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“They Don’t Need a Wall. They Need a Paycheck.”

BLACK VOICE NEWS — n Wednesday, California Senator Kamala Harris spoke on the Senate floor and challenged her colleagues to immediately take up legislation to put an end to the government shutdown.

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(Photo by Black Voice News)

By S.E. Williams

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, California Senator Kamala Harris spoke on the Senate floor and challenged her colleagues to immediately take up legislation to put an end to the government shutdown and put federal employees in California and across the country back to work.

“The real obstacle to ending this shutdown is in the White House. The President is holding the American people hostage over his vanity project on the southern border—and he’s peddling his usual propaganda to distract from a crisis of his own making,” she stressed.

During her comments, Harris shared the story of a constituent named Trisha. Trisha and her husband are both air traffic controllers with nearly 40 years of federal service combined. Trisha’s husband also served in the Navy.

“He now has to work long hours of overtime to compensate for the workers who are absent because they’ve been furloughed. And he’s not being paid,” Harris explained adding, “Trisha’s job was deemed non-essential, so she’s also not being paid. “

Harris highlighted the importance of being clear about how the country “got into this mess.”

She reminded her colleagues the Senate unanimously passed a bill to open the government right before the holidays. The vote was 100-0. “There was such jubilance on this floor that literally members of the United States Senate were singing Christmas carols,” she recalled.

Although the president initially agreed to sign the legislation he backed away from his promise after conservative media personalities accused him of caving on the “Wall” by agreeing to a bill without securing the funding needed for his pet project—a campaign promise he made to his supporters.

Recently, under Democratic leadership, the House legislation to reopen the government, “They sent six bills over to the United States Senate,” she stated.

Senate Leader Republican Mitch McConnel has failed to bring these bills to the Senate floor for a vote.

“This body needs to hold a vote on that legislation and send it to the President and ask him to sign it. Because the real obstacle to ending this shutdown is in the White House,” Harris declared.

According to Harris, the President is continuing “to hold the American people hostage over his vanity project on the southern border—and he’s peddling his usual propaganda to distract from a crisis of his own making.”

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News

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  1. Debra Sova

    Debra Sova

    January 22, 2019 at 9:12 am

    BUILD THE WALL
    AMERICA FIRST
    AMERICA FIRST

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#NNPA BlackPress

Clippers Owner Celebrates Future While Forum Owner Cries “Foul!”

BLACK VOICE NEWS — The Clippers recently unveiled additional details and renderings of its privately financed sports and entertainment center anchored by the team’s new basketball arena in the City of Inglewood.

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Cross section of model for proposed new Clippers arena (Photo by: blackvoicenews.com)
Cross section of model for proposed new Clippers arena (Photo by: blackvoicenews.com)

S.E. Williams | Contributors

The Clippers recently unveiled additional details and renderings of its privately financed sports and entertainment center anchored by the team’s new basketball arena in the City of Inglewood.

“My goal is simple,” explained Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer. “I want the Clippers to have the best home in all of sports. “What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood”

He expounded, “Our goal is to build a facility that re-sets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home.”

The Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center is expected to revitalize mostly vacant land under the flight path of the Los Angeles International Airport and transform it into what will hopefully be a vibrant campus. In addition to the arena, the campus will include team’s business offices, basketball offices and training facility, as well as both community and retail spaces.

The arena as proposed will have a three-dimensional oval design with a unique exterior of diamond-shaped metal panels inspired by the concept of a basketball swishing through a net. In addition to the aesthetics, the panels are designed to provide solar benefit for maximum energy efficiency as part of the facility’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Desire (LEED) design. LEED is an internationally recognized third party building certification system focused on improving the environment through sustainability.

The Clippers campus is designed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions through a combination of carbon offset credits and sustainable design features.

 Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer.

Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer (Photo by blackvoicenews.com.)

When Clippers’ officials unveiled the renderings and other details of the project, they highlighted what was identified as the facility’s “most striking” feature intended to highlight the temperate climate of Southern California—the integration of indoor/outdoor sky gardens for food and beverages. The sky gardens will be accessible from every concourse level.

