Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Business Focus October 2022

October 25, 2022

Employers’ Rights, Obligations for the Upcoming Election

By Katie Culliton, CalChamber 

November 8

Tuesday, November 8, 2022, is the next general election — and since it’s the midterm elections, voters have lots of decisions to make, including seven California ballot propositions, all statewide offices and Supreme Court Justices, as well as Congressional and California Legislature representatives.

Employers must make sure they’re complying with their voting leave obligations. But, with such a lengthy ballot, employers may also want to let employees know about how these electoral issues could affect them — and informing employees and stockholders about the impact of state legislation, regulations and ballot measures is within a business owner’s rights.

Fortunately, employers can communicate political messages to their employees — if they do it the right way. CalChamber has prepared this flyer to provide guidelines for employers on how to communicate the impact these issues will have on the workplace, jobs, the economy and employees themselves. For example, employers cannot reward or punish employees for their political activities or beliefs (or threaten to do so). Putting any political messages in or on employees’ payroll envelopes is also forbidden — no paycheck stuffers allowed!

These guidelines note when employers must report what they spend as contributions or lobbying, and make a clear distinction between internal communications (to employees, stockholders and their families) and communications to external audiences (such as non-stockholder retirees, outside vendors, customers or passersby).

Whether or not employers communicate about electoral issues with their employees, they must always be sure to comply with California’s time off to vote law.

Employers’ Election Obligations

All employers, regardless of size, must display a poster describing voting leave requirements at least 10 days before every statewide election. Thankfully, CalChamber’s convenient all-in-one California and Federal Employment Notices Poster contains 18 California and federal notices, including the Time Off to Vote notice.

Additionally, employees who lack sufficient time to vote outside of working hours may legally take up to two hours of paid time to vote in a statewide election. It’s difficult for employees to justify a lack of time to vote — since county election officials mail vote-by-mail ballots to all active registered voters and any registered voter may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on Election Day.

Additionally, California’s Voter’s Choice Act allows voters in 27 counties to vote at any voting center in a participating county starting 10 days before the election — making it even more difficult for employees who vote in these counties to make the case they need to time off to vote. Keep in mind that it is the county where your employee is registered to vote that determines whether the Voter’s Choice Act applies, rather than the county where they work.

Under California law, if an employee does need time off to vote, the:

  • Employee must notify the employer at least two working days in advance to arrange a voting time; and
  • Time must be taken at the beginning or end of the shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from working, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon.
October 2022 Spotlight: Gilroy Economic Development Initiatives

From City of Gilroy Mayor, Marie Blankley

Hello Gilroy! This month’s focus is on the three Economic Development Initiatives we’ve been diligently working on and where they currently stand. As you’ll read in the article, “Yes on Measure D”, from City Administrator Jimmy Forbis, we’re progressing on all three. As we continue to pursue economic development projects, not to mention bridges, fire stations, a community center, and other large-scale builds potentially in our future, I’d like to give a mention to Measure D in your election ballot that asks Gilroy voters to consider an amendment to the 1960 Gilroy City Charter that would add the option of using a single contractor to design, build and manage a large-scale project ($1 million or more) instead of the one option we currently have that separates the responsibilities of design and build. This amendment would allow two options of competitive bidding to be considered for large projects and to use the one that saves time and/or money.

Please join me on Saturday, November 5th at 9:30 am in Council Chambers, together with Jimmy Forbis, for conversation and coffee on these subjects and more. There’s a lot going on!

Recreation Gateway Area

The potential development of the unused lands around Gilroy Gardens, known as the Recreation Gateway Area, has completed the State of California Surplus Lands Act process, which requires cities to negotiate in good faith with park and housing developers prior to the disposition of surplus land. As part of this process, the City was required to make a declaration of the surplus land, receive proposals for open space and/or housing, and negotiate in good faith. The City received one proposal from Santa Clara County Parks and over the last few months, the City has been discussing the surplus property with their representatives. The County is focused on maintaining opportunities for future regional trail connections and the City also supports efforts to connect existing trails to enhance the trail system and at this time believes that both goals – trail connections and development of the property for tourism/recreational development – can be achieved.

At their September 12, 2022 meeting, the City Council approved a 12-month Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with Select Contracts. An ENA is a condition in which each party grants the other party sole rights regarding a particular business function or product sale and/or purchase. Put another way, exclusivity is an arrangement between two parties wherein neither will explore entering a similar deal with other parties for a certain period.

The exclusivity period would also allow for both the City and Select Contracts to share information pertinent to developing a business agreement that would ultimately be subject to the approval of the City Council.

This process is very similar to the one undertaken for the Sharks Ice project.

Yes on Measure D

From City Administrator, Jimmy Forbis

Over the last several years, the City, through the Gilroy Economic Development Partnership (GEDP), has worked on three key initiatives intended to not only assist the City and Community in recovering from the Covid-19 economic downturn but also develop and utilize three significant City assets – the Gilroy Sports Park, the Recreation Gateway Area (acreage surrounding Gilroy Gardens), and the Gourmet/Railroad alleys in downtown.
In conjunction with these projects, the City Council authorized the placement of Measure D on the November 2022 ballot for Gilroy voters to consider modifying the City’s Charter to allow for “design-build” contracts when it will reduce costs and/or project time for large construction projects. Measure D would also update the City’s Charter regarding public noticing for bidding to also include modern methods of advertising.

Projects and initiatives of this size take a considerable amount of time and resources and each initiative is at different points in their development. For example, discussions for the Ice Center began almost three years ago and have just recently reached a significant milestone, Gourmet/Railroad alleys are funded and under design, and the Recreation Gateway Area is in negotiations with a potential developer. Committing to projects and initiatives of such large scale requires long-term planning and a commitment by the City and community to see the project through to the finish.

Each of the projects share a common goal: attract visitors and improve the quality of life for all Gilroyans.

Gilroy Downtown Survey: Share Your Feedback with the City of Gilroy

The City of Gilroy is seeking feedback from the community regarding Gilroy’s downtown area through an online survey. This survey provides an opportunity for residents, visitors, and business and property owners to share their feedback regarding their priorities, values, and concerns for topics specifically related to the downtown area.

Everyone is invited to take the survey and let us know what is important to you in the downtown. Survey responses will be used by the City to plan improvements and other activities to support the downtown.

All those who have an interest in Gilroy’s downtown, including visitors, residents, businesses, and property owners, are invited to take the survey online at gilroy.city/survey.

For questions regarding the survey, please contact Bryce Atkins at 408-846-0219.

October 18, 2022

Celestial Trading Earns Top Marks in Best of Gilroy Awards

By: ERIK CHALHOUB – Gilroy Dispatch

The vibe instantly shifts when one steps through the front door of Celestial Trading in downtown Gilroy.

An aroma of burning incense immediately hits the senses, while the sound of running water from a miniature fountain and large displays of colorful crystals, necklaces, bracelets and more create a soothing atmosphere that leaves the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind.

