Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Governor Brown appoints Glendale's Frank Quintero to the California Apprenticeship Council

SACRAMENTO - Frank J. Quintero, 68, of Glendale, has been appointed to the California Apprenticeship Council. Quintero has served in multiple positions for the City of Glendale since 2001, including mayor and city council member. He was director of the Alliance for Education from 1976 to 2002. Quintero is a member of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority and the Orangeline Development Authority Board of Directors. He served on the California Workforce Investment Board from 1999 to 2010. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Quintero is a Democrat.



Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Assemblyman Mike Gatto Forms 2014 Small Business Advisory Commission


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  Contact: Justin Hager (818) 558-3043
December 10, 2013                                                             Mobile: (415) 889-9762

Assemblyman Gatto Seeks More Public Input on Reforms to Improve the State's Business Climate Following the Passage of Historic Legislation Developed by his 2013 Commission

Burbank, CA – Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) is seeking applications from local business owners to serve on his 2014 Small Business Advisory Commission.  The Commission will meet several times in the months ahead, with the goal of formulating one or more legislative proposals that will be introduced by Gatto in the upcoming legislative session.

With small businesses employing more than 37% of all workers in the state, Assemblyman Gatto welcomes input from the people working hard to keep our business community strong.   “Small-business owners face the brunt of challenges that affect the economic development of our community.  Incorporating our business members into this dialogue enhances the state’s ability to create a more sensible and less burdensome regulatory environment for our businesses,” said Gatto.

Last year’s Commission voted to ask Gatto to introduce AB 227, momentous legislation which reformed Proposition 65 to protect small businesses from meritless lawsuits.  To the relief of business owners in the 43rd Assembly District and statewide, Governor Brown signed AB 227 into law this year.  The Commission has been an instrumental voice in advising Assemblyman Gatto on challenges facing local small-business owners throughout California.  “Listening to those who have been shortchanged by the law first-hand is an imperative and sacred duty of lawmakers.  I am proud of the historic achievement of last year’s Commission and look forward to working with the 2014 Commission,” said Gatto.

Individuals interested in participating on the Commission should e-mail Assemblyman Gatto at Assemblymember.Gatto@assembly.ca.gov with the subject line 'Business Commission.’

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto 

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Monday, October 14, 2013

LISTEN IN: Governor Doubles Statute of Limitations for Hit-Runs


Governor Brown has signed a bill doubling the statute of limitations for prosecuting hit and run drivers. The bill's author, assemblyman Mike Gatto, praises the governor, but says more legislation is needed. KABC's Michael Linder reports.

The audio for this program can be found HERE

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto


Friday, October 11, 2013

KCET: Hit-and-Run Bill Sent to Governor Jerry Brown for Approval

This article on AB 184, my legislation to increase the statute of limitations for prosecuting hit-and-run drivers is particularly powerful because of the image of the "ghost bike" in Pasadena. 

September 10, 2013
by City News Service

Following a spate of fatal hit-and-run crashes in the Southland, state lawmakers approved a bill extending the statute of limitations for such crimes from three years to six years.

In the last month, more than a dozen people were killed in hit-and-run collisions in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including seven victims in the city of Los Angeles, according to Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored the legislation. Many others, including a three-year-old boy, were seriously injured by motorists who drove off after crashing into victims.


A memorial "Ghost Bike"  in Pasadena left for hit-and-run victim Jocelyn Young, 
who was killed while riding her bike in 2011. 
Photo from  waltarrrrr/Flickr/Creative Commons License
"AB 184 will allow victims of hit-and-runs and law enforcement to obtain justice from cowards who do everything possible to avoid responsibility for their actions," Gatto said.

Under current law, motorists who flee the scene of an accident can simply "run out the clock," as it can take months to track them down.

The identity of the driver of a mini-van who hit bicyclist Damian Kevitt and dragged him more than quarter-mile down the Golden State (5) Freeway in Los Angeles in February remains unknown...

..."It's hard for us to encourage people to bike and walk, when our streets are treated like the Wild West," said Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

The assembly vote was 68-0 in favor of the bill, which the Senate passed earlier on a 37-0 vote.

The bill goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for final approval.


You can read this article and more by visiting KCET's website HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

MundoFOX 22: Mano dura para los Conductores que huyen de la escena de un accidente


Buen informe de Anabel Muñoz sobre huyendo de la escena y mi AB 184!

Watch this video and more at http://www.mundofox22.com/noticias22 

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

LISTEN IN: Assemblyman Gatto discusses AB 227 on KFBK News Radio

Assemblyman Mike Gatto called into KFBK News Radio and discussed AB 227, his legislation to limit unfair Prop. 65 lawsuits and protect local small businesses.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Congratulations to Boo's Philly Cheesesteaks!

