ROTARY CLUB SIP ‘N SAVOR, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16

Hi everyone,

The Rotary Club of El Cerrito’s 2016 Sip and Savor, their major annual fundraising event, will be held on Sunday, October 16 from 2:30 to 5:30 PM at the beautiful Mira Vista Country Club. Some of you may be asking yourselves, “Why is he telling me this?” Or, “Why should I care about this event?”

One reason is that the proceeds of this event benefits the new El Cerrito library and the ECHS Student Activity Fund, two projects we all should care about and support. FYI, in the last two years The Rotary Club of El Cerrito has used the proceeds of Sip & Savor events to donate $26,000 to the El Cerrito Library Foundation to support our new library.

Another reason is that if you enjoy a good time, and want to meet and greet a group of El Cerrito residents and merchants that helps make El Cerrito the place we love to live in, this is the event for you.

But, the best reason is that The Rotary Club of El Cerrito is a wonderful service organization whose combined efforts benefit El Cerrito so much and supporting this event by your attendance is a great way to say thanks.

More details about this event and sponsorships available can be found atcerritovistasipandsavor.com.

Also, I just happen to be selling tickets to this event. The tickets are $50.00 each, but only $90.00 for two if you buy before October 1.

Summary:
When: Sunday, October 16, 2:30 to 5:30 PM
Where: Mira Vista Country Club
Tickets: $50 each – two for $90 before OCT 1

Checks should be made out to the El Cerrito Rotary Club Foundation. You can mail your check to me for the tickets you want, and I will deliver them to you. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I hope to see you all at Mira Vista on OCT 16. Thank you.

Al Miller
ECDC Member

RURAL CAUCUS RESOLUTION ON PAYMENT IN LIEU OF TAXES: INVITATION TO SIGN

Dear Friends,

Would any DFA groups, Democratic Clubs, County DCCs and/or their Chairs, CDP Delegates and/or CDP eBoard Members like to sign on as a supporter for this Resolution by the CDP Rural Caucus Leadership? See below. Thank you!

Susan Rowe
South Central Vice Chair, CDP Rural Caucus
Chair, Madera County Democratic Party

Resolution to Support Payment of PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) Funds to 36 Counties

Whereas, the state of California through the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has purchased private land for the establishment of wildlife management areas and for environmental purposes effectively removing it from the county property tax rolls in these 36 counties:

Alpine, Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo; and Yuba; and

Whereas, from 1957 through 2002 the state of California compensated counties for the loss of property taxes due to the establishment of wildlife management areas, however DFW did not make PILT fund payments to counties from 2002 to 2015 due to the failure of the legislature to appropriate funds for this purpose and as a result the counties have suffered economic hardship in the form of the elimination of funding for such programs, including, but not limited to; public safety, fire prevention and fire fighting, social programs for homeless, including veterans, families with children, mental health programs including domestic violence, drug/alcohol addiction and more.

Whereas, 2015-16 the Legislature appropriated $8 million in funding to pay the arrearages, however the 2015-16 the final State Budget Package eliminated the $8 million in arrearages that has been required for 45 years under F&G 1504 and in addition made the PILT payments “permissive” rather than required.

Now, therefore be it resolved, that the Rural Caucus of the California Democratic Party supports repayment in full of the arrearages owed to the 36 affected counties by the appropriation of $8 million to the DFW.

Be it further resolved, the Caucus respectfully requests that the great State of California keep its promises to 36 of its 58 counties and again require these ongoing payments.

Adopted by the California Democratic Party Rural Caucus on February 26, 2016.

__________________________ Attest:  _______________________

Jamie Beutler, Chair Becky Curry, Secretary

Section 1504.  Amended in October 2015. – Amendments in bold.

(a) When income is derived directly from real property acquired and operated by the state as a wildlife management area, and regardless of whether income is derived from property acquired after October 1, 1949, the department may pay annually to the county in which the property is located an amount equal to the county taxes levied upon the property at the time title to the property was transferred to the state. The department may also pay the assessments levied upon the property by any irrigation, drainage, or reclamation district.

(b) Any delinquent penalties or interest applicable to any of those assessments made before September 9, 1953, are hereby canceled and shall be waived.

(c) Payments provided by this section shall only be made from funds that are appropriated to the department for the purposes of this section.

(d) As used in this section, the term “wildlife management area” includes waterfowl management areas, deer ranges, upland game bird management areas, and public shooting grounds.

(e) Any payment made under this section shall be made on or before December 10 of each year, with the exception of newly acquired property for which payments shall be made pursuant to subdivision (f).

(f) Any payments made for the purposes of this section shall be made within one year of the date title to the property was transferred to the state, or within 90 days from the date of designation as a wildlife management area, whichever occurs first, prorated for the balance of the year from the date of designation as a wildlife management area to the 30th day of June following the date of designation as a wildlife management area, and, thereafter, payments shall be made on or before December 10 of each year.

(g) Notwithstanding any other law, payments provided under this section shall not be allocated to a school district, a community college district, or a county superintendent of schools.

 

IT’S TIME TO REBUILD — WHY WE NEED THE BART SYSTEM RENEWAL BOND

By Taylor Huckaby, BART Spokesperson
(Contributed by BART Legislative Officer Paul Fadelli)

Since 1972, billions of trips have been taken on BART.  Our trains and stations are central to Bay Area culture, knitting together friends, family, businesses, employees, landmarks, and opportunities.  When we first opened, BART was the envy of the world – the first to use computer-controlled trains.

However, what was cutting edge in 1972 no longer serves the complex needs of our region.  Growth has been a bittersweet experience for everyone – and BART has not been spared from either the pressures of population change or the passage of time.  We fit right into the middle of many of the most pressing questions of our day, on every issue from traffic, to housing, to environmental concerns.

We are now serving 430,000 passengers on an average weekday, the equivalent of the population of Atlanta, and facilitate tens of millions of dollars in daily economic productivity.  The commute – which, frankly, is no fun no matter what the method – has become intolerable for residents, many of whom find themselves so closely squeezed together they can reasonably guess the type of shampoo their neighbors use.  Stations and signage are dated and worn, and at times our platforms can be uncomfortable and crowded.

Yet there is a silver lining to these growing pains, as greater demand for public transit is, generally speaking, a good problem for cities to have. As we have aged, the vibrancy of this community and the quality of the Bay Area’s workforce has soothed the most pressing needs of our aching system.   An army of BART engineers, welders, machinists, electronic technicians, mechanics and system workers have extended the life of our train cars and physical infrastructure in extraordinary ways, working ever harder to offset ever-increasing stresses.

Additionally, record ridership has enabled us to find the funding for many of the solutions needed to bring us into the 21st century, funding for which we are truly grateful.  This year alone we have hired more groundskeepers, more system maintenance workers, and more mechanics. We are building a new maintenance complex to ensure the downtime between car breakdowns stays at a minimum. We are modernizing our stations. And to top everything off, our new, larger fleet of train cars is right on the horizon – the first of which arrived in March.

However, there is a massive, looming problem that must be addressed separately from the work we’ve already been doing to improve.  The bones of BART, all the miles of power transmission cabling, rails, tunnels, and track components working quietly in the background, are decaying.  BART’s core was not built to last much further where we are now, and the cost of repairing and replacing what we have with what we need exceeds whatever monetary gains have come from increased ridership. Just our power replacement requirements alone over the next decade have a price tag of $1.2 billion.

To use an analogy: when building a home, every homeowner must choose a roof, and that roof has a specific lifespan.  You can afford to patch here and there over the years and fix minor damage from weather, but eventually the whole roof must be replaced at great cost.  That’s where we are, and that’s what we mean when we say much of the system is at the end of its useful life.

Part of BART’s plan to rebuild is a $3.5 billion general obligation bond measure, proposed to go before voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco voters this November.  The measure is a no-frills package based on hard data—collected using international best practices and a strong internal accountability program (asset management software) which gives us the exact life span for all the tens of thousands of different physical parts of BART.

This is about replacing 90 miles of worn rail, waterproofing our leaky tunnels below sea level in downtown San Francisco, modernizing the physical parts of our train control system, fighting fault line creep. This isn’t about pet projects, and we’ve been sensitive to the needs of our community. To that end, we’ve held over 200 meetings with diverse groups throughout the Bay Area to give our plan context, and to get an idea of how we can improve the lives of the people we serve.

At these meetings have been elected officials, businesses, labor groups, environmental organizations, seniors, disability advocacy groups, community organizers, social justice advocates, and individuals—and BART remains committed to having an open conversation about our future. We are here to listen and engage.

Since the last earthquake protection bond measure in 2004, we’ve proven ourselves to be a responsible and trustworthy steward of public funds. We’ve reinforced parking garages, strengthened maintenance facilities, fortified stations, and protected the Transbay Tube—guarding our riders against the threat of earthquakes while building trust and saving millions of dollars.

Furthermore, if the bond measure passes, part of BART’s plan is to establish an Independent Oversight Committee to ensure your capital investments are carried out with an excess of transparency, accountability, and integrity. The Committee will be able to regularly audit BART, and will publish an annual, public, independent report outlining any concerns that could arise from how we carry out our rebuilding efforts.

Back in 1962, the Bay Area led the world in deciding to invest in its future – a future of safe travel, reliable transit, and reduced congestion.  Ever since then, we have been a proud and enduring staple of this region’s culture, its workforce, and its values.  It’s time to rebuild.