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When in crisis, turn to the people

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee seeks to flip GOP-held statehouses



The DLCC’s Matt Harringer and Jessica Post (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

“We are in a constitutional crisis,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told reporters on May 8 after the committee voted along partisan lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. Barr refused to testify before the committee and refused to turn over the full, unredacted report from special counsel Robert Mueller, to which the congressional committee is constitutionally entitled, in direct defiance of a congressional subpoena.

In fact, as if trigger-happy for a High Noon gunslinger showdown, President Donald Trump has escalated the direct confrontation with Congress by asserting executive privilege over Mueller’s report and ordering a blatant defiance of all subpoenas. Some politicos expect Trump to defy court orders, too. 

It is unclear if Trump knows or understands that American democracy relies on adherence to the rule of law and the system of oversight with checks and balances being observed by all three branches of government—the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Trump seems determined to shun that precious system as he careens his authoritarian ship of state, manned by a cult-struck Republican crew, toward dictatorship where he is above the law.   

Meanwhile, with American democracy at stake and the hubs of power in the nation’s capital stymied by dissention and division, perhaps the only place to turn for a remedy is to the American voters.

But there’s a catch:  Republicans are still in control of 30 state legislatures while Democrats control 18, an increase from 14 before the election. Republicans control both the governorship and are the majority in 21 states, while Democrats have majority control in 14 states, including California.

Enter the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee with the mission of flipping those GOP state legislatures. “Diversity is key to our success at the DLCC. One of our secret weapons against Republicans. We’re proud to have helped elect almost 100 out-LGBTQ legislators,” says Matt Harringer, the DLCC’s out National Press Secretary. “In 2018, we had 145 LGBTQ candidates; 92 won (63 percent). That’s up from 85 candidates in 2016. We have more than 2,000 women candidates (twice as many as Republicans); more than 1,000 people of color (four times as many as Republicans),” adding that the DLCC works closely with the Victory Fund, noting the dually endorsed candidates.

“Looking at the electoral landscape, obviously we can make progress as Democrats in the House and pass things like the Equality Act, but the Senate is still Republican controlled so it’s going to be difficult to get that through the Senate. And the Supreme Court is very conservative. Where we can see real progress is in the states,” says Jessica Post, DLCC Executive Director who, with Harringer, met recently with the Los Angeles Blade at The Abbey in West Hollywood.

“There are a number of states where we still don’t have equality or gender identity protections, and many of those states are at the top of our target list. Places like Arizona, where we’re two seats away from flipping the Arizona House, three seats away from flipping the Arizona State Senate. We see that as a real possibility,” she says. “That’s a place where they don’t even have favorable laws around adoption.”

“The truth is state legislatures are fundamental to democracy,” says Post. “If we think about how we’re ever going to win back the United States Senate or the presidency, we also have to make sure that we have better voting rights in the states. We have to make sure that we’re putting these fundamental building blocks by winning back legislatures. If we ever want to win back the United States Senate we have to improve the voting laws in these states.”

One major reason to be concerned about flipping state legislatures in the super significant 2020 election year, especially given the current constitutional crisis, is the issue of redistricting.

“The census will be done in 2021. The people that are elected in 2020 will control redistricting,” says Post. “So if we want a sustainable majority in the United States House, and not just a rental, we have to make sure that there are fair districts.” Democratic control of the House now is “a rented majority. We don’t own it. We’re renting it.”

In addition to flipping state legislatures to save democracy from authoritarianism made easier through redistricted cult-Republican majorities, DLCC is working to protect the wins Democrats now have—including LGBT seats. 

For instance, Colorado Republicans are running a bigoted recall campaign against LGBTQ Rep. Rochelle Galindo, a Latinx lesbian, who won by the largest number of votes in her District 50’s history in 2018,” says Harringer.

Rep. Rochelle Galindo (Photo from Galindo campaign)

However, she is facing a huge recall effort organized by Pastor Steve Grant, who has called Galindo a “homosexual pervert.” He has received pledges of support from state Republicans and the oil and gas industry has pledged up to $300,000.

“They want her out,” says Post. The Colorado Legislature is now a Democratic majority with out Gov. Jared Polis as governor and passed a lot of progressive bills. 

So Republicans see Galindo’s seat as a soft target because it was a tough seat to win. “It’s in Greely, so north of Boulder, the mountains, rural,” says Post, “so it was a huge win.”

The pastor/Republican coalition apparently sees her seat as “low-hanging fruit,” since she’s a woman, a lesbian. So they are willing to spend $300,000 to collect less than 6,000 signatures by June 3.

If the recall goes on the ballot, “it’ll be $1.7 million to protect her,” says Post.

The DLCC is supporting an anti-recall campaign, having invested $50,000 to prevent the recall. Polis is planning fundraisers to help—but he’s the subject of a recall effort, too, says Post.

