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Producer host Julia Dudley Najieb explores the current dismal relationship of Black males to police officers; but, how is California fairing in this discussion?
By ONME Newswire
FRESNO,CA --City of Fresno Councilman Miguel Arias and Mayor Jerry Dyer announced at a press conference last week the first solar farm to benefit disadvantage communities throughout West Fresno. The opportunity will bring 50 green jobs, reduction of pollution, and energy savings to the communities – near Cornelia Ave in West Fresno.
An agreement between the City of Fresno and Fresno Community Solar Developers, LLC ($20 million investment) will be creating Fresno's first solar farm on 158 acres of city-owned land.
Families within the region who meet the income eligibly requirements will benefit from a 20% energy savings for twenty years ( PG & E CARES program.)
The innovative initiation will feature City of Fresno's entrance into a greener economy, provide hands-on job training to individuals from disadvantaged communities and leverage a great return of investment on city-owned land.
Grass Valley-based BoxPower Inc., which has developed a solar power generation unit that fits in a shipping container, has been hired by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to set up a power grid in a remote area of PG&E territory where power has been interrupted in the past by wildfires.
The 10-year old technology is being installed in Briceburg in Mariposa County to replace PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG) grid connections to the remote area near Yosemite National Park.
The company developed a turnkey, stand-alone solar-powered electric systems with backup battery and generator power intended for uses far off electrical grids in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
The San Joaquin Valley's hot temperatures during the summer exposes open farming canals to faster evaporation; California's drought seasons are also becoming more frequent.
New research grew in collaboration with UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, and Citizen Group, and with funding support from NRG Energy and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, that can help limit this problem is the Valley's ag industry.
Lead author Brandi McKuin started working on the project while completing her Ph.D. at UC Merced, then continued with help from senior author and UC Santa Cruz professor Elliott Campbell, the Stephen R. Gliessman Presidential Chair in Water Resources and Food Systems and a fellow Merced transplant. UC Merced professor Joshua Viers and researcher Tapan Pathak advised on the project, and graduate students Andrew Zumkehr and Jenny Ta contributed to analysis.
Zumkehr led a complex hydrological analysis using data from satellites, climate models, and automated weather stations to model and compare evaporation rates at canal sites across the state, with and without shade from solar panels. McKuin then used this information in her assessment to calculate the financial benefits of reduced evaporation.
BAKERSFIELD,CA -- The city of Bakersfield is changing its new bicycle lane laws for electric bikes.
State law breaks e-bikes into three categories:
•Class I: Equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance once the bike has reached 20 mph.
•Class II: Equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance once the bike has reached 20 mph.
•Class III: Equipped with a speedometer and a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance once the bike has reached 28 mph.
Longtime cyclist and cycling advocate and educator Zac Griffin attended the city council meeting and noted that the city provided three options to the committee:
•Option 1: Amend municipal code to clearly allow all e-bikes and other motorized uses (expressly naming Class I/II/III e-bikes, motorized scooters, boards, etc.).
•Option 2: Amend the Code to clearly prohibit all e-bikes and other motorized uses.
•Option 3: Amend the Code to allow only specific motorized uses, for example only Class I e-bikes and motorized scooters, expressly prohibiting all others.
The committee opted for the most wide open option. \"
For the next step in the process, city staff will prepare proposed ordinances and return them to the committee for review. Because the current city ordinance is unclear, the language must be clarified, regardless of any policy decisions the full council makes.
ARVIN,CA --New microgrid technology promising greater energy savings and less dependence of local electrical grids started construction on an integrated power generation and storage system at an 1,100-employee ag facility in Arvin.
The 5-megawatt solar, natural gas and battery installation Concentric Power Inc. is building at Tasteful Selections' specialty potato plant will use advanced computer systems to increase efficiency and allow the operation to continue during external disruptions to its power.
Touted as the first such system in the county, the $12 million project kicked off engineering almost a year and a half ago. The installation is expected to become fully operational by fall, cutting the plant's power bill by an estimated 40 percent.
Microgrids have become more popular in recent years as wider adoption of photovoltaic solar panels and batteries has increased demand for systems that can effectively coordinate them.
The idea is to improve energy resilience while also integrating demand for energy with on-site production, shifting resources when necessary to meet real-time needs for electricity.
By Bo Tefu | California Black Media
California is taking steps to reopen its economy on June 15. The plans are underway as leaders in public health and local government come up with the next steps in the state’s COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
Efforts to reopen the state are, “driven by the health and science to help nonprofit community organizations and businesses get back on track,” said Dee Dee Myers, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).
So far, the state has administered 22 million vaccines since it expanded its efforts to immunize everyone in California against COVID-19. A fifth of the vaccine doses were allocated to communities most impacted by the pandemic. According to the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), the number of hospitalizations has declined as testing increases and vaccine eligibility expands.
Now, state officials aim to move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a system Gov. Gavin Newsom put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and implement updated public health safety measures in all 58 counties. A part of the state’s game plan is to end the Blueprint system provided that businesses and public spaces adhere to ‘common-sense’ public health policies, including the various tiers outlined for outdoor activities.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of CHHS, said that health equity is a critical piece of the puzzle that will keep the momentum for reopening moving in the right direction.
“We’re still focused on making sure hard-hit communities get vaccines made available to them in convenient ways,” said Dr. Ghaly.
State officials said that the pandemic did not affect California communities equally, even though the state implemented equity metrics for underserved communities. According to the California Healthy Places Index (HPI), 40 percent of COVID-19 cases and deaths occurred in low-income communities.
“We believe that there's still significant demand for the vaccine, so we’re ensuring that providers in hard-hit communities are the ones that are moving forward,” said Dr. Ghaly.
The state partnered with over 180 community-based organizations and health care centers for community outreach to dispel vaccine hesitancy.
“Californians are still very interested in getting vaccinated, we're seeing improvements in what some people call vaccine hesitancy as more communities get information and their questions answered, so that they feel confident moving forward with vaccines,” said Dr. Ghaly.
Public health officials will continue to closely monitor the state’s progress by tracking data on vaccine distribution and COVID-19 test results to achieve its goal of reopening in mid-June of this year.
