by Elisabeth Pinio
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement on June 14, regarding the Air Resources Board’s adoption of a measure that will allow refiners to add up to 10 percent ethanol in transportation fuels while maintaining California’s air quality standards.
Schwarzenegger expressed strong support for the measure, recognizing the use of ethanol as a positive, economical step towards renewable fuel sources.
“It is critical that government continue reducing barriers so that alternative fuels can increasingly penetrate our transportation fuels markets. Only then can we reduce dependency on oil and give our consumers a weapon against gas price increases while maintaining air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Schwarzenegger said in his statement.
Californians trapped in their jobs by health care coverageGovernor Schwarzenegger met with California business owners and employees June 21, who are afraid to leave their jobs because they will lose health care coverage.
Thousands of California residents disregard new employment opportunities, delay retirement, or decide against starting their own business to avoid being without medical coverage.
“[Some Californians] end up making life decisions based on whether they can get health insurance because they are afraid of being without coverage and literally one sickness away from financial ruin,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.
The governor has proposed a “guaranteed issue” health care plan to be carried out later this year, which will enable all California residents to obtain health insurance individually. In addition, the proposal includes funding for low-income workers and an individual mandate which will require all Californians to be insured.
Green Party opposes prison expansion
The Green Party of California (GPCA) has announced its opposition of the prison expansion plan introduced by Governor Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature.
“Republicans and Democrats alike are seeking to spend billions of dollars building more prisons when they should be pursuing comprehensive change,” said San Francisco Green Party spokesperson, Erika McDonald.
GPCA has deemed our criminal justice system as “inhumane, ineffective, and prohibitively expensive,” and maintains that prisons should be a last resort, for violent criminals only. Those convicted of non-violent crimes should be sent to rehabilitation and reentry programs.
In addition, GPCA advocates revising the controversial three strikes law to apply only when the third offense is a serious or violent felony.
SFMTA to install pedestrian signals for blind and visually impaired
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has announced an agreement with representatives for the blind and visually impaired community to allocate at least $1.6 million over the next two and half years to install accessible pedestrian signals.
The new technology will provide safety to visually impaired pedestrians by ticking in conjunction with the “WALK” symbol displayed for sighted pedestrians. Other features include locator tones and vibrating pushbuttons to assist in locating the devices, along with the option of audible information, such as street names, when the pushbutton is pressed for one second or longer.
“We commend San Francisco for being the first public entity in the United States to voluntarily sign a comprehensive agreement regarding accessible pedestrian signals — devices that are critical for pedestrian safety,” said Anita Aaron, Executive Director of the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Van Ness Avenue.