NEWSLETTER – October 6, 2023
When I headed to Sacramento for the first time 10 months ago, my priorities were homelessness, gun violence prevention, transportation and environmental commitments.
I’m excited to report some tangible success on gun violence prevention, with the Governor signing two of my gun safety bills last week.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is handing me the bill itself, SB 452, and the pen he used to sign it, at a Capitol signing ceremony. Around the table, left to right, are gun safety leaders in the state, including Sen. Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Gov. Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and gun safety advocates with Moms Demand Action, Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety, and other groups.
SB 452 would prohibit the sale or transfer of a semiautomatic pistol made after Jan. 1, 2028, unless it has been verified as a microstamping-enabled pistol. With microstamping, the handguns will etch unique identifiers on expended cartridges, providing law enforcement with valuable information to help identify shooters.
When guns are used in homicides and other crimes, law enforcement often struggles to find the shooters. In 2021, the percentage of statewide gun crimes solved by law enforcement was only 40 percent, and only 55 percent for homicides, according to the Brady Campaign. SB 452 will help. It will also allow law enforcement to better track the sale of guns that are used in crimes. Apparently a large number of guns used in crimes come from a relatively small number of gun stores.
SB 417 requires gun sellers to post the following notice: “WARNING: If you or a loved one is experiencing distress or depression or is contemplating suicide, please call 988 (The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline). Access to a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, death, and injury during domestic violence disputes, and the unintentional death and traumatic injury to children, household members, and guests.”
Research counters the long-held belief that having a gun in your home makes you safer. In fact, the risk of death by suicide is 4 to 10 times higher in homes with guns, and people living with handgun owners die by homicide at twice the rate of their neighbors in gun-free homes, according to a report by Harvard Health Publishing.
The L.A. Times columnist George Skelton wrote this compelling piece about the state’s recent gun safety legislation, mentioning the scary incident earlier this year when I received a text message from my daughter about a security threat at her high school that had them on lock down. The nature of the threat wasn’t clear at the time but given that guns have surpassed cars as the number one killer of youth the incident caused significant alarm.
Also, I participated in a Gun Violence Reduction Summit organized and hosted by San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. I appreciated coming together with other prominent elected officials and gun safety advocates to discuss ways we can reduce gun violence.
Here is a full list of the gun safety measures Gov. Newsom has signed.
Clare Champlain, mother of Brodee Champlain Kingman, who was killed in a traffic accident while riding his bike to school, and I were on San Diego Fox 5 News to talk about Brodee’s death and how improvements to Santa Fe Drive could make the street safer for kids. To watch the segment, click on the image.
The death of Brodee Champlain Kingman, a talented 15-year-old student at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas who was riding his e-bike to school at the beginning of summer break when he was stuck by a van, was heartbreaking. This happened in June, and I talked about how devastating it was on the Senate floor.
Fortunately, I am in a position as a state senator to do something about this.
I advocated to add $3.09 million to the 2023-24 state budget for Encinitas to help fund the Santa Fe Drive Corridor Improvements Project. The road project outside Brodee’s school has been in the works for years, stemming my time as Encinitas Mayor, but now with this funding it can move forward immediately and be completed by next summer.
The project is crucial because Santa Fe Drive serves so many nearby schools. Large numbers of kids between the ages of 10-18 ride their bikes to school. Hopefully families will grow to feel safer sending more kids to school on bikes. This would reduce car congestion and pollution, and increase independence.
It’s critical that we continue to invest in our road network to make traveling safer for everyone, specifically those on bikes. The project entails building barrier-protected bike lanes—which is a main focus of mine—sidewalk improvements, parking, protected intersections, landscaping, storm drains and bus stop enhancements.
The project is scheduled to break ground in October.
Clare Champlain, mother of Brodee Champlain Kingman
“Brodee Braxton Champlain Kingman never made it to his destination of San Dieguito Academy on the evening of June 22nd,” Champlain said. “While riding his e-bike and changing lanes he was fatally hit by a van that took his life way too soon. Wearing his helmet, knowing the rules of the road and signaling clearly on that tragic day was not enough to keep him safe. Preventing bike collisions with cars involves a combination of education, infrastructure improvements, and improved safety measures. Dedicated bike lanes, intersection improvements, traffic calming measures, investing in our law enforcement, lowering speed limits all can greatly enhance safety.”
“What happened to Brodee,” Champlain added, “and the loss our family is suffering could have been prevented, and we should never allow this to happen again. Brodee should be here, now, and he is not because we have failed him. We have to do better for Brodee and prioritize the safety of our bikers. I’m thankful to Senator Blakespear for prioritizing this bike safety project adjacent to Brodee’s high school.”
Encinitas Mayor 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,” Kranz said. “This project helps get people out of cars by creating spaces where cyclists and pedestrians are comfortable and safer using the roads. The funding that Senator Blakespear has lined up allows the City to move this important project into the construction phase and bring about its completion sooner than anticipated.”
San Dieguito Academy Principal Cara Dolnik
"I would like to first express the SDUHSD community's sincere appreciation to Senator Blakespear and city officials for prioritizing the safety and well-being of the residents of Encinitas, including the students in our district, through the Santa Fe Drive project,” Dolnik said. “The on-going traffic concerns and increase in e-bike accidents highlights the need for continued collaboration between our state, city and community partners. We will continue our collaboration in providing safety education and in increasing the awareness of safe road travel with all bike riders, especially as they travel to and from school."
I presented a check to Encinitas Mayor Tony Kranz in front of San Dieguito Academy and beside Sante Fe Drive, where improvements will be made to make the busy road safer for pedestrians, cyclists and bus riders. Also pictured are Encinitas City Councilmembers Joy Lyndes and Bruce Ehlers, as well as city staff members, bike safety advocates, and Brodee’s mom Clare Champlain.
I held a town hall meeting in August with Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (right) to talk about ways homeowners could find insurance policies and get discounts on those policies.
Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara recently announced an agreement with insurers to help stabilize California’s insurance market.
This is important because the insurance market has been in crisis, with major insurers limiting or reducing coverage due to high risk. Californians have been facing cancellations, hugely increased premium costs or non-renewal of policies. Real estate agents have been reporting sales falling out of escrow when buyers realize how much insurance will cost. Some projects have a hard time getting insurance at all.
I joined a working group of legislators to identify solutions and will continue this work into next year. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing the insurance commissioner to “take prompt regulatory action to strengthen and stabilize California’s marketplace” and Lara responded by reaching a deal with insurers.
The agreement involves insurers committing to write insurance policies in high-risk fire zones in exchange for process improvements that involved looking forward, instead of backward, to assess risk.
I continue to pay close attention to what is happening with homeowner insurance policies. Commissioner Lara’s agreement appears to be a step in the right direction, but we’ll have to see how it is implemented. All Californians deserve to have access to homeowner insurance policies.
Click on the image to watch a 12-minute video providing an overview of the threats facing the LOSSAN Rail Corridor. This is a great video! It’s well worth your time if you want a succinct, interesting overview of the rail corridor with brief history, maps and visuals.
I am grateful that the trains are currently running through Southern California. But many sections are at risk, and this rail line is too important for us to let it fail.
As Chair of the Senate Transportation Subcommittee on LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency, I know we must bring together all the major stakeholders and get serious about supporting the rail line and planning for the future. This rail line is a crucial part of Southern California’s transportation infrastructure – both for passengers and for freight – and we must invest in it to ensure its success.
I have convened two hearings and scheduled the next one for November in Southern California. Stay tuned for details.
For now, it’s important to understand that climate change is wreaking havoc on infrastructure across the globe, including for rail lines, as the New York Times reported. So we need to be strategic and thoughtful about how we marshal our resources and keep the LOSSAN rail line viable for decades to come.
I talked with Oceanside Councilmember Eric Joyce (right) about what the community is doing to provide support to migrants being sent here.
I visited the temporary migrant processing center in Oceanside to meet with volunteers and nonprofits that have been working around the clock to assist migrants arriving in our community.
It is disheartening to see the conditions that they have faced as they attempt to reach their destination. I am grateful for those in our community stepping up to help those in need. I will continue to coordinate with state and national leaders and our nonprofits, and to advocate for further support.
The San Diego Board of Supervisors recently declared a humanitarian crisis and asked the federal government for more assistance.
I joined San Juan Capistrano Mayor Howard Hart (center, standing) at Tea House on Los Rios to talk with local residents about the biggest issues facing the community.
I received questions on what the state is doing to solve the wildfire insurance crisis, upcoming ballot measures, homelessness, housing concerns, water policy and reparations. It’s always great to engage with constituents, hear their concerns and let them know what I am working on.
A big thank you to Damian Orozco from Tea House for welcoming us with tea in real tea cups and delicious scones!
Left to right: Ashley Emann, a Green and Gold Congressional aide working for U.S. Rep. Mike Levin; my husband Jeremy; myself; and my Orange County District Representative Maia Meunier at Camp Pendleton.
I was honored to attend the Evening Colors Reception and Ceremony celebrating the 81st anniversary of U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. You may not know that the base is one of the largest Marine installations in the United States. It spans more than 125,000 acres and is the world’s largest U.S. Marine Corps amphibious training base, with more than 500 miles of roads and more than 2,600 buildings.
Camp Pendleton is in my Senate District, and I am proud to represent the base and all of the outstanding military personnel and their families stationed there. I also enjoyed learning more about the history of the founding of the base near the start of WWII.
I presented Brigadier General Jason G. Woodworth, the commanding general for the base, with a Senate certificate of recognition of Camp Pendleton’s anniversary.
My District Director Jack Christensen (left) with cake to celebrate his birthday in the office.
My staff works hard, and we like to have fun in the office, too. To celebrate the recent birthday of my District Director Jack Christensen, we brought him cake, party glasses, a few office decorations and a piñata. Thank you Jack for all you do to lead and support our incredible team and serve our constituents!
Jack’s good at a lot of things, including office sports!
Homelessness is a top issue throughout the state, and creating a system-wide approach to solving it isn’t simple. We have at least 170,000 people living without shelter in California, and we have more people entering homelessness than finding housing every single month. What solutions can be done at scale that will really make a difference? The biggest questions, like who is ultimately responsible here, and more will be addressed at the Ending Homelessness Summit I’m hosting later this month. See the flyer below for details. You can RSVP here.
I hope you can make it! If you cannot, you will be able to watch it, as it will be streamed live on the internet and recorded for later viewing on my website. I held a Homelessness 101 Workshop in Orange County with the United Way in August and you can watch the video here.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if we can be of service in any way.
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