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PRESS ROOM: Alex Padilla Takes Oath of Office for Second Term as California Secretary of State

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Alex Padilla took the oath of office for his second term as California Secretary of State at the Secretary of State Office in Sacramento.

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By Sentinel News Services

Alex Padilla took the oath of office for his second term as California Secretary of State at the Secretary of State Office in Sacramento. Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court Tani Cantil-Sakauye administered the oath.

Padilla was re-elected in November with 64.5 percent of the vote. He received 7,909,521 votes—the most votes any Latino has received in a statewide election in US History.

The following are Secretary Padilla’s remarks, as prepared, following his oath of office:

“My fellow Californians, thank you for your support and for the honor of being able to serve as your Secretary of State for another term.

Four years ago, when I was first sworn in as Secretary of State, I stood on this very stage and pledged to work tirelessly to bring more Californians into the democratic process.

I made that promise based on our shared belief that we are a stronger democracy — and a better California — when voices from every corner of the state are heard and counted.

That promise is rooted in the most basic right afforded to all American citizens: our right to vote.

Our work in California to ensure that our elections are free, fair, and accessible to all comes at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.

We face a President determined to roll back the clock on voting rights, ignore direct attacks to our elections, undermine the census, and demonize immigrants.

In these unprecedented times, our determination, to never waiver in our belief that our right to vote is fundamental, has never been more critical.

So I’m doubling down on our fight in Sacramento — and in Washington, DC — to defend our democracy.

And working on the front lines with so many of you, I know that our collective resolve has never been stronger.

And this is why in the face of cynical efforts to suppress the vote in dozens of states across the country, and documented efforts by foreign adversaries to undermine the integrity of our elections and public confidence in our elections, I am proud to report that Californians have responded with record high voter registration and record voter turnout. Both enabled by our work to increase election security and accessibility.

Voter registration is at an all-time high — 19.7 million Californians were registered to vote going into the 2018 general election.

And turnout is up — more than 12.5 million Californians cast a ballot last November.

That’s nearly a 65 percent turnout — the highest in a Gubernatorial election since 1982.

Our work during my first term has made a real and direct impact on Californians showing up at the polls.

We launched Same-Day Registration, officially known as Conditional Voter Registration. More than 55,000 eligible Californians exercised this option to cast their ballot.

We introduced online Pre-Registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and nearly 300,000 young people have done so.

We launched automatic voter registration, known as California Motor Voter, integrating voter registration into the DMV transactions of eligible Californians.

More than 775,000 previously eligible, but unregistered voters have been registered to vote!

California Motor Voter has not been without its challenges, so I want to be clear about this: I will work with the new Administration and new leadership at DMV to make sure the necessary oversight and accountability measures are in place to ensure the integrity of the program and voter registration data.

But we will do so in a way that honors our responsibility to facilitate voter registration and civic participation.

And as much as we’ve worked to a register a record number of voters, we’ve been equally committed to make voting more accessible.

The 2018 election was also the debut of the Voter’s Choice Act, a new way of administering elections that offers voters more choices for when, where, and how to cast their ballot. Five counties chose to modernize their elections in 2018 — Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo — and all five exceeded the statewide record turnout!

But while we have reached historic achievements to strengthen our democracy, we’ve done so while also confronting unforeseen and unprecedented challenges.

We’re living in an era of efforts to suppress the vote in dozens of states across the country — and with foreign adversaries seeking to undermine our elections.

We have a President who refuses to acknowledge foreign interference in the 2016 elections and who continues to make baseless claims of massive voter fraud.

At every turn, we have stood up to these challenges.

When Trump created a so-called voter fraud commission and appointed a who’s who of voter suppression zealots who demanded the personal data of every voter in America: we pushed back.

I was the first Secretary to refuse their request. Soon after, most Secretaries of State across the country, both Democrat and Republican, also refused. Less than a year after it was formed, Trump dissolved the commission.

While that threat subsided, another continued to rise…

Cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns by foreign adversaries continue to menace our elections.

