Saturday, June 1, 2013



San Diego, CA -   Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) will convene a budget town hall meeting in her district to discuss how the State Budget impacts San Diegans.  The revised budget proposal assumes $98.1 billion in revenue and $96.4 billion in expenditures and includes a $1.1 billion reserve.  In the next couple of weeks, the Legislature and the Governor will work together to pass a responsible on-time budget by June 15, 2013. Each year State Legislators are tasked with the difficult job of balancing our state budget. This includes defining how much money will be available for public services like education, health and human services, and determining how much we pay in taxes.  Please join Assemblymember Weber for an interactive town hall to discuss your priorities for California's Budget.

Assembly Member Shirley N. Weber is hosting this event.   Dr. Brian R. Sala, Acting Director of the California Research Bureau, will provide an overview of the California State Budget.  Local representatives participating include: Stan Dobbs, Chief Financial Officer of the San Diego Unified School District; Dr. Albert G. Alt, Chief Financial Officer and Mr. Manuel Rubio, Director of Grants and Communications, from the Sweetwater Union High School District; as well as Barbara Jimenez, San Diego County Deputy Director/General Manager for Health and Human Services .
Also invited are Dr. Constance Carroll of the San Diego Community College District, as well as the City of Chula Vista’s Director of Finance Maria Kachadoorian and Budget and Analysis Manager Angelica Aguilar.
State Budget Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, June 8, 2013, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Montevalle Community Center (840 Duncan Ranch Road; Chula Vista, CA 91914)

For information and to RSVP, please contact George Gastil at (619) 462-4848 or register online at

Friday, May 31, 2013


(Sacramento) The California Assembly today passed legislation by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins that enables the California Coastal Commission to levy penalties against those who disregard orders to stop violating the California Coastal Act. AB 976 will bring Coastal Commission authority in line with most other state agencies tasked with enforcing environmental laws.

“California’s coastline is the iconic symbol of the Golden State and is integral to our economy and our lifestyle,” says Atkins.  “My bill will ensure that the agency tasked with its protection has the tools to perform its mission, while avoiding costly litigation and ensuring the fair treatment of all.  I am grateful to my Assembly colleagues for their support.”

Violations of the Coastal Act can include blocking public access to beaches, damaging environmentally sensitive habitats, or unauthorized development. Currently, the Commission can issue cease and desist orders to violators, but must pursue litigation through the California Attorney General’s office in order to enforce those orders if they are ignored, a costly and time-consuming process.  The Coastal Commission currently has over 1800 open enforcement cases and new violations are reported to them more quickly than they can close existing ones. AB 976 will allow the Coastal Commission to fine violators in much the same way as other environmental agencies, such as the State Water Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  AB 976 will also ensure opportunities to challenge fines and provides rigorous due process protections.

The California Coastal Commission was created by California voters in 1972, through their approval of Proposition 20, and later made permanent by the California Coastal Act of 1976.   The Coastal Act protects beaches, wetlands, water quality, and wildlife in an area of land and water larger than the State of Rhode Island.

AB 976 will now move to the State Senate for consideration.


(Sacramento) The California State Assembly today passed AB 1229, authored by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins.  The bill restores the ability of local governments to use inclusionary zoning to increase the availability of rental housing for low and moderate income residents and addresses uncertainty and confusion created by a 2009 appellate court ruling that the state’s rent control law, the Costa-Hawkins Act, prohibits such programs for rental housing.  AB 1229 overturns this ruling.

“Inclusionary zoning is a critical tool that has provided affordable homes to over 80,000 Californians.  My bill gives local governments a green light to continue using this tool without fear of conflicting with state law,” says Atkins.  “Affordable housing is critical to both communities and families because it enables workers to live near where they work, even in high cost parts of our state.”