People in California will still be required to wear masks as well as get tested or vaccinated depending on their occupation, as part of the state’s ‘common-sense’ health measures. The state’s long-term plans to get the economy up and running also includes allowing large-scale outdoor events to take place.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state is confident about reopening the economy as people, “continue the practices that got us here.”
“We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic,” said Gov. Newsom.
California’s public health agencies say they are committed to tracking and containing new variants as government leaders move forward with plans to reopen the economy, state officials said.
Extension of large-scale pilot vaccine sites
The state recently extended the use of the nation’s first mass vaccination sites at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum and California State University Los Angeles.
The pilot sites operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Oakland and Los Angeles aim to accelerate the state’s goal to safely reopen schools and the economy.
According to data from FEMA and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), both sites have administered more than half a million vaccine doses since they opened in February this year.
In the Bay Area, state officials partnered with Alameda County and Contra Costa County to keep the sites running for vaccine distribution.
Keith Carson, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, said the Oakland Coliseum site has administered more than 100,000 doses to residents in the county.
“Having a mix of large vaccination sites, alongside smaller community sites and mobile pop-ups, is critical for our vaccination infrastructure and meeting our goals for equitable distribution,” said Carson.
The Oakland-based vaccination site is set to operate for an extended period of four weeks. State officials said that the site will deliver approximately 6,000 vaccines on a daily basis.
Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, said that the partnership, “will provide additional resources for mobile vaccine clinics that can go where we need them most.”
The two counties continue to promote equitable vaccine distribution for local residents seeing that, “many of them are teachers and frontline essential workers from some of our hardest-hit neighborhoods,” said Burgis.
California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.
By Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media
The disturbing story of Los Angeles County’s Bruce’s Beach Park -- location of the first West Coast seaside resort for Black beachgoers and a residential enclave for a few African American families – has been making headlines around the country.
One hundred years ago, Manhattan Beach city officials seized the Bruce’s beachfront property from an African American couple, Charles and Willa Bruce, citing an “urgent need” to build a city park. But the area was not developed for recreational use after it was forcefully taken from the Black owners.
In addition to the Bruce’s land, the city grabbed about two dozen other properties from African American families along the city’s Pacific shore using eminent domain laws.
“This was a strategy and a tactic used everywhere – here in California. That’s why we get so much resistance when we fight it,” said Sacramento resident Jonathan Burgess, referring to Bruce’s beach and other properties he said were forcefully and illegally taken away from Black Californians in the past. Burgess’s family is engaged in a fight of their own to reclaim property in Northern California’s Gold Country that he says authorities stole from his ancestors.
Gold country is a mineral-rich area along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada that was a popular destination during California’s 19th century Gold Rush.
“The timing couldn’t be better because of what’s happening in Manhattan Beach. First, you have to reconcile the wrongs before you talk about reparations. That’s how you repair everything that happened afterward. You have to ask and wonder why there’s not massive wealth passed down from California’s early African American pioneers,” Burgess continued.
Like Burgess, descendants of other Californians whose ancestors’ properties were unlawfully seized or stolen, are beginning to speak up. They are demanding restitution for their losses. With the backing of some lawmakers, advocates and historians, these incidents involving direct land theft, intimidation, coercion, and more, will likely become cases to investigate as California begins to wrestle with its history of slavery and discrimination and how those forces have impacted African Americans throughout the history of the state – and still contribute to racial inequity today.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 into law. Former Assemblymember and current California Secretary of State Shirley Weber authored the landmark law which mandates the creation of a committee to study Californians involvement in slavery and discrimination and make recommendations for how African Americans can be compensated for injustices sanctioned or committed by government.
On April 9, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that the county will return a plot of Manhattan Beach land to the family of the Black couple who purchased Bruce’s Beach in 1912 for $1,225.
But last week the City Council of Manhattan Beach, a mostly-White city in southern Los Angeles County, voted to issue a statement of acknowledgement and condemnation,” stopping short of voting to apologize to the Bruce’s descendants.
There is also support in the California Legislature. Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) has announced new legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 796. It would exempt the Bruce’s Beach property from state zoning and development restrictions and enable the county to return the site to its rightful owners. The legislation is co-authored by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance).
After the Bruces bought the ocean-view parcel of land, which was considered a remote area at the time, they began operating Bruce’s Lodge and managed to construct a boarding space, an entertainment facility, café, and tents for changing clothing along with bathing suits for rent. Attracting African American beachgoers, the business incensed White neighbors who began buying property around the beach or posting No Trespassing signs near the front entrance of the beach, forcing guests to walk nearly two miles to get to and from the resort. There was also an arson attack on the resort reportedly committed by local members of Ku Klux Klan.
In Tulare County, the historic African American farming town of Allensworth suffered a similar fate to Bruce’s Beach. It was the first municipality in California to be founded, financed and governed by Blacks with its own schools, library, church, hotels and businesses.
Founded by Allen Allensworth, a man who born into slavery in Louisville, Kentucky in 1842, and later became a Colonel in the U.S. Army and the highest-ranking Black officer when he retired in 1906, the town had as many as 300 residents during its peak in the 1920s. But by 1925, a company called the Pacific Farming Company that was responsible for supplying irrigation water to the town, did not.
The lack of water affected the townspeople livelihood and the farmers’ productivity in the Central California town, and a lengthy and expensive legal dispute ensued between Allensworth and the company, which depleted all of the town’s resources. The residents and nearby farmers soon abandoned their land and slowly left the area in search of employment elsewhere.
Then, there’s the city of Folsom, 20 miles east of Sacramento. Parts of that city sits on land purchased by Joseph Libbey Folsom from the estate of William Leidesdorff, a wealthy African American merchant from San Francisco.
Leidesdorff obtained and owned the property from a Mexican land grant called “Rancho Rio de Los Americanos,” which was initially the city’s name before it was changed to Folsom. When Leidesdorff, 38, passed away in 1848 of Typhoid fever, his estate was passed on to his mother Anna Marie Sparks, and relatives who were living on the Island of St. Croix, according to the book, “William Alexander Leidesdorff - First Black Millionaire, American Consul and California Pioneer.”
