Banksters #2


For background on this series, go to:

Another practice of the banking industry that winds up being abused and misused is to require people—most often minorities and particularly Latinos—to document their income by depositing cash income into their bank accounts. The practice is not inherently unwarranted; it is a simple way to prevent people from inflating their reported income to defraud the bank when they run a cash business. But if one hand at the bank doesn’t know what the a hand at another bank is doing, it can lead to disaster.

According to HSI Trust it was solely to document his receiving rents from his tenants that Leonardo (who lives in California) deposited his cash in Farmers & Merchants Bank, since his tenants pay in cash by agreement. Leonardo needs the income from the rents he receives to qualify for a loan modification. Even though he can show leases and shows he receives rent on his income tax Bank of America in this case is requiring Leonardo to deposit the cash he receives for rent into a bank account to “prove he receives this income.” Leonardo has already provided notarized statements from his tenants and copies of the receipts he writes them (signed by him and the tenant) when they pay, along with tax returns. Bank of America insisted that either the tenants pay rent with checks that Leonardo would be required to copy and deposit and/or do the cash deposit he did.

Leonardo simply wanted to deposit the cash to do what is needed for the loan mod and then withdraw funds so he could pay bills and have spending money. If he simply deducted the cash he needed from the rental money Bank of America would then only count the amount of the deposit, not the full amount of the rents received.

So Leonardo is forced to deposit the full amount so there is a record on his bank statement and then withdraw what he needs. When he went to do his latest deposit though, Leonardo explained this to the teller and was told that she “would have to report him and that the bank would close his account.” The teller would not let him withdraw his own money either after he deposited it.  He was also threatened with a report under the BSA (Bank Security Act of 1970) which requires financial institutions to assist the government in detecting money laundering.

All of the mortgage servicers engage in this process of requiring rent or if any other cash transaction being deposited to “verify” income. This practice disproportionally impacts minorities and in particular Latinos. HSI Trust has also seen this handled differently when the bank’s client’s last name does not identify ethnicity, by having them provide leases or statements from tenants, along with payment receipt copies and tax returns with no requirement to deposit cash.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Banksters #1


HSITrust HomeSavers    a not-for-profit company

Getting Your House in Financial Order

 Office: 70 James St, Suite 276 Worcester MA  01603 Tel: 508-304-9992   Fax: 508-463-0528 or  508-691-3426  Email

 L to R: Andrea, Chris Cuomo (ABC Prime Time), and Bruce Boguslav at HSI Trust HQ

This will be the first of a series of horror stories emanating from the work of HSI Trust, a non-profit working out of Massachusetts on a national level attempting to ameliorate and protect the rights of people victimized by America’s financial crisis and the predatory actions of Banks and other financial institutions.  HSI Trust works in tandem with the a coalition of non-profit organization in California, including the California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC, I am state director).

Given the national scope of HSI Trust’s work, they are able to detect trends in the way that Banks are dealing with their customers.  One trend that is intuitively obvious to them is that minorities are getting treated differently than white Americans.  For example, one Bank’s employees, whether they are talking about Cambodians, Thais, Vietnamese and other East Asians, they refer to them as “Chinese.”  At the risk of obfuscating that which ought to be intuitively obvious, this is below the standard of ignorant.  The Cambodian language is Sanskrit based (from the Indian sub-continent) whereas the Vietnamese language is more related to Chinese.

One of the predatory techniques used by Banks to ripoff hard-working immigrant communities is to provide them with a translator to help them fill out their loan applications but then not give them a translator when they sign the actual mortgage documents.  This is precisely what Wells Fargo did to a Latino immigrant family in California that HSI is currently working with, and as HSI puts it “Wells Fargo continues to ask for extensive financial documents that we believe would not be necessary if they were not a minority borrower.”

As Bob Dylan once sang, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Randy Munoz Gamez – Put up or Shut Up


The following is a letter I just sent off to the United For Education coalition:

May 20, 2012

Norma Ramirez, President, United For Education Coalition

To:   UFE by President Norma Ramirez:

 Please forgive this ultra-formal response to the allegations leveled against me by Randy Gamez, but unlike Mr. Gamez, who does not answer to a formal corporate structure imposed by law, I do. As you know, the California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) is a California Corporation. At the outset, let me point out as a matter of principle, unincorporated coalitions of individuals and organizations such as UFE, as movimiento associations, generally espouse the ideal of being more democratic than the institutions of government and/or the structure of both for-profit and non-profit corporate American institutions that we criticize and attempt to influence for the better.

