Author: lafocus

Supporters, Opponents Clash Over Bill That Would Decriminalize Loitering for Prostitution

Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌ ‌|‌ ‌California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

Stephany Powell, an advocate for sex crime victims and survivors, hopes Gov. Newsom will veto Senate Bill (SB) 357. 

The legislation proposes ending punishment for people “loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution.” 

Powell, who is Director of Law Enforcement Training and Survivor Services for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), and other advocates say, if the bill is signed into law, it would provide increased “open-air” activities in disadvantaged communities.

“I’m just thinking about the people living in the communities that would have to deal with (prostitution),” said Dr. Powell, a former city of Los Angeles law enforcement officer. “They (the lawmakers) need to come up with something else because it’s a band-aid approach to the issue.  People who don’t have a full understanding of how this can be problematic. I hope it’s vetoed.” 

The Washington DC-based NCOSE is dedicated to creating an environment free from sexual abuse and exploitation, through policy, legal, corporate advocacy, education, and public mobilization. Dr. Powell joined the organization in 2020.

The author of SB 357, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) presents a counterargument. Wiener says the bill protects sex-trafficked women from the police who use loitering laws to discriminate against minorities, including Black, Latino, Trans, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual people. 

Existing law prohibits soliciting or engaging in an act of prostitution. It also prohibits loitering in a public place “with the intent to commit prostitution, as defined, or directing, supervising, recruiting, or aiding a person who is loitering with the intent to commit prostitution.”

Under the existing law, a violation of any of these provisions is a misdemeanor. SB 357 would decriminalize them. 

California Penal Code 653.22 allows police to arrest someone for intending to solicit or engage in prostitution even if the person never actually engages in the act. The offense is commonly referred to as “loitering to commit prostitution” or “loitering for prostitution.”

Powell said this law is effective. Police officers do not actually have to catch someone engaged in prostitution before apprehending them she says, adding that the police “can arrest the sex buyer and the person selling the service.” 

Although Powell says it is easy for innocent people to find themselves under suspicion because of the latitude police officers have under current law, she insists, based on knowledge from prosecutors and D.A. offices’ investigations of sex trafficking and underage prostitution, it would not be a significant problem. 

“Say if I am the vice cop out there. I see a girl but don’t know if she’s 16 or 19. But remember: if she is under the age of 18, she is automatically considered to be a victim of human trafficking,” Powell said. “The only reason why I would be able to stop her is because of P.C. 653.22. So, let’s say SB 357 becomes legal. Well then, what am I stopping her for? Because, God help me, if she’s 21. I’m going to have some legal problems?” 

The governor is getting increased pressure from individuals for and against SB 357, including sex worker advocates across California. 

Sex-trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates held a news conference at the California State Capitol to protest SB 357. 

Vanessa Russell, founder of the Bay Area’s Love Never Fails, a non-profit dedicated to the restoration, education, and protection of those involved or at risk of becoming involved in domestic human trafficking, said SB 357, the Safer Streets for All Act, is “deeply disturbing.”

“As a direct service provider, I think it’s important to call out a few things, unfortunately. The false narrative that is present and embodied in SB 357,” said Russell. “This is a bill that is preying on the current anti-sentiment of communities of color. This is not a partisan issue. This is a humanitarian issue. It is an issue that all of us need to engage on to show (sex trafficking) survivors they can be safe.” 

Four survivors of sex trafficking spoke outside the state capitol to express their displeasure with the bill. They said police officers use loitering laws to nab solicitors and traffickers — as well as to save trafficked women and men from their brutal traffickers. 

The survivors believe that without a loitering law, exploitation of these vulnerable women is only going to increase. 

“This piece of legislation only protects the buyer and the trafficker,” said survivor Marjorie Saylor, who also runs a nonprofit for former sex-trafficked women exiting prostitution. “And these are traffickers that send his girls into your high schools to recruit your sons and daughters.”

Saylor, a Black woman, said that it was a police officer that helped her escape a sex trafficker. 

“I was rescued by law enforcement, and I feel that it is necessary that we work and partner with law enforcement to engage these men, women, boys, and girls on the streets. They need a reason to go in and say someone is being exploited.” 

The bill also authorizes a person convicted of a violation of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution to petition the court for the dismissal and sealing of their case, and resentencing.

The U.S. Department of State has estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the country each year. The figure does not include victims who are trafficked within the United States each year. 

