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Race to Midterms: Christy Smith & Alex Padilla closing arguments

“Please don’t sit this one out. Your vote is your voice. It is your power. We know that if the Republicans were to regain the majority…”

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Christy Smith & Sen. Alex Padilla (LA Blade file photos)

By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD – This is it. This is the moment when your voice and your vote can impact American history. More than ever before, democracy is on the line; women’s reproductive health is on the line; justice and fairness are on the line — our very existence as LGBTQ people is on the line.

The direction and character of this country progressing forward toward a more perfect union – or regressing to 1950s strict conformity to the paradigm of “normality” as defined by white straight men — is on the line in this election.  

Max Huskins and I – partnering with the Los Angeles Blade — have tried to introduce you to candidates and politicos who are trying to make a difference and want you to make a difference, too.

In this final episode of our Race to the Midterm series, Christy Smith, a strong LGBTQ ally running against Stop the Steal Trump cultist Rep. Mike Garcia – reaches out to the trans community in her district offering help if they are too afraid to vote. She also talks about how global inflation is impacting her district through high gas prices for the commuting community and about the importance of preventing more school shootings, as noted by a pro-Christy Smith video produced by Saugus High School shooting survivor Mia Tretta. 

Sen. Alex Padilla is on the ballot twice – to fulfill Vice President Kamala Harris’ Senate term to which he was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and to win his own term as California’s junior Senator, endorsed by senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein in whose office Padilla once served. Padilla talks about calling for the resignation of his friends Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo, with whom he shares the history of fighting against the racist Prop 187 initiative in 1994. He also talks about supporting LGBTQ+ rights and expanding the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments about banning affirmative action as part of the school admission policies. Padilla says he benefitted from affirmative action. 

Please take a moment to get to know Christy Smith and Sen. Alex Padilla and then please help them secure seats in Congress to represent us in this ongoing civil war-like struggle with MAGA Republicans who are pledging a coup and a disruption of the electoral and governing process in order to bring Donald Trump back to power in 2024. 

But we don’t have to wait that long to lose our democracy if Democrats lose these midterms.  

Here’s some of what Christy Smith and Alex Padilla told us. 

KO: Let’s start talking about inflation. Why is everybody so concerned about inflation without realizing what this Congress has already done to fight inflation? 

Christy Smith, candidate for CA-27: “It’s certainly a challenge. And in districts like mine where we’ve got commuters who have the longest commutes in the state, some even in the country, it’s going from the Antelope Valley — the price of gas, when you’ve got a round trip daily, that’s an hour and a half — it’s tough. It is tough on families, pocketbooks. 

But, you know, there is a real disconnect between the Republican messaging, which blames President Biden right now for this when the Democratic House, a slim majority in the Senate and this president have put the American people front and center of doing everything they can to tackle inflation from reducing prescription drug costs, capping the price of insulin. Now they’re situated and ready to go after gas price gouging, making sure that we got baby formula back on the shelves so that that cost wasn’t out of control.

We are in this kind of global moment of inflation. But here at home, it’s literally the Democrats who are doing everything that we can to make sure that families can continue to get by. So, raising and protecting wages and holding the line on corporate greed is really what’s going to get us through to the next phase as globally prices start to come down.

And the argument that [Republicans are] better on the economy just simply doesn’t wash. You know, these are the same people — six Republican states are the ones suing to stop student loan forgiveness. Those are Republican states doing that. And again, these are the people who have voted time and again against investments in the American people that help American families get through this inflationary moment.

So, I know that our voters see it in this district. We’re having really good conversations at the doors about that. They know that [MAGA Republican Mike] Garcia is simply paying lip service to the issue, but isn’t really doing anything about it.

We also talked about the 2019 shooting at Saugus High School where Christy ran to the school and Garcia didn’t even show up. Christy’s campaign just released a video (embedded in our show) about how Garcia takes money and does the bidding of the NRA.   

Christy: “I want to give credit, first of all, where it’s due to Mia Tretta, who is the young woman speaking in that video. She actually, with her parents, helped produce that video herself because her story is so important for her to tell. And she has been an incredible young leader and activist across the country for sensible gun reforms and really speaking out against gun violence in this country.

And what she highlights, though, is that virtually, sadly, there are fewer communities untouched by the pandemic of gun violence across the country. We also see statistically, increasingly, those are in red states and red cities where there are very lax and lenient gun laws. And so, for me, though, really horrifically on the day of the Saugus shooting here, I was serving in the California state legislature.

But I’m a mom in this community. I’m a former school board member in this community. And my first thought was get to where I could be most helpful to the young people and the families who wanted to be reunited and then figuring out what we could do to aid the victims and their families and help the whole school community recover, which is what we focused on.