Poster created by rival Brown Beret Factions who have issues with Randy Munoz Gamez

 Certainly, as a purported revolutionary, Mr. Gamez would theoretically agree that institutions created by the people rather than the government or corporate America, should have internal procedures that provide more due process rights rather than less, than are provided by the laws of the State of California. As a minimum, I should be afforded at least as much as the due process rights I would be accorded by the California Corporations Code for members and officers of non-profit organizations accused of offenses for which disciplinary action may be taken.

 First, I am requesting that any allegations against me be made in writing and that these written charges specify:

 1.  The definition being used by my accusers of the term “conflict of interest” since that term was bandied about by people who have obviously never had an attorney explain what it means to them and have no idea what the implications of the concept are;

2. Since this whole issue obviously implicates my personal exercise of free speech rights outside of any organizational structure through my personal blog and my personal website, I am requesting that Mr. Gamez (and any other accuser or detractor) explain in writing why or how any coalition has any right to interfere with my rights under the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

3. For any allegation that Mr. Gamez claims is false as to any person or organization that purports to constitute a “conflict of interest” or any other offense, he should specify:

(a) the specific language of the allegation I am purported to have made and where/how I made it (i.e., a citation as to the source);

(b) all the facts which demonstrate that the allegation(s) is/are untrue;

(c) the name and contact information for each person who Gamez purports to be a percipient witness to those facts;

(d) the writings as defined in California Evidence Code Section 250 which demonstrate that those facts are untrue;

(e) the name and contact information for each person and/or organization/entity who is in possession of those writings.1

Second, I am requesting that Mr. Gamez explain why he does not have a conflict of interest in representing whatever organization he purports to represent in UFE, based upon the following facts and criteria:

Jeronimo Blanco made accusations against Randy Gamez, not me.

  1. On December 26, 2011 I posted a letter from Jeronimo Blanco, a letter in which he discussed both Randy Gamez and his mother on my blog entitled “Communique from the Aztlan Civil War” [].

  2. Following this posting, I received a polite request from Randy’s mother requesting removal of her real name (she did not want it publicly associated with her Nahuatl nom de guerre). I complied with that request for the reasons she stated in her request which were reasonable.

  3. I received a threat of a libel suit from Randy Gamez demanding that I remove the allegations being made by Jeronimo Blanco against him that I posted in the blog. I emailed Randy back explaining why he had no basis for a libel suit, why it would be thrown out of court on a motion pursuant to Section 425.16 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, and offered him an opportunity to post any rebuttal he wished to provide. I never heard back from him.

  4. It would appear to be a prima facie case that Randy is utilizing his position as representing some organization(s) to retaliate against me for posting Jeronimo Blanco’s allegations against him (It should be noted that I did not take any position in my blog supporting or opposing Blanco’s viewpoint; The fact that Randy did not avail himself of any opportunity to even deny those allegations that I offered him speaks for itself).

  5. By utilizing his position to retaliate against me based on these facts, Randy may be violating his duty of loyalty, his duty of care, and any fiduciary duties he might have to that organization, if his organization requires those duties of him.

People vs Randy Munoz Gamez? Did he do time? Was it for a frame-up or was it just domestic violence?

Third, it has been publicly alleged by another Brown Beret faction on its Myspace page that Randy spent seven (7) years in prison for attempted murder. Unsubstantiated rumors I have heard include (a) that this charge resulted from his stabbing his girlfriend and (b) his purported explanation that he was framed due to his political organizing activities. I have no idea what the truth of these through the proverbial “grapevine” allegations are.

That said, I do know, because last night I did my own reasonable inquiry and due diligence and determined that it is possible that Randy may have failure to appear and/or failure to pay fine bench warrants outstanding in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura counties. He also may have had his California Driver License revoked because of these apparent FTA/FTP violations.

