Drug trafficking. Murder. Millions of acres of illegal marijuana fields. Most Californians assume the best place to look for these stories is their preferred streaming service, but they are taking place in our own backyard. Thousands of acres of land in Siskiyou County have been overtaken by makeshift greenhouses and ramshackle infrastructure to support this organized crime. In the wake of the Lava Fire, which has burned nearly 30,000 acres in Siskiyou and forced the evacuation of many areas where illegal growers have taken root, law enforcement and residents’ worst fears have been realized… read more
As a farmer, representative of the North State, and Vice-Chair of the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, I was disturbed to see the introduction of Assembly Joint Resolution 5, seeking to rehash the debate on banning wild horse and burro gathers. This issue has long been argued, but environmental science simply doesn’t support the approach. AJR 5 urges the federal government to immediately declare a moratorium on wild horse and burro gathers, arguing that, “Millions of people greatly benefit from the uplifting vitality, elegance, and beauty of these animals when they are living… read more
As we approach a full year since California schools shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, parents are wondering when their children will ever see a classroom again. As families raise their voices, the governor and the majority leadership in the Legislature have released competing plans to reopen schools.   Getting kids back in school is vital, but both plans ignore one little-known fact:  Many schools in California are already holding classes in person. And, far from helping, both plans would hinder these schools from continuing to provide safe, in-person instruction. While most… read more
The California State Auditor last month published a report investigating the state’s disbursement of the $9.5 billion provided in the federal CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to counties. The report uncovered that large counties with more than 500,000 residents received nearly double the money per person than did small counties.  Contrary to the state’s initial presumptions that less populous areas would be less affected by the coronavirus, the report further exposed that small counties had case rates equally high, if not higher, than large counties.  There was no justification for this… read more
The issue of wildfire is one California leaders have neglected for decades and only seem to pay attention to nowadays between the months of May through October, as year after year, our state is devastated by catastrophic fire. Since the beginning of 2020, there have been over 8,400 fires in California that have destroyed over 4 million acres. 96,000 Californians have been displaced by these fires, but our Governor and the majority party in power continue to dance around the issue without seriously committing to address it. Why? Because they are beholden to special interest environmental… read more
As school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego have announced their continued closure through the coming fall semester, I am one of many concerned parents who fear this trend could spread statewide. The communities I represent in the First Assembly District overwhelmingly depend on schools to provide meals, care and a safe place for our children, and our region is not alone in this. What’s more concerning is that the arguments driving the school closure debate are focused more on politics than actual science and what’s in the best interest of students. As such, it has never been more… read more
With every passing year, California continues to shatter records with devastating fire seasons, and 2020 is no exception.  This year, the state has lost 4.2 million acres, approximately 9,000 structures, 31 lives, and fire season has not even ended. Gov. Gavin Newsom attributes these wildfires to what he calls “a climate damn emergency” and has enforced his solution via recent executive orders, “to protect our communities from climate change-driven events such as wildfire.”   But instead of championing proper forest management to combat wildfires, he opted to unilaterally phase out gas-… read more