Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Joint Meeting with Monday Morning Group
7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m. – Galleria Room
Mission Inn, Riverside, CA
Present: Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Adam Eventov, Louis Goodwin, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, John Mirau, Keven Porter, Dan Roberts, Kristine Scott and Hassan Webb.
Brian Hawley, President, Monday Morning Group called the meeting to order, welcomed all attending and thanked Inland Action for joining the meeting. Self-introductions were made. The Monday Morning Group made their advocacy trip to Sacramento February 24-26, 2019 and are preparing for their advocacy in Washington, D.C. May 6-9, 2019. Conversely, Inland Action held their advocacy in Washington, D.C. March 11-13, 2019 and preparing for Sacramento April 22-23, 2019. The groups shared their respective issues and experiences.
The following issues were taken to Sacramento by the Monday Morning Group:
Addressing California’s Homeless Challenge through Housing First
ISSUE: California is experiencing an unprecedented explosion in the homeless population unequaled anywhere in the United States. The many causes of homelessness are complicated, but chief among them is a sheer lack of affordable housing available to the full spectrum of California’s population. Such a lack of affordable housing is exacerbated when partnered with a severe income inequality plus a cut to social services serving those most in need including youth, the mentally ill, and seniors.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges the Governor and Legislature to consider a comprehensive and collaborative approach between Housing First homeless services, affordable housing, neighborhood wellness, and household income. Specific policy initiatives include:
- Pass legislation and state regulations to provide sufficient funding with reasonable flexibility to pursue:
- Significant and sustained Housing First unit production with varied build-out designs;
- Compatible supportive services over the life of the Housing First produced units;
- Post release supportive services, housing, and employment from varied institutional facilities.
- Offer tax credits to landlords and property owners for viable affordable Housing First units;
- Offer tax credits to employers for employing a retrained/retraining person working out of homelessness;
- Revise program regulations of the Department of Finance Community Based Transitional Housing Program to allow for permanent supportive housing units instead of transitional housing units;
- Move forward with a new version of redevelopment to produce housing; and
- Enact program regulations that affirmatively allocate resources equitably to the local jurisdictions of the Inland Southern California region.
California’s Affordable Housing Crisis
ISSUE: California’s chronic housing unaffordability problem is one of the state’s greatest unsolved economic and public health challenges.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges the Legislature to restore housing affordability to the state by introducing land regulation reform that help create certainty in a projects timelines and expectations, development fee reductions where the costs are counted and considered and relevant to the project, and for the most vulnerable in our communities continue to work on at least restoring the $1 billion a year loss of redevelopment funds that went toward helping meet the housing needs of targeted populations.
The Governor’s proposal to increase the budget to include additional dollars to build more housing for low-income and homeless Californians and to help cities rezone and streamline approvals to speed up housing development is a positive start in addressing the needs in a statistically significant manner. State legislators need to work for solutions such as the reform of the California Environmental Quality Act and others to remedy the housing shortage and solve California’s affordable housing crisis.
For Riverside County in particular, regulatory changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, and changes to how Housing Trust Funds are allocated to local jurisdictions are needed. The Monday Morning Group encourages the Governor and the Legislature to move forward with a new version of redevelopment as a needed resource to the production of housing.
Accelerate the Distribution of Proposition 51 School Facilities Funds
ISSUE: The slow release of Proposition 51 funds has led to a significant delay on construction of facilities that provide access to STEM and workforce education programs in the Inland Southern California region. The delay has also seen projects escalate in cost due to inflation and the rules for facility planning and allocations do not allow for any change or scaling down of scope.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges the Governor and state agencies responsible for the distribution of school facilities bond funds to honor the will of the voters and fund the approved projects that allow the State to be a constructive and effective partner in meeting school modernization and construction needs. Specific to the community college system, the Monday Morning Group requests the Governor to fund all 60 of the projects from the Chancellor’s Office list of recommended projects and allow for the reduction in scope of approved projects as an option to offset increased costs as a result of inflation.
Equalize Special Education Funding
ISSUE: The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to identify students with disabilities and develop an individual education plan for each one. Further, IDEA expressly prohibits school districts from reducing special education services to students as a result of funding differences (or reductions). However, vast inequities in special education funding currently exist throughout the state, producing disproportionate cost burdens for many school districts.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges the Administration and State Legislature to address these inequities and lessen the burden on school districts by equalizing funding for special education.
Funding to Improve Community College Outcomes in Guided Pathways
ISSUE: The multitude of choices coupled with limited direction for enrolling community college students are sources of confusion and delay that often force students to take nearly six years on average to complete their studies. Additionally, the success rates for degrees as well as short- and long-term certificates are less than 50%. The Guided Pathways model is a major positive transformation in the educational delivery system, but its scope is currently limited. The key constraints on improving student success and equity identified in the Guided Pathways pilot program was the lack of well-staffed and equipped engagement centers in each of the academic clusters.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group requests the Legislature fund wrap-around integrated services in the amount $2,552,000 per year for staffing and a one-time equipment budget of $400,000. This will provide effective and comprehensive support systems so that student success seen in these Guided Pathways pilot programs can be expanded and enhanced.