Two of my field representatives, Eric Menjivar and Moonyoung Ko, presented a certificate of recognition to Boo's Philly Cheesesteaks in East Hollywood to congratulate them on being named to the menuism.com list of
TOP 10 SANDWICHES IN LA!
Congratulations to this delicious, locally-owned sandwich shop!
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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

LA Times: Lawmakers to offer new plan for TV and film production tax breaks

Dylan O'Brien rehearses in December 2012 a scene from the MTV series "Teen Wolf," which relocated from Georgia to Los Angeles to take advantage of a California tax credit. Two L.A. legislators will propose a new film and TV incentive package when the Legislature reconvenes in January. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / December 10, 2012)
By Melanie Mason - October 4, 2013

SACRAMENTO --Two Los Angeles legislators announced this week they'll be pushing a new plan for tax breaks for film and TV production when the Legislature comes back to work in January.

California has had incentives for the entertainment industry since 2009, in an effort to fend off other states trying to lure film and TV shoots with generous tax breaks.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the latest round of tax credits last year, which authorize $100 million in credits annually until July 1, 2017.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) said in an interview that his plan with state Sen. Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) would be more than an extension of the current plan.

"I view this as a rather new product with different ideas," said Gatto, who serves on the California Film Commission, which allocates the tax credits.

Those new proposals include a tiering system that would give the maximum credit to productions that pay wages to California residents and incentives to build sound stages and post-production facilities.

Gatto said there would also be a credit for shoots that take place in under-utilized areas of the state, a provision that could address "the perception problem with the [current] credit that it’s purely for Southern California."

“Given the vulnerable state of our economy we can’t afford to hemorrhage any more good-paying jobs,” said De León in a statement. “First thing in 2014, we need to extend the film tax credit and improve it to maximize job retention and bolster this home-grown industry..."

...The entertainment industry last year originally sought a five-year extension of the credits, but ended up with two additional years.

And there's been much back-and-forth as to the economic benefit the credits have delivered. Studies by UCLA and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said the incentives have provided an economic boost; the state's Legislative Analyst's Office said the program caused a net loss in state revenues.

"If this was just an expansion -- a very inelegant, blunt direct expansion of the current credit -- I’d probably have a problem with that myself," Gatto said.

"The only reason why I feel comfortable doing this now is I believe it's possible to craft it in a way that really does maximize benefit to the community as a whole," he said.

You can read this article and more by visiting the Los Angeles Times HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

LA Times: Brown signs law amending state's anti-toxins law, Proposition 65

California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, signed a law giving businesses that are in violation of Proposition 65 two weeks to post the required notices before they are subject to lawsuits or steep fines. (Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press / January 24, 2013)
By Melanie Mason - October 5, 2013

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law changes to Proposition 65, the state's landmark anti-toxins law, that aim to reduce lawsuits and fines for businesses.

The initiative, which voters approved in 1986, requires businesses to post notices about the presence of possibly dangerous chemicals, which include alcohol, carcinogens found in parking garages and byproducts of coffee roasting.

Some business owners, particularly owners of bars and coffee shops, complained the law had spawned a wave of frivolous lawsuits and excessive fines over improper signage.

The measure by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) gives businesses that are in violation of the law two weeks to post the required notices before they are subject to lawsuits or steep fines.

Gatto said he was in a "state of disbelief" that his bill, AB 227, had become law, particularly because making changes to the initiative required two-thirds approval in the Legislature.

"Nobody has been able to do this since 1986," he said...

You can read this article and more by visiting the Los Angeles Times HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ventura County Star: State Senate Passes Bill Funding Citrus Disease Research


Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura County Star
by Staff Reports

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s bill to increase funding for fighting citrus diseases and the pests that carry them, particularly the Asian citrus psyllid insect, is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill passed the Senate Monday on a 38-0 vote.

AB 571, which Gatto, D-Los Angeles, introduced in late February, adds $5 million a year from the general fund to the citrus disease management account in the Department of Food and Agriculture fund.

The money would pay for research and programs to fight citrus diseases and the insects that carry them, including huanglongbing, the tree-killing disease carried by the citrus psyllid also known as citrus greening disease...

...The state’s citrus industry is worth $1.8 billion and employs an estimated 25,000 people, according to Gatto.

In late July, Food and Agriculture officials extended for four years a program enabling citrus producers to help pay for ongoing efforts to protect against threats such as diseases to the citrus industry. Producer assessments this year are expected to generate $15 million for the program.

Officials hope to eradicate the invasive psyllid before it can infect citrus trees with the huanglongbing disease bacteria. The psyllid has spread through Southern California since being discovered here in 2008. Ventura County had been the most northern reaches where the insect was found until insects were found in Tulare County.

Brown has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto the bill. Otherwise, it will become law.


