Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

Mark Stone newHow will the 2014 water bond address the needs of Central Coast residents?

This upcoming legislative session, members of the legislature will be asked to vote to create a bond that would fund several water infrastructure and conservation projects across California. If the measure passes the legislature, this water bond will be placed on the November 2014 statewide ballot for voters to decide. Unfortunately, the current bond proposal does not include enough resources to protect coastal areas and waters.

It’s critical to secure the long-term health of California’s coast, which plays a vital role in the state’s economy through tourism, marine transportation, and natural resources. I’m encouraged that the current water bond proposals contain funding for protection and restoration of watersheds, including coastal areas and waters.

However, to ensure adequate protection of our coastal ecosystems and economies, I joined other legislators who represent coastal districts in calling for explicit inclusion of coastal waters in the 2014 water bond. Together, we are urging the water bond architects to provide adequate funding for projects that would ensure coastal water infrastructure and protection of coastal ecosystems. Funds from the bond could help California start planning and adapting its coastal water infrastructure, such as coastal water supply systems and water treatment and storm water facilities, for the impacts of sea level rise and climate change.

As an important step in ensuring that voices from the Central Coast are heard, I requested that the Assembly committee that will be considering the bond measure legislation hold a hearing in the Central Coast. The hearing will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Seaside City Council chambers. I invite Good Times readers to attend and express the importance of ensuring that the bond provides much-needed funds to protect our coastal water resources.

What is the aim of the Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment, of which you are a member, and how do the issues it will address pertain to Santa Cruz County?

When I was a Santa Cruz County Supervisor, I served as a member of the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council and worked closely with law enforcement officials to reduce recidivism rates. While there, I also worked on the state’s public safety realignment implementation, which reduced the number of inmates in state prisons and allowed some nonviolent, non-sex offenders to serve their sentences in county jails. Having spent time on this issue at the local level, I’m pleased to have been invited to participate in several informational hearings reviewing challenges to the state’s justice system.

The Select Committee is tasked with considering fiscal impacts to the state and local governments and discussing possible policy changes. Committee members will consider updating sentencing laws, building on successful local approaches, and improving education and anti-recidivism programs. 

The first hearing was held in October, and it provided an overview of the myriad problems and their causes that currently face the state’s justice system. The second meeting will occur in mid-November. While Select Committees conduct research, hold hearings, and make legislative recommendations, they do not consider or vote for specific legislation. Therefore, after the committee delves into these issues, members will put some of the best approaches identified into legislation for consideration during the 2014 session. 

Assemblymember Stone will be talking about current environmental legislation and public health and safety issues at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Quaker Center, 225 Rooney St., Santa Cruz.

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