• Casual Laborers Want Full-Time Work

    • 09/18/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    On Sept. 8, about 300 casual longshore workers demonstrated in front of  the Casual Dispatch Hall in Wilmington. Similar amount of workers protested for more opportunities to become registered full union members.

    Random Lengths News received a tip from one casual who asked not reveal his name since the organizers placed an embargo on communications with media until they were ready.

    He said about 200 jobs were left unfilled. Random Lengths requested comment from the Pacific Maritime Association’s Wade Gate, but he never confirmed if the action affected port operations.

    ILWU Local 63 President Paul Trani, representing the Marine Clerks, was quoted in the Press Telegram speaking to the heart of the casual’s complaint.

    “They are frustrated,” Trani said. “They have been sacrificing their family. Many have two jobs.”

    Officials from three ILWU locals — Locals 63, 13 and 94 — issued a joint statement that day saying that they did not condone the action.

    “As always, Locals 13, 63 and 94 are committed to fill all labor needed for the movement of cargo in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” the brief statement said.

    More than 5,000 casuals pick up intermittent work along the docks at a dispatch center in Wilmington. The workers have been preselected in a random lottery, and once they build up enough seniority through hours worked, they can qualify to pick up full-time work. But those roles are rarely opened, and many part-timers have been waiting for more than a decade to land a job as a registered ILWU (ID) member.

    The casual that called in the tip to Random Lengths said he has put in more than 5,000 hours and has been working the docks for 13 years yet still hasn’t received a job with security and benefits.

    Earlier this year, the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing shippers and terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, hosted a random lottery for more part-timers, effectively expanding the list and making the wait times longer for those at the very bottom.

    ILWU Local 13 asked the PMA to hire 600 casuals on a full-time basis, and ILWU Local 63 asked that 100 positions be filled in its union. However, the PMA has declined to do so even with record levels of cargo crossing the docks at both of the local harbors.

    “We don’t have enough clerks to fill these jobs. We want more clerks,” Trani said. “Every day there’s at least a couple hundred jobs that go unfilled by [full-time] marine clerks.”

    The PMA declined to comment to the media as of press time, but it is understood that the ports have been urging the union and the shipping association to address this issue.

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  • Westin Long Beach Gets Unionized

    • 09/15/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    LONG BEACH — On Sept. 8, Highgate Hotels, the new owners of the Westin Long Beach Hotel, announced the approval of the unionization of its employees.

    Highgate Hotels bought the Westin in mid-August.

    The Westin is a full service hotel with 474 guest rooms, meeting rooms, banquet facilities and a full restaurant and bar.

    Westin workers have been seeking unionization, with the assistance of United Here Local 11 since 2015, when lawyers representing employees filed a lawsuit alleging the former owners, Starwood Hotels, failed to pay full wages and provide rest breaks for housekeepers and food service workers. Hotel workers, in general, have high rates of work-related injury, particularly those employed in housekeeping. Unite Here Local 11 represents more than 25,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona.

    Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce had helped arrange a meeting to end the dispute.

    The next step will be to negotiate a labor contract with management concerning pay, benefits and working conditions.

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  • Hancock and Washington Break through New Dimensions at the Bowl

    • 09/15/2017
    • Melina Paris
    • Music
    • Comments are off

    Seeing Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington share the stage would be way too powerful. The masters must be taken in synchronized doses to let us take in the magic.

    The magnitude of what Hancock and Washington represent together weaves together the jazz continuum of past and future through both of these virtuosos.   

    Hancock’ legacy and influence on popular music has touched generations of musicians in multiple genres. Washington’s rich compositions express the full measure of jazz. They also surprisingly include significant elements of different genres, like classical and even house music, which appeal to many fans.  

    Washington recently opened for Hancock at the Hollywood Bowl.


    An Icon

    Hancock continuously breaks boundaries. The trajectory of his career is proof. Entering college in 1956 as an electrical engineering major, he soon switched to music composition and formed his own group. Later he moved to New York to play with trumpeter Donald Byrd. Right out of the gate he landed a record deal with Blue Note and released his debut album as head of the band. Takin’ Off’ was the first album on Blue Note to feature all newly composed songs, such as Watermelon Man.

    In 1963, Hancock became part of Miles Davis’ group. They both influenced each other’s sounds. Hancock has said Davis taught him the importance of constant experimentation. Davis also introduced Hancock to the electric piano.

    Hancock put together The Headhunters in 1973 and recorded an album of the same name. The album’s hit single Chameleon became the first jazz album to go platinum.

    By the mid-70s, Hancock was entertaining stadium-sized crowds internationally and had no less than four albums on the pop charts at once. Hancock’s Grammy-winning Rockit distinguished him as one of the first jazz musicians to embrace both synthesizers and turntables.

    Hancock’s boundary-breaking continues to reach younger audiences establishing importance in their musical sensibilities. His 1970s material inspires and provides samples for generations of hip-hop and dance music artists. Few artists have had more influence on acoustic and electronic jazz, rhythm and blues and hip hop.


    A New Dimension

    Therein lies a musical connection to tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington. His foundation and his first love is jazz and it shows on his acclaimed album Epic. He grew up with a comprehensive exposure to music, with a musician father, Rickey Washington, and his aunt, Lula Washington of The Lula Washington Dance Theater. He started his first band in high school, The Young Jazz Giants, with Cameron Graves, Thundercat and Ronald Bruner Jr. Later in college, his first gig took him on the road with Snoop Dogg. Washington described the experience of working with Snoop’s producers as a blessing in disguise.

    “They heard every nuance of exactly what they wanted us to play,” Washington said. “We had to really listen to the music, and the more I listened to it, the more I had a detailed ear. Like listening to music through a microscope.”

