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Kevin’s Corner

Kevin Jeffries

Kevin Jeffries

With Riverside County being the 10th largest county in the nation and the 4th largest in the State of California, and projections saying we may one day be the second largest county in the state, you can’t help but wonder what the future will look like for our growing county.   When I was first elected to the Board in November 2012, one of my questions for our county’s future was – what do we want to be when we grow up?  Are we going to become one mass of concrete and houses?  While we hear a lot about the logistics industry’s impact on the Inland Empire, will our largest export continue to be people, with workers heading out every morning at the crack of dawn to work in LA, Orange and San Diego counties? Or are we going to control and shape our own destiny and bring our people home?

I remember a time when builders built a variety of new buildings for professional offices, small neighborhood commercial centers, and light industrial facilities for small businesses and manufacturers to start and grow.  Today it’s either large residential developments or large warehouses.  Where did the little guy go? Hasn’t it always been the small mom & pop businesses that have all the plaques on the wall, because they could never say no to a little league or soccer league sponsorship request?  That wall of plaques usually doesn’t exist at a corporate chain store.  

My point is – as we grow and question how to add more roof tops and of course more cars on our congested streets, we have to simultaneously figure out where our future high school and college graduates are going to live and work. While we have some beautiful, hillside, gated communities being built, where are the starter homes for young families or professionals? A couple of warehouses along major transportation corridors doesn’t cause me to lose much sleep – but we owe it to our kids and grandkids to attract high tech, professional, and yes, good paying retail and blue collar jobs to our county.  Putting all our eggs into one basket and becoming the mega-center of warehouses for Southern California is not my idea of a long term promising future.  Let’s think outside the box (pun intended).

You may have seen some news stories about the county budget, and the contentious discussion surrounding it.  I ended up voting no on our new county budget and its deficit spending of $1.17 million per week. On a 4-1 vote the Board lifted the previous restrictions that had been imposed a month earlier on travel, new hiring and the purchase of large items (cars, etc.). It also increased spending for a non-public safety agency (or two) and then left unanswered how we are going to deal with a $34 million shortfall in the Sheriff’s Department and at least a $6 million short fall for the District Attorney.  I had hopes that all spending was going to be on the table for re-evaluation and funding prioritization, but that was not the case.  Something tells me we will be re-visiting our decisions by the end of the year.

Respectfully,

Kevin Jeffries

Fontana Unified Opens Doors to Dolores Huerta International Academy

FONTANA, CA- An eager group of students cheered alongside Fontana Unified officials on Aug. 4 as a ceremonial ribbon was cut to celebrate the first day of the new Dolores Huerta International Academy, a $30 million campus that provides dual-language and pre-International magnet programs for 350 learners.

The academy, named for civil rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, will serve students in kindergarten through third grade in 2016-17, and add fourth grade in 2017-18 and fifth grade in 2018-19.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the highly anticipated opening featured school and District officials, community members, parents, and students dressed in blue and white school colors.

“This school is truly a dream come true,” Principal Maribel Lopez-Tyus said. “It is the result of what we can accomplish as a community when we come together and demand the best for our children. This is an exciting time for Fontana.”

High demand for enrollment led Fontana Unified officials to select students through a random drawing that included 600 applicants.

The academy’s vision was a collaborative effort, with a council of 15 to 20 parents helping to develop the school’s beliefs, logo and vision, which is “Academic excellence and global compassion through innovative and multilingual education.” The academy’s international flair will be on display in the school’s foyer later this year when flags from multiple countries will hang to acknowledge the diverse heritage of the students.

The academy’s dual-language classrooms include a mix of native English and Spanish speakers so students can learn from each another.

Dual-language students receive 90 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 10 percent in English in kindergarten and first grade. As they progress through the grades, the percentage of English instruction grows until lessons balance equally between English and Spanish in fifth grade.

The Pre-International program will provide K-5 students with a challenging course of study to prepare them for enrollment in high school IB programs, which feature college-level coursework. Fontana Unified offers an IB program at Jurupa Hills High School.

