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L.A. County Fair Sept 1-24, 2017

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Mental health and substance abuse solutions needed to reduce crime

Publishers Corner Clifton Harris

Publisher of The San Bernardino AMERICAN News

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Supervisor Robert Lovingood wants us, the voters of San Bernardino County, to impose a crime tax on ourselves. Passage of this tax will require a two-thirds vote of the people. In order to achieve this supermajority, Lovingood needs to engage in a meaningful discussion with voters regarding the causes and prevention of crime. The solution can’t be to just add cops and prosecutors. It’s never that simple and quite frankly that would never pass.

Here’s a thought about what might actually work:

First of all, let’s stop playing the blame game and let’s look at the facts. Let’s start with one of Lovingood’s pet peeves, AB 109, the realignment law. Defendants who are convicted of less serious felonies now go to the county jail to serve their sentences instead of to state prison. Calling out Sacramento for AB 109 may be comforting for some people, but here’s the fact: federal courts ordered California to significantly reduce its state prison population. Read that again, it was a Federal Court order.

The legislature adopted AB 109 to comply. The only other option would have been to build more prisons, a financial and political non-starter. Lovingood knows that and he should publicly acknowledge it. So does Joseph Brady, who has recently called for a regional crime summit. Any politician who wants us to vote to increase our tax burden needs to be straight with us.

Then there’s the other favorite bogeyman, Proposition 47. In 2014 California voters passed Proposition 47 which reduced several drug possession felonies and low-level thefts to misdemeanors. Lovingood, Brady, and Daily Press editorial staff have recently gone on record blaming Sacramento for this initiative but here’s another fact: Proposition 47 was approved by an overwhelming majority of California voters (60 percent to 40 percent). It’s not just Sacramento, the majority of voting Californians now realize that the solution to our drug epidemic is not incarceration but treatment.

Proposition 47 was not some nebulous evil Sacramento conspiracy. In San Bernardino County, 139,000 people (49 percent) voted for Proposition 47, a virtually even split with the no vote. Lovingood’s crime tax is going to need a large segment of these 139,000 yes on 47 voters if he hopes to garner that two-thirds vote.

If Lovingood is serious about passing a tax measure to address crime issues, he needs to craft a measure that addresses the issues that cause criminality in our county. He can add cops and prosecutors if he wants to, but the tax measure needs to include a significant increase in funding for treatment of addiction and mental illness. For over 30 years I have been speaking to inmates in our local jails. I’ve seen the effects of mass incarceration on generations of families, and if we are going to stop the cycle we are going to have to address the problems, not just throw people in jail for a little while and then send them on their way.

A vast majority of the people in our county jails are suffering from addiction, mental health issues, or both. A crime tax that funds mental health treatment, addiction services and maybe homelessness and poverty, is worth a serious discussion. I like Brady’s concept of a crime summit. It should include moving toward mental health and substance abuse solutions. Let’s avoid the demagoguery and let’s start talking to each other.

Mark Shoup is an Apple Valley resident.

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County issues Heat Advisory, high heat temperatures expected

Temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees starting Saturday and through the following week, prompting County of San Bernardino Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare to issue a heat advisory.

“While this intense heat is not especially unusual, the recent cool weather could cause some people to be caught off guard, especially those most susceptible to heat illness,” said Ohikhuare. “Those most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions.”

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect one’s health. People are advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

 

Stay cool

 

Stay in air-conditioned buildings.

Find an air-conditioned Cooling Center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1, or online at http://211sb.org/cooling-centers.

Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.

Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.

Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

 

Stay hydrated

 

Drink water more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working.

Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.

Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

 

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 1-800-782-4264 or visit the National Weather Service Forecast website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/ or the California Department of Public Health website http://www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/BeInformed/NaturalDisasters/ExtremeHeat/Pages/ExtremeHeat.aspx.

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Power Up And Read at County Libraries

The San Bernardino County Library invites you to join us in September for our first ever Power Up And Read event. Mario and Luigi are visiting our libraries and are just waiting for you to meet them. They love to read and have brought awesome power ups for anyone who loves to read too! The more books you take home, the more prizes you take home. You may even find a jumbo plush Mario or Luigi by your side!

This event is another opportunity to celebrate and support the Countywide Vision’s literacy campaign, Vision2Read. The Power Up And Read event will continue through the month of September and occur in all San Bernardino County Library branches. Every 30 items checked out earns a plush Mario Bros themed keychain, as well as an opportunity drawing ticket for a chance to win the grand prize: a Nintendo Gaming system!

The San Bernardino County Library System is a dynamic network of 32 branch libraries that serves a diverse population over a vast geographic area. The County library system strives to provide equal access to information, technology, programs, and services for all people who call San Bernardino County home.

The library plays a key role in the achievement of the Countywide Vision by contributing to educational, cultural, and historical development of our County community.

For more information on the San Bernardino County library system, please visit http://www.sbclib.org or call (909) 387-2220.

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