After more than fifteen years of effort by a handful of dedicated community members, the launch of the Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum is right around the corner! Last week, I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the museum and the plans to exhibit Modesto’s rock-and-roll and pop-culture history.
Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Museum!
Still a few more hours to check out Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Museum! Lots of fun for the whole family, including a chance to tour a presidential aircraft, build model airplanes, and use a flight simulator! Big thanks to Roger Wood and Atwater Rotary Club-Atwater Ca for their help putting on today’s event.
MEMORIAL DAY 2021 EVENTS
Each year, our community observes Memorial Day in such meaningful ways, and for that I am appreciative. More photos from #AD21 Memorial Day Remembrance Events: Lakewood Funeral Home / Lakewood Memorial Park and Ceres Memorial Park Thank you to American Legion Ceres Post 491 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10293 for your efforts
#AD21 Memorial Day Remembrance Events: Honoring our Fallen Heroes at the Lion Bridge on 7th Street in Modesto
A historic evening for Merced! The Merced LGBTQ Alliance, in partnership with the greater Merced community and allies, raised a Progress Pride flag in Bob Hart Square. The flag will fly high for ALL of #NationalPrideMonth, helping to bring visibility and dignity to our neighbors.
Happy Birthday, EJ!
Assemblymember Adam Gray celebrates with Mr. E.J. Almo Lorenzi, a beloved leader in the greater Merced region, and his 90th birthday celebrations. His contributions to, and support for, our community are larger than life.
Gustine Police Officers Sworn In
Congratulations to the newest Gustine Police Department Officers, who were sworn in this evening. It is exciting to hear that this class of officers represents a broad cross section of our community, including officers who graduated from Merced College, are bilingual (Spanish and Tagalog), and of various ages and genders — and a K9, too! Congrats!
Merced County Homeless Shelter
The community came together to help bring the vision for a low-barrier shelter to life. With the help of wrap-around services, six individuals have already moved on to permanent housing and many more have found stable employment — a huge accomplishment in less than two months!
Recently-Opened Homeless Navigation Center Reaches Capacity
Since opening its doors in late March, the Merced County Navigation Center is already making significant progress in addressing homelessness. Late last week, the facility reached its capacity with all 66 of its beds filled (this number fluctuates daily). The standard capacity is 75, but current COVID-19 distancing protocols reduced that figure by nine. Out of those who have passed through the Navigation Center, six have already moved into permanent housing and several have found employment, which is a significant achievement in a relatively short span of time. The Navigation Center (located near B and 13 streets in Merced) serves as a low-barrier emergency sheltering option for individuals currently residing in public spaces, and other places not suitable for human habitation. This initial step of transitioning individuals out of homelessness includes providing a safe and service-rich temporary shelter with connections to onsite supportive services. To make a referral, contact the countywide New Direction Outreach and Engagement Center by calling (209) 726-2700. Once a referral is made, an assigned outreach worker will contact, screen, and refer individuals to the appropriate housing and community services based on a standard assessment tool. Read more about the Navigation Center here: www.countyofmerced.com/NavigationCenter#MercedCountyNavigationCenter
Assemblymember Adam Gray, Supervisor Josh Pedrozo, and Merced Mayor Matt Serratto support this month’s featured small business, The Branding Iron! Come by on Wednesday, May 26th to receive 10% off all orders placed between 4:30pm-8:30pm.
Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after the Department of Water Resources announced the state and federal governments were imposing significant water allocation cuts on farmers and other water users:
“California’s water infrastructure is so broken that we can suffer from severe flooding and drought in the same year. So-called environmentalists have tried to use climate change to justify everything from subsidizing Tesla to banning the car outright. At the same time, they have ignored the impacts of climate change that demand we significantly expand our surface water reservoirs.
Over the next few decades, climate change will cause California’s snowpack to shrink by a third or more because warming temperatures will cause snow to fall as rain instead. That means instead of growing our snowpack during colder months and collecting that snowmelt during spring and summer, we need reservoirs that allow us to collect water all year long. That is the real inconvenient truth for special interests like the Sierra Club and NRDC who religiously oppose any new water storage.
The only significant funding package to address water infrastructure in the last decade was the Water Bond that I helped negotiate in 2014. Since then, my repeated calls for increasing our state’s water storage capacity have fallen on deaf ears.
These reductions are evidence that we need to address all of the impacts of climate change instead of only the aspects blessed by the far left.”
Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after revelations the federal coronavirus aid bill prohibits states from passing small business tax cuts: “I introduced legislation earlier this year to provide a COVID-19 tax credit for small and essential businesses. My bill was set to be heard in committee today, but the State Legislature has now been forced to sideline dozens of tax credits after it was revealed the federal stimulus bill bans states from cutting taxes.
“…federal coronavirus aid bill prohibits states from passing small business tax cuts…”
“Because California’s billionaires are making record profits on Wall Street, Congress has banned small businesses on Main Street from receiving a tax cut. This prohibition even applies to struggling businesses that have received zero dollars in federal and state aid.
