May 22, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

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Assemblywoman Brownley Says California Should Put Schools First, Not Prisons

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, said California has shamefully put prisons ahead of schools in its priorities, worrying more about overcrowding in prisons and less about increasing class sizes in schools.

“We can cut $6 billion from schools, but we can’t cut $1.2 billion from prisons,” Brownley, chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, said at a news conference on the steps of the Capitol called by Assemblyman Pedro Nava to highlight an Oxnard hunger strike over education spending cuts.

“We talk about overcrowding in prisons, but what about schools?” she asked. “If our children are not in an environment that is conducive to learning and in a system that believes they can succeed, they’ll get frustrated. Frustration leads to drop outs, drop outs lead to crime, and crime leads to prisons. We have lost our way. We are not investing in education, we are foreclosing!”

Assemblywoman Brownley noted California ranks 47th in the nation in per pupil spending and after recent cuts, most likely is dead last. “We bus our convicts to our prison doors, yet we can’t afford to bus our kids to school,” she said.

She called on California to wake up and make a commitment to education so it can restore the national reputation it once enjoyed for offering top-notch education.

An Oxnard group called Solidarity to Achieve and Recover Valued Education (STARVE) presented Assemblywoman Brownley with a T-shirt emblazoned with their logo after a weeklong hunger strike to protest 2009-10 budget cuts to education.


Consumers Invited to Be the Change with New Apparel Labeling Program

Fashion-forward consumers with a conscience are invited to help make the fashion industry greener and more socially responsible by participating in a new apparel labeling program’s 90-day public review process at starting today.

Labeling Ecologically Approved Fabrics™, or LEAF, intends to become a trusted, user-friendly clearinghouse where consumers can learn if an apparel product has met various environmental and social standards within its complex supply chain process.  A nonprofit organization, LEAF will not perform any certifications; it will communicate to consumers whether a garment has been certified by any of some 15 or more third-party certification organizations. 

LEAF’s cost-effective eco-labeling solution may be printed on tags attached to apparel, incorporated into apparel company advertising or made available through LEAF or company websites. U.S. shoppers currently have no easy way to make responsible apparel purchases.

“The journey of one item of apparel such as a T-shirt can be quite complex, as any single product can go though up to six distinct stages from farm to finished product that take place in  different places around the globe,” says LEAF founder Elinor Averyt of Santa Monica. “A growing number of reputable apparel designers and brands are meeting comprehensive environmental and social responsibility standards, but they currently have no reliable mechanism for communicating this to U.S. consumers.”

Consumer feedback received through an online questionnaire during LEAF’s 90-day public review will be incorporated to create the final LEAF program. Industry stakeholders will complete a parallel survey. Both questionnaires are based upon the proposed LEAF program posted online.

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