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We have a Crisis Says Gov Newsom

OAKLAND POST — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $214.8 billion state spending plan last week that he and leg­islative leaders are calling “the Affordability Budget” for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Taking effect July 1 after the governor hashed out differenc­es with the Assembly and Sen­ate, the budget includes $1.7 billion to fight homelessness, a problem that is affecting more African Americans per capita than any other group in the state. Of that money, $650 mil­lion will go to support county and city governments as well as regional homeless preven­tion agencies in their local ef­forts to decrease homelessness and increase their stock of af­fordable housing.

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Manny Otiko and Tanu Henry

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $214.8 billion state spending plan last week that he and leg­islative leaders are calling “the Affordability Budget” for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Taking effect July 1 after the governor hashed out differenc­es with the Assembly and Sen­ate, the budget includes $1.7 billion to fight homelessness, a problem that is affecting more African Americans per capita than any other group in the state. Of that money, $650 mil­lion will go to support county and city governments as well as regional homeless preven­tion agencies in their local ef­forts to decrease homelessness and increase their stock of af­fordable housing.

“Homelessness. What the hell is going on in our state?” Asked Gov Newsom at an event at the Capitol organized to mark the beginning of the new fiscal year.

“I agree with the critics. I agree with all of you,” said Gov. Newsom. “We have a cri­sis.”

The new funding represents the largest budget investment in affordable housing, home­less shelters and homelessness support services in the history of the state.

“We have come to agree­ment on a package of hous­ing measures,” said a joint statement from the governor, Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins (D- San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood).

“One that creates incen­tives,” their statement contin­ued, “both sticks and carrots – to help spur housing produc­tion across this state.”

Large cities will receive a total of $275 million in grants, $190 million will go to counties and an additional $90 million is allocated to fund support and prevention programs.

The budget also provides $167 million for supportive housing primarily for mentally ill people and substance abus­ers.

Another $52 million is dedi­cated to fighting homelessness among college students. About 19 percent of Community Col­lege students in the state are homeless, according to a Tem­ple University study.

“This homelessness issue is out of control,” Newsom said when he presented his budget last month. “Californians are outraged. They are disgusted.”

With fines that could run as high as $600,000, the governor also plans to begin stronger en­forcement of state laws that re­quire county and city govern­ments to plan for new growth.

California, with its Gross Domestic Product of $2.7 tril­lion, boasts the largest econ­omy in the United States. But the state’s 130,000 homeless population is the largest in the country, too, accounting for nearly 25 percent of all people without a permanent residence in the United States.

The state also has the highest rate of unsheltered homeless people (about 75 percent) and it has seen the sharpest increase in homelessness in the country over the last 4 years.

In the Los Angeles area, the homelessness problem is dire. There are about 59,000 home­less people in Los Angeles County. That number repre­sents a spike of about 16 per­cent over last year’s total.

For African Americans, the numbers are worse. Although the total Black population is only about 9 percent, African Americans make up about 36 percent of L.A.’s homeless people.

In other Census tracts of the state where there are clusters of African-American residents – Alameda County and San Ber­nardino County, for example – the rates of homelessness for Blacks is also disproportion­ate. Take Alameda County, where Oakland is the largest city, African Americans make up about 28 percent of the population, but they account for nearly 70 percent of the county’s homeless people. And down south in San Bernardino County, African Americans make up about 9 percent of the county’s residents and com­prise about 15 percent of the homeless population.

In San Francisco, where Blacks only make up about 7 percent of the population, they account for about 36 percent of the city’s homeless.

A number of factors con­tribute to the high numbers of homeless Blacks in California. According to the Los Angeles Housing Services Authority (LAHSA), they include failing schools, a broken foster care system, high rents, the scarcity of available rental properties, criminal records, racial dis­crimination and more.

Personal setbacks like the loss of a job, a divorce, illness, etc., may drive families or indi­viduals into homelessness. In fact, less than 50 percent of Cal­ifornia’s homeless population are mentally ill or substance abusers. The majority, dubbed the “economically homeless,” fell upon hard times, missed a series of rent or mortgage pay­ments and lost their housing.

Also, more than half of Cal­ifornia’s renters are considered “rent burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income to keep a roof over their heads, according to a UC Berkeley report.

This article originally appeared in the Oakland Post

Community

Gov. Newsom Statement on Proposed $26 Billion National Opioid Settlement

“If approved, this settlement agreement would provide an important investment in opioid treatment and prevention. The agreement would also require the industry to make important changes to help combat this epidemic.”

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Pills on a spoon with a wooden bottom and white background; Photo courtesy of Michael Longmire via Unsplash

Governor Gavin Newsom released on July 21 the below statement on the proposed $26 billion settlement announced by California Attorney General Rob Bonta and state attorneys general across the country to resolve investigations and litigation over the role of major pharmaceutical companies in America’s devastating opioid epidemic.

The proposed settlement with opioid distributors Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson will provide relief for Americans suffering with addiction and includes important changes to the industry to combat the opioid epidemic.

“California strongly supports continued investment in combatting the devastation that our communities have suffered because of the opioid epidemic,” said Newsom. “The opioid epidemic continues to pose a serious threat to the health of Californians. In 2019, California experienced nearly 12,000 opioid-related emergency department visits and more than 3,000 deaths.

