Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea and 10 of his state Assembly colleagues have sent a letter to Speaker John Pérez and Assembly Budget Chair Nancy Skinner, seeking additional money for transportation infrastructure projects.
The letter notes that, for the first time in more than a decade, there is a budget surplus. It also cites the state Transportation Commission, which says 58% of California's roadways and 20% of its bridges require some sort of maintenance work, and an additional 6% of bridges need to be replaced.
A solution, the letter says, is to budget $500 million in one-time funds for transportation infrastructure projects. The money would be in addition to $337 million Gov. Jerry Brown proposed in his initial budget for loan repayments that would accelerate highway and road preservation and maintenance projects.
"What we wanted to do is get on the record some of the concerns and priorities we wanted to see in the budget," Perea said. He said the letter was "step one of putting down the marker on the issue."
Perea said he and his fellow Assembly members who signed the letter will now work with colleagues in the budget subcommittees to get the increased funding.
— John Ellis
Valadao reaches across aisle at State of the Union
Hanford Republican Rep. David Valadao promoted bipartisanship Tuesday before the State of the Union address.
In the hour before the address, Valadao posted a Twitter (@RepDavidValadao) photo of himself with Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and wrote: "Tonight, I will be sitting w/ my colleague from across the aisle"
Valadao and Sinema are members of No Labels, a bipartisan group that includes 89 members of Congress who hold regular meetings with the stated intent of building trust.
The No Labels membership includes Reps. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
— Bee staff
Incumbent, 2 challengers for Madera DA post
Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz announced this week that he will seek another four-year term.
Keitz has a total of 34 years of law enforcement experience.
He began his career in Madera County in 1980 as a volunteer reserve deputy sheriff. He worked as a deputy district attorney from 1992 until 2009 when he was appointed as the DA by the Madera County County Board of Supervisors.
He was elected by Madera County voters in 2010.
Oakhurst attorney David Linn announced his plans last year to run against Keitz. Linn is married to Betty Linn, publisher of the Sierra Star in Oakhurst. The Star is owned by The McClatchy Co. and printed at The Fresno Bee.
And Friday, deputy county counsel Miranda Neal announced her intent to run in the June 3 primary.
Neal has served in her position for the past eight years and has been a licensed attorney since 1991. In a news release, she said she prosecutes child-abuse and neglect cases.
— Bee staff