It’s important for progressives and the LGBT community to take a stand and protect her, says Harringer.  “Not just for Californians, but specifically for the LGBTQ community here, which is one of the biggest and leading in the country— putting a stake in the ground and showing that when there’s a recall effort that’s explicitly anti-LGBTQ and bigoted, like this one is, that we’ll stand up for our own in other areas.”

In fact, California lawmakers are already working with DLCC to help other states.

“We’ve worked really closely with the California Legislature. They’ve gotten involved with DLCC. They’re helping to fundraise for a couple of reasons. One they always say, ‘California is America before America is America,’” says Post.

Who says that?

“Anybody in the California Legislature that you’ll ask—like Speaker Anthony Rendon,” she says. “One thing that they’re really interested in doing is making sure that they’re coordinating on public policy, especially on things like climate, with some of these other states. The other thing is they’re concerned about redistricting. They don’t feel like California is getting their fair share back from the federal government. They have to spend a lot of California resources suing the Trump administration.”

Post notes that the legislature is funding all the lawsuits against the Trump administration being brought by Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The Legislature had to create a California Endangered Species Act because of the “backslide at the federal level.”

And, Post says, “California legislators have gotten very involved with us at DLCC to try to help flip other state legislatures for redistricting to be able to enhance California’s position, but also to make sure that stronger public policies are being passed in the states.” Legislators realize “they’re in a strong position, they’re surrounded by well-resourced progressives so they’re interested in helping states like Michigan, Minnesota and Montana, which may not have the same.”

“California, for sure, is first priority for everyone, but they see the big picture, which is helpful,” says Harringer. “It’s very much like party building, sharing best practices. We are able to bring people together and share what’s working in California to say how to do it there.”

“If I was a Californian right now,” Post says, “I would be thinking to myself: ‘we live in this incredible state where we’ve made a lot of public policy progress. But the rights that I have as a Californian or as an LGBTQ Californian, those rights are not enjoyed by people in border states like Arizona or in other states across the country. What are the things that I can do to bring the progress that we have to them?’”

It’s an interesting point: in a constitutional crisis—what can “We, the People,” do to help? Find out more at

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Southern California

Enjoy as a tradition returns this year with July 4 fireworks displays

Here are the places hosting firework shows around Southern California, organized by each county in the region:




LOS ANGELES – (KABC 7) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two years looked a little different on the Fourth of July weekend. This year, events are back in full force.

Here are the places hosting firework shows around Southern California, organized by each county in the region:

Los Angeles County

Starlight Bowl, 1249 Lockheed View Dr., Burbank
Festivities from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Jewel City Sparkles Fireworks show in downtown Glendale.
Centered near Harvard St and Brand Blvd.
Fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m.
For information, call (818)548-2792.

La Crescenta
Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave.
Show begins at 9:30 p.m.

Long Beach
Fireworks over Queensway Bay
Begins at 9 p.m.

Hollywood Bowl
This year the Hollywood Bowl is having three nights of Fourth of July traditions.
Thomas Wilkin and the Los Angeles Philharmonic are performing a program of favorites alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short.
First night of festivities is July 2.
The last night will be on the Fourth of July.
Gate opens at 5:30 p.m.
Show begins at 7:30 p.m.

Marina del Rey
Fireworks can be seen at Burton Chace Park or Fisherman’s Village
Event begins at 9 p.m. and is a 20-minute show.

Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena
The annual AmericaFest is recognized as one of the nation’s largest and longest running shows celebrating the Fourth of July.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
The event starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available and start at $20.

Santa Clarita
Spirit of America Fireworks Spectacular at Westfield Valencia Town Center.
Begins at 9:20 p.m.

Santa Fe Springs
Annual independence day celebration and firework spectacular at Los Nietos Park.
11143 Charlesworth Rd.
Sunday July 3, festivities start at 4:30 p.m. with the fireworks show at 9 p.m.

South Gate
Fireworks show at South Gate Park
Show starts at 9 p.m.

Woodland Hills
The July Fourth extravaganza is at Warner Center Park and starts off with a free concert and festivities everyone can enjoy.
5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd
It goes from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The fireworks show is 15 minutes long.

The July Fourth extravaganza is at the Antelope Valley Fair & Event Center and will feature live entertainment, summer games and competitions.
2551 W Ave H

Riverside County

Corona – Santana Park
The city of Corona invites the community to the Main Street USA Independence Day Parade. Corona’s Main Street USA Independence Day Parade is a non-competitive parade which provides entertainment, community spirit and fun for all to enjoy. Drawing 4,000+ families, friends, and neighbors, the parade takes place on Main Street from Ontario Avenue to Olive Street.
Parade begins at 9 a.m.
Live entertainment starts at 5 p.m. at Santana Park.
The fireworks celebration will occur at sundown.

