News Update: June 27, 2014

  1. HALA Meeting June 27 Friday
  2. Lifetime Ban for Ex Felons is Repealed: Joint Statement from Organizations Working to Remove the Ban
  3. Tell Congress Don't Go Backward on Healthy Lunches
  4. Detroit's Water Problem: Why We Should All Care
  5. State Food Policy Issues Still To Be Decided:
    AB 1930 (Skinner)—Reduce Hunger on College Campuses
  6. LA Times: Fruit and Vegetable Price Rise as Drought Continues
  7. City of LA Working To Become GMO Free Zone
  8. Long Beach Students Create A Great Student Run Food and Nutrition Radio Show
  9. Slave Labor Involved in Frozen Shrimp
  10. Would Higher Food Prices Actually Help End Hunger?

1. HALA Meeting June 27th, Friday

The Next Hunger Action LA Meeting is Friday June 27that:

CHIRLA
2533 W 3rdst.
Friday June 27th
10 am – 12 pm

Main topic will be follow-up on this years state budget and bills affecting low income people including:

  • Continuing the fight to bring benefits for people in re-entry
  • City issues including the Raise LA campaign
  • Urban ag issues including AB 2561 (See alert further below) with special guests
    RSVP frank@hungeractionla.org

Lifetime Ban for Ex Felons is Repealed: Joint Statement from Organizations Working to Remove the Ban

We did it!  The lifetime ban is repealed!
Responding to our collective voices, personal testimonies and overwhelming evidence that providing basic needs assistance (like food and rent), employment training and work supports decrease the likelihood of recidivism, California's legislative leaders and Governor Brown repealed the optional ban for people with prior drug-related convictions from receiving CalFresh (food stamps) benefits and CalWORKs (basic needs support and job training).

The Budget Act of 2015, passed by the legislature on last Sunday and signed by Governor Brown on Friday, repeals the lifetime ban for people as long as they are complying with the conditions of their probation or parole. The new law will be enacted April 1, 2015.

This decision follows over a decade of organizing that culminated in this year's broad coalition of over 140 community-based organizations, including those led by Californians impacted by the law, who made this issue a priority not only because it would reduce recidivism and crime, but also because of how harmful it was to families and single adults who were trying to start over.  Repeal of the ban also had editorial support from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

The lifetime ban repeal had been championed in recent years by Senators Mark Leno and Senator Loni Hancock who were joined this year by important Assembly allies, Budget Chairperson Nancy Skinner and Assembly Justice Reinvestment Select Committee Co-chairs, Assembly Members Ammiano and Jones Sawyer.  In the end, the budget bill that contained the repeal was voted off of the floor with strong support in both houses.

While we were disappointed to see $500 Million in new prison spending allocated in the budget, resources that could have been allocated towards early childhood education, poverty reduction or the development of human capitol,  we are hopeful that, as the state continues to seek solutions to costly prison overcrowding, decision-makers will consider policies that—like this one—reduce criminalization of poverty, make communities safer and improve opportunities for former prisoners to rehabilitate. 


3. Tell Congress Don't Go Backward on Healthy Lunches

Some members of Congress are clamoring to give states and school districts waivers from the healthy school meal rules passed a couple of years ago, even though the USDA reports that 90% of school districts report they have been able to comply with the rules. Granting waivers would make preparing lunch cheaper for the districts at the cost of nutrition for kids. The School Nutrition Association, which is lobbying for the waivers, received half of its $10 million raised last year from major food corporations including Pepsi and Domino's, which would benefit from lax nutrition standards.  Sign petition here:

petition


4. Detroit's Water Problem: Why We Should All Care

The city of Detroit has been shutting off water for thousands of residents unable to pay water bills. This is a major health crisis. It's a hunger issue too : without water to drink people have to pay for drinking water, using food money, and can't cook or wash dishes at home so they have to eat out more.

 

This is a disgraceful situation that only occurs in developing countries. Yet right here in the United States, Michigan is being used as an experimental lab for testing out privatization of what heretofore were only considered as public, common resources.  

If this is allowed to happen in Detroit, what might happen in California, a state that already has a water shortage and that might be tempting ground for speculators?

ABC news: Detroit Water Restoration

Excerpt from Joint Statement of Food & Water Watch, the Blue Planet Project, The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and The Detroit People's Water Board “Two-thirds of these shutoffs are occurring in homes with children. In addition to not being able to bathe, prepare food and flush toilets, many are fearful that their children will be taken from them if they report any problems related to their water.

 

“Nearly 40 percent of Detroit residents live in poverty, and the unemployment rate here is 17 percent, about 2.5 times the national average. Over the last decade, water and sewer bills have more than doubled, and the Detroit City Council recently voted to raise rates by almost 9 percent.”


5. State Food Policy Issues Still To Be Decided:

AB 1930 (Skinner)—Reduce Hunger on College Campuses

Current rules in CalFresh (SNAP, or food stamps) actually restrict most full time students from receiving the benefits. Yet in recent months reports of widespread hunger on college campuses have surfaced, especially at community colleges. Exemptions to the rule exist for students who are working, or caring for young children, but many times these exemptions aren't taken into account at application time. The shortage of jobs has made it hard for students to survive.

 

Assembly Bill 1930 would require county human services agencies in determining the eligibility and benefit level of a student subject to  student work requirements, to screen for all potential exemptions to that rule using a specified protocol. The bill would require that students who participate in the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) program be considered exempt from the student work requirement as specified, unless prohibited by federal law.

