Monday, October 19, 2009

2009 Final Legislative Update- CA Commission on the Status of Women

(from Facebook message)


The 2009 California legislative session has come to a close. The Legislature passed many of the Commission’s priority support bills before the end-of-session deadline and sent them to the Governor for his signature or veto. The following is a summary of Governor Schwarzenegger’s actions on those bills.

Signed into law:

AB 119 (Jones) – Health insurance; gender discrimination
Prohibits gender discrimination in pricing of health insurance policy premiums.

SB 54 (Leno) – Out-of-state same-sex marriages
Clarifies that same-sex couples who were married outside California have the same rights and responsibilities as different-sex spouses.

SB 118 (Liu) - Child welfare services; incarcerated parents
Seeks to improve outcomes between foster care youth and their incarcerated parents by requiring the child welfare system database to include information about whether a parent of a child in the child welfare system is, or has been, involved in the criminal justice system.

SB 148 (Oropeza) - Mammogram machines; posting of violations
Requires facilities that operate mammogram machines to post notices of "serious violations" of the federal Mammography Quality Standards Act in an area that is visible to patients.


AB 56 (Portantino) - Health care coverage; mammograms
Requires health insurers to provide mammography coverage for breast cancer screening or diagnosis when it is ordered by a physician or designated health care professional.

AB 98 (De La Torre) – Health insurance; maternity coverage
Requires all health insurance policies to include coverage for maternity care services, including prenatal care, labor and delivery and postnatal care.

AB 324 (Beall) – Elder Economic Security Standard Index
Requires the California Department of Aging to update the Elder Economic Security Standard Index and requires the area agencies on aging to use the Index in their service planning.

AB 513 (DeLeon) - Health care coverage; breast-feeding
Requires health plans and policies to provide coverage to new mothers for certified lactation consultation and breast pump rental.

AB 685 (Davis) – Athletic equity; school facilities
Requires the California Department of Education to include, as part of its review of an application for new construction of a school athletic facility, a determination of whether the proposed plan would provide gender equitable access to the facility.

AB 793 (Jones) – Wage discrimination; statute of limitations
Clarifies when a cause of action accrues for the purpose of filing an employment wage discrimination claim.

AB 943 (Mendoza) – Employment; credit reports
Prohibits the use of a consumer credit report for employment purposes unless credit information is substantially job related or required to be obtained by law.

AB 988 (Brownley) – Human trafficking; peace officer training
Provides human trafficking training to law enforcement officers on the U visa which temporarily permits non-citizen human trafficking victims and their immediate families to remain in the country legally.

SB 248 (Oropeza) – Title IX; posting of rights
Requires school districts, community colleges, and California State University campuses to post a list of rights afforded to pupils under Title IX on their district or campus website.

SB 257 (Pavley) - Lactation accommodation; state employees
Requires state agencies and departments to inform female employees who are nearing maternity leave about their breastfeeding accommodation rights.

For a complete list of legislation tracked by the Commission this year, go to and click on "Legislation" then "2009 Priority Bills”


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Monday, October 5, 2009

Vote By Mail Election Underway in Santa Barbara

Process Could Save the City $50-thousand dollars

A vote by mail election has begun in Santa Barbara. The city says it will save an estimated $50-thousand dollars. Ballots began arriving today. They must be received by 8 p.m. on November 3rd.

The city will not have an array of precincts. Instead there will be seven drop off locations. They will be open on the Saturday before the election, October 31st and on Election Day November 3rd.

Assistant City Manager Marcelo Lopez said, "It's the first time that it's ever occurred in Santa Barbara County. It's a great opportunity to let people vote and have the opportunity to think about the candidates, to think about the issues and send it right back in." The ballots come with a prepaid envelope. Voters must sign the envelope and the signature has to match the one on file in the elections office.

That process will take place as soon as the ballots are received.

The number of ballots that have been mailed or dropped off at City Hall will be known over the next month, but no results will be released until after the polls close on Election Day.
City Clerk Cynthia Rodriguez says,when the envelopes are received, " We date stamp them, we go ahead and scan them in to make sure the voters have only voted once, we go ahead and do the signature verification process. Then we place them in great large tubs. We file them in precinct order."
Anyone who lost their ballot but is a registered voter, can still get a provisional ballot, even on Election Day.

