Ways That Cities Can Promote After School and Summer Meal Programs

Children at Harlem Academy Participate in the Child Care Food Program
Children at Harlem Academy participate in the Child Care Food Program

In response to Mayor Dan Wolk’s healthy children’s initiative, the Vanguard called on the city and other local government entities to address critical issues such as sugar intake, nutrition and childhood obesity, particularly in the low income communities. There was some pushback questioning whether the city level was the appropriate venue to deal with these issues.

Several school board members have expressed the interest of looking further into the nutrition and sugar quantity of school breakfasts provided primarily to Title I kids.

In yesterday’s PublicCEO, Jamie Nash provides cities with a number of ways to promote after school and summer meal programs.

She writes, “Providing meals for children through federal Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs is a win-win opportunity for cities. Cities benefit by bringing more federal funds into their neighborhoods, and can improve the health and well-being of low-income children by increasing their access to healthy meals and their participation in fun and safe activities during out-of-school time hours.

“It is important for mayors and other city leaders to build strong partnerships with stakeholders, such as statewide anti-hunger groups, schools, food banks and other community organizations, to implement meal programs in ways that maximize quality and participation,” Ms. Nash writes. “These stakeholders can serve as important outreach partners that help city leaders connect with their residents to make sure they are aware of the resources available to them.”

Here are the five ways that city leaders can promote afterschool and summer meal programs in their communities:

  1. Use the bully pulpit to raise awareness of child hunger and promote out-of-school time meal programs. Local elected officials can write op-eds for local newspapers, emphasize the need for afterschool and summer meal programs in public speeches or at events, and promote afterschool and summer meal programs on the city’s website and through newsletters and social media.
  2. Publicize out-of-school time meals through a targeted marketing strategy. An important component of any marketing strategy for out-of-school time meals is a kick-off event. These events can raise awareness about meal programs in a way that brings key stakeholders and families together. Mayors can use kick-off events to frame afterschool and summer meals as a top priority for the city before a large audience of community leaders. Cities can also take advantage of existing national resources such as the National Hunger Hotline (1-866-3HUNGRY) to make meal program site locations and operating hours easily accessible to families. In addition, cities can advertise information about meal sites on utility bills, via robo-calls, or through the city’s 311 information line or the United Way’s 211 information line.
  3. Sponsor Afterschool or Summer Meal Programs. City agencies such as parks and recreation or departments of housing are well-suited to be sponsors of afterschool and summer meal programs and to host meal sites at local facilities, e.g., recreation centers. Staff from a mayor’s office can also coordinate a working group or task force that focuses on the issue of child hunger and identifies strategies to reduce it, including initiatives to increase participation in out-of-school time meal programs. City staff relationships with key community partners, as well as knowledge of where young people congregate after school and during the summer, are integral to the success of these programs.
  4. Partner with community organizations that serve afterschool and summer meals. Local nonprofits and other afterschool providers often act as sponsors to provide afterschool and summer meals as well as activities for young people before and/or after meals. Cities can leverage funding for meal programs in partnership with community-based organizations.
  5. Incorporate child nutrition goals into a broader citywide agenda. City leaders can work with staff responsible for broader citywide initiatives, such as Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties or other initiatives that focus on children and youth to expand the reach and scope of child nutrition programming.

The national league of cities put out a report on how cities can reduce childhood hunger through the federal meal program.

They write, “Currently, over 21 million children receive free and reduced-price meals through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Programs (NSLP). However, summer meals currently reach only about 15 percent of children eligible for the NSLP nationally. Many low-income children that rely on these meals during the school year go hungry during the summer months and after school hours.”

They add, “To help fill this gap, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides federally funded meals through the Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the NSLP Seamless Summer Option. Funding is guaranteed year-to-year as part of a federal entitlement program, ensuring that the organizations operating these programs are fully reimbursed for the cost of the meals.”

At the local level, “the Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs have the potential to reduce child hunger and help children reach their full potential. They also play an important role in helping families that are not always able to afford three full meals a day keep their children from going hungry after the school day ends.

“These programs are required to provide educational or enrichment activities in addition to meals in order to receive federal reimbursement. Many programs are operated by community organizations or city agencies that are already offering enrichment programs such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs or municipal parks and recreation departments,” they write.

