No Sales Tax on Diapers and Menstrual Hygiene Products in California in 2020-2021

Sleep tight! No sales tax on your diaper in 2020 and 2021, babeeee!

Sleep tight! No sales tax on your diaper in 2020 and 2021, babeeee!

Here’s something to factor into your budgets beginning January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021. California Senate Bill 92 signed by Governor Newsom eliminates sales and use taxes on diapers for infants, toddler and children, as well as on menstrual hygiene products, including tampons, specified sanitary napkins, menstrual sponges and menstrual cups.

But the taxes only go away for two years, unless the law is extended.

This is good news, or at least temporarily good news, for women and families of diaper-wearing kids.

I didn’t keep tabs on how many diapers we went through when the kids were of diaper-wearing age, but It seems to me every few hours was about par for the course. Perhaps 8 diapers a day. At an average of say 25 cents per diaper, that could add up to over $700/year in diapers.

As of today, one would pay $54.25 in sales taxes on $700 worth of diapers in Ventura County (7.75%). That creeps up to $66.50 in Los Angeles County (9.5%).

Why was this put into place? SB 92, published June 28, 2019, indicates “the specific goals, purposes and objectives of this act are to promote public health by increasing the affordability of, and expanding access to, diaper and menstrual hygiene products.”

Logical questions I have no answers for:

  1. Why did they not eliminate the sales taxes on adult diapers? (Asking for a friend.)

  2. Why did they eliminate the sales taxes for only two years?

  3. Was there not a men’s product to apply the sales tax break to? How about a tax break on beer for a couple years!? That would be cool!

Sick With the Flu? Know What To Do!

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Influenza (or flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with others except to get medical care.

Know the symptoms of Flu

Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: Fever* or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. This is more common in children.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Take Antiviral Drugs if your doctor prescribes them!

Antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications.

CDC recommends that antiviral drugs be used early to treat people who are very sick with the flu and people who get flu symptoms who are at high risk of serious flu complications, either because of their age or because they have a high risk medical condition.

Stay Home When Sick

When you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw tissues in the trash after you use them. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

*Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine before resuming normal activities.

www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm

Southern California Edison Has Announced Possible Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Southern California Edison (SCE) and other energy companies in California have announced the possibility of preventative power shutoffs in areas where there are elevated wildfire risks.

Much of the Conejo Valley and greater Ventura County are considered to be of extreme risk, according to a the California Public Utilities Commission. A map showing high fire threat areas is at https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/firemap/.

This is how Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) works, according to SCE:

  • When elevated fire conditions (e.g. strong winds) present a clear danger, SCE may shut off power temporarily on specific power lines for public safety.

  • SCE intends to notify customers of potential shutoffs 2 days in advance via email, text or phone call. They may also send another notice to customers a day in advance.

  • SCE will also notify local governments, the emergency management community and first responders.

  • SCE will update customers regularly via its website and social media.

SCE can sign up for alerts at www.sce.com/outagealerts.

Additional information and updates will be posted at www.vcemergency.com.

Additional safety tips during an outage from SCE:

  • Disconnect all sensitive electronics to prevent damage or loss of data.

  • If you use a portable gas generator, use it outdoors only.

  • Don’t connect a generator to your home’s circuit breaker panel.

  • Consider obtaining extra fuel for your generator for extended outages and keep the fuel in approved containers in a safe location away from ignition sources.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Options for Thousand Oaks Residents

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The City of Thousand Oaks Public Works Department's "GoGreen" website has hundreds of conservation tips relating to composting, energy conservation, hazardous waste disposal, recycling and trash, reuse programs, water conservation, living green advice, and much more. Check it out at www.toaks.org/GoGreen.

Like me, you may have a lot of junk lying around the house that you'd like to get rid of but are not allowed to place in the trash

Since May 2014, the City has run a permanent Household Hazardous Waste Facility located next to the Service Center at 2010 Conejo Center Drive, Newbury Park.

