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Religious leaders, civil-rights advocates, human-rights organizations and others for years have been calling for an end to the death penalty, which has been banned in most democratic nations. But now, death-penalty opponents have been joined by a chorus of unlikely allies, including victims’ rights advocates, prison wardens and law-enforcement officials. These leaders cite the risk of executing the innocent, the fact that the death penalty is used predominantly against the poor and people of color, and that the high cost of the death penalty (including trials, special prison housing, constitutionally required appeals, extra security and administrative costs) is far more expensive than permanent incarceration.
The three strikes law deprives Californians of a fair chance at restitution and rehabilitation. It ensures that prisoners will not be treated with dignity and decency or offered conditions and support needed to become contributing members of society.
What does it say about our own culture and our own sense of justice when we lock men and women away for life, in decrepit and overcrowded prisons, without any opportunity for redemption? The moral costs to society are serious.
Throughout American history, labor unions have advocated for fair wages, hours, and working conditions. However, as Bay Area regional council member Josh Weisman points out, many people don't see that unions still have a role to play in bending the arc towards justice. Proposition 32 prevents "union members from using voluntary paycheck deductions to make contributions to their unions’ political organizing funds." As a result, unions would have a much harder time marshaling resources to help lower- and middle-income Californians. To protect unions, Mr. Weisman advocates the opposition of this proposition.
This Thing Called Social Change: Building Support for California's Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act
In the midst of being laid-off twice, Jeremiah fellow and Bay Area Regional Council member Johana Gordon channeled her frustation from California's "failures in funding public education, raising state revenue, reducing debt and engaging in wasteful spending" through the Progressive Taxation for the Common Good campaign. By facilitating house meetings, she leads discussions regarding the facts of Prop 30 and the implications of it.
Melanie Aron & David Biale, members of our Bay Area Regional Council write in the J Weekly about why Californians should vote yes on Prop 30 to support fair taxation. Without these modest tax increases, California, which once led the nation in the quality of its public education, will continue its slide to the bottom of the rankings.