California’s farming community – the heart and soul of the Valley’s economy – has become the scapegoat for the state’s water shortage.
Environmentalists have wrongly claimed that agriculture uses 80 percent of the state’s water. The fact is, the environment uses more than 40 percent of the state’s water. The same folks spinning that lie are suggesting that agriculture “can – and should – do more during the drought.”
But how do you do “more” with zero water? With zero allocations in many areas of the state, and nearly a million acres of prime ag land going fallow this year, farmers and farmworkers have suffered more than enough.
To his credit, when the governor recently announced mandatory urban water restrictions, he stood up for farmers and farmworkers, as reported in the Sacramento Bee:
“The farmers have fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of land. They’re pulling up vines and trees. Farmworkers who are at the very low end of the economic scale here are out of work… they’re not watering their lawn or taking longer showers. They’re providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America,” the governor said.
I recently co-signed a letter to the governor, which acknowledged his defense of the agricultural community and applauded his urban conservation efforts.
The letter also encouraged the governor to make sure his agencies move quickly to get water bond dollars to projects that secure our water future, keep our family farms and businesses productive, and put Californians to work building the new infrastructure we need to store, deliver, and treat water, as promised to voters when they passed Proposition 1.
Since the governor recently presented a plan to “streamline environmental permitting for critical water supply projects…that focus on projects that increase local water supplies with limited environmental impacts,” we urged the governor’s support of Senate Bill 127. The measure, which was authored by several of us in the Senate, would provide the same level of streamlined review for all water-bond funded projects as was provided for the new downtown Sacramento sports arena.
Common sense has no party lines, and we hope the governor can support these common sense priorities to help create a reliable and stable water supply for all Californians.
To read the letter to the governor, click here.
Each year the California Department of Education (CDE) honors exemplary public schools across the state with the California Gold Ribbon School Award.
This year, nine Senate District 14 schools have earned the award:
- Orosi High School
- Harmony Magnet Academy
- Dinuba High School
- Fowler High School
- Sanger High School
- Washington Academic Middle School (Sanger)
- McFarland High School
- Lemoore Middle College High School
- Pioneer Union Elementary
The award was established to honor schools that have demonstrated their excellence through:
- evidence of high academic expectations for all students;
- visionary and collaborative leadership;
- implementation of state-adopted standards;
- a strong core curriculum;
- teaching strategies that provide challenging learning experiences for all students;
- learning support services for those with special needs;
- support for student learning through family involvement and partnerships; and
- a learning environment that communicates the importance of education in our society.
“Hats off to the administrators, faculty, staff and parents for their untiring commitment to the success of our students,” said Andy. “Team Vidak is very proud of the students for their determination and commitment to be the best they can be.”
Click on the photos to read more about what Team Vidak is doing in our communities and at the Capitol.
Rogelio Caudillo has been promoted to full-time district representative in Vidak’s district office in Hanford.
Rogelio most recently served as the part-time district scheduler/part-time field representative in the Hanford office, after serving as a Senate Fellow in Vidak’s Capitol office.
“We are very pleased to have Rogelio, who is from our district, take on greater responsibility as part of Team Vidak,” said Vidak. “Rogelio has proven his commitment to helping serve the people of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties in Senate District 14.”
“I am happy and excited to be out in the field, and being able to meet with and serve the many communities in our district,” said Rogelio.
Born in Delano and raised in Earlimart, Caudillo is a first-generation university graduate from a rural community. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Bakersfield. It was during his undergraduate studies that he became especially passionate about politics. His passion led to leadership positions in various campus organizations, attending an academic seminar from The Washington Center at our nation’s capital, and receiving an award of recognition from the Center for Kern Political Education.
Paige McConnaughy joins Team Vidak as a summer fellow. Paige, who is from Hanford, spent two weeks serving in the Hanford district office before moving to Sacramento to serve in the Capitol office through the rest of the summer.
“We appreciate Paige lending her time and talent to help Team Vidak serve the folks of the Senate District 14,” said Andy.
Paige is a sophomore at UC Berkeley, majoring in Political Science and Public Policy. While at Berkeley she was selected to be a fellow in Cal-in-Sacramento, a program that combines a semester course on California Politics with a summer internship at the state Capitol. “As a constituent of Senator Vidak’s district, it’s an incredible honor to work and serve in his offices,” said Paige. “I am so excited for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to all that I will learn and experience in the coming weeks!”
