Sherman vs Berman in the 30th District


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A couple of the members of the Board of the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of the National Organization for Women (SFV/NELA NOW and of the California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) received an e-mail from a long time, well-respected San Fernando Valley Chicano activist that began, “Did i read that your group  endorsed Sherman over Berman?   I hope i am wrong.  Yes, i realize Berman did not meet with you so i understand you held that against him.”

The rules of the Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition do not allow us to discuss what a candidate said in their questionnaire responses to us or what they tell us in an interview without their express permission, but they do not preclude us from discussing a candidate’s non-response, so I need to set the record straight on Howard Berman, whom we expressly DID NOT ENDORSE.  There was far more to that story than Berman’s simply not meeting with us.

First and foremost, Howard Berman has not given us the time of day that I can remember, and I’ve been around in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley politics a long time….and as many know, I have just about the longest memory in the State for what politicians have done and not done….more on that later.

When Bobbi Fiedler represented the San Fernando Valley, her staff initiated contacts with us, not just the other way around when we wanted something.  When Howard Berman got elected in 1982 to the House of Representatives, well, I just can’t remember any time when we ever heard from him or even got feedback when we’d contact his office.  Brad Sherman’s staff for years has been far more solicitous of our views and concerns; he personally came to the National Latin Congreso in Los Angeles and specifically sought us out there several years ago, before he was ever concerned with a redistricting situation that forced him to run against a fellow incumbent.

Carol McArthur & others performing that the meeting which Sherman’s representative attended and Berman’s campaign skipped

Both Sherman and Berman’s campaigns promised to send representatives to our annual Holiday Party and Election meeting last year.  In fact, both campaigns sought us out to find out where and when and to make sure that they could be represented.  Sherman’s office followed through; nobody from Berman’s office showed up nor did they call to apologize after we’d already publicized that both candidates would have speakers.

Next, both candidates’ campaigns had specifically sought out the procedure for how to seek our endorsement.  It starts with filling out our coalition questionnaire.  Both campaigns were sent the instructions on where to download it.  Additionally, our instructions point out that if they have any problems or need more information on the issues, they can feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help them with it (it’s not like a closed book timed test in high school).

When do we hear from Howard Berman’s office? When he wants our endorsement….i.e., rarely

Brad Sherman submitted his response.  Berman never responded.  In fact, we heard absolutely nothing back from his campaign.  Apparently they lost interest in getting our endorsement, because, after all, they got the endorsements of Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham and a whole host of other Republican House members so they probably figured they didn’t need us.

With that record alone, why does anybody have the gall to fault us for not endorsing a candidate who was not in fact seeking our endorsement?  If you don’t submit the questionnaire, you’re not asking to be endorsed.  It really is that simple.

Now let’s get down to cases and records.

It’s no secret that the policy wonk for years behind Democratic Party gerrymandering schemes in California has been Howard Berman’s brother Michael and at this point, let me make the same conflict of interest disclosure publicly that I made for the Same Page/Misma Pagina interview committee.  In 1978 my candidate (Peace & Freedom Party) for State Assembly in the Northeast San Fernando Valley got 4% of the vote and the Democrat lost by 2%.  In 1980, I ran against ranking California Congressman James Corman who that year alone had voted for the MX Missile, the Neutron Bomb, and Draft Registration (all of which his Republican opponent opposed, as did I).  Additionally, the only candidate in the race supporting the NAACP-ACLU “Together for Integrated Education” program was me.  I polled almost three times as many votes as Corman needed to win, and the Berman brothers were majorly pissed because it completely upset the apple cart for their reapportionment (read gerrymandering) plan for the State of California.  As far as I know, this was the only time in California history that a third party had achieved “balance of power” status in two back to back elections in the same geographical area with the ability to knock off incumbents.

Michael Berman came up with plan A and plan B for reapportionment.  Normally, political parties get thrown off the ballot in America for not getting enough votes.  In authoritarian countries, like the old Soviet Union, Burma, and Nazi Germany, parties get thrown off the ballot because they actually have support.  Michael Berman’s plan A was throw the Peace & Freedom Party off the ballot with what Democratic Party hacks publicly called “the Jan Tucker bill” so that they could cut district lines with 1,500 vote Democratic Party margins, or else they  had to use plan B in which they failed to kick PFP off the ballot and instead had to cut districts with 3,000 vote Democratic Party margins.

Howard Berman and his “gang of four” in the Assembly shoved the bill through that house with threats and coercion.  There were several hold out Democrats defying the “caucus vote,” including Larry Kapiloff, Ken Meade, Sam Farr, Tom Hannigan, Mike Roos and even former Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy.  When you vote against an official “caucus” position, you can be stripped of all of your committee assignments, so it’s not something one does lightly and then only out of absolute conscience.  Berman was one vote short for the bill, so he went over to Tom Hannigan and threatened him with loss of his committee assignments and twisted his arm into becoming the 41st vote for the bill.

There are many reasons and many states where we depend on the Voting Rights Act, like the San Fernando Valley where it’s supposed to protect us from the Berman Brothers.

We killed the bill in the State Senate where it never came up for a vote.  We pointed out that in the entire 20th Century up till that point, no African American, Asian American, Mexican American, or Native American had wound up on the general election ballot in the four (4) California counties that have prior Voting Rights Act convictions–unless they were running on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket.  If the bill passed and we won a Voting Rights Act conviction, that fifth conviction would have put California under the “pre-approval” process like the old thirteen (13) former Confederate States.

Then of course there is the history of the Berman brothers in consistently gerrymandering the San Fernando Valley to prevent any Chicano/Mexicano/Latino from getting elected to Congress….until of course when this year’s District lines were created by an independent commission that the Berman brothers couldn’t control.

1972: Nixon for President, Berman for Assembly. Really.

Okay, that’s the personal bone I had to pick with Berman, but as I said earlier, I have a very long memory and here’s where it goes back to 1972, when Howard first got elected to the State Assembly against Charlie Conrad in the old 57th Assembly District.  At that time, I was supporting Grover Howard (PFP candidate for the 57th) and Ben Spock as the PFP candidate for President.  Charlie Conrad as a good Republican was supporting President Nixon.

This is quite timely as Democrat George McGovern (now lying on his death bed) thought he could at least count on the support of his own party’s nominee in the 57th Assembly District, but Berman sent out leaflets saying it was okay for people to support Nixon for President and Berman for Assembly.  That’s bad enough but there’s more.

Henry Waxman was head of the Assembly Elections & Reapportionment Committee which had created an Assembly seat for Howard Berman to run in, with the geographical center of the district being Berman’s home.  Safe and cozy, but alas, the State Supreme Court threw out the plan and Berman had a choice to make.  A very quick choice at that.

At the time, California law required a candidate to live in the district they were going to run in for at least one year prior to filing.  Howard Berman had to move into the 57th District in order to run.  How do I know this?  Because I was standing next to Lew McCammon of the PFP while Berman fessed up to Lew about what he had done in the candidate filing room at the old Registrar of Voters Office in Chinatown.

So Howard, inquiring minds want to know:  How long did you live in the 57th District before you filed to run in it and how exactly did you get away with it?

If anybody deigns to ask why we didn’t endorse Howard Berman, he needs to answer that question before I deign to give any other answer than this one.

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Three Great Acts @ The Talking Stick


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The Talking Stick @ 1411 Lincoln Blvd in Venice always reminds me of the line in Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue that “There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air…”  World Music Night @ “The Stick” (as we affectionately call the place) has a line up for this Saturday (7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.,October 20, 2012) that is NOT to be missed….be there or be square…..

This is how the multi-talented Lauri Reimer of Music Magique Productions describes this Saturday’s entertainment fest on Facebook:

Music Magique & Stefani Valadez are gonna do it a little differently this month. The term ‘World Music’ covers a broad spectrum from Latin Jazz to Middle Eastern Klezmer to African, Reggae, Folk-Rock from other lands, Celtic and more. This Saturday evening at the Stick will provide a forum for all of the above. So far on the line-up: Peter McGowan, Carol McArthur, Stefani Valadez, Lauri Reimer. If you’re interested in playing, please contact us asap. Otherwise, please c’mon down to the Stick and enjoy what we bring to the evening. There will be no cover, but requesting a minimum $7 donation for the musicians that offer their time to bring this music to you. Free parking front and back of building. Family friendly.

