Connect with us

Local

Vote as if your life depends on it – because it might

Not just a civic responsibility but a critical action

Published

on

Gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom is hoping for a depressed Republican voter turnout in November. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

MSNBC’s Brian Williams opened his late night news show on May 29 with a staccato: “Day 495 in the Trump administration,” immediately moving on to identify the top Donald Trump news stories of the day. But the opening lingered like an old familiar lyric. It sounded reminiscent of the opening Nightline’s Ted Koppel made famous counting down the days during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979. “America Held Hostage: Day 434.”

Was MSNBC hinting that America is being held hostage by Donald Trump?

Trump has been president since Jan. 19 and his greatest achievement so far has been boosting employment for fact-checkers. On May 1, the Washington Post reported that in the 466 days he had held office, Trump made 3,001 false or misleading claims—“That’s an average of nearly 6.5 claims a day.” Each lie led to a rabbit hole, with often humorous results. In Nashville, Tennessee May 29, ostensibly to fluff up the candidacy of GOP Senate candidate Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Trump spent an hour onstage trumpeting old campaign themes, such as Mexico paying for the border wall. “They’re going to pay for the wall and they’re going to enjoy it,” Trump said.

To which Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto replied in a tweet: “President @realDonaldTrump: NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever. Sincerely, Mexico (all of us).”

It’s that kind of public international embarrassment—and so much more not even connected to “collusion” or obstruction of justice in the Mueller Russian investigation—that has so many Democrats champing at the bit to win back the House and Senate in the 2018 elections. Democrats are waxing their boards to ride a #BigBlueWave.

But waves can peter out, polls can be wrong, messages can deflate, the significance of issues can be overlooked—and voters’ expectations can be so high, some may just stay home.

The 2018 midterms are a different matter, however. Voters in California and the country are faced with an existential question that could determine the survival of compassion and American democracy as it has been understood since the Declaration of Independence. Right now, American tolerance for Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the Mexican border where ICE agents are literally tearing screaming babies from mothers desperately seeking refuge from the violence in their home country suggests a pervasive Stockholm syndrome where people once of good character turn a blind eye to consequences of cultish authoritarianism.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold….The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/ The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity,” wrote William Butler Yeats in “The Second Coming,” as if eyeing today.  As if real lives are on the line

Republicans in California, in particular, are struggling with a political identity crisis. According to a report released May 29 by Political Data Inc., Republicans in the state have fallen behind “No Preference” by about 73,000 of the state’s 19 million registered voters.

“At the close of regular registration, 15 days before the June primary, there were 4,844,803 no-party-preference voters, according to Political Data Inc., compared with 4,771,984 Republicans. Both make up about a quarter of the California electorate, trailing 8,436,493 registered Democrats, about 44.4 percent,” reported the Sacramento Bee.

“Republicans finally succumb to independents in California – they now trail by 76,000 – Democrats hold steady, with slight increase in registration. #BigBlueWave,” tweeted out California Democratic Party Chair @EricBauman.

But nothing is ever easy with Democrats. Gubernatorial frontrunner Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom has been pitching Trump supporter, Republican businessman John Cox as his preference to win the second spot in June 5 top-two Primary to ensure himself a likely easy victory in November.

“Newsom has frustrated Democrats who believe the party would be more likely to beat the vulnerable GOP House members if Republicans are shut out of the governor’s race. That, the critics argue, would depress GOP turnout, partly because Republicans are already virtually certain to be excluded from the U.S. Senate race,” Ron Brownstein writes for CNN. 

Many Republicans agree that GOP turnout could be devastating without a top of the ticket candidate. Newsom doesn’t believe Cox would be harmful, with his spokesperson, Nathan Click, telling Brownstein that a Newsom versus Antonio Villaraigosa match would be so costly, it would take donor money away from down-ticket candidates and would also likely exacerbate internal party divisions.  Besides, Click says, “Regardless of what’s at the top of the ticket, Donald Trump and the national dynamics are going to define what happens in those House races.”

Maybe. But low GOP voter turnout in the seven key Republican seats Democrats hope to flip are essential forDemocrats to win the 23 congressional seats they need in November. Continued control of Congress by Republicans means for erratic cruel policies; control by Democrats at least puts a check on Trump’s nuclear trigger finger.

Everything depends on who turns out to vote in both the June 5 primary and again in November. Here are key congressional elections to watch.

