Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro

Sen. Rod Wright gets water board to admit they don't know the proposed storm water compliance costs

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Oct. 7, 2011

On Thursday, Sen. Rod Wright held the first hearing of the newly formed Select Committee on Job Creation and Retention. The informational hearing was designed to understand the problems with the State Water Resources Control Board's closed process of developing expensive storm water runoff rules. CMTA testified along with many other W.A.T.E.R. (Workable Approach to Wise Water Regulation) coalition members, but here is a link to watch a specific and important exchange about costs of the program (3 minutes):

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California regulatory and competitiveness survey shows we need to get smarter

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on April 8, 2011

A coalition of industries and employers fighting for a competitive California and a smarter regulatory environment released the first round of results this week from a survey to understand how companies feel about the regulatory climate in California.  The Los Angeles Times wrote the first story this morning.

More than 400 companies have answered the survey.  Of those 400, 84 percent said they would not consider locating a new business here if they were not already in California and 72 percent said they did not have formal plans to grow in the state by more than 10 percent in the next five years.

Two findings are becoming clear: 

  • Existing and future regulations will have a major negative impact on job creation, and
  • Favorable attributes of California don’t outweigh the negative regulatory climate.

The coalition is releasing the first round of results to inform a legislative hearing on bills to develop a smarter rule-making and review process.   The bills capture different policies for independent economic impact analysis, sunset reviews and regulatory triggers.

Those regulatory process reform bills being heard on Tuesday, April 12 in the Senate Government Organization hearing include : 

  • SB 396 (Huff)  Analysis on existing regs and 5-year reviews on regs going forward |  Letter
  • SB 400 (Dutton)  Cost and job impact analysis on regs |  Letter
  • SB 401 (Fuller)  5- year expiration date on new regs |  Letter
  • SB 553 (Fuller)  Extend effective date for regs from 30 to 180 days |  Letter
  • SB 560  (Wright)  Alternatives for compliance  |  Letter
  • SB 688  (Wright)  Delay dates for major regulations to allow time for review |  Letter


The coalition is asking all California employers to take five minutes to answer the survey.  We need thousands of responses.

Key survey results so far include:

  • 84% said they would not consider locating a new business here, if they were not already here.
  • 72% said they did not have plans to grow in California by more than 10% in the next five years.
  • 80% said California's attributes will not, or might not, encourage them to make new investments in the state.
  • 50% said the possibility of future California laws or regulations discourage them from retaining/adding employees or making new investments.

Link to survey:

Download key results so far:

See overall results so far (two parts):




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L.A. Senator knows the importance of CA manufacturing recovery

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 27, 2010

Thanks to Senator Rod Wright for his dazzling floor speech Wednesday in support of a resolution to ask Congress to continue funding Boeing's C-17 program in Long Beach, California.

    full statement
Wright's resolution was a funding request to Congress. He has made similar pleas in the Legislature's policy debates to take action to support California manufacturing.  Too few democrat party lawmakers are also taking up this cause.

The recovery of California's manufacturing base depends on lawmakers acknowledging the breadth of the problem and the need for real action.   For some reason, 12.3% unemployed, falling tax revenues and pinpoint accurate speeches like Sen. Wright's aren't translating into action.  We need rational and predictable regulations, competitive tax policy, workforce development, and lower energy costs.

Bottom line:  Wright's cause should be the entire Legislature's cause.

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Career tech education gets big support after more declines in enrollment

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 18, 2009

Dan Walters opined today that vocational skills could get a big and needed boost from SB 381, a bill that will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations committee tomorrow.   The bill simply asks that any high school requiring those courses approved by the UC and required for admissions to both UC and CSU campuses for graduation also provides career tech options for its students.

SB 381 protects curricular pathways for all students by saying 'no' to districts who wish to force a one-track "A-G" system on all students without providing career-preparatory coursework, too.