The report continues, “Meal programs have the potential to improve student nutrition and health outcomes, help keep children safe and engaged during non-school hours and improve their educational success. Out-of-school time meal programs can also reduce financial pressures on parents struggling to provide sufficient nutritious foods for their children.”

They add, “Offering meals at existing afterschool and summer programs can serve to strengthen the capacity of those programs and the systems that connect them. Children are more likely to attend a program where they can receive a meal, and because they are not hungry, they are able to participate more fully in the activities provided.”

Finally, “Strong community partnerships that have lasting positive impacts often develop as a result of these programs. For example, partnerships between city government, afterschool and summer meal program providers, school districts, community organizations, anti-hunger groups, local food banks and other nonprofit organizations serve to strengthen communities, highlight the issue of child hunger in the community and streamline services for children in need.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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58 Comments

  1. sisterhood

    “There was some pushback questioning whether the city level was the appropriate venue to deal with these issues.”

    I worked for a childhood nutrition program for many years. If the city of Davis wants a safe, happy, healthy  community, it needs to follow Mr. Wolk’s initiative and provide basic needs for its children. I applaud Dan for what he’s doing. He should not listen to the naysayers. He should not listen to anyone who doesn’t understand this approach. This is a critical time for the town of Davis. If its citizens really want a world class city/town, it must take care of its youngest and most vulnerable. Months ago, someone criticized Dan for not following through or not focusing on the details. My reply post was something to the effect that it takes a whole village, not one politician in the village. The devil may be in the details but I believe a city with as much promise as Davis can figure out those details.

    Thank you, Dan, for representing the health of the children of Davis.

    I urge any family at 130% of the federal poverty level, pregnant, breastfeeding, or with a child in their household under the age of five, to consider contacting W.I.C., especially during the summer months.

  2. Tia Will

    Sisterhood

    This is a critical time for the town of Davis. If its citizens really want a world class city/town, it must take care of its youngest and most vulnerable.”

    I want to join you in thanking Dan Wolk for his focus on improving the situation for the children of our community. As for the pushback on the city not being the appropriate venue to deal with these issues, my feeling is that there is no inappropriate venue to deal with the adverse circumstances for the most vulnerable amongst us. Within the competitively based society we have chosen with its inequalities, there is plenty of room for help at all levels be it individual, private organizational ( churches, civic groups), or at any level of government be it city, county, state or national. There is no group that should abdicate responsibility. The efforts of all should be welcomed.

  3. South of Davis

    David posted:

    > They write, “Currently, over 21 million children receive free and reduced-price

    > meals through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch

    > Programs (NSLP). However, summer meals currently reach only about 15 percent

    > of children eligible for the NSLP nationally.

    Does anyone know if Davis currently has an after school and summer lunch program (I thought only “real” poor areas had them)?

    Does Davis ask for any “proof” of income to get kids in to the free lunch program (a friend in the Sacramento said his school does not check anything and teachers actually ask parents who make more to sign up since it will help the school get more money if they increase the kids getting free lunches)?

    Does anyone know who runs the school lunch program in Davis (and what union represents them)?

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Does anyone know if Davis currently has an after school and summer lunch program”

      it has some sort of summer program, but there are real poor areas within davis.  and there is also a 25% title one population.

      1. hpierce

        Not disputing, particularly if you have data that you want to share, but the 25% title I figure looks 2.5 to 5.0 times higher than I would guess.  But I acknowledge that the number might be much higher than my estimates if we’re including married students with children who are ‘transient’, but with student loans, low income (except in some cases, parents of the couple) etc., may decide/need to apply for Title I status and benefits.  Can you cite a source to improve my knowledge?

        1. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > but the 25% title I figure looks 2.5 to 5.0 times

          > higher than I would guess.

          Below are the income guidelines and it does seem high unless Davis (like many other districts) is telling wealthy parents that they can get free food for their kids “and” get Title 1 cash from the Government for their school if they just fill out a form that will never be verified that they make under $2K a month…

          http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/rs/scales1314.asp

    2. MrsW

      DJUSD runs the free and reduced cost lunch program.  You can see the sign-up form under “Step 3” here:

      http://www.djusd.k12.ca.us/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1369296877340

      The form is handed out in the back-to-school packet or the enrollment packet.  Proof of income is required.  Check out the things to circle and check.  Check out the form’s font.