GOP incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham in Congressional District (CD) 10 in the Central Valley. An Air Force veteran seeking a fourth term, he’s running against Michael Eggman, a farmer trying to unseat Denham for the third time. He’s endorsed by Equality California but there was a “no Consensus from the California Democratic Party (CDP). Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has that as a toss-up, as does Charlie Cook’s The Cook Report.  In 2016, Denham beat Eggman with 51.7 percent of the vote, but Hillary Clinton won the district with 48 percent. The Latino vote could determine victory.

GOP incumbent Rep. David Valadao, CD 21, Central Valley. He’s a rancher running against businessman T.J. Cox, endorsed by CDP and EQCA. Cook has this Lean Republican; Saboto has Valadao as Likely Republican. Clinton beat Trump in this district with 55 percent.

GOP incumbent Rep. Steve Knight, CD 25, LA County. This is an election that matters to LGBT people since Knight is the son of infamous anti-gay hater Pete Knight. Lawyer Bryan Caforio is going for a second try after Knight beat him with 53 percent of the vote in 2016. CDP has No Consensus in this primary, possibly because of the strong grassroots pull for bisexual Katie Hill, who heads a non-profit focused on homelessness. Cook has this as a toss up, as does Sabato. Clinton won the district with 50 percent of the vote.

Open CD 39, Orange County with the retirement of longtime Republican Ed Royce. This is a free-for-all that Democrats are concerned might be a jungle primary victory for two Republicans with a bunch of Democrats competing. EQCA and CDP have no endorsement between wealthy philanthropist and pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran. Sabato calls it a Toss up, as does Cook.  Clinton won with 51 percent of the vote.

GOP incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters, CD 45 Orange County. Walters is a Trump supporter so this could be a test of how Trump plays in the field. But this is a real slugfest between Democrats. Both EQCA and CDP want UC Irvine law professor Dave Min, who better fits an Asian voting bloc in the district. But consumer lawyer Katie Porter, also a professor at UC Irvine, has the backing of popular Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Sabato has it as Leans Republican, as does Cook. Clinton won here with 49.8 percent.

GOP incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, CD 48, Orange County. Rohrabacher is a Russian and Julian Assange-lover, an ardent Trump backer and a serious anti-LGBT official. He has a primary challenger, Scott Baugh, and two Democrats, businessman Harley Rouda, backed by EQCA and biomedical researcher Hans Keirstead, backed by CDP. Cook has this as a toss up, as does Sabato. Clinton won with 48 percent. Baugh is a well-known Republican and by not coming to a consensus on one candidate, this could be a top-two Republican outcome.

Open CD 49, Orange and San Diego Counties, with retirement of Rep. Darrell Issa. This is another free-for-all with Democrats fielding a bunch of candidates. EQCA has endorsed former Clinton foreign policy adviser Sara Jacobs; the CDP has no consensus. Cook has it as a Toss up, Sabato has it Lean Democrat. Clinton win with 50.7 percent.

GOP incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter, CD 50, San Diego County. Hunter is facing an investigation for improper use of campaign funds and the San Diego Union-Tribune even editorialized “50th District: Anyone but Duncan Hunter.” This anti-LGBT son of another anti-LGBT hater, his father Duncan Hunter, led the way on the transgender military ban in Congress. He has two Democratic challengers, former Navy Seal Josh Butner and former Obama White House fellow, Ammar Campa-Naijar. This is big Trump country, he won by 54.6 percent but Hunter is seriously disliked. Cook has it as Likely Republican.

Interestingly, while Trump errand boy Rep. Devin Nunes, CD 22, is considered Likely Republican, some in his very red district are getting anxious about Trump’s trade policies and how they are impacting their crop sales. If all politics is local, Nunes may need Trump to stump for him—or change his China policy until after November.

Voter turnout in the June 5 primary will help determine whether Californians fall sway to the Stockholm Syndrome or resist. 

LA County has teamed with Uber and Lyft to get voters to their polling precincts. Go to lavote.net.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

California

Newsom highlights $15 billion to tackle wildfire & drought challenges

“California is doubling down on our nation-leading policies to confront the climate crisis while protecting the hardest-hit communities”

Published

on

California Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of California)

THREE RIVERS, Ca. – At the site of the KNP Complex in Sequoia National Park, Governor Gavin Newsom today highlighted the California Comeback Plan’s over $15 billion climate package – the largest such investment in state history – tackling a wide array of climate impacts facing the state.

The Governor today signed legislation outlining investments in the package to build wildfire and forest resilience, support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience and directly protect communities across the state from multi-faceted climate risks, including extreme heat and sea level rise.