Finn MacCool

Marta Collier with Finn MacCool @ Kulak’s Woodshed in NoHo

Peter McGowan’s Finn MacCool band I have been following for, well, I think decades.  My great old friend and band member Marta Collier and I used to defend women’s clinics against Operation Rescue in the dark days of the blockades that prevented women from getting everything from pap smears to mammograms, frequently at clinics that didn’t even perform abortions.  You can see more about Finn MacCool at and

Carol McArthur

Carol McArthur & Patricia Nazario singing “Happy Birthday” to Jan B. Tucker @ The Talking Stick

Carol is a tremendous performer and committed activist….last year she was elected to my NOW Chapter’s Board and is a fellow member of the California Peace & Freedom Party (although I didn’t recruit her for the latter affiliation; turns out she knows my fellow party member Frank Boeheim).  This is from her official bio:

Singer/songwriter CAROL McARTHUR has a big heart, a gentle spirit, and the voice of an ‘Angel’ (the title also of one of her fine originals) though she will wryly tell you that her halo “is a little rusted.” She has a lovely, lyrical, soaring voice, giving an elegant, wistful, romantic reading to a jazz standard like ‘Ghost of Yesterday,‘ then sounding very much like a classic folksinger with the haunting refrains of ‘Health to the Company‘ or ‘Night Driving.” She counts Ella Fitzgerald, Kate Bush, The Beatles, Elton John, Nina Simone, Elizabeth Frazier (Cocteau Twins), and Roberta Flack as the singers that have influenced her the most, but it is a testament to her talent to say she has her own unique sound and style.  She has been performing in front of an audience since age 6.  [More at:]

Stefani Valadez

Stefani Valadez Ensemble at the Talking Stick

Stefani’s bio explains that she is:

An unforgettable singer/performer whose haunting, soulful voice will linger on, long after you have been entranced and entertained . . .

Singer, guitarist, songwriter, Stefani Valadez offers a rich repertoire of soulful romantic and enchanting melodies from many nations. A third generation musician, Stefani has an international following of fans who have thrilled to her deep, haunting voice and the wide range of musical and ethnic lore she incorporates in her performances.

Stefani first learned to play guitar and discovered the beauty of harmony from her mother, a singer and pianist, and from Pete Seeger, and the Greenwich Village blues locals. She traces her musical inspiration to diverse musicians, such as Taj Mahal, Grace Slick, and Antonio Jobim. Her later interest in Celtic & international folk music led her to her first CD of World Music, “Other Voices”.

One of her newest albums is “Ladino Live,” a medley of songs from the Sephardic cultures of the Mediterranean, which Stefani collected while living in Spain. They speak of a time of peace and a flowering of civilization when the cultures of the three great religions coexisted peacefully together for 700 years. Stefani’s arrangements bring these ancient melodies, prayers and love songs into the moment with sensual and haunting vocals, soulful ethnic drums and delicious harmonies. The LA musicians on this CD have played with the legends of the music world and add layers of rich colors to an already deep and moving palette of music.

A strong vocalist, performer and arranger, Ms. Valadez also plays dulcimer and percussion and is a producer and recording artist.  [More:]


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Foreclosures Continue & Homeowners Fight Back


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Fort Hernandez Occupation in Van Nuys, San Fernando Valley

People have taken an interest in the “Fortress Hernandez” action in the San Fernando Valley where Occupy protesters have tried to prevent the eviction of the Hernandez family from their home by Bank of America [for background, see:].

In the unincorporated area of the Los Angeles Strip by Torrance, another Hernandez family has filed suit against New Century Mortgage Corporation, one of the key targets of the Federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) in Los Angeles Superior Court:

In Case No. TC 026900, filed at the Compton Courthouse (South Central District) of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Complaint alleges that New Century Mortgage Corporation (NCMC) engaged in virtually every single sinister action against them that were part of a pattern testified to by former NCMC Internal Fraud Investigator Patricia Lindsay, who told the FCIC in sworn testimony that:

  • The definition of a good loan changed from ‘one that pays’ to ‘one that could be sold.'”
  • New Century was even selling securitized bundles before the loans were even made.

The Complaint also alleges that:

  • “The Plaintiffs  in this action were victimized by two practices of New Century
    that were excoriated in the FCIC report: “Piggyback” lending and “stated income”
    lending without a credit check or without any verification of income. Piggy back lending involved doing two mortgages at the same time, a small one in lieu of down payment and a large adjustable rate mortgage coupled with it, which would then be bundled for securities sale, because “Meeting investor demand required finding new borrowers, and homebuyers without down payments were a relatively untapped source.”
  • The non-translation of documents in this case should be translated into plain English as “Fraud”

    “Missal’s report also detailed how New Century was “brazen” in increasing its loans and extending them to borrowers who were increasingly unlikely to pay, precisely the situation with the instant case before the court in which the Plaintiffs were induced to enter into the loans without a credit check, with the broker supplying social security numbers while the Plaintiffs were told they did not need social security numbers, without receiving signed copies of the loan documents which were all in English (while they are only fluent in Spanish) and without providing a Spanish language translation as required by California law.”  [Special Examiner Michael J. Missal was appointed by the court in New Century’s bankruptcy case].

  • “Defendants induced Plaintiff to enter into a mortgage contract, i.e., a Deed 0f  Trust, with rates expressly based upon the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) under the Interest Only Period Fixed/Adjustable Rate Rider of the contract. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that the LlBOR rate has been fraudulently  manipulated by major American and International banks and that they were required by this manipulation to make unlawful and excessive payments of interest on her loan in violation of public policy, wherein Plaintiff was and is owed both general, special, and punitive and exemplary damages in an amount offsetting any and all payments they purportedly have ever owed to Defendant NCMC.”

The California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) is assisting the Hernandez Family of Torrance to try to keep their home and to combat these outrageous and criminal actions by the Banksters that want to throw them out.  If you want to help, email:

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The Story of Ramsey Muniz, Political Prisoner


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How the US government used a Mexican drug lord to convict an innocent man

 Reprinted from:

From our sponsors:

Texas drug abuse hotlines:

By Alan Bean, Friends of Justice


Ramsey Muniz for Governor 1972

Ramsey (Ramiro) Muniz is a man of seventy who hobbles on a bad hip, but his spirit grows stronger with each passing day. Ramsey has now spent two full decades in federal prisons (including three years in solitary confinement) for participating in a narcotics conspiracy. Supporters feel that a septuagenarian with a broken body and a vibrant heart is a sterling candidate for a presidential commutation. I agree. But first we must face a troubling question. Somebody entered into a conspiracy with a Mexican drug lord, but was it Ramsey Muniz or was it the federal government?

Eager for a big media splash and an easy conviction, the Houston office of the DEA treated their counterparts in Dallas to a series of carefully staged events while intentionally obscuring the truth. Those who testified at trial had no idea what was going on; those who knew the truth did not testify. The DEA got a big media win, a drug lord got a plane ticket back to Mexico, and Ramsey Muniz got a life sentence.


In the early days of March in 1994, Denacio Medina flew from Mexico City to Houston, Texas. A week later, Ramsey Muniz was arrested in Dallas. Medina had a legal problem too big to be handled over the phone. Two of his brothers were in federal prisons facing narcotics conspiracy charges, one in El Paso, the other in San Diego. Neither brother stood a chance at trial, but Medina wanted to minimize the legal damage. More significantly, a new NAFTA-related law made it possible to transfer Mexican nationals convicted in the United States to Mexican prisons where, Medina hoped, they would be more likely to secure an early release (there is no parole in the American federal system).

Medina’s family was awash in drug money, and he intended to hire the best defense attorney on the market. Ramsey Muniz enters the story because he had a working relationship with Dick DeGuerin, a Texas attorney with a reputation for working miracles for well-heeled clients.

