Precinct Reporter E Edition Page A-1

Obama is No 'Lame Duck' President Your Resource for Over 50 Years The Community's Newspaper - Serving Riverside County, Eastern Los Angeles County & San Bernardino County "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 If only the community knew all of the freebies they can find just around the corner -- a hookup to free legal services, extremely low cost or free dental and medical, and more food to bring home to the family. For now, until the word gets around, there are no waiting lines for services. Slots are open to get checked up, and while they're at it, access legal case- workers and pro-bono lawyers. "As long as they're a patient of ours, and meet the financial guidelines under 200% of the poverty line, they can get this program free of charge," said Austin Garcia, an outreach worker with The Inland Family Community Health Center. Becoming a patient is about as easy as walking through the door. Anyone who is not eligible for completely free medical services under their parent organization, Inland Behavioral Health Services, can get the same health services for a small sliding scale fee. He said many people in the community are walking around sick, or with a tooth ache, and do not know where to turn. In recent weeks of starting their new model program, they've assisted and referred some in the community over to the legal side of their health services. But for the most part, he said the lines are thin. "We're pretty excited about it, we're trying to get the word out to everyone that this is a valuable program. A lot of the low income community does not have access to quality free legal representation," he said. With so much need for legal and health issues in San Bernardino, Garcia wonders why there are no waiting lines. The program partners with the Legal Aid Society. "We have a pipeline straight to the resources," he said. "We have a lot of open appointment Common Ground for Peace ICUC Calls For More Action By Dianne Anderson Staff Writer Kids and youth caught in the crossfire of San Bernardino are at the heart of a new "Common Ground for Peace" project that hopes to stop the escalating crime, gun violence and homicides. Based on the original Operation Ceasefire "problem-oriented policing" model out of Boston, the approach is catching on. It is now being imple- mented in Richmond, Oakland and Stockton. But for the local program to work successfully, Sergio Luna, an organizer with the Inland Congregations United for Change, said everyone must get on board. He is reaching out to all of the African American and Latino congregations to join ICUC in the movement that includes partnerships between community leaders, the faith community, law enforcement, elected officials, service and mental health providers. Especially as the city becomes more vulnerable through the bankruptcy, he said a broader collabo- rative effort is needed. Public safety must be the top priority. "Even Stockton, in dealing with their bankrupt- cy, saw the value of Operation Ceasefire," he said. "They set funds aside to deal with the handful of individuals doing the shootings." The program goals began ten years ago after the drive by shooting of 16-year-old Melanie Miers. Last year, her 26 year old sister was stabbed and killed in her apartment. In response to the tragedy, ICUC held a vigil, met with the Mayor and Superintendent of Schools in January, but he said that there was push-back against concerns that the bankruptcy was holding up resources. As it stands, he said the system is reactive instead of proactive. "The city and police have not focused real, meaningful effort on violence or crime prevention as much as response time," he said. Under ICUC, 17 area clergy are participating, and he is calling for more African American churches to get involved. The hope is to change the approach to problems by taking community action to stop violence, and increase opportunities for local youth. The violence has become a hard burden to kids and parents in the community. "They are suffering from being exposed to the violence, or just knowing that a house or two or a block from them that someone just got killed," he said. Rev. Bronica Taylor, who attended a recent Common Ground for Peace training, said that she is concerned about the bankruptcy, and its drag on local services. These days, the rate of personnel turnover alone has made it very difficult for the community to know who is in charge. S.B. Schools Suspension Rates Down The San Bernardino City Unified School District's (SBCUSD) gradua- tion rate has increased to 79.9 per- cent and the suspension rate dropped to 6.4 percent. The total number of students sus- pended from SBCUSD schools dropped by 56 percent from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2014- 2015 school year. The suspension rate for Hispanic students dropped by 4.4 percentage points while the African-American suspension rate dropped by 5.3 percentage points for the same time period. Suspensions for Special Education students also dropped by 7.7 percentage points. Dr. Kennon Mitchell, assistant superintendent of Student Services, and Ray Culberson, director of Youth Services, credited the SBCUSD Board of Education with spearheading this change by direct- ing staff to find more effective and positive means of behavior correc- tion. According to SBCUSD school psychologists Suzy Johns and Jackie Patrick, through most of the 1990s and even into the early 2000s, school districts across California and the nation adopted a zero tolerance policy. Just as it sounds, this meant that almost every infraction by stu- dents, no matter how large or small, met with a referral or recommenda- tion for suspension. While this policy did punish offenders, it did little to change their behavior in the long run. Also, it caused many students to miss significant amounts of classroom instruction. These students fell behind in their studies, were less engaged in school, and were more likely to act out again or even drop out of school altogether. SBCUSD implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBiS) Districtwide in the 2011-2012 school year. The program's main ele- ments involve providing a welcom- ing and supportive environment for all students, teaching students the specific behavior expectations, and recognizing and reinforcing positive behavior. This allowed school staff to (Cont. on Page A-2) (Cont. on Page A-6) New Center Helps Take Care of Legal, Business, & Health (See Page A-4) Vol. 51 - No. 8 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 (Cont. on Page A-6) Ray Culberson Dr. Kennon Mitchell

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