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Letter to the Editor

By Sophia Rome

The money bail system has long been a norm in the United States and is widely accepted as the routine that follows someone’s arrest. While most people know what money, bail is, most are not aware of the need for immense reform in the system. Evidently, this system is broken and creates more financial hardship for accused people of lower socioeconomic status, as well as for the state. Currently there are discussions taking place in the California State Assembly regarding the passage of bills for reforming the bail system in California. The first one, AB 42, has been stalled, while another, SB 10, appears to have a more hopeful future. As such, it is more important than ever for community members to mobilize in support of this type of legislation. This is especially important in those districts where the representative assembly member abstained from voting on AB 42, including Eloise Gómez Reyes, whose district includes a large part of the city of San Bernardino.

When someone is arrested for anything – such as stealing a chocolate bar, getting pulled over while already in debt for other traffic tickets, or being involved in someone else’s criminal situation – the process of temporary liberation before trial, known as the bail system needs to be followed, with conditions set by the judge to ensure that the defendant will appear in court. These conditions are usually quite a high fee; the median bail in California is around $50,000. The majority of people are not able to pay this amount of money, hence the fact that about 60% of those incarcerated in the U.S. today are still awaiting their trials simply because they cannot pay their bail. In other words, hundreds of thousands of people in jail have not yet been convicted, and their presence in jail costs the state and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Furthermore, those who want to avoid being incarcerated before their trials often seek services from bail bondsmen. This type of bondsman has financial support from the nation’s large insurance companies, and works to give loans to people to pay their bail. However, those who receive help from bail bondsmen need to pay them a downpayment of around 10% of their bail amount, on top of an interest rate; in the end, a person can need to continue paying a bail bondsman for over a year. As if this weren’t enough, if someone who was able to pay bail is then found innocent in his or her trial, the bail money will be returned; meanwhile if someone who asked a bail bondsman for help is then found innocent in his or her trial, the bail money will NOT be returned.

So, our organization, Bend the Arc, has a moral and political mission. In the California Assembly the bill AB 42 Bail, has currently been stalled; however, the bill SB 10 is still on the horizon.

“This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to safely reduce the number of people detained pretrial, while addressing racial and economic disparities in the pretrial system, to ensure that people are not held in pretrial detention simply because of the inability to afford money bail.” – excerpt from text of Assembly Bill 42, also present in SB 10

The proposed system would initiate a slower and more meticulous process of deciding an accused person’s bail terms. It intends to abandon the system of asking for high fees from accused people, and replace it with a legal contract in which the accused signs to assure his or her appearance in court. Discussions about the passage of this bill continue in the assembly, and we are working to mobilize Southern California residents to encourage their assembly members to vote in favor of SB 10, and bring up discussions about AB 42 once again.

In coalition with many other social justice organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Ella Baker Center, the Essie Justice Group and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Bend the Arc has committees focused on a wide range of social justice issues for which we organize action. Evidently, the movement for bail reform cannot happen without the support of everyday citizens, constituents of the California State Assembly members. Whether it be calling assemblymember Reyes’s office, helping us organize a lobby visit with Reyes, watching and/or hosting a screening of a short documentary made by the organization Brave New Films to address this issue or realizing any other form of community action, the support of the residents of this district is more important than ever.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Sincerely,

Sophia Rome

www.bendthearc.us/region/southern-california

The Hebrew Review: The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

By Shalom Ysrayl

For the uplifting and encouragement of my people…

Until the Lions Story is Told, The Hunter will always appear as the Hero! “The calling back of the Children of Israel…The Prophet is calling us back to the Covenant…” We are the Hebrew People! This idea will allow us to experience an upgrade in our lives and neighbor hoods… A Solid People…!