I bring this up because it is irresponsible for any organization in the UFE coalition to appoint somebody to represent it who is not legally squeaky clean. As we know well, the College Bureau of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department harassed UFE President Norma Ramirez precisely because of her official duties on behalf of UFE, i.e., appearances before the Board of Trustees. If she had not been innocent and squeaky clean, that could have had dire consequences. Even with Norma being clean and innocent, I had to personally expend a considerable amount of professional time to making sure that the matter did not get out of hand and that instead of Norma being under attack, the Sheriff’s detective wound up being thoroughly discredited as an imbecile. Additionally, Norma was subjected to extreme personal distress by being under attack.

 Randy Gamez, to clear the air, if it can be cleared, should:

1. Provide a copy of a valid California Driver License and a certified printout from DMV demonstrating that he has not been suspended or revoked;

2.  Confirm or deny that he spent time in prison as publicly alleged by a Brown Beret unit;

3.  If he confirms that he spent time in prison, he should provide a copy of his probation report (and any other documentation he desires to present) so that UFE can evaluate whether he was indeed framed for political activities or whether he engaged in a serious act of domestic violence.

 In conclusion, I am requesting that this letter be distributed to everybody who attended the meeting at Los Angeles Mission College on May 18, 2012, including but not limited to Randy Gamez, to all UFE participating organizations, to Xenaro, Ernesto, and Libertad Ayala, and to anybody else concerned. I reserve the right to publish this letter on my blog and/or website since it is quite obvious that Mr. Gamez and his allies have disseminated his accusations in a wider circle than within UFE.

 Sincerely submitted to UFE, I remain,

 Respectfully Yours,  Jan B. Tucker

1 I am particularly interested in receiving the facts, witnesses and documents that refute my publicly questioning whether the resources of “Partido Nacional de La Raza Unida” are NOT being used to promote felony wire fraud in violation of 18 USC 1343. I offered Ernesto Ayala during a Facebook chat exchange three (3) opportunities to deny this allegation and he declined to do so. If anybody dares to deny this allegation in writing, I offer, in any public place where I have internet access, in the presence of neutral witnesses, to produce my evidence as to why I am asking the question publicly in the presence of Xenaro Ayala, Ernesto Ayala, and Libertad Ayala to give them an opportunity to explain why my evidence does not mean that they are violating 18 USC 1343.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mount Kellett’s “Strikingly Similar” Behavior


Strikingly Similar

In copyright and trademark litigation the argument is often over whether a graphic representation or music is “substantially similar” or “strikingly similar” to a pre-existing copyrighted or trademarked item.  In the continuing saga of Mount Kellett Capital Management, its behavior with its participation in Baja Mining is looking “strikingly similar” to its participation in Evoq Properties (formerly known as Meruelo Maddux Properties).

It has been reported and much discussed in Baja Mining stockholder discussions (such as at, about how directors of Baja Mining that resigned may be brought back as directors as allies of Mount Kellett which narrowly lost a vote to get two directors seats and to depose two board members who were opposing Mount Kellett’s agenda.  In the case of the management of Evoq Properties, prior to the takeover certain higher level management had either quit under a cloud or were terminated.  They went to Mount Kellett and sold them a bill of goods about their purported knowledge and expertise about the company, made common cause with Mount Kellett and facilitated its takeover.

Mount Kellett brought these disloyal and disgruntled managers back with their own team to run Evoq.  What transpired was that (a) one of the managers brought back began initiating sexual relationships with female employees and insuring that they be paid more than women who didn’t accept his advances, (b) the new management team began a pattern and practice of canning minority employees and minority contractors, (c) one of the new management team began keeping two sets of books, (d) they fired and retaliated against the security director because he refused to commit criminal and civil offenses and blew the whistle on company criminality, and (e) they fired an employee for no reason other than that he was Gay.

More news to follow tomorrow, as I expect yet another lawsuit to hit Evoq and its other Mount Kellett affiliated entities with details of these and other juicy revelations.

