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September is California Wine Month!

Discover the Award-Winning Wines of Edna Valley,

Arroyo Grande, Avila Beach, Cambria and San Simeon

Along the Highway 1 Discovery Route

This perfect slice of California's Central Coast is open for business and home to the Avila Beach Wine Trail, the Pacific Coast Wine Trail, Award-Winning Tasting Rooms and must see, must do Wine-centric activities

San Luis Obispo County, CA, August 1, 2017 - Did you know that there are more than 2,000 acres of vineyards in Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande wine regions located on the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route? Have you taken the Avila Beach Wine Trail or the Pacific Coast Wine Trail? Or tasted the hand-crafted offerings of Hearst Ranch Winery in San Simeon? Do you know about the award-winning wines of Cambria? If the answers to those question is yes, then you know the region offers the perfect growing climate for delicate grapes - warm sunny days that turn into cool coastal nights. The weather is also perfect for wine tasting adventures and outdoor play! This stretch of Highway 1 is open for business and ready to roam and wine taste! And since September is California Wine Month, this is the perfect time to experience the annual harvest season first hand and enjoy special tastings, festivals, concerts, wine and food offerings along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route.


RELEASE: New Fact Sheet Details How Federal Gun Bill Poses Dangerous Threat to California’s Public Safety

WASHINGTON, DC -- As lawmakers in Washington D.C. prepare to head home for August recess, a new fact sheet released today demonstrates the local impact a bill up for debate on Capitol Hill would have on states like California. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would force California to allow unvetted people from out of state - including violent offenders and people with no firearm safety training - to carry loaded, hidden guns in public spaces. It’s important to note that this bill would not create a consistent national requirement across states for who is able to get a concealed carry permit, but instead forces states to recognize the concealed carry laws from other states, including states that have weaker standards for what it takes to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public.

“Make no mistake, this dangerous legislation, championed by the corporate gun lobby, has been specifically crafted to overrule each state’s careful judgments about how to best to protect public safety,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “If this bill passes, people who currently do not meet California's requirements for what it takes to carry a loaded, hidden gun will nevertheless be automatically authorized to carry concealed in California's public spaces. Forcing states like California to comply with weaker laws from other states will endanger public safety and make it more difficult for police to enforce gun laws that have been proven to save lives.”

Currently, California has the right to choose which states’ concealed carry permits it recognizes, which is important because the requirements to carry hidden, loaded guns in public vary drastically from state to state. California does not recognize the concealed carry permits of any other state. If the concealed carry reciprocity bill passes, that would no longer be the case and California would be forced to allow unlicensed, unvetted people from out of state to carry concealed guns in public spaces.

As of today, 12 states - including California’s neighbor Arizona - do not require any permit or training to carry hidden, loaded guns in public. If this bill becomes federal law, almost any person from these 12 states would be allowed to carry concealed in California, regardless of whether that person meets California’s standards for what it takes to carry a concealed gun in public, such as completing a safety training, passing a background check and not having a recent violent history.

To illustrate the devastating impact this bill would have on California’s public safety, the fact sheet, released today by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, compares the requirements to carry concealed in California to the requirements to carry concealed in Washington, illustrating how this bill would drastically weaken California’s laws if enacted.


Farmers markets increase access to fresh food

There is nothing better than slicing up a ripe garden tomato fresh off the vine. However, some may not have the means to grow fresh vegetables in their backyards.

At the Center for Rural Affairs, we work with rural communities to build healthy, sustainable, local food systems. That includes supporting farmers markets.

Farmers markets expand access to fresh, healthy food in communities that need it most. They provide affordable, competitive prices for low-income families, and many accept food vouchers.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 5,000 farmers markets across the country accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, with the number of new locations increasing at an average 40 percent per year.

Vendors are reaping the benefits. In 2014, 362,477 SNAP households made at least one purchase at a farmers market, according to the National Farmers Market Coalition. That means more families are eating healthy and fresh local fruits and vegetables.

Farmers markets also provide beginning farmers a low-cost way to enter the marketplace and grow their businesses. Small and medium existing farms can supplement their revenue by selling at markets, supporting the sustainability of family farms.

