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Breaking Up With the LA Times

January 30th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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I’ve subscribed faithfully to the LA Times for over 30 years
and, with great regret, I just this minute cancelled my subscription.

I thought about cancelling after the Times folded the Sunday Book Review and the Sunday Opinion into other sections of the paper, but I kept on paying for the daily print edition, even though I’d switched to online reading nearly exclusively a year or more before. I clung to the physical paper, mostly out of loyalty to my wonderful, soulful and very talented friends who still write and edit for the Times.

(Although, just how many of them will be left after the new round of 70 newsroom firings reportedly to come is another question altogether.)

Today’s news, however, that publisher Eddy Hartenstein had chosen to yank the California section was simply the final straw. (For the details as to why the decision was made, see LA Observed’s announcement from this morning. And here’s what Patterico and the LA Weekly’s Steven Mikulan had to say.)

To be honest, cancelling the newspaper felt terrible—like a relational break-up, which in a sense it was. But the Times was beginning to resemble an abusive boyfriend who is there for the sex, but then whacks you around with abandon because he doesn’t really like or respect you.

Today it became clear to me that the paper’s management neither liked nor respected me. Or you. Or your neighbors, if any of them are still subscribing.

My neighbors aren’t. I was the last holdout on the street.

When I told Kevin, the very nice subscription services guy, why I was cancelling, he asked me if there was any deal they could make that would get me to reconsider. (When you cancel, like the suddenly apologetic and flower-bearing bad boyfriend, they ask you for a reason, then try to bribe you.)

“Put back the California section,” I said.

“I have no confirmation that it’s been cancelled…” Kevin began weakly.

“It has. Trust me.”

Kevin didn’t press it.

I told him that, given the Times’ upper management’s obvious disregard for the paper’s readers, to keep subscribing after today would be “the moral equivalent of enabling a drug addict.”

“I see,” said Kevin. Then after a pause,“I’ll convey your thoughts to the editors.” There was fatigue in his voice. I guessed it had already been a long day.

I felt guilty for my drug addict remark, so I told Kevin I knew that there were many excellent people who worked for the Times, and that, no doubt, he was one of them.

“Thank you,” he said. Again with the tired voice. After that, we rang off.

Listen: I more than understand the new and grim economic realities of the newspaper business. All papers are cutting. They have no other choice.

I met the art director of the Washington Post when I was in D.C. for the inauguration. When he introduced himself he said, “I work for a dying industry,” and we had a mordant laugh about the state of the profession.

Still most papers, the WaPo included, are doing their best to cut with a scalpel, not an ax, whereas the Times has consistently chosen a wood ax as its tool of choice.

I was at the Annenberg School of Journalism all day yesterday. And, despite the bleak outlook for print journalism, the discussions in which I was involved were heartening for their innovative ideas and cautious optimism about the work of news gathering and journalism in general.

Unfortunately, although the paper is blessed with a hardworking and talented news staff, the LA Times/Tribune management seems to possess neither optimism—cautious or otherwise—nor a feel for anything resembling innovation (that awful Abrams man, most prominently included).

So I broke up with them.

Like most break-ups, it hurts. But, while painful—as is always the case—finally doing the honest thing is a relief.

Now, at least, I can respect myself in the morning.

Posted in Los Angeles Times, media | 27 Comments »

FreeLA High Washes Its Way to Graduation

January 30th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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This Saturday, an unusual Los Angeles high school,
called FreeLA High, is putting on a car wash to help gather the necessary bucks to pay for the school’s first ever graduation ceremony.

FreeLA High is an offshoot of the Youth Justice Coalition, a youth led activist organization that has become a genuine force in the realms of juvenile justice in LA. Most of YJC’s young members—kids who range in age from 7 to 24— have, in some way, run afoul of the criminal justice system, or have a family member who has been locked up (or both).

The Youth Justice Coalition aims to empower such kids to work for changes in public policy as it relates to juvenile justice.

In the past, YJC worked successfully to precipitate the shut-down of the much-criticized youth module in the LA County jail, and to improve the conditions of confinement in LA’s juvenile facilities. YJC’s larger goal is “…for every dollar spent on locking up young people, that the state and county [provides] an equal or greater allocation of funds to support community-based, owned and operated alternatives to arrest, court, detention and incarceration.”