 

Community College Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) encourage  local community colleges to establish and implement programs directed to identifying those students affected by language, social, and economic handicaps, and to assist those students to achieve their educational objectives and goals, including, but not limited to, obtaining job skills, occupational certificates, or associate degrees, and transferring to 4-year institutions.

End Hunger on College Campuses

Send your letter of support for AB 1930 (Skinner) to reduce hunger among college students from low-income schools to Senate Appropriations Committee by July 3rd. sample letter

 

Neighborhood Food Act Progresses.

From Neil Thapar of Sustainable Economies Law Center: The Neighborhood Food Act is officially out of all committees! It passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last night(!) by a vote of 7-0, with Senator Ricardo Lara joining as a co-author of the bill. The bill has received bipartisan support in each Senate committee so far, which indicates a strong likelihood of passage in the full Senate next. With summer recess starting soon, our timeline for reaching the floor is most likely going to be in August.

 

Background:  Hunger Action LA is following and supporting AB 2561, authored by local Assemblymember Steven Bradford. The bill is called The California Neighborhood Food Act and seeks to ensure the rights of renters and homeowners to use backyards for growing food.

 

The bill requires that tenants of single family homes and duplexes be able to grow produce in portable containers on the property they rent for personal use or for donation as long as it does not block walkways or utilities or create other hazards. It allows the landlord to require an additional security deposit for restoring lawns or landscaping if needed. Commercial food cultivation is still subject to agreements between landowner and tenant, as in existing law.

For more information on the Neighborhood Food Act:
Neil Thapar, Staff Attorney
Sustainable Economies Law Center
436 14th St. Suite 1120, Oakland, CA 94612
Direct: (562) 547-6594 | Email: neil@theselc.org


6. LA Times: Fruit and Vegetable Price Rise as Drought Continues

Brianna Sacks, LA Times:
Fruit and Vegetable Prices Rise As CA Drought Continues
As farmers continue to battle for water in the summer months, The USDA's Economic Research Service reported that California's drought has the potential to increase food price inflation above the historical average in coming years.

 

“Although the department is sticking with its overall forecast that U.S. food prices will increase by up to 3.5% this year over last, it cautioned that the cost of meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables will jump. California farmers produce half of the nation's fruits and vegetables, and most of its high-value crops such as broccoli, tomatoes and artichokes.But the rising cost of water has forced farmers to idle about 500,000 acres of land and produce less, making certain foods more expensive.One estimate is that households will spend $500 more on food this year due to the drought.”


7. City of LA Working To Become GMO Free Zone

From Lisa Kassner of the Label GMOs campaign:

The City of Los Angeles is working toward becoming a GMO Free Zone. A few months ago, Los Angeles City Councilmen Paul Koretz, along with Mitch O'Farrell & Mike Bonin introduced a motion to ban the sale, distribution and growth of GMO seeds and plants within the city. If the ban passes, >Los Angeles will become the largest GMO-free zone in the country!

This will help protect our rights to grow our own non-GMO food at home/schools/community gardens, since pollen of GMO plants elsewhere can contaminate our crops. GMO lawn grass is currently being developed for sale and it can mix with lawns at our homes and parks, and make them require Round-Up, which contains the dangerous herbicide glyphosate.

An event is planned for:
Tuesday, July 15th
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
at a North Hollywood location.
Please RSVP to Donna Miller (818) 765-1939 for location.

Gardener and gardening activist David King of Seed Freedom L.A. and Seed Library of Los Angeles, who is leading the effort on this bill, will be the featured speakers, on the details of the L.A. City GMO Free Zone legislation.

Petitions are available to show support:
You can obtain printed petitions, with a target date of July 20 for completed signatures, from Lisa at labelgmos80@gmail.com Call her at (818) 831-8657 if you cannot scan and submit by email.
You can also sign on-line petition
GMO Free Petition Learn more at: seedfreedomla.blogspot.com

Resources:

http://slola.org/
facebook.com/SeedLibraryLA

Lisa Kassner
San Fernando Valley Co-Coordinator, Los Angeles County
Label GMOs Campaign - labelgmos.org
(818) 831-8657 - please only call 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


8. Long Beach Students Create A Great Student Run Food and Nutrition Radio Show

Food-ology is a weekly radio show recorded at live at Cal State Long Beach. The student-run show discusses current trends, research, and issues regarding food and nutrition. Here's a link to the latest show which ran this past Tuesday and covered the federal healthy school food legislation, food waste, and several other topics:

Foodology June 24 Radio Show


9. Slave Labor Involved in Frozen Shrimp

UK's Guardian publication has found slave labor and horrific practices involved in the supply chain leading from the Thai shrimp industry to the shelves of Costco and Walmart, who have promised action on the issue. Slave labor keeps the price way down, as you might imagine.

Slave Labor Keeps Frozen Shrimp Cheap at Major Chains


10. Would Higher Food Prices Actually Help End Hunger?

In light of the preceding piece about slave labor making shrimp affordable for us over here, we are reminded of the fact that a good percentage of the world's hungry people---including in the US---are people who work growing, processing, cooking and selling food.

A European news agency, the InterPress Service in an uncredited editorial says that what's needed to end hunger is actually a raise in food prices---which would be passed on as wages to the underpaid workers in the food system. The article also points out that “A first move could be to redirect existing farm subsidies towards promoting healthy eating, cutting food wastage, and accelerating the necessary shift to farming systems that are truly sustainable from technical, environmental and social perspectives.” All of which are goals of the Market Match program.

How Higher Food Prices Can Help End Hunger ...end of update


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