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Sen. Steve Glazer Vows Redo After Journalism Tax Bill Placed on Hold

Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa County) shared his thoughts expressed his views about Senate Bill (SB) 1327 at Capitol Weekly’s “Covering California: The Future of Journalism in the Golden State” conference, which was held in Sacramento on May 30.

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Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) was the keynote speaker at Capitol Weekly's Covering California: The Future of Journalism In the Golden State event held in Sacramento on May 30. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) was the keynote speaker at Capitol Weekly's Covering California: The Future of Journalism In the Golden State event held in Sacramento on May 30. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌, California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media

Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa County) shared his thoughts expressed his views about Senate Bill (SB) 1327 at Capitol Weekly’s “Covering California: The Future of Journalism in the Golden State” conference, which was held in Sacramento on May 30.

During his keynote speech message at the one-day event, Glazer said admitted he couldn’t get the votes he needed to pass the bill SB 1327 that proposes imposing a “mitigation fee” on major digital technology companies to fund journalism jobs.

Despite the challenges, the Senator vows to keep the Legislation alive.

“We have had setbacks, and we have a lot of work to do to fix this, but I certainly am not giving up,” Glazer said at the event near the State Capitol. Glazer is chairperson of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

In addition to Glazer’s address, Capitol Weekly organized a probing conference that examined three of the most pressing issues facing California reporters.

Media experts, publishers, communications specialists, and political reporters assembled to discuss the preservation of fair, balanced, and accurate journalism. The need for media outlets to deliver high-quality news coverage that bolsters government, the assessment of new business models; and coverage of the State Capitol dominated the 5-hour event.

“It is nothing short of tragic I would say to see what is happening to the journalism industry,” said Tim Foster, Capitol Weekly’s Executive Director. “I’ve been in and around journalism since 1995 and what we are seeing today with the closing of the journalism industry is unprecedented in my lifetime.”

Glazer spoke for 45 minutes about the future of democracy and the role journalism plays in it. However, the Legislature’s failure to advance SB 1327 and why he pulled the bill was the main subject.

If SB 1327 should reemerge and be passed as law, fees collected would provide $500 million in employment tax credits to news organizations across California. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to pass the bill with a 4-2 vote on May 16, but Glazer still needed a pathway for two-thirds of the votes required to make it off the Senate floor.

Glazer cited several reasons for why SB 1327 is facing opposition from digital tech giants like Google, Meta, Amazon, and publishers. These include concerns about increased advertising, the perceived threat of government influence, discrimination against larger publishers, a fear that the mitigation fee could trickle down to smaller news outlets as they expand, and nonprofit newsrooms that don’t pay taxes getting a share.

“Opponents will always sell the ghost in the closet,” Glazers said of entities that oppose the bill. “The news business is facing an existential threat, and they are fighting with each other over who will be the last passenger on the Death Star.”

California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) vice chair Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) said on May 16 at the State Capitol that his biggest concern about SB 1327 was whether it would benefit Ethnic Media, including Black media platforms. “They’re usually left and still need more assistance,” Bradford said.

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Cal African American Chamber of Commerce Holds Annual Gwen Moore Legislative Reception

The California African American Chamber of Commerce partnered with the California African American Action Fund to host its annual “Honorable Gwen Moore California Legislative Reception.” The event took place on May 7 at the Sutter Club in downtown Sacramento. Distinguished guests included business leaders, state officials, and both former and current lawmakers. Notably, members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), attended the event.

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Cathy Adams, President and CEO of Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, received the Aubry Stone Outstanding Business Award at the California African American Chamber of Commerce's Gwen Moore Legislative Reception in Sacramento on May 7. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Cathy Adams, President and CEO of Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, received the Aubry Stone Outstanding Business Award at the California African American Chamber of Commerce's Gwen Moore Legislative Reception in Sacramento on May 7. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

The California African American Chamber of Commerce partnered with the California African American Action Fund to host its annual “Honorable Gwen Moore California Legislative Reception.” The event took place on May 7 at the Sutter Club in downtown Sacramento.

Distinguished guests included business leaders, state officials, and both former and current lawmakers. Notably, members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), attended the event. Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, 90, was the keynote speaker. Former state Sen. Roderick Wright and CAACC Executive Director Timothy Alan Simon served as emcees.

“The California African American Chamber of Commerce and the California African American Action Fund represent the African American economy of the fourth largest economy of the world,” Simon said during the introduction of the event. “Therefore, tonight let’s have some fun. We are going to learn how to acquire more power, more financial funding, and more access. We’re opening up those doors to you.”

