Some of the world’s most promising women tennis players will descend on the Gold River Racquet Club to battle for $50,000 in prize money and valuable ranking points at the 5th Annual FSP Gold River Women’s Challenger/USTA tournament from July 17 through July 24.
The tournament, part of the USTA Pro Circuit, is the only $50,000 event scheduled for the Sacramento region in 2016. It’s expected to attract players ranked between 100 and 600 in the world from 8 to 9 different countries.
USTA Pro Circuit tournaments are a series of entry-level professional tournaments offering prize money from $10,000 to $100,000. Challenger- level events are stepping stones to WTA Tour events and Grand Slam tournaments like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Each year, more than half the players in the U.S. Open Women’s draw have either played or are currently playing on the USTA Pro Circuit.
For the third year, the tournament is will be part of the US Open Wild Card Series. The American player with the best performance over the course of three consecutive tournaments will receive a Wild Card entry into the Main Draw of the US Open in New York at the end of August. FSP Gold River Women's Challenger is the 2nd tournament in this series with Stockton, CA and Lexington, KY being the others.
Sacramento-based FSP (Freight Solutions Provider) has again signed on as the tournament headline sponsor. Founded by Lielanie Steers in 1989, FSP is the nation’s largest female minority-owned freight forwarder in the United States. An award-winning company that embraces the diverse talents, backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles of its employees, FSP is consistently recognized as one of the top employers in the Sacramento Metropolitan Area.
All proceeds from the tournament will be donated to the Sacramento Regional Tennis Foundation, which promotes the sport of tennis among youth in the Sacramento region. Programs are held after school and during school hours. The Foundation provides all of the necessary equipment and leadership. The tournament also supports Faces of Tomorrow and St. John’s Program for Real Change with special evenings for each of these charities.
The FSP Gold River USTA $50,000 Women’s Challenger features a singles main draw of 32 players and a doubles main draw of 16 teams. Main draw play begins Tuesday, July 19, and concludes with the final matches on Sunday, July 24. The qualifying tournament begins Sunday, July 17.
Matches will be scheduled throughout the day and evening during the tournament. General admission for spectators is free during qualifying rounds and all main draw day sessions. Admission is $10 per person for evening sessions Thursday – Sunday. Tickets are available at www.goldriverchallenger.com and Gold River Racquet Club during the event. Gold River Racquet Club is located at 2201 Gold Rush Drive, Gold River.
For more information about the FSP Gold River USTA $50,000 Women’s Challenger Tennis Tournament, go to the website at www.goldriverchallenger.com.
Nearly 675,000 people celebrated the best of California during the annual California State Fair, the largest single event in Northern California. The California Exposition and State Fair has a positive $300 million economic impact on the Sacramento region annually, and receives no funding from the government.
As a premiere State-wide event, the State Fair looks at a number of statistics in evaluating its success. For example, competitive entries increased this year by 21 percent to 21,441 entries compared to 17,753 in 2015. Representing the work of talented Californians, the new photography competition generated 2,256 entries. As the number of Craft Beer breweries continue to increase in California, the State Fair competition saw an 11 percent increase in Craft Beers vying for the coveted Blue Ribbon, with 1,204 entries. Sponsored by the Tractor Supply Company, the Junior Livestock Sale of Champions experienced a 20 percent increase in funds raised by youth selling the top 56 award winning animals. The $236,400 raised for youth this year was the second highest amount in the past 10 years.
The 2016 California State Fair was packed full of more than 3,000 exhibits and events that featured technology and agriculture and celebrated the best of the Golden State. Advance admission sales were up by 7.2 percent. The Best of California Brewfest drew 2,015 guests, up 31 percent from the previous year’s 1,535 guests.
“For more than 160 years the California State Fair has remained the one constant setting for showcasing the best of California. From award winning wines, craft beers, fine arts, photography, horse racing, livestock, concerts and entertainment, to technology, science, farming and food, the 2016 State Fair was a huge success,” said Rick Pickering, CEO of the California Exposition & State Fair. Pickering added, “in the face of a heat wave and tragic events around the nation, hundreds of thousands of guests came out to celebrate the sense of community, good will and unity that the State Fair provides.”
Paid Attendance decreased by 11 percent to 511,224 from a record year of 577,646 in 2015. Total Attendance decreased by 14 percent to 673,237 from a record year of 787,833 total visitors in 2015. Yet through a period of national tragedy and a local heatwave, business and community pride at the State Fair remained strong during the 17-day run. According to exit survey data, 92 percent of visitors were satisfied with their State Fair experience, and more than 95 percent felt their State Fair was a good value, up from 74 percent in 2015.
Thousands of voters in the June 7th California Primary election showed up at the polls across the state to discover their political party registrations had been changed.
Hundreds of “dead voters” were recently uncovered in Southern California, the majority of them in Los Angeles County. Some of these deceased voters have even been voting for years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Fraudulent dead voters are concerning, but voter fraud is an even bigger problem in close races where election outcomes are decided by only a handful of votes, says Linda Paine, founder of the Election Integrity Project.
But after the June 7th primary, dead voters may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Thousands of Republican and Democratic voters reported to the Election Integrity Project that they arrived at their designated polling stations on June 7th to find that their party affiliation was changed. Most reported being re-registered “No Party Preference,” California’s version of “Decline to State.” Others said their registrations were dropped, or they received the wrong ballot, which in many cases prevented them from voting for President in the primary.
The Election Integrity Project’s Linda Paine said they noticed a pattern in several Southern California counties during Election Day. However, as the polls closed, Paine said they were contacted by large numbers of voters throughout the state upset that their party affiliation was changed, and had to vote using a provisional ballot. What Election Integrity Project wants to know is how many other voters this happened to.
I See Dead People
In 2014, California State Senator Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, was elected Secretary of State. But his race caught the attention of the Election Integrity Project when not one of the 4,681 Los Angeles County polling stations had the vote-by-mail indicators on the check-in rosters on Election Day. Linda Paine said volunteers described chaos at the polls as Inspectors and Coordinators realized there was no way to crosscheck who had already voted.
Election inspectors reported they received a list of 700 names of vote-by-mail voters they were to manually enter onto the check-in roster on Election Day morning. “It is difficult to understand just how this could have happened,” Paine said. “All responsible businesses have procedures in place to ensure quality control so that materials printed on behalf of their company or organization are accurate.” But this did not happen in LA County.
Election Integrity Project volunteers reported that some Inspectors gave up the effort to determine who voted by mail before Election Day and simply gave every voter a regular ballot. Reports also indicated that without time for the Inspectors to ensure the vote-by-mail indicator was in fact placed next to the correct voter, mistakes were made and voters who were regular voters were forced to vote provisionally.
“Provisional ballots are simply regular ballots that are placed in a special Provisional envelope that must be processed after Election Day,” Paine explained. “The processing of Provisional ballots often takes up to 30 days after Election Day. Voters who want their vote to count on Election Day will be disappointed if they vote provisionally. All Vote-by-Mail and Regular ballots are counted before their ballots are counted.”
Los Angeles County Anomalies
Paine said Alex Padilla’s challenger, Pete Peterson, a Republican, lost by about 400,000 votes, of which approximately 350,000 came just from Los Angeles County.
The Election Integrity Project had documented more than 60,000 anomalies and irregularities on the voter rolls in Los Angeles County in 2013. Because the county did not respond to the report, it can be assumed that nothing was done about it, Paine said.
By 2014 the Election Integrity Project provided additional reports to the LA County Registrar. Countless citizens and citizen groups also contacted their representatives on the Board of Supervisors about voting irregularities. The Board authorized an internal audit, prior to the November 2014 election. The audit was ironically underway during the November election when the vote-by-mail data failed to make it to the polling locations.
Linda Paine was contacted by a whistle blower who told her someone in authority must have discovered that the vote-by-mail indicators were missing, but did nothing about it. There are too many checks and balances in place for it to be missed.
Following the 2014 election, armed with five years of data of voting irregularities and anomalies (2011 – 2015), the California Committee for the US Civil Rights Commission reviewed the Election Integrity Project’s research and determined that a public hearing was warranted. On August 28, 2015 California citizens from across the state testified of their eyewitness accounts of “how chaos and corruption was destroying the integrity of California’s election process,” Paine said.
What Happened On California Primary Day?
When Mary (not her real name), a Republican Pacific Pallisades Southern California resident, checked in at her polling location Tuesday June 7th, she was told she was registered “No Party Preference.”
“I’m not a non-partisan voter,” she said. In fact, Mary said many voters at her polling location – Republicans and Democrats – were told they were registered NPP.
Mary challenged the poll workers, and even showed them her Republican Party registration card and Republican Voter Pamphlet she had recently received by mail. “They said ‘Listen lady, you can’t vote. You’re not a Republican,’” Mary said.
Mary said she demanded their names and a signed document saying she couldn’t vote. She demanded the poll workers’ superiors’ name. And then she said it got weird. Mary said the three female poll workers told her they weren’t even from California; they said they had been flown in from Rhode Island to work the California Primary.
Several other voters who also asked for anonymity each said they witnessed poll workers opening the privacy sleeve of voters’ ballots to read the ballot. Instead of putting the ballot through the reader, the poll worker placed the ballots in a box marked “ballots” under the table. Linda Paine said she received many reports of this happening at polling stations throughout the state.
My calls to the Secretary of State’s office were not returned.
Los Angeles County Test Ground
Paine said this pattern was documented in 2012 in Los Angeles County, but not on the large scale as the California Primary Election June 7.
In the 2014 Primary, approximately 1,200 poll workers in Los Angeles “changed their mind about working at the polls,” all at the same time, resulting in a poll worker crisis. Linda Paine said she happened to be at the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office for a meeting, when she overheard two citizens being told they had to speak Spanish if they wanted to be poll workers. She inquired and was told it must have been because all the poll worker positions were filled and they were just looking for interpreters. At the time Linda Paine was told this, robo-calls and emails were being sent to people all over the county looking for poll workers. Something did not add up for Paine.
The Election Integrity Project members called out their volunteer force and asked them to report when they got the emails and calls in order to determine what areas were impacted so that they could provide volunteers in those areas to help. But despite the calls for help in finding poll workers, Paine’s volunteers were turned away and told the positions had already been filled.
Paine said the Election Integrity Project members documented June 7 Primary Election Day anomalies, and found disturbing, consistent patterns. “We believe the problem is the Secretary of State’s with Vote Cal system,” she said. “It’s the same problems all over the state.”
The Election Integrity Project is going to compare polling data in the counties with the statewide data, but they are required to purchase this data from every California County, as well as the data from the Secretary of State.
California’s Election Issues
Following the hanging chads incident in Florida in the 2000 presidential election, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002, which mandated sweeping reforms, including a statewide voter registration system that would eliminate ineligible voters.
But California failed to comply, and for 12 years was the only state that was still not compliant with the act. In 2014, newly elected Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced upon being elected that he planned to have California compliant within the year.
“In California, the attendants relied upon to watch the election system are failing its citizens,” the Election Integrity Project said in a 2014 report. Election watchers are now volunteers, trained by the Election Integrity Project to carefully monitor California’s elections to ensure that each vote is lawfully cast and accurately counted.
The 2014 report by Election Integrity Project found California’s election system had serious vulnerabilities, no centralized computerized system, no statewide voter registration list, poor National Voter Registration Act list maintenance, non-compliance with statutes protecting lawful voters, and suspected voting fraud.
The report also found key election officials were roadblocks to election integrity. “Whether this stems from negligence or design, or a misguided central focus on ‘voter experience,’ the result is the same: Corruption. The injury to lawful voters is patent.”
Katy Grimes is a regular contributor to FlashReport. Read more at http://www.flashreport.org/blog.
Congressman Ami Bera (CA-7) announced last week a major grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for upgrades to Mather Airport’s runways. The grant of $788,500 will be used to rehabilitate and upgrade the taxiway to FAA standards and to install runway lights along the taxiway. Congressman Bera was joined by Airport Director John Wheat and Airport Chief Administrative Officer for Planning and Development TJ Chen, and will discussed other ongoing projects to improve the safety and efficiency of the airport.
“This investment in Sacramento Mather Airport is great news for our community,” said Congressman Bera. “Improving the conditions of the runway and safety with lights is critical to attracting, maintaining, and expanding private investment and economic development in the area. Making our airport more convenient and efficient to passengers and businesses has a positive impact on our community and our economy.”
“Sacramento County is grateful of the efforts made by the Congressman to secure Federal funding from the FAA to improve the airfield at Mather Airport, which is a vital component of the aviation and cargo infrastructure for the Sacramento region,” said Airport Director John Wheat.
This grant will fund the rehabilitation of approximately 670 feet of the existing connector Taxiway B-North that is needed to maintain structural integrity of the pavement. It will also fund the installation of a new Taxiway B-North edge lighting system to enhance safe airfield operations during low visibility conditions.
A bill sponsored by the Board of Equalization (BOE) to streamline and simplify refunds on tax liabilities is now signed by the governor and will become law January 1, 2017. AB 1856, authored by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh helps taxpayers making installment payments by only requiring they file one claim for refund, rather than one for each installment payment they have made on a single liability.
“Running a business is challenging enough without having to keep track of multiple layers of paperwork,” said BOE and Legislative Committee Chairwoman Fiona Ma. “It is my goal and that of all our members to simplify and streamline our taxpayers’ dealings with government agencies so they can spend more time on achieving success in their business ventures.”
In several cases, BOE taxpayers have been barred by the statute of limitations from recovering all of the installment payments they made to the BOE, even though their tax debt was cancelled or reduced to an amount less than the total payments received—because they made payments after the original claim had been filed, but did not file additional claims to cover the later payments. The new law will allow taxpayers making installment payments to file a single claim for refund before the entire liability is paid in full.
For specific help, please contact the BOE at 1-800-400-7115.
Electric vehicle (EV) drivers have a new resource in the Sacramento region—a fast-charge station located immediately adjacent to the Interstate 80 freeway at 7825 Lichen Drive in Citrus Heights. The fast-charge station is just the second in the region to accommodate most types of EVs manufactured by foreign and domestic automakers, and it’s one of the first installed in the U.S. by a utility. SMUD installed the first electric vehicle fast charger in the region last year near at its headquarters at the 6200-block of S Street in Sacramento and plans to open more fast-charge stations in the coming years.
EV drivers will pay approximately $2 per “gallon” to charge up using the station—about 40 percent less than the current price of gasoline. By using technology that charges vehicles at 480 volts—four times that of a standard household outlet—fast-charge-capable vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Spark EV, BMW i3 and others can fill up about 80 percent of their batteries in 30 minutes or less.
“By installing another fast charger near a major freeway, we’re making it easier for EV drivers to travel farther from home and worry less about finding their next charge,” said Ralph Troute, electric vehicle project manager at SMUD. “In the time it takes to have a cup of coffee, drivers using our new station can hit the road with their vehicles’ batteries nearly topped off.”
SMUD has also offered special electric vehicle rates for home charging since 1993. Today when drivers charge with one of SMUD’s EV rates, they’ll pay around 60 cents equivalent per gallon when charging after midnight. Overall, drivers can save upwards of $1,800 per year by choosing an electric vehicle.
Environmental leadership is one of the SMUD Board of Directors’ core values, and this project is the most recent result of a 25-year effort by SMUD to improve local air quality by advancing clean alternative-fuel transportation and cleaner power sources. Funding for this station comes from the sale of carbon credits.
In October of 2015, Metro Fire received a grant for $467,116 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to hire three new Fire Inspectors to inspect over 800 residential care facilities in its jurisdiction. Under this grant, inspectors could also provide training to care facility staff in the proper use of fire extinguishers. Recognizing the value of this training, Metro Fire requested an amendment to the grant, which would allow our staff to offer this program to all our community members. FEMA recently approved the request, and Metro Fire is excited to announce that fire extinguisher training is now available, free of charge, to all the communities we serve.
“The questions we all need to ask ourselves: Do I know how to effectively use a fire extinguisher on a small fire? Will I recognize a situation where the priority needs to be exiting the house, instead of trying to put out a fire?” Metro Fire Marshal, Assistant Chief Greg Casentini states, “Most people have seen a fire extinguisher and have basic knowledge on its use, but there’s more to it than that. Knowing how to safely, quickly, and effectively use one, as well as when to evacuate immediately, are skills that may save your life, and they are key components in our community fire extinguisher training.”