While California maintains rigorous testing and certification requirements for voting systems, including the use of paper ballots, a voter-verified paper trail, keeping voting systems offline, and post-election audits, these new threats require that we do much more. And we have.

We conducted security audits, upgraded servers and firewalls, and increased staff training.

We successfully appealed to the Governor and the Legislature for state funding for voting system upgrades and replacements.

Fully leveraged, this represents a $268 million investment in election infrastructure modernization. This is a great step, but we’ll need sustained funding to successfully counter the on-going threats to our elections.

We also received funding for the creation of the Office of Election Cybersecurity and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management within our agency, which has increased our cybersecurity expertise and communications capacity.

To combat disinformation, we launched VoteSure, a first-of-its-kind public education initiative to promote reliable, accurate and official election information on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In the weeks leading up to the election, we made 42 million impressions via social media, aimed at all voting age Californians.

We launched a new web portal, VoteSure.sos.ca.gov which allows voters to easily verify their registration status, find their polling place or report election misinformation.

And we also deployed a new social media monitoring tool to identify disinformation. We reported nearly 300 posts to Facebook and Twitter last November — each with the potential to mislead millions of voters.

98 percent of the misleading posts we reported were promptly removed by social media companies.

While we’ve been successful in protecting our elections from foreign interference, cyber threats and disinformation campaigns are not going away. In fact, they’re the new normal.

Those who seek to undermine our democracy will continue their efforts — with increased frequency and sophistication.

So we must remain vigilant. We must act with resolve. And we must never waver in our work to defend against nefarious actors.

In the years ahead, I will work with Governor Newsom and the Legislature to make the necessary investments to protect our electoral process.

I am proud of all that we have achieved, not just in elections, but throughout our agency.

We’ve made it easier to do business in California. We simplified filings for hundreds of thousands of businesses thanks to our new bizfile California portal. Less paper, less delays.

We’re modernizing the State Archives through digitization initiatives that are making our state’s history more accessible to all Californians.

I’m particularly proud of our award-winning partnership with the Google Cultural Institute which has brought curated exhibits online to showcase California history in a way that is easier to access and enjoy.And we are on track to replace Cal-ACCESS by the end of 2019, to make it easier for the public and the press to better track the flow of money in state politics.

But as we look to the future, we still have a lot of work to do.

For starters, our next statewide Election Day is only 14 months away.

We have taken the bold, but important step of moving up our Presidential Primary Election to the first Tuesday of March.

California is the most populous state and the most diverse state in the nation. And we represent the largest economy of any state in the nation.

Californians deserve a real say in determining the nominees for President of the United States, and an earlier primary provides that opportunity.

And you better believe that as we approach the 2020 elections, we will work to further increase voter registration, and further increase access to the ballot.

And speaking of 2020, I will also work to ensure that every Californian is counted in the 2020 Census.

Our fight is well underway against the Trump administration and their efforts to undermine our decennial national population count.

The census has been understaffed and underfunded.

While the 2020 Census will be the first digital census in history, a digital divide still persists in California and throughout the United States.

The Trump administration plans to question the citizenship of every person in America in a thinly veiled attempt to discourage diverse communities — like the many in California — from participating in the census.

And in case your news source of choice hasn’t mentioned it, the Census Bureau is part of the government shutdown that has gone on for 17 days now with no end in sight.

The Census serves many important purposes. It determines federal funding formulas for the next decade. At stake are billions of dollars for healthcare, education, and transportation.

The decennial census data also drives reapportionment and redistricting. An under count in California jeopardizes our representation in Congress and our voting rights.

I’m proud to support Attorney General Becerra’s lawsuit to have the citizenship question removed. And my office will leverage our statewide outreach and communication resources to educate all Californians about the importance of being counted.

It is clear, we have much more work to do. And the challenges that lie ahead are great.

We accept the ongoing challenge to ensure the security, accessibility, and inclusivity of our elections.

We will continue to modernize our Business Programs Division and make it even easier to do business in California.

