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California Capitol Hill Bulletin



Volume 5, Bulletin 37 -- November 19, 1998

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
Bipartisan California Congressional Delegation Urges Selection of San Diego As WTO Host City
Farr to Lead California Democrats as Roybal-Allard Moves to Chair of Hispanic Caucus; Lewis Likely to Remain Lead California Republican
Congress Selects Party Leadership; Makes Committee Progress
Rep.-Elect Napolitano Addresses Californians
FEMA Money To Help California Homeowners Hit by Disaster
Aerospace and Defense Transformation in Southern California
Joint Venture Silicon Valley Releases Silicon Valley 2010 Report
High Home Sales and Median Price



To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic faxed bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill which directly impacts our state. Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods. The e-mail edition is made possible in part by in kind donations from Sun Microsystems and QUALCOMM, Inc.

Bipartisan California Congressional Delegation Urges Selection of San Diego As WTO Host City

A bipartisan group of 30 members of the California Congressional Delegation (15 Republicans and 15 Democrats) wrote President Clinton on November 10 to urge that San Diego be selected as the host city for the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. The letter was circulated by delegation heads Rep. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Los Angeles), as well as Reps. Brian Bilbray and Bob Filner of San Diego.

The letter points out California's significant role in U.S. trade and San Diego's successful history hosting such events as this year's World Series, Super Bowl XXXII, and the 1996 Republican National Convention.

San Diego had previously been identified as one of six U.S. cities under consideration for the conference. See, Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 36 (11/5/98). Last week, San Diego Mayor Susan Golding hosted selection committee representatives on their visit to the city, continuing her efforts to secure the honor for San Diego. The selection committee will now narrow the list of cities to three, and is expected to make its final decision before Thanksgiving.

The letter's authors urged other members who wish to encourage the Administration to select San Diego to communicate their feelings as soon as possible.
 

Farr to Lead California Democrats as Roybal-Allard Moves to Chair of Hispanic Caucus; Lewis Likely to Remain Lead California Republican

On Monday, Rep. Sam Farr (Carmel) was elected chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation for the 106th Congress. He will replacing Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Los Angeles) whose responsibilities as incoming chair of the Hispanic Caucus will consume increasingly more of her time. Rep. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) will retain his chairmanship of the California Republicans.

Farr has expressed his interest continuing to reach across the aisle to further bipartisan goals, linking state and local government with federal lawmakers, and working with the California Institute, California State Society, and others in the public and private sectors to help the state "recognize its rightful place and continue to lead the nation in economic growth and environmental protection."
 

Congress Selects Party Leadership; Makes Committee Progress

Members of Congress from both parties met in Washington this week to elected their party leadership. The leadership and membership of committees took shape as well, though differences regarding the two parties' numeric ratios on committees has slowed assignments as Democrats push for additional seats. (The following supplements the detailed discussion in our last bulletin regarding committee membership.)
 

House Republicans

House Republicans will nominate Robert L. Livingston (LA) to replace Newt Gingrich (GA) as Speaker of the House when the 106th Congress convenes on January 6. California Rep. Ron Packard (Oceanside) is heading Livingston's transition team. Rep. Dick Armey (TX) retained his majority leader post, and Rep. Tom DeLay (TX) was unopposed for re-election as majority whip. Rep. J.C. Watts (OK) is the newly elected chairman of the House Republican Conference. California Rep. Christopher Cox (Newport Beach) remains the chair of the policy committee, the 5th ranking Republican leadership post

With Rep. C.W. Bill Young replacing Livingston as Chair of the Appropriations Committee, California Rep. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) is expected move up to the chairmanship of Young's National Security subcommittee. Among the contenders for the chairmanship of the Energy and Water Subcommittee, vacated by retiring Rep. Joseph McDade (PA), is California's Ron Packard (Oceanside), who currently chairs the Military Construction panel.

The House Republican Steering Committee began meeting today, and was expected to select Republican committee memberships and chairmanships by the end of the week.
 

House Democrats

House Democrats re-elected Reps. Richard Gephardt (MO) as minority leader and David Bonior remains minority whip. Replacing California Rep. Vic Fazio as chair of the House Democratic Caucus will be Rep. Martin Frost (TX), and Democrats elected Robert Menendez (NJ) as vice-chair.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) with be led by three co-chairs, including one Californian: Ellen Tauscher (Pleasanton) will direct member participation, Charles Rangel (NY) will head up efforts to promote voter participation and Frank Pallone (NJ) will handle finances. Rep. Barbara Lee (Oakland) will be one of two regional whips for Region 2, including Northern California, Hawaii, American Samoa, and Guam, while Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (Carson) will continue her service as regional whip Region 1, which includes Southern California and several southwestern states.

Left vacant for now is the ranking Democrat's seat on the Select Intelligence Committee that is expected to be vacated by Norm Dicks (WA), with the replacement chosen by the minority leader. One prospect is Julian Dixon (Los Angeles) unless he is named Appropriations subcommittee ranking member; if Alan Mollohan (WV) were to change to the VA-HUD subcommittee, Dixon could take the ranking position on Commerce-Justice-State.
 

Rep.-Elect Napolitano Addresses Californians

The California Institute and the California State Society co-hosted a breakfast on Thursday featuring Rep.-elect Grace Napolitano, at the offices of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld. Ms. Napolitano was just elected to replace Rep. Esteban Torres in the 34th District, covering portions of southeastern Los Angeles County.

