Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Business Focus-March 2022

March 28, 2022

Spice of Life Awards Make Big Screen Debut

The 69th Annual Spice of Life Awards took place last Saturday evening at CineLux Theaters where award recipients and attendees were treated to the world premiere of, “There’s No Place Like Home,” a 40-minute video presentation highlighted this year’s award recipients along with the sponsors of each award, displayed on two of the theater’s big screens.

The evening began with appetizers and wine under the reception tent where guests were able to enjoy appetizers provided by Chef Dave Bozzo and award-winning wine provided by Solis Winery. This year’s award winners were presented their awards by the Chamber Chair, Carlos Pineda and Past Chair, Danny Mitchell. Award recipients were also greeted by Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley, County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, State Assemblymember Robert Rivas, and a representative from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgreen’s office.

The Chamber Board and staff would like to congratulate all the award winners for the great work and lasting impact they have on the community.

  • Dr. Kathleen Rose – Woman of the Year
  • CordeValle – Large Business of the Year
  • The Neon Exchange – Small Business of the Year
  • Leo Khooshabeh – Young Professional of the Year
  • Alyssa E. Gonzalez – Susan Valenta Youth Leadership Award
  • Andrea Nicolette – Volunteer of the Year
  • Andrew Briggs – Young Professional of the Year
  • Nicky Austin – Educator of the Year
  • One Giving Tree – Non-Profit of the Year
  • Tom Cline – Man of the Year

The Chamber would also like to thank this year’s sponsors for their support and assistance with making this year’s event a success.


Gilroy Chamber to Host Regional Legislative Summit

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 9th Annual Legislative Summit scheduled for Friday, April 22 at the Hilton Garden Inn located at 6070 Monterey Rd. from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

This is a regional event for South County and the Summit allows Chamber members, local businesses owners and operators as well as residents the opportunity to hear from their elected officials about issues that affect them most. Topics of discussion may include immigration, inflation, drought impacts, Covid recovery and small business grants, housing, $3.9 million dollar grant for Gilroy, and Sharks Ice, to name a few. Below is the list of elected officials attending.

  • Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley
  • Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine
  • Congressman Jimmy Panetta
  • State Assemblymember Robert Rivas
  • County Supervisor Mike Wasserman
  • Valley Water Director John Varela
  • *Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
  • **California State Senator John Laird

* not yet confirmed

** unable to attend

The cost to attend the Legislative Summit is $45 per person which includes a plated lunch. For more information or to register for the event,  click here or contact the Chamber office at 408-842-6437.

Gas Rebate Poses Existential Questions

Story by CalMatters

Newsom wants to give California car owners up to $800 to offset the skyrocketing cost of gas, which reached a per-gallon average of $5.91 on Sunday. Yet he’s also directed the state to prohibit new oil fracking by 2024 and ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. What gives?

Although that may sound like a multibillion-dollar contradiction, sending drivers gas money wouldn’t necessarily undercut California’s climate goals. CalMatters’ Grace Gedye reports why.

But the higher gas prices rise, the more bipartisan pressure builds on Newsom to ramp up in-state oil production. GOP state Sen. Shannon Grove of Bakersfield unveiled a bill Friday that would ban California from importing crude oil from nations “with demonstrated human rights abuses” or lower environmental standards. State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Hanford Democrat, also touted California’s strict standards for oil production in a Sunday KSEE segment. “There’s so many benefits in being able to produce more in the state of California, and in the Central Valley particularly,” she said. “Not having enough oil for drivers … I don’t try to politicize these issues, because they’re directly tied to, and can impact, working families and families that are struggling.”

Indeed, for many critics, the central problem with Newsom’s proposal is its failure to recognize that “inflation is far less damaging for rich families than for poor families,” as Annie Lowrey put it in a Saturday column in the Atlantic.

State Sen. María Elena Durazo, a Los Angeles Democrat, is leveraging a similar argument in advancing a bill that would increase the wage percentage low-income workers can earn while taking paid family leave, CalMatters’ Lil Kalish reports. Under the program’s current structure, Durazo said, “low-wage workers are subsidizing the leave of higher-wage workers.”