Besides choosing a Mayor and three City Council members, voters will have four measures to decide on.
Measure B, allows voters to make a decision on the maximum height of city buildings.
Measure C, asks voters if they want to create a combined parks and recreation commission and include a youth member to the panel.
Measure D, asks voters if they want to increase the size of the harbor commission from five to seven positions.
Measure E, asks voters if they want to reduce the Architectural Board of Review from nine to seven positions, and then allow the city to appoint up to three members who live in the county, and not just in the city of Santa Barbara.

The Drop-Off Center Hours will be
Saturday, October 31, 2009, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Drop-Off Center Locations are:

Braille Institute Auditorium
2031 De La Vina Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Cleveland School
Multi Purpose Room
123 Alameda Padre Serra
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Grace Lutheran Church
Fellowship Hall
3869 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Holy Cross Church
Parish Hall
1740 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Pilgrim Terrace
Activity Center
649 Pilgrim Terrace Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Fleischmann Auditorium
2559 Puesta Del Sol
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

City of Santa Barbara
City Clerk’s Office
City Hall
735 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The City Clerk’s Office drop-off center will be open daily, Monday - Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (City Hall is closed every other Friday)

For more information click on:
Originally posted on KEYT

Friday, October 2, 2009

Irony ...(& election info)

In case you can't read the fuzzy letters, this screen shot is of the blog I wrote (see below)about the massive spending by Texas Developer-Randall Van Wolfswinkel and how we (Democrats) must to it is an ad for Preserve SB, the PAC (Political Action Committee) which he is funding. It reads: "Preserve SB- Find out which council candidates really support measure B"


Today is Friday, gearing up for the first big push both here in SB with the municipal election and in Ventura with another municipal election.

SB is an all vote by mail election, so everyone will get their ballots in the mail Tuesday of next week (10/06), it will include prepaid postage, so all you have to do is vote and return. Remember, vote NO on Measure B!

(7 polling places will be open on HALLOWEEN Saturday and on Tues Nov 3rd- more info to come)

Ventura also has an election with absentee ballots going out this week, but the polls will be open as usual on election day. Remember, vote YES on Measure A! (to protect, preserve and maintain VENTURA- the Wright Library and Emergency Response Services).

Santa Barbara elections will NOT be bought! -- Updated 10/01

Cross posted at Upfront hosted by City 2.0

There ought to be outrage that must translate into action in the city of Santa Barbara immediately.

Democracy- Equal access to information so that voters can make decisions that they feel is in their best interest- regarding elections, or any other aspect of their life is something that we strongly believe in. A Democrat (beyond party politics but rather a person who hold values such as Democracy as core beliefs and rules of this game) needs to be informed about an attempt to buy the SB municipal election this year. Furthermore, such said DEMOCRAT, should activate and fight to keep this from happening.

Now this has been reported in the Santa Barbara Independent and in Craig Smith's Blog and it is our responsibility to get the word out and send a message that Santa Barbara Elections are NOT for Sale!

Santa Barbara's municipal election is being bought by a Texas Developer-Randall Van Wolfswinkel (let's call him "Van W")- whose political action committee has already raised $243,000.

"Preserve Our Santa Barbara has taken out $90,000 in media buys on local TV, and another $40,000 for radio ads."

The INDEPENDENT stated that "Van Wolfswinkel's dollars alters the basic chemistry of the campaign."

Craig Smith raised the question that remains unanswered, "So you may be wondering, why is "Tex" contributing so much money to influence an election that he can't even vote in?"

Regardless, our Democracy is under threat.

During my studies as a Political Science student at UCSB, one of the biggest lessons I learned and strongly believe is that World War II did not end because of the Nuclear Bombs, but rather because of the THREAT of more. Likewise, if "Van W" buys this election, it will not just be a statement that money from any outsider will buy sufficient influence and votes but rather it will set a precedent that this is doable, acceptable and will be undoubtedly repeated again and again. Which race, or when, we won't know. Whether one chooses to buy any of our next elections, Supervisorial, Assembly, Congressional, and others is a very likely scenario if we send the message that elections are easily bought in our Central Coast.

We must say NO to Randall Van Wolfswinkel and send a loud message that Santa Barbara elections will NOT be bought! If we lose to "Von W's" money and this becomes a pattern, we will not know until it is too late.