You can read this article and more by visiting the Ventura County Star HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Deadline.com: CA Pols Announce Plan To Propose 2014 Bill Boosting Film and TV Tax Credits

By THE DEADLINE TEAM | Thursday October 3, 2013 @ 4:10pm PDT

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) today announced a plan to introduce new film and television production tax credits for the state in January 2014, when the legislature returns from interim recess. Competition from out-of-state incentive programs have been a prime concern in recent years particularly in Gatto’s Southern California district which spans Burbank, Glendale, and Hollywood and includes many of LA’s most prominent studios and post-facilities including DreamWorks, Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros. But Gatto and De Leon don’t expect an easy road
ahead. They’re meeting with industry and studio figures as well as below the line pros and small business owners to gather feedback before setting the parameters of their proposed bill. “I think the entire program needs rethinking – not just renewing and throwing more money at it. We need to make incentives bigger and make them smarter and spend funds on things that matter,” Gatto told Deadline.

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Thursday, October 3, 2013

NBC 4: Hit and Run Bill Seeks Governor's Approval



By Conan Nolan | Sep 24, 2013

Los Angeles is the hit and run capital in America with 14,000 cases this year alone. A Burbank assemblyman is attempting to change this with a bill that will extend the statute of limitations on hit and run crimes from three to six years. Conan Nolan reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2013.

Senior Scam Stoppers at Griffith Park Community Center

Back by popular demand, today I hosted another Scam Stoppers seminar for local seniors, this one at the Griffith Park Community Center.

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

La Canada Valley Sun: A dog-gone fine day for a walk

Thousands of dogs and their owners came to raise funds for the Pasadena Humane Society at the Rose Bowl on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. (Photo by Kathy Bakowicz / September 30, 2013)
By Sal Polcino
October 2, 2013 | 9:49 a.m.

More than 2,000 beribboned and bedazzled dogs of various breeds, shapes and sizes brought their humans to Brookside Park outside the Rose Bowl Sunday morning to raise funds for the Pasadena Humane Society.

Ricky Whitman, a spokesman for the group, said $296,000 had been committed by sponsors before the event had even begun.

“Just wait,” said Whitman. “There will be thousands more coming.”

The Wiggle Waggle Walk hosted dog-lovers from the wider area, including Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and Glendale Mayor Dave Weaver.

Concession stands lined the parking lot with treats for human and canine alike. Mobile groomers and doggie photographers offered their services as various contests went on nearby.

A dog and owner look-alike contest opened the festivities and was followed by a puppy fashion show, with Gatto serving as a judge. Dogs sported costumes from a cowboy to a taco. Even a celebrity dog, Richard, from ABC’s Modern Family,” showed off for fans. Sorry, no autographs.

The Glendale Police Department’s K-9 unit also put on a demonstration, with Officer Shawn Sholtis putting on the protective suit while a police dog, Branko, attacked. Officer Alex Rolando hosted the presentation but promised, “Next time it will be my turn to wear the suit.”

Organizers also recognized some of the top fundraisers, including a team called “The Punk Rock Rovers,” which raised more than $60,000. The top individual walkers, Wil and Anne Wheaton — he of “Star Trek: the Next Generation” fame — brought in about $43,000. Those numbers were expected to grow in the days following the event.

“We are extremely pleased with the turn-out this year,” said event coordinator Milena Warns.

-- Sal Polcino is a freelance writer. 

You can read this article and more by visiting the La Canada Valley Sun HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Glendale News-Press: Gatto's Prop 65 reform bill likely to be law


September 23, 2013 | 11:01 a.m.
By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s bill reforming Proposition 65 looks likely to become law, and no one is happier than the business owner whose suggestion spurred the legislation.

AB 227, which passed the Assembly state Senate with unanimous votes, modifies a voter-approved law that requires establishments to post “clear and reasonable” warnings if the public is at risk of being exposed to chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.

That includes restaurants that serve alcohol, which frequently find themselves at the receiving end of “shakedown” lawsuits that are filed, proponents of change say, with the intent of extracting settlements to make the litigation go away. The law allows members of the public to sue for up to $2,500 for each day the signage isn’t properly displayed.

Gatto’s bill gives business owners a two-week period to post the correct signage before they can be sued.

Brett Schoenhals, Owner of the Coffee Table
in Eagle Rock.
Brett Schoenhals, who owns the Coffee Table restaurant in Eagle Rock, told Gatto (D-Silver Lake) about these lawsuits — one of which he had been served with — in January, at the inaugural meeting of the assemblyman’s Small Business Advisory Commission.

Nine months later, Schoenhals said he was happy that he was able to raise an issue that affects all businesses in the state.

“It affects everybody, and nobody ever does anything and nothing ever changes,” he said. “My big mouth did something.... I used my big mouth one time for good.”

Gatto said Thursday that giving businesses a chance to post the correct signage before becoming liable for damages was a way to discern the actual concerns that were the intent of the imitative.

“We also look at it as a little bit of bluff-calling,” he said. “These people who sue, these groups that sue, they say ‘We just want the warnings up.’ OK, well guess what? We just gave business-owners a 14-day window to put the warnings up...”