      Here is a link to a description of DJUSD’s summer program. Looks like it’s lunch only.
      http://patch.com/california/davis/school-district-offers-free-summer-lunches-to-davis-kids

       

        1. Barack Palin

          I don’t think the article says that.  It says 2000 students got free lunches last year, but it doesn’t give the summer numbers, which I’m sure are much less.

        2. South of Davis

          BP wrote:

          > I don’t think the article says that.  It says 2000

          > students got free lunches last year

          Are they all “student” lunches?  My friends that live in areas with more poor people than Davis said that many entire families come in every day for a free breakfast and lunch under the “Adult Care Component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program”  The link I posted above says:

          “In the Adult Care Component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a household includes the adult participant and, if residing with the participant, the spouse as well as any persons who are economically dependent on the adult participant.”

      1. South of Davis

        I went to the form on the link and it said:

        “School officials MAY check the information on the Application”

        and

        “You MAY be asked to send information to validate your income”

        Do the Davis schools actually get a IRS form 4506 from “anyone” to verify their income?

    3. sisterhood

      S.O.D.,
      There will always be the occasional anecdote describing someone who took benefits that they did not need. Try focusing on the thousands of hungry children in CA who really need help getting adequate, healthy food.

      1. hpierce

        Perhaps we (particularly prospective parents) should also be “focused” on financial stability prior to procreating.  We did that.  Expecting society to take financial/basic care of children we’d like to have is not particularly helpful.  I think there is a certain blogger who has chosen to take care of kids, not his/her own, because someone else procreated without the intention/wherewithal to take care of their children.  Noble and exemplary of the care-taker.  I feel very little responsibility to financially support poor choices in Davis.  Yet, we contribute a lot to those in “Third World Countries”, where they are much poorer than anyone in Davis, and have hunger, disease, and oppressive/war-torn environments to deal with.

        1. sisterhood

          “I feel very little responsibility to financially support poor choices in Davis.”

           

          I don’t want to use my hard earned money to financially support others who made poor choices, either. My child just graduated college. She gets up at 4:40 every morning, and takes the BART and Muni, to work the breakfast shift as a waitress  in a nice restaurant in a wealthy section of San Francisco. She also works for a caterer, occasionally, to pay her bills while she looks for a better job. She hardly ever asks me for money. She is fiercely independent. I help her out. She is a single woman and she has made all the right choices in her life. Yet she still needs help, financially, occasionally. Don’t you think I’d rather give money to her, than to a stranger’s children? But when you really think about it, can you really look the other way if there is a child in Davis who is going to bed hungry tonight, because rent is so expensive, and their parent does not have enough money to buy them groceries and pay the rent? Do you really want to be that heartless? I don’t think you do.

        2. hpierce

          Sisterhood… you wrote:  “But when you really think about it, can you really look the other way if there is a child in Davis who is going to bed hungry tonight, because rent is so expensive, and their parent does not have enough money to buy them groceries and pay the rent? Do you really want to be that heartless? I don’t think you do.”

          To answer your questions, as I posted, we don’t look the other way when it comes to needs of children, here or abroad.  We financially support overseas efforts, where the parents often have few choices, and in Davis.  Through STEAC, we ‘adopt’ a family during the holidays.  My spouse works with a number of organizations, as a volunteer (average ~ 10 hours a week) that provide food (and if necessary, shelter and help with utility bills) to those struggling, and those who are truly indigent (whether thru their poor choice or not).  The implication of what I was responding to is ‘we are not doing enough’.  That’s the genesis for what I wrote.  I think it is BS for people to make poor choices and EXPECT people like you and me to cover the consequences of their poor choices.  I do believe there are many (certainly not all) who feel they are entitled to ‘do their thing’ and expect society to deal with it in a caring, compassionate way.

          I’ll ask questions back:  if you have $1,000 a month to help your child, those in ‘third word countries’, those who are truly victims of bad luck (not “poor choices”), or those folk who consistently make bad choices, how would you apportion that $1,000?  Or, so as not to be or be considered to be heartless, would you just truly cut from your own needs to make it $2,000 per month?  How would you apportion the additional $1,000?

          Fair enough questions back?

