News from Senator Blakespear - July 25, 2023

Greetings from Washington D.C.!

This past week I've been in our nation's Capital talking with key members of Congress and federal officials about the future of the coastal railroad that runs 350-miles across the length of my district.

The rail line is in major need of investment to ensure passenger service and goods movement is reliable and safe as we counter the threats of coastal erosion and climate change.

I’m very happy that train service was finally restored through San Clemente last Monday, after the hillside below Casa Romantica was stabilized and the tracks protected. I’m hopeful we’ll have no more interruptions to service in the immediate future.

But, in the meantime, much work needs to be done to plan for the not-so-distant future and safeguard the line for the next generation. That was the impetus for my trip to Washington, D.C.

I am grateful I had the opportunity to meet with the Northeast Corridor Commission, which oversees the very successful Northeast Corridor rail line, and several members of Congress, including Sen. Alex Padilla, Rep. Mike Levin, Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Sara Jacobs and staff for Sen. Dianne Feinstein. I also met with White House officials, military officials and federal agency staff, and I attended a national conference on homelessness. All are eager to help and provided valuable insights.

Meanwhile, the Senate Transportation Subcommittee on LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency, which I chair, will hold its next hearing on Aug. 15. We'll focus on understanding the benefits of a high functioning rail line, including congestion-relief, military readiness, goods movement, air quality protection, passenger convenience and economic prosperity. We'll then cover the very serious threats to its future and end with a conversation about federal and state investment.

In upcoming weeks, I will honor Senate District 38’s women leaders on July 31, hold a workshop on homelessness and, separately, a town hall on wildfire preparedness in Orange County on Aug. 10. (See the flyers below.)

Every day that I'm privileged to serve as your representative I feel a deep well of gratitude and the important responsibility of that commitment.

As always, I welcome your input.

In partnership,

You can see videos of my trip on Instagram and my other social media accounts:


Local Projects Funded by State Budget

In a tough budget year, I’m proud that I was able to secure funding for projects in my district that address housing and homelessness, transit and mobility, the environment and social services.

The 2023-24 state budget took effect this month.

It includes $10 million for building housing for those experiencing homelessness in Vista, improving the transportation corridor adjacent to a local high school in Encinitas with active transportation and mobility improvements, connecting a critical missing link of the Coast to Crest trail through construction of a bridge in the San Dieguito River Valley and procuring specialized hybrid transportation vehicles for seniors and individuals with mobility challenges in Orange County.

These are critically important projects in my district that would not be moving forward without this funding. I'm proud that my advocacy for our district is able to make a difference.

The state budget includes:

$5 million for the City of Vista to offer interim and permanent supportive housing units for people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk for homelessness in North San Diego County.

Vista’s interim supportive housing includes non-congregate bedrooms with shared kitchens in units like this one, which I recently toured, to help the unhoused exit encampments.

Katie Melendez

“Our goal is to resolve homelessness wherever possible,” said Vista City Councilmember Katie Melendez. “We often see those experiencing homelessness caught in an inefficient loop, struggling to obtain reliable shelter and housing. The $5 million in the State Budget for the City of Vista will allow us to develop an innovative, non-congregate shelter, provide transitional housing, and establish a path from suffering into healing. Thank you, Senator Blakespear for your collaboration and advocacy.”


$3.09 million for the City of Encinitas to complete the Santa Fe Drive Corridor Improvements Project to increase safety for bike riders and drivers on this busy corridor adjacent to San Dieguito Academy. The project includes buffered bike lanes that I specifically requested and also includes sidewalk improvements, parking, protected intersections, landscaping, storm drains and bus stop enhancements.

Above is an artist’s rendering of the finished project. The improvements will include protected bike lanes, sidewalks and landscaping.

Tony Kranz

“The Santa Fe Drive Corridor Improvements Project is a critical mobility project that will support active transportation and make it safer for residents and students to walk or cycle through the area,” said Encinitas Mayor Tony Kranz. “Construction will be split into two phases and includes protected bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, new sidewalks, bus stop improvements and a new signalized mid-block pedestrian crossing. Projects like this support mode shift by creating spaces where cyclists and pedestrians are comfortable and help get people out of cars. State funding of $3.09 million through Senator Blakespear’s office made it possible for the City to move this important project into the construction phase, and we are grateful to the Senator for acquiring this additional funding to complete this project.”


$1.4 million for the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority to complete the 1-mile Osuna Segment, a portion of the Coast to Crest Trail. The Osuna segment will connect the coastal portion of the San Dieguito River Park’s Coast to Crest trail to the central portion. The Osuna Segment will be located between the San Dieguito Lagoon and Fairbanks Ranch.

The Osuna Segment is a key connecter on the Coast to Crest trail.

Shawna Anderson

“We are extremely grateful for these essential funds to close a long-standing gap in the Coast to Crest Trail,” said Shawna Anderson, Executive Director of the San Dieguito River Park JPA. “The Osuna trail segment in the Fairbanks Ranch area will link 4 miles of western lagoon trail segments already in place to 27 miles of contiguous trail to the east closing a gap in the CTC Trail. The Osuna segment represents the 50th mile of the CTC Trail! The state funds combined with an existing public grant and private donations provide the needed funding to construct the bridge and trail and finally close this gap in the Coast to Crest Trail.”


$510,000 for Age Well of Orange County to procure six additional hybrid, specialized transportation vehicles to provide non-emergency transportation services throughout Orange County to seniors and individuals with mobility challenges.

Providing transportation to seniors is one of the important services provided by Age Well.

