Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Mark Stone newTensions are higher than ever about homelessness and crime in Santa Cruz County. Is there anything that can be done at the state level to address these local problems?

Homelessness and crime are often symptoms of the larger problem of poverty. Some of our communities have high poverty rates that undoubtedly contribute to homelessness and crime in our area: Watsonville has a rate of 20.4 percent, Santa Cruz has 20 percent, Aptos has 12.7 percent. In fact, Santa Cruz County has the highest school-age poverty rate in the Bay Area.

Sadly, California has the highest poverty rate under the Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), a newly developed poverty measurement. In March, my Human Services Committee held a special hearing to take a close look at new ways to assess and address poverty in California. While the SPM will not replace the official measure for purposes of determining eligibility for assistance programs, it is a useful tool for California as we start to climb out of this devastating recession, and it can help guide meaningful conversations about how to reduce poverty in this state.

Alleviating poverty, especially childhood poverty, is a critical component to improving the state's economic growth in the long-term. Children who grow up in poverty face significant hurdles that drastically damage their chances to grow up into productive adults. Kids living in poverty often do worse in school and experience more physical and mental health issues.

One of the ways I am working to help children in poverty or at risk of becoming homeless is through my legislation, AB 346, which would ensure that temporary shelters for youths have properly trained staff and adhere to state safety standards. This bill would create a new license for these Emergency Youth Shelter Facilities, allowing the state to review that they are serving the unique needs of runaway youth. This bill will help ensure that these kids get the services they need instead of turning to a life of crime, or becoming part of the long-term homeless population.

How will your ocean bill, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, help address the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans?  

Of the many types of litter that end up in the ocean, plastic products have some of the most serious impacts on marine life. A 2012 study by the Convention on Biological Diversity found that 663 marine species have been impacted by marine plastic litter through entanglement and ingestion—a two-thirds increase in species from a similar study in 1998.

Marine plastic pollution imposes substantial costs on taxpayers and local governments through cleanup efforts and lost tourism revenue. A 2012 report by the US EPA found California’s coastal cities and counties spend about $420 million each year to combat litter and curtail marine debris.

AB 521 would require California to adopt a statewide goal to reduce marine plastic pollution by 75 percent by 2020 and by 95 percent by 2024.  The bill requires the state government to identify the items that are the top contributors to marine plastic pollution, and then would set reduction targets for these items.  It would also require the producers of these items to meet the targets within established timeframes and require the producers to pay for the administration of this program.

Within guidance provided by the agencies, producers have flexibility to determine the methods that work best for them to achieve the established targets, such as improved product design and increased recycling.

AB 521 would both reduce the source of costly plastic pollution and provide support and funding for state and local plastic pollution cleanup efforts. Ultimately, it would help reduce the amount of plastic garbage that pollutes California waterways and coastlines.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location