“California is doubling down on our nation-leading policies to confront the climate crisis head-on while protecting the hardest-hit communities,” said Newsom. “We’re deploying a comprehensive approach to meet the sobering challenges of the extreme weather patterns that imperil our way of life and the Golden State as we know it, including the largest investment in state history to bolster wildfire resilience, funding to tackle the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience, and strategic investments across the spectrum to protect communities from extreme heat, sea level rise and other climate risks that endanger the most vulnerable among us.”

When the Governor signed the state budget and related legislation in July, he and legislative leaders agreed to additional discussions during the summer to further refine steps to advance their shared and funded priorities, including natural resources investments. The legislation signed today details some of the most important investments funded in the over $15 billion climate package, which includes:

$1.5 Billion Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package 

The $1.5 billion package supporting a comprehensive forest and wildfire resilience strategy statewide is the largest such investment in California history. Building on a $536 million early action package in April ahead of peak fire season, an additional $988 million in 2021-22 will fund projects to reduce wildfire risk and improve the health of forests and wildlands. This includes investments for community hardening in fire-vulnerable areas, strategic fuel breaks and fuel reduction projects, approaches to restore landscapes and create resilient wildlands and a framework to expand the wood products market, supporting sustainable local economies.

This investment helps implement the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan published in January, and builds on previous budget investments for emergency management, including funding for additional fire crews and equipment, and executive actions to help combat catastrophic wildfires. Governor Newsom bolstered CAL FIRE’s firefighting ranks in March by authorizing the early hire of 1,399 additional firefighters and in July supplemented the department’s capacities with 12 additional aircraft. The Governor earlier this year launched an expanded and refocused Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force to deliver on key commitments in his Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action PlanLast year, the Newsom Administration and the U.S. Forest Service announced a shared stewardship agreement under which they are working to treat one million acres of forest and wildland annually to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

$5.2 Billion Water and Drought Resilience Package 

Climate change is making droughts more common and more severe. The California Comeback Plan invests $5.2 billion over three years to support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience, including funding for emergency drought relief projects to secure and expand water supplies; support for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities; Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security and quality; and projects to support wildlife and habitat restoration efforts, among other nature-based solutions. 

$3.7 Billion Climate Resilience Package 

Focusing on vulnerable front-line communities, the package includes $3.7 billion over three years to build resilience against the state’s multi-faceted climate risks, including extreme heat and sea level rise. Investments to address the impacts of extreme heat include urban greening projects, grants to support community resilience centers and projects that reduce the urban heat island effect, and funding to advance the Extreme Heat Framework as part of the state’s Climate Adaptation Strategy. The package also supports coastal protection and adaptation measures, efforts to protect and conserve California’s diverse ecosystems, and community-based investments to build resilience, such as grants to support environmental justice-focused initiatives and funding for the California Climate Action Corps, which supports local climate action projects in disadvantaged communities.

$1.1 Billion to Support Climate Smart Agriculture 

Amid climate-driven drought and extreme heat challenges, California is committing $1.1 billion over two years to support sustainable agriculture practices and create a resilient and equitable food system. These efforts include investments to promote healthy soil management, support for livestock methane reduction efforts, funding for the replacement of agricultural equipment to reduce emissions and technical assistance and incentives for the development of farm conservation management plans. The package also supports programs to expand healthy food access for seniors and in schools, other public institutions and non-profit organizations.

$3.9 Billion Zero-Emission Vehicle Package  

The California Comeback Plan supports California’s nation-leading climate agenda with a $3.9 billion investment to hit fast forward on the state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle goals and lead the transition to ZEVs on a global scale. The package includes funding to put 1,000 zero-emission drayage trucks, 1,000 zero-emission school buses and 1,000 transit buses, and the necessary infrastructure, on California roads – prioritizing projects that benefit disadvantaged communities. Helping drive consumer adoption, the package funds consumer rebates for new ZEV purchases and incentives for low-income Californians to replace their old car with a new or used advanced technology car. 

Additional Investments  

The package also includes $270 million to support a circular economy that advances sustainability and helps reduce short-lived climate pollutants from the waste sector, and $150 million that will support urban waterfront parks, with a focus on underserved communities. 

More information on the over $15 billion climate package can be found in the Department of Finance’s addendum to its enacted budget summary. Click here for the budget addendum.

Newsom today also signed a raft of new climate measures to protect communities and advance the state’s climate and clean energy efforts.

