The Toni Times | Aug 2022


A note from Toni – and Tenia!

Happy August! And, if I may say so myself, happy birthday!

Sixty years ago today, my sister Tenia and I became official residents of planet Earth, the United States, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Quite an achievement for two little girls! And what an amazing journey it’s been since then.

To mark the occasion, I thought it would be nice if Tenia shared a few words in this month’s note, although we may need to flesh out many of the words she prefers to use before sending them out! Because Tenia is the youngest and insists she was never, ever allowed to go first, I asked her to start.

Hello to all my former neighbors in San Diego! I have to say that I may not have been the firstborn, but I was the first of us Atkins to come to San Diego! Well, except for dad in WWII of course!

When I was drafted into the Navy, I asked Toni if ​​she could move out and help with my newborn son. I think she broke a speed record on the way here and it was definitely love at first sight! One of the things I’ve appreciated about Toni over the years is the support she still gives to military families, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet. Having lived in Virginia and San Diego myself, I also love how she was able to combine those two worlds. Where I think she’s wrong is when she starts…

–Thanks Tenia, happy birthday and I’ll take it from here!

August will be busy at the Capitol. We have to take care of any remaining bills and budget fixes by the end of the month. That means once I’m done blowing out the candles safely, I’ll be part of the final negotiations on key climate legislation; Women’s health care and access to abortion, including my bill SB 1375; and worker protection, and voting on bills that will improve our state on behalf of all Californians. This follows some great work in June, when lawmakers passed one of the best federal budgets in history, with funds that help people invest in the future now and include safeguards in the event of an economic downturn. The budget also offers many local benefits, which you can read about in this edition of the newsletter. I am also pleased that SCA 10, my bill to enshrine abortion and reproductive rights in the state constitution, passed both houses of the Legislature before the May 30 deadline.

This is such an unusual and worrying time in our area, state and nation. As many of our rights are under attack, it feels like our communities, friends and families are becoming more and more divided. However, I have to believe that the division will not last. Rather, it is a temporary situation created by forces with dark intentions that are pumping their poison into our society. We need to look at everything we can do to push back and make our politics sane again. Organizing and voting are clearly two major components.

But it’s also important to remember who we are and who the people we know and work with, live by and love are, and focus on the value of those relationships. Our nation’s long-term stability depends on the majority of us finding common ground and pushing aside extremists of every stripe. As Tenia said, building bridges is important. Maybe never more important than now.

Thank you for reading. And thank you Tenia for being the best sister – younger, older, whatever – any twin could hope for!

The state is investing nearly half a billion dollars in San Diego area initiatives

Thanks to the fiscal health of the state and good financial management by the Legislature and the Governor, our local Legislative Delegation was able to secure more than $485 million in the 2022-23 state budget for projects and programs that will help meet the needs of critical Cover infrastructure and support innovative social networking service programs in the San Diego area.

The LOSSAN rail realignment project in Del Mar, the nation’s second busiest intercity rail corridor, will receive $300 million to ensure it can continue to play a critical role in the movement of people and goods in the Southern California region. The tracks are on top of Del Mar’s cliffs, which are eroding an average of 15 cm per year. The cliffs partially collapsed in February 2021, necessitating emergency repairs. This funding will accelerate the planning process to move the tracks inland as a long-term strategy to increase the reliability of rail passenger services.

By looking at this budget from an equity perspective, we were able to prioritize projects focused on underserved communities. For example, $15 million will be used to address water quality issues in transboundary rivers, and $5.5 million will support the regional Homeless Task Force’s efforts to improve outreach for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities finance. Additional funds will help support the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s rehabilitation project, fund wildfire-fighting projects at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and repair abandoned and derelict ships at the Zuniga Jetty Shoal near the entrance to San Diego Bay repair – just to name a few.

Critical components of livable communities are parks and recreational facilities, as well as our local libraries, resources that enrich our communities and benefit all. This year’s budget also includes over $45 million for our local parks and recreation services, including community parks and recreation centers, trail improvements, and shoreline and beach access. It also includes $33 million for our region’s libraries, which are critical in providing resources and expanding literacy in our communities. I’m particularly excited about the construction of a new branch of the library in Oak Park!

While cases of monkeypox are still small in San Diego and throughout California, cases are increasing worldwide, so it’s important to know how to recognize it and what to do if you get sick.

Anyone can get monkeypox because it’s easily transmitted through close physical contact, including hugging, cuddling, kissing, and sexual activity. It spreads easily between people who live together and share bedding, towels, and clothing. It doesn’t spread through casual conversation or by walking past someone who has it like you would at a grocery store. At first, most people have flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes. A rash or sores that look like pimples or blisters may appear within a few days of a fever. It’s possible to have all or just some of the most common symptoms, and it can take two to four weeks for the virus to clear up. If you think you have monkeypox, it’s best to contact your doctor and ask for a test. The CDC and the California Department of Health and Human Services recommend that people ages 18 and older who have been exposed to monkeypox or who have been in an area where cases have spread receive the vaccine to help prevent them from getting sick. Workers who are at higher risk of exposure, such as doctors and public health workers, should also get vaccinated.

However, we don’t have nearly enough vaccines. That’s why California health leaders last month called for increased supplies of vaccines to stem the spread of the virus and are working closely with federal, state and local officials to distribute vaccines, conduct testing and raise awareness. The California Department of Health has a Website dedicated to monkeypox for those interested in learning more.

102 years 19th modification

On 08/26thwe celebrate women’s equality day and the passing of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibiting any state or federal government from denying a person the right to vote on the basis of sex. Women’s Equality Day is an opportunity to reflect on the perseverance of the suffragettes who marched over the course of almost 100 years to secure the right to vote. It’s also important to realize that while the movement has advanced white women, women of color have been left behind. On this 26.8thremember that we can change the world – and we do – when all women come together, lift each other up and make their voices heard!

Despite mounting attacks on our civil rights raging across the country, San Diego Pride was once again a time of joy and celebration. I continue to be impressed by the resilience of our community and have been honored to join so many of you at many of the Pride events over the past month.

It was my honor to attend the dedication of the Fahari L. Jeffers Elementary School, which takes its name from a remarkable woman whom I have had the pleasure of calling a friend. Throughout her life, Fahari has lived up to the Swahili meaning of her name: great and rare.

It was great stopping by the Balboa Park Botanical Building with Mayor Gloria and seeing the progress of the renovation. It’s been a long road to get to where we are today – I look forward to the day we celebrate its re-opening!

I had the honor of supporting a Senate resolution at the 2ndnd Annual Filipino American Friendship Festival recognizing history between the Philippines and the United States. Filipino history is American history.

Team Toni joined the Oak Park Community to thank Michael and Stephanie Heinzman for their volunteer work with the San Diego Library Oak Park Branch and Friends of the Library for 40 years! An incredible gift of her time and talent.

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