        3. sisterhood

          Wow. What an interesting question to ponder with my morning coffee! To be honest, I’d probably increase my donations to my three favorite charities. I don’t donate any money to other countries. If I did fall into that much extra money every month, I’d pay off my kids’ student loans, then increase my donation to the Vanguard. Honestly. Then I’d look at overseas charities, because you make a good argument about third world countries.

  4. MrsW

    There was some pushback questioning whether the city level was the appropriate venue to deal with these issues.

    That’s exactly what I recall.  We asked, what can the City control and what can it not control?  Most of the above suggestions consist of marketing.  The City has the infrastructure to market and publicize.  They also point out the the City can provide space and grant writing support to “program sponsors,” who would administer food programs.   The idea of “program sponsor” is key to the what can the City control or not control.  In our last conversation some commentators pointed out that in general, low income parents are aware that there are services available to their children; however, current programs have trouble engaging target communities because of how they are administered, with forms that are incomprehensible and so forth. Transportation is also an issue.

    When Valley Oak was closed and North Davis was kept open, one reason I heard for that choice was the increased access for low income students to the City’s afterschool programs at the Veteran’s Memorial and Community Pool, as well as the Davis Art Center and Yolo County Library.  Has any one at the City kept track of that?  Did the use of City afterschool recreation programs by low income children, for example, increase when Valley Oak was closed and more low-income students were placed at North Davis?

        1. Anon

          It sounds to me as if this article is advocating the city staff make sure there is healthy food for children that need it.  City staff should write the grants, city staff should make sure a program is set up and implemented properly; city staff should make sure the program is marketed effectively.  It is my opinion that city staff is stretched far too thin as it is.

  5. wdf1

    Anon:  City staff should write the grants, city staff should make sure a program is set up and implemented properly; city staff should make sure the program is marketed effectively.  It is my opinion that city staff is stretched far too thin as it is.

    City staff (and especially elected officials) should work with school district, local non-profit, city, county, state, and federal programs to make sure that they are integrated and truly available to school district families who need them.

    Additional efforts could be made for housing services, adult education, access to city recreation, child care, pre-school, supplemental educational services (after school tutoring/homework club, summer school, adult education for parents).

    All of this is actually a better strategy for “education reform” and should be attacked first before spending resources on standardized testing to decide which teachers to fire.

  6. Frankly

     If its citizens really want a world class city/town, it must take care of its youngest and most vulnerable.

    The same arguments were made to push the fluoride in the water agenda.  I know someone that pledged $10,000 to help with alternative services to get the fluoride to those needy children.  Guess what, they were nowhere to be found.  The non-profits that exist to serve this population folded like a bad blackjack hand.

    I do believe there are some “most vulnerable” children in Davis, but I don’t think their numbers are very large, and I think they are already pretty well served by public and private services.  In fact, it appears to me that they might be over-served.   From my perspective Davis has attracted a high percentage of people afflicted with a savers syndrome, or else political ambition, that demand we have copious people to save.  Instead of living where there are a lot of people to save, they pick the easy Davis life and just make stuff up.

    If I am wrong, then somebody please provide some specific statistics.  And let me know where are those fluoride-deprived kids are so I can forward it to that person that committed to help with the $10k donation.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      I would have loved to use your very generous 10 K donation to put towards the fluoridation of the water in Davis.  Now that would have been an effective, low cost strategy.

       

      1. hpierce

        Long term, no it would not be cost effective, Tia.  Look past the initial costs.  Look at long term O&M costs.  Fluorine/fluoride is corrosive.  Equipment would have significant maintenance/replacement costs.  Even 100K (much less 10k) toward treating all the water (including that used for landscaping, toilet flushing, showers/baths, etc.) would have little benefit compared to providing fluoride toothpaste, fluoride pills to those who need it  Kaiser could offer fluoride treatments to members for free, as they do flu shots.

    2. wdf1

      Frankly:  I know someone that pledged $10,000 to help with alternative services to get the fluoride to those needy children.  Guess what, they were nowhere to be found.  The non-profits that exist to serve this population folded like a bad blackjack hand.

      Did you check at Campito del Sol (the migrant camp south of Davis, whose kids are in the Davis JUSD jurisdiction)?

      the homeless population served by Davis JUSD?

      lower income Spanish speaking families, many of whom live in south Davis?