New York City is currently dealing with an open-air sex market that vice authorities are turning a blind eye to due to the Brooklyn District Attorney shifting from prosecuting prostitution cases. Brooklyn’s D.A. has moved to vacate 262 warrants related to the sex trade.

Powell said actions such as these empower pimps and sex traffickers.

“This is what it looks like if prostitution is legal,” Powell said of New York City’s approach to the world’s oldest profession.

California – a populous border state with a significant immigrant population, the State’s Department of Justice stated – is one of the nation’s top destination states for trafficking human beings.

After SB 357 passed the Senate Public Safety Committee in March by a vote of 4-1, Fatima Shabazz of Fatima Speaks, and co-lead of the Policy Committee for the DecrimSexWorkCA Coalition stated, “this is the first step in repealing a Jim Crow law that criminalizes Black and trans people in public spaces.”

“Sex workers are workers like anyone else, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Wiener, presenting his case for repealing what he views as a discriminatory law.

“Our criminal justice system criminalizes people – particularly Black, Brown and LGTBQ people – for simply existing and going about their lives. Laws like this one do nothing to make people safer, or stop sex trafficking. Instead, they criminalize members of our community who are simply going about their lives. We need to support sex workers instead of criminalizing them.”

 

Calif Black Caucus Weighs in on Sac D.A. and LA Sheriff Races

Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌ ‌|‌ ‌California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) recently endorsed two African American candidates, Alana Mathews and Cecil Rhambo, who are running in high-profile county races in Sacramento and Los Angeles counties next year. 

 

In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for District Attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.

“The California Legislative Black Caucus proudly endorses Alana Mathews” said Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. “We are excited about the potential opportunity for her to bring equity, fairness, inclusion and reform to the prosecutor’s seat.”

If Mathews wins, she would be the first Black person and the first Black woman elected D.A. in Sacramento County. 

The CLBC’s endorsement was “welcome news” for Mathews, a graduate of the McGeorge School of Law (Sacramento) and Spelman College (Atlanta). 

“I’m honored to receive the endorsements from the Black leaders in California. I admire the work that they all do,” Mathews told California Black Media (CBM) on Sept. 18 as she headed to a campaign event. “This is a significant endorsement as we seek more on the local and state levels.”

In Los Angeles County, the CLBC announced its support for Cecil Rhambo, who is running for County Sheriff. That contest will also be held in June 2022. 

Rhambo is currently Chief of Airport Police at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Citing Rhambo’s 33-year record as a “respected” public servant, broad law enforcement experience and active involvement in Los Angeles-area communities, the CLBC says it believes Rhambo can help reduce crime in South LA and Compton. 

“I’ve known Cecil for many years and as chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, I am confident he would be the Sheriff all of LA could be proud of,” said Bradford. “I know he is the right person to lead the LA County Sheriff Department during this state and national demand for police reform and accountability, and I trust his commitment to bringing desperately-needed transparency, equity, and integrity to the Department.”

Rhambo helped to develop the Community Oriented Policing Bureau, which focuses on suppressing violent crime, combatting homelessness, parking enforcement, quality of life programs, youth programs, and the mental health response teams that partnered with psych clinicians county-wide, according to the CLBC. 

Rhambo has worked in a number of law enforcement assignments across LA County, including working as an undercover narcotics officer and a deputized federal agent. 

​He was a Lieutenant at Internal Affairs following the Rodney King beating in March 1991. In that role, he helped to create a digital tracking system that could monitor reports of police officer misconduct and use of excessive force. 

D.A. candidate Mathews plans to “roll out” more endorsements from other individuals and groups in the upcoming weeks, she told CBM.

Anne Marie Schubert, a former member of the Republican Party is currently Sacramento’s D.A. Schubert already announced that she has her sights on the Attorney General’s seat in the 2022 election and that she would be running against Rob Bonta who Gov. Newsom appointed to that role in March. 

Mathews spent eight years as a Deputy District Attorney in Sacramento County, working her way up from misdemeanor jury trials to prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, general felony, and prison crime cases.  

She currently works with the Prosecutors Alliance of California, a group of prosecutors committed to reforming California’s criminal justice system through smart, safe, modern solutions that advance public safety, human dignity, and community well-being.

 

On the campaign trail in Sacramento County, Mathew says she believes working with police is “central” to the D.A. office’s work “but there has been little to no accountability in that office when it comes to police misconduct.” 

She wants to change that.  

“If you violate the law, you should be held accountable. Without that it undermines trust in the system,” she said. 