Steve Moyer

“We are both grateful and honored for the budget approval which was advocated by Senator Blakespear and approved by Governor Newson that will allow the purchase and inclusion of electric hybrid transportation vehicles to be added to our non-emergency medical transportation fleet,” said Steve Moyer, CEO of Age Well Senior Services, Inc. “These environmentally friendly and cost effective vehicles will provide over 7,000 trips each year and transport the seniors in our community to vital treatments such as dialysis, chemotherapy and other medical appointments which will allow them to age with dignity and independence.”


State Budget Overview

In June, the Legislature approved the 2023-24 state budget, which took effect on July 1. The $311.7 billion plan covers the wide expanse of state government, from K-12 schools and universities, to prisons and courts, to social services and everything else in between.

It’s a lot to comprehend, and it can be difficult to assess. This year, as you know, we had to cope with a budget deficit of more than $31 billion. That forced some tough decisions. I believe we made the right ones, and I am proud of the spending plan we adopted, given the circumstances.

If you’d like to explore the budget deeper, go here.

Big picture, the budget is responsible. It protects the progress made in recent years – there are no ongoing cuts to core programs and no middle class tax increases. It maintains previously planned program increases for schools, higher education, CalWORKs and SSI/SSP grants, Medi-Cal and more.

The budget closes the $31 billion budget deficit without dipping into state’s rainy day fund.

Here’s what it does in some key areas.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness
⦁ Provides $1 billion in Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) funding.
⦁ Requires regional planning and establishes additional accountability mechanisms for local spending of homelessness reduction and prevention resources across programs.

Public Transit
⦁ Dedicates $5.1 billion over five years to improve public transit infrastructure and operations.

Climate and the Environment
⦁ Provides a historic $1.2 billion in new investments in the environment, including funding to decarbonize buildings, incentivize clean vehicles and expand clean energy.
⦁ Adds $2.1 billion to combat wildfires.
⦁ Provides $548 million for Coastal Conservancy for sea level rise prevention.
⦁ Provides $550 million Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for zero emission vehicle programs.

⦁ Increases K-12 education funding by 8 percent, which amounts to $1.22 billion.
⦁ Increases funding for the University of California and California State University systems by 5 percent, which amounts to $215.5 million for the UC and $227.3 million for the CSU.
⦁ Provides $289 million for the Middle Class Scholarship program for 2024-25 to maintain the current level of the program in that school year.



Helping Constituents

Francine Busby (on right) with Cardiff resident Shannon Bradley at Pupologie Cardiff Dog Days on June 23.  

Every day, my district offices get calls from constituents like you who need help with a state government issue. Thankfully, I have a dedicated staff that is working to serve you and help resolve any problem you may have.

Recently, an Encinitas resident contacted my Encinitas District Office with a problem. He had been trying to get his UC retirement payments since March 2022, but over a year later, a process that was supposed to take only 45-60 days, continued to drag on.

Senior District Representative Francine Busby was able to follow up with the UC retirement system and resolve the issue.

The constituent wrote: “GREAT NEWS!! I have been in receipt of my UC Retirement funds. Today the final distributions were received in the mail. I wanted to take a moment to thank YOU and Senator Blakespear for your assistance in taking care of this matter.”

As always, my staff and I are here to serve you! If you have a state government issue, please contact me at


Gleaning Event Nets 1,600 Pounds of Fruit

Volunteers who joined us to glean fruit for San Diego’s food insecure toss some of their harvest in the air.

On July 8, more than 40 volunteers joined us to pick fruit from a Rancho Santa Fe orchard to provide to San Diego’s food insecure families. A big thanks to ProduceGood, which co-hosted the event with me and organized it.  

In just two hours, we were able to collect over 1,600 pounds of fruit that will be providing 4,800 servings of citrus. The harvest was donated to Feeding San Diego.

I enjoyed participating in this event. Picking fruit is deeply satisfying, and dedicating the effort toward a societal good is even better. Gleaning saves food from going to waste, helps provide fresh fruit to those who need it and gets the most out of our agricultural land. 

Touring Cutwater Spirits

On a tour with other members of the San Diego legislative delegation of Cutwater Spirits, another hugely successful San Diego business.  


One important part of my job is learning about the businesses in my district so I can know how policies impact them. It’s great to understand how a company like Cutwater Spirits could grow into such a large and profitable operation in just a few short years.

I appreciated seeing the machinery behind the manufacturing processes and learning how this company went from being a craft distillery to a major player in the canned cocktail market. Built by the founders of Ballast Point Brewing, this company was sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2019. 

Due to the state’s housing shortage and affordability crisis, local governments are enacting policies focused on homelessness prevention. The City of San Diego has several programs available to assist individuals struggling to pay rent and who are at risk of homelessness.

The San Diego Renter Survey has been launched to understand what is contributing to housing unaffordability and what is causing residential evictions. The goal is to identify the landscape and trends to inform policy recommendations. Please note: This closes in October.

The Tenant Protection Guide includes information on the Tenant Protection Ordinance that recently took effect in the City of San Diego. It has information on different types of tenant terminations, notice requirements, relocation assistance, buyout agreements, community legal resources and more.  

The Housing Instability Prevention Program (HIPP) helps pay rent for people in unstable situations, such as facing eviction or nonpayment of rent.

The Eviction Prevention Program partners with Legal Aid to offer free legal representation for people involved in eviction cases.

First-time Homebuyer Program for deferred payment loans and homeownership grants to help low- and moderate-income families purchase their first homes.



Do you think there should be a law about something? I really appreciated the breadth of ideas that were emailed into my office after the previous newsletter. Please keep the ideas coming! I want to hear from you! Click on the button below and follow the directions to provide your suggestion. 



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Email me at

Call my Encinitas district office at (760) 642-0809

Call my Laguna Hills district office at (949) 598-5850

Call my Capitol office in Sacramento at (916) 651-4038