The USDA reported 8,675 markets in the country in 2016, up from 2,863 in 2000. Many consumers now have the opportunity to eat food grown within a few miles of their homes. And, that money stays in their small towns, helping local economies.

Find your farmers market in USDA’s national directory at, and join us in celebrating National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 6 to 12.


Man suspected of setting multiple fires charged with arson

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - A 23-year-old Yucaipa man was charged today with several felony counts of arson in connection with multiple fires that burned over 900 acres and seriously injured one firefighter.

Jarrod Samra was charged with one count of Arson Causing Great Bodily Injury and eight counts of Arson of a Structure of Forest. A copy of the complaint and a fact sheet can be downloaded at the following link:

If convicted as charged, Samra faces 19 years in state prison.

"This arsonist will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," District Attorney Michael Ramos said. "The history of fires in our county and the destruction they have caused to human life and property is absolutely tragic. Thankfully, through the investigative work of our law enforcement and public safety partners, we were able to stop this individual and prevent any future destruction or potential loss of life."

Samara was arrested Thursday, Aug. 3, after deputies responding to reports of a vegetation fire on Hwy. 38, observed a vehicle in the area where the fire originated and made contact with the vehicle. The driver was identified as Jarrod Samra. After further investigation, Samra was arrested.

"Using investigative tools and gathering evidence led the Task Force to identifying Jarrod Samra as the suspect responsible for at least 8 fires," Sheriff John McMahon said. "This is a perfect example of public safety agencies working together to keep our communities safe."

Samra is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. at the San Bernardino Justice Center in Dept. S-8. This case is culmination of a multi-agency arson task force involving the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, San Bernardino County Fire, Cal Fire, United States Forest Service, and the San Bernardino Police Department.

"San Bernardino County Fire takes arson personally due to the extreme threat to the citizens we serve and the firefighters who put themselves between the fire and communities they protect," Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said. "Catching and convicting these criminals is a high priority."

Contact: Christopher Lee, Public Affairs Officer (909) 382-3665 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via text at (909) 782-5559


California Appeals Court Overturns Historic 2014 Ruling On Teacher Tenure

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A state appeals court delivered California teacher unions an extraordinary victory last week, overturning a historic ruling that held the education code unconstitutionally rewards chronically incompetent teachers with tenure.

An advocacy group for the nine students who filed the lawsuit immediately indicated that they would appeal the case to the California Supreme Court.

In a 2014 ruling that alarmed teachers unions across the nation, Los Angeles Superior County Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled that five statutes in California’s education code hamper the education of poor and minority students and rewarded “grossly ineffective teachers.”

A three-judge panel of the Second Appellate District has now ruled that the statutes at issue do not violate equal protection under the California Constitution and reversed Treu.

“Plaintiffs failed to establish that the challenged statutes violate equal protection, primarily because they did not show that the statutes inevitably cause a certain group of students to receive an education inferior to the education received by other students,” Presiding Judge Roger Boren wrote in a 36-page opinion (pdf). “Although the statutes may lead to the hiring and retention of more ineffective teachers than a hypothetical alternative system would, the statutes do not address the assignment of teachers; instead, administrators — not the statutes — ultimately determine where teachers within a district are assigned to teach.

“Critically, plaintiffs failed to show that the statutes themselves make any certain group of students more likely to be taught by ineffective teachers than any other group of students,” Boren continued, adding that with “no proper showing of a constitutional violation, the court is without power to strike down the challenged statutes.”

The state argued at a hearing earlier this year that teacher tenure is a valuable tool in attracting and retaining the best teachers in the state and that the plaintiffs, nine California public school students, had failed to present statewide evidence that the statutes adversely affect students.

Four years ago, the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented the students in the landmark case, Vergara v. California.

At issue are state laws that students say unfairly grant teachers permanent employment, prevent removal of ineffective teachers from classrooms and during economic downturns lead to layoffs of teachers based on seniority rather than merit.

Under those laws, poor and minority schools end up with a disproportionate amount of “lemon” teachers who secure tenure in as little as 16 months, the students claim.

California and the teachers union defending the case argued that extending the probationary period would chip away at a benefit that attracts quality teachers and protects them from the whims of school officials and administrators.

In a statement, Students Matter founder David Welch said the students would continue to fight the case all the way to the California Supreme Court.