My opponent, on the other hand, has been standing in lockstep with the NRA, taking tens of thousands of dollars of their money and making sure that people who shouldn’t have them have access to AR-15s and all kinds of weapons that were intended as weapons of war. They weren’t intended for use by civilians and for the next generation we cannot leave them a country where we’re more willing to protect someone’s right to have a gun than we are to protect who they love and when they want to have a family.

We’re just we are so backwards in this moment on which rights and freedoms matter. And it’s the ones that are fundamental to people’s well-being that should matter more than people’s right to cause mass destruction with a gun.”

KO: So, how will you stand up for us in Congress, if elected?

Christy Smith: “LGBTQ rights are civil rights, and we have a proud, long history in this country of a civil rights movement that was most recently in the hands of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters who fought very hard for marriage equality and for rights. And so, in a moment like this now, to see the gay and trans community, in particular, being called out, being marginalized by that extremist movement as a means to further drive wedges between communities — to embolden and to empower people with that really extremist agenda — is something we have to push back against harder. 

It is a disgrace to our country. It is discrimination against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It’s a rise of anti-Semitism, it’s a rise of misogyny. And so, in this election, we all need to be arm in arm in saying we will stand for the hard-fought freedoms and protections of the entire civil rights movement, our brothers and sisters of color. It’s incredibly important because the other side is literally using this as a wedge to amass political power. And we’ve all thought too hard to go back….

So please, please be a voter by November 8 at 8 p.m. We’re counting on you. Future generations are counting on you — so please be a voter.”

Sen. Alex Padilla also talks about the importance of this election – and the difficulty of calling for his friends’ resignations as members of the Los Angeles City.

Sen. Padilla: “We’re so close to yet another consequential election, so much on the ballot, not just candidates, not just propositions here in California, but frankly, the future of the country, the direction and our very democracy itself, if you want to talk about voting rights and disinformation.

But, you know, the adage goes, all politics is local. And that’s where we’re starting with the heartbreak of what we heard from some city leaders not that long ago. That audiotape of a of a private meeting that was disclosed that had some horrific and appalling commentary, some anti- LGBTQ language that we heard, obviously anti-black language that we heard, even anti-Hispanic coming from the mouths of Latino leaders was on that tape.

I think for me it was initial heartbreak because I knew the people in that meeting, considered some of them friends and never imagined those words coming out of their mouth like that. So as hard as it was, I was one of the first officials, I believe, to publicly denounced the language and called for resignations. And not to split hairs of who said more, who said less — they were all in the room, they all participated, and nobody shut it down. And so there have to be consequences. 

And why did I do that? Not just because of the substance of the language that they were using, but, in the Senate, I’m a member of the Judiciary Committee. And I hear way too often some divisive rhetoric and some conspiracy theories and hate from some of my colleagues. And if we are to be able to genuinely denounce and hold accountable when extremist Republicans used this language then we have to call out Democratic friends when they use it too. We have to be consistent in standing up against hate, standing up against discrimination. And to me, that’s what it boiled down to.”

KO: How can we regain our trust and especially at this critical moment when we need all hands on deck? 

Sen. Padilla: “The contrast couldn’t be clearer, I think, between political parties and candidates and the vast majority of races — who has stood with the LGBTQ-plus community, fighting for not just marriage equality, but frankly, equality and rights in all aspect, whether it’s in the workplace, whether it’s in housing, whether it’s access to health care, a spouse’s benefits, all those sorts of things — and which party hasn’t or doesn’t? Republicans, to the contrary, are trying to take away your rights, just like they did with — at the Supreme Court level in the undoing of the Dobbs decision. You know, whether it’s a bathroom bill here, whether it’s what’s in textbooks over there, conversion therapy, whether where it’s advocated, where is banned — it’s absolutely clear we need Democrats in office, Democrats in the majority to continue to make progress for the LGBTQ plus community….

(A)s big of a moment that marriage equality was when it was upheld or at least not overturned by the Supreme Court, we knew that wasn’t the finish line. It’s great to be able to love who you love and love how you love. But that’s just in a romantic relationship between two individuals. That did nothing to insure against discrimination in the workplace. That did nothing to insure against discrimination in housing. We just talked about university admissions in the affirmative action debate or discussion….

Recognition of LGBTQ individuals is one thing. Respect for the diverse community is another. But really integrating that [LGBTQ] data, gathering that — not just at the Census but especially at the Census, helps inform policymaking, which is good for everybody….

Please get out there and vote because the contrast couldn’t be clearer. We know that if the Republicans were to regain the majority, the Dobbs decision, the undoing of reproductive rights is just the beginning. You know, whether it’s an agenda that wants to take our country backwards on LGBTQ rights, on immigration and diversity when it comes to labor protections, environmental protections, or war, if they were to take over, we cannot afford that. And the only way we overcome that is by making sure every eligible person can register and get out there and vote, because we made a significant amount of progress these last two years.”