Rep.-elect Napolitano stated that two of her major issues this coming year will be Social Security and international trade. Stressing the importance of public service to her working class district, Rep.-elect Napolitano emphasized the need for a bipartisan dialog on the best way to preserve Social Security.

She also served as Chair of the International Trade and Development Committee in the State Assembly and has been a leading proponent of expanding trade opportunities for California companies. Again, she hopes that greater bipartisanship will help resolve the impasse over fast-track legislation, and will work with her labor colleagues to encourage their involvement in finding a mutually-acceptable solution.

Rep.-elect Napolitano stated that she has requested assignment to the Commerce Committee, though she has also indicated her interest in the Transportation, Resources, International Relations, and/or Small Business Committees.
 

FEMA Money To Help California Homeowners Hit by Disaster

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $22 million in grants to California homeowners victimized by last winter's El Niño landslides. The money will be used by local governments to pay the owners the pre-damage value of the property destroyed by landslides, up to a cap of $240,000. The victims will move to safer areas and the land converted to open space.

The grants include: $3.4 million to Sonoma County to purchase 44 properties; $2.6 million for San Mateo County for 23 homes; and $1.9 million to Santa Cruz County for 10 homes. With California's high cost of housing, however, the $240,000 federal cap may not be enough in some cases to fully reimburse the owner. Nevertheless, the grants are expected to help significantly.
 

Aerospace and Defense Transformation in Southern California

The Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance (LARTA), the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and A.T. Kearney recently published a report entitled "Beyond Consolidation" on the continuing transformation of Aerospace and Defense (A&D) in Southern California. The study was a follow-up to a study the collaboration performed in 1993 on the A&D industry. The study is an integration of available research and results of a survey done of A&D industry executives.

The A&D industries in California have changed dramatically over the past ten years, and while 55 percent of aerospace jobs in Southern California were eliminated in the late 1980s, A&D remains second only to entertainment as the leading industry in the region in terms of payroll (excluding services and agriculture). But, the report argues, Southern California is no longer the leading region nationally for manufacturing traditional, large aerospace platforms; and subsequently, many influential industry decision-makers are no longer Californians. The industry has had a rapid convergence with other information driven industries.

The report outlines many challenges ahead for California in maintaining a vital A&D industry. California is a less competitive place than other states in which to do business. The authors also believe that continued consolidation, completion of a significant percentage of existing large programs, and a lack of new programs coming into the Southern California region will lead to further erosion of jobs in the A&D sector.

Still there are several growth prospects for A&D in California, particularly in commercial space, defense electronics and entertainment related technology. The report states progress has been made with respect to policy development in this area but there is a need for further strategic focus, and California's economic development initiatives fall short of those offered by other states.

The report recommends that a California aerospace and defense coalition be formed. It also recommends that the focus be on high-technology and high-growth sectors of the industry. Protection of the larger base of smaller suppliers in the region is listed as a priority. To support local companies efforts in growth areas, the report states policy recommendations should focus on: providing business transition assistance; encouraging flexible business networks for suppliers; and providing financial assistance to assist those smaller suppliers that are making the transition into new markets.

The authors conclude that by "instituting a cohesive industry and public sector partnership that focuses on select strategic priorities, we set forth a model by which California can achieve and maintain world leadership in high-technology, high value-added sectors of the aerospace and defense industry."

For copies of the report, A.T. Kearney can be reached at (714)445-6800, or through its website at http://www.atkearney.com. Websites for the other report partners are http://www.larta.org for LARTA, and http://www.laedc.com for the LAEDC.
 

Joint Venture Silicon Valley Releases Silicon Valley 2010 Report

The Joint Venture Silicon Valley (JVSV) Network recently released its Silicon Valley 2010 report, outlining its vision of the future for Silicon Valley. JVSV is a nonprofit regional collaborative established to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in Silicon Valley. It initiated a Vision Leadership Team (VLT) representative of the area's racial, age, gender, geographic, and political diversity to survey the future needs of the Valley.

The VLT surveyed more than 2,000 residents to determine strategies for enhancing the Valley's prosperity and quality of life, and shaping its future. Goals for the Valley in 2010 were established, including: protecting and improving the Valley's environment; overcoming transportation barriers; and improving educational opportunities. The report also encourages increased involvement in the Silicon Valley's civic network.

Copies of the report can be obtained on JVSV's website at: http://www.jointventure.org.
 

High Home Sales and Median Price

The California Association of Realtors and Transamerica Intellitech reported on Monday that California home sales and the median home price hit the highest levels on record in the third quarter of 1998. The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during this period was $206,900, the highest quarter on record and up 9 percent from $189,820 a year ago. The median condo sale price was $155,430, up 8.6 percent from the year before.

The five cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during the third quarter of 1998 were: Hillsborough, $1,268,000; Atherton, $1,200,000; Monte Sereno, $995,000; Woodside, $995,000; and Saratoga, at $795,000. Overall, eighty-four percent of California cities and communities showed an increase in median home prices for this time period. The California cities and communities with the largest annual increase in median home prices were Altadena, Palm Springs, Gilroy, and Sherman Oaks. Additionally, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego and Orange County posted double-digit increases in the median home prices.

Sales of single-family detached homes in California rose 13.2 percent between the third quarter of 1997 and 1998. Condo sales rose 22.4 percent in the same time period. Palm Spring, High Desert, Orange County, Central Valley and Ventura all reported increases in sales activity over 15% from the previous year.

For more information see the California Association of Realtors at: http://www.car.org.

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