“…Because California’s billionaires are making record profits on Wall Street, Congress has banned small businesses on Main Street from receiving a tax cut…”
“This is a critical year in the State Legislature where we have a real opportunity to permanently lower California’s infamously high taxes. Instead, Congress has stopped that effort before it even got started. What’s worse, they placed no such prohibition on tax increases, opening the door for special interests to pursue billions of dollars in tax hikes.
“I am urging California’s Congressional delegation to reverse this provision immediately. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We cannot abandon them just as we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.”
More information on the implications of the federal tax cut ban can be found HERE.
(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s 2021 State Budget proposal:
“The State Budget is an expression of California’s priorities. While there is plenty of detail left to be worked out, Governor Newsom continues to make good on his promise to keep the San Joaquin Valley a priority.
“Last year, the Governor made a commitment to permanently fund a new UC medical school in the Valley. True to his word, the budget maintains funding for our medical school, and we remain on track to enroll our first class of future Valley doctors in 2023. As we continue to struggle with 0% ICU capacity in no small part because of our doctor and nursing shortage, this is a truly transformational and long-overdue investment in the health and wellbeing of everyone who calls the Valley home.
“The Valley also has a disproportionate number of people enrolled in Medi-Cal and elevated rates of diabetes impacting our most vulnerable communities. I have fought for years to expand Medi-Cal to cover continuous glucose monitors. It’s a common-sense reform that 40 other states, Medicare, and every commercial health plan in the state have already adopted. More than 20 other legislators joined me last month in urging the Governor to make this happen in the budget after revelations that over one-third of COVID-19 deaths are linked to patients with diabetes. Today, the Governor took decisive action to provide Medi-Cal patients with diabetes the same standard of care as everyone else. This cannot be overstated; chronic illness and premature death will be prevented because of this reform.
“Finally, I was glad to hear the Governor rebuke those who have called for tax increases to make up for a budget deficit that simply has not materialized. Increasing taxes during a global pandemic and economic recession is moronic. We should be looking for opportunities to lower taxes as families continue to struggle to make ends meet. I hope Congress was paying attention to the Governor’s comments as well. Tax increases are off the table.”
UC Merced Chancellor Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz applauded the Governor and Assemblymember Gray for their ongoing commitment to address the Valley’s longstanding shortage of health care providers:
“This pandemic has made clarion clear the importance of the state’s continued investment in bringing reliable access to health care to its most underserved regions. UC Merced’s collaboration with UCSF Fresno is critical to building a pipeline of physicians for the region who come from the communities they will serve. We are grateful to the Governor for his ongoing commitment and to Assemblymember Gray for his steadfast dedication to keeping UC Merced’s medical education aspirations and the San Joaquin Valley front and center in Sacramento.”
Assemblymember Adam Gray leads a Rally to Fight the State Water Grab on the Capitol Steps in Sacramento on Monday, August 20, 2018 to protect the Valley’s water, agriculture and economy.
Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after being stripped of his position as Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.
History repeats itself.
“Five years ago, I fought to pass legislation to hold the State Water Board accountable for the devastating economic impacts the state water grab will inflict on the people living in my district and the greater San Joaquin Valley. Despite active opposition from legislative leadership, my bill was approved by a narrow committee vote, and I was summarily removed from my position on the Assembly Water Committee.
“This year, Speaker Anthony Rendon and State Water Board staff put forward special legislation to short-circuit the voluntary agreements being negotiated by the state and our local irrigation districts. The language was inserted into a Budget Trailer bill and gave the State Water Board staff the authority to implement an even more destructive version of their water grab without review and without even a public vote. I voted no.
“As a result of my commitment to defend my district, Speaker Rendon has stripped me of my position as Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.
“I have spent my entire time in public office fighting Sacramento’s insatiable thirst for the Valley’s water. Every time I am punished by my own party’s leadership for standing up for my district, it is a reminder that I was elected to represent the people who live and work in Merced and Stanislaus counties.
“No elected official should ever vote for policies that promise to destroy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic opportunity in their district for the benefit of others. I remain unmoved. I would and will vote no again.”
The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) is engaged in an inappropriate and unacceptable action designed to short-circuit the regulatory process and kill the spirit of negotiation. This action would have lasting health, economic and social impacts on the 460,000 people living in my Assembly District as well as the millions living in the San Joaquin Valley.Letter to Director Sobeck from Assemblymember Adam Gray
Assemblymember Adam Gray leads a Rally to Fight the State Water Grab on the Capitol Steps in Sacramento on Monday, August 20, 2018 to protect the Valley’s water, agriculture and economy.
Read the Bee Editorial Board from 2015 “Speaker Atkins Punishes Gray for trying to help Valley”
EDITORIAL: Speaker Atkins punishes Gray for trying to help Valley
BY THE BEE EDITORIAL BOARD
APRIL 22, 2015 05:37 PM
It’s not easy being a “Valleycrat,” as Assembly Member Adam Gray of Merced learned the hard way last week.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a Valleycrat is a Democrat from the San Joaquin Valley whose political beliefs are more conservative than party members from coastal California. Valleycrats often focus on pragmatic solutions to thorny problems and try to stick up for their constituents.
The rub comes when sticking up for constituents — or even voting your conscience — puts you at odds with the liberal Democratic leadership that runs the Legislature.
You can end up in the infamous “doghouse,” the smallest office in the Capitol, as happened to then-Assembly Member Juan Arambula in 2006. Arambula’s sin was not voting on a public works bond package because it did not include money for dams. Arambula bolted the party and became an Independent.
Another Valleycrat, then-Assembly Member Nicole Parra of Hanford, was ordered from her office in 2008 as punishment for bucking the party on a budget vote. Karen Bass, the Speaker at the time, was so mad she assigned Parra space across the street in a building where no other lawmakers were quartered.
But we digress.
Gray was dismissed from the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee by Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego after his Assembly Bill 1242 passed its first committee vote April 14. A member of Atkins’ staff told The Modesto Bee it was a routine reassignment. Don’t you believe it.
AB 1242 is important to the Valley. Basically, it anticipates the demands expected from the State Water Resources Control Board that more water be left in rivers for the benefit of fish and downstream users. AB 1242 would require the state to recognize the potential harm of these demands and take steps to mitigate that damage.
Understand: The expectation was that Gray’s bill wouldn’t make it out of committee. But AB 1242 passed despite long odds, largely because at least two dozen people from Modesto and Merced cared enough to attend the vote and testify about its importance. Dozens of others submitted letters explaining the impact the state’s expected water grab will have on farming and residents.
Atkins should not believe for a second that the Valley will sit quietly while she tries to silence our voices with her childish party games. Give her a taste of Valley straight talk by email, http://asmdc.org/speaker/, phone (916) 319-2078, Twitter @toniatkins, or in writing State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849; Sacramento, CA 94249-0078.
Assemblymember Adam C. Gray introduces Assembly Bill 62 to provide a tax credit for essential and small businesses seeking to comply with costly new COVID-19 regulations.
“While the 5th largest economy in the world has failed to address longstanding shortages of swabs, reagents, and lab capacity associated with COVID-19 testing, Cal/OSHA wants to fine your local donut shop for running out of hand sanitizer or being unable to obtain and afford an infinite number of tests,” said Assemblymember Gray.
“Instead of putting our money where our mouth is, State regulators continue to push the costs associated with COVID-19 onto employers, many of whom are already struggling to keep their doors open. Voters soundly rejected this kind of government overreach when they defeated Prop 15. But recently adopted Cal/OSHA regulations double-down on such schemes by imposing burdensome testing, PPE, and other regulatory requirements on employers of every size.
“The State cannot hold small businesses to a higher standard than it is willing to hold itself. COVID-19 cases are spiraling throughout the state, yet state government has had nothing but excuses for why unemployment checks are late, testing supplies are running out in rural communities, contracts to boost lab capacity and essential supplies of PPE keep falling through. Now, hospitalizations are breaking records despite a prolonged economic shutdown.
“While the State pays no penalty for its incompetence or indifference, Cal/OSHA has adopted dozens of new regulations that owners of small businesses will be forced to meet no matter the cost. “AB 62 flips this script. It will provide a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for any costs associated with complying with these new regulations. Instead of the State dictating rules from Sacramento, it will allow the State to partner with small businesses as we defeat this global pandemic.
“I can already hear those who created and supported these regulations saying the State cannot afford to spend the billions of dollars it will likely cost to implement this bill. Well, now you know how small business owners feel. After 9 months of enormous sacrifice and struggle, do you really think the small-business owners of California can afford it any better?”
I was fortunate to join City leaders and community members in recognizing our new City Manager, Stephanie Dietz, during her swearing-in ceremony. I have no doubt that she will continue to serve the City with distinction, as she has for the last several years. Please join me in congratulating her on her appointment!
Here is her mission statement:
The mission of our organization is to:
- Serve our citizens by delivering superior service exceeding expectations in cost, safety, and quality.
- Serve the City Council by providing clear, concise, accurate, unbiased professional staff work.
- Serve our employees by establishing goals, objectives, measurable standards for performance; and, to compensate them accordingly.
- Model our shared values.
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Stephanie R. Dietz
READ MORE HERE: https://bit.ly/36hulDw
Assemblymember Adam Gray taking part in this signing event to formalize the #MercedPromise, a partnership between UC Merced and Merced College.
Gray is a Merced College grad and a day-1 advocate for UCM and is committed to fighting for our local schools and very excited to see what the #MercedPromise will bring.