Mariko's Missive, Vol. 22 - A Campaign Newsletter for the 8th AD

Happy New Year!

Dear Friends and Family:

My first month in office has certainly lived-up to its name-extraordinary session.

For the past 30 days, beyond the normal start-up activities of getting organized, hiring staff, and crafting our legislative platform, there have been numerous Democratic Caucus conference calls, meetings, and late-night Assembly Floor Sessions to grapple with California's biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Many members and Capital staff have also been working through the "holidaze" period at great personal sacrifice-mostly invisibly. Yet, press characterizations of the Legislature as ineffective, kindergarten-like, and downright greedy are all-too pervasive.

Not all members are alike. Although tales of per diem and State vehicles are mostly accurate, there are a handful of members who do not take the $173 tax-free per diem.

I am one of them. Living within 20 minutes of the State Capitol and in a district that I can still drive across in about an hour, I've made the personal decision to decline both my per diem and my office's entitlement to a new car and the "free gas" associated with it. At a time when we are suspending infrastructure bond and research payments, slashing education, health, social service and public safety funds, and considering furloughs and layoffs, I cannot reconcile spending the people's money on lunch or a new car.

Being different doesn't always win friends-but it's what I have always called "doing the left thing". Like all of you, I hope for better times in 2009. I will work hard to get there.



Yamada Names Key Staff and Opens District Office

Moving forward on her legislative and constituent services efforts, Mariko has assembled an experienced team of district and capital office staff to serve the 8th Assembly District.

District Coordinator, Anthony "Tony" Wong, is managing the Vacaville District Office, located at 555 Mason Street, Suite 275. He previously served as District Representative for State Senator Michael Machado, and has had previous Assembly and Congressional District Office experience. He and his wife are raising a family in the District.

Chief-of-Staff, Rebecca Nieto, is leading the Capitol Office, Room 4139 in Sacramento. She comes with 25 years of capital experience serving in all areas of assembly operations, COS to several former members, and most recently as Director of Research for the Speaker's Office of Member Services.

Senior Legislative Assistant, Dan Kysor, and his guide dog, Hilly, will support Mariko's legislative program. Mr. Kysor joins Mariko's capital staff after serving as Government Affairs Director for the California Council of the Blind for the past 12 years. Kysor's partner has been dubbed "Capitol Hill-y, our yellow-dog Democrat", Yamada said.

Senior Assistant Brandy Capik will manage Mariko's schedule and coordinate Capitol Office activities. She has served the Assembly for 8 years, including two years as a committee secretary and as a consultant to two Speakers.

Stay tuned for additional staff announcements!


I Saw A Man Pursuing the Horizon
by Stephen Maria Crane (1871-1900)

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
"It is futile," I said,
"You can never-"

"You lie," he cried,
And ran on.

With Hope for Better Times in 2009!