You can read this article and more by visiting the Glendale News Press HERE

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Dog, Sutter Brown, approves bill to facilitate more dog parks

First Dog, Sutter Brown, stopped by my office last week to affix his paw to AB 265, my bill to facilitate more dog parks.

CV WEEKLY: Gatto Speaks to Local Democrats

A great piece in the CV Weekly on a mini Town Hall I had recently in La Canada.

Gatto Speaks to Local Democrats


Photo by CHARLY SHELTON - CV WEEKLY
By Mary O’KEEFE - CRESCENTA VALLEY WEEKLY
On Aug. 18, Assemblymember Mike Gatto spoke to the Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club at a meeting hosted by Anthony and Ellen Portantino at their home.
At the meeting, Gatto answered questions from the audience on a variety of issues and spoke about what was happening in the state assembly.
He spoke on AB440, a bill that had cleared the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality and is now on its way to Appropriations. The bill would give local governments the tools needed to clean up contaminated properties, known as brownfields, and to recover costs of the contamination from the responsible party/parties.
He also spoke of a bill to ease traffic. AB405 would allow HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes to be used by all vehicles during non-peak hours.
“It doesn’t do anyone any good when there is an accident [on the freeway] and you can’t go around it [because of the HOV restrictions],” he said.
Gatto added that other areas, including northern California, have time sensitive HOV lanes in which carpool restrictions are in place during rush hour and then open for all vehicles during non rush hour.
“This is the last month the legislature is in session,” Gatto said. “There are hundreds of bills in the mix.”
One of those bills was signed into law on Aug. 12 and will allow cities more freedom to build dog parks.
“The idea came from Laura Friedman,” he said. Friedman is a Glendale city councilmember. “She came to me at the opening of the Crescenta Valley dog park.”
The CV dog park was the first park of its kind opened in Los Angeles County. Friedman had pointed out to Gatto that L.A. County had the ability to self insure, but for a city it would be cost prohibitive to have a dog park. AB265 limits the liability that cities and counties face when operating dog parks and protects them from litigants who claim, for example, that they were unaware of potential dangers, according to Gatto’s website.
“We were able to get that bill through this year,” he said.
He commented on the 710 extension, saying, “I don’t see anything that is good” about that.
“And I think the community has spoken,” he added. “We don’t want this.”
A question came from the audience regarding the Rainy Day Fund, which is purported to increase the potential savings in the state fund from 5% to 10 % of the General Fund. Gatto is a supporter of the measure.
“To me, [the concept of] a rainy day fund is simple,” he said. “[It’s like] you see this guy and he is very wealthy and [appears to be] responsible but he has nothing in his retirement or savings. [After finding this out], you would say he is not responsible. … Well, that is what California is like.”
Gatto added the state tends to spend all its money in the good times and then has nothing when bad times come around.
The Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club was chartered in 2005 to serve the Democrats in the area. They were then called the La Cañada Flintridge Democratic Club. In 2008, the name was changed to Cañada-Crescenta Democratic Club because its reach had grown throughout Crescenta Valley.
They meet on the third Sunday of each month except for June and December. 
You can read this article and more at http://www.crescentavalleyweekly.com/news/08/29/2013/gatto-speaks-to-local-democrats/ # # # 
Mike Gatto chairs the Appropriations Committee in the California Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Time marches on: Parking meters in political dispute

By John Howard - Capitol Weekly | 08/21/13 12:00 AM PST
(Editor's Note: The following story appeared originally in California City News.)

Most people know little about parking meters except that they always run fast.

But those meters have figured in a political dispute this year pitting motorists against the cities, the cities against the state and the drivers against just about everybody. Gov. Brown, meanwhile, has weighed in on the side of the drivers.

At issue is what happens when a driver parks at a broken meter? How is the charge set? Does the motorist get a ticket, even though the elapsed time is unknown? Some drivers say they get gouged and they have no recourse. Some cities say the meters are deliberately broken so drivers will escape paying.

For the cities, the answer is simple: It’s up to them to decide...

...The governor disagreed.

He signed legislation, AB 61 by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, requiring the cities to have a uniform policy statewide. The new law takes effect Jan. 1 and will remain in effect for three years unless otherwise renewed by lawmakers. It allows a motorist to park in a space with a broken meter for up to the maximum amount of time set by parking enforcement officials, without getting a ticket.

Gatto said his bill was prompted in part by an NBC report in L.A. that showed the city had issued 17,000 parking tickets in a single year for meters that were reported as malfunctioning.

“’Local control’ does not provide a right to fleece taxpayers,” he said in a written statement following the governor’s Aug. 12 action. “The question of parking at a broken meter should not be up for review or reconsideration every six months, nor should motorists be subject to confusing ordinances as they drive from city to city.”