Incentivize Prospective Teachers to Enter the Classroom
ISSUE: School districts throughout California continue to experience alarming rates of teacher shortages (Learning Policy Institute, 2017). Of particular concern is the fact that shortages are concentrated in districts serving high-need students and are greatest in the critical areas of special education, math, and science. ACTION: The State of California must make investments in evidence-based teacher recruitment and retention strategies (including but not limited to teacher residencies, loan forgiveness programs, and service scholarships) to increase the overall supply of qualified teachers in California, particularly in subjects and schools with persistent shortages.
Restore Cal Grant Funding Formula
ISSUE: The maximum Cal Grant award for students attending Independent California Colleges and Universities (ICCU) has not been increased since 2000. Instead, it has experienced cuts and a significant decline in value due to inflation. Today, the award is now worth 48% less in real dollars.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group requests the Legislature restore the long-standing statutory funding formula for Cal Grant awards to low-income students so that they have the same stability and predictability as the award that is provided to students attending public institutions.
ENVIRONMENT & WATER
School of Medicine – University of California, Riverside (UCR)
ISSUE: The Inland Southern California region has the greatest shortage of both primary care and specialist physicians of any region in the state, according to the California Health Care Foundation. The UCR School of Medicine opened in 2013 with a mission to expand and diversify the region’s physician workforce to address this urgent issue. However, state funding for this public medical school has been insufficient to fully meet current operational needs, and the school must double its current enrollment to measurably increase the number of doctors providing patient care in this underserved region.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges the Legislature to support SB 56, which would appropriate $80 million for the construction of a dedicated medical education facility and an additional $25 million annually in operational support.
Sustainable Transportation Institute Within Riverside’s Clean Technology Park
ISSUE: The State of California and the University of California, Riverside (UCR) share an opportunity to create a world-renowned nexus for sustainable transportation research and innovation, based on several past and current investments.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group supports a request of $10 million in motor vehicle settlement funding from the State of California to leverage funds from the private sector to carry out Phase I of establishing the Riverside Sustainable Transportation Institute and Clean Technology Park in close proximity to the California Air Resource Board (ARB)’s anticipated emissions testing facility and the UCR campus. Phase I funding would support the following tasks:
- Update UCR’s current motor vehicle testing facilities and conduct a training program to prepare local technicians and engineers for employment at the ARB Riverside test facility by 2021;
- Create a pilot program for ongoing education and collaboration opportunities in transportation, air quality, and health science for staff and faculty to foster interdisciplinary knowledge development and exchange;
- Conduct a site assessment and cost proposal for building the Clean Technology Park and Sustainable Transportation Institute adjacent to the anticipated ARB Riverside facility; and
- Establish a program for international visitors interested in State and UCR activities.
The California Waterfix (Formerly Called The Bay Delta Conservation Plan)
ISSUE: The critical supply of water that moves through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta remains vulnerable to a host of issues. It is critical that the California WaterFix be implemented to ensure the reliability of this water source to the Inland Southern California region.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group strongly urges the Governor and the Legislature to support the California WaterFix, to keep the project at two tunnels, and to allow Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) funds to be utilized for the Central Valley Project portion.
Funding Safe And Reliable Drinking Water For All Californians Must Not Rely On A Water Tax
ISSUE: The State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) has identified approximately 300 water systems within California that chronically fail to provide safe drinking water due to natural or manmade contamination or the failure of system infrastructure. This is an issue that must be addressed; however, passing a tax on water as proposed is not the method that should be used to fund ongoing operations of these systems. ACTION: The Monday Morning Group opposes efforts to establish a tax on water, and instead encourages the Governor and the Legislature to work alongside the water community to pursue an alternative funding mechanism that includes the formation of a charitable trust seeded with money from the general fund and other sources – which is a more stable, reliable, and secure funding mechanism than a water tax. It is also critical to address governance concerns in order to ensure that communities suffering from water quality and accessibility issues will have access to safe and reliable drinking water.
Perris North Basin Groundwater Contamination and Remediation Proposition 1 Grant Application
ISSUE: The Perris North groundwater basin has been a source of potable groundwater for over 100 years; however, contaminants from historical land use activities have made the basin too contaminated to drink without extensive treatment. Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) is pursuing Proposition 1 funding for a project to extract water and remediate this condition.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group strongly urges support for the State Water Resources Control Board to provide $33 million of Proposition 1 grant funding to address this groundwater issue, while creating many benefits for the region.
Improve Access to Health Care in Riverside County
ISSUE: In Riverside County, access to health care is substandard and is not meeting the demands under the new health care reform legislation in large part because the county ranks 57th amongst California’s 58 counties in state reimbursements for health care and emergency room services. This means local hospitals and physicians are being shortchanged millions of dollars annually, leading to low and decreasing access to health care and mental health resources.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges leaders in the Legislature and Administration to look for opportunities to resolve the disparities. The current formula for reimbursing counties for health and mental health services must be updated to reflect Riverside County’s great population growth and Emergency Medical Services Act funds must be reinstated. The most plausible course of action is to leave base funding as-is and apply future increases to the counties that are underfunded until parity is reached.