Let's Get Together at The Plex!

Join over 100 business professionals on Thursday, April 7 from 5 pm – 7 pm for a Multi-Chamber Mixer!

The Plex is an expansive, state-of-the-art, modern event space, featuring soaring ceilings, natural light, vibrant decor and recreation for all. The Plex offers an arcade of games, bocce courts, bouncy houses, wall climbing, cornhole, darts, pizza, sushi, tapas, a vast beer wall and so much more. We can’t wait to see you!

  • No charge
  • Light snacks
  • Door prizes
  • Cash bar
  • Networking games and fun for all!

Participating Chambers: Campbell Chamber, Cupertino Chamber, Fremont Chamber, Gilroy Chamber, Los Altos Chamber, Los Gatos Chamber, Milpitas Chamber, Mountain View Chamber, Morgan Hill Chamber, Palo Alto Chamber, Rainbow Chamber Silicon Valley, San Jose Chamber, Saratoga Chamber, Scotts Valley Chamber, Silicon Valley Black Chamber, Silicon Valley Central Chamber, Silicon Valley Hispanic Chamber, Sunnyvale Chamber.

Register here. 

Embark Behavioral Health is Hiring

 Do you love making a difference? Want a job where your ideas matter and Teamwork is important?  Apply now with Embark, where employees and the culture is ALWAYS a priority! 

Residential Counselor Qualifications: 

Ability to effectively communicate and build healthy relationships 

• Skill in de-escalating 

• Ability to plan, implement and adjust plans accordingly 

• Ability to perform CPR and first aid 

• 21+ years of age 

• Ability to pass a background check 


March 21, 2022

Join Us in a Fall Foliage Tour to New England

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is planning a fall foliage tour to New England from October 2-8, 2022. New England, in the fall, is a great way to see covered bridges, white-steepled churches, old lighthouses, historic locations, colorful leaves, and experience the taste of real maple syrup. This 7-day / 6-night adventure begins in Boston where we will be able to visit the “Cradle of Liberty,” Faneuil Hall, the Old North Church, Quincey Market, and other famous locations.

From Boston we will head to Camden, Maine, to spend two nights in this quaint little New England town. Along the way we will stop at Reds Eats, home of Maine’s #1 lobster roll (time allowing we will also stop at the most photographed lighthouse in the world, the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine). Once in Camden, we will partake in a lighthouse and lobster tour on the Penobscot Bay, walk High Street Historic District, visit Owl’s Head Lighthouse along with other sites.

Leaving Camden, Maine, our destination takes us through New Hampshire into Woodstock, Vermont with a stop at a maple syrup farm, Willard Covered Bridges, the Queche, Vermont Gorge, Billings Farm and Museum, and downtown Woodstock.

The last day of the trip, October 8, will bring us to Logan Airport in Boston, where travelers will make their way back home. The price per person is $2,800 (airfare not included). Travelers are asked to book their own airfare. The cost of the trip includes breakfast and dinner each day, paid tours, bus ride throughout the 7-day trip, and lodging.

Those interested in participating or if you would like more information, please contact the Chamber at 408-842-6437 or




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. 

30 Years & over

Robinson & Moretti

South Valley Property Management

Travel Inn

YMCA, Mt. Madonna

20 Years & over

Hilton Garden Inn

Marie Patane Blankley, CPA

Mechanics Bank

Sarah’s Vineyard

South Valley Community Church

Stennes & Sabbath, CPAs

TNT Fireworks

10 Years & over

Arteaga’s Market

D.R. Domenchini Construction

Filice & Company, Inc.

Gilroy Lodge on the Hill

Lisa Faria, Corcoran Global Living

LJB Farms

Martin Ranch Winery

Menchaca Law Offices

Morgan Hill Freedom Fest

Mount Madonna School

Victoria’s Mexican Restaurant

5 Years and over

Bonita Springs Hospice Care, LLC

Café Bread 152

David Ferry Photography

David Fissel, Oxbridge Interanational

Filtrexx International

Gilroy Pediatric Dentistry

Linda Mylchreest, Independent Cabi Stylist

MG Construction & Engineers

Plumbing America

Poppy Jasper International Film Festival is Back!

