Saturday, January 25, 2014

Free Cash for College workshops run through March 1 at area high schools

High school seniors, local elected officials and San Diego School District representatives gathered today with one message for students, “There is money for college and there are people to help you get it.”

In a unified effort to encourage seniors to find “cash for college” local educators and elected officials announced their efforts to promote 13 upcoming financial aid workshops in San Diego County schools with a special “promotional” incentive – a $1,000 Cash for College scholarship offered to one student at each workshop.

The events which run through March 1 help students complete the federal and state forms to apply for college aid assistance.

“California is facing a water drought this year, but we’re also facing another kind of drought – a drought of highly skilled workers and adults with baccalaureate degrees, post graduate certificates and two-year degrees,” said State Senator Marty Block (SD-39).

He added that it is critical that high school students not only meet the educational requirements for admission and success in college, but also have the financial support they need to further their education and become part of the skilled workforce critical to California’s economy.

“Only 35 percent of California’s adults now have a four-year degree or higher, but by 2025, 41 percent of the state’s jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher,” Block said. “One study estimates that we will need an additional 60,000 baccalaureate degrees a year, on top of the 150,000 baccalaureates now produced by California’s public and private colleges.”

In addition to Block, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (AD-80), U.S. Representative Scott Peters (CD-52) and San Diego Unified School District Board Trustee Richard Barrera participated in the news conference and said they would assist in promoting the workshops.

Students and parents may visit   to find a “Cash for College” workshop location in their neighborhood and to learn what students must bring with them.

Proudly representing the cities and communities of San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Coronado

Thursday, January 23, 2014

WeAllCount Homeless Census to take place in San Diego County on Jan. 24

SAN DIEGO – Jan. 22, 2014 – An estimated 1,300 volunteers will participate in WeAllCount on Friday, Jan. 24 from 4:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.

Sponsored by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and County of San Diego, the 2014 count of homeless persons in San Diego County will be directed by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

“We have an incredibly large task ahead of us and that is to accurately count homeless individuals including veterans, women and children in San Diego County,” said Dolores Diaz, Regional Task Force on the Homeless Executive Director. “Some very special volunteers and community leaders will be graciously giving their time to help us count the homeless.”

That list of names includes officials from the VA, members from the Board of Supervisors, Assemblymember Toni Atkins, San Diego Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego City Councilmembers David Alvarez, Kevin Faulconer, Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman among many others who are scheduled to help with the count throughout the county.

Mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), WeAllCount is the San Diego region’s annual Point-In-Time-Count (PITC) census conducted to identify the number of homeless individuals including sheltered and unsheltered, their locations and detailed demographic information.

This data enables the San Diego region to better understand the scope, impact and potential solutions to homelessness. It also enables the community to qualify for funding that is critical to addressing the issue and enable people to leave the street.

The aforementioned list of volunteers are scheduled to be deployed from Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, one of many deployment centers set up throughout the county, and will be available for media interviews upon request.

About the Regional Task Force on the Homeless
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. It supports, empowers and collaborates with San Diego County’s homeless service providers on a myriad of issues. Working together, the organization’s purpose is to help prevent, alleviate, and work towards ending homelessness.

RTFH is the data center and technical resource for information on homelessness throughout San Diego County. It administers the region's Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), used by service providers who manage hundreds of distinct programs. Data gathered enables RTFH to provide analysis of demographics, trends, and more. Services include training, help desk, and critical data reports to service providers, cities, the County of San Diego, elected officials, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and U.S. Congress.

Block: ‘We face more than one kind of drought’

“The Governor began his speech by celebrating the creation of one million new jobs in California. Unfortunately a skills gap exists that keeps many of these jobs vacant.

“Gov. Brown urged prudence warning of economic uncertainty caused by the drought – but we face more than one kind of drought. Like crops in California’s central valley, the supply of highly sought after, highly skilled workers has dried up in many parts of the state.

“We must rain resources on workforce development and community college programs that could end the drought of highly skilled workers threatening California’s future. Such rain is necessary for the growth of our economy.”


(Sacramento) The Governor has laid out a forward looking but strategic vision for our state’s future.  Achieving our state’s comeback, as the Governor calls it, is due to disciplined work by the Governor and the Legislature as well as the support of the voters of California for the temporary taxes enacted through proposition 30.  Our hard work and faith in the future has paid off.

Democrats in the Assembly agree  that our state is on the rebound, but that it is also important for us to be cautious and conservative as we look at how best to use state resources now that the crisis caused by the great recession is behind us. The most important principles we should apply as we go forward are maintaining stability and investing in opportunity.

I am particularly pleased to see that Governor Brown has embraced the idea of putting the creation of a rainy day fund before the voters this November.  We must not operate the state based upon a boom and bust mentality. The rainy day fund will insulate our state from the ups and downs of the economic cycle so that we can maintain a steady level of funding for programs, providing predictability and reliability for businesses and individuals, but also preventing over-spending in the good years by requiring that money be put into our savings account.

Another area of agreement is that we should make paying off the debt that we racked up during the great recession a priority. Number one on that list, as the Governor has suggested, should be restoring funds to our public schools that were deferred during the economic downturn.  These deferrals represented cuts to the operating budgets of schools that had a direct impact on students in the classroom.

I also agree that investing in education is the best use of our resources because the payback comes in terms of prosperity and quality of life for every Californian. Additional funding for K-12 and public colleges and universities and a new formula to ensure extra resources for school districts with the highest number of struggling students will help ensure that each student has access to a high quality, affordable education to prepare them to be adults and workers in a global marketplace.

Water has been a scarce resource that California has struggled with since before we were a state.  Even in good years, we have to balance the needs of agriculture, residents, and natural areas and wildlife.  In a drought year such as the one we are currently experiencing, we all must cooperate and sacrifice to ensure that basic needs are met.  I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to develop new approaches to water that ensures an adequate supply, even after we get past this year’s drought.

Our water shortage due to a lack of rain is just one of the many important reasons we must continue to seriously address the impact of climate change.  Air quality, sea level rise, threats to the cleanliness of our water, wildfires, and a host of other threats to our way of life are also a result of climate change.  I will be working with my legislative colleagues to continue California’s leadership on climate change.

Today, the Governor urged us to build for the future, not steal from it.  I look forward to working with him and my colleagues in the Legislature to produce another on-time balanced state budget and to adopt legislative proposals that make that goal a reality.



(Sacramento) Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins of San Diego has been chosen by her Assembly Democratic colleagues to succeed Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez as the next Speaker of the Assembly.

“I am humbled, grateful, and ready to get to work,” says Atkins.  “From the drought we are experiencing to ensuring a healthy business climate and a world class educational system, California is facing important issues in the near future.  I look forward to leading the State Assembly in working with the Senate and the Governor to meet our challenges and to move our great state forward.  I thank my Assembly colleagues for their confidence and support.

I also am very grateful to Speaker Pérez for his support and mentorship and I look forward to working with him on a smooth transition.”

With her selection as Speaker, Atkins becomes only the second Democratic woman and second member of the LGBT community to hold the post.  As Majority Leader, she is already responsible for the day to day operation of the Assembly Floor and has served as a member of Speaker Perez's leadership team.

Atkins represents a coastal San Diego district and was elected to the Assembly in 2010 following eight years on the San Diego City Council.