Op-Eds

Surveys indicate that 70% of Californians see homelessness as a big problem. That’s understandable since almost one half of all unsheltered homeless persons live in California, though we have only about 12% of the nation’s total population. Over the past three years, our homeless population increased by over 22,000 persons, to almost 174,000. In San Diego County, the homeless population increased by 10% in the last year alone. California spent $20 billion on the problem in recent years, but homelessness has only gotten worse. Immediate action must be taken. That’s why I joined Senator Brian… read more
February is American Heart Month, and this year February 2nd was National Wear Red for Women Day, which encourages people to wear red to help raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases. This year the Legislative Women’s Caucus has again supported a Senate Concurrent Resolution to recognize women’s heart health in the month of February.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that cardiovascular diseases are the nation’s leading cause of death for men and women. 44% of women are living with some type of heart disease, but only about 56% recognize heart disease as… read more
In 1967, many state hospitals serving persons with mental illnesses were closed, but local programs to address their needs were inadequate. In 1991, oversight of mental healthcare was placed under county control, but by 2004 it was evident that this realignment hadn’t improved the situation. In 2004 voters approved Proposition 63, the California Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). The MHSA focuses on developing programs aimed at prevention and early intervention, housing, supported employment, as well as training mental health professionals, along with technology and infrastructure for… read more
I recently joined several legislators to tour the site of the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire disaster in 100 years, which stuck much of Butte County in 2018. The fire resulted in 85 deaths, covered almost 240 square miles, and almost totally destroyed the towns of Paradise, Concow and other communities. Sadly, this tragic death toll was surpassed in 2023 by fires that engulfed Maui, with almost 100 dead and many still missing. Our region is no stranger to wildfires. Most of us remember the Cedar, Witch, Cocos, Guejito, Rice and Lilac fires which devastated much of San Diego County. In the… read more
I introduced AB 1031 in 2017 to establish the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund. The legislation allows taxpayers filing their returns to voluntarily ‘check off’ a specified amount to fund wildlife rescue organizations throughout the state. However, since the program expires this year, last week I introduced AB 1828 so that the voluntary wildlife rehab fund can continue until 2032.  Since 2018, taxpayers have contributed $2 million through the fund to help support California’s non-profit animal rehabilitation organizations, many of which receive… read more
I have operated my own small business for 30 years, and eliminating burdensome regulations that get in the way of business formation and success were major reasons I first ran for public office. These efforts have continued throughout my time in the Legislature, and I am very proud that my voting record last year put me at the top of the California Chamber of Commerce’s (CalChamber) list of pro-business Assemblymembers. Last year, I was joined by only 4 of my colleagues (out of 80) who voted in accord with CalChamber’s position on 13 important bills that can significantly impact California’s… read more
Navigating the state’s bureaucracy, even figuring out which agency to contact, can be a big headache. Pointing constituents in the right direction and assisting with state-related issues is an important function of my District Office (DO). During 2023, we were able to help over 400 district residents resolve issues involving state agencies. People are still having problems reaching the Employment Development Department (EDD), and last year my DO staff was contacted by over 100 constituents having problems accessing EDD benefits. That’s a big drop from the peak of the pandemic when we… read more
Two years ago, California had a surplus of almost $100 billion --- no state in history had ever amassed such a huge surplus. But we spent that money on things like high speed rail, billions to solve homelessness that only got worse, and at least $30 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims. Despite the fact that our sales, income and gasoline tax rates are among the highest in the nation, our massive surplus has now morphed into a $68 billion deficit, with $30 billion annual shortfalls projected to continue years into the future. This precarious financial situation has been analyzed by… read more
A study by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission shows that 35 billion gallons of toxic waste water has flowed across the border through the Tijuana River this year; and more than 100 billion gallons since 2018. Local beaches were forced to close and local businesses and tourism have taken major hits. On December 1st my office participated in an informational hearing about Cross-Border Pollution called by the Senate Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation that was held at the Chula Vista City Hall. Concrete solutions were presented, but they will cost money and… read more
As Vice Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, I do all I can to ensure that California remains at the forefront in combating serious threats to public health. Raising awareness about diseases, preventing their spread and providing information about treatments can be critical. That’s why I strongly support World AIDS Day 35, which took place on December 1st. Over the past few decades, there have been significant medical advances in treating HIV/AIDS. But the disease is still a major threat to public health at home and around the world. According to the California Department of Public Health… read more