Article Submitted by Mattie Scariot, Gilroy Downtown Business Association and Poppy Jasper International Film Festival

This year PJIFF is back and bigger than it’s ever been before!  For the first time in it’s 16 year history, PJIFF will be in the Downtowns of Morgan Hill (MH Community Playhouse), Gilroy(The District Theater and the Capos Event Center), Hollister (Granada Theater) and San Juan Bautista (The Barn at Mission Farm).

The 8-day film festival takes place this April 6 – 13 with 193 films screening from 30 countries. 150 filmmakers from 11 countries, 5 states and across California have RSVP’d, along with film and television industry professionals that will share their experiences with filmmakers and movie lovers.

The opening ceremony will include the premiere of PJIFF’s song “Believe” written and performed by local native and Grammy Award winner/President of Paramount Music, Randy Spendlove, and Grammy winner/multiplatinum artist Polo Jones. There will also be a Keynote speech by actress/writer/director Juliet Landau (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ed Wood). For tickets, please visit

State Slashes Water Allocations

California will notch its driest January-March period in at least a century unless several more inches of rain fall this month, state water officials said Friday after slashing allocations from 15% to 5% for systems that receive supplies from the State Water Project — which serves 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland.

Today, state and local water leaders are set to celebrate World Water Day by calling on Californians to “significantly and urgently increase their efforts to save water” — though such appeals appear to have had limited effect thus far. New data shows that urban Californians actually used 2.6% more water in January 2022 than they did in January 2020, despite Newsom declaring a statewide drought emergency and urging residents to cut their water use by 15%.

California’s persistent drought and wildly inaccurate water projections may also be affecting its ability to resolve its housing crisis: In a Thursday letter to the State Water Resources Control Board, the city of Monterey expressed its “immediate need for water by 2023” to meet a state housing mandate of building around 3,650 units by 2031. “The state is tying the hands of peninsula cities by requiring additional housing quotas without giving us the water to build those homes,” said City Manager Hans Uslar. Among other things, the city wants the state to lift a 2009 cease-and-desist order against Cal-Am, which serves most of the water customers on the Monterey Peninsula, for illegal water diversions that the city says have since stopped.

March 14, 2022

Gilroy Chamber Supports Flexible Work Schedule Bill

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, California Chamber of Commerce and a coalition including numerous local chambers of commerce are supporting legislation that allows for an employee-selected flexible work schedule.

AB 1761 (Voepel; R-Santee) relieves employers of the administrative cost and burden of adopting an alternative workweek schedule per division, which accommodates employees, helps retain employees, and allows the employer to invest these savings into growing its workforce.

Traps in California Process

California is one of the only states that requires employers to pay daily overtime after eight hours of work in addition to weekly overtime after 40 hours of work.

Even other states that impose daily overtime requirements allow the employer and employee to essentially waive the daily eight-hour overtime requirement through a written agreement.

California, however, provides no such common-sense alternative. Rather, California requires employers to navigate through a multi-step process to have employees elect an alternative workweek schedule that, once adopted, must be “regularly” scheduled and must apply to the entire work unit.

This process is filled with potential traps that could lead to costly litigation, as one misstep may render the entire alternative workweek schedule invalid and leave the employer on the hook for claims of unpaid overtime wages.

Little Used Option

Currently, there are 42,494 reported alternative workweek schedules with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. According to the Employment Development Department, California has about 1.2 million employers. Therefore, about less than 4% of California employers utilize the alternative workweek schedule option.

Further, more realistically, given that the information in the database is according to work unit instead of employer, it is likely that less than 1% of employers in California are utilizing this process.

Employees Want Flexibility

Employees want flexibility in their work schedules. In a recent CalChamber poll, 88% of voters agreed (49% of them strongly) that the state’s overtime laws should be changed to make it easier for employees to work alterative schedules, such as four 10-hour days.

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 91% of human resources professionals agree that flexible work arrangements positively influence employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention.

According to Corporate Voices for Working Families and WFD Consulting, an in-depth study of five organizations that allow their nonexempt employees to have flexibility in their schedules found that employee commitment was 55% higher and burnout and stress decreased by 57%.

Pandemic Impact

Women and low-income workers have suffered the most from the inability to have flexible schedules, feeling pressured to abandon career goals to care for children and fulfill household obligations.

That pressure has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. An article by NPR estimated that close to 900,000 women left the workforce in 2020 to keep up with the demands of childcare and household obligations. That rate is four times higher than men.

With near-record unemployment, California should be doing everything possible to maximize opportunities for employers to allow employees to set hours that work for an employee’s personal and family obligations. This way, workers can continue to be employed and support themselves and their families.

Individual Flexibility

AB 1761 would provide employees more flexibility because the employee could request an alternative workweek schedule on an individualized basis. It would also relieve employers of the administrative cost and burden of adopting an alternative workweek schedule per division.

Pursuant to AB 1761, at the request of the employee, an employer would be able to implement a flexible work schedule that allows the employee to work up to 10 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week, before overtime is owed.

Employers should be able to provide their employees more flexibility and negotiate through a written agreement, revocable by either party, the daily/weekly schedule that satisfies the needs of both the employee(s) and the employer.

Promoting flexible policies that allow employees to continue to be employed and earning income while working from home is needed now more than ever.

AB 1761 has been assigned to the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. No hearing date has been set.

Save the Date!

You are invited to a Multi-Chamber Spring Mixer at The Plex!

Thursday, April 7, 5:00 -7:00 pm, 800 Embedded Way San Jose, CA 95138 

Please visit to register.

The Plex is an expansive, state-of-the-art, modern event space featuring soaring ceilings, natural light, vibrant décor and recreation for all. The Plex offers an arcade of games, bocce courts, bouncy houses, wall climbing, cornhole, darts, pizza, sushi, tapas, a vast beer wall and so much more. 

Chamber Participants include: Campbell Chamber, Cupertino Chamber, Fremont Chamber, Gilroy Chamber, Los Altos Chamber, Los Gatos Chamber, Milpitas Chamber, Mountain View Chamber, Morgan Hill Chamber, Palo Alto Chamber, Rainbow Chamber Silicon Valley, San Jose Chamber, Saratoga Chamber, Scotts Valley Chamber, Silicon Valley Black Chamber, Silicon Central Chamber, Silicon Valley Hispanic Chamber, Sunnyvale Chamber.

Community Banks Focus on Local Economy

Community banks serve as financial first responders to small businesses because they operate locally and put local deposits back to work in Gilroy.  By lending to local residents and small businesses, community banks help local economies thrive, driving economic growth and prosperity.  Community banks tend to be relationship lenders, characterized by local ownership, local control, and local decision-making.  Community banks have always been supportive of entrepreneurship.  Banks with total assets greater than $10 billion hold 86 percent of banking industry assets – with the top four banks holding fifty percent of those large bank assets. However, Community Banks hold $3.4 trillion in total assets which are very important to the markets that they serve.

In addition to the above characteristics, a community bank is often defined as one with a maximum asset size of $10 billion. However, the FDIC study notes that using only a size cutoff does not account for industry growth, and the attributes associated with community banks are not exclusively tied to size. 

Since 2015, Pinnacle Bank (established 2006) has been recognized by Bauer Financial, Inc. as a 5-Star “Superior” Bank. This is the highest rating that Bauer Financial assigns, and it ranks Pinnacle Bank as one of the nation’s safest and most sound financial institutions. Pinnacle Bank’s ROE was most recently, 12.31 percent. 

Heritage Bank of Commerce, headquartered in San Jose, was established in 1994 and today is one of the largest SBA preferred lenders in California and they are a Preferred Lender for the USDA Business and Industry division.  Although the bank has grown and now has seventeen locations, including Gilroy, it prides itself on being a community bank based on relationship banking principles.

Masks Optional Beginning March 14

Article Submitted by Melanie Corona, Public Information Officer, Gilroy Unified School District

Beginning, Monday, March 14, staff and students on campuses in GUSD may choose to wear a mask indoors.  On February 28, California Governor Newsom announced that with declining case rates and hospitalizations across the west, California, Oregon and Washington were updating masking guidance. After 11:59 p.m. on March 11, California, Oregon and Washington will move from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.

