Vidak's News & Views - November 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In this Issue:
Note from Andy
Andy Calls for a Senate Hearing to Investigate EDD on Late Unemployment Checks
Andy Urges State Corrections to Contract with Cities to Ease Prison Overcrowding
Andy Urges the Governor to Protect Funding for Agricultural Education
Over 100 Join Andy at the Hanford Office Open House
You are Cordially Invited to the Fresno ‘Open House’
Out & About
Upcoming Calendar Highlights

Howdy folks –

October was a busy month, including meeting with the Employment Development Department (EDD) in Sacramento on delayed unemployment checks, attending the Veterans Home of California Fresno’s grand opening ceremony, fighting for the rights of farmworkers and continued funding for agricultural education, as well as visiting businesses in the devastating path of the High-Speed Rail project.

Early in the October, we met with the folks at PFFJ (a subsidiary of Hormel) in Corcoran. The pork agribusiness, which is a major employer in our Central Valley, is in the crosshairs of High-Speed Rail. The result of wiping out this business is that 43 full-time, year-round employees will lose their jobs and benefits, the loss of $100,000 in annual property taxes and the loss of over $1 million in annual payroll. Additionally, the Los Angeles-area Farmer John plant, which makes “Dodger Dogs,” will have difficulty replacing 150,000 market hogs on an annual basis, if PFFJ were to shut down.

That visit inspired me to launch the “Whistle-Stop-the-High-Speed-Rail” tour. My visit to PFFJ made me even more determined to stop High-Speed Rail.

Another Whistle-Stop visit we made was at the Cosmopolitan Bar & Grill Monday in downtown Fresno. The restaurant and full-service catering company, which has been owned and operated by the LanFranco family since 1933, may be wiped out of business because it is in the path of High-Speed Rail.

I plan to visit other major job creators in our Central Valley being run over by the HSR Authority in the next several weeks.

Hormel HSR
Andy’s visit to PFFJ inspired him to launch the “Whistle-Stop-the-High-Speed-Rail” tour.

Andy Cosmo
Andy visits with Joe and Gary LanFranco of the Cosmopolitan Bar & Grill in downtown Fresno,
which is in the path of High-Speed Rail. To watch the ABC-30 TV news report on the visit, click here.

Veterans Day

Although we are all busy this time of the year, we should take the time to honor all of the men and women who have bravely served our nation in the United States Armed Services this Veterans Day November 11th.

More than 1.9 million of those veterans are Californians. An additional 160,000 Californians are current, active-duty service members, reflecting California’s strong history of military service. This includes the 6,123 military personnel serving at the Lemoore Naval Air Station. California’s living veterans are found in every community and have served in every war from World War II through the current actions in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.

So please join me in honoring these courageous individuals, many of them our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, to ensure that their service and sacrifice is not forgotten or taken for granted.

To all of you who served, or are serving, to keep our nation “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” I salute you and your families who also sacrifice. God’s blessings on you and God bless America.

As always, thanks for the privilege to serve you!
Senator Vidak's Signature


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Andy Calls for a Senate Hearing to Investigate EDD on Late Unemployment Checks

Andy and Lorge

Andy and Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) met with officials at the Employment Development Department (EDD) in Sacramento on October 1. When constituents continued to have problems getting their unemployment checks, Andy and Senator Cannella sent a letter on October 15 requesting a Senate hearing to investigate why 150,000 Californians where delayed in getting their unemployment checks. To read the letter, click here.


Andy Urges State Corrections to Contract with Cities to Ease Prison Overcrowding

On October 21, Andy sent a letter to the secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) urging the state to contract with Community Correctional Facilities in Coalinga, Delano, Shafter and Taft to help with California’s prison overcrowding issue.

“I believe that these facilities can serve as an opportunity for the state to address our impending prisoner capacity issue brought about by the federal court order to reduce our prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity,” Andy wrote. “In 2011, longstanding CDCR contracts with the four public CCFs in the southern Central Valley were cancelled or not renewed, leading to the closure of facilities in Coalinga, Delano, Shafter, and Taft. Prior to the expiration of the contracts, these facilities held over 2,100 prisoners and provided jobs to 316 people in the surrounding community.”

To read the full letter, click here.


Andy Urges the Governor to Protect Funding for Agricultural Education

Andy joined Assemblyman Frank Bigelow and a bi-partisan group of twenty-three members of the legislative rural caucus in urging Governor Jerry Brown to protect future funding for high school agricultural education programs. In a letter dated October 30, the legislators requested continued funding of $4.1 million for the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant program. California’s 315 agricultural programs would be terminated should funding for these dynamic programs be eliminated.

“Agriculture is the economic engine of our Central Valley and we should do everything we can to support programs that connect California students to this vital industry,” said Andy in the letter.

To read the full letter, click here.


Out & About

Andy Tours Children's Hospital Central California

Asian Citrus Pysllid in Central Valley
In the photo with Andy are the hospital”s Government Affairs Director Tim Curley (left) and
President/CEO Todd Suntrapak (right).

Andy toured Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera on October 14. “The hospital’s planned expansion into Kern County will bring much-needed, high-paying jobs to the area,” said Andy.

Andy Recognizes National Bioenergy Day

Valley Fever: Awareness is Key
Andy and Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Pollard were at the Mt. Poso Cogeneration Plant in Kern County, touring and attending the ceremony recognizing October 17, 2013 as National Bioenergy Day.

Andy Helps Celebrate Shafter's Centennial

Valley Fever: Awareness is Key
Andy helped the City of Shafter celebrate its 100th Anniversary on October 18 with City Clerk Christine Wilson and the good folks of Shafter.

Shafter traces its roots back to 1898, when the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad was completed to Bakersfield. A hotel that was built to serve as the focal point of the new community was opened in 1913, the year that is considered to be the founding of the community of Shafter.

Andy Gets a Fracking Demo

Valley Fever: Awareness is Key
Andy really enjoyed spending a good part of October 31 being briefed and getting a demonstration on the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” process at Aera Energy’s Belridge Field Headquarters in western Kern.

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Over 100 Join Andy at the Hanford Office Open House

Valley Fever: Awareness is Key
Andy talks with constituents at the Hanford district office ‘Open House’ November 5. More than 100 people came (including Andy’s mom, Kathy, on the right) to share their ideas and concerns.


You are Cordially Invited to the Fresno 'Open House'

Please join us at our Fresno district office for a legislative update, and for an opportunity to share with us issues that are important to you and your family.

When: Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 4 – 6 p.m.
Where: 2550 Mariposa Mall, Suite 2016, Fresno

To R.S.V.P., click here.

For more information, please call Daniel Medina at (559) 585-7161.


Upcoming Calendar Highlights

Following are some highlights of Andy’s whereabouts in November:

11/8    Whistle-Stop-the-High-Speed-Rail tour at Cooper Family Farm in Kings County
11/8    Fresno Council of Goverments 2014 Policy Board meeting
11/8    CalWA California Water’s 5th Annual Alliance Aquatini Shakedown in Visalia
11/11   95th Annual Veterans Day Parade in Porterville
11/13   Lemoore Chamber of Commerce luncheon
11/14   Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee hearing in Sacramento
11/18   Tulare Irrigation District meeting in Tulare
11/19   Fresno District Office Legislative Open House
11/21   Wells Fargo community Partner Breakfast in Bakersfield
11/22   Corcoran Police Station Tour
11/28   Happy Thanksgiving!