Tag Archives: politics

Tahoma community members share opinions on the 2020 election

By Yasmeen Ali, Kainoa Garo and Ian Vu

Staff Writers

Many people from Summit Tahoma, a charter school in San Jose, show strong opinions on the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Many teachers and students have knowledge about the candidates; Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris appear to be inspiring the most interest so far. 

As of Oct. 9, a total of 19 Democrats and four Republicans are running in the 2020 presidential election. Opinion on campus seems to lean toward a Democratic view; all the teachers and students interviewed at Summit Tahoma for this story expressed the most interest in Democratic candidates. 

For example, Tahoma math teacher Douglas Wills said, “I’m in love with Elizabeth Warren. Every time she talks I’m, like, in love with her … she’s a little to the left of me with some economic things, but, in general, she lines up pretty well with me.”

See below for political perspective from the Tahoma community:

Opinions of the Tahoma community on presidential politics

Some interviewees explained that the presidential campaign is currently focused on whether or not President Donald Trump should stay in office. Tahoma history teacher Kevin Franey said, “A lot of focus is on the Republican side keeping Trump in office, and on the Democratic side it’s mostly about beating Trump.”

Tahoma Executive Director Jonathan Stewart explained how extreme views are becoming more common. “The political center ground in the U.S. has eroded a little bit, so people are more on the political extremes, either on the right or the left.”

Particular community members expressed their wants for more variety in the candidates who are running for president. Tahoma senior Ethan Nguyen said, “One change I would love to see is that I’m hoping that the establishment — in both the DNC and RNC which is Democratic and Republic national committees — I’m hoping that they allow more candidates this time … people were forced to pick a side.”

A few of the individuals interviewed said presidential elections in the United States require improvement. “There’s a lot of problems in our system. I think the fact that it depends on so much money is a big problem. It puts a lot of pressure on candidates to bend to people that are able to supply that money,” Tahoma Assistant Director Megan Toyama said. “I think that the electoral college — and not being based purely on the popular vote and it being based on the electoral college — gives some states more power than others.”

Expeditions Dean Monica Hanson, who runs the electives team at Summit Tahoma, also identified multiple problems in which how voters chose certain candidates. “I think we get too caught up in cult of personality … but I wonder at what point we’re actually looking at the plans — and their track record of being a politician and getting stuff taken care of and actually doing what they say — rather than this is someone I’d want to hang out with.” 

The presidential election of 2020 is important as it determines how our future regarding the government might become. Tahoma biology teacher Alexis Lorenz said, “I think as up-and-coming voters, our students need to always take that opportunity to vote. As my dad always says: You can’t bitch if you don’t vote. And we all dearly like to complain, and so, if you’re gonna complain, you have to have done your part in making your voice heard.”

State senator visits Tahoma for press conference

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Oct. 8, State Senator Jim Beall visited Summit Public Schools: Tahoma for a press conference with the journalism class.

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State Senator Jim Beall emphasizes diversity in government

By Uma Datta, Maddie Knight and Jae-Lyn Miranda

Staff Writers

To California State Senator Jim Beall, diversity in government is incredibly important. It allows connections with the American people. Whether it be a different gender, race, or sexuality than the majority, Sen. Beall believes diversity will play a huge role in the upcoming elections. 

“One of the things a lot of people talk about is maybe there should be more diversity in the senate, and I agree with that,” Sen. Beall said. 

On Oct. 8, Sen. Beall visited Summit Tahoma for a press conference with the journalism Expeditions class. Many issues were brought up, including the benefits of diversity in government. Sen. Beall is a supporter of government diversity and believes it will strengthen, not hurt the government.

Sen. Beall is an especially strong supporter of women in government. He believes that a woman in charge would change the future of the United States. 

“I personally think that women would change the way of how to do things if they have leadership,” Sen. Beall said. He thinks it’s time for a change. The senator started his career working in a group where both men and women were politically active. This showed him the value of diversity in his workspace. 

Sen. Beall said, “The men are a little bit more ego.” He added, “I like to work in a more collaborative way with people. I guess it’s easier to work with women on a team.” He is looking forward to having more women in places of power: “I think by next election, or the one after that, we might have a majority of senators being female.” 

Both of Sen. Beall’s top candidates for the upcoming presidential election are women: Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. “It’s neat to have a female president, don’t you think?” 

Sen. Beall resonates with Kamala Harris because they have a connection, both being California politicians; and he admires Elizabeth Warren for having a clear stance on issues, something he said the other candidates lack.

The senator is term-limited and will leave his seat next year. He is not the only one; two of his fellow senators are leaving as well: “Three white men, if you want to put it that way, are leaving; in each case, there are females running, LGBTQ+, and others running for those seats.” 

Sen. Beall is eagerly awaiting the upcoming presidential election. With five women still in the running for president, it remains anybody’s game. 

