Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, from Sacramento’s 7th district, was the guest speaker at the November meeting of the American River Democrats on the 20th. He opened his presentation with some background information about himself; his background studying law at Berkeley and UCLA, his service on the Regional Transit Board and Housing and Redevelopment commission, and his time as a County Supervisor, before beginning his term as a Democratic Assemblyman.
Dickinson shared the he believed in making things work initially, rather than spending resourced fixing them after they go wrong, in everything from infrastructure to people. Giving kids a good education and helping ex-prisoners get back into society is money better spent than building and running more prisons. He wants to reduce the number of kids in school who are suspended, since those who are have far greater odds of not graduating, and ending up in the criminal justice system than those who are given attention and help while in school.
He spoke of AB218, which prevents state and local hiring agencies from inquiring into job applicants’ criminal history until they have had a chance to meet the qualifications. This is intended to help give ex-cons at least a chance at jobs, rather than being rejected outright. He shared that recidivism is greatest when ex-convicts find it impossible to get work once they are back in society.
Dickinson was asked by the club about community development, and how to make neighborhoods work. He shared several ideas he supported – things like reducing one way streets, which helps contribute to neighborhood connections. (One way streets tend to have faster traffic and discourage people from crossing and meeting their neighbors.) He was also asked about the plans for the delta and massive water tunnels being planned to provide water for the central valley and southland. He shared that he is “not a big fan of the tunnels”, and that while we had to recognize that we were all one state, and water for all regions is important, there are better ways of solving the issue with less impact on the delta region.
Dickinson was received warmly by the club, and he thanked the members for the opportunity to speak. He also shared that he was planning to run for the State Senate next year. Assemblyman Richard Pan, one of Dickinson’s potential Democratic rivals in the primary next year, has agreed to visit the American River Democrats in their January meeting.
For more information about Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, see his web site.