It’s the crystals that give off this energy, metaphysical healers say, with various types believed to provide a certain effect for health, and maybe even for wealth.

Celestial Trading owners Paulo and Denise Paredes, 65 Fifth St., opened the store in June 2021. What started off as a place for Denise to share her growing collection of crystals with others has turned into a hub not only for the metaphysical, complete with regular tarot card readings and products such as incense, sage and herbs, but also for local entrepreneurs to sell their wares that include jewelry, oils, soaps and more.

Readers of the Gilroy Dispatch have taken notice, voting Celestial Trading as the Best New Retail Store, Best Gifts/Specialty Shop and Best Jewelry Store in the annual Best of Gilroy awards. The 2022 winners are unveiled in this week’s Dispatch.
Paulo Paredes said the recognition was completely unexpected. But maybe it’s not entirely surprising, based on customer feedback.

“We have had a tremendous response to our opening from the local community,” he said. “Our customers always say, ‘We’re glad you guys opened in Gilroy’ and ‘Gilroy needed a store like this.’”

As longtime Gilroyans, Paredes said they wanted to open a metaphysical store in the city where they live, citing their popularity in cities such as San Jose and Santa Cruz, but there was a dearth of options in South County.

Customers stop by from all walks of life, he noted. Some maybe want more luck, while others might be struggling with an issue in their life.

“We try to provide them with some guidance,” Paredes said.

The crystals are sourced from all over the world, he said, adding that he and his wife will meet with each vendor personally to pick up items.

The Best of Gilroy recognition should help bolster the store’s profile and grow its customer base.

“We still get people that have never heard of us, even in Gilroy,” Paredes said. “We want people around town to know that we are here.”

Celestial Trading, 65 Fifth St., is open Monday-Friday from 11am to 7pm, Saturday from 11am to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. For information, visit celestialtrading.us.

Gilroy Downtown Survey: Share Your Feedback with the City of Gilroy

The City of Gilroy is seeking feedback from the community regarding Gilroy’s downtown area through an online survey. This survey provides an opportunity for residents, visitors, and business and property owners to share their feedback regarding their priorities, values, and concerns for topics specifically related to the downtown area.

Everyone is invited to take the survey and let us know what is important to you in the downtown. Survey responses will be used by the City to plan improvements and other activities to support the downtown.

All those who have an interest in Gilroy’s downtown, including visitors, residents, businesses, and property owners, are invited to take the survey online at gilroy.city/survey.

For questions regarding the survey, please contact Bryce Atkins at 408-846-0219.

Proud Members of the Gilroy Chamber

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce appreciates the support of our members. Investment dollars are dedicated to vital programs such as economic development, business marketing, leadership programs and more. We applaud each of you for helping make Gilroy a better place to live and work. Learn more about these members by visiting our directory.

30 Years & over
Gar Chan, D.D.S.
Hope Services
The Ronald G. Pray Company

20 Years & over
Accurate Printing & Promotions
ASCO Service, Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating
Bonfante Collision Center
Community Media Access Partnership
Integrated Financial Benefits
Marcia Queen Financial Support Services
Pintello Comedy Theater
Ruggeri-Jensen-Azar

10 Years & over
Authentikos Advisory
Gardner South County Health Center
Jack’s Overhead Doors
Renz & Renz Real Estate Brokerage
The Pixley House

5 Years and over
Banister Hand Therapy
Colliers International
Discovery Counseling Center
Gilroy Unified School District
Intero Real Estate, Steve Barsanti
Leadership Gilroy
Pinnacle Strategy
Star Arts Education
Sushi Omakase
Youth Alliance

Is It a Cold, the Flu or Covid-19? It Can be Hard to Determine Without Testing

We’re entering that time of the year when there are multiple communicable diseases in play, and the similarities between them will make it hard to distinguish which one you’re experiencing.

Typical symptoms of the flu, Covid and the common cold all include coughing, sore throat and a runny nose. And because of that overlap, testing is the only way to be sure, according to Céline Gounder, an infectious disease specialist, epidemiologist and senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“At this stage in the pandemic, it’s really difficult to differentiate between the flu, Covid, common colds and even seasonal allergies,” says Gounder.

“I, even as an infectious disease specialist who’s been practicing for a couple decades now, cannot differentiate just on an exam. You really need to do a test.”

Early in the pandemic, symptoms like red eyes and loss of smell and taste were clear indicators of Covid-19, but those distinctive indicators aren’t showing up in most people with the disease anymore, she adds.

“That’s probably a reflection of two things: one, most people have some degree of immunity, so it’s playing out a bit differently when people get infected. Secondly, the virus has mutated and different variants are going to behave differently,” Gounder says.

Is it a cold, the flu or Covid-19?

Possible symptoms for the common cold, flu and Covid

COMMON COLD

  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Body Aches

FLU

  • Fever or chills/feeling feverish
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
 
  • Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults.

COVID

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion/runny nose
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
 

Chart: Gabriel Cortes / CNBC | Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Steps to take as we enter cold and flu season

“Wearing a high-quality mask, whether it’s a KN95 mask or an N95 mask, when you’re indoors in public places, will certainly reduce your risk,” says Gounder.

She also recommends:

  • Getting vaccinated against Covid-19, including the updated omicron-specific booster
  • A seasonal flu shot, which the CDC recommends for everyone six months of age and older

To avoid putting others at risk and to help minimize the severity of any illness you might contract, you should stock up on at-home antigen tests for Covid-19, Gounder suggests.

And if you do end up feeling under the weather, it would be best to assume you may have Covid, and act accordingly by testing and isolating yourself from others.

Even if you test negative on the first day, Gounder recommends retesting on day two to be sure. “If by two days after developing symptoms you’re still not testing positive on those at-home tests, it’s pretty unlikely you have Covid.”

Ideally, people should get diagnosed with viruses like Covid-19 and the flu early in the course of illness, Gounder says.

Detecting those conditions in their beginning stages allows people to receive treatments like Paxlovid for Covid and Tamiflu for influenza to prevent serious complications down the line like hospitalization, she adds.

If you’re experiencing severe symptoms like a drop in your oxygen levels or shortness of breath, she strongly recommends going to the hospital where you will be able to receive medical attention and additional testing.

High Costs Thwart California’s Housing Push

Commentary by Dan Walters

Houses Under Construction

New housing construction in the Crocker Village neighborhood in Sacramento on Feb. 10, 2022. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

 

During its just-closed biennial session, the California Legislature passed — and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed — dozens of bills aimed at relieving the state’s acute shortage of housing.

Newsom capped the effort late last month by signing two somewhat similar bills that make it easier to build housing on unused or underused commercial properties.

“California has made historic investments and taken unprecedented actions to tackle the state’s housing crisis over the past four years,” Newsom said. “But we recognize there’s more work to do. This package of smart, much-needed legislation will help us build new homes while rebuilding the middle class.”