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State senator speaks on legislative accomplishments

By Kylie Gallegos, Destiny Holliman and Emily Nguyen

Staff Writers

A San Jose State alumni, State Senator Jim Beall has dedicated his life to public service and focused his legislative career on providing health care; he also received an award for his work in public transit. 

“When you have the stresses of trying to achieve; or something might have happened to you in a personal relationship; or maybe there was something that happened to you in your family that caused you to get upset; you need someone to talk to, so we are trying to establish the counseling programs in all the schools,” Sen. Beall said, explaining why he passed legislation for mental health services for youth.

On Oct. 8, Sen. Beall visited Summit Public Schools: Tahoma and answered student questions about his experiences as a senator and the laws he has passed. For example, Sen. Beall introduced  SB 12 in 2019, which requires a minimum of 100 youth centers to address mental health issues for young Californians. These centers would not require insurance or citizenship. 

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, it’s not really a health problem; it’s really just your own feelings or something’, but I think it is a health problem,” Sen. Beall said. 

The senator also introduced SB 191, which helps young residents receive services for mental health and substance abuse. The bill provides services to K-12 students by establishing partnerships in school districts and county mental health plans. 

Sen. Jim Beall also mentioned he’s working on getting the governor to sign a foster care bill. In addition to that, he has passed bills to help better support foster children.

Sen. Beall helped pass SB 319 into law; the bill allows public health nurses to observe the use of psychotropic drugs on foster children. The bill ensures that public health nurses are permitted to use mental and health information to help ensure that the child’s developmental needs are being met. 

The senator’s legislation is not only focused on mental health issues; he also focuses on transportation. He talked about his transportation legislation and how he has passed multiple transportation-related bills.

The bill SB 152 reduces the complicated application process for Active Transportation Programs (which encourage biking and walking). The bill also provides funding for pedestrian safety.

Sen. Beall ended the press conference by returning to the issue of substance abuse and how he feels it should be dealt with by the California legislature: “We should have full health-care services for anybody that has a substance abuse problem, and I’ve been working on that for a long time.” 

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State senator’s history inspires his focus on making change

By Grace Mcmorrow, Eric Spyropoulos and Dania Zamudio

Staff Writers

State Senator Jim Beall was raised in San Jose, California. When he was in his teenage years, he started working in the fields to support his family, after their house burned down. He witnessed the mistreatment of the other workers in the fields, which inspired him to make a change. 

Sen. Beall’s focus is not making money; he wants to make changes and help make California a better place. “It’s not about yourself, not about making money, none of that.”

On Oct.8, Sen. Beall spoke to a class of student journalists at Summit Tahoma and explained that one of his primary goals is treating people with physical and mental health issues. “I think we should fund more treatment programs,” he said. “We should have full health-care services for people with substance abuse problems.” 

He also wrote a bill for foster care, Assembly Bill 12, which helps people ages 18 to 21, allowing them to attend college or preparation courses with housing made available.

Sen. Jim Beall said he studied urban planning and social sciences. This is part of his ideals as a politician. Sen. Beall believes in working on preventing climate change. 

Sen. Beall said that California should be a sanctuary state. He believes that splitting up the family for immigration is unacceptable. He said, “I would develop a process … for them to become a U.S. citizen.” 

Sen. Beall believes selective enforcement of the law is inappropriate. He said, “If you have justice, you need to have equal justice … so you have to have everyone treated the same.”  He believes that sometimes the justice system doesn’t work in terms of equal justice.  

The senator is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. He believes that there should be more diversity in the State Senate and, after the election, he estimated that the majority of the senators are going to be females. 

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State Senator Jim Beall addresses affordable housing options, concerns and solutions

By Zachary Daniel, Henry Pierce and Cyrus Shakeri

Staff Writers

State Senator Jim Beall believes there are major inconveniences in California related to jobs and housing and those factors contribute to the difficulties of being successful in San Jose. He attended a press conference held by Summit News on Oct. 9 to discuss this.

“The problem is there are too many jobs and not enough housing,” Sen. Beall said, providing student journalists with the ideas and solutions that he has for his district. SB-5 and SB-9 are some of the forefront bills Sen. Jim Beall has advocated for that have the intention of improving San Jose’s housing situation. 

Sen. Beall has served as a San Jose City Councilman, Santa Clara County Supervisor, and legislator in the State Assembly. In addition to housing costs, he has demonstrated an interest in public transportation, mental health and foster care.

Sen. Beall plans on improving the housing crisis in the Bay Area by providing funding to local governments to collaborate on state-approved community revitalization plans. He said, “My job is to have it done right,” and claims that this will create affordable housing for hard-working Californians and better the opportunities that the Bay Area provides.

