Opinion

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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