Tuesday, April 13, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 6

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 6th, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 22, Issue 6

Political Watch: April 8, 2021

• Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced funding to support firefighting in California ahead of the upcoming wildfire year. Using emergency fund authorization, the governor approved nearly $81 million to add 1,400 firefighters to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), and Newsom’s January 2021 budget proposes $1 billion to support wildfire and forest management. “In California, climate change is making the hots hotter and the dries drier, leaving us with world-record-breaking temperatures and devastating wildfires threatening our communities,” Newsom said in a statement. “We aren’t just waiting for the next crisis to hit—this funding will support our heroic firefighters to save lives as they work to prevent and tackle destructive wildfires.” According to the statement, California is seeing drought conditions and new growth in annual grasses that can fuel wildfires. The $1 billion in the governor’s budget proposal would go toward the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, “which sets forth a strategy to increase the pace and scale of forest and wildland management to meet the state’s target of completing projects on 500,000 acres annually by 2025 and expanding the use of prescribed fire,” according to Newsom’s office. “The plan also centers on building fuel breaks around vulnerable communities, expanding home hardening, defensible space and preparedness planning to create wildfire-adapted communities, and sustaining the economic vitality of rural forested areas.” 

• On April 1, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) announced that three health centers on the Central Coast will receive a total of $11.6 million from the American Rescue Plan to expand COVID-19 services. According to a statement from Carbajal’s office, the funding is aimed at underserved communities. The federal community health centers receiving funding include: American Indian Health and Services ($1.5 million); Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics ($4.9 million); and Santa Barbara County ($5.2 million). “Our community health centers have been key partners in keeping our community safe and healthy during the pandemic. I was proud to cast my vote for the American Rescue Plan, which makes crucial investments to expand vaccine distribution,” Carbajal said in the statement. “I’m glad to see over $11 million will be used to enhance our ability to get vaccines into the arms of Central Coast residents as quickly, equitably, and effectively as possible.” The nearly $12 million coming to Central Coast health centers is part of a $6 billion investment of American Rescue Plan dollars nationwide, in an effort to administer vaccines to underserved community members. According to the statement, community health centers serve 1 in 5 people living in rural communities. The centers can use the funding to expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment; to deliver preventative care; and expand capacity. 

• Assemblymember Steve Bennett (D-Santa Barbara) wrote a March 31 Facebook post in honor of César Chávez, a labor leader and farmworker rights activist. “Today I want to thank our farmworkers,” Bennett wrote in the post. “They deserve our support and thanks year round, that’s why I introduced AB 941 to encourage counties to create farmworker resource centers.” The bill, co-authored by state Sen. Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), would require the California Department of Community Services and Development to create “a grant program for counties to establish farmworker resource centers that provide farmworkers and their families information and access to services,” the bill states, such as education, housing, payroll and wage rights, and health and human services.

Weekly Poll
What do you think about the county opening up the vaccine to 16-plus at some clinics?

It's about time!
I'm worried it will make it harder to get an appointment.
I would have preferred more sectors to get access before opening to everyone.
The state plans to do the same thing in about a week, so it doesn't make a big difference.

| Poll Results

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