The Clippers’ Complex also envisions a multi-purpose plaza that will include a concert stage, community basketball courts and space for the community to gather and watch everything from Clippers Playoff Games and movie premiers on a supersized LED screen.

The same day the Clipper organization unveiled renderings and plans for the arena and its new campus it also welcomed new highly acclaimed players Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to the team. And in that regard, no one during their introduction appeared more genuinely excited than Ballmer. “I’m just delighted and so proud right now…,” he exclaimed. I’m pumped to say hello as Clippers to Paul and Kawhi.”

While Ballmer, the Clippers organization, their fans and the City of Inglewood celebrate what looks to be a very bright and mutually-beneficial future, New York billionaire and Jim Dolan CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) , who own’s the NBA Knicks, the Forum in Inglewood and several other high profile holdings, is continuing to be pilloried in the media for his ongoing attempts to block the development of the new Clippers’ arena in Inglewood and in the process stymie the economic potential of the city itself because he fears the competition it presents to his multi-million dollar investment in the Forum.

Reports and court documents have detailed the obstruction efforts of Dolan and his partner(s) at MSG. The allegations range from funding an opposition candidate against Inglewood’s longtime mayor, James T. Butts Jr.; funding community groups to oppose the project; seeking to attract the Lakers back to the Forum as their home court and the list goes on.

One of what is purportedly one of his most spurious and outrageous accusations is his claim that—as alleged in Vanity Fair—’Ballmer and Butts double-crossed him after MSG spent a lot of money in Inglewood when few others were willing to do so.’

Although Dolan has continued to claim the contract with the city of Inglewood was exclusive and prevented similar venues from being established in the city it appears there was nothing in the MSG contract with the city that spoke to an exclusive arrangement.

Dolan continues to claim he was tricked, bamboozled and taken advantage of regarding the Forum contract even though evidence clearly states otherwise. “My position is that we invested $140 million and were the first ones to do so in Inglewood and that we had an agreement with the city, both in paper and in spirit, that the city would help us with that investment to make it successful,”

It appears rather than taking ownership for his failure and the failure of MSG to exercise judicious business acumen when negotiating the Forum contract with the City of Inglewood, Dolan has resorted to bullying tactics. In addition to some of his efforts detailed above he has sued not only the city of Inglewood but also Mayor Butts, personally—a personal suit prevents the city from paying for Butts’ defense.

While Dolan continues to fight against the mayor, Ballmer, the development of the Clippers arena, and by proxy—the city of Inglewood itself—plans for the new arena and its campus continue.

“Inglewood is a diverse, dynamic community blessed with a skilled workforce, emerging infrastructure and a bold economic blueprint for the future,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations for the Clippers organization.

Speaking directly to the Clippers proposed arena he continued. “In addition to the thousands of jobs this facility will create for the local community, we are equally committed to working with our new neighbors in the continuing renaissance developing in the City of Inglewood.”

The proposed Clippers arena complex will be located on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie and South Yukon Avenues.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News

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Gavin Newsom Calls Out California’s Racist First Governor. Who was Peter Hardeman Burnett?

BLACK VOICE NEWS — In his apology for California’s genocidal treatment of Native Americans, Gov. Gavin Newsom focused attention on the state’s nearly forgotten first elected governor, Peter Hardeman Burnett, and his declaration in 1851 that Indians would be exterminated.

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Peter Hardeman Burnett (Photo by: gregnokes.com)
By Gregory Nokes

In his apology for California’s genocidal treatment of Native Americans, Gov. Gavin Newsom focused attention on the state’s nearly forgotten first elected governor, Peter Hardeman Burnett, and his declaration in 1851 that Indians would be exterminated.

As Gov. Newsom reported, Burnett infamously predicted to the 1851 Legislature: “That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races until the Indian race becomes extinct must be expected …”

As a writer of West Coast history, I became fascinated by Burnett and his little-known role in briefly allowing slavery while in Oregon and promoting exclusion laws against blacks in both Oregon and California.