Take a look at this video of soundbytes from technical education students (and a teacher or two) who were recognized yesterday in the legislature.  These students show the passion and success these courses produce, as well as the impediments to real-world technical education opportunities.  Every Legislator should watch this.

Notwithstanding the students in the video above, California's recently released enrollment data shows the 22nd straight annual decline in CTE enrollments.  These declines are a result of the continued slashing of CTE programs, despite dropout rates that grow above 30 percent statewide.   Policy and political writer Thomas Elias said it best in a column last week,"make no mistake, what's happening is a tragedy of epic proportions. Its human consequences dwarf those of the budget and water crises, serious as they are."

While Walters was spot-on in the need for the bill and CTE alternatives, he did get two important pieces wrong.  First, he said that Los Angeles Unified would have to provide CTE options and second, that "A-G school districts" would have to provide dual tracks.  LAUSD does provide for a CTE opt-out of their A-G mandate, but the bill would not apply to LAUSD since they adopted their policy prior to June 30, 2009.  Also, SB 381 would require all future districts that mandate students take college-prep coursework must also include at least 3 CTE courses in such a graduation requirement to maintain curricular balance.  This will remind districts of their legal obligation to prepare kids for the world of work before they adopt a college-only graduation mandate.

Pay attention to the Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing (and their words) tomorrow at 9:00 a.m..  Sen. Rod Wright miraculously got SB 381 through the last two committees.  High wage and technical employers, students, parents, and the 400-member Get REAL (Relevance in Education and Learning) coalition are hoping for a third miracle tomorrow.

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Sen. Rod Wright scores one for equal respect for all students' dreams

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on May 26, 2009

Last Thursday, the California State Senate voted in support of Sen. Wright's SB 381 on an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 32-2  (2 no's: Simitian and Wiggins -- 5 abstains: Alquist, Cedillo, Oropeza, Romero, Wolk).  Over the weekend, the most emailed article out of the New York Times was a piece, written by Matthew Crawford, on how we have devalued working with our hands. The two items together represent a growing shift back to education reality and the fulfillment of all our students' dreams. 

Crawford summed up how, over time, our country has begun to view our children's success:
"A gifted young person who chooses to become a mechanic rather than to accumulate academic credentials is viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive. There is a pervasive anxiety among parents that there is only one track to success for their children."

The fact that SB 381 passed so overwhelmingly shows that we might be reaching the tipping point for a more balanced educational system that provides more than the traditional access to a resume of academic credentials, but options for technical skills and careers.

SB 381 calls for curricular balance in school districts that adopt the UC/CSU course admission requirements (known as "a-g") as a high school graduation requirement, by also requiring those districts adopt alternative graduation coursework that includes the core academics currently mandated by the state, along with a series of at least three career technical education classes.

We must not forget also, that this bill is a simple and clear reminder to districts of their legal obligation to maintain curricular equity and balance, as outlined in Education Code Sections 51224 and 51228:
51224. The governing board of any school district maintaining a high school shall prescribe courses of study designed to provide the skills and knowledge required for adult life for pupils attending the schools within its school district. The governing board shall prescribe separate courses of study, including, but not limited to, a course of study designed to prepare prospective pupils for admission to state colleges and universities and a course of study for career technical training.
More 51228

California's manufacturers offer high paying but very technical careers to our workforce.  These jobs play an important role in our society and pay, on average, $20,000 more than service sector wages for our hard working families.  At the very least, students should have the choice of exposure to these skills and this particular pathway.   SB 381 takes a big step toward equality for all students' dreams and, after weeks of internal legislative squabbling, garnered almost unanimous support.  SB 381 now moves to the Assembly. Stay tuned.

Here's some video from the floor debate that's worth your time:

SB 381 Author, Sen. Rod Wright's, closing speech (4:41)

Sen. Mark Wyland on SB 381 (6:31)

Sen. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on SB 381 (4:46)

Sen. Bob Dutton, on SB 381 (1:08)

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