Friday, September 5, 2014

Peters Endorsed by Climate Hawks Vote, Citing “Political Courage” and “Strong Climate Leadership”

San Diego -- Rep. Scott Peters was endorsed today by Climate Hawks Vote, an environmental advocacy organization formed to elect leaders who prioritize and speak out on the climate need to address climate change.  Peters was recognized for his unwavering commitment to protecting our environment and for providing real leadership in Congress on climate.  The group cited Rep. Peters’ proven ability to work well with members of both parties, furthering their goal of making climate change solutions a bipartisan priority.

“Climate Hawks Vote is delighted to endorse Scott Peters…for his strong climate leadership and for taking first place in our August 2014 survey. And his approach just may break partisan gridlock in Congress,” Climate Hawks Vote said in its statement regarding the endorsement of Rep. Peters.

The environmental group said Rep. Peters “could have ducked the thorny climate issue. Instead, he stepped up to the plate in a big way once in office, taking on a leadership role in the House Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, authoring bills, and speaking out in the national and local press. That took political courage.”

Peters thanked Climate Hawks Vote and vowed to continue his working with members of both parties to address the climate crisis.

“As a coastal city, San Diego lives on the front line of climate change,” said Rep. Peters.  “Our economy, our quality of life, and the future of our children all depend upon our willingness to put science ahead of politics and deal with the climate crisis immediately.”

Rep. Peters’ leadership on climate change began as a member of the San Diego City Council, when he approved the City’s Sustainable Community Program and the Climate Protection Action Plan, which is the City’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The City’s new General Plan, adopted in 2008, won national awards for the standards it set for sustainability and responsible energy usage.

As chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District, Rep. Peters led the effort to pass a climate action plan to deal with the effects of sea level rise on port businesses and tenants.  He also chaired the climate initiative at the San Diego Foundation, a philanthropic civic engagement effort designed to support good local decision-making around climate change.

As a first-term Congressman, Rep. Peters chairs the Climate Task Force for the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, advancing policies that address climate change and protect clean air, water, and open spaces; foster clean energy innovation; and develop renewable energy sources.  Amongst other legislation, he cosponsored the Coastal State Climate Change Planning Act, which would create a climate change mitigation grant program under the Coastal Zone Management Act to help coastal states plan for the impacts of climate change.  He also introduced the bipartisan Strengthening The Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground (STRONG) Act, which gives state and local actors the tools they need to prepare, plan for, and more quickly recover from extreme weather events.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Peters Campaign: U.S. Chamber Endorsement "Speaks Volumes"

San Diego -- Rep. Scott Peters announced a blockbuster endorsement today from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business group. The U.S. Chamber, which rarely endorses Democrats, praised Peters for his work to “return the U.S. to its full growth potential.”

“We believe that your re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives will help produce sustained economic growth, help create jobs, and get our country back on track,”
the Chamber said in its endorsement letter to Rep. Peters.

Peters thanked the Chamber and vowed to continue his efforts to help improve the economy by working with members of all political parties.

“When it comes to improving the economy, creating good jobs and helping businesses grow, we need bipartisan cooperation in Congress, not gridlock and flame-throwing,” Peters said. “The U.S. Chamber endorsement shows how hard I’ve been working to help move our country forward in these areas.”

In his first Congressional term, Peters has made job-creation his top priority. His efforts have included advocating for sensible tax policies; promoting San Diego’s innovation economy by investing in our military and scientific research; reducing the federal debt through a bipartisan approach; and fiercely advocating for returning veterans who need jobs.

As the Chamber noted in a statement today, DeMaio also “actively” sought their endorsement. In recent election cycles, the U.S. Chamber has made a point of opposing extremist, Tea Party candidates and supporting consensus-builders who make sensible decisions.

“The U.S. Chamber endorsement speaks volumes,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress campaign. “This is a group that seldom endorses Democrats but clearly recognizes that Scott Peters gets results. And he does it not by grandstanding or creating gridlock but by collaborating with anybody who has a good idea, regardless of political party.”

Educators, veterans, business leaders, students urge approval of community college four-year degree bill

SAN DIEGO – Business leaders, veterans, educators and students gathered today to urge Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval of legislation by Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) allowing California’s community colleges to offer four-year degrees.

Block, who authored SB 850, described his measure as a jobs bill. “This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California’s higher education system and our workforce preparedness,” Block said. “SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training now when California faces a major skills gap in our workforce.”