Please watch the interviews with these two remarkable allies. Then VOTE!

Thank you!

Politics

Herschel Walker defeated in run-off election by Raphael Warnock

Warnock’s victory means Democrats gain the outright majority in the Senate, with 51 seats to 49, freeing them from a power-sharing agreement

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U.S. Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock, a graduate of Morehouse college (1991), campaigning there on Nov. 30, 2022 (Photo Credit: Warnock/Facebook)

ATLANTA – U.S. Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock defeated his Republican challenger Herschel Walker Tuesday night in a run-off election. In last month’s election, Warnock led Walker by 37,000 votes out of almost 4 million cast, but fell short of the 50% threshold needed to avoid the runoff.

Warnock’s victory means Democrats gain the outright majority in the Senate, with 51 seats to the Republicans’ 49, freeing them from a power-sharing agreement for committee assignments and diminishing the power of moderate Democrats Senators Joseph Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Political commentator and journalist Jacob Rubashkin, reflecting on Warnock’s victory noted on Twitter; “In 1934, no Democratic senators lost re-election. But since 1934, every president, Democrat and Republican, has seen at least one senator from their party lose re-election in every single midterm cycle. Biden becomes the first president since FDR not to lose a single senator.”

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California Politics

Zbur hits the ground running: Appoints staff & introduces first bills

“I look forward to working with the community and all stakeholders as well as my colleagues and Governor Newsom”

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Assemblyman Rick Zbur (D-51, West Los Angeles) Day One (Photo Credit: Assemblyman Rick Zbur/selfie)

SACRAMENTO – Out Assemblyman Rick Zbur (D-51, West Los Angeles) along with the rest of the incoming freshmen California Assembly lawmakers was sworn in Monday at half past noon- then immediately announced the appointments of his key staff and then introduced his first two pieces of legislation.

Introducing his new staff that he has hired to serve the constituents of Assembly District 51 in his Capitol and District Offices Zbur said in an emailed statement to the Blade:

“These dedicated public servants have the knowledge and skills to deliver on my promise to provide top quality constituent services and legislative proposals for my district. Both of my offices are open and ready to serve on day one, with highly trained professionals who understand the district and the Capitol.” 

Zbur’s key legislative staff include:

Bob Hartnagel, Chief of Staff – Bob was Mark Leno’s Chief of Staff in the State Senate for 8 years and in the State Assembly for 6 years, and Assemblymember Carole Migden’s District Director for 3 years. Most recently he was Chief of Staff for Government Relations at the University of California’s Office of the President for 5 years. He has a bachelors degree in Communication Studies & International Relations from Northwestern University.

Tami Martin, J.D., Legislative Director – Tami has a distinguished career fighting for civil rights as Legislative Director for Equality California (EQCA). She holds a bachelors degree in Government from Dartmouth College and both a law degree and a masters degree in Law and Government from American University Washington College of Law.

Jane Park, Ph.D., Senior Assistant – Dr. Park previously worked for Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin where she leveraged her research experience to create groundbreaking new policy addressing climate change. She holds a bachelors degree in Biological Sciences from Wellesley College and a Doctorate in Integrative Genetics and Genomics from the University of California, Davis.

Alex Mehlbrech, Scheduler – Alex worked as a key member of Assemblymember Zbur’s campaign team for almost three years, where he cultivated a deep understanding of the concerns and issues facing local residents. He holds a bachelors degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach.

Robert Oliver, District Director – Robert has worked as a field representative in the district offices of  U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz. He also worked as a Community Liaison for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, he grew up in Los Angeles. He and several of his family members currently live in AD-51, where he developed a keen first-hand knowledge of the issues affecting constituents.

Zbur also noted that his office is currently accepting applications for a Field Representative in his District Office, which serves the cities and communities of Beverly Hills, East Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills West, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, and Westwood Village. 

Editor’s note: (Interested applicants can send a resume and cover letter to Robert Oliver at [email protected]. Diverse candidates are encouraged to apply.)

In his first actions as a legislator Zbur introduced AB 3, the California Offshore Wind Energy and Jobs Act, to facilitate and expedite offshore wind energy projects necessary to combat climate change while at the same time protecting the environment and assuring that thousands of high paying jobs remain in California.

AB 3 aims to accelerate the approval, implementation, and operation of offshore wind energy projects necessary to meet California’s climate action goals and the transition to a clean energy economy. It will clarify the authority of California governmental agencies related to wind energy projects along the California Coast, require expedited procedures, and specify criteria for the selection of port and transmission alternatives related to offshore wind energy projects. The criteria will ensure that the environment and sensitive habitats and cultural resources are protected, community participation and comment is robust, that the maximum number of jobs related to offshore wind energy projects are created and remain in California, and that those jobs advance environmental justice and improve the lives of all Californians.
 