We don’t know how or why, but shortly after arriving in Houston, Denacio Medina was picked up by DEA agents and subjected to a thorough debriefing. Asked why he was in the United States, Medina likely told the truth: he had come to hire an attorney and his pending appointment with Ramsey Muniz was proof of that fact.

When the feds learned that Medina was talking to Ramsey Muniz their suspicions deepened. In the eyes of most Texas Latinos, Muniz was remembered as the Baylor educated attorney who ran for Texas governor on the La Raza Unida ticket back in the 1970s. But Muniz had gone to prison for five years in 1977 when one of his clients found himself in the same position Denacio Medina was now in. Muniz admitted he had attended meetings his clients’ illegal activities were discussed. He thought he was covered by attorney-client privilege—he was wrong.


Upton Sinclar in 1923, in a Los Angeles jail for reading the First Amendment to striking longshore workers at Liberty Hill in San Pedro

You may be asking why a man with two brothers facing long stretches in the federal prison system would cross the border to do a drug deal that could easily have been transacted by his family’s Texas affiliates. None of that mattered to the DEA. They had a chance to make a high-profile drug bust involving a Latino icon, and they intended to make the most of the opportunity. As Upton Sinclair has famously said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”

There was only one way Medina could return to Mexico as a free man—he had to confirm the DEA’s darkest suspicions, and that meant making it appear that he and Muniz really were planning a drug deal. Medina may have procured the narcotics through his family’s Texas connections, but it is more likely that the DEA, eager to ensure Medina’s cooperation, supplied the swag out of their own stash. This would have been standard operating procedure.

Muniz was working as a paralegal at the time with a law firm in Brownsville, Texas and was scheduled to spend several days visiting with potential clients in Dallas, so the scam had to unfold in North Texas. The goal was to tie Muniz to a vehicle loaded with drugs. If that didn’t work out, Medina was hoping the feds would be satisfied with finding drugs in a car that could be traced to Muniz.


Juan Gonzales–rewarded for being a pawn in a frame up?

The day after being “debriefed” by DEA officers in Houston, Medina rented a white Mercury Topaz using a credit card belonging to Juan Gonzales, the man who was scheduled to drive Muniz to Dallas in a few days. According to the trial transcript, Medina told Gonzales that he needed to rent a car but lacked a Texas driver’s license. Gonzales had a license but no money, and his Sears credit card was $300 in arrears. Medina offered to pay off the Sears card if Gonzales would use it to rent a car for two days. This amounted to $250 in free money and the simple laborer from the Rio Grande Valley readily agreed.


What kind of a Fleabag hotel? A hotel where the fleas are rats that set you up and snitch you off…

Next, the Houston DEA informed Medina that a confidential informant using the fake Danny Hernandez had just booked into the Class Inn, a flea bag motel in Fort Worth. Hernandez had no identification because, as he told the man at the desk, his wallet had just been stolen. At low end motels nobody asks questions to paying customers. By sharing a room with Hernandez, Medina had a safe place to leave the rented Mercury Topaz without leaving a paper trail.

We know that Medina was staying at the Classic Inn on March 9th, the day after Muniz and Gonzales checked into the Ramada Inn in a North Dallas suburb. Phone logs show that Ramsey Muniz received a call from the Fort Worth motel that day. Since Medina flew from Houston to Dallas the evening of March 10th, we must conclude that he drove the drug-laden car to Fort Worth, then flew back to Houston where he boarded a plane back to Dallas. If Medina and Muniz were true conspirators none of this would have been necessary; but if the plan was to simulate a drug deal, a few weird gyrations had to be factored into the equation.

Legal records make it clear that agents in Houston staged the Muniz bust while their counterparts in Dallas were intentionally kept in the dark. After delivering the “load car” into the safe keeping of the mysterious Mr. Hernandez in Fort Worth, Medina returned to Houston so agents with the Dallas DEA could observe Ramsey Muniz picking him up at the Dallas airport.

We are dealing with a classic bait-and-switch scam. Dallas agents who were carefully shielded from the salient facts of the case testified at trial. The jury never learned about the DEA agents in Houston who orchestrated Medina’s every move.

Ramsey Muniz was attending the 75th birthday party of a family friend when Medina called asking to be picked up at Love Field. Muniz didn’t drive and Juan Gonzales was returning from an emergency trip to the Rio Grande Valley, but a young man at the birthday party agreed to drive him to Love Field. Medina told Muniz that his shuttle diplomacy between Dallas and Houston was designed to line up the $250,000 the Mexican businessman had agreed to pay Dick DeGuerin.

Moments before this rendezvous at the Dallas airport took place; the Houston DEA called up their counterparts in Dallas and asked them to check out two Latino males fitting the description of Muniz and Medina. Dallas agents followed Muniz and Medina for a couple of miles before breaking off surveillance at the request of the Houston office. Later that evening, Houston instructed Kimberley Elliott, head of the Dallas team assigned to the case, to drive to the Ramada Inn.

In her incident reports, and at pre-trial hearings, Agent Elliott claimed she drove to the Ramada Inn because she had received a call from Ramada employees who were concerned about a couple of suspicious men of “Latin” appearance who were using the lobby phone. Elliott abandoned this theory at trial, admitting that she drove to the motel at the insistence of the Houston DEA. Motel employees had not been the least bit suspicious of Muniz, it turned out and no one at the Ramada Inn had ever called the DEA. Elliott’s doctored reports and perjured testimony at pre-trial hearings were designed to obscure the involvement of the Houston Office from the judge, defense counsel and the jury.

If the Dallas DEA agents had maintained their surveillance, they would have seen Muniz and his companions return to the birthday party where Ramsey was scheduled to make a brief speech. Meanwhile, Medina moved from guest to guest offering handsome remuneration to anyone who could drive him to Fort Worth. A Fed Ex driver named Danny Gallardo testified at trial that he took Medina’s offer and was directed to the Classic Inn. Medina disappeared for a moment, then climbed back in the car and told Gallardo that his car wasn’t at the motel. Gallardo was instructed to drive to the Ramada Inn in North Dallas.

According to trial testimony, Muniz was walking across the Ramada parking lot carrying a bag of groceries when he was approached by Denacio Medina. The two men chatted briefly before a stranger standing in the shadows called Medina’s name. Medina promised to be back first thing in the morning then climbed into the stranger’s vehicle.

True to his word, Medina was back at the Ramada Inn the next morning. Juan Gonzales had returned from his emergency trip to the Rio Grande Valley just in time to join Muniz and Medina for breakfast. As the two men chatted over their bacon and eggs, Medina said he would be returning to Houston that morning and asked for a ride to Love Field. A DEA agent who was monitoring this conversation claims he heard Medina say something about a deal scheduled for 10:00. The agent learned nothing about the nature of this transaction or if the projected time was morning or evening. But the Houston DEA was insisting that all three men at the restaurant were big time drug dealers, so the agent concluded that Medina was talking about drugs.

The three men drove to Love Field where Medina entered the terminal and was taken into temporary custody by a DEA agent. As Gonzales made his way back to the interstate he made two surprising revelations. Muniz learned that Medina’s rental car needed to be moved from the Ramada Inn a mile south to the La Quinta. Gonzales reported that he had decided to remain in Dallas to look for work and would be staying at the La Quinta.

Since Juan Gonzales failed to testify at trial it is impossible to know with certainty what transpired between Medina and the hapless Mr. Gonzales. At some point, Medina asked Gonzales to return the rental car for him. Gonzales likely complained that the car was now five days overdue. Medina may have promised to pay for a room at the La Quinta if Gonzales agreed to return the car. Medina and Gonzales clearly worked out a deal of some kind, but Muniz was left completely in the dark. Since Gonzales ended up doing fifteen years for his part in the alleged conspiracy, it is unlikely that he knew Medina was working with the feds.

Ramsey didn’t mind losing his driver. His wife, Irma, had been asking him to fly home and phone logs show Muniz had been discussing travel plans with Southwest. He had one more legal consultation scheduled for noon after which he was free to leave Dallas.

