Berryhill Bulletin: September 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Image of a sign that reads End of Affordable Housing

We can’t spend our way out of this housing crisis

If you’re one of the millions of Californians struggling to find an affordable place to live, don’t think for a second that the so-called affordable housing measures that just passed the Legislature will help you.

The housing bills were well-intentioned, but overlooked both data and reason. Predictably, the bills try to solve the problem by throwing money at it. But lawmakers need to look no further than the first page of any book on economics to learn the issue is one of supply and demand.

Simply put, housing costs are skyrocketing because there is not enough supply to keep up with demand. Experts say 180,000 new domiciles need to be built each year to keep up with the state’s rising population. Last year, only slightly more than half of that was built - and that was actually an improvement from previous years.

The problem is clear-cut: California has made it too expensive to build houses, which has led to a shortage of supply. The solution is just as clear cut: We need to make it affordable to build homes. This is one problem we can’t spend our way out of.

To promote development, we need to cut red tape and reduce frivolous lawsuits. Even if state spending was a viable solution, regulations and endless legal action from opponents would still derail development.

For more on this issue, please see my op-ed in My Mother Lode.

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AB 1250 harmful to state’s most vulnerable

Fortunately the legislative session ended with one of the worst bills being killed for the year (although it will have to be fought again in 2018). The bill in question is Assembly Bill 1250. If passed and signed by the governor this bill would have had a negative impact on many nonprofit organizations that provide services in our communities.

In its current form, AB 1250 would make it very difficult for local governments to contract with nonprofits and other agencies that provide services to our children and others in need. It is a de facto ban on counties contracting out for such services as medical care at county hospitals, 9-1-1 emergency dispatch, cooling centers in the summer, heating centers in the winter, counseling for children who are victims of sex trafficking and counseling and other support services for victims of domestic violence.

At its heart, AB 1250 is a power grab by Sacramento-based unions that will either mean the elimination of these services altogether or local governments being forced to provide them at a much greater cost to taxpayers.

Nonprofits from across the state have written letters in opposition to AB 1250. Senate Republicans have created a website to provide you more information on this harmful piece of legislation.

I am firmly against AB 1250 in its current form. I’m hopeful the majority party in the Senate will side with California’s nonprofits and counties and defeat AB 1250 again next year - I know I will.

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Image of a girl fishing

12-month fishing licenses

I’m sad to say SB-187, my bill that would have created a 12-month fishing license, died over in the Assembly. However, as luck would have it, I was able to get similar language into a new bill, SB-518.

I believe the new language will be able to get a majority of support. I will be fighting hard for this one next year.

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Image of female soldier

Honoring women veterans

Women have contributed greatly to our military and there’s no limit to how much praise they deserve. On September 18 in Fresno, veterans groups hosted the 4th annual Central Valley Women Veterans’ Stand Up to honor the women who have served.

Dr. Jacqueline L. Ryle — a nationally-known trainer of collaboration, communications, motivation, conflict resolution and strategic planning — was the keynote speaker.

The event was presented by: Central Valley Veterans, American Legion Post 509, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8900, Fresno County Veterans Employment Committee, Central California Women’s Conference, VA Central California Health Care System, Fresno Vet Center and Central Valley Red Cross.

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Help with veterans’ services

Also in Fresno, the Central Valley Veterans hosted Stand Down 2017, where vets could come get some of the help they so desperately deserve.

Services available included: VA claims, community resources, haircuts, hot meals, clothing, personal hygiene supplies, mental and medical health referrals, social security card applications, CA ID applications and educational and employment opportunities.

Thank you to all the vets for their service to our country. And thank you to the Central Valley Veterans for all the good work they do in our community.

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Image of Helicopter dumping water on fires

Fire safety

We are in what’s hopefully the tail-end of a brutal and merciless fire season. I hope everyone does whatever they can to be safe. I assure you I’m doing everything I can in Sacramento to give our district some help with this crisis.

I wanted to share an interesting website that may be helpful. California Smoke Information gives daily updates to air quality throughout the state as it relates to smoke, and offers other useful advice and info. I hope it helps.

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Small business of the month

Congratulations to Medlen’s House of Beef in Oakdale - our September Small Business of the Month.

Steve and Cindi Medlen (shown above with Bob Phelan from my Oakdale office) opened House of Beef in 1979 as a meat processing and ranch butchering plant. Steve is a 3rd generation meat processor.

A few years later, the Medlens decided to try their luck with a BBQ on wheels, which served ribs, chicken and steak at local events. In 1989, they added a smoke house at the brick-and-mortar location, as well as a vacuum tumbler for tenderizing meat.

The foodservice side of the business grew gradually. By 1990, a full-service kitchen had been added for catering. And eventually Steve started selling BBQ on the street on Friday nights. By the end of the decade, Steve had the food processing facility, another kitchen and the restaurant that stands in Oakdale today.

Since 2008, the Medlens have hosted the Oakdale Merchants meetings at the House of Beef every other Wednesday from 8-9am, where business owners can come discuss ongoing issues and concerns. Representatives from my office are usually present to discuss current legislation and how together we can improve the greater Oakdale community.

Steve is one of the sponsors of “Sober Grad Night” for local schools. Steve also hosts fundraisers and raises money for both the Future Farmers of America and Rotary International, of which Steve is an Honorary Member.

Please join me in congratulating this amazing couple (and business) for all they do in the community.

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In The News

Gold Rush Cam: Senator Tom Berryhill’s bill helping disabled veterans heads to governor

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Follow Me!

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.

Twitter: @TomBerryhill


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We are here to help

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.

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Rm 3067
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 651-4008

Fresno Office
6215 N. Fresno St.
Fresno, CA 93710
(599) 253-7122

Jackson Office
33 C Broadway
Jackson, CA 95642
(209) 223-9140

Oakdale Office
102 Grove Ave, Suite B
Oakdale, CA 95361
(209) 848-8001

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Mobile office hours

4th Thursday
Denair - September 28th
10:30 - 11:30am
Denair Community Services District
3850 North Gratton Road, Denair, CA 95316

1st Tuesday
Sonora - October 3rd
10:00 - 11:30am
Sonora City Fire Department
201 South Shepherd Street, Sonora, CA 95370

1st Friday
Waterford - October 6th
2:00 - 3:00pm
City of Waterford
101 E. Street, Waterford, CA 95386

1st Friday
Oakdale - October 6th
3:30 - 4:30pm
Senator Berryhill District Office
102 Grove Ave, Oakdale, CA 95361

2nd Thursday
Hughson - October 12th
11:00 - 12:00pm
City of Hughson City Hall
7018 Pine Street, Hughson, CA 95326

2nd Thursday
Turlock - October 12th
1:30 - 2:30pm
Turlock Chamber of Commerce
115 S. Golden State Blvd, Turlock, CA 95380

4th Thursday
Denair - October 26th
10:30 - 11:30am
Denair Community Services District
3850 North Gratton Road, Denair, CA 95316

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