By Doug Porter
Pope Francis is coming to the United States next week, and will bump the Trump off the top off the news pile. His message will be somewhat different than what Americans are used to hearing from the Catholic Church. Already Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has written a letter saying he’ll be boycotting the Pope’s address to Congress because of “socialist talking points…presented to guilt people into leftist policies.”
While I’ve got plenty of issues with Catholic Church* doctrine and policies, this is one of those times when perfection can be the enemy of progress. Let’s seize the moment and use the occasion to take action towards making the world a better place…
Or you can sit and stew. Your choice.
Today’s column is about solutions, some incremental and some aiming at the big picture of what’s wrong in California, San Diego, and the planet. This is about what YOU can do. Will you rise to the challenge?
The fall of 2015 provides unique opportunities to be part of movements addressing environmental, social and economic injustice. Next year’s elections can wait. There are a plethora of potential investments in your time amounting to a lot less effort than it takes to pick a fantasy sports team.
(*SDFP will have something to say critiquing the canonization of Junipero Serra.)
California Legislative Solutions Needing Your Help
Gov. Jerry Brown has some very important bills on his desk, addressing racism, immigrant workers rights, low income housing, health care and public accountability on local developments.
You can bet the farm that lobbyists for the privileged and the comfortable are seeking to protect the status quo. All we have is people power. There are things you can do that only take a few minutes of your time.
Help Stop Racial Profiling and Move California Forward
Alliance San Diego and other groups around the state are urging people to contact the governor in support of four bills they believe address social justice issues:
AB 953 (Weber): Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015
AB 953 aims to curb the unfair practice of racial and identity profiling and to increase transparency and accountability with law enforcement agencies.
AB 622 (Hernandez): E-Verify
AB 622 strengthens the California Labor Code’s protection of all workers by limiting misuse of E-verify. It codifies and clarifies existing federal standards, and finally gives them some teeth by creating financial penalties for abuse.
AB 35 (Chiu and Atkins): Low Income Housing Tax Credit
AB 35 would increase the amount of the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit and leverage new federal resources for the state, creating thousands of new affordable homes and jobs.
AB 389 (Chau): Hospital Language Assistance Services
AB 389 would provide greater transparency and oversight for measures serving the needs of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients by requiring the California Department of Public Health and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to post hospital language assistance policies online.
AB 504: A Battle for the Soul of San Diego
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and other groups are spearheading a campaign to urge the Governor to sign Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez’s AB 504.
For many months community groups and union activists worked on local measures ensuring communities have a voice regarding neighborhood development by Civic San Diego – a private-nonprofit entity that controls public resources.
Their ideas and suggestions were ignored or blocked by downtown interests. So Assemblywoman Gonzalez introduced legislation making larger projects (Over 25,000 square feet) appealable to the City Council.
AB 504 passed both the Assembly and Senate by decent margins, despite intensive lobbying against it. Now these lobbyist are leading a scare campaign, trying to convince the administration that an appeals process will be disastrous to the local economy. (Note that all the other cities in the state seem to be getting along just fine.)
San Diego is the only city in the state of California where decisions about development are made by a privatized entity without direct accountability to any elected officials. And the guys doing the wheeling and dealing in development would like to keep it that way.
They groups supporting AB 504 have a made it easy to send a letter to the Governor, with a fill-in-the-blanks site. You are, of course, welcome to call or write the Governor on your own. Here is where to contact Gov Brown to tell him to support AB 504; https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php …
Sept. 23rd: Stand Up for Oversight of the SDPD
SD Free Press columnist Jeeni Criscenzo has written eloquently about the background leading up to the hearing about reforms for the Community Review Board.
Lawsuits, investigations and promises of reform have yet to provide a means for reform of how citizen complaints about the police are handled. This needs to be fixed.
Here’s the lowdown, via My Niche:
Women Occupy SD and a coalition of other organizations, including: ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Black and Brown Lives Matter, Black Student Justice Coalition, National Lawyers Guild, and United Against Police Terror, are hoping changes can be made to the CRB that would model the San Diego County Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB). Reforms suggested by this coalition, that would go a long way toward transforming the CRB into an effective and transparent community oversight entity, are:
- Independent investigators and subpoena power;
- CRB handling of all intake, tracking and review of complaints rather than SDPD Internal Affairs;
- Changing the name to Community Review Board so anyone can file a complaint, and
- Having 2 board members appointed by each of the 9 City Council representatives plus one by the Mayor
Where & When: Wednesday, September 23. At 1:00 PM at San Diego City Hall, 202 C St. 12th floor, City Council Committee Room.
Sept 24th: Support Pope Francis’ Call for Climate Justice
On Thursday evening, following the Pope’s address to a joint session of Congress, the San Diego Coalition to Preserve Our Common Home will host Answering Earth’s Call: An Interfaith Climate Justice Forum, 7pm to 8:30pm, in the Great Hall at St. Paul’s Cathedral (2728 6th Ave, SD)
The program will commence with a procession of interfaith clergy highlighting San Diego faith leaders’ responses to and support for the Pope’s moral call to action on climate change and a just transition to clean energy.
A panel of faith, labor and community leaders will be speaking about the interconnectedness of social justice and climate change and the moral imperative to act on climate.
The coalition, whose name is inspired by the title of the Pope’s recent, ground-breaking Encyclical on climate change (Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home), has developed a climate justice statement that clergy and laypeople can sign onto.
The coalition includes: Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, SanDiego350, Environmental Health Coalition, St. Paul’s Cathedral, American Federation of Teachers Guild 1931, California Nurses Association, Foothills United Methodist Church, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus, Islamic Center of San Diego, St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church of God in Christ, Cleveland National Forest Foundation, Climate Action Campaign, Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and Christian Fellowship Congregational Church United Church of Christ.
Will 2015 Be the Warmest Year Ever?
In case you need a little motivation to attend the event at St. Paul’s, consider the recently released report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration saying “we estimate a 97% probability that 2015 will become the warmest year on record.”
On This Day: 1850 – The Fugitive Slave Act was declared by the Congress. The act allowed slave owners to claim slaves that had escaped into other states. 1970 – James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix died in his London apartment at the age of 27. The death was from an overdose of sleeping pills. 1999 – A 20-month illegal lockout of 2,900 Steelworkers members at Kaiser Aluminum plants in three states ended when an arbitrator ordered a new contract. Kaiser was forced to fire scabs and fork over tens of millions of dollars in back pay to union members.
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