But moving Medina’s car was a problem. Muniz had allowed his license to expire because he didn’t drive. Five years in prison had left him a bit paranoid about car ownership, and he found he got more work done if someone else was driving. But the drive would only take a couple of minutes so there was little danger of getting stopped. Muniz climbed behind the wheel of the Topaz and followed Gonzales to the La Quinta. Moments after parking the car, he was approached and questioned by Dallas DEA agents, $800,000 of powdered cocaine was discovered in the trunk of the Topaz, and Denacio Medina was on a plane back to Mexico.


Attorney Dick DeGuerin

The jury never learned that every move Denacio Medina made was scripted by the Houston DEA. Dick DeGuerin, Ramsey’s defense attorney, wasn’t told that Medina had been “negotiating” with the feds until moments before he delivered his closing remarks. DeGuerin didn’t unearth Medina’s relationship to Hernandez until midway through the trial and, because he wasn’t told that Medina was working with the Houston DEA, DeGuerin failed to grasp the significance of the Hernandez-Medina connection.

The jury was exposed to a simple narrative limited to the “evidence” witnessed by the Dallas DEA. Would the jury have voted to convict if all the facts had been on the table? Would a case this flimsy even go to trial? The Houston office of the DEA had good reason to keep its fingerprints off this case.

After twenty years in prison, the seventy-year old Ramsey Muniz should be released from prison on humanitarian grounds. But the man who ran for governor in 1972 on the La Raza Unida ticket has maintained his innocence from the moment the trunk of the Mercury Topaz was lifted. The record shows that Denacio Medina set up Ramsey Muniz to save his own skin. The Houston DEA offered assistance and advice at every stage of the operation and likely supplied the drugs found in the load car. This nasty business was completely legal and utterly immoral. If President Barack Obama ever takes a close look at the facts of this case he will issue an immediate commutation. It is our job to ensure this tragedy receives the attention it deserves.

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Pardon Me? Say What? No Pardon for Rapist President Moshe Katsav


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Moshe Katsav, Presidential Rapist and Sexual Harasser

Iranian born former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, a convicted and imprisoned rapist, is widely reported to be seeking a pardon from current Israeli President Shimon Peres.  Here’s what the Jerusalem Post said in part about Katsav’s request:

Katsav, 66, is serving his sentence at Ma’asiyahu Prison, near Ramle, for his conviction on two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, and other sexual offenses and obstruction of justice, which started in December 2011.

According to media reports, his petition asks for a pardon in order to clear his name and, in some unspecified manner, to try to overturn his conviction on the grounds that he did not get a fair trial.

Reports also indicated that he contended that having to resign as president was punishment enough. [Emphasis added, full article at:]

Israeli Women Protesting President Katsav’s rape and sexual harassment

Say what!?  Are you freaking kidding me?  “…having to resign as president was punishment enough” for raping women??????

This request is an outrage and President Peres should reject it out of hand.  It would be more outrageous than when President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.

Email the Israeli Embassy in Washington to let you know how disgusted you are with this request:

This is what I had to say:

As the great great grandson of a Rabbi and as a Jew, I am appalled at the reported possibility that former Israeli President Moshe Katsav might be pardoned for his rape conviction.  Please communicate my views to President Shimon Peres of Israel.

Sisterhood is powerful.  Whether it is an Israeli woman, a Palestinian woman, an Afghan woman, or a woman anywhere, we need to stand together against the outrage of rape.  Rapists are shameful and women survivors need to learn that being raped is not their  shame or something for which they should feel blame….and no rapist should feel that they can get away with it or get away with an effective sentence which is a punishment that does not fit the crime.

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Social Media & the 2012 Election


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Created by Sarah Wenger:

Social Media Election by OpenSite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at

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Same Page Coalition Endorses Brad Sherman, Steve Fox, Dan McCrory


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 California League of Latin American Citizens

C.A.L.L.A.C. – Affiliated with the National League of Latin American Citizens

P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433

Tel: 213.787.5476

 For Immediate Release: October 14, 2012



L to R: Cynthia Conover, Jose Luis Ramirez, Brad Sherman, Maria Cano, Jan B. Tucker, Linda Pruett, Rick Pederson

Following a thorough vetting process the Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition has endorsed Representative Brad Sherman who is involved in a pivotal re-election bid against Representative Howard Berman in the California 30th Congressional District along with Assembly Candidate Steve Fox in the 36th District. The coalition is also making an early endorsement of Assembly Candidate Dan McCrory who is expected to seek election in the 40th District under the expectation that incumbent Bob Blumenfield will seek election to the Los Angeles City Council in 2013.

The Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition consists of the National League of Latin American Citizens (NLLAC), California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC), the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles and the Los Angeles South Chapters of the National Organization for Women, the United For Education Coalition, Miss Revolutionaries, the California LULAC Institute, and Todos Unidos. The latter two organizations are 501(c)(3) non-profits and do not make endorsements but participate in the vetting process to engage in GOTV (Get Out The Vote) and voter education efforts. Additionally, the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation (BHHF) is participating in the vetting process with a supplemental questionnaire for candidates and will take it’s own action on the races later.

Steve Fox, Third from Left

The Coalition’s standard endorsement questionnaire is considered one of the most comprehensive amongst California endorsing organizations. All three of the major Los Angeles Mayoral candidates for the 2013 municipal elections are currently in the process of formulating their responses to it. The questionnaire can be downloaded from The Coalition sent invitations to nearly every candidate for President, U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and state legislature on the California ballot in the November election (with the exception of about five candidates for whom contact information was not available).

Dan McCrory, Middle

In addition to the endorsing organizations, the Coalition announced that NLLAC National President Jaime Martinez had personally endorsed Representative Brad Sherman. Martinez, is also the founder and President of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Fund, and was the first Chicano to serve at the national level in the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE-AFL-CIO), first vice president for the Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO and served as president of the national Labor Council of Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).


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Know Your Electors–CA Electoral College Nominees


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Few Americans actually understand the origins or mechanics of the “Electoral College” which consists of the people that you actually elect in order to elect the President and Vice President of the United States.  Huh????  Elect to elect?  Yeah, that’s what I said.

When you vote for President and Vice President you’re really voting for a “slate of electors” who will gather in the State Capitol and then vote for whoever they want to for President and Vice President.  There is no law that can force these people to vote for who they pledged to vote for because the United States Constitution doesn’t specify that they can be required to vote for those to whom they are pledged.  Article II, Section 1 and the Twelfth Amendment explain how electors are to be selected and how they vote for President and Vice President.  Every so often a few electors have voted for somebody other than for whom they were pledged, but it has never affected the outcome of an election.

Usually, the names of electors are completely unknown to the public, unless they are, like those who defy their pledge are who have historically been called the “faithless electors.”  Generally speaking they wind up getting interviewed by the news media and immediately afterwards are forgotten by all except overly pedantic political scientists and other trivia geeks.  I do happen to remember that author James Michener was a member of the Pennsylvania Electoral College (and I think served as its Secretary) in 1960, simply because in High School I read his book, “Report of the County Chairman about his 1960’s experience as head of the John Kennedy for President organization in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania.

Anyway, just in case you’re curious about who the California Electors are for the various political parties fielding candidates on the California ballot this year, the Secretary of State has them listed on the office’s website and when you vote, remember that they get to vote for the candidate of their choice, so just hope that your party picked them very carefully so they vote for the candidate you voted for as well:

Here’s a little tidbit about why you have to be REALLY CAREFUL about who you put on your slate of electors.  Attorney Richard Loa of Palmdale is an elector for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Although for years he’s been claiming to have been a “lifelong Republican,” that’s just a flat out lie.  He used to be a Marxist – Leninist and Co-President of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of La Raza Unida Party.  I wrote about his radical chic days in my blog posting:  Loa once lectured me about how my view of “natural rights” was wrong because it was inconsistent with the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

Young Radical Clemenceau

Loa is a shining example, if you follow former French Premier Georges Clemenceau, of what he was talking about when he said “A young man who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn’t got a head,” and “My son is 22 years old. If he had not become a Communist at 22, I would have disowned him. If he is still a Communist at 30, I will do it then.”  On the other hand, if you’re a follower of Jan B. Tucker, then you may remember the message I gave in the program for a speech I gave at an AB 540 student fundraiser at Los Angeles

Old & Conservative Clemenceau

Mission College where I said that Clemenceau is full of shit.  Aside from the fact that he was a sexist and didn’t include women in his statements, you don’t have to give up your heart just to grow a brain.