I learned that throughout his political career, Burnett clung to a bizarre and deadly fantasy that the American West would be populated almost exclusively by whites. In Burnett’s vision, there would be no blacks, no Chinese and no Native Americans.

Burnett’s attitudes toward race no doubt were shaped in part by his family background. He was born in Nashville, Tenn., in 1807 and married into a slave-owning family. He owned two slaves in Missouri, and may have brought one of them to Oregon in 1843.

While a merchant in Tennessee, Burnett was responsible for the fatal shooting of a black slave who allegedly broke into his store.

In the one negative encounter with Native Americans mentioned in his autobiography, “Reminiscences of an Old Pioneer,” he blamed Indians for setting a fire that destroyed his father’s farm wagon in Missouri.

In 1843, Burnett was one of the organizers and the first captain of the wagon train that brought nearly a thousand settlers from Missouri to Oregon in what became known as ‘”The Great Migration.”

He soon entered politics in Oregon, serving on the first elected legislature. Under his leadership, the Oregon Legislature enacted a law that excluded African-Americans. That law said African-Americans who refused to leave would face a severe lashing. Cooler heads soon overturned the Oregon law. A self-taught lawyer, he also served as the first supreme court judge of the provisional government of Oregon.

In November 1848, Burnett joined the gold rush to California, but soon tired of mining, and befriended and worked with John Sutter Jr. to help establish the city of Sacramento, making a great deal of money.

Within just 12 months, on Nov. 13, 1849, he was elected governor over four other candidates.

He evidently was instantly likable and persuasive, and wrote extensively for California newspapers, promoting civilian government for California. It didn’t hurt his political appeal he was also blessed with good looks. In his official portrait in the California State Capitol, he bears a resemblance to the late actor Paul Newman.

As governor, Burnett tried but failed to impose an Oregon-style law that would have excluded African-Americans.

He also sought to exclude Chinese immigrants because he believed they were better businessmen and workers than whites, and would dominate the economy, and later supported the federal 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which all but shut down Chinese immigration.

But it was California’s native tribes who suffered the most from Burnett’s attitudes and policies.

In calling for the establishment of week a “Truth and Healing Council’’ to investigate past abuses of

California’s tribes, Newsom cited Burnett’s extermination prediction.

The genocide against California Indians neither started nor ended with Burnett. But some of the worst massacres of the native population occurred while he was in office. And he signed the deviously named 1850 “Act for the Government and Protection of Indians”

That became a convenient cover for seizing Indian lands, disrupting families and forcing many into involuntary servitude.

Article 2 of that law said: “Persons and proprietors of land on which Indians are residing, shall permit such Indians peaceably to reside on such lands.”

In other words, former Indian lands were legally controlled by whites.

Article 3 set out circumstances under which a Caucasian could take custody of a native child—until age 18 for males, and 15 for females.

As settlers and miners poured into California, moving onto traditional tribal lands, Indians not surprisingly responded by attacking them. Whites retaliated, frequently much more savagely.

Burnett twice ordered the state militia to respond to attacks, once at a ferry crossing near the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers in April 1850, and again near Ringgold in El Dorado County in October 1850. He urged communities to use poorly trained local militias to respond to attacks, with predictably bloody results and little if any accountability.

The worst of the conflicts during Burnett’s time in office was the so-called Bloody Island Massacre in May of 1850 in which about 75 U.S soldiers staged a retaliatory strike on several hundred probably innocent members of the Pomo tribe at Clear Lake in Lake County.

Estimates of the number of Pomo dead—men, women and children—ranged from 60 to several hundred. The massacre was described in the following account in the Daily Alta California of May 28, 1850:

“The troops arrived in the vicinity of the lake, and came unexpectedly upon a body of Indians numbering between two and three hundred. They immediately surrounded them and as the Indians raised a shout of defiance and attempted escape, poured in a destructive fire indiscriminately upon men, women and children.

