November 19, 2012

Prop 38 vs Prop 30 two enter, only one or none can survive

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, October 22, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/prop-30-versus-prop-38-two-enter-only-one-or-none-can-survive-1.2782203#.UKnIYIenKa8

Election time is approaching fast. Now is the time to research, to focus our interests and make a decision on which propositions and candidates to choose.

We’ve all heard of Proposition 30, hopefully. This initiative will directly affect our campus and student population.

Gov. Jerry Brown has supported his state’s education system this year by approving the merger of two initiatives: the “Millionaire’s Tax” and “Brown’s First Tax Increase Proposal.” Prop. 30 will impact universities, community colleges and K-12 schools in California.

It will raise sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.50 percent for seven years. The personal income tax increase will affect taxpayers earning an excess of $250,000. These tax increases will be distributed, 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. This is a way to help balance the ongoing budget crisis by having the wealthy bracket in our state give back to its youth for prosperity.

If this fails to pass, the Cal State University system will face a cut of $250 million. For CSULB, our tuition will rise by at least 5 percent. In the case that Prop. 30 passes, students will be reimbursed for this semester’s tuition hike.

Yes, it’s true! We will be paid!

The money credited to a student’s bill or bank account will be about $498.

Our university prepared for potential cuts like this one last year and raised the tuition prior to the election year to make the potential increase less severe to students.

Prop. 30 runs into a catch-22 situation because it intersects with a related initiative, Prop. 38. “Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act” will increase taxes for 12 years, if not reauthorized. These tax increases will affect all taxpayers earning more than $7,316. This means more people will have to pay, and for a longer time period than Prop. 30.

During the first four years, these collected taxes will be distributed, 60 percent to K-12 schools, 10 percent to early child development programs and 30 percent to repay our state’s debt.

Prop. 38 is very similar to Prop. 30 with the same hopes to give back to the state’s educational system and youth. So why is it a catch-22?
Only one of these propositions can pass this year. If both pass, the proposition with the greater number of votes will be instated and the other will be thrown out.

This competition between the two propositions should be a boost of motivation to make sure voters’ voices are heard.

Even though the two are competing, they are both similar in the fact that they will help our state’s budget and education system.

However, the tax increase will affect more wallets with Prop. 38, and its failure will not lower the funding already promised to these educational facilities, as Prop. 30 would for universities in California.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 17, 2012

Gas prices should not affect the upcoming presidential election

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 – The Daily 49er

Yesterday gas prices in CA rose to an average high of $4.66 a gallon.

This means that California’s average gas price has risen to be higher than that of the nation’s former most expensive gas state, Hawaii, which is $4.39.

The regular gas price average in the U.S. is $3.81 currently, but the cheapest available gas in Long Beach as of yesterday was $4.54.

The highest price reached $4.92 at one point.

Whoa.

Gas has almost become $5 per gallon here in Long Beach.

This is surprising because gas prices normally go down before an election.

In California alone, we are paying towards gas typically 40 to 50 cents more per gallon than anywhere else in the country.

For years, many have pinned the gas price hikes on the sitting U.S. president, blaming him for mishandling the situation.

Even so, gas prices do not greatly affect the vote when election season finally rolls around.

As of last year, the U.S. supply of oil increased the most since 1970.

Under President Obama’s term, the amount of drilling for oil has escalated for 10 percent of the country’s current demand.

According to the Republican Party’s independent energy campaign, the prices in gas will increase if Mitt Romney is elected. While prices will rise, more jobs will be created for drilling, and more oil will be available.

However, as we can see with the Obama administration, the increase of the amount of drilling and oil will not lower these outrageously high prices.

Just as before, prices are more than likely to escalate if we drill more.

As enticing as it is to exclaim “drill baby drill,” the odds are demand will remain the same and be ineffective in lowering prices.

Beyond rising prices, the current gas situation has turned several desperate drivers into thieves. In Roseville, Calif., there were about 1,100 gallons of gas stolen from a Shell station, worth more than $4,500. These gas thieves were caught, yet only 1000 gallons were recovered.

These prices are higher in CA due to a fire at the Chevron Richmond refinery in August, which reduced oil production. This refinery supplies 8.5% of total petroleum products to the Petroleum Administration for Defense District 5, which includes CA.

Prices have also escalated from the organic chloride contamination that shut down the Kelleman-Los Medanos pipeline, which proved 85,000 barels or crude oil a day to supply the San Francisco Bay Area.

