Friday, November 30, 2012

Assemblyman Gatto Forms Small-Business Advisory Commission

Seeks public input on regulatory and statutory reforms to improve the state’s business climate.
November 29, 2012

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) is seeking applications from local business owners to serve on his District 43 Business Advisory Commission.  The commission will meet several times in the months ahead, with the goal of formulating one or more legislative proposals that would be introduced by Assemblyman Gatto in the 2013 state legislative session.

Assemblyman Gatto said he welcomes input from the people working hard to keep businesses thriving.

“We hear often that our business climate could be improved. I’m interested in hearing any proposal that would make the regulatory and statutory environment more sensible and less burdensome for local business owners. ”

Last year, the assemblyman authored or co-authored several bills to support small businesses including AB 1616 (The California Homemade Food Act), AB 2026 (The Film Industry Tax Credit), and AB 1900, which created an entirely new in-state biofuel industry. He hopes the commission will help him to identify even more common sense solutions to the challenges facing local businesses.

“As lawmakers, we have a sacred duty to listen to the needs and concerns of those who help our communities thrive, and to do what we can to support them,” said Gatto.

Anyone interested in participating on the commission should email Assemblyman Gatto at with the subject line ‘Business Commission.’

You can read this story and more at the Crescenta Valley Weekly by clicking HERE

Mike Gatto is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood. 

[Mike Gatto] Post-Election a time for Healing and Unity

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a vigil for victims of domestic violence. Taking place only ten days before the election, my week had been filled with divisive campaign rhetoric. The vigil on the other hand was filled with neighbors setting aside political differences to show support for one-another and help each other succeed.

I believe that the vast majority of people, regardless of political affiliation, or background, want to see their neighbors and their country succeed. Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, our electoral process has never been about our desire to succeed, it is about how that success is best realized.

But now that the ballots have been counted, the final decision we must make is to set aside our differences and unite as a community.  Division does not end simply because the polls close on Election Day. Division ends when we choose to recognize and respect the humanity and dignity of all people.  After all, we are united in the government we share.

We are certainly capable of making the decision to unite. I see it in my everyday life, in situations as simple as parents who look out for a neighbor’s child or as complicated as firefighters who risk their lives with no regard for the political affiliation of the person whose house is burning.

I even saw it in our Presidential candidates, who after the election spoke of the need to come together as a country for the betterment of all. This type of unity should hold a mirror to us all that even when times are tough and money is scarce, when we work together, we can make our communities better for everyone.

As the political season comes to a close, I am happy to see President Obama reelected.  As we enter the holiday season, it is time for us to come together as neighbors, and heal as a country.  I also invite you to share with me additional ideas of how State government can unite with you and your neighbors to make our communities better for everyone.  Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for the New Year.

You can read this article and more in the Los Feliz Ledger by clicking HERE

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and portions of Atwater Village along with the cities of Burbank and Glendale and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, North Hollywood, and Van Nuys.  His web site is or e-mail Mike at:, or call him at (818) 558-3043.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two Strike Park Memorial Gets Support on Veteran’s Day

Steven Thibault, a Marine Corp Vet, with his son, Jackson, throw a piece of a retired american flag into the fire at the Veterans Memorial Service, Two Strike Park, La Crescenta, Ca. (Photo by Ed Hamilton / Nov 11th, 2012)

By Mary O’KEEFE - Nov. 11th 2012

Today at a ceremony in honor of Veteran’s Day, members of the American Legion and Veteran’s of Foreign Wars created a Walk of Honor for veterans that have served in the military since 911.

The ceremony began at Two Strike Park today at 3 p.m. after an all day vigil by veterans.

Veterans Memorial Service at Two Strike Park, La Crescenta, Ca (Photo by Ed Hamilton / Nov 11th, 2012)

The speeches from the podium reflected the day’s honor to all veterans with mention of those young men and women who are, and have, served recently.  Speakers, veterans Mike Baldwin and Ken Jury, reminded the audience that the American Legion and VFW members are still serving by helping those who have served.

Congressman Adam Schiff was in attendance.  He spoke about his father, an Army veteran, and of servicemen he had met in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the United States.  He spoke of their maturity, honor and dedicated service to their country.