“‘They fell,’ says our informant, ‘as grass before the sweep of the scythe.’ Little or no resistance was encountered, and the work of butchery was of short duration. The shrieks of the slaughtered victims died away . . . and stretched lifeless upon the sod of their native valley were the bleeding bodies of these Indians—or sex, nor age was spared; it was the order of extermination fearfully obeyed.”

Burnett’s official correspondence mentions some conflicts, but the Bloody Island Massacre is not among them, although he must have known about it.

Burnett’s term in office lasted just 13 months. He resigned on Jan. 9, 1851 after being ridiculed for such unacceptable proposals as demanding an exclusion law against blacks and promoting capital punishment for robbery and second-degree larceny.

He was widely deemed by California’s press as ineffective. But his time in public life was not over. In 1857, Gov. J. Neely Johnson appointed Burnett to fill an unexpired term on the California Supreme Court, and he was elected again the following year, his transgressions as governor evidently forgotten.

In 1858, while serving on the California Supreme Court, he was once again ridiculed for ordering a former slave named Archy Lee to be returned to his former Mississippi owner even though Lee had been living in California, a free state. His ruling was blocked by another court.

Burnett’s racism, along with several tone-deaf blunders, explains why he was, until recently, largely forgotten by history. He was an embarrassment. Many of the few schools that took his name as the first governor have changed their names as his policies have become known; among them is the former Burnett Academy in San Jose, the city where Burnett and his family settled.

He died in relative obscurity in 1897. Now, in 2019, Burnett is becoming known again, though surely not for reasons he would welcome.

R. Gregory Nokes is the author of “The Troubled Life of Peter Burnett: Oregon Pioneer and First Governor of California,” published by Oregon State University Press, gregnokes.com. He wrote this commentary for CALmatters.

CALmatters seeks out experts to address the pressing needs faced by California, in op-eds of 700 words or fewer. We will be sending commentaries regularly. They are available for use for free. Please send us an email if you use any of the pieces, so we can better track what you find useful. Senior editor Dan Morain is responsible for editing the pieces, and can be reached at 916.201.6281, dmorain@calmatters.org.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News.

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COMMENTARY: Forty Years of Lies Stigmatizing “Teenage Pregnancy” Are Enough

BLACK VOICE NEWS — The ensuing 40-year squabble pitting sex education (which at best has marginal effects on pregnancy rates) versus “abstinence-only” preaching (which is completely worthless) suppressed crucial realities surrounding what interest mislabel “teen pregnancy.”

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Photo by Tanaka Pendeke

By Mike Males

In 1960, one in 10 California women ages 15-19 gave birth.

By 1975, just 5% did.

What caused that phenomenal drop?

Not abortion. The teen birth decline was well underway before California legalized abortion in 1967.

Not sex education, which barely existed back then.

Two factors explain why 1960s teenagers reduced childbearing dramatically:

  • Great Society programs sharply reduced youth poverty.
  • Young women’s college enrollments rose by 130%.

That’s how “win-win” public policies succeed.

Then, 1970s liberals, aping Republicans’ fear-mongerings over crime, drugs, and racial integration, launched their own phony moral crusade branding “teen pregnancy” a new “epidemic.”

The liberal solution? Sex education, which should be a basic human right, not a cure-all pushed with fear tactics.

Unfortunately, liberals chose to promote sex education by slandering young people, who had cut their birth rates 50% on their own, as ignorant and irresponsible. Conservatives countered with fabricated sex-ed horror-tales and pushed sexual “abstinence.”

From then on, it has been lie versus lie.

The ensuing 40-year squabble pitting sex education (which at best has marginal effects on pregnancy rates) versus “abstinence-only” preaching (which is completely worthless) suppressed crucial realities surrounding what interest mislabel “teen pregnancy.”

As the culture war over sex-versus-abstinence education intensified in the 1980s, poverty and birth rates among teenagers reversed their previous declines and increased markedly.

That’s how “lose-lose” policies fail.

What schools teach and preachers preach don’t matter. The only important factor in “teen pregnancy” is poverty. It actually makes sense for some poorer young women to have babies earlier in life, when their health is best and extended-family members can help with childraising.

