Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Press Democrat

By Marc Levine

This week, I will cast one of the deciding votes on a state budget that bolsters our commitment to education and health care, invests in our crumbling infrastructure, strengthens our rainy-day fund and addresses the changing weather patterns that overflowed our rivers, washed away our roads and fueled the most devastating fires in state history — catastrophes from which we will be recovering for years to come.

The budget I plan to vote for will include nearly $100 million to cull drought-stricken trees from our forests and take other steps to reduce the natural fuel load for wildfires. Another $50 million will go toward restoring and rebuilding public property lost to natural disaster. Tens of millions will flow to school districts and local governments to make up for lost tax revenue.

There will be at least $15 million to modernize California’s public safety radio systems. And we will see a significant increase — $160 million — to Cal Fire’s operating budget.

It won’t include everything we want or need. Budgets don’t work like that. Although you would never know it from watching cable news, compromise is still very much at the heart of our political system, and everyone leaves the table with some, but not all, of what they want.

The budget is an indispensable tool for mitigating disaster and building a resilient future, but it is not the only means by which we can do what’s right for our community in the aftermath of the fires last October.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mercury News

By Erin Baldassari

Faced with freeways that seemingly double as parking lots and BART cars that mimic sardine cans, voters in all nine Bay Area counties on Tuesday will decide whether to dig into their pockets to help pay for a suite of transportation projects aimed at curbing traffic congestion and easing long commutes.

If approved, Regional Measure 3 would raise tolls on all seven state-owned bridges by $3 over six years, not including the Golden Gate, raising an estimated $4.45 billion over the next decade for capital projects and roughly $60 million annually to support transit operations.

Monday, June 4, 2018

KNX 1070 News Radio

By Craig Fiegener

What's the first thing you'll do this morning after you mark your ballot? Tuesday marks the first statewide election where taking a ballot selfie is no longer against the law.

Assemblymember Marc Levine co-wrote the bill that made the ballot selfie legal here in California. He's encouraging selfies Tuesday at the ballot box.

Only rule: if you do snap a picture, don't show another person's ballot, unless you have their permission. 

Although nobody was ever prosecuted for it -  the ballot-box selfie used to be illegal. 

Listen here.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Point Reyes Light

By Jordan Bowen

After a year of calamitous wildfires that capped four years of historic drought, Governor Jerry Brown is ordering additional resources and prioritization toward managing the health of the state’s ailing forests. 

In an executive order issued this month, the governor directed the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Natural Resources Agency and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to tackle the serious threats facing the state’s 33 million acres of forests and nearly 1,300 square miles of urban forest canopy. 

The order could help public and private landowners in West Marin receive state assistance and regulatory relief to help manage dead and dying trees, and directs state agencies to increase cooperation with federal parks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

J Weekly

By Rob Gloster

The California State Assembly approved a resolution urging Polish lawmakers to reverse or revise their new Holocaust speech law, which has been condemned by Israeli leaders and by global organizations such as the World Jewish Congress.

The Polish law, which went into effect March 1 but hasn’t been implemented pending a court review, makes it a crime — punishable by up to three years in prison — to accuse Poland of complicity in the Holocaust.

Friday, May 25, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle

By Michelle Robertson

A sign of rejuvenation has sprung up in Coffey Park. It is brown and green and new, with gleaming windows and freshly polished doorknobs. It is the first home to be rebuilt after the North Bay fires devastated the Santa Rosa neighborhood last year.

The city of Santa Rosa celebrated the completed Kerry Lane house with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday. Its owner, Dan Bradford, moved in that morning.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Jewish News of Northern California

By Rob Gloster

Darrell Steinberg has been a politician for most of his adult life, including 16 years in the California Legislature and the past 18 months as mayor of Sacramento.

But he says some issues, such as immigration, transcend politics and go to his essence as a person — and as a Jew.

Steinberg and other Northern California public officials, including Oakland City Council members Dan Kalb and Rebecca Kaplan, and San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Aaron Peskin, cite their Jewish roots and values as foundational principles in their fight for the rights of refugees and undocumented immigrants.