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COMMENTARY: Vote ‘No’ on Props 26 & 27: Both Are Bad for California

In respect for Native sovereignty, voters previously supported the establishment of Indian gaming. However, neither of the current measures have significant Indian support.

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James E. Vann is a former architect and advocate for social justice housing. He is also a co-founder of the Oakland Tenants Union (OTU) and Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt (CALM).
James E. Vann is a former architect and advocate for social justice housing. He is also a co-founder of the Oakland Tenants Union (OTU) and Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt (CALM).

By James. E. Vann

Propositions 26 and 27 on the November ballot appear to be related, but their differences are substantial, and both are exceedingly harmful.

Proposition 26 would result in vast expansion of gambling methods within American Indian lands, with a new extension to California racetracks.

Proposition 27 would result in vast expansion of present gaming methods beyond Indian lands, with no limitations, and would add the authorization of ‘online’ gambling.

In respect for Native sovereignty, voters previously supported the establishment of Indian gaming. However, neither of the current measures have significant Indian support.

Proposition 26

This measure, somewhat related but unlike Proposition 27, was initiated by a small group of leaders of the largest tribes. Their motivation is their personal enrichment, not from either demand or need. The currently authorized program of permitted gaming methods at Indigenous casino sites is constitutionally limited. Proposition 26 would remove the present restrictions and permit unlimited gambling methods and selections at casino sites and at California racetracks. Methods would include wagering on sports events, like horse racing, sports teams, auto racing, boxing, wrestling, and a host of events broadcast into casino platforms.

The institution of Indigenous casinos has been a needed boon and supplement to mandated federal and state financial assistance that is perennially insufficient. The result of tribal-sponsored gaming – currently earning hundreds of millions annually — has brought tremendous uplift in the political, economic, health, and social life of Indian tribes and peoples. Casino profits are shared with non-casino tribes and these efforts, though lagging, are continuing and constantly improving.

While Indian casinos are thriving and producing admirable widespread improvements, tribal leaders of some of the largest casinos initiated Proposition 26 with the goal of slyly piggy-backing on the possible success of Proposition 27, solely due to greed, not need for new, unlimited revenue. VOTE ‘NO.’

Proposition 27

Proposition 27 was qualified for the ballot by deceptive propaganda. Paid signature collectors told signers that “this new measure will raise money to end homelessness in California.” Proposition 27 was not initiated, nor promoted by California Indian tribes, but by out-of-state corporations that sought to take advantage of the universal desire of California voters to end homelessness together with the compassion of state voters to lift up the plight of California’s Native peoples from the violent repression of the past.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 correctly acknowledged the sovereignty of Indigenous people and the right of tribes to operate gambling casinos on tribal land. This Act has successfully improved the quality of life for Indian tribes and produces millions in revenues that is shared among both casino and non-casino tribes, which bureaucratic federal and state government financial assistance could never replicate.

Proposition 27 would astronomically expand to unlimited types of gambling well beyond being confined to casinos on Indian land to online phenomena available to everyone, including minors with a cell phone, or varieties of digital devices. Arguments for the measure blatantly lie in many ways:

  • That revenue from online gaming will uplift poorer, non-casino Indian tribes. Impartial analysis shows that at least 90% of revenue from the expansion will go into the pockets of the out-of-state carpetbaggers who wrote the measure specifically for their selfish enrichment;
  • That revenue from the measure will end homelessness. Besides there being little revenue to allocate, voters need only to recall that the “selling point” years ago for approving the California State Lottery was the promise that lottery revenue “would forever end the problem of funding education throughout the state;”
  • That minors will not be able to gamble online. No procedures are indicated that will weed out anyone with a digital device from online access.

Additionally, because Blacks, people of color, and those of lower income are lured in larger numbers to games of chance with the hope of improving their financial status, Proposition 27 would aggravate economic inequality and insecurity. The availability of unlimited online gaming opportunities will provide increased attractions that will further worsen the already weak financial condition of marginalized people.

Practically all California Indian Council tribes oppose Proposition 27 as a boondoggle that will proliferate gambling throughout California life and institutions degrading the lifestyles of minors and the elderly.