“We are decades behind in taking the steps necessary to protect our kids and our planet from the growing crisis of climate change,” said Zbur. “If we do not expedite the approval, construction and operation of offshore wind energy projects along the California Coast, we will not meet our climate change goals. I am confident that we can build consensus to accelerate offshore wind, and at the same time protect our coast and sensitive habitats and assure that the thousands of high wage jobs are created and remain in California. California has the opportunity to demonstrate that bold climate action is the economic engine that can power a robust and socially just economy,” he said.

 He also introduced AB 5, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, which will assure that teachers and school staff are better equipped to support LGBTQ+ and all students.

AB 5, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, will help equip teachers and school staff with the tools and training they need to support LGBTQ+ students and make California schools safer and more supportive for all students, teachers, and school staff. 

The bill will specify a timeline for implementation by all California schools of LGBTQ+ cultural competency training for teachers and certificated staff currently under development by the California Department of Education.

This is the result of a budget proposal advanced by Equality California and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and approved in 2021 by the Legislature and Governor Newsom in AB 130 and SB 129. AB 5 is sponsored by Equality California.
 
“Every student deserves a safe and supportive learning environment,” said the Assemblymember.

“Improving our schools is a key part of the strategy we need to reduce the high dropout rates that lead to a cycle of homelessness, poverty and health & wellbeing disparities experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. Our teachers and school staff want to support their students, and this bill will better equip them to help LGBTQ+ and all students reach their highest potential,” he added.
 
“These bills are among my top priorities as I honor the trust that the people of Assembly District 51 placed in me to improve the lives of all Californians and tackle our toughest challenges. I look forward to working with the community and all stakeholders as well as my colleagues and Governor Newsom on these proposals and many others in the months ahead,” Zbur noted.

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California Politics

Lindsey P. Horvath sworn in as new Third District Supervisor

For more than 100 years, the Board of Supervisors was run primarily by five men, she now joins a historic all female board

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Former West Hollywood mayor Abbe Land administered the oath of office to Supervisor-elect Horvath (Photo credit: Bryan Chan, Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors)

LOS ANGELES – Lindsey P. Horvath was sworn in as Third District Supervisor on Monday at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.

Former West Hollywood mayor Abbe Land administered the oath of office in the Board chambers among County officials and close family and friends of the new Supervisor.

“It is with great honor and humility that I accept this call to serve as Supervisor for LA County’s Third District, with a clear understanding that more must be done. I would not be here today without the support of my family, my friends, my colleagues, and my allies. Thank you for believing in me, and for believing in this moment,” said Supervisor Horvath“This seat does not belong to me – it belongs to the people of the Third District. As the Board’s 166th member – and 8th woman – I join them all in writing the next great chapter of history for Los Angeles County.”

Horvath previously served as a City Councilmember and the longest consecutively serving Mayor for the City of West Hollywood. She is the youngest woman to ever be elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the first millennial and only renter to serve on the historic all-female Board.

For more than 100 years, the Board of Supervisors was run primarily by five men. In November 2020, the residents of Los Angeles County elected Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell to represent the Second District, which marked a significant turning point in the make-up of the Board.

Horvath will oversee the Third District, which includes much of the west side, most of the San Fernando Valley, the Conejo Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains all the way to the Ventura County line, with the northern border including Chatsworth and Porter Ranch.

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Religious Extremism/Anti-LGBTQ+ Activism

Transphobic Fox host: Trans people are “Deeply Anti-Human”

Fox news host Laura Ingraham launched into a transphobic rant claiming the political left are cheering on what she termed anti-humanism

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Screenshot/YouTube Fox News

By Media Matters Staff | NEW YORK – On her show last night, Fox news host Laura Ingraham launched into a transphobic rant claiming among other things that those on the political left are cheering on what she termed anti-humanism.

Then she pivoted to the transgender community:

“Crusaders for climate change, abortion, euthanasia, gender fluidity, they all lead — eventually, their thinking — to the devaluing of human life.

“At its core, being anti-human means being anti- truth because it involves the questioning or denying of objective facts, including those at the very heart of our existence. 

“The cult of gender deviancy collapses into meaningless slogans and blather. None of it makes any sense, but it’s deeply anti-human.” 

Watch the Media Matters for America video clip:

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Politics

Obama rallies for Warnock as Walker goes transphobic in latest ad

“Tomorrow is the last day for early voting and then we need to get people out to the polls on Tuesday, which means we still got work to do”

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Former President Barack Obama with Sen. Raphael Warnock (Pool photo via CNN)

ATLANTA – Former President Barack Obama held a rally with Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) tonight in Atlanta as the Georgia election runoff for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Warnock enters its final week.

