A counter-march to the widely promoted MLK walk was held in Sacramento, hosted by Black Lives Matter and other groups who took issue with the people message behind the larger rally.
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Martin Luther King Jr. was renowned for his achievements as a political activist in civil rights. But many people don’t know that just before he was assassinated, he strived to solve the problem of poverty in our nation. King wanted the government to eliminate poverty by providing every US citizen a guaranteed middle-class income and a job. He didn’t want to just alleviate poverty but to also raise the American society into the middle-class. King argued that the guaranteed income should be “pegged to the median of society” and it would, therefore, raise the standard of living for many people. He contended that his plan was feasible because he noted an estimate by John Kenneth Galbraith, an economist, that the government could create a guaranteed income with $20 billion dollars a year. As Mr. Galbraith said, King’s economic plan was “not much more than we will spend the next fiscal year to rescue freedom and democracy and religious liberty as these are defined by ‘experts’ in Vietnam.”
With that in mind, the third annual “Reclaim MLK: This Was Not The Dream!” march will be held on January 15th, 2018 between 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, starting at the Safeway market at 1025 Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento. This march is hosted by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, SURJ Sacramento, and the Gender Health Center. The goal of this MLK march is to bring unity and to rally the power of the people against racism, white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, homelessness, poverty, and fascism. The march will end at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street, where the Diversity Expo will be held from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
The following organizations that sponsor this upcoming event are ANSWER Sacramento, ACLU Sacramento, Party for Socialism and Liberation, California Endowment, NoDAPL, Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, H.E.L.L.A. (Health Economics Life Liberty for All), Sacramento Justice League, Justice for the Picnic Day 5, the Poor People’s Campaign – Sacramento, King Hall Immigration Detention Project, Rural SURJ of NorCal, Green Party of Sacramento, Lavender Library, Democratic Socialists of America – Sacramento, Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento, Jewish Voice for Peace – Sacramento, the Resistance Sacramento Elk Grove, Awake Café, Community Space, and Brown Berets de SacrAztlán.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento, SURJ Sacramento, and the Gender Health Center collectively made a statement, “We will not be aligned with an event tainted in capitalism or sponsored by the very law enforcement entities that are killing us in the street, but with the people! Join us!”
For more information about this event, click here.
2017 has certainly been a tragic and frightful year for many people. Two of the most deadly mass shootings occurred a month from each other. One happened in Las Vegas on October 1st, leaving 58 people dead and 546 people injured, and the other happened in Texas on November 5th, leaving 26 people dead. These are just some of the many results of the ultimate problem: gun violence.
In the United States, one person dies from gun violence every fifteen minutes and a large factor that contributes to this would be the amount of gun ownership, which is more than 300 million. For every 100 people, an estimated own a firearm. Because of the substantial amount of firearms that exist, many people have instead been advocating for gun regulation instead of gun bans. Previous attempts to ban guns have seemed to contribute to an increase in gun sales when gun owners get worried. Therefore, there have been constant efforts to make firearms safer, to limit access to firearms, and to pass laws that regulate firearms. This has been proven to be effective when considering strong gun regulation laws in California where an estimate of 7 per 100,000 people have died from gun violence compared to weak gun regulations in Alaska where an estimate of 20 per 100,000 people has died from gun violence.
It’s important to note that mass shootings are not the main cause of death from guns. In 2016, an estimated 22,000 people died from gun suicide, about 11,760 people died from homicides, 589 perpetrators were killed by victims in self-defense, and 456 people were killed in mass shootings. Even though mass shootings cannot be prevented, a lot of unnecessary deaths can be avoided if access to firearms is limited and regulated by strong gun laws. Strong gun laws have been shown to make a difference. In 1995, Connecticut passed stronger gun laws and their gun homicide rates decreased by 40% and their gun suicide rates decreased by 15%. However, in 2007, Missouri repealed some gun laws and their gun homicide rates rose by 25% and their gun suicide rates rose by 16%. The numbers don’t lie – stronger gun laws lead to less gun-related homicides and suicides.
Gun violence is a serious problem in which we should all acknowledge as a society. Several factors came into play in the mass shootings of this year, which are starting to seemingly occur like clockwork, but it is undeniably coherent that, in order to make our community less vulnerable to gun-related deaths, we must support safer firearms, limited access to firearms, and laws that effectively regulate firearms.
