IN THE NEWS
Hill, Gordon, Simitian are best choices in local races
by, The Mountain View Voice
…Rich Gordon is our choice for second term on Assembly.
Although he faces three challengers, Rich Gordon is far and away the most qualified candidate in the race for state Assembly in the 24th District. After serving 13 years as a San Mateo County Supervisor, he was elected to the Assembly in 2010. In his first term, Gordon has seen 15 of the 19 bills he sponsored signed into law, an enviable record for any legislator, regardless of experience.
Among his top priorities this session are ending partisan gridlock, investing more in education and solving the perennial state budget crisis. He said he supports the Governor’s pension reform bill that should come before the Legislature in August.
Gordon’s opponents are three first-time candidates, Republican Chengzhi “George” Yang, Joseph Antonelli Rosas Jr., who has no party affiliation and Democrat Geby E. Espinosa. Each challenger is focused on just a few issues. Yang is worried about how the shortfall in state revenue will impact the university system and he sees a lot of potential in bringing Chinese tourists to California.
Rosas said he is a victim of foreclosure and that if elected, will work on a homeowners’ bill of rights.
Espinosa said she believes the state can create jobs by legalizing hemp to manufacture textiles. She also favors closing the borders to keep out illegal immigrants.
We applaud the three challengers for getting involved in this race, but Rich Gordon is our choice and we expect him to continue the good work he has started in the state Assembly….
The Orange County Register: Plan would make CA parks more like a business
May 3, 2012
By Brian Joseph
Why can’t government be more like business? It’s a common question asked by Republicans, but a Democrat in the state Legislature has a chance to make it actually happen.
Recently, Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Redwood City, pushed a proposal through the budget subcommittee he chairs that would encourage entrepreneurship in the state park system.
You’ve heard about the mess the state parks are in, right? Seventy parks were marked for closure in 2011 as part of a $11 million cut in the current fiscal year and a $22 million, ongoing cut starting next year.
Since then, nonprofits and local and federal agencies have established partnerships with the system to keep several parks open, although many are still on the chopping block and money remains tight.
That’s where Gordon comes in. The assemblyman chairs a budget subcommittee on resources and transportation. Staffers there were tossing around ideas for boosting park revenue when one of them realized that the system’s policy of sharing revenue across parks was subtly discouraging innovation.
You see, managers at individual parks have little incentive to think up ways to bring out the paying crowds to their locations because they won’t see the fruits of the increased attendance revenue. The added money just goes into a big pot that’s divvied up among the entire system.
The solution? Give individual parks a share of increase revenues generated at their location.
“When the idea was brought to me, I said ‘I love it,’” Gordon said.
Recently, Gordon’s subcommittee passed budget trailer bill language that would allow individual parks to keep 50 percent of any increased revenue due to creative efforts to boost paid park attendance. The proposal’s fate is far from certain — it’s possible that it might not be included in the final budget package approved by the Legislature — but it’s a small victory for those who want the government to operate more like a business.
Under Gordon’s plan, if park staffers work harder or smarter and it pays off, the park sees the benefit, not the bureaucracy. What could be more entrepreneurial than that?
“It’s almost a cultural shift, a mindset shift,” said Gordon, who described himself a “proud graduate” of Costa Mesa High School. Given today’s fiscal circumstances, the assemblyman said Republicans can’t be the only people offering ideas for making government run more efficiently. “The tax dollar is precious,” he said, “we’ve got to use it wisely.”
Examiner.com: California Legislators Choose LGBT Leader
January 27, 2012
By Michael McGuire
Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) was elected Wednesday as chair of the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Caucus, the assemblymanannounced in a news release.
“I am honored to be elected as Chair of the LBGT Caucus,” Gordon said in a prepared statement. “I will continue work on important LGBT issues and fight to bring equality to all LGBT individuals and couples.”
Other members of the seven-member caucus are:
Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez (D-Los Angeles);
State Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego);
State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco);
Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego);
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco); and
Assemblymember Ricardo Lara (D-South Gate).
“The Caucus was formed originally in June 2002,” the caucus states on its web page. “Its role is to present a forum for the California Legislature to discuss issues that affect LGBT Californians and to further the goal of equality and justice for all Californians. Formation of the LGBT Caucus made California the first state in the country to recognize an official caucus of openly-LGBT state legislators.”[Read the Article Online]
Gordon reflects on first year in state Assembly
January 4, 2012
By David Boyce
The past 12 months have seen a great yearning for representative democracy — in North Africa, in the Middle East, in the United States through Occupy Wall Street and its manifestations around the country.
California, afflicted with huge budget deficits, stark inequalities in public school funding, and an unemployment rate hovering around 12 percent, has representative democracy. How’s that going, particularly in Sacramento?
“I think it’s still a fairly dysfunctional system,” Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, says during a recent interview in a Santa Cruz Avenue coffee shop. During his campaign, Mr. Gordon had used “dysfunctional” to describe state government.
December marked the end of his first year in his first two-year term representing the 21st Assembly District, which includes Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley and Menlo Park.
On navigating the dysfunction, Mr. Gordon appears to have been a quick study. Of the 19 bills he introduced in 2011, 16 made it to the governor’s desk and 15 were signed into law a success rate of 79 percent in an institution where 40 percent is typical, according to data from the Assembly’s chief clerk. [read more]
Freshman Assembly member Rich Gordon a quick study
He may be just a rookie, but when it comes to firing off new bills, Rich Gordon doesn’t miss very often. With 15 of 19 bills signed by the governor, Gordon, the first-year Democratic assemblyman from Menlo Park, had the highest percentage of bills signed into law of anyone in the Assembly.
“They’re not the most controversial bills, but they are bills that make sense,” said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, who only got eight bills on the governor’s desk in her first session.
Gordon’s bills largely focus on government efficiency and the environment, and some extend expiring laws.
His recycling bill will extend and expand an existing law to provide $10 million to $20 million in annual incentives for companies that process and remanufacture recyclable bottles in-state, and could result in 4,000 new jobs, he said.
A bill exempting nonprofit land trusts from property taxes will put as much as 20 percent more funding in the hands of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
“Without that, land trusts could have potentially been forced to sell off land or return it to the state,” said Gordon.
After one session in office, Gordon’s reputation in Sacramento is credible and “low-key,” said Ma. Gordon said that targeting noncontroversial issues has been an intentional strategy as he wanted to spend his first session building consensus, relationships and credibility.
Moving forward, Gordon said he plans to “push a little deeper and take on things that will be more controversial.”
His plans include making it easier for cities and counties to consolidate fire, police or other services, and expanding recycling opportunities.
Still, Gordon wasn’t veto-proof. Gov. Jerry Brown rejected a bill that would have required the fiscal impacts of initiatives to be explained on the ballot in plain English.
But since Brown vetoed all but one bill regarding changes to the initiative process, Gordon said he did not feel “singled out.”
AB 587 Prevailing Wage: Enables volunteers to continue beach cleanup, wetland restoration, trail building and other public works projects without being paid for an additional five years.
AB 1149 Plastic Market Program: Expands and extends a previous law, directing $10 million to $20 million in surplus funds (originally intended for recycling but unused because bottles were not returned) to subsidize in-state processing and remanufacturing and potential create 4,000 jobs.
AB 820 Property Taxation: Allows nonprofit land trusts to maintain their exemption from property taxes and extends the repayment period for notes issues by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, thereby increasing its funding for buying and saving open spaces by as much as 20 percent.