July 2015 District Report
Welcome to this month's edition of the O'Donnell Capitol Connection.
As we head into the heart of summer, I'd like to take this opportunity to connect with you on news from around the Capitol and here at home. July was a month of pride, progress and patriotism, but also unexpected hardship for local residents and business owners. Over the past month we celebrated the birth of our country, unveiled a roadmap to improve California's public schools and welcomed the inspirational athletes of the 2015 Special Olympics. Unfortunately, for approximately 30,000 Southern California Edison customers in Long Beach, the month of July 2015 will also be marked by the area's most significant power outages since the 1950s.
In the face of mounting financial losses and frustrations, the community responded in rare form – selflessly coming together to provide aid and relief services to those in need. Local police and firefighters worked around the clock to serve and protect businesses and ensure the public's safety. (Extra)ordinary volunteers from organizations like the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the American Red Cross administered medical care, delivered bottled water and climbed numerous flights of stairs to provide sanitation services to the elderly. They were proud moments for Long Beach and I'm thankful to everyone who pitched in to make the best out of a bad situation.
Our focus now turns to recovery and remedy, which begins with identifying the root cause of the issue. I, along with State Senator Ricardo Lara and Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, have written to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requesting an independent investigation into the power failures. We appreciate the men and women from Southern California Edison (SCE) who worked on the ground to restore service, but the duration of the first outage and a subsequent outage under similar circumstances calls for a look at our ability to address system failures. Not every accident is preventable, but at the very least there should be a transparent process as SCE takes the appropriate measures to minimize the risks and enhances their ability to get the grid quickly back online.
In addition to our regular features, this edition of the newsletter includes information on events designed to connect individuals and business owners with resources to help recover from the losses they suffered. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates on programs being offered, legislative news and more.
As always, please feel free to contact my office if you'd like to share your thoughts or need any assistance from staff with state-related matters or agencies. Thank you.
- Letter from Patrick
- Special Olympics Comes to San Pedro/Long Beach
- California Department of Education's "Blueprint for Schools Version 2.0"
- East Anaheim Street Business Alliance Monthly Meeting
- Image of Hope Center Grand Opening
- Resources to Help Recover from the Long Beach Power Outages
- Legislative Update
- Events Around the District
- Assembly Internship Opportunity
IN THE DISTRICT
OFFICERS, ATHLETES CARRY 2015 SPECIAL OLYMPICS 'FLAME OF HOPE' TO SAN PEDRO/LONG BEACH
Athletes and local law enforcement officers, including Captain Troy Lukkes of the California Highway Patrol South Los Angeles Area, pose in front of the USS Iowa after completing the final leg of the torch run.
Hundreds were on hand to support officers and the Special Olympics athletes as they ran the course. Held in partnership with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, a grass-roots fundraising and public awareness organization, the event was a great way to open the World Games.
The 70th Assembly District was well represented with San Pedro hosting the Croatian Special Olympics Team and Long Beach serving as home to the competitions in beach volleyball, cycling, the half marathon, kayaking, open water swimming, sailing, and the triathlon.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION UNVEILS "BLUEPRINT FOR GREAT SCHOOLS, VERSION 2.0"
Superintendent Tom Torlakson addresses the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and education leaders from across the state to unveil the "Blueprint for Great Schools, Version 2.0".
The new four-year action plan was developed by a variety of education stakeholders to guide California's efforts as the state continues to transform its schools. It outlines the state's ambitions for better teacher recruitment and training, a new school accountability system and continued incorporation of Common Core Standards. The recommendations contained in the report will be reviewed for consideration by the state legislature.
For more information or to read the plan, visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr15/yr15rel62.asp.
EAST ANAHEIM STREET BUSINESS ALLIANCE MONTHLY MEETING
Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell speaks to members of the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance in Long Beach.
I welcomed the chance to touch base with EASBA members, which are made up of small business owners from Long Beach's East Anaheim Street business corridor. It provided me an opportunity to share a legislative update, address concerns about newly enacted laws impacting the business community and answer questions about the state budget, implementation of Common Core State Standards, and more.
It was an engaging conversation that will help inform my efforts in the Assembly moving forward. I was grateful for EASBA's invitation and appreciate all the great work they are doing on behalf of their members. If you would like to learn more about the organization you can visit EASBA's website.
IMAGE OF HOPE OPENS TO LIFT THE SPIRITS OF CANCER PATIENTS
Assemblymember O'Donnell Field Representative Allison Gallagher presents a certificate of recognition to staff at Kaiser Permanente as the grand opening of the Image of Hope Center.