 

FROM OUR PARTNERS California’s Housing Crisis Rooted in Racist Zoning Laws

Mark Hedin, Ethnic Media Services

  Across the country, with both state and federal moratoria on evictions for non-payment of rent set to expire September 30, more than 2 million adult renters are at imminent risk of eviction, 880,000 of them in California.

Carolina Reid, of U.C. Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, cited these August findings by the Urban Institute at a panel convened by Ethnic Media Services on Sept. 14.

“We’re really in this ‘perfect storm’ where housing costs in the state are vastly outstripping incomes and COVID is promising to make the situation worse,” she said.

But there is currently no apparent political will to further extend eviction moratoria, she said.

Meanwhile, although the federal government this spring allocated $46.5 billion to provide rent relief to COVID-affected households — enough to pay everyone’s outstanding debt two times over — nationwide, only $6.2 billion has been disbursed.

California, through its Housing is Key (housing.ca.gov) program, has distributed 14.3% of its federal funding.

The program is available to both landlords and renters, who are protected from eviction while their cases are being reviewed. 

Samir Gambhir, of UC Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute, addressed some long-standing, historical origins of the housing shortage.

One is zoning laws that allow only single-family dwellings to be built in certain neighborhoods. This limits the supply of new housing and increases costs as demand continues to outstrip availability.

The result is de-facto segregated neighborhoods.

The Institute’s research found that more than 80% of U.S. metro regions were more segregated in 2019 than in 1990.

For instance, in the San Francisco Bay Area, his research found that 82% of the residential-zoned land in San Francisco is restricted to single-family dwellings. In such areas, the occupancy is 55% white – as opposed to 36% white in low single-family-zoning areas.

Single-family zones typically have higher home values ($100,000, on average), higher median incomes ($34,000 higher, on average), half as many children qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch at schools – 26% vs. 52%, and higher home ownership rates.

In the United States, home ownership has long been acknowledged as a key path to intergenerational wealth.

“Cities with high levels of single-family zoning have greater resources in virtually every statistic we were able to measure,” Gambhir said.

“Where we live essentially determines our life outcomes.”

Homelessness rises almost in lockstep with housing unaffordability, Ned Resnikoff, UCSF’s Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, said. 

Whites are 72% of the state’s population, and 54% of its homeless. Blacks, 7% of the population, have become 31% of the homeless. The ratio for the Hispanic/Latino population is 39%-32%; Asians 16%-2%; American Indian 2%-4%; Pacific Islanders 1%-1%.

One of the root causes for this, Resnikoff said, is structural racism.

A lot of the rules that have led to housing being so unaffordable in California were part of a deliberate attempt to keep various communities in California mostly or exclusively white.

Those include restrictive zoning rules, redlining, he said, and Article 34 of the state constitution passed in the 1950s that makes it significantly harder to build low-income housing.

“You can have single-family housing existing side-by-side with low income housing,” said Matthew Lewis, of Berkeley’s Yimby (Yes in my backyard), pointing to his own neighborhood’s mix of housing and income levels. But that diversity could not be replicated under regulations today.

He also described Los Angeles’ 1972 move to protect its “suburbia within the city atmosphere” by “downzoning” building allowed in formerly multiple-zoned neighborhoods.

From being zoned for 10 million people, Los Angeles went to 4.1 million.  “They cut the number of homes it was legal to build by half.”

Lewis also cited an Environmental Impact Report produced when San Francisco was making similar changes in the 1970s. It anticipated “possible displacement of certain types of households” and impacts on “the availability and cost of housing in San Francisco.”

“This happened throughout the state of California,” Lewis said. 

But the problems now extend beyond zoning limitations, he noted. “Too many Californians now need subsidies which takes a lot of money.”

In California, Prop 13 in 1978 largely froze property tax increases on existing structures.  But new homes pay a current tax rate when they come on the market.  

“So, you need a huge number of market-rate homes to generate the revenues you need to subsidize the affordable homes,” Lewis said. “You have to have both.”

  In a hopeful sign for more housing stock, California’s state legislature on Aug. 26 approved a measure that would allow for the construction of duplex buildings on land parcels previously zoned for only single-family dwellings, and also allow property owners to divide their parcels in two, possibly allowing for a second duplex.  Gov. Newsom signed the bill into law on Sept. 16.

“While we’re so far behind, just allowing duplexes and fourplexes is an incredibly important step, but it doesn’t close the gap,” Lewis said.