Legislation to boost drought and wildfire resilience includes SB 552 by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) to ensure small and rural water suppliers develop drought and water shortage contingency plans and implement drought resiliency measures to prevent and prepare for future water shortages; SB 403 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) to allow the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation of an at-risk water system or domestic well in a disadvantaged community; SB 109 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) to create the Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development at CAL FIRE to evaluate emerging firefighting technology; and AB 697 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Arcadia), which enables the state to plan, manage and implement forest restoration projects on national forest lands through an expanded Good Neighbor Authority Program.  

The legislation signed today also includes SB 1 by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), which establishes the California Sea Level Rise Mitigation and Adaptation Act to help coordinate and fund state efforts to prepare for sea level rise; AB 525 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), which directs state agencies to develop a strategic plan for offshore wind resources in California following the state’s historic agreement earlier this year with federal partners; SB 47 by Senator Monique Limόn (D-Santa Barbara), which increases the amount of money the state can collect annually to plug abandoned wells, utilizing funds from fees on the oil and gas industry; and AB 39 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Arcadia), which enables the University of California to establish the California-China Climate Institute to advance joint policy research and foster high-level dialogue in order to accelerate climate action. 

Continue Reading

West Hollywood

West Hollywood’s new mayor & mayor pro tempore take office

In their speeches after they took their oaths, both women laid out their visions looking towards the future of the City

Published

on

City of West Hollywood, California (Blade file photo)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – In a ceremony conducted virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the greater Southland, just prior to the nitty gritty of the city’s business being conducted, the city council installed its new mayor and mayor pro tempore this past Monday.

Swearing in WeHo’s new Mayor Lauren Meister, was former West Hollywood City Councilmember John Heilman, and administering the oath of office to newly designated Mayor pro tempore Sepi Shyne, was Melahat Rafiei the principal and founder of Progressive Solutions Consulting, a premier political consulting and fundraising firm based in Long Beach, California and also the Secretary of the California Democratic Party.

Meister, was first elected to the City Council on March 3, 2015 and re-elected for her second term on March 5, 2019.

Shyne, elected to her first term on the City Council November 2020, also managed to set a mark in history as the first openly lesbian Iranian woman to serve and with her election giving the city Council a female-led majority.

In their speeches after they took their oaths, both women laid out their visions looking towards the future of the City.

Mayor Meister in her remarks noted;

Lauren Meister at a regular city council meeting in 2019. (Blade file photo)

Today is kind of bittersweet. It is the second anniversary of Spike’s passing but it is also the beginning of the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, the season of rejoicing. According to Chabad, “it’s a festival — laden with unique mitzvahs, quality time with our community and family, all with an extra-large serving of joy.” I’m hopeful that my swearing in on this festive day is a good omen!

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and support.  I want to thank my family for their love, encouragement, and unlimited patience. Thank you to my colleagues for your vote of confidence as I take on the role of Mayor for the second time. 

I also want to thank my former Council colleague, John Heilman, for swearing me in as your mayor tonight. It means a lot to me.

When I was installed as Mayor back in April 2016, I spoke about renewing the community spirit that helped form this great city nearly 37 years ago, which John and others were a big part of. 

As a community, we gathered as one after 9/11, we mourned the tragedy of the Pulse Nightclub mass murder, we celebrated marriage equality, and we marched, stood up to, and survived a challenging national political climate. 

I have lived in this city over 30 years, and over the years, I have witnessed many stages in our city’s maturity – I have seen issues divide our city. I have seen the east side pitted against the west side, businesses pitted against residents, tenants pitted against landlords. 

But I have to say, that after being elected to Council, the drama that seemed to plague every Council meeting with a controversial topic… the theatre – and a lot of it was theatre – seemed to dissipate.  

Now, however, we’re seeing a divisiveness that I haven’t seen in a while, and it’s disturbing.  It’s disturbing because we are still one small city and one community – a community comprised of people from all walks of life, a community with young people and older people; a community with businesses and workers.  All must be valued; none should be discounted. A rainbow flag is not just six colors or 10 colors – if it truly represents our community, then it is an infinite number of colors. Putting people into categories, labeling them, disparaging them, does not serve this community. 

I’d like to say, today, that my goal as Mayor is to solve our three biggest issues: homelessness, housing affordability, and making our city safer. 

As Mayor, I’d like to strengthen our neighborhoods, encourage economic diversity, and further initiatives to protect our renters and our small businesses. I’d like to make West Hollywood a premier green city by increasing our urban forest and embracing biodiversity. I’d like to find a companion care center close to home for our lost, found, and abandoned animals. 

