I was outraged when I read a Thanksgiving column by my 2020 election opponent for California’s 75th Assembly District, Marie Waldron, titled “Does California Owe You Money.”
It was another reminder for me why I decided to run to bring change to our district.
The article begins: ”The holiday season is fast approaching and many are suffering from severe economic distress resulting from the COVID 19 shutdowns, so take a few minutes to see if you have some money coming to you.”
Am I actually seeing this?
We have been hit by the worst global pandemic in over a century. Many people are laid off, or have lost jobs as well as health insurance, and are worried about how they are going to pay their rent or mortgage for the month, much less be able to celebrate the holidays. Our food banks have never been as needed and utilized as they have been this year.
We have paid Waldron over $1.2 million in salary and travel expenses since her 2012 election. She even took the highest amount of mileage reimbursements out of 120 members of the California Legislature during the 2015-16 session, according to state records. (The Escondido Grapevine addressed that issue here.)
And this column about California’s Unclaimed Property Law is her solution at such a time of crisis? This is her message to us on Thanksgiving Day 2020?
And by the way, the State Controller’s office can take up to 180 days to process “unclaimed property.” Even if you have money coming to you, you might not see it until the summer solstice, much less this week.
We have seen Waldron spend her time and energy recently sending letters of support for a Supreme Court nominee, but not for additional stimulus funding from Washington to assist 75th District residents.
We have heard about how Waldron recommended three years ago that the technology be upgraded for state agencies, such as the Employment Development Division (EDD) that never came to pass. Residents in the district needed their EDD checks three months ago.
Hey Waldron: What are you doing today for your constituents to help them with this existential crisis?
The EDD still hasn’t gotten a handle on the massive pandemic assistance fraud scheme and, as a result, have been sending an estimated $2 billon in payments on fraudulent claims.
Rather than looking for “unclaimed property,” let’s find the $2 billion in fraudulent payments Bank of America sent out, and get the checks to those who deserve their unemployment benefits.
We also need our “Assembly Representative” to bring much needed industry along with living wage jobs to our district. That would put much needed money into the pockets of our communities.
The state needs pharmaceutical manufacturing, and we are positioned here perfectly due to the proximity to the San Diego Bio-Tech industry. Not to mention needed manufacturing of solar panels made in the USA. We have the space for manufacturing facilities locally.
Yet, our residents are ending up homeless in their cars as a result of no EDD benefits or jobs.
Stick to what’s relevant
The State passed AB 3088 – The Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 — extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic through Jan 31.
Most district residents are unaware of this protection. Has there been any outreach to the public about AB 3088? I don’t believe so.
The national outstanding rent debt is expected to be as high as $7.2 billion by the end of 2020, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The estimate is based on eviction moratoriums across the nation that ended Dec. 31, 2020.
California has one of the longest moratoriums in the nation, with Gov. Gavin Newsom signing AB 3088 in August that shielded all renters from eviction due to COVID-19-related back rent through Feb. 1.
Waldron’s unclaimed property column that was re-printed by several local news outlets went on to speak to the issue of needing to help our small businesses.
News flash: The San Diego County Board of Supervisors already had announced additional small business funding to be directed toward small businesses within each of our five county districts. These funds are intended to aid businesses in danger of failing due to recent lockdowns and partial re-openings.
We all understand, and fully support, the need to assist our small business owners with expenses in order to keep them afloat, particularly the expense of payroll. Waldron came up through the ranks due to owning a small business — an Escondido T-shirt shop. She should understand the need for small businesses to be represented at the state and local level.
Apparently, that personal knowledge didn’t matter.
Waldron should have pushed her colleagues at the federal level for additional federal stimulus funding with the same fervor as her interest in the next Supreme Court Justice. Our state and local governments might have seen increased funding for small businesses support, as well as for the rest of the community.
Waldron might have leveraged her influence as Assembly Republican Leader in a state that is a globally ranked economy to get some actual results.
As I have said before, we can do better than this.
Community resources of actual use include:
— AB 3088 – Tenant , Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act;
— San Diego County COVID 19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/sdhcd/;
— Fallbrook Regional Health District (760-731-9187) and Fallbrook Family Health Center (760- 451-4720) currently offering free COVID testing;
— Fallbrook Food Pantry – (760) 728-7608;
— County of San Diego, North County Health and Human Services;
— North Inland Family Resource Center – (866) 262-9881;
— Fallbrook Community Resource Center – 202 W College Street, Fallbrook;
— Foundation for Senior Care and Major Market – Groceries for Seniors 760-723-7570
— Great Plates – delivered meals for seniors – https://covid19.ca.gov/img/wp/great plates-delivered-participants-faqs.pdf.