Sacramento: Day One
55 SCV residents show up in state capitol to voice concerns.
Early Monday morning, a big red bus pulled out of the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce. On it sat dozens of Marie Callendars boxed lunches, no fresh coffee, and some of our City's biggest movers and shakers.
The destination was Sacramento, and five short hours later we were there. While some people might scoff at the idea of riding a bus, I found it to be much more fun this time around then it ever was when I was a kid. I was surrounded by School Superintendents, board members, Lawyers, Theatre directors, non-profit CEOs, water experts, and one Mayor who liked cracking jokes from the back of the bus. But despite all of our differences, I found that everyone on that bus came up here with a cause.
We had outlined three main issues: educational funding, water resources, and state funding to put truck lanes across the entire Newhall Pass. It's worth noting that not everyone on those busses would consider themselves an expert, or even overly familiar with all of those issues, however they were at the very least there to support our efforts in making as big a splash as possible.
As soon as we arrived we had just enough time to check into the hotel and run over to a welcome meetng with the trip co-sponsor, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth. Then he introduced us to our first meeting, with Caltrans Director Will Kempton. In talking about the I-5, Mr. Kempton was blunt in admitting that he felt our project was well worthwhile, and that adding the truck lanes would do much to ease the congestion through the Newhall pass. That being said, he explained his belief that the funding, which was given out to other projects this last time around, will eventually come to our project. As it is now, the project has already secured nearly half of the $100 million dollar price tag through private funding.
Next it was off to dinner, where State Superintendent Jack O'Connell spoke about the dire need to increase career technology and vocational training. He addressed the group's number one concern- a proposed 10% across the board cut to education included in the Governor's budget. O'Connell noted that he believes the cuts will not be quite that bad, but that some money would have to taken from the education portion, because it makes up nearly half of the states yearly budget.
To read about what was accomplished in day two, click here!