“If housing options were provided, then people wouldn’t have to move to places like Los Banos, or be forced to double up,” Sen. Beall believes that if the expense of housing is decreased, more people will be able to live in the Bay Area, and they wouldn’t need to spend lots of money or drive farther for their daily commute to work.

According to CBS SF Bay Area, in places like Stockton and Sacramento, a weighted 11.2 percent of the workforce commute every day to work or school (310,496 people live in Stockton alone, meaning 34,100 people are affected on a day-to-day basis by the housing shortage).

Article SB-4 strongly encourages increased housing development located close to transit and job centers by removing restrictive local development policies. This secures the acceptance that every jurisdiction contributes its fair share to a housing solution while acknowledging relevant differences among communities.

Sen. Beall’s SP-6 encourages housing production in California by requiring the state to identify sufficient and adequate sites for housing construction. This will provide more resources to companies looking to build more housing, and over time will decrease the price of living.

SB-9 is a restructuring plan that enables more housing for low-income families through the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC). This bill means more funding for the construction of affordable housing units at no cost to the state.

Climate march shows dedication to cause, but more action is needed

The Student Informer

Political and current event opinion from Ben Alexander

Climate change is perhaps the most dire threat facing humanity to date, which is why it is imperative that we take real, substantial action. Simply raising awareness is not enough — true political change is necessary.

Given the gravity of the threat of global warming, up to 40,000 protesters gathered in downtown San Francisco to protest political inaction on Friday, Sept. 20. Organizers from the group Youth vs Apocalypse, which was supported by the group 350 Bay Area, lead the action in San Francisco.

The Climate Strike was part of a worldwide action that included 130 countries and was hailed as a victory by organizers.  

Yet it is important to recognize that this one Climate Strike is but the first step in a long but necessary process. To declare the strike a complete victory is to ignore the dire situation we are in now and the necessary action that must be taken. 

This march was a precursor to a UN summit on climate change, encouraging governments to take action – action which is undoubtedly necessary. According to the 2018 UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, human activities have already caused a 1°C increase in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels and temperature rise is expected to reach 1.5°C by some point between 2032 and 2050. 

While the IPCC report estimates reaching net zero CO2 emissions and declining emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gasses would halt global warming on the scale we are seeing now, it is also important to recognize the dangers of allowing increases in global warming. Increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather has already been observed in correlation with global warming and this is only the beginning. The report further estimates that as temperatures increase, so do the risks associated with them, stating that consequences for a 2°C increase in temperature would be greater than those of a 1.5°C increase, which is why it is imperative that we act now.

Protesters march on Beale Street in downtown San Francisco. PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Alexander

It is abundantly clear that action on climate change must therefore be taken. Protests such as the one on Sept. 20 are one method of such action, but they cannot exist alone. 

Organizers of the strike realized this and thus had specific goals in mind. Corporations Amazon BlackRock and Bank of America were targeted for their connections with businesses that contribute to climate change (Amazon was also targeted for poor worker treatment and collaboration with ICE), while PG&E was targeted for using non-renewable energies. Federal legislators Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) were further targeted for their lack of support for the Green New Deal, proposed legislation for massive investment in green technology which organizers supported. 

While these are reasonable targets — they all are in positions of power, whether those are political or financial, and all targets do have the ability to influence climate change with that power — it is important to realize that this march has not resulted in any of these changes coming to pass yet. While this march has perhaps brought climate change more into the public spotlight for a few days, it cannot be considered a true victory.

The fact of the matter is that, at this point, simply raising awareness about climate change is not enough. The magnitude of the climate crisis before us requires more immediate concrete action. 

Does that mean we should not protest and exercise our First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly or petition government? Of course not — it simply means that we must do more than an occasional protest. Only through constant political pressure can we make the radical change necessary to combat the climate crisis.

Protesters march on Market Street in San Francisco. PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Alexander

In the context of protests this looks like not just one protest, but many, ensuring that the issue of climate change is in the center of discussions. Further protests against climate change must also be disruptive — they must exist in such a way that they cannot be ignored. While this was somewhat accomplished due to the scale of the march on Friday, it can also come from civil disobedience, a tried and tested strategy of political advocacy.

These political actions must result in fundamental changes to the global economy. The goal has clearly been defined by the aforementioned IPCC report: it is essential that we meet a net zero emissions goal.

This requires government investment in renewable energy and regulation of corporations. This means limiting greenhouse gas emissions, using sustainable farming methods that aid carbon sequestration efforts and also addressing the effects of the climate crisis. 

Communities around the world are already feeling the effects of rising sea levels, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather, and ecosystem loss. The world’s solutions to climate change cannot ignore these people — we must also mitigate the damages that our world has already and will undoubtedly suffer due to global warming. 

Policy proposals such as the Green New Deal encompass the essence of these ideas. This resolution, proposed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), sets out a loose plan for addressing climate change by meeting the goal of net zero emissions while promoting high-wage jobs. 

