Long Beach Leader And Tri County Bulletin E Edition Page 1

Obama Is No 'Lame Duck' President Your Resource for Over 30 Years A Precinct Reporter Group Publication - The Only Black Publication Serving All of Orange County news@tri-countybulletin.com "I wholly disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" - Voltaire Thursday, September 17, 2015 By Dianne Anderson Staff Writer Students at Santa Ana schools are getting a luxury usu- ally reserved for the rich kids - they are jamming workshops across the genres, and sharing the spotlight with some of the hottest musicians around. Each year, the crowd comes out to support Hope Alive Benefit Concert, a music pro- gram that has gotten so much positive attention that Rev. Chineta Goodjoin has to turn down invitations to bring her unique model to other area schools. She would if she could. "I have school districts call- ing to see if we can bring the program into other districts, but we don't have the manpower," said Rev. Goodjoin of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Orange. Offered through her church, the program hosts major per- formers that give up their time to teach the kids something even the more affluent schools can't offer. For two years in a row, Sheila E has worked with the students, and the second year she asked to come back, and brought her father, Pete Escovedo. "Students had to learn Sheila E's music and she learned their music, and they played togeth- er," Goodjoin said. "These kids get to play with world class musicians on stage." This year, she expects anoth- er great concert turnout in sup- port of the music programs for kids at Willard Intermediate, and Santa Ana High School. She said she started the pro- gram a few years ago when she heard that Willard Intermediate School had lost their music funding. The church and its many talented musicians stepped up to help the students with music education and enrichment. "We sent orchestras and pro- fessional musicians into the school so the kids wouldn't lose their desire or ability to be touched by the power of music," Rev. Goodjoin said. Since then, she has worked with both schools to create an orchestra that covers several genres. Each Fall, they pull it all together for a big benefit con- cert featuring top names in the industry. This past summer, the kids experienced the eclectic vibe of Munyungo Jackson, percussion- ist with Stevie Wonder, who introduced rhythms from South African beats, Brazil and Argentina. But, she said there's more to the program than the rhythm of the beat. Many studies show a strong correlation between brains and bands. All Isaiah Benitez, 15, a jun- ior at Santa Ana High School has to do is look around at his peers and he sees the connec- tion. Benitez, who is in march- ing and jazz band, studies tuba, trombone and guitar and has been playing for about five years. Many in the band are at the top of their class. "I know a lot of my peers are taking AP [Advanced Placement] classes, I know a lot of freshmen and sophomores that are in honors classes" he said. The energy of the marching band has been exciting, and he has attended the music academy since a freshman. "It's very interesting to learn about students and get clinics by the musicians, like Sheila E. She Food Justice Activism Surviving the Food Desert By Dianne Anderson Staff Writer Liquor stores abound, but getting fresh produce into California food deserts - the inner city with no supermarkets within reach - is a big issue facing low income neighborhoods throughout Central, West and North Long Beach. There is a fine line between good health and good food, and both are hard to find in lower income communities of color. Marisa Tsai, policy intern for Long Beach Fresh, said that fixing the problem begins with edu- cating the community around nutrition, mobilizing to change policy, and teaching healthcare institu- tions how to incorporate innovative food strategies into their own programs. Several Long Beach Fresh classes at communi- ty centers in target areas were well attended over the summer, showing that the under-served community is thinking more about what's on their plates. "A lot of these corner stores don't have the healthiest options and a lot places where people get their food because they live in a food desert, or they don't' have transportation," she said. As the cost of vegetables has soared, she said the program is supporting local urban farming movements, and restaurants that share in the good food concept. Participants learn to eat the rainbow, and how to shop local farmer's markets. Part of the California Food Policy Council, Long Beach Fresh is funded by the California Endowment to address access issues. Most of their focus is connecting neighbors and groups around how to grow, cook and buy. More work is also needed to address barriers for growing within small rental spaces. The group tries to counter the myth that growing is messy. "If you're in an apartment, it's up to the landlord to decide if you can grow on the property. If you're renting a house or duplex, you have a right to grow," she said. Their other ongoing campaign is mobilizing community around current state policy and food justice activism. On September 23, their Good Food is Good Health event, co-sponsored by the Congressman Alan Lowenthal, will include Robert Egger of LA Kitchen, Patti Oliver of UCLA Medical Center and Health Care Without Harm, and Audra D. Wilford and Chef Paul of MaxLove Project. The event tar- gets health care providers with a requested donation Dark Money in Politics Threatens Black Interests By