By the way, it’s possible that another of Romney’s electors is a former member of the Socialist Party USA, but it might be a case of mistaken identity just because the name and general area she lives in is the same…..but I’m still checking that out!

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Mervyn Dymally: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly


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Wikipedia says of Mervyn M. Dymally:

Mervyn Malcolm Dymally (May 12, 1926 – October 7, 2012) was a California Democratic politician. He served in the California State Assembly (1963–1966) and the California State Senate (1967–1975), as the 41st Lieutenant Governor of California (1975–1979), and in the U.S. House of Representatives (1981–1993). Dymally returned to politics a decade later to serve in the California State Assembly (2002–2008).

Dymally, of mixed Indian and Afro-Trinidadian heritage, was the first Trinidadian to serve California as State Senator and Lieutenant Governor. He was one of the first persons of African and Indian origin to serve in the U.S. Congress. In 1974 he and George L. Brown became the first two blacks elected to statewide office since Oscar Dunn did so during Reconstruction.

Mervyn Malcolm Dymally, Legislator, Congressman, Lieutenant Governor of California and…… lobbyist

Merv Dymally to be sure, did some great things in his career and when I use the term great it is neither hyperbole, exaggeration, or an attempt to be polite to the deceased.  His career was a mixed bag and you will not see in print or anywhere else in his obituaries some of the issues I’m going to raise here.  I have a unique perspective about Merv because I ran against him in 1978 for Lieutenant Governor on the California Peace & Freedom Party ticket and I also assisted my old friend Carl E. Robinson, former President of the Compton Community College Board of Trustees to litigate against a power grab orchestrated by Dymally which set the precedent for what the Michigan Republican Party would later be accused of doing to predominantly African American cities throughout that state.

1974:  A Historic Election and a Historic Debate

John L. Harmer

One thing you’ve got to give to Merv:  he was one of the savviest politicians who ever worked in the State of California.  Merv and Alan Cranston both knew one important fact about the mechanics of debates.  Most politicians, especially incumbents, shun the thought of being on a stage with third party candidates included.  Merv and Alan (whose Deputy Campaign manager was a Peace & Freedom Party member in his re-election campaign against Republican Paul Gann; not to mention that Cranston started his political career in Henry Wallace’s Independent Progressive Party) understood that if you have a Peace & Freedom Party candidate in the race during a debate, the PFP nominee would invariably make the Democratic candidate look like a moderate surrounded by the Republican extremist on the right and the PFP on the left.

In 1974, this played out perfectly for Merv when, during the PBS debate, he was flanked by appointed Republican Lieutenant Governor and former State Senator John Harmer (appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan to replace Edwin Reinecke who’d been tainted by the Watergate scandal) and PFP Candidate (later my Gubernatorial running mate in 1978, the first open Lesbian to run for statewide office in California) Marilyn Seals.  Harmer, a Morman, had been doing a tremendous job of attacking Merv’s record in the legislature, going over bill after bill that Merv had introduced and spinning them as bad legislation.  Then, Harmer went even further, characterizing Dymally as having a “socialistic voting record.”

Marilyn countered in her closing statement that the problem with Dymally was that he did not have a socialistic voting record and went on to support Feminist-Socialism over liberalism.  To understand what then transpired, you have to understand that Lieutenant Governor Harmer was a right wing fanatic.  An October 23, 1972 Time Magazine article discussed Harmer authored California Proposition 18 on the November 1972 ballot, which was so extreme that Republicans Clint Eastwood and even John Wayne campaigned against it:

As drafted by State Senator John Harmer, a Mormon and a Republican, Proposition 18 leaves no doubt as to what is considered obscene: any display in public of adult genitals, buttocks or female nipples; any explicit show of “sexual excitement,” “sexual conduct” or “sadomasochistic abuse.” Obscene words may not be used if they are descriptive, only if they are exclamations of shock or anger. Thus the dialogue of Andy Warhol movies would be forbidden, but George C. Scott could get away with his expletives in Patton.

Printed matter without pictures is left alone, but even that is vulnerable to attack. As sweeping as the initiative is, it also allows local communities to add to the law if they want to. Private citizens, if they are so inclined, are permitted to make citizen’s arrests of pornographers and confiscate materials, though they face the risk of a civil suit if they go too far. An aide to Senator Harmer explains: “As a practical matter, we think the initiative covers everything. But we want to protect people five or ten years down the line. We don’t know what the creative pornographers might think up.”

Harmer’s Proposition 18, which to this day the LDS church laments its defeat, was so far out off the deep-end that it would have made it a misdemeanor for a male to walk around in public, even fully clothed, with a visibly turgid phallus in his pants!  Many of the world’s major works of art would be illegal to display anywhere but the middle of the Mojave desert because you were not allowed to display nudity within a certain radius of a church, or school or park where children might be present.

John Harmer’s vision of socialism, maybe?

So, what does Harmer do after Marilyn Seals supports socialism and feminism and denounces Dymally for not being a socialist?  He goes bonkers.  He blows his entire closing statement attacking Marilyn and the Peace & Freedom Party instead of Dymally.  He explains that “When I was a missionary for my church in England, I saw the people oppressed under the socialist yoke…”  If you thought that Michelle Bachmann’s rhetoric was extreme these days, you ain’t seen nothin’ if you never heard John Harmer talk.

Merv Dymally was happier’n a pig in shit.  He just continued sounding sane and very moderate compared to Marilyn and Harmer.  You could see in his face at the end of the PBS debate just how happy he was.  Dymally won the race:

Mervyn M. Dymally (D)        John L. Harmer (R)              Marilyn Seals (PFP)

2,986,537 (49.19%) 2,812,636 (46.32%) 154,332 (2.54%)

Now for background on what happened in 1978, when I was the PFP nominee for Lieutenant Governor as running mate to Marilyn Seals running for Governor against incumbent Jerry Brown and Republican Attorney General Evelle Younger, Merv moved so far to the right it was frankly, downright despicable, and the election proved him wrong to do so.  See the details at:

Republican Mike Curb & Democrat Merv Dymally, or Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum; or, Tweedle Dumb & Tweedle Dumber?

Announcing his candidacy for re-election at a press conference in January 1978, Dymally came out with the statement that he agreed “with what the most conservative Republican newspapers stand for…” and specified his support for (1) the proposed SOHIO oil terminal project for San Pedro Harbor, which would have placed then-British government owned (through BP, British Petroleum) SOHIO (Standard Oil of Ohio) in charge of about half the Alaskan oil reserves, the proposed largest super-tanker port on the West Coast, and an extensive oil pipeline network); (2) repeal of California’s Unitary Tax (check the above link on Obama’s current championing of re-instating Unitary tax rules); and (3) repeal of the federal water subsidy limitation of 180 acres (for up to three family members) for farms, so that corporate agribusiness could continue to receive subsidized cheap water instead of only small family farmers (the law had been violated with impunity for decades until a recent court decision which finally enforced exclusion of agribusiness from receiving subsidized water).  Dymally and Republican nominee Mike Curb wound up with identical positions on all three issues. 

Aside from these issues, Curb was able to exploit a raid on Dymally’s attorney’s office by the State Attorney General, an action that led California to enact a law requiring court appointment of a neutral special master to supervise execution of search warrants on offices of lawyers, clergy, and physicians.

The only candidate you could vote for who didn’t agree with them on all major issues in the campaign was me.