The city of Riverside Pparks
The city’s free event displays an array of fireworks at two separate locations which include La Sierra Park (5215 La Sierra Ave.) and Ryan Bonaminio Park (5000 Tequesquite Ave). Participants are encouraged to bring their own blankets and refreshments. Access will not be permitted in La Sierra and Carlson Dog Park all day on Sunday, July 4 after 7 a.m.
Show begins at 9 p.m.

Orange County

Huntington Beach
The city of Huntington Beach welcomes back the 118th Annual 4th of July parade after two years of the event not taking place due to COVID regulations.
The parade starts at 10 a.m.
Closing out the festivities will be a fireworks show at the Huntington Beach Pier.
The show starts at 9 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit

City of Orange
Grijalva Park, 368 North Prospect St., hosts a family event on Sunday July 3.
The event starts at 4 p.m., and there will be plenty of interactive activities for kids.
Local nonprofits host food trucks. Around 8 p.m. the Orange Community Master Chorale performs with the grand finale patriotic fireworks happening around 8:45 p.m.

Newport Beach
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, hosts family events from July 1 to July 4.
Family-friendly events on July 1-3 begin at 10:00 a.m. while July 4’s events begin at 12:00 p.m.
Monday’s firework show begins at 9:00 p.m.

Los Alamitos
The cities of Los Alamitos and Seal Beach will host the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
This year, bring your lawn chairs and your blankets for the traditional event setup.
Gates will open at 4 p.m. and close at 8:45 p.m.
The fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m.

Mission Viejo
The Mission Viejo Activities Committee will hold the Annual Street Faire and Fireworks Spectacular on Olympiad between Marguerite and Melinda.
Festivities start at noon, with plenty of food, activities for kids and live entertainment.
Admission is free with tickets being sold for games and rides.
Parking will be available around surrounding streets but the Marty Russo Youth Athletic Field parking lot is closed will be closed to the public on the 4th of July
The show begins at 9 p.m.

San Bernardino County

Big Bear Lake
Fireworks spectacular at Big Bear Lake.
Show time begins between 8:45-9:15 PM, runs approximately 30-40 mins, and is free to spectators.
For more information check here:

City of Upland
Light up the Night fireworks show on Monday July 4.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Show begins at 9 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now and are $12 at the

City of Victorville
The city of Victorville will host the annual fireworks show on Monday, July 4.
The event will be located at the Victorville Fairgrounds.
Gates open at 4 p.m. and the fireworks show is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. For further information, call Hook Community Center at (760)

Lake Arrowhead
The Arrowhead Lake Association’s 2022 Lake Arrowhead Fireworks show will be on Sunday, July 3.
Show begins at 9 p.m.

Apple Valley Fireworks
Lenny Brewster Sports Center, 21024 Otoe Rd.
Festivities from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Show begins at 9 p.m.

Fontana’s Fourth of July Celebration
Miller Park Amphitheater, 17004 Arrow Rd
There will be music, food, novelty vendors and of course, fireworks.

Ventura County

Thousand Oaks
The 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular takes place on the hill behind the Hillcrest Center of the Arts in Thousand Oaks.
Fireworks start at 9 p.m.

Westlake Village
The city of Westlake Village presents its 6th Annual Fireworks Spectacular Show from the Westlake Village Golf Course.
4812 Lakeview Canyon Road
There will be family-friendly activities.
Event begins at 5 p.m.
Show will be at 9:10 p.m.

3rd of July Fireworks Extravaganza is going to be at Arroyo Vista Community Park.
Fireworks show starts at 9 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now.

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California ends loitering for prostitution law

This repeals “loitering with intent to engage in prostitution” law, which results in profiling of sex workers particularly trans women



California Governor Gavin Newsom (Blade file photo)

SACRAMENTO – Senate Bill 357, the Safer Streets for All Act, authored by Out state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)’s was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday. 

“As trans people are being criminalized across the country, Governor Gavin Newsom has once again shown that California stands with the LGBTQ community and communities of color,” said Wiener. “Everyone – no matter their race, gender or how they make a living – deserves to feel safe on our streets. Thank you, especially, to our coalition of former and current sex workers and LGBTQ advocates who made this day a reality. Your leadership is inspiring.”

SB 357 repeals a provision of California law criminalizing “loitering with the intent to engage in prostitution.” This criminal provision — arrests for which are based on an officer’s subjective perception of whether a person is “acting like” or “looks like” they intend to engage in sex work — results in the disproportionate criminalization of trans, Black and Brown women, and perpetuates violence toward sex workers.

SB 357 is sponsored by a large coalition made up of former and current sex workers, LGTBQ groups like Equality California and Transgender Gender-variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), and civil rights groups like the ACLU. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST LA) is supporting the legislation.

