Gray Commends Executive Order to Create a Substantive Water Plan

Assemblymember Gray released the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s Executive Order directing the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop a water resilience portfolio that meets the needs of California’s communities, economy, and environment by reassessing priorities contained within the 2016 California Water Action Plan, updating projected climate change impacts to our water systems, identifying key priorities for the administration’s water portfolio, and identifying how to improve integration across state agencies to implement these priorities.

“California has not had a real water plan in decades. Real plans require real decisions, and previous administrations have refused to take on this tough issue. California’s aging water infrastructure as paid the price. That is why I introduced Assembly Bill 638 earlier this year to force the state to actually address the very real impacts that climate change will have on our dams, canals, aqueducts, and levies.

“The shrinking Sierra snow pack acts as California’s largest natural reservoir, but that reservoir is projected to shrink by half in as little as twenty years. That means less snow and more rain. Unless we take action now, we will watch millions of gallons of what used to be irrigation and drinking water wash out into the ocean.

“I don’t expect Governor Newsom and I to agree on every detail of a water plan, but I appreciate that he is not afraid to have the difficult conversations that we must have in order to get one. The Governor’s Executive Order is a critical starting point to get everyone to the table and to put those who would rather ignore this problem on notice. Whether they like it or not, the state will have a plan for water going forward.”

Assemblymember Gray Commemorates Limb Loss Awareness Month at the State Capitol

Earlier this week, I presented ACR 56 on the Assembly Floor, which recognizes the month of April as Limb Loss Awareness Month. The resolution recognizes the more than 2 million individuals in the U.S. living with limb loss, and limb difference. Diabetes, peripheral artery disease and trauma are leading causes of limb loss, and they are also prevalent issues that impact individuals in the 21st Assembly District.

A huge thank you to Kristin Mello and the Amputee Coalition for their work on this resolution. #Caleg

Adam Gray on the Assembly Floor introducing ACR 56 in support of limb loss awareness.

Assembly-member Adam Gray and his Team

Turlock Government Night

Government Night was a success. Thank you Supervisor Chiesa for inviting us to participate in Turlock Government Night with Congressman Harder and Mayor Bublak. It was a great evening to discuss a variety of issues with the community.

Assembly-member Adam Gray with Valley Mountain Regional Center Board Director Mohamed Rashid at Government Night in Turlock

In The District at the Ceres Chamber of Commerce Legislative breakfast.

The Ceres Chamber of Commerce  & the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held their 2019 Ceres Legislative Breakfast to hear directly from legislative representatives on the issues important to our businesses, our communities, and our families. We had candid questions and conversations about a host of pressing legislative issues including transportation, business regulations, and the environment.

Latino Policy Summit

It was a bit crazy in Sacramento this week, but Assemblymember Adam Gray really enjoyed getting to speak with local high school students yesterday about expanding access to voting and increasing civic engagement. Huge thank you to Latino Community Foundation and 99Rootz for organizing the day and for giving our youth an opportunity to speak about issues important to our community.

Veteran’s Court

Adam Gray attended the Merced County Veteran’s Court graduation in his continuing support of our veterans.

“The Veteran’s Treatment Program is a collaborative effort between the Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, the Superior Court and the Veteran’s Administration.

Today, six men from all different branches in the military were able to get their pending criminal charges dismissed after having graduated from the Program. Treatment for our Veterans is individualized and lasts anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Graduates will remain connected to their mentor for ongoing support even after they graduate.”

Watch this short video to learn more about Veteran’s Treatment Court.

More information on Veterans Treatment Court: 

Merced Sun Star

https://bit.ly/2Uv6mYp

California Courts

https://www.courts.ca.gov/11181.htm

Assembly-member Adam Gray and his Team

Castle Air Museum Golf Tournament

While at the Castle Air Museum golf tournament, I had the chance to chat with Scotty Burns, who flew 442 missions during his service in Vietnam.

Thank you for your service.

