Judge: Big Lots Stores to Pay for Illegal Disposal

Source: Yolo County District Attorney’s Office  |  2017-04-27

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, along with 34 other California District Attorneys and two City Attorneys, announced today that San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Bryan F. Foster has ordered Ohio-based company Big Lots Stores, Inc., and its subsidiary corporations, that own and operate Big Lots stores and a distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga, to pay $3,507,500 in civil penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental projects.

The judgment is the result of an investigation into Big Lots Stores’ unlawful disposal of hazardous waste at its distribution center and into trash bins at the 206 stores in California. Yolo County has one Big Lots store in Woodland and one in West Sacramento. Big Lots failed to properly handle hazardous waste at both the stores and distribution center.

Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney David Irey prosecuted the case for the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office. “The hazardous waste included ignitable and corrosive liquids, toxic materials, batteries, electronic devices and other e-waste,” said Irey. “In some instances, the hazardous waste was the result of overstock or expired merchandise. In others, it was the result of spills, damaged containers, and customer returns.”

Instead of being transported to authorized hazardous waste facilities, the waste was deposited into the trash and illegally transported to local landfills not permitted to receive the waste.

 “Today’s settlement is a significant victory in our efforts to make the environment cleaner and safer for the citizens of Yolo County and throughout California,” said District Attorney Reisig. “This settlement is another example of the effective partnership between our office, other district attorney offices, and environmental regulators statewide in enforcing California’s environment laws.”

Prosecutors alerted Big Lots to the violations, and the company was cooperative throughout the continued investigation. Under the settlement, Big Lots must pay $2,017,500 in civil penalties and $336,250 to reimburse the costs of investigation.

An additional $350,000 will fund supplemental environmental projects furthering environmental enforcement and consumer protection in California. Big Lots will also fund hazardous waste minimization and enhanced compliance projects valued at $803,750, and has adopted and implemented new policies and procedures and training programs designed to properly manage and dispose of hazardous waste.

The hazardous waste is now being collected by state-registered haulers who transport it to authorized disposal facilities, and disposal is now being properly documented.

Local Author Visit with Matt Biers-Ariel at the Davis Branch Library

Source: Yolo County  |  2017-04-27

Join the Yolo County Library for a discussion with local author Matt Biers-Ariel on May 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Blanchard Room of the Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library, located at 315 E. 14th Street in Davis.

Matt Biers-Ariel is a popular high school teacher in Winters, a storyteller and author of six books including The Seven Species and Solomon and the Trees, as well as co-author of Spirit in Nature. Prior to public school, he taught biblical and rabbinic texts for over fifteen years.

Matt’s penultimate book, The Bar Mitzvah and The Beast: One Family’s Cross-Country Ride of Passage by Bike deals with global warming, humor, religiosity and the challenges with being with one’s family 24/7 for an entire summer.

His latest novel, Light the Fire, follows Mo Samson, a 31-year old former minor league baseball player and current English teacher, as he wars against the world of high-stakes testing. Mr. Samson is a hero to his students, but a relationship with a student extends beyond the classroom door and threatens to both undo him and wreak havoc with the student’s life.

In addition to books, Matt writes satirical essays that can be found in magazines such as The Progressive or Educator.

The Yolo County Library promotes enriching and diverse programming and values the diversity in Yolo County and the country. For more information contact Joan Tuss: joan.tuss@yolocounty.org. For more information on the Yolo County Library, visit: www.yolocountylibrary.org or connect with the Library on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/yolocountylibrary.org.

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SACOG Board Approves Bike Share for May 2017

Source: Sacramento Area Council of Governments  |  2017-04-26

On May 15, 2017, Bike Share will roll into the Sacramento Region. Today, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) was approved to enter into a contract with Social Bicycles (SoBi) for a regional bike share system that will include the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento, Davis, and UC Davis (UCD).

“Long a dream, a regional bike share system is now on track to launch this year,” said City of Sacramento Councilmember Steve Hansen. “This gives our residents, workers, and visitors an additional way to get where they want to go across Davis, West Sacramento, and Sacramento while connecting with our existing transportation systems.”

SoBi and SACOG, along with city partners, will implement a 50 to 100 Smart Bike preview system in May 2017 that includes Sacramento (downtown and midtown) and West Sacramento (Washington and the Bridge District). The system will grow to 800 Smart Bicycles plus 100 Electric Bicycles, during a system expansion targeted for later this fall. The project is simultaneously pursuing a title sponsor for the system that will help name the system and brand the bikes.

SoBi CEO Ryan Rzepecki added, “In partnership with local leaders and community stakeholders, SoBi is thrilled to be launching our best-in-class, smart bike share system in the Sacramento region. We believe bike share is transforming urban mobility and will offer a truly unique, affordable and convenient mode of transportation in the region.” 

SoBi will own and operate the bicycles and, through coordination with SACOG and partner cities, will plan the rack locations for the bicycles. The bicycles will be accessible through a smart phone app. For those without smart phone access there will be outdoor kiosks at selected parking stations and indoor kiosks at future partner locations. For users without credit cards there will be an option for cash payments.


Using bike share will cost $4 per hour and is prorated to the minute.