In order to further this aim, in the fall of 2007, YJC along with the John Muir Charter School (a unique organization in its own right) began a new charter school for some of the YJC kids whom LAUSD had written off.

I’ve been a YJC fan for some years, but knew nothing about the school. So I called the YJC offices yesterday afternoon to get a few details, and spoke to sixteen-year-old Maritza Galvez, who is both a youth organizer for YJC and a student at FreeLA High.

I asked how she landed at FreeLA and Maritza told me that she was attending Locke High School when her mother was arrested and jailed for eight months on the a charge that she was smuggling Illegal immigrants from Mexico.

After her mom’s arrest, Maritza was sent to live with her older sister, who was barely an adult herself. Freaked and angry, Maritza started misbehaving. She flunked tests, skipped classes, and began ditching school. But, according to Maritza, when she suddenly went off the rails, none of the adults at Locke seemed to notice or care all that much. “Why don’t you stay home? You’ve already flunked this grade,” Maritza said one irritated administrator told her when her attendence dropped off precipitously. Although she had ambitions to go to college, the unhappy girl missed more and more school, and finally dropped out altogether.

(NOTE: Just to be clear, we’re talking about the pre-Green Dot version of Locke H.S.)

Fortunately, around this same time someone told her about YJC and Maritza called the organization hoping they might help her mother with her case. YJC came through with legal assistance and her mother was eventually released. (According to Maritza, the authorities found that a neighbor was the real smuggler.)

In the meantime, volunteering for YJC gave the girl a sense of purpose and community.

Thus when her mother came back home, Maritza’s ambitions for her future resurfaced, and she realized she wanted to go back to school.

But not to an LAUSD school. When she mentioned the issue to some of the YJC leadership, they told her they had always wanted to start an alternative charter school for the kids who felt they had no place in conventional high schools.

And so it was that, with the help of Muir Charter School, FreeLA High was born.

Presently the school has fifty students ranging in age from 15 to 24 (plus another 15 on home study). It’s not a huge number. But that’s 65 people who are actively choosing a better future for themselves rather than the dead end that was predicted for them.

This June, ten of those students, kids on whom other LA schools had already given up, will be ready to graduate.

Maritza is among them.

“After I graduate, I’m going to community college for two years,” she told me. “My dream is then to transfer to UCLA or to an Ivy League school. I don’t know if I’ll get in, but it’s what I’m aiming for. Right before you called, I was on the Internet looking for scholarships.”

Like many of the FreeLA students, Maritza will be the first person in her family to go to college.

For the moment, however, what the shoestring-budgeted school needs is a little extra cash to pay for the June graduation ceremony.

Hence the car wash.

“We’re not planning anything fancy,” said Maritza. “We just want a ceremony that lets us know that we’ve passed through that gate. That we did it.”

“Ritual is important,” I agree.

So, about that carwash…… I figure my Escape Hybrid is so covered with Topanga mud and grime it can use at least two washes. Maybe three.

Perhaps you too have a dirty car…….

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The car wash will take place this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in front of Chuco’s Justice Center, 1137 E. Redondo Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90302

(Cross-street West Blvd, One block north of Florence, three blocks west of Crenshaw)

Posted in Education, juvenile justice | 7 Comments »

Life, Death…..& Childcare

January 29th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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I’ll likely write something a bit later about the fight over California AG Jerry Brown’s push
yesterday to do away with the federal receiver who’s overseeing California’s broken prison health care system….

….But, in the meantime there’s the terrible Wilmington murder/suicide of the Lupoes and their five kids.

The news came out last night that Ervin and Ana Lupoe lost their jobs as medical techs at Kaiser Permanente hospital because they allegedly forged a supervisor’s signatures in order to qualify for low cost child care.

The firing, as we now know, appears to have begun a chain of events that ended in a bounced check to the IRS, a mortgage headed toward default, and finally to a boxed-in state of mind that is suspected to have led Ervin Lupoe to shoot his wife and kids and then himself.

Theirs was, from what the Kaiser Permanente folks are saying, a righteous firing. One cannot have employees forging signatures—-for any reason.

But that the Lupoes took the risk of (allegedly) committing fraud……merely to get affordable childcare for their five kids? (Who are now, not incidently, dead.)

How much sadder can the story possibly get?

I’m not sure what, if anything, all this signifies beyond the simple fact of the tragedy. But it cannot be anything good.

