Op-Eds

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. San Diego County has 18 Indian Reservations, more than any other county in the nation. Six of those lie within the current boundaries of the 75th Assembly District, which I represent in Sacramento. Due to redistricting, the boundaries of the 75th District are expanding to include most of East San Diego County,… read more
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. Bright spots include increased funding for education. There will be a historic increase in the Local Control Funding Formula base grant for public schools. There will be more money for home-to-school transportation, for school facilities, special education and instructional materials. Higher Education gets a boost too, including… read more
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. Much of that agriculture is centered right here, in the 75th Assembly District. But agriculture is vulnerable, dependent on weather, unstable markets, fertilizer costs/… read more
California still has the highest gasoline prices in the U.S. along with the highest gas taxes. Gasoline is averaging $6.40 per gallon across California, inflation is escalating, people are hurting. Immediate relief is needed, and the simplest, fastest remedy would be suspension of the gasoline tax at both federal and state levels. It’s been over 100 days since the Governor first called for gas tax relief, but nothing has happened. Despite our $97.5 billion surplus, the majority in the Legislature can’t come to an agreement about how to grant relief. The new idea is a small rebate of $250 to… read more
Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is one of the most effective tools available for treating severely mentally ill persons. Legislation known as Laura’s Law was introduced in 2001 to make AOT available for persons who meet specified criteria for involuntary commitment, such as presenting a danger to themselves or others, or who are gravely disabled. My subsequent legislation, AB 59, extended the sunset date of Laura’s Law, and a majority of California’s 58 counties are now participating. This year I will be joining Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D – Stockton) to co-author Senate Bill 1035… read more
What happens to Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) once they’ve served their sentences? Apparently, they get dumped in rural San Diego County. Rural areas lack resources to supervise conditionally released SVPs and guarantee public safety. In San Diego County, multiple SVPs have been placed in Jacumba Hot Springs, Campo and Boulevard, with proposed placements in communities like Pauma Valley and Borrego Springs. I’ve written letters in the past opposing placement of SVPs in rural communities, including in 2020 when I wrote to the Superior Court regarding placing an SVP in Pauma Valley.… read more
California’s main Capitol building in Sacramento was completed in 1874. It is a historic treasure, but after World War II it became obvious it wasn’t large enough to handle the needs of our growing state. An annex attached to the Capitol was completed in 1952, and at approximately 325,000 square feet, the space problem was solved for decades. But, problems have developed over the years. The annex was designed to last just 50 years for a part-time Legislature. With six floors, the annex doesn’t line up with the historic Capitol, which has four. If you’re in the old building and need to go to… read more
May 27th was the “House of Origin Deadline,” the final day for bills to pass out from the legislative house in which they were first introduced. Since this is the end of a two-year session, any bills that failed to pass by the deadline have died. I’m very happy two more of my bills made it through the process. During recent wildfires, we all became more aware of the tremendous contributions made by tribal fire departments in our rural district and in many areas throughout the state. Unfortunately, under current regulations, dependents of tribal fire fighters who are killed or injured during… read more
On May 13 Governor Newsom released his “May Revise,” which updates the proposed budget he released in January. The state’s $301 billion budget, larger than most countries, contained a big surprise -- our budget surplus has grown to $97.5 billion. California has some of the highest taxes in the United States, as the surplus demonstrates. So are we about to have some big tax cuts?  I've advocated to suspend the gas tax for a year, try to spend down some of the state’s unfunded liabilities, estimated in the billions, and give a refund back to hardworking Californians to help defray the cost of… read more
California has 12% of the nation’s population, yet we have 30% of the nation’s homeless. This administration has spent $17 billion on the problem, but the homeless population has surged. Californians are fed up. There are solutions available, but current leadership won’t consider them. One thing is certain – throwing money at homelessness hasn’t worked. Take a look at San Francisco’s program to provide permanent supportive housing for the homeless. The City spent $160 million, but by all accounts the program has resulted in crime, death and chaos. Of 515 tenants tracked by San Francisco, 25… read more