So, Baja Mining shareholders may want to think very carefully if they see Mount Kellett bringing back disgruntled ex-directors in its effort to takeover the company.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cinco de Mayo’s Legacy for Indigenous Peoples


Benito Juarez

Cinco de Mayo went down in history as a great victory against imperialism.  The holiday commemorates the victory in the battle of Puebla of Mexican liberals under Benito Juarez–a full blooded Zapotec–over the Mexican conservatives and monarchists who had supported Emperor Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, an Austrian liberal duke who was suckered into accepting the throne by French interventionists in Mexico.  But a victory over European imperialism in hindsight may have been a disaster for Mexico’s indigenous population.

Juarez and the liberals’ program known as “La Reforma” and the Mexican Constitution of 1857 defined Ejidos–the system of collective ownership of farmland by Mexican indigenous tribal villages–as “corporate holdings” along with the large haciendas owned by the rich.  It is important to understand (and people who automatically reject the notion that a “corporation” is not a “person” should heed the Latin origin of the terminology to understand why modern conservatives have a different point of view on the issue) why there was a controversy over the application of this law to Ejidos.  As Wikipedia puts it:  “The word ‘corporation’ derives from corpus, the Latin word for body, or a ‘body of people.'”

The rich latifundistas could bypass the law by simply dividing up their large landed estates with title granted to their families for lots of small portions of property.  If the ejiditarios divided up the land and gave individual title to each indigenous family, the danger was — as in the United States — that unscrupulous investors would buyout or rip-off through tax liens the real estate titles one by one.  Another problem of land reform in Mexico involved a question of gender discrimination and would surface during the Mexican Revolution:  should land be distributed to all “heads of households” or to all “male heads of households.”

Maximilian I

Maximilian — to the dismay of the Mexican conservatives who wanted to reverse land reform in its entirety — kept in place many of the liberals’ reforms, including freedom of the press, amnesty for political prisoners, and living wage laws.  While he pledged to respect the agrarian land ownership reform laws, the effect on the ejidos under Juarez and his liberal predecessors had already resulted in many indigenous people losing their land to the latifundistas, precisely the opposite of what was supposed to happen.  Consequently, many of the indigenous people sided with Maximilian’s forces.

One prominent full blooded indigenous leader who rallied to Maximilian’s cause was General Tomas Mejia.  The conservatives were not particularly pleased that Maximilian elevated Mejia to a generalship because of his indigenous heritage, but that did not deter Maximilian.  Mejia proved his worth in battle, personally leading cavalry charges including an effort to break through the Juarista siege lines to enable Maximilian to escape from Queretaro.

General Tomas Mejia

Following a court martial trial, Maximilian and Mejia were both sentenced to death.  As they were being shot by a firing squad, Mejia shouted his last words, “long live the Emperor.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jury Nullification by Aram James


The original article can be found, along with comments, at:

Why a fundamental understanding of jury nullification is so critical to taking back our criminal justice system

May 1, 2012


On April 19, 2012 New York federal Judge Kimba Wood dismissed an indictment against 80-year old Julian P. Heicklen for alleged jury tampering in the case against him for handing out materials to members of the public regarding the right of jurors to apply the historic doctrine of jury nullification.

Nullification is the right of jurors to come back with a verdict of not-guilty even if the jurors believe that the defendant in fact technically violated the law, but the jurors conclude that the law in question is an immoral or bad law or a reasonable law applied in a discriminatory fashion.

In dismissing the case Judge Wood commented that a person violates the jury tampering law only when they try to influence a juror in a specific case pending before those same jurors– but not for merely handing out informational materials (protected First Amendment activity) to members of the public who come to the courthouse for a variety of reasons–not necessarily related to jury duty.

The right of jurors to veto or nullify an unjust law—or a law that may be fair on its face but is being applied in a discriminatory fashion–is critical to our democracy and to our ability to serve as citizen jurors while being fully informed of our rights and options as decision makers. These rights are essential when our government calls us to sit in judgment regarding the guilt or innocence of our fellow citizens and community members

In an era where our government is increasingly cracking down on dissent (consider the response of the government to the occupy movement or to high profile whistle blowers such as  Bradley Manning or Julian Assange) the decision by a federal judge to toss out an indictment against an 80-year-old citizen advocate for handing out materials to members of the public in front of a courthouse is a powerful rebuff to the U.S. government’s ongoing efforts to intimidate and steal from its citizens the right to think and speak freely and to exercise their independent judgment in the context of their jury service.