Residents of Thousand Oaks and unincorporated areas of Ventura County may sign up to drop off items at this facility on Fridays/Saturdays from 9am to 1pm, except certain holiday weekends, at THIS LINK. Advance registration is required.

Items accepted at these monthly collection events include acids, motor oil, antifreeze, asbestos, nail polish/remover, automatic switches, oil filters, batteries, paints, cement, paint thinners, chlorine, fertilizers, pool chemicals, fluorescent lights, propane cylinders, fire extinguishers, rodent poison, garden chemicals, smoke detectors, gasoline, solvents, used frying oil, household cleaners, weed killers and more. They do not accept tires, medications. business waste and other items.

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One person's hazardous waste is another's gold! The City's Hazardous Waste Material Reuse Program allows residents to take away certain items previously disposed of, such as cleaners, paint, pool chemicals, motor oils, adhesives, etc. Selection obviously will vary. No appointment needed. Just stop by ReUse Store (same location as waste collection facility) on Friday/Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the weekly collection events described above.

The ReUse store will be closed weekends associated with the following holidays: President's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day

There are also convenient hazardous waste disposal for other items:

Batteries: Community Centers at Borchard Park, Dos Vientos and Thousand Oaks (next to TOHS), Goebel Senior Center, Thousand Oaks/Newbury Park Libraries, City Hall and Thousand Oaks Transportation Center.

Motor Oil/Filters: See THIS LINK.

Electronic Waste: Best Buy, Goodwill Industries, PC Recycle, Waste Management and Gold Coast Recycling Center. More info at THIS LINK.

Fluorescent Lights/CFL's: You may bring any size or type of flourescent and LED bulbs to the City's Hazardous Waste Facility.

Unwanted and/or expired medications can be dropped off throughout Ventura County at designated police stations, such as the East Valley Police Station Lobby at 2101 E. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks. Open Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm.

Visit toaks.org/GoGreen for updates.

Leaf Blower Guidelines in the City of Westlake Village

Yes, the City of Westlake Village has "recommended guidelines" for the operation of leaf blowers that was approved by the Westlake Village City Council on June 27, 2012.

The detailed Guidelines are available on the City's website at www.wlv.org but here are the highlights:

  1. Leaf blowers are only to be used between 7am and 4pm on weekdays and 8am to 4pm on Saturdays. Sundays and legal holidays are banned from use of gas powered leaf blowers.

  2. One must use leaf blowers at the lowest speed possible...if a higher speed is ABSOLUTELY needed, one must do so for no longer than two minutes.

  3. Mufflers and air filters must be used and serviced/cleaned periodically.

  4. One must observe wind direction when operating the blower...and must blow in the same direction of the wind (except of course if the wind is blowing into your neighbor's property, city streets/gutters or the lake, in which case you might want to stop blowing).

  5. Actually, one must NOT use leaf blowers when there are excessive winds or when any doors or windows are open.

Bottom line: When the area to be cleaned is small, grab a broom or rake and have at it. The guidelines state that failure to abide by the guidelines "could result in legal prohibitions against the use of leaf blowers."

The neighboring City of Thousand Oaks has no such guideline. The general Noise Ordinance in Chapter Five of the City's Municipal Code indicates that no powered equipment such as "backpack blower" (not to mention lawn mowers, edgers, etc.) shall be used between 9pm and 7am. That should explain why you never hear your neighbor mowing their lawn at midnight.

What's the Deal With All of Those Signs Posted at the Swimming Pool

My kids get a laugh from time to time when they notice the sign at the public swimming pool that states, "Persons having currently active diarrhea or who have had active diarrhea within the previous 14 days shall not be allowed to enter the pool water." 

The thought comes to mind, should one have had this issue, how many people would actually remember if it was within the last 14 days. Heck, I can't even remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday and what I watched on TV last Sunday.

