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Clean Haiti's Water

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By Judge Greg Mathis –

Shortly after the New Year began, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and left more than one million homeless. The promise of help came from around the world: individuals donated what they could and richer nations, including our own, pledged millions of dollars in support.

Unfortunately, a significant number of those commitments have not been met. As the anniversary of the earthquake approaches, Haiti is still a broken country. To make matters worse, the tiny nation is battling a disease outbreak that, under better conditions, would be simple to treat.

Cases of cholera began popping up in rural Haiti in early October. Cholera is a disease that causes intestinal distress in its victims: vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. These symptoms can lead to dehydration; if not treated, an infected person could die. And, that’s just what’s been happening in Haiti. To date, there have been more than 3,000 cases of the disease and more than 250 deaths.

Cholera is primarily spread through contaminated drinking water. In wealthier countries, water is treated and the bacteria that cause the disease are killed.

Haiti hasn’t had a cholera outbreak in more than 100 years; medical professionals are unsure of what brought this on. One thing is for certain: the nation’s medical system was weakened by the quake and health officials are having a hard time battling the disease.

With experts worried that the disease may soon spread to nearby Dominican Republic, it’s critical that the international pledged community makes good on its promises of support to Haiti.

Current funding for Haiti should be redirected and used to build filtration centers, so that individuals there are guaranteed clean drinking water. Additionally, money should be spent on cholera vaccines and medical outreach so that those who have not been infected don’t get infected.

While it’s important any nation in a position to do so help Haiti get back on its feet – and put the country in a position to prosper - the immediate focus should not be on rebuilding infrastruc- ture, but on preserving life.


Proposition 23 Wrong For The State Of California

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Proposition 23, the ballot measure that would suspend California’s progress toward a clean-energy economy, would be very bad news for California’s low income and minority communities. It would stifle job growth, an effect especially harsh in minority communities where unemployment is among the state’s highest. And it would stymie efforts to clean up some of the state’s most toxic facilities, areas where a disproportionate number of California’s minorities live.

If passed, Prop 23 would require the state to abandon for now its comprehensive clean air and clean energy standards that include increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters. It would allow these programs to resume only after the state’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for a full year – something that’s happened just three times in 40 years.

California’s economy is recovering, but it will likely be more than a dozen years before unemployment drops that low, stifling development of clean energy technologies and setting back California’s efforts to compete with China and other states in winning our share of the new economy– years we may not have.

California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recently refuted the claims by Prop. 23’s backers that the clean energy law is bad for the economy. It found the economic calculations used in those claims to be “essentially useless,” and it found that suspension of the clean energy law could “dampen additional investments in clean energy technologies or in so-called ‘green jobs’ by private firms, thereby resulting in less economic activity.”

Many of the affected minority communities are located just a stone’s throw from some of the state’s most toxic energy facilities.

In all, some 63 percent of the population residing within two and a half miles of these facilities is African American, Latino or Asian/Pacific Islander. And statewide on average, 70 percent of people of color are exposed to dangerous particulate matter linked exposure to such pollution; this disparity is particularly sharp for African Americans. Partly as a result of such exposure, California’s low-income communities are facing epidemics of asthma and lung disease due to air pollution, which contributes to thousands of premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks, and thousands of trips to the hospital.

Many of these toxic facilities are operated by some of the same out-ofstate oil companies – including Valero, Tesoro and Koch Industries – that are spending millions of dollars in an attempt to pass Prop 23. In fact, 98 percent of campaign cash for Prop 23 is from the oil industry; 89 percent of it is from out-of-state.

Such communities – like Wilmington in the LA area where many of the toxic plants are located and the poverty rate is 25 percent – would benefit greatly from the solid, good-paying “green color” jobs a clean energy economy would bring.

As San Francisco State Urban Studies Professor Raquel Pinderhughes recently noted, the vast majority of green collar jobs do not require high levels of education.

In fact, clean energy businesses are one of the few bright spots in our recovering economy.

These businesses are creating many jobs that can provide pathways out of poverty for struggling families. Many of these jobs – in solar companies, energy efficiency firms, and green manufacturing – are “middle-skill” jobs. They pay well and require training and skill, but they are available to people without 4-year university degrees. Since 2005, California green jobs have grown 10 times faster than the statewide average. If we kill our state’s clean energy and clean air standards, California would lose hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments. California would change instantly from clean energy “leader” to “laggard.” Other states would win the countless jobs and investments that California now attracts.

We know why the out of state oil companies like Prop. 23. With it in place, the Texas fox would be guarding California’s henhouse, wiping out years of progress toward a clean energy economy, good jobs and a healthier quality of life.

Aubry Stone is CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce.

Measure C Will Save Tax Dollars and Professionalize our City Government

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I rarely write to express my views in public and for those who know me know I reserve my opinion to face-to-face verbal debates. However, I am making this exception because of the fact I was taken to court along with Rev Raymond Turner, Rachel Mendoza-Clark (city clerk) and David Kennedy, (city treasurer) for signing the rebuttal in favor of Measure C that the voters received in the voters guide. I want to thank the four council members, Virginia Marquez, Tobin Brinker, Fred Shorett and Rikke Van Johnson, who listened to our reasoning and voted to have Measure C placed on the ballot.