The judge’s decision to toss the indictment goes a long way to prevent—or at least to mitigate– jury tampering activity by judges and or prosecutors who – on occasion — purposely attempt to leave jurors with the wrong and intimidating impression: that to do anything other than to convict the person on trial is itself a criminal act.

Historically brave and courageous jurors refused to convict those charged with violating the Fugitive Slave Act and other immoral laws despite the best efforts of prosecutors and judges to steer jurors towards a conviction.

In the contemporary setting, if more jurors were fully informed of their right to disregard immoral or discriminatorily enforced laws—such as California’s “Jim Crow Drug Laws” and the racially motivated three-strike law—they would undoubtedly refuse to convict many defendants charged under these morally repugnant and frequently discriminatory laws.

The bottom line is that any grassroots organization attempting to reform or rebuild the criminal justice system from the ground up must understand and be willing to educate members of the public regarding their basic rights as jurors—including the right to veto or nullify bad laws.

Failure to educate the public in this regard is to assist and aid the state in wrongfully convicting members of our own communities. Knowledge is power and it’s time we go out into our communities and spread the word—we can just say no to bad laws.

Judge Kimba Wood’s action in dismissing the indictment in the Julian Heicklen case is cause for wide celebration-since we now know we are on solid legal ground when we decide to organize our communities around fundamental concepts of justice and our desire to take back our criminal justice system.

We can take back our criminal justice system from the forces that would prefer that justice be administered and understood for the benefit of the few to the detriment of the majority of  people.   The majority of people who must interact daily with the intentionally maintained mysterious and often baffling criminal justice system.

In California –pursuant to the holding in People v. Williams 25 Cal. 4th 441 (2001), jurors are explicitly precluded from exercising the doctrine of jury nullification. In fact, if a judge discovers that a juror is refusing to apply the law to a case–he or she may be discharged from the jury.

On the other hand, if the judge is unaware that the jury has engaged in nullifying what they perceive to be an unfair or bad law—the double jeopardy clause would prohibit retrial of an acquitted defendant. In Sparf v. U.S. 156 U.S. 51 (1894) the U.S. Supreme Court—in a 5 to 4 decision—held that federal judges are not required to instruct jurors on their right to nullify bad laws.

Understanding the power of jury nullification is one way to even the odds of obtaining justice for all. To learn more about the power of jury nullification check out the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA).

Aram James is a retired Santa Clara County deputy public defender—and a co-founder of the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project (ACJP) –a grassroots legal advocacy organization—located in San Jose, CA.

*In a future article the author intends to discuss the provocative and controversial use of race-based jury nullification. The doctrine of race-based jury nullification has been popularized by Law Professor Paul Butler.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on May 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm and is filed under Business, Community Posts, Featured, Fire and Police News, Legal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lawsuit Alleges Insurance Fraud by Mount Kellett Operatives


Case No. 12-3611, Zaldivar vs Keybank etc & et al has been filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California which alleges, amongst other things, that Evoq Properties Inc. operatives put in place by Mount Kellett Capital Management engaged in violations of Section 1871.7 of the California Insurance Code.

According to the suit:

Defendants made a claim for insurance benefits for the repair of a property that had been damaged by rain. Defendants falsely misrepresented and exaggerated the amount and extent of the damage to the building on the property to receive a larger than necessary payment from an insurance company. When Plaintiff exposed this fraud to businesses that had been ejected from the property as part and parcel of Defendants’ fraud, Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff in a mixed motive scenario involving both discrimination and whistleblower retaliation, by cancelling Plaintiff’s agreement and withholding payments that Plaintiff was due under that agreement.

The inside word on the suit’s allegation is that rain damage to a wholesale produce mart with exclusively minority and immigrant businesses and employees was purportedly blown out of proportion in order to get a huge insurance settlement.  Instead of repairing the damage with the insurance funds, Evoq Properties instead kicked out all of their business tenants and kept most of the money received for repairs.

