From the daily archives: Monday, June 7, 2010

Targets Thousands Impacted By Closure of NUMMI Auto Plant

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today applauded that more than $19 million in Regional Federal National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds will be directed toward assisting more than 31,000 total workers from six counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Solano and Stanislaus) who have been affected by to the plant shutdown.

“Thanks to this much-needed Recovery Act funding, we can provide emergency assistance to those impacted by the NUMMI factory closure,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I thank Secretary Solis for expediting the application and the Department of Labor for granting the funds, which will help displaced workers transition to new opportunities.”

In September 2009, NUMMI announced the impending closure of its plant in Fremont.  The State submitted a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition for the NUMMI employees on November 3, 2009 and the plant was TAA certified a little more than two weeks later on November 19, 2009. On March 4th, 2010 the State submitted the NEG for $33 million.

“I am proud of the State’s coordinated response to the NUMMI plant closure,” said Victoria Bradshaw, Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. “This federal money will go a long way to help employees affected by the NUMMI closure acquire the skills they will need in order to compete in the 21st century.”

The NUMMI Blue Team was created to develop a plan to deal with the impact from the NUMMI plant closure. The Blue Team is composed of a variety of entities from both the public and private sector, including the Employment Development Department, TAA, Unemployment Insurance representatives of the seven most impacted local workforce investment areas and the Department of Labor.

This grant will leverage Wagner-Peyser, TAA and local Workforce Investment Area resources to provide a variety of purposes: outreach, recruiting,  testing, assessment, transferable skills analysis, resume writing, job search workshops, job clubs, basic/remedial education, individual employment plans, career counseling, job placement, on-the-job training, classroom training, occupational or vocational skills training, marketing, in-depth supportive services, stress counseling, post placement follow-up, and other services as deemed necessary. Project operators will be managed by Alameda County Workforce Investment Board, Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board, San Joaquin County Employment and Economic Development Department, Silicon Valley Workforce Investment Network, Stanislaus Alliance Worknet and Workforce Investment Board of Solano County.

These basic services will be provided through a multitude of places, including One-Stop Career Centers, the Labor Employment and Training Corporation and Chabot College Career Transition Services. Business outreach, recruitment and marketing services will also be provided.  Participants can be co-enrolled in TAA and NEG grant funds.

Recently, Governor Schwarzenegger joined President and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Motors Elon Musk and Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado to announce an historic new partnership between the automotive companies that will benefit California’s economy and environment. Toyota announced it will invest $50 million in Tesla Motors and will partner with Tesla to manufacture electric vehicles (EVs). Additionally, Tesla announced that it will acquire the NUMMI plant in Fremont and begin production of its Model S EV in 2012,which could create more than 1,000 jobs in California.

Governor Schwarzenegger created the California Recovery Task Force to track the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding coming into the state; work with President Barack Obama’s administration; help cities, counties, non-profits, and others access the available funding; ensure that the funding funneled through the state is spent efficiently and effectively; and maintain a Web site (www.recovery.ca.gov) that is frequently and thoroughly updated for Californians to be able to track the stimulus dollars.

 

By Mario Conde

The annual Border Governor’s conference is in a danger of not happening now thanks to a boycott to Arizona made against the SB1070 anti-immigration bill.

The 2010 Border Governor’s conference is set to take place in Phoenix, Arizona next month but since the approval of the controversial Arizona Bill most of the Mexican Governors have expressed that they will not attend if the conference is held in Phoenix.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has stated that he will not attend the conference if indeed the event will happen in Arizona. Last year the border governor’s conference in Monterrey, Mexico was attended by very few governors.

The conference board is still analyzing if they are going to move the event to California or New Mexico. Governor Jen Brewer sent a letter to Baja California Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan and invited him to attend the conference. Governor Osuna already replied to Brewer stating that as vice-president of the board, he will not attend the conference if it’s held in Phoenix as a matter of protest for the passing of this law that violates human rights, Osuna said.

Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) said in a press release that he is sponsoring a resolution where they asked Major League Baseball that they move the scheduled 2011 All-Star Game that is going to take place in Phoenix to another city.

“We are asking the Major Leagues to look for another venue and not to held that important game in Arizona due to the passing of that immigration law.” Filner said.

Filner also stated that MLB has a philosophy of tolerance and diversity  and asked that the game be held in another place and also to take stance against the unjust law of Arizona.

 

By Mario Conde

The Mexican Consul in Calexico, Pablo Arnaud, stepped down from his position in Calexico this past week after five years of serving Calexico.

