Wednesday, March 21, 2018

As excerpted from: The Los Angeles Times

Californians appointed to state posts could soon be barred from writing checks to lawmakers who vote on their nomination

Last year, [Lucy] Dunn, the president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, was confirmed for a third term on the influential transportation panel. Three months later she contributed to a political campaign for the current Senate leader, Kevin De León.

Dunn's contributions are allowed by state law, but some believe such payments undermine public confidence in the appointment process. That concern is behind a new proposal by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) to outlaw contributions to senators by political appointees for up to a year between the time they are chosen by the governor until their required confirmation by the Senate.

"The state Legislature should safeguard the public's confidence in our government institutions," said Gray, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization.

"We have adopted a number of limitations and transparency measures in other areas, but the contribution activities of political appointees — who have a personal financial interest at stake — to state senators during the confirmation process remains almost entirely opaque," Gray added.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Pictured – Assemblymember Brian Dahle, Assemblymember Adam Gray, Connie Roberts on behalf of her mother, Lillian Roberts, Assemblymember Susan Eggman, Speaker Anthony Rendon

For Immediate Release: March 12, 2018
Contact: Megan Belair
Phone: (916)319-2021


SACRAMENTO –On Monday, March 12,  Ms. Lillian Roberts of Merced was honored as the Woman of the Year from the 21st Assembly District by the California State Assembly during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Assemblymember Adam Gray nominated Roberts, who has been a local leader in the area of education and civil rights for half a century or more. She was instrumental in accomplishing the desegregation of schools in Merced County, serving as the first African-American teacher.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

As excerpted from: The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County leaders OK low-barrier shelter, plus a bold plan to help the homeless


February 27, 2018 04:05 PM

County supervisors discussed a broader plan Tuesday developed by representatives of business, nonprofit groups, the faith community, local government and a consulting firm that's donating time to the initiative.

The county will begin a process of finding a location for a 60-bed permanent access center for the homeless, offering services such as case management, substance abuse and mental health services and assistance with legal issues, employment training and job search. In the cold winter months, the center will also direct the homeless to available beds in local shelters.

The permanent center will replace the temporary low-barrier shelter, which would be operated under a three-year nonrenewable lease.

Supervisors gave approval to distribute $2.5 million in state funding secured by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, to the United Way for operating the low-barrier shelter for three years. The Stanislaus Community Foundation has pledged $1 million for building the shelter.

Local groups participating in the permanent access center will need a financing plan for operation and maintenance. Funding could come from private donors, grants and other sources.

David Crotty, senior vice president of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, the Bay Area design firm providing pro bono services to the county, said he believes the plan can be successful in reducing homelessness.

"Some people say this is impossible," Crotty said. "It is, of course, impossible if you don't try."

I want to observe Black History Month by remembering some of our local leaders who are no longer with us but have left us a legacy of commitment, leadership, faith, tolerance and courage.

Lew Braxton, Jr.

Lew served in the United States Air Force for twenty years including service in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired in 1972 when stationed at Castle Air Force Base with the rank of Major. He remained in Atwater and went to work for Merced County retiring as a Supervising Probation Officer after 25 years. As a probation officer, Lew guided and mentored many young people who had started down the wrong path.

Lew is best remembered for his warm demeanor and spirited community service, including the Atwater School Board, the Merced Community College Board, Chair of the Central Valley Regional Center, President of the California Coalition of Black School Board Members and President of the Merced NAACP, where he was honored as Man of the Year. I was proud to have known Lew since my youth. He was an inspiration to me and to our community.

Friday, February 16, 2018
As excerpted from the Modesto Bee:

How Modesto’s homeless could find a home in converted shipping containers


Focus on Prevention Leadership Council Chairman Brad Hawn provided an overview of the project:

He said the shelter will be constructed out of converted shipping containers. He said the 40-foot-by-8-foot containers will have four bedrooms, each with its own door, window, air conditioning and heating unit, and fire sprinklers. Interior walls will separate the bedrooms.

Hawn said nonprofits would play a big role in the project. He said one would serve as the fiscal agent for the project and lease the land from Stanislaus Food Products. The nonprofit — which he declined to name — would hire another nonprofit to operate the shelter and day center.

The Stanislaus Community Foundation has committed $1 million toward building the center and day center. The money would be from the $1.4 million the foundation received last year from local business leaders to further the aims of Focus on Prevention.

And the Board of Supervisors would be asked to commit $2.5 million to cover three years’ of the project’s operating costs (that does not include the outreach and engagement center). The $2.5 million is what Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, helped secure in this year’s state budget for Stanislaus County to tackle homelessness.

Modesto is not providing funding, but Hawn said the project will rely on the police department for help if problems or concerns develop with the shelter and day center.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

For Immediate Release: February 15, 2018
Contact: Adam Capper
Phone: (916) 319-2021

Assemblyman Gray’s Legislation Renews Calls for UC Merced Medical School and Improved Valley Healthcare

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D – Merced) announced the introduction of legislation to establish a medical school at the University of California, Merced as well as bills aimed at improving health outcomes in rural California. AB 2202 would appropriate an unspecified amount of funding from the state’s multibillion dollar general fund surplus to establish the University of California, Merced School of Medicine.


“Establishing a medical school at UC Merced to serve the Central Valley was part and parcel to the inception of the campus three decades ago,” said Gray. “I commend UC Merced’s inventive implementation of the 2020 plan and SJV PRIME program while receiving less state assistance than any UC campus before it. In a year when we expect a multibillion dollar surplus, now is the time for the state to invest in the creation of this critically needed medical school. The Central Valley is significantly disadvantaged when it comes to our shortage of health care professionals and infrastructure. Locating a medical school in the heart of the region is an obvious solution we should have implemented a long time ago.”

I want to take this opportunity during Black History Month to remember some of our local leaders who are no longer with us but have left us a legacy of leadership, faith, tolerance and courage.

Ida Mae Johnson

Ida Mae Johnson was dedicated to making the education system more effective for all students in her 34 year tenure with Merced County Office of Education. She worked on  career development as Director for Project Tide; spent nine years as a mentor teacher; and 12 years on loan to the California Department of Education as Senior Associate Trainer of the California School Leadership Academy for Gender Equality. She also served two terms on the Merced Union High School Board.

Ida was very active in Women in Politics, League of Women Voters, NAACP and CASA. She is remembered for her understanding, wisdom, strength and patience. She had an open heart and was always ready to extend the hand of friendship. She was an inspiration to many young people and I am proud to have known her.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

As excerpted from: The Modesto Bee

We had a deal. Without Sites, Temperance you’re breaking a promise


In 2014, I asked you to support Proposition 1, $7.5 billion water bond written during one of the worst droughts in the state’s modern history.

It certainly wasn’t perfect. I would have preferred significantly more than the $2.7 billion it provided for water storage, while others would have eliminated water storage funding entirely. But Prop 1 was a product of compromise and negotiation – something we need a lot more of in today’s political climate.

In typical Sacramento fashion, we had ignored a problem until it became so large that we could not possibly ignore it anymore. If there was a silver lining to the drought, it was that water became a priority again.