Speaking to the enthusiastic crowd in the historic Pullman Yard, Obama urged supporters to continue pressing to secure Warnock’s chances as early voting ends Friday ahead of next Tuesday’s election.

“Now I know a lot of folks have been voting early over the last few days, that is a good thing. That is an encouraging thing. But — you knew there was a but —plenty of folks haven’t voted yet. Tomorrow is the last day for early voting and then we need to get people out to the polls on Tuesday, which means we still got work to do,” Obama said.

A spokesperson for the the Georgia secretary of state’s office told the Blade that more than 1.1 million votes have been cast so far.

Warnock’s Republican challenger meanwhile focused on his opposition to transgender rights. In a recent campaign ad, Herschel Walker is featured alongside cisgender former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who tied with University of Pennsylvania trans female swimmer Lia Thomas.

In the ad Gaines says she “worked so hard” at competitive swimming but she was “forced to compete against a biological male.”  The ad also goes on to attack Warnock in the Chyron onscreen stating: “Raphael Warnock voted to allow biological men to compete in women’s sports.” That particular charge by Walker’s campaign is factually incorrect as the U.S. Senate has not held any votes on the subject of transgender women in sports.

Politico’s National political reporter Natalie Allison tweeted:

During the rally in Atlanta this evening Politico reported Warnock received roaring applause when he poked fun at Walker, something Obama also did, referencing a series of outlandish comments the retired football star has made over the course of his candidacy.

“We all know some folks in our lives who, we don’t wish them ill will, they say crazy stuff … but you don’t give them serious responsibility,” Obama said.

“He was an amazing running back,” Warnock said of Walker. “And come next Tuesday, we’re going to send him running back to Texas.”

Walker, who was raised in the Peach State and was a star player at the University of Georgia, lived the majority of his adult life in Texas before returning to run for Senate in 2021.

Politico also noted that Warnock, the pastor of the Atlanta church that Martin Luther King Jr. attended, tied the election to the long struggle of African Americans for equal rights, noting the crowd had gathered on the 67th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to get up from a bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama. Walker is also African American.

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Politics

Charlie Kirk smears Out Calif. State Sen. Scott Wiener on Twitter

“Kirk is leading the movement to slander gay men and trans people as ‘pedophiles’ and ‘groomers,’ & these heinous words have consequences”

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Charlie Kirk speaking on the 2021 Turning Point USA college tour (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

SAN FRANCISCO – In a lengthy tirade on Twitter Tuesday, far-right extremist radio chat show host Charles J. Kirk, while loosely channeling an InfoWars host Alex Jones style-attack, went after California State Senator Scott Wiener, (D-SF District 11) implying that the veteran lawmaker endorses and supports child molestation.

Kirk, 29, is a co-founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative right-wing political group aimed at influencing college and university students and young people. Ironically, Kirk himself dropped out of Harper College, a junior community college near Chicago, without having completed any degree or certificate.

Kirk hosts a daily three-hour radio talk show, called The Charlie Kirk Show, on Salem Media which is known for owning conservative websites Townhall.com, RedState, Hot Air, and PJ Media, as well as Twitter aggregator Twitchy, calling itself a ” for-profit Christian broadcast corporation.”

He is also an avid supporter of impeached former president Donald Trump, consistently refers to himself as a MAGA Republican and has asserted that the concept of white privilege is a myth and a “racist lie.” He also has spread false information and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 on social media platforms, such as Twitter, in 2020.

Recently Kirk has been attacking the LGBTQ+ community on the subjects of trans youth and also following the lead of far-right Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, (R-GA) in attacking Senator Wiener:

Kirk’s attack on the senator commenced with: “Thousands of pedophiles in California are going free after just a few months in jail, thanks to the state’s radically reduced penalties for child molestation. One reason so many of these predators are going free so early is California lawmaker Scott Wiener.”

Then he went on to state in the thread: “That name and photo might ring a bell. Wiener is one of the most effective lawmakers in the entire country. He’s behind California’s new law that will protect parents who kidnap their children and take them to California to receive mutilating surgeries.

Wiener was also behind California’s law lowering penalties for intentionally spreading HIV to other people, and their law creating a third “nonbinary” gender for government documents.

If there’s some horrifying idea related to modern gender and sex ideology, Wiener has probably written and passed a bill about it in California.

If elected Republicans cared as much about their voters’ concerns as Scott Wiener cares about freeing pedophiles and mutilating children, they’d have won total victory long ago.”

Editor’s Note: It needs to be made clear, California has NOT reduced penalties for child molestation.

