November 2014 Newsletter
In the wake of the Ebola virus reaching the United States, the California Department of Public Health (DPH), with guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has launched an Ebola Informational Website in order to dispel misconceptions and provide accurate information to the public.
Currently, there are no cases of Ebola Virus Disease in California. State officials report that they are working with health care workers, hospitals, and first responders to prepare for that future possibility, and Governor Brown recently met with emergency responders and health care providers to discuss Ebola readiness in California.
In September, more than 1,100 California health care and public health workers gathered to assess their Ebola readiness. California Department of Public Health officials held a teleconference with health care providers to discuss how to handle suspected Ebola cases and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health distributed information on the use of personal protective equipment to control possible infections.
According to the CDC, the 2014 Ebola Epidemic is the largest in history, killing more than 4,500 people in mainly West African countries, such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. There have been some travel-associated and localized cases in Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the United States. While we should be aware of the disease, its symptoms and its potential, the risk of the spread of Ebola in California is extremely low and I encourage you to learn more by visiting the DPH website at: Ebola Informational Website.
CHP Changes Guidelines on Lane Sharing
The California Highway Patrol and the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) have updated their advice to motorcyclists regarding motorcycles passing other vehicles proceeding in the same direction within the same lane, a practice often called "land splitting", "lane sharing", or "filtering". In California, lane-splitting is considered legal, though the practice is not taught or endorsed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by most motorcycle training schools.
The updated information on lane sharing follows the release of statewide driver survey results complied by OTS and the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley. To see the survey results visit: http://www.ots.ca.gov/pdf/Publications/2014MCLaneSplittingSurvey.pdf
The DMV reminds motorcyclists and drivers that creating a safer highway environment is the shared responsibility of drivers and motorcyclists alike. This is achieved by staying alert and using common sense and courtesy while on the road. It is also important for motorcyclists to minimize their risks by riding responsibly, always wearing a helmet and other protective gear and to never ride under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Warren B. Baker Science and Math Building Tour
Earlier this month, I was hosted by Dean Phil Bailey for a tour of Cal Poly's Warren B. Baker Science and Math Building. It is the newest building on campus, opened in 2013, integrating a learn-by-doing building design with state of the art facilities to encourage student/facility interaction and a hands-on learning experience.
During the tour, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of students from the Center for Excellence in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Education (CESAME) and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority and Underrepresented Student in Participation in STEM (LSAMP). It was a pleasure to talk with the CESAME and LSAMP students and learn about their accomplishments, travels and participation in research and publications.
Dr. Phil Bailey, Dean of the College of Math and Sciences, and Senator Monning touring an Organic Chemistry lab.
San Clemente Dam Tour
It was extremely interesting to be able to visit the San Clemente Dam site again and witness the progress that has been made on the removal of the Dam and the rerouting of the Carmel River. The size of the project is massive and the engineering plan and execution impressive.
I have been a staunch supporter of the long-term effort to resolve the public safety and environmental issues associated with the San Clemente Dam and want to thank everyone involved for the opportunity to observe the deconstruction of the Dam and the river restoration first hand.
Trish Chapman, Central Coast Program Manager for the California Coastal Conservancy), Annie Notthoff, Director of the Natural Resource Defense Council, and Senator Monning
Higher Education Roundtable Discussion
In October, I convened a meeting with higher education institution leaders in the 17th Senate District to discuss statewide higher education policy changes that have occurred, as well as to receive feedback about issues facing higher education locally and statewide. Our thoughtful discussion focused on the successes of each institution and how we can work together to improve higher education opportunities on the Central Coast. I am thankful to those who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the meeting and look forward to our ongoing dialogue.
Morgan Hill K-12 Focus Group
Every year, I sit down with Morgan Hill education leaders to discuss statewide education policy changes that have occurred, such as the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula and Common Core standards, as well as engage in a conversation about issues currently facing schools in Morgan Hill. I always find it valuable to hear about the priorities of each educational leader and to discuss how we might better work together to make improvements. Again, I want to thank all the educators who took time from of their busy schedules to attend the meeting and I look forward to continuing our ongoing dialogue.
Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter.
William W. Monning
Senator, 17th District