At the Central Valley Tea Party meeting on August 20, a special guest speaker attended–Assemblyman Devon Mathis. Mathis took the time to review the several bills he has introduced which are in the process of going through the legislature. Most of his bills concentrate on the drought because, as he said, “I haven’t paid attention to a whole lot else.”
Mathis started his talk with a short video about how the drought has affected Tulare County, focusing on East Porterville. He has effectively used the video when recruiting democrats to cosign his drought relief bills. A current bill, Low-Interest Loan and Grant Program for Homeowner Water and Wastewater Improvements, will make it easier for private homeowners whose wells have gone dry to get state and federal funds. They can use the money not only to drill a deeper or new well but to hook up to local water systems.
Up until now funds have only been available for community wells, leaving private homeowners with limited resources.
“Those individual homeowners who rely upon private groundwater wells are often in disadvantaged communities and economically distressed areas, and so may not be able to afford conventional private financing to undertake vital water supply, water quality and wastewater improvements,” said Mathis’ fact sheet on the bill.
After showing the video to State Senator Ricardo Lara, Mathis is confident his bill will pass the senate and be signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
Another bill he is working on include the GI Bill for Vet Startup Businesses. Traditional GI Bills focus on providing college money to veterans. This bill is for veterans who may not want to go to college but do want to start a business. This bill would provide the startup money for their business.
Mathis is also collaborating with the only elected republican in the Bay Area, Catherine Baker, on a bill that “resolves that the legislature calls upon the state and local governments to prohibit any government entity in the state from banning the American flag from public property…” Mathis cites a recent incident at the University of California, Irvine that the student government was pursuing efforts to ban the American flag and other flags from the lobby of a student government office.
“When I hear that the American flag is a sign of imperialism I call it bullshit. I did not fight and bleed for the American flag to have it called offensive,” said Mathis.
After Mathis concluded his presentation, he took a few questions. One audience member asked him what he thought of the August 6 Republican debate. Neither the Central Valley Tea Party or Mathis was prepared to endorse anyone right now. And Mathis has more questions after seeing the debate.
Another person asked about the recent undercover videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s selling fetal body parts and wanted to know what Mathis was doing about California’s Planned Parenthood. Mathis said that on August 3, he and 12 other California State Legislators signed a letter calling for a complete audit of Planned Parenthood. The letter inquired as to the extent to which California tax revenues were used in the illegal purchase or sale of human fetal tissue and the extent to which these monies have been used in abortion procedures in which the patient’s consent was either violated or fraudulently induced.
Mathis was next asked what he was doing about the High-Speed Rail (HSR.) Mathis said that “if we need to create jobs, then why not do it building roads and water infrastructure rather than wasting it on High -Speed Rail.”
He said, the rail was destroying farm land and will go right through a Hormel Food installation near Alpaugh which will have to be torn down.
Supervisor Phil Cox, who was in attendance, added that the federal money given to California “goes away if not spent by High-Speed Rail by next year,” when referring to how slowly HSR was progressing. He also said that California has to front the money being spent on HSR.
“We only get it after it’s built but not before,” said Cox, who is on the Tulare County Association of Governments Rail Committee.
Mathis added that a rumor in Sacramento was that Governor Brown is advocating raising a tax to fix the roads but then will take it and spend the tax increase on HSR.
Mathis concluded, “If you want change then get republicans elected.”
Someone in the audience yelled out that social media was the way to get republicans elected and urged everyone in attendance “to get their wives to spend some of their time on facebook ‘liking’ your republican representatives.”
Mathis ended the HSR discussion by saying there was a rumor circulating around Sacramento that when Governor Brown was a young boy his father Gov. Pat Brown took away his toy train.