Conversely, where American teenagers enjoy low poverty rates like European and Canadian teens, they have low European- and Canadian-level pregnancy and childbearing rates.

In terms of “teen” birth rates, California’s impoverished Tulare and Kern counties resemble Myanmar. Wealthy San Mateo and Marin counties are like Sweden. Abortion and miscarriage gaps are even larger.

Research also shows pregnant teenagers typically suffered chaotic homes and childhood abuses. Girls who, in politically sanitized parlance, “initiate” sex before age 15 overwhelmingly had been victims of rape. A large majority of the impregnators of school-age girls are adult men, not school-age boys.

Interestingly, teenage motherhood was perfectly acceptable before 1960, when men age 20 and older fathered 90% of births by teen mothers. It only became a “social problem” in the 1970s, when teenage males started competing for teenage females.

1998 report by major “teen pregnancy” lobbies staunchly defended the social acceptability of adult men impregnating teenage girls while condemning teenage girls for getting pregnant!

That’s how crazy “teen pregnancy” discussion is.

Poverty, childhood victimizations, adult impregnators… the realities poorer teenagers face remain too rough for “teen pregnancy” interests to engage.

Instead, they demean teenage mothers’ babies as “economically costly”–another lie founded in long-debunked eugenics notions that blame women for producing babies deemed “inferior” because of their race and class.

The best, long-term studies find that poorer young women who have babies as teenagers get childraising behind them by their late twenties and enter the workforce when their earning potential is highest, actually reducing welfare costs.

And what does “costly” mean? The wasteful consumption, carbon footprint, and climate-change impacts of babies born to richer mothers menace humans’ future more than poorer mothers’ babies do.

“Teen-pregnancy” exploiters should abolish their obsolete mythmaking and stigmatizingand engage promising 21st-century realities.

From the 1990s to 2017, the birth rate among California teens fell by a staggering 80%. Other states also showed big declines. Provisional figures show another big drop in 2018.

Why did this happen?

Ignore the interest groups clamoring for credit. The reason is not sex education in California or contraceptive programs in Colorado. “Teen” birth rates also plummeted in abstinence-preaching states like Arizona and South Carolina.

Teens themselves are reducing births, especially those involving adult partners. The biggest factor, as in the 1960s, is massively more young women enrolling in higher education despite the high costs.

Young people are moving forward. Interests should do likewise by dumping their backwards “teen pregnancy” foolishness and advocating for increased education and economic opportunities for the disadvantaged young.

Mike Males formerly taught sociology at UC Santa Cruz and authored Teenage Sex and Pregnancy: Modern Myths, Unsexy Realitiesmmales@cjcj.org. He wrote this commentary for CalMatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters. Read his past commentaries here,  herehereherehere, and here.

The author wrote this for CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News

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California’s new Public Utilities Commission president must lead us to a gas-free future

BLACK VOICE NEWS — Everywhere you turn in California, clean energy technologies are winning out over gas. From Oxnard to Los Angeles and Glendale, to the Inland Empire and Bay Area, proposed and existing gas-fired plants are being scrapped in favor of cleaner options.

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(l-r) Gladys Limón And V. John White (Photo by: CALmatters)
By Gladys Limón and V. John White

Everywhere you turn in California, clean energy technologies are winning out over gas.

From Oxnard to Los Angeles and Glendale, to the Inland Empire and Bay Area, proposed and existing gas-fired plants are being scrapped in favor of cleaner options.

Clean energy is winning because it’s a safer and more affordable option.

This is critical for the communities who have been forced to live with gas plants in their backyard—often low-income communities of color who have disproportionately shouldered the pollution burdens of our state’s dependence on fossil fuels. For them, the shift to cleaner energy sources comes not a moment too soon.

As solar and wind costs plunge, energy storage technology such as batteries and large scale, pumped water, compressed air, and thermal energy storage are proving they can cost-effectively reduce our reliance on gas to meet local capacity and reliability needs.

