As our Club prepares for the upcoming showing of Robert Greenwald’s most recent documentary, "Making a Killing," I was reading about our state Senate’s approval of eleven gun bills in response to the San Bernadino shootings. As you will all recall on December 2nd, 2015 two attackers killed 14 people in San Bernadino as they were attending an office Christmas party.
According to Senate President Pro Tem, Kevin de Leon (D – Los Angeles), 30,000 people are killed by guns every year in the United States. Gun violence has reached epidemic proportions! The San Bernadino shootings also resulted in a separate gun control initiative by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome that is expected to quality for the November 8th ballot.
Two of the bills approved by the state Senate would ban the manufacture and sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, as well as semiautomatic, center-fire rifles with "bullet buttons." A bullet button is best described as a recessed button that allows the removal of the magazine when pressed by a sharp object. Those already in possession of such guns would have to register them with the state as assault rifles.
Another measure would ban the possession of large capacity magazines, i.e. those holding more than 10 bullets. Another bill written by De Leon would require those buying ammunition to present identification, which would be used by the seller to check to make sure that the buyer is not a felon or otherwise prohibited from possessing guns. This bill is supported by the Los Angeles Police Chief, Charlie Beck and LA County Sheriff, Jim McDonnell as a way to make sure criminals do not get ammunition.
Other bills would require owners of homemade guns to get a serial number for the firearms, register them with the state and undergo a background check. Another would mandate that gun owners report lost or stolen firearms to the authorities within five days of discovery that they are missing.
Other provisions include limiting lending of firearms to specified family members and establishing a Firearm Violence Research Center at one of the UC campuses to study potential policies to reduce shooting deaths and injuries. Please be sure to reach out to your assembly member ASAP as there will be a vote on this in the assembly before the end of June. Let’s make California a safer place for all!
In the April 16th issue of the LA Times I was just reading an article by Evan Halper and Matt Pearce, entitled “Angrier Sanders backers oversell message,” describing how superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention were awakened by 2 A.M. phone calls and targeted in social media posts. There was the story of an activist in Chicago who unleashed a movement to “harass” superdelegates backing Clinton, with an online “hit list” complete with delegate phone numbers and some home addresses. Then, in the Wednesday April 27th issue of the LA Times, following the primary elections in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Rhode Island, there appears to be a new equilibrium in the air. There is an air of inevitability and a new normal that appears to be settling over both major parties. Everyone knows that Donald Trump won all five primaries, earning the majority of the 172 delegates at stake. But enough of the candidate of the other party! Hillary Clinton’s win in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware on Tuesday, April 26th earned her 90% of the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination, according to the Associated Press (AP). Clinton has 2,141 delegates while Sanders has 1,321 according to the AP. Interestingly, this has transformed Bernie Sanders into a candidate influencing the Democratic Party’s agenda rather than winning its presidential nomination. Furthermore, he has reduced his campaign staff by two thirds, according to reports on NPR. To his credit, Bernie Sanders has been effective in bringing the issue of getting unaccountable money out of politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality into the mainstream consciousness of the Democratic Party. To our credit as Democrats, we have been able to debate the issues and formulate platforms rather than resort to sophomoric name calling and demonizing as the methods of persuasion. Clearly, we appear to be dealing with a consciousness devoted to raising the plight of everyone in contradistinction to an egocentric consciousness that purports to elevate itself by oppressing the rest that it sees as different from itself. How could the latter ever succeed in a democracy where we have had a tradition of looking out for one another? Indeed, in state after state, the platform that concerned itself with the economy, healthcare and terrorism has won consistently over those who were concerned primarily with income inequality as their top issue. In addition, those concerned with gun violence won over those who questioned the right of families of victims to sue the manufacturer of the rifle used in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It behooves us all as Democrats to make sure that the progress that President Obama made with the Affordable Care Act are preserved for posterity, along with environmental conservation measures such as rejection of the XL Pipeline to be built from Canada through the Midwest. It is up to all of us to make sure that no American is discriminated against because of their race, religious preference, gender or who they love. There is only one party that will stand up and fight for all of us, the Democratic Party. Let’s make sure we continue to have a Democrat in the White House, come November.
In January of this year when our immediate past president Sylvia Moore brought up the issue of transitioning to a system of sending our monthly club newsletters by email, there were some in the crowd who strenuously insisted on receiving newsletters by mail. A compromise was proposed and a three- month phase in period followed whereby those who still wanted their newsletters by mail would opt in and specifically state so. To that effect, we will be providing Excel spread sheets for those who wish to continue receiving our newsletter by mail, opting in, whereas the rest of us would receive the email version.
Why are we moving to a more sustainable way to share information? When you consider the fact that it costs the club approximately $ 1,637.00 per year to send the newsletters by mail and that we have three elections to endorse this year. Each time we mail out our endorsement postcards, it costs $ 577.70 to have the postcards printed at Norwalk Printing and then another $ 1,501.05 to have them processed and have postage affixed to them prior to mailing. For all three set of elections beginning with the Culver City Council, the June primary and the November general elections, we are looking at a price tag of approximately $ 6,000.00 for this year.
One could argue that we could not possibly meet our obligations this year, but with the introduction of life time memberships, and stepping up of fund raising activities, we hope to be able to reach our goal. To that effect, we will be providing sign-in sheets at the upcoming meeting for those who wish to continue receiving our newsletter by mail, thus opting in. The rest of us will receive the email version of the newsletter.
When I learned that eighty years ago at the Berlin Olympics of 1936, Jesse Owens won four Olympic gold medals in the face of Hitler’s rhetoric, I became to appreciate his courage in the face of adversity and oppression. He won gold medals in the 100 and 200 meter sprint, relay and long jump. That piqued my interest in Black History month and compelled me to read further.
Of the 44 people who set out from Spanish Colonial Mexico to establish a pueblo between the missions in San Gabriel and Santa Barbara in February 1781, 26 were of African descent. They had descended from the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Africans brought to New Spain by the Spanish as slaves and laborers in the 1500s and 1600s. They were free subjects of New Spain by 1700 and had integrated with the local Indian tribes and mestizo population and helped to colonize Alta (North) California. The 11 families that arrived here on September 4, 1781 are commemorated on a plaque near the gazebo in El Pueblo de Los Angeles.
In the next century, Bridget “Biddy” Mason walked to California from Mississippi behind her master’s wagon. Although she was born a slave, she went to court and won her freedom in 1856. After saving her wages from jobs as a midwife and nurse to buy property near 4th and Spring streets in downtown L.A., she established “Biddy Mason’s Place” that would serve as a daycare center and orphanage. In 1872, Mason founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles with 11 other people.
In 1940, Tom Bradley was sworn in as one of the 100 black officers on the 4,000 member LAPD force. After leaving the force, Bradley went to law school and became active in politics. He joined the Crenshaw Democratic Club and later became the club’s president.
By 1963, Bradley was the first African-American elected to the Los Angeles City Council representing the Crenshaw district. In 1969, he ran for mayor but lost to conservative Sam Yorty. Bradley ran for mayor again in 1973 and won, serving in that capacity until 1993, thus becoming the first African-American mayor of Los Angeles.
Although Ryan Coogler is best known for his directorial work in “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” films, he is also known for co- founding Blackout for Human Rights. This is comprised of a network of filmmakers, entertainers and everyman pooling their resources to address human rights violations in the US. In 2014, the group spearheaded Blackout Black Friday, a national call to boycott Black Friday shopping following the racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Notable members of Blackout include Ava DuVernay, Jesse Williams, Nate Parker, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Oyelowo.