Folsom went to St. Croix to negotiate a price to purchase land located on the American River near the Sierra Nevada and close to a boom town where some Blacks became involved in gold mining. On Nov. 3, 1849, The two parties settled that Leidesdorff’s family would receive $75,000 for the land. Sparks received the first installment of $5,000, but she refused the second amount of $35,000 when she learned that Folsom’s valuation of the land she owned was below the market rate. She filed a lawsuit against Folsom, but California law ruled in his favor.
By then, people in the area had already began calling a portion of the estate “Negro Bar,” an area on the American River where Black people were designated to live in tents and mining camps.
After the Black miners were forced to move, Folsom renamed the town Granite City. After his passing in 1855 at the age of 38, Granite City was renamed in Folsom’s honor. When Folsom took full control of Leidesdorff’s estate, the land’s value increased exponentially and made him a millionaire, according to Leidesdorff’s biography.
“Ms. Sparks was not well educated and could not read well,” said Shonna McDaniel, who operates the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum in Sacramento. “I believe he took an advantage of her, manipulating her into believing the land was worthless. It was just another way to take something of value in California.”
Both Allensworth and Negro Bar are California State Parks now.
Back in Los Angeles County, Hahn describes the arc of the Bruces’ story – from business savvy entrepreneurs for their time and resources to their sad fate -- as an “American Dream that turned into a nightmare.”
The parcel the Bruce’s bought was dormant for almost 30 years before it was opened as a park in the 1960s. It was renamed Bruce’s Beach in 2007.
“This land was taken from the Bruce family because they were Black and, before it was stolen, was one of the precious few beaches Black families could enjoy,” Hahn said. “When I realized that the county now had ownership of the Bruce family's original property, I felt there was nothing else to do but to give it back to its rightful owners.
Bruce’s Beach Park is currently housing L.A. County’s lifeguard training facility.
Last week, Bradford, who is chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus and an appointee to the state’s still-forming reparations task force, held a press conference to share details about SB 796.
“There comes a time when someone must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor proper,” said Bradford, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. “He must take it because his conscience tells him it’s the right thing to do.”
He said the bill “would finally allow Bruce’s Beach to be returned to its rightful owners.”
L.A. County Board of Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, L.A. County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby, former Manhattan Beach Mayor Mitch Ward, Justice for Bruce’s Beach Founder Kavon Ward, and Bruce family representative Duane Shephard, all attended the news conference, along with Bradford, Hahn and Muratsuchi.
“We’re not looking for an apology. We want our property back. We want restitution for the loss of revenue for 96 years from the generational wealth that would have been built up,” Shepherd said on MSNBC two days after the news conference. “We want punitive damages from the city of Manhattan Beach City Council and the police department at that time for colluding with the Ku Klux Klan to railroad our people out of there.”
By Quinci LeGardye | California Black Media
President Biden signed the latest federal COVID-19 stimulus package, known as the American Rescue Plan, into law on March 11.
Over the past month since the bill passed – and as stimulus checks have gone out to people across the country -- some members of California’s congressional delegations have been coming home to inform their constituents about other forms of relief that law has established for them. Many of them will be implemented within the next few months or over the course of the next year.
On April 6, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) and Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) hosted a virtual conference to inform Californians about the details of the American Rescue Plan. Throughout the conversation, they both spelled out the importance of direct relief to Black and Brown families and small businesses in the state. They said what’s currently offered in the American Rescue Plan helps, but it is hardly enough. They also said some measures in the bill should be made permanent.
Newly appointed Senator Padilla, formerly California’s Secretary of State, spoke about the scope of the law. He also described how his work on the law has taken up a significant chunk of his time since February when he was sworn in to serve in the U.S. Senate
“Since my appointment to the Senate it has been COVID, COVID, COVID. We know how devastating COVID has been for the country and California is no exception, but it has disproportionately impacted working class communities and communities of color. So. it was great to partner with [Congresswoman Lee] and all of our colleagues to push through the American Rescue Plan. When we step back and take our breath, we recognize, it's one of the most progressive pieces of legislation approved by Congress since the New Deal. And, so, it is tremendous help that’s now arriving,” said Padilla.
Lee spoke about forms of assistance included in the American Rescue Plan designed to help individuals and families in poverty. Those include the new expanded earned income tax credit and the expanded Child Tax Credit, as well as more money allocated for rental assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She also commented on the importance of the law’s focus on poverty, especially in a high-cost state such as California.
“Here in California, oftentimes we think of it as the Golden State which it is, but we have such huge numbers of people living below the poverty line, and it's growing even more each and every day because of the pandemic. Nationally, the crisis has plunged more than 8 million more people into poverty since last year. About one in seven households nationwide including more than one in five African American and Latino households, and many Asian Americans and Pacific Islander households are struggling just to secure the food that they need,” said Lee.
The expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) makes the credit available to more workers not raising children, as the previous credit only went to a small number of these
workers. With the increase, the maximum EITC is tripled, going from about $540 to about $1,500, and the income cap for qualification goes from about $16,000 to at least $21,000. It also expands the age range of eligible workers without children to include young adults aged 19-24 who aren’t students and older adults age 65 and older.
The expansion of the Child Tax Credit is designed to significantly reduce child poverty, by increasing both the scope of the credit to include 17-year-olds and by increasing the dollar amount to $3,600 for children under age six and $3,000 for other children under age 18. The expansion also makes the Child Tax Credit available to all children except those with the highest incomes.
According to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the changes in the Child Tax Credit will lift 4.1 million children in America above the poverty line -- a large number of them Black and Latino, whom the old credit disproportionately left out.
“The expansion of the Child Tax Credit is one of the things I'm most proud of having supported. We have the opportunity to uplift half the nation's children who are living in poverty, out of poverty. In California alone, that's half a million children,” said Padilla.
“We have a lot of work to do, and California has some of the highest poverty rates for Black and Brown children throughout the country. And so, this is not something we in California can sidestep,” said Lee.
In addition to providing details on the current relief available, Lee and Padilla also spoke about the need to expand or make some of the provisions of the American Rescue Plan permanent as many Californians work to build back the wealth that they lost during the pandemic.
