewed, and passed, AB 1400, which would mandate government-run healthcare for almost 40 million Californians. Are you on Medicare?  You won’t be. Do you like your current health plan?  Say goodbye to it. Do you want to pay higher taxes, for less care? You’re in luck. AB 1400 creates an unelected 9-member board to run state healthcare with vast power to decide how much doctors and hospitals are paid, to adjust (cut) provider budgets, and much more. When a similar bill was proposed in 2017, costs were estimated at $400 billion. If the entire state… read more
One of the main responsibilities of the State Legislature is producing a budget by the June 15th  constitutional deadline that funds programs and, hopefully, makes smart investments in California’s future. Unfortunately, while we meet the deadline, expectations often fall short.  Skewed priorities in past budgets have allowed problems to fester; many are now reaching the crisis stage. The Legislature re-convened for the second half of the 2021-2022 session January 3rd. Due to the magnitude of the problems we face, priority number one will be creating a budget that addresses our most pressing… read more
Helping people navigate the state’s massive bureaucracy is an important function of my District Office (DO). During 2021, we were able to help over 2,400 constituents resolve issues involving state and other governmental agencies. This included over 2,000 unemployment claims, resulting from the Employment Development Department's inability to cope with the pandemic-related shutdown that struck in March, 2020. Unfortunately, EDD is still reeling, causing delays and problems for thousands of Californians, but our office is here to help! This number doesn’t include hundreds of cases that have… read more
During 2021, 2,776 bills were introduced in Sacramento, despite a suggested 12-bill limit for each Assemblymember. The legislation we reviewed involved some of the most consequential issues facing California. Hot topics this year ranged from health care affordability, homelessness and housing, to the environment, the economy, criminal justice and much more. Since most bills fail to pass, the most significant results often involve failed legislation, and this year was no different.  Bills to legalize psychedelic drugs, to allow criminal offenders to have their records expunged, to overhaul… read more
According to the CDC, over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in the 12 months ending in April, 2021. That’s a new record, exceeding the previous record of 93,331 in 2020. That is not acceptable.  Much of this increase is driven by fentanyl, a drug similar to morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent. Treating drug-addicted persons can break the cycle of dependency for many, and can significantly reduce overall crime rates and recidivism. That’s why I introduced Assembly Bill 653, which recently became law, to support Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs for… read more
I recently spoke at the Southern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference in San Diego. The daylong discussions covered a wide range of health care initiatives and policies that impact all Californians. During my presentation, I discussed major topics slated by the legislature for next year. This year we dealt with telehealth, opioids and substance abuse, access to health care, Medi-Cal and mental health. My legislation included creating a grant program framework for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders to counties for those under supervision to reduce… read more
California’s State Auditor, Elaine Howle, is retiring after 21 years. The Auditor’s office is an invaluable resource, investigating inefficiency and waste, along with fraud and abuse in government agencies. Over the years, Ms. Howle has not shied away from some of the most contentious issues/failures of state government. Examples include probes into Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Employment Development Department (EDD) and the state’s efforts to combat homelessness. At the DMV, auditors found a wide range of “significant deficiencies,” including lack of adequate staffing, reliance… read more
It’s always fire season in California. Unfortunately, we’ve had multiple, catastrophic wildfires in our state and region in recent years to prove it. As a result, many homeowners in the 75th Assembly District and throughout the state have had their insurance canceled, frequently due to their home’s location in Very High Fire Hazard Zones. In many communities identified as high fire-risk by insurers, including areas of Valley Center, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow, Pala, Pauma Valley, and De Luz, residential insurance has become harder to find, and keep. Many homeowners receiving nonrenewable… read more
On November 15th, I was proud to participate in Pechanga Pu'éska Mountain Day, celebrated by the Pechanga Tribe and the City of Temecula since 2012. During an 8-year battle to save their birth place and sacred mountain from an open-pit gravel operation, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and the City joined in common cause to oppose environmental and cultural devastation from what would have been one of the largest aggregate quarry operations in the country.  The negative regional impacts included 1,600 daily gravel truck trips, boulder blasts, noise and dust which would have permanently… read more