Battery storage projects are now slated to replace gas-fired plants in Moorpark, Oakland and San Jose, to provide reliable energy when the sun is down and the wind isn’t blowing.

But getting to 100% clean and affordable energy is about more than closing gas plants.

It’s about enabling an entire suite of clean resources, from distributed generation, to local solar power that recharges energy storage systems, to demand response, time-of-use rates, and targeted energy efficiency to work together to balance the energy grid.

This is the hard work facing Marybel Batjer, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s newly appointed president of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Bringing these zero-emission resources on to the grid requires innovation, new ways of thinking and a strong dose of political will.

The Public Utilities Commission has shown a commitment to prioritizing communities bearing the highest pollution and socioeconomic burdens in the state.

In the California Environmental Justice Alliance’s annual agency scorecard assessing how California regulators have honored the principles of environmental justice in 2018, the Public Utilities Commission scored a B+.

Now, we must ensure that these communities gain access to the clean energy technologies they have been promised.

This is where we need visionary leadership from Batjer, because when we scratch beneath the surface, we find the Public Utilities Commission is in danger of moving in the opposite direction.

The commission must redesign its processes to allow clean energy technology to compete with gas, by being bundled together and strategically dispatched, so that they can provide the same services under the same contract terms as gas plants.

They must reform and update accounting rules to enable cost effective, zero carbon resources to compete to provide grid reliability services. The technology is available and cost effective, but is left out because of outdated requirements.

Instead, the commission is preparing to award multi-year contracts to gas plants and is failing to prepare and expand California’s portfolio of clean resources to meet our “resource adequacy” requirement.

Despite the direction of the Legislature to adopt a plan to acquire new large-scale storage projects, the Public Utilities Commission has stalled. Even more alarming, the commission is allowing Southern California Gas Company to pull more gas from the dangerous Aliso Canyon storage facility, instead of looking for strategies to honor Gov. Newsom’s promise to close the facility that poisoned thousands of people.

This business-as-usual thinking is a luxury we simply do not have.

We’re encouraged by Gov. Newsom’s appointment of Marybel Batjer. By appointing a leader who is not afraid of blazing new trails, Gov. Newsom is exhibiting his own bold leadership. As Batjer takes the reins, we look forward to seeing her exercise her expertise to seize the incredible opportunity before her.

Under her watch, the agency must prepare California to move beyond gas. Achieving that goal will require much greater integration within the agency, and dedicated coordination with other agencies and power providers.

Creating an equitable, safe and secure phase-out of gas in coming decades will be no small feat. That transition must be undertaken with a commitment to protecting working families, improving energy affordability, and avoiding saddling Californians with increasingly expensive gas energy.

Ms. Batjer has demonstrated she is not afraid of taking courageous action and shaking things up. This is exactly what the Public Utilities Commission needs.

The Public Utilities Commission’s power to help California’s communities thrive is undeniable. With Batjer exhibiting people-centered leadership that combines technical expertise and innovation, she can play a major role in leading California into a healthy and prosperous 100 percent clean energy future.

Gladys Limón is executive director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, glimon@caleja.org. V. John White is the executive director of the Center for Energy Efficient and Renewable Technologies, vjw@ceert.org. They wrote this commentary for CALMatters.

The author wrote this for CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News.

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Join the BLU Team

BLACK VOICE NEWS — San Bernardino – The non-profit BLU Educational Foundation is seeking applicants for several positions including college prep advisors, college success advisors (student positions), a college access coordinator, a program assistant and a public policy/advocacy intern.

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By Black Voice News

San Bernardino – The non-profit BLU Educational Foundation is seeking applicants for several positions including college prep advisors, college success advisors (student positions), a college access coordinator, a program assistant and a public policy/advocacy intern.

Dina Walker

Dina Walker

BLU works to provide educational and human services programming to youth, adults and organizations in order to build healthy, productive communities by helping to overcome the higher education challenges faced by inland area families with limited income and limited opportunities.

The organization, led by President and CEO Dina Walker, manages several education and civic engagement programs that create a comprehensive approach to attaining its goal of building productive communities.

