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Congressman Bob Filner's Congressional Update


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Congressman Bob Filner's Congressional Update

Protecting American Taxpayers by Reining in Executive Compensation

Last month, I voted to protect American taxpayers and shareholders from the excessive and risky compensation practices at big financial firms that contributed to the collapse of the financial markets last fall. The Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act is the first piece of a larger regulatory reform package the House will take up in the fall to fulfill our commitment to rebuild our economy stronger and restore Americans' faith in our financial system.

For years, excessive compensation encouraged risky behavior at large financial firms and gambled with our financial future. This bill reins in risky executive compensation at these firms to protect shareholders, and ultimately the American taxpayer, from the kind of financial ruin we saw last year.

The Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act puts an end to the perverse incentives that encourage executives at large financial firms to take excessive risks at the expense of their companies, employees and shareholders. It requires federal regulators to monitor inappropriate or risky compensation practices and compels large financial firms to disclose any compensation structures that include incentive-based elements. The bill also gives shareholders at public companies a say on the pay for top executives.

This bill is an important part of our broader economic strategy. We are working to rebuild our economy stronger than it was before. Regulatory reform is absolutely crucial to that effort.

California Veterans to Get Full GI Bill Benefits

The new G.I. Bill provides tuition to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars based on the cost of the most expensive four year public university in the state. In California, public schools traditionally do not charge tuition, but have relatively high fees. As a result, veterans attending private school in California would receive much less of a basic tuition benefit.

I am pleased that leaders in California were able to determine a better way to define tuition and that VA is able to consider this new interpretation for the purposes of calculating the state's maximum payments. Now the maximum basic benefit VA can pay in California will increase and provide California veterans with the same opportunities to attend private schools as veterans in other states. This agreement will go into effect immediately, allowing Fall 2009 student veterans to receive this benefit increase.

Returning veterans have shown their commitment to our country by their service and it is important to provide to our most dedicated citizens an opportunity to receive the education and training they missed while serving in the military. I am confident that the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill will help make our veterans part of the economic recovery, much like the veterans of World War II.

A Waterfront that Works For All

What happened to the vision? A grand public gateway consisting of a continuous 10-acre park and gathering place at the foot of Broadway was promised to San Diegans in the Port of San Diego's Master Plan (PMP). Now we have the old “bait and switch.”

The waterfront is to serve as the City's major open space, its park and its playground. We have an opportunity to create a great civic asset geared not just towards visitors, but to all San Diego residents by looking at cumulative impacts of all the recently approved projects including the Navy Broadway Complex site.

Active faulting has been found in the North Embarcadero area near Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. Since 2006, multiple signs of active faulting on the Navy Broadway Complex site still have yet to be addressed. The outstanding seismic issues and national Homeland Security concerns have not been resolved, as required by the California Geologic Survey. In fact, recently the Navy misrepresented a letter from the United States Geologic Survey (USGS), claiming that the federal government agency approved the Navy Broadway Complex fault investigation. No such approval has taken place.

On July 2, 2009, the California Coastal Commission sent a letter to the Port that stated that the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan (NEVP) is not consistent with the certified Port Master Plan. The letter continued to say that, “while the NEVP should be used as guidance, the certified Port Master Plan is the standard of review by which all new development must be measured… It is not possible to achieve a comparable level or quality of public open space in a fragmented arrangement of sidewalks and setbacks than would exist in a large, continuous open space.”

The California Coastal Commission is correct that an update to the Port's Master Plan is required in light of the many development projects approved over the last two years including the Navy Broadway Complex and offsite parking, Lane Field North, Lane Field South, the B Street Pier Cruise Ship Terminal, the Broadway Cruise Ship Terminal, Rucco park, the Old Police Headquarters, the deletion of the 10-acre gateway park and the planned public park and open space on the Broadway Pier.

An update to the Port of San Diego's Master Plan is the perfect opportunity to confirm or deny active faulting on the Navy Broadway Complex. San Diegans, Navy personnel, and visitors deserve a safe, engineered, public waterfront that works for all.

Working to Overturn the CA Coastal Commission's Decision on Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant

Last month, I appealed to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to overturn the California Coast Commission's recent decision to deny the City of San Diego's permit for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.

I am troubled by the Commission's action as it was outside their jurisdictional boundary, contrary to their own staff recommendation, and contrary to the position of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. It is my impression that the Coastal Commission has again overstepped its authority in a blatant attempt to make a political statement rather than accept the scientific findings of the agencies responsible for water quality conditions.

Under California law, the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards have long been established as the agencies with primary responsibility of water quality. The California Coastal Act also includes language prohibiting the Coastal Commission from taking any action in conflict with any determination by the State Water Resources Control Board or any California Regional water quality control board in matters relating to water quality.

Announcing Funding for El Centro Economic Development

I am pleased to announce that $3,199,933 has been awarded to the City of El Centro through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). The funding will be used to help build infrastructure to serve commercial development in three areas: the El Centro Town Center II, the El Centro Town Village industrial site, and the 8th Street industrial site.

This investment will create more than 400 jobs and attract private investment to the Imperial Valley region by building the infrastructure needed to establish these vital commercial areas. Additionally, the proposal estimates the creation of $120 million in entrepreneurial opportunities.

This construction will diversify the largely agricultural local economy by giving new businesses space to locate and linking them to the global economy through nearby railroad and airport access. The EDA is an agency that supports the economic development needs of distressed communities throughout the United States.

Salton Fire Department Receives Funding for New Command Vehicle

Last month, $20,250 was awarded to the Salton Community Services District (CSD) through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Economic Impact Initiative. The funding will be used to replace the four-wheel-drive command vehicle that has become costly to maintain.

The terrain and large size of the district take a great toll on emergency response vehicles and equipment. This new investment will improve safety and security for the region!

The Salton CSD Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical response services to Salton City plus the surrounding unincorporated areas in the county. Much of the terrain is desert and the district must ensure that all vehicles are capable of responding to areas that require off-road capability.

San Diego Transportation Projects get Funding

I am pleased to announce $72.1 million in Recovery Act funds for transit improvements in California. This includes $72,070,553 for use within San Diego County by the San Diego Association of Governments to design and construct the trolley wayside, trackway modifications, and stations to support new low-floor vehicle operations on the Blue Line between the Old Town Transit Center and San Ysidro.

President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law in February and, as a result, already more than $4.2 billion has been awarded for transit improvements throughout the country. The demand for public transportation is growing and this grant will help us meet that need and create more jobs here in San Diego.

The San Diego funding will also be used for the construction of the San Luis Rey multi-modal transit center, rail electrification, track improvements, and a bridge replacement along the Los Angeles -- San Diego (LOSSAN) rail corridor.

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