News from Sen. Blakespear – Check Out My Annual Report!
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and dry during the unprecedented amount of rain we’ve been experiencing this week. It’s interesting to note that most California homeowners do not have flood insurance. Unlike fire insurance, which is required in order to qualify for a mortgage, flood insurance is optional and most choose to forgo it. During periods of drought there’s very little thought about flooding, but that may be changing after the last two rainy seasons.
I’m excited to share that the 2023 Annual Report is out! It highlights what we worked on – and accomplished - during my first year in the State Senate.
You can read it on my website or you may swing by any of my offices for a hard copy. It’s very well done and worth a look!
One of my primary focuses over the last year, in addition to effective legislating, was to communicate clearly about what I am doing, and engage you in a collaborative fashion on tackling the major problems that confront us.
This Annual Report continues that effort. In a representative democracy, my role as your elected representative is to serve you, and that is constantly what I am striving to do. For those of you who have engaged with me throughout the year, thank you.
I am committed to welcoming your input and feedback. We must work together as a team to be effective. Thank you for your participation.
I was happy to join U.S. Rep. Mike Levin for his announcement that NCTD has been awarded $53.9 million for the San Dieguito Bridge Replacement Project. Left to right are: Levin; myself; Jewel Edson, who is Chair of the LOSSAN Board of Directors, Chair of the NCTD Board of Directors and Solana Beach Deputy Mayor; Solana Beach Mayor and SANDAG Second Vice-chair Lesa Heebner; SANDAG Interim Chief Executive Officer Coleen Clementson; Oceanside Councilmember Eric Joyce; and Allan Kosup, Acting Director of Caltrans District 11.
Here’s this week’s bottom line on the railroad:
- The $53 million federal grant (pictured above) is for double tracking and raising by 8-feet the railroad in the San Dieguito Lagoon and building a train platform for people to ride the train to special events at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and walk into the fair property (this will be a major improvement!).
- Because of a debris slide (picture below), the railroad tracks in San Clemente have been closed (again) for more than 2 weeks. There’s no timetable for re-opening. I reiterate my call for a long-term plan to reroute the tracks instead of costly short-term fixes in San Clemente. Transit needs to be reliable to work, and having the train Tracks inoperable for weeks or months at a time is the definition of unreliable.
Nearly every newsletter, I have an update for you on the rail line. That’s because the Senate transportation subcommittee I chair is doing lots of work on it, and also, there is so much going on with the LOSSAN Rail Corridor.
Updates on the rail closure are available on the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) website.
After holding three hearings last year, it became clear to the subcommittee that we need greater state leadership to manage the line and make sure all the transportation agencies involved with it are working toward a shared vision.
We sent a letter in January to the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) asking for it to consider filling that void. The latest track closure underscores this need.
I was glad to see the state reacted quickly to the latest landslide. Caltrans issued an emergency declaration so OCTA could access up to $10 million in immediate emergency repair funding.
Also, you can read more here about the federal government awarding $53.9 million to the North County Transit District (NCTD) for the San Dieguito Bridge Replacement Project.
I will continue to monitor the situation in San Clemente and keep you updated, and work to bring greater resources and support for the rail line and improve its infrastructure and operation.
- SDUT: San Diego freight trains continue running despite threat of San Clemente landslides
- OCR: Could increased state intervention improve local rail service?
- NBC 7: That wooden train bridge near the Del Mar Fairgrounds is getting replaced
- SDUT: Levin announces $53.9 million for San Diego County railroad projects day after landslide blocks tracks
The latest landslide in San Clemente has closed the rail line to passenger rail service for the time being.
We held a press conference at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to announce SB 1002. Present were, left to right: Carol Landale, SD4GVP Vice President; Fernando Meza, SD County Sheriff's Property Investigator; SD City Attorney Mara Elliot; Asm. Laurie Davies; SD County Sheriff Kelly Martinez; Ethan Murray, my staff member; Therese Hymer, SD4GVP board member; Kara Chine, SD4GVP board member; and Rose Ann Sharp, Never Again California.
I have introduced three new bills aimed at reducing gun violence. SB 1002 intends to keep guns out of the hands of people experiencing mental health crises. SB 1019 ensures that firearms turned in as part of gun-buyback programs or confiscated by law enforcement during investigations are completely destroyed. And, SB 1038 tightens restrictions intended to reduce gun trafficking.
Current law mandates that anyone placed on a 72-hour mental health hold must refrain from possessing a firearm. Unfortunately, implementation gaps in the law make it difficult for local law enforcement to ensure that newly prohibited persons turn over their weapons. Because of these gaps, thousands of Californians placed on mental health holds never turn in their firearms.
More than 4,800 people statewide who are required to relinquish their firearms due to mental health-related issues have not done so, according to the latest California Department of Justice statistics. This presents a significant danger not only to the individuals themselves, who face increased risk of suicide, but also to the general public, which could be subject to gun violence.
SB 1002 has four major components. The bill:
- Provides individuals a clear deadline of 72 hours after discharge from a health care facility to turn over their firearms.
- Requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to inform the person of their firearm prohibition after discharge, ensuring the individual has been informed of their prohibition multiple times.
- Increases coordination between DOJ and local law enforcement agencies by permitting local agencies greater access to information.
- Directs health care facilities and courts, where involved, to inform individuals how to relinquish their weapons according to local procedures and the law.
Taken together, the measures help individuals placed on mental health holds understand the requirement and how to follow it, and they help law enforcement to follow up to ensure it is met. The legislation is co-sponsored by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. Read more about SB 1002 here.
Currently, parts of guns that are acquired in gun-buyback programs or collected by law enforcement in investigations are sometimes resold online as part of gun kits. Such kits can easily be paired with an unserialized frame or receiver to create a “ghost” gun for those wanting to evade detection. SB 1019 puts a stop to this practice and requires the firearms to be entirely demolished.
Finally, SB 1038 tightens restrictions aimed at eliminating gun trafficking by increasing scrutiny of gun dealer inventory, improving recordkeeping and reducing the time required for people to report lost or stolen firearms from five days to 48 hours.
Protecting Public Spaces
I spoke this week at a press conference announcing a bill on encampment removal. Left to right are Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, Brett Bowman, myself, Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones and Sen. Shannon Grove.
I have joined with Republican Senator Brian Jones, the Senate Minority Leader and a colleague of mine from San Diego County, on legislation that follows the example of the City of San Diego on limiting areas where people who are unhoused can camp.
Like the City of San Diego, SB 1011 takes a compassionate approach to a camping ban. The law says that camping is prohibited at all times in sensitive areas, which include within 500 feet of schools, in open spaces and at transit stops. When shelter beds are available, camping is prohibited on sidewalks. Those in tents would be warned three days before a sweep and be provided information on available resources.
People deserve to live inside and the public deserves to have public spaces that are safe, clean and feel inviting. I want us to do more to create the momentum needed to help people find shelter and to eliminate encampments. I have been very frustrated with the slow pace of movement here in Sacramento on grappling with the homelessness epidemic that grows every month in California. I applaud the energy and commitment that the City of San Diego has put into its “Unsafe Camping Ordinance” and want the state to do more, with urgency.
- CalMatters: Why California legislators of both parties want to ban homeless encampments
- SDUT: Some lawmakers want to take San Diego’s homeless camping ban statewide
Great turnout! We were glad to get some sunshine, but boy was the ground muddy. Thanks to everyone’s commitment and determination to pick.
More than two dozen volunteers joined us to pick lemons from a Rancho Santa Fe orchard to donate to the local food bank. A big thanks to ProduceGood, which co-hosted the event with me and organized it.
We were able to collect 1,000 pounds of citrus that was donated to Feeding San Diego.
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.
Thanks to all who participated!
I love gleaning and was glad to make it a family affair, with my son Oliver and my mom, Tricia, participating.
Jennifer has extensive experience managing the schedules for busy politicians, having worked for multiple members of the Assembly and Senate. She describes her job as similar to an air traffic controller. She is constantly on the phone or emailing with all the people in my world, confirming details, making arrangements or answering questions – and making sure that none of my commitments or meetings collide. My office could not run without her!
I am thankful for her hard work and attention to detail. I only have so many hours in the day, and many demands on my time. For those of you interested in meeting with me, I appreciate your understanding and patience. If I’m not available, my staff members frequently take meetings on behalf of my office and brief me on the highlights.
If you’d like to invite me to an event or schedule a meeting with me, the best thing you can do is go to my website and file a request. Jennifer will follow up with you. If you have questions or want to check on the progress of your request, email Jennifer directly at Jennifer.Guzman@sen.ca.gov.
100% Pro Environment
Like many of you, protecting, loving and enjoying our outdoors has always been a top priority. In October, I participated in the Baquitos Lagoon Kayak Cleanup (left) and last May I visited the Great Oak Tree, estimated to be well over 1,000 years old, on the land of the Pechanga Band of Indians.
I’m proud to share that based on my 2023 voting record and advocacy, California Environmental Voters gave me a 100% environmental voting scorecard. I am incredibly proud of my work to support our state’s climate action goals and look forward to continuing to champion bold policies that protect our environment.
Thank you for your support. I am honored to serve you.
To learn more about what I am doing, follow me on social media.
Email me at Senator.Blakespear@Senate.ca.gov
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