And, importantly, I’d like for West Hollywood to be the most prepared and resilient city in the country – for whatever emergency or disaster strikes – whether it be earthquake, drought, pandemic, or recession. 

But none of this can happen if we don’t work together and focus on the city’s recovery from this pandemic. None of this can happen, if we don’t focus on keeping people healthy and getting people vaccinated.  And none of this can happen if we, as a council, don’t make recovery our number one priority. 

So, in the coming weeks, I will be bringing forward a proposal requesting that the city manager arrange several team-building workshops for council, designed to help foster communications among council members, to clarify council’s role, and to identify priorities and common goals. The objective of the workshops will be to transform our new council and our new city manager into an effective, problem-solving team.

Now, I come full circle to why I asked my former colleague, John Heilman, to swear me in today as Mayor.  As many of you know, John and I did not agree on every issue, and in fact, before I was on Council, I was probably one of Council’s most vocal critics. But, once we were colleagues, we learned to work together, respect each other, and most importantly, acknowledge that we both cared about the best interests of the city, even when we didn’t agree. 

So, I appreciate that John was a part of my swearing in today because, to me, it symbolizes hope… that there’s hope that people with different perspectives can work together effectively for the city they love. And, as your mayor, I’m confident this is something that we – Council, residents, businesses, and other community members – can achieve in the months to come

Then mayor pro tempore Shyne spoke;

Sepi, her wife Ashlei-Shyne and also Chloe ‘the Queen of Weho’ (Photo Credit: courtesy of Sepy Shyne0

Thank you to my colleagues for electing me to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. Thank you to all of our residents, community members, colleagues and staff and my wife, family and friends who have been so supportive over the past 9 months that I have served in office. Thank you to my dear friend Melahat Rafiei for swearing me in and for your support. Thank you to outgoing Mayor Horvath for your leadership and taking up the reigns when we asked you to serve a much longer term during the pandemic as Mayor and thank you to our new Mayor Meister for your leadership. I am honored to serve in this new leadership position with you.

Serving on this Council these past 9 months has been the honor of my life and serving as your Mayor Pro Tem is a responsibility I take very seriously. West Hollywood has always been on the forefront of making history and we did it once again this evening. 

When my parents and I fled Iran when I was 5 to escape the oppressive Islamic regime and the war between Iran and Iraq, I never imagined that one day I would be sworn in as the first Iranian, first woman of color and first Lesbian to serve as Mayor Pro Tem of West Hollywood. 

When kids in kindergarten bullied me throwing things and using anti-middle eastern slurs, I never ever imagined that one day, I would be sworn in as Mayor Pro tem of West Hollywood.

When fellow high school students verbally gay bashed and stalked me for being a lesbian, I never imagined that one day, I would be sworn in as Mayor Pro Tem of West Hollywood. 

In college, when my girlfriend and I were thrown out of a coffee shop by a police officer and the coffee shop manager for holding hands, I made up my mind to go to law school, learn the law and stop that from ever happening to others and that is what I did. But, even then, I never imagined that one day, I would be sworn in as Mayor Pro Tem of West Hollywood. 

The reason I never imagined serving in elected office is because growing up, I truly did not see anyone that looked like me, grew up like me and loved like me in elected office. But since November 2020 and especially now, I know that another little Middle Eastern, Brown, immigrant girl who may be queer can now imagine herself in elected office because now she does see herself. And that is one of the most powerful reasons why representation truly matters. 

I wanted to serve on the City Council to represent the people of our amazing city and to bring your voices and more equity to City Hall. The people wanted progressive change. 

In the past 9 months, I have delivered on that mandate. I have had countless conversations and virtual and in person meetings with residents, workers and stakeholders to discuss how we can make West Hollywood better. I have had the honor to serve on our Laurel House, Homelessness, Event and Pride Subcommittees with my colleagues as well as now representing West Hollywood as the Chair on the Westside Cities Council of Governments. 

