GOV. NEWSOM  IMPLEMENTS STRIKE TEAM REPORT & NEW LEADERSHIP


SACRAMENTO – Gov. Newsom recently established the DMV Strike Team just days after taking office. Following through on his commitment to improve and revamp the way the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does business, Governor Gavin Newsom today released the DMV Strike Team report and announced new leadership for the department.

The report makes recommendations on ways the department can improve going forward with an emphasis on transparency, worker training and performance, speed of service and overall consumer satisfaction. In January, just days after taking office, Newsom announced a DMV Reinvention Strike Team, to be led by Government Operations (GovOps) Secretary Marybel Batjer. The Strike Team was charged with comprehensively reviewing the department’s operations and to make recommendations to the Governor within six months for new long-term leadership and reform at DMV.  The Strike Team’s report also outlines significant progress that has already been made at the DMV, which includes:


Decrease in Wait Times: Overall wait times for DMV customers have decreased by 58 minutes from August 2018 to May 2019 in the DMV’s largest offices. In August 2018, 16 percent of customers had a wait time of more than two hours and in May 2019 that number was 0.005 percent of customers. In addition, customers waiting one hour or less improved from 58.5 percent in August 2018 to 87 percent in May 2019.

Credit Cards: The Department entered into a contract to bring credit cards to DMV field offices. The project will start with the first pilot at the Davis DMV by the end of September. The pilot will be followed in October by three additional locations – Fresno, Victorville, and Roseville – before expanding to all 172 field offices.

Pop-Ups: The Strike Team and the DMV have held two “pop-up” DMVs at major California businesses to allow several hundred business travelers to get their REAL ID without going to a field office.  

Better Access to Mobile Kiosks: The Strike Team has helped the DMV add 100 new remote kiosks that will be in place by the middle of August 2019 and another 100 by the end of the year in strategic locations.   

Improved Staff Training: The Strike Team organized “Operation Excellence: DMV Training” day for July 24, 2019. On that morning, all DMV field offices will be closed for comprehensive employee training on REAL ID procedures.

The governor also announces new DMV leadership team which will implement the recommendations made by the Strike Team.

Steve Gordon, 59, of San Jose, has been appointed director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Gordon was a managing partner at zTransforms from 2017 to 2019, vice president of global service operations, Becton, Dickinson and Company from 2015 to 2017 and principal consultant at SteveOnService from 2012 to 2015. He was co-founder of MySeatFinder from 2008 to 2012, vice president of technical services at Cisco Systems from 1993 to 2011, a network engineer at Northwest Airlines from 1989 to 1993 and a systems engineer for EDS from 1984 to 1989. He was an auditor for the County of San Diego from 1983 to 1984. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $186,389. Gordon is registered without party preference.   

Kathleen Webb, 60, of Sacramento, has been appointed chief deputy director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Webb has been acting director of the Department of Motor Vehicles since 2019. She was director of performance improvement at the Government Operations Agency from 2017 to 2019, where she served as assistant secretary for innovation and accountability from 2015 to 2017. Webb was chief risk and compliance officer for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System from 2012 to 2015. She held multiple positions at California Correctional Health Care Services, including director of policy and risk management from 2010 to 2012 and chief of strategic planning and policy from 2009 to 2012. Webb was deputy director of the Interagency Support Division at the Department of General Services from 2008 to 2009 and director of the Governor's Office of the Insurance Advisor from 2006 to 2008. Webb is a member of the California Center for Civic Participation and the California Prison Health Care Receivership. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $172,356. Webb is registered without party preference.   

Anita Gore, 61, of Dixon, has been appointed deputy director of communications at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Gore has been a communications consultant at the California Department of Public Health since 2016. She was deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs at the California Department of Public Health from 2011 to 2016 and deputy director of the External Affairs Department at the California State Board of Equalization from 2004 to 2011. Gore was public affairs director for the California Department of Conservation in 2004, assistant director of communications at the California Department of Finance from 2002 to 2004 and assistant secretary of external affairs for the California Health and Human Services Agency from 1994 to 2002. Gore was deputy director of communications for the California Employment Development Department from 1991 to 1994 and assistant press secretary in the Office of the Governor from 1990 to 1991. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $160,008. Gore is a Republican.