The two bills typify the thrust of legislation and the Newsom administration’s tougher enforcement of state housing quotas on local government — making more land available for housing by reducing the ability of local governments, cities particularly, to thwart development through restrictive zoning, convoluted building standards and other practices.

Newsom’s efforts on housing over the last four years won him a lengthy plaudit by New York Times columnist Binyamin Appelbaum last week, thereby enhancing the governor’s drive to become a national political figure.

The praise is well-deserved, as far as it goes. But making more land available is just one factor in the thorny housing crisis and to date, there’s little evidence that by itself it will result in more construction.

The state says California should be building 180,000 units a year to meet current demand and whittle down the backlog, but at best we’re seeing about 120,000 housing starts and when the housing lost to fire, old age and other reasons is subtracted, the net gain is no more than half of the 180,000 figure.Top of Form

The major constraints are financial — ever-rising costs of construction and the insufficient private sector investment due, in part, to those costs.

The state’s most pressing housing need is apartments for low- and moderate-income families — projects that not only draw the most local opposition but are becoming prohibitively expensive to build.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last month that based on documents for the construction of three “affordable” housing projects, the per-unit cost is more than $1 million and approaching $1.2 million for one.

San Francisco is a notoriously difficult place to build housing, which those outrageous numbers reflect. But $1-plus million is common across the Bay Area and statewide, average costs of projects meant to house low- and moderate-income families are well above $500,000 a unit — enough to buy a nice single-family home in many California communities.

Purely private developments cannot pencil out unless owners can charge market-rate rents that are unaffordable to those in lower income brackets, so developers for that segment must rely on packages of private funds, tax credits and money from state and federal governments.

However, projects using even small portions of public funds are subject to state laws mandating that they use union workers, which is one of the big reasons they are so expensive.

The two bills that Newsom signed last month to make commercial property available for housing contain boilerplate language mandating union labor. In fact, there are two bills on the same subject because two different construction union factions could not agree on the precise language and to break the stalemate, legislative leaders finally decided to send both to the governor.

The land that Newsom and the Legislature have opened for housing needy families will go largely unused if development costs continue to soar.

This is How Much Money You’ll Get from the California Gas Rebate

BY GRACE GEDYE OCTOBER, CalMatters

In Summary

Here’s who is eligible for a 2022 gas rebate, how you will get it, when and how much you should expect.

California is sending money directly to millions of residents to help with rising costs and high gas prices. 

The payments, which started going out Oct. 7, range from $200 to $1,050, depending on income and other factors. About 18 million payments will be distributed over the next few months, benefiting up to 23 million Californians. The cash payouts are part of a June budget deal

CalMatters talked to the state’s Franchise Tax Board to parse what all this means for you. 

Are you eligible?

To be eligible, you need to have filed a 2020 California tax return by Oct. 15, 2021. There’s an exception for people who did not file by the October deadline because they were waiting on an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (so long as they filed by Feb. 15, 2022). 

People who didn’t file taxes for 2020, including some seniors and disabled people, will be left out. 

People who can be claimed as dependents for tax purposes won’t get their own payments. 

The payments also won’t go to married or domestic partners who have an adjusted gross income over $500,000. Same goes for many individuals who have adjusted gross incomes over $250,000.

You also had to be a California resident for at least six months of 2020, and be a resident when your payment is issued. 

Undocumented Californians with a valid taxpayer number or Social Security number, who filed complete 2020 tax returns and meet all of the eligibility requirements, can receive the payments.

You don’t need to send any additional forms, or fill out any application to get the payment.

How will you get the payment?

People who are eligible for the payment will get it either via a direct deposit to their bank account or by mailed debit card, according to the tax board. Generally, people who filed their 2020 tax return online and received their state tax refund via direct deposit will get a direct deposit. Most other people who are eligible will get debit cards in the mail. The envelope will be clearly marked with the phrase “Middle Class Tax Refund.”

When will you get the payment?

The first round of payments will go to people who received one of the two Golden State Stimulus payments from 2021 and are eligible for a direct deposit. The first round of payments are expected to go out between Oct. 7 and Oct. 25. 

The rest of the direct deposits are expected to go out between Oct. 28 and Nov. 14. The tax board expects 90% of direct deposits to be sent out in October, according to its website. 

Debit cards for people who got one of the Golden State Stimulus payments are expected to be mailed out between Oct. 25 and Dec. 10. All of the remaining debit cards are expected to be mailed by Jan. 15

Why can’t they all be sent out at once? “There are constraints on the number of direct deposits and mailed debit cards that can be issued weekly,” Franchise Tax Board spokesperson Andrew LePage told CalMatters. “Logistically it takes time to deliver approximately 18 million payments to Californians effectively and accurately, protecting both taxpayers and California.”

How much will you get?

The Franchise Tax Board also has information, as well as a customer help line, which can be reached by dialing 800-542-9332. The help line has assistance in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese, Korean, and Punjabi. The board says other languages may be supported by request.

Employee Arrested While Off Duty? Proceed Cautiously; Gather Facts

By Sharon Novak, HR Adviser, CalChamber

Handcuffs

One of our employees did not show up for work yesterday and failed to call or otherwise notify us of his absence. We have a no-call/no-show/no-job policy. Another employee told us that the missing employee was arrested over the weekend and is in jail. Can we fire him?

Employers need to proceed carefully before taking any adverse action against employees who have been arrested while off duty for crimes that are unrelated to their jobs. The main reason for caution is that California prohibits termination and other adverse actions based on an employee’s arrest.

Labor Code Section 432.7(a) provides that no employer shall “utilize, as a factor in determining any condition of employment including hiring, promotion, termination… any record of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction.”

An arrest is an accusation, and the employer should not assume that the employee committed the crime. Because the initial information that an employer receives about the arrest usually is incomplete, the employer must be careful to gather the facts and not to overreact or rely on gossip and hearsay.

Investigation

Employers are permitted to ask about arrests and the circumstances surrounding them. The primary purposes of an investigation are to:

Understand the nature of the alleged conduct underlying the arrest.

  • Was the arrest for violent conduct?
  • Is the employee alleged to have committed a property crime such as theft or embezzlement?

 

Confirm the employee’s job duties and the impact of the alleged conduct.

  • Does the alleged conduct pose a risk because the arrested employee interacts regularly with coworkers and/or provides face-to-face customer service?
  • Does the employee handle money and was accused of a money or property crime?

 

Determine how much work the employee is likely to miss.

  • Is it likely that the employee will be released from jail shortly and be able to return to work?
  • Will the employer be able to hold the job open for the employee through the judicial process?

 

Evaluate the impact to the employer.

  • Is the arrested employee’s position integral to business operations?
  • Is the arrest public information that may damage the employer’s reputation?
  • Does the employer face potential civil liability if the employee returns to work? 

Options

An employer’s options are no action, paid suspension, unpaid suspension or termination for a reason other than the arrest.

Placing an arrested employee on leave is an appealing choice because it allows the employer to gather information, consult with legal counsel and allow the judicial process to unfold. If the leave is unpaid, and no conviction results from the arrest, backpay may be considered.

