Working For the Valley in Washington
While partisan rancor has prevented Congress from passing important national legislation, I have worked hard to fight for issues of concern to Valley residents. I would like to update you on just a few of my most recent priorities which include improving Valley transportation, preserving our local environment, maintaining Valley home prices, and protecting consumer privacy.
Alleviating traffic in our area has been an objective of mine for years, which is why I began to secure federal funding for a new northbound lane on the 405 in 1998. It took a while, but finally, a new lane opened this May. I also helped secure funding for two additional lanes (one in each direction) on the Valley section of the 5 freeway, which opened last year. Unfortunately, now is not the time to celebrate one new lane on the 405. Now is the time to intensify the effort to build a subway through the Sepulveda Pass, from the Valley to LAX. In Westwood this new line would connect with the east-west Purple Line, which is now under construction.
Equally important to our area is the protection of our environment, preserving open space, and creating more parks and recreational opportunities. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the nation’s largest urban national park, providing a variety of outdoor activities for over 33 million visitors annually. Over the years, I have taken the lead in securing over $20 million to preserve critical open space and complete the 65-mile Backbone Trail. I also worked to persuade the Obama Administration to include funding in the 2015 Budget for land acquisitions in the Santa Monica Mountains. The President’s proposed budget includes $3.7 million to acquire and protect 317 acres of pristine land in the Santa Monica Mountains.
I am also concerned about the health of the Valley economy, as our nation navigates through a precarious recovery. I believe that maintaining home values is important not only to homeowners, but to everyone concerned with the Valley economy. Home values fall when qualified buyers cannot get a mortgage, and virtually all Valley home buyers depend on getting a “conforming loan” or an FHA loan. For years, I have led the fight to make sure these loans are available to Valley homebuyers and to recognize that the middle class families in the Valley will need to borrow more than homebuyers in many other parts of the country, where home prices are lower. I am also working to retain the home mortgage deduction, which benefits homeowners and is important to maintaining Valley home values.
I have been a longtime advocate for ensuring that your personal information is protected. This year, several retailers have compromised customers’ personal information due to data breaches. The safety of your personal information should not be a concern when making day-to-day purchases. That is why I Cosponsored the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act, which will hold retailers accountable when they fail to protect consumers’ sensitive data. The bill places limits on both the types of information that a retailer can collect, and how long they may retain that information. It also includes rules to ensure victims of a data breach are notified quickly. Finally, the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act includes important safeguards for children, ensuring that Apps (such as games for mobile phones) directed to children do not collect a child’s personal information or information about the child’s location.
As always, I believe that in order to do my job, I need to hear your views on both local issues and those affecting our entire nation. I continue to believe that there are more good ideas in the Los Angeles than in Washington, which is why I appreciate hearing from you. I encourage all Valley resident to attend my next Town Hall meeting, which will take place on August 24th at Birmingham High school. See my website (www.BradSherman.house.gov) for details and please do not hesitate to contact my San Fernando Valley office at (818) 501-9200 or email me at Brad.Sherman@mail.house.gov