       

    3. sisterhood

      “…there are some “most vulnerable” children in Davis, but I don’t think their numbers are very large, and I think they are already pretty well served by public and private services.”

      “If I am wrong, then somebody please provide some specific statistics.”

      Instead of asking someone else to refute your bold statement, why not do the research to prove yourself right? Is this just your gut feeling ?(Nothing wrong with that, if it is accurate) Or have you recently read that there are not many very low income folks with children in Davis? Considering the astronomical cost of rent, groceries, (my kids’ favorite wheatberry bread used to cost over $4 a loaf at Safeway) gasoline, etc.?

      If you earned minimum wage in Davis, you would have to work an hour of your shift to buy a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread for your child.

  7. Tia Will

    hpierce

    And, as far as resources, what are YOU willing to commit to?  Or, do you just want Davisites at large to ‘solve’ the issues?”

    Fair question. So I will provide some suggestions of ways in which people might want to contribute.

    1. If you are someone who does not believe that this is a city function, attend the meetings of the Health Council or the Maternal Child Adolescent Health Council in Woodland. The public is welcome to come and sit in on meetings and make suggestions related to issues of food security.

    2 If you are someone who believes that there is not adequate oversight of applications, perhaps you could volunteer time in the local schools to free up personnel to do more complete reviews of these applications. Or volunteer to help with food distribution or some other function on the local level.

    3. Perhaps someone could organize and propose to the City Council an integrated means of assessing current resources and design a program to fill in gaps that are found. I know some of you have the organizational skills that would be a good fit for this role.

    4.I am sure that there are many of you who have skills and ideas about how to contribute and are just not sure they would work, or who to take them to. I would say that an email to Dan Wolk would be a very good start.

    1. MrsW

      Those are all very good individual-level ideas. IMO, at the City-level, we already have good programs, such as afterschool programs. Improving or refining outreach and implementation of these programs would be an easy place for the City to start. I agree with the author that the City can do more to organize and publicize. I think the City and DJUSD could do more, to make their forms accessible, instead of a hurdle to overcome to get a benefit.

  8. Miwok

    Use the bully pulpit to raise awareness of child hunger and promote out-of-school time meal programs. Local elected officials can write op-eds for local newspapers, emphasize the need for afterschool and summer meal programs in public speeches or at events, and promote afterschool and summer meal programs on the city’s website and through newsletters and social media.

    Since the Mayor has an interest in this, why didn’t he stay on the School Board, or did he ever run for that? I know he thinks he is getting lots of money for these programs, but many are only funded AFTER the City spends a certain amount.

    Why isn’t the School District taking the lead with the Mayor standing right with them?

    The other thing I noticed is no one seems to be advocating for the FAMILIES of these wandering children with no meals? The families are not denying a kid some food,are they? Of course not. And if you would all lose your pride, take the money out of your bank account, hide it in your mattress, you too can qualify for these programs. Take the cash and buy a new Prius, or bicycle.

    Do we really believe these hungry families are forgetting to feed their kids, or will drive them to school every day for a meal and NOT feed the person who brings them? PLEASE dissect this for me! To me someone is not researching this competently, or “has a dream”, without a clue. If you have a hungry kid, you have a hungry family, right?

    1. South of Davis

      Miwok wrote:

      >  If you have a hungry kid, you have a hungry family, right?

      That’s why the “school” lunch program has expanded to feed the entire family three meals a day all year long in some areas.  In Davis as a poor parent you can also get a Pop Tart in the morning and in Sacramento they will give you chocolate donuts (see below).  When I hear what the poor kids and families are fed it is almost like there is a goal to get every poor person over 200 pounds by the time they turn 14.

      http://www.scusd.edu/e-connections-post/families-hit-books-read-and-feed-john-sloat

      1. Miwok

        Thank you, SOD

        SO – we just jumped from “kids” to “families”. The cost just jumped at least four or five times in one sentence? Subterfuge? Dishonesty? Hidden agenda? Where is the real cost and when does it stop? Has anyone researched the fraud, or the number of people served?

    2. sisterhood

      Sadly, sometimes the pregnant/breastfeeding moms receiving W.I.C. would give their own food to their children over the age of five. So sad but true. Honestly.

    1. Tia Will

      TBD

      Please explain to me exactly what steps you would take to “promote” marriage ?