“In the law, we did put $1400 in direct payments. For me, not enough, I think we need to have at least $2,000 a month guaranteed until the end of the pandemic. People did not lose their jobs because they wanted didn't want to work. They didn't lose their businesses because they just wanted to shut down. This was as a result of the pandemic and so our government needs to step up,” said Lee.
Each week producer host Joquoya Murphy broadcasts show News and Coffee live under the ONME News Review, which distributes its original podcasts through The ONME Network and various third-party locations: watch her on the ONME Podcast Network at ONME TV Channel; listen via several external audio podcast outlets including: Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Castbox, Deezer, Podcast Addict, JioSaavn, Podchaser, iHeartRadio, Listennotes.com, and Spreaker; OTT apps Roku and Amazon Fire, and offline via cable TV. Audio podcasts are also available on the ONME News website.
In the Central Valley, from Stanislaus County to Tulare County, viewers can watch ONME original podcast programming during the ONME Network's time slot on TV (CMAC) Comcast Channel 93 and AT&T Channel 99. Watch The ONME News Review - News and Coffee on CMAC TV channels at 10:00 AM on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with encore broadcasts on Fridays at 7:00 PM.
The ONME News Review - \"News and Coffee\" broadcasts daily @ 7:00 AM and PM, 10:00 AM and PM through The ONME Network.
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By Manny Otiko | California Black Media
The federal government has moved the tax filing deadline to May for taxpayers this year.
That is just one of the few adjustments the Internal Revenue Service says it has made this year responding to the financial hardships many Americans are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Safety is also a concern.
“Our focus as the pandemic continues is to help taxpayers and the tax industry in a way that ensures the safety of our employees and the taxpayers in the communities we serve,” said Ken Corbin, commissioner at the IRS Wage and Investment Division. “That’s one reason we extended the due date for individuals to May 17, 2021.
The extension only applies to individuals and not filers like corporations – or people who are making estimated payments. For those filers, the IRS says, the April 15 deadline remains.
Corbin was participating in a news briefing Ethnic Media Services organized that focused on IRS rule changes for 2020 tax filers, including how some provisions in the American Rescue Plan will affect Americans’ taxes this year. Susan Simon, director, Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education, Wage and Investment Division, Internal Revenue Service also
attended the briefing and shared information about some adjustments the agency has made this year.
Simon encouraged 2020 taxpayers to file electronically. That way, she explained, there are fewer mistakes, filers don’t have to risk their health by going into a brick-and-mortar offices to meet with tax preparers, and the agency can process their returns much faster.
“The average return comes back in 21 days if you filed electronically,” she said. “It’s six weeks by paper.”
This year, the IRS has some good news for parents. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the federal government has increased the amount of the child tax credit. Families with children will get a credit of $2,000 per child filed as a dependent. Parents will also be able to add children born this year as beneficiaries online via IRS.gov.
Another provision in the American Rescue Plan will benefit people who were unemployed during 2020. The agency says up to $10,200 in unemployment insurance paid them last year will not be taxed. For couples, that number is $20,400. People who filed their income taxes before the U.S. Congress approved the law and President Joe Biden signed it into law, will get the money they’ve already paid the feds in a refund beginning in May.
Simon said taxpayers should be aware of some common tax scams and avoid them. One easy way is to use a Personal Identification Number, commonly called a PIN for an added layer of security. She said the IRS has documented several cases of scammers fraudulently filing taxes on behalf of other people using their social security numbers.
Another popular scam, she says, targets college students with phone calls -- or anyone with an email that ends in “edu.” The perpetrators threaten those people via calls or emails – often saying they have broken laws. Then, they request tax payments from them.
But Simon said the IRS will never ask for your information, request you make an online payment or threaten you with arrest. The first contact with delinquent taxpayers is always by mail, she said.
“We're not going to call someone unless we’ve sent a series of bills,” said Simon.
As of April 2, the IRS had received 85 million 2020 individual tax returns and issued over 56 million refunds totaling almost $164 billion.
To make filing online easy for 2020 taxpayers, the IRS is providing a number of digital tax preparation options, including a mobile app called IRS2GO.
“We also have a partner program called ‘text counseling for the elderly.’ It helps with electronic filing by text,” said Simon.
The IRS is also adapting to America’s increasingly multilingual society. The agency now prints filing forms in different languages. According to Simon, IRS forms are available in 20 different languages including English, Russian, Spanish, Urdu and two forms of Chinese, Tagalog and Arabic.
“That covers the most commonly used languages in the U.S.” she said.
Last week, the IRS also announced new guidance under the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act of 2020 that was signed into law by President Trump last year. The new provision would allow businesses to temporarily make a 100 % tax deduction for food and beverages from restaurants, beginning Jan. 1, 2021. It will run through Dec. 31, 2022.
For more information, visit www.irs.gov
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an alarming number of deaths over the past year: just under 3 million people across the globe; more than half a million people in the United states; and north of 60,000 victims died here in California.
The families and loved ones of those victims have been slammed with unexpected funeral costs. Many of them have had to suffer the loss of someone they loved while facing unanticipated financial strains caused by the pandemic.
In an effort to provide some relief for those Americans, the federal government has announced a new program.
“The COVID -19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus,” reads the official announcement of the program on FEMA’s website.
“Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate,” said acting FEMA administrator Bob Fenton.
Beginning April 12, FEMA will provide financial relief for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. Anyone who lost a loved one to COVID-19 will be able to apply for retroactive reimbursements for funeral costs, up to $9,000 per burial.
Funeral expenses will count as the purchase of burial, a plot, a headstone, clergy services, cremation, the transfer of remains or other services associated with a funeral. According to National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral with a viewing and burial was $7,640 in 2019.
Funding for the program was included in both COVID-19 stimulus packages passed by Congress recently -- the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act signed by former President Trump in December 2020 and the American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden in March 2021.
Applicants for the program will be required to provide an official death certificate attributing the death either directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and show that the death occurred in the U.S. In addition, they will have to submit funeral expense documents, such as receipts or a funeral home contract. Applicants will also have to provide proof of funeral funds received from other sources, as the program will not reimburse funds received from burial insurance or financial assistance from agencies or other sources.