We experienced another setback yesterday in our local area, Torrance, CA. The ExxonMobil refinery that supplies 149,000 barrels daily to the LA area suffered from a power outage shut down.

Due to these setback and shutdowns, the low supply will hurt our wallets for hopefully just a bit longer. Energy experts predict that lower-quality gasoline may be introduced to our state, which other US states have already taken advantage of. This gas will cause more pollution, but will ease the severe spike in price. Our state already has high levels of pollution, and this gas should be used only temporarily.

Despite setbacks at the pump, hopefully California residents will be able to separate gas prices from the real issues when voting in this election.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 17, 2012

Pizza Hut political stunt may lead to more debate viewers

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, October 15, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/pizza-hut-political-stunt-may-lead-to-more-debate-viewers-1.2778872#.UH7q-xweXAg

Topics for debate: education, the economy, health care … meat toppings on pizza?

Last week, Pizza Hut announced that they’d reward a brave soul who would ask the presidential candidates what their favorite toppings are at tonight’s debate.

The company was criticized for its unnecessary involvement in the political campaign, and making a mockery of the presidential candidates for the thought of wasting their time.

“Sausage or pepperoni?”

Pizza Hut had offered one free pizza per week for 30 years or a check for $15,600 to anyone who asked this simple question at the debate. The rules did not specify whether or not the contest winner had to receive an answer from the candidates.

The contest attracted several outlets: those willing to ask the candidates and those slamming the political stunt.

Comedy Central talk show host Stephen Colbert was amused by the situation. He laughed at how the prize of a pie a week could kill you within the 30 years of free pizza. Colbert asked his audience, “What could be more American than using our electoral process for product placement?”

Gawker website ran a headline that read, “Want Free Pizza Hut Pizza for Life? Just Make a Mockery of the American Democratic System on Live TV.” The New Jersey Star-Ledger referred to Pizza Hut as “knucklehead of the week.” The restaurant chain has now altered their contest to question their customers rather than President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. With just an email and zip code to enter, one lucky contestant who answers will be selected at random to win free pizza for life.

“The anticipation and buzz around this question proves that this debate should be taken to the people,” Pizza Hut executive Kurt Kane announced. “We’re no longer asking a few hundred attendees at the town hall presidential debate on Oct. 16 to pose the question, rather we’re bringing the question — Sausage or Pepperoni? — to millions ofAmericans.”

Food industries and politics just don’t mix. Chick-fil-A was recently given a national day from a politician who agreed with the owner’s political views but received negative feedback from customers who just don’t agree. Recently, Papa John’s pizza announced it would raise its prices if Obama’s health care reform law goes into full effect.

All in all, I respect Pizza Hut for creating a competition to encourage people to the watch the debate without choosing and promoting a certain candidate.

Still, the stunt was poorly executed, and the company could have gained support and sales had it gone another route. Through the competition, Pizza Hut may have encouraged many to watch the debate regardless of who is the target of the competition. The first debate between Romney and Obama earlier this month earned about 67.2 million viewers. The viewership should rise, and Pizza Hut may have gained some extra eyes with its ridiculous political stunt.

Krista Brooks is a sophomore journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

More states should follow California, ban gay therapy practice

English: Photo of California Attorney General ...

English: Photo of California Attorney General (and former California Governor) Jerry Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, October 2, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/more-states-should-follow-california-ban-gay-therapy-practice-1.2772046#.UGpnCk3A-Gk

Last night, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that bans a form of therapy to help transition minors from being gay to straight.

Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) introduced the state legislation, and it will become effective on Jan. 1, 2013.

These non-scientific therapies have been called “reparative therapy.” Brown said he sees this as an unorthodox practice that has led to depression and suicide in young people that have been “repaired.”

David Pickup, a spokesman for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, plans on challenging the law with a major lawsuit.

Yes, you read that right.

There is a group of researchers searching for a “cure” to homosexuality in young teens and children. When and how was this approved?

Psychiatrists tell these kids that what they’re feeling can be repaired. Just listen to how your life should be and follow it without question.

Without a doubt, this is detrimental for young minds and can lead to mental illness and suicidal tendencies.

Pickup announced that his group will file a lawsuit defending their First Amendment rights.

However, this freedom of speech should not inflict youth with “therapy” that is not based on  science at all.