Beyond advocating for real changes in our governments, we can have a personal impact on climate change, although far less of one than a government. This can come from the power of people as consumers. If possible, buying sustainable products or simply buying or using less of non-sustainable goods can reduce personal impact and perhaps, on a large scale, convince corporations to be more mindful of the environment around them.

In any case, we must be willing to continue advocacy to address what is perhaps the greatest threat to humanity of our era. We cannot declare a false victory and move on with our lives without creating real, substantial, change.

Featured Image (at the top of this post): Protesters gather on Jackson Street near the end of the march route. PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Alexander

San Jose city councilmember visits Rainier student journalists

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Sept. 25, San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis came to Summit Public School: Rainier for a press conference to share his story of becoming a councilmember and talk about his goals for the city of San Jose. 

 

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San Jose City Councilman Johnny Khamis uses his passion to help the environment

By McKayla Castigador, Vu Nguyen and Van Tran 

Staff Writers

Johnny Khamis is a San Jose councilman for District 10 who uses his financial and business background to assist the city of San Jose. He was an immigrant from Lebanon who arrived here in 1976, needing to learn English, and he struggled to make a living. However, his hard work allowed him to use his skills in finance and business to help San Jose.

He advocates for people to be educated on conserving gas and electricity. Because of this, he is driven to implement strategies to combat climate change. 

“It’s important for us to make sure we get people educated about conserving,” Councilmember Khamis said on Sept. 25, at a student-led press conference at Summit Rainier.

San Jose leaders have been doing what they can to improve the city’s environmental condition by buying clean energy for the city, increasing regulations for construction and recycling. However, Councilmember Khamis still believes that more things could be done. Therefore, he has come up with other ideas to combat climate change.

Councilman Khamis would like to try and find a way to reuse methane gasses. He references the idea of putting a tarp on cow manure to extract the methane gas for electricity.

One of the biggest projects that the committees worked on was building the Zero Waste Energy Development partnership, where they take garbage and efficiently remove methane from it. They then recycle the methane to make gasoline to fuel the garbage trucks.

Councilmember Khamis’ personal feelings toward the city show his care for the environment. “I planted more trees in the city than any other council members,” Councilman Khamis explained, acknowledging that he has planted 50-60 trees with his family. He also spoke about investing money into planting trees in the community. 

In San Jose, the cost of living is very high. Councilman Khamis explained that the reason why it is so expensive is that San Jose takes the environment into account. San Jose reserves land for environmental purposes and has regulations for the energy used in construction.

Councilman Khamis is very passionate about what he does. He acknowledged that his job isn’t the easiest and that politicians need to have the heart to help people.

Councilman Khamis explained, “Don’t do it for the money — You got to have the heart to be a councilmember.” 

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Councilmember Johnny Khamis seeks to help the community

By Marion Delos, Jess Lara Jose Rodriguez and Andres Ruelas 

Staff Writers

San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis focuses on helping the San Jose community, helping out with the homeless, after school programs and community colleges. 

“I’ve been really proud to represent our city,“ Councilmember Khamis said, before speaking on how he is one of the only councilmembers who has actively made moves to better his community by planting more trees than anyone else on the council, as well as planting some personally with his family. He is proud of having an increasing amount of trees in the city of San Jose. 

Additionally, with taxes, the city council has been spending millions of dollars on protecting our city. Councilmember Khamis said, “The city has been spending millions of dollars every year on different things like addressing homelessness.” Since he came into office, the city has spent up to $2 million dedicated to the homeless. 

San Jose is currently spending nearly $30 million from their general fund for the homeless and to finance after-school programs, according to Councilmember Khamis. The city is also putting out further spendings of $1.5 million per year to support the school systems, and more than $500,000, annually, is spent on support for children and  families who are on the food stamp program. 

Addressing climate change, San Jose is now buying clean energy such as GHG free energy and energy from solar-energy companies, according to Councilmember Khamis. They are also no longer spending much money on natural gas and coal-fired power, which now allows a cleaner mix of energy, compared to PG&E, and selling it to residents for 1% less. 

Councilmember Khamis is one of the people who brought out the “straw ban” where residents are no longer allowed to get straws at restaurants unless asked for, and has also increased requirements for all new construction so they now have to use electronic instead of using natural gas. With all the recycled items, the councilmember is thinking of ways to turn those recycled items into energy, like they do in countries such as Sweden and Denmark. 

Councilmember Khamis also makes sure he is involved with his community even if it means missing out on family events. On weekends, he attends community events; goes to marathons and community gatherings; and even has office hours where people can come in and ask questions, give complaints, or just converse with him in general. 

