Issues and News

Trickle Down Gentrification

As we continue to see a housing shortage in California, renters and low-to-middle income families continue to be unfairly burdened with skyrocketing housing costs and trickle-down gentrification.

In an article titled, “Poor People are Running Out of Places to Live” published by Slate.com on October 25th, 2017, author Henry Grabar writes:

“What happened to all those apartments for people with very low incomes? Some of them are still occupied by very-low income households—nearly 40 percent of households with incomes between $15,000 and $30,000 pay more than half their income in rent, leaving them with little to spend or save. For households earning less than $15,000, that portion rises to more than 70 percent.

“But something else happened to those apartments: They became the homes of people with low incomes, who couldn’t afford low-income apartments that had been taken by people with middle incomes. And so on. It’s a kind of cascading national process of gentrification. Low-income apartments are desperately needed, but if you don’t build market-rate apartments for middle-income residents, it’s still those at the bottom who get hurt.”

When we talk about development and housing for our community, we must include affordable housing for a sustainable future for all Nevada County residents.

#MeToo

On October 6th 2017, I had the honor and privilege to help raise money for Community Beyond Violence (formerly DVSAC) by performing in the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.  The play, more than 20 years old, is still relevant and as poignant as ever.  Sadly, statistics on sexual violence haven’t changed much in 20 years. Eve Ensler managed to take a difficult topic and treat it with power as well as humor.

After the show, I was touched by the brave women who shared their stories of domestic violence and abuse, high-lighting the important work being done in Nevada County by organizations like Community Beyond Violence.

As the #MeToo movement exploded on social media this week, many of us have been reminded of the unfortunate, almost-universal experience of harassment that women face.

I have had my news feed covered in #MeToo for the last few days. A friend posted that she has seen a “Not me” post and felt herself questioning the validity of this.

I remember being 23 years old and talking to a friend about the night my date had sex with me when I “wasn’t really into it.” I told her how I had said no but that he went ahead anyway. I said more which I won’t say here. My friend listened to the whole story and then put her arms around me. She brushed my hair with her fingers. When she next looked me in the eye, she said, “Do you know that you were raped?” I was shocked.

There are many, many women who don’t realize that coerced, forced, drug-induced, non-consensual sex is assault, is rape. We think that if we say no but don’t fight, we are somehow culpable.

We live with inherent patriarchy, with internalized male superiority. So many women believe it is their duty to find a way to not get raped, to not be assaulted, to protect themselves from assailants.

I hope, I sincerely hope with all I have that there are women who can say with honesty, “Not me.” I hope for my mother, my aunts, my sisters, my nieces, and for every other women on this planet.

In a culture of male dominance and male preference, however, it is hard to know what the standards of perception tell each woman. “Is it rape if he bought me dinner?” “Is it rape if I didn’t lock my door?” “Is it rape if I was wearing a skirt?” “Is it rape if he’s my husband?” There are women who honestly don’t know the right answers to these questions.

And that is the work we must do.

Nevada County Stands for Love

On Friday September 29th, hundreds of Nevada County residents took to the streets of Grass Valley to show the world that racism will not be tolerated in our community.

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On Tuesday September 26th in the afternoon, a young black man was taunted with racial slurs on Mill Street in Grass Valley. His father made an internet video explaining what had happened.  The video went viral.

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The Grass Valley Police Department spoke with the family the next day about the incident and the community banded together to create an event to show the family and the world that Nevada County stands for love and the inclusion of all.

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This is who we are.  This is Nevada County.

Congressperson Ami Bera Visits Grass Valley

On Saturday September 23rd , Congressperson Ami Bera, representing the 7th Congressional District of California, made a stop in Grass Valley for a fundraising event at our home in Grass Valley.

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Ami Bera has been instrumental in legislation supporting government accountability, such as the “No Budget No Pay” bill, which would withhold pay from Congress if they fail to pass a budget on time. As a former educator, he has also dedicated himself to making higher education both accessible and relevant to our country and young people in this changing economy.  It was refreshing to hear the Congressperson speak frankly about national politics.

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