Traditionally, the cities operate the meters, enforce the parking ordinances, set the rates and decide how to handle the money they collect. It’s been like that since the 1930s, when traffic-clogged, revenue-starved cities saw the potential in parking meters. In a city like Los Angeles, with some 38,000 parking meters and some $150 million annually from parking tickets, this means big money and major government activity that interacts in a direct way with the citizenry. At any one time, perhaps 10 percent of the meters are broken, although the breakage rate for the new electronic meters is far less -- of the thousands of new meters only a handful have broken, the city says.

In crowded, space-limited San Francisco, parking enforcement is aggressive, partly because it is seen as an anti-congestion tool. In San Francisco, they take parking violations seriously, with fines ranging from $46 for a simple transgression, $74 for an expired meter in the downtown core and $880 for misusing a handicapped placard.

The cities see parking enforcement as part of local jurisdiction. When meters are broken, a motorist can leave a note on the car explaining the situation, and that typically avoids a potential ticket – if the motorist doesn’t stay in the space longer than the legal limit that would have applied with the meter in place.

A flickr user, Atwater Village Newbie, posted this photo of a
broken parking meter, along with the question,
"Why are so many parking meters along Glendale Boulevard in
Atwater Village so often out of order?"
(Photo from www.flickr.com/)
The problem is, the meters get broken and aren’t speedily fixed.

“We have a severe problem with the meters always being broken,” said Luis Lopez, a board director of the Chamber of Commerce in Atwater Village, a community of about 16,000 in northeast Los Angeles. “The city of Los Angeles is not very quick to fix those meters. There could be a $250 fine for parking at a broken meter and the city wouldn’t fix them.” The high fine and the broken meters discourage people from parking and patronizing businesses, which is at the heart of Lopez’s concern.

“Parking is a big issue in our community. As far as business owners go, we rely on good parking,” he added.

Last year, a bill similar to Gatto’s AB 61 was approved, SB 1388 by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, which allowed cities to participate in to a statewide parking meter enforcement regulation. But Gatto said loopholes in the law enabled cities to restrict parking, prompting the latest bill.

The cities had signed off on the earlier legislation, because the locals could decide whether to opt in – or not.

“Triple A came to us because their members were expressing frustration because they didn’t know what the statewide policy was,” said Jennifer Whiting of the League of California Cities. “In some cities you could park, in some cities you couldn’t park. In particular, Mr. Gattos’ bill was promoted in the L.A. area, and L.A. had taken a second look at the ordinance.”

After receiving complaints from motorists, the L.A. City Council repealed the ordinance allowing ticketing at broken meters, but left open the possibility of revisiting the issue after six months. Gatto’s bill bars L.A. from looking at the issue gain in six months...

You can read the rest of the article by visiting Capitol Weekly's website HERE

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Mike Gatto chairs the Appropriations Committee in the California Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.



Protecting Small Businesses from Meritless Lawsuits

by Mike Gatto
Can you imagine being faced with the prospect of having to pay thousands of dollars to put up a $20 sign?
As crazy as it sounds, that’s exactly what happened to a coffee-shop owner from our area when he was threatened with a several hundred-thousand dollar lawsuit for allegedly failing to post a warning sign that beer can cause cancer. In 2012 and 2013, more than three dozen small businesses in Southern California (including several restaurants and cafés in Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and Los Angeles) were threatened with similar lawsuits—with some paying thousands of dollars in settlements and attorneys’ fees to avoid spending precious time and money defending themselves in court.
These suits are all a result of California’s Proposition 65. Approved by voters in 1986, the act was intended to prevent and warn the public about possible exposure to carcinogens. Regrettably, there are unscrupulous individuals who have taken advantage of certain provisions in Prop. 65 to ensnare small businesses in lawsuits that were never contemplated by the voters when they passed it.
Brett Schoenhals, Owner of the Coffee Table in Eagle Rock
and a member of my Small-Business Advisory Commission
was threatened with litigation under Prop. 65.
To help these people, and all of us who believe in sensible government, I’ve introduced AB 227, which would allow small businesses to correct technical signage violations of Prop. 65 within fourteen days and pay a small civil fine. It essentially creates a “fix-it ticket” for signage violations for the most common, everyday substances covered under Prop. 65. If the business owners comply, they would be safe from legal action — including the crushing $2,500 per-day retroactive fine — plus legal fees, and the stress of battling meritless litigation.
In May, following the exposure I and my Small Business Advisory Commission brought to this issue, Governor Brown announced his support for my AB 227, and said that he was open to additional reforms. I am proud to have brought together so many other individuals and organizations that are normally on opposite sides. It’s not every day that business groups, environmental-justice coalitions, organized labor, and attorneys’ organizations agree on anything, much less how to reform Prop. 65 — a measure that has been substantively amended just once in nearly 30 years.
Threatening a small business with a lawsuit for serving its customers coffee with their breakfast, a burger with their lunch, or a glass of wine with dinner is absurd. Most business owners work hard to follow the law and protect customers so they return. This is especially true with the majority of our local business owners whose customers are neighbors, friends and relatives.
By giving businesses the opportunity to post a sign and fix a simple mistake, AB 227 strikes a balance by helping businesses avoid senseless litigation while preserving the public’s ability to obtain proper warnings about dangerous chemicals. It shouldn’t cost California’s small businesses thousands of dollars because of issues with a $20 sign.