Gustine Chamber of Commerce dinner

Fantastic evening at the Gustine Chamber of Commerce dinner! I never miss a chance to spend time in Gustine.

Bobcat Day at UC Merced

UC Merced is the newest campus in the system, and I am proud that the student body is almost entirely from California. GO BOBCATS!!

Upcoming District Events

12th Annual High Tea of Hope

This event is on May 11 and is an  afternoon of celebration, inspiration and networking as we recognize survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking as we build advocacy and raise funds for the Stanislaus Family Justice Center.

Event info here:   https://bit.ly/2IECIO3

High Tea of Hope brings awareness for victims of domestic violence.
Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference.

Assemblymember Gray Tours Flood Operations Center

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, met with meteorologists and flood management officials with the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the National Weather Service (NWS) at the DWR Flood Operations Center to receive an update on flood preparedness, interagency cooperation, and the impact of climate change on water storage.

Assemblymember Adam Gray meeting with officials at the DWR Flood Operations Center.

The Department of Water Resources recently announced that the Sierra snowpack is 162 percent of average and statewide snow water equivalent has tripled since the beginning of February.  Snow water equivalent is one of the factors used by water managers to estimate spring runoff.

California typically receives close to 200 million acre-feet of water per year from rain and snow and statewide, and the Sierra snowpack provides 30 percent of California’s water needs. “Fortunately, this has been a rebound year for California’s water supply,” said Gray. “But the abundance of water also carries a certain amount of risk. Today was an opportunity to make sure our flood management officials at the state and federal level are working together and prepared to respond in case of an emergency.”

The briefing at the DWR Flood Ops Center (FOC) also included hydrologists and meteorologists who manage the California/Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) and NWS’s Sacramento Regional Office.

“While the Sierras were inundated with a record number of atmospheric river events this year, we need to prepare for warmer temperatures in the short-term and severe droughts in the long-term,” continued Gray. “These variable and extreme weather patterns are some of the reasons why I introduced AB 638, which requires DWR to determine statewide water storage capacity and identify how our storage will be threatened by climate change. For too long the California Water Plan has provided more question than answers. This bill requires DWR to provide specific strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our water supply.”

More information about AB 638 can be found here.

Gray Calls out Water Board for their Claim that Contaminating Drinking Water in Disadvantaged Communities is not “Significant”

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) ripped the State Water Resources Control Board for arguing that the harm caused by the Bay-Delta Plan to the drinking water of disadvantaged communities is not “significant”. Gray’s comments came as his legislation, Assembly Bill 637, cleared the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee with bipartisan support.

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray

In response to criticism that the Bay-Delta Plan ignores impacts to disadvantaged communities, the State Water Board issued a master response arguing that because the board is not a federal agency it does not have to consider impacts to these communities significant.

“The State Water Board should play by the same rules that the federal government has followed since 1994 when President Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from discriminating against and ignoring impacts to low income and minority communities,” said Gray. “Any rational person would agree that advancing a plan which devastates impoverished neighborhoods, degrades drinking water, and openly ignores impacts to some of the most vulnerable communities in the state should be against the law – but the Water Board is not rational.”  

State Water Board voting on Bay-Delta Plan

AB 637 requires the State Water Board to identify disadvantaged communities and mitigate impacts to the drinking water supplies serving those communities. The bill also requires the Board to hold public hearings in or near impacted communities.  

“It took demands from nearly the entire delegation of Northern San Joaquin Valley lawmakers before the State Water Board agreed to hold public hearings on the Bay-Delta Plan in the impacted communities of Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties,” continued Gray. “It should be the rule – not the exception – that impacted communities are able to make their voices heard.”

“As the new administration and our irrigation districts continue working towards securing voluntary agreements, this is a reminder of the distrust sowed by the State Water Board up to this point,” finished Gray.  