(REUTERS) Posts on Facebook claim that SB-145, a bill passed by the California State Senate on August 31, 2020 seeks to “legalize pedophilia.” This claim is false, as the bill is intended to reform the state’s sex offender registry to be fairer to young LGBT adults who may be in technical violation of statutory rape laws. The bill seeks to treat all statutory rape cases—regardless of what kind of sex they involve—equally.

Senator Wiener responded to Kirk’s attacks saying on Twitter:

Charlie Kirk — one of the biggest attention-seeking liars around — is spreading bald-faced lies about me. These statements are absolutely false & defamatory. These are the lies bigots have always spread about LGBTQ people — lies that lead to violence against our community.

In an emailed statement to the Blade Wiener said:

“LGBTQ leaders around the country are under attack by toxic, far-right ideologues and elected officials. These MAGA talking heads – whose party performed far worse than expected in the midterm elections – have no meaningful policy solutions for the issues facing our country. Instead, they are focused on slandering and demonizing gay and trans people, and using us as scapegoats. Specifically, they’re employing the age-old slander that LGBTQ people are threats to children, and that is what Greene and Kirk tweeted about me.

“Charlie Kirk is a prime example of this type of extremist right-wing grifter, and he joined Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene in tweeting about me repackaged versions of centuries-old homophobic lies. Kirk and Greene are leading the movement to slander gay men and trans people as ‘pedophiles’ and ‘groomers,’ and these heinous words have consequences. Be it the massacre at Club Q or the death threat I just received this morning referencing Kirk’s tweet, LGBTQ people everywhere are experiencing an onslaught of violence and threats.

“People like Kirk and Greene are a stain on our country, and they should be held accountable for spreading vile, homophobic misinformation.”

In his statement Wiener was referencing last week’s attack by Far-right Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, (R-GA) who called the Senator a “communist” questioning Wiener’s loyalty and service to both the State of California and the U.S. she then went on to accuse Wiener of being a “groomer” implying that the Senator was a predator of minors for sexual purposes:

Pass my Protect Children’s Innocence Act to stop communist groomers like this from using state government power to take children away from their parents to allow a for-profit medical industry to chop off these confused children’s genitals before they are even old enough to vote.”

Wiener made a point of calling out use of the word “groomer,” as the abusive reaction and fallout from right-wing sources regarding the mass-shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, continues to ratchet up against the LGBTQ+ community.

The word “groomer” is categorically an anti-LGBTQ hate word. It’s super homophobic/transphobic. It plays into the slander that LGBTQ people are pedophiles. It’s no different than calling someone a fagg*t. If you call someone groomer, you’re inciting violence against LGBTQ people,” Wiener stated in a tweet.

Equality California, the largest statewide LGBTQ equal rights advocacy group reacted to Kirk’s smears Wednesday afternoon. In an text message to the Blade, Equality California spokesperson Jorge Reyes Salinas said:

“It is disgusting but not surprising that days after a mass shooting fueled by dangerous rhetoric from extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Charlie Kirk posts lies to spread anti-LGBTQ+ hate. The statements made are false, defamatory and lead to violence  against our LGBTQ+ community. This is another performance to build up hatred.”

The organization had previously tweeted at Kirk defending the senator:

“This is a lie. It’s false, offensive and dangerous — the exact type of disinformation that has fueled violent attacks like the Club Q shooting in #ColoradoSprings. Shame on you, and shame on @elonmusk [Twitter owner and CEO] for allowing these dangerous lies to proliferate.”

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Politics

Marjorie Taylor Greene tweets homophobic attack on Sen. Wiener

“Greene is a toxic person & embodies why the MAGA movement is dangerous, a threat to our democracy & to the personal safety of LGBTQ people”

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Calif state Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco) (Photo credit: California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus)

LOS ANGELES – Far-right Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked Calif. State Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco) on Tuesday after Wiener made a point of calling out use of the word “groomer,” as the abusive reaction and fallout from right-wing sources regarding the mass-shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, continues to ratchet up against the LGBTQ+ community.

The word “groomer” is categorically an anti-LGBTQ hate word. It’s super homophobic/transphobic. It plays into the slander that LGBTQ people are pedophiles. It’s no different than calling someone a fagg*t. If you call someone groomer, you’re inciting violence against LGBTQ people,” Wiener stated in his tweet.

Quoting Wiener’s tweet the far-right MAGA Georgia congresswoman called the Senator a “communist” questioning Wiener’s loyalty and service to both the State of California and the U.S. she then went on to accuse Wiener of being a “groomer” implying that the Senator was a predator of minors for sexual purposes:

Pass my Protect Children’s Innocence Act to stop communist groomers like this from using state government power to take children away from their parents to allow a for-profit medical industry to chop off these confused children’s genitals before they are even old enough to vote.”

