Opinion

I know the despair that the holidays can bring

This holiday season, once again we have on our minds those who find themselves in less-fortunate circumstances. Many are alone. Some are homeless. There are those of our loved ones who are incarcerated. The facts bear this out: According to prisonpolicy.org as of 2018, there were 2.3 million people in U.S. jails. Just over half a million people in this country are experiencing some form of homelessness points out endhomelessness.org. And health giant Cigna, using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, reports that 46-percent of survey participants noted feelings of solitude. I have been one of these statistics. I’ve experienced loneliness. I’ve been homeless. I’ve spent winter holidays in jail. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year are supposed to be times of sharing, caring, and looking forward to a prosperous future. Together families prepare meals, engage in lively conversation, decorate the holiday tree, share traditions, and make merry as they anticipate what the future may hold. But for many, the primary concern is having a warm place to sleep, wondering where that next meal may come from, and feeling alone to the point of despair. Many suffer…

Our society is sick

An op-ed by Corey Jackson, Director of the Center Against Racism & Trama (CART) and Chairman/CEO of SBX Youth & Family Services Our Society Is Sick. It’s infected with Hate. This is the reality I came to after the death of Diego at Landmark Middle School and while watching the DC movie JOKER (I should get paid for the plug), it broke my heart to see adults pushing and threatening for the incarceration of the students involved. It was disappointing to see the tragedy being laid at the feet of their parents. What was even more disgusting to see adults using hate and violence to deal with this issue. This is but a reflection of our society as a whole. You see, violence and hate is taught. It is modeled so perfectly by the actions and words of you and me. No one is innocent. We saw the sickness again when Brandt Jean hugged his brother’s killer Amber Guyger. Throughout this nation, we saw our friends, family, and self-proclaimed Christians attack a young man in mourning, for showing LOVE to a fellow human being who…

Affordable Housing: California’s State of Emergency

An op-ed by USC graduate students Ray Tse and Rebekah Hong A state of emergency. Four daunting words that should catch the attention of our state. On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, the Los Angeles City Council proposed a state of emergency on homelessness. Los Angeles declared a state of emergency four years ago on the same issue – there were 25,000 homeless then. Today, an estimated number of 130,000 people are homeless in California with 36,000 of the population in Los Angeles. That is an increase of 11,000 homeless people in Los Angeles the past four years. It is now an issue for Governor Gavin Newsom to follow through on this recent proposal making sure that California and Los Angeles receive the federal support needed in a state of emergency. We see them on the streets, living in their vehicles, on the sidewalks, and under freeway ramps. So listen up California. Policy makers. Residents. We have solutions on how to alleviate this emergency. Subsidized housing and building affordable housing are all proven remedies needed now. It’s your choice whether to listen, but more importantly, to…

Crisis Stabilization Units provide effective treatment option

A guest op-ed by San Bernardino City Councilman Juan Figueroa in response to Assemblymember James Ramos op-ed on July 9, “Crisis Stabilization Units Promote Recovery/Treatment.” Our local hospital emergency rooms are experiencing a significant increase in congestion from a new type of patient.  Many social workers at our regional trauma centers are reporting that individuals are taken to or proceeding to the emergency room and requesting services that are not related to physical injuries or illnesses.  Instead, they are arriving in the emergency department seeking assistance for psychiatric crises that may or may not rise to the level which requires acute psychiatric hospitalization. Assemblymember James Ramos has taken the lead in responding to this crisis, and I am relieved to learn that mental health and hospital congestion is an issue that is now receiving greater attention from our state policy makers. As one part of the behavioral health continuum of care, Assemblymember Ramos highlighted his interest in combating the stigma of mental health by raising awareness of this issue and connecting people with the mental health services and help they need through the appropriate use…

On Clean Air Day we demand Community Benefits Agreements that will improve our lungs

A guest op-ed by Erika Del Carmen Ruiz, a queer Latinx social justice writer, poet, and community organizer from San Bernardino, California. Trucks idle outside our windows–churning out the black soot that helps to damage our lungs. With more warehouses and truck stops come the abundance of diesel trucks that create the current cruel reality of our daily lives.  We’re struggling to breathe. And yet, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and local elected officials in the Inland region do very little to stop the harm. In fact, some of them turn the other cheek, while developers and corporations take up our space and provide us community members with very little in return. It was 87 days of smoggy air in 2018 and 85 days this year. The facts have proved that we breathe some of the worst air in the nation. Disregarding our testimonies because of “emotions” is no longer a good argument. However, ignoring us because of our sentiments and experiences is in poor taste.  In reality, the true solutions to resolving our air quality issues stem from the front line communities…

Warehouse tax NOT a sales tax

A guest op-ed by Darrell Peedent – Boardmember, Moreno Valley Unified School District The Moreno Valley City Council wants to increase our sales tax to pay the warehouse developers bills – again. The sales tax increase would be on the November 2020 ballot. The city council is advocating for this tax by claiming they will raise $20 million to pay for roads, more police officers and other infrastructure. This proposed sales tax is irresponsible and unnecessary; forcing families to foot the bill for multi-millionaires who continue to get free passes signed, sealed and hand-delivered by the Moreno Valley City Council. They damage our roads with heavy-duty diesel trucks (you know, the trucks that make us all late to work everyday,) pollute our air and decrease local property value mile-by-mile. And we pay for it – with our time, health and money. How can we expect our kids to stay close to home after they graduate? Warehouse developers have taken over — leaving Moreno Valley with lower wages, fewer opportunities and fewer reasons for our kids to work and raise their families here. They’re going to…