Cynthia Moreno, 35, of Sacramento, has been appointed assistant deputy director of communications at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Moreno has been a creative content producer for the California State Assembly since 2018. She was communications director for the California State Senate from 2017 to 2018 and capitol political correspondent for the McClatchy Company from 2012 to 2017, where she was a general assignment reporter from 2010 to 2012. Moreno was a news reporter for Telemundo in 2015, a special assignment reporter for Azteca America from 2010 to 2012 and communications director at the Community Water Center from 2009 to 2010. She was breaking news, features and political reporter for the Daily Californian from 2007 to 2009. Moreno is a member of the Capitol Correspondents Association of California, the Sacramento Press Club and the California Latino Capitol Association. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $120,000. Moreno is a Democrat.

C. David Johnson, 36, of West Sacramento, has been appointed deputy director of legislation at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Johnson has been legislative director at the Department of Toxic Substances Control since 2016. He was legislative director in the Office of Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas from 2014 to 2016. Johnson was deputy legislative counsel in the Office of Legislative Counsel from 2011 to 2014, an assembly fellow in the Office of Assemblymember Steven Bradford from 2010 to 2011 and a student legal intern at Morgan Stanley Japan Securities Co., Ltd in 2010. Johnson was a law student counselor at the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic in 2009 and a summer associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in 2009 and at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP in 2008. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Master of Arts degree in government and politics from St. John’s University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $140,004. Johnson is a Democrat.

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RABBI'S CORNER


COMMON LAW UNIONS


BY RABBI DR. RAYMOND APPLE

Q. Does Jewish law recognize common law unions?

A. Jewish law believes in marriage. The Torah says, "A man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, so that they become one person" (Gen. 2:24).

According to rabbinic interpretation (Mishnah Kiddushin), there are three ways to create a marriage – giving the woman an object of value ("kesef"), giving her a document ("sh’tar") and cohabiting with her ("bi’ah").

All three require legal formalities. The long established practice is the first, "kiddushei kesef".

While cohabitation was originally acceptable and is not prohibited by the Torah (Nachmanides’ explanation of Maimonides’ Sefer HaMitzvot, Commandment 470), the rabbis frowned on it.

Not only did they say that legally wedded wives have "kiddushin" and "k’tubah" whilst concubines have neither, but they argued that living with a man without marriage encourages licentiousness.

The verse, "when a man takes a wife" (Deut. 24:1) is interpreted as meaning that a couple who wish to be man and wife should proceed by means of legally sanctioned marriage.

All this applies to a woman who was previously unmarried; a married woman is forbidden to live with or have sexual relations with any other man than her husband. There are additional considerations in the case of a couple who have a civil marriage ceremony.

On the whole subject, I recommend M Elon, "The Principles of Jewish Law" (material from the Encyclopedia Judaica), 1974, cols. 371-6.

G[-]D'S TEFILLIN

Q. Can you explain the rabbinic idea that G[-]d has tallit and tefillin and acts as a chazan?

A. They are beautiful metaphors but not to be taken literally. After all, since G[-]d has no physical form, how can He put on tallit and tefillin?

The reference to G[-]d’s tallit comes from a Talmudic passage attributed to Rabbi Yochanan where he depicts G[-]d wearing a tallit like a chazan and showing Moses the order of the prayers (Rosh HaShanah 17b). He says that whenever Israel sin, they should pray with similar fervour, reciting the 13 Divine Attributes (Ex. 34:6-7).

The notion of G[-]d wearing tefillin (Ber. 6a) is probably intended as an implied rebuke to people in the time of the Talmud who were lax about the mitzvah of tefillin. The argument was, if G[-]d Himself wears tefillin, surely you can too!

Just as human tefillin contain the Shema, which affirms the uniqueness of the Almighty, so His tefillin acclaim the uniqueness of Israel by means of the verse, "Who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on the earth?" (I Chron. 17:21).

REPEATING THE AMIDAH

Q. Why do we repeat the Amidah? Surely it is enough to say it once?

A. The Amidah is the central prayer of every service.

Its opening and closing sections are standard; the intermediate b’rachot vary according to whether it is a weekday, Shabbat or festival.

It is always said silently by the individual, but if a minyan is present it is repeated by the officiant (except at Ma’ariv, which was not originally obligatory).

Explanations of the repetition include:
1. The silent Amidah is the private prayer of the individual; the repetition is the community’s prayer.

2. An individual may lack fluency in prayer or Hebrew, or both. The repetition is "l’hotzi et mi sh’eino baki" – "to fulfill the obligation for a person who is not adept".

--Dr. Raymond Apple, Jerusalem, Israel