Consul Pablo Arnaud said that in the five years he was in Calexico he built excellent relationships with the Sheriff Department as well as the other County agencies, as well as the elected officials of the Imperial Valley. Consul Arnaud received recognition from the Calexico City Council and Mayor David Ouzan for his support in making the relationship with Mexicali stronger during his term in the border city.

Arnaud highlighted that in his five years there were no violations of human rights against Mexican immigrants from the Border Patrol. The former Consul said that the consulate improved its customer service and now there is a better management at the consulate for people that go there for assistance.

The migrant protection department at the consulate works to investigate and protect migrants and its group of lawyers that work there gives them free legal assistance. Arnaud said that the Consulate has given financial assistance to single mothers on fixed incomes and had defended those  women who have been victims of abuse.

The consulate also opened the health window at the consulate and has helped many migrants get free services, Arnaud said.

Arnaud resigned from the National Action Party, or PAN, who is the ruling party in Mexico right now and that was part of the decision to end his term as consul. Arnaud is a former candidate for Governor of Oaxaca and is now looking forward to spend time with his family. He is going back to his home state and said that will be back to the valley to visit old friends.

“It’s been a great life experience for me to be here in Calexico and now I leave to open a new chapter in my life. I leave a lot of friends here in the Imperial Valley but I will come back to visit those friends and girlfriends that I made here in Calexico.” Arnaud said.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, has awarded an $869,664 contract to Au’Authum Ki, Inc., a small business from Chandler, Ariz., under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Under this award, Au’Authum Ki will demolish approximately 230 feet of existing canal including radial gate sections and vertical walled channel on the Yuma Desalting Plant’s Main Outlet Drain Extension, which carries agricultural drainage water to the desalting plant and past it to the plant’s bypass drain in Mexico.  These sections will be replaced with stainless steel gates and lined channel sections.  A power distribution and flow metering systems will also be installed to operate the new gates.  The work is being conducted about 2 miles south of the Desalting Plant, near Yuma County 8th Street and Levee Road, in Yuma County, Ariz.

“These upgrades will enhance the Yuma Desalting Plant’s ability to improve water quality, while also returning flows to the Colorado River for water deliveries to Mexico,” said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. “Water conservation improvement projects such as these are critical to improving the Colorado River Basin’s drought situation.”

On April 28, the Department of the Interior, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Southern Nevada Water Authority and Central Arizona Water Conservation District signed an agreement to cooperate on a pilot run of the Yuma Desalting Plant.

By the requests of the municipal agencies, Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation is conducting the pilot run to better understand its operational readiness and potential as a long-term resource to help conserve Colorado River water.

The YDP Pilot Run began officially on May 3.  “Over the next year with the plant operating at up to one-third capacity, we will produce a total of 21,700 acre-feet of desalted water,” Connor said.  This water will be combined with 7,300 acre-feet of untreated irrigation drainage water blend and the total amount – 29,000 acre-feet – will be discharged into the Colorado River and included in Treaty deliveries to Mexico. The pilot run will allow savings of about 30,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead that otherwise would have been released as part of required deliveries to Mexico.

Au’ Authum Ki, Inc. is a 100 percent Native American, woman-owned, full-service commercial construction company. It was founded in 1992 by Margaret Rodriguez a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last year gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.

The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century.  Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America’s timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

 

San Ysidro, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro, Calif., port of entry seized more than 239 pounds of marijuana after opening the steel tire drums of a ground packer and finding packages hidden within.

A 33-year-old Tijuana man driving a Ford F-450 tow truck carrying a ground packer and his 17-year-old male U.S. citizen passenger applied for entry into the U.S. early Wednesday. A CBP officer roving the area received an alert from his detector canine, which reacted to the ground packer. Officers escorted the two occupants and vehicle to the secondary area for further investigation.

CBP officers found 239 pounds of marijuana concealed in the wheels  of a ground packer that was being hauled into the United States from  Mexico.
CBP officers found 239 pounds of marijuana concealed in the wheels of a ground packer that was being hauled into the United States from Mexico.

After officers inspected the equipment, they found 81 wrapped packages of marijuana hidden within the four steel tire drums of the ground packer, a machine commonly used for earth compaction. The estimated street value of the marijuana is $120,000.

CBP officers turned the case over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for further investigation, who then arrested the 17-year-old passenger.

CBP seized the truck, the ground packer and marijuana.

 
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