“If approved, this settlement agreement would provide an important investment in opioid treatment and prevention. The agreement would also require the industry to make important changes to help combat this epidemic.”

“We eagerly anticipate the finalizing of the proposed opioid settlement and partnering with local governments across California to leverage the funding that will help expand opioid prevention and treatment resources.”

This report is courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press office. 

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African American News & Issues

Gwen Berry: “Activist Athlete” Tokyo Olympics 2021

Berry was formally reprimanded and put on 12-month probation by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2019 for raising a fist after winning the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

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Gwen Berry, Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Gwen Berry is headed to Tokyo representing the United States at the 2021 Olympics in the hammer throw, a track and field event.

Berry, a two-time Olympian, was also in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  She was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1989 and is 32 years old.

On June 26, 2021, while qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in Eugene Oregon, Berry was surprised to hear “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the U.S. National Anthem being played.

On the podium she turned away from the flag and draped her “Activist Athlete” tee-shirt over her head.

Berry said: “I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose. . .. I was pissed to be honest.”

Berry said she was told that the athletes would be on the podium before or after the playing of the national anthem.

“That’s what they’ve done the whole trials” Berry said.

Texas Republican politicians Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Dan Crenshaw called for Berry to be removed from the USA Olympic team as she was unpatriotic.

Caitlyn Jenner, an Olympic decathlon winner in 1976 and candidate for California governor on the September 14th Newsom recall election in a statement said Berry’s actions were “disgusting” and to “stay out of politics” and not use the Olympic stage “for your own political gain.”

Berry responded: “I say Caitlyn Jenner does not know how it feels to be a Black person in American who’s representing a country [that] has literally done nothing for Black people in America.  She needs to do her research and understand the history in America before she says anything like that.

Berry was formally reprimanded and put on 12-month probation by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2019 for raising a fist after winning the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

In June of 2020, the USOC supported peaceful protests and condemned “the systemic inequality that disproportionately impacts Black Americans.”

Berry tweeted “I want an apology letter. . . mailed . . . just like you and the IOC MAILED ME WHEN YOU PUT ME ON PROBATION. . . stop playing with me.”

Berry added to The Associated Press: “The anthem doesn’t speak for me.  It never has. . ..  I am here to represent those . . . who dies due to systemic racism.  That’s the important part.  That’s why I’m going.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “[p]art of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we are, as a country, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals.  And it means respecting the rights of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest.”

The 2020 Summer Olympics delayed because of the pandemic will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

The New York Times, CNN, and Wikipedia were sources for this story.

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Community

Federal Judge Rules DACA Illegal; Immigrants Groups Urge Congress to Act on Immigration Reform

Hanen’s decision does not prevent existing DACA recipients from applying to renew their status, but it does prevent thousands of new applications from being able to apply moving forward.

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Political propaganda paper lying on the Westminster Bridge, London. Photo courtesy of Metin Ozer via Unsplash

A Texas federal judge ruled DACA illegal last week, partially suspending the crucial immigration program and halting all new applicants to it. President Biden called the decision “very disappointing” and said the Department of Justice would appeal it, while immigrants’ rights groups urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The ruling is the latest and perhaps most devastating development in the legal saga that has surrounded the program since former President Obama introduced it in 2012 after years of failed attempts at immigration reform. The program, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, covers undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents as children, granting them temporary protection from deportation and allowing them to work. At least 650,000 people, known as Dreamers, are protected by the program, including about 200,000 in California, the largest number for any single state.

But conservatives have fought the program with legal challenges since its inception. No new DACA applicants were accepted for nearly three years under former President Donald Trump. Last summer, the Supreme Court blocked Trump from ending the program, calling his move to stop it “arbitrary and capricious.” The court did not rule on the legality of the program in general, however. Now, Texas judge Andrew Hanen has ruled that Obama overstepped his authority as president when he implemented the program, siding with Republican attorneys general who made that argument in their legal challenge. Hanen, a Republican appointee to the federal bench, was widely expected to rule against DACA.

 Hanen’s decision does not prevent existing DACA recipients from applying to renew their status, but it does prevent thousands of new applications from being able to apply moving forward.

Immigrants’ rights groups reacted to the ruling, slamming Hanen’s decision and calling on Congress and the Biden administration to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform. “This decision will spread fear and confusion throughout our workforce and our community, a community that has already been devastated by the impact of COVID-19, xenophobia, and the decision-making paralysis in Congress,” Texas-based group RAICES said in a statement. “Judge Hanen’s rash decision reiterates the immediate need for Congress and the Biden administration to keep their promise and create a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented people in the United States.”

“Today’s ruling is evidence that DACA is not enough,” Greisa Martinez Rosas, executive director of United We Dream, said in another statement. “The program has always been temporary, leaving hundreds of thousands of lives vulnerable to the next attack…. The only thing that can protect all immigrant youth, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers, is a path to citizenship through reconciliation. Until President Biden and Democrats in Congress deliver on citizenship, the lives of millions of undocumented people remain on the line. Democrats must pass a pathway to citizenship this year, no excuses!”

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, one of the original sponsors of legislation to protect Dreamers, suggested that Democrats may now attempt to pass immigration reform on their own, without the support of Republicans.

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