Through this new, deceptive measure, the sponsoring out-of-state corporations will realize uncountable wealth with practically nothing positive accruing to California, its residents, or its many intractable issues.

VOTE “NO.”

James E. Vann is a former architect and advocate for social justice housing. He is also a co-founder of the Oakland Tenants Union (OTU) and Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt (CALM).

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Activism

Moms 4 Housing Hold Sit-in Demanding County Supervisors Extend Eviction Protections

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms. Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

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Participants in the sit-in, which began Tuesday afternoon, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.
The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

By Post Staff

Moms 4 Housing held a sit-in in the nonviolent civil disobedience tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., to demand that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors uphold their original vote to pass permanent Just Cause eviction protections for the 60,000 tenants living in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County.

The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms.

Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

The Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), ACCE and EBHO, along with other local activists, are mobilizing outside of the Alameda County Administration Building to stand in solidarity with Moms 4 Housing, an organization focused on uniting mothers, neighbors, and friends to reclaim housing for the Oakland community from the big banks and real estate speculators.

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Activism

Following More Mass Shootings Democrats Introduce Assault Weapons Ban

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9. The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns. President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

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The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans
The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans.

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire

Two proposals aimed at curbing the spread of assault rifles were submitted today by Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein of California, and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

The Assault Weapons Ban seeks to prohibit the commercialization, distribution, production, and importation of assault rifles and other firearms designed for use in military operations, as well as high-capacity magazines and similar devices.

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9.

The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns.

President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

Biden said that the number of mass shootings declined during the decade that the Assault Weapons Ban was in effect.

“In the 10 years that the Assault Weapons Ban was on the books, mass shootings went down,” Biden remarked.

“After Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled,” he declared.

Both houses of Congress were urged to take quick action by the president.

According to Biden, “the majority of American people agree with this rational measure.”

“There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities and our nation,” he insisted.

In the House of Representatives, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline said he plans to introduce a companion bill to the Senate’s Assault Weapons Ban.

Feinstein said assault rifles “seem to be the unifying denominator in the seemingly endless number of horrific shootings.”

“Because these firearms were created for maximum efficiency in mass murder,” the senator noted.

“They have no place in our society or educational institutions. It’s time to take a stand against the gun lobby and do something about getting these lethal weapons off the streets, or at the absolute least, out of the hands of our youth.”

Blumenthal added, as the gunman at the Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park demonstrated just days ago, assault weapons are designed for one and one purpose only: to murder or hurt human beings.

“These military-style combat weapons – built for the battlefield and designed to maximize death and destruction – have brought bloodshed and carnage to our streets and continue to be the weapon of choice in countless mass shootings,” Blumenthal said.

“Guns don’t respect state boundaries, which is why we need a national solution to restricting the ownership and use of assault weapons. Now is the time to honor gun violence victims and survivors with this commonsense action.”

Rep. Ciciline argued that it is long past due to reinstate an assault weapon ban and remove these “weapons of war” from civilian areas.

The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans,” Ciciline noted.

“We need to come together to enact this commonsense, effective, and proven policy to reduce gun violence and save lives. I thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership in this fight and look forward to introducing the House companion bill in the coming weeks.”

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Activism

With a 97.3% Strike Vote, More Than 500 Richmond Educators Rally Before School Board Meeting

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

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Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day
Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day

By Post Staff

United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) held a rally urging West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) officials to reach a “fair settlement” and avoid a strike.

Teachers, school psychologists, school nurses, school counselors, program specialists, librarians, and speech-language pathologists are calling for a settlement that includes community schools, shared decisions, and competitive compensation that keeps outstanding educators in the community — and brings the next generation of educators to the district.

The rally was held at Lovonya Dejean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

In mid-November last year, the Legislative Analyst Office of California announced additional guaranteed, ongoing funding for the 2023-24 school year. The district intends to only provide less than half of the percentage of ongoing permanent funding it receives from the state for educator compensation, according to a statement released by the UTR.

Despite that projection of continued funding by the state, the school district declared an impasse in negotiations with UTR. Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day.

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