During the reception, an award ceremony honored individuals for their achievements, innovative ideas, leadership, business acumen, and political contributions.

The CAACC Media and Communications Award was presented to Civil Rights Activist Danny Bakewell Jr., President of the Bakewell Company and Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel.

The Gwen Moore Legislative Impact Award was presented to Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City), Chair of the CLBC. The Legislator of the Year honor went to Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Moreno Valley).

“This is an absolute honor. Especially, with my knowledge and familiarity with Assemblymember Moore’s work,” Wilson said. “It’s just a reminder, honor, and privilege of this space I get to be in. This award holds profound significance for me and those who dedicated their lives to advancing equity, justice, and opportunities for all.”

Cathy Adams, President and CEO of Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce was presented with the Aubry Stone Outstanding Business Award. The Trailblazer Award was presented to the late Linda Crayton, former San Francisco City Commissioner.

Crayton served on the Airport Commission for the City and County of San Francisco from 1996 to 2020.

“She clearly served for almost 25 years, and she was totally sensitive to the need and careful implementation within the framework of all the rules that had been established,” Brown said of Crayton. She was a difference for many.”

Other leaders honored were John Reynolds, California Public Utilities Commission (recipient of the Distinguished Service Award); Hon. Heather Hutt, Councilmember for the City of Los Angeles, representing Council District 10, (Distinguished Service in the African American Community Award); and Thurman White, Senior Advisor ESO Ventures (Distinguished Recognition Award).

Rounding out the special guests and awardees list were Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), CLBC Vice Chair, Dennis Thurston, Supplier Diversity Program Manager for Southern California Edison; Angela Gibson-Shaw, President of Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce; and Tommy Ross, Pinnacle Strategic Group.

Toks Omishakin, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency (CALSTA) also attended the two-hour event.

“That’s the nature of how we need to work in the world of politics and, how we need to exercise authority and privilege.”

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Senate Committee Advances Local News Media Bill Amid Concerns, Pushback

With a 4-1 vote on May 8, the Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation advanced Senate Bill (SB) 1327, a proposed law that would impose a “mitigation fee” on major digital technology companies. If the bill passes, fees collected would provide $500 million in employment tax credits to news organizations across the state.

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Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), seated, listens to Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa), at the podium, present a bill that would impose fees on major digital technology companies to fund local newsrooms in the state. The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 4-1 to approve SB 1327 on May 8, 2024. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), seated, listens to Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa), at the podium, present a bill that would impose fees on major digital technology companies to fund local newsrooms in the state. The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 4-1 to approve SB 1327 on May 8, 2024. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

With a 4-1 vote on May 8, the Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation advanced Senate Bill (SB) 1327, a proposed law that would impose a “mitigation fee” on major digital technology companies. If the bill passes, fees collected would provide $500 million in employment tax credits to news organizations across the state.

SB 1327 is currently under review by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Contra Costa), the chairperson of the Revenue and Taxation committee and author of SB 1327, believes the bill would help bolster journalistic integrity and enable media outlets to hold the government accountable through incisive and balanced reporting.

“I have voted on more than 10,000 bills. I can’t think of a more important legislative measure that I am working on than this measure,” Glazer said of SB 1327.. It’s about preserving and protecting our democracy.”

Senators Glazer, Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas), Bill Dodd (D-Napa), and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) voted for SB 1327 while Brian Dahle (R-Lassen County) voted against it.  California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) vice chair Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) abstained from voting.

Bradford expressed reservations about the bill, while also acknowledging the author’s efforts to protect local journalism.

“My biggest concern is ethnic media,” said Bradford. “Even though it says that they will be considered here at the end of the day, as always, they are usually left out and still need more assistance.”

SB 1327 would impose fees on digital technology companies with a minimum of $2.5 billion in annual advertising revenue. The money collected would be allocated to publishers of numerous community and ethnic media outlets.

During a news conference on April 29, Glazer said that SB 1327 aims to “ensure that newsrooms keep our citizens informed and democracy accountable to the people.”

“The mitigations proposed in this bill would largely be used to finance an employers’ hiring and retention tax credit available to all qualifying news organizations from any government interference or involvement in their content,” Glazer explained at the State Capitol Swing Space Annex.