The suit also alleges that:

In doing the acts and omissions alleged herein, Defendants engaged in a pattern and practice of discriminating against immigrants, non-Caucasian ethnic persons, and most egregiously against individuals and entities who of Latino/Hispanic descent and/or ownership. Defendants Evoq and R7 violated the rights of Plaintiff and its owners and employees under Article I, Sections 1 and 7 of the California Constitution, and Sections 51 and 51.5 and of the California Civil Code.

Complaints are being prepared to the California Department of Insurance and the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department regarding these allegations.

To see the lawsuit:


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goldman Sach’s Greed Could Doom Low Income Housing


The following was submitted by Harbor area activist Ernesto Nevarez.  It’s another example of the indifference of Hedge Fund operators to the human consequences of their profit-making activities, as I have chronicled with the ex-Goldman Sachs boys of Mount Kellett Capital Management (who frequently act in concert with Goldman Sachs)  in Los Angeles and Baja California:

There has been a take-over at the public housing project in Harbor City but now the tenants are meeting unfair resistance by the Goldman Sachs/Ricardo Hong slate.  All of the peoples’ votes were cast in person and proxy while the administration/status quo slate was done by mail. The election was conducted by the League of Women Voters due to a court stipulation.  However, the opposition that agreed to handle the arrangements did the mailing of the ballots.  Some of our supporters that showed up to vote in person didn’t bring in their ballots because they never received them in the mail.  The League of Women Voters informed them that their ballots were received in the mail already!!!

Despite the fraud WE still won 3 of the 5 board seats!!!!  Counting the 48 proxies which were all ours WE took the entire board.  The people at Harbor Village are all poor, seniors, physically or emotionally handicapped but they are GREAT!!!!  WE beat Goldman Sachs and Mayor Villaraigosa’s stooge, Ricardo Hong!!!  The company that we are fighting is Related Co of CA, a subsidiary of The Related Management Co LP of NY of which Goldman Sachs is the main partner.  The property was to convert to the tenants at the end of 15 years.  WE are at 14 1/2 years.  At issue, about $1,000,000 in assets in the Tenant organization, the NTCC.  The NTCC is the managing General Partner in the Normont Terrace LP with Related the other General Partner.  The Normont Terrace LP is the “Landlord” but for 14 years The Related Co. has ran the partnership at will.  The tenants didn’t even know that they were partners!!!!   Last Aug 29 I began helping, my dtr lives there, and I found out that there was a partnership and that WE were the main partner.  There are 400 units with an average estimated value of $250g each.  WE took control of it but they will fight us to the end and WE need help.

Hedge fund predators like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs and Mount Kellett exemplify what Abraham Lincoln was talking about when he said “These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aram James on the Trayvon Martin Case


Aram James is an old and dear friend and retired Santa Clara County Public Defender.  This is a recent article he wrote on the Trayvon Martin case:

Open letter to the family of Trayvon Martin and Prosecutor Angela Cory (reprinted from the Palo Alto Free Press)

April 10, 2012


Angela Corey

I support the call for justice for Trayvon Martin and his family. I want the truth of this case to be pursued–in a public courtroom for all of America–and the entire world to see.

I am a retired public defender and spent 25 years in the courtroom representing indigent individuals charged with crimes–to the best of my ability. I know all too well–up close and personal–just how broken our criminal justice system is.

Here in Santa Clara County–California –the home to the best and the brightest innovators in the high tech world (Apple, Facebook, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, et al) and with some of the  greatest institutions of learning  in the world (Stanford, UC Berkeley and others) we have still not come to grips–or been able to do away with–a criminal justice system plagued by racially discriminatory practices–at all levels–from the raw exercise of police powers in the streets–at the arrest stage–to the filing patterns of our prosecutors–to the disproportionately  long sentences given to African–Americans—and other people of  color–by our judges.

The system has made some small efforts to change–but we still have miles to go before we will truly see anything close to the equal application of the law.  We are–here in Santa Clara County–if I am to speak the truth–part and parcel–of what author and Professor Michele Alexander calls The New Jim Crow“.

In my experience prosecutors potentially wield extreme and extraordinarily subjective power over the lives of all of us–by way of their exercise of prosecutorial discretion—and it is incontrovertible –that here in the center of the high tech world– race still matters and plays the crucial and central role re who is charged with a crime and who is not.

