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Jeffco votes to maintain 3 major roadways in Fairfield

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday voted to take responsibility for three major roadways in Fairfield.

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By Times staff report

The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday voted to take responsibility for three major roadways in Fairfield, bringing urgent infrastructure maintenance and relief to the city.

Under the agreement the county will take over maintenance of Valley Road, Aaron Aronov Drive and Rutledge Drive. County-managed improvements to the streets and rights-of-way will begin in about two weeks. The through road agreement was unanimously approved by both governments.

“A drive through the City of Fairfield is about to become a lot smoother,” Scales said. “We told you that we were about action and not empty promises. We are doing this together.”

In addition to Thursday’s agreement, Scales has asked the county’s Department of Roads and Transportation to evaluate several other Fairfield streets that are in need of repair.

“We are working hand-in-hand with the City of Fairfield, including the mayor and the council, to deliver some much-needed infrastructure relief to the residents there,” Scales said. “Improving city streets and is a major step in delivering a deserved higher standard to the residents of Fairfield in addition to paving the way for welcomed business development in the city.”

Scales told BirmighamWatch.org that the county has infrastructure dollars that could be used for other roads in the city.

“It’s a huge plus for Fairfield because when we’re talking about economic development, you have to have highway accessibility – which is what they have – but you’ve got to have good roads,” she said. “You’ve got to have good transportation and you’ve got to have good public safety. We’re starting with good roads right now.”

This article originally appeared in the The Birmingham Times

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Activism

Ask County Supervisors Not to Spend Millions in Tax Dollars on Oakland A’s Real Estate Deal

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

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A rendering of the proposed new A’s ballpark at the Howard Terminal site, surrounded by port cranes and warehouses. Image courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA) and other groups are asking local residents to attend and speak at next week’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting to oppose a proposal to spend county residents’ tax dollars to pay for the Oakland A’s massive multi-billion-dollar real estate deal at Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland. 

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

The Stadium Alliance urges community members to “let (the supervisors) know that Alameda County residents don’t want our tax dollars to pay for a private luxury development. This proposal does not include privately funded community benefits and would harm our region’s economic engine – the port- putting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs at risk.”

 

“The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.”

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Crime

What You Need to Know About California’s New Sexual Assault Laws

Watching your tax dollars, elected officials and legislation that affects you.

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Word "Me too" typed on typewriter

Before the October 10 deadline to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several sexual assault bills into law.

They include Assembly Bill (AB) 453, AB 1171, AB 939 and Senate Bill (SB) 215.

AB 453, authored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens), makes the act of non-consensually removing a condom, also known as “stealthing,” illegal.

Under this new law, stealthing would be considered a form of sexual battery. However, it does not criminalize it.

“We have stepped up in a major way in California & I hope other state legislatures follow suit,” tweeted Garcia. “But more importantly, I hope people will build on this & continue engaging in discussion around the continuum of consent.”

The governor’s office tweeted about the bill’s passing and what kind of legal actions can be taken given that it is still not technically a criminal act.

“With @AsmGarcia’s #AB453 signed, victims of stealthing will be able to take civil action against their perpetrators. By passing this bill, we are underlining the importance of consent,” read the tweet.

AB 1171, also authored by Garcia, will remove the distinction between rape and “spousal rape” in California law.

Before AB 1171 was signed into law, California was one of only nine states that still included the distinction between rape and spousal rape.

“Rape is Rape, & this bill makes it clear that a marriage license doesn’t change that. No more asking victims if they are married or not. TY to all the advocates who worked on getting this bill to @CAgovernor & pushing to get it signed,” Garcia tweeted.

SB 215, co-authored by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), will allow survivors of sexual assault to track and receive information regarding their sexual assault evidence kit.

Tracking will take place through a new online portal that allows survivors to access the SAFE-T database.

“As the author of SB 215, I am so proud that we are once again prioritizing and empowering rape survivors by making sure that they able to easily and privately find out where their rape kit is in the process,” Leyva said.

“A rape kit exam is invasive and retraumatizing, so survivors should absolutely be able to track their rape kit every step of the way.  I would like to thank our amazing coalition of sponsors—District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Joyful Heart Foundation and Natasha’s Justice Project—and supporters for testifying, Tweeting, writing and speaking out about the critical need for this legislation.  With today’s signature by Governor Newsom, SB 215 will help to empower survivors, hold rapists accountable and strengthen public safety across California,” she continued.

AB 939 bans a survivor’s clothing from being used as evidence of consent in a sexual assault case.

The bill, also known as the Denim Day Act of 2021, is named for a day recognized during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.  Denim Day focuses on amplifying the message that manner of dress does not equate to consent.

“I want to thank my legislative colleagues for their support on this important measure. AB 939 makes it clear that an outfit never provides consent, ever. To even consider whether a survivor’s manner of dress should be admitted as evidence of consent wrongly scrutinizes the actions of the survivor, instead of placing that scrutiny where it truly belongs — on the actions of the perpetrator,” said Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona).

“Sexual assault is the most underreported and under-prosecuted type of crime. We must ensure that survivors are not subjected to a justice system that re-victimizes and re-traumatizes them and that our justice system protects them when they seek justice,” she added.

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Business

Gov. Newsom Signs Package of Laws Supporting Restaurants, Bars

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a COVID-19 recovery package Friday supporting small hospitality establishments around the state, including restaurants and bars.

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Oakland, CA, USA February 21, 2011 Folks enjoy a sunny day with al fresco dining at the historic Last Chance Saloon, made famous by author Jack London, in Oakland, California/ iStock

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a COVID-19 recovery package Friday supporting small hospitality establishments around the state, including restaurants and bars. 

Signed at a restaurant in Oakland, the legislative package includes Assembly Bill (AB) 61, Senate Bill (SB) 314 and SB 389 – bills that, among other provisions, extend COVID-19 special permissions like outdoor dining and to-go licenses for alcoholic beverages. 

Funding for the package will come out of the governor’s California Comeback Plan which allots $10.2 billion in small business support. So far, the state has spent $4 billion on an emergency grant program and $6.2 billion in tax relief for small businesses. 

“These innovative strategies have been a lifeline for hard-hit restaurants during the pandemic and today, we’re keeping the entrepreneurial spirit going so that businesses can continue to create exciting new opportunities and support vibrant neighborhoods across the state,” said Newsom. 

The state support comes at a time when many Black-owned small businesses in California, including restaurants, are struggling to recover after being hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) research, 13 % of Black-owned businesses have had to close down due to the pandemic, compared to 8% of White-owned ones. For Latino-owned businesses that number is even higher at 18 %. 

Due to the pandemic, Black businesses have experienced higher revenue loss, more layoffs of employees and less success in getting government funded relief like assistance from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. 

“We have all seen the fallout from the pandemic and recession and the effect on BIPOC people and BIPOC small businesses owners has been devastating,” said Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. She was speaking at an IGS event last week titled “Diversity and Entrepreneurship in California: An Undergraduate Research Symposium.”

“These are problems that have to be addressed. Access to capital continues to be a challenge,” Gray continued. “We are seeing bankers like Wells Fargo, Citi and JP Morgan Chase making significant investments in BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) small businesses, communities and individuals. That is a trend I would like to continue to see.”

Gray pointed out there are a number of state programs like the Small Business COVID-19 relief funds that prioritize providing relief funding to underserved businesses in the state. 

Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) respectively, AB 61 and SB 314 establish a one-year regulatory grace period for businesses operating under temporary COVID-19 licenses to get permanent expanded licenses, such as outdoor dining authorization.

The one-year grace period will begin once the pandemic emergency declaration has expired. 

“Outdoor dining has been a critical lifeline that has helped these establishments keep their doors open during these challenging times,” said Gabriel.

 “AB 61 provides important flexibility so that restaurants can safely expand outdoor dining and continue to serve the communities they call home. I applaud Governor Newsom for his thoughtful leadership in protecting both public health and small businesses as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gabriel continued.

Wiener also stressed the importance of pandemic protocols for small businesses in California.

“SB 314 ensures the public can continue to enjoy outdoor dining with alcohol and that our small neighborhood businesses can continue to benefit from this change. The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and it’s important we make changes to modernize our entertainment and hospitality laws to allow them more flexibility and more ways to safely serve customers,” he said.  

SB 389 allows restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars that sell food to continue to sell to-go alcoholic beverages through Dec. 31, 2026.

“This is an important step toward helping our restaurants, which have been hit hard by the pandemic,” said Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), SB 389’s author. 

“It will ensure their recovery, protecting jobs and our economy. I thank Gov. Newsom for supporting this new law,” he continued.

 

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