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PS: I am purposedly not commenting on this story. But I’ll be watching as it unfolds—as it assuredly will.

Posted in Economy, families | 16 Comments »

Dear Mr. President, About that Prison Industrial Complex Thingy…

January 27th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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Everyone is busy setting goals and agendas for Barack Obama.
(And there will likely be some coming from here too.)

The newest would-be addition to Barack’s First 100 days To Do list is the winner of the American Bar Association Journal’s yearly Ross Essay Contest. (The contest was established in the 1930′s by the late LA Judge Erskine Ross.)

As this year’s topic the ABA asked its contestants to “…write an open letter to the new president and Congress describing the most important priority for improving the U.S. justice system.”

The winning essay, which appears in the February issue of the ABA Journal, was written by Ben Trachtenberg, a visiting assistant professor of law at Brooklyn Law School. It talks about what might be done to shrink our exploding prison population, which Trachtenberg says (and I agree), has gotten to the point that it is compromising the U.S. justice system itself.

The essay is comparatively short, and contains no flashy prose. It is simply smart, clear minded….and right.

Here’s how it opens:

At midyear 2007, U.S. prisons and jails held 2,299,116 inmates, meaning more than 1 percent of American adults were incarcerated. We top the world in per capita imprisonment, increasing our lead every year. Since 2000, while the total U.S. population increased by 7 percent, our prison population has grown by 19 percent. Our massive imprisonment costs needless billions and, perversely, hinders effective crime control. We need to re­duce our prison population.

Few dispute the value of imprisonment in fighting crime. Especially with repeat violent offenders, prison may be the only way to prevent a dangerous criminal from hurting more innocent victims. But many instances of incarceration transparently fail to serve any serious preventive purpose, especially given the costs.

Consider nonviolent convicts sentenced for drug possession. Or septuagenarians who, sent away for decades under a “three strikes” law, now receive geriatric care from prison infirmaries. Unthinking overreliance on imprisonment simply drains public treasuries without providing any future benefit. California recently predicted that, by 2012, its prisons would cost more annually than its state university system. A starker illustration of our misplaced priorities is difficult to imagine. Al­ready, the state’s yearly prison budget exceeds $10 billion. Cali­fornia, not alone in its catastrophic embrace of imprisonment, exemplifies national trends of rising prison populations and uncontrollable prison costs.

These outrageous expenses might be tolerable as a necessary evil if we had no better options. Yet often, nonincarceration alternatives, such as drug treatment for addicts and community service for small-time thieves, cost less and reduce misery across the board.

Read the rest here.

So, Barack. I know you have your hands sorta full right now, what with the melting economy, the melting polar ice caps, undoing the damage wreaked in the last eight years in IIAPG. (No, that’s not another bankrupt lending institution, that’s Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza.) But this ABA guy has some really good ideas, I promise. So please take a look, okay?

Posted in Obama, prison, prison policy | 14 Comments »

UPDIKE 1932 – 2009: Rabbit At Rest

January 27th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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A giant of literature. Although, along with Roth and Mailer, he has been one of the dominant forces in American letters for nearly a half century, he still wrote regularly for the New Yorker and described himself rather endearingly as a freelancer to David Ulin, when Ulin interviewed him onstage at UCLA last fall as part of the tour for his latest novel, The Widows of Eastwick.


On the other hand, in his 1998 essay about John Updike,
Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think, David Foster Wallace, who also describes the author as “the chronicler and voice of probably the single most self-absorbed generation since Louis the XIV,” wrote a long and wonderfully grumpy screed about, among other things, the similarity of all Updike’s protagonists. (Quoting the gifted dead about the gifted dead feels weirdly comforting rather than the reverse today. Go figure.)

It reads in part:

They tend to have the author’s astounding perceptual gifts; they think and speak in the same effortlessly lush, synesthetic way that Updike does. They are also always incorrigibly narcissistic, philandering, self-contemptuous, self-pitying…..and deeply alone, alone the way only an emotional solipsist can be alone. They never seem to belong to any sort of large unit or community or cause. Though usually family men, they never really love anybody—and, though always heterosexual to the point of satyriasis, they especially don’t love women. The world around them, as gorgeously as they see and describe it, tends to exist for them only insofar as it evokes impressions and associations and emotions and desires inside the great self….

Yes, well. That pretty much sums up what has always bothered and attracted me about all of Updike’s work. And yet, and yet….one cannot help but love his incandescent sentences.