“Not every councilmember does as much as I do, to reach out to the public, but I like it; I like talking to people; I like solving problems, ’cause that’s what a council member is supposed to do,” Councilmember Khamis said. 

When Councilmember Khamis was running for office, the runner-ups were well-known competitors. To win, Councilmember Khamis out-worked everyone and spent his time walking to nearly 16,000 doors to talk to people to get where he is today. 

Councilmember Khamis explained, “That was a big obstacle — not having help — and so, what I would say is that I don’t take no for an answer, and I will fight. I am a fighter.”

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District city councilmember Johnny Khamis discusses parks and recreations

By Sean Moser, Adrian Pescatore, Sol Perez and Carlos Villarreal 

Staff Writers

San Jose City Councilmember of District 10 Johnny Khamis is concerned over recreation in San Jose. Councilmember Khamis, being someone who is very active environmentally, stresses the importance of a healthy environment. 

Councilmember Khamis explained that one of his parks used to only open three days a week, so he used his city fund to have it open for four days a week. “I used my own city funds to open it a day more,” he said.

On Sept. 25, Councilmember Khamis came to Summit Public School: Rainier for a press conference with student journalists. During the press conference, he addressed issues and answered the questions that the students brought up.

Councilmember Khamis stressed that parks in San Jose are dilapidated and not very well taken care of. He then gave an example of his success in adding two acres of land to Almaden Lake Park, showing his dedication in bettering his district’s parks.  

Councilmember Khamis is a big supporter of parks and recreation: he shows this by participating in park cleanups, advocating for longer open park hours and taking care of the park overall. He said that he wants to “make sure the grass is taken care of and make sure it’s not overrun by squirrels.”

Councilmember Khamis shows his passion for keeping the community healthy by planting trees personally and with others in order to connect with his community. “I have planted over one hundred trees into my community,” he said. 

Councilmember Khamis planted the most trees out of every councilmember in San Jose and also pushed his peers to be environmentally active with him. The councilman also sees this as an opportunity to connect with his community more. 

By adding more trails in his parks, he would like to encourage people to exercise and really embrace the parks that he and his team work very hard to maintain.

Councilmember Khamis said that he is committed to making the community better as a whole in order to make it a place that people can be proud of for generations upon generations.

He plans to create a space where everyone can be comfortable and feel safe in a clean, healthy environment. With that, he says he will make the community better, planting one tree at a time.

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San Jose city councilmember emphasizes building tiny homes for the homeless

By Jasmine Chinn and Ismael Navarrete 

Staff Writers

On a quiet morning on Sept. 25, Councilmember Johnny Khamis visited Summit Public School: Rainier in San Jose to talk to student journalists. Councilmember Khamis is currently running for State Senator for 2020. Councilmember Khamis is focused on bettering his community by helping the homeless who are living in poverty. 

Immigrating to the United States as a child in 1976 from a war-torn Lebanon, Councilmember Khamis struggled with school and learning English. His determination toward pushing past the barriers that he experienced in his life has led him to where he is today, as a councilmember.

Councilmember Khamis puts his heart into helping his community as a representative for District 10 of San Jose and prides himself in using his financial skills to help the city of San Jose, making sure it is spending money wisely. 

When asked what is a memorable story or experience that defined his career, Councilmember Khamis talked about his idea to build tiny homes on two sites sometime back. He said, “Each one of these units were going cost $87,000 to build, and Oakland, at the same time, was building Tuff sheds for $3000. So I said no to this program, not because I’m against tiny homes, but I thought we could help a lot more people with the same amount of money.” 

Councilmember Khamis wants to change and improve the homeless situation by helping the city spend their money wisely to help people who are living in poverty. 

On his website, Councilmember Khamis talks about homelessness issues in California, where many people who are homeless are also suffering through mental illness and poor living situations. He wants to have a low-income housing project to build tiny houses for the homeless.

One of the motivations that Councilmember Khamis has, regarding the housing crisis, is also providing housing for people who are both homeless and mentally ill. He pointed out certain propositions, such as Proposition 63, that have not followed through with their promises.

Councilmember Khamis elaborated on the proposition, “Back in 2004, we started collecting millions of dollars from the rich. And we were supposed to use that to create mental health services. And I have not seen a single mental health service facility.” 

These ideas are further expressed in a Mercury News article highlighting his argument that the Bay Area must do its part in helping mentally ill homeless people get their own housing.

It is clear that Councilmember Khamis is trying to help the community by helping the city to find a cheaper way to build these tiny houses. To Councilmember Khamis, it is clearly important for his community to come first: “Not every councilmember does as much as I do,” he said. 

 

 

The Student Informer: An Introduction

Dear Summit News readers,

I am writing to you to introduce myself and the perspective I bring to the political opinion column I will write this year; my name is Ben Alexander, and I am a senior at Summit Shasta. I come to you as an active member of Shasta’s Student Advocacy Club (a part of Shasta Student Government that promotes change based on student needs) and bring a politically progressive opinion on current events and politics.