Pickup commented that a report was released that the “therapy” was not proven to cause harm by the American Psychiatric Association. What he left out in his statement was that the group actually drew conclusions that the practice invokes risk of severe depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior in minors. The association said that the psychiatrists are relating to society’s prejudices against homosexuals.

The supporters believe that the “healed”  are grateful for the therapy and the odds are better for those that can be “cured.”

By stopping this practice, Brown has made a bold statement.

It will make our state the first to ban this psychotherapy on teenagers.

Other states should follow suit.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

Americans should not fear a shortage of delicious greasy bacon

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/americans-should-not-fear-a-shortage-of-delicious-greasy-bacon-1.2769973#.UGpnCE3A-Gk

I’m sure you’re all devastated about the news of the worldwide pork shortage.

Yes, this includes our favorite meat, bacon.

Last Thursday, Britain’s National Pig Association warned that the escalating numbers of shrinking herds are going cause an “unavoidable bacon shortage. ”

This ‘porkapocalypse” is due to the increase in cost of feeding these delicious animals, according to the pig industry.

If you’re still reading, let out that breath you’ve been holding — bacon will not be extinct as predicted.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that the pork production of next year will be around 23 billion pounds, only a 1.3 percent decline in America.

Worldwide, it’s predicted that the availability will only be a 2 to 3 percent decrease per-capita.

Bacon has become a fad, or obsession, for American food lovers.

In 2010, the pork consumption reached an all-time high of 33.4 pounds per person a year, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Europe may experience a lack of bacon within the next few years, but only a 10 percent decrease at most.

Do not freak out. There will still be bacon.

The bacon crisis has spun into an exaggerated epidemic. We can all blame the media, but let’s get serious. If there was a terrible shortage of bacon in our future, we would all want to know about it immediately.

Thankfully, this issue is not as worse as forecasted by the United Kingdom, but the word “unavoidable” comes across very serious and scary.

The bacon in the United Kingdom is also different from the bacon that Americans eat with scrambled eggs and toast. The bacon in this region is from a different part of the animal, a meat familiar to us as “Canadian bacon.”

YouTube series “Epic Meal Time” will be happy to know that the price of bacon in Canada, however, will not be raised as high as in the U.S.

This predicted scarcity was due to a recent drought and rise of corn price.

This may raise the price of pork-per-pound within the next few years.

Steve Meyer, a consulting economist to the National Pork Board, predicts that prices will be raised at most to $3.75 per pound. This price is only 25 cents higher than present costs. If you were freaking out about the loss of bacon — I know I was — rest assured that it will only be raised by a measly quarter, a price us bacon-lovers will have to pay.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er. 

October 2, 2012

Online registration will boost the number of young adult voters

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, September 24, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/online-registration-will-boost-the-number-of-young-adult-voters-1.2768658#.UGpp0E3A-Gk

Today is National Voter Registration Day, a day to reach out to unregistered voters and encourage them to get involved in the political process.

It is important to get unregistered citizens to vote so they can be active in the community.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown simplified the process to become a registered voter by signing legislation to implement online registration for voters.

Californians can now register via the web in hopes to increase voter turnout, primarily among young adults and college students.

According to a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California, 29 percent of our state’s adult voters are over the age of 55 while 33 percent are college students. However, students only contribute to 18 percent of students in the state vote.

Only 75 percent of Americans that are registered to vote actually do, and 24 percent of Americans are eligible but aren’t registered.

In the 21st Century, everything is online.

Books, articles, movies — everything is accessible with the click of a button. It only makes sense that registering to vote should be as accessible as well.

Now, young adults can register through a simple online process. It will be just as easy to register to vote as it is to register for a social network.

With all the time they spend on Facebook, young adults have no excuse to not register.

Proposition 30 has made less proactive voters to become involved in an issue that is bound to affect them. Hopefully, with this new access to online registration, students will voice their opinion on other issues that affect our college, city and state.

The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 6 elections is Oct. 22.

That is plenty of time for us to sit down and register.

If online registration isn’t enough, new legislation has been passed by Brown to allow same-day voting registration.

This will become effective starting Jan. 1, 2013. So if  you somehow forget there is an election coming that day, you can still vote.

Both online and same-day voter registration will greatly change accessibility for students and busy young adults.

It is about time our registration process caught up with times.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

New Arizona law allowing police to question citizenship is wrong

By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, September 18, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/new-arizona-law-allowing-police-to-question-citizenship-is-wrong-1.2765415#.UGpm_k3A-Gk

After two years of battling the provision in Arizona court, police can now say to civilians, “show me your papers.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton passed the controversial immigration law, and five states — Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina — have since instated a law based on the same grounds.

The law allows police to question the immigration status of suspects who they believe to be in the country illegally.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in 2010 in Arizona, a state known as the busiest illegal entry point in the country.

Great timing, everybody.

Elections are coming up, and this is the perfect way for a state to essentially pick who it wants to vote for.

This law will single out Latinos and breed distrust between police officers and their communities, which they have promised to serve and protect. This sense of distrust will only expand when police officers begin to ask registered citizens for their papers just because they look like they could be an illegal immigrant.

This will brood both fear and loathing of police in Arizona citizens, who are worried they could be suspected of beingillegal immigrants.

There is also the notion of having to always carry around your papers.

Neither I nor many other Americans carry around any form of “papers” all the time, proving that we’re citizens.

If someone is questioned and they don’t have their appropriate paperwork, they can be detained and taken into custody on the basis of suspicion alone. Being a law that is derived from suspicion, it can be seen as an infringement on civil rights.

If determined illegal, federal immigration officers can be contacted by Arizona police to have unauthorized residents deported.

Both supporters of Brewer and the provision questioned if federal immigration officers would comply, to which the officers responded that they would help based on level of threat and priority.

From the small buffer created by the federal immigration officers, some illegal immigrants may be exonerated, but nonetheless they will still be targeted by state officers.

President Barack Obama’s administration motioned to repeal the law on the grounds that federal immigration lawtrumps state law, but that was denied.

The officers are being trained to distinguish the features of an illegal immigrant.

Couldn’t that be just about anyone?

Hopefully Arizona citizens will band together to fight this new law.

Arizona citizens should refuse to be profiled on a daily basis by how legitimately “American” they appear.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism student and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

McDonald’s should consider a vegetarian menu in America

English: The mdonalds logo from the late 90s

English: The mdonalds logo from the late 90s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Krista Brooks

Published September 5, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/mcdonald-s-should-consider-a-vegetarian-menu-in-america-1.2757314#.UGpm_U3A-Gk

McDonald’s Corp. announced it will be opening two vegetarian-only restaurants in India next year.

The fast-food chain is famous for its beef hamburgers, which are not an easy sell in India.

There are currently only 271 McDonald’s restaurants in India and more than 33,500 worldwide. That is less than one percent of the company’s locations.

These new meatless outlets will be set in the Sikh holy city of Amritstar and near the Hindu Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra.

According to a 2001 census, about 80 percent of India’s population is Hindu and more than 13 percent are Muslim. Due to religious dietary restrictions, people of the Hindu faith do not consume beef and Islamic followers avoid pork.

With a wide population of vegetarians, McDonald’s has changed its menus to reflect more of the region’s demands. The Big Mac was altered to the Maharaja Mac, which is made with chicken patties in replace of beef.

This was a good alternative to beef, until customers found that the fast-food chain was seasoning the fries and other products with beef flavoring.

McDonald’s apologized and changed its ingredients to avoid another dispute.

The company also donated money to Hindu foundations and other groups in 2002 to patch things up for its mistake. Now, the company is taking the next step.

The McDonald’s chain is trying to reach out to the Indian population to accommodate their dietary needs.

In the United States, three percent of all beef consumption is made up from McDonald’s.

Without beef, the fast-food restaurants have to be creative in adapting new menu items.

According to the Vegetarian Timesstudies show almost 30 million people in America follow a vegetarian diet.

McDonald’s is being progressive in accommodating India and offering options for diverse consumer needs other than its quick-eats from the dollar menu.

Offering a vegetarian option in America could feed even more than the several billions McDonald’s says it has served.

Last summer, I worked at a cold storage where more than half of my customers asked for non-beef or non-pork meals. It’s safe to say there are plenty of people out there following a vegetarian diet.

McDonald’s is a large corporation with many resources.

Taking the extra step to help accommodate religious diets is admirable. They will reap the benefits of extra customers,an audience that will now have McDonald’s as a food option.

After this progressive move in India, McDonald’s should consider opening a few meat-free restaurants in America or add a separate menu with meatless items.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism student and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

September 5, 2012

Bill Nye is a science guy who knows what he is talking about

By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, September 2, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/bill-nye-is-a-science-guy-who-knows-what-he-is-talking-about-1.2755638#.UEaTifXueSo

We all remember the show and song, right?

Bill Nye “The Science Guy” would perform experiments and teach science to us kids while we unknowingly learned.

However, Nye is not just a children’s television star from the nineties. He is actually a renowned scientist as well.

Aside from his appearances on television, Nye is a 56-year-old scientist and mechanical engineer. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and an honorary doctorate degree from Willamette University. Nye is not just the corny, bow-tie wearing, television character with a catchy theme song. Nye actually knows what he is talking about.

Recently, Nye posted a YouTube video encouraging teachers and professors to educate evolution as a scientific proof rather than an alternative to creationism. Nye said our taxes should be spent on learning facts that can be supported by science instead of religious theories.

Separation of church and state does not stop at our civil rights and laws. Education should be based on knowledge and fact and not the opinions of teachers or their religious affiliations.

Nye supports his bold statements by explaining that radioactive dating proves that our earth has been around for billions of years, much longer than the Bible teaches.

Besides creationism, Nye has posted other videos about his scientific views, such as advocating clean energy climate change legislation.

The scientist’s words reach a large audience with almost 3.5 million views and counting on his creationism video. The generation Nye entertained as children is now older and could be considered more open-minded.

Of course, unless his opinion infringes on one’s personal beliefs.

Many reacted to the video poorly, accusing Nye of bashing religion and advising him to stick to his own area of expertise. The scientist defended himself, saying the focus was on use of taxpayer money, not outside beliefs.

Recently, an owner of a fast-food chain publicly stated his opinion on “valid marriage.” Well, outside of his expertise, the company was rewarded with an annual appreciation day.

But when a highly-acclaimed scientist expressed his views on his area of expertise, he was criticized for not obeying his boundaries.

Sure, the two-minute video may seem condescending and very biased, but at least Nye explains his point and doesn’t leave questions up in the air.

Nye claims the United States is the most technologically advanced country but says its citizens are too stuck in their beliefs against evolution to make any kind of progress.

The scientist made a video about his views and beliefs based on scientific evidence and fact. His opinion on religion was never mentioned and he carefully stuck to the subject of creationism.

Religious viewers should not persecute Nye for not agreeing with how the world came about but distinguish that his message is true: tax dollars should go to education based on science, not religious beliefs.

September 5, 2012

Our View: Carbon emissions taxes will sink CSU budget

Se below

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, August 28, 2012The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/our-view-carbon-emissions-taxes-will-sink-csu-budget-1.2753845#.UEaoufXueSo

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, a cap and trade program will be implemented, affecting the Cal State University and University of California, and forcing the systems to pay the price for high levels of carbon emissions.

These facilities will be charged a fee for emitting greenhouse gases.

Either go green or pay the green. Cap and trade is a solution projected to reduce California’s carbon emissions by a substantial amount.

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as Assembly Bill 32, mandates the state reduce the level of carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

University of California, Los Angeles is projected to pay the most — up to $8.4 million.

The rate of carbon credits is predicted to range from $10 to $40 each.

The resulting fee for both university systems could be as much as $28 million a year.

But this can, and will rise.

The legislation, once in place, will have no limit on how much tax credits would cost at a given time.

The choice to reduce carbon emissions is essentially optional.

Businesses with the money can continue to emit as much greenhouse gases as they want, as long as they buy the appropriate amount of credits. Only when a business can’t afford to will it be forced to change its behavior. Businesses without the extra cash or capability of lowering emissions will have to face the consequences.

We can only hope the fee is too much for big business to ignore. Small businesses have no choice.

As for us students in the CSU and UC systems, we will pay the price. The $28 million in potential fees is just another expense to tack onto our budget and our campuses will be affected regardless of how far our efforts go to lower emissions.

Long Beach has taken several steps to lower our carbon footprint already. Not only is the city becoming more and more bike-friendly, it has taken action in improving public transportation.

Many buses are now hybrids and routes have been extended to accommodate more public transporters.

All plastic bags have been banned from grocery stores in Long Beach and paper bag alternatives cost 10 cents each. This encourages shoppers to use reusable bags instead of disposable bags.

Cal State Long Beach has incorporated water fountains on campus specifically to refill water bottles and canteens, which lowers the amount of plastic bottles.

These improvements were made by the city of Long Beach and CSULB, before the threat of a fee.

The steps taken towards a greener city should be rewarded rather than taxed. With dismal state support, this bill will continue to suck us dry of every last penny.

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