I am deeply saddened that there will be no more of them.

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William Pritchard, the author of Updike: America’s Man of Letters, has listed his picks of the six most essential Updike books in a column for the Boston Globe. (Pritchard cheats and lists the Rabbit books as one). If you’ve read none of them, get to it. Great sentences await you.

PS: The New Yorker is collecting writers’ reminiscences regarding Updike here and readers’ thoughts here.

The New York Times has a video conversation with Updike here.

Posted in American artists, American voices, Obits, writers and writing | 6 Comments »

Warning: Construction Zone

January 27th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

Today WitnessLA is being migrated from one host to another that better serves our needs so please forgive any strange tech glitches over the next 24-hours.

Thanks.

Posted in blogging | No Comments »

Pitt Bulls and Rottweilers and Gangsters, Oh My! – UPDATED

January 27th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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Monday on the LA Times animal blog
there is a story that manages to combine a holy trinity of favorite WitnessLA issues: gangs, foolish laws….and critters.

(Sadly no wolves or bears are involved, but one cannot have everything in a single story. And while we’re on the subject, are we happy or despondent that the same local newspaper that saw fit to eliminate the Homicide Report and four fifths of the book review section, now has an animal blog? Tough call.)

It seems that the city of Lancaster has decided that a swell way to crack down on gangs is to go after the gang members’ dogs. Or the gang members who have dogs. Or those gangsters who have certain dogs.

Anyway, with this fuzzy notion in mind, Tuesday the city council will vote on a proposed ordinance that would impose harsh penalties on the owners of dogs labeled “potentially dangerous” or “vicious”—namely Rottweilers and Pitt Bulls. Even more controversial is the part of the ordinance that requires all Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and mixed-breeds with the physical characteristics of either Rotts or Pits, to be spayed or neutered.

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UPDATE: They indeed passed the thing. The LA Times has the story here along with some more…uh… notable quotes from the mayor.

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“I want gangs out of Lancaster,” Mayor R. Rex Parris told a local interviewer. “I want to make it uncomfortable for them to be here. Anything they like, I want to take it away from them. I want to deliberately harass them….”

Alrighty then. And a happy civil liberties day to you too, Mister Mayor. (So, is it me or does the concept of a mayor named R. Rex Parris strike you as a bit Batman comic books-ish?)

It seems, however, that not all the good citizens of Lancaster are quite as enthusiastic about Mayor Parris’s new gang strategy as he is. In fact, many law abiding residents also have Rotts and Pits and don’t like being told what they may or may not do with their family pets.

As the devoted owner of a breed that could arguably make the “potentially dangerous” list—namely Loup-Loup-the-wolf dog—I can understand the Lancasterites disgruntled position on the topic. (When we were deciding whether or not to adopt one of my neighbor’s part wolf puppies I ran into all manner of literature, plus a slew of well-meaning “experts,” that warned us against the ghastly dangers of wolf hybrids. We are still waiting for Loup-Loup to turn on us. Thus far, it’s been a 14-year wait.)

Part of the ordinance makes good sense in that it would levy heavy penalties against anyone owning a dog that bites or repeatedly menaces people.

Personally, I have exactly zero tolerance for people who allow dogs that bite to roam free. Ditto for idiots who think it’s cool to train household dogs to be vicious, a practice that all too often involves mistreatment of the creatures.

Mandatory spaying and neutering has much to be said for it too. But designations of “potentially dangerous,” plus enforced sterilization, levied against only certain breeds regardless of training and temperament is….stupid. And a legal slippery slope—especially when, under the ordinance, a single officer can determine whether or not a dog should be destroyed.

Viewing all of the above as a good gang suppression tactic is….what’s the term I’m looking for?…Oh, yeah…..moronic.

When a crowd of dog owners showed up to a recent Lancaster City Council meeting, pets along with them, according to the LA Times there were some memorable exchanges.

For instance, at one point dog trainer A.J. Listman asked the mayor (who is also a personal injury lawyer) what he would do “when these gang members that you’re trying to target move on to Dobermans or German Shepherds? You going to restrict them too?”

“If they move on to cats,” the Times reports Parris responded, “I’m going to take their cats.”

(sigh.) Some people parody themselves.

PS: NOTE TO MAYOR REX PARRIS: I don’t want to trigger a brand new ordinance or anything, and maybe it’s just my luck, but I seem to know an inordinate number of gang members, or former gang members with kids and families, who have Chihuahuas as pets. Do you also have plans for the Chihuahuas? Just curious.

Photo by Susan Beveridge

Posted in bears and alligators, Gangs, Los Angeles Times | 17 Comments »

Obama, Truth-Telling & Gaza

January 26th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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As you’ll note, this time all the Sunday/Monday Must Reads (and a must see) are on the same topic:

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As 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon pointed out in a segment on Sunday night, the situation in Gaza and the West Bank is so high up on Barack Obama’s To Do list that his first foreign calls on his first day in office were to Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

A day or two later, Obama reaffirmed his sense of urgency by appointing former senator George Mitchell, respected for his work in brokering peace in Northern Ireland, as the new administration’s special Middle East envoy.

But if Obama is to have even a ghost of a chance of brokering a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians—he will have to start from the facts as they really are, which has not exactly been the habit for the last two administrations when it came to the Middle East.

To that end, Barack would do well to begin by reading the article in this week’s London Review of books by Henry Siegman.

Siegman is the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, as well as the the current director of the US Middle East Project in New York. His piece is authoritative, well-sourced and harsh—and this week’s number 1 must read for anyone with an interest in the region.

Here’s how it opens:

Western governments and most of the Western media have accepted a number of Israeli claims justifying the military assault on Gaza: that Hamas consistently violated the six-month truce that Israel observed and then refused to extend it; that Israel therefore had no choice but to destroy Hamas’s capacity to launch missiles into Israeli towns; that Hamas is a terrorist organization, part of a global jihadi network; and that Israel has acted not only in its own defense but on behalf of an international struggle by Western democracies against this network.

I am not aware of a single major American newspaper, radio station or TV channel whose coverage of the assault on Gaza questions this version of events. Criticism of Israel’s actions, if any (and there has been none from the Bush administration), has focused instead on whether the IDF’s carnage is proportional to the threat it sought to counter, and whether it is taking adequate measures to prevent civilian casualties.

Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie. Israel, not Hamas, violated the truce: Hamas undertook to stop firing rockets into Israel; in return, Israel was to ease its throttlehold on Gaza. In fact, during the truce, it tightened it further. This was confirmed not only by every neutral international observer and NGO on the scene but by Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, a former commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division…

As a follow-up, read Sunday’s Scott Macleod’s essay for Time Magazine in which he talks about why Obama is the last American president who might be able to help broker a two state solution. If he doesn’t manage it, the window will be gone.

And then watch the aforementioned 60 Minutes segment in which Bob Simon talks about how, for many on both sides of the conflict, the two-state solution may be already impossible.

Posted in international issues, International politics, Middle East, Obama | 8 Comments »

A Birthday Gift for Edith

January 22nd, 2009 by

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    Activists take lead roles to reopen Burke’s failed monument

I long ago gave up any hope that Yvonne Burke would be indicted for her failure to stop the dying and maiming that eventually forced King-Drew Medical Center to close in 2007. Every sitting member of the county board of supervisors, who ignored the management problems festering for a decade or more, deserve punishment, too.

To heal their souls, Burke and her accomplices should mark a calendar with the birthdays of those who needlessly died under their bungled leadership. One birthday is coming up. On Feb. 1, Edith Isabel Rodriguez may have turned 45 had the hospital staff heeded her pleas and those of her boyfriend. She writhed in pain on the floor of the ER waiting room for 45 minutes before dying of a ruptured bowel. Let the dozens of birthdays marked on the supervisors’ calendars inspire them to quickly act to reopen the hospital.

One woman already up for the fight to reopen the South L.A. hospital is Sylvia Drew Ivie, the daughter of Charles Drew, the physician for whom the hospital was named. A graduate of Howard University School of Law, Drew Ivie is the chief of staff for County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who replaced the disgraced Burke.

A profile of Drew Ivie, written by a former colleague of mine, Evan George, appears in today’s Daily Journal, a legal newspaper in Los Angeles. (Evan covers healthcare and law better than anyone in town. And yes, his is the first piece written about Drew Ivie by any major media in Los Angeles.)

Drew Ivie worked in the Carter Administration’s U.S. Office for Civil Rights and served briefly as a deputy L.A. city attorney in the 1970s and was most recently the executive director To Help Everyone Clinic in South L.A. She cut back on her time there to lead the community’s losing struggle to keep the hospital open.