This column will provide opinions on what is happening outside of Summit Public Schools. I will write critical analysis concerning political events on a local, national and global scale. This could include anything from political action to ballot propositions to federal policy.

In Shasta’s student advocacy group, I have worked to bring student elections and student voice to the school, while outside of Shasta, I have volunteered for local political campaigns.  I believe in active participation in democracy and have and will continue to be an advocate for it.

Equally important, I have a progressive political voice. That means I believe government should be used to solve problems, encourage open democracy and promote civil and economic equity. My views fundamentally come from the idea that all people should be equal and we should do whatever we can to do the most good for the most people. 

Moreover, I find it important to acknowledge my perspective as a student, one who believes in the importance of learning. I come from a family of educators and thus hold teachers in high esteem. 

In all, I hope this column will open minds to new ideas and facilitate useful discussion toward a better common future. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Ben Alexander poses in front of the American flag for his political opinion column. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael MacCallum

Redwood City mayor visits Summit Prep journalists

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Friday, Sept. 6, Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain came to Summit Preparatory Charter High School for a press conference to answer student journalists’ questions about his role in the community.

Ian Bain introduces the importance of local politics in Redwood City

By Jovani Contreras, Fabiana Munoz and Rosie Esteverena 

Staff Writers

Ian Bain believes that local politics are one of the most important facets of government. 

Mayor Bain started his Sept. 6 press conference at Summit Prep with a long, but informative introduction; he told of his perseverance and of his campaigns that failed for years before he was finally able to sit on the council to the point of maxing out his terms.

Mayor Bain wanted students to know he had dedicated his life to being a public servant.

However, his most important point in this was the relevancy of local politics in our day-to-day lives. The government is an essential part of how things function seamlessly, and Mayor Bain believes that much more work is done on a local level than any other.

The Redwood City mayor expressed how cardinal it is to get involved in the community being that council decisions greatly impact the daily lives of people in the city. He had a lot to say about the role local politics plays the city.

Mayor Bain said, “The laws we make here locally — even the court house events — that impacts your life, and I wish more people understood that and would get involved.”

Mayor Bain’s changes in his 18 years on the council included: making great strides in the beautification of Redwood City, implementing a public dog park and leading environmental initiatives resulting in a 22% decrease in electricity since 2005.

These changes have affected the Redwood City community greatly as far as helping beautify the city and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Mayor Bain said, “When Redwood City is nice, beautiful and welcoming, think of me.”

Mayor Bain is very proud of his achievements and the effect they have had on Redwood City, and he has further plans to better Redwood City and the lives of those living in it.

Mayor Bain has created a “respectful tone for local government.” He said, “I hope you learn to love Redwood City as much as I love Redwood City.”

 Mayor Bain works to better the community 

By Victor Aguilar, Cristina Ramirez, Salette Vazquez and Jorge Zamora 

Staff Writers

Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain reminisced about the days of bowling alleys, roller rinks and mini golf and hoped to bring family recreation back to the city.

On Sept. 6, Mayor Ian Bain came to the journalism class at Summit Prep to discuss things that are happening in the community of Redwood City.

As the mayor said in the press conference, he wants to “bring back family recreation.”

He said he wants to bring more entertainment to Redwood City, as there is zero to none right now for kids and adults to do in the community.

The mayor talked about many places that have been taken down. For example, the roller rink in Redwood City. The roller rink was taken down on Sept. 30, 2017; it was loved by many people. It was so loved by people that the mayor has teased that “they’re in talks with a roller rink operator.” He mentioned to not get people’s hope to get up, but it is a sign of change that the talks are happening in the first place.

When asked the question, “How would you improve Redwood City?” one of the places he mentioned taking his kids to was a place called Malibu Grand Prix. This place was always a mainstay in Redwood City, as it was open for 35 years. The thing is though, as mentioned in the Mercury News, it had to close down since of the rising cost.

The bowling alley, as known as Mel’s Bowl, was open for 40 years before being demolished for a 141-unit apartment. It was a staple of Redwood City, as many people that grew up around the area have said that “was the place that started my bowling obsession”

Mayor Bain has already began making changes to the city with the building of the Main Street Dog Agility Park. He was very proud of his work and even said that whenever he drives past the park and sees dogs playing he feels proud. One of the others ways Redwood City has improved is with connecting families through the events in downtown Redwood City. There are many events there, such as the Salsa Festival that lets people enjoy the culture and the setting of Redwood City.

Mayor Bain wants to reinvent areas of Redwood City that were there before to make them feel like a more family environment, where people can engage more with their community.