In an emailed statement, Senator Wiener responded to the homophobic attack by the Georgia Republican:

“The same day Elon Musk reinstated QAnon extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene, she launched a vile homophobic attack on me because of my vocal advocacy in response to the Club Q slaughter. When Greene has attacked me in the past, threats against me have typically increased. She is a toxic person and embodies why the MAGA movement is so dangerous. Green is a threat to our democracy and to the personal safety of LGBTQ people.”

The term ‘groomer’ is considered highly offensive as it broadly brushstroke paints LGBTQ+ people as child molesters.

The definition according to the Urban online dictionary:

groomer

1 (the crime definition): An adult that builds a sense of trust with a minor to exploit and/or abuse them, typically (but not always) in a sexual manner. This is a crime, and it also causes harm to the minor.

2 (in US politics): What republican politicians and supporters refer to LGBTQIA+ people and their allies as, to manipulate their audience to pass anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. This is targeting and harming LGBTQIA+ people and the people using the word in this manner typically are (or have connections with those who are) actual groomers.

National Public Radio, (NPR) reported this past May the Movement Advancement Project’s executive director, Ineke Mushovic, pointed out:

“What the far right often does is they engage people’s reptilian brains, the fight-or-flight instinct,” says Mushovic. “And so it behooves far-right conservatives to put people in a state of fear, because then they’re reactive. They don’t support change.”

The “grooming” narrative, Mushovic added, “taps into this primal sense of fear and this kind of parental protective instinct. But we know it’s a completely false narrative.”

The “grooming” narrative has been actively promoted by conservative activist Christopher Rufo, and Daily Wire pundit and transphobe Matt Walsh who have both attacked gender affirming care in their assaults on the LGBTQ+ community.

Green’s H.R.8731 – Protect Children’s Innocence Act, was introduced this past August 19 and has forty-nine Republican members listed as co-sponsors. The language as introduced stated targets primarily Trans youth healthcare and targets colleges and universities from “offering instruction in gender affirming care:”

This bill places restrictions on the provision of gender affirming care. Gender affirming care includes performing surgery, administering medication, or performing other procedures for the purpose of changing the body of an individual to correspond to a sex that differs from the individual’s biological sex.

Specifically, the bill makes it a felony to perform any gender affirming care on a minor and it permits a minor on whom such care is performed to bring a civil action against each individual who provided the care.

Additionally, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for gender affirming care or for health insurance that covers such care. Such care may not be provided in a federal health care facility or by a federal employee. The bill also prohibits qualified health plans from including coverage for gender affirming care. Further, plans that include coverage for such care are not eligible for federal subsidies. […]

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Politics

Out AG candidate wins, Rollins concedes congressional race

‘Fixing our system of disagreement matters. Integrity matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters, elections matter’

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Kris Mayes & Will Rollins (Photo Credit: LGBTQ Victory Fund/Rollins Campaign)

PHOENIX – The closest statewide competition in the Grand Canyon State was the race for Arizona attorney general. On Monday Maricopa County released its final election results that had openly Out candidate Kris Mayes beating her Republican opponent Abe Hamadeh by only 510 votes.

“Kris’ victory is a win for all Arizonans. Voters chose a champion of equality who believes in democracy over a cynic who spread election disinformation for his own perceived political gain. In a state with bans on abortion and same-sex marriage still on the books, the symbolism of voters choosing an out LGBTQ Attorney General cannot be overstated,” Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “Kris has a long track record of taking on big fights and winning on behalf of her community and will be a powerful pro-equality, pro-choice force in Arizona. Today’s results are a resounding rebuke to the hate and intolerance sweeping our country. Voters made their voices heard loud and clear: enough is enough. It’s time for change, it’s time for courage.”

There are currently just two out LGBTQ state Attorneys General in the United States, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute: Dana Nessel in Michigan and Maura Healey in Massachusetts. In case of Massachusetts, Healy is now the governor-elect of Massachusetts, having won the 2022 election.

According to Phoenix NBC News affiliate KPNX 12, the state’s unofficial final results have placed Mayes only 510 votes ahead of Hamadeh to become the state’s next attorney general. The results will likely spur an automatic recount after state election numbers are certified on Dec. 5. 

********************************

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – In the race to represent California’s 41st Congressional District in the House of Representatives, openly gay Democratic candidate and former federal prosecutor Will Rollins congratulated his GOP opponent Ken Calvert and conceded the race.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Rollins said: “I have called Representative Calvert to offer my congratulations. I had hoped for a different result, but I respect our democratic system and am sure that our fine election workers did their jobs honestly and responsibly, and I accept the count. Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of you who voted.” 

He added:

“So, what’s next? What’s next for our communities, and what’s next for our country? The truth is that we are in a moment of uncertainty, because America is divided. And there are a lot of people out there who benefit – financially, militarily, politically – when Americans turn against one another.

