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Protecting All Women From Domestic Violence

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Guest Editorial
By Representative Mark Takano

If you were to guess that car accidents, muggings or rapes were the leading causes of injury to women, you’d be wrong. The sad reality is that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than the aforementioned causes combined. Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States, and is most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family.

Even more disturbing, it has been estimated that more than 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence every year. These memories have lasting impacts on children that they often carry with them into adulthood. Not surprisingly, men who witness domestic violence as children are twice as likely to abuse their partners than sons of nonviolent parents, creating a legacy of abuse.

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has helped ensure that no victim of domestic violence has to hide in the shadows. Pushed through by then-Senator Joe Biden, the Act provided $1.6 billion towards the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, including domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and dating violence. The Act also established the Office on Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice.

When VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in 2005, it was done so with bipartisan support. In 2012, when VAWA came up again for reauthorization, the Senate passed the reauthorization and included provisions that provided more comprehensive coverage for members of the LGBT community, and Native American and undocumented women.

When it was reintroduced in the Senate at the top of year, with the expanded coverage provisions included, the reauthorization passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, 78-22, with every single woman, Democrats and Republicans, voting in favor.

After numerous roadblocks, the Senate bill eventually came up for a vote in the House of Representatives. This version, that includes the comprehensive coverage, passed with a bipartisan vote.

The reauthorization of VAWA was critical as after almost two decades, it has proved time and time again its usefulness. Countless women and children are safer because of the increased funding and tools given to law enforcement officials.

It may not have been easy, but I’m proud of Congress for doing the right thing. Protecting families should be a priority for all elected officials. This truly was a victory for women everywhere.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, please contact the Alternatives to Domestic Violence 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 951-683-0829.

CSUSB President to Speak at Fontana Church on Importance of College

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SAN BERNARDINO – Cal State San Bernardino president Tomás D. Morales, along with other members of the CSUSB family, will speak on the value of a college education and early college preparation as part of the annual CSU Super Sunday events at several area African American churches on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Morales will speak at the Principles of Faith Christian Center, 17977 Merrill Ave., in Fontana at 9:30 a.m.

The presentations focus on preparing elementary, middle and high school students for college and are part of Super Sunday, one of the California State University’s outreach efforts to promote higher education and the importance of early academic preparation.

On Sundays in February and March, California State University Chancellor Tim White, along with university presidents and other representatives from all 23 CSU campuses, will speak at nearly 100 predominately African American churches throughout the state about preparing for college, applying to a CSU campus and financial aid.

Morales stressed the importance of the event.

“This will be my first opportunity to be part of Super Sunday, but I have been a longtime advocate for early college preparation,” Morales said. “It’s critical that we partner with K-12 school systems throughout the region to increase the number of students who are ready to enroll in college-level courses after high school.”

In addition, Milton Clark, CSUSB associate vice president for undergraduate studies, and Jean Peacock, a CSUSB professor of psychology, will speak at separate services at the Ecclesia Christian Fellowship Church in San Bernardino. CSUSB Athletic Director Kevin Hatcher previously spoke at Temple Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino on Feb. 10.

Since 2006, the Super Sunday event has brought CSU leaders to churches throughout California to educate students and families about the requirements to successfully get into college and ultimately earn a degree. Participants at the services receive information about financial aid and the CSUMentor.edu website that provides the tools to plan and apply to CSU campuses.

“I have also spent my entire career as a strong proponent for increased diversity in higher education. For many Inland Empire students and families, the thought of going to college is only a dream,” Morales said. “That is changing, but we need to do more to encourage and motivate students of all backgrounds to prepare for college early, because education is the key to a better future.”

After the church service, parents and students will have the opportunity to talk to CSU representatives and receive a How To Get To College poster – a practical guide about how to prepare for college. The guide – available in several languages as both a printed and electronic document – provides the list of classes that students need to take in grades six through twelve to qualify for admission to the CSU. It also provides tips for parents and mentors to help students succeed.

More than 70 percent of CSUSB graduates come from families in which neither parent has a college degree, Morales added. Cal State San Bernardino is also the most diverse university in the region, and there is no majority ethnic group on campus. Further evidence shows the achievement gaps among the various ethnic CSUSB student groups are narrowing.

Cal State San Bernardino ranks first in the CSU system for first-to-second year retention for Hispanic students, with 90.5 percent of first-time Hispanic freshmen enrolled at CSUSB in fall 2010 returning in fall 2011. The first-to-second-year retention rate for African-American students on campus also ranks among the leaders in the CSU and is far above the system average.

The annual Super Sunday event is produced by the CSU African American Initiative – a partnership between CSU campuses and African American religious leaders with the goal of increasing college going rates among African American students. Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. Reed founded the initiative eight years ago with the support of CSU trustees, presidents, faculty, staff, students and alumni.

For more information about Super Sunday, visit http://www.calstate.edu/supersunday/

Attorney General Harris Announces Settlement to Protect Public Health in Jurupa Valley

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LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris recently announced a settlement in a lawsuit challenging the approval of an industrial project in Riverside County that would cause additional diesel truck traffic near a community already disproportionately affected by diesel exhaust and noise pollution.

As part of the agreement, the City of Jurupa Valley and other parties will take action to significantly reduce the project’s air quality impacts on Mira Loma Village, a primarily Hispanic residential community.

“It is a false choice to suggest that in order for California business to thrive, public health must suffer,” Attorney General Harris said. “It is my intention that this settlement will provide a model for local governments, developers and communities to work together to ensure responsible development benefiting all Californians.”

In September 2011, Attorney General Harris joined the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) action filed by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice to set aside Riverside County’s approval for the Mira Loma Commerce Center, which would consist of a million square feet of warehouses and industrial buildings.

The suit outlined the county’s failure to adequately analyze and mitigate the project’s impacts on Mira Loma Village residents in light of the already serious health and environmental risks suffered by the community.

The City of Jurupa Valley, which was incorporated in 2011, now has jurisdiction over the project site. The city and the project developers agreed as part of the settlement to implement and fund the following:

- Proceedings for preparation of an Environmental Justice Element of the City’s General Plan;

- Installation of air filtration systems in the homes of Mira Loma residents;

- Air quality monitoring in Mira Loma Village;

- Landscaping in setback areas with plants with potential to remove or reduce exposure to diesel particulate emissions; and,

- A “green” project site, including a 100kW capacity solar photovoltaic system, LEED Silver certified project buildings, and electric vehicle charging stations.

“We are extremely impressed with the cooperative process that took place to arrive at this agreement,” said Penny Newman, Executive Director of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. “This settlement has created the ‘gold standard’ for settlements in addressing impacts through a model process of how diverse stakeholders can come together and cooperatively find comprehensive solutions.”

The settlement also requires the City of Jurupa Valley to conduct proceedings to adopt an ordinance to prohibit heavy trucks on the road adjacent to Mira Loma Village, to implement an anti-idling enforcement program and to consider environmental justice during CEQA review for future projects in the City.

Since the 1990s, Riverside County has approved a series of warehouse projects that are now under the City of Jurupa Valley’s jurisdiction. Thousands of trucks travel to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to distribution centers and warehouses in the City of Jurupa Valley and other areas of Riverside County each day. These trucks spew diesel exhaust causing harmful health impact to residents living near the freeways and roads on which the trucks travel. Diesel exhaust is listed as a known carcinogen under Proposition 65. The levels of particulate matter and ozone pollutants in the Jurupa Valley area are significantly higher than both California and federal air quality standards.

This settlement will help reduce the public health impacts caused by the project and existing warehouse facilities on the overburdened community of Mira Loma Village. This settlement serves as a model for how other local governments can encourage smart development while also addressing environmental public health in their communities.

Assemblymember Brown Introduces Bill to Assist Small Businesses

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SACRAMENTO - Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) introduced her first bill of the legislative session last week, AB 285, which will expand the definition of a microenterprise. This bill is necessary to enhance the technical services available to small businesses in California.

Microenterprises are business that are started for less than $35,000 and lack access to traditional loans and capital. California has three million microenterprises that employ over four million people. AB 285 will provide microenterprises with increased resources to help them grow.

“I’m pleased to introduce my first bill, AB 285, a bill to support small business growth and job creation in our state. AB 285 will improve the quality of life for residents in the 47th District by promoting small business growth, which will translate to job creation within some of our district’s highest unemployment areas,” said Assemblymember Brown, “Small businesses are so important because they provide a majority of jobs and it is vital for our economy that we continue to push policies that assist in their growth. Passing this legislation will be my top priority.”

Under current law, a microenterprise is classified as a business with four or fewer employees including the business owner. AB 285 will allow for a firm to employ five employees including the business owner. Additionally, this bill will allow local workforce investment boards to provide entrepreneurial training programs and specialized assistance to microenterprises.

The bill was introduced and has been moved to the Assembly Rules Committee for assignment to the appropriate policy committee.

VA Medical Center Hosts "Welcome Home" Event

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LOMA LINDA – The VA Loma Linda Healthcare System will host a “Welcome Home” event at its flagship facility, the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the event, VA will be offering same-day registration and physical examinations to Veterans not yet enrolled in VA health care.

Other representatives from a variety of VA programs will be on-hand to take questions about Veterans benefits, including claims processing, women’s health, readjustment, and many others.

Reservations are not necessary, but interested veterans may call (909) 583-6305 to learn more about the program. Anyone who receives an in-take physical examination will be entered in a drawing to win a 60-inch SMART TV. The drawing will be held at 3 p.m. and the individual must be present to win.

With approximately 2,300 employees and more than 1,000 volunteers, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System serves more than 65,000 veterans who entrust their health care needs to VA for a wide variety of services through inpatient and outpatient care.

The Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center is the centerpiece of the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System. Opened in 1977, it is located ½ mile from its major affiliate, Loma Linda University. In partnership with Loma Linda University Medical Center and Loma Linda University Healthcare, VA provides primary care and mental health at outpatient clinics located in Blythe, Corona, Palm Desert, Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville.

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BVN National News Wire