Ian Bain cares about Redwood City

By Morgan Dundas, Nina Gonzalez and Elizandra Zelaya

Staff Writers

Redwood City’s Mayor Ian Bain came to visit Summit Preparatory High School to spark dialogue with the students of the Multimedia Political Journalism class. He spoke about everything from housing prices to bringing back the famous roller rink to the community.

Mayor Bain engages with the community to form a genuine connection with the people he’s overseeing. He cares about helping others, which pushes him to do the best he can to make sure the people’s wants and needs are satisfied. 

Mayor Bain accomplished building the important court plaza, which stands for a large space for everyone in the community to gather and connect, regardless of someone’s race, religion, or sexual orientation. This area can be found near Redwood City’s downtown, which holds a special place in the community’s hearts.

Mayor Bain is also responsible for building the newest dog park on Main Street. He is grateful for the opportunity to complete this project and is satisfied with the work he has done. Driving by the park every day and witnessing everyone enjoying downtime with their family and friends, in turn bringing together the community, brings a smile to his face.

The mayor’s early drive for politics came from a connection to the young group in his community in which he can see himself and is proud to stand as an inspiration for many.

Mayor Bain is also proud to have helped a local group to get a street light near their home because there were many complaints of disrespect to the street due to the darkness. According to the mayor, one complaint said, “I come out every morning, and I find trash, slurpee cups, used condoms; it’s disgusting.” 

Mayor Bain followed up by stating how he “made a few phone calls and was able to find the status of the street light, and a year later I got an email from him saying, ‘Hey the street light just went in, it looks great, all my neighbors are thrilled, thank you so much for helping us.’ Those are the kinds of things that really keep me going.”

Mayor Bain makes sure he has open arms to everyone, he makes everyone feel safe and welcome to the community.  He said, “I talked about diversity and how we expect it here. We don’t report people who are in the country without documentation.”

Redwood City has a 32% Spanish speaking rate versus the national average of 13%, highlighting the diversity in which Redwood City holds

Mayor Bain shows a lot of intense eagerness and enjoyment toward the projects he has completed throughout the city and is more eager to start planning the new ideas he has to add to the city. He hopes that this will bring more entertainment and attraction to Redwood City.

The mayor is trying to add some new attractions to the city, such as a new roller rink and a bowling alley. He is trying to restore some of Redwood City’s attractions due to the roller rink closing down along with other attractions.

Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain talks about gun control

By Giselle Maldonado, Hannah Murrieta and Yoeli Romero

Staff Writers

Lately gun control has been a heated issue because of all the shootings that have happened in the past year. The Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain visited Summit Prep to talk about a variety of topics surrounding the city as well as larger problems.

Gun violence is a common topic discussed in politics. Even though people usually talk about it on a national level, Mayor Ian Bain, a local politician had a lot to say about it.

The mayor believes that gun violence is a major issue and some things need to be done to stop it. Responding to a question about the walkouts, the mayor said that “we need a new president … because the one we have currently doesn’t do anything about gun violence.”

More than ever, young people like Summit Prep students have had opinions on gun control. Students from schools all over the Bay protested.

According to Summit News, on March 14, 2018, students from Summit Prep, Everest, and many more from the Sequoia District joined the walkout from 10 to 10:17 to pay respects to the 17 victims. When the students arrived at the downtown area, Redwood City Vice Mayor Diane Howard gave a speech to support the students for their safe and encouraging protest. Afterwards, the students continued to yell out their chants one last time.

On March 24, 2018 students from all over the United States walked to prevent gun violence. The March for Our Lives movement started by students to advocate for sensible gun reform.

Students are willing to take a stand against gun control since it is such a big issue in the United States. So many lives have been affected by this issue, so students are trying to make a change to make our communities a safer place. 

Many people, including Mayor Bain, agree that changes need to be made to our current gun control policy. Although there are restrictions, it seems that the policies are not preventing gun violence. According to CNN, there has been about 22 school shootings so far in 2019. 

Students flew to New York for their first Model United Nations conference

 By Judy Ly and Karla Tran

Staff Writers 

When they arrived in New York City, Rainier students experienced the culture shock of the Big Apple: tall buildings, glowing billboards plastered with advertisements and yellow taxi cabs. After landing in the late evening, the Rainier Model United Nations conference participants had their very first taste of NYC pizza. The next day, the group saw something they don’t see often in San Jose: Snow!

“Some of my favorite parts were just walking around and seeing what we can find,” Rainier sophomore Ricardo Espinoza said. He recalled that on the first night the group roamed the streets to see what the city was like.

Rainier sophomore Kassaundra Ramirez shared, “There were a lot of lights and city life. I think it was really fun because we didn’t really drive anywhere. I think the walking, which was also fun instead of just being in the car or being in the subways, even though that was an experience within itself. While you are walking, you get to see all these buildings that you would only see in like movies or TV shows; I thought that was interesting.”