SB 357 does not decriminalize soliciting or engaging in sex work. Rather, it simply eliminates an loitering offense that leads to harmful treatment of people for simply “appearing” to be a sex worker.

This crime is so subjective and inherently profiling that it allows a police officer to arrest someone purely based on how they are dressed, whether they’re wearing high heels and certain kinds of make-up, how they’re wearing their hair, and the like. This criminal provision is inherently discriminatory and targets people not for any action but simply based on how they look. People who engage in sex work deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Criminalizing sex work does not make sex workers or communities safer. Most criminal penalties for sex workers, loitering laws included, do nothing to stop sex crimes against sex workers and human trafficking. In fact, loitering laws make it harder to identify trafficking victims; trafficking victims are often afraid to come forward in fear of being arrested or incarcerated. 

In February of 2021, a similar piece of legislation to repeal this type of loitering ban became law in New York. SB 357 is part of the movement to end discrimination against and violence toward sex workers, especially the most targeted communities — trans, Black, and Brown people. SB 357 is co-sponsored by Positive Women’s Network – USA, St. James Infirmary, SWOP LA, Trans [email protected] Coalition, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Equality California and ACLU California Action. 

Under current law, it is a crime to loiter in a public place with the “intent” to commit a sex work-related offense. But this law can be broadly interpreted, and thus allows for discriminatory application against the LGBTQ community and people of color.

Law enforcement can use a non-exhaustive list of circumstances to subjectively determine if someone “intends” to engage in sex work, including factors such as speaking with other pedestrians, being in an area where sex work has occurred before, wearing revealing clothing, or moving in a certain way.

Because current law regarding loitering is highly subjective and vague, law enforcement officers disproportionately profile and target Black and Brown transgender women by stopping and arresting people for discriminatory and inappropriate reasons.

This is how Black and Brown transgender women get arrested and cited for simply walking on the street. It also gives law enforcement the ability to more easily target and arrest sex workers.

People in the LGBTQ, Black, and Brown communities report high rates of police misconduct throughout the United States and are disproportionately affected by police violence.

Transgender people who have done street-based sex work are more than twice as likely to report physical assault by police officers and four times as likely to report sexual assault by police.

A Black person is 3.5 times more likely to be shot by police than a white person. These statistics are a daily reality that transgender, Black and Brown people face and lead to mistrust of law enforcement.

SB 357 will repeal a discriminatory law that makes it a crime to loiter with the intent to engage in sex work, given that it fails to prevent street-based sex work and disproportionately results in the criminalization of transgender people and communities of color.

“For far too long, California law has been used to profile, harass and arrest transgender and gender-nonconforming people simply for existing in public spaces,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “We all deserve to live in public peacefully without fear of arrest. Thanks to Governor Newsom and Senator Wiener’s leadership, California boldly stands on the side of justice. This law will make our communities safer for all Californians. We are immensely proud to be in this fight as part of a coalition that has been trans led since the beginning.”

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Proud Boys disrupting a California Pride drag show get pepper sprayed

“There was an altercation, obviously people are here & are upset about the bar having their Pride event,” said the deputy police chief



Woodland police officers after Proud Boys disrupt drag show (Screenshot KCRA 3 News)

WOODLAND, Ca. – An end of Pride month drag show in this suburban city Northwest of Sacramento was disrupted by Proud Boys at the The Mojo Lounge bar and restaurant in the downtown business district.

As the group attempted to gain access to the establishment, a now viral video by local ABC10 television reporter Luke Cleary showed them and the near-by police officers getting pepper-sprayed by an unseen person inside the bar.

Screams of pain erupted along with one Proud Boy who can be heard shouting “fuck you paedophile motherfuckers,” after being sprayed. Woodland police officers can also be seen retreating wiping their eyes from the effects of the irritant self-defensive spray weapon.

Another reporter, Lee Anne Denyer from NBC News Sacramento affiliate KCRA 3 noted that the event, which was initially advertised as an an all-ages Drag Show by the bar was at first postponed and then scaled back.

Denyer posted video that showed the heavy law enforcement presence after the Proud Boys attempted to storm the restaurant demanding to know how many children were in attendance at the show.

“There was kind of rumors that things were brewing on main street but there was obviously a presence by the Woodland Police Department so that made us feel more comfortable. Then it escalated, it escalated pretty quickly,” Julie Ramos, who attended the event, told KCRA. “This really was a positive event and everyone was having a great time. So I think most people were angry but I would say resilient.”

Woodland Police Department, Woodland, California

“There was an altercation, obviously people are here and are upset about the bar having their Pride event,” Anthony Cucchi, the deputy chief of the Woodland Police Department told KCRA. “We tried to intervene as quickly as we could, it was a pretty chaotic scene. Our main priority was to get a safe scene and then make sure anybody that needed help got the help that they needed. We will work on the investigation.”

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