Minutes from October 23, 2018 Open Board Meeting-Senators Feinstein & Harris’s Deputy State Directors

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

 Open Board of Directors Meeting

Norton Event Center
1601 E. Third St., Suite 138
San Bernardino, CA 92408


Present:   Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Sandra Espadas, Adam Eventov, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Dick Hart, Pam Langford, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Tomas Moales, Dan Murphy, Roman Nava, Kevin Pulliam, Brian Reider, Tomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Elizabeth Romero, Kristine Scott, David VanVoorhis and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests: Ted Alejandre, Catherine Pritchett, Arnold San Miguel and Todd Warden. 

Announcements: 1) There are two vacancies on the SBCTA Independent Taxpayer Measure I Oversight Committee.  The expected committee work has minimal time requirements.  Applications are available through Inland Action. 2) Member Ken Coate has applied to serve on the SCAQMD AB 617 Community Steering Committee.

M/S/P: Minutes from October 16, 2018

Pam Langford introduced Peter Muller, Senator Feinstein’s Deputy State Director, and Heather Hutt, Senator’s Harris’ Deputy State Director.

Senators Feinstein and Harris work closely together on issues for California.

As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the past two years, Senator Feinstein is focused and trying to fill many open judicial positions.  She has been extremely busy with the recent Supreme Court hearings and concerned that the push to appoint federal court judges is at an unprecedented speed.   The Senator has had a good record with many administrations on appointments, unfortunately that has not been the case with this administration.  She and staff hope for a re-set and to establish a better relationship when the new White House Counsel is named.

Senator Feinstein, and others, are concerned that the long tradition of the “blue-slip” courtesy is now no longer in use.  The blue-slip courtesy exists to ensure that the White House consults with home-state senators before nominating an individual to the bench.  In the past, Senator could stop a lower court nominee by refusing to return a sheet of paper, the “blue slip,” to the Judiciary Committee.

Gun safety continues to be a priority for the Senator.  The reversal of the weapons ban last year was very disappointing, but she will work toward restoring common sense regulations.

She is concerned about the current trade wars and their effects.  Citing tariffs, the U.S. steel market now has difficulty getting needed materials.  Agricultural exports from the U.S. to China (totaling some 2$B annually) will also likely be hurt.

Water remains a critical issue for California.  The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act that passed in 2016 has now received $500M in federal funding which has helped water resources infrastructure.

Senator Feinstein has her eye on both the San Bernardino International Airport and the Ontario Airport.  As a supporter of the City of Ontario regaining local control, she is pleased to see increased passenger and freight service in addition to new carriers like Jet Blue and Frontier.  She understands both airports have Customs issues that need resolution.

Her office has been working with the FAA to address noise complaints from residents in Lake Arrowhead, as flight paths have changed since the FAA changed navigation systems.

The Senator will introduce a bill that will add land and address the recreational off-road use in connection to her Desert Protection & Public Lands Bill.

Senator Kamala Harris recently introduced LIFT the Middle-Class Act, which will provide middle class and working families with a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year, or up to $500 a month, to help address the rising cost of living.  In July of this year the Senator introduced the Rent Relief Act that would create a new, refundable tax credit to put more money in the pockets of families at a time when renters’ wages have remained stagnant and housing costs have increased rapidly.  Both would greatly benefit San Bernardino residents.

Both Senators continue to press for a bill to help the state better prepare for wildfires.  The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would provide emergency funding for wildfires, much the same way the federal government handles other natural disasters like tornadoes and floods, without draining resources for forestry management and other long-term fire suppression work.

Senator Harris is interested in jobs of the future and was impressed with the Chaffey Collage Workforce Training Institute.  Older adults were getting hands on training and re-tooling and young adults were learning specific fields needed by employers.

The Senator supports:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and wants it to stay intact
  • Gun control such as Sen Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2017
  • Co-sponsor of Keep Families together
  • Keeping the Affordable Care Act

A Q & A period followed.

Meeting Adjourned 8:30 a.m.