Positive police approach is changing perceptions

An Op-Ed by John Valdivia – Mayor, City of San Bernardino Think about a situation where you might encounter a law enforcement officer. For most people, the situation they imagine is negative. In San Bernardino, local police are changing that perception while making our community a safer environment to live and do business. We’ve restructured the force, and these efforts are already paying positive dividends for San Bernardino. The City has partnered with the San Bernardino Police Officers Association to bring a new playground to Littlefield/Schultis Park, and we are encouraging members of the community to get involved to make this a reality, including taking part in the bbq fundraiser hosted by the SBPOA coming up September 26th to support the project. We want people in San Bernardino to have opportunities to interact with law enforcement in positive settings. SBPD pop up tents are appearing regularly at spots throughout San Bernardino and mounted patrols are distributing resources to our neighbors on horseback. Community members are invited to attend regular “Coffee with a Cop” meetings to share their concerns or just chat. This summer, San Bernardino…

The need to fully fund Land and Water Conservation Fund

An opinion submitted by Maricela Rosales I still remember the first day I climbed in San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Every single climb is a connection with nature that one cannot explain without actually experiencing the adrenaline of the climb, the feeling of the rock, and the majestic views at the top. For me, climbing is not just the activity, but rather a personal journey I take with nature, a self-discovery of new terrain, new limits. As someone that has been limited to the confinements of LA’s urban life due to health issues, each climb is a testament of my own perseverance, my own journey exploring parks in Los Angeles and throughout California.Yet, not all state and national parks have ADA access and can deter those with disabilities from visiting and experiencing many of the parks within Los Angeles and California. This led me to create the Abilities Project as a way to advocate for legislation and funding to help make our public lands accessible to all of the public. This correlates to my belief that we need to fully fund the Land and Water…

Dynamex Law will gut ethnic media in California, too

An Op-Ed by By Regina Brown Wilson – California Black Media Last week, I wrote an appeal to Governor Newsom, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez and our state legislators in Sacramento, urging them to not reclassify the contract couriers who deliver our African American-owned newspapers as employees. But if AB 5 passes, it would not only hurt the Black Press. It would make business nearly impossible for the more than 100 Latinx, Asian-American, Native-American and other small niche independent papers as well. Across California, our ethnic media outlets are the lifeline to truthful and important information for over 80 percent of all minority groups combined. That is close to one-half of all Californians. Considering the great responsibility our ethnic media publications have in helping to strengthen our democracy here in California, we are calling on the leaders we’ve elected to represent and protect all of our interests to search their hearts, look beyond blind spots, step in, and do the one thing that will prevent Assembly Bill 5 from putting our ethnic media publications in California out of business. The bill Assemblymember Gonzalez (D-San Diego) is proposing…

We shouldn’t have to choose between clean air and clean water for our children

An Op-Ed by Joe Salas, San Bernardino High School educator I’ve been a teacher for 14 years and watched many students journey from their first day through their senior year. Recently, I attended the graduation for San Bernardino High School seniors. This is one of my favorite days of the year. It is the culmination of everything the school community has worked for; seeing the scholars walking across the stage brings me great joy.   It’s also a reminder that we must continue to do everything we can to ensure that our students can focus on learning while at school and not have to worry about their health. I learned recently that 400 schools in California have lead contamination in their drinking water. Adding to this, about 300 public water systems in our state are not in compliance with drinking water standards. Shockingly, nearly 1 million people in California lack access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water.  Locally, there are schools that have reported finding lead levels at more than 5 parts per billion in their drinking water system – including San Gorgonio and San…

White House drug reform reversal leaves mental health patients pinching pennies

An Op-Ed The White House just axed a proposal that would have made medicines more affordable for patients living with mental illness. Had the change taken effect, millions of Americans would have found it easier to afford the medicines they need.  I’ve made it my life’s mission to help Americans who are battling mental illnesses.  While serving in the House of Representatives, I authored and co-sponsored bills to improve treatment of mental health disorders. And I’ve continued to advocate for these patients since leaving Congress. Each year, millions of Americans confront mental illness. Roughly one in six Americans relies on some form of psychiatric medication.  Many patients struggle to afford the medications that keep them healthy. In 2017, nearly half of people battling a mental illness went without treatment, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Almost half of those patients cited cost as the reason.  High out-of-pocket pharmacy bills deserve much of the blame. An analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when copays for antidepressants double, patients fill 26 percent fewer prescriptions.  The Trump…

A Community Benefits Agreement at Eastgate is the start of changing the way we do business

Guest Op-Ed by DeJonae Shaw, nurse and union member There’s another heatwave season in Southern California that’s making our air unbreathable. According to state monitoring data, we’ve already violated federal ozone standards for 32 days straight this summer. You might have noticed this when your chest began to hurt during that mile walk to the store, during that morning jog, or during your midnight shift inside an Amazon warehouse. Ground level ozone–an air pollutant that comes from dirty emissions like gas and diesel–is making a giant comeback because of the massive logistics developments taking place in our region. These structures attract thousands of trucks daily and are being built extremely close to sensitive receptors: our homes and schools.  San Bernardino International Airport’s Eastgate Logistics Center will add to that burden by bringing in 27 cargo flights a day–currently there are only five cargo flights a week. As a Licensed Vocational Nurse in the Inland Empire, I have experienced seeing the negative impacts bad smog and air quality are having on our future. It’s a physical and emotional pain that can be avoidable if we take swift action…

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