Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 28th, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 22 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 22, Issue 22

Political Watch: July 29, 2021

• On July 19, Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced that his Assembly Bill 841 was signed into law. The legislation aims to help keep foster children and families together by ensuring that “children cannot be removed from the care of their parents in a child welfare proceeding solely because a parent did not sue for custody,” a statement from Cunningham’s office explained. Existing laws established a juvenile court, which can intervene if a child is found to be harmed or neglected, according to the bill. But the law also has safeguards in place to ensure that families that lack resources aren’t separated from their children solely for those reasons. Cunningham’s bill adds that if a child’s parents fail to seek court orders for custody of the child, this alone cannot amount to neglect. “Children should not be taken away from their family solely because the parents lack the resources to hire counsel and sue for custody,” Cunningham said in the statement. “Our goal must be to keep families together as long as it is safe for the child, and this bill will help accomplish that goal.” The statement said that “infrequently, but enough to be a problem, county welfare departments allege that a parent not initiating custody litigation alone constitutes a ‘failure or inability’ or a ‘willful or negligent failure’ to adequately supervise their child.” Ed Howard, senior counsel of the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, commended the law. “With his signature, Gov. Newsom just made it easier for children to remain with living parents and harder for families to be ruptured based on no other reason than they are poor,” Howard said in the statement. 

• The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department announced on July 26 that Flood Control District Engineering Manager Jon Frye won the 2021 Award for Excellence from the Floodplain Management Association. The award recognizes “outstanding floodplain management projects, programs, activities, and individuals that epitomize the best in floodplain management,” according to the county. The Floodplain Management Association is an organization for professionals who are dedicated to reducing flood risk and creating sustainable floodplains, according to the county. After the devastating Thomas fire and Montecito debris flow, Frye led efforts to establish a Federal Emergency Management Agency Recovery Map to ensure future structure resiliency, according to the county. “Frye engaged with affected landowners and building professionals to guide them through the higher standards of the new construction requirements. He also led the effort to initiate a capital improvement program to add new facilities and modifications to four existing basins in the burn area, including the new Randall Road Debris Basin currently under construction.” Public Works Deputy Director Tom Fayram said Frye has distinguished himself in public official roles for many years. “He is respected at the Flood Control District for his high level of ethics, knowledge, and commitment to the community he serves,” Fayram said in a statement. “The key to his success is his personal touch, compassion, and his availability to help. Jon also guides and mentors his relatively new development review staff to ensure consistency and good customer service.”

• The Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, known as MICOP, was chosen as the 2021 Nonprofit of the Year by State Sen. Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara). She congratulated the organization in a July 22 Facebook post. “Thank you [MICOP] for all the work you do for the communities of Senate District 19,” Limón wrote. “Your dedication to serving others, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is truly remarkable and admirable. Therefore, it is with great pleasure to recognize you as the Nonprofit of the Year for Senate District 19—and a big congratulations on your 20th anniversary.” MICOP’s mission is “to support, organize, and empower the indigenous migrant communities in California’s Central Coast,” according to the organization’s website.

Weekly Poll
What are the most important conversations to be having right now when it comes to policing?

We need to address how racial bias influences policing.
We should focus on funding the police so they can do their job.
Mental health is where our dollars need to go, both in and out of the police department.
As one Sept. 20 community input meeting attendee said,

| Poll Results

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