“The international program here at the academy will put our students on an advanced track to achieving their academic goals,” FUSD Co-Interim Superintendent Randal Bassett said. “The bright and talented students of this school are our true dignitaries. They will be building our future.”

Letter to the Editor: I WILL Vote

By Mildred Henry

I read the headlines in total disbelief!

A professed leader in the Black Lives Matter  (BLM) movement reportedly said,  “I ain’t voting until Black Lives Matter“.  I cannot believe that any informed,  self-respecting African American will openly proclaim that he or she will not vote! This is a gross indignity because of the sacrifices and lives lost by our predecessors in order to gain the right to vote.  This misguided individual tramples on the graves of Sojourner Truth; Fannie Lou Hamer; the Mississippi Freedom Riders; Barbara Jordan, Dr. Martin Luther King, and the sacred graveyard list goes on and on.

Supporters of the “I ain’t voting” cognitive dissonance trample on the grave of my mother who was told she would lose her teaching job if she joined the NAACP and conducted a voter registration drive. She joined, became a lifetime NAACP member, and the family survived. 

We survived in spite of the racists who burned our family cotton gin (3 times) and general store to the ground.  Our family provided merchandise, and rides for neighbors to go to town, to register, to vote, to shop, and to conduct business. Comradery existed whereby you picked up and provided a ride to someone walking by the side of the road.   

 We survived in spite of the fact that schools for Black children were closed 3 and 4 months of the school year to work in the cotton fields. We survived  in spite of having to walk 10 miles to school while school buses for white children threw dust up in our faces.  We survived many adversities in order to be where we are today.  I WILL vote.  

Black people were castigated, tortured, lynched and suffered terrible deaths for just expressing the desire to vote.  It was through the power of the vote that we defeated segregationists George Wallace of Alabama, and Governors Lester Maddox and Orville Faubus of Arkansas.  If one of the reported leaders of the BLM is an attorney, as reported, he should be well aware of the court battles of Attorney and Chief Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. As an Arkansan, I watched Attorney Thurgood Marshall and local attorneys like Attorney George Howard, engage in battle on behalf of the Little Rock Nine students’ effort to get an education at Central High School.  Mrs. Daisy Bates and the State Press Newspaper (distributed by my mother) espoused the power of the vote to change the segregationist structure in Arkansas. These students (and many others)  endured insults, life threats, personal danger, and loss of life to get a competitive education and learn that using the word “Ain’t” was not acceptable in the competitive corporate world.  We fought for a competitive education and the right to vote in order to right the wrongs.  I WILL vote!

Rhetoric is cheap. BLM threatens to give the presidency to Donald Trump. Why? I am amazed at how gullible some people are to the unfounded promises uttered by this individual. He promises jobs but he makes products abroad and sells them to consumers in America. How will providing jobs abroad “make America great”?  He can begin by bringing those jobs to America, and assure that ”Made in America” is on all of his products.  As a businessman, carefully scrutinize his business record and his tax return (which he refuses to release).

He speaks of diversity but uses the terminology “my African-American“ which to me equates to the slogan, “My Nigger,” so frequently used in my youth. 

Donald Trump uses negative slogans, personal insults, and exhibits totally unprofessional, crass behavior, unrepresentative of the values taught us as children.  How could any self-respecting African-American, knowledgeable of our ancestral history, threaten to vote for a self-aggrandizement individual who exhibits such unethical behavior?  We should not jump from the frying pan into the fire.  This is not a game of marbles between children. This is a serious world event which will impact the future of every human being on this earth, especially those of minority ethnic background.

I ask those who thought the Democratic inclusion of mothers of slain Black men was just “political theater”, what did the Republicans do to indicate the importance of this issue?  How did they show the seriousness of the Black Lives Matter movement?  News reports indicate “BLM Threatens to Hand Trump the Presidency”.   Why?  What has he done to earn it? This is not a TV show. This is survival.   I sincerely hope that self-grandiose individuals will not be successful in spewing their venom and preying on the sensibilities of the uninformed.

I WILL vote, and I urge every eligible voter to become adequately informed, VOTE, and Don’t Forget The Bridges That Brought Us Over!