Court Case

The complexity of this situation is reflected in the facts underlying Tilkey v. Allstate, 56 Cal.App.5th (2020). In 2014, Michael Tilkey, who had worked for Allstate Insurance for 30 years, was fired after he was arrested for disorderly conduct, disruptive behavior and domestic violence. Tilkey sued for wrongful termination, defamation and a violation of Labor Code Section 432.7. 

The jury awarded him $2,663,137 in compensatory damages and $15,978,822 in punitive damages. Allstate appealed.

The appellate court held that Allstate had not violated Labor Code Section 432.7 because Tilkey had agreed to a plea bargain, which the court held was a conviction. However, the court found for Tilkey on his self-compelled defamation claim.

Tilkey is a cautionary tale. If you learn that an employee has been arrested, it is best to deliberate carefully and consult with legal counsel before taking any adverse action against the employee. 

October 11, 2022

Gilroy Downtown Survey: Share Your Feedback with the City of Gilroy

The City of Gilroy is seeking feedback from the community regarding Gilroy’s downtown area through an online survey. This survey provides an opportunity for residents, visitors, and business and property owners to share their feedback regarding their priorities, values, and concerns for topics specifically related to the downtown area.

Everyone is invited to take the survey and let us know what is important to you in the downtown. Survey responses will be used by the City to plan improvements and other activities to support the downtown.

All those who have an interest in Gilroy’s downtown, including visitors, residents, businesses, and property owners, are invited to take the survey online at gilroy.city/survey.

For questions regarding the survey, please contact Bryce Atkins at 408-846-0219.

GUSD Board of Education Suspends COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

GUSD Board of Education Suspends COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Staff and Volunteers

In November 2021, the GUSD Board of Education adopted Board Policy (B.P.) 4119.46 which required staff and anyone else working in our schools to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Religious and medical exemptions (less than 3% of requests) were granted to a very small percentage of staff that qualified. Unvaccinated workers had to be tested weekly. This Board policy aligned with the State of California’s Public Health Order (CDPH) issued on August 11, 2021, requiring school districts to verify the vaccination status of all workers, and also to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing of workers who are not fully vaccinated.

On September 13, 2022, the CDPH rescinded its August 11, 2021 State Public Health Order. In alignment with the updated CDPH State Public Health Order, at the October 6, 2022 Board meeting, the Board of Education voted to suspend B.P. 4119.46 in order to align district policy and practices with the recent action taken by the California Department of Public Health.

This means, as of October 6, there is no longer a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for GUSD employees, volunteers or visitors to campus.

Note: Should the California Department of Public Health and/ or the Santa Clara County Public Health Department issue directives or orders that once again require District and/or other individuals present on school sites to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or be subjected to additional requirements, the Superintendent is directed to reinstate this policy immediately.

California is #1… Most Heavily Regulated State in the Nation

With more than 395,000 regulatory restrictions, California is the most heavily regulated state in the nation, according to a report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. With that said, here are a few more to consider in 2023. 

New 2023 California Employment Laws 

By James W. Ward – CalChamber

It’s that time of year again! With a deadline of September 30, Governor Gavin Newsom signed many of the California Legislature’s labor and employment bills into law. Here’s a quick look at some of the new laws that will impact employers. Unless noted otherwise, the new laws take effect January 1, 2023.

Leaves of Absence

AB 1041 expands who an employee can take leave to care for under both the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and California’s paid sick leave law. Beginning January 1, 2023, employees can take CFRA leave or paid sick leave to care for a “designated person.”

In both instances, an employer may limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.

The governor also signed AB 1949, which makes bereavement leave a protected leave of absence. The law applies to all private employers with five or more employees and all public employers. Employees may take up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member, including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner or parent-in-law. 

Bereavement leave may be unpaid, but employees can use their existing available leave (e.g., vacation, PTO, sick leave, etc.). Employers can require documentation to support the leave, and the leave must be completed within three months of the family member’s death.

Discrimination

Two new laws will expand the scope of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

First, AB 2188 adds cannabis protection to the state’s discrimination law. Specifically, employers will be prohibited from discriminating against an employee or job applicant based on the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. Employers may still conduct preemployment drug testing and refuse to hire someone based on a valid preemployment drug screening that doesn’t screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites.

The new law also doesn’t permit an employee to possess, be impaired by or use cannabis on the job, or affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.

Importantly, AB 2188 doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2024.

SB 523, among other things, amends the FEHA to make it unlawful to discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on their “reproductive health decision-making.” Reproductive health decision-making includes, but is not limited to, a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product or medical service for reproductive health. 

Pay Scales, Pay Data

As previously reported, SB 1162 requires employers to make pay scale information available to job applicants and employees as well as expands California’s pay data reporting requirements. 

Under the new law, employers must, upon request, provide a pay scale to an employee for the position the employee is working. Additionally, employers with 15 or more employees must include the pay scale information for a position in any job posting.

SB 1162 also revises and expands California’s pay data reporting requirements, which apply to employers with 100 or more employees. In addition to reporting the number of employees by race, ethnicity and sex by job-title categories and pay bands, California employers must report the median and mean hourly rate within each job category, for each combination of race, ethnicity and sex in the report.

Workplace Safety

SB 1044 prohibits an employer, in the event of an “emergency condition,” as defined in the law, from taking or threatening adverse action against the employee for refusing to report to or leaving a workplace because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace is unsafe.

The new law also prohibits an employer from preventing any employee from accessing their mobile device or other communications device to get emergency assistance, assess the safety of the situation or communicate with someone to verify their safety.

COVID-19-Related Laws

AB 2693 made several changes to the state’s COVID-19 notice requirements. Among other things, employers may now satisfy the notice requirements by prominently displaying a notice in the workplace of the potential exposure. The posted notice must contain the dates on which the COVID-19 case was at the worksite within the infectious period, and it must remain posted for 15 days. 

AB 2693 also removes the requirement that employers report cases to their local health departments.

The COVID-19 notice requirements were set to expire on January 1, 2023, but AB 2693 extended the notice requirements to January 1, 2024.

In 2020, along with the COVID notice requirements, SB 1159 established a rebuttable workers’ compensation presumption for workers that contract COVID-19 under certain conditions and required employers to report COVID-19 cases to their workers’ compensation carriers. The presumption was originally set to expire on January 1, 2023, but AB 1751 extended the presumption an extra year to January 1, 2024. 

The new year may also see a new version of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 regulation. As previously reported, the current COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) will expire at the end of the year. Cal/OSHA is considering a new COVID-19 regulation with some significant changes from the ETS. The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is expected to vote on the regulation in November or December of this year. 

Lastly, as previously reported, AB 152 extended employee’s eligibility to use 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick leave through December 31, 2022. 

Privacy

Many of the amendments made by California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) (formerly the California Consumer Privacy Act (CPPA)) take effect January 1, 2023. As previously reported, the expiration of the CPRA’s employment information exemption from most of the law’s requirements will notably affect all covered employers. 