Shirley Wright and Patricia Breggs arrive for the Vetrans Memorial Service at Two Strike Park, La Crescenta, Ca

Congressman Adam Schiff and Assemblyman Mike Gatto attended the Veterans Memorial Service at 
Two Strike Park, La Crescenta, Ca.  (Photo by Suzanne Dunwell / Nov 11th, 2012)

Assemblymember Mike Gatto was also at the ceremony.  He spoke of his family’s long history of military service as well.  He also pledged to match any donation up to $1,000 that was made to the Two Strike Park Memorial at the ceremony.  VFW Commander Warren Spayth immediately raised his hand to donate $500, and Congressman Adam Schiff had made a donation of $500 earlier to a group of veterans at the ceremony.  But even after the $1000 was met the donations continued.  Several of those in the audience took out their checkbooks for the Two Strike Park Memorial.

Congressman Adam Schiff and State Assemblyman Mike Gatto throw pieces of a retired American Flag into a memorial flame at the Veterans Memorial Service at Two Strike Park, La Crescenta, Ca.  Gatto pledged to match $1,000 in donations to the memorial, and Schiff immediately responded with a $500 contribution. (Photo by Ed Hamilton / Nov 11th, 2012)

Not only were veterans honored at the park but the memorial is more than $2,000 closer to its goal.

Two Strike Park Memorial, at present, is small and is in disrepair.  Veterans and community members began working together to raise funds to remodel and repair the existing memorial.  The Two Strike Park Memorial committee’s goal is to build the memorial so the names of military personnel who have lost their lives while in service  to their country can be added.  They need $75,000, they have raise about $47,000. Anyone who would like to donate can do so at

Veterans Memorial Service at Two Strike Park, La Crescenta, Ca (Photo by Ed Hamilton / Nov 11th, 2012)

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You can read this story and more at the Crescenta Valley Weekly by clicking HERE

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Canada-Flintridge, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz and Silver Lake.  E-mail Mike at:, or call (818) 558-3043.

Website of Assemblyman Mike Gatto:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Liu and Gatto look to supermajority

Democrats will have more sway in Sacramento after election, 
but neither incumbent expects absolute power

By Mark Kellam
November 9, 2012 | 6:46 p.m.

With Democrats securing a supermajority in both state houses, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) may find it easier to push their agendas through to the governor’s desk, but they both said they don’t think the party will use the rare power carte blanche to approve tax increases.

Still, it doesn’t mean the lawmakers won’t have an easier time in Sacramento, especially in terms of pushing their respective legislative agendas.

Jerry Brown “That doesn’t mean the governor will sign them,” Liu said. “He’s pretty independent about being a Democrat, so to speak.”

Even so, with a supermajority, Democratic lawmakers can override Gov. Jerry Brown’s vetoes — a power that comes with great responsibility and expectations, Gatto said.

“Expectations can very quickly turn into disappointments,” he said.

Both lawmakers said Democrats need to focus on key issues such as tax reform, job creation and education.

Liu also said legislators should review the initiative process, something Gatto has stressed in the past.

She pointed to several propositions on Tuesday’s ballot that were funded by individuals and groups with deep pockets, but didn’t necessarily have the public’s best interest at heart.

But for all the hubbub over achieving the supermajority, Gatto said it’s a thin one, which will still have a dampening effect.

“The difference between 52 and 54 [seats] is not that great,” he said, referring to the number of Democrats in the Assembly last session compared to how many there are now.

For starters, Gatto, who is the new chairman of the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee, said he doesn’t think the two-thirds majority will necessarily translate into the same majority on the committee, which handles all legislation involving state funds.

And while lawmakers have clashed in the past when voting on a state budget, Liu said they didn’t squabble as much last year. That’s a trend she expects to continue with a supermajority.

“It’s much more fun for the news folks to bicker and show off,” she said. But “it’s less about show and more about product.”

The benefits of a two-thirds majority will likely come into play most often with procedural issues, Gatto said. For example, if a bill introduced by a Democratic legislator doesn’t meet a deadline as it winds through the Legislature, it may be waived through via the supermajority.

And both legislators reiterated pledges issued during the week among their Democratic colleagues that attempts at bipartisanship would not be abandoned — even if they hold the upper hand.

“[Republicans] still need to be brought in and be part of the solution,” Liu said.

“Within reason, there’s no monopoly on good ideas,” Gatto said. “Good ideas can come from any source.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

‘Proudly made at home’

Thanks to the Homemade Food Act which baker-cum-activist Mark Stambler co-wrote, he will once again be able to run his bakery from his own kitchen and backyard wood-fired oven. Stambler will facilitate local workshops on Nov. 10 to help other entrepreneurs understand and use the law. 
Photo by Stephen Zeigler


A new state law eases the way for culinary entrepreneurs to legally create and operate food-related businesses in their kitchens, producing homemade edibles for sale to businesses and to the public.

