California’s Economic Output Outpaces Nation for Fourth Straight Year

By George Runner, State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-21

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).

San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.

One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.

George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.

Banjo-Rama Brings Lively Fun

Courtesy Sacramento Banjo Band  |  2017-04-21

Shown are members of the Sacramento Banjo Band with famous banjo player Tom Smothers from the Smothers Brothers. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Banjo Band.

The Sacramento Banjo Band will be presenting the 51st Banjo-Rama Sunday April 23 at the Elks Lodge at 5631 Cypress Avenue in Carmichael from 11:30 to 6:00.

"All profits, over and above our expenses, always go to children’s charities. In our 57 years, as a band, we have donated over $150,000 to various children’s groups," said the group. "The band does this every year because we are dedicated to keeping the Banjo popular and presenting music that has a great tune and words that can be understood and enjoyed."

This Banjo-Rama will feature nine banjo bands from all over the West Coast and seven expert players demonstrating what the banjo can do. The Elks venue will have two shows going simultaneously.

Entrance to the show will be $25.00 and the Elks will have sandwiches, drinks and snacks available at an extra charge. To play at your venue or to help promote the Banjo-Rama, please contact Ben Dale at 916-392-0139 or online at or



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Gaines Launches Effort to Repeal Gas Tax

Source: The Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.

“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.

“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Legislation to Fix Security Flaw in State’s Voter File Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Senator Nielsen  |  2017-04-20

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments unanimously voted to pass Senator Jim Nielsen’s measure to fix a security flaw the state’s voter file.

“Our democracy is an honor system based on trust,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “We must do everything we can to protect its integrity and keep the trust of the people. This measure will help ensure that trust.”

“I thank my colleagues on the committee for their support,” added Senator Nielsen.

Senate Bill 682, if passed, would prohibit the Department Motor Vehicles (DMV) from giving the Secretary of State electronic information needed to complete the voter registration affidavit for ineligible voters who hold special drivers’ licenses for noncitizens.

California’s current online voter registration system automatically allows the voter registration of anyone with a drivers’ license who self-certifies that they are eligible to vote – including individuals DMV knows to be ineligible because they were issued special noncitizen drivers’ licenses. These noncitizen drivers’ licenses do not establish voter eligibility, yet the online voter registration system only requires a drivers’ license number. As a result, undocumented residents may be unlawfully registered to vote.

There is no protocol for communication between the Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles to prevent these registrants from being approved under current law.

“Keeping the voter roll clean and up-to-date is a challenging task. This bill helps fill a gap in the security of the voter roll,” said Candace Grubbs, Butte County Elections Clerk-Recorder.

Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at

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Tax Freedom Day Late Again for California

From George Runner  |  2017-04-19

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

Californians who have filed their income tax returns by the April 18 deadline will unfortunately have to wait eight days longer than the rest of the nation until they’ve collectively earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.

Tax Freedom Day, calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, is the day when Americans have earned enough money to pay their taxes at the federal, state and local levels.

Nationally, Tax Freedom Day lands on April 23, but for California it lands on May 1.

“For some lawmakers, this terrible distinction seems to be a badge of honor,” said Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner. “With liberal politicians recently voting to increase gas and car taxes, I fear this day will come even later next year for hardworking taxpayers.”

According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will pay $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total tax bill of $5.1 trillion, or 31 percent of national income. That’s more than Americans will collectively spend on food, clothing and housing combined.

Compared to other states, California’s Tax Freedom Day is one of the latest in the nation. Only Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have later dates.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as an elected member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit

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Wife, Mother, Taekwondo Student Fights On

By Rick Reed  |  2017-04-19

She says she takes after her mom, and looks much younger than her 44 years. A wife and mother herself, Monique Griffith is also a fighter. With family and friends in support she is an accomplished victor in her first battle. Like many women she faced breast cancer, fought and won, once. This time her story is about second chances, a caution to other survivors and a way to share strength in the battle against cancer.

Six years later, she is battling cancer, again. This time however she has discovered a new weapon that is helping her remain strong as the struggle resumes. This breast cancer survivor is training in a martial art. “I kind of enjoy doing things that maybe I shouldn’t be able to do,” like having purple and pink hair that Monique is proud to show off and won’t like losing. She explains the diagnosis with, “Doctors say they can’t cure it they can just try to keep it stable for now.” Despite that unwelcome news, she remains strong in her desire to remain positive and keep fighting. While dealing with the news, Monique says she found strength and focus to help her as she tested to win her Black Belt in Taekwondo. “In Taekwondo training, where do I start.” she says, “I have gained so much strength, my body stronger and my mind so much sharper because I am constantly memorizing and learning, pushing myself.”