 

Let’s Talk Black Education: Governor Newsom Should Close the Vaccination Loophole for School Employees

Dr. Margaret Fortune, President/CEO of Fortune School

The honeymoon is over in communities where the Delta variant has taken hold.  Since back to school, I’ve spent weeks filling in for principals, supervising children, checking children’s temperatures and providing them masks, directing traffic in the parking lot, picking up garbage, wiping down cafeteria tables — all of which are required to run safe schools in these times. I’ve talked to other heads of schools that can say the same thing or something similar since the start of this school year. The same culprit continues to affect us all — COVID-19. However, normally we have a village to manage these tasks. Now, we don’t.

Staffing shortages are severe and there are no substitutes to be had.  Further aggravating the situation, are public health rules that require paid school staff who test negative for COVID-19 but remain unvaccinated to stay home for 10 days at a time, when they are exposed to someone who tests positive.  It leaves the rest of us — including the students — without a teacher, cafeteria worker, or janitorial staff. We have to throw on five or six hats in order to ensure that our students are educated. 

Necessary? Yes. Sustainable? No. 

Governor Gavin Newsom took a good first step when he required school employees to be vaccinated, but he left a gaping loophole. He allowed school staff to test-out of being vaccinated by committing to take a COVID test twice a week.  Then he put the burden on schools to become COVID testing centers overnight for the employees who refuse to get vaccinated.  

The result is that these staff who refuse vaccination have to be benched for two weeks every time they get exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Imagine, if you will, being a part of a 40-person team and every week there are 10 people who are forced to quarantine for two weeks, leaving 30 team members to do the work of 40 during that first week. That’s one person doing their job and the additional work of three coworkers. These types of staffing outages are debilitating schools across the state. There are news reports of schools having to shut down classrooms for lack of staff.  

Some major school systems with the political clout have taken matters into their own hands. Los Angeles Unified, for example, has closed the loophole and is requiring all school employees to be vaccinated.  The state of California should do the same.  

California has over 6 million students who can’t afford for us to agree to anything less than 100% vaccination for school employees.  

Yes, the policy could force out educators who refuse to get vaccinated but, they won’t be working anyway if they get exposed to a positxive case.  Essentially, the unvaccinated have become hard to employ in a school setting.  They can go out at any time and take down our schools with them. 

We can’t risk that.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Margaret Fortune is the President/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.  She is a State Delegate on the California Democratic Party (CDP) State Central Committee where she also is an elected member of the Executive Board of the CDP Black Caucus. Fortune is Treasurer of National Action Network (NAN) Sacramento and has been an education advisor to two California Governors.  She is a graduate of the UC Berkeley and Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government.

 

Bishop Ulmer Receives Coveted Blessing of the Elders Award

Lisa Collins

“Within the United States, there is a legacy of African American pastors who faithfully adhered to the Bible as their guiding light. For generations, these spiritual leaders of large and small congregations have held fast to Scripture and its message of love, faithfulness, forgiveness, freedom, and God’s abiding strength. Because of these elders the Bible continues giving hope to our nation.”

Those words frame the purpose of the Annual “Blessing of the Elders” ceremony, presented by the Washington D.C.-based Museum of the Bible, a global, innovative, educational institution whose mission is to invite all people to engage with the transformative power of the Bible.

This year’s years prestigious honors were bestowed upon Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, senior pastor of the Inglewood-based, Faithful Central Bible Church.

“This award was special because it really was not about me. It was about the legacy of the African American church and the prophecy pulpits that helped navigate its course,” Ulmer stated. 

“It was also special because they came to Los Angeles to present it—the place the echoes the voice of such spiritual elders as Dr. E.V. Hill, Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, Dr. Manuel Scott, Dr. Jerome Pleasant and Dr. Jerome Fisher.”

What makes the award most prestigious are the renown pastors who comprise the steering committee for the Blessing of the Elders ceremony, including renowned pastors Tony Evans and A.R. Bernard, tasked with blessing those elders in the African American community who through their faithfulness to Scripture have made exceptional contributions to help heal racial, political, and spiritual divisions and to inspire younger generations of pastors and leaders to follow their examples.

Said Ulmer, “The award produced a heighten sense of both honor and humility for the opportunity to partner with two of my friends of many years—Dr. Tony Evans and Dr. A.R. Bernard. These two ecclesiastical giants are gifts to the body of Christ. To share the project with them was a great joy.”

