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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

Hey Congressional Black Caucus: It is Paychecks not Food Stamps

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(NNPA) My fear is that African Americans have resigned to poverty and blight as opposed to empowerment and economic vitality. We are acting defeated and accept the fact that we are at the bottom rung of every economic ladder and quality of life measurement. My people we don’t have to be there and it is long overdue that we demand more and take control of the situation ourselves. Time is truly wasting!

We have 42 congressional representatives and they all seem to bow to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, respectively. That is a fatal flaw for the 40 million African Americans they supposedly represent. Harry Reid doesn’t give a damn about Black people and doesn’t try to hide that. Nancy Pelosi acts like a French Queen (Marie Antoinette) and has recently said that “food stamps give good bang for the buck.” Yes, she believes that we can be taken care of through food stamps and unemployment checks. How could our elected officials follow behind these vile persons who will never move towards our better interests? There will be no progress without courage and self empowerment. We need leaders not flunkies or “team players.”

Team players for a team that doesn’t include us is this situation. The time for true Black leadership is overdue. There should be an emulation of Parren J. Mitchell and Adam Clayton Powell in Washington, DC . Right now there isn’t a hint of such and during this recession we Blacks are catching pure hell. Congressional Black Caucus please wake up or just fall on your “swords” and let new brave leaders evolve. This could be your finest hour but yet you stutter, you pause and just close your eyes. You bow your head and follow behind the 21st century Massa named Pelosi.

Our Black farmers have settled, yet we can’t get Congress to release the money. It is like the CBC is totally helpless. Maybe they are. Congressman Danny Davis passed the Second Chance Bill that will enable our ex-offenders to enter the workforce and start a new viable future. The problem is Massa Pelosi and others won’t provide the funding to implement the bill. Thus, nothing is changing. How can they tolerate these “smacks in the face” and return to their districts and face their hurting constituents? The constituents should let them know that it is show time and patience can no longer be an option. Our children are at risk and our futures are too bleak. Black folks we need warriors not gate keepers and we should start showing that at the polls.

There are 41 million Americans on food stamps now and the majority is us. Entrepreneurship creates jobs and that should be the number one goal. Let’s stop being brain dead on small business development and work towards that end like never before. Right now the Congressional Black Caucus has the worst record in Congress for small business legislation. They seem to fight it as opposed to embracing it. They think tax increases and more welfare are the keys to empowerment and the answer to our ills. How foolish and naïve. It is time to call them out and demand more. We need Booker T. Washingtons in Congress, not enablers of welfare and hopelessness. Demand, demand and demand business development which creates jobs and paychecks for your constituents. Let us teach the people to fish and not run to hand out fish. Knowing how to fish ensures sustenance forever. Waiting for a fish is a dependency rivaling drug addiction.

CBC members, your deplorable voting record on small business legislation must be exposed. Your inattention to economic matters must be noted to all. Young leaders who want to rise and lead us out of poverty and into economic prowess – we await you! Pelosi, Reid and the others have no good intentions for Black folks. They simply retort, “We will give them more food stamps and extend unemployment insurance. Listen! We must have jobs and if you can’t do it then we will seek someone who can. Malfeasance, incompetence, cowardness and ignorance will no longer be tolerated. More jobs; more paychecks will be the measurement. If you cannot assist in providing these two key items then move your sorry butt out of the way so we can find strong, vibrant leaders who can. We don’t need team players anymore; we need strong leaders with a vision.

Oh, the change is going to hurt. But nothing good is easy as blood, sweat and tears are key ingredients to any aggressive change. Your Massa’ is going to be mad and may “beat” you, but just stand your ground and St. Peter will take notice on that judgment day and the people will be better for this. The people will reward you also via reelection.

Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.

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