Community & Government Relations Report, July 2, 2008
The U.S. House of Representatives passed and the president signed bipartisan legislation that ensures the turmoil in the U.S. credit markets will not prevent any students or parents from accessing the financial aid they need to pay for college. "With this bill signed into law, students and families now have every assurance that they will continue to have access to all the federal student loans they are eligible for, no matter what happens in the nation's financial markets," said Rep. George Miller, co-author of the bill.
The Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 (H.R. 5715) will provide new protections, in addition to those already under current law, so that families continue to have timely, uninterrupted access to college loans in the event that stress in the credit markets leads a significant number of lenders in the federally guaranteed student loan programs to substantially reduce their lending activity. The bill carries no new cost for taxpayers. Passage of this bill will ensure that Saint Mary's students and their families will have access to federal and private student loans, despite the growing credit crunch.
As the June 30 state budget deadline passed, California faces an unprecedented budget deficit of more than $17 billion dollars. The Governor released a revised version of his budget proposal on May 14. Under his new plan, higher education spending will be increased from $13.8 billion to $14.2 billion.
Cal Grant Funding Highlights: As proposed in the January 2008 budget proposal and remains intact in the new spending plan, the entitlement program remains fully funded ($800 million), while the competitive Cal Grant program will be reduced or eliminated. While the final budget must be approved by a two-thirds vote in each house and signed by the governor, amendments to the bill can occur at anytime. At this writing, it looks very promising for Saint Mary's students and families who rely on Cal Grants to assist with the costs associated with their educational goals.
In response to some neighborhood concerns, the Town of Moraga enacted a stricter loud party ordinance. Current law allows for a warning to be issued to the host of a party if the police are called to the residence. If the police are called a second time, a citation and fine may be issued. Since the current law is silent on the length of time a warning is in effect, the clock for a warning starts anew each day. The new ordinance would set a time line of 180 days for the warning to stay in effect. This means that if a home is issued a warning by the Moraga Police, it will be in effect for 180 days. If the police are called to the same home a second time within that 180-day period, a citation may be issued. Additionally, the ordinance will inform the property owner of the warning and the owner may also be cited as well as the tenant. The new ordinance takes effect July 13.
Moraga Road Pipeline Project
ROAD CLOSED WEEKDAYS JUNE 16 - AUGUST 22
EBMUD is installing more than three miles of large-diameter transmission pipeline from the Lafayette Water Treatment Plant on Mt. Diablo Blvd. to the intersection of Moraga Road and Draeger Drive in Moraga. This project requires closure of Moraga Road from Old Jonas Hill Road to Sky-Hy Drive in Lafayette, 9am to 5:30pm weekdays, June 16 to August 22.
Construction Progress Report
For safety reasons, EBMUD has modified the traffic control plan for Moraga Road between Campolindo Drive and Sky-Hy Drive. For at least another week, all through-traffic will be detoured around this area (turn left on Campolindo Drive, right on Calle La Mesa, and right on Via Granada to Moraga Road at Sky-Hy). Residents of Moraga Road between Campolindo and Sky-Hy can access their homes by identifying themselves and their destination to the flagger at Campolindo Drive. This detour is in effect from 9am to 5:30pm weekdays.
Also for safety reasons, County Connection has modified the route for bus #106 (Lafayette BART to Orinda BART) and is not going up Moraga Road to Campolindo Drive during road closure hours. Until a safe alternative can be identified, bus #106 will take St. Mary's Road to Rheem Blvd. to Moraga Road and turn south toward Moraga Way at the Rheem Center.
Installation of transmission pipeline within the road closure area is underway, starting at Nemea Lane and working up the hill toward Sky-Hy. Access to this area is limited to residents, essential services, and emergency vehicles during work hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekdays.
Moraga Road from Lafayette to Moraga is closed to through-traffic at Old Jonas Hill Road weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Nora Harlow at (510) 287-0140 or email [email protected].
Other Construction Projects
Several city construction projects also are planned or underway (see map).
The City of Orinda is reconstructing Moraga Way in Orinda. Nighttime work is continuing Monday through Thursday, 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., with alternating one-way traffic. Expect delays.
The City of Lafayette is grinding and repaving Mt. Diablo Blvd. from Dolores Drive to First Street. One lane in each direction will be maintained. Work hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Expect delays