Culver City Democratic Club Official web site of the Culver City Democratic Club Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:59:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 President’s Message by Khin Khin Gyi, April 2016 Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:58:47 +0000

FullSizeRenderIn 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.

]]> 0 Vote for Culver City Democratic Club endorsed candidates Sat, 09 Apr 2016 16:43:33 +0000

Vote Tuesday April 12th

Dear Fellow Democrat,
Culver City’s Municipal Elections are on April 12th and the members of the Culver City Democratic Club have endorsed the following candidates for City Council:

Daniel Lee

Thomas Aujero Small

Meghan Sahli-Wells

We believe these are the best qualified candidates to represent our shared vision and Democratic values. They are also endorsed by the LA County Democratic Party and the Sierra Club. We ask you to support them and vote on Tuesday for Daniel Lee, Thomas Aujero Small and Meghan Sahli-Wells*.

Daniel Lee, Meghan Sahli Wells, Thomas Small

The Culver City Democratic Club has been representing the democratic values of our community for over 61 years. In addition to its involvement in local issues we are also active in national and state issues. Many members of Culver City’s City Council have been members of the Club, including four of the five current Councilmembers.

APRIL 12th BALLOT (portion facsimile):

Please vote for the following 3 candidates:

Polling Places

On Election Day, the polls will be open between the hours of 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM. The following is a listing of the 13 Voting precinct locations. You should try to vote at your own precinct but may vote, via provisional ballot, at another if it is more convenient for you. (all polling places are accessible to those with physical disabilities)

Locate your polling place

Voting Precinct Locations:

160001A – Residence – 3643 Helms Avenue, 90232

160002A – Vintage Faith Foursquare Church – 3979 Tilden Avenue, 90232

160004A – Patacchia Conference Room, City Hall – 9770 Culver Boulevard

160007A – Julian Dixon County Library – 4975 Overland Avenue, 90230

160011A – Veterans’ Memorial Room C – 4117 Overland Avenue, 90230

160014A – Residence – 5964 Stoneview Drive, 90232

160022A – Vintage Grandview – 4061 Grand View Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90066

160025A – Rotary Plaza – 5100 Overland Avenue, 90230

160027A – El Marino Elementary School – 11450 Port Road, 90230

160031A – El Rincon Elementary School – 11177 Overland Avenue, 90230

160042A – Raintree Condominium Association – 2000 Raintree Circle, 90230

160073A – Heather Village Condominiums – 6205 Green Valley Circle – Gate 1, 90230

160074B – La Sorra Loma Apartments – 6000 Buckingham Parkway, 90230

This Precinct list was made for your convenience and is accurate as of April 4th. The official Precinct list and other pertinent election information from the Culver City Clerk is available on Culver City’s Website. All election information specific questions and issues should be directed to the City Clerks office at 310-253-5851.

The Culver City Democratic Club

The Culver City Democratic Club meets at 7pm on the second Wednesday of the month in the Rotunda room of Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. Membership is open to all Democrats and visitors are welcome. For more information

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]]> 0 Past CCDC President Harold Irving Cherness Has Died at 93 Thu, 24 Mar 2016 02:14:51 +0000

Harold Irving

July 28, 1922 – March 10, 2016

Judge Harold I. ChernessThe Honorable Harold I. Cherness, retired Superior Court Judge, died peacefully in Santa Monica early in the morning of March 10, 2016, at the age of 93.

Judge Cherness (Hal to his friends and those who knew him) was born July 28, 1922 in Brooklyn, the eldest of four children. A keen student with a quick and curious mind, Hal pursued a college degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, until his formal education was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the US Army, in the Pacific theater. Upon his honorable discharge from the military, Hal returned to UCLA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1946, and shortly thereafter entered law school at the University of Southern California, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree.

After 25 years in private practice, much of it as a criminal defense attorney, Hal was appointed to the Municipal Court for the Culver Judicial District in 1975 by Governor Edmund (“Jerry”) Brown Junior and remained on the bench here in Culver City until 1994. During his tenure on the Municipal Court, he developed a reputation for courtesy and civility to attorneys, defendants, staff, and the general public. He later served on the Superior Court as an “on assignment” judge (a judge who substitutes for judges who are sick or on vacation). After 38 years of distinguished service on the bench, Judge Cherness finally retired in 2013 at age 90.

Hal was devoted to his wife, Gertrude Cherness, whom he married in 1945 and with whom he had two children, Janel and Darryl. Two years after Trudy’s death, Hal met and married Carolyn Falstein, with whom he shared 15 wonderful years.