Inclusionary zoning is a land use practice through which local governments require new housing developments to include a specified percentage of units that are affordable for low and moderate income residents.  These policies have been in use for over 40 years, but were challenged in the case of Palmer/Sixth Street Properties L.P. v. City of Los Angeles.  In Palmer, the court held that the provision of Costa-Hawkins which gives developers, and not government, the right to establish initial rental rates applies to privately financed rental housing projects and voids many inclusionary housing policies.  At least 140 California cities and counties have some form of inclusionary housing policy.  Many of these include a provision allowing the developer to pay a fee to the local government in lieu of actually offering low cost housing.

AB 1229 is sponsored by groups seeking to maximize housing options for low income people, including the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and the San Diego Housing Federation.

The bill now moves to the State Senate for consideration.

Local Walmart worker joins nationwide, prolonged strike

Striking worker will join caravan to Walmart shareholders meeting in Arkansas to call for better jobs

SAN DIEGO – Armando Valenzuela, an employee of Walmart store 2291 in Chula Vista, CA, today went on strike, joining more than 100 other Walmart workers across the country. Valenzuela presented the manager of his Walmart store with a letter outlining the basis for his Unfair Labor Practices Strike lasting for one week.

"Every one of my Walmart co-workers across the country has their own awful story, but they aren't all yet ready to to risk their jobs to speak out," said Armando Valenzuela, striking Walmart employee. "I'm standing up today and taking the message to Walmart headquarters on behalf of the millions of Walmart employees who deserve so much better."

Valenzuela will now join a Freedom Rider-inspired “Ride for Respect” caravan to Bentonville, Arkansas to participate in the Walmart shareholders meeting on June 7, 2013. Workers from 12 states so far have gone on strike, and members of the caravan will deliver a petition at the shareholders meeting calling on Walmart to publicly commit to jobs with full-time hours and a minimum salary of $25,000.

"All workers, union and non-union, deserve basic respect and the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families," said Richard Barrera, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego Labor Council. "We continue to call on Walmart and all employers to be responsible community partners and treat their workers with dignity and fairness."

The first prolonged strike in Walmart history, the national action follows the first coordinated Walmart strikes in October and nationwide Black Friday walkouts in November.

"It takes tremendous courage to stand up against the biggest corporation in America," said Mickey Kasparian, President of UFCW Local 135. "I'm proud to stand with Armando and all the everyday workers throughout this process to demand fair and decent treatment for all Walmart employees."

The group OUR Walmart recently filed thirty counts of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board, including alleged acts of retaliation and intimidation by Walmart management.

"One of the most fundamental elements of our social contract is the fundamental commitment that if you work hard and do your share, you'll be able to afford to live safely and healthily," said Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Executive Director of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. "But it takes more than simply believing; it takes people like Armando who are willing to stand up and fight against corporations who aren't working in good faith with our communities."

San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO includes 135 affiliated labor groups in the region with a membership of more than 200,000 working families.  Founded in 1891, the Labor Council advocates for more jobs, better jobs and better lives for all of San Diego’s workers – union and non-union.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


(San Diego)  The California State Assembly today passed legislation by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins to address the shortage of trained healthcare providers who are permitted to perform first trimester abortions.  AB 154 allows nurses, physician’s assistants, and nurse-midwives to perform aspiration abortions after receiving proper training.  Currently, over half of California’s counties have no abortion provider, forcing women to travel long distances and experience long delays in accessing this critical healthcare procedure.

“Women need quality health care in their own communities and without excessive wait times,” says Atkins.  “This is particularly true with abortion services, which are cheaper and less complicated earlier in a pregnancy.  My bill improves the lives of women and their families.”

A recent comprehensive study conducted by the University of California San Francisco and published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that trained nurse practitioners, midwives and physicians assistants can safely provide early abortions and that women appreciate receiving care in their own communities.  AB 154 includes stringent training and competency requirements for these practitioners.

The bill is sponsored by the California Women’s Health Alliance, a coalition of groups such as Planned Parenthood that is dedicated to protecting and improving the reproductive health of California women and will next be heard in the Assembly Health Committee. The bill is also supported by the California Medical Association.

AB 154 now moves to the State Senate for consideration.