Black men in particular are charged with crimes that whites are much less often charged with–and on the same facts–and there remains a huge disparity in the severity of sentencing that Black men–and other men of color–receive as compared to whites. And–sadly– the same racial divide applies to women in the criminal justice system.

When I request justice for Trayvon Martin, from the state of Florida–I am not pointing a finger at you.  I don’t need to travel to Florida to find injustice in our criminal justice system—injustice based on race–happens just the same way here in Santa Clara County—everyday.  So when I call-out for justice for Trayon Martin–I call out for all of the Trayvon Martin’s of America. All of the Trayvon Martin’s of Santa Clara County.

As a fellow member of the legal profession–I call on you prosecutor Angela Corey to look carefully at the evidence in this matter–ask yourself–if the race of the alleged victim and the alleged killer were reversed–would charges have already been filed? I think we both know the answer. So–it is time for you–Prosecutor Angela Corey–to do the right and thing–file murder charges against George Zimmerman.

Once charges are filed make certain that a jury–that represents a cross–section of the community is selected–and that the case is tried by a prosecutor with a track record for fairness to all parties involved.

I ask that Mr. Zimmerman–if he does not have money to employ the private attorney of his choice–be appointed the most able public defender available–one who will provide Mr. Zimmerman a zealous defense–and one who will ensure Mr. Zimmerman–and all of us–that he/she will act through-out the legal proceedings with an undivided loyalty to Mr. Zimmerman’s cause.

I know that Trayvon Martin’s family wants nothing to do with a lynch mob mentality directed at Mr. Zimmerman–this would not further the cause of justice for any of us–or honor the memory of their son–Trayvon Martin.

In the end, it will it will be incumbent on the legal profession, the community–Trayvon Martin’s family–and all of us–to all come together–to ensure a fair and fully transparent jury trial in this matter. That’s all I ask for. America can ill afford anything less.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Unite Against War on Women – a New Beginning


For Background:

This is what I posted earlier today in the aftermath of yesterday’s Unite Against the War on Women Rally in our Facebook organizing page:

Sherry, Nanette, Kelly, Katie, Becky, Gemma, and everybody else: just wanted to say that as you can imagine, I’ve been involved in a lot of protest demonstrations for more than 4 decades and what you made happen in such a short time span was outstanding. The effect it had on all the participants is part of a new wave of feminist activism whose effect will be felt for many years to come in the movement. Past rejuvenating waves like this I saw in 1989 after the Supreme Court’s Webster decision and again in 1991 with the Anita Hill – Clarence Thomas hearings. You all can be very proud of your role at this historical moment.

New Activists, New Friends

There are occasions when you know instantly that you’ve met people who will become friends for the rest of your life.  Yesterday was one of those days.  The women I met yesterday are exemplified in spirit by Joe Hill’s (famous Industrial Workers of the World organizer) song about Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (which I first heard when sung by my old friend Joanna Cazden):

There are women of many descriptions
In this queer world, as everyone knows.
Some are living in beautiful mansions,
And are wearing the finest of clothes.
There are blue blooded queens and princesses,
Who have charms made of diamonds and pearl;
But the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

That’s the Rebel Girl, that’s the Rebel Girl!
To the working class she’s a precious pearl.
She brings courage, pride and joy
To the fighting Rebel Boy.
We’ve had girls before, but we need some more
In the Industrial Workers of the World.
For it’s great to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl.

Yes, her hands may be hardened from labor,
And her dress may not be very fine;
But a heart in her bosom is beating
That is true to her class and her kind.
And the grafters in terror are trembling
When her spite and defiance she’ll hurl;
For the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

So who are the new Rebel Girl’s I’ve met and worked with:

Attorney Sherry Lear:  in a sequence of serendipitous events beginning a few years back, a private investigator buddy refers Sherry to me as she needs to some work nearby (we both operate out of the Los Angeles South Bay).  I’d never met her in person; everything was over the telephone or by email.  So a few weeks ago, I get an email from Sherry about my being in the National Organization for Women and can I help with getting support for the Unite Against the War Against Women rally.  Can I ever!  Haven’t had this much fun since last year’s Los Angeles Slutwalk []!