Hal was a longtime member and past president of the Culver City Democratic Club, having joined the Club in 1953, and remained an active member for the rest of his life. As an early member of the Club, he fought for street lights and sewers for Culver City, which at that time was a semi-rural community. In addition, he fought for pay parity for the Culver City Police so that they could earn a salary comparable to the Los Angeles Police. All three goals were ultimately achieved. In 1998 the Democratic Club awarded him the “Trudy Cherness Active Democrat Award,” and his son, Darryl, was privileged to present it to him. In addition, several years ago, he received from the Democratic Club the Club’s first “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Harold Cherness will be remembered as a passionate believer in the law, a fierce defender of civil rights, a committed champion of the under-privileged and working people, and a loving father, husband, and friend of many. He is survived by his daughter, Janel, son Darryl, and granddaughter Isabell.

]]> 0 Upcoming Culver City Council Candidates Forums Tue, 15 Mar 2016 02:07:45 +0000

Exchange Club Candidates Forum

Tuesday, March 15 at 11:30 a.m.

Culver City Elks Lodge

11177 Overland Avenue in Culver City

Blair Hills Association Forum

Tuesday, March 15 at 7 to 9 p.m.

Kenneth Hahn Park Community Center

4100 S. La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles

Ask League of Women Voters Candidates Forum

Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m.

Mike Balkman Council Chambers, Culver City Hall

9770 Culver Boulevard in Culver City

Fox Hills Neighborhood Association Candidates Forum

Sunday, March 20 at 5 p.m.

Heather Village Condominiums

6443 Green Valley Circle in Culver City

Culver City Downtown Business Assn. Candidates Forum

Wednesday, March 23 at 10 a.m.

Kirk Douglas Theatre

9820 Washington Boulevard in Culver City

]]> 0 President’s Message by Khin Khin Gyi, March 2016 Fri, 11 Mar 2016 03:36:15 +0000

FullSizeRenderProfiles in Accomplishment, Black History Month

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.

]]> 0 Democratic Club Overwhelmingly Endorses Meghan Sahli-Wells, Thomas Small, Daniel Lee for Council Wed, 17 Feb 2016 13:41:43 +0000

Democratic Club Overwhelmingly Endorses Meghan Sahli-Wells, Thomas Small, Daniel Lee for Council

Los Angeles Democratic Party Endorses Sahli-Wells, Small, Lee the Previous Night

The Culver City Democratic Club overwhelmingly endorsed candidates
Meghan Sahli-Wells, Thomas Small and Daniel Lee for the three open seats on the
Culver City Council. The endorsement, voted by Club members, immediately
followed a forum during which all Democratic candidates responded to questions
about their experience and perspectives.

The previous evening, the Los Angeles Democratic Party endorsed the same
candidates, Meghan Sahli-Wells, Thomas Small and Daniel Lee, for the Council

“These Democratic candidates are a unifying force for our city. This
is the reason we should find them so compelling to vote for April 12th, “
Khin Khin Gyi, president of the Culver City Democratic Club, said.

“Culver City Democrats look to us to provide the information they need to
vote for the best candidates,” Darryl Cherness, a past president of the
Club, said. “We take this responsibility very seriously. We are very
pleased to endorse Meghan Sahli-Wells, Thomas Small and Daniel Lee for City
Council this April.”

Daniel Lee, Meghan Sahli- Well, and Thomas Small have secured the endorsement of Democratic groups

Council member Meghan Sahli-Wells , who was raised in Culver City and
graduated from UCLA, is the only incumbent in the race. She was elected in 2012
and has been endorsed by all four of her fellow councilpersons.

Meghan Sahli-Wells and her husband, Karim Sahli, a small business owner, are
the parents of two sons who attend Culver City Middle School.

During her first term, Sahli-Wells’s strong voice, collaboration and
key votes contributed to saving the homeless and rental assistance programs,
creating the Finance Advisory Committee, banning plastic bags, restoring arts
funding, creating affordable housing, expanding bicycle infrastructure, and
protecting the City’s billboard ban.

The list of her priorities is long. Among them are collaborating with the
school district (CCUSD), addressing mansionization and airplane noise,
investing in critical new infrastructure, attracting new businesses,
maintaining high quality City services, and protecting health and safety with
stringent oil drilling regulations. She advocates creating a comprehensive
community plan for the City, further streamlining city services, supporting
Fire Department and Police Department efforts to prepare for natural and
man-made disasters, designing streets safe for all users, and providing
high-speed Internet connectivity to Culver City businesses, schools and
residents by installing a municipal fiber network.

Councilperson Sahli-Wells serves on a number of city committees and
coalitions: as chair of the School Board and City Council Liaison Committee,
chair of the Sustainability Committee, member of the Oil Drilling Subcommittee,
member of the LAX Overflight Working Group, and member of the Culver City Ready
Coalition, a county disaster resilience project.

Thomas Small, a graduate of Yale University, is a commissioner on the Culver
City Cultural Affairs Commission. He and his wife, Joanna Brody, are the
parents of twins who attend Linwood E. Howe Elementary School. She is PTA
president. Mr. Small, who is fluent in Spanish, volunteers in the
school’s Spanish enrichment program, which his wife co-founded. He also
coaches AYSO soccer.

As a commissioner, Thomas Small initiated and moderated “Architecture
Talks,” a series of public conversations among the City’s
residents, business persons, and world-renowned Culver City architects. He
initiated the artist and poet laureate program in advance of the City’s
centennial. He brought the City’s first international film festival to
Culver City and awarded $48,000 in grants to Culver City performing arts

Thomas Small is an expert in the fields of architecture and urban planning.
He points to the nine new developments already underway locally and emphasizes
the importance of the City requiring green open space, innovative
transportation alternatives, sustainable design and environmental building
practices, walkability and bikeability. The transportation alternatives will
mitigate traffic congestion, and the sustainable design will result improved
parking. All these features will make these developments work for Culver City
residents, Mr. Small says.

Thomas Small is committed to nurturing and encouraging creative businesses
and the innovation, media, design, digital and internet economies that have
much potential to bring additional revenue to Culver City.

Thomas Small is an environmentalist. At UCLA he taught Sustainability for
Organizational change, and he advocates an environmental sustainability master
plan to be developed jointly by Culver City and the school district.

Daniel Lee is a 13-year resident with a master’s degree in social
welfare from UCLA. He credits his grandmother, who participated with Dr. Martin
Luther King in the Montgomery bus boycott, for his desire to be of service and
his own social justice perspective. He has served on the Culver City Martin
Luther King Celebration Committee for the past five years, planning its
citywide celebration of the iconic Civil Rights leader.

Much of Mr. Lee’s local effort has been with youth. A filmmaker and
actor, he has volunteered with El Rincon Elementary School students in an
artists and communication program for several years. He also developed a Civil
Rights curriculum that he implemented at the Teen Center to increase young
people’s understanding of their country’s history.

Daniel Lee has placed the environment and the health of residents at the
center of his agenda. Chief among his concerns is the Inglewood Oil Field. As
an environmental fellow with Liberty Hill Foundation, he worked with area
organizations toward a Los Angeles City fracking ban. He and other Culver City
residents also met with State Assemblyperson Sebastian Ridley-Thomas to
advocate for a state environmental bill, SB 350.

As the only renter among the candidates, Mr. Lee intends to focus on
affordability, homelessness, enacting a city minimum wage and making the City
work for all residents.

Daniel Lee has been a key grassroots organizer in Los Angeles’ “Money out,
Voters In” initiative, and Move to Amend Los Angeles. He was asked to join Move
to Amend’s national board and since then has travelled across the
country, educating audiences about their Constitutional rights.

“We need people on the council who can support Meghan Sahli-Wells and her
important work in sustainability, transportation and social justice,”
Democratic Club member Rick Tuttle said. “We believe that Thomas Small
and Daniel Lee can help increase the quality of life for all of us in Culver

For more information about the candidates, access their websites:,, and

The Culver City Democratic Club has been active in local, state and national
politics since 1953.

The Culver City Democratic Club has been a vital force in electing
candidates to local office, as well as to state and national positions. Many
members of Culver City’s City Council have been members of the Club,
including four of the five current Councilmembers.

The Culver City Democratic Club and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party
are chartered under the California State Democratic party to represent the
voices of Democrats in Culver City and the Los Angeles area.

The Culver City Democratic Club meets every second Wednesday night at the
Veterans Memorial Complex Rotunda Room. For more information, go to, phone 310 398 5328, email email hidden; JavaScript is required, or mail the CCDC at PO Box 4254, Culver
City CA 90231. ]]> 0 President’s Message by Khin Khin Gyi, February 2016 Mon, 08 Feb 2016 04:20:23 +0000

FullSizeRenderThis was the week that started with our realization that we were dealing with the worst air pollution disaster in history with regard to the Porter Ranch gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon that belonged to Southern California Gas Company. According to the January 24th edition of the L.A. Times, one failed well at the Aliso Canyon facility released more greenhouse gases than any other facility in California over the three months since October 23rd.

Stephen Conley, the U.C. Davis scientist who has been flying his single engine pollution-detecting airplane over Porter Ranch found that in November of 2015, methane levels registered at 50 parts per million, twenty times bigger than what he had measured before. According to the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 17.9 million kilograms of methane was leaking in early November. However, by January 21 of this year, the cumulative amount of methane registered 84 million kilograms. In relatable terms, this would be roughly analogous to 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or more greenhouse gas than 440,000 cars emit in a year. The geographical extent of the billowing plumes of methane gas seen on FLUOR images reach as far away as Orange County and San Clemente Island, according to Riley Duren, NASA‟s researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.

By Tuesday, January 26th The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) sued Southern California Gas Co. accusing the company of negligence that extended to the design, construction, operation and inspection of one of the wells at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility that forced thousands to leave their homes. The lawsuit alleges that the gas company had violated air quality regulations and state law for each day that the well, SS-25, continues to leak and faults the utility for a sluggish response to a regional public health threat. The suit seeks up to $250,000 in civil penalties for each day that a specific violation has occurred. According to KPCC, this can amount up to $25 million dollars. All of this came after an abatement order by a special board of the AQMD on the previous Saturday, January 23rd. This board mandated a 1) permanent shut down of the damaged well, SS-25, 2) to establish a leak detection system, and 3) to conduct an independent health study. By Thursday, January 28th, our state Senate had voted to shut down the Aliso Canyon facility permanently.

As an environmental activist and a physician, I am glad that I testified at the AQMD hearing on Saturday, January 16th warning the board about the health hazards of methane, hydrogen sulfide and benzene that were discovered in the air surrounding the residential area. I was also honored to be a Sierra Club spokesperson and interviewed with Al Jazeera America and KABC-7 on Thursday, January 28th. This is in essence my Valentine‟s Day present to the residents of Porter Ranch, Granada Hills that we stand with them shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them as we face this environmental disaster together.

]]> 0 Coastal Commission Resolution Fri, 29 Jan 2016 21:47:34 +0000

The following Resolution in support of retention of Dr Charles Lester on the California Coastal Commission was passed by the Executive Board on 1/29/2016. More information on the imminent need of this resolution is available in this LA Times article:  The coastline belongs to all Californians—but maybe not for long 

Whereas, the 1976 California Coastal Preservation Act states that, “the California coastal zone is a distinct and valuable natural resource of vital and enduring interest to all the people and exists as a delicately balanced ecosystem,” that “the permanent protection of the state’s natural and scenic resources is a paramount concern to present and future residents of the state and nation,” and sets as a goal to “Protect, maintain, and where feasible, enhance and restore the overall quality of the coastal zone environment and its natural and artificial resources.”

Whereas, throughout the forty-year tenure of the Coastal Act, every public opinion poll conducted concludes overwhelming support for the Coastal Commission’s role in upholding the Coastal Act, and during Dr. Charles Lester’s tenure as Executive Director of the Commission since September 2011 his leadership has led to great accomplishments, including a Sea Level Rise planning document, the largest budget augmentation in 15 years, greater public transparency and accessibility, and new authority to preserve and enhance public access for all coastal visitors.

Whereas, the commission will consider termination of Dr. Lester, but no cause or justification has been given, and recent newspaper articles cite knowledgeable sources that this attempt to fire Dr. Lester would result in significant impairment and harm to the decades-long success of protecting California’s majestic coastline.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Culver City Democratic Club Executive Committee adamantly opposes any and all attempts to fire Dr. Charles Lester from his tenure as Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission and strongly supports his long and enduring tenure as Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that resolution will be transmitted to the following: Governor Jerry Brown, Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, Dr. Charles Lester, Executive Director, California Coastal Commission, and Steve Kinsey, Chair, California Coastal Commission.

]]> 0 President’s Message by Sylvia Moore, January 2016 Fri, 08 Jan 2016 20:36:50 +0000

sylvia_photoHappy New Year Democrats!

Twenty sixteen marks our President Obama’s last year in office. I feel rather sad as it seems like his historical and amazing tenure as our first Chief Executive of color flew by so fast. But I also feel wistful as I remember that historic night in 2008, sitting inside a Los Angeles-area restaurant/nightclub with my friends and about 100-plus other people watching the election returns. As Barack Obama’s photo flashed on the television screen with the words, “44th President of the United States,” the crowd erupted in cheers and jubilation. The crowd kept screaming as the newly-elected President and his family stepped onto the stage and waved to adoring fans. It was indeed an incredible night.

Fast forward through nearly eight years filled with incredible achievements on the economy, healthcare reform and foreign policy, but also much social unrest and ugly racial tension. For this November’s Presidential election, I have as much trepidation as I did on Election Night 2008. I must confess that back then, I wasn’t sure America was going to actually elect a black President up until the very moment Pennsylvania was called for Mr. Obama. I feared very much the specter of another reactionary GOP presidency in the form of John McCain, along with his fundamentalist lightweight running mate, Sarah Palin. But those two are practically progressives when it comes to what the Republicans are offering up as presidential candidates today.

People are now openly talking about the “F-word” – fascism – as possibly taking root in America. But, thanks to the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, people are also talking more about “democratic socialism” and democratic socialist policies like universal health care, free college for all, a living wage and paid family leave. Sanders would be the “first” openly socialist President if he wins. And people are also talking about the possibility of having the first female Chief Executive in Hillary Clinton. A woman as the most powerful leader in the world would have a tremendous cultural effect in how the contributions of women to our society are perceived.

All these tantalizing “firsts” are great, but I want to caution my fellow Democrats and progressive friends into putting too much expectation onto the one person they hope wins the Presidency. I saw this with President Obama: supporters who had unrealistically high expectations of how much he could achieve in office, and who were disappointed when he couldn’t deliver everything they wanted. I see these same unrealistic expectations among my fellow Democrats and progressives today. I think it is the unique culture of American individualism, as well as the fact that the United States elects its executive and legislature separately (as opposed to most parliamentary governments), that drives this desire to put all of one’s hopes for fundamental change onto one person. I think it’s why Congressional, “off-year” elections – which are just as important – don’t get the same attention as they should. The President, at the nation’s founding, was envisioned as an “elected king” – a national figurehead. But, to get back to Civics 101, the President is by law a co-equal partner with the Congress and the Supreme Court. The President can’t do much without Congress’ cooperation and the Supreme Court’s blessing. I think too often many people forget that. And so, they think that the President can change everything. They think that the President affects their lives the most (when in truth, it’s their local City Council that does). So whether our new President in November is Hillary, Bernie or even Martin O’Malley – and we do hope it’s one of those three – please cut him or her a bit of slack. Because a Democratic President also needs a progressive Democratic Congress to make the kinds of policies we liberals want to see to make America a kinder, gentler place to live.

]]> 0 President’s Message by Sylvia Moore, December 2015 Tue, 22 Dec 2015 18:12:23 +0000

sylvia_photoI hope everyone is having a wonderful and festive holiday season. As we take the time to celebrate our community’s bounty with our family and friends, I’m troubled by the spate of incidents across the country that show a contempt and wanton disregard for the spirit of empathy for our fellow human beings. A dark undercurrent in American society is rearing its ugly head. In this hotly contested political season, overt bigotry and attacks on marginalized groups seem to be growing.

Last month, a majority vote in the House of Representatives to ban Syrian refugees from seeking safety in the United States was a particular low point in today’s America. What was especially disappointing about that vote was that 47 Democrats joined the House Republican majority in passing a ban. Turning away people in desperate need is not a value the Democratic Party stands for. Fear of “the Other” is certainly not what our party stands for. It’s unlikely the bill will pass the Senate, but fortunately, President Obama has vowed to veto it if it does.

Yet another low point continues to come in the form of Donald Trump’s ongoing campaign to try to win the GOP nomination for the Presidency by mocking and denigrating just about every group on the planet except for his fellow white, wealthy, straight, able-bodied and male peers. His bigoted barbs – from suggesting protesters should be met with physical violence to calling Mexican immigrants ―rapists‖ to suggesting that mosques be surveilled and that the names of Syrian refugees be put in a database – sound like they come from a different era. However, what’s more frightening is how the mainstream media has for too long given him and other right- wing extremists the benefit of neutrality. When political debates become a matter of “both sides do it,” blatant lies are called “controversy,” and extremism is mainstreamed, our society becomes debased and lives are endangered.

Where is all this going? Just last month, five Black Lives Matter protesters were shot and injured at a vigil for a young black man who was killed by police in Chicago. Three people were killed at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. And in Irving, Texas, open carry fetishists were reportedly intimidating Muslim worshippers at a mosque. Are we about to see a new level of political violence in America against people who don’t fit the mold of “straight, white, rich and Christian?” Are too many of us going to sit back and look the other way until it’s too late?

]]> 0