By Darlene Lofgren
Assemblyman Mike Gipson of the 64th District, which includes Compton, updated Council at the regular meeting on April 11th in regard to legislation in Sacramento.
He thanked the City and the council members "for partnering with me" on the trafficking amnesty program. He said "we serviced over a thousand people" whose licenses had been suspended due to back fees owed.
"We can't talk about people getting to work if they don't have no license," he said, and described individuals with thousands of dollars in tickets who walked out with paying only $55 and regaining a license.
He said he was "grateful to colleagues who supported the amnesty program 'cause we want to put our brothers and sisters back to work." Gipson reported that people came to the program from as far away as Victorville, "to come and get their license, with the hope of getting their license restored, and people walked away being made whole...I'm very grateful to you guys who helped spread the word that they can get their driver's license back and also be able to provide their families with getting to and from work. Thank you very much, Compton, for standing up in a large, large way."
The Assemblyman told the mayor and the council that "I introduced over 30 pieces of legislation that I'm happy to say most of which was on public safety. Some of that I can't mention right now because we don't want people to take advantage of the loopholes that's in the law...it would put some of the areas of Compton in jeopardy, some of the unincorporated areas of the county of Los Angeles. Some of these bills are dealing with environment, senior care, housing, economic development, government reform, immigration, human services and also education."
He cited one bill which requires mobile park owners to furnish tenants with access to their mailing address and home address, so owners "know what's going on. We want to know that our residents are in fact empowered in this regard."
Another bill in the works, he said, was a fee waiver for "former incarcerated youth to attend California state colleges...We want to make sure that we tear barriers down for individuals. To make sure that anyone who wants to go to a community college in the state" can attend the first year for free. The bill, he says, will be on the governor's desk by the end of June.
"Another bill I'm excited about, we will bring back—this is gonna be a life work—and that's bringing back vocational skills to middle school and high school because I want to make sure that individuals who won't go to community college, who won't go to college period, have an opportunity to go into a trade.
"What does that mean? You remember metal shop, wood shop, well, we want to bring those back...We want every school to be mandated that they provide these opportunities so the individual can go into plumbing, electricity, robotics, things of that nature, so they can take care of their families.
"This is a two-year bill" said Gipson, "something at the table; working extremely hard to get a piece of legislation that both houses can, in fact, support and get it on the governor's desk, and implemented."
The assemblyman also stated that he "will not allow Compton's community college to fail."
Gipson then reported that he had been re-appointed as Speaker of the Democratic Caucus, as well as been appointed to the committee for the aging long time care.
"We've got some very exciting bills that's gonna help our seniors out whether it's home upkeep allowance or personal upkeep allowance to help them make it in our society."
Other committees he is on he named as "business and professional committee, governmental committee, the insurance committee, and a taxation committee.
"These are all committees of which I am very excited about because it provides resources and also in being able to create a space to carve out money for my district.
"In addition to that there's still remaining the Chair of Assembly Select Committee of Infectious Disease, high-risk disadvantaged communities" in the area of HIV and AIDS, "getting to zero new infectious cases because look at those affected...African Americans and Latinos that are vastly growing in this population. And so now we have treatments that are significant, that we can stop the spread of HIV and also make sure that people live a long healthy life and so I'm excited about that."
The assemblyman then spoke of the recent transportation bill. "You've heard that we spent eight hours last week in Sacramento locked in the chambers because we passed the largest transportation bill in California's history.
"Now this is not the perfect bill. I want to underscore this. Now everyone, including myself, will have to live under this bill: because I'm tired of driving down bad roads. I'm tired of doing that...
"Compton will receive 4.4 million dollars annually to deal specifically with the roads and the infrastructure right here in Compton, and so again, this is in over ten years, going to provide over 52 billion dollars for California's infrastructure for the roads, levees...Other legislators have been kicking the can down the street and have not dealt with the issue that's in front of them, and so this resources group will get help to make sure that people who are most vulnerable in this community, in the 64th District specifically, (don't have to) spend an average of $892 dollars in maintenance alone; most of that dealing with the front suspension, the rims, the tires, things of that nature, on an annual basis.
"Now, with this new monies coming down to Compton and Carson and Lynwood and Gardenia and Watts Willowbrook, those areas which I represent, we can now hopefully drive down streets that are gonna be paved; and not only that, 78,000 jobs will be created as a result.
"I want you to know again, Compton, that I heard your voice."
Discussion then ensued in regard to the assemblyman's satellite office opening in Compton.
Councilperson Isaac Galvan thanked the assemblyman for his efforts, and Gipson in return complimented Galvan for his participation in a recent "know your rights" forum.
The subject of "sanctuary cities" came up and the assemblyman stated that "if they declare war on any city that calls itself a sanctuary city" some backup funds are available to replace what those cities would otherwise lose federally.
Major Aja Brown quizzed Gipson on the issue of gas taxes, that the distribution of that money didn't take into account the cities whose roadways suffered the most from truck traffic to the ports.
"The governor did make some concessions," he answered, "but we need to make sure we pass this bill...this is history in the making. No other time in our history have we passed a transportation package that's worth 52 billion dollars...I've been working on this with the authors to carve out additional funds for the cities that are impacted by ports and things of this nature...we worked hard but it was not embraced—but it's not over yet. We're gonna still continue to push forward because we believe, and I believe, that cities like Compton...on the corridor (to the ports) are impacted greater and therefore we should have a greater piece of the pie."
The mayor pointed out that it cost "about a million a mile on Central Avenue" used by the trucks, "and our residents are having to pay the cost of high truck traffic...and we definitely need to have our fair share" rather than "having to pay the high cost for the entire region."
"Well, as I say," responded Gipson, "it's not over yet." He said there was still cap and trade to work out and that it's a "likely area" in which to address the issue.
"We are nestled here between the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach," he said, "so cap and trade is the precise venue to have that discussion. I'm looking forward to looking at your proposal and will partner with you."
Brown thanked him for his support.
And he said, "We want our people to have first chance at hire. I can't feed my neighbor's kids if my own kids are going hungry. My first job is to take care of home."
Councilperson Tana McCoy also thanked him for his efforts, and thanked him for her constituents, especially on the transportation bill.
Gipson pushed for an even greater effort to "work together so our voices will be heard."
Councilperson Jana Zurita thanked him for the team work that resulted in the memorial signs by the freeway.
He thanked her for her leadership on that effort and said it may not have happened without her.
"Thank you so much," said Councilperson Emma Sharif, "to everyone at the assembly for taking our calls."
He smiled and thanked her "for your text message making sure I did the right thing."
More information on Assemblyman Mike Gipson can be found on his website: https://a64.asmdc.org.