Beginning Monday, March 14, 2022, masks will be strongly recommended, but not required for all staff and students, while indoors, on all K-12 public school campuses.  Mask wearing is strongly recommended by the State and California Department of Public Health, and continues to be an option for every student or staff member who wishes to wear one at any time.  GUSD will provide continue to provide masks for anyone who requests one while on our campuses.

Our leadership team continues to focus on successful mitigation strategies, including: self-monitoring for symptoms, regular testing, high-quality ventilation systems, and encouraging vaccines, while respecting the personal choice for all members of our school communities and taking personal responsibility to help keep our staff and students healthy and well.

Respecting Personal Choice

  • Individuals can make a personal choice for mask-wearing on campuses, with the expectation that individual choices are respected.
  • One should not make assumptions regarding someone’s beliefs or health status based upon an individual’s choice to wear or not wear a mask.
  • Support is available for staff or students who express anxiety about the change. Staff members at schools site can help identify best options.


  • Students and staff should continue to remain home when sick.
  • Students and staff are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test if exhibiting symptoms and/or if they have a known exposure to COVID-19.
  • If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they should report the result and follow the recommended protocols.

GUSD’s continued expectation is that everyone (staff, students, and parents) will be respectful of an individual’s decision to wear a mask or not to wear a mask.


March 7, 2022

Gilroy – A Wedding Destination

Article by Visit Gilroy

Visit Gilroy is not just welcoming spring this month, but we are bringing back the Gilroy Dream Wedding Expo! On March 27, 2022, Visit Gilroy will be hosting our annual Wedding Expo from 12-4 p.m. at the Gilroy Lodge on the Hill. We are delighted to kick-off the wedding season by welcoming brides and their guests to check out the 35+ vendors showcased at the event. Couples will see that Gilroy has everything they need for a wonderful destination wedding experience.

Brides and grooms will learn about the beautiful local wineries to hold their wedding and reception, or the colorful Neon Exchange downtown which can host wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, or bachelorette parties. The brides can also choose the perfect flowers for their bouquet and wedding décor.

The bride and her party will be greeted at the Lodge on the Hill by a limo and a mobile beauty unit from Glamology. Inside, they will find tasty samples of appetizers from our local caterers and cake bites from our amazing local bakeries. Choosing food options was never so appealing!

To pamper herself or her bridesmaids, the bride can visit various jewelry, gift, boutique, beauty, and skin care booths.

To capture memories of their special day, couples can choose from a variety of creative photographers and photobooth vendors. Our photo booth vendors offer several types of booths, including “mirror” booths and 360-degree booths, with digital pictures or printable souvenir pictures.

Our Wedding Expo guests will enjoy exploring all these fantastic booths while being serenaded by our music vendors, giving them a chance to experience the very music they may want to hear on their incredibly special day. Couples can meet with a local wedding coordinator or a wedding officiant to help them plan their event. To encourage couples to plan for their future, we will also be hosting insurance and realtor booths.

To top off the Gilroy Dream Wedding Expo 2022 experience, attendees have the opportunity to win the grand prize – a one night stay and dinner for two at the fantastic CordeValle Resort!

To sign up as a vendor to showcase your business at our Wedding Expo or to get tickets for the event, please visit our wedding page: The first two tickets for the bride and one guest are free; additional tickets are $9 each.

City of Gilroy Receives $3.9 Million in Grant Funding to Renovate Areas within the Downtown

The City of Gilroy is excited to announce that it has been awarded a $3.9 million grant through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Clean California Local Grant Program for improvements within Gilroy’s Historic Downtown. The Clean California Local Grant Program prioritizes grant funding towards projects that enhance communities and improve spaces for walking and recreation. Gilroy’s project includes the renovation and beautification of Gourmet Alley and Railroad Street within the downtown area, renovating these spaces into pedestrian and bicycle-friendly pathways through infrastructure and aesthetic improvements. Also included in the project is a “Keep Gilroy Clean” anti-littering campaign.

“The City of Gilroy is pleased to receive this grant award. Out of 329 applications that were submitted, only 105 projects were awarded, and we’re lucky enough to be one of them,” said Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to make some significant improvements to the downtown and to see the plans for Gourmet Alley come to life.” 

Gilroy’s Historic Downtown has long been known for its historic charm and local dining and shopping. The City of Gilroy has long recognized that the downtown provides unique spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy and looks forward to creating new spaces and vibrancy to be shared by all. 

View the full press release here.

Bill Proposes New Tax Despite Huge State Surplus

By Preston Young, CalChamber

Governor Gavin Newsom’s January budget proposal forecasted another historic surplus estimated to be approximately $45 billion. As 2022 marches on, that surplus continues to grow.

Last week, the Department of Finance reported that California has collected approximately $16 billion more in revenue than expected during the first seven months of the 2021–22 fiscal year.

According to the department’s report, $6.206 billion of this total additional revenue is due to higher-than-expected Pass-Through Entity (PTE) elective tax payments under the corporation tax. Personal income tax revenue for the first seven months of the fiscal year was $9.17 billion above the forecast of $76.71 billion. Corporation tax revenue for the first seven months of the fiscal year was $7.99 billion above the forecast of $10 billion.

Tax Windfall

These numbers tell a clear story — California’s employers and entrepreneurs have succeeded economically in the face of the last year’s challenges, leading to another tax windfall for the state.

Despite the eye-popping revenue and California’s historic financial projections, certain state legislators almost-predictably introduced an enormous tax increase bill.

On February 16, AB 2289 (Lee; D-San Jose), the Wealth Tax, was introduced. This is identical to last year’s Wealth Tax — AB 310 (Lee; D-San Jose) a job killer that never was heard in a policy committee.

According to recent reports, an analysis conducted by University of California, Davis and UC Berkeley professors estimates that the measure would produce approximately $22 billion in state revenue annually. However, that number is highly variable considering many of the individuals who would be subject to the tax would likely leave to avoid it.

New Annual Tax

The Wealth Tax would impose a new 1.5% annual tax on a California resident’s worldwide net worth in excess of $1 billion, or in excess of $500 million in the case of a married taxpayer filing separately. After 2025, the tax would be changed to 1% of a California resident’s worldwide net worth in excess of $50 million (or $25 million for a married taxpayer filing separately), as well as an additional tax at a rate of 0.5% of a resident’s worldwide net worth in excess of $1 billion (or $500 million for a married taxpayer filing separately).

AB 2289 contains provisions that claw back taxes from Californians who left the state while taxing certain individuals who spend minimal amounts of time in California despite not living here. Additionally, the Franchise Tax Board would be expected to implement and enforce the new tax law.

As California’s budget surplus continues to grow, General Fund dollars can be allocated in a multitude of directions. This includes funding true universal health care coverage, restoring economy-driving tax incentives for California’s businesses, and historic Proposition 98 spending for schools.

Given the state’s current ability to spend on nearly any desired cause, the Wealth Tax is unnecessary, and legislators should focus on ways to spend the cash California currently has on hand.

Governor Newsom Launches New Plan to Help Californians Struggling with Mental Health Challenges, Homelessness

Published: Mar 03, 2022

CARE (Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment) Court is a new policy framework to assist people living with untreated mental health and substance abuse challenges 

Empowers Californians in crisis to access housing, treatment, and care
Accountability for individuals and local governments with court orders for services 

SAN JOSE – At a mental health treatment center in San Jose, Governor Gavin Newsom today unveiled CARE Court, a new framework to provide individuals with mental health and substance use disorders the care and services they need to get healthy. The proposal, which must be approved by the Legislature, would require counties to provide comprehensive treatment to the most severely impaired and untreated Californians and hold patients accountable to their treatment plan.

“CARE Court is about meeting people where they are and acting with compassion to support the thousands of Californians living on our streets with severe mental health and substance use disorders,” said Governor Newsom. “We are taking action to break the pattern that leaves people without hope and cycling repeatedly through homelessness and incarceration. This is a new approach to stabilize people with the hardest-to-treat behavioral health conditions.”