Voting in California is changing. In 2016, the State of California passed the “California Voter’s Choice Act” which currently allows some counties to conduct elections under a new model that is supposed to provide greater flexibility and convenience for voters. In 2018, every registered voter in Madera, Napa, Nevada, San Mateo, and Sacramento counties will be mailed a ballot twenty-eight days before Election Day. Voters will have three options to return their ballot – they can mail it, they can drop in off in one of several county ballot drop boxes, or they can visit any vote center in their county. The traditional polling place in the participating counties will be replaced by new vote centers. Voters may cast their ballot at any vote center in their county instead of going to just one designated polling location. Vote centers have also been provided additional features to make voting easier and more convenient, such as voting by using an accessible voting machine, getting help and voting material in multiple languages, and registering to vote or updating their voter registration on-site.
In 2018, 14 counties were offered to conduct elections under the Voter’s Choice Act model: Calaveras, Inyo, Madera, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Sutter, and Tuolumne received permission from the Secretary of State’s office. All other counties not previously mentioned in California will adopt the Voter’s Choice Act in 2020.
California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, has worked with election experts, disability and language experts, and elections administrators in order to implement the Voter’s Choice Act. Padilla is also participating with the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials to coordinate the technical, logistical, and legal requirements of this new law.
“I think what’s most important to keep in mind is nothing in the Voter’s Choice Act changes the existing options that are available,” stated Dean Logan, President of CACEO. “You still have the option to vote in person, you still have the option to vote by mail; now you just have more availability, more locations, more days, more hours.”
On an additional note, California residents who are sixteen and seventeen years old can now pre-register online to vote. Once someone has pre-registered and meets all of the standards of California voter registration, their registration becomes automatically active on their 18th birthday. To pre-register, visit registertovote.ca.gov.
On November 27th, 29th, and December 4th of 2017, town hall meetings were held concerning the city budget of Sacramento. One of the city budget meetings was held in the Luther Burbank High School Auditorium on November 29th and the main discussion there focused around the effects of Measure U, a ballot measure that passed in November of 2012 with overwhelming voter support.
Measure U is a one-half cent sales tax that maintains and improves city services such as public safety, public health and wellness programs, city youth programs, and street paving. Measure U was designed to restore these city services that were cut between 2008 and 2013. The City of Sacramento estimated $30 million of revenue per year would result from Measure U’s passage and the sales tax took effect on April 1st, 2013 and will expire on March 31st, 2019.
The Sacramento City Council drafted a list of principles that limits where the resources of Measure U would invest in:
“Resources will be allocated to the protection and restoration of City programs/services specifically enumerated in the Measure U ballot question as follows:
1. Essential public safety services including, 9-1-1 response, police officers, gang/youth violence prevention, fire protection/emergency medical response.
2. Other essential services including park maintenance, youth/senior services and libraries.”
$4.9 million per year has been invested in parks and recreation services. There are now around 91 park employees in the field maintaining over 200 parks. Prior to Measure U, there were around 65 park employees. The frequency of restroom cleaning, trash pickup, weeding, edging and blowing in parks has increased and the response time for irrigation repairs has improved.
$12.6 million per year has been invested in police services. In the fiscal year of 2012 – 2013, there were around 653 sworn officers; now the Sacramento Police Department has around 708 police officers. 60 police officer are retained in their positions where they were previously funded by federal grants, which were expiring.
$11.7 million per year has been invested in fire services. A “Senior Fire Prevention Officer” position has been restored to provide more oversight and more business inspections with an associated higher level of revenue. The “Fire Internal Investigations” has been restored to give the community a place to lodge complaints; provide a thorough and impartial misconduct investigations; prevent future complaints through identification of misconduct trends; recommend training or policy changes.
$227,000 per year has been invested in animal care service. Two “Animal Control Officer” positions were added to the Animal enforcement and field services program to respond to service calls; administer the rabies program; pick up stray, injured, and abandoned animals; and to investigate cases of animal cruelty or neglect and nuisance complaints.
$506,000 per year has been invested in the Sacramento Public Library. Some library services will be restored.
“I support Measure U because we need investments in parks and recreation and in libraries as well,” said Sean Hanners, a concerned citizen of the Sacramento area.
For more information concerning the budget expense and park improvements of Measure U, visit the following URLs:
Despite many calls for Americans to make healthy choices, new studies are showing that the vast majority of people in this country could be doing better when it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption.
The term “fake news” has become more recognized than ever before with misinformation spreading on social media networks like Facebook, President Trump’s incessant false accusations and claims, and late reports of Russian hackers influencing the 2016 election. During December 2016, an online survey concluded that approximately 55% of 1,605 respondents recognized that they have consumed fake news more than once. Many American citizens have decided to take responsibility for their own consumption of information to combat the spread of fake news.
Many people are looking for plausible methods to combating fake news in their lives. The Project for an Informed Electorate at California State University, Sacramento has even created a guide to help people spot it:
1. Check the source. Have you heard of it? Is it referenced by other credible sources? Is there an author listed?
2. Is it a joke? If it’s too wacky, it may be satire.
3. Do some detective work. Do they reference reputable institutions or varying viewpoints? Do they interview multiple sources?
4. Consult the experts: Politifact.com, FactCheck.org, and Snopes.com.
5. Put yourself in their shoes. If the article was saying the same thing about your side, would it sound ridiculous?
6. Check your biases. Is the article objective? Is the content trying to evoke emotion?
Sometimes, people will actively search for evidence to confirm their own beliefs or theories, otherwise known as confirmation bias. This practice of interpreting evidence has been labeled as dangerous because it ruins constructive communication between people of opposing views.
“I do fear the encapsulation of options and ideas within social media,” said Lilia Luciano, an ABC10 Investigative Reporter, at a Sacramento Central Library panel discussion about fake news. “When we surround ourselves with like-minded people or people who share the same opinion, that reinforces the confirmation bias, reinforces our ideas.”
Considering the vast amount of information in social media and on the Internet and without any knowledge or training, many wonder how young adults or children will combat fake news. According to Erin McNeill, founder and president of Media Literacy Now (MLN), media literacy is a viable solution. According to MLN, media literacy is the ability to think critically about media messages as well as to create messages using media. Many people believe teaching media literacy to young people is necessary because kids actually don’t have the adequate knowledge or skills to do so. In November 2016, Stanford researchers reported that middle school, high school, and college level students had difficulty judging the credibility of information online. According to the National Association for Media Literacy Education, an organization dedicated to expanding media education, media literacy skills can help youth:
1. Develop critical thinking skills.
2. Understand how media messages shape our culture and society.
3. Identify target marketing strategies.
4. Recognize what the media maker wants us to believe or do.
5. Name the techniques of persuasion used.
6. Recognize bias, spin, misinformation, and lies.
7. Discover the parts of the story that are not being told.
8. Evaluate media messages based on our own experiences, skills, beliefs, and values.
9. Create and distribute our own media messages.
10. Advocate for a changed media system.
Fake news and possibly the lack of media literacy played a role in the 2016 election and are present in our form of politics today but many people are now aware of this and are creating solutions to combat it.
DO/LOVE/LIVE hosted a Veterans Day Community Party at McKinley Park and AccessLocal.TV was there to relay the ambitions and thoughts of two organizers.
It is expensive to be poor in Sacramento. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a citizen living barely above the poverty line in California during 2017 has an average annual income of $12,060. For the average American, it is safe to say that $12,060 is not enough to live comfortably by today’s standards. When considering budgeting for the annual expenses of owning a car, healthcare, living space, or food it is easy to see that $12,060 is not a lot to survive on.
According to ValuePenguin, the average annual cost of car insurance in California is $1,962. In an article in HowStuffWorks, the average annual cost of car maintenance, oil changes, and other necessities amounts to $3,269 and the cost of gas is $2,208. Considering these individual expenses, owning a car amounts to $7,439 a year in costs.
Living poor and alone in Sacramento is especially expensive. According to RentCafe, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Sacramento is $1,088 a month. The San Francisco Gate reported an individual plan’s average cost of healthcare in California is $331 a month or $3,972 a year. A quick Google search reveals that the average American also spends roughly $2,641 per person annually on food.
Other than the overwhelming costs of basic living that the lower-middle or poverty class faces, Apartment List, a renowned website for finding apartments, revealed a tremendous study concerning rental insecurity. According to their statistics, an estimated 3.7 million Americans have experienced eviction and one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full at least once every three months in 2017. The eviction rate for low-income citizens in Sacramento is 4.4% compared to the national average eviction rate of 3.3%.
Apartment List data determined that eviction often leads to destabilized families and communities, poor educational performance, and increased behavioral problems in children. According to the Independent Budget Office, eviction is the leading cause of homelessness.
“It’s tough trying to make it month by month,” said Dominique Mejia, a student at American River College. “We have a pretty big family, plus we live with our grandparents to cheapen rent. We usually don’t buy food until my sister gets a paycheck by the end of the month, and by that time the only thing we have left is a few canned foods. As for paying bills and rent, our grandparents really help out. If it wasn’t for them, we’d likely be homeless.”