Thursday, August 20, 2020

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announces four projects have been selected to receive $300,000 in total grant awards as part of the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Expansion. The projects were selected through a competitive process in which CDFA received applications for more than 2.5 times the available funding.

Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and Visalia, the new CNIP grantees are:

• The Model Neighborhood Program
• Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association
• Sustainable Economic Enterprises of LA & Hunger Action LA
• Visalia Farmers’ Market Association

The four grantees will utilize CNIP funds to double the amount of fruit and vegetables able to be purchased at participating farmers’ markets by shoppers using the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides participants with $28 worth of vouchers. CNIP funds will double that amount to $56 of benefits to be spent on healthy, California-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers’ markets.

The California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) goals are to address food insecurity and access to fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts among low-income Californians while simultaneously supporting and expanding markets for California farmers. CNIP currently offers nutrition incentives to CalFresh (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) shoppers at more than 300 locations throughout the state, including Certified Farmers’ Markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs and retail outlets.

CNIP was created by Assembly Bill 1321, authored by Assembly Member Phil Ting in 2015. CNIP is administered by CDFA’s Office of Farm to Fork, which leads CDFA’s food access work.

**Photo from August 2018

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Publication: Los Angeles Times

California is asking the federal government for a $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit for jobless Californians, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. The move comes after the Trump administration said states would not have to put up billions of new matching dollars, which the governor said last week made the plan unworkable.

With an initial $600 weekly supplement having expired last month — part of the coronavirus relief package approved by Congress in the spring — Newsom said his administration is in talks with federal officials regarding an application to provide a $300 weekly supplement after seven other states had their requests approved.


Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said he also worries that some people have questioned the legality of the president’s executive order, so he still hopes Congress will act.

“If nothing gets passed at the federal level, Gov. Newsom should consider calling us back under a special session so we can take matters into our own hands,” Ting said.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Consumers should prepare for the likelihood of rotating electric outages

Updates can be found here.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation through Wednesday. The Flex Alerts are in effect from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

A persistent, record-breaking heat wave in California and the western states is causing a strain on supplies, and consumers should be prepared for likely rolling outages during the late afternoons and early evenings through Wednesday. There is not a sufficient amount of energy to meet the high amounts of demand during the heatwave.

Between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m., the ISO is urging consumers to:

  • Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits.
  • Defer use of major appliances.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • Unplug unused electrical devices.
  • Close blinds and drapes.
  • Use fans when possible.
  • Limit time the refrigerator door is open.
Monday, August 10, 2020

Publication: Los Angeles Times

With millions of Californians jobless during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state would face “massive” budget cuts if it carried out President Trump’s plan to have states provide $100 of a $400 supplemental weekly unemployment benefit.

Newsom and legislative leaders called on federal officials to overcome a stalemate involving Congress and the president to provide additional funding for states now that a $600 weekly unemployment payment from the federal government has expired. He noted that the plan would cost the state at least $700 million per week and up to $2.8 billion if the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding is depleted.


If Trump’s order only provides $300 a week, California would have to come up with the same amount to maintain the $600 supplemental payment.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said Monday that legislative leaders are working to find a solution.

“Supplemental unemployment benefits have worked in the short term to help many families keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table,” Ting said. “That stability is now at risk. If federal payments fall short of $600 per week, California must do all it can to make up the difference, as long as the jobless rate remains high.”

Ting is a leader of a legislative working group that proposed the state consider borrowing money from a federal trust fund to extend supplemental unemployment benefits. The state has borrowed from that fund to help pay benefits to the more than 9 million Californians who have applied for unemployment.

Traditionally, the federal loans are paid back by increasing payroll taxes paid by employers.

