16 Feb

Learn more about the Valley’s water issues at the ‘Central Valley Water Forum’ March 13

The Fresno County Democratic Central Committee invites area Democrats to learn more about the issues surrounding water and water usage at the ‘Central Valley Water Forum: Facts vs. Fictions,’ an event scheduled 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, March 13, at Forum Hall in the Social Science Building of the Fresno City College campus.

According to its planners, the Central Valley Water Forum promises a ‘home-grown gathering that will provide residents a space to understand the issues and prepare for the tough decisions ahead that will define our Valley’s future.’ Admission is free, box lunches will be available for $6, but prospective attendees must register to reserve their space.

Want to learn more? Full details including the schedule of presentations are available through the Community Alliance website and through To ensure your seat, download and complete the registration form as soon as possible.

Read More
11 Feb

Senator Dean Florez introduces legislation to end unpredictable tuition spikes

An announcement from the office of Senator Dean Florez, D-Shafter:

Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, who spoke out strongly against the recent 32% fee spike at UC campuses, this week introduced legislation to help stabilize student fees for future generations of California students.

With rates that can remain relatively stable for some time and then skyrocket, it is nearly impossible for parents and students to plan their saving and investments with any sense of confidence the end result will be enough to afford whatever the going rate is by the time they enroll. Even then, the next year may soar out of reach, abruptly ending a dream.

On Monday, Florez introduced Senate Bill 969 – The California College and University Fee Stabilization Act of 2010 — to remove much of that uncertainty from planning for a college education.

Senate Bill 969 says that the fee you pay your first year of college is the fee you will pay until you graduate, much as degree graduation requirements are locked in based on what was in place in your year of admission. In addition, SB 969 states that the fee increase from one year’s incoming class to the next can be no more than five percent, so parents can plan ahead for their children’s younger siblings as well.

“It is of benefit to every one of us to ensure that the best and the brightest students in this state are not kept from reaching their potential by unreasonable and unexpected spikes in tuition rates,” Senator Florez said. “If we are to build and maintain an economy befitting of this great state, we cannot make higher education an unattainable dream.”

Senator Florez also included his personal thoughts about this legislation in a message to California Democrats:

As California looks to rebound from tough economic times and promote the type of solid growth that will lead to lasting stability, we cannot underestimate the value of educating the generation that will ultimately lead this charge for our state.

When students – some in their final year of school at a prestigious UC, already working two jobs to get through – were hit with an immediate 32% increase late last year, some had to move home, transfer or even drop out with tens of thousands already spent.

When students don’t know from year to year if tuition will go up 4% or 40%, we are making higher education a gamble that many feel they cannot afford, adding to the instability that has already rocked our state and nation for quite some time. In reality, higher education is an investment in our future which we cannot afford to overlook.

In an effort to bring some stability to college funding, so students and parents can save, invest and plan with confidence for the future, I have this week introduced Senate Bill 969.

Senate Bill 969 would ensure that the fee you pay your first year of college is the fee you pay until you graduate, just as the graduation requirements in place your year of admission are those which will guide you to completion of your degree. In essence, we don’t go changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Funding is certainly no less critical an issue and should be handled no differently.

In addition, my bill states that the fee increase from one year’s incoming class to the next cannot exceed five percent, giving parents the ability to plan ahead for their children’s younger siblings’ actual educational expenses as well.

California’s colleges and universities are always saying they want a stable source of funding from government. This measure gives them the same stability for future planning that it makes possible for California’s students, who are surviving on much smaller margins than these giant institutions.

In short, we cannot let the potential in our best and brightest be snuffed out by unreasonable and unexpected spikes in tuition rates such as UC students faced this last year. I hope you will join me in keeping the dream of higher education in California an attainable reality by supporting SB 969.


Senate Majority Leader

Read More
11 Feb

Sen. Dean Florez issues statement about Maldonado vote

A press release from the office of Sen. Dean Florez:

Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez broke with many in his party today in voting against the confirmation of Senator Abel Maldonado for Lieutenant Governor. The motion passed in the Senate by a vote of 26-7.

In explaining his vote today, Florez issued the following statement:

“The question for me was whether I would have supported Senator Maldonado if he was on the ballot. I would not be able to vote for him if he was on the ballot, so in my mind it made no sense to support him now.”

“I watched the confirmation hearings and I was surprised and disappointed to learn that Mr. Maldonado had admitted to a number of OSHA violations with respect to his farming operation, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t prepared or didn’t elaborate on the severity or nature of the violations. I think this really needed to be cleared up.”

“Senator Maldonado voted against liability for farm operators when, under the circumstances we know now, he should clearly have recused himself. He has consistently voted against air quality for the Central Valley, against health care reform and against a modest raise to the minimum wage for all those who are struggling in this state.”

“I was also surprised at how Senator Maldonado characterized his role in addressing the state budget, his efforts to hold up the state budget, how he allowed people — many people in my district — to suffer, took our state to the brink of financial collapse and then characterized his holding out as somehow a principled move.”

“The fact that he can’t get his own ideas through the legislature or convince enough people to support his ideas, opposes real reforms to move California forward, and then uses the budget to extract concessions for his vote for something he wants is a practice that I don’t support, and I wouldn’t support someone who does such things.”

Read More
04 Feb

Volunteers needed for two ‘deconsolidated’ California Democratic Party standing committees

From our friends at the California Democratic Party comes this:

After a unanimous recommendation from the State Party Rules Committee regarding the Legislative Action and Equal Opportunity Committee, Chairman John Burton is deconsolidating the joint committee back into the original Legislation Committee and Affirmative Action Committee. While the joint committee has served its purpose in the past, it has been recommended that the State Party would be stronger with these committees each focusing on their own separate functions.

Chairman Burton is now soliciting for appointments to these two committees. Members of the State Central Committee are eligible to apply, and current Legislative Action and Equal Opportunity Committee members should reapply as well.

The Committees each meet during our Executive Board meetings and are responsible for doing much work between meetings. You will need to be able to attend these meetings and participate in the work of these Committees. If you wish to seek an appointment, you’ll find the application at

Read More
28 Jan

President Obama affirms priorities in State of the Union address

President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address yesterday, Jan. 27. Here, from our friends at, is a recap of the address:

In his address, the President laid out an agenda attempting to attack one problem from every conceivable angle: the terrible squeeze felt by America’s middle class. Fundamentally, that means prying government away from special interests and dedicating it to measures that put Americans to work and lay the foundation for a stronger economy for our country – lowering health care and tuition costs, spurring creation of the next generation of clean energy jobs. It also means putting a cop on the beat on Wall Street, so major banks can no longer take advantage of families and taxpayers.

This was the vision that shaped the President’s address, but this is not just a matter of rhetoric. The President made clear that there is tremendously busy agenda ahead for his second year – the policies and proposals below are just examples of the plans the President laid out in his address to put government to work for the middle class.

Miss it? The address in its entirely below. (If the viewscreen is not visible, the video is available at the website.

Read More