AB 637 has significant support from organizations throughout the 21st Assembly District including:    

•         Ceres Unified School District

•         City of Livingston

•         City of Patterson

•         Great Merced Chamber of Commerce

•         Le Grand Union High School District

•         Los Banes Unified School District

•         Mayor of Gustine Patrick Nagy

•         Merced City School District

•         Merced County Farm Bureau

•         Merced County Office of Education

•         Merced River School District

•         Merced Union High School District

•         Opportunity Stanislaus

•         Planed Elementary School

•         Stanislaus County

•         Winton School District

More information on Assembly Bill 637 can be found here.

Merced Theater Photo Credit: Merced Theater, Mark Miller [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Water board staff tries end run around negotiations

When the State Water Resources Control Board voted in December to adopt the Bay-Delta Plan, its members ignored the direction of former Governor Brown and current Governor Newsom to pursue voluntary agreements with our irrigation districts. Many saw this as an act of defiance by former Chair Felicia Marcus, the executive director, and many of the activist staff.

Eileen Sobeck, Executive Director, State Water Resources Control Board

While Governor Newsom has made swift progress toward rebuilding trust with water users, in part by removing the former board chair, it takes time for reforms at the top to trickle down to the hundreds of staff who actively urged the board’s action.

Since then, Eileen Sobeck, executive director of the water board, has submitted a proposal to the United States Environmental Protection Agency requesting “review and approval” of the revised salinity objectives included in the Bay-Delta Plan.

While the Bay-Delta Plan exceeds 3,500 pages, the board’s entire submittal for federal approval was nothing more than a couple paragraphs and a chart. The letter made absolutely zero mention of the 40 percent unimpaired flows approved by the board last December.

Ten years of hearings, myriad reports and meetings, millions of dollars in staff and consultant costs, and thousands of public comments should not be subjected to review according to the board’s letter.

Adoption of the Bay-Delta Plan by the EPA based on a single letter would be a profound act of irresponsible government. That the board’s executive director would ask the federal government to take such action is the height of bureaucratic arrogance.

State Water Board ignores Irrigation Districts and Water Users’ voluntary agreements and votes 4 to 1 to adopted their flawed Bay-Delta Plan in December 2018

Even more troubling, however, is the board’s failure to acknowledge the voluntary agreements being negotiated by our irrigation districts and water users. Many of these negotiations have reached agreements already, and the others are headed in that direction.

By sending an approval request without full and comprehensive information, water board staff are undermining the good-faith relationship Governor Newsom has established with our region. The federal government should reject this sorry excuse for a proposal.

Adam Gray is a California Assemblyman for the 21st district, representing Merced County and parts of Stanislaus County.

This was a Community Column written by Assemblyman Adam Gray originally published in the Modesto Bee  https://bit.ly/2Ias4OS

GRAY ANNOUNCES SATELLITE DISTRICT OFFICE HOURS FOR APRIL 2019

Assemblymember Adam Gray announced his Satellite District Office Hours for the month of April 2019. The 21st Assembly District encompasses 8 communities throughout Merced and Stanislaus Counties. “I am committed to making myself available to every person, in every corner of my district. While my offices in Merced and Modesto are open full-time, I have set up ‘Satellite District Office’ hours where my staff will be available at satellite locations in order to bring constituent services closer to the people,” Gray said.

Satellite District Office Hours are held each month throughout the 21st Assembly district and are hosted by legislative staff.  Staff members are available to assist constituents with casework matters relating to any level of government, but specializing in issues with State agencies- including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board, and others. Office Hours are also an opportunity for constituents to propose ideas for legislation and to express their opinion on matters before the State Assembly.

The schedule for April is provided below. Regular office hours are open to the public and no appointment is necessary. For more information, please contact Asm. Gray’s Merced District Office at (209) 726-5465.

On Friday, April 12th the satellite office is located at

• Newman City Hall – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 am

• Patterson City Hall – 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 am

On Thursday, April 18th the satellite office is located at

• Gustine City Hall – 9:00 am to 10:00 am

• Los Banos City Hall – 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

• Dos Palos City Hall – 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

On Thursday, April 25th, the satellite office is located at

• Atwater City Hall – 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Along with Supervisor Daron McDaniel – Merced County

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