Ulmer was a supporter of the Museum of the Bible before receiving the honor. 

“Its vision and goal of telling the historical story of how the Bible was the driving influence of the African American church is one that I fully support,” Ulmer revealed. “I believe a Black Christian is one of the greatest miracles of God. This museum illustrates how the Black church impacted and influenced American history.”

Opening to the public in November 2017, the Museum of the Bible’s 430,000-square-foot building is among the most technologically advanced and engaging museums in the world. Showcasing rare and fascinating artifacts spanning 4,000 years of history, the museum offers visitors an immersive and personalized experience with the Bible and its ongoing impact on the world around us.

 

Issa Rae Partners with AMEX’s & the U.S. Black Chambers ByBlack Initiative

Staff

American Express—in a joint campaign with the U.S. Black Chambers (USBC)— has announced the expansion of ByBlack with the first national certification program exclusively for Black-ownership designation. First created as a directory of Black-owned businesses, ByBlack provides businesses an approved accreditation trusted by customers and enables consumers and other companies to easily find U.S.-based Black-owned businesses.

“The success of Black-owned businesses benefits the communities they anchor and in turn, the country at large,” said USBC President Ron Busby.  “The Black business community generates more than $150 billion in revenue but has even larger potential. We are continuing to expand ByBlack across the U.S. to help further propel the growth of Black-owned businesses….”

Actress Issa Rae is one of the entrepreneurs benefitting from the program, having certified her business, Sienna Naturals, with the hopes of reaching more customers, and encouraging other Black businesses to do the same.

“We have only scratched the surface of the collective power of Black businesses, so I am excited to join American Express and the USBC to shine a light on the opportunities ByBlack presents,” Rae said. “ByBlack is a powerful platform that connects Black business owners with new revenue streams and helps all of us find and shop at standout businesses.”

The no-cost certification process takes just thirty minutes to fill out online. Businesses need only provide proof of identification, that their business is 51% Black-owned, and is controlled by a Black owner. For more information, visit https://usblackchambers.org/certification.

 

Rev. Jesse Jackson is Back at Home; Says the Shot Protected Him from Death

A month after being hospitalized for COVID on August 21 and subsequently treated at a rehab facility for Parkinson’s, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, 79, is back at home. The civil rights leader was released from the hospital on Wednesday.

“Thank God for leading the way to get me again to walk again on my own power, talking,” said Jackson, who along with his wife, had initially been admitted to a Chicago hospital after having tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The shot protected me from death,” Jackson stated.

Though Jackson had been vaccinated. His wife had not. She was released from the hospital earlier this month.

“Both my parents are ever so thankful for all of the prayers, cards and calls they have received during this very trying period of their lives,” reported son Jonathan Jackson in a statement.

“We know it is a miracle that both of our parents are COVID-19 survivors, and we thank God for his healing. We also pray for the millions of people who have been infected with this virus and pray they too will also overcome. Our father continues to stress the importance of being vaccinated, wearing masks and obeying the COVID-19 protocols including social distancing and the washing of the hands.”

 

Senators Fail to Reach Deal on George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Stacy M. Brown/ NNPA Newswire 

Talks to enact the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act were halted on Wednesday after a bipartisan Senate negotiations team announced it failed to reach a deal.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) called off the talks. No further discussions are in the works.

“Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners, and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” Sen. Booker stated.

“The effort from the very beginning was to get police reform that would raise professional standards, police reform that would create a lot more transparency, and then police reform that would create accountability, and we’re not able to come to agreements on those three big areas,” the senator remarked.

Lawmakers had worked toward a measure following the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020.

Optimism about a deal peaked in April when a jury convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of Floyd’s murder.

Floyd’s killing led to global protests and corporate awareness of the call that Black lives matter.
Introduced by California Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act addressed a range of policies and issues surrounding police practices and accountability.

The bill sought to lower the criminal intent standard to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution.

In addition, the measure would limit qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against an officer, and it would grant administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice in pattern-or-practice investigations.

Notably, the measure establishes a framework to prevent and cure racial profiling by law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels.

It restricts the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid holds.

“On behalf of the families of George Floyd and so many others who have been impacted by police violence, we express our extreme disappointment in Senate leaders’ inability to reach a reasonable solution for federal police reform,” Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump wrote in a statement.

“In the last year and a half, we have witnessed hundreds of thousands of Americans urging lawmakers to bring desperately needed change to policing in this country so there can be greater accountability, transparency, and ultimately trust in policing,” Crump continued.

