Op-Eds

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
Last Thursday was Veterans Day, or Armistice Day to an older generation, originally commemorating the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the guns fell silent in World War One. It’s a day we set aside to honor our veterans, with speeches and parades. But we need to do more Going forward, we should provide tangible support for veterans and their families, and a big step here in California would be to stop taxing veterans’ retirement pay. California is one of just three states, plus the District of Columbia, that fully tax veterans’ retirement pay. Why do we do this? Do we really… read more
The San Pedro Port Complex handles 40% of containerized cargo that enters the United States. The Complex is also the primary gateway for all U.S. trade to Asia. Disruptions in the global supply chain are driven by multiple factors. These include impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce and terminal operations, increased online shopping and more overseas purchases, lack of trucks and rail cars, lack of warehouse space to store containers, and a failure to implement modern port automation/efficiencies. So containers/cargo are piling up at California’s terminals, limiting supplies and increasing… read more
On November 7th, the annual ritual of “falling back’ will be upon us gain, despite 60% voter approval for Proposition 7 in 2018 that was aimed at eliminating the bi-annual time change. So what’s going on and why are we still doing this? Daylight saving time was first imposed as a temporary energy saving measure during World War I, and was re-instated during World War II.  After World War II ended, states were allowed to decide the issue, and in 1949, voters approved Proposition 12, permanently establishing daylight saving time during spring and summer in our state. Measures approved by the… read more
We can all agree about the importance of keeping kids away from illegal drugs. Red Ribbon Week, which is held each year from October 23rd through the 31st, is the oldest and largest drug prevention awareness program in the United States. Red Ribbon Week began as a tribute to Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a DEA agent who was kidnapped and tortured to death by drug cartels in 1985 during his investigation of a marijuana operation in Chihuahua, Mexico.  After the murder, citizen’s of Camarena’s hometown, Calexico, California, began wearing red ribbons in his honor. Congressman Duncan Hunter Sr. and… read more
At the San Diego County Farm Bureau’s annual celebration, I was proud to present Ken Altman with an Assembly Resolution honoring him as "Farmer of the Year".  As owner of Altman Plants, the largest nursery in the United States, located right here in the 75th Assembly District, Ken has been active in California agriculture for decades. He represents the best of San Diego agriculture. His service includes the Dean’s Advisory Committee for California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and the San Diego County Farm Bureau Executive Committee, with two years as President. Committed… read more