If multiple people contributed toward funeral costs, they will be able to apply under a single application as applicants and co-applicants. According to FEMA, the agency will reimburse funeral costs for multiple people in the same family, up to a maximum of $35,000.
Consideration of reimbursements for funeral expense began as early as May 2020 when Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) introduced the COVID Funeral Assistance Act. It proposed reimbursements of up to $10,000. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) has also been an advocate for federal funeral assistance.
“Families across this country are living on the edge because of this public health and economic crisis. On top of facing unimaginable hardship and loss, the last thing they should have to worry about is how to pay for funeral expenses,” Lee said.
FEMA has also included a fraud alert on its website.
“We have received reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any such notifications and we do not contact people prior to them registering for assistance,” it reads.
To learn more, applicants can visit the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance page on FEMA.gov, or call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Hot Line at 844-684-6333, or TTY at 800-462-7585.
By Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media
To serve and protect California's many communities is a daunting responsibility -- from entry level jobs to the highest elected positions in public safety. Therefore, qualifications to hold these positions are important considerations as those criteria could mean the difference between life and death.
In the California Legislature, there are a few bills being proposed that aim to specify qualifications for those who take the oath to maintain public safety.
One such bill is Senate Bill (SB) 271, also known as the Sheriff Democracy and Diversity Act, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). It would allow any registered voter to be eligible to be voted county sheriff in California.
\"We want to reimagine a sheriff's department that is accountable to the community they are supposed to serve, and the only way that happens is if we the people have the ability to run a diverse group of candidates, candidates that are concerned with taking care of our communities and not dominating, incarcerating and dehumanizing them,\" said Cat Brooks, executive director of the Justice Teams Network, an organization committed to eliminating “state violence.”
As it currently stands in California, only individuals who possess Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificates can run for the office.
This requirement went into effect in 1989, making Michael Hennessey, the longest serving sheriff of San Francisco, the last civilian in California to be elected to the office in 1980.
\"Since 1988, California voters have come to accept that only individuals with a law enforcement background can competently perform the job of a sheriff. SB 271 puts
an end to that myth,\" said Judge LaDoris Cordell, former Independent Police Auditor for the city of San Jose.
Cordell went on to explain why she believes needing law enforcement experience to properly run the office of the county sheriff is a myth.
\"In 2015, I chaired a Blue Ribbon commission that was convened to evaluate the county's jails in the aftermath of the beating death of Michael Tyree, a mentally ill inmate who was beaten to death by three guards,\" Cordell said. \"What our commission found was a jail system that was horribly mismanaged. We also encountered tremendous resistance from the sheriff and her command staff to providing transparency into the jail operation … so much for law enforcement experience.\"
In California's long history, there has never been a Black person elected to the office of the county sheriff. Both Wiener and Cordell believe that SB 271 could change that.
\"SB 271 returns our state to pre-1988 standards while also bringing us into the 21st century with a populace that is exhausted with the status quo and want a voice and choice in who sits in one of the most powerful positions in our county,\" Cordell said.
According to the text of the bill, “Many current Sheriffs lack mental health or de-escalation training. As recent COVID-19 outbreaks in our jails demonstrates, the skills Sheriffs need to protect public safety include strong management, leadership, and the ability to move quickly and make difficult decisions, rather than the ability to fire a weapon.”
SB 271 has passed the Senate’s Public Safety Committee with a 4-1 vote. It is now being reviewed by the Governance and Finance Committee. A hearing has been set for March 16.
In the lower house of the state Legislature, Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Sacramento) is proposing Assembly Bill (AB) 60. It would disqualify individuals who have been subjected to a military tribunal for any offense that would have been a felony in California from becoming peace officers in the state.
\"The bill would also disqualify any person who has been certified as a peace officer by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training and has had that certification revoked by the commission,\" the bill's text reads.
On March 17, AB 60 was referred to the Assembly committee on Public Safety.
In the same vein, Assembly Bill (AB) 17, also introduced by Cooper, would disqualify an individual from serving as a peace officer if they have been discharged from the military for an offense that would have been a felony in California.
As it stands now, these conditions would not legally bar a person from being hired at a law enforcement agency.
\"Existing law makes the personnel records of peace officers and custodial officers and specified other records confidential and limits the disclosure of those records except in investigations or proceedings concerning the conduct of peace officers or custodial officers, or an agency or department that employs those officers, conducted by a grand jury, a district attorney’s office or the Attorney General’s office,\" the bill's text reads.
Assembly Bill (AB) 89, introduced by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), would increase the qualification standards to become a peace officer.
The Assembly Public Safety committee is currently reviewing AB 17.
AB 89 would raise the minimum age to become a peace officer from 18 to 25, with the exception of individuals under 25 with advanced degrees.
\"The bill would specify that these requirements do not apply to individuals 18 to 24 years of age who are already employed as a peace officer as of the effective date of this act,\" the bill's text reads.
AB 17 has been referred to the Assembly Public Safety committee.
All of these adjusted qualifications being considered for varying law enforcement positions are designed to better regulate some of California's most powerful public servants. Time will tell if using legislation to police the police is effective in solving California's law enforcement-related problems.
In an effort to increase Black representation in its workforce and the tech industry beyond it, Edison International (EI), a Los Angeles County-based utility company, has developed a four-year, $1 million program to provide scholarships of up to $25,000 to eligible students.
The scholarship program is initially focused on Black men and women in California, but military veterans are highly encouraged to apply, according to the company.
“We believe a diverse applicant pool and workforce that reflect the communities we serve to make for better business,” said representatives of the company that also invests in energy services and technologies in a statement.
EI provides renewable energy and distributes electric power through its main holding company Southern California Edison.
The scholarship award is an annual program and will include tuition and targeted support services while students are enrolled at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College for the Powerline Mechanic Certificate and Class A license programs.
Eligible applicants must enroll at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College for the Fall 2021 semester, enroll in the Powerline Mechanic Certificate program, and have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) equivalent. In addition, the applicant must be eligible to work in the United States, possess a valid driver’s license, and be eligible to obtain a Class A license.
Applications must be fully completed as a requirement and they will be accepted through May 17.
The scholarship will cover tuition and needed tools. It will also provide support services, such as transportation and childcare, for the scholarship winners through an agreement with Brotherhood Crusade, a charitable nonprofit.
