As you may have guessed, I totally appreciate grassroots activism and rebellion. I do not appreciate my local government’s ignorance to the community’s well-being, so when people from ‘round these parts go up against the powers that be I am in hog heaven! Some recent examples of regional muckraking are as follows:
- Books Not Bars, an activist group dedicated to the demise of California’s Division of Juvenile Justice, rallied outside the site of the former DeWitt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton on Thursday. The group of protesters were turned away from the facility’s main gates by correctional workers, but they continued the rally directly across the street in a field. Books Not Bars advocates youth rehabilitation, as opposed to the current system of incarceration. I am in full agreement. It seems awfully fucked up that juvenile offenders are locked up in our already bloated prison system when unemployment rates, homelessness, inadequate educational systems, and poverty have more than a little to do with their criminal activity at such a young age. If they aren’t old enough to vote, to drink, to give consent, then I don’t think they are old enough to serve hard time.
- Union employees gathered outside the Stockton Caltrans building on Thursday to protest Governor Schwarzenegger's executive order to slash their pay to the federal minimum wage ($6.55/ hour). The idea behind the Gobonator’s order is that pay cuts (& elimination of scores of part-time positions) would save the state $1 billion and ease the financial difficulties (a $15.2 billion deficit, to be specific) projected in the upcoming fiscal year. Unfortunately, I doubt Arnold took into consideration the cost of living in California. Nobody can survive on $6.55 here, that’s why our minimum wage is $8.00/hour. Why not freeze the pay of elected officials & state judges (who are usually upper-middle class folk that can manage on a temporary wage cut)? Or repeal the retarded block on taxation increases brought on by Proposition 13? Of course, the state wouldn’t be entirely fucked if it just carried the deficit into the next few years, but Arnold’s up for re-election & that type of financial crisis isn’t good for his image, I suppose. Never the less, state workers do not deserve to carry the financial faux pas of Sacramento’s politicians on their backs.
- The California Black-Brown Summit on Re-Entry and Recidivism starts tomorrow in Stockton and will address the fact that black and Hispanic prisoners make up 67% of California’s prison population. Workshops will focus on education, housing, gangs, and employment. Groups such as Homeward Bound (executioners of a prisoner re-entry program), the NAACP, and the League of United Latin American Citizens organized the two-day event at UOP’s Grace Covell Hall. Here’s to citizens actively addressing crime and interracial cooperation in the San Joaquin Valley! Good work, y’all.