“We’re discussing with the governor’s office on how to move forward on this aid, including ways to fund it without putting additional burdens on small businesses,” Ting said.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Ting Joins State Lawmakers in Urging For More Action To Improve EDDOverwhelmed with constituents needing help with unemployment benefits, state legislators have exhausted all avenues at their disposal to get resolution for the people we serve. They've waited months for EDD to provide a roadmap out of this crisis, but none has been forthcoming. While there have been recent executive mandates announced by Governor Newsom to address issues previously highlighted by lawmakers, they unfortunately only scratch the surface of the disaster that is EDD. They sent a letter urging further action to improve EDD operations. Read the entire letter here: EDD Letter to Governor 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Publication: KTVU Fox 2 Bay Area

Millions of Californians received their last $600 supplemental unemployment benefit last week. There's disagreement on Capitol Hill over how to continue the program.

House Democrats want to extend the boost, Senate Republicans unveiled their relief plan which includes cutting the benefit to $200.

If that's what Congress decides, Democrats in the California legislature want to step in.

“If that benefit is working in the short term, I don’t know why we’re stopping it," said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chair of the budget committee. "Because the last thing we need is thousands of people evicted onto the streets.”

Assemblyman Ting and other CA Democratic legislative leaders released a $100 billion coronavirus stimulus outline. The list of proposals includes a plan to borrow federal money to fill gaps in unemployment insurance, if the $600 payment is cut. It also extends the benefit to undocumented workers who lost jobs. 

“Millions of Californians who are struggling, they’re one unemployment check away from not being able to pay rent, buy food," said Ting.  "We know they have nowhere else to turn.” 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Economic Stimulus Package UnveiledSacramento – Key working groups from both houses of the California State Legislature are prioritizing economic recovery in the final weeks of session and have developed a joint $100 billion stimulus plan, building upon the successful collaboration that led to a balanced state budget addressing the $54 billion deficit.

Led by Senators Bob Hertzberg (D- Van Nuys) and Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), and Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), lawmakers aim to protect Californians and spur job creation during and even after the COVID-19 crisis. Legislative leadership in both houses have been supportive of the working groups’ efforts;

“Early on in the pandemic, the Senate created a Working Group on Economic Recovery to offer ideas for California’s economic recovery without raising taxes, while also focusing on the needs of all Californians – including small businesses and working families – millions of whom have been adversely impacted by this crisis. We must do all we can to help heal our economy, while ensuring that our solutions do not create further harm.” – Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D–San Diego)

“Millions of Californians are suffering in this economic downturn, and Republicans in Washington, D.C. don’t seem to care. Assembly and Senate Democrats are advancing innovative proposals to help people and small businesses. I look forward to further development of today’s proposals and others in the weeks and months ahead.” – Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D–Lakewood)

The stimulus plan aims to raise $100 billion through a new tax voucher program and the acceleration of other existing revenue streams. The money would be used to boost the economy and protect jobs, small businesses, and working families.

“While the stay-at-home order was the necessary and responsible thing to do during the pandemic, the legislature and Governor must now work together to forge an inclusive path forward. Our strategy ensures people don’t fall further behind, while also generating opportunities to put people back to work and build a stronger California.” – Assemblymember Phil Ting (D–San Francisco)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Joint San Francisco & Santa Clara Statement on Caltrain Sales TaxSupport includes Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). The full statement can be found  here: Joint SF-SC Statement on Caltrain Sales Tax

As elected representatives of Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, we call on San Mateo County to join us in supporting a comprehensive path forward for Caltrain. This includes forwarding for voter consideration a dedicated sales tax to support the railway immediately and into the future, as well as engaging in meaningful and timely discussions of Caltrain governance reform, which is key to ensuring accountability and transparency for our constituents. The proposed 1/8-cent sales tax would provide a reliable source of funds for Caltrain and relieve the local transit budgets in all three counties. This is much needed and desired. However, given the serious nature of any tax proposal, we are keen to advance governance reforms in parallel, to ensure that we have the ability to directly oversee the use of funds and truly shape and set policy in an equitable manner.

