Tag Archives: Mike Gatto

Schiff, Gatto Easily Win Back Their Seats

Election season was kind to Burbank incumbents Adam Schiff and Mike Gatto as voters gave both overwhelming support as both won back their currents seats in Congress and the State Assembly.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Schiff received 76% of the votes cast  (69,944) compared with only 22,083 votes for challenger Steve Stkoes in the U.S. 28th Congressional District, according to election results from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/Clerk’s Office official website. There were no signs of the backlash that swallowed up other Democrats in the country as Schiff remains polpular in his home area.


Schiff released the following statement after his victory;

“I’m very grateful to the voters of the 28th Congressional District for the opportunity to continue serving them. In the upcoming session, I will again focus on restoring our economy, creating jobs, and helping small businesses succeed. It is also clear that voters are deeply dissatisfied with the paralyzingly dysfunction in Congress, and I will do all I can to find common ground with my colleagues from both parties, not only in fixing our economy, but also in the key national security challenges facing our country.”

Burbank Assemblyman Mike Gatto

Burbank Assemblyman Mike Gatto

In the California State Assembly’s 43rd District race, Gatto cruised past Republican challenger Todd Royal as he picked up 40,167 (65.79%) votes,compared to Royal’s,20,883 votes.

Democrat Brad Sherman, who also has a small piece of Burbank in his District, also easily won against challenger Mark Reed as he picked up 64,607 votes compared to Reed’s 34,830 total.

Governor Signs Historic Deal for Film Tax Credit Extension

After months of intensive negotiations, Governor Jerry Brown joined Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) and Raul Bocanegra in taking bold action to protect jobs and families across the Golden State.  At a ceremony this morning at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and with one swipe of his pen, the Governor signed AB 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act of 2014.

Burbank Assemblyman Mike Gatto

Burbank Assemblyman Mike Gatto

The legislation, first introduced by Bocanegra and Gatto in January, was co-authored by more than sixty-five other legislators, and received bipartisan support from elected officials and below-the-line workers from every region of California.  It significantly expands and improves the state’s film tax incentive program to keep production jobs in California, including a five year program extension, an increase in the program’s budget allocation to $330 million annually, and the creation of a new competitive jobs rating system to determine which projects will receive the credits.

AB 1839 will increase the state’s film and television tax credit to $330 million a year for five years beginning with fiscal year 2015-16 and replace the current flawed and arbitrary lottery system with a more competitive and accountable system that ranks applicants according to net new jobs created and overall positive economic impacts for the entire state.

“I’ve heard from so many people during my time in office, who have told me about their families being torn apart because of production fleeing the state, and how this program will give stability to families, certainty to small businesses, and will help our communities thrive,” said Gatto.  “I am grateful for all the help from those involved in this legislation, particularly my co-author Assembly Bocanegra, Governor Brown, Speaker Atkins, Senate Pro Tem De León, and all of the hardworking people who stood up for middle-class jobs.”

“This is a home run for the film and television industry in California.  Reaching this deal has been a long and difficult process, and I’m proud to have worked in tandem with my joint author Assemblymember Mike Gatto as we were able to deliver for our constituents,” said Assemblymember Bocanegra.  “I’d like to thank the Governor, Speaker Atkins and Senate leadership for their help and leadership in reaching this historic agreement.  This expanded and improved program will go a long way towards making California more competitive and ultimately will protect and create tens of thousands of jobs for hard working Californians.”

“Today, we remind the world that the Golden State is the home of the silver screen,” said Governor Brown. “This bill helps thousands of Californians – from stage hands and set designers to electricians and delivery drivers.”

AB 1839 was also backed by a broad coalition of leaders representing labor and the film and television industry.

“The MPAA and the studios we represent appreciate the Governor’s leadership in growing California’s motion picture and television incentive to bring good middle class jobs to the state, and we thank him for his recognition of the importance of film and TV production to the vitality of California’s economy,” said Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd.