Her daughter, twelve-year-old Emily is her joy in life and an important aspect of TKD classes was training, challenging and growing together on the mats. “I’ve had a goal to get my Black Belt for sixteen years” Monique says, “Emily decided she wanted to train so I signed her up, and then I couldn’t stand it so I signed up too.” She remains upbeat with the support of her family at home and community at Robinson’s Taekwondo Rocklin, “It’s given me something to look forward to and I achieved my Black Belt right before my Stage 4 diagnosis. It was something I wanted to do to prove to myself that I could do it.” Black Belt instructor in Rocklin, Clint Weithington says “No changes to the program for Monique, she rocked the full test to win her Black Belt, and I don’t think she would have it any other way!”

Her story also serves notice to all who are impacted by breast cancer that winning the battle may not end the war. Doctors say Monique has a recurrence of cancer stemming from her original breast cancer, now stuck in the lining of her lungs making it inoperable. Despite this new challenge, this mom and wife keeps faith by continuing her martial arts training. It helps in many ways beyond just the physical according to Monique, “The friendships that I formed with classmates, strong deep friendships. We are family, going to each other houses, going to each other’s parties. We support each other and having that support since I was diagnosed as Stage 4 has been phenomenal.”

As she laughs and says, “I very much enjoy a challenge.” That same indomitable outlook has grown into a powerful new tool for Monique. TKD’s healthy fitness the Black Belt endurance and strength gives her new tools to utilize in managing chemo-therapy daily. With radiation therapy added to treatment she explained, “As an adult in my 40’s whose gone through that difficult diagnosis again, it proved to me that I am not done.” Her family and her TKD community support her, and she says getting the Black Belt and training with her daughter and friends show her life is not over, “Absolutely, it did so much for my confidence, and it made me feel normal again. After going through what I have to sometimes just feeling normal is all you want.”

Monique says Taekwondo is also a way to help Emily learn, “She just didn’t like any sports, so this was the first time she actually loved a physical activity. It’s good for her body, it’s good for her mind and she knows that nobody will hand her a Black Belt.”. She knows that when she has a goal she can win by training hard. As her Black Belt mom says, “I can’t hand her this. It’s taught my daughter a lot about growing up, taking responsibility and working hard. It’s also given us something to do together.” And no matter what as Monique continues treatment, she says, “I know Emily can take care of herself.” Emily is now training to win a Black Belt and for Monique this is quality time.

Even with her cancer challenges her only fear was giving up, “At first, diagnosed at Stage 4 I was really heartbroken because I thought my Taekwondo career is over. I was really upset.” She says, “My husband and I talked and he said, ‘you know what just keep going until you hit a brick wall’, so I decided to go ahead and earn a Second Degree for Black Belt.” And she says, “As long as my body allows it I will keep pushing it. That has given me a goal to look forward to every day going to Robinsons. The work ethic, the process of learning new things, getting a belt.” Monique says she chose Robinson’s because, “I really loved the balance, the fun while learning discipline, respect and the will power of perseverance in never surrendering.”

Cancer is a life and death fight but never surrendering your positive outlook, having goals, family and friends makes life worth the battle.

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Sierra College Presents Footprints in the Foothills

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-04-18

Sierra College Sierra Science Series Presents

Footprints in the Foothills:

An Attempt to Map the Trails of the Indigenous Population

By Hank Meals and Tanis Thorne

The Sierra Science Lecture Series at the Nevada County Campus welcomes Hank Meals and Tanis Thorne in a presentation titled: Footprints in the Foothills: An Attempt to Map the Trails of the Indigenous Population. The presentation will be held on Tuesday evening, April 18, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm, in the Multipurpose Center, building, N-12. Come early and enjoy a meet-and-greet and refreshments at 6:00 pm.

