President: Owen, Martin
Vice-president: Rock Brown
Secretary: Nina Smith
Treasurer: Christine Hayes
1. Officer Sousa: One of our neighbors reported that they just started a Neighborhood Watch group on Yuba between Sierra & Hazel. Officer Sousa reported that he’s working on the homeless encampment on Amador and Solano. He asks us to call 911 or email him (email@example.com) to report suspicious people if we see anyone jumping into that area on the freeway side. He says that there are drugs there. It is CHP property so City staff will not clean it up. A suggestion was made to open a service request on the CALTRANS website asking that they clean up that encampment which might put pressure on CALTRANS to clean it up. Discussion of the corner of Ventura and Clinton where there’s a foreclosure at which a lot of drugs and prostitution is occurring. Officer Sousa says that his research reveals a pattern of recent burglaries which seem to be happening in the morning between 7 a.m. and noon. Auto burglaries tend to be at night between 7 and 9 p.m. The clubs are back in stock so if you want one email (firstname.lastname@example.org) him and he’ll bring one to you. Most of the property crimes are being committed by teenagers. They have a gang (Richmond Squat, about a hundred kids at Kennedy and Richmond High Schools) in the schools, which the police are aware of: they do burglaries and steal cars to get into the gang. Officer Sousa doesn’t think they’re into shooting although they may be carrying guns. Richmond has a truancy law so if you see kids on the streets during school hours call the police and if they’re picked up enough times the parents will be held responsible.
2. Bay Area Rescue Mission, Marshelle Wilburn, Manager of Volunteer Services 510-215-4865, MarshelleW@BayAreaRescue.org 2114 Macdonald Avenue, P.O. Box 1112, Richmond CA 94802 510-215-4555; Fax: 510-215-0178.
Started in 1965 with 12 beds; today 325 beds, over a thousand meals a day in house and 2 – 3,000 meals in field. The purpose is to impact those who are hungry and homeless. She emphasized how the face of homelessness has changed since the 60’s. Over 25 pregnant women in their shelter have given birth while in residence with them. Some of them have college degrees. Much of their own staff were people who had also been in such a crisis situation. They also do homeless outreach. In winter they do not turn anyone away. In holidays have goal to feed more people. They have many programs including a Men’s program, a Women’s program which includes kids, lots of vocational and youth programs. They are always looking for businesses who can offer their participants training and/or other vocational opportunities. They have 3 times as many volunteers as staff. It is a 12 month recovery program (defined as recovery from any kind of crisis situation). They have currently a capital campaign to expand their facility to 525 beds for women and children. They have a holiday meal box program for people with homes and kitchens next week in addition to regular groceries they provide on a regular basis. There will be a special banquet meal Thanksgiving eve banquet at the Civic Auditorium and special meals during the week of Christmas. Volunteers always welcome. Children can volunteer if have parental permission although if they want to be a regular volunteer they should be at least 16. Marshelle invites members of the community to come by and take a tour. She mentioned that despite the many youth programs throughout the community they are only reaching about 40% of the youth in our City.
3. Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, Larry Sly, executive director.
Organization started 1975. Larry started in 1976 as the truck driver. Over 20 million pounds of food distributed last year to various community organizations helping people in need. 62 employees. 189 nonprofit organizations help distribute plus direct service programs. Part of a national organization called “Feeding America.” Food drives are a critical way for them to get their food resources. Presently the agricultural industry has been one of the most effective resources to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Have set up remote distributions so the agencies can get fresh and perishable foods. They have a program called Farms to Kids: taking fresh fruits and vegetables to the schools (more than 9,000 kids served). Got a grant to get beverage trucks with bins to reach 55 sites to distribute fresh foods. Programs need food resources (please donate food), volunteers to sort the foods in Concord warehouse, financial support. They have a budget of $10 million a year. Administrative and overhead costs only constitute 4 cents out of each dollar. Contact at: www.foodbankccsorg or 855-309-FOOD (federal tax ID # 94-2418054). For a list of food resources, go to their website and click on the tab, “Get Help,” which lists all the organizations and resources where people can get food.
4. AllCare Alliance, Nel Benningshof.
Nel is asking for our endorsement of the AllCare Alliance. Nel explained that the organization she belongs to, HealthCareForAll.org, is part of this alliance. She explained that many people go bankrupt and end up in crisis because of a medical emergency. They are working towards universal healthcare in California. HealthCareforAll is a grass roots organization working on educating people about the need to get universal healthcare in California instead of our current system where we have health insurance companies as the middle man consuming about 30% of our premiums funds. Nel recommends a movie (65 minutes) showing how healthcare developed in Canada versus the US. To find a screening go to their website: healthcareforall.org/chapters/13-Contra-Costa-County.
Canada used to have the same system as the US in the 60’s but they went in a different direction. When there is legislation proposed to institute a single payer system in California they advocate for that. Twice such bills were passed but vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The Affordable Care Act does not go far enough. It doesn’t cover everyone, i.e. the undocumented. The Health Insurance companies are still in the middle and it’s not bringing down the costs. People are still going bankrupt. So they formed a coalition with some other organizations working towards instituting single payer. They are working on it state by state. Looks like Vermont will be the first. They have students training for healthcare careers working with them. They’re working on another study to update 2005 study to garner the data to demonstrate how much money a single payer system will save. They are working on getting organizations and businesses to endorse this alliance. The Iron Triangle and Laurel Park Neighborhood Councils have done so and Nel has come to us to ask for our endorsement in favor of instituting a publically financed single payer health system in California. If you have a business you can endorse as well by filling out a form. Nel pointed out that MediCare is a single payer system that only 5% overhead.
Owen moved for our Neighborhood Council to endorse the AllCare Alliance. Rock seconded. In Favor: 9; Opposed: 0; Abstain: 3