“I just got off the phone with our attorneys, and I’m not going to mince words — we lost. This is a sad day for every child struggling to get the quality education he or she deserves — and is guaranteed by our state constitution.

“We think the California Court of Appeals is wrong, so our fight for California students isn’t over — not even close. We’re taking this case to the California Supreme Court, and we intend to win.”

Welch cited Treu’s comments that the current system “shocks the conscience” and said it is “time for our state’s leaders to do something about it.”

Judges Judith Ashmann-Gerst and Brian Hoffstadt joined the opinion.


San Francisco Bans Sale Of Flavored Tobacco Products Marketed Towards Blacks & Minorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - JULY 17, 2017 - Broadcasting live from Washington D.C., host and managing editor Roland Martin spoke with San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Malia Cohen about the city's decision to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products during a simulcast with the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Cohen introduced the ban, arguing that flavored tobacco products are disproportionately marketed towards blacks, youth and other minorities. The ban, which takes effect next year and includes menthol cigarettes and vape fluids.

"If you actually look at some of the commercials and you actually go into the liquor store or in a smoke shop, you will see how they are packaging these types of products specifically targeting young people. And when you look at the data, the data actually reveals that when people who are under 18 start smoking, they actually start with menthol and/or other flavored tobacco," said Cohen. "It is marketed towards our community and [the] ordinance really is about protecting our community and our health. The tobacco industry is not going to do it for us and so it's really about us stepping up and doing it for ourselves."

San Francisco Bans Sale Of Flavored Tobacco Products Marketed Towards Blacks & Minorities.


The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council applauds Roland Martin and TV One for interviewing Supervisor Cohen as the battle lines are drawn in the fight with Big Tobacco.

Two recent R.J. Reynolds actions to consider are:

1) Their financial support of in an effort to repeal the new law. and

2) The height of Big Tobacco's audacity as R. J. Reynolds/BAT repackages and releases their deadly menthol product with its Newport Platinum:


Black-Owned Law Firm Named One Of The 10 Best Law Firms In California By The AIOLC

Riverside, CA ( -- The Law Office of Zulu Ali in Riverside, California has been named one of the 10 Best Law Firms in California for Client Satisfaction in the areas of Criminal Defense, Immigrations, and Personal Injury by the American Institute of Legal Counsel (AIOLC). The annual list honors exceptional performance by California law firms in selected areas.

The AIOLC is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes a yearly list of the Top 10 Law Firms in each state. Attorneys and firms selected to the “10 Best List” must pass AIOLC’s rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations and AIOLC’s independent evaluation of attorney’s relationships with and reputations among their clients.

The law firm was founded by its owner and principal attorney, Zulu Ali, a Tennessee native, former police officer, and U.S. marine veteran, who was inspired by the work and legacy of civil rights attorneys Thurgood Marshall, Avon Williams, Jr., Charles Hamilton Houston; and other advocates and leaders of the civil rights movement. The mission and philosophy of the firm is to advocate for changes in the law when the law is unjust.

Although the mission and diverse makeup of the law firm subjects it to immense scrutiny, the firm continues to be inspired by its mission to preserve and fulfill the legacy of those leaders and advocates of the past who sacrificed in order to make a more just society.

“I believe the mission of a lawyer should be to strive for change and challenge the courts when there is injustice. In our firm, we put it on the line despite the immense scrutiny and consequences we may face. But for brave attorneys and advocates who are willing to step out the box, we would still be in segregation or servitude if the laws and courts were not challenged. Many attorneys and advocates are chilled and neutralized because they are usually targeted, ridiculed, and subjected to reprimand or worst when they test the status quo, but it is necessary despite the risks” Principal Attorney Zulu Ali adds.

The firm’s founder and principal attorney, Zulu Ali, been named Top 100 Lawyers by the National Black Lawyers - Top 100; Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers - Top 100 Trial Lawyers; Premier 100 Trial Attorneys by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys, also known as the National Academy of Jurisprudence; Top 10 Best Lawyers by the American Institute of Legal Counsel in the areas of Criminal Defense, Immigrations, and Personal Injury; and Top 10 Criminal Law Attorneys by the American Jurist Institute.