Freddie Allen Senior Washington Correspondent Washington (NNPA) - The explosion of "dark money" spent in the political system in the United States threatens racial equity in the United States making it harder for Blacks and other minorities to gain a foothold in the middle class and fully participate in the democracy, according to a recent report by Demos, a public policy group. "Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America's most politically active corpora- tions spent a combined $5.8 billion on feder- al lobbying and campaign contributions. [But] what they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 trillion in federal business and support," the report said. When the United States Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protections prevented the government from limiting nonprofits from making independent politi- cal contributions in the 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, voting rights advocates pre- dicted a sea change in spending on elections. The Demos report said that since the rul- ing, dark money flooded into the system and in 2016 it's only predicted to get worse. Dark money is generally defined as funds given to nonprofit organizations to influence elections without the group disclosing the sources of the their funding. The report said that political donations could influence lawmakers on a number of critical issues that have a significant impact on communities of color, including the min- imum wage, paid sick leave and criminal jus- tice reform. "Secret corporate political spending threatens the integrity of our democratic self- government, as those with the deepest pock- ets can overwhelm other voices," the report said. "This financial influence leads to the needs and wants of corporations being prior- itized and can skew important public policy outcomes, often in ways that perpetuate racial inequities." The report noted that taxpayers foot the bill for government contractors who can then spend money on programs and lobbying efforts that do little to benefit people of color. "Hundreds of billions of dollars in feder- al contracts, grants, loans, concession agree- ments, and property leases go to private companies that pay low wages, provide few benefits, and offer employees little opportu- nity to work their way into the middle class," the report said and because people of color make up a disproportionate share of the low- wage workforce, they are directly impacted when companies argue against raising the minimum wage. The biggest players in the for-profit prison industry also seem to benefit from their relationships with elected officials, but current regulations prevent the public from knowing the full extent of their political expenditures. Citing research by the Center for Responsive Politics, the report said that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO), and Management and Training Corporation (MTC) spent $3.698 million on lobbying federal officials and the PACs and employ- ees of these companies contributed $552,636 to federal campaigns in 2014. "But this may only be a fraction of what LBC Celebrates Grand Opening of New Senior Housing The City of Long Beach today celebrat- ed the grand opening of "Long Beach and 21st Apartments," a 41-unit rental complex that will provide affordable, quality housing for low-income seniors. Together with Meta Housing Corporation and other community partners, the City is proud to open the doors to this warm and contemporary senior living community. "This development is a tremendous example of the collaborative spirit of Long Beach," said Mayor Robert Garcia. "Meta Housing has worked closely with the City and other partners to ensure that seniors have access to high-quality, affordable hous- ing along with supportive services that will help them live healthy, productive lives." The four-story development is located at 2114 Long Beach Boulevard, near 21st Street, along one of Long Beach's most vis- ible boulevards and significant transporta- tion corridors. "As a senior community member, I know how important the Long Beach and 21st Apartments are to Long Beach," said Councilmember Dee Andrews. "They strengthen our community by creating a space for seniors to enjoy active and engaged lives, and also uplifting a neighbor- hood that is making great strides in redefin- ing itself." The apartment complex features one- and two-bedroom units, and boasts ameni- ties meant to support engagement and a strong sense of community among residents, including a community room and kitchen, computer room, outdoor seating, a library, and an on-site laundry facility. The develop- ment is also certified silver under LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. "Meta Housing appreciates the work of the City and the Mayor in investing in proj- ects serving vulnerable groups, like seniors and those who are homeless. We know that Long Beach is committed to expanding the number of quality, affordable units in the City," said Chris Maffris, Senior Vice President of Meta Housing Corporation. The Health Department's Housing Authority provided vouchers for housing assistance to 15 eligible families over the next 15 years. Additionally, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health will provide long-term rental assistance for six units, and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) will provide support services to pre- vent future housing instability. (Cont. on Page 6) Hope Alive Benefit Concert Set (See Page 4) Vol. 31 - No. 11 Dee Andrews

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