According to EI, the program’s graduates may qualify for a job at Southern California Edison (SCE), and those who pass new employee assessments will be eligible to start as “groundsmen,” employees who maintain and service equipment and facilities.
EI administrators say the scholarship is being offered in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 47, which also distributes funding for the program.
For more information, visit https://www.edison.com/home/edison-international-lineworker-scholarship.html?
When President Biden signed the country’s third federal COVID-19 stimulus package with direct payments to individuals into law on March 11, it extended the increased unemployment benefits that first went into effect with the CARES Act a year prior.
Supporters of the legislation say, with hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims being filed across the country, unemployment aid is still a necessary part of pandemic relief.
The American Rescue Plan Act extends both the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs through Sept. 6, 2021. In addition to these extensions, each recipient will get an extra $300 of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) each week through Sept. 6.
The maximum duration of PEUC benefits, which are paid to people who exhausted state benefits before finding employment, has been increased from 24 to 53 weeks. PUA benefits, which goes to those who are ineligible for state aid such as independent contractors, have been extended from up to 57 weeks to up to 86 weeks.
The American Rescue Plan also extended the Mixed Income Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program, which was signed into law in December 2020 for workers who were earning both traditional W-2 and self-employment income before they became unemployed. Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients who qualify for MEUC will receive an extra $100 weekly through Sept. 6. To qualify for MEUC, claimants have to receive at least $1 per week from UI and have reported at least $5,000 in self-employment income in 2019.
The relief legislation also waives federal taxes on an individual’s first $10,200 of unemployment benefits collected in 2020, or on the first $20,400 for a married couple’s joint tax return. The tax break applies to individuals and married couples who made less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income in 2020. It also applies to benefits from both UI and PUA. The tax break does not apply to benefits paid out after Dec. 31, 2020.
For unemployment recipients who have already filed their 2020 taxes and paid taxes on their first $10,200 of benefits, the IRS announced Mar. 31 that they will automatically refund the difference beginning in May. Claimants do not have to send in an amended return.
In California, after a year of claim payment delays and other challenges including rampant fraud, the eyes of many in the Golden State are closely watching the Employment Development Department (EDD). Concerned unemployed Californians and their advocates say they want to see whether there would be delays in updating the EDD processes to comply with the new provisions in the American Rescue Plan, including the unemployment program extensions.
The end of their benefit year is coming up for many UI recipients.
On March 26, EDD announced details about the upcoming extensions. The department verified that PUA and PEUC benefits for Californians will be automatically extended without the need to file new claims. The department also said that regular UI claimants whose benefits ran out within their benefit year will need to file a new claim, and that they will inform the claimants of their need to reapply through their online platform, mail or text message. People on the FED-ED program, a California safety net that provides up to 20 weeks of benefit payments during times of high unemployment, is available to those who have used all their PEUC benefits. FED-ED recipients will have their benefits automatically extended as well.
On March 26, EDD also released their extended online dashboard with data on unemployment claims, claim payments and call center activity, along with other data. The release complied with a recommendation from the California State Auditor. Two audits have confirmed EDD’s mismanagement of claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 4, there were over 150,000 unprocessed claims waiting in the department’s queue for over 21 days. The audit established that the delays were caused by EDD and that they were not awaiting claimant action.
\"We are committed to delivering unemployment benefits to eligible Californians as quickly as possible and transparently reporting this information to the public. This dashboard generally shows information about the historic volume of unemployment claims and benefits paid since the start of the pandemic,” says EDD Director Rita Saenz.
The dashboard also includes data on the number of claims filed and benefits paid each month since January 2020, a breakdown of demographics statewide and by county, and the number of unique callers and calls answered each week since Aug. 29, 2020.
Some African American leaders in California are concerned. As the state looks forward to receiving billions in new federal funding this year for development projects, they fear African American and other minority-owned businesses and their workers will be left out.
The leaders say California has not lived up to its commitment to equitably include African American contractors and businesses in the state’s ongoing infrastructure investments. The state has also failed, they say, to include Black-owned institutions like newspapers and other media when informing the public about open bids for taxpayer-funded contracts, hiring and other economic opportunities.
John Warren, the publisher of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, the city’s largest African American-owned publication, said that there is little-to-no community outreach when government agencies allocate funds for contracts and announce job opportunities.
“The notices for the jobs are not being advertised in our Black and Brown newspapers,” Warren said. “If they don't reach out to us from a standpoint of being proactive inclusive, we won’t benefit from these jobs.”
Last Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Pres. Biden announced a $2 trillion infrastructure federal spending plan called the “American Jobs Plan.”
He says, if the U.S. Congress approves it, the proposal would create $19 million jobs. In addition, it would invest in research and development that helps the United States “out-compete” China and other countries around the world.
Biden also promised that his plan would also address existing racial disparities that have resulted from the government’s historical neglect or isolation of African Americans and other minorities when undertaking large-scale national development projects.
“Inaction is not an option,” the President said, chiding the U.S. Congress to pass the bill.
“It is an 8-year program that invests in our roads, our bridges, broadband, airports, ports, fixing our water systems. It is going to repair our V.A. hospitals across the country – many of them more than 50 years old,” Biden said.
Responding to the POTUS’s announcement, Gov. Gavin Newsom sounded upbeat.
“President Biden put forward a transformative vision for a healthier and cleaner future for our country, with unparalleled investments in infrastructure and clean energy which will create millions of high-paying jobs along the way,” said Newsom.
Newsom said California is “uniquely positioned to benefit from these investments.”
The governor cited how California will likely use some of the federal money, citing projects like expanding broadband access; making the state’s electric grid more resilient to wildfires and blackouts, improving schools, hospitals and housing; expanding clean transportation; and more.
Newsom said the spending will also “lift up opportunities for communities too often overlooked.”
To help get the word about the infrastructure plan out, Gov. Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris toured an Oakland-based facility on Monday morning to emphasize the importance of the American Jobs Plan. Vice Pres. Harris held a listening session with local leaders, including a small business owner who received resources and funding from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
But even though the California state government has already set aside lump sums of money to invest in the building and maintenance of state highways, bridges, and additional mass transit infrastructure, Black leaders say African American companies have yet to equitably benefit from those projects.