For more details about The Law Office of Zulu Ali, visit


CA Controller Reports Revenues $2.68 Billion Short of 2016-17 Budget Act

SACRAMENTO—California total revenues of $16.63 billion for June fell short of projections in the governor’s revised budget released two months ago by 2.5 percent, State Controller Betty T. Yee reported today.

The 2017-18 fiscal year began July 1. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, total revenues of $121.91 billion missed May Revision estimates by $295.7 million, or 0.2 percent. The fiscal year total was $2.68 billion lower than anticipated in the 2016-17 budget signed last summer, with all of the “big three” revenue sources missing the mark.

For June, personal income tax (PIT) receipts of $10.94 billion were $161.0 million shy of May estimates, or 1.5 percent. For the fiscal year, PIT receipts of $82.72 billion were $1.05 billion lower than projections in the FY 2016-17 Budget Act, but lagged May estimates by just $196.3 million, or 0.2 percent.

June corporation tax receipts of $2.42 billion were $344.4 million lower than anticipated in the May Revision, or 12.5 percent. The fiscal year total of $10.11 billion in corporation taxes was $885.6 million lower than FY 2016-17 Budget Act projections and $283.1 million less than expected in the May Revision.

Retail sales and use tax receipts of $2.32 billion for June were $57.2 million, or 2.5 percent, higher than May estimates. For FY 2016-17, total sales tax receipts of $24.71 billion missed the original Budget Act projections by $1.03 billion; they topped May Revision assumptions by $126.7 million, or 0.5 percent.

California has not pursued external borrowing since FY 2014-15. The state ended last fiscal year with unused borrowable resources of $36.98 billion, which was $3.99 billion more than predicted in the governor’s May Revision. Outstanding loans of $4.84 billion were $1.64 billion lower than the Department of Finance’s May estimates. This loan balance consists of borrowing from the state’s internal special funds.

For more details, read the monthly cash report and this month’s edition of the Controller’s California Fiscal Focus newsletter, which looks at the future of the cap-and-trade program in the Golden State.

As the chief fiscal officer of California, Controller Yee is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources. The Controller also safeguards many types of property until claimed by the rightful owners, and has independent auditing authority over government agencies that spend state funds. She is a member of numerous financing authorities, and fiscal and financial oversight entities including the Franchise Tax Board. She also serves on the boards for the nation’s two largest public pension funds. Elected in 2014, Controller Yee is the tenth woman elected to a statewide office in California’s history. Follow the Controller on Twitter at @CAController and on Facebook at California State Controller’s Office.


SoCal Music Scene: Dr. Dre Donates Big Dollars to Compton School; LAUSD Music Instructor Worry About Shrinking Budget

Hip-hop and business mogul Dr. Dre has committed to donate $10 million to help build a performing arts complex at the new Compton High School.

Born and raised in Compton, the six-time Grammy Award-winning artist promised to give all the royalties from his last album, "Compton," to the school to fund the new performing arts and entertainment facility.

"My goal is to provide kids with the kind of tools and learning they deserve," the artist, whose real name is Andre Young said in a statement. "The performing arts center will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future."

The June 15 announcement of the hip-hop hit-maker's gift to Compton High, came five days after directors of the Los Angeles Unified School District Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band, voiced concern about the lack of funds directed towards music and the arts in schools at the 39th annual Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood.

The policy discussion came after the band composed of LAUSD high schoolers gave a rousing performance in front of hundreds of spectators at the Hollywood Bowl.

Vice President of Education and Curriculum Development at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Dr. J.B. Dyas, the music group's director, said when music programs are cut academics suffer.

"So much of the argument is, well we need to cut these music programs so we can focus more on academics, but that's not what happens," he said. "Often times, it's these music programs that get these kids to want to go and believe in school in the first place."

The Beyond the Bell Program was created to ensure all LAUSD students have access to enrichment programs that inspire learning beyond regular school hours.

Coordinator for music education at LAUSD Beyond the Bell Branch, Tony White, said it's his job to work with partners such as Dyas to connect kids with quality experiences and education through music and the arts.

"There's been rhetoric about after school programs not being effective," he said. "Here's one program that you heard today that is very effective that is called Beyond the Bell and it goes beyond the walls."

On the national level, the Trump administration proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year seeks to cut education funding by $9.2 billion. The cuts would spread across k-12 and aid for higher education.