      I promote monogamy and deliberate family planning as “best practices” to every patient I see. My “promotion” is singularly ineffective, so I am wondering what you have in mind?

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I thank you for your honesty (in your failed attempts), and will give you one answer you won’t like.

        Require the mother to identify the Father of the child at birth in order to receive any kind of financial or social assistance. Please, don’t go on a tangent for the 5% who can’t identify the Father. Most of the women know who impregnated them, old boyfriend, new boyfriend, fling with the local bad boy. Then, hold the men / sperm donors responsible. If they don’t have a job, require community service of some substance. Then, get the word out. Confiscate a few adult toys, the weekend Harley or such, garnish wages, and get the word out that there are consequences to reckless and irresponsible behavior.

        I think there was some kind of legal ruling 15 or 20 years ago which stated that women didn’t have to name the Father of the child, which is just another step in the destruction of our society. Children need Fathers, children need role models, and many of these young men have refused to grow up partly because we continue to give them a free ride. Don’t they call this the Peter Pan Syndrome? I bet a huge percentage of young men in gangs don’t have a Father in the home, and it is also a cohort that has a major pipeline to crime and jail. (Proportionally, that is.)

        I recall maybe 20 years ago a Chicago or Detroit public housing project decided to crack down on unrelated men spending the night with single women. It was a policy of the public housing authority. I’m sure the Libs hate that, but they’re living on our dime, right, with near free housing and often free food and health care and utilities and more. The result was that 8 or 10 couples actually got married! A little prodding got them in the right direction.

        Note: see Barack Obama’s speeches (I think there have been two or three) on the increased rates of poverty, crime, and related negative issues which accompany a child growing up without a Father.

        1. hpierce

          Agree with much of what you say, with some reservations… all kids have a biological ‘father’… even if the child is conceived ‘in vitro’ by a lesbian couple.  If  lesbian couple conceive a child from a donation from sperm bank, just can’t get to making the sperm donor financially responsible for the child.

          Kids need a “Dad” more than they need a “Father”.  A Dad will love those under his charge, ‘blood’ or not.  A Dad will support his spouse and kids.  I was lucky.  I had a Father who was also a Dad.  Many kids are VERY lucky to have a Dad who is not their Father.  Altho’ Dad has passed, he is a part of who I am, genetics plus imparted values and wisdom.  If the genetics had not been there, I’d still have 90%+ of who I am.

          I opine that those who procreate without the financial, emotional, and spiritual (yeah, had to put that in) resources to nurture their child (or, spawn) are ‘anti-social’ in that they expect others to take responsibility for their procreation.

          For those who procreate without those resources, and realize they made a “boo-boo”, I would hope that they had community/personal resources to bring that “product of conception” into this world, but they should not risk the procreation EXPECTING (pun intended) that the rest of society, except thru charity (which, by its nature, is not an ‘obligation’), will look after/financially support their child.

          Ask me to be charitable, and I am inclined to say “yes”. Tell me, or try to guilt me that I HAVE to be charitable, not so much.  Maybe it’s a personal flaw in me, but “it is what it is”.

        2. sisterhood

          I totally agree with you that men should take responsibility for the children they bring into our world. May not agree with your methods, but totally agree with your message.

    2. Matt Williams

      TBD, I can agree with your “promote marriage” sentiment as long as that is not being done by any form of Federal, State or Local government. Hopefully the Supreme Court in its upcoming deliberations will:

      — Give all people equal civil rights,
      — Labeling those rights as exactly what they are civil rights,
      — While at the same time, removing wholly and completely the word “marriage” from all legal documents, and
      — Turning over the use and administration of the word “marriage” wholly and completely to the realm of Religion. Each Religious organization would then be free to define “marriage” as it chooses. For some Religions that will mean marriage is between a man and a woman. For others it will be between any two adult human beings.

      1. South of Davis

        Great idea Matt, but sad to say it will probably never happen since “both” sides love how the “fight” over marriage that brings in a lot of money to politicians fighting for equal rights as well as those who say they are “defending” marriage…

        P.S. Would you be OK if a religion (in the US) defined marriage as between a man and all the women in his “harem” ?

        1. Matt Williams

          SoD, regarding your P.S., what any individual Religion (capital R) chooses to do with their rituals is a private matter; however, the civil rights defined by our laws say that a person who marries a person while still being lawfully married to another commits bigamy, and the second (and any subsequent) marriage is considered legally null and void. Besides the second and subsequent marriages being void, the bigamist is also subject to criminal penalties.

