Take A Stand For Organics
BY JEANETTE MARIE PONTACQ
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is refusing to come out in support of California's organic farmers and consumers by not rejecting the recently announced lowered organic standards proposed by the USDA, and by not supporting the California Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Instead, Ann Veneman, secretary of the CDFA, wants to remain neutral. Ms. Veneman is an appointee of Pete Wilson and will soon be leaving this post with the hope of obtaining another position with the USDA in Washington.
Neutrality tacitly condones the USDA's drastically lowered standards for organic foods. The CDFA needs to support California farmers and take a stand for consumer choice in safe foods.
Please help by contacting Ms. Veneman and asking that she support the 1990 California Organic Foods Act:
Secretary California Dept. of Food and Agriculture
1220 N. Street, Suite 404
Sacramento, CA 94814 Phone
(916) 654 0433
Fax (916) 654 0403
email: [email protected]
Human Rights Commission Vacancies
The Marin County Human Rights Commission announces two at-large vacancies. These are unpaid positions. The Commission investigates complaints and issues concerning human rights, provides a public forum for discussion of these issues, and advises the Board of Supervisors on these matters.
Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center. Applicants should be prepared to contribute approximately six hours monthly.
Applications need to be received by May 11. Call 499-6189.
Chemical Hazard Info
A unique new Internet service allows anyone in the U.S. to see chemical pollution sources and hazards in sharp detail on local street maps of his or her own community, and to send queries straight to the sources.
The EDF Chemical Scorecard (www.scorecard.org) is free to all users. For reports on any state, county, zip code or individual facility, point your Web browser to www.scorecard.org/env-releases, or for a "click anywhere" map of the U.S., go to: www.scorecard.or/env-releases/us-map.tcl.
-Environmental Defense Fund
Credit Repair: Help Yourself First
The companies that advertise credit repair services can't provide you with a clean credit record. Only time, a deliberate effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit. Start by contacting your creditors when you realize that you are unable to make payments. There are non-profit groups in every state that offer credit guidance to consumers available at little or no cost.
If you've had a problem with a credit repair company, contact your local consumer affairs office or state attorney general, or Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580; 202-326-2222; www.ftc.gov.
Fix Your Pet
May is Low Cost Spay/Neuter Month for Marin's cats. You can have your cat spayed for $15 or neutered for $10 at the Greenbrae Pet Hospital or the San Rafael Animal Hospital.
Spayed and neutered companion animals live longer and healthier lives. For more information, call the Marin Humane Society, 883-4621 ext. 372.
Tam High Open House
Tam parents and interested community residents are invited to attend the annual Open House at Tamalpais High School at Miller and Camino Alto on May 7 from 7-9 p.m. There will be a brief welcoming program in the gym, including music by the jazz band, then guests will visit classrooms, observe displays of student work, participate in student performances and talk with teachers and students.
At 6:30 in the Orange Court there will be a reception for current eighth grade parents and students.
For further information, contact Principal Frank Gold at 380-3510.
Prop. 224 Opposed
A small group of Caltrans bureaucrats spent more than $2 million to put Proposition 224 on the June ballot. Prop. 224 would force the state to hire as many as 15,000 new bureaucrats, while eliminating more than 87,000 private sector jobs, and it would force taxpayers to pick up the tab, as much as $1.7 billion a year.
Prop 224 would mean we'd have to trust state bureaucrats for seismic safety retrofitting work on our bridges and schools, and we'd be prohibited from drawing on the expertise of private sector earthquake experts. It would mean years of delays for that work, and for construction of badly-needed new schools, roads, hospitals, flood levees and other projects.
Prop 224 would mean bigger state government and higher taxes. That's why it's opposed by the California Taxpayers' Association and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Teachers Association and the League of California Cities, the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (AFL-CIO) and the California Chamber of Commerce.
"Fewer People For A Better World"
Negative Population Growth is a non-profit, national membership organization established in 1972 that seeks to establish non-coercive financial incentives and disincentives that will motivate Americans to limit their fertility as a matter of social responsibility. We are striving to promote the ideal of the two-child maximum family as the social norm.
We also call upon Congress to impose tough restrictions on immigration in order to halt illegal immigration and reduce legal immigration from the present 900,000 per year to no more than 100,000 per year.