Currently only the University of California and the California State University systems may offer public four-year degrees. Block noted that by 2025 our state will need one million more adults with four-year degrees. “We need to use all of California’s resources – including our community colleges – to close that gap.” He added that more than 20 states since 1970 already allow community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees.

“Community colleges are the workforce engines for California's economy,” said San Diego Community Chancellor Constance Carroll, Ph.D. “It is imperative for them to upgrade their programs to prepare students for new job requirements especially in fields where public universities do not offer the degree programs that are necessary.”

For high school students, SB 850 presents additional opportunities and options. “San Diego Unified supports SB 850 and believes this pilot program merits serious consideration,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “On April 8, our Board of Education passed and adopted a resolution to support this important new direction in California higher education to expand college opportunities for students in select fields.”

Block’s proposal is a pilot program that would allow 15 campuses from 15 different districts to offer one baccalaureate degree each starting Jan.1, 2015 and ending in July 1, 2023.

Baccalaureate degrees offered at the chosen campuses could not be duplicative of degrees offered by the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses. “It will be value added, not duplicative,” Block said. The state’s community college Board of Governors and Chancellor in consultation with the UC and CSU systems would select the participating districts and campuses.

“SB 850 is a long-overdue remedy to the shortage of trained workers and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce strongly urges Governor Jerry Brown’s support of SB 850, an important piece of legislation that would allow California community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “SB 850 gives community colleges an opportunity to partner with local workforce investment boards and local businesses to strategically address critical employer demands across our state which will significantly benefit community college completion rates and meet future workforce demands in California, helping to keep our state competitive.”

Veterans groups are also supporting SB 850. Larry Blumberg, Executive Director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, said an estimated 15,000 young men and women transition from military service to civilian life in the San Diego region. “That’s why SDMAC is excited about the opportunity that SB 850 brings to San Diego’s veterans’ community,” Blumberg said.

Brown received SB 850 on Aug. 28 and has 30 days to approve or veto the bill. Block introduced SB 850 in January, and it is the third time he has introduced similar legislation.

“We’re in a different time now,” Block said to explain why he believes his third attempt will succeed. “California is in a better position now to invest in closing our skills gap. We are in a fast-paced race that we can’t afford to lose. Community colleges can help us meet the challenge. It’s wishful thinking to believe we can meet the challenge of producing another 60,000 bachelor degrees a year without using community colleges, and the longer we delay in using them, the further behind we will fall.”

SB 850 supporters include AMVETS, American Legion, the California State Commanders Veterans Council, the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers and 24 community college districts including those in San Diego, Los Angeles, Napa, and Imperial Counties. Business supporters include CalChamber, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the San Jose Silicon Valley and Oceanside Chambers of Commerce, the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition and the California Workforce Association. Also supporting SB 850 are the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and the California State University system.

Block’s measure received bipartisan support in the Senate and no “NO” votes in any committees.

Block is chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee #1 which deals with education financing and is a member of the Senate Education Committee. Prior to Block’s election to the Legislature, he served as president of the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Community College District and as a professor and administrator at San Diego State University.

State of California Now On Record Urging President Obama to Suspend Further Deportations of Legalization-Eligible Immigrants


Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s AJR 49 Calls for Executive Action to keep California families intact

SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, September 3, 2014) – The California State Legislature has sent to President Obama a joint resolution by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) which calls on the Obama Administration to expand temporary protective status to all legalization-eligible immigrants through an executive action. This would initiate a ‘deferred action’ legalization process and cease the deportation of all eligible immigrants and families who have no serious criminal history, until Congress adopts humane and inclusive comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

“The financial and social cost to California due to family separations and the loss of children is enormous and inhumane,” Gonzalez said. “California is now clearly on record calling for an end to the deportation of legalization-eligible immigrants and backing a more humanitarian immigration policy that keeps families together.”

Under President Obama, deportations have risen to an average of 400,000 a year since 2009. According to the National Immigration Law Center, more than 1,000 immigrants are separated from their families and communities each day producing devastating effects to our nation.

The joint resolution was supported by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Immigrant Policy Center, Protect Our Families – Save the Children Campaign, Hermandad Mexicana Humanitarian Foundation, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), and California-Mexico Studies Center, Inc. It does not have any formal opposition.

AJR 49 was approved by the Senate on a 26-3 vote Friday evening after it passed the Assembly on a 55-18 vote August 21. The Chief Clerk of the Assembly will now transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.

For more information on AJR 49, or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit