Stone Sentinel: December 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On behalf of myself and my staff in Sacramento, Indio and Murrieta, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year and all the joy of the season.

It has been an honor to serve you in 2017 and I look forward to working with you to help make California great in 2018.

During the weeks of Christmas and New Years the computers in our offices are scheduled to be off-line the majority of the time while our systems are being upgraded. This will limit the ability of my staff to immediately respond to your requests.

I apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Our computers should be up and running at full speed when the New Year begins.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season and, as always, it is an honor to represent you in the California State Senate.

Happy New Year 2018

back to top

Holiday Spirit Fills the 28th Senate District

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in California and especially in Riverside County.

In mid-December, hundreds of people gathered at Senator Stone’s Holiday Open Houses in Indio and Murrieta to wish each other Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all the happiness of the season.

The Holiday Open House in Murrieta, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, drew several hundred people to the Murrieta Spectrum.

Senator Stone and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez

Local vendors supplied food and beverages and many of those attending brought donations to help out the California Highway Patrol Toy Drive and clothing items to be distributed to area charities.

Murrieta Spectrum filled with visitors of the holiday open house

Thanks to all who came out to meet the Senator and the Assemblywoman and for your kindness and generosity. Special thanks to the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce.

In Indio many friends and supporters crowded into the Senator’s District Office on Smurr Street to celebrate the holidays and meet the Senator.

Another image from the Holiday Open House

Donations of gift cards and other items were collected to benefit foster children in the Coachella Valley.

Senator Stone at the Holiday Open House

Thanks to all who came to visit and support the Senator.

back to top

Senator Stone to Introduce Broad-Based Tax Reform Proposal

Tax Reform buttons

In January Senator Stone will propose legislation to help hard-working middle class families in anticipation of changes in federal tax law.

The key provisions of Senator Stone’s legislation—called the Saving the Middle class Against Rising Taxes (SMART) Act—potentially include the following:

Senator Stone discussed the SMART Act on The Phil Cowan Show on AM 1380 Sacramento. Listen to the interview here: https://stone.cssrc.us/content/senator-stone-was-guest-phil-cowan-show-am-1380-sacramento

First, a tightening of state residency requirements that permit people who live in California for nearly half of the year to avoid paying a fair share of California taxes by claiming they reside in another state with substantially lower income tax rates;

Second, an elimination of special-interest tax loopholes and tax credits such as California’s Film and TV Tax Credit that lowers taxes for super-wealthy individuals like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others who have made recent headlines for their unspeakable abuses; and

Third, Senator Stone will propose reducing California’s income tax rates to provide relief for middle to low income families.

“Too many families have to choose between putting food on their tables and paying the higher taxes our Legislature has passed. We have higher gas taxes. We have higher car taxes. Our income taxes have been increased. And now legislators are talking about taxing us for every mile we drive. It’s a death by a thousand cuts, and our families can’t afford to pay any more. By lowering tax rates at the state level, the SMART Act will ensure Californians don’t see their taxes go up even more than they already have,” said Senator Stone.

“It’s just plain wrong to ask hard working middle class families to pay more while we continue to give huge handouts to the super-rich in Hollywood like Harvey Weinstein. It’s equally wrong to ask a struggling family to pay more when residency rules too often allow those who spend months using our roads and living in our communities to avoid paying a reasonable share of taxes,” continued Stone.

“In recent years, we’ve seen our taxes go up by billions of dollars, and the good thing about the federal tax debate has been to highlight the absurdity of California’s outrageously high state tax burden. The SMART Act is a way to finally help middle class families get a little fairness out of Sacramento,” added Stone.

Senator Stone will be officially introducing the legislation early next year when the Legislature reconvenes.

“The SMART Act is fair. It’s right. And it provides real middle class tax relief for hard working Californians. If we’re serious about revenue-neutral tax reform, the smart thing to do is pass the SMART Act,” concluded Senator Stone.

back to top

Senator Stone welcomes Senate Fellow to his Sacramento office

Army veteran joins the Capitol staff

Nicolas Gauthier

Senator Stone is proud to announce the addition of Nicolas Gauthier, a California Senate Fellow, to his staff for the coming year.

Nicolas, who is from Grass Valley, served 10 years in the Unites States Army including tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate of William Jessup University earning a double major in both History and Public Policy.

“We are honored to welcome Nic to our team and to the Sacramento office,” said Senator Stone. “We salute his service to our nation and look forward to working alongside him to serve the people of the 28th Senate District.”

The California Senate Fellow program provides college graduates an opportunity to become full-time Senate staff members at the state Capitol in Sacramento. Fellows are assigned to the personal or committee staff of a Senator and also participate in academic seminars with Senators, senior staff, journalists, lobbyists, and state government officials. The fellowship program is jointly operated by the California Senate and the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State University.

back to top

Senator Stone announces availability of Senate fellowships

California State Fellows brochures

Senator Stone announced the availability of applications for the 2018-19 California Senate Fellows program.

The program provides college graduates an opportunity to become full-time Senate staff members at the state Capitol in Sacramento for 11 months beginning in October 2018. Fellows are assigned to the personal or committee staff of a Senator and also participate in academic seminars with Senators, senior staff, journalists, lobbyists, and state government officials. The fellowship program is jointly operated by the California Senate and the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State University.

Fellows are paid a stipend of $2,627 per month plus health, vision, and dental benefits. They earn 6 units of graduate credit from Sacramento State for the academic portion of the program.

“Being a Fellow provides an excellent opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the legislative process,” said Senator Stone. “Whether your career goals are in the public or private sector, the Senate Fellows program provides valuable training.”

Former Senate Fellows include current members of Congress and the California Legislature, judges, and numerous other elected officials and community leaders.

State Capitol Building

Senator Stone said Fellows experience the broad range of activities conducted in busy Senate offices. Responsibilities include researching public policy issues, helping develop legislative proposals, analyzing and staffing legislation, assisting with constituent inquiries and casework, participating in meetings as the Senator’s representative, writing press releases and speeches, and performing other delegated tasks. A five-week orientation at the beginning of the program provides background on state government, the legislative process, and major policy issues.

Anyone who will be at least 20 years of age and a graduate of a four-year college or university by September 1, 2018, is eligible to apply. There is no preferred major. Individuals with advanced degrees and those in mid-career are encouraged to apply.

back to top

“There Ought to Be a Law” competition deadline extended

There ought to be a law - Senator Stone encourages high school students to propose NEW legislation

The deadline for this year’s “There Ought to Be a Law” competition has been extend until December 22nd.

“We have gotten so many excellent entries, that I’m looking forward to seeing what other great ideas might come in during the next few weeks,” Senator Stone said.

“There Ought to Be a Law” is open to all high school students—grades 9-12—in the 28th Senate District. The contest encourages students to submit ideas for improving the quality of life in Riverside County and the State of California.

You can download an entry form or fill out the form on-line at the Senator’s website: www.Senate.CA.Gov/Stone.

“I will choose at least one of the entries and begin the process of creating legislation to be considered by the California Senate and Assembly and, hopefully, signed by the Governor,” Senator Stone said.

In early 2018 Senator Stone will visit the school of the author of the winning entry to further discuss details of the legislation.

The winner and a parent will be invited to Sacramento to testify on behalf of their proposed legislation.

High school principals, teachers and staff can contact John Hunneman, Senator Stone’s communications director, for additional information. Email him at john.hunneman@sen.ca.gov or call him at 951-894-3530.

back to top

Senator Stone names BMW Management, owners of Sizzler Restaurants, Large Business of the Year

Senator Stone presenting a Senate Resolution

Senator Stone presented his 2017 Large Business of the Year Award to BMW Management, owners and operators of Sizzler restaurants in the 28th Senate District and across California.

“It is an honor to present this award to Gary and Sally Myers and BMW Management for all they have done for more than 34 years in our community,” said Senator Stone. “Their commitment to their customers and to the people of the 28th District is a fine example of how to be the best in business.”

In 1983, Gary and Sally moved to Temecula and decided to take a chance and open their first Sizzler restaurant on Jefferson Avenue.

At that time, the population of Southwest Riverside County was less than 15,000 people and Temecula had only three small restaurants.

Within five years, BMW management opened new Sizzler restaurants in Moreno Valley, Fallbrook, Banning and Lake Elsinore.

These days, BMW management operates nearly two dozen Sizzler restaurants from Sacramento to San Diego.

The company employs over 1,000 people, many of them 10 to 15 year veterans.

The Myers are committed to their family business and are passionate about the hospitality industry.

The company has been recognized numerous times for their commitment to the communities they serve.

Sally Myers was named Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1998. The Lake Elsinore Sizzler was named Business of the Year in 2002.

In 2013 they were awarded the Spirit of the Entrepreneur ‘Best of the Best’ Award by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino, which recognizes the top businesses in the Inland Empire.

This year marks the 26th anniversary of the Student of the Month program which was founded by Sally Myers in Temecula in 1991. The program has since expanded to include school districts in Murrieta, Lake Elsinore and Perris/Menifee. It has also been modeled by other school districts across Riverside County.

back to top

Senator Stone names The Mill his 2017 Small Business of the Year

Senator Stone presenting a Senate Resolution

Senator Stone presented his 2017 Small Business of the Year Award to The Mill restaurant of Murrieta, and owners Linda Westfall and Adam Bouvet.

“Since opening more than two decades ago in Downtown Murrieta, The Mill has been Murrieta’s hometown restaurant,” said Senator Stone. “In addition, their charitable efforts have supported hundreds of events over the years and contributed greatly to the quality of life in Southwest Riverside County.”

In 1996, when Linda and Dirk Westfall decided to open The Mill, there was very little commercial activity in the community’s historic district.

Their success over two decades has helped convince other restaurants and businesses to open in area making the historic district a much desired location to visit, eat, and shop.

The first person the Westfalls hired in 1996 was Adam Bouvet to help them oversee the operation. Dirk Westfall became a mentor to Bouvet, and the two men became close friends and partners in the restaurant’s ownership.

When Dirk Westfall died unexpectedly in 2009, Adam Bouvet and Linda Westfall continued to embody his spirit of community service and charity.

Restaurant staff at The Mill becomes part of the family. In fact, several of the staff have married over the years and started families of their own.

The Mill celebrates Murrieta’s rich history. The restaurant is named for the century-old elevated grain mill on the city’s west side that served farmers from across the region for decades.

The restaurant’s walls are filled with photographs of the mill, a reminder of the once small community that is now home to more than 115,000 people.

The Mill is known by many of its loyal customers is “the place where Murrieta comes home.”

Over two decades The Mill has received numerous awards and commendations for their charitable efforts.

In 2016 Adam Bouvet was named Citizen of the Year by the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce.

Last holiday season Senator Stone and The Mill teamed up for their first annual “sock drive” to help the needy in our community. Collection boxes were places throughout the community and more than 1,000 pairs of new socks were donated and distributed across Southern California.

back to top

Jeff in the District

With the California State legislature adjourned for the year, Senator Stone has been spending his time traveling across the 28th Senate District, meeting with families and farmers, community leaders, veterans, school groups and business owners.

Here’s a look at some of the places the Senator has visited recently:

Senator Stone joined with Senator Richard Roth to present a Joint Legislative Resolution to John Rossi, General Manager of Western Municipal Water District

Senator Stone joined with Senator Richard Roth to present a Joint Legislative Resolution to John Rossi, General Manager of Western Municipal Water District, to mark his retirement.

Senator Stone was honored to speak to the students at the California Desert Trial Academy

Senator Stone was honored to speak to the students at the California Desert Trial Academy in Indio. It’s wonderful to see these great minds at work.

Senator Stone at the 12th Annual Christmas Party for VFW Post 3699

Senator Stone was honored to attend the VFW Post 3699 & Auxiliary 12th Annual Christmas Party on December 9th in Indio. A special thanks to all our veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice for our nation.

Senator Stone was the guest speaker at the December Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast

Senator Stone was the guest speaker at the December Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast. The Senator offered a report on the past year in Sacramento and a look ahead to what’s coming in 2018. He also took a group photo with the chamber staff that does such an outstanding job.

Senator Stone touring the Sierra Aluminum Company

Senator Stone toured the Sierra Aluminum Company in Riverside. The company employs more than 600 people across the Inland Empire manufacturing for some of the top names in residential and commercial construction and others.

Senator Stone attended the ribbon cutting for the new building of technology manufacturers in Indio with Quadro Specialty Environmental

Senator Stone attended the ribbon cutting for the new building of technology manufacturers in Indio with Quadro Specialty Environmental.

Senator Stone addressed the Murrieta/Temecula Group during their monthly breakfast at Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula

Senator Stone addressed the Murrieta/Temecula Group during their monthly breakfast at Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula. The group is made up of local officials, business leaders and community supporters. The Senator spoke about the past year in Sacramento and what is likely to take place in 2018.

Senator Stone attended the grand opening of the new location of Temecula Weddings and Events on Jefferson Avenue in Temecula

Senator Stone attended the grand opening of the new location of Temecula Weddings and Events on Jefferson Avenue in Temecula.

back to top

Team Stone on the Move

Every month Team Stone travels across Riverside County attending events, meeting with constituents and listening to business owners, local officials and the hard working people of the 28th Senate District.

Here are just a few of the places Senator Stone’s staff visited recently:

Team Stone joined in the celebration in Lake Elsinore for the dedication of the new offices for the city’s Community Services Department

Team Stone joined in the celebration in Lake Elsinore for the dedication of the new offices for the city’s Community Services Department. District Representative Darrell Connerton congratulated Mayor Bob Magee on behalf of Senator Stone.

Team Stone attended the Student of the Month breakfast

Team Stone always enjoys beginning the day at a Student of the Month breakfast. District Representative Debbie Herrera presented certificates from Senator Stone to these great Temecula students.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting for Mind Massage Spas

Senator Stone’s District Representative Darrell Connerton joined with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting for Mind Massage Spas on Temecula Parkway.

Team Stone with the student of the month winners at the awards breakfast

Team Stone always enjoys starting the day at the Student of the Month awards breakfast at Sizzler in Murrieta. Communications Director John Hunneman presented certificates to these outstanding Murrieta high school seniors shown here with their proud parents.

Team Stone helped the Murrieta Arts Council celebrate their 2nd anniversary at the Murrieta Public Library

Team Stone helped the Murrieta Arts Council celebrate their 2nd anniversary at the Murrieta Public Library. Communications Director John Hunneman presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the Lake Elsinore Student of the Month luncheon

District Representative Darrell Connerton always enjoys attending the Lake Elsinore Student of the Month luncheon at Lakeside High School. These students are doing great things now and the future looks even better.

Team Stone was honored to attend the Student of the Month program for Palm Desert High School sponsored by the Palm Desert Optimist Club

Team Stone was honored to attend the Student of the Month program for Palm Desert High School sponsored by the Palm Desert Optimist Club. District Representative Monica Idnani presented certificates on behalf of Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Plunder Design, a jewelry company owned by Catherine Hamer(pictured)

Team Stone joined the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Plunder Design, a jewelry company owned by Catherine Hamer. District Representative Debbie Herrera presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

back to top