The monthly pass option costs $15 a month and includes 60 minutes of use per day.

The annual student membership is $30 a year and includes 60 minutes of use per day.

“Bike share is here, adding one more great way to get around the urban core,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “Our quick-fire launch in West Sacramento will be just a preview of how this Social Bicycles system is going to enliven the dynamic places we’re creating, from the Bridge District and Washington Square along the riverfront to our city’s own downtown. For a quick trip to Raley Field, the library, Burgers & Brew, the Barn and the RiverWalk, residents and visitors are going to love the convenient, simple, low-cost option of a grab-and-go bike. That helps to support our sustainable development strategy, and the small businesses and civic amenities that will be within a few wheelspins of even more customers.”

SoBi is an industry leader that has changed bike share by introducing Smart Bicycles. SoBi's bicycles have real-time GPS and electronic locks that enable locking on any type of bike infrastructure, which allows users more flexibility when parking. Customers will be able to park at public bike racks and have more freedom for checking out and returning bikes. Smart Bicycles have all the necessary technology and equipment on the bicycles themselves, reducing reliance on a kiosk for check out and return.

City of Davis Councilmember Lucas Frerichs commented, “Bike share is finally here! It has been a pleasure to participate as a member of the policy steering committee, and to see the project coming to fruition is fantastic. Our residents want mobility options - and bike share provides that. For the City of Davis and the students at UC Davis, having bike share will help alleviate many issues we face as a cycling city. Students will no longer have to leave personal bikes at campus transit connections and risk bike theft. Campus staff will have a better option for traveling across the large campus and coming into our beautiful downtown. Residents of the city will have a new option to travel. I am very happy to have a great partner in SoBi and I look forward to the system’s growth.”

Sacramento and West Sacramento will begin to see bikes during May is Bike Month. The regional campaign for replacing car trips with bike trips will be a great time to introduce the new mobility option for residents and commuters alike.

For more information members of the public can go to sacog.org/bike-share and sign up to receive email updates.

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Capital Region Small Business Week Underway

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-26

The 2017 Capital Region Small Business Week Celebration (CRSBWC) is well underway in its efforts to promote, enhance and encourage small business owners. Whether novice or seasoned professional, Small Business Week offers programs and advice on all aspects of small business.

A backbone of the American economy, National Small Business Week was begun in 1963, with a yearly presidential proclamation. According to statistics, at least half of Americans own or work for a small business and create two-thirds of new U.S. jobs annually.

A previous symposium, said June Livingston, was “one of several events,” part of the larger Capital Region Small Business Week. Livingston is the Division Supervisor and a registered environmental health specialist with the County of Sacramento. In her position, she supervises the Business Environmental Resource Center (BERC), of which the Sacramento Area Sustainable Business (SASB) Program is a part.

“Yearly, we help hundreds of people,” said Livingston. “It is all free and completely confidential. The program is for the whole week and really covers the SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) Region,” she said.

BERC offers compliance assistance in a non-regulatory environment to ease regulatory concerns, facilitates the regulatory permit processes and offers continuing pre- and post-regulatory inspection compliance assistance. It provides one-on-one consultation, regulatory and technical assistance, best management practice and business advocacy, ombudsman and sustainable business services.

The Small Business Symposium: Roadmap to Success will run from April 30 through May 6, 2017, throughout Capital Region Small Business Week. The Symposium is Tuesday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McClellan Conference Center, 5411 Luce Avenue, McClellan, CA.

For help, questions or more information, visit www.SacBerc.org, bercadmin@saccounty.net or call 916.874.2100

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Taxpayers Gouged at the Pump

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-26

Here are a few facts that should give pause to anyone supporting California’s new gas tax: CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people, wasting $500 million every year that could be going to roads; California diverts a billion dollars in “weight fees” into the general fund annually, which should also be paying for roads; Californians already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the country but have some of the worst roads, which points to an efficiency problem.

It’s plain to see that the fake funding crisis used to push the new taxes through the legislature was really a crisis of political priorities. The money is there – without the new taxes – to pay for modern, smooth roadways up and down the state.

Still, the legislature has a default position, and that’s to pickpocket taxpayers and businesses at every turn. Hence the new tax to backfill the waste and diversions that should be paying for roads right now.

Governor Brown, oblivious to the actual effect the bill will have on businesses and families, tried to deflect criticisms of the new tax’s cost by noting that it will set back the average family about $10 a month.

Are my rural constituents, who drive 45 minutes to get to the grocery store, supposed to be happy because of that average? Are my suburban commuters putting 80 miles a day on their cars supposed to be happy with that average? It will be meaningless to them, as they will pay hundreds of dollars more a year in gas taxes and registration fees to pay for roads that their tax dollars already could have and should have paid for.

Because of this government decision to raise gas taxes $.12 a gallon, diesel $.20, and add an additional registration fee of $25-$175 on each vehicle (and that is just a partial list of the new charges), everyone in the state can expect to pay more for everything they buy, from school clothes to groceries to laptops. Not because the items are better, but because California legislators are attaching a premium to everything with their relentless search for tax dollars.