Join Metro Fire at one of the training sessions listed below, and in just a few minutes, you will be better prepared to protect your family and your home.
Times and Locations for Community Fire Extinguisher Training:
Metro Fire Station 50
8880 Gerber Road, Sacramento 95828
July 30 from 10 am – 2 pm
Metro Fire Station 106
2200 Park Towne Circle, Sacramento 95825
July 30 from 10 am – noon
Around 10:30p.m. on July 23rd, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to the 2700 block of El Camino Avenue in the Arden area for smoke from a building. First arriving crews reported heavy smoke from a FlapJacks restaurant in a commercial strip mall.
Firefighters immediately began to force entry into the building, where they located a smoldering fire in the kitchen, which had spread to the false roof/attic area. The location of the fire created significant challenges for crews. Truck companies, both on the roof and inside the structure, coordinated closely with engine companies so the seat of the fire could be located and extinguished, while protecting adjacent businesses.
A second alarm was requested, bringing total units assigned to nine engines, six trucks, three medics, and multiple chief officers. With clear objectives, the more than 60 firefighters on scene contained the fire to the kitchen and false roof/attic area of FlapJacks, saving all other units in the strip mall. No firefighters or civilian injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
Annual bills for Sacramento County unsecured property taxes for fiscal year 2016-2017 will be mailed on July 22, 2016 and are payable without delinquent penalties through August, 31, 2016.
Unsecured property tax bills are mailed to all owners of unsecured property in July of each year. If you owned unsecured property in Sacramento County, such as a boat or aircraft, or if you leased or owned fixtures and equipment related to a business on January 1, 2016, and do not receive a tax bill by August 15, 2016, please contact the Sacramento County Tax Collector’s Unsecured Property Tax Unit at (916) 874-7833, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday excluding holidays.
NONRECEIPT OF A TAX BILL DOES NOT EXCUSE DELINQUENCY OR ALLOW THE TAX COLLECTOR TO CANCEL PENALTIES OR COLLECTION COSTS.
Tax bills become delinquent if not paid in the Tax Collector’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2016, or received by mail bearing a postmark of August 31, 2016.
If the tax bill is not paid by the delinquency date, a 10% penalty and collection cost will be added. DMV registration may be withheld on boats if unsecured property taxes are reported delinquent. If a tax bill remains unpaid after October 31, 2016, additional collection costs and monthly penalties at the rate of 1.5% will be added to the base tax.
Payments may be made by mail or in person at the County Tax Collector’s Office located at 700 “H” Street, Room 1710, Sacramento, CA 95814, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, holidays excluded.
Contact Info: Unsecured Tax Unit: 916-874-7833
The State Water Resources Control Board began public hearings on the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) request to add three new points of diversion for California WaterFix. The opening three days of the hearings began with policy statements from the Natural Resources Agency and U.S. Department of the Interior followed by public comment.
The questions before the Board, defined by the members themselves for Part I of the hearings, are narrow: Does the new point of diversion alter water flows or affect water quality such that there would be injury to any legal user of the water, and does the project in effect initiate a new water right? Part II of the hearing, expected to begin in early 2017, will address fish and wildlife, recreation, and other public trust issues.
DWR has presented evidence showing that the proposed change will neither initiate a new water right nor injure any other legal user of water. DWR’s testimony regarding its petition for change to its water right permit and the petition for the new points of diversion include these key points
WaterFix would create more flexibility to better balance water quality and water supply (and fish protection which will be discussed in Part II).
DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation do not seek a new or expanded water right or any modifications to the water quality standards upstream or downstream of the proposed diversion points.
DWR has a proven track record of meeting the Water Board’s Delta water quality standards and WaterFix would operate within the standards established by the Water Board. Meeting existing or future water quality standards would be easier with the flexibility provided by California WaterFix.
WaterFix will be operated in real-time. While modeling can perform an assessment of potential water operation effects, water project operators handle complex situations on a daily basis to stay in compliance with water quality standards.
Part I of the hearings is expected to take several months. For regular updates on the hearings, follow the new California WaterFix blog.
California has been dealing with the effects of drought for five years. To learn about all the actions the State has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at www.SaveOurWater.com.