For the latest news, legislation and events in Senate District 7.
GoMentum is the largest secure testing facility for autonomous driving technology in the world. It is located in Concord, Ca on the grounds of the former naval weapons station. The work of car manufacturers and transportation companies at this massive test site will reinvent the way people and goods move through our communities.
Assemblywoman Catherine Baker and Assemblyman Tim Grayson joined me for a tour of the site and a ride-a-long in an EasyMile bus, a 12-passenger, electric, shared, driverless shuttle that is being tested as a last mile transportation alternative. One example of its possible use is rather than drive to BART and search for a parking space (where there is likely none), you can request a driverless bus pickup at your house. For a fare as low as $1.50, the shuttle will deliver you to BART for the continuation of your travels. They hope to bring this technology to market in a two-shuttle pilot demonstration program beginning soon in Bishop Ranch in San Ramon. Their rollout goal is to have 150 of these petite buses working in Contra County in a few years.
Thank you to program leaders Habib Shamskhou and Jack Hall, and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority for your groundbreaking leadership at GoMentum!
Look Ma! No Hands! My Uber driver demonstrates their self driving technology on a trip from their San Francisco Research and Development facility to "Extreme Pizza" and back. Uber announced today that some commercial trips will use this extraordinary self driving technology.
The Wells Fargo fraud has resulted in $185 million in penalties so far. But has the Bank taken steps to hold those accountable? My hearing of the Senate Banking Committee revealed that over 480 Branch Managers were also fired for engaging in illegal behavior. It is a bad sign when Wells refuses to show up to answer important questions as this LA Times story reviews.
The Senate approved Senate Bill 412, Sen. Glazer's "California Promise," 39-0 on Aug. 30, sending the bill to the governor. The bill requires the California State University to establish, by the fall of 2017, "Promise" programs on 15 campuses for community college transfers and eight campuses for entering freshmen. Participating students must take 30 credits per academic year and maintain a minimum grade point average. In return, they would get priority registration and enhanced academic advising.
One final round of 22 pushups, with my staffer Steve Harmon and Senate caucus staffer Phil Desmangles in the Senate caucus studios, where we put together a video reliving the 22-day 22-pushup challenge to raise awareness of Veteran suicides. Stay tuned!
It’s the final day of my 22 Day, 22 Push-up Challenge. I was honored to be in Livermore at Las Positas Community College. I spoke to about 50 Vets at their Veterans First new veterans orientation. Thank you to Dr. Jannette Jackson, Chancellor, and Army Veteran for your gracious welcome.
I have met many wonderful people and learned a lot these past three weeks. We have about 2 million vets in California. Most are leading productive and happy lives but a few too many are still struggling with homelessness, hunger, mental health challenges and self-destructive behavior. We can and must do better in giving them a helping hand.
I will continue to look for ways to support our active duty military and our great veterans. All of the liberties and freedoms we enjoy are due to their courage and dedication. I hope that you will take up the challenge to help our veterans. Please consider hiring a Vet in your business, volunteering or contributing to Vet organizations or engaging in your own Vet awareness challenge.
Many thanks to the numerous community leaders, staff in my office and in the Senate leader’s office for supporting these awareness activities. Finally, thank you to our Veterans for leading the way in service. You are our heroes and no one should be left behind.
On day 21 of my 22 day, 22 pushup challenge to raise awareness to the tragedy of Veterans' suicide, I was joined at Brentwood Veterans Park by Steve Todd, Commander and Melissa Margain, Junior Commander, Brentwood Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1810, California Highway Patrol Officers, Brandon Correia and Tom Maguire, and Pittsburg Police Officer Heidi Maguire. The park with the Memorial Rose Garden, commemorative plaques and flags representing the military branches, provides a quiet place to remember the sacrifices of our brave soldiers and to reflect on our responsibility to provide support and care to them on their return. If you are a Veteran and you need support, please call 1-800-273-8255, and press 1.
On Day 20 of my 22 Day, 22 Pushup Challenge, I spent time with Michael Blecker, Vietnam Veteran and Executive Director of Swords to Plowshares at one of their permanent supportive housing sites, Veterans Commons. Founded by veterans over 40 years ago, Swords to Plowshares provides a full range of wrap-around services, including housing, employment and training, and legal and health care assistance to roughly 3,000 veterans in the SF Bay Area each year. They also advocate on behalf of veterans and provide community education to first responders, employers and others who engage with veterans. Thank you to organizations like Swords to Plowshares and individuals like Dr. Michael Blecker who are on the frontlines of supporting and providing care to veterans and their families. To learn more, go to http://swords-to-plowshares.org.