This is such an important issue and I find it invaluable to use the resources that we have to spread the word and win this fight. We can't however do it alone and without some sort of organization, (of organizing, not of .org) and the rightfully suited group to carry on this fight is none other than the Democratic Party.

The SB Democratic Party has a group of endorsements, however, this fight is one for Democracy. Our city and many democrats during this election have played into the game of a wedge issue that is dividing and marring the debate and the real values that our community holds dearly. Independent of the little "d" politics, this overarching threat that is a common one for all of us who believe in the Democratic process should be paramount.

I invite you to become active in this fight:

1. Inform others of this information (this blog, twitter, join & invite others to the facebook group

2. Send a contribution to the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara to fight this giant to Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee, PO Box 22435, Santa Barbara, CA 93121

I wanted to write my first blog about the title of my blog, and a little background info, however I felt "Santa Barbara elections will NOT be bought!" deserved priority.


I want to share with you that today, Newspress Editor, Travis Armstrong published the following opinion piece. Of course it is isn't surprising to see, but I hope that it will further be a reason of outrage.

Opinion: Why they're smearing Randall Van Wolfswinkel

Travis Armstrong
October 1, 2009 6:53 AM

How predictable. The smearing of Randall Van Wolfswinkel has started, courtesy of the usual suspects. Santa Barbara's politicians, their local high-density developer friends, subsidized housing activists and biased journalists can talk all they want about the need to be civil.

But these are the folks who come out with personal attacks whenever people refuse to kowtow to them. They'll make anonymous accusations filled with innuendo. They'll make excuse after excuse for government leaders whose official actions have harmed your quality of life.

So the attacks on Mr. Van Wolfswinkel were to be expected.

I recall thinking about this months ago when having lunch with him. Does anyone really want to put himself or herself in the firing line of this cabal of incivility?

I wanted to tell Mr. Van Wolfswinkel, for his own sake, that he just forget about getting involved. He's a contemplative, rather quiet fellow who doesn't need the headache. He has a family to care for and a company to run.

But Mr. Van Wolfswinkel's concern for his hometown's future means he'll endure the name-calling and insults. He's become a major contributor to reform-minded mayoral and council candidates. He supports Measure B, a ballot initiative aimed at stopping tall development.

Mr. Van Wolfswinkel is a local kid. He attended Cleveland Elementary School, Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High School. He made it big after college. His company builds single-family homes in Texas.

But Santa Barbara has never left this heart.

Like many of you, he's fed up with overdevelopment, gang violence and the mismanagement of city finances. He says he wants positive change in our community.

Here's his story, in his own words, as I first relayed to you in a column in August before his $243,000 in contributions made the news. He says:

"When I was young, I mowed lawns in the neighborhood and started my own sprinkler service. I used to ride my bike to school and the different routes I would take whetted my interest in architecture and the beauty of many of our Santa Barbara homes and buildings.

"Later, I went away to college, attending Cal State Northridge. Soon after, I moved to Texas to work with my brother who was building homes, and a year later I started my own home-building company.

"I have built many homes in Texas and I feel like it is an appropriate place for growth with all the open spaces, freeways and resources which are very different from this community. Santa Barbara is largely built out to capacity and cannot handle many more people.

"My family still lives in Santa Barbara and I'm here quite often. I bought a home in (this community) three years ago because my goal is to live here full time.

"In recent years, my family, friends and I have been distressed to see the impact of overdevelopment, lack of fiscal responsibility, crime and vagrancy on Santa Barbara. We see the majestic community that drew us here over 40 years ago quickly disappearing . . .

"Cynics and doubters say, 'What's in it for you?' The truth is there's nothing in it for me other than the satisfaction of knowing I helped -- in some small measure -- to maintain our 'American Riviera,' our paradise by the sea. There's no personal financial gain as my company does not build homes in Santa Barbara, nor does it have any plans to do so. Any such accusations or insinuations are wrong."

The accusations or insinuations may be wrong, but that's never stopped those who are running Santa Barbara. Or should I say, those who are running Santa Barbara into the ground?

So to Mr. Van Wolfswinkel, I say thank you and apologize for those who'd treat a hometown kid with a good heart in such a way.

At this point, you're more than entitled to fight back in any manner you wish.

Travis Armstrong is the editorial page editor of the News-Press and host of a weekly talk show on AM 1290.