“With the Governor’s signature on AB 1839 today, we ensure that film and television production will continue to be a wellspring of middle-class jobs that fuel our economy and boost our communities. California’s unions are proud to stand with the Governor in support of our state’s iconic film and television industry and the hundreds of thousands of good California jobs it sustains,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski.

“Over the last 20 years, our California has lost much of its film and television production work, and with it the solid technical and creative jobs that our industry provides. The legislation is a catalyst to grow those positions for the thousands of current and future crew members who want to work here and for the myriad small businesses that supply and support our industry every day,” said Warner Bros. Pictures President of Worldwide Physical Production Steve Papazian.

The legislation received broad support from both republican and democratic lawmakers.

California’s film and television industry has faced increasing competition in recent years from subsidies by other states and countries.  Since its creation in 2009, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act prevented as many as 51,000 well-paying jobs from leaving the state, and helped generate $4.5 billion in economic activity.  Despite the program’s success, figures from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from 2004-2012, California lost more than 16,000 film- and television-industry jobs, resulting in more than $1.5 billion in lost wages and economic activity.

Provisions of AB 1839 include:

1. Extends the program for five additional years;

2. Lifts the per-film budget cap so that all big-ticket films may apply, but only qualified expenditures of up to $100 million will be eligible for credit;

3. Lifts the per-film cap so that all independent films may apply, but only qualified expenditures of up to $10 million will be eligible for the credit;

4. Allows all, new, one-hour television series, regardless of where they air, to be eligible to apply for the program;

5. Stimulates TV series production by allowing pilots shows to apply for the credit;

6. Creates certainty by guaranteeing that a returning or renewed television series, or a new television series picked up from a pilot made in California have priority in one credit allocation each fiscal year;

7. Offers a 5% increase in the tax credit for filming outside of the Los Angeles Zone;

8. Offers a 25% credit for television shows that relocate to California within the first year of production;

9. Offers an additional 5% increase in the tax credit for costs related to music scoring and music-track recording;

10. Offers a 25% tax credit to films in the program that spend $10 million in California or commit 75% of qualified expenditures related to visual effects in California;

11. Ensures that more jobs are created in California by modifying the requirement that 75% of the production days occur in California to 75% of the principal-photography jobs occur in California;

12. Makes the new incentive program effective immediately.

Gatto, Conway Jr. Help Push Pet Adoptions During Contest

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s Assemblyman, Mike Gatto and Burbank resident and KFI Radio Host, Tim Conway Jr. teamed up to help push adoptions at the Burbank Animal Shelter as the site tries to win the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rachel Ray $100,000 Challenge. The contest asks shelters across the nation to try and adopt more pets this year, between June and August, than last year. One of the prizes includes $25,000 for community engagement.

Gatto and Conway Jr. got together to not only highlight the challenge, but to help push Burbank’s adoptions. The shelter will waive fees for dogs, cats and rabbits. They will also cover the costs of first-round vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery and microchips.

Gatto & Conway -2The waiver is available to anyone, not just Burbank residents. The waiver and the contest end this weekend (August 31) so get by this weekend to find a new ‘forever’ friend.

For more information call the Burbank shelter at (818) 238-3340.

Gotto-Conway @ Shelter 1_1 Gotto-Conway @ Shelter -2b

Tim Conway Jr. and Mike Gatto Team Up for Pet Adoptions

    Burbank Resident Tim Conway Jr.

Burbank Resident Tim Conway Jr.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto is teaming up with the Burbank Animal Shelter and KFI AM 640 host Tim Conway, Jr. to kick off the “Adopt a Friend for Life” event and help the Burbank Animal Shelter in its quest to win the ASPCA Rachel Ray $100,000 Challenge this Saturday.

From Saturday, August 23, 2014 to Sunday, August 31, 2014, the Burbank Animal Shelter will WAIVE ALL ADOPTION FEES for dogs, cats, and rabbits, including fees for the first round of appropriate vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, and microchips for cats, dogs, and rabbits.  To kick-off the event, Assemblyman Gatto and KFI talker Tim Conway, Jr. are inviting members of the press and the public to attend a special media event at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 23, 2014.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto

Assemblyman Mike Gatto

The event is part of the Burbank Animal Shelter’s mission to win the ASPCA Rachel Ray Challenge and adopt more than 800 animals this summer.  If successful, the Burbank Animal Shelter will have the opportunity to receive several grants from the ASPCA, including a $25,000 grant for community engagement.