But the sign is well intended as waterborne disease is no laughing matter. Waterborne disease outbreaks in pools have often been caused by individuals with recent diarrhea; chlorine doesn't always take care of removing the viruses or parasites that can come from those with recent symptoms.

The requirement for this and other community pool signs comes from California Building Code Chapter 31B "Public Pools," Section 3120B "Required Signs."

Section 3120B.11 "Diarrhea" indicates the sign must have letters at least 1 inch high, clearly states what is noted above, and is posted at the entrance area of a public pool. Public pools include municipal/park district pools, hotel pools, water parks, swim schools, homeowner shared pools, apartment pools, campground pools, etc. One is thus not required to post this sign at your home pool (unless you really want to).

CDC ADVICE TO PREVENT INFECTIONS FROM PUBLIC SWIMMING POOLS

According to this source, the diarrhea sign and a variety of other pool signs were put into law in late 2012. Some examples of other public pool sign requirements include:

  • "No Diving" sign for pools with maximum depth of 6 feet or less

  • "No Lifeguard" sign when applicable

  • Emergency sign with 911 and nearest emergency services

  • "No use after dark" sign for pools without lighting

  • Artificial respiration and CPR sign

  • Pool user capacity sign (1 person per 10 sq ft in spa; 1 person per 20 sq ft in pool)

So you've learned something new. If you'd like to read the entire 28 pages of Chapter 31B of the California Building Code, or any of the Code for that matter, visit www.bsc.ca.gov/Codes.aspx.

DOZENS OF VENTURA COUNTY AREAS SWIMMING POOLS AND WATER PLAY PLACES

Conejo Valley Meal and Shelter Program Providers

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The following Conejo Valley locations take part in a program that provides year-round meals on designated nights of the week to individuals who are in need.  And from December to March, both dinner (6:30 pm) and overnight shelter is offered.

This information is current as of May 2018. Subject to change. Call in advance to confirm.

Mondays:

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

1 W. Avenida de los Arboles, Thousand Oaks (805.492.1234)

Sleeping facilities for up to 15 people during winter months. Visit www.htlcto.org/causes for more information. Hot dinner at 6:30 pm year-round.

Tuesdays:

Calvary Community Church

5495 Via Rocas, Westlake Village (818.991.8040)

Visit calvarycc.org/basic-needs for more information. Dinner at 6:30 pm year-round.

Wednesdays:

Westminster Presbyterian Church

32111 Watergate Rd., Westlake Village (818.889.1491)

www.wpcwestlake.org/index.php/missions/neighborhood  Hot meals at 6:30 pm Wednesday nights year-round.

Thursdays:

Emmanuel Presbyterian Church

588 Camino Manzanas, Thousand Oaks (805.498.4502)

Meal site from April-November

www.epconline.org/#/events-ministries/missions

Chinese Christian Church of Thousand Oaks

218 W. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks (805.379.0882)

Meal and overnight site from December-March

sites.google.com/site/ccctohomeless

Fridays:

Thousand Oaks United Methodist Church

1000 E. Janss Rd, Thousand Oaks (805.495.7215)

Visit www.umcto.org/outreach#. Meals at 6:30 pm Friday nights year-round.

Saturdays:

St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church

2475 Borchard Rd, Newbury Park (805.498.3602)

www.stjulieschurch.org/meal-and-winter-shelter

Meals served for up to 50 people and shelter for up to 30 during winter months. Dinner at 6:30 pm on Saturday nights year-round.

Sundays:

St Patrick's Episcopal Church

1 Church Rd, Thousand Oaks (805.495.6441)

Meal site from April-November

stpatschurch.org/homeless-dinner-program

Temple Adat Elohim

2420 E. Hillcrest Dr, Thousand Oaks (805.497.7101)

Meal and overnight site from December-March. Hot meal for 50 to 80 people. Overnight accommodation for 20 to 35 people.

www.adatelohim.org/volunteer/social-action/shelter

HOMELESS SHELTERS AND MEAL PROVIDERS THROUGHOUT VENTURA COUNTY