The Nisenan, Washo and the unnamed peoples who preceded them were sophisticated and knowledgeable about the geography of the Yuba River and Bear Creek watersheds and fully engaged in the management of their habitat to fit their needs. By mapping known settlements, archaeological sites, ethnographic information and oral histories, we hope to demonstrate the complexity of the trail network that accessed resources, enabled trade and maintained alliances between different communities. When the Europeans and Americans arrived with a very different attitude about land use the native people had to quickly adapt and reorganize to survive. We feel that an annotated spatial representation of the movements of the indigenous population can provide insight and information on the connectivity between early indigenous settlements and camps, the activities that occurred there and the major changes that came with the gold rush.

About our Presenters:

Tanis Thorne
Raised in Southern California, Tanis C. Thorne completed her Ph.D. in U.S. History at UCLA in 1987. Her thesis on French-Indian families in the fur trade on the Lower Missouri inspired a lifelong career researching, writing, and teaching about Native Americans, especially California Indians. For twenty-five years before retiring in 2015, she taught Native American courses at the University of California Irvine. She now resides full-time in Nevada City, where she had owned a home for thirty years. She is currently collaborating with Hank Meals on the Nisenan.

Hank Meals
Hank Meals received his BA in Anthropology from San Francisco State University and pursued graduate coursework at University Nevada Reno and California State University Chico. He has worked extensively with the US Forest Service as an archaeologist and historian with numerous internal publications related to state of the Yuba Watershed. He has been involved with recording, evaluating and creating interpretive guides for several historic sites throughout the gold country. Hank is currently is a self-employed archaeologist, historian, photographer, and author of numerous hiking books in the Yuba watershed.

This presentation is free, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. The Nevada County Campus is located at 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Parking is $3 on campus and permits can be purchased at the kiosk machine at the main entrance to the campus. For more information about this presentation and others in this series, contact the series coordinator, Jason Giuliani at:

About Sierra College
Sierra College District is rising to meet the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at

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Survey on Park and Trail Improvements

Source: Scott Sandow, County of Placer  |  2017-04-18

Placer County Launches Community Survey on Future Park and Trail Improvements

Placer County recreation planners are asking residents to take a 15-minute online survey to share their thoughts on the future of the county’s parks, trails, open spaces and beaches.

The feedback will be used to develop a 10-year vision for recreation improvements in Placer County.

“Our communities are passionate about enjoying and taking care of the parks and incredible landscapes we are so fortunate to have here in Placer,” said Placer County Parks Administrator Andy Fisher. “As we plan for the decade to come, we need input from everyone to ensure we are making the improvements that all of our residents want to see.”

The survey is available at and will be open to responses through May 15.

In October 2016, the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a consultant agreement with Design Workshop Inc. to prepare the county’s first-ever parks and trails master plan, intended to reflect the recreational needs of all Placer communities. For instance, Granite Bay and Loomis could receive resources to meet league play demands while improvements in eastern Placer County could include more trails for summer and indoor recreation opportunities for winter.

Additional outreach efforts will include workshops, focus groups and public meetings. Completing the master plan is expected to take about a year. The plan will update the county’s general plan standards put in place in 1994 and take into account new trends and demographics.

As part of the plan the county will also work with neighboring agencies, such as the town of Truckee, California State Parks, U.S. Forest Service and various cities, to further develop a connected trail network throughout the region.

To learn more, visit

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Sierra College Seeking to Fill Board Opening

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-04-18

Area 2 Trustee to be a Provisional Appointment

The Sierra Joint Community College District is accepting applications to serve as an appointed member of the Board of Trustees until the next regularly scheduled election for governing board members in November 2018. The Board has chosen to make a provisional appointment rather than incur the significant costs associated with a special election.

Mr. Dave Ferrari, Area 2 trustee for the past 19 years, has submitted his resignation after months of careful consideration. About stepping down from his position Ferrari said, “This is very hard for me to do as I love Sierra College and very much enjoy being part of this great institution. I feel community colleges are the most important link to higher education. It is the first stop for some and the last chance for others.”

“Dave has been a tireless champion of and devoted friend to Sierra College and our students,” stated William Duncan, Sierra College President, “his contributions cannot be overstated.” Board President Scott T. Leslie added, “It has been an honor serving with Dave these many years. He is a man of great integrity and heart, and has represented the Truckee and Lake Tahoe communities exceptionally well. On behalf of the board, we wish him the best.”

The board is seeking candidates that are committed to Sierra College and its mission. Each applicant must be a resident of Trustee Area 2 of the Sierra Joint Community College District, which is comprised of the north and east borders of the district including Truckee. Information, qualifications, and application materials are available on the Sierra College website or from the Sierra College President’s Office, 5100 Sierra College Boulevard, Rocklin, CA 95677, (916) 660-7000.