I have initiated, co-sponsored and passed 34 council items which I am so proud to say have nearly all had unanimous council support. Some of the ones I want to highlight tonight are: 

  1. The creation of the Social Justice Task Force that is now successfully appointed and working on policy recommendation for us to help address systemic racism; 
  2. The creation of business roundtables, grants for the most vulnerable small businesses, and the creation of the Business Recovery Task Force; 
  3. Incentives for LGBTQ people, BIPOC, women and local residents to start small businesses in our city; 
  4. An ordinance strengthening our Tenant Harassment Ordinance and providing further protections for our renters;
  5. The Multi Stall Gender Neutral Bathroom Ordinance which will ensure our Transgender and Non-Binary family, same sex parents of opposite sex children and people with disabilities that have an opposite sex caretaker have equal and safe access to bathrooms;
  6. The development of a Citywide Behavioral Health Crisis Response Unit that will reduce law enforcement response to homelessness and in other areas the unit serves in order to provide solutions from experts that work;
  7. Several items that direct staff to study or update our zoning code related to affordable housing and capacity, bring our codes up to date with newer type housing developments being proposed so there are standards in place rather than loopholes; 
  8. An Initiative to highlight Pet-Friendly businesses and develop “Pet Week” in West Hollywood, which includes a special day dedicated to our beloved Felines; and
  9. Making sure that Recovery includes Everyone by expanding Protections and Wage Equity for Hotel Workers, including panic buttons, the Right of Recall and Retention, overtime consent, Public Housekeeping training and excessive workload compensation. 

For the next year and four months, I look forward to working with Mayor Meister to ensure efficiency and continued good leadership. I look forward to continue being accessible to constituents. I am excited about the Business Recovery Task Force, which will soon be formed to ensure we have a 5 year blueprint for business success, recovery and diversification. I look forward to continuing to pass items that help our residents, small businesses and workers. Items that create more affordable housing, bring more equity to all, bring more transparency and ethics to our government, create a more healthy environment to combat our climate crisis, have more community-based solutions to strengthen our community safety, help get our unhoused neighbors the housing and services they need as well as focusing on our City’s recovery. 

West Hollywood is truly one of the best cities to live, work and play in and I am so grateful to be your new Mayor Pro Tem.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

LGBTQ+ ally City Councilman Kevin de León announces run for mayor

De León currently represents Council District 14 that takes in the predominantly Latino neighborhoods of Boyle Heights and El Sereno

Published

on

Kevin de León from campaign advert (Screenshot via YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – Standing in front of a group of enthusiastic supporters Tuesday at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León announced that he was joining the mayor’s race for next year’s city elections.

Councilman de León, a Democrat, is the third city elected official to announce 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.

Born in Los Angeles of Guatemalan and Mexican descent, raised by a loving, hard-working single mother, de León, 51, got an education and spent 12 years in Sacramento, rising to become the President Pro Tem of the California Senate, authoring and passing legislation and making history. It was his bill that then Governor jerry Brown signed into law making California a “sanctuary state”—a law that was upheld by a federal appeals court.

In an August 2018 interview with former Los Angeles Blade Editor Karen Ocamb, he reflected on his relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.

“I’ve always been very close to the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) community even before I even knew all the initials that keep growing,” de León says with a laugh during an extensive phone interview with the Los Angeles Blade. “It’s always been my core set of values that every human being deserves a real opportunity to succeed, regardless of who they love and regardless of the hue of their skin and regardless of their legal status. That is embedded in my DNA.”

De León learned to care about LGBT people as a child from his mother and aunt around the kitchen table.

“My mother got a third grade education and my aunt even less,” he says. “I was very young and they were talking about a gay friend, a colleague of theirs. I didn’t understand. Obviously, they didn’t understand themselves. But they spoke with such affection, such tenderness. And here were two immigrant women with limited formal education and the way they spoke so lovingly, tenderly, beautifully about their gay friend. I could deduce the person they were talking about was gay—they kind of spoke in code around me when I was just sitting there listening to them at the kitchen table. And it transcended ethnicity and legal status and poverty—that we’re all human beings and we deserve dignity and respect. That had an ‘Ah Ha’ impact.”

De León’s LGBT education continued as he picked his mother up from her work as a housekeeper at convalescent homes. “She had quite a few gay colleagues with her and I just remember they were just so beautifully nice with my mother and my mother with them and that had a huge impression on me of the universal values of treating everybody with dignity and with respect. So when there is a discriminatory blow against anyone in the LGBTQIA community, I feel that blow equally.” 

De León, 54, is by far the most prominent Latino running. Fluent in Spanish, he represents a district that takes in the predominantly Latino neighborhoods of Boyle Heights and El Sereno, as well as much of downtown, where a development boom has fueled huge growth over the past decade, KTLA reported.

Two other candidates — Councilman Joe Buscaino and City Atty. Mike Feuer — have been campaigning for several months. The race also features two business leaders: Jessica Lall, who heads the downtown-based Central City Assn., and real estate broker Mel Wilson, who has been involved with several San Fernando Valley business groups.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular