A Holiday message from Senator Stone
It is a simple word, and in today’s complicated world that involves terrorists and criminals killing innocent men, women and children; hope is a word that regrettably seems foreign to many at this time of year.
Over the past months, we have been subjected to terrorists who murdered 14 innocent people in San Bernardino. The firebombing of a Mosque in Coachella sent shockwaves throughout our community. The leader of Equality California passed away after being viciously attacked for no other reason than being with his husband in Palm Springs. Add to this the bombings in Paris, and sometimes it seems the world is out of control.
This should be a time of peace. It is supposed to be a time when we come together to celebrate the joys that life has to offer. It should be a time we should feel safe and secure in our homes and our communities. Christians, Jews and Muslims all revere this season as a Holy time where people should be coming together instead of being pulled apart.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where terrorists and people with evil in their hearts seek to destroy all that is good in our society. I, for one, choose not to yield to those who seek to destroy the best our country has to offer.
Luckily, I am not alone in my belief that we can do better as a nation.
When two terrorists with ties to ISIS killed 14 innocent victims in San Bernardino and wounded 21 more, I witnessed firsthand how our dedicated public safety officials responded. What I saw that terrible day gave me hope that we can defeat the evil that seems so prevalent in our society.
When I arrived on the scene of the carnage there was a unified public safety response system in place that came about because the hard work and cooperation of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
What I saw gave me the hope that, while tragic, the rapid response that came about because of training and protocols put in place after 9-11 saved lives and prevented even more devastation to local families and innocent victims.
As we get close to Christmas, I am hopeful we can come together to denounce violence and call for peace among all people. All religions share a common belief that human life is sacred and the killing of innocent victims should never be condoned.
During this time of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, we need to come together as Americans to figure out how we can together walk the line of peace and tolerance.
Our people – and our children – deserve to live in a world where they feel safe and secure in their homes. They deserve to worship how they desire. And they should believe that their government is there to protect them without respect to their religion, sexual orientation or political persuasion.
Hopefully, my discussion with religious leaders from all faiths will lead us to a sense of understanding in what appears to be a chaotic world. I still have hope for us all, and I hope that everybody has a peaceful and joyous holiday season.
The holiday season has been a busy one for Senator Stone and his staff. The people of the 28th District are so very generous and it was such a joy to take part in so many events that benefit our communities.
Senator Stone held a Holiday Open House in the Indio office which gave him the chance to meet with some of the wonderful people of the Coachella Valley.
Those attending dropped off toys and food for the FIND Food Bank which serves 90,000 people each month across the region.
La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans was among those who attended the open house.
The Senator and the staff at the District Office in Indio wish you the best for the Holiday Season and a great New Year.
The Murrieta Chamber of Commerce hosted the first annual Jeff’s Elves Fostering Families luncheon. Participants took an ornament from the tree and donated a gift to the children of Rancho Damacitas, which has done great work for Foster children in Riverside County for decades.
Thanks to the Murrieta Chamber for having the tree in their office.
Hundreds of presents were brought to the Chamber office.
About 60 people attended the luncheon.
The Senator wore his best “Elf” attire
Thanks to all who attended and helped make the holidays bright for some local children.
Senator Stone and the staff at the Southwest District Office in Murrieta wish you the best for the coming year.
Senator Stone urged all Americans to pause and remember the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which took place on December 7, 1941.
More than 2,400 soldiers, sailors and Marines were killed during the Japanese sneak attack that led to the United States entrance into World War II.
On that day, more than 400 sailors and Marines from the USS Oklahoma were killed when their battleship capsized. Only 35 of those men were ever positively identified.
Casualties on the USS Oklahoma were second only to those of the USS Arizona, which lost 1,177 men.
Following the war, the unidentified remains of 388 killed aboard the USS Oklahoma were buried in 61 caskets – many containing multiple remains – at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
The marker on each grave read simply: UNKNOWNS – USS Oklahoma – Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941.
Earlier this year, the Defense Department agency responsible for discovering and identifying the remains of fallen American military members -- anywhere in the world -- began the painstaking work to dis-inter the caskets from the cemetery.
In mid-November the last of those caskets was removed, and the remains were transferred to laboratories where; using modern scientific methods, the effort to identify each service member is underway.
Recently, at least seven of these “Unknowns” have been identified. Officials say it may take years to identify most or all of the remains.
This year, 74 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the effort to identify those who died that day and return them to their families, says so much about who we are as Americans, and the respect we have for those who served and continue to serve our great nation.
I applaud that effort and urge you all to “Remember Pearl Harbor.”
Thanks to the dozens of high school students across the 28th District who entered our first annual “There Ought to Be a Law” competition. The deadline to enter was November 30th.
Senator Stone and his legislative team are going over each entry in an effort to pick at least one – and probably several – of the proposed laws to introduce during the upcoming session.
The Senator will also visit the high school of the winning entry or entries in the Spring to meet the winners.
Watch Senator Stone’s website -- stone.cssrc.us -- and follow him on Facebook – www.facebook.com/SenatorJeffStone -- and Twitter -- @SenJeffStone -- to watch for the winning entries and follow the legislation’s progress.
During October and November Senator Stone spent a good deal of time travelling across Riverside County meeting with people, listening to their ideas and letting them know about the past year in Sacramento and his plans for 2016.
Here are just a few of the stops the Senator has made recently.
To learn more, follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SenatorStone and on Twitter @SenJeffStone.
Senator Stone met with officials from the Metropolitan Water District to discuss expanding recreational opportunities at Diamond Valley Lake to bring tourists and jobs to the region. The Senator, along with Hemet City Councilwoman Linda Krupa and MWD Board Chairman Randy Record, took a helicopter tour of the lake and the surrounding region to learn more about the opportunities this wonderful resource brings to the community.
Parades and festivals are a great part of the holiday season and Senator Stone participated in several throughout the 28th District this month.
The Holiday Electric Light Parade always draws thousands of people to Old Town Temecula
The Senator joined with about 125,000 people who enjoyed the annual Indio Tamale Festival.
Senator Stone met with Mayor Pro Tem Joe McKee, Grand Marshal Jack Webb and Mayor Scott Matas before the Desert Hot Springs Holiday Parade
As they do each month, members of the Senator’s Staff - Team Stone - are on the move across Riverside County representing the Senator at many events. Here are just a few of the places they visited in the past month.
Team Stone was honored to be part of the ground breaking for the expansion of the Pechanga Resort & Casino. The project will add a 568-room Four-Diamond hotel wing, meeting space and much more. It will also bring thousands of jobs to the region. Senator Stone's Southwest District Director Maryann Edwards spoke at the event and presented a certificate from Senator Stone.
Team Stone was on Santa patrol in Murrieta. For more than two decades during the holiday season, Santa has traveled the streets of the city, stopping to greet children, pose for pictures and hear Christmas wishes. Along the way canned goods are collected for the local food bank. Senator Stone's Communications Director John Hunneman has been a "Murrieta Santa" for 15 years.
Team Stone was on hand in Murrieta for the ribbon cutting for the first Dunkin' Donuts in Riverside County. District Representative Debbie Herrera presented the franchise owners with a certificate welcoming the business to both Murrieta and the 28th District.
Team Stone helped celebrate the new ownership and golf course opening of the Indio Springs Golf Club with the La Quinta and Indio Chamber of Commerce. Glenn Miller, District Director for Senator Stone, presented a certificate to Head Professional Corey Milbrant and General Manager Joe Simmons.
Team Stone and the California State Senate honored Ruthanne Taylor Berger on her retirement as the Deputy Executive Director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments. Maryann Edwards, the Senator's Southwest District Director, presented Taylor Berger with a Senate Resolution for her decades of service to the people of Riverside County.