By Raul Riesgo
The uber-liberal faction of State Legislature has come across another item of great importance to Californians – vegans in the prison system aren’t getting their greens.
Yes, California Democrats have introduced a bill (Senate Bill 1138) to require prisons to offer inmates “plant-based meals” that are free of meat, dairy, fish, poultry or eggs.
The bill’s author, Senator Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, states that her intent to require a vegan menu is because it “will provide an example of healthful eating to the general public.”
Last I checked, prison inmates are not who we the public turn to when we’re looking for living advice.
I understand keeping a Kosher or halal diet, and there are already specialized foods available for inmates with certain health or medical needs. But veganism is not a religion or a medical issue. What’s next; inmates require a specific world cuisine? Prisoners already end up eating better than the almost 20 percent of Californians who struggle just to meet their basic needs.
Adding a vegan menu to the prisons’ meal plan is costly, too. The California State Legislative analysis says the cost will be hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
There are far more urgent problems facing California than hiring vegan chefs for the digestive comfort of a few hardened criminals. Spending taxpayer money is all about priorities, and catering to finicky eaters in prison shouldn’t be high on that list.
The Democrats in charge in Sacramento are spending too much time and money on ridiculous issues that impact a very few people and not enough time solving the truly urgent challenges facing this state, like affordability, the housing crisis, fixing the 911 system, stockpiling water for the next drought, wildfires, and so much more.
California deserves better.
Raul Riesgo is a public relations expert who has been featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. He has also been a news reporter for two Los Angeles area newspapers writing on variety of community and social topics.