Caltrain’s current governance and management structure requires significant change to facilitate these processes and outcomes. In particular, we must ensure equitable representation for Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, which together comprise nearly 80% of anticipated sales tax proceeds.

We believe Caltrain is an incredibly valuable asset to our counties and the greater Bay Area and want the system to thrive. To make needed changes, we should work toward CEO accountability and establishing an independent and dedicated agency at Caltrain, separate from SamTrans, even as we pursue a permanent source of revenue for Caltrain operations and development. Our proposed sales tax ballot measure provides for immediate needs to keep essential Caltrain services running, while setting out a reasonable process and timetable to address needed reforms.

It is never a ‘good time’ to deal with governance, but we can’t keep kicking the can down the tracks. There are myriad needs in this Covid-era and we need meaningful reform to allow for the robust policy discussions, trade-off considerations and ultimately, tough decisions that will be needed in order for Caltrain to navigate these challenging times. If we work collaboratively, we can emerge stronger than ever to realize the railway’s potential to provide dynamic, metro-like service for all users across our region.

Now is the time for all the partners to join together to fund Caltrain and create an equitable, accountable and transparent organization. Only in this way can Caltrain become the exceptional example of regional cooperation and investment that the region and its taxpayers deserve.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Renovation keeps SF’s rail history alive in the Excelsior

Geneva Car Barn Exterior         

San Francisco, CA -- Work is complete on a meticulous renovation of the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse, part of San Francisco’s railway history in the Excelsior District, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.

The historic landmark will open to the public as a hub for creativity, performance, youth arts education and community connection when health orders allow. In the meantime, Performing Arts Workshop, Rec and Park’s programming partner, is offering online arts education.

The $14 million project represents the first of two phases of improvements to the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse, which is made up of two adjoining structures that served San Francisco’s first electric streetcars: the single story, 3,000-square foot Powerhouse and the two-story, 13,000-square foot office building known as the Car Barn.

Rec and Park and Public Works broke ground on Phase 1, a complete renovation of the Powerhouse portion in 2018. The building’s antique doors and windows have been restored, and glass flooring showcases its historic basement and tunnels. The renovated building is now earthquake safe and outfitted with storefront doors, a new roof, improved entrances, and new mechanical and electrical systems. The ADA-accessible venue boasts an office and green room, a floor with radiant heat, and audiovisual equipment.

While the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse is under the jurisdiction of Rec and Park, the renovation and activation of the space is part of a multi-agency coalition which includes the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the Office of District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, Public Works, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the Planning Commission and the San Francisco Arts Commission. The renovation was made possible by the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond Parks Bond, state funding advocated for by District 19 Assemblymember Phil Ting, the City’s general fund, and Historic Preservation and New Market Tax Credit Funds and grant funding through the partnership with the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST).

“I’m thrilled to see the completion of the Geneva Car Barn project, creating a place to nurture and inspire generations of local talent. It’s important to invest in the arts, and I’m proud to have championed $3.5 million in state funding that helped transform this historic landmark into a community treasure,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Publication: Voice of America

At least 2,100 anti-Asian hate incidents have been reported in the United States since March. Asian-American activists say the racism is being fueled in part by political speeches against China in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Los Angeles-based Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council is a coalition of organizations that support the rights and needs of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. The organization is gathering reports called Stop AAPI Hate of incidents against Asian-Americans.

It says most of the incidents were cases of hate speech, like racial insults. But it said about 8 percent involved physical attacks, including spitting on victims and bans against Asians from businesses.


Trump began to accuse China of delays in reporting news of the outbreak in Wuhan. He also said China had not reported on the severity of COVID-19 and its spread.

Trump also has repeatedly described the new coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and “kung-flu.” Asian Americans and others say the terms are derogatory and have led people to blame them for the disease.


Phil Ting, a state assemblyman in California, said those words have led to an increase in anti-Asian behavior and hate crimes. “You see leaders express words that really give license to other people to express those same sentiments and also to act on them,” Ting said.