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Councilman voices opposition to bill extending drinking hours

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — City Councilman Paul Koretz and a group of activists spoke out May 3 against a bill before the state Legislature that would allow Los Angeles and nine other cities to extend alcohol sales to 4 a.m. Koretz and the activists — including members of Alcohol Justice and the California Alcohol Policy Alliance — held a news conference outside Los Angeles City Hall to oppose SB 58.

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By City News Service

LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Paul Koretz and a group of activists spoke out May 3 against a bill before the state Legislature that would allow Los Angeles and nine other cities to extend alcohol sales to 4 a.m.

Koretz and the activists — including members of Alcohol Justice and the California Alcohol Policy Alliance — held a news conference outside Los Angeles City Hall to oppose SB 58, the latest of several attempts by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, to pass a law that would allow bars in some cities to stay open later than 2 a.m.

“Once again we’re here fighting a bill that is so persistent that it has earned the name, the Zombie Bill, because we just can’t kill it,” Koretz said. “For the fourth time since 2014, Sen. Scott Wiener has reintroduced the bill that would extend alcohol sales from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. No matter how many times the bill is beaten down by those of us who understand that defeating this bill is a life or death issue, Sen. Wiener and bar owners who seem willing to trade people’s lives for liquor profits come back again and again.”

Koretz introduced a resolution in March against the bill and held several news conferences in opposition to the idea of earlier bar times when Weiner was trying to pass the previous versions.

“This bill fails to address who will pay for the alcohol-related harms that this bill will cost. This bill will endanger all the lives of the commuters that will be going to work in the early hours,” said Veronica De Lara, co-chair of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance.

The reintroduced Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night Act (LOCAL) would grant Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Coachella, Cathedral City, Fresno and Palm Springs the power to extend alcohol sales until as late as 4 a.m.

The bill’s supporters argue that the law banning alcohol sales after 2 a.m. is an outdated requirement written in 1935 and is not in line with Los Angeles being one of the entertainment capitals of the world. They also say it would help businesses while giving the decision-making power to local jurisdictions.

The nonprofit group Alcohol Justice, which has opposed Weiner’s bills, said findings from various domestic and international studies have found that extending bar hours increases alcohol-related harm, including motor vehicle collisions.

The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board endorsed an earlier version of Wiener’s bill in 2017, saying “there’s no firm science behind last-call laws, no data that prove that 2 a.m. is better than 4 a.m. or 6 a.m. or any other time. The laws are more a reflection of a state’s history, its cultural practices and its politics.”

This article originally appeared in Wave Newspapers.

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Black History

Chef George Crum: A Deep-Fried Stunt Gone Right

During his youth, George Crum (1824–1914), born George Speck in Saratoga Lake, N.Y., worked as a guide in the Adirondack Mountains and as an Indian trader. Over time, he began to realize his passion for cooking and focused on working as a chef. The restaurant and the success of his snack dish were a part of his dream; he had created a luxury.

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George Crum and chips. Photo by Africa Archives on Twitter.
George Crum and chips. Photo by Africa Archives on Twitter.

By Tamara Shiloh

Cornelius Vanderbilt, a steamship owner, sat in the dining room of Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a high-end restaurant that catered to wealthy Manhattan families. It was the summer of 1853 and working in the kitchen was George Crum (1824–1914), the establishment’s cook.

The meal being prepared was likely woodcock or partridge from the restaurant’s grounds, served with French fries. But when the dish was served, Vanderbilt refused it, arguing that “the French fries are too thick.”

This angered Crum so much so that he would prepare the potatoes again, but this time cut into slices as thin as he could make them. He dipped them in the hot oil, frying them to a crisp. He placed the browned and brittle rounds on the plate before sending it to the table.

To Crum’s surprise, Vanderbilt was “thrilled with the novel snack.” Crum’s dish soon became a regular part of the Moon’s Lake House menu. Crum was onto something and wanted more.

By 1860, Crum opened his own restaurant: Crum’s Place. There, millionaires like Vanderbilt stood in line for hours for what Crum dubbed Saratoga Chips.

During his youth, Crum, born George Speck in Saratoga Lake, N.Y., worked as a guide in the Adirondack Mountains and as an Indian trader. Over time, he began to realize his passion for cooking and focused on working as a chef. The restaurant and the success of his snack dish were a part of his dream; he had created a luxury.

Unfortunately, he never patented Saratoga Chips, and never distributed them outside of New England. This opened the door for others to claim to have been the snack’s original inventor, fueling the debate regarding that person’s true identity.

In 1895, William Tappendon began to make the first attempt to place potato chips on local grocery store shelves. In 1921, the Hanover Home Potato Chip Company was established. Soon grocers in numerous areas around the United States were selling chips in bulk. Laura Scudder began putting potato chips into wax paper bags in 1926, giving birth to the bag-of-chips concept.

Herman Lay founded Lay’s in 1932 in Nashville, Tenn., which led to phenomenal success not only for him, but also other potato-chip makers.

Historian Dave Mitchell researched those who took credit for the creation of the potato chip, including Vanderbilt, both of the Moons, Crum’s sister Kate Wicks, the restaurant’s manager Hiram Thomas, and various Lake House cooks.

His research included the possibility that the potato chip was not invented in Saratoga at all, though it certainly earned its popularity there. The potato chip’s true origin, Mitchell concluded, “will probably never be known.”

Crum closed his restaurant in 1890 and died in 1914 at the age of 90. More than 150 years later his delicacy has gone on to even greater fame. Today, Americans alone consume about 1.5 billion pounds of potato chips every year.

Kids can learn more about George Crum’s story in Anne Renaud’s fictional picture book “Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament.”

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Bay Area

Market Day Grand Re-Opening in Marin City

For 38 years, the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM) has brought Marin farmers’ locally produced food to the underserved people in Marin through farmers’ markets and other programs. One of these programs is AIM’s popular Rollin’ Root Mobile Market, which sends a food truck laden with fresh fruits and vegetables to regular weekly stops throughout Marin County, and to Marin City, enabling the community to have access to fresh, healthy produce, regardless of their transportation or economic barriers.

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A customer selects produce from the Rollin’ Root Mobile Market truck. (Photo from agriculturalinstitute.org).
A customer selects produce from the Rollin’ Root Mobile Market truck. (Photo from agriculturalinstitute.org).

By Godfrey Lee

Market Day celebrated their Grand Re-Opening on Thursday, June 2, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Marin City Community Services at 640 Drake Ave. in Marin City. The Rollin’ Root Mobile Market will be relocating to join Market Day in order to better deliver and make available fresh affordable produce to the community.

The Rollin’ Root will accept CalFresh, California’s name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. CalFresh participants who use their EBT card at The Rollin’ Root are eligible to receive 50% off their purchase of fruits and vegetables through Market Match (up to $15 in discounts per day).

The Rollin’ Root will also accept Senior Bonus Bucks, which are $4 coupons for free fruits and vegetables issued to qualifying older adults ages 60 and older who participate in the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.

For 38 years, the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM) has brought Marin farmers’ locally produced food to the underserved people in Marin through farmers’ markets and other programs. One of these programs is AIM’s popular Rollin’ Root Mobile Market, which sends a food truck laden with fresh fruits and vegetables to regular weekly stops throughout Marin County, and to Marin City, enabling the community to have access to fresh, healthy produce, regardless of their transportation or economic barriers.

The Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) has partnered with AIM to specifically serve the residents of Marin City. MALT has provided a $5,000 grant so that Rollin’ Root can add a Marin City stop to its weekly route to provide farmers’ market produce to Marin City residents.

Ten pre-packed bags of fresh produce will also be delivered weekly to the Marin City Health and Wellness Center for distribution to clients in need.

MALT believes that a healthy local food system depends on everyone having equitable access to fresh food. Decades of economic and racial inequities and policies have created discrepancies in people’s access to fresh food here at home. We must work collectively to undo these discrepancies, and the AIM and MALT partnership is a step in the right direction.

Residents can support this work by visiting the Rollin’ Root at any of its weekly stops. Check out the Rollin’ Root schedule at malt.org. Or make a gift on the AIM website or visit the MALT website to learn more about MALT’s vision for the future or to make a donation to help protect Marin County’s at-risk farmland.

Contact the office@marincitycsd.com for more information.

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Activism

PepsiCo Called Out for Failure to Fulfill Verbal Contract with National Black Farmers’ Association Members

In a press release on Jan. 27, John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), said white farmers are given an opportunity to do business with the $70 billion company while Black farmers are now being told that the company intends to “move in another direction.” He said that when PepsiCo decided to change the Aunt Jemima figure in their brand image in 2020, they reached out to the NBFA, but nothing has happened since.

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John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA).
John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA).

John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), said he’s calling out PepsiCo for discrimination after a year and a half of talks that produced no contract.

Boyd claims that PepsiCo, a multinational company that produces food and beverages, had made a verbal agreement with the NBFA.

In a press release on Jan. 27, Boyd said white farmers are given an opportunity to do business with the $70 billion company while Black farmers are now being told that the company intends to “move in another direction.”

He said that when PepsiCo decided to change the Aunt Jemima figure in their brand image in 2020, they reached out to the NBFA, but nothing has happened since.

As the producer of the potato chip brand Ruffles, Frito’s corn chips, Doritos and Quaker Oats, PepsiCo contracts to get the raw materials: potatoes, corn and grains.

“PepsiCo indicated they wanted to do business with NBFA members,” Boyd said. “The company insisted that our growers share personal information through our national database. A year and a half later, when NBFA growers met all the required elements for a potato delivery contract, the company’s executives apparently had lost interest in keeping its part of the bargain.”

“Our livelihood and financial stability are at stake,” Boyd said. “Some Black farmers have actually lost their farms amid this treatment.”

Boyd, who says he is a shareholder in PepsiCo, announced he will seek a solution for the NBFA from PepsiCo’s CEO and chairman.

This report is courtesy of the National Black Farmers’ Association website. For more information, go to http://blackfarmers.org

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Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
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