This opinion editorial originally appeared in the Pasadena Star News.  You can read this Op-Ed and more by visiting  http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/20130822/protecting-small-business-from-meritless-lawsuits-mike-gatto
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Mike Gatto chairs the Appropriations Committee in the California Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto Is Taking Los Angeles License Plates Back In Time

A few weeks ago we shared that there is an effort to take California license plates back to a more simpler, classic time by way reproducing plates from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The effort is very small and would bring a very design friendly plate to California cars, allowing your car to make a statement without you actually having to do all that much at the DMV. It only makes sense that such a “cool” little effort was started by an LA person. Who is responsible for it? Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a native Angeleno who represents the 43rd District, an area that covers Silver Lake, Glendale, Atwater Village, Burbank, Los Feliz, and more.

Gatto is one of those “cool” politician who is fighting the good fight in all the best ways. Annoyed about getting a ticket on a broken parking meter? Mike Gatto just fixed that. Think we need more dog parks? Gatto’s on that. Annoyed you were a small batch food producer who couldn’t sell goods? Mike took care of that too. He definitely knows what civic issues to take care of and is doing some pretty wild things in his position. We had a quick chat with him about his latest effort—the Legacy License Plates—to learn more about where the idea came from and what he needs to make it a reality.
The Legacy License Plate project is something that has gotten a great response from people as they bring a vintage, minimal license plate aesthetic to modern and classic cars. What sparked the idea to bring them back?

California Government doesn’t do much for the thousands of car enthusiasts in our state, and most laws that apply to them tell them they can’t do certain things. The idea came to me after seeing all the different license plates legislators were pushing, things like “save the whales” plates and such. I tried to think of the one type of plate that car collectors really wanted, in original DMV form. So many collectors buy old plates at swap meets, only to find they are forgeries or not what they wanted. This is a way to get original DMV plates, personalized how a collector wants them, for their classic cars.

Do you feel that the project resonates with a specific type of Californian? Are you guys finding that the people supporting the project are a certain “type”?

This project is a natural fit for any Californian, since we are a state where car culture means a lot to us. There’s a lot of nostalgia for the great models and looks of the past.

What obstacles do you see coming the way of the Legacy project? It seems like such a cool, design friendly, “Duh!” project that surely will pass.

The only obstacle is reaching the 7,500 mark for each plate. So far the response has been good, especially for the black plate, with over 4,200 approved applications. We could see those in production as early as next January if the numbers stay consistent. But people should apply ASAP.
How have Angelenos been responding to the project? Do you imagine it has the potential to change the license plate landscape in the city?

At this point, we have no official breakdown of where the registrations are coming from, but I would imagine that Angelenos have been a major part of it. I attend car shows in the area from time to time, and I get some nice “thank yous” from area residents too!

How quickly could these plates start rolling out? The deadline is in 2015 but could they be released earlier if there is enough support?

If the registration keeps its current pace, we could see the black plates as soon as next January. This is one of those things where, the more word gets out, the better it is for everyone. Remember, the first guy who ordered has to wait for the 7500th to order, for the DMV to actually start making the plates, since it’s a cost issue. Thanks for your help in spreading the word!
This is all very exciting and we can most definitely see these becoming a “thing” amongst the LA design clique, becoming a marker of your forward thinking tastes. We hope so! Although we don’t think that they suit our really terrible 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle that we hate, we will likely be getting us these plates to help support the effort. Learn more about the Legacy Plates here and pre-order them from this form here. Be sure to check out Mike’s website here and follow him on Twitter for live updates

This article originally appeared in "Los Angeles I'm Yours."  You can read this article and more  HERE

PRESS RELEASE: First-of-a-Kind Resolution on International Wage Parity Passes California State Assembly


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             Contact: Justin Hager (818) 558-3043
August 20, 2013                                                                            Mobile (415) 889-9762

Mike Gatto's AJR 12 Contains Cutting-Edge Proposal to Protect American Jobs and Industries, Stop Outsourcing

Sacramento, CA – Yesterday, the California Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) that directs the federal government to use its constitutional treaty powers to require trading partners to gradually raise their minimum wages, raising the standards of living in those countries, and making U.S. workers and exports more competitive.

Artificially depressed global wages, like Indonesia’s minimum wage of 46 cents an hour, make it nearly impossible for higher-paying nations to compete.  These practices are increasingly viewed as a form of unfair trade, much like the currency manipulation that Mitt Romney so famously decried during his 2012 presidential campaign.