  9. sisterhood

    TBD, Of course it would be a wonderful life if every newborn had two loving, committed parents. And if the couple split, they both continued to support the child, emotionally and financially, through adulthood. But when that does not occur, the child suffers and your comment almost seems like another “blame the victim”post:
    It isn’t the fault of the child or the spouse if they are abandoned without child support. If you’re working a minimum wage job, do you have the time or the energy to take on a legal fight for child support?

    1. South of Davis

      sisterhood wrote:

      > your comment almost seems like another “blame the victim”post.

      And your post is another “bash anyone posting good ideas” post…

      Most (but not all) “victims” make bad decisions and when you give people that post “good ideas” like  “don’t drop out of High School”, “don’t have kids with a drug addict who beats you”, “don’t get drunk and wander on the freeway” it is less likely that a “potential” victim might hear one of these “good ideas” and we will end up with even more “victims”…

      1. sisterhood

        “I feel very little responsibility to financially support poor choices in Davis.”   I don’t want to use my hard earned money to financially support others who made poor choices, either. My child just graduated college. She gets up at 4:40 every morning, and takes the BART and Muni, to work the breakfast shift as a waitress  in a nice restaurant in a wealthy section of San Francisco. She also works for a caterer, occasionally, to pay her bills while she looks for a better job. She hardly ever asks me for money. She is fiercely independent. I help her out. She is a single woman and she has made all the right choices in her life. Yet she still needs help, financially, occasionally. Don’t you think I’d rather give money to her, than to a stranger’s children? But when you really think about it, can you really look the other way if there is a child in Davis who is going to bed hungry tonight, because rent is so expensive, and their parent does not have enough money to buy them groceries and pay the rent? Do you really want to be that heartless? I don’t think you do.

      2. sisterhood

        “don’t have kids with a drug addict who beats you…”

        How about, “Don’t beat a pregnant woman, or the woman who is the mother of you child.”

        Again, I am hearing you blame the battered woman for getting battered, instead of the man who beat her. This is a blame the victim mentality.

      3. sisterhood

        “Most (but not all) “victims” make bad decisions”

        Prefer the word “survivor” to “victim”. Many children grow up in a loveless environment, neglected. They were not the ones making poor choices. Their parents made them all before they were even born. So I do not believe that “most” people in a tough financial situation brought it on themselves.

        I’ve led a very comfortable, privileged life.  Have you? Why not try a little kindness, and compassion, since you live a nice life in one of the nicest little towns in America?

        1. South of Davis

          sisterhood wrote:

          > I do not believe that “most” people in a tough financial

          > situation brought it on themselves.

          Thinking of all the adults you know (and have known) in a “tough financial situation” you can’t think of a single decision they could have made over their life that would have put them in a better financial situation?  I’m sure that there are a few people like that out there, but I have not met them (or heard about them).

          > Why not try a little kindness, and compassion

          It seems like we have a different world view in that I think that telling a friend that the abusive drug addict she is dating is a bad guy is “kind” while you seem to think I am “just blaming the victim” (or blaming the abuse survivor)…

    1. hpierce

      Correct, and acknowledged. Procreation outside of marriage provides no guarantees either, but strongly suspect marriage improves the odds, if when marriage is entered into, the vows are not just words, but a pledge

  10. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    I think that telling a friend that the abusive drug addict she is dating is a bad guy is “kind” while you seem to think I am “just blaming the victim” (or blaming the abuse survivor)…”

    I think that merely telling a friend that her abusive boyfriend is a “bad guy” in not only not kind, it is useless. Do you think she doesn’t know that ? She is probably in the situation because she does not see a good alternative for herself. Much more kind would be to assess her situation, determine what would be needed to help herself from a bad situation and do what is needed be it financial, social introductions, getting her a lawyer, or driving her to job interviews or a counselor or a woman’s shelter would be kind. Telling her what she already knows…… well I guess it is easier to lecture than to provide actual assistance.

    1. hpierce

      Actually, confronting her with “what she already knows”, coupled (pun unintended) with the assistance you you suggest, would be the truly compassionate thing.  But that might have been what you meant.

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