Welcome to my newsletter. I am delighted to give you an update on just a few of the things I've been working on in Sacramento and around the district.Problems viewing this E-mail? Please click here.
Senator Ben Allen


 


Dear Friend,

Welcome to my newsletter. I am delighted to give you an update on just a few of the things I've been working on in Sacramento and around the district. As always, my office is here to serve you, so please feel free to contact us any time through our website if you need assistance with state government, or to let me know your views on an issue.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Senator Ben Allen
BEN ALLEN
Senator, 26th District
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IN THIS ISSUE

Fixing our freeways

Protecting veterans' pensions

US Poet Laureate

Bobcat trapping ban

PCH safety

Summer interns

Outstanding teens

Photo album


Legislature Tackles Road Maintenance Backlog

Transit press conference

Not long ago, California's roads and freeways were the envy of the nation. But after decades of neglect, they have fallen into serious disrepair and we are facing a staggering backlog of road maintenance across the state. In the Los Angeles area, our potholed streets and congested freeways are a constant source of frustration and aggravation.

In response to this growing crisis, Governor Jerry Brown called a special legislative session focused on fixing our streets, bridges and highways. I serve on the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Development Committee that will review and vote on the proposals to address the road maintenance backlog.

A coalition of northern and southern California legislators is working to ensure that public transit is a key part of the discussion on upgrading our transportation system. More than 1.4 billion trips per year are taken on public transit, which helps reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. Our efforts are having an impact, as the governor recently updated his proposal to include $400 million in dedicated funds for public transit which was not a part of his previously announced plan. View video here.


Protecting Veterans' Pensions

Honoring veterans

I am grateful that Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a measure I authored to protect California's two million veterans from pension scams. The legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 386, was in response to the increasing number of veterans who are victimized by investment schemes in which they are promised a lump-sum cash payment in exchange for their monthly retirement income.

This practice is illegal under federal and state law, but several companies continue to advertise these transactions in publications targeting veterans. SB 386 makes it illegal to advertise pension poaching scams, and allows prosecutors to file suit against the persons behind these advertisements. The legislation is a modest, but important, reform that will help prevent our retired servicemen and women from having their livelihoods stolen by predatory scammers in the future.

Another issue of concern to veterans and active duty military members was addressed in legislation I've coauthored with Assemblymember David Hadley, Assembly Bill 306. This bill aims to ease the transition for military families when they are transferred to a new location. The average military family moves nine times in a 20-year career, and this bill will allow them to apply and gain admission to the school they believe is best for their child in the new community.  Click here for details. This issue is very important to families stationed locally at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo and other bases throughout the state.


Poet Laureate Visits State Senate

Bobcat Hunting Ban Approved

Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

As chair of the legislature's Joint Committee on the Arts, I was honored to introduce esteemed California writer and poet, Juan Felipe Herrera, on the Senate Floor in July. Earlier this year, Mr. Herrera was named the next United States Poet Laureate, the country's highest honor in poetry. A native of California and the son of Mexican migrant workers, Mr. Herrera will be the first Latino Poet Laureate since the position was created in 1936.

Mr. Herrera has written more than 28 books of poetry, as well as novels for young adults and books for children. He is convinced that the arts in middle school helped him find his own voice, and now he has dedicated his life to using the power of words to inspire, champion, and encourage others. It was a privilege to hear him recite one of his original poems before the full Senate.

Bobcat

The California Fish and Game Commission recently voted to end bobcat trapping in the state. In the past this cruel practice resulted in 1,300 bobcats being taken annually by more than 100 commercial bobcat hunters who trap them and sell their pelts overseas. I joined 12 of my colleagues in urging the commission to take action to protect these magnificent animals, and we are grateful they did so. The trapping ban is a direct result of the 2013 landmark law authored by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom which required the Commission to consider ending this inhumane activity.

 


Pacific Coast Highway Safety

New video urges "slow down and pay attention"

Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is one of the world's most iconic roads, but unfortunately it also has been the scene of far too many traffic accidents. The stretch of PCH between Santa Monica and the Ventura County Line is especially hazardous.

Several local elected officials including myself, Senator Fran Pavley, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl have teamed up with the City of Malibu and the California Office of Traffic Safety on a Task Force to improve safety on the PCH. One of our first action items was to create a public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness among drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians of the need to take extra precautions when traveling on the PCH. The video, titled "Stay Safe on the PCH" recently won a national competition for outstanding local government achievement in communications awarded by the City County Communications Marketing Association. To view the video, click here. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the production of this safety video.


Thank you to our summer interns!


District Interns

Capitol interns Kiana Okhovat, from UC Davis, and Josh Lappen, from Stanford University.

Tyler Boelts, an Equality California intern from Boulder, Colorado.

Joan Chu Reese (left), mother of Capitol intern Connor Reese (right), a Harvard Westlake High School student.

I'd like to give a huge shout out to our fantastic summer interns in my district and State Capitol offices. They were a tremendous help, and I appreciate their service to our Senate District and the people of California. Thank you to our district interns Eran Hazary, Chloe Majdipour, Kate Scandura, and Kristina Teslenko, Nicholas Cole, Rachel Cohen, Nicole Youssef, Spencer Greene, Ally Sidley, Debbie Lee, Christopher Paludi, Jane Roschen, Jack Sadler, Kai McNamee; and my State Capitol interns Tyler Boelts, Josh Lappen, Kiana Okhovat, and Connor Reese. All of them were awesome!


Outstanding Teens

Honoring veterans
From left, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, Patel Scholarship winner Edwin Mendez, and Senator Ben Allen.

We are fortunate to have many outstanding young people in our community, and I'd like to recognize two of them in this edition of our newsletter.

The first is Senate District 26 resident Edwin Mendez who was awarded the Patel Scholarship for his outstanding academic and personal achievements.

A native of Mexico, Edwin transferred to Santa Monica's Olympic High School with fewer than half the credits of his peers and having completed no high school mathematics or English courses. He worked tirelessly to catch up and overcome his challenges, and ultimately he mastered Algebra and completed eight English classes in his last two years of school.

Edwin is the first member of his family to attend college. His strong work ethic and dedication to his studies will guide him as he pursues a degree in either renewable energy systems or health fitness training. Congratulations to Edwin and his family on a remarkable accomplishment.

I also congratulate 12-year-old Kirra Troeger of Manhattan Beach, who is the first person with Down Syndrome to complete the Los Angeles County Junior Lifeguard training. The rigorous test involves swimming 100 yards in under 1:50 (one minute and 50 seconds). With the support and encouragement of Ken Hasket and Kyle Daniels of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard program, and a huge amount of hard work and dedication, Kirra passed the test with flying colors.


Photo Album


Senator Allen's district office staff welcomed Special Olympics Athletes from Suriname to their host city, Redondo Beach.

Coastal Cleanup Day 2015.

Santa Monica 4th of July Parade.

Senator Allen joined members of the Courage Campaign to deliver a petition signed by 50,000 people calling for an end to fracking (aka hydraulic fracturing) in California.


 


California State Senator Ben Allen - District 26
Website: http://senate.ca.gov/allen
Contact: Senator Ben Allen
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5072
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4026
Fax: (916) 651-4926
District Office
2512 Artesia Blvd., #320
Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3279
Phone: (310) 318-6994
Fax: (310) 318-6733 


California State Senate Majority Caucus (c) 2017 California State Senate