I was one of the original people to talk about changing the charter because of what I witness at each meeting of the council over the past several years. I, like others, thought it was important to elect these positions.

Even with the last time there was a opportunity to change the charter, I opposed it for many of the same reasons many oppose this change, prior to then I saw no need to have these positions appointed. I changed that opinion when I concluded that structure of the city needed to be changed in order for business to thrive; political agendas were at the root cause of arguments and confusion that led to prolonged meetings with no other purpose than to control the legislative body and feed a personal ego. I suspected duplication of budgets and when I got the accurate information under the Freedom of Information Act my suspicions were confirmed to be true. The city attorney’s budget has duplicate police and code enforcement personnel as well as high administrative costs. The city attorney and council member Wendy McCammack have agreed that there is duplication of positions in the city attorney’s office.

Additionally there are no restrictions on qualifications to be city treasurer or city clerk, under the charter whoever gets the most votes (qualified or not) can run those very important departments. Thank God, we have two very competent people now but again it is the structure that needs to be changed and professionalized.

The charter change will help save the city millions of dollars and with our finances being what they are we can use all the savings we can get. One issue brought up in court that was concluded to be false is that Jim Penman wanted to protect his $200,000 salary and his $100,000 a year pension. He pointed out to the Judge and rightly so that his $100,000 pension is going to be paid to him whether or not Measure C passes. He says after 23 years he deserves the taxpayer funded retirement package.

He still claims he won the court case but he is the one on the hook to pay all of the court costs.

In addition to saving money, is the need for more professionalism in these office holder positions especially that of city attorney. To use a quote recently used by the Minister of Mining in Chile on why they were able to rescue the 33 trapped miners is “we had great professional experts, excellent people, and a united team with a single goal”. This is essential if we are to become the city we want and know we can become.

As a person of faith I was very concerned with the city attorneys’ actions toward the faith community starting with his actions at First Nazarene Church and now Pastor Raymond Turner of Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

In my rebuttal I said “The system is broken and we should stop politicians from spending almost 3 times more than other cities on bureaucratic functions like attorneys and clerks.” Join with me and vote yes on Measure C which is for CHANGING the city to a more PROFFESSIONAL way to the get legal advice, stop duplication of services and prevent non qualified persons for seeking office as city clerk or treasurer. Vote YES on Measure C.

Cheryl R. Brown
Co-Publisher, Black Voice News

IECAAC Supports Measure C For good Government

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Lord considers their threats and enables your servants to speak with much boldness, Acts 4:29

According to the Book of Acts, the servants of the Lord had to face threats from those in high places during the early stages of establishing the Christian Church. Even though it has been over two thousands years since that time, today we face threats of lawsuits against our brothers and even one of our brethren at the First Nazarene Church in the city was intimidated last year by those in high places.

This is something we cannot take lightly because if allowed to go unchallenged others might take us as easy targets to take on in the future. I am proud and happy to lead such an organization as Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, IECAAC, where the brothers have shown courage to “speak with much boldness” in support of its members and churches in the community.

I know the difficulty of a united effort to speak out when one does not understand all of the politics of the day or the far reaching tentacles of such actions of people in high places.

I am also reminded of another scripture, Ephesians 6:12 that explain our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world in high places. Therefore we must continue to fight the good fight in a political arena for the benefit of our people to live an abundant life that has been promised them by our government.

It is my honest belief after listening to the mayor, city council and the city attorney talk about duplicate services been carried out in the city; it is in the best interest of the citizens to vote for Measure C to change the charter to have these professional positions appointed by the mayor and council.

It will “eliminate duplicate service” and “save many more taxpayers dollars” in the process. It will also put the “political power into the hands of the council” that we elect to make policy and run our government. It will allow those who wish to do business in the city to get “straight talk” from one body instead of from different elected representatives with separate political agendas.

I am recommending that all citizens support the passage of Measure C by voting YES.

Pastor Philip Powell

Support Measure C for a More Professional Operating City Government

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Our people are suffering in the community from a lack of good elected officials and professional staff personnel that have the real interest of its citizens at setting public policy. In the city of San Bernardino we have a mayor as chief executive officer, seven council members elected as policy makers and the only ones eligible to vote at the council table, unless the mayor has to break a tie or veto a four to three vote. These are the policy makers and watch dogs, so to speak, to run the city and oversee any wrong doing by any one employed to carry out policy.

Having said that, we also, have three other elected officials in the city in the position of city attorney, city clerk and city treasurer with their duties outlined in the city charter.

That sounds great but it has led to years of wrangling between the city attorney and the legislative body of the city and created an image that has caused the citizen less services and less hospitable places to do business.

Other cities in the area have improved in their ability to attract businesses while improving the standard of living for citizens.

As pastor of St. Paul AME Church I have a responsibility to encourage my members to participate in civic activities and local government, which brings me to Measure C on the ballot in November. To actively get involved is something I hesitate to do, however, this is an exception because of the action taken against one of the clergy and the harm of a dysfunctional system’s impact on the community.

In the name and belief of good government I urge the voters of San Bernardino to vote yes on Measure C.

Pastor Larry Campbell
St. Paul AME Church
San Bernardino

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