Free adoptions are available to any person looking for the perfect furry or feathered friend and are not limited to those living within the Burbank Animal Shelter’s service area or Assemblyman Gatto’s district boundaries. If you are unable to adopt at this time, you can still support the shelter in the ASPCA Rachel Ray 100K challenge by “liking” their page at www.facebook.com/BurbankAnimalShelter.


“ADOPT A FRIEND FOR LIFE” FREE Pet Adoption Kick-Off Event

Hosted by Assemblyman Mike Gatto & Tim Conway, Jr. at the Burbank Animal Shelter

 Saturday, August 23, 2014 – 10 a.m. Press Conference and then Doors Open

 Adoptions Available from August 23 – August 31

 Burbank Animal Shelter

1150 North Victory Place

Burbank, CA 91502


Public parking available at the Empire Center near Ulta with a shuttle provided on Saturday, August 23

Mike Gatto Introduces Legislation to Prevent Evidence Destruction at Gun Buy-Back Programs

What is the quickest way to get rid of a murder weapon?  Unfortunately, in some cities, it is turning it over to the police department and getting paid to do so.  At some of these “no questions asked” gun “buy-backs,” the police will even melt the weapon down in front of you.  Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced legislation, AB 2662, to ensure that evidence surrendered to the police at gun buy-back programs is properly tested and identified.  The legislation would prohibit agencies from administering handgun buy-backs without conducting basic tests.

“We have carefully crafted this bill to provide law enforcement with flexibility, but to also make sure that common-sense testing occurs on certain handguns that are turned in,” said Gatto.

During buy-backs, criminals looking to permanently destroy guns used in a crime, and any evidence they might contain, may anonymously surrender the weapon with no questions asked.  In many circumstances they may even get paid, as many buy-back programs offer generous gift cards and other incentives.  Gatto’s legislation would specifically prohibit agencies that administer gun buy-back programs from destroying any functioning, non-antique handgun until either a Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (ATF) tracing or ballistics test has been completed on the weapon and the results catalogued.

“Turning in a weapon at a police station should not be the best way to ensure that a weapon is destroyed, with no questions asked,” said Assemblyman Gatto.  “California should join the other jurisdictions that at least seek to identify if handguns turned in are either stolen or murder weapons.”

Children Access to Ailing Parents Passes Senate Committee

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Los Angeles) legislation to provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit their parents cleared its biggest legislative hurdle yet, passing the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6-0.  The legislation, AB 2034, seeks to protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto talks about his recent accomplishments

Assemblyman Mike Gatto talks about his recent accomplishments

Currently, adult children are not afforded the legal right to visit an ailing parent.  With divorce and remarriage becoming more prevalent, there is a greater possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and an ailing parent’s children from a previous marriage.  Gatto’s legislation would help resolve these situations by creating a legal process for adult children to petition a court for visitation with their parent if a caretaker stands in the way.

“Conflict among family members is the last thing our loved ones want to see as they approach their final hours,” said Gatto.  “I hope this bill will help decrease the heartache and stress of families already facing difficult circumstances.”

Since introducing the legislation in January, Assemblyman Gatto has been contacted by hundreds of people who have been denied access to their ailing parents, and has been working closely with several of them, including radio and television personality Kerri Kasem.  Kerri is an outspoken advocate of visitation rights for adult children as a result of her struggle to see her beloved father, broadcasting legend Casey Kasem, who died last week.

Speaking publicly for the first time since her father’s passing, Kerri shared her struggle to obtain even basic visitation rights during Casey’s final hours.  She also emphasized that her story is not unique to celebrities, a point underscored when she presented a stack of letters representing a small sample of the thousands of letters she has received from folks across the country with similar stories of heartache.

