I hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday season and happy start to 2013. I am excited at the possibilities that a new year brings and am looking forward to this year’s new legislative session.
My 11 year–old son’s Christmas toast this year was “I hope none of us die, and we all keep our jobs next year.” I felt like I was in one of those scenes from “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” As I reflected on the upcoming year, I realized his wish matched my goals in the upcoming session – strengthen public safety and our economy. I believe both are the basic tenets of our government and there is more that we can be doing to make our communities safer and get more Californians back to work.
I am looking forward to working alongside my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reform the state’s prison realignment program so the counties that need greater funding receive it and to reform the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, so projects beneficial to our economy are not being held up by unnecessary litigation.
In the coming weeks, I will be introducing my legislative package. If you have any bill ideas of your own, I’d like to hear them. My door is always open, and I always appreciate a direct dialogue with you. And if you’re not able to drop by my office, you can contact my office 24/7 through my website if you have any questions, comments or insight to share.
Keep your friends and neighbors informed about what’s going on in Sacramento and around the 12th Senate District by forwarding this email so they can sign up to receive our eNewsletters as well.
Help Bring More Money to Our Community
Recruitment is now underway for volunteers to train to be VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteers. As a volunteer tax preparer you will be part of a remarkable effort that brings millions of dollars back to our community by providing FREE tax filing assistance to low income families in our area. Each tax return completed by a volunteer can raise a family’s income.
Volunteers receive free training from the IRS in basic tax law and must pass an open book test in order to be authorized to prepare returns. Both classroom and online training is available.
If you are interested in contributing to the VITA program or receiving free tax assistance for the upcoming tax season please visit http://www.boe.ca.gov for more information.
Mobile Office Hours in January
Please join my staff for mobile office hours in Dos Palos and Gonzales, where you can receive personal assistance on a variety of issues, including help with the DMV, the Employment Development Department, or matters involving other state agencies or state legislation.
Dos Palos Office Hours:
Tuesday, January 15
10 AM – 12 Noon
Dos Palos City–County Building (Dos Palos City Council Chamber)
1546 Golden Gate Ave.
Gonzales Office Hours:
Wednesday January 16
4 – 5 PM
City Council Chambers
117 Fourth St.
Feel free to call my Merced office at (209) 726–5495 or Salinas office at (831) 769–8040 to make an appointment in advance.
In Case You Missed It: Modesto Bee & Merced Sun-Star “Cannella eyes enviro spot”
From the Modesto Bee and Merced Sun-Star:
As the only licensed engineer in the state Senate, Anthony Cannella brings a useful perspective and expertise to Legislature. He knows the California Environmental Quality Act from the side of developers and from the side of government. Remember, he’s a former planning commissioner, councilman and mayor of Ceres.
That’s why Cannella, the Ceres Republican whose 12th District includes all of Merced County, hopes to be named to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, likely to be ground zero for the debate about amending the landmark law that requires analysis of impacts on traffic, air, water and every other imaginable angle before something can be built or expanded.
Earlier this month, Senate President Darrell Steinberg announced committee leaders and, as expected, Sen. Michael Rubio, D–Shafter, was named the chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality committee. Cannella and Rubio have developed a strong working relationship. In early December, the two paired on a letter to the governor asking that realignment funds be targeted toward counties with higher per capita populations of offenders who are being detained in local jails rather than state prisons.
“I like CEQA,” Cannella told me in an interview before Christmas. With that review, “I have all the information I need on whether a project is good for the community. Even if it (the review) takes a lot of money and time, it’s a tremendous document.”
But CEQA also can be as a strategy to stop worthwhile projects or to stall them for so long they disintegrate. Sometimes the complaints come from competing developers, and some use it for extortion. Cannella says developers should have a path to get through the state’s “robust environmental laws,” and if they meet the standards, they should be allowed to build.
Cannella isn’t interested in leadership positions in the Republican caucus in Sacramento, and he won’t get them because he doesn’t toe the party line –– in words or in votes.
What could be a real accomplishment is if Cannella is able to advance some meaningful CEQA reform that retains reasonable environmental protections and prevents abuse of the law.