“But this campaign proves that ordinary Americans have the power to reject those who try to divide us. That is how we built this country, and that is how we built this campaign. We are a community of Democrats, Republicans, and independents who came together to restore compromise, civility, and progress in the United States.”

Rollins also noted:

“This community is growing. Ordinary Americans of good faith uniting to elect leaders who know that this country is about more than one person, more than one president, more than one party, and more than one congressman. We may not always agree on how to solve the country’s problems, but the point of this campaign has always been that the way we disagree matters. Fixing our system of disagreement matters. Integrity matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters.”

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Politics

Kelly cites white supremacy after losing House race in Tennessee

A 2022 report by The Sentencing Project shows that 21% of Black voters in Tennessee are permanently barred from voting

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Odessa Kelly lost her House race in a gerrymandered district. (Photo by Shance Ware)

NASHVILLE – Odessa Kelly was on track to become the first openly gay Black woman elected to represent Tennessee in the U.S. House. On election night, as votes were counted, Kelly watched that dream slip out of reach. 

“The loss didn’t come because I’m an openly gay Black woman in the South, the loss came because of racism,” Kelly said in an interview with the Blade.

Kelly, who ran to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District against incumbent Mark Green (R), lost the election by more than 20 points. Kelly blames white supremacy, gerrymandering, and voter suppression for her loss.

“I just lost a congressional race due to White Supremacy, Gerrymandering, Racist (GOP), Undercover Racist BlueDog Dems, and Voter Suppression,” Kelly tweeted post-election.

Republican-led gerrymandering parceled predominantly Democratic Davidson County, which includes Nashville, into three separate congressional districts. This gerrymandering obliterated representation for Nashville residents at the state and federal level. 

“We have zero representation in the largest, most populated city in Tennessee,” Kelly said. 

Gerrymandering often intentionally marginalizes minority communities’ voices and votes by relocating them to conservative districts. East Nashville, the minority ruled and politically Democratic district where Kelly grew up, was moved to the conservative and predominantly white district of Cookeville. But Nashville residents aren’t the only Tennesseans affected by gerrymandering in the state. 

Statewide, Tennessean voters of color were disproportionately split up and relocated to districts where they are outnumbered and their voices are drowned out. This leaves communities of color at the mercy of Jim Crow and racist political tactics that suppress their voices and their votes because they no longer hold a majority vote in any of these new districts. 

“White supremacy showed up in our state legislature and in me losing this race,” Kelly said. 

The systemic disenfranchisement of Black voters in Tennessee also played a major role in Kelly’s loss. A 2022 report by The Sentencing Project shows that 21% of Black voters in Tennessee are permanently barred from voting, while only 8% of adult voters are barred statewide. 

And a Tennessee Advisory Committee Report shows that Tennessee is one of 11 states that permanently disenfranchises voters. With some of the toughest laws and requirements for voting, the state makes it hard for Tennesseans to earn the right to vote again. 

“I assume that the majority of those individuals who can’t vote would probably vote for me because they’re looking for relief and pathways out of poverty,” Kelly said. “And those are the things that I’m fighting for.” 

As for what’s next, Kelly says she is determined to keep fighting for a country and political system where those forgotten by the status quo are represented. .

“I will not stop. I will not give up. I will keep fighting because the issues don’t change.” 

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California Politics

Lindsey Horvath elected to LA County Board of Supervisors

Horvath extended her appreciation to outcoming Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who had endorsed and backed her in the campaign to succeed her

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Lindsey Horvath (Screenshot/YouTube CBS Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath won slightly more than a plurality of the vote gaining a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing District Three after State Senator Bob Hertzberg conceded Thursday afternoon.

In a statement released Hertzberg wrote; “I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Sup-Elect Horvath. The challenges LA faces are extraordinary and it’ll take someone with her work ethic to be successful. Thank you to everyone who has supported me- my family, friends, elected leaders, & residents across SD3.”

 

“I am humbled and honored that the voters have chosen me to serve as their next Supervisor. Their confidence and support fueled our people-powered campaign across the finish line, and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to represent the people of District 3,” Horvath told supporters and county residents in a statement Thursday evening.

“I want to thank Senator Bob Hertzberg for his incredibly generous and kind phone call, for his commitment to public service, and for engaging in this hard fought campaign to make Los Angeles a better place. I welcome his supporters into the work we will all need to do together. Regardless of who you voted for, I will always work my heart out to represent you and the best interests of our communities,” she said.

She also extended her appreciation to outcoming Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who had endorsed and backed her in the campaign to succeed her in the seat.

SUPERVISOR 3RD DISTRICT

Candidate(s)VotesPercent
LINDSEY HORVATH (N)227,56152.24%
BOB HERTZBERG (N)208,01947.76%
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