March  2005 Volume 1, Issue 1
Thank you for your interest in my e-newsletter. It is an honor to serve as your Assembly representative. The “Huff Headlines” publication was designed to provide you with the most current information regarding the 60th Assembly District. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. As your Assembly member, I am committed to remaining in touch with my constituents. I encourage you to visit my website.
  In This Issue . . .
  STATE BUDGET INCLUDES CHINO HILLS STATE PARK
  ASSEMBLYMAN HUFF’S LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
A YEAR FOR EDUCATIONAL REFORM
HUFF CONSUMER CORNER
ORANGE COUNTY HOUSING LOANS
  CALIFORNIA FIT BUSINESS AWARD
DIAMOND BAR H.S. HIGH ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS
   
 
 
Assemblymember
Bob Huff


Capitol Office:
State Capitol Room 5164
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2060
Fax: (916) 319-2160
City of Diamond Bar Office:
23355 E. Golden Springs Drive 
Diamond Bar, CA 91765
909-860-5560
Fax: 909-860-5664

Bob's Staff
Capitol Office:
Junay Gardner Logan, Chief of Staff
Dane Wadle, Legislative Director
Faith Conley, Legislative Assistant
Kris  Goldstein, Intern
City of Diamond Bar Office:
Jennifer  Vitela, District Director
Jody Roberto, Field Representative
Gary L. Neely, Field Representative
Laura  Kobzeff, Executive Secretary
 

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   STATE BUDGET INCLUDES CHINO HILLS STATE PARK

The Governor’s proposed budget for 2005-2006 includes $12.4 million for an all weather entrance road to Chino Hills State Park. The paved road will begin at the Bane Canyon entrance in the City of Chino Hills and will connect with the Rolling M Ranch public use area in Aliso canyon. The project also includes a multi-use trail, a park entrance station and maintenance area, a scenic overlook with parking, and new restroom facilities. Construction on the project is expected to begin later this year and completed by late 2006.

Upon completion, park visitors will be able to access a new 20 space campground and the park’s main trailhead staging area at the Rolling M Ranch throughout the year. The road will provide safe access for school buses and thousands of school children. Discussions with surrounding school districts have led to future plans that include outdoor facilities and a retrofitted barn that will serve as a science and study center for environmental education.

Chino Hills State Park is the most expensive park acquisition in the State Park System and lies within a 2 hour drive of 17 million Californians. It contains over 12,500 acres and has over 57 miles of shared use trails for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. A $3.5 million visitor center is scheduled to be opened in the Carbon Canyon area in early 2007.

   ASSEMBLYMAN HUFF’S LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The deadline to introduce legislation for this year was February 22nd. I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on some of the bills that I will be authoring this year.

• AB 16 – This bill would prohibit the Governor or a Member of the Legislature from accepting a campaign contribution during the budget process, defined as the time between the Governor’s May Budget Revision is released and the date of enactment of the budget bill. I believe that during budget negotiations, legislators should focus on what’s important to Californians and not their campaign coffers.

• AB 181 – This legislation would enact the Legislative Captioning Act of 2005 and require that closed-captioned and live-captioned broadcasts of all Assembly and Senate committee hearings and floor sessions be provided. AB 181 will allow the hearing-impaired to have better access to the state Legislature. Furthermore, live-captioning is an effective educational tool for English learners.

• AB 347 – This bill would increase the penalties for candidates who knowingly violate the state’s campaign finance laws. Candidates continue to take advantage of these laws and stiffer penalties must be implemented to prevent these violations.

• AB 740 – I am working with the Governor’s office on this legislation which would reform the Charter School Categorical Block Grant. Recent reports have demonstrated that students in charter schools have higher proficiencies in reading and math. I believe that the state should provide the necessary resources to these successful educational institutions.

• AB 836 – This bill would implement “zero-based budgeting” for state agencies and departments starting in the 2006-2007 fiscal year. Much of our current fiscal problems stem from the “autopilot” spending that characterizes state government. I believe that we must examine funding levels each year to ensure that our resources are being spent in the most efficient way.

• AJR 7 –I have worked on this issue in the past as a local official. Currently, cities who share zip codes may lose a portion of their revenue stream (i.e. sales taxes, franchise fees, federal funding, etc.) to other jurisdictions which the U.S. Post Office recognizes as the primary location for that zip code. Computer directions and insurance rates are other items that hinge on naming the city in which a zip code is located, rather than the actual city of residence. AJR 7 will encourage the U.S. Postmaster to establish separate zip codes for each municipality to address this inequity.

These are just a few examples of the bills I will be authoring. I will continue to update you on my legislative package. A complete list can also be found at www.leginfo.ca.gov and searching by my name. Please do not hesitate to contact my offices with any questions you might have.

   A YEAR FOR EDUCATIONAL REFORM

2005 is the year for reform and Governor Schwarzenegger’s education agenda is no exception. His focus is on the children and our schools, and his outline for the educational future of California reflects just that. The Governor has proposed necessary reforms which will strengthen California’s education system and better prepare the state’s students for the future. These reforms include: increasing the number of effective charter schools; expanding vocational education; and, rewarding our state’s teachers based on their performance.