Jan B. Tucker, Peace & Freedom Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor, 1978

During the campaign I forced former Mayor Sam Yorty’s show to give me an “equal time” appearance to respond to the appearance of Dymally and Curb.  His then producer, Wally George was furious that I forced them into it under the old FCC regulations and Mayor Sam tried to red-bait me, but I so deftly laid out the major issues and why they were simply bad policy on the part of Dymally and Curb that I got a real shock later over the kind of support I attracted.  One of the grand old founders of PFP, Carol Weston (ex-wife of famous black & white photographer Edward Henry Weston) approached me at the next PFP County Central Committee meeting in Los Angeles.  She asked me if I had appeared on the Sam Yorty show.  When I told her that I had, she informed me that her neighbor, a member of the John Birch society, with whom she’d been arguing about politics for the past 20 years had seen my performance and come to the conclusion that “this fine young gentleman” who she’d seen on the Sam Yorty Show had been “so intelligent and so patriotic” that she was going to join Carol that year in “voting the straight Peace and Freedom Party ticket.”  Go figure….  The election results:

                Mike Curb (R)                     Merv Dymally (D)                    Jan Tucker (PFP)

3,493,980 (51.64%) 2,928,329 (43.28%) 162,341 (2.40%)

Fast Forward:  When Merv Made McClintock Seem Moderate

Since the Republican 2010 election sweep that enabled Michigan Republicans to ram through an “Emergency Financial Manager” law through the legislature, Democrats have been running around like chickens with their heads cut off because the law has enabled dictatorial control over Michigan cities, especially African American majority cities.  Too bad the Democrats didn’t have the gumption to oppose the same kind of law when Merv Dymally authored it to destroy the authority of Compton – Carson voters to control their own community college district.  The only nay vote in the California legislature at the time was then Assembly member Tom McClintock, arguably at the time the most right wing member of the legislature, in some ways, the John Harmer of his time.  The Michigan law illustrates what happens when election officials are rendered impotent by dictators in the name of freedom:

An outsider’s first visit to Pontiac, Mich., feels a bit like Alice’s first glance at Wonderland. Everything seems upside down. City Council meetings last for hours, but there is nothing on the agenda. The city has a mayor, but he doesn’t have any authority. There are workers inside City Hall, but they aren’t employed by the city. And the man at the head of the table is an exceedingly charming 74-year-old who might be destroying his hometown, or who might be the only person willing to save it.

Thanks to a law championed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and passed by the Michigan Legislature early last year, that man, Lou Schimmel, has almost unilateral authority to run the government in this city of 60,000 that state leaders have deemed to be in the midst of a fiscal emergency. That law, known as Public Act 4 (PA4), is the same one that state leaders held over Detroit officials as they threatened a state takeover (the two sides eventually agreed to a more limited type of oversight).

In Pontiac, Schimmel oversees the city’s day-to-day operations. He hires and fires employees. He forces major changes to labor contracts. He sets the budget. He creates ordinances. He sells city property. His critics call the policy that put him in power the “dictator law.” []

Merv Dymally authored AB 61 in 2004 of which the question was asked:

Is AB 61 a Preview of Coming Attractions?

 On July 14, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 61 by Assembly Member Mervyn Dymally (D-Compton). The bill authorizes the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to appoint a special trustee to administer and oversee the Compton Community College District’s operations. Specifically the bill states, �The Legislature finds and declares that the information collected by appropriate officials of the California Community Colleges clearly indicates that the Compton Community College District has failed to maintain fiscal integrity and warrants a conclusion that the district is unable to manage its own recovery.�

The bill remains in effect only until January 1, 2008, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute is passed before January 1, 2008, that deletes or extends the date. The bill is an urgency act that takes effect immediately.

 State intervention of this magnitude for K-12 school districts has been accompanied by a state loan, which is not yet the case for the Compton Community College District. Could this preemptive action by the state be a preview for what K-12 school districts can expect if they do not keep their fiscal houses in order?  [The Fiscal Report, Volume 24 For Publication Date: July 16, 2004 No. 14,]

It sure did portend things to come, in Michigan…..

Now here’s the background.  The Wikipedia article on Compton College explains that:

In May 2004, the State Chancellor’s Office issued an Executive Order 2004-01, and installed Arthur Tyler, Jr. as Special Trustee to assist the Compton Community College District toward achieving fiscal stability and integrity. Subsequently, in August, the State Chancellor issued another Executive Order (2004-02) authorizing the continuing authority of the Special Trustee to manage the College, and to suspend, for up to one year, the powers of the governing board of the College, or of any members of that board, and to exercise any powers or responsibilities or to take any official action with respect to the management of the College.

Front & Left: Marshall Drummond

The Chancellor referred to was Marshall Drummond who served two terms as Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD).  In the interim between the two terms he was the California Community Colleges Chancellor who issued the above mentioned Executive Orders that were enabled by Mervyn Dymally’s AB 61.  Drummond, now the Provost of the United Arab Emirates Higher Colleges of Technology, was brought back for his second term in office with LACCD following a secret meeting of that district’s board which had gone into executive session after Norma Ramirez of the United For Education (UFE) Coalition and I, accompanied by district students, had put the General Counsel Camille Goulet on the spot over her office’s failure to respond (for months) to my California Public Records Act (CPRA) request concerning the policies, procedures, rules, regulations and guidelines governing the process of selection of the new Chancellor.  I flat out told the board that it was unfair of them to go ahead with the scheduled Chancellor selection that day without having complied with my CPRA request.  Norma had also pointed out that technically, they hadn’t complied with the Brown Act meeting notice requirements either (we had to find out about the meeting through the proverbial grapevine through a leak from a whistle blowing clerical worker in the district).

Prior to the selection of Drummond, the grapevine had predicted that the fix was in to bring in a new Chancellor from Chicago, who’d been sought out and vetted by a Ventura County based head-hunting firm that also just happened to be the employer of a member of the Board of Trustees who would have to vote on the appointment, Sylvia Scott-Hayes.

Drummond would go on according to my sources, to create and foster the pay to play culture in the LACCD that was later exposed by the mainstream press of permeating certain contracting practices for bond money construction.  As pointed out by the “Van De Kamp’s Coalition:”

 In 2009, District administrators such as former Chancellor Marshall
Drummond and recently fired Facilities Director Larry Eisenberg began moves to divert the
$72 million Northeast LA campus at the former Van de Kamps Bakery into the hands of a
charter high school overseen in part by Richard Riordan and Eli Broad, and unemployment
programs funded through the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  These actions,
unauthorized in law, are depriving the young adults of Northeast LA of community college
educational opportunities promised to voters by the Board – especially trustees Mona
Field, Sylvia Scott Hayes, and Kelly Candaele who reside in Northeast LA. []

Why do I bring up this little episode?  Because in his first term as Chancellor, Drummond had gotten his good buddy Merv hired as a lobbyist/consultant to garner federal funding for the LACCD.  Merv had retired from his term as a member of the House of Representatives in 1993 and promptly began utilizing his connections and political savvy to effectively get plenty of dollars for LACCD projects and programs.

At the same time as he held this position with LACCD, he wangled his way into a deal with the Compton Community College District wherein he was paid $5,000 per month along with an office, a cell phone (not as in vogue as they are now in, back then), and a vehicle, to do the exact same job, getting federal funds for the Compton District.  Some might see this as a slight conflict of interest, especially in light of the fact that Merv never got a dime for Compton, since he was effectively in the position of having both districts competing against each other for federal funding.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Carl E. Robinson, former President of the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees

My friend Carl E. Robinson had a rocky career.  He was frequently controversial.  Rumors abound to this day about his supposedly being dishonest.  The L.A. County District Attorney’s office knowingly framed him (not just my opinion, it was the opinion of the jury that acquitted him after less than an hour of deliberations) for supposedly accepting a bribe.  The District Attorney’s informer got him on tape supposedly accepting the bribe…but the tape itself so effectively demonstrated that Carl was innocent that the District Attorney refused to play it in court and the defense had to introduce and play it for the jury.  While the D.A.’s office vilified Carl with the trial, he lost his seat on the Compton Board of Trustees by 3 votes to a prick named Carter who’d publicly accused him of being guilty of the charges.  We later sued Carter for slander and he settled the case, paying Carl and effectively admitting Carl had been innocent all along.  I knew Carl to be so honest that when he’d been in a traffic accident, he described a chiropractor he’d gone to as a “crook” for jacking up his fees (and he refused to go along with it) even though it would have meant that he’d personally receive more money from the eventual insurance settlement.