Congress, by statute, has ordered the United States Trade Representative to seek input from the fifty states on the effects of, and policies relating to, globalization.  Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 12 provides such guidance.  It enshrines the position of the state of California that future treaties, trade agreements, and relevant international protocols should require a gradually increasing wage in signatory nations.

Since the dawn of the republic, the United States has used its treaty power to require things like free elections (with Iraq, after the Iraq war), respect for U.S. companies’ patent and intellectual property rights (in various treaties), and of course, currency valuations (in the various Bretton Woods accords, etc.).

The Assembly passed AJR 12 by a vote of 52-21.

“American workers and companies are having trouble competing because workers are paid inhumane rates in some other countries,” said Gatto.  “This ‘race to the bottom’ hurts workers around the world and causes thousands of U.S. jobs to be sent overseas each year.  Gradually increasing international wages, even from 50 cents an hour to one dollar, would make U.S. exporters, from movie makers to automakers, more competitive, and would help raise billions out of poverty.”

Gatto’s floor speech endeavored to connect the bill to each of his colleagues and their constituents.  He stated that a “no” vote on AJR 12 was tantamount to a statement that one likes calling one’s cell-phone or computer provider, only to be routed to an overseas call center.  Traditionally, such customer-service jobs have been among the most vulnerable to outsourcing from artificially depressed global wages.

The concept in AJR 12 has been supported and championed by economist Richard Duncan, author of “The Corruption of Capitalism: A strategy to rebalance the global economy and restore sustainable growth,” and a frequent television contributor.  Duncan is the Chief Economist for Blackhorse Asset Management, which is affiliated with several high-performing hedge funds.  Duncan is not alone among cutting-edge economists who view this policy as one of the few proposals that can actually help correct the vast trade and currency imbalances caused by globalization.

AJR 12 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Congratulations Gabriel Cordell: First person to "roll" across the U.S.

The Burbank Leader article below is about a truly extraordinary man who undertook an incredible journey.  I am honored to know that Gabriel Cordell lives in the district, and hope you will help me share his inspiring story.  Congratulations Gabriel Cordell!


Paraplegic isn't bound by his wheelchair: first to roll across U.S.


Buoyed by crowds and a drive to do something 'extraordinary,' man rolls across the U.S.


By Alene Tchekmedyian
alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Gabriel Cordell had been on the road for about three months.

The 42-year-old paraplegic was drenched in sweat, rolling his wheelchair through one of the most grueling stretches of his 3,100-mile, 99-day journey across the United States: the winding hills of Pennsylvania against the debilitating summer heat and humidity.

By this point, he'd ripped through dozens of pairs of gloves, recorded hundreds of hours of footage for his documentary, "Roll with Me," and busted just one set of tires on his wheelchair after rolling through roughly 2,800 miles of land since taking off in April from the Burbank YMCA.

He was exhausted.

His eyes, as always, faced the ground. Looking ahead would only discourage him.

That's until a sea of children at summer camp, clad in yellow and red T-shirts, ran toward him, fist-pumping, clapping and cheering. Several of Cordell's crew members leading the way in a 31-foot RV had briefed the campers on Cordell's mission —he'd be the first person to roll across the United States in a manual wheelchair.

In awe, they wanted to cheer him on.

"As adults, you think this guy is minus an ability," said "Roll with Me" co-producer Chris Yanke. "To the kids, he was like a superhero."

Cordell was stunned.

"It was fuel for the soul at that particular moment," he said.

Cordell has been bound to a wheelchair for more than two decades.

On Oct. 17, 1992, he was on his way to his first acting audition in New York City. He usually took the train into the city from Long Island, but on that day, he drove. Five blocks from his home, a driver blew a red light and T-boned his Jeep Wrangler.

He was ejected from the car and hit his back against a telephone poll, crushing his spinal cord.

He woke up in the middle of the street, his steering wheel still in his hands. At that moment, he knew.

I'm paralyzed.

Years before the accident, Cordell promised himself that he was going to do something "extraordinary" with his life.

Last summer, after spending five years addicted to cocaine and crystal meth, he realized he was running out of time.

"As quickly as I checked out, I checked back in," Cordell said. "I just woke up and said, 'I'm done.'"

After doing some research, he discovered that no one had rolled across the country in a standard wheelchair. So he joined the Burbank YMCA and spent the next eight months training — physically and mentally — for his trek across the country.



His sister, Abeer Gilbert, was just one of many who called him crazy.

"I thought he was out of his mind," she said.

That didn't stop him.

On April 1, all cameras were on Cordell as he rolled out of the Burbank YMCA. Over the course of 99 days, Cordell averaged 32 miles a day, at roughly 5 miles per hour.

