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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ting Statement Regarding State Auditor’s Report on UC’s Admissions Practices

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding today’s State Auditor report on admission practices at the University of California.

“I am disappointed to see a world-acclaimed public institution, like the University of California, engaged in unfair admissions practices, denying spots to deserving students who lacked connections and money. Generations of young people from diverse backgrounds see UC as an opportunity for a brighter future, and the system failed them every time someone less qualified is admitted in their place. I’m committed to working on solutions next year to level the playing field, so everyone has a fair chance to get in to the college of their dreams.”

After news of “Operation Varsity Blues” broke last year, Ting and other state lawmakers led reform efforts to improve the college admissions process so that it is fair with seats available to all deserving students. AB 697 by Ting was among the proposals signed into law, requiring colleges to annually disclose to the state whether they give preferential admissions treatment to applicants with donor or alumni ties, and detail how many students were admitted under such practices.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Due to COVID-19, the annual Richmond District Autumn Moon Festival is online this year on September 26 at 11:30 am on One Richmond's Facebook page. Please register here to participate. Thank you to our sponsors for their support!

2020 Richmond District Autumn Moon Festival is virtual

2020 Autumn Moon Flyer available here: 2020 Autumn Moon Festival Flyer

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Publication: Associated Press

Spending cuts to schools, childhood vaccinations and job-training programs. New taxes on millionaires, cigarettes and legalized marijuana. Borrowing, drawing from rainy day funds and reducing government workers' pay.

These are some actions states are considering to shore up their finances amid a sharp drop in tax revenue caused by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Congress deadlocked for months on a new coronavirus relief package, many states haven't had the luxury of waiting to see whether more money is on the way. Some that have delayed budget decisions are growing frustrated by the uncertainty.

As the U.S. Senate returns to session Tuesday, some governors and state lawmakers are again urging action on proposals that could provide hundreds of billions of additional dollars to states and local governments.

“There is a lot at stake in the next federal stimulus package and, if it’s done wrong, I think it could be catastrophic for California,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco and chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Green Jobs Bill Heads to the Governor To Help California’s Recovery Sacramento – To help build California’s economy back up, state lawmakers today sent to the Governor AB 841 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), a jobs bill that not only puts people to work, but also leads to healthier schools and a greener transportation sector.

“Earning a paycheck is crucial for so many families right now. We need to jumpstart projects that can begin in a matter of months and pay good wages. In the end, my proposal will improve public health and the environment. We all win on so many levels,” said Ting.

AB 841 has two components. First, it temporarily redirects unspent energy efficiency funds from investor-owned utility companies and creates a grant program that schools can use to upgrade their HVAC systems and water fixtures. Poor ventilation is known to have negative impacts on student health and learning. And since COVID-19, experts recommend increasing the air flow in public schools to reduce the spread of the virus. Applications from campuses in low-income communities would receive first priority.

In addition, grants can be used to replace old plumbing fixtures, which often leech lead into students’ drinking water. New pipes also result in better water conservation, saving up to six billion gallons a year.

The second component of AB 841 pertains to the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, requiring the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to act on long-pending applications by March 1, 2021. The current years-long backlog is slowing work orders, and faster approvals would increase the demand for EVs. Consumers have often said they won’t switch to a cleaner car because of the lack of charging stations. Added locations would help more drivers make the transition – a move that lowers our greenhouse gas emissions and ramps up our fight against global warming.

AB 841 achieves a priority from the Joint Economic Stimulus Plan unveiled last month – to improve the environment, combat climate change, and create green infrastructure and jobs. As with all bills sent to the Governor this month by the August 31 deadline, he has until September 30 to act. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Ting’s Proposals to Boost State’s Housing Supply & Shelter Capacity Sent to the GovernorSacramento – In an effort to quickly increase the number of housing and shelter units in California, state lawmakers today sent two bills by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to the Governor, encouraging more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in backyards and for rent within communities governed by homeowners associations (HOAs). A third bill sent yesterday would expedite the construction of emergency housing to address the state’s homelessness crisis.

“Californians need affordable housing options right now. We don’t have the years it usually takes for a new complex or subdivision to be built. While we wait for those larger projects to be completed, my legislation will help address our housing shortages in the interim by immediately adding more localized supply,” said Ting.

AB 69 would create a new state loan program for homeowners who don’t qualify for traditional financing avenues to build ADUs, commonly known as in-law units, granny flats or casitas. After state laws eased these property additions in recent years, they have grown in popularity as a way to house aging parents or other family members, especially during the pandemic, as well as provide rental income. Because units can be up and running within a few months, ultimately, AB 69 aims to build 50,000 homes over five years.

“AB 69 creates a unique tool in our toolkit to combat the housing crisis in California, and with the aging population of California set to double by 2030 the time is now to ensure California is ready when the ‘Silver Tsunami’ hits,“ says State Treasurer Fiona Ma, “ADUs allow homeowners in the ‘sandwich generation’ to take care of their children and their aging loved ones while allowing seniors to age in place. With COVID-19 exacerbating the housing crisis, I commend the author and the Legislature for their leadership and collaboration on this important issue.”

AB 3182 would also bolster the state’s housing supply by restricting an HOA’s ability to ban ADU rentals. For too long, HOAs have been allowed to shut out certain groups, such as people of color, that disproportionately tend to be renters. This legislation requires HOAs to allow rentals, while permitting them to cap the total number within a community to 25% in order to remain eligible for many federal loan and insurance programs.

A third housing bill by Ting empowers local jurisdictions to get people off the streets faster to address homelessness. Upon declaration of a “shelter crisis,” AB 2553 gives cities and counties the authority to temporarily suspend some roadblocks that typically slow or prevent the construction of emergency housing. This proposal builds upon the success of a pilot program created under Ting’s AB 932 in 2017, which similarly enabled Berkeley, Emeryville, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, the County of Santa Clara, and the City and County of San Francisco to swiftly increase their shelter capacity.

The Governor has until September 30th to act on bills sent to him in the remaining days of the 2020 legislative session. If signed, AB 69 and AB 3182 will take effect January 1, 2021; AB 2553 will take effect immediately.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Proposal aims to reduce prison population & associated costs during COVID-19

Criminal Justice Reform Proposal Heading to the Governor Gives More Californians a Second Chance Sacramento – With California’s prisons at about 111% of capacity, state lawmakers are taking more steps to reduce overcrowding during a pandemic without sacrificing public safety. After Legislative approval today, AB 3234 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) is headed to the Governor, giving judges the discretion to put first-time misdemeanor offenders through a diversion program and allowing more elderly prisoners to be eligible for parole.

“California’s criminal justice system should offer more flexibility and compassion. Time after time, we’ve seen that a second chance is all someone needs to turn their life around. When we do, we often get better rehabilitative and reintegration results,” said Ting.

AB 3234 builds off a successful diversion pilot program in Los Angeles County where the number of jury trials decreased by more than 2,000 over a two-year period, saving the courts $12,000 per day, per trial. Additionally, when first-time offenders charged with low-level crimes successfully completed a diversion program, recidivism rates were lower when compared to those who were prosecuted. Diversion program graduates who never reoffend also avoid having a criminal record that can prevent them from getting jobs and housing.

Ting’s legislation further eases prison overcrowding by making changes to the Elderly Parole Program. The geriatric population can cost California up to $300,000 per year, per person in medical costs. Currently, inmates are eligible for a parole hearing if they are at least 60 years old and have served a minimum of 25 years. AB 3234 safely lowers the age to 50 and minimum sentence to 20 years. Estimates suggest this can be done without great risk to public safety because fewer than 240 individuals would be eligible for this expanded review – although their release, if granted, would result in millions of dollars in cost-savings

Provisions of AB 3234 were originally introduced as part of budget deliberations and championed by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee No. 5 on Corrections, Public Safety, and the Judiciary. “Diversion programs rather than jail for those charged with misdemeanors are highly effective. AB 3234 gives judges the authority to expand diversion and recognizes that those who have been incarcerated for 20 years or more have a low risk of recidivism, and thus should be eligible to be considered for parole,” said Skinner.

As with all bills sent to the Governor this month by the August 31 deadline, he has until September 30 to act. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Mandate would be higher than the European Union; highest in world

AB 793 Heads to the GovernorSacramento – California has another opportunity to take the lead on environmental issues by enacting the country’s first law requiring manufacturers to include recycled materials when making plastic beverage bottles. After Legislative approval tonight, AB 793 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) was sent to the Governor and sets a phased-in timeline of when companies must meet minimum content standards, ultimately achieving 50% - the highest in the world - and surpassing the 30% mandate in the European Union (EU).

“The time has come for shared responsibility. Our environment suffers when companies keep making new plastic every time they need a drink container. They need to reuse what they’ve already made,” said Ting. “If we don’t make this shift, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.”

The dwindling U.S. demand for recycled plastic has led, in part, to the tidal wave of recycling center closures in California, leaving consumers with fewer places to take their bottles and cans. Additionally, China and other overseas markets stopped buying much of California’s recycled waste. The result? Recyclable plastic is stacking up in warehouses, flooding our landfills, and polluting our environment. AB 793 creates a different path by bolstering the market for recycled plastic in the state, so reusable waste doesn’t contaminate the earth. If signed, manufacturers must meet the following deadlines:

“Assemblymember Ting and I worked extensively with the industry stakeholders to ensure that this bill is both bold and workable. The result is the most aggressive recycled content mandate in the world for plastic bottles,” said Irwin.

Naked Juice has been using plastic bottles made with 100% post-consumer recycled content since 2010, proving the change can be done. Nestle Waters North America and Coca-Cola have also committed to using more recycled plastic over the next few years.

AB 793 is Ting’s second attempt to ensure that plastic waste actually gets recycled. The Governor vetoed a similar bill last year because of cost concerns, which have been addressed this year.

As with all bills sent to the Governor this month by the August 31 deadline, he has until September 30 to act. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Stretch of State Route 35 in Daly City To Be Named After Local Filipina TrailblazerThe California State Legislature gave the greenlight to a resolution designating a portion of State Route 35 in Daly City as the Alice Peña Bulos Memorial Highway, honoring the legacy of a local Filipina leader. The Senate’s approval of ACR 165 today was the final step needed to allow supporters to raise private funds for the cost of signs bearing the new name.

“We see the influence of Alice Peña Bulos throughout our communities, as well as in elected local and state government leadership. That’s why she’s considered the Godmother of Filipino American politics and empowerment. It’s my honor to carry the legislation that celebrates her legacy,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), author of ACR 165.

Bulos was born in the Philippines on March 31, 1930. After earning her degrees at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, she became Professor of Sociology, then Chair of the department. In 1972, she moved to California, where her activism began.

Over the span of four decades, Bulos – affectionately known as “Tita Alice” – empowered and mentored generations of Filipino Americans, encouraging them to amplify their voices through civic participation & public office. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the National Council on Aging, becoming the first Fil-Am selected by a sitting president to serve on a federal post. She also served on the Filipino American Caucus for the California Democratic Party, the National Filipino Women’s Network, and the National Asian Pacific Democratic Council. Bulos passed away in 2016 at the age of 86.

“Throughout her life, ‘Tita Alice’ was committed to opening doors for young Fil-Ams who wanted to enter public service and politics, but did not see themselves represented in those places of power. Tita Alice has left an everlasting mark in commuters all over California and especially here in the Bay Area where she called home. While she is no longer with us, her memory lives on in her family and the numerous friends, supporters, and pupils she inspired over her decades of service,” said the Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County, whose members include Daly City and South San Francisco Council members, as well as other prominent San Mateo County Filipino American leaders.

The highway signs are expected to be installed next year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Publication: SFGate.com/Bay City News

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the school year begins, San Francisco city leaders joined other public officials, including vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, on Wednesday to call on schools to stand up against racism aimed at students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

The leaders, along with organizers from Beyond Differences and the Community Youth Center of San Francisco, are asking schools to take part in the Stand Up for Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Youth During COVID program.

Students have increasingly been exposed to racist language and attacks since the virus arrived in the U.S early this year, and schools lack the tools to have address it, the organizers said.

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"Young people feel isolated so often and alone, and that's how people win when we have groups of people bullying us and attacking us, they want us to feel like we are alone," said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). "This virtual gathering is a reminder that we are not by ourselves and in fact, there're more of us than there is of them." 

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

California’s Red Flag Gun Law To Expand September 1(Sacramento, CA) – Next month, California is giving more people access to a court process that could lead to the temporary removal of someone’s firearms when they pose a danger to themselves or others. AB 61 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) adds educators, employers and co-workers to the list of people who can file a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). Under California’s current red flag gun law, only law enforcement and immediate family members can do so.

“Before COVID-19, we saw school and workplace shootings on the rise. The trend could continue once classrooms and offices are back in use again. It makes sense to give the people we see every day the power to intervene and prevent tragedies,” said Ting.

To prevent possible misuse, teachers and other staff must go through school administrators to file a GVRO; and co-workers must seek the assistance of their Human Resources Department.

In California, there are two ways a GVRO can be granted by a judge:

  • For a duration of one to five years, after a court hearing; or,
  • For a duration of 21 days, immediately (can also be extended after a court hearing).

Since the original GVRO law took effect in 2016, more than 1,700 removal orders have been issued – the bulk of which came last year:

2016

2017

2018

2019

TOTAL

86

104

424

1,110

1,724