The application deadline is May 3, 2017, and the board is expected to make the provisional appointment on May 9, 2017, at a board meeting held at the Tahoe-Truckee Campus.

The Sierra Joint Community College District encompasses 3,200 square miles and serves Placer, Nevada and parts of El Dorado and Sacramento counties. In addition to the Rocklin campus, the district has campuses in Grass Valley, Truckee, and Roseville. The district serves an estimated 17,000 students each semester and offers over 125 degree and certificate programs. The district employs more than 500 permanent employees and over 700 part-time employees with an operating budget of more than $130 million.

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Hacker Lab Offers Startup Hustle

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-04-18

Startup Hustle participants learn entrepreneurial skills at Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College. 
-- Photo courtesy of Karen Fraser-Middleton

With Sierra College, Hacker Lab Offers Startup Hustle to Inspire Budding Entrepreneurs to Take Action

Hacker Lab is taking applications for the Startup Hustle six-week entrepreneurial boot camp and announced the addition of four free sessions to inspire those wanting to build their own businesses. With partner Sierra College, Hacker Lab is also encouraging students to participate.

The program starts May 9 and culminates on June 21. Sessions will be held at Hacker Lab’s Midtown Sacramento location as well as the Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College in Rocklin. The initial application is free and due May 3, 2017. There will be an informational meeting about the program at Hacker Lab in Midtown on Thursday, April 20 from 5:30-7:00 p.m., learn more at

To apply, aspiring entrepreneurs explain the problems that they are investigating and the prospective customers who would benefit from their solutions as well as why they want to participate in Startup Hustle. The application is available at or email: Once accepted into the program, Startup Hustle participant fees are $46 for Sierra College students, $149 for Hacker Lab members and $300 for non-members.

This is the fourth time that Hacker Lab has offered Startup Hustle, according to Eric Ullrich, Co-Founder, Hacker Lab. “We’ve enhanced the tools and fine-tuned the training,” said Ullrich. “Our past participants have successfully launched startups, opened up new markets for their products, published their apps and won funding to take it to the next level. As part of our makerspace community, these founders will be sharing their success stories and helping to encourage the next round of participants.”

Chris Sprague, Founder of tCubed, participated in the 2016 Startup Hustle. “At Hacker Lab, we learned to focus on customers, were introduced to our mentors and had access to expensive manufacturing equipment that we could not afford on our own,” said Sprague.

A combination of “anytime, anywhere learning” and in-person sessions will enable participants to use the latest startup tools, work on their idea, test it with customers, gain insights from mentors, research the market, reframe their concept based on what they learned and develop a pitch. There is an optional Demo Night where participants can make their pitches to the community.

According to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Statewide Project Manager, CCC Maker, housed at Sierra College, students can benefit from participating in Startup Hustle. “Students will work alongside experienced professionals applying their college skills in a real-world environment,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Startup Hustle can help students apply their passion and discover new career pathways.”

While many people talk about the ideas they have for new products or services, it is often difficult to overcome their own inertia, explained Ullrich. “The immersive experience of Startup Hustle has led to remarkable breakthroughs,” said Ullrich. “The mentors and speakers inspire entrepreneurs to take action. Participants have access to proven methodology, practical assignments and beneficial connections that stretch their thinking about customers and their business model.”

The four free sessions open to the public will include presentations from Hacker Lab’s Maker in Residence on starting up a maker business and startup best practices from the Entrepreneur is Residence.

Sponsors of Startup Hustle include The Shop VSP Global, Sierra College, City of Rocklin, SMUD, California Community Colleges Workforce and Economic Development Division, City of Sacramento, Sierra College CACT and Golden Sierra.

For more information about participating or becoming a sponsor/mentor, please go to or email:

About Sierra College Workforce Development
Sierra College Workforce Development is focused on delivering customized training to meet the needs of employers. Additional information is available

About Hacker Lab
Established in 2012 in Sacramento, Hacker Lab aims to educate folks and spark innovation with community driven resources. Offering co-working, maker space, courses, meet-ups and events, Hacker Lab believes that technology can change the world and the starting point is education. Hacker Lab has locations in Sacramento and Rocklin. Learn more at the Hacker Lab website

About Sierra College
Sierra College District is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year Universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information

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