The overall infrastructure budget for Caltrans, for example, includes a $273 million investment from Senate Bill 1, passed in 2017, to repair the state’s roads and various transportation systems. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responsible for managing and distributing $491 million in funds, allocated by the California Transportation Commission. Caltrans is also in charge of distributing job opportunities including construction contracts and jobs across the state.
Gene Hale, Chairman of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, said the state’s transport agencies need to increase the spending among minority groups, “to make a lasting impression in Black and Latino communities.”
“Caltrans should also increase their small business goals on state-funded highway projects, and also continue to do more outreach to reach these disadvantaged communities,” said Hale.
Toks Omishakin, the director of Caltrans – who Gov. Newsom pointed in September 2019 -- said his department has opened the Caltrans Office of Race and Equity (CORE), which works closely with the Office of Civil Rights for equity efforts in August 2020.
The transportation agency also hosted a virtual business summit to support local businesses.
The inaugural virtual small business summit included 800 businesses from across the state networking with federal government officials and representatives from banking institutions.
Despite the success of the event, Omishakin said that Caltrans struggled to get participation from Black and Latino business owners.
“One of the things we need to do is engage more with the communities,” Omishakin said. “We need to reach out more to people and businesses to let them know what opportunities exist.”
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for Black Californians in the last quarter of 2020 was 15 %, the highest in the state. Latinos were a close second at 13 % within the same fiscal quarter.
Warren said using trusted messengers like established Black-owned media publications around the state is a practical way to promote equitable hiring processes and distribution of funds.
“They have to put money in inclusive media for community outreach -- the same way they did with the census,” Warren said. “There has to be a directive that these jobs be inclusively placed before us and made available to us.”
Omishakin, Caltrans director, said that ethnic media is a viable option for community engagement in Black and Latino communities.
“We’re going to step up even more on this type of engagement,” Omishakin said. “We know that some communities rely on ethnic media to get our information, so we're going to do more to get the engagement we were looking for.”
Omishakin said Caltrans is committed to boosting equity in its funding programs and hiring processes.
One important way to address issues of inclusion issues of diversity and equity across the board, “is through our business practices, and how we give more opportunity to marginalized businesses,” said Omishakin.
Hale, who is also the CEO of G&C Equipment Corporation, a construction equipment, material, and supplies company said the transportation agency must be willing to set up goals that prioritize minority businesses for government contracting jobs in predominantly Black and Latino communities.
Hale says he also supports direct outreach to African American businesses.
The businessman and civic leader said Caltrans needs to design programs that, “specifically reach the disadvantaged minority communities and businesspeople.”
Advocates for universal broadband access and internet affordability are lauding Pres. Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
They praise the plan for recognizing the important of internet access, pointing out that broadband has become as necessary as electricity. The push for more access to affordable internet comes as families across the United States are having to adjust to remote work and learning due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
On Mar. 31, the Biden Administration announced the American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion jobs, infrastructure and green energy proposal meant to reshape the U.S. economy. In his announcement, Biden said the plan would create “the most resilient, innovative economy in the world,” through multiple projects intended to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and create millions of jobs.
“This is not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve done since we built the Interstate Highway System and the Space Race,” in the 1950s and '60s,” said Biden.
Though the proposal is widely referenced as an infrastructure plan, funding would go beyond traditional federal government spending on bridges and roads, public transit, clean energy and water systems to include unprecedented levels of investment in electric vehicles, affordable housing, community colleges and childcare facilities. It also includes large investments in innovation, including $100 billion in workforce development programs for underserved communities and $400 billion for home or community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities.
The $2 trillion plan would be funded by tax increases on corporations, including raising the main corporate tax rate to 28 %. The current tax rate, which was lowered in the Trump tax cuts of 2017, is 21 %. The proposal says that these corporate tax changes would raise the estimated $2 trillion needed over 15 years to fund the initiative.
One of the key provisions of the infrastructure plan is $100 billion going toward high-speed broadband. The goal for the funding is to give all Americans access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet by promoting competition and lowering prices, as well as building out high-speed broadband connections to Americans in rural and low-income areas who don’t have broadband. In addition to access, affordability was emphasized in Biden’s speech announcing the plan. He referenced efforts during the pandemic to help low-income Americans keep their internet access when they couldn’t afford the bills.
“When I say affordable, I mean it. Americans pay too much,” Biden said.
As the federal push to fund universal broadband works its way through Congress, efforts to widen broadband access in California continue.
The day before the announcement of Biden’s infrastructure plan, Mar. 30, a coalition of organizations including the California Hospital Association, California School Boards Association, California State Association of Counties and Rural County Representatives of California called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to designate $8 million in funding for high speed 100 Mbps broadband infrastructure. The proposal stated figures based on a California Public Utilities Commission December 2020 broadband cost report.
“By investing in broadband, we are investing in our communities, our economy and the future of our state. We can no longer afford inaction and the California Forward Action Fund is proud to join this broad coalition in requesting a one-time investment that is a critical start to building the infrastructure needed to serve all Californians,” said Micah Weinberg, CEO of the advocacy organization California Forward Action Fund.
The California Department of Education has launched a number of programs to designed to ensure that all children in the state have access to computers they need for learning and to the internet, but advocates say more work needs to be done across all age groups.
The coalition also stated that their funding request complements several broadband bills currently making their way through the California Legislature (AB 14, SB 4 and AB 34) rather than competing with them.
On Apr. 1, California Forward hosted a conference called “Building Equitable Economies: Broadband Funding Innovations,” where presenters shared information on current broadband access efforts and the challenges that affect broadband access and affordability. Participants shared data from a 2021 broadband adoption survey conducted by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and USC researchers. The survey found that affordability was the largest self-reported reason for the lack of internet among unconnected and under-connected households.
To combat affordability concerns, panelists said that internet service providers, who typically offer low-cost broadband services for lower-income households, need to raise awareness about their affordable internet packages.
“There is a clear need for the ISPs to significantly increase advertising. They have to expand partnerships with community-based organizations, [who] are the trusted messengers and honest brokers. The practices at the call centers need to be those such that the digitally-disadvantaged are valued as customers,” said John Chiang, Co-Chair of California Forward and former State Treasurer and Controller.
