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We Need to Help Our Seniors and Disabled Adults out of Poverty

Cheryl Brown

Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown

By Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino)

How many times have we heard the phrase that “our budget is a reflection of our values; or a society is judged by how it treats its elderly, sick and disabled members?”  Well, it’s high time to reflect on our values and to be judged.  Until we restore the cuts to our seniors and disabled, we are guilty of abandoning our ethical principles to care for those who are helpless.

 

On May 7, 2015, AB 474, a bill that would restore recession-era cuts made to the SSI/SSP program to balance the State’s budget, which helps seniors and disabled adults, was the victim of the California Legislature’s latest budget procedure.  The Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation placed the bill on its suspense file.  This procedure of a bill being placed on an Assembly Budget Subcommittee’s suspense file was unusual to me because normally fiscal bills go to the Appropriations’ suspense file.

By placing AB 474 on a suspense file, relief for seniors and disabled adults being forced to live below the federal poverty level will not happen this year.  I have a problem with that; especially, when the state has continuously taken $1.4 billion from the seniors beginning in 2008.  For me, this is unacceptable, and I will not be silent and allow this injustice to continue.

The Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) helps 1.3 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities in California pay for housing, food, and other basic living expenses.    It is funded with both federal (SSI) and state (SSP) dollars.  SSI/SSP provides modest income support to the most impoverished seniors and disabled adults.  At a minimum, this allows many to avoid total destitution and homelessness.

In 2007, the Legislature took those funds by cutting the state’s SSP portion for both individuals and couples to the minimum levels allowed by federal law to help close budget shortfalls that emerged as a result of the Great Recession.  In addition, we suspended the state cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for SSI/SSP several times prior to 2010-11 and then we totally eliminated it.  You would think there would be some urgency to restore those funds; however, due to these cuts, state spending for SSI/SSP dropped from $3.9 billion in 2007-08 to $2.5 billion and has not changed despite the fact that the recession ended several years ago.  These devastating cuts to seniors and our disabled should be moved to the top of the California Legislature’s agenda; especially with an anticipated surplus in this years’ budget.  We do it for other constituencies but for some reason we have abandon these senior citizens.

AB 474 is the first step to restoring our moral responsibility to care for our most vulnerable citizens and prioritize our seniors and disabled constituents.  I for one cannot in good conscience accept a raise we have just been awarded while our seniors and disabled are left without a solution because it will cost too much.  I will accept the raise and donate it to those in my district who are helping seniors and disabled adults eat nutritiously; because if I don’t, it’ll be used to fund other state priorities.  I will be lobbying my colleagues to do the same in their districts.

Blaze N Glory Festival Review

Redman & Johnni

Redman & Johnni

By Johnni Matthews

Ain’t no party like a Patslegacy.com party!  That was exactly the vibe felt by thousands of music lovers and cannabis supporters at the first Blaze N Glory Festival held in San Bernardino on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16.

The two day festival covered the musical spectrum from hip hop, reggae and rock. Hip Hop icons, Redman and Method Man vowed to reunite with the Wu-Tang Clan, irie reggae sounds came from Rebelution and the Bermuda sensation, Collie Buddz, while Ballyhoo rocked hard!  Several other outstanding bands entertained on two stages on the grounds of the San Manuel Amphitheater.

Rebelution @ BlazeNGlory Fest 2015

Rebelution @ BlazeNGlory Fest 2015

John Whinnery, founder of Patsleagacy.com, delivered a great event as the Blaze N Glory title sponsor. John Reese of SGE and Live Nation’s Rich Best are the co-producers of the Blaze N Glory Festival. Moore Media also did an outstanding job working with media representatives from nearly 100 media outlets covering the festival.

The festival engaged the attendees with a village market square filled with unique merchandise from vendors, a carnival arcade area, plus an appetizing food and beverage court making the Blaze N Glory Festival one of the top entertaining venues in Southern California this past weekend!

 

May 23rd Concert Culminates Season of Free Music Lessons!

Rev. Dennis Morgan Brown

Rev. Dennis Morgan Brown

By Anthony Garcia

Rev. Dennis Morgan Brown met with Former Superintendent of Rialto Unified School District, Dr. Harold L. Cebrun, in December of 2009. That meeting resulted in an agreement that created free music lessons for the students in the Rialto Unified School District from January 2010 until May 2012 at​three School Sites, which include Kucera Middle School, Hughbanks Elementary and Werner Elementary.

After incorporating with State of California in 2003, Rev. Brown’s organization, IM INC. immediately​gained non-profit status and began to receive grants from various entities such as Catholic Charities, Wells Fargo Bank and the Morongo Indian Community.  San Manuel and Wal-Mart are currently funding this Program. Saturday, May 23 will end this session that started January 10 with a concert, certificates, awards of completion and The Jose Ontiveras Merit Award of Achievement to exceptional students. The concert and ceremony take place at 3358 N. “E” Street in San Bernardino. The event begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.