Bee Opinionated: Placer shows Pride + Feinstein fears + California needs drug solutions | Opinion

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Hello, it’s Robin Epley with The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board. I hope you had a great weekend.

“On a recent, warm spring day, at Roseville’s Royer Park, several groups of parents escorted shy kids decked out in rainbow tutus and glitter to meet drag performers Valshapero, Shadybee and Adriana Diamond. The queens — their faces full of make-up and dressed for the occasion from head to toe — smiled and waved.”

“‘It’s nice for them to see that queer people aren’t scary,’ said Valshapero, while wearing white, knee-high boots and a handmade purple and blue romper. ‘We’re just people.’”


Opinion Assistant Hannah Holzer attended last month’s Placer Pride; it’s only the county’s second-ever Pride event, and with LGBTQ+ related hate crimes on the rise across the nation, there was some legitimate fear that the event would be marred by intolerance.

But Holzer found a community in the midst of celebration and spreading love.

“While California remains a bastion of inclusivity and a champion for LGBTQ+ rights, in conservative pockets of the state, like Placer County, bigotry remains prevalent on school campuses, in public meetings, in religious institutions and among elected leaders,” she wrote.

To understand what Placer Pride means for the county’s LGBTQ+ residents, you have to understand what the community has been through over the past two months, Holzer wrote:

“In early March, a drag show that was set to take place at Roseville High School was canceled when local conservative and religious groups pressured the Roseville Joint Union High School District (RJUHSD) to halt the event. After receiving hateful and threatening messages, event organizers at The Landing Spot, Placer County’s only peer support group for LGBTQ+ people, decided not to reschedule the event.”

The current, nationwide 2023 legislative session alone has seen 491 anti-LGBTQ bills, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

But under the shade of one of Royer Park’s large trees, Holzer saw only love and pride in Placer County. A poster board was filled with messages of hope from attendees:

“Keep true to you”

“Love yourself”

“You are loved”

“This mama loves you all. You rock.”

Fears Over Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein has become a painfully sad spectacle, being wheeled through the Capitol as she so visibly struggles to perform the basic duties of a United States senator. She has joined the ranks of formidable leaders who stayed in office too long. Yet at this point, I fear her resignation more than I fear her remaining in office.”

Opinion writer Tom Philp shared his thoughts last week on the Feinstein situation bubbling over at the U.S. Capitol.

Since Feinstein effectively became the decisive vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee after the 2020 election, he wrote, the window for her to resign without potential consequences to the judicial system was closed.

“Republicans blocked efforts to replace Feinstein temporarily after a recent hospitalization as they would now if she retired. The politics of maintaining a razor-thin majority on a committee that forwards President Joe Biden’s judicial nominations to the full Senate has an undeniable impact on the future governance of the U.S. Supreme Court. They dictate why establishment Democrats fall in line behind Feinstein despite her frail condition.

“These high stakes are also why Feinstein should make every effort to stay, even as it becomes more painful to behold with each passing day.”

Make Solutions, Not War

The federal government first declared a war on drugs in the 1970s and subsequently accelerated its efforts in the ’80s and ’90s, wrote Emma Sharif and Daniel Parra this week in a guest essay for The Bee. Sharif is the mayor of Compton, and Parra is the mayor of Fowler and the first vice president of the League of California Cities.

“The policies that came out of this ‘war’ disproportionately targeted and impacted communities of color, with devastating impacts on countless families. Now, our communities are facing a far different drug crisis: illicit fentanyl.”

Fentanyl overdoses kill roughly 6,000 Californians every year.

Parra and Sharif say they are “incredibly frustrated with the lack of concerted, swift action from the Legislature,” and urge policymakers to support state funding and current legislative proposals that seek to address this crisis through prevention and intervention efforts, educational campaigns and access to life-saving overdose treatment aids like Naloxone.

Additionally, they are calling on the Legislature to pass measures that address supply by going after manufacturers, and support efforts that increase penalties to hold accountable the drug dealers who kill innocent people.

“Informational hearings are not a substitute for concrete action, and while lawmakers dither more Californians — including the youngest among us — die every day.”

Opinion of the Week

“Excellent reporting… is the backbone of a thriving society, unbowed by corporate interests, committed to integrity and uncovering truths, even painful ones.” — Troy Masters, founder and publisher of Los Angeles Blade and Gay City News, on AB 866, the California Journalism Prevention Act.

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Hasta la vista,