The Women’s March in Sacramento last year was successful in getting thousands together for one cause. But many people felt lost after the march, and some of Sacramento’s citizens want there to be changes before there’s another march to the Capitol.
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 However, in 2007, Missouri repealed some gun laws and their gun homicide rates rose by 25% and their gun suicide rates rose by 16%.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.
Every year, fancy sports cars gather at the door of Shriners Children Hospital. The community gathers to donate toys and help the children who are less fortunate.
As the January 1st deadline to legalize marijuana distribution approaches, the Sacramento City Council recently discussed the improvements made to the city’s new Cannabis Equity Program and Cannabis Cultivation enforcement.
In March of this year, Sacramento celebrated it’s plan provide business permits to marijuana dispensaries and estimated to collect $6.3 million in revenue over the next three years. The marijuana business is booming, but in order to get a cannabis growers’ permit, there are strict requirements put in place.
All marijuana growers are required to get a conditional use permit and a business permit, a security plan, odor control, business plan, water efficiency plan, lighting plan, energy efficiency plan, a background check, and the security requirements must be written by a professional, specified to every location, be UL certified, and verified by the Sacramento Police department.
“The development of high standards is vitally important,” said Joe Devlin, Chief of Cannabis Policy and Enforcement on November 21st. “But the ability to enforce those high standards is how we will ensure the cannabis industry ultimately reflects the values of our city.”
However, some worry that the strict requirements unfairly marginalize the number of possible marijuana distributors. For example, the licensing fees for indoor grow rooms with up to 5,000 square feet are nearly $10,000 the first year, and close to $30,000 for a indoor grow room up to 22,000 square feet. Also, state and local agencies are able to deny licenses to people with felony convictions, specifically narcotics offenses or other crimes related to the once illegal marijuana business.
“The communities that have most been harmed by the decades-long war on drugs deserve to be at the front of the line to benefit from the legalization of cannabis, done right,” Mayor Steinberg said during a November 28th meeting.
Many other community members shared the mayor’s sentiment including Kevin Daniel, an employee at the Greater Sacramento Urban League and resident of District 2, and Malaki Amen, President of the California Urban Partnership and resident of District 5.
“I’m definitely in favor of some equity and I know Sacramento believes in equity as well,” Daniel shared on November 28th. “It’s important that those communities have access to scholarships to pay for some of the fees, maybe business loans…we have to make sure that our communities get a chance to bounce back from this lucrative industry and not be left behind on the sidelines to watch.”
“Councilmembers, this item presents a greater opportunity to launch Sacramento’s newest industry with decency and with fairness,” Amen expressed. “Today you have the power to heal families and neighborhoods that were disproportionately destroyed by marijuana jail sentences…legally ending institutional poverty and generational racism, this is an honorable way to strengthen our local taxbase and make the city that we love a place that truly works for everyone.”
Everyone on planet Earth needs food to survive, but people need to eat healthy foods to thrive. Many food companies have counteracted against government-issued dietary warnings for decades. In an article by alternet.org, an email chain published by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Department revealed several tactics that food companies used to avoid negative research about the foods they produced. The exchanged was between Michael Ernest Knowles, former vice president of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Coca-Cola, and Alex Malaspina, a former Coca-Cola executive
One tactic that food companies used is creating their own studies. In the email exchange, Knowles said: “We have to use external organizations in addition to any work we directly commission.”
By funding their own research, the food industry could downplay the effects of their food on consumers health or shift the blame to another product altogether. Their findings are often advertised to overshadow government issued research.
Here in Sacramento, there have been government efforts to help public school students avoid eating junk foods. The Sacramento City Unified School District recently passed a new “Wellness Policy” to regulate what the students eat while at school. The SCUSD Board of Trustees unanimously voted yes on the policy. The aim
of the policy is to help students eat healthily and to curb obesity rates.
“We passed the wellness policy 3 months ago,” said Michael Minnick, Board Member for District 4 Of the Sacramento Unified School District. “We want to make sure that, at least on the school campuses, [the students] are eating healthy. We are also currently in the process of building a new central kitchen. Since we are a farm-to-fork community, we can bring in fresh food to our students.”
The food industry is a powerful force with many resources. To help people, sometimes the government has to step and regulate what the people eat. Sometimes, business and government works together, but when they do not, it is an ongoing war for dominance.
On December 2nd, two documentary films were shown at the Guild Theater in Sacramento. They were films about the lives of Transgender Women, and other members of the LGBTQ community. The films are part of a three-part event trying to promote solidarity, and knowledge about the LGBT community.
There is so much more going on in the city of Sacramento than what we see on the nightly news. Beyond the crime and the drama, there are the stories of real people making a real difference right now in our neighborhoods and throughout our communities. For a number of various reasons, those stories more often than not are overlooked, leaving the casual observer with a distorted view of our world.
That’s where we come in.
AccessLocal.TV is a website where the people and groups in Sacramento who are working hard to improve our community come together to share our stories. It’s the place where your voice counts. It’s a place where young people can express their views and
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