“I Tell You, it’s time to Separate the Men from the Boys!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

You see the Almighty declared, “I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” [Ezekiel 22:30].  How alarming that God would have to look for a man. How astonishing He could not find a man.  This verse is not only amazing, this verse is disturbing. God had to go and search for a man. The words “I sought” carry the idea of diligently going from place to place; from person to person; seeking, asking, and trying to find someone to do His work. Every time I read this statement I think of how appalling it is that God would have to even look for a man, much less “diligently” search for one. You would think that after all that God had done for us that the line to serve him would be so long that it would wrap around Heaven. You would think that we would be ready and willing to be used of God. But most of us, who are doing nothing for God, have become so apathetic to the cause of Christ. Some of the saddest words that you will ever find in the Word of God are right here before us: “BUT I FOUND NONE.” Listen, it is one thing to reject a preacher of the Gospel. It is one thing to have a closed ear and a closed heart to what you hear from God’s Word. However, it is another thing to reject the Lord and Savior of the world. God could not find one man to make up the hedge! No one took His challenge seriously! I tell you it’s time to separate the men from the boys!

So in light of “Father’s Day” [Sunday, June 18th] this message is directed to all men. Listen, I know times are tough. I know that many of you have to work more than ever. I know that some of you have been dealt a bad hand. But do you understand that until you do as the Word of God says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, then and only then, will all other things be given to you.” The Word of Haggai says, “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. …Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came too little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” [Haggai 1:6, 9]. I tell you the hedge has been severed! The gap is widening! The enemy is attacking!  It’s time to separate the men from the boys! Listen, God has not sent me here to get on you. God has not sent me here to make you feel guilty. God has sent me here to tell you that He is still searching. My assignment for this hour is to tell you that some of the hedge is down! By the grace of God, is there any man that will say, “STOP THE SEARCH?” For God only needs one person!  One who will build up a hedge and hold up God’s holy standard? One who would hold back the tides of judgment? One, who like Shammah will take his stand in the middle of the field, defend it and strike the Philistines down, causing God to bring about a great victory. [2 Samuel 23:12]. I ask you, is there such a man? [2 Chronicles 16:9].

“You know a few years ago I saw a huge familiar billboard it was a lifelike picture of a Marine sergeant. Underneath his portrait were only five words, but they said it all. They said: Wanted: A few Good Men! Not many words? but a message it was, indeed. It said, by implication: [1] this was not for everyone. This was not a general call for the average man on the street. The word few indicated that this was an isolated, somewhat specialized opportunity. [2] The word wanted indicated that there was a role to fill, and someone needed to fill it. Not everyone could, but someone must. [3] The request was not limited only by number, but by quality. A few good men meant only those of a certain caliber need apply. [4]The word men meant it was limited not so much because of discrimination, as by specifics. So the call was clear. A specific need existed that could only be filled by a few special men who would have to be a certain kind of man to qualify. I tell you, God is looking for a few good men. A few spiritually qualified men whose lives demonstrate the nature of God with such clarity that they might be like beacons set before the body of Christ to lead it through this age. ‘Mighty Men.’  Men who are of courageous faith.  Men who are committed and willing to contend for what God has given them. Real men who make sure they stay close to God, and who are sensitive to His desires for their lives.”

I ask you, is there such a man today? If so, God is calling, “I want you.” Will you heed the call? Will you be like the men in the [Navy] and be dedicated to the Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment to build the foundation of trust and leadership upon which our strength is based and victory is achieved?  Will you give Jesus Christ first place in your life? Will you let “Semper Fidelis” be your motto: which will guide you as it does the [Marines] to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to our country [Kingdom of God] no matter what. Will you consecrate yourself to God today? Are you courageous enough today to say with Joshua and Caleb, “Even though the odds are against me; even though it would be much easier to compromise and hang with the crowd; even though it may cost me friendships, family relationships, pleasures, or even my life, I will do what I know is right?” I hear the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” [Isaiah 6:8].  Is there one that will say here I am Lord, send me? If so, you are challenged to go forward for the cause of Christ and be a good soldier for Him. [2Timothy 1:6-9] One life to live – One life to give to our Lord and Savior, our Coming King!

Happy Father’s Day!