Andrew (Drew) Phelps has joined Team Vidak as a summer intern in Andy’s Hanford district office. Born and raised in Tulare, Drew attended high school at San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno.
His exposure to multiple communities through direct contact and relationships with other students from throughout the Valley has granted him a deep understanding and appreciation for local issues and political climate.
Drew is entering his Senior year at Pitzer College in Claremont, California working toward his B.A. in Political Studies, and will be continuing his education through his simultaneous work at Claremont Graduate University, ultimately culminating in an M.A. in American Politics.
“We are grateful that Drew is loaning his time and talent to help Team Vidak serve the folks in the 14th Senate District,” said Andy.
“I am enthused to be working with Senator Vidak this summer and I hope to fulfill my duties as a true public servant to the fullest of my capabilities,” said Drew.
For more than five years, the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) California Scholars program has proudly recognized and rewarded the educational excellence and personal achievement of California college-bound high school seniors and accomplished post-secondary students enrolled in colleges and universities.
The (CLBC) California Scholars program helps qualified students pay for a portion of their college costs.
Who May Apply?
CLBC Scholar Financial Assistance Scholarship candidates must be full-time students in good academic standing.
Freshman college students with a minimum of 12-units at an accredited college or university are eligible to apply for financial assistance scholarships through the CLBC California Scholars program.
Graduating high school seniors possessing written proof-of-acceptance to an accredited community college, private or state college or private or state university are eligible to apply for CLBC California Scholars financial assistance scholarships for their freshman year of college.
All candidates for a CLBC California Scholars financial assistance scholarship must document that they have attained a minimum 2.5 grade point average (GPA) to demonstrate their individual educational achievement and denote their commitment to excellence in education.
The deadline to apply is June 12, 2015.
Team Vidak recently met with Valley representatives of the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA) at the Capitol.
CSHA is promoting a new campaign to raise awareness of the early signs of communication disorders. Speech, language and hearing problems can be reversed and even prevented if they are detected early, but many people are unaware of the warning signs, which include:
Children: Signs of a Language Disorder
- Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
- Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
- Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
- Says only a few words (12-18 months)
- Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
- Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
- Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
- Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)
Children: Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder
- Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
- Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
- Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)
Children: Signs of Hearing Loss
- Lack of attention to sounds (birth-1 year)
- Does not respond when you call his/her name (7 months-1 year)
- Does not follow simple directions (1-2 years)
- Shows delays in speech and language development (birth-3 years)
- Pulls or scratches at his/her ears
- Difficulty achieving academically, especially in reading and math
- Socially isolated and unhappy in school
- Persistent ear discomfort after exposure to loud noise (regular and constant listening to electronics at high volumes)
To learn more, visit www.identifythesigns.org.
Several measures that Andy authored have passed out of the Senate and have moved to the Assembly:
Senate Bill 244 — Mobile Home Safe Communities
Mobile home residents are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their property and common areas, while park owners are obligated to preserve that quiet enjoyment. This measure would allow mobile home park owners to continue using an injunction order to enforce the rules of a mobile home park.
Senate Bill 497 — Pupil Transportation Data
This measure would require the California Department of Education (CDE) to collect and post online pupil transportation data to help the state and policy makers understand how it is severely underfunding school bus transportation in rural communities. State underfunding of school transportation takes money out of the classroom.
Senate Bill 736 — Escrow Protection Act
In the past, there have been cases of fraud which have resulted in the failure of escrow companies, putting the assets of individuals who had money in these escrow companies at risk. This measure would protect an individual’s assets held in escrow accounts if an escrow company goes out of business.
Following are upcoming legislative deadlines in the month of June:
June 1 - 5
Floor Session only. No committee may meet for any purpose.
Last day for bills to be passed out of the house of origin. (Senate bills must clear the Senate, and Assembly bills must clear the Assembly.)
Committee meetings may resume.
State Budget must be passed by midnight.
Beginning June 8, Andy’s new Bakersfield District Office will be located at 1201 E. California Avenue, Suite A. The office phone and fax numbers will remain the same.
The move was necessary because the original Bakersfield office on Truxtun Avenue is not located in the new Senate District 14 boundaries, which took effect after the November 2014 election.
Full Bakersfield office information:
Office of Senator Andy Vidak
Senate District 14
1201 E. California Avenue, Suite A
Bakersfield, CA 93307
(661) 395-2620 office
(661) 395-2622 fax