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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 10th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 41

Political Watch: December 12, 2019

• In a Dec. 5 Facebook post, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) reflected on the Thomas Fire, a 2017 blaze that counts among the most destructive in recent memory. “It’s impossible for the two-year anniversary of the #ThomasFire to go by without reflecting on where we’ve come since then. It was a sobering time for our community and the dramatic realization of the destructive capacity of climate change-driven #wildfires in California. We’ve learned hard lessons, and made significant improvements in responding to and preparing for wildfires. We have so much more to do—particularly on the fire prevention side—and so much more to learn. Our hard work must continue.” The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s recorded history, including the Camp Fire in Paradise, which killed at least 85 people and was blamed on PG&E power lines. PG&E responded by implementing the Public Safety Power Shutoff program, shutting down power in certain areas during adverse, hot, and dry weather conditions, causing blackouts for thousands of residents. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently allocated $75 million to help local governments deal with the precautionary shutoffs.

• Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new measures on Dec 4 to help California cities combat homelessness. The state approved $1 billion earlier this year, according to a release from the governor’s office, to help fight homelessness. “California is doing more than ever before to tackle the homelessness crisis, but every level of government, including the federal government, must step up and put real skin in the game,” Newsom said in a press release. “California is making historic investments now to help our communities fight homelessness. But we have work to do and we need the federal government to do its part.” The governor also introduced Matthew Doherty, who served as the executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness under both the Obama and Trump administrations, as an adviser while the state works to reduce the homeless rate. Newsom has also asked the Trump administration to assist, calling for federal housing vouchers for low-income and poor people, including one program called Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers.

• U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) announced his support for a bill that would seek to prevent robocalls. The bill, called the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act or the TRACED Act, passed the House of Representatives on Dec 4. Carbajal, who voted yes on the bill, credited feedback he’s received from constituents. The bill would arm the Federal Communications Commission with the authority to enforce rules against robocalls and direct phone service providers to offer free services to block spam phone calls. According to congress.gov, if it passes, the bill would require “the Department of Justice and the FCC to assemble an interagency working group” to figure out what existing policies prevent the government from cracking down on the unwanted phone calls.

U.S. Reps. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) introduced the Funding Our Roads and Ecosystems Sustainably Together (FOREST) Act on Dec. 6 to help ensure that forest roads in California and across the country have the funding needed to maintain infrastructure and keep communities safe, according to a press release. The U.S. Forest Service receives about $18 million a year to maintain 370,000 miles of road, while the National Park Service gets $292 million to maintain more than 13,000 miles. “In California, we know the importance of our forests to our economy, recreation, and livelihood—we also know that, in the event of a fire emergency, sturdy and effective roads make all the difference,” Carbajal said in the release. 




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