Visit https://www.bluedfoundation.org/copy-of-blu-scholars learn more about the current job openings and/or how to apply. Interviews are scheduled to begin Monday, July 20. 2019.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News

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UC Library’s hasty implementation of a complex plan means academic researchers lose

BLACK VOICE NEWS — The University of California Digital Library has terminated journal renewal negotiations with Elsevier, requesting the cancellation of campus access to over 2,500 of the world’s leading peer-reviewed scientific journals published by the company and its society partners.

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By Daniel Marti

The University of California Digital Library has terminated journal renewal negotiations with Elsevier, requesting the cancellation of campus access to over 2,500 of the world’s leading peer-reviewed scientific journals published by the company and its society partners.

The UC research community relies on these journals to download over 11 million articles a year—nearly one every three seconds.

After six months without a contract, and in light of the Library’s refusal to engage in any further negotiations, the Library’s cancellation request was implemented last week. This did not have to happen.

Elsevier has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the UC research community. That’s why, over the past several months, Elsevier proposed a series of arrangements that would contain costs, achieve the objectives of the Academic Senate and provide students, faculty, researchers and medical professionals with uninterrupted service to the research platform that supports their work.

The UC Library negotiators rejected all offers and countered with what is, in their own words, a complex and risky restructuring of the research model at UC.

The library’s negotiation team demanded Elsevier implement a publishing plan that shifts costs to the UC researcher community under a default “author pays” model.

The plan is so intricate that one senior UC librarian called it “akin to modernizing the FAA’s air traffic control system–a million planes are in the air at any moment and changing anything can have serious consequences elsewhere.”

A UC Library-commissioned study similarly found the plan “extremely complex, with significant risk on many sides.” If you thought that such a plan would be reworked, or at least scrutinized by university administrators, you would be wrong.

The library’s commissioned study found that a flip from a subscription to a pay-to-publish model would result in a significant funding gap for research-intensive institutions such as UC. The proposed plan would require UC researchers to pay to publish their own output and still obtain access to the vast majority, 85%, of peer-reviewed scientific literature that is subscription-based today.

To solve this funding gap, the UC Library study asks that millions of dollars in grant funding be diverted away from research and used to “top off” library budgets.

When surveyed, this plan drew “extremely negative” reactions from researchers, with the majority of survey respondents indicating that they would not support any research funds from being diverted into a library-led pay-to-publish model. Clearly, there is more work to be done.

As a partner, Elsevier wanted to support UC’s ambitious plan carefully and sustainably. To do so, Elsevier sought to minimize the complexity and much of the risk by offering several solutions to help bridge the UC Library’s objectives with the research community’s needs.

Elsevier agreed to keep subscription costs flat, accounting for inflation, and to fully fund a five-fold increase in open access publishing. This offer would have enabled the UC Library to achieve cost containment goals and materially increase open access publishing at a scale not yet realized by the university.

Most importantly, our offer would have ensured that the research community would continue to be served in an uninterrupted manner. Instead, the library refused to compromise, and researchers are losing out.

In the interest of researcher choice and to serve researchers who want to pay-to-publish so their work can be freely and immediately accessible worldwide, Elsevier has opened over 1,900 of its subscription journals to open access submissions.

Last year, Elsevier published more than 34,000 articles through this model—making Elsevier one of the world’s leading open access publishers.

We applaud the UC Academic Senate’s position to uphold open access principles to “disseminate its research and scholarship as widely as possible.”

As a publisher, dissemination of knowledge is Elsevier’s original mandate and driving purpose. That is why Elsevier offered to support a five-fold increase in open access publishing at UC and advance the Academic Senate’s goals. Meanwhile, the UC Library’s admittedly “extremely complex” plan has failed the needs of the UC research community.

Daniel Marti is head of global public policy at RELX, the parent to Elsevier, daniel.marti@relx.com. He wrote this commentary for CalMatters.

The author wrote this for CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters.

This article originally appeared in Black Voice News.

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