These new taxes and fees aren’t one-time charges. They go on forever under the current bill, and will start increasing, indefinitely, starting in 2020.

I want a first-class infrastructure for our state and am willing to pay for it, but not twice. That’s what this cynical bill does to our citizens. It forces them to pay a second time for roads that their tax dollars already could have built. It’s backfilling an imaginary shortfall to cover up government failure.

A state that can afford to waste tens of billions of dollars on the colossally expensive and worthless High Speed Rail is not a state starving for money. To California’s majority party, though, every problem looks like a deficit and every solution looks like a tax. It’s killing the middle- and lower-classes in the state.

Our state has the 48th-worst tax climate already, but this gas tax proves, yet again, that legislators can’t leave unwell enough alone.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Baker Responds to the California State Auditor’s Report

Source: Office of Assemblywoman Baker  |  2017-04-26

CA State Auditor: UC President Hiding $175 Million in Funds While Raising Tuition and Salaries

Assembly Higher Education Committee Vice Chair Catharine Baker issued the following statement in response to the California State Auditor’s recent report detailing an undisclosed $175 million reserve fund maintained by the Office of the President of the University of California and other financial concerns:

“The UC Board of Regents just raised tuition on students and has nearly doubled in-state student tuition over the last 10 years, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects and administrative salaries. Students and their families deserve confidence that their money is being spent wisely. The UC Office of the President acknowledges the need to address the Auditor’s findings. I look forward to working with my Assembly colleagues, students, and the UC to get to the bottom of this and do all we can to help UC get its financial house in order.”

Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.

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Let the Good Times Rock & Roll

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-26

The Baby Boomer Festival will be held on Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds. The event is billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation.”

Baby Boomer Festival Expo and Music Show

The Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville will come alive as the gathering place for scores of people during the Baby Boomer Festival on Saturday, May 6. The Festival and Expo will feature music, cars and plenty of culture from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation,” the grounds will be packed with exhibits and demonstrations designed to inform and educate attendees.

The musical line up by world famous Elvis tribute artist Gene Lane and classic rock and rollers Road Test will keep toes tapping and fingers snapping. “Car songs, surfer songs, old time rock and roll, cruisin' songs and songs about those backseat girlfriends are included in the fun,” along with “lots of dancing and audience participation in poodle skirts, baggies, leather jackets and tight sweaters. It’s the music you grew up with,” say the organizers.

Between music sets, festival goers can meander through any or all of the nearly 70 booths with information and shopping for everything from financial services to artwork to healthful wellbeing or any number of goods and services tailored to the Boomer generation.

Not to be missed are dozens of classic cars also on display, including some of the iconic “woodies” (wood side paneled) cars. There will also be food, prizes and goodie giveaways. The event is family friendly and the organizers invite Baby Boomers to bring their children and even grandchildren to share in the experience “As you enter the expo,” according to the organizers, “you will be surrounded by dozens of exciting exhibits on a wide variety of subjects pertinent to your well-being and happiness. Many of the exhibitors have come from throughout the region to discuss their plans for your health, finance and home life. So please take the time to stop and talk with them. You might just find an ideal match for your needs!”

The Baby Boomer Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds, located at 800 All America City Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678. Admission and parking are free. For more information including vendor lists and musical line up, visit www.babyboomerfestival.com.

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Sacramento Area Museums Go Big for Big Day of Giving on May 4

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-04-25

The dedicated and diverse Sacramento area museum community is gearing up for the 2017 Big Day of Giving scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2017, in hopes local contributors will choose to support their endeavors during this special giving challenge. For the past few years, more than $16 million has been raised for local nonprofits from throughout the region, state, country and world.

The Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California’s fine art, history, science, and wildlife treasures all year long. For the 2017 Big Day of Giving, a dozen Sacramento Area Museum members are participating in this collaborative effort that is focused locally but extends globally, including:

Aerospace Museum of California
California Automobile Museum
California Museum
California State Railroad Museum
Crocker Art Museum
Fairytale Town
Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus
Sacramento Children’s Museum
Sacramento History Museum
Sacramento Zoo
Sojourner Truth African American Museum
Verge Center for the Arts

Some of the participating museums and destinations are offering special incentives and activities on the Big Day of Giving. For more information about the Big Day of Giving and finding ways to support your favorite museum(s), please visit www.bigdayofgiving.org. For more information about upcoming activities offered by Sacramento area museums, “like” them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SacMuseums, follow them on Twitter @SacMuseums or visit www.SacMuseums.org.

About the Sacramento Area Museums (SAM)
Comprised of 30 greater Sacramento area museums working in partnership with Visit Sacramento, SAM’s mission is to raise awareness of local museums by giving the community the opportunity to discover California’s fine art, history, science and wildlife treasures. SAM achieves its mission through implementing cooperative promotions and developing strategic marketing alliances, by encouraging sharing of knowledge and resources among its partner institutions.  For more information, visit www.SacMuseums.org.

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California’s Economic Output Outpaces Nation for Fourth Straight Year

By George Runner, State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-21

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).

San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.

One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.

George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.

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Gaines Launches Effort to Repeal Gas Tax

Source: The Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.

“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.

“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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