This means that, effective January 1, 2023, CPRA-covered employers will have new obligations for employee and job applicant personal information, including notice and disclosure requirements, and new obligations for employees to view, access, correct and delete their personal information. Covered employers should consult with their legal counsel to ensure they have compliant policies and procedures in place next year.

Industry-Specific Measures

Once again, California continued its practice of enacting employment laws specific to certain industries and sectors.  

AB 257 will create the Fast Food Council within the Department of Industrial Relations, composed of 10 members appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Rules Committee. The unelected Council will work to establish minimum wages, working hours and other working conditions for fast food restaurants. 

California also passed new requirements for call center employers. AB 1601 requires an employer of customer service employees in a call center to follow the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (Cal/WARN) requirements prior to relocating a call center to a foreign country. The law applies to call centers that employ, or have employed within the preceding 12 months, 75 or more persons.

Dialysis Déjà Vu Part Two

Why Are California Voters Being Asked to Crack Down on Kidney Clinics For a Third Time? 

By Harriet Blair Rowan – Mercury News 

California ballot measures have generated eye-popping spending by special interest groups and industries, sometimes even when they have little chance of winning at the ballot box. 

Just ask California’s dialysis clinics, who for the third time in as many elections, are fighting back a bid by a health care workers union to change their business model. And nearing the end of round three, it has become one of the most expensive proposition fights in Golden State history.

Since 2018 the dialysis companies have spent more than $302 million to oppose the measures, and that number is likely to continue to grow through November. That is more than the $205 million Uber, Lyft and Doordash spent in 2020 on a measure to exempt their companies from a state law that classified their drivers as employees. But it is still shy of the record-breaking $400 million spent so far this year by online gaming and tribal casinos on both sides of Propositions 26 and 27, which would legalize sports gambling. 

Proposition 29 is the latest attempt by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West union (SEIU-UHW) to challenge the dialysis industry status-quo with new regulations, even after voters rejected the union’s attempts twice. So why are they trying a third time?

The “No on 29” campaign, backed by the dialysis companies, says the union is abusing California’s direct democracy system, trying to push the companies to the negotiating table and gain leverage. But the union says the dialysis industry is making huge profits off vulnerable patients. Proposition 29 backers insist they are just using the tools available to check corporate power, and accomplish their broader policy goals.

The spending trends by each side are telling: The dialysis companies spent over $100 million in 2018 and again in 2020. This time, as of late September 2022, they had poured $86 million into opposing Proposition 29, but the union is hardly campaigning for the measure this year, since getting it on the ballot.

The newest proposition is “a carbon copy” of the 2020 measure, according to Kathy Fairbanks, spokesperson for the “No on 29” campaign. She questions the union’s commitment to getting the measure passed, pointing out they only put up a “Yes on 29” website last week, in late September. “They got in on the ballot and that was enough for them,” she said. “They’re just walking away.”

SEIU-UHW spent nearly $20 million on the first dialysis proposition in 2018, including millions on advertising. But in 2020 the union spent half that, around $9 million. So far in the 2021/2022 season, the union has amassed $8 million, spent almost entirely on signature collecting to qualify the measure.

The battle over dialysis clinics isn’t the only proposition this year where victory at the ballot box may not be the end goal.

Big Tobacco has contributed $16 million to an effort to overturn a state law that bans the sale of flavored tobacco products. Even if it doesn’t win, the tobacco industry was able to delay the ban for nearly two years just by qualifying the measure for the ballot, clearing the way for hundreds of millions of dollars in continued sales. 

And earlier this year, after seeing their bills to reduce plastic pollution defeated repeatedly in the Legislature, environmental groups collected enough signatures to place a measure on the ballot requiring companies to use less plastic and take back their products for recycling. Fearing a loss at the ballot box, the companies then worked out a compromise, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill, and the environmental groups pulled the measure off the ballot. 

Not everyone buys the argument that the health care workers union is just trying to kneecap the dialysis industry to have a better seat at a future bargaining table. “If the union had some deep 3D chess political game about union membership, you would think after two defeats they might have picked something else by now,” said Shaun Bowler, a political science professor at UC Riverside.

David Miller, research director for the SEIU-UHW, says the union’s goal is simple: patient safety.

“We are trying to add one staff person per shift to these dialysis clinics,” he said of the proposition’s requirement that clinics have a doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner on-site during treatment. “It’s not very radical.”

Dialysis clinics are where about 80,000 Californians with end-stage kidney disease go to get treatments two to three times a week, an expensive and life-saving procedure. The two companies that dominate the industry in California, DaVita and Fresenius, operate three-quarters of the 600 clinics in the state. The industry brings in an estimated $3.5 billion in revenue from operations in California annually.

The dialysis companies say the added regulations and associated costs could force them to close clinics, making it a “dangerous” proposition that could hurt patients. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts the measure “would increase each clinic’s costs by several hundred thousand dollars annually on average.”

Miller said his union was approached years ago to help unionize some dialysis workers, which opened their eyes to how the industry works and what kind of changes they could push.

Dave Regan, the current president of SEIU-UHW, has made a reputation for himself and his union by sponsoring local and statewide ballot measures each year, and on their website, they brag that “Regan is a leading proponent of using ballot initiatives to reduce economic inequality and improve the standard of living for working people and their families.” Those measures have been about issues ranging from raising the minimum wage to hospital prices and CEO pay. 

Dr. Bryan Wong, an East Bay nephrologist who works with hospitals and for-profit dialysis clinics and opposes Proposition 29, said he is confused by the union’s strategy to bring the issue back to voters a third time. 

“Prop. 29 is almost a rewrite of Prop. 23, which failed,” he said. “I don’t know why they think this will be something new that the voters will change their mind on.”

Staff Writer Paul Rogers contributed to this report.

What's New With Business?

Health Net Small Business Group

Founded in California more than 40 years ago, we’re dedicated to transforming the health of our community, one person at a time. Health Net’s 2,600 employees and 85,000 network providers serve 3 million members, nearly 1 in 12 Californians. We offer strength, stability, and local expertise, and amplify it with the financial strength of our parent company Centene Corporation.

At Health Net, we offer an array of small business benefit solutions. We’re committed to offering the plans, networks and choice employers need at a competitive price. We offer five HMO and one PPO network solution and allow you to mix and match ALL of our networks. And with concierge-style service, 24/7 virtual care, behavioral health, wellness programs, and other extras, we believe our plans offer value beyond benefits.

Mount Madonna School

You’re invited to Mount Madonna School’s Fall Open House on Sunday, October 23, from 10:00am-2:00pm. This in-person public event will feature classroom tours, and performances from the student choir and jazz band. Bring a picnic and enjoy the view overlooking Monterey Bay. Meet teachers and staff and learn how Mount Madonna’s transformative approach to education is within reach for your family. RSVP and more information at MountMadonnaSchool.org or admissions@mountmadonnaschool.org 

Rotary Foundation

We are making great progress towards eradicating polio, however recent news reminds us that polio anywhere is a threat everywhere. Polio is being detected around the world in places where it hasn’t been found in decades. In the United States, an unvaccinated man was paralyzed by polio. In the UK, poliovirus has been detected in sewage samples. In Malawi, a child contracted polio. And Mozambique announced its first polio outbreak of wild poliovirus in 30 years.

The time for urgent action is now. A new vaccine has been deployed to stop outbreaks. Malawi, Mozambique, and nearby countries are conducting immunization campaigns to stop the spread of the virus. With our partners and advocates like you, we continue to encourage communities worldwide to provide vaccinations. 

As we approach World Polio Day, 24 October, you can help us make an impact and stop the spread of polio. You can take action by Donating to PolioPlus

World Polio Day will help us provide the resources needed to protect children from the U.S. to Mozambique and around the world. Join us so that no child suffers the paralyzing effects of polio ever again.

 

October 4, 2022

The Gilroy Chamber Helps Defeat AB 2106

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, CalChamber, and other business organizations played a critical role in getting the Governor to veto AB 2106.

This bill would have required the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) to develop a new, statewide commercial, industrial, and institutional stormwater permit. The bill also requires the Water Board to update its stormwater data system and conduct a series of hearings evaluating its stormwater program.

AB 2106 would have resulted in significant new costs in the millions of dollars that would substantially increase waste discharge fees or require ongoing General Fund. Changes to stormwater management would be best addressed in the budget process, working with existing authorities, and outlined in the Water Supply Strategy implementation steps.

In his letter indicating he would not sign the bill, the Governor said, “With our state facing lower-than-expected revenues over the first few months of this fiscal l year, it is important to remain disciplined when it comes to spending.”

Why Digital Influencers are Visiting Gilroy

Visit Gilroy utilizes a variety of strategies to promote Gilroy as a visitor destination. One strategy for promotion is bringing digital influencers to the community. An influencer is someone with a solid follower base on social media platforms who promotes a destination, brand, or product. They bring awareness and additional social media followers to the destination or attraction they highlight.

Visit Gilroy has hired four influencers this year. They are carefully selected to make sure they are a good fit for this destination. They share pictures and videos of our attractions and experiences on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and other platforms.
Our first influencer brought her young family, and she shared fantastic pictures of their fun experiences at Gilroy Gardens, Casa de Fruta, and local restaurants. She earned us 24 new followers, 29 re-shares, and 24,306 viewers of her Gilroy content.

Our second influencer is an entertaining foodie, and he visited local restaurants, enjoyed a Mt. Madonna Park trail ride, and visited downtown, the Gilroy Premium Outlets, the Garlic Shoppe, and a local winery. His Instagram posts earned Visit Gilroy 164 new followers, 1,853 re-shares, 183,915 viewers, and his YouTube video of Gilroy has over 4,200 viewers and counting!

These influencers make Gilroy known to new people and add followers to our social media platforms. We re-share the influencer’s content and often keep photos and content for future marketing purposes. Visit Gilroy is pleased to have had success with our first two influencers and look forward to seeing the results of the next two influencers visiting our destination this year.

Virtual Reality is a Reality at the California Welcome Center Gilroy

The California Welcome Center Gilroy has a brand-new virtual reality (VR) experience that highlights two local attractions—Gilroy Gardens and Casa de Fruta. There is 3.5 minutes of 3-D footage of both locations with narration. This was made possible by a $15,000 grant from Visit California that was awarded based upon a proposal submitted by Visit Gilroy.

The VR experience opened in late August, and we have been happy to see our visitors enjoying it so far. The goal is to engage our visitors in a new, exciting way while introducing them to some great places they can visit in Gilroy. We plan to add footage over time of other fun locations in Gilroy. Come in and try the VR experience for yourself!

Gilroy Veterans' Day Parade Seeks Entries

By the Gilroy Dispatch

In November, Gilroyans will be able to combine their love of parades with their patriotism when the South Santa Clara Valley Memorial District and the Gilroy Veterans Hall host the Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11 at 1pm.

Community organizations, local businesses, schools and clubs are encouraged to apply to participate in the parade. Musical units, color guards, marching units, vehicles, floats and equestrian/animal units will all need to have a patriotic flavor and pay tribute to veterans.

The entry rules and conditions, as well as the application, is available on the Gilroy Vets Hall website at GilroyVeteransHall.org under “Community Events/Veterans Day 2022.” Entry deadline is Oct. 28.

The parade theme is “Remember Everyone Deployed and All Who Served” for RED Friday. Military families have a tradition of wearing red on Fridays to show support for their military family members. The community is encouraged to wear red that day.

The parade will start at Seventh and Monterey streets and travel north to Fourth and Monterey streets. Staging will be in Gourmet Alley.

The entry fee is free, thanks to donors such as MG Construction & Engineers, Mayor Marie Blankley, Jay Johnson & Associates, LLC, Plumbing America and Western Site Services.

More donations are still needed. Companies and individuals interested in sponsoring the parade can contact the Parade Committee at 408.842.3838 or visit the Gilroy Vets Hall website.

There will also be other activities throughout the month to celebrate and honor veterans including the Veterans Day Ceremony hosted by the VFW Post 6309, and a Veterans Art exhibit for the Third Friday Art Walk hosted by 6th Street Studios & Art Center.

California Drought Likely to Continue

By Rachel Becker, CalMatters

As California’s 2022 water year ends this week, the parched state is bracing for another dry year — its fourth in a row.

So far, in California’s recorded history, six previous droughts have lasted four or more years,  two of them in the past 35 years. 

Despite some rain in September, weather watchers expect a hot and dry fall, and warn that this winter could bring warm temperatures and below-average precipitation

Conditions are shaping up to be a “recipe for drought”: a La Niña climate pattern plus warm temperatures in the Western Tropical Pacific that could mean critical rain and snowstorms miss California, according to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with UCLA and The Nature Conservancy. 

Swain said California’s fate will depend on how exactly the storm track shifts, and that seasonal forecasts are inherently uncertain. Even so, “I would still put my money on dry, even in the northern third of the state,” he said. “It’s not a guarantee. But if you were to see 50 winters like this one, most of them would be dry.” 

Through August, no other three-year period in California history has been this dry — even during the last historic drought from 2012 through 2016

“Or did the last drought end? Which is the bigger question,” said John Abatzoglou, a professor of climatology at UC Merced. “We’re basically having droughts that are disrupted by wet periods.”  

California has seen lengthy droughts before, including two seven-year droughts that started in the late 1920s and 1940s. A more recent one lasted six years, from 1987 to 1992. 

“To get these kinds of years, we have to go back to the late 1920s and the 1930s, which were the Dust Bowl years,” said California state climatologist Michael Anderson. He tallies far more dry years than wet since the turn of the millennium. “If you look at the 21st century, we really only have a handful of wet years to work with.” 

It’s not just the lack of rain and snow. Warmer temperatures, too, are exacerbating California’s droughts. January through August ranked as California’s fifth warmest year to date, following 2021’s warmest summer on record

“One thing that is unfortunately becoming easier to anticipate are warmer than average conditions due to climate change,” Swain said. 

The heat contributes to a thirstier atmosphere, plants and soils, which increases demand and reduces runoff that flows into reservoirs. “That’s taking what’s already been a really rotten, worst-in-the-instrumental-record precipitation drought, and making it into even a worse drought,” Abatzoglou said. 

Winter is coming. But will it rain?

What the coming water year, which begins Oct. 1, will bring is still up in the air. But La Niña conditions are highly likely to continue through at least the fall, with an 80% chance of persisting through January, for a third year in a row

A “three-peat” La Niña is rare: It has happened only twice before since record-keeping began. La Niña occurs when ocean temperatures in the Eastern Tropical Pacific are below normal, which can shift the storm track that California depends on. 

“Seeing things that we’ve never seen before is very much on the table,” said John Yarbrough, assistant deputy director of the State Water Project, which funnels water from Northern California to 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland.

Often La Niña means drier conditions in Southern California, but the effects on Northern California watersheds critical to the state’s water supply can be harder to predict, according to Julie Kalansky, deputy director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 

“Every year is such a unique story for water, which makes California exciting, but it also makes it hard to predict and say what will happen,” Kalansky said.  

What will ultimately shape the next water year is the number of storms known as atmospheric rivers that make landfall, and the amount of precipitation they unleash. The timing, too, will be important, Anderson said: when rain and snow falls can affect how much of California’s precious snowpack rushes into reservoirs or soaks into the soil. 

“From the water management standpoint, we’re being mindful that it very well could be dry,”  Yarbrough said. “At the same time, we’ve got to be mindful that it could be very wet and you could have flooding. Both of those still are possible.”

Dry spells punctuated by wet years are part of “the California story,” Abazoglou said. “But obviously the last decade has shifted the balance towards more droughts.”

What about snow?

Snow, too, is difficult to predict for the year ahead. 

“It’s definitely more of a guessing game. You’re just sort of crossing your fingers and hoping,” said Michael Reitzell, president of Ski California, a trade association representing resorts in Nevada and California. 

This past year was a strange one for the ski industry, he said — marred first by wildfires that damaged the Sierra-at-Tahoe resort, then by extreme snowstorms at the end of December that forced some resorts to close. 

“In the holiday period, some resorts lost full days that would have been huge, huge revenue days,” Reitzell said. “That certainly does put a ding in things.” 

This year’s snowpack measured at 38% of average statewide, at a time when it should have been its deepest on April 1. It was the worst snowpack in seven years and the sixth lowest April measurement in state history. The 2015 snowpack was the lowest on record

Very little snow remained on the ground for the state’s snow survey in the Sierra Nevada on April 1, 2022. Photo by Ken James, California Department of Water Resources

The measurement came on the heels of a record-setting dry spell from January through March, with warm temperatures spurring an early season melt. This kind of early melt is difficult to recover from, said Andrew Schwartz, lead scientist and station manager at the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab.

“Our soils get dry and soak up any additional rain or snow that comes in, so that doesn’t make it to our reservoirs. And then we get these mass forest die-offs and subsequent forest fires,” Schwartz said. 

He agreed it’s hard to say what La Niña will mean for the Sierra Nevada this winter. He said “some absolutely massive snow years” have happened during La Niña years. 

“But we’ve also had some of the worst years on record happen here. So the La Niña doesn’t look like it’s going to play too much of a role up here, because traditionally it hasn’t,” he said. “With that being said, I’m expecting drier and warmer than average conditions.” 

A deep water deficit

California is entering the next year with a water deficit unlikely to recover with an average year of precipitation. 

Groundwater levels in almost two-thirds of wells assessed have sunk below average, and by the end of August, reservoir storage had hit 69% of normal for the date. It’s an improvement over last year, when reservoir levels had dropped to just 60% of average for the date.

But reservoirs are still not where they need to be. “We’re still well-below average, still well-below where we would like to be,” Yarbrough said.

Lake Oroville, at 1.24 million acre feet, remains below the 1.6 million acre-foot threshold that managers would like to see by the end of the year before considering exports. Last year, deliveries from the State Water Project dropped to 5% of requested supplies in March. 

Initial water allocations are expected to be announced Dec. 1, and Yarbrough would not say what they were likely to be. Still, he said, “Do expect it to be on the lower end.” 

The US Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project, also would not say how much water its recipients, including Central Valley growers, can expect next year. That announcement will come in February, spokesperson Mary Lee Knecht said. 

But Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, is not expecting the news to be good. 

“We find ourselves going into this year with such a substantial decline over the course of the previous three years that even an average year most likely is going to mean some not good allocations to farmers down here in the Valley,” he said. 

Jacobsen said local growers already have cut back on plantings for fall and winter crops. He expects even more fields to be fallowed as farmers decide not to plant annual crops like tomatoes, melons and corn to preserve their scarce water supplies for permanent crops like

One source of California’s water supply is in even more dire shape than in previous droughts: the Colorado River, which remained a reliable source of water supply even during California’s 2012 through 2016 drought. This time the river’s massive reservoirs have hit historic lows

“The Colorado River system is in deep crisis,” said Alex Hall, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at UCLA. “That means Southern California is in a more difficult position than in the past.”

Southern California’s giant water importer, the Metropolitan Water District, issued unprecedented outdoor watering restrictions last spring for the 6 million people in its vast service area that depend on supplies from the parched State Water Project. Over the last three years, the water district has received its lowest total deliveries from Northern California reservoirs. 

Now, the water importer is weighing how potential future cutbacks on the Colorado River could affect the rest of its customers as California, Arizona and Nevada hash out a deal to conserve the river’s water, said Demetri Polyzos, Metropolitan’s manager of resource planning.

“People are saying ‘Hey, we’ve gone through this before. California is used to droughts,’”  Polyzos said. “That is true. But we’re seeing these things get a lot worse and worse and more difficult to manage through.” 

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the nature of drought in the West is changing from the plural to the singular as it endures for long stretches punctuated by brief spells of wet years. 

“The idea of drought as a temporary, transient thing is shifting,” Swain said. “We should be thinking more about long-term aridification.” 

Memo to Lawmakers: Our Future Demands Good Water Infrastructure

BY JENNIFER CAPITOLO, Capitol Weekly


The record heat wave as well as the threat of wildfires and historic drought are reminders that climate change is shaping our future. These reminders are requiring new ways of preparedness to combat the challenges facing California.

In recent weeks, high temperatures and an unprecedented power demand caused California Gov. Gavin Newsom to call for a Flex Alert, a state of emergency.

Additionally, just a few weeks earlier, the governor held a press conference to share his long-term vision to support California’s water supply, sounding the alarm that our state’s supply will shrink by 10 percent given the continuation of warmer and drier conditions.

The timing of both emergencies just so happened to align with the start of National Preparedness Month, which is designed to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.

While emergency responses are the focus of media reports today, we have a responsibility to look to the future. We must work hard to prioritize preparedness and actions that ensure the service reliability of our major infrastructure. It is critical that we have the tools necessary to prepare for any type of emergency, and better yet, avoid them when possible.

Today, Californians have a reasonable expectation that our lights will remain on and water will continue to flow. However, as the state’s population continues to grow, temperatures rise and rainfall declines, demand is growing and supply is not keeping pace. By most indications, this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

This is why California’s investor-owned water providers remain focused on delivering safe, reliable, and affordable water service to 7 million people; essential to sustaining communities, the economy, and our food supply. All this is at risk as California experiences the third straight year of severe drought, the driest period in 1,200 years.

Just as California is preparing its electrical grid to provide 90% clean energy by 2035, our state leaders must also look to future investments in water infrastructure. The need for a safe and reliable source of water will continue well into the future, underscoring the need for investing in a modern infrastructure system today.

Much of California’s water infrastructure system was constructed decades ago, and while reliable, it is not infallible. On Sept. 6, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California began emergency repairs on its Upper Feeder pipeline, requiring millions of Southern Californians to suspend outdoor watering for up to 15 days.

Whether it is California’s electrical grid or water systems, California’s fate and the security of its people are dependent on the investments in infrastructure that are made today. We cannot wait for frequent electrical blackouts or ongoing severe water rationing conditions to take action. We must act now and be proactive in the upgrade and replacement of California’s aging infrastructure.

State leaders, along with officials at the California Public Utilities Commission, have an opportunity to support investor-owned water utilities by ensuring they are well positioned to continue providing reliable, clean, and safe drinking water to millions.
Let us continue building on the California spirit by investing in a reliable future.

Job Opportunity with Santa Clara County

SCC Logo

SUPERIOR COURT, COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA

invites applications for the position of:

Division Director – Operations Position #22/2300SEP

SALARY: $72.03 – $91.17 Hourly | $5,762.61 – $7,293.30 Biweekly | $12,485.65 – $15,802.14 Monthly | $149,827.80 – $189,625.72 Annually

OPENING DATE: 09/26/22 | CLOSING DATE: 10/10/22 11:59 PM

DEFINITION/DESCRIPTION

DEFINITION:

Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara is the 7th largest unified trial court inCalifornia. Its 77 Judicial Officers work in one of the 7 Courthouses within the County and aresupported by close to 600 full-time Court employees. The Court has an annual budget ofapproximately 100 million and is in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The Division Director of Operations is responsible for the overall management and day-to-dayoperations of a division of the Court. Such responsibilities are located in several courthouseslocated throughout the county which are part of a unified superior court. In addition, the Directorserves as key staff to several Court committees.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS:

The court is looking for a qualified candidate who is creative and solution-oriented, and possessesthe ability to address court management challenges. Directors are responsible for managing,directing, and integrating broad, comprehensive Court-wide programs. It is crucial that the DivisionDirector is able to provide effective leadership in a changing environment and effectively manageemployees.

TYPICAL TASKS/REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES:

  • Directs supervision of professional and paraprofessional staff;
  • Through subordinate managers and supervisors, plans, organizes, manages and monitorsthe day-to-day operational activities of the various units;
  • Evaluates clerical operations and recommends staffing and other budgetary needs;
  • Assists in the preparation of information related to the court budget;
  • Assists with the implementation of automated systems;
  • Prepares statistical and operational reports;
  • Identifies operational problems and recommends solutions;
  • Analyzes and implements new legislation and local rules of court;
  • Assists in the development of new policies and procedures to meet the needs of the Courtand public;
  • Continually improves operational processes and practices with the intent of enhancingservices to the public;
  • Assists the Court with the implementation of the Court’s strategic plan, goals, andobjectives.

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS/TYPICAL QUALIFICATIONS

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS:

An educational level equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree with major course work in Public orBusiness Administration or a related field, and at least five (5) years of increasingly responsibleexperience managing Court activities and/or operations. Experience should demonstrate thepossession and direct application of the knowledge, skills, and abilities which would likely producethe required knowledge and abilities listed below. A minimum of ten (10) years of similarlyassociated work experience in combination with relevant training and/or coursework may beconsidered in lieu of the educational standards. Experience working in a trial court is desirable.

Knowledge of:

  • Duties and responsibilities of managing a Division within a trial court;
  • Statutes, rules, and regulations that govern the operations of a trial court;
  • Principles and practices of administration, personnel, supervision, and budget managementin a trial court;
  • Principles, practices and methods of calendar management and project management in atrial court;
  • Management of grant funded programs in a trial court.

Ability to:

  • Develop and implement policies and procedures;
  • Direct, manage, and/or coordinate various court-related programs and special projects;
  • Develop and implement projects and programs that enhance service to the public and/orsupport community outreach policies;
  • Maintain effective relationships with judicial officers, staff, attorneys, ancillary agencies, andthe public;
  • Implement grant-funded programs.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

WORKING CONDITIONS:

The work environment is generally clean, inside buildings, with limited exposure to dust, fumes,odors, and noise. Incumbents will be working under sometimes difficult and stressful conditions,with frequent deadlines and expectation to produce high quality work under limited timeconstraints as well as periodic contact with angry and confrontational individuals. The ability towork independently as well as closely with others is required.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS:

  • Strength, dexterity, and coordination and/or ability to use a computer keyboard and read a videodisplay terminal on a regular basis;
  • Ability to listen to verbal requests from the public and court staff, then respondappropriately;
  • Dexterity and coordination to handle files and single pieces of paper, occasional lifting ofobjects weighing up to 10 lbs, such as: files, stacks of paper, reference books, and othermaterials;
  • Frequent need to reach for items above and below desk level, sometimes with theassistance of a ladder or step-stool;
  • Standing and sitting for long periods of time is periodically required.

EXAMINATION:

A screening panel will be convened to select those applicants deemed most qualified to participatein a written and/or oral examination. The examination process will include one or more of thefollowing: application appraisal; written examination; and oral examination.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

This recruitment requires the submission of an on-line application. No paper applications will beaccepted. Completion of the supplemental questionnaire is required. An electronic copy of yourResume must also be submitted as an attachment to this application submission.

The court is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and veteran or disability status. The Court provides reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities. If you are disabled as defined by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and will be requesting an accommodation, please contact,
Vilma Zeta,
vzeta@scscourt.org, to discuss your request. TDD communication is available by calling (408) 882-2787.

The Court must verify the identity and employment authorization of all new employees to comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform & Control Act. This verification is required only after an offer of employment has been made. For further information regarding the required verification, please contact Human Resources at 408-882-2747.

Benefits:

The Court offered benefits package includes life insurance, a choice of health and dental plans, vision plan, membership in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), paid holidays, vacation, and sick leave.

APPLICATIONS MAY BE FILED ONLINE AT:  https://www.scscourt.org/

 

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