There were scares along the way, including a pair of pit bulls in Arizona that nearly attacked him, and the deadly tornado that ripped through Oklahoma.

"I was in pain the whole time," Cordell recalled, adding that he had just three restful nights of sleep.

Day to day, the journey could even get boring, said Derek Gibbs, a 28-year-old cyclist who joined the crew in New Mexico.

"We would wake up, take a deep breath and say, 'OK, just go,'" Gibbs said, adding that Cordell's determination kept him going. "He doesn't have gears to make it easier. I thought, 'If this guy's doing it, I should never have a problem.'"



The hundreds, if not thousands, of people the team encountered along the way provided motivation — like the wheelchair basketball team that rolled Cordell through his 1,000th mile, and the hundreds of people cheering at his alma mater, West Hempstead High School, on July 8 as he crossed his finish line.

"It became bigger than me," Cordell said. "It quickly turned into inspiring people across this nation."

The documentary is slated to be completed in 2015.

FYI - For more information on Cordell's journey, visit www.rollwithme.org.

NOTE:  A special thank you to the Burbank YMCA, Long Island YMCA, and Rollwithme.org for posting photo's of Gabriel's journey. 

You can read this article and more by visiting the Burbank Leader at www.burbankleader.com

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Making it easier to have a public dog park in California

Jennifer Zelinski does an elbow plank as her dog Wash looks around the Barrington Dog Park, where owners were working out with their pets in tow. (Los Angeles Times / July 10, 2013)
By Carla Hall
August 13, 2013, 6:03 p.m.

There are few urban spaces more fun to visit than a dog park, even if you don’t have a dog.

Dog parks are also essential for the cooped-up city dog without his or her own private field to romp through. And they’re usually a safe alternative to walking the dog. But, as with all publicly run spaces, there is the question of the municipality’s liability. And those kinds of concerns were stopping small and medium-size cities from opening dog parks.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), whose district covers Burbank, Glendale, the Hollywood Hills and Silver Lake among other communities, introduced AB 265, which limits the liability that cities and counties face when operating dog parks. He credits Glendale City Council member Laura Friedman with getting him launched on the bill after Friedman told him that one of Glendale's biggest concerns about opening a dog park was the liability. Gov. Jerry Brown (whose own dog, Sutter, has traveled the state) signed the bill into law Monday. The state has similarly imposed limited liability under some conditions for public skate parks.

Letting your canine run at the dog park generally isn’t as risky as skateboarding -- neither you nor your dog is likely to break any bones. But obviously, dogs sometimes do bite or attack people and other dogs. State law already holds dog owners liable for any injury or death caused by their dogs in a dog park. That will continue to be the case. But victims who can’t recover costs from dog owners theoretically could turn to the city or county for damages. The new law makes dog park operators not liable for an injury that results solely from an attack by a dog and is not in any way connected to the operation of the park.

This is a good and smart legal change that should help smaller communities throughout the state set up needed dog parks. And it’s another reminder that owners of dogs need to be careful with their pets no matter where they are. Everyone, human and canine, needs to be responsible in a dog park.

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Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Monday, August 12, 2013

CONGRATULATIONS! - Burbank Recognized With Award

Achievement of Excellence In Procurement Award a First for City


    BURBANK, Calif. (July 24, 2013) – The City of Burbank has been awarded the prestigious Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award by the National Procurement Institute for 2013. The award recognizes public agencies and non-profit organizations for best practices and organizational excellence when obtaining goods and services.

    “I'm proud of the staff and the efforts that they've taken to achieve this award” said Jennifer Becker, Deputy Financial Services Director for the City of Burbank. “Purchasing Manager, Paul Herman and his staff have worked a number of years to continually enhance our ability to offer a fair and competitive bid process and as a result receive maximum value for our tax dollars. This award reflects all of that hard work.”

    Burbank was recognized among 179 other awardees for 2013 who met the criteria for this annual award. Agencies receiving the award demonstrate excellence in the areas of innovation, professionalism, productivity, leadership and utilization of online bidding processes.

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    Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

    PSA: Teen Substance & Alcohol Abuse Workshop Planned

    Homenetmen Western USA Region Educational Committee is holding a workshop on teen substance and alcohol abuse on Tuesday Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. The workshop will be held at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church hall at 500 S. Central Ave. in Glendale.

    The free workshop/seminar is designed for parents, chapter executives, division leadership, general public and all members of the Homenetmen family preparing for leadership positions.

    The Homenetmen Committee feels strongly that all Homenetmen members and volunteers involved with the organization, community and leadership positions should be equipped with this essential information and will benefit from information on intervention, prevention and resources.

    Presenters are Garo Ghazarian, Esq. (criminal law), Mary Der Parseghian, Esq. (family and teen law), Nora Chitilian-Keleshian, M.S. L.M.F.T. (licensed family therapist)) and law enforcement representatives from local agencies.

    Admission is free.


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    Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto