Valley News -

By Diane Sieker
Writer 

AVMAC meets with Assemblyman Voepel's representative

 

Last updated 7/19/2019 at 1:22am

Diane Sieker photo

Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council secretary Allison Renck enjoys a humorous moment before getting to work at the AVMAC meeting Wednesday, July 10.

The Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council conducted their bimonthly meeting at the Community Hall Wednesday, July 10.

Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington's Legislative Assistant Opal Hellweg, Riverside County Sheriff Capt. Leonard Purvis and Alec Baron, field representative for Assemblymember Randy Voepel of California's 71st District, were guest speakers. 

AVMAC board members Secretary Allison Renck, Treasurer Sharon Evans, Megan Haley and Vice Chair Edison Gomez-Krauss were in attendance. Gordon Lanik has resigned from the AVMAC and was not present. About 12 members of the public were present.

An announcement was made regarding Lanik's resignation and that three applicants have shown interest in the open position.

The minutes from the May AVMAC meeting was read by Renck and approved.

Hellweg gave a short update on county and state business. She reported that the state budget was approved and is the largest in state history at $215 billion. According to the state's constitution, most of the money goes to education. There were notable large increases for homelessness and housing throughout the state. For homelessness, counties will receive $175 million directly, with $250 million planned for housing and related programs. 

Courts will be able to fine counties found not to be in compliance with new housing standards, at minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $100,000 per month. If violations are not cured within three months, the fines imposed by the state can triple, and if not cured within six months, it can be multiplied by six. 

The governor is calling for 30,000 affordable homes to be added to the unincorporated areas of the state's counties, even if the infrastructure is not available to support it. This program may affect the Anza Valley.

Child Support Services will receive $5.4 million more this year, and Washington was instrumental in securing those additional monies, Hellweg said.

Purvis spoke in regard to cannabis enforcement and patiently answered questions from the audience.

"If you are engaging in illegal activity, we will address it," he said.

Interest focused on the raids of June 5, where 70 tons of cannabis was eradicated and over 100 warrants served by a multi-agency force.

Baron was introduced and spoke about the many things going on at the state level, and certain bills that are progressing through the Assembly at this time.

"Two thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven bills were introduced in 2019," he said. "Of these, 2,035 were introduced in the Assembly and 922 were introduced in the Senate. A small number of those bills are in the final stages."

The House of Origin deadline passed on at the end of May. The deadline mandates that all bills introduced in the Assembly must go to the Senate, and all bills introduced in the Senate must go before the Assembly. Bills that did not pass out of their respective houses are considered dead.

Included in the legislation introduced this year were about $6.2 billion in increased taxes on everything from soft drinks to vehicle tires. A recent tax hike on fuel went into effect, July 1.

The largest state budget was recently passed with total expenditures of $320 billion, $214.6 billion being state funds, and the rest federal funds. The 2019-2020 budget represents a 3.5% increase from the 2018-2019 budget and includes the largest surplus in state history of $19 billion. 

"Maybe we should get a refund on some of those taxes?" Baron said.

Also included in the budget is $98 million, to extend Medi-Cal to undocumented immigrants between the ages of 18-26. That budget allocation was signed into law July 10, he said.

"The legislature begins summer recess on Friday, July 12 and members return to Sacramento on Monday, Aug. 12," he said. "This gives them exactly one month to pass or fail the remaining majority of legislation before the end of session on Friday, Sept. 13. At that point your liberties and your pocketbook will be safe until the legislature reconvenes in January 2020."

"The main issue we are hearing about from the constituents of Anza, Aguanga and Sage are regarding the illegal cultivation of marijuana," Baron continued. "Our office will continue to work with the county of Riverside, the Riverside Sheriff's Department and the Riverside District Attorney's office on effective ways to combat the illegal operation and attempt to shut them down for good."

He discussed several District events that Assemblymember Voepel supports.

"Our office has been hosting 'Age Well, Drive Smart' events throughout the district. Seniors can attend to receive instruction on driving safety, basic road courtesy, information on the impact of visual or hearing impairments and tips to avoid hazardous road conditions and improving driving performance. Also learn what the legislature is doing to change the rules of the road and vehicle equipment," he said.

Some insurance companies offer discounted premiums with a certificate of course completion. Dates will be announced soon.

There is a Second Amendment event at the Lemon Grove Rod and Gun Club Saturday, Sept. 28. More details will be presented as they become available.

"One of the most important jobs I have as a state assemblyman representative is assisting my Assemblymember's constituents with state-related issues," Baron said. "With over 300 state agencies, it's not surprising that navigating California's bureaucracy can be next to impossible. Assemblymember Voepel's team of dedicated staff is always standing by ready to offer a helping hand. Here are just some of the various state matters on which I may be able to offer assistance: CA Contractors State License Board (complaints), CA Department of Food and Agriculture (licensing), CA Department of Justice (background checks, gun purchases), CA Public Utilities Commission, Board of Equalization (taxes), Department of Motor Vehicles (notices, licenses, questions), Employment Development Department (unemployment and disability benefits), Franchise Tax Board and Medical Board of California.

"While I can't always promise a preferable resolution, I will do my best to answer your questions and make sure the appropriate officials are aware of your concerns. If you're not sure where to go for help, feel free to ask us, we would be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Just call my office – we are here to serve you. We can be reached at (619)258-7737," Baron said.

Baron was received warmly and assured the audience and the AVMAC that he will make every effort to return for the next meeting.

Diane Sieker photo

Zimou Tan from Olivet University talks about arranging an art showing at the Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council meeting.

During the public comment section of the meeting, Zimou Tan from Olivet University and renowned artist spoke, suggesting a community art show to the room. His proposal was met with overwhelming praise and the wheels set in motion to plan such an event.

"The AVMAC greatly appreciates all those who make the effort to come out to express their opinions and concerns. We would like to remind Anza residents that attendance to these meetings is key so local and state representatives acknowledge us properly, and give Anza the importance it deserves," Gomez-Krauss said.

The meeting concluded with a discussion of items for the next AVMAC meeting slated for Sept. 11.

The AVMAC meeting is held every other month and the council seeks input from the community on subjects that they believe need to be addressed by local government officials. If you have a subject you would like addressed, contact the AVMAC at http://avmac.000webhostapp.com.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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