Thursday, December 24, 2015

Progressive Women's Committee features candidates for US Congress and CA State Assembly - Thurs Jan 7

THE PROGRESSIVE WOMEN’S COMMITTEE will meet on Thursday January 7, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. at Thomi's Banquet Room in Jackson. The speakers for January will be Robert Derlet and Robert Carabas, candidates for US Congress and CA State Assembly.

Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Sally at or 267-0177 no later than January 5th. All those interested are welcome to attend. The buffet luncheon is $15.00. Pay at the door - cash or personal check only.

Robert Derlet
Robert Carabas

Friday, December 11, 2015

Our CYA Wards Were a Huge Help During the Butte Fire

By Guest Columnist: Lynn Morgan, Amador County Supervisor District 3
(Published in the Upcountry News, Dec 2015, Vol. 14, No. 12 Courtesy of Rick Torgerson)
I was encouraged by Ruth Gottstein to visit the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (CYA) to see for myself what wonderful work they perform.  I arranged a meeting with Mr. Michael Roots, Superintendant for the camp and Ruth was right, I was so impressed!
Mr. Roots greeted me warmly and took me on a tour of the facility, starting with the visiting area. I was, frankly, somewhat surprised to see how nice it was--with picnic tables and barbeques for family meals and really--minimum security.  The wards at the camp normally wear khaki shirts and blue jeans, more informal attire than the jumpsuits that one normally associates with incarcerated men in institutions.
Then, Mr. Roots told me of the business of the camp—especially, that they are the only youth offender facility which works directly with another state agency (CALFIRE) to provide specific training for these young men. The age range is roughly 18-23. Currently, there are 70 wards in the facility that, because of good behavior, have been moved to the CYA from other correctional institutions, to better develop their education and work experience. The camp also requires all wards that have not completed a high school degree to go to school every day--to pursue either a diploma or GED.  This helps them to adjust to the real world once they are released.
But THIS is an amazing ‘halfway house!’ They require each ward to work directly with CALFIRE for firefighting training. The role of the CYA wards assisting during the Butte Fire was invaluable and they don’t get much credit for that. The wards are hard-working, durable and committed young men--and for that, we are all grateful.
When there are any behavioral issues, the CALFIRE staff is asked to report problems to the camp supervisors--and such behavior is quickly adjudicated, sometimes by simply sending back to their dormitory. The wards are assigned routine tasks from CALFIRE, like clearing drainages that would make any young person tired and sore at the end of the day.  
The camp supervisors establish ‘teams’ with a goal of diversification of both races and gang members.  These teams know the rules--that the most productive member becomes the leader and gets to sit at head of their team table during meals.  They asked for and now have a weight room, paid for with the extra money they earn from their work.
Frankly, the most impressive event of my visit was when one of the CYA supervisors approached Mr. Roots to ask to speak with him for a minute. So of course, I started to step aside. However, I was encouraged not to ‘step away’ because this supervisor simply wanted to ask his boss if it was okay to take one of the wards to the bank with him.  The purpose of the visit?  The supervisor wanted to show him how to establish a bank account, deposit his paycheck, get an ATM card and write a check.  I later commented about the great, real-world approach to helping prepare these young men for life…after camp.
We must all continue to support the work of this very special youth camp.  They do wonderful work with our troubled youth.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New fact sheet: California's Recovery Has Been Uneven Across the State

California Budget & Policy Center
December 8, 2015

California's Recovery Has Been Uneven Across the State
Millions of Californians continue to face economic hardship despite the steady job gains and declining unemployment of recent years. California's official poverty rate in 2014 stood at 16.4 percent, down slightly from the prior year but still well above the state poverty rate in 2007, the year the Great Recession started in California.

In order to provide a closer look at how the current recovery is failing to reach many parts of our state, a new Budget Center fact sheet looks at poverty rates at the county level and shows that many places have yet to make up lost ground. In fact, in 32 of the 40 counties for which data are available, poverty was higher in 2014 than in 2007, and these include several counties that currently have booming job markets. Read the fact sheet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Register today for California Budget & Policy Center's Annual Budget Briefing - Dec 16

California Budget & Policy Center
December 1, 2015

December 16 in Sacramento
Join Us for Our Annual Budget Briefing
Reserve your spot today for the California Budget & Policy Center's upcoming event, Looking Ahead: Everything You Wanted to Know About the State Budget and What to Expect in 2016. This free, half-day event includes two sessions that will help you get ready for the upcoming year's budget debate and learn about the issues to look for in 2016.
Part I  (9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.)
Dollars and Democracy: An Introduction to the State Budget Process
  • Scott Graves, Director of Research, California Budget & Policy Center
Part I is geared to those interested in learning about — or refreshing their knowledge of — the basics of California's state budget process, including what happens when and the roles of the Governor, the Legislature, and the public. Attendees who prefer to skip the first session are welcome to attend Part II only, but event registration is still required.

Part II (11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
State Budget Preview: What to Expect in 2016
  • Ben Adler, Capitol Bureau Chief, Capital Public Radio
  • Nicole Vazquez, Deputy Chief & Human Services Consultant, Assembly Budget Committee
  • Chris Hoene, Executive Director, California Budget & Policy Center
Attendees wishing to attend only Part II are welcome to register and join us just for this second session.

This budget briefing will be held Wednesday, December 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, East Meeting Room, 828 I Street in Sacramento. Please register no later than Monday, December 14.
Register today at For additional information or any questions, contact the Budget Center at (916) 444-0500 or