At the end of February, Rainier students, two teacher advisers, and one parent chaperone flew together to New York City to attend the Future We Want Model United Nations conference. Model United Nations is a simulation where students become delegates of an assigned country and represent different committees.

“My favorite parts were speaking to everyone in my committee, bonding with my peers, and eating New York food,” Rainier sophomore Tuong Nguyen said. “I learned how to be a better speaker, and I learned how to communicate better with other people.”

Dressed up in formal business wear, students from high schools and universities around the world gather into separate rooms in the Grand Hyatt to discuss global issues. Nine Rainier students flew from San Jose to New York City to attend a Model United Nations (MUN) conference. Prior to this trip, none of the students had been to New York.

Pairs of Rainier students acted as delegates of the following committees on behalf of Canada: World Health Assembly, Disarmament and International Security, UN Environment Assembly, Commission on the Status of Women and Economic and Financial Committee.

Rainier Spanish teacher Isela Mosqueira first heard of MUN when she was in high school but did not participate because the organization was not available at her campus. Even though she didn’t have previous experience participating in MUN, she became interested when Edwin Avarca, Rainier’s assistant director, sent an email about scholarships to cover housing for students who were applying to the FWWMUN conference.

Initially, two of Mrs. Mosqueira’s mentees had applied and received the scholarship. The organization was encouraging her to recruit more students since there were more scholarships available. After forwarding emails to the whole student body, it slowly dawned on her that the students wouldn’t be able to attend the conference without an adult chaperone: “So I just kind got like – I fell into this role.” After Mrs. Mosqueira reached out to other faculty members, Justin Hauver, a history teacher, signed up to help with the chaperoning and advising process as well.

What is the Future We Want Model United Nations conference?

Ramirez explained that the FWWMUN conference is basically a model version of a real United Nations conference: “Instead of delegates from actual countries… you get a country, and you are assigned a partner. You go as delegates of a specific country, and you talk about that country’s problems and things they need improvements on or how the country can help improve other countries, within their own country, to help them.”

“Just being in the room and seeing how everything was done was really cool, like it was very formal but it wasn’t overly formal,” Espinoza said. “It was a very relaxed environment, and there wasn’t like any hostility whatsoever. Everyone was welcomed.”

Mr. Hauver said, “I hope that it’s opened student’s eyes to issues in the world on the one hand. On the other hand, I hope it also opened their eyes to opportunities they might have in the world, should they choose to pursue them. I think it was interesting for students to not just conceptually know that there are other types of students out there, but to interact with students from around the U.S. and from around the world. I think just that experience I hope will have a positive impact on students.”

Mrs. Mosqueira said, “It was a good experience overall. Everybody got something out of it. I think everybody grew a little bit, out of the whole trip. It was the first time for all of us in New York… That experience itself was great! It was our first conference that we had attended as a school.”

What happens during a MUN conference?

The point of a MUN conference is to spark students to become more aware of current global problems in the world. Through this, the delegates practice diplomatic skills and try to work together with new people and identify solutions.

Before the trip, Rainier students had to write their position papers on their two themes. A position paper is a written report outlining a country’s development goals and other real-life issues. Each delegate has to dedicate their time to find background information about their theme and country in order to come prepared with the necessary main points when interacting with other delegates during the conference.

Moderated and unmoderated caucuses are actions called upon by delegates to establish times to discuss whatever the delegates call upon. All countries work with each other to find a solution to the problem at hand. After rounds of debates and moderated and unmoderated caucuses, countries would’ve hopefully allied with one another and propose solutions.

Together, delegates from the major countries propose their solutions, and, if the majority of the countries present in the room agrees, then the proposed solution is made final. 

What would you tell someone who is interested in attending a MUN conference?

Nguyen shared, “I would highly encourage you to go because it’s really overall a learning experience. You get to see things that you don’t get to see on a daily basis, and you might end up being nervous at first but later on, you’ll get used to it.”

In addition, Espinoza advised students to be adaptable: “Whatever you’re expecting, it’s probably not going to be that. Not in a bad way though, it’s just going to be a lot different.”

Both Mrs. Mosqueira and Mr. Hauver advised students to attend the conference. Mrs. Mosqueira mentioned that conferences, such as the ones that MUN provide, are opportunities to develop skills, such as speaking and writing, while interacting with people around the world: “It’s a lot of fun, I think, and meeting people from around the world; getting close with them,” said Mrs. Mosqueira.

Mr. Hauver also added, “Be prepared to do some work; be prepared to meet a lot of interesting, ambitious students; and be prepared to probably be a little scared every now and then; but definitely come, we will support you.”

Featured image (at the top of this post): Delegates, from the Economic and Financial Committee, raise their placards during the Future We Want Model United Nations conference. PHOTO CREDITIsela Mosqueira

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