Increased Funding to Address Shortfall of Judicial Resources
ISSUE: The Riverside County Superior Court has a shortfall of 36 judicial positions from what is authorized for its population under the applicable formula of California law.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group supports further increased funding of the judicial branch to reinstate decreases instituted in the recession of 2008-2009 with allocation of funded judicial positions to the counties following the recommendations of Judicial Council’s Workload Allocation Funding Methodology.
Support Sb 16 to Fund New Judgeships
ISSUE: Riverside County has the fourth largest population of any county in California but has the greatest shortage of judges of any county according to the 2018 judicial needs assessment by the Judicial Council of California.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group supports Senate Bill (SB) 16 introduced by Senator Richard Roth. The bill would appropriate $8,887,800 from the General Fund to fund six superior court judge positions that are authorized by the Legislature under current law. The bill would require the Judicial Council to determine which positions are funded pursuant to its uniform criteria.
Distribute Greater Share of Sb 1 Local Partnership Funds by Formula
ISSUE: Senate Bill (SB) 1, co-authored by Senator Jim Beall and Assemblymember Jim Frazier, was drafted in 2017 after many years of hearing from transportation advocates about local, regional, and statewide needs. The legislative intent of the co-authors included the Local Partnership Program (LPP) to reward residents in counties that have voted to tax themselves to locally fund transportation improvements. LPP was inspired by a similar program created under Proposition 1B, approved by the state’s voters in 2006. Proposition 1B contained a program for distributing freight mobility funding throughout the state; this was a program that operated under statewide consensus, yet the agency responsible for adopting LPP guidelines departed significantly from this precedent, causing Riverside County not to receive its fair share of SB 1 LPP funds. Under the current LPP guidelines, Riverside County’s formula share is only $7 million annually, or 3.5% of available funds, despite Riverside County’s share of the statewide population being 6%. This particularly challenges the faith in government of taxpayers in Riverside County who annually contribute $180 million toward transportation projects benefitting all travelers.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges the Legislature to clarify the legislative intent in SB 1 and direct the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to revise the LPP guidelines to distribute a minimum of 95% of annual LPP funds by formula.
Fund Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Rail
ISSUE: There is no viable alternative to the Interstate 10 in Riverside County. A rail alternative is needed to relieve seasonal congestion, improve safety, increase tourism and economic growth, and reduce greenhouse gases. The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) has submitted two grant requests to the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) to receive State Rail Assistance (SRA) funding from Senate Bill 1 (2017) to advance the Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Rail Corridor Service, which will provide special rail service to Coachella music festivals and advance the project to the next level of environmental review for permanent service.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group encourages CalSTA’s approval of RCTC’s two SRA grant requests: 1) the Coachella Valley Special Event Train Platform Development Project – $5,942,510 and 2) the Coachella Valley San Gorgonio Pass Rail Corridor Study Tier 2 Environmental Impact Report and Conceptual Engineering Development Report – $7,261,500.
Make Nepa Assignment Permanent
ISSUE: Sections 326 and 327 of Title 23 of the United States Code allows states to apply to the United States Department of Transportation Secretary to take on the responsibilities of federal environmental review, known as National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Assignment. California has participated in the NEPA Assignment program since 2007.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group recommends the sunset on the NEPA Assignment program be removed to facilitate uninterrupted participation by the State of California in the program.
Protect the Original Intent of Sb 1 Funding for Local Transportation Projects
ISSUE: Recent proposals coming forward to tie the release of Senate Bill (SB) 1 funds for local transportation improvements to non-transportation state policy issues compromise the original intent of SB 1’s funding formulas. Such proposals would impair local transportation agencies’ ability to fund the many badly needed local projects to repair streets, highways, and other capital transportation improvements that voters have made clear they desperately want delivered in a timely manner.
ACTION: The Monday Morning Group urges the Legislature and the Governor’s office to resist any temptations to stray from the original legislative intent of SB 1 and avoid all attempts to tie the receipt of SB 1 transportation funds to other state policy issues.
Southern California Deserves Equitable Funding for Regional Rail And Public Transportation Projects
ISSUE: Recent announcements, discussions, and news articles indicate that there is a strong likelihood the state’s High-Speed Rail Project, which continues to suffer from cost overruns and construction delays, may be scaled back to focus only on the segment between the San Joaquin Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.
ACTION: In the event the scope and funding of the state’s High-Speed Rail Project is changed to benefit only Northern California, the Governor and the Legislature need to ensure that Southern California receives equitable funding from the State for its regional rail, public transportation, and related infrastructure projects.
Those present agreed that the timing of the joint meeting was ideal, and that Committee Chairs should communicate during the year for effective regional collaboration.
Meeting Adjourned 8:35 a.m.