Entrepreneur, Marshawn Govan, says WeFunder has been an easier tool to raise capital for his business model
ONME Business Profiles
FRESNO, CA—As people continue to struggle with access to affordable credit and income tax returns, given the recent changes in the tax laws with the enactment of The PATH ACT and the Global Coronavirus Pandemic, African-American entrepreneur, Marshawn Govan, developer of Innovative Finance Tax Advance Mobile Payments \"Fin-TAMP,\" created a loan app tailored to the Black and Latino community to revolutionize the tax industry in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic--banks were not lending to people of color who were struggling with access to capital even before the pandemic.
Govan believes he has the best modest investment solution (under $150.00 investment) for budding African-American entrepreneurs and the perfect virtual product solutions for a niche market.
\"We are excited to now be raising capital on ,Wefunder to allow mainstream consumers to invest our company to build the next financial institution which will very soon redefine the tax industry for the better, \" said Govan. \"A future Equity Agreement (SAFE) gives people the right to future shares in our company.\"
Govan has raised over $1,800.00 on Wefunder in a short period of time toward his problem-solving virtual tax solution business.
\"Our Go-To-Market (GTM) combines mobile payments, tax preparation and tax refund together to make tax refunds more convenient for low and middle income class Americans. As a leading tax preparation technology company, we are always looking forward to growing our share in tax refund bank products.\"
Find out more about Govan below and his company expansion, thanks to alternative ways of funding his dream.
Download more information about Govan's booming industry:
MKG Enterprises Corp is a diversified financial service company that provides consumer and commercial loans primarily to customers with limited access to consumer credit from banks, thrifts, credit cards, and lenders. Through our platform MKG Enterprises Auto Finance division will be able to finance monthly automobile payments and increase flexible car buying and auto loan options for used automobiles and refinance existing auto loans to consumers with limited access to credit using the mobile loan app.
There is a growing segment of investors that are demanding that their capital be invested for both financial and social return. Economic inequality is rising exponentially. The future success of the US economy will hinge on our ability to invest in housing, healthcare, education, small business, and other vital services to ensure that the people and places that are being left out are able to share in the newly created value.
History: The tax industry is a seasonal business as more consumers rely on using their mobile phone devices nowadays Americans Check Their Phones 8 Billion Times a Day.
Mobile payment apps have been around for years, but companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung have all launched new tap-to-pay services in the 2014-2015 timeframe. \"We're seeing a perfect storm of technology in the mobile device, tax industry technology in the open market, and do-it-yourself tax preparation web based and IRS free file applications being put into the retail tax industry environment.
The vast majority of Americans – 95% – now own a cell phone of some kind. The share of Americans that own smart phones is now 77%, up from just 35%
MKG Tax Refund is an alternative banking mobile finance and tax preparation non-recourse lending app accessible to 95% of American who electronically file their taxes.
Our innovative approach has enabled us to leverage our financial products consistently which has consequently elevated us into the fastest growing black owned tax refund FinTech in the US market,” stated Mr. Govan.
Case Studies: Tax-Time Financial Products that African-American Households are 36 percent more likely to use the products than white households.More than 20 million American taxpayers spent at least an estimated half a billion dollars in 2017 on financial products that are based on their anticipated tax refund, according to the National Consumer Law Center. Tax-time financial products, typically offered by banks and made available by providers of tax preparation services, include refund advances and refund anticipation loans (credit products) and refund transfers (deposit product). In fiscal year 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processed more than 150 million individual federal income tax returns, and issued almost 120 million refunds totaling almost $383 billion, according to IRS.
Representatives at the media briefing were disgusted at the City of Fresno for disregarding the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan (SWFSP) passed by the the Fresno City Council in 2017; a group of landowners located in southwest Fresno, represented by Attorney John Kinsey wish to rezone their existing businesses back to light industrial use versus the current neighborhood mixed use.
The virtual meeting tonight with the Planning Commission and the Fresno City Council will be at 6:00 PM tonight regarding the approval of rezone request, application no. P20-01665. Public comments are allowed via email (Erik.Young@fresno.gov ) or via zoom during the virtual meeting. People can join by phone: 1-669-900-9128 Webinar ID: 938 0971 426
Dudley Najieb replayed clips from the Feb. 3 Planning Commission meeting where Fresno's district 3 councilman, Miguel Arias, is in the middle of the miscommunication web regarding the neighboring community being contacted about the rezone matter and his justification for waiving the neighborhood meeting.
Members appointed to the neighborhood committees admitted to not doing their due diligence to read the fine black-and-white print regarding the rezone request.
Dudley Najieb also pointed out the decades of inconsistent funding designated for district 3 through redevelopment grants and City of Fresno funding being rerouted to other parts of Fresno; the act defunct the infrastructure of southwest Fresno as a result of budget mismanagement under the direction of councilpersons sitting in the district 3 seat over the years and the City Council as whole who agreed and sanctioned the process.
Kenneth (Ken) Corbin serves as the commissioner of the Wage and Investment (W&I) Division, responsible for the administration of tax laws governing individual wage earners in the United States. Ken was appointed as Commissioner, W&I Division, in January 2017. In January 2021, Ken was appointed for an additional role as chief taxpayer experience officer to help unify and expand efforts across the agency to serve taxpayers.
Ken began his career in government service at the IRS Atlanta Service Center in 1986.
Ken holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and philosophy from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ken and his wife have two children.
Susan (Sue) Simon is the director of the Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education (CARE) organization. Prior to this assignment, Sue served as the director, field assistance in the Wage and Investment (W&I) Division.
Sue is a graduate of the 2014 Candidate Development Program; she is a graduate of the State University of New York at Old Westbury where she earned a bachelor’s degree in visual arts with a business management emphasis.
Sue and her husband have four adult children and enjoy traveling and visiting with friends and family.
-numbers for unemployment that is not taxable:
UI NUMBERS $10.2k FOR SINGLES $20.4k for joint filers\n-https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free\n-Form 14039 for fraud\n-https://www.irs.gov/refunds
Social security number or ITIN
Your filing status
Your exact refund amount