“I saw my father every single week, talked to him, until he lost his voice, every day on the phone, and we were cut off for no reason last July,” said Kasem, fighting back tears.  “If this bill had been in place, my dad would still be alive today.”

Joining Kerri Kasem and Assemblyman Gatto in the hearing was Kelly Rooney, the daughter of Mickey Rooney.  Ms. Rooney testified to a similar experience of being cut off from her father by his eighth wife.

“The law must do more to keep up with the changing norms of modern families,” said Gatto.  “AB 2034 brings the law into the 21st century and allows family members to focus on caring for their loved ones.”

Gatto’s Bill Gaining National Momentum

When Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) introduced AJR 1 in December 2012, he was the first legislator in the United States to employ a unique procedure in the U.S. Constitution that allows state legislatures to command Congressional action.  Specifically, AJR 1 would require Congress to call a convention to amend the Constitution, to address the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Today, good-government advocates are celebrating after AJR 1 passed the California State Senate by a vote of 23-11.  AJR 1 has already prompted Vermont to pass a resolution modeled after it, and in Illinois a similar resolution is currently making its way through its legislature.

“Most Americans are fed up with the notion that money is speech and that moneyed interests can drown out the speech of average citizens,” said Gatto.

This burgeoning movement to limit the effect of financial influence in the political system continues to grow.  Earlier Monday morning, the California Highway Patrol arrested fourteen protestors outside the State Capitol who marched more than 450 miles from Los Angeles to rally to get money out of politics and in support of AJR 1.  Two days earlier, The San Francisco Chronicle editorialized in favor of a convention, calling the Resolution “the most significant step in a fledging revolution” to obtain campaign-finance reform.

The Founding Fathers’ records indicate that the ability of states to propose amendments was intentionally provided to empower the people, through their state legislatures, to address constitutional issues that Congress is unwilling, unable, or too oppressive to address.  According to a 2007 article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, at least four different amendments to the U.S. Constitution eventually were adopted because of state-initiated Article V actions.  For example, the amendments that repealed Prohibition and allowed for the direct election of Senators were first demanded by state legislatures under Article V, prompting Congress to act just before the threshold for a convention was reached.

“I doubt our Founding Fathers had the free-speech rights of multi-national and foreign corporations in mind when they drafted the First Amendment,” said Gatto.  “But the Founding Fathers did anticipate that every once in a while, the states would need to prod Congress to act to amend the Constitution. That’s what we are doing.”

Burbank Judge Honored at State Capitol’s Holocaust Remembrance Day

Burbank Superior Court Judge, Fred Rotenberg

Burbank Superior Court Judge, Fred Rotenberg

As the child of two Holocaust survivors and a sitting Burbank Superior Court Judge, Fred Rotenberg presides over his courtroom with empathy and understanding.  Recently, his dedication to the community was honored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) on the floor of the California State Assembly.  At Gatto’s invitation, Judge Rotenberg’s family’s story of survival and success was a highlight of the State Capitol’s Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony.  The ceremony honors Holocaust survivors, liberators, and the children of survivors.  During the ceremony, Assemblyman Gatto spoke of the courage of Rotenberg’s parents in their flight from the Nazis.

In 1942, as hostilities towards the Jews escalated, some of members of Judge Rotenberg’s parent’s families (his father had seven siblings, his mother had eight siblings) headed to the forests of Poland with little more than the clothes on their backs.  Rotenberg’s father was in his late teens, his mother was barely twelve.  Within days of leaving, the family members who did not flee were killed by their Nazi-sympathizing Polish neighbors and friends.

His parents foraged for food to survive. His father was captured twice, but managed to escape both times while en route to detention camps, sustaining bullet wounds to his wrist and knee.

Judge Rotenberg’s parents married in 1945, and ultimately moved to the United States of America.  They purchased a chicken ranch in Petaluma, California where they raised their two sons.  In 1966 they ventured into the ice cream business until retirement in 1979.  Harry passed away in 1988.  Judge Rotenberg’s mother remarried in 1992, and now resides in Sierra Madre, California, to be close to her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

“It is an honor to share the story and the struggle of the Rotenberg family, and all the victims of the Holocaust,” said Gatto.  “Often, those seeking to perpetuate the memories of a most difficult time for all humanity need to look no further than their own communities.  I am so honored that Judge Rotenberg could participate in the ceremony, and hope his story will inspire others to pursue success, even in the face of oppression.”

Gatto Looking for a Few Good College Graduates

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) today encouraged college graduates to apply for the prestigious Capitol Fellows Programs offered by the different branches of state government.

The Jesse Marvin Unruh Assembly Fellowship, the California Senate Fellowship, the Executive (Gubernatorial) Fellowship and the Judicial Administration Fellowship are jointly sponsored by the Center for California Studies at California State University.  They provide grads a monthly living stipend and the opportunity to gain valuable experience working in Sacramento for up to eleven months.  The deadline to apply for the programs is February 10, 2014.

“These fellowships are excellent opportunities for students or others to gain firsthand knowledge of the operations of the three branches of state government, and represent their community in Sacramento,” said Assemblyman Gatto.  “Those interested in politics, public policy and serving their community should apply for one or more of these excellent programs.”

Former fellows include a justice of the California Supreme Court, members of the United States Congress and the California State Legislature, a deputy director of the Peace Corps, corporate executives and attorneys, a director of a well-respected non-profit advocacy organization and local government and community leaders.

To begin the application process, visit http://www.csus.edu/calst/capital_fellows_programs_overview.html.

For more information on how to apply, or other assistance, please contact the Assemblyman’s Capitol office at 916-319-2043.

Gatto Bill Would Force Hit-and-Run Offenders Off California Roadways

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) continued his efforts to curb the epidemic of hit-and-run offenses in Southern California, by introducing legislation that increases the penalties for people who leave the scene of an accident.

Gatto’s bill, AB 1532, would expand hit-and-run penalties to include automatic license revocation for motorists who flee the scene of any accident involving another person, even if the victim’s injuries are minor.  Right now, there are few consequences for hit-and-run offenders whose victims are lucky enough to walk away with only minor injuries.  Current law creates serious consequences, including license revocation, for individuals who commit a hit-and-run that results in death or serious bodily injury.

“The only way to know if you hurt someone is to stop.  The only way to get someone medical help is to stop,” said Assemblyman Gatto.  “Allowing drivers who don’t stop to keep their license, adds insult to their victim’s injuries.”

Eric Bruins, Planning and Policy Director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, noted that bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to hit-and-run collisions.  “Stopping and rendering aid after a collision is the most basic duty of a motorist,” said Bruins.  “Failing to do so can be the difference between scrapes and bruises and a serious injury or fatality.  Anyone who flees the scene of an accident has demonstrated in the most cowardly way possible that they do not have the judgment necessary to keep their driving privileges.”

AB 1532 is a continuation of efforts by Assemblyman Gatto to address the epidemic of hit-and-runs in Los Angeles County and across California.  Last year, Gatto authored AB 184, which extended the statute of limitations to prosecute hit-and-run drivers.  The Los Angeles Police Department records 20,000 hit-and-run crashes are recorded annually.  And State data shows that 4,000 hit-and-run incidents a year in Los Angeles lead to injury or death.  2014 has already been a deadly year, as a 24-year-old veterinary student was killed in a hit-and-run in Northridge just last week.

Other hit-and-run victims are continuing the healing process.  Damian Kevitt was struck by a mini-van while on his bicycle and dragged more than a quarter-mile down the Interstate 5 Freeway in Los Angeles last February.  The collision resulted in dozens of broken bones and the amputation of one of Kevitt’s legs.  Kevitt recently announced that he will be finishing the ride he started last year at an event on April 27, 2014 to raise awareness for hit-and-run victims and challenged athletes.   The suspect who hit him remains at large.

“AB 1532 will give victims of hit-and-runs solace, knowing that cowards who drive recklessly, and purposefully avoid responsibility for their actions, are no longer driving the streets,” said Assemblyman Gatto.  “This is a sensible fix to the law that will lead people to think twice before leaving the scene of an accident.”