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Public Statements

July 2010 Newsletter


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Calling on BP to direct dividends to special account for spill cleanup and victim compensation

As BP board members debate whether to move forward with a scheduled dividend payment, I joined 31 other members of Congress to call on the oil company to instead direct those funds to an escrow account dedicated to cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon spill and compensating its victims.

It is time for the folks at BP to put their money where their mouth is. They continue to say they will pay any legitimate claims and now they need to give us some certainty of how that will happen. Directing dividend payments to an escrow account is the type of assurance that we need from BP to make sure victims will be taken care of and the spill will be cleaned up.

In a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward, the House members urged BP to ensure it has the funds to pay the full costs of the devastating Gulf Oil spill by temporarily suspending its annual $10 billion dividend. Further, the group called on BP to establish an escrow account to cover cleanup and compensation costs -- and to direct dividend payments to that account.

We first wrote BP urging the company to suspend its dividend and public relations campaign until it fully remedies the Gulf catastrophe. Our latest letter builds on Senate Democrats' proposal to create a $20 billion escrow account administered by independent trustees and available for compensation claims and cleanup efforts.

The letter, copied below, was signed by the following House members in June, though the list continues to grow: Peter Welch, Ed Markey, Lois Capps, Keith Ellison, John Olver, John Hall, Gabrielle Giffords, Rosa L. DeLauro, Ron Kind, Dennis Cardoza, Anna Eshoo, Mazie Hirono, Joe Courtney, Russ Carnahan, Jared Polis, Bill Owens, Dave Loebsack, Paul Tonko, Carolyn Maloney, Doris Matsui, Robert Brady, Bill Delahunt, Rush Holt, Timothy Walz, Pete Stark, Raul M. Grijalva, Betty Sutton, Steve Cohen, Maurice Hinchey, Michael Capuano and Michael Michaud.

Dear Mr. Hayward,

As BP board members debate whether to issue a second quarter dividend payment, we renew our call to suspend the dividend and, further, we urge you to direct such funds to an escrow account dedicated to cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon spill and compensating its victims.

Your company has affirmed its intention to pay the full costs of this devastating environmental and economic disaster. As those costs continue to rise -- to $37 billion, by one estimate -- the American people require an assurance that your company will be able to honor all legitimate claims.

President Obama and 54 members of the U.S. Senate have called for the establishment of an independently administered $20 billion escrow account, which would be available to cover cleanup costs and economic damages. We join them in their request and further call on BP to divert future dividend payments to this account until such time that all cleanup and compensation costs are fully covered.

Bob Filner
Member of Congress

Calexico International Airport to receive more than $350,000 for earthquake repairs

Last month, I announced that the Department of Transportation has awarded more than $350,000 to repair damages to the Calexico International Airport resulting from the April 4 earthquake.

I'm glad to see federal funds are beginning to flow to make much needed repairs in Calexico. I will continue to do everything I can to make sure Calexico and other cities in the Imperial Valley receive the funds they need to repair and rebuild.

A total of $ 371,386 will go to the Calexico International Airport to remove and overlay approximately 10,000 square feet of the runway surface, reconstruct approximately 30,000 square feet of the airport access road, and install new light fixtures for the airport beacon.

MAAC Project receives $4 million grant for Head Start program

I am pleased to announce that the Chula Vista based MAAC Project (the Multi Agency Alliance for Children) has successfully secured a $4 million grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will go to expand their Head Start program across San Diego County.

People are turning to community service organizations now more than ever. MAAC Project has been there for communities across San Diego for 55 years and with this grant they will be able to increase their ability to give low income families access to early education with the Head Start program.

MAAC also serves San Diego County families through their nutrition program, low-income home weatherization and improvement program, recovery homes, affordable housing complexes and a charter school.

Honoring Japanese-American WWII Intelligence Contributions

Last month, I co-sponsored H.Res. 1387, a resolution recognizing the heroic contributions of Japanese-Americans who served in the Military Intelligence Service during and after World War II.

Approximately 6,000 troops, mostly second generation Japanese-Americans (Nisei), volunteered for the Military Intelligence Service to learn the Japanese language and use their knowledge of Japanese culture in order to help the United States win the war in the Pacific. The contributions of these courageous citizens were invaluable to the war effort.

The Nisei volunteering for this service became the nucleus of the Military Intelligence School established on November 1, 1941. Today, the Military Intelligence School is known as the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, located in Monterey, California.

H.Res. 1387 expresses the U.S. House of Representatives' deepest gratitude to the brave Japanese-Americans who constituted the Military Intelligence Service and the invaluable contribution they provided during and after World War II; and recognizes and appreciates the hardships that the Nisei experienced while serving the United States with honor and distinction.

El Centro teacher Nick Santana selected as a 2010 House Fellow

Nick Santana, a teacher from Southwest High School in El Centro, has been chosen to take part in the 2010 House Fellows program. The week-long program gives teachers an insider's view of the House of Representatives.

I'm proud to welcome Mr. Santana to our nation's capital. This program is a great way for teachers to get an up-close look at how our government works and take all they've learned back to their students and other teachers.

The Office of the House Historian released the list of 46 individuals, including Mr. Santana, who were chosen in a highly competitive process to participate in the one-week intensive program on the history and practices of the House. Mr. Santana will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the session running from Monday, July 12 through Friday, July 16.

Mr. Santana graduated from Southwest High School before going on to San Diego State University where he received his bachelor's degree. Then, after working as a UPS Operations Manager and a salesman, he moved back to El Centro and secured a position teaching A.P. U.S. History at his alma mater, Southwest High School. Mr. Santana is currently finishing his teaching credential and has plans to pursue a master's degree in education.

The House Fellows program began in 2006 as an interdisciplinary workshop for high school teachers focused on the history and practices of the House of Representatives.

Congratulting Academy Nominees Heading for West Point, the Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy!

Last month, I honored Dylan Mohamed (top left) from Brawley Union High School, Kai Hayes (top right) from Julian Charter School-Alpine Academy and Luis Gonzalez (bottom) from Missouri Military Academy as they embark on their careers in the military as academy appointees. Dylan will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Kai will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and Luis will be joining the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Constituent Mail Bag

From Imperial:

I'm writing you now because you have the opportunity to pass reform legislation that holds Wall Street and big banks accountable.

As your constituent, I'm urging you to side with people like me that play by the rules, and not with big banks that bent the rules to disastrous results.

Please vote YES on H.R. 4173 and pass the strong financial reform that Americans desperately need.

Thank you for standing up for American who play by the rules and not the financial institutions that caused the economic crisis.

Congressman Filner replies:

Thank you for contacting me regarding comprehensive financial reform

I wholeheartedly agree! We must protect American consumers, increase transparency over the financial markets and prevent "too big to fail" institutions from costing the taxpayers billions of dollars. You will be glad to know that I voted in favor of H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act!

I appreciate your advocacy on this important issue.

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