CARE Court does not wait until someone is hospitalized or arrested before providing treatment. CARE Court will provide an opportunity for a range of people, including family members, first responders, intervention teams, and mental health service providers, among others, to refer individuals suffering from a list of specific ailments, many of them unhoused, and get them into community-based services.

“It’s time we face the painful, but obvious truth: our behavioral health system in California is broken. All of us see it every day on our streets – and it’s long past time we fix it,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Governor Newsom’s CARE Court proposal is a major step forward. It will provide individuals who are struggling with behavioral health issues a pathway to the housing and health services they need and give those who encounter these individuals a real way to get them the help they need. I look forward to working with the Governor and my municipal colleagues to implement a working program at the local level.”

“Governor Newsom’s groundbreaking CARE Court proposal breaks through on a key missing piece of the homeless challenge,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “For people who are the sickest and most vulnerable on our streets, the governments responsible for helping them must be legally obligated to act.”

CARE Court offers court-ordered individualized interventions and services, stabilization medication, advanced mental health directives, and housing assistance – all while remaining community-based. Plans can be up to 12-24 months. In addition to their full clinical team, the client-centered approach also includes a public defender and a supporter to help individuals make self-directed care decisions.

“We need to stop trying to fix a failed system,” said Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Stephen V. Manley. “We are rapidly moving back to where we were 100 years ago in using incarceration as the only alternative for those persons who are severely mentally ill. We need new ideas and a fresh approach and Governor Newsom is offering us one.”

“NAMI-Santa Clara County appreciates Governor Newsom’s initiative through the CARE Court program,” said Rovina Nimbalkar, Executive Director of NAMI-Santa Clara County. “With CARE Court in place, we’ll have a better opportunity to help struggling individuals start the road to recovery to a more fulfilling life.”

The CARE Court framework was created using the evidence that many people can stabilize, begin healing, and exit homelessness in less restrictive, community-based care settings. The plan focuses on people with schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, who may also have substance use challenges, and who lack medical decision-making capacity, and advances an upstream diversion from more restrictive conservatorships or incarceration.

The framework provides individuals with a clinically appropriate, community-based and court-ordered Care Plan consisting of culturally and linguistically competent county mental health and substance use disorder treatment services. These include short-term stabilization medications, wellness and recovery supports, and connection to social services, including a housing plan. Services are provided to the individual through an outpatient model while they live in the community.

“Governor Newsom’s CARE Court Plan is a welcomed program for LA County,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. “The City of Redondo Beach within my district has successfully implemented a similar program with their Homelessness Court. Under the Governor’s CARE Court program, LA County can expand this people centered model of prevention and support for our most vulnerable unhoused neighbors. This is a community approach to preventing justice involvement by connecting people to services over up to a 24-month period.”

“After 30-years in the field serving vulnerable individuals and experiencing difficulty in getting these individuals the appropriate level of care, I welcome the discussion around a definitive evaluation process and look forward to participating in discussions to find solutions that better serve this population,” said California Professional Firefighters President Brian K Rice.

In the event that a participant cannot successfully complete a Care Plan, the individual may be referred for a conservatorship, consistent with current law, with a presumption that no suitable alternatives to conservatorship are available. 

All counties across the state will participate in CARE Court under the proposal. If local governments do not meet their specified duties under court-ordered Care Plans, the court will have the ability to order sanctions and, in extreme cases, appoint an agent to ensure services are provided.

CARE Court builds on Governor Newsom’s $14 billion multi-year investment to provide 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots and nearly $10 billion annually in community behavioral health services. The Governor’s approach focuses on quickly rehousing unsheltered individuals with behavioral health issues, all while new units come online, while also transforming Medi-Cal to provide more behavioral health services to people struggling the most.

New Study Shows CEQA’s Impact on Building Projects

The Pacific Research Institute released a comprehensive analysis of how the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) prevents, delays and adds immense extra costs to housing and other crucial projects, as well as recommendations for reforming CEQA so that the law ensures environmental protection while curbing abuses. These reforms include streamlining the CEQA review process, limit frivolous litigation and improve public transparency of who funds CEQA lawsuits. Read the report here.

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