Sherry Lear (L) Nanette Harrison (R)

So Sherry has hooked up with Nanette Harrison, Kelly Lett, Katie German and a whole bunch of other fabulous feminists out of pent up reaction (revulsion maybe?) to all of the seriously sick and twisted attacks on women, from MCPs (Male Chauvinist Pigs) like Rush Limbaugh calling a woman who supports birth control a slut to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that have attacked everything from birth control and women’s health services to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, authored originally by then-Senator Joe Biden).

Old Friends in a small world….

L to R, Gemma, Cheryl, Becky & Janice working security at the 4-28-12 rally

So naturally I get on the horn and beat the drums to see who I can get to help out with the rally and my private investigator friend and colleague Becky Altringer steps up to the plate to help with event security and on top of it all, brings in Gemma Beristain, a private patrol operator who gets her employees to work the security detail with us.  Gemma’s company is PBI–Picore Beristain Initiative, Inc. and she’s got a great crew of people.

When I see who also shows up at the rally, it starts to seem like a reunion of sorts with political blasts from the past.

Blase Bonpane

Blase Bonpane

One of the slated speakers was Blase Bonpane, founder of the Office of the Americas, a human rights group that deals with issues throughout the Western Hemisphere.  Blase and I go way back.  I was his grad assistant in 1978 while working my way through graduate school.  Blase also covered for me as my professor, when I needed an excuse to obtain the home addresses and contact information for the employees of a guard service I was working for (I was an organizer for Local 1 of the American Federation of Guards) on the pretext that I was going to do a survey for my term paper.

Blase is a giant of a figure in history.  As a Maryknoll Priest in Guatemala in the 50s, he was organizing the indigenous and oppressed until the progressive regime of Jacobo Arbenz was ousted by an Eisenhower ordered CIA overthrow of the government.  When he refused to stop supporting the progressive forces, Blase was ordered defrocked by the Catholic Church and expelled from Guatemala.  He then went to Peru, where he administered Catholic sacraments, prompting the Pope to order him excommunicated.  Having nothing left to lose, he married a nun, Sister Teresa, and that really pissed off the church!

Carol A. Downer

Carol Downer

There’s a lot I can say about Carol Downer but the bottom line is, she is the founder of the pro-choice and women’s health activism movement in Los Angeles, and that doesn’t come close to saying it all.  Check out the Wikipedia article which says it better:

Angel Luevano, Natl Vice President of the National League of Latin American Citizens

Angel and Argentina Luevano (Argentina is Natl VP Far West of NLLAC) joined me at the rally and staffed our Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition (SFV/NELA NOW, California League of Latin American Citizens, California LULAC Institute, and Todos Unidos) table, signing up potential members and volunteers and distributing literature.  Angel spoke to the assemblage about his experiences working for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of the U.S. Department of Labor and how his lawsuit resulted in the “Luevano Consent Decree” which established equal opportunity standards for women and minorities in federal employment (

L to R: Argentina Luevano, Jan Perry, Jan B. Tucker

Jan Perry

Jan probably doesn’t remember this but I met her around 1998 when she was in charge of the Census 2000 Outreach Project for the City of Los Angeles at a monthly breakfast of the South County Labor coalition of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.  Today, Jan is the only woman on Los Angeles’s 15 member City Council and a candidate for Mayor.  Yesterday, she was the only City official to personally show up to demonstrate her support for our movement.

Heather Martin

There’s much to tell about Heather [] that you’ve just got to check out the link to my last blog about her.  It’s great to have followed Heather’s progress in life from passionate high school feminist activist to where she was yesterday, covering the rally for the Los Angeles Post [].

In Conclusion

There really is no conclusion to this blog posting because what happened yesterday is a new beginning in a new wave of activism.  If there is one thing I can suggest however, is that if you think you can be complacent about your rights and your liberties without being an activist, guess again.  There is a war going on in America.  It’s a great cultural war in which control freaks and religious fanatics are trying to turn the clock back about 60 years, if not more.  You can enlist in the cause of women’s liberation or you can stand on the sidelines and watch as your right to control the uses of your own body slip away.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment