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California AG Becerra petitions to join federal trans military ban lawsuit

Longtime LGBT ally seeks to have state intervene as co-plaintiff before Nov. 20 hearing

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Attorney General Xavier Becerra (Official photo)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a longtime LGBT ally, filed a petition in federal court Wednesday asking that California be allowed to intervene as a party plaintiff in the federal lawsuit challenging President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

The lawsuit, Stockman v. Trump, was filed Sept. 5 by Equality California and seven individual plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. They are being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and Latham & Watkins LLP, the law firm from which EQCA executive director Rick Zbur retired as its first openly gay partner before joining equality California.

A hearing in Stockman v. Trump, which seeks to defend the rights of transgender individuals seeking to join, or currently serving openly in, the U.S. military, is scheduled for Nov. 20.

“We must honor the service and sacrifice of all members of our military by fighting for them when their rights are attacked,” Becerra said in a press release. “California will not allow President Trump’s illegal, discriminatory and un-American actions to harm our people or our military. Marginalizing transgender service members or any transgender American who wishes to serve our country faithfully and courageously will not occur on our watch.”

California has a long history of top politicians standing up for LGBT rights, including Gov. Jerry Brown appointing the first two openly gay judges in the nation, Steven Lachs in 1979 and Rand Schrader in 1980. As both Attorney General and later as governor, Brown refused to defend anti-gay marriage Prop 8 in court, as did Attorney General Kamala Harris. Becerra also has a long history of reaching out to the LGBT community since at least 1990 when he ran for the State Assembly.

California has the most active duty and reserve military than any other state  – more than 130,000 active duty military personnel and more than 56,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves. According to an NCLR press release:

“Attorney General Becerra’s motion to intervene is based on several arguments, including that implementing Trump’s transgender military ban would:

· Impede the California National Guard’s ability to recruit and retain members that would protect the State’s natural resources in times of need,
· Force California to violate anti-discrimination laws and discriminate against its own residents in staffing the California National Guard, and
· Threaten the State’s ability to safeguard public institutions of higher learning from discrimination in ROTC programs.

The National Guard has been deployed more than 40,000 times since September 11, 2001, and there are currently 18,000 service members in the California National Guard. The Governor of California is the Commander-in-Chief of the California National Guard and relies on it in times of state emergencies, such as the recent massive wildfires across wine country. In 2014, The Williams Institute estimated that 6,700 transgender Americans were serving in the National Guard across the 50 states and found that transgender Americans were twice as likely to be serving or have served in our nation’s military.”

In addition to requesting intervention as a co-plaintiff in Stockman v Trump, Becerra has joined friend-of-the-court briefs in this case and in lawsuits in Maryland and in the District of Columbia. In the latter case, a judge in the DC District Court issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, pending a final outcome in that case, Doe v. Trump.

“Having the support of California’s Attorney General is invaluable in our fight against this administration’s reckless and dangerous actions,” said Zbur. “This ban is having untold, negative impacts on our transgender service members and those who have taken steps to join the military, and having this support from California’s chief law enforcement official shows us that our state will fight alongside us for justice and equality.”

“The State of California recognizes that Trump’s discriminatory ban harms not only transgender service members and our military, but also those who rely on our National Guard for emergency assistance. This point is particularly critical in California, which has been facing unprecedented wildfire devastation. We need to embrace every qualified person who is willing to serve, not turn people away simply for being transgender,” said Shannon Minter, legal director at NCLR, which is based in San Francisco.

“For the Attorney General to take this step sends a powerful message about the gravity of the harm caused by this ban,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project Director. “We should be embracing the contributions of dedicated, courageous Americans who are serving and want to serve. Blocking qualified transgender Americans from serving makes our military weaker and our nation less safe and less fair.”

The full motion is here.

California Politics

It’s official- Rep. Karen Bass enters race to become the next mayor of LA

If elected she would be the first Black woman & second Black mayor after legendary Tom Bradley who served as 38th Mayor from 1973 to 1993

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Rep. Karen Bass (D-37CA) (Photo Credit: Bass campaign provided0

LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Karen Bass officially announced her entrance Monday as a candidate to replace her fellow Democrat outgoing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“Our city is facing a public health, safety and economic crisis in homelessness that has evolved into a humanitarian emergency,” she said in a statement announcing her candidacy. “Los Angeles is my home. With my whole heart, I’m ready. Let’s do this — together.”

If Bass were to win election she would be the first Black woman mayor and the second Black mayor after Thomas Bradley, the legendary politician and former police officer who served as the 38th Mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1993.

KABC 7 noted that she would be the first sitting House member to be elected mayor of Los Angeles since 1953, when Rep. Norris Poulson was elected. Then-Reps. James Roosevelt, Alphonzo Bell and Xavier Becerra lost campaigns for mayor in 1965, 1969 and 2001.

The 67-year-old member of Congress currently represents the 37th Congressional District, which encompasses Los Angeles neighborhoods west and southwest of downtown including Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Miracle Mile, Pico-Robertson, Century City, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles, Mar Vista and parts of Westwood, as well as Culver City and Inglewood. Bass was a member of the California Assembly from 2004-10, serving as that body’s speaker from 2008 to 2010.

Bass is entering an already crowded field of candidates including Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and two members of the City Council – Kevin de León and Joe Buscaino – who have already announced their campaigns for mayor.

When speculation as to her running surfaced last week, Bass spokesman Zach Seidl told the Los Angeles Times that her running was due to the fact that “Los Angeles is facing a humanitarian crisis in homelessness and a public health crisis in the disproportionate impact this pandemic has had on Angelenos,” Seidl said in a statement. “She does not want to see these two issues tear the city apart. Los Angeles has to come together. That’s why the Congresswoman is considering a run for mayor,” he added.

That seems to be the focal point and whoever is elected will face the city’s massive homelessness crisis.

Bass acknowledged this in her candidacy announcement statement this morning, writing “I’ve spent my entire life bringing groups of people together in coalitions to solve complex problems and produce concrete change — especially in times of crisis.”

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California Politics

Rep. Karen Bass to enter Los Angeles mayoral race

Bass has been working to dismantle systemic racism, as well as other forms of social, racial and economic injustice, for decades

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Rep. Karen Bass, (D-37) (Photo Credit: Blade file photo by Karen Ocamb)

LOS ANGELES – In a breaking story published Friday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported that Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass, who represents California’s 37th congressional district, which covers several areas south and west of downtown LA will enter the mayor’s race.

U.S. Rep Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) intends to run for Los Angeles mayor, according to three people familiar with her plans. Such a move would shake up a contest that, until this past week, which saw the field of candidates increase, had been a fairly sleepy affair. Bass, a high-profile Democrat who has served in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C., could announce her entry into the mayor’s race as early as next week, those sources told The Times.

Bass has been working to dismantle systemic racism, as well as other forms of social, racial and economic injustice, for decades. She is a community activist who was raised on civil rights activism in LA’s Jewish Venice-Fairfax district, volunteered for Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign in middle school, graduated from Hamilton High School in West LA in 1971, studied philosophy at San Diego University but switched her attention to healthcare, graduating from USC’s Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. She subsequently received her BA in health sciences from Cal State/Dominguez Hills and her Masters in Social Work from USC.

Bass focused that training on fighting the crack epidemic in South LA, where she founded the Community Coalition to fight for substance abuse prevention programs and better foster care and relative caregivers, like grandmothers.

She also fought the AIDS epidemic — all experience directly applicable to dealing with the ongoing Opioid crisis, as well as COVID-19.

“I went through the AIDS crisis from its very beginning. I watched all of Santa Monica Boulevard get wiped out near Vermont (Ave.). That whole area there. I watched everybody die within a matter of two years,” Bass told the Los Angeles Blade. “But I think that this [COVID-19 crisis] is really hard because you don’t have to have any physical contact….People are building the plane while it’s flying.”

Torie Osborn, the executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center in 1989, met Bass at a meeting of progressive grassroots activists in a South LA church basement.

“This woman I didn’t know came up, introduced herself as Karen Bass from South LA, an anti-police violence activist and a physician assistant,” Osborn says. The two talked all day with Bass noting that the gay community’s experience of AIDS deaths was similar to what the Black community was experiencing during the crack epidemic.

“I had never heard anything like this before. She knew gay men. She clearly was an ally,” Osborn says.

Last summer the Biden campaign vetted Bass as a potential candidate for the number two spot on the Democratic ticket in the race for the White House, which ultimately ended up with then California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as Biden’s choice.

“Los Angeles is facing a humanitarian crisis in homelessness and a public health crisis in the disproportionate impact this pandemic has had on Angelenos,” Bass spokesman Zach Seidl said in a statement, when asked for comment by the Times. “She does not want to see these two issues tear the city apart. Los Angeles has to come together. That’s why the Congresswoman is considering a run for mayor.”

Earlier this past week, another LGBTQ ally, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León, a Democrat, announced his intention to seek the mayor’s chair after current Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was elected for a four-year term in 2013 and again in 2017- who’s limited to serving no more than two terms- was picked by President Joe Biden to serve as the U.S. ambassador to India on July 9, 2021.

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Head of Anti-LGBTQ group worked with Trump to overturn election

Eastman and the former president had a secret scheme to try to get former Vice-President Mike Pence to overturn election

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NOM Head John Eastman with Rudy Giuliani on January 6, 2021 (Screenshot via YouTube)

By David Badash | PROVINCETOWN, Ma. – The head of a once well-known anti-LGBTQ organization that spent countless millions in dark money to try to block the advancement of same-sex marriage worked with then-President Donald Trump and his legal team on a secret scheme to try to get Vice President Mike Pence to subvert the U.S. Constitution and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

John Eastman, who until January 13 was a tenured professor of law and dean at the Chapman University School of Law in California, advanced a six-point plan detailing the steps he wanted Pence to take on January 6.

Eastman, who is the chairman of NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, “tried to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence that he could overturn the election results on January 6 when Congress counted the Electoral College votes by throwing out electors from seven states, according to the new book ‘Peril’ from Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa,” CNN reports.

“You really need to listen to John. He’s a respected constitutional scholar. Hear him out,” Trump told Pence during a January 4 meeting with Eastman in the Oval Office, according to “Peril.”

In addition to directing that Pence would falsely claim that the seven states had competing electors, Eastman suggested Pence make all these moves without warning.

“The main thing here is that Pence should do this without asking for permission — either from a vote of the joint session or from the Court,” Eastman wrote. “The fact is that the Constitution assigns this power to the Vice President as the ultimate arbiter. We should take all of our actions with that in mind.”

Pence disagreed with Eastman’s legal claims and did not enact the secret scheme.

Eastman spoke at the January 6 “Save America” rally that many claim Trump used to incite the insurrection.

One week later he “abruptly” resigned from Chapman University “amid criticism of his role in stoking the violent attack,” and “calls for his firing,” Law.com reported at the time.

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David Badash (@davidbadash) is the founder and editor of The New Civil Rights Movement, an award-winning news & opinion site.

The preceding article was first published by The New Civil Rights Movement and is republished by permission.

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