“People – including many police leaders – have raised their voices for something to change, and partisan politics once again prevents common-sense reform. We cannot let this be a tragic, lost opportunity to regain trust between citizens and police.

“We strongly urge Democratic senators to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to the floor for a vote so Americans can see who is looking out for their communities’ best interests and who is ready to listen to their constituents so we can together put the country on a better, more equitable path for all.”

 

Let’s Talk Black Education: Governor Newsom Should Close the Vaccination Loophole for School Employees

Let’s Talk Black Education

By Dr. Margaret Fortune, President/CEO of Fortune School

Governor Newsom Should Close the Vaccination Loophole for School Employees

The honeymoon is over in communities where the Delta variant has taken hold.  Since back to school, I’ve spent weeks filling in for principals, supervising children, checking children’s temperatures and providing them masks, directing traffic in the parking lot, picking up garbage, wiping down cafeteria tables — all of which are required to run safe schools in these times. I’ve talked to other heads of schools that can say the same thing or something similar since the start of this school year. The same culprit continues to affect us all — COVID-19. However, normally we have a village to manage these tasks. Now, we don’t.

 

Staffing shortages are severe and there are no substitutes to be had.  Further aggravating the situation, are public health rules that require paid school staff who test negative for COVID-19 but remain unvaccinated to stay home for 10 days at a time, when they are exposed to someone who tests positive.  It leaves the rest of us — including the students — without a teacher, cafeteria worker, or janitorial staff. We have to throw on five or six hats in order to ensure that our students are educated. 

 

Necessary? Yes. Sustainable? No. 

 

Governor Gavin Newsom took a good first step when he required school employees to be vaccinated, but he left a gaping loophole. He allowed school staff to test-out of being vaccinated by committing to take a COVID test twice a week.  Then he put the burden on schools to become COVID testing centers overnight for the employees who refuse to get vaccinated.  

 

The result is that these staff who refuse vaccination have to be benched for two weeks every time they get exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Imagine, if you will, being a part of a 40-person team and every week there are 10 people who are forced to quarantine for two weeks, leaving 30 team members to do the work of 40 during that first week. That’s one person doing their job and the additional work of three coworkers. These types of staffing outages are debilitating schools across the state. There are news reports of schools having to shut down classrooms for lack of staff.  

 

Some major school systems with the political clout have taken matters into their own hands. Los Angeles Unified, for example, has closed the loophole and is requiring all school employees to be vaccinated.  The state of California should do the same.  

 

California has over 6 million students who can’t afford for us to agree to anything less than 100% vaccination for school employees.  

 

Yes, the policy could force out educators who refuse to get vaccinated but, they won’t be working anyway if they get exposed to a positive case.  Essentially, the unvaccinated have become hard to employ in a school setting.  They can go out at any time and take down our schools with them. 

 

We can’t risk that.

 

Editor’s Note: Dr. Margaret Fortune is the President/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.  She is a State Delegate on the California Democratic Party (CDP) State Central Committee where she also is an elected member of the Executive Board of the CDP Black Caucus. Fortune is Treasurer of National Action Network (NAN) Sacramento and has been an education advisor to two California Governors.  She is a graduate of the UC Berkeley and Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government.

 

Actress Tanya Fear Reported Missing in Los Angeles

Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire

In one of her last social media postings, actress Tanya Fear retweeted a tribute by Courtney B. Vance to the late Michael K. Williams.

“Michael has found peace,” Fear tweeted. “He was a giant of a man. Only my faith sustains me in times like these.”

The September 6 social media post was among the last anyone has heard from Fear. The actress has been reported missing in Los Angeles.

Reports suggest that concerns continue to grow for the 31-year-old star of “Doctor Who.”
Fear’s family reportedly hasn’t heard from her since Thursday, September 9.

The hashtag #FindTanyaFear continues to trend while family and loved ones pray for the best.

“Please, please, please share if you have mutually in the LA/Hollywood bowl area,” a Twitter user describing themselves as Fear’s cousin wrote.

“My cousin is missing, she has no family in the US, and we’re all really worried.”

A poster circulating on social media says she went missing in the “LA/Hollywood Bowl area.”

Fear played the role of Dr. Jade McIntyre in a 2018 episode of Doctor Who. She also appeared in the films “A Moving Image,” “Kick-ass 2,” and “Spotless.”

 


© Copyright 2021 - LA Focus Newspaper