During the criminal case against Carl in the bribery frame up, the District Attorney’s office offered him a walk, complete dismissal of the charges, if he’d testify against Merv Dymally.   Carl told them he didn’t know anything crooked about Merv Dymally.  Carl told me that the District Attorney’s office didn’t care whether he knew anything or not that was real and told him that they didn’t really care whether he made stuff up about Dymally.  Carl didn’t mince words:  he told them to go fuck themselves and went straight to Dymally to warn him that the District Attorney’s office was going to try to frame him just like they’d framed Carl.

Did Dymally reward Carl for his good deed?  No, he adhered to the Ferengi 285th Law of Acquisition that “No good deed ever goes unpunished.”  When Carl found out that Dymally was double dipping with holding down the same job with the same assignment in both the LACCD and the Compton District, performing for LACCD but not performing for Compton, he spearheaded the effort to can Dymally on the Compton Board.  Dymally never forgave Carl for being honest and for safeguarding the people of Compton and Carson that he represented on the board.

Alexandra Gallardo Rooker with Willie Brown

In 2002, my friend Alex Gallardo Rooker seemed to be the heir apparent for the Compton area Assembly District that was being left vacant as the demographics had shifted to a Latino advantage.  However there was a huge BUT in that equation.  Alex had been a longtime delegate to the County Federation of Labor representative for Local 9400 of the Communications Workers of America, the local into which my Newspaper Guild Local (69) would later be absorbed.  In a debate that ensued about political issues dealing with Native American casinos, Local 9400 found itself on the opposite side of the HERE union (Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees, now part of the merged UNITE-HERE which includes needle trades workers).  Alex defended her local as was her job, forcefully and forthrightly.  It was a vociferous debate and she majorly pissed off powerful people on the other side of the equation.  In hindsight, my guess is that Local 9400 was in the wrong, as they were later majorly in the wrong in a dispute with the Graphic Communications Union-Teamsters over local money spent to buy a print shop and go into competition with their own members, but that is a story for another day.

In any event, when the Compton Assembly District became vacant, those Latino labor leaders whom she had pissed off within the labor movement and the Los Angeles County Fed, came out of the woodwork with a deal to keep that district in African American hands, and the only way they could orchestrate that with the Legislative Black Caucus was to bring back Merv Dymally from retirement to re-take the district he’d represented back in the 60s.  Dymally, with his greater name recognition and the support of those Latino labor leaders, won hands down.

So what was the pay-back to Carl Robinson that came out of all these machinations?  Drummond accused the Compton District of being in the red financially to the tune of millions of dollars.  Dymally orchestrated AB 61’s passage with the sole dissenting vote of Tom McClintock.  Drummond issued his executive orders which later emasculated the Compton District’s elected board, just the way that the Republican Party would later emasculate the elected officials of Michigan municipalities….and then in spite of an audit which later showed that the Compton District was a million dollars in the black and not in the red, the District was run into the ground by its Drummond appointed Czars, it lost its accreditation, and was eventually forcibly absorbed into the El Camino District (Drummond tried to orchestrate a takeover of Compton by the LACCD, but was faced with a revolt by College Presidents who were aghast at the prospect of their own budgets being cut to bail out Compton to get its accreditation back).  Drummond and Dymally not only adhered to the Ferengi Laws of Acquisition in taking over the District, they did so in adherence to the Borg’s dicta of “you shall be assimilated” and proved that “resistance is futile.”  I helped Carl fight back with a lawsuit against the constitutionality of AB 61, but the stress he was put through caused him to suffer a stroke which left him unable to speak.  At a introductory meeting with UFE in San Fernando downstairs from the Pueblo y Salud headquarters, Drummond would despicably claim that Carl would have been indicted if he hadn’t suffered a stroke (my CPRA request to the California Community Colleges would later uncover not a shred of evidence against Carl to justify Drummond’s claims).

What Goes Around Comes Around

Drummond at least got his comeuppance.  During his tenure as Chancellor in his second term with LACCD, he continued a practice we’d heard about of lessening the burden of his multiple alimony awards from his multiple ex-wives.  It seemed that conveniently his ex-wives kept getting hired where he was working.  In at least one case in LACCD that one of my informants indicated was common knowledge at the campus, one of Drummond’s ex’s got hired without meeting the minimal requirements for the job (like she didn’t have at least two years of classroom instruction experience, not exactly a minor or technical detail), with the General Counsel’s office conveniently looking the other way and behind the backs of the Trustees.  I’m also told that two of his mistresses effectively slept their way to the top with him, and now have gone on to serve in top positions in colleges and districts.  Then of course are the other accusations of nepotism, like the son of a certain LACCD college president getting hired for a job that he was utterly incompetent to perform……well, I could go on ad nauseum with these stories.

My sources tell me that these rumors had started percolating up to the Board to the point where even the General Counsel could not ignore them.  Eventually, when Drummond simply stopped coming in to work, some little birdies tell me that the General Counsel herself showed up at Drummond’s apartment and found that another rumor about him was also apparently true:  he was an alcoholic and was found in flagrante dilecto, not sexually but reportedly drunk out of his mind.  As quietly as possible, they let him go instead of just firing him as would have been his just reward if these rumors were true.  I have been led to understand that in fact, instead of firing him for cause, they gave him a severance package, paying out the remainder of his contract to  the tune of $1.2 million of taxpayer funds, in part so that he’d keep quiet about how the District’s representatives purportedly obtained the key to his apartment from management to enter and find him drunk without a shred of legality [if true, it’s called trespassing and invasion of privacy].  Are they true or were people just shoveling me a ration of shit?  I don’t know, but one has to wonder why Drummond had to wind up in the United Arab Emirates to find a new job…..

Okay, so much for the Bad and the Ugly

Merv Dymally trail-blazed for African American politicians.  He was a pioneer member of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the first African American State Senator in California, the first African American Lieutenant Governor in America as well as sporting a high achieving record of legislation passed. Just one example I’ll always remember, a tidbit of feminist history in California, was on the use of “Ms” by women.  As a student activist at CSU Northridge I began registering voters in my women’s studies class, Woman as a Rhetorical Force in the Speech Communication Department, as “Ms” which was not a legal option on the voter registration form.  In those days, men did not have to disclose their marital status to register to vote but women were required to designate Miss or Mrs.  In 1972, now-current LACCD Trustee Nancy Pearlman sued for the right of women to register as “Ms” and was turned down by none other than racist-sexist Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert A. Wenke (who was later overturned 9-0 by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark 14th Amendment case, Lubin vs Panish on another issue).

Merv Dymally came to the rescue when nobody else in the legislature dared.  He introduced and passed legislation that now enables millions of women in California to designate themselves as “Ms” if they so choose.

During his career, he mentored generations of new African American politicians, including my friend Isadore Hall III who inherited Dymally’s Assembly seat when Dymally himself was defeated by Rod Wright in his attempt to move up once again to the State Senate.  As Isadore Hall tweeted upon Dymally’s demise, “Prayers to family and friends of Hon. Mervyn Dymally. My revered mentor. 52AD thanks you for your lifetime service.”

Merv may have been a mixed bag, but having a dedicated, honest, and effective legislator like Isadore Hall in office is a blessing, and if we have Dymally to thank for that and so many others that he mentored and inspired, so be it.

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Blythe thinks it’s Skokie Illinois when it comes to Civil Rights


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For background, see my past postings:

Today, a claim was filed with the City of Blythe under the California Tort Claims Act because the city is trying to force us to take out an insurance policy just in case a riot takes place at our peaceful demonstration in support of women’s and immigrants’ rights.  In other words, the City is unwilling to enforce our rights under the California Constitution to safety and liberty against people who might want to violently interfere with those rights unless we pay for those rights.  THAT’S NOT THE WAY THE LAW WORKS!

