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The following article was posted on December 1st, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 22, Issue 40

Political Watch: December 2, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Nov. 22 that Senior Advisor to the Governor for Energy Alice Reynolds will serve as the new California Public Utilities Commission president, with Maybel Batjer retiring effective Dec. 30, according to a statement. Batjer has served as president for the commission since 2019 and previously served as the first ever secretary of the California Government Operations Agency. “As my lead energy policy expert, Alice has been indispensable in our work to move California toward a cleaner, affordable, and reliable energy future; navigate the bankruptcy of the state’s largest investor-owned utility; and accelerate the state’s progress toward meeting our clean energy goals, among other critical issues,” Newsom said in a statement. “I look forward to her leadership as president of the California Public Utilities Commission.” Reynolds has been senior advisor to the governor for energy since 2019, and previously served as senior advisor for climate, the environment, and energy in the office of former governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2017 to January 2019. Reynolds will begin the new role on Dec. 31.

• Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Custody Lt. Selim Celmeta was honored by Albanian President Ilir Meta for his distinguished representation of the Republic of Albania, according to a Nov. 23 statement. Celmeta was presented with the title of “Grand Master,” which is bestowed upon individuals of various fields such as science, art, and sports for their outstanding performance over the years. The lieutenant received a medal and certificate that said, “As a sign of appreciation for his valuable contribution and high results in the sport of cycling, as a cyclist of Sport Club ‘Dinamo’ and the Albanian National Team, distinguished for his performance during national activities and in the dignified representation of Albania in the international arena,” according to the statement. Celmeta was a member of Albania’s Dinamo Multi-Sports Club and was the reigning cycling champion for five years. He went on to become a member of the Albanian National Cycling team from 1983 to 1996 and participated in more than 40 tours across Europe. In 1996, Celmeta and his family moved to the United States through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Green Lottery, a visa program that allocates permanent resident visas to immigrants from countries with low immigration rates. Celmeta became a citizen on March 15, 2001, and joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2008. 

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed its review of the federal process, and recommended expanding Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster dose eligibility to all individuals 18 or older who have completed their primary vaccinations, according to a Nov. 20 statement. The workgroup—made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health—provided its confirmation to Gov. Gavin Newsom as well as the governors in Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Individuals who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines should receive a booster dose after at least six months; individuals who received a Johnson and Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose two months after their first shot. The workgroup concurred with FDA and CDC recommendations for booster doses and continues to support vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone over age 5. “As we approach the winter season and another potential surge, it’s critical that people get their booster to strengthen their immunity and protect themselves from COVID-19,” Newsom said in a statement. “Today’s federal announcement is critical to these efforts. It’s simple, all adults who are vaccinated need to go out and get their booster, period.” The workgroup will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.










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