The San Francisco Child Care Planning and Advisory Council has released its much anticipated 2017 Community Needs Assessment. San Francisco has made great progress in recent years in offering financial subsidies to preschool-aged children and increasing the overall capacity for licensed early childhood education options. However, there are significant unmet needs for licensed centers and family child care homes that serve infants and toddlers, and critical workforce investments are also required to attract and retain qualified early education teachers.
The crisis of deep child poverty persists in California, which recently surpassed the United Kingdom as the fifth largest economy in the world. One in five California children was poor in 2016, and one in 12 children lived in deep poverty. In a high cost-of-living state where the monthly fair market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,608, many families lack the resources to cover rent and all their children’s basic needs.
The budget signed June 27 by Gov. Jerry Brown reflects Sacramento’s relentless reliance on incarceration. Although the budget includes some repairs to the social safety net, it nonetheless aggressively builds up California’s system of imprisonment, adding another $270 million to the state’s large-scale jail construction program, extending contracts for private prisons, increasing the number of prison guards and funding construction on a dilapidated prison in Norco.
On July 16, Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm, sent out a press release announcing that, bowing to community pressure, Oakland has invited new proposals for affordable housing at the controversial Lake Merritt East 12th Street parcel that local groups protested against as an illegal land deal with Urban Core that violated the Surplus Land Act governing the sale of publicly owned land.
Last year, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and All of Us Or None joined the Western Center for Law and Poverty and a broad-based coalition of 140 organizations to repeal the lifetime ban on CalFresh and CalWORKs for people with drug-related felony convictions. Effective April 1, 2015, no person will be deemed ineligible for either CalFresh or CalWORKs aid because they have a prior federal or state felony drug conviction.
In mid-June, Gov. Brown signed the Budget Act of 2015, which shows no vision for the future of most Californians. In total, this budget underestimated the amount of resources available, overestimated the cost of vital programs, and chose spending on debt service, rainy day funds and prisons instead of the people of California and the vital services they need.
Beginning with a rally held on the capitol steps, it was an emotional day for many, especially for family members of those suffering in the SHUs and prison survivors. The voices of those in the SHU were powerfully present, both in stories told by family members as well as statements they had sent for the occasion. The hearing provided an opportunity for legislators to hear representatives of CDCR present their new policies and weigh the truth of their claims. At the end there was a scant 20 minutes for public input.
Californians demand further reductions in prison spending to restore social services. A post-election poll by Californians for Safety and Justice determined that 62 percent of voters believe too much state funding goes to California’s prison system, and 86 percent agree that more resources should be dedicated to preventing crime rather than funding prisons and jails.
Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrats have once again sold out to corporate interests in the latest state budget deal in California by grabbing another billion dollars from the safety net for the poor. The deal nearly destroys the safety net, making permanent changes to life-saving programs.
Oakland voters who thought they would be spared catastrophic budget cuts by voting for the Democrats and Oakland’s Jerry Brown feel abandoned and double-crossed by the latest round of budget cuts supported by Democrats.
With the elimination of the Calworks Stage 3 child care program, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it clear that he cares nothing about the struggling working families of California. Without child care, parents of over 8,000 children in the Bay Area may lose their jobs. TAKE ACTION NOW! Flood the governor’s offices with calls, faxes and email. Demand that he reverse his decision to eliminate Stage 3. Call the State Capitol at (916) 445-2841 or fax (916) 558-3160. His San Francisco office can be reached by phone at (415) 703-2218 and by fax at (415) 703-2218 or (415) 703-2803.
Public housing and Section 8 tenants appeared at the Jan. 19 Berkeley City Council meeting to protest and speak out against alleged illegal activities of the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) and its policies to privatize and sell their 75 public housing units to an unnamed nonprofit housing developer.