We will shine a brighter light on money in state politics.

We will increase public access to California’s complete history contained in the Archives.

And we will step up to the monumental task of ensuring that every Californian counts in the 2020 Census.

Our challenges may be great, but our resolve is even greater.

I look forward to working with the great women and men at the Office of the Secretary of State and with all of you to meet our challenges head on and deliver for all Californians.

I thank you all again for your support.

May God Bless you. And may God Bless the great State of California.”

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel

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Bay Area

De La Fuente Runs for Mayor

De La Fuente said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. He said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

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Photo Caption: Ignacio De La Fuente

By Paul Cobb and news services

Ignacio De La Fuente, the former President of the Oakland City Council for 11 years, says he will run for mayor to rescue the city from its deep troubles.

He said he is returning to political leadership after a 10-year absence. Claiming that he is “sick and tired of what’s happening to our city,” and he can’t just stand by and witness “the city that I love become a place where people are afraid to walk the streets, to take their children to parks, to go out to dinner with their families or to park their cars on the street. I cannot let our city continue [to] be a place where seniors are assaulted and robbed in broad daylight, a place where illegal side-shows are constant throughout the city and a place where children are being shot and killed! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Oakland is not a dumping ground, and it is time to take action!”

He, along with the support of his former council colleague Nate Miley, who is now serving as an Alameda County Supervisor, and who is sponsoring a fundraiser for De La Fuente, has boldly declared that he will “do whatever it takes to increase the number of police officers, but I will give them the resources that they need to help them do their job, but above all, I will provide them the back up and political support that they need and deserve to perform their job for our residents and for our businesses.”

He said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. De La Fuente said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

He wants to change the focus and emphasis of how the city spends its infrastructure money on what is truly needed by “repairing potholes, taking back and beautifying our parks, fixing our sewers and providing robust programming for our recreation centers and libraries to enrich the lives of our kids and seniors.”

In a characteristic fearless, colorful style that he achieved a no-nonsense reputation De La Fuente announced “The job of mayor is not for the faint of heart! Oakland is a great city that needs a mayor with the political backbone and experience to make the tough decisions to get this city back on track!

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Activism

Sheriff’s Deputies Skate with Marin City Youth

Sgt. Scotto and Deputy Gasparini, two officers from the Marin County Probation Department, came to interact with the youths and help them learn to skate and play basketball. Sharika Gregory, who hosted the event, really appreciates how Scotto and Gasparini interacted with the kids and said that it made a great difference.

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Top: Scotto lifting Aria, 7, so she can make her basketball shot. Middle: Sgt. Scotto and Dep. Gasparini of the Marin County Probation Department. Bottom: Scotto playing limbo. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)
Top: Scotto lifting Aria, 7, so she can make her basketball shot. Middle: Sgt. Scotto and Dep. Gasparini of the Marin County Probation Department. Bottom: Scotto playing limbo. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)

By Godfrey Lee

The Father’s Day Skating event on Sunday, June 12, at the Golden Gate Village’s Basketball Court in Marin City was a successful event that contributed positively to the relationship between the Marin County Sheriff’s Department and the Marin City community and helped some of the children get to know the officers.

Sgt. Scotto and Deputy Gasparini, two officers from the Marin County Probation Department, came to interact with the youths and help them learn to skate and play basketball. Sharika Gregory, who hosted the event, really appreciates how Scotto and Gasparini interacted with the kids and said that it made a great difference.

During the event, Scotto helped lift Aria, a 7-year-old girl, so she could make a basketball shot into the basket. Later Scotto played limbo with the children and tried his best to go under the rope.

The community generously contributed to the skating event. The Corte Madera Safeway and Costco donated the food. The Costco in Novato gave the skates. The Target in Marin City and the Marin County Probation Department also gave skates and gift cards.

Rev. Stephanie Ryder and the Redwood Presbyterian Church in Larkspur, also donated money to help to buy more skates for the events.

Gregory said that this was a very wholesome event for the community and will continue to host similar events in the future.

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Activism

Advocates Pressure Gov. Newsom to Fund Health Equity, Racial Justice in Final Budget

“Our state boasts a staggering $97 billion budget surplus,” said Ron Coleman, managing director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “If not now, when? Given the devastating impact of racism on the health and well-being of Californians of color it’s a travesty of the highest order that racial justice isn’t even mentioned in the Governor’s budget proposal,”

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Attendees were encouraged to contact the governor’s office and the Legislature to keep the pressure on them to include the fund.
Attendees were encouraged to contact the governor’s office and the Legislature to keep the pressure on them to include the fund.

By Edward Henderson, California Black Media

On June 8, community leaders, public health advocates and racial justice groups convened for a virtual press event to urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to support the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund (HERJ Fund).

The initiative supports community-based organizations addressing the underlying social, environmental and economic factors that limit people’s opportunities to be healthy — such as poverty, violence and trauma, environmental hazards, and access to affordable housing and healthy food. Health advocates would also address longstanding California problems related to health equity and racial justice problems.

The fund cleared a significant hurdle last week when the state Legislature included $75 million in their joint budget proposal. This means both the Assembly and Senate support the HERJ Fund and they will go into negotiations with the governor to seek his support to approve it.

“Our state boasts a staggering $97 billion budget surplus,” said Ron Coleman, managing director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “If not now, when? Given the devastating impact of racism on the health and well-being of Californians of color it’s a travesty of the highest order that racial justice isn’t even mentioned in the Governor’s budget proposal,”

Last Wednesday’s virtual community meeting and press event capped off a series of rallies held by supporters in cities across the state calling on Newsom to make room in his budget for the HERJ Fund.

Coleman facilitated the online event featuring representatives from service organizations speaking about their support for the fund and presenting plans for how the money would be used to support their shared mission of providing services to minority and underserved communities in California.

Jenedra Sykes, a partner at Arboreta Group, spoke about inequalities that exist in funding for smaller grassroots nonprofits and how traditionally larger, white-led nonprofits use state funds to subcontract with grassroots nonprofits to provide services to communities of color at lower costs.

“The faith-based non-profits on the ground have the relationships, the access to those who are most vulnerable and marginalized among us who disproportionately have poorer health outcomes,” said Sykes. “This bill also evens the playing field a bit. Instead of going through the middleman of the established larger non-profits, funding will go directly to the people who are doing the work. The passion, the heart, the skills, the talents are there. It’s about the resources to fund these talents”

Coleman gave attendees an update on the status of the HERJ Fund’s path to inclusion in the state budget.

Now that the state Legislature has included the fund in their spending proposal for Fiscal Year 2022-23 (it was not included in Newsom’s “May Revise”), it must survive negotiations with the governor’s office before the June 15 deadline to finalize the budget.

A final budget needs to be in place by June 30, the last day for the governor to approve.

HERJ Fund supporters remain hopeful that funding for their program will be included in the final budget.

Updated mechanisms about the budget were added to the HERJ Fund’s proposal to alleviate those concerns and supporters of the fund believe that Newsom is out of excuses.

“Our best shot at getting the HERJ Fund in the budget is now. We are hoping that all of you will keep the pressure on the governor to ensure that this becomes a reality,” Coleman said. “If he does care about the intersections of health equity and racial justice then we will see funding.”

Attendees were encouraged to contact the governor’s office and the Legislature to keep the pressure on them to include the fund. You can visit herjfund.org to learn more about the proposal and the effort to include it in the state budget.

Nadia Kean-Ayub, executive director of Rainbow Spaces, shared details about the valuable events and services community-based non-profits provide. She said there is no shortage of families in need who want to participate in their organizations’ programs but, due to limited funding for transportation, many people never access services meant to help them.

“This tells me that when things are created in our communities, they are not making the impact we need in our Black, Brown and API communities,” Kean-Ayub said. “I will continue to fight. To really make this grow, we need the state to understand that the true impact comes from the community and the people who are living these issues and who know how to help them.”

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