Although nearly 40 percent of California’s budget has gone to education since the passage of Proposition 98 in 1988, our state remains devastatingly low in national rankings. Governor Schwarzenegger has acknowledged this and, as a result, his proposal will increase education spending by $3 billion and raise per pupil spending by $367. Any further spending would require cuts in other areas which affect our children, such as health care. The Governor’s merit-based pay program will draw and retain the best teachers for our state, as well as provide needed incentives for top educators to remain in schools which need the most improvement. His proposal for an increase in vocational education will give more opportunity to students who choose not to pursue a college-bound path, but will need the necessary education to become successful in future employment.

The time is now to take the necessary steps in order to improve the quality of education in California. No longer can we afford to throw money at a defunct system without taking the essential steps to make the system better. Governor Schwarzeneggers’ education reform agenda is a positive beginning to achieve this goal.

   HUFF CONSUMER CORNER

INFORMATION ON THE WEB

Information on federal government recalls can be found at the web site www.recalls.gov.
Click on the “Recent Recalls” link, where details on recalls by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Food and Drug Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture and Coast Guard are listed.

WEB SITES TO VENT

The following are some of the sites developed to capture and share consumer experiences and frustration about companies, products and services.

Complaincomplain.net: Fee-based letters of complaint posted and sent to businesses.

Complaints.com: Free site where complaints are posted.

Driveyounuts.com: Fee-based site for sample letters and resolution strategies.

Fightback.com: Consumer forums and fee-based consumer services.

My3cents.com: Open forum to share good and bad experiences, and some fee-based consumer services.

Planetfeedback.com: Free site for questions, suggestions and compliments, as well as complaints about companies or industries.

Thesqueakywheel.com: Fee-based site automatically adds complaints to Internet search engines.

CHECK YOUR CREDIT AT NO COST

Begun December 1, 2004, consumers in 13 Western states can order a free credit report annually from each of the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Order your free report through a central web site, www.annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by sending a written request to: Annual Credit Reports Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, CA 30348-5281. To get a free copy of your credit report, you must provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number and current and previous addresses if you’ve moved within the past 2 years.

HOW TO PREVENT THE CREDIT BUREAUS FROM SELLING

Isn’t it annoying to get all that junk mail from companies trying to get you to apply for their credit cards and insurance? Not only does it kill trees, fill up your trash bin and tempt you unnecessarily, you run the real risk of having someone steal your discarded mail and apply for the card for you, essentially stealing your identity.

Call this number to opt out of all four credit bureaus that provide information to companies for pre-approved credit cards and insurance:

Opt-Out

888-567-8688

Your op-out will be good for 5 years. You can also do this online at: www.optoutprescreen.com

   ORANGE COUNTY HOUSING LOANS

I wanted to inform you that the Department of Housing and Community Development recently reserved $1,000,000 in CalHome funding for Orange County.

These awards are part of funds available as a result of the passage of Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Trust Fund Act of 2002. The goal of the CalHome program is to assist lower income households become homeowners or make improvements on their existing homes. The funds available break down into two categories:

• $700,000 is available for the “First Time Homebuyer” Program. These funds aide low-income first-time homebuyers purchase homes. Individuals who are interested in this program should contact Trinh LeCong from Affordable Housing Clearinghouse at (949) 859-9255.

• $300,000 is available for the “Low Interest Loans for Home Rehabilitation Program. These loans are provided to existing low-income homeowners who seek to make improvements on their homes. Individuals who are interested in this program should contact Margie Anguiano in the Orange County Housing and Community Services Department at (714) 480-2993.

   CALIFORNIA FIT BUSINESS AWARD

All California employers are encouraged to apply for the California Fit Business Award sponsored by the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness and the California 5 a Day-Be Active Worksite Program.

Be sure to promote the call for entries in your community to recognize employers that provide access to healthy eating and physical activity to their employees during the day.

Visit www.wellnesstaskforce.org for applications and complete instructions.

Apply today! Entries are due March 15, 2005. Winners will be announced in May during California Family Fitness Month.

   DIAMOND BAR H.S. HIGH ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS

PEP SQUAD BRINGS HOME GOLD MEDAL

On top of cheering at basketball games and wrestling matches and studying for finals, these girls have been practicing nearly every day in order to prepare for competition season.
On January 15, the pep squad brought home another gold medal. The varsity song team competed against ten other teams in the USA regionals at Esperanza High and not only received a 1st place, but also qualified for the nationals. The JV cheer team was awarded 2nd place, which also qualified them for nationals.

DIAMOND BAR HIGH SCHOOL CALCULUS TEACHERS AND STUDENTS RECOGNIZED

The students at Diamond Bar High School’s Advanced Placement Calculus classes have been recognized as the best in the world. Diamond Bar beat all other high schools from more than 100 countries on May’s exam, according to the College Board, an education association best known for its Advanced Placement and Scholastic Aptitude Test programs. In May of last year, 300 of the 3,150 Diamond Bar students passed the calculus exam with a score of three or higher, out of five points possible. The College Board ranks schools based on what percentage of their total student body passes the exam.
The Walnut Valley Unified School District’s board presented awards to recognize Diamond Bar calculus teachers Howard Alcosser, Jeff Brose, Lois Campbell, Latitia Thomas and Diane Tobar for their efforts.

Committees: Vice-Chair, Transportation Committee, Education Committee, Budget Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee

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