The administration wants to channel part of the savings into priority top schools. This includes a $400 million spending increase for charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools.

To U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the plan is "an historic investment in America's students."

The budget cuts would come from eliminating at least 22 programs. Cuts will include a $190-million literacy program, $27 million in arts education programs, and $1.2 billion for after-school programs that serve 1.6 million children.

The administration justifies these cuts by saying these programs are duplicative or show no evidence of success. Dyas does not agree with the proposed budget cuts and believes music aids students to become responsible adults.

"It never ceases to amaze me that all the empirical studies that have been done show that the more arts and music education the higher the academics are, less truancy, fewer drug problems, and more kids going to college," he said. "Virtually all these kids you heard today are getting big scholarships. All the graduating seniors; and that's how its been for the last seven years we've been doing this program."

Among one of the performers at the Playboy Jazz Festival was upright bass player and composer Miles Mosley. Mosley performed with his Los Angeles-based group, The West Coast Get Down.

The Inglewood native learned to play the upright bass in junior high school and was a member of the school orchestra.

"As soon as I picked up that instrument, and my 13-year-old body played the A string, I fell in love with it," he said.

Mosley said when he was in high school, former President Bill Clinton injected quite a bit of funds towards public schools to supplement for programs that were missing from the curriculum.

Mosley had an affinity for the base and played all through high school. Unbeknownst to him, his dedication to the instrument would land him a huge opportunity.

Mosley graduated from UCLA with a degree in music, and now tours the world with his band, scores for film and television, and works with an array of Grammy-winning artists.

"We were always put into these honor groups or multi-school ensembles, and they would take the best players from all the different schools and put them in one group," said the highly acclaimed bassist. "Through these programs some of which were started by my now managers Barbara Sealy and Bob Brodhead from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, I received a full ride to UCLA."



Gun Violence Prevention Organizations Applaud California Legislature For Authorizing Funding For CalVIP Program That Helps Reduce Gun Violence

SAN FRANCISCO, CA --(June 16, 2017) Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, applauded the California Legislature for authorizing funding for the California Violence Intervention Prevention Program (CalVIP), formerly CalGRIP.

The 2017 California budget, which now heads to Governor Brown’s desk, includes $9.2 million for CalVIP, which is one of the only sources of state-level funding for locally driven violence prevention strategies. Earlier this year, attorneys from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions testified in support of CalVIP.

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“Today marks a major victory for the State of California and the many communities here who benefit from the gun violence intervention and prevention strategies supported by CalVIP. We want to thank the hundreds of Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence supporters who contacted their legislators and urged them to continue this impactful investment in our cities and young people. This funding will not only help make California safer, it will help save lives.”

Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“We applaud the California Legislature for including funding for CalVIP in the 2017 budget. Programs like CalVIP are what help make California a national leader in public safety. We look forward to Governor Brown reauthorizing funding for this vital initiative.”

In recent years, CalGRIP grantee cities across California, including Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland, have achieved lifesaving, cost-effective reductions in both violent crime and incarceration by implementing programs that provide focused outreach, counseling, and other services to at-risk youth. For example:

The program has provided Los Angeles $3 million over the past three years to help fund its Gang Reduction and Youth Development project. Los Angeles has seen a 38% reduction in homicides and 46% reduction in aggravated assaults since launching the project in 2007. [FBI Uniform Crime Reports]

Over the past three years, the program has provided the City of Richmond $1.5 million to help fund the Office of Neighborhood Safety—a city agency dedicated exclusively to the prevention of violence. Richmond has seen a more than 50% reduction in fatal shootings since ONS launched in 2007. [Office of Neighborhood Safety]

The program has provided $1.5 million to Oakland to fund Operation Ceasefire, the city’s project to reduce gun violence. Oakland has seen a 34% drop in gun homicides and a 39% reduction in non-fatal shootings since launching Operation Ceasefire in late 2012. [California Partnership for Safe Communities]

In March 2016, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released a groundbreaking report, Healing Communities in Crisis, highlighting the importance of locally driven violence prevention and intervention strategies—exactly the kind of solutions supported by CalVIP funding.

To learn more about the CalVIP program, or to arrange time to speak with an expert, contact Sean Simons at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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