Here are a few excerpts from Evan’s story. (Sorry, no link. The paper’s online and print editions are paid-subscription only.)

Her work with the clinic tapered off by 2005, when the largest cloud hanging over South Los Angeles became its once celebrated hospital and the Charles Drew University Medical Center that trained its doctors. As losing federal funding over safety concerns grew likely, Drew Ivie served as project director of the Steering Committee on the Future of the King/Drew Medical Center. The group advised supervisors on how to clean up the hospital’s act.
When the supervisors pulled the plug on the hospital, Drew Ivie said, she was stunned. “We really didn’t think that would be permitted to happen by all of the people who understood how important it was to the community,” she said. She said she blamed failed governance and poor communication between the medical staff and county leaders.
Now, her boss is the one county official most bent on reopening the decrepit facility within two years.
Many in county government have interpreted Drew Ivie’s appointment as a shake-up to try to overcome crippling bureaucratic failures. Last week, Ridley-Thomas also announced his pick of attorney Yolanda Vera as his health deputy. Vera, a longtime health care advocate who helped sue the county over hospital bed cuts years ago, said she has worked closely with Drew Ivie in the past.

Earlier in the story, Evan describes the depth of her motivations:

She also comes to the fight saddled with heavy emotional ties to the issue.
A daughter of the physician for whom the teaching hospital was partially named, she made saving the sinking institution a personal battle and a family obligation. That the hospital finally shuttered within weeks of her losing her own husband to a brain tumor made the tragedy that much more crippling. Friends say the loss brought Drew Ivie to a low point in her life that left her treading water. They also said they had no doubt she eventually would charge back into the fray.
Sylvia is somebody, unlike some politicians, who actually understands her mistakes and learns from them,” said Stan Price, a former director of the National Health Law Program who has worked with her for decades. “She knows what went wrong and why she wasn’t successful.”

Let’s hope all of the county supervisors are listening to Sylvia Drew Ivie and Yolanda Vera as they reflect on the many darkened days on their birthday calendars.

Posted in Board of Supervisors, health care, Los Angeles County, Public Health, writers and writing | 2 Comments »

Jerry Brown Says Prop 8 Not Constitutional. Period.

January 21st, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

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I’m in DC for the rest of the week,
but as Washington embraces its new president (and the last minute souvenir buyers jam the temporary Obamanalia Obamabilia* stores, some of which, in all seriousness, were open until 2 a.m. to accommodate the frenzied shoppers) I’ve begun turning my eyes back toward California where I note that Jerry Brown, after having been in town for several days worth of inauguration glad-handing, is now back to work challenging federal judges and filing legal briefs.

For instance:

After California’s November election produced the loathsome Proposition 8, Jerry urged the California Supreme Court to review the initiative for its constitutionality.

And, indeed, in short order, as expected the court decided to hear three lawsuits that challenge Prop 8 on Constitutional grounds.

As the wheels of justice move forward, last week, 63 amicus briefs were filed for and against the challenges: 20 supporting the ban on gay marriage, 43 opposing it.

Then late yesterday, Cali Attorney General Jerry filed a pithy response to the 20 briefs filed by Prop 8 supporters.

Referring to his response to the briefs, Brown said that “…the amendment process cannot be used by a bare majority to strip away the fundamental and inalienable rights of a protected minority without a compelling justification. Since there is no compelling justification, Proposition 8 must be stricken.”

I think he’s right. And, after reading Jerry’s response (which you can find here), I think there’s a very good chance that the California Supremes will think so too.

Kenneth Starr, who is one of those leading the legal charge to protect Prop. 8, contends otherwise and says that, “Proposition 8 is a moderate measure that represents a deeply rooted, multigenerational judgment of the people of California about the definition of marriage.” Blah, blah, blah.

The state Supreme Court may begin hearings as soon as March.

PS: When Melissa Etheridge was in town for the inauguration, she told a reporter at Bay Windows, New England’s largest GLBT newspaper, that while they were both in DC Jerry Brown had told her that he was “very, very confident that, in March, Proposition 8 will be overturned.”

Bets anyone?

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*Need more sleep soon to avoid making up odd and wrongly-suffixed words.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry), LGBT | 8 Comments »

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