Now KPSB is embarking on a mission to help cancer patients retain their dignity with the opening of their Image of Hope Center. Image of Hope will provide support and resources to patients who are experiencing physical changes as a result of their illness.
Cancer treatments can often take a heavy toll on the energy and appearance of patients, which in turn can negatively impact the progress of their recovery. By opening a center that cares for their emotional well-being, Image of Hope will be providing an invaluable service to our community.
My office attended the opening ceremony and presented a certificate of appreciation to mark the occasion. If you or a loved one is need of a space that helps bring some normalcy to a difficult journey, I encourage you to learn more at www.kp.org/southbay. Services are available to any local resident experiencing changes to their appearance due to illness, whether or not they are a Kaiser Permanente member.
RESOURCES TO RECOVER FROM THE LONG BEACH POWER OUTAGE
If you were unable to attend the community meetings and resource fairs following the first Long Beach power outage, there are still plenty of avenues to help you recover from your losses and prepare yourself for the next time the lights go out. I hope you find these links and points of contact useful and should you need any further information, please contact my District Office at 562-495-2915.
Southern California Edison is offering customers who went without power for more than 24 hours a $100 credit on their next bill. You can file your claim online here: https://www.sce.com/wps/portal/home/customer-service/request-support/claims
One of the most immediate problems during a power failure is the spoiling of refrigerated goods. The City of Long Beach has published a Food Safety Guide to help residents maintain their perishable food items and determine the safety of food following the next power outage. You can find the guide here: http://www.longbeach.gov/health/media-library/documents/services/directory/emergency-preparedness-and-planning-resources/lbc_powerouttageflyer-6---copy/
The Long Beach Small Business Development Center has been working with Long Beach City College to host community meetings for business owners impacted by the blackout. No future meetings have been announced as of yet, but you can still find information on documenting business losses, filing insurance claims, financial lending resources for immediate cash flow issues, employee wage loss issues and assessing needs for future emergencies by calling LBSBDC at 562-938-5020. You can also follow Long Beach City College's Twitter feed @LBCityCollege.
Disasters occur when we least expect them, and many of us can be caught off guard. Keep yourself, your family and/or your business safe by strengthening your emergency preparedness plan using these resource guides:
Finally, I am pleased to announce that several of my bills have passed out of the Assembly and are making progress through the Senate this month. They include:
- AB 566 safeguards the quality of school construction projects. Typically, school districts are required to competitively bid on construction projects. However, if a school district enters into a lease-lease back contract, there is no competitive bidding process. And with no bidding requirements, there is no public review and no guarantee a district is awarding a project at the lowest price or to a quality contractor. AB 566 only applies to these types of lease contracts and simply says, at a minimum, you must have a qualified workforce. This bill will save money if a school district isn't required to spend more money to repair faulty construction
- AB 827 ensures that teachers and school staff serving students in 7-12 grades are aware of the school site and community resources available for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students.
- AB 678 creates the Energy Efficient Ports Program to fund energy efficiency upgrades and investments at our public seaports that help reduce the emissions of pollutants, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gases.
INAUGURAL VETERANS CAREER & RESOURCE FAIR
We are calling on all members of the military community to register for the inaugural Veterans Career and Resource Fair on Friday, August 21.
Over 100 companies will provide employment opportunities in industries such as aerospace, manufacturing, health care, technology, entertainment, construction, hospitality and many more. In addition, over 20 organizations will offer employment services and resources for veteran business owners and entrepreneurs.
Learn about state and federal benefits available to veterans and their families. Local Veteran Service representatives and Veteran Service Organizations will be available to provide one-on-one assistance and answer questions about legislative issues pertaining to veterans.
Come prepared with resumes and learn more here:
NAVY DAYS 2015 IN SAN PEDRO
Get an up-close-and-personal look at the lives of our nation's sailors aboard one of three active U.S. Navy vessels visiting the Port of Los Angeles and tour the only battleship museum on the West Coast on the USS Iowa! Meet the crew during their week in port in celebration of Navy Days LA.
Visiting ships this year are USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), USS Cape St. George (CG-71), and USS Halsey (DDG-97).
The event is free and open to the public. For more details visit: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/community/Navy_Days_LA_2015.asp
ASSEMBLY INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY
My District Office is seeking motivated high school and college students as well as recent graduates for our District Internship Program this fall! Interns will have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the State Legislature and community outreach as well as expand their resume and professional network.
More information and the application are available on my website. Questions? Please contact Allison Gallagher in my office at 562-495-2915 or Allison.Gallagher@asm.ca.gov.