At present, U.S. population stands at over 268 million and is still growing rapidly by some three million per year. Immigration, both legal and illegal, accounts for about 40 percent of our annual growth. In 1950 we had about 150 million people; we have added almost 120 million people in only 50 years. We believe that the optimum population for our country is not more than 150 million.
News From Woolsey
Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) is co-sponsor with Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) of a bill that would allow Americans age 62-65 and workers over 55 who lose their jobs to buy into the Medicare program. "This legislation will go a long way to provide health security for hundreds of thousands of Americans," Woolsey said.
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Woolsey urged the United States Department of Agriculture to revise its regulations to more closely mirror the high standards currently used in California, and said that new regulations proposed for organic farming practices would hurt local farmers and consumers. The proposed federal regulations would permit the use of irradiation and bio-engineering in growing organic produce, and would allow a more liberal use of antibiotics and drugs in livestock.
"Irradiation and genetic engineering don't spell organic in my book," she said. "If we lower our standards, the big losers are consumers who won't know which products are truly organic."
The USDA has extended its public comment period until April 30.
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Woolsey has introduced legislation to make child care more affordable by providing assistance to private child care centers for children in low-income families.
She said the average cost of full-time child care for ages two-five is $6,656 annually in Marin and $5,512 in Sonoma County. An amendment to the National School Lunch Act would allow more private child care centers to participate in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program, which defrays the cost of snacks and meals for low-income children.
Marin Movie History
The Marin County Historical Society announces the publication of Movie Studios and Movie Theaters in Marin: A History Since 1898 by Lionel Ashcroft. The book celebrates 100 years of movie making in Marin County.
The book is available through the Historical Society's gift shop located at 1125 B Street, San Rafael. The museum is open for tours every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Call 454-8538 for more information, or visit website www.marinweb.com/marinhistory.
Music Grants Awarded
The Autodesk Foundation and the Broderbund Foundation have each awarded $1,000 grants to the Novato Alhambra Chamber Orchestra's Young Musicians Scholarship Program.Westamerica Bank has awarded $250 to the Santa Rosa program.
The program also received a generous two-year grant by the United Way.
The Alhambra Chamber Orchestra has been offering classes since 1985 to low-income, high-risk students in violin, cello, classical guitar, ballet folkloric. Seventy students in Marin and 20 in Santa Rosa receive instruction, from pre-school to high school.
There is a long waiting list. For more information, a brochure or application, write The Alhambra Chamber Orchestra, POB 368, Novato 94948 or call 883-5764.
Mandatory School Immunizations and Exams
To protect the health of every student in school, California state law requires that all children entering kindergarten and the first grade must have a health examination. This check-up must be done no earlier than March of the year preceding kindergarten entry. Parents may be able to obtain the required examination from their health-care provider free of charge. Call 499-6886 (English) or 499-7499 (Spanish) to find out if your child is eligible for a free exam.
Every child must be immunized for polio, Dtap (Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). The new requirements for the 1998-99 school year also include Hepatitis B, which must be started six months ahead of school entry date and the second MMR. For information regarding hours and location of the Department of Health and Human Services' Immunization Clinic, call 499-6888.
Housing Authority Moves
Marin Housing Authority announced that their office moved to 4020 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael (94903-4173) on March 24 and the former offices at 30 North San Pedro Road closed March 20. The phone number-491-2525-will not change.
Office hours will be Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The satellite office at 429 Drake Avenue in Marin City is open from 10:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
A new satellite office will be opening a 5 Golden Hinde Blvd. in San Rafael, open by appointment only.
El Nino Assistance
Residents who face foreclosure or eviction from their homes as a result of economic hardship caused by the El Nino storms may be eligible for mortgage and rental assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as a part of FEMA's Temporary Disaster Housing Program, which provides rental assistance to those who have been displaced, or funds to make a home livable.
The deadline to register for assistance is May 8. Call 800-462-9029 between 8 a.m and 8 p.m. seven days a week.
For business loans, call the Small Business Administration, 800-488-5323.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) provides financial help and employment services to workers and those who are self-employed who became unemployed as a direct result of the storms. More information is available at Employment Development Department offices.