Here’s what several California courts have had to say about the legal and constitutional issues at stake here:

Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride, Inc. v. City of Long Beach (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 312, 17 Cal.Rptr.2d 861:

FN9: The last case bears quoting: “[T]he burdensome effect of the insurance requirement itself has not been shown to be necessary. The government may impose financial burdens on the exercise of First Amendment rights, such as permit fees, only when the amount involved is reasonable and directly related to the accomplishment of legitimate governmental purposes. [Citations.] In this case, defendants have presented no evidence whatsoever of the … need for such a burdensome insurance requirement. Nothing in the record shows that Skokie or any comparable municipality has ever been threatened with damage by a public assembly which would have been prevented or alleviated by an insurance requirement of this type.” (Collin v. Smith, supra, 447 F. Supp. at p. 685.)

 Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles 2011 WL 1601919  194 Cal.App.4th 1219

“[A] law subjecting the exercise of First Amendment freedoms to the prior restraint of a license, without narrow, objective, and definite standards to guide the licensing authority, is unconstitutional.” (Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham (1969) 394 U.S. 147, 150–151 [89 S.Ct. 935, 22 L.Ed.2d 162].) The prior-restraint rule in Shuttlesworth was designed to safeguard against the content-based, discriminatory enforcement of laws by officials who may use their unfettered discretion as a means of censoring a particular viewpoint. (Ibid.) The rule is generally applied to cases which involve censured forms of speech or expression, such as gay rights or antiwar parades. (Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride, Inc. v. City of Long Beach (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 312, 325; Dillon, supra, 4 Cal.3d at p. 864.)

 Aguilar v. Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. (1999) 21 Cal.4th 121, 87 Cal.Rptr.2d 132; 980 P.2d 846

When we leave our homes, we enter a hurly-burly world where we are sometimes required to endure the unpleasant and undesirable opinions and entreaties of others. Unfortunately, such unwelcome speech sometimes attacks us on the basis of our race, gender or ethnic heritage. (See, e.g., Brandenburg v. Ohio , supra , 395 U.S. 444 [Ku Klux Klan leader made derogatory remarks about African-Americans]; Contento v. Mitchell (1972) [21 Cal.4th 169] 28 Cal.App.3d 356 [104 Cal.Rptr. 591] [defendant called plaintiff a “bitch” and a “whore”]; National Socialist Party v. Skokie (1977) 432 U.S. 43 [97 S.Ct. 2205, 53 L.Ed.2d 96] ( per curiam ) [American Nazis wishing to stage parade in predominantly Jewish village].) Ensuring proper breathing room for the airing of diverse views generally requires that we simply close our ears, avert our eyes and move on. The freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment “presupposes that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues, than through any kind of authoritative selection. To many this is, and always will be, folly; but we have staked upon it our all.” ( United States v. Associated Press (S.D.N.Y. 1943) 52 F.Supp. 362, 372 (opn. of Hand, J.), affd. sub nom . Associated Press v. United States (1945) 326 U.S. 1 [65 S.Ct. 1416, 89 L.Ed. 2013].)

To Protect and Serve or what?

There are of course different opinions on the role of the police when it comes to demonstrations.  For instance, because so many corporate board meetings wind up getting picketed in Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Police Department get kudos from me on being reasonable and doing their utmost to protect everybody’s civil liberties with courtesy and professionalism.  Every time I’ve dealt with them they knew what to do and how to do it.

Then there was the opinion of Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago who made a brilliant statement by accident, that “The police man isn’t there to create disorder.  He’s there to preserve disorder.”  From an anarchist perspective that actually makes sense.

We pay taxes to have law enforcement protect and serve us.  They deserve to be well compensated for that frequently dangerous and difficult work.  They deserve to have collective bargaining rights just like other workers.  A chief of police however and a city government does not get to charge you money for exercising your constitutional rights or make you pay for an insurance policy just in case somebody else wants to break the law by denying you the right to exercise your constitutional rights by force, violence, or threats.

The late great Assembly Member Leon Ralph, author of the Ralph Civil Rights Act, Sections 51.7 and 52 of the California Civil Code

In California we have a couple of really good laws on the books:  the (Leon) Ralph Civil Rights Act and the (Tom) Bane Civil Rights Act.  By effectively threatening us with arrest because we want to engage in Guerrilla Theater and give some speeches, distribute voter registration forms and encourage people to vote, we are being threatened with violence for exercising rights that are guaranteed to us by Constitutions and laws….and that is why I filed this tort claim today:

October 4, 2012

 Mallory Sutterfield, City Clerk, Oscar Galvan, Mayor; 235 N. Broadway Blythe CA 92225  By Fax: (760) 922-4938

 Christian L. Bettenhausen Jones & Mayer 3777 N Harbor Blvd Fullerton CA 92835

 By Fax: (714) 446-1448 By Email:

 Honorable Mayor Galvan, City Clerk Sutterfield, and City Attorney Bettenhausen:

 The following is a claim in compliance with the California Tort Claims Act, Section 910 of the California Government Code.

 Sectio 910. A claim shall be presented by the claimant or by a person acting on his or her behalf and shall show all of the following:

 (a) The name and post office address of the claimant.

L: President Bill Clinton; R: Jan B. Tucker

Jan B. Tucker individually and on behalf of Miss Revolutionaries, an unincorporated association; California League of Latin American Citizens, a non-profit California Corporation; National League of Latin American Citizens, a non-profit Nevada Corporation, Independent Voices, an Arizona unincorporated association, and all others similarly situated. P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433.

 (b) The post office address to which the person presenting the claim desires notices to be sent.

 P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433

 The date, place and other circumstances of the occurrence or transaction which gave rise to the claim asserted.

 The City of Blythe has stated its intention to impose an insurance policy requirement on a peaceful political event in which First Amendment rights and rights protected by the Federal Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973–1973aa-6, including but not limited to voter registration and planning for Get Out The Vote (GOTV) actions will be done, for the use of Queshan Park. The City of Blythe knows or should know that it is violating the United States Supreme Court decision in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977) by attempting to impose such a requirement. Because this requirement was communicated by the Chief of Police of the City of Blythe, the requirement inherently implies the threat of arrest for non-compliance with this unconstitutional act, in violation of the Ralph Civil Rights Act, Sections 51.7 and 52 of the California Civil Code and the Bane Civil Rights Act, Section 52.1 of the California Civil Code.

 The City’s conduct further violates 18 USC 241 and 242, criminal conspiracy to violate civil rights and violation of civil rights under color of authority and is civilly actionable under 42 USC 1983 and 42 USC 1985.

 If other City officials fail to put a stop to this behavior, they will be personally liable under 42 USC 1986.

 Further, the City of Blythe is collaterally estopped from reneging on information that was initially supplied by the Parks Department to the organizers of the event prior to its being scheduled by the participants.

 (d) A general description of the indebtedness, obligation, injury, damage or loss incurred so far as it may be known at the time of presentation of the claim.

 As stated in response to (c), above, and, the City of Blythe has made clear its intention to violate the rights of the Claimants under:

  1. Article I, Sections 1, 2, 3, and 7 of the California Constitution;
  2. The First, Ninth, and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution;

  3. Articles 3, 4, 5, 9, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.

  4. Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended, specifically, 42 USC 1973i(b) and 1973j(c).

 (e) The name or names of the public employee or employees causing the injury, damage, or loss, if known.

Blythe Police Chief Steve Smith

 The Blythe Chief of Police, Steve Smith and other potential Doe defendants.

 (f) The amount claimed if it totals less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) as of the date of presentation of the claim, including the estimated amount of any prospective injury, damage, or loss, insofar as it may be known at the time of the presentation of the claim, together with the basis of computation of the amount claimed. If the amount claimed exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000), no dollar amount shall be included in the claim. However, it shall indicate whether the claim would be a limited civil case.

 This case is within the jurisdictional level of the unlimited Superior Court and/or the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The civil penalties associated with the Bane and Ralph Civil Rights Acts alone place any legal action within the jurisdiction of the unlimited Superior Court or the United States District Court.

Respectfully Yours,

 Jan B. Tucker,   State Director, California League of Latin American Citizens



Email the City of Blythe and tell the powers that be what you think.  Speak truth to power, to Mayor Oscar Galvan of Blythe:

Feedback in the press:–1004.html

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