Local media outlets employing 10 or more full-time journalists would receive a basic credit equivalent to 25% of wages paid while media outlets with fewer than 10 employees with an expectation of expanding their workforce would receive a credit equal to 35% of wages paid. A reporter earning a yearly salary of $60,000 would generate 24,000 in tax credits, according to Glazer.

SB 1327 would also allocate $25 million annually to non-profit local news organizations that would not benefit from tax credits.

Paul Cobb, the publisher of the Oakland Post, a Black media outlet that has less than 10 employees, acknowledged his agreement with some aspects of SB 1327, but expressed a desire to further examine the details of the legislation. The Oakland Post is the largest Black publication in Northern California.

“SB 1327 presents an opportunity for the Governor to continue the recent California Legislative reparations policy initiatives by issuing an executive order directing all government agencies to provide Public Notice placements to qualified ethnic local media,” Cobb said.

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Working Group: More Entry-Level Homes Could Help Solve Housing Crisis

The Community Housing Working Group hosted a briefing on April 23 at Cafeteria 15L in Sacramento. Discussions focused on how the housing crisis in California affects Black and Brown communities and explored ways to provide low-income families and individuals with affordable housing.

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Tia Boatman-Patterson, CEO and President of California Communities Reinvestment Corporation says there should be more affordable "entry-level homeownership" in California for Black and Brown communities. Boatman-Patterson is also a former Associate Director for Housing, Treasury, and Commerce in the Office of Management and Budget for the Biden Administration. April 23, 2024. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Tia Boatman-Patterson, CEO and President of California Communities Reinvestment Corporation says there should be more affordable "entry-level homeownership" in California for Black and Brown communities. Boatman-Patterson is also a former Associate Director for Housing, Treasury, and Commerce in the Office of Management and Budget for the Biden Administration. April 23, 2024. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

The Community Housing Working Group hosted a briefing on April 23 at Cafeteria 15L in Sacramento.  Discussions focused on how the housing crisis in California affects Black and Brown communities and explored ways to provide low-income families and individuals with affordable housing.

Tia Boatman Patterson, CEO and President of the California Communities Reinvestment Corporation, said “entry-level housing” is not available as it was in the past, adding that affordable units were a major point of entry into homeownership for many families in the Black community.

“My mother bought her first house when I was in junior high. It was an 850-square foot, two-bedroom and one-bathroom house in 1978. That house cost $30,000,” Boatman-Patterson said.

“A woman working part-time at JCPenney was able to afford that house. We don’t build these types of housing now. We do not build entry-level homeownership,” she added.

The Community Housing Working Group is a collection of diverse community organizations from across California working together to address housing challenges in their communities. The organization believes that solving the affordable housing crisis will require creating enough smaller, lower-cost, multi-family homes located near jobs, transit, and good schools.

The briefing included a panel discussion titled, “Exclusionary Zoning: A Look Back and a Path Forward.” Boatman-Patterson participated in that session along with Henry “Hank” Levy, Treasurer-Tax Collector for Alameda County, and Noerena Limón, consultant, Unidos U.S., and Board Member of California Housing Finance Agency.

Boatman-Patterson, a former Associate Director for Housing, Treasury and Commerce in the Office of Management and Budget for the Biden Administration, started her presentation by highlighting how exclusionary single-family zoning is contributing to continued segregation of California communities.

She said that single-family zoning originated in the Bay Area city of Berkeley in 1916.

“By creating single-family zoning and having fenced-off communities, you were able to exclude the ‘others,’” Boatman-Patterson said. “It really was a method to exclude — what they called ‘economic segregation’ — but that was a guise for racial segregation. Single-family zoning, along with redlining, became a systemic approach to exclude based on affordability.”

Title VIII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1968 — commonly known as the Fair Housing Act of 1968 – is the U.S. federal legislation that protects individuals and families from discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing. It was passed to open the doors to affordable housing.

In 1968, 65.9% of White families were homeowners, a rate that was 25% higher than the 41.1% of Black families that owned their homes, according to National Low-Income Housing Coalition. Today, those figures have hardly changed in the Black community, although White homeownership has increased five percentage points to 71.1%.

Boatman Patterson said the rate has not changed in Black and Brown communities because financing for affordable entry-level homes is almost nonexistent. The homeownership disparities contribute to the disturbing racial wealth gap in the nation, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s October 2018 report.

“We really must align the financing with the actual building of units, which we haven’t necessarily done. Because of this misalignment, I think we continue to see problems,” Boatman-Patterson said.

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