Two local workshops will be offered this Saturday to provide information about the law and how it benefits citizens interested in starting their own cottage industries to produce baked goods, preserves, dried herbs and fruits, teas and roasted coffee, granola and popcorn, honey, empanadas and more.

The first workshop of the day will be held 10-11:30 a.m. at Metabolic Studio IOU Garden, at Main and Willow streets in Lone Pine. The Bishop workshop will be from 2:30-4 p.m. at Jill Kinmont Booth School, 166 Grandview St. Metabolic Studio’s Millie Macen Moore will be on hand to translate the talks into Spanish.

Assembly Bill 1616: California Homemade Food Act, or Cottage Food Law as it is also known, was written to help food purveyors with a simpler, more streamlined regulatory structure. “Grandmas, abuelitas, nanas and memaws especially love the new California Cottage Food Law. Giant food manufacturing corporations do not,” states news blog

Once the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, citizens must understand it in order to use it. Although Inyo County Health Department and Eastern Sierra Certified Farmers Market have been following its progress, many people in the community may not “understand the changes in the law,” said workshop coordinator Jane McDonald. “It is a very exciting opportunity for people” who may want to kick start their own businesses but who don’t have capital to invest in certified kitchens, who have been hampered by zoning compliance and other regulations.

Enter workshop facilitator and Los Angeles-based baker-cum-activist Mark Stambler, who has a personal stake in the new law. In 2011, when Los Angeles County Health Department learned he was selling his bread to neighboring businesses, it doused the flames of Stambler’s backyard wood-fired oven. So, he wrote an assembly bill. But more about that later.

A 30-year veteran boulanger, Stambler said he hand-grinds his flour from wheat and bakes breads in the wood-fired oven he built in his backyard, producing crusty loaves from time-honed recipes. The vested cottage entrepreneur will facilitate the Saturday, Nov. 10 workshops. Stambler plans to cover the current status of the Cottage Food Law, its impact on home-based industry, permits and zoning, dealing with the health department, food preparation and storage – basically what people must do (and not do) “to take advantage of this law,” he explained.

Now “thousands of home-based food producers” will be able to “use their talents, their love of cooking and baking and their kitchen to earn extra income for their family.”

After the workshops, “in Lone Pine, I’ll be baking bread on Sunday morning (Nov. 11). They have a wood-fired community oven.” Anyone may join Stambler for dough mixing at 10:30 a.m. at 117 Washington St. The oven will be lit around noon and bread will be baked “in the late afternoon at the IOU Garden,” said McDonald.

When the Homemade Food Act becomes law, it will legalize the production of non-potentially hazardous food items and help entrepreneurs get county certification and permits needed to sell from their homes to the public, at farmer’s markets, festivals and events and to restaurants and stores.

The law “has the potential to make substantial, positive change in the state’s food environment, broadening the focus to include a much wider array of community-sourced food,” explained Stambler, increasing “self-sufficiency and decreasing our reliance” on outside food sources, explained McDonald.

The law also states, “Small businesses have played an important role in helping slow economies recover and prosper as an engine of job creation. During the 1990s, small businesses created the majority of new jobs and now account for 65 percent of United States employment.”

“We see this (law) as a step forward not the end goal,” explained Stambler. “People who make foods at home are usually interested in healthy foods with healthy ingredients” so there’s a great sense of accountability for quality product, he added. “I’m going to put it in huge letters on my label … ‘Proudly Made at Home.’ I think homemade products will be flying off the shelves.”

Stambler said he became “one of the catalysts” for the bill’s creation when he asked Sustainable Economies Law Center, in Oakland, for help. The Law Center had never written a bill either but the “group of progressive lawyers,” took up the challenge. Writing a bill is “an eye-opening experience,” said Stambler. A few days later, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) called Stambler, saying “‘I heard you had problems with the health department. You’re a constituent of mine. How can I help?’” recalled Stambler. From the summer of 2011 on, he, Gatto and SELC wrote a bill designed simplify and streamline home-based food industry regulations. Gatto introduced it to the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown signed the Homemade Food Act into law on Sept. 21 – the culmination of a 14-month journey.

For more information, contact Jane McDonald at (510) 468-7113 or

You can read this article and more at the Inyo Register by clicking HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz and Silver Lake.  E-mail Mike at:, or call (818) 558-3043.

Website of Assemblyman Mike Gatto: