Earlier this year, the California Water Commission single handedly decided to hold back new water storage funding from Proposition 1 dollars approved by the voters. Fortunately, advocates from across the state have continued their work to convince the Commission to reconsider their decision. A few weeks ago, the Commission reversed their earlier decision and has made initial recommendations for how the money will be spent.
Two of the largest proposed projects, Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat, have both received substantially more potential money. That’s the good news.
The bad news? The proposed funding does not come close to what it might take to make the projects a reality. For example, the Commission has recommended that Temperance Flat receive $171 million in bond funding - well short of the $1 billion that was requested and the nearly $3 billion needed to fully construct the project.
The Commission will hear appeals in May and finalize their decision in July. If you would like to stay up to date on the process please visit the following: www.cwc.ca.gov or sign up for the listserv by emailing email@example.com
Fire Tax Refund Stalls in Committee
I recently presented Senate Bill 1044 in the State Senate Governance and Finance Committee. SB 1044 would have refunded the fire tax that was enacted by the State Legislature in 2011. Since the inception of the tax, the State of California has collected nearly $500 million from property owners in rural areas across the state.
Not only was this tax unfair to the homeowners who pay it, as their special tax revenue goes to supporting those who don’t pay the tax, but it was approved through an unconstitutional vote threshold. This new “fee” should have been deemed a tax requiring a two-thirds vote because it supports general purpose programs.
Fortunately, the tax was suspended in 2017 but the property owners who paid millions of dollars from 2012-2017 deserve a more complete remedy. I believe the current state budget surplus has more than enough money to refund an unconstitutional tax foisted on nearly 800,000 rural property owners.
In addition to the legislation, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is currently challenging in the fee in court. For information on their advocacy please visit http://firetaxprotest.org/
Foster Youth Tuition Legislation Passes Committee on Bi-Partisan Vote
The California State Senate Education Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 967 which will waive Community College, CSU, and UC tuition and fees for foster kids who have been in foster care for at least twelve months.
I have served on the Human Services Committee for almost twelve years and have watched foster youth fight their way through the system. Anything we can do to help them break the cycle and earn a college degree is important.
Studies indicate that youth in foster care are less likely to enroll in college if they complete high school, and less likely to graduate from college if they enroll. Several factors, both academic and non-academic, contribute to this gap in educational success. Foster kids often can’t turn to parents for information about college, help with college applications, or assistance with their tuition.
Twenty-Eight states already have tuition waiver programs in place. Removing this barrier to education has the potential to be a true game changer in the lives of so many foster youth in this state.
I was honored to have received the Lifetime Achievement award from Donate Life California. As the recipient of a donated heart, I can personally attest to the miracles this organization helps provide. There are currently over 14 million people on the donor registry and 118,000 people across America who are awaiting transplant. Please take the time to visit https://donatelifecalifornia.org/ways-to-help/ to learn more about the organization, what it means to be a donor and how you can help save lives!
The American Red Cross will be installing free smoke alarms in Fresno on Saturday April 28th. Volunteers are need for shifts all day from 8:30am to 4:00pm or 8:30am to 1:00 pm. Drinks, snacks and lunch will be provided. For more information on how you can help please visit: www.soundthealarm.org
Left to Right - Owners, Jake & Hanna Wackerman, Jenna Welch of Sen. Berryhill’s office
I am pleased to announce our April Small Business of the Month is 1850 Restaurant and Brewing Company.
Jake Wackerman restaurant career started at the age of 13 washing dishes at a local steakhouse in his home town of Mariposa. By sixteen, Jake began dreaming and telling people of owning his own restaurant someday. Sixteen years and twelve restaurant jobs later, his path led him to San Luis Obispo where he met his future wife and business partner Hanna.
Hanna also had a passion for the food and beverage industry. She grew up working in her uncle’s restaurant in Templeton, California since age 9. She too dreamed of owning her own business one day. An ongoing conversation and vision for their own place quickly unfolded.
After much encouragement from Jake’s mother to move home to Mariposa (she owns a restaurant in Mariposa too!), and with the support from both of their families and friends, their dreams quickly became a reality. In April 2013 with the help of Hanna’s dad “Cowboy Bob” who was a general contractor the restaurant underwent a 30 day complete renovation of their space. A short 30 days later, 1850 opened its doors to the public on May 1st, 2013 and has proudly been serving quality, fresh food ever since.
Jake and Hanna were married at 1850 Restaurant in November of 2014.
In August 2016 the couple expanded their ever growing business to include “The Loft at 1850” which is their two bedroom loft above the restaurant that sleeps up to 6.
As soon as the restaurant and The Loft were on their feet, Jake began dreaming of expanding 1850 into a brew pub. Jake worked many hours in 2015 along side of Mike Hall at Yosemite Alewerks learning of the craft beer world. Mike quickly became Jake’s mentor and close friend.
In 2016 Jake and Hanna purchased a tiny 1.5 BBL brewing system and by March 2017, they were licensed and Jake was brewing. Jake quickly realized that keeping up with the demand from 1850 Restaurant was more work than one person could handle, so Shelby Dutra (Hanna’s sister) made the move to Mariposa to lend a helping hand and has become Jake’s “Brew Ninja.” Jake and Shelby both attended brewing courses at U.C. Davis to expand their knowledge into the beer world.
In May 2017 1850 Brewing Company hosted a Brewery Launch Party where they rolled out all six of Jake and Shelby’s brews. They are quickly realizing that they have outgrown their tiny 1.5 BBL system and their small brewing space, and are hoping to expand into a larger brewing system by May 2018.
1850 Restaurant + Brewing Company currently employs 35 local Mariposa residents. Jake and Hanna hope that by expanding the brewery they can add jobs for another 30 people within the next five years.
In 2017 the couple added another vacation rental in town called the “Adair House” and is a two bedroom, one bath that sleeps 6. Both rentals can be found listed on air bnb (or click on our lodging link).
Jake continues to give back to the community that embraced his return by teaching a cooking class for at risk teens in the Adult Education Department of Mariposa School District. Hanna served on the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 2014 to 2018. Both hope that their hard work and investment in the community will inspire other young entrepreneurs to invest in Mariposa as well.
Sierra Star: No fire fee this year, Berryhill wants refunds
We are starting to use Twitter and Facebook more and more to communicate with all of our constituents. It’s cheaper and more efficient than many of the traditional methods of communication, like mailings and earned media.
As of May 1st, the Jackson district office will be moving to 460 Sutter Hill Road in Sutter Creek. The office is staffed Monday through Friday and available to assist you with any issues or concerns you may have with your state government. Please feel free to give us a call at (209) 223-9140 or stop by for a visit.
The 8th Senate District is 27,000 square miles - one of the largest districts in the Senate and about the size of Rhode Island. To better serve you, I have set up three regional district offices with great staff available to listen to your opinions on legislation, lend a hand with problems you may be having with state agencies, or arrange an appointment with me. We also hold mobile office hours (see below). Please do not hesitate to contact one of my local offices if we can be of assistance.
State Capitol, Rm 3067
Sacramento, CA 95818
6215 N. Fresno St. Suite 104
Fresno, CA 93710
Sutter Creek Office
460 Sutter Hill Rd, Suite C
Sutter Creek, CA 95685
102 Grove Ave, Suite B
Oakdale, CA 95361