    He developed that mentality and brought it to his band. It was like communicating in a new language with each other.

    Washington has performed and recorded with many of his heroes, including Gerald Wilson, Raphael Saadiq, Mos Def, Quincy Jones, Stanley Clark and Chaka Khan. His experience is a bridge that connects him to Hancock’s music.

    The Opening

    Washington and band made a big entrance to the stage with more than 30 members, including a DJ and choir, di rigueur for one of his shows.

    “There are people of all races in LA,” said Washington as he led into Truth, a six-movement suite from his new EP, Harmony of Difference. “We’re lucky to have the diversity we do. Diversity is not something to tolerate, it’s something to celebrate.

    “This is the Truth.”

    The number is an artwork combining gospel, jazz and ethereal sounds enhanced by Cameron Graves keyboards, elegant strings and soaring brass. DJ Battlecat’s chill-worthy synthesized sounds circulated in perfect symphony.

    The band struck hard with Change of the Guard firing this audience up. Washington, known for his robust sound, worked it with extraordinary perfection. He riffed, channeling back in time to Coltrane. And the band accelerated forward at light speed into electronic all-encompassing sound realms with the aid of Brandon Coleman’s keyboards.  

    Their finale was a tour de force. The Rhythm Changes from Epic plays elegantly, supported by Quinn’s vocals, with flowing horns and piano. As the pace quickened, inherent velvetiness elevated to vitality. Each verse elevated, creating a potent transformation into a house cut, live, with a full band and choir.


    After a quick hello, Herbie Hancock and his band got right to it. Playing with the maestro were Vinnie Colaiuta, drums, James Genus, bass, Lionel Loueke, guitar and Terrace Martin, keyboards and saxophone.

    The first number integrated a changing landscape of music. Starting off in ethereal nuances, Colaiuta soon delivered a distinctive percussive beat, segueing into a sturdy rhythm and blues, funk groove. This followed with breakdown steeped in straight ahead verve enhanced by Hancock on grand piano and Martin on keys and vocoder.

    On Actual Proof Hancock and Colaiuta were fluid in deep conversation between piano and drums. Colaiuta, an amazing drummer, pounded out any expression with pure power and finesse.

    Hancock and Loueke harmonized on vocoder next. The combinations of keys, guitar and vocals crisscrossed among each other taking us deep into the layered movement of this music.

    Closing with Watermelon Man, Hancock showcased the number in an extended rendition, funking out on keytar and grooving with the band. In an interplay of Hancock’s improvisational keytar riff, Loueke’s rolling guitar ignited drums and Martins straight up jazz saxophone phrases merged together in an intoxicating crescendo of groovedom.

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  • The Creation of Man and La Muerte

    • 09/15/2017
    • Melina Paris
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    La Muerta

    Almanza’s body of work examines social and political issues such as Chicano identity, the criminalization of immigrants, urban life both present and future, and visualizes how they are weaved into the fabric of mainstream 21st century American society.

    The calculated objective of Almanza’s work is to revise what mainstream 21st century American society looks like with the inclusion of both immigrant and minority populations. Almanza’s work continues to establish both the existence and relevancy of classically trained narrative painters who identify as Chicano, Mexican, or Latino American to the national artistic dialogue. His work draws inspiration from traditional history and easel painting and artists such as Michelangelo Caravaggio, Jacques Louis David, Gustave Courbet, José Guadalupe Posada, David Alfaro Siqueros, Diego Rivera, John Valadez and Vincent Valdez.

    The Creation of Man

    Almanza earned a bachelor’s degree  in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, a Secondary Teaching Credential from California State Dominguez Hills and an MFA in Figurative Painting from Laguna College of Art and Design. He keeps an artist’s studio in Long Beach and teaches fine art at H Arts Academy of Los Angeles, a College Preparatory High School specializing in the Visual and Performing Arts in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

    The electrical box that Almanza painted is at 1990 Long Beach Blvd., in Long Beach.

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  • There Will Be Art

    • 09/15/2017
    • Andrea Serna
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    Pacific Standard Time Comes to the Gate

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles/Latin America is the second coming of the 2011 event that essentially changed the perception of Southern California art. By organizing a collaboration among all manner of arts and culture institution in the region, by activating it with millions of sponsorship dollars from Getty and Bank of America, Pacific Standard Time was able to show that Southern California’s eclectically and geographically far-flung expressions of art are parts that really do add up to a connected whole.

    After opting out six years ago, Angels Gate Cultural Center is offering an expansive menu of exhibitions, performances and classes. Foremost among them is  Coastal/Border, an exhibit that could not be more relevant. The exhibit is inspired by the landscape and history of the area surrounding Angels Gate Cultural Center. Six Southern California-based artists will explore how the coast is fortified as a border, and how in turn that impacts the Latino/a communities of Los Angeles and beyond.The exhibition will be open to the public Sept. 16 and runs through Dec.17.

    Much of the Coastal/Border exhibit takes place on and around Angels Gate, perched on the breathtaking bluffs overlooking Point Fermin and the Pacific Ocean. The location emphasizes connections from the port to Latin America, as well as other areas of the world.

    “The border is not necessarily the wall,” explained curator Martabel Wasserman. “We are at this place where a lot of goods come in from all over the world … we are on this point that has been fortified as a coastal defense and has been made a border in all these ways. In addition, this tiny little part of Los Angeles has a really big impact on the world economy.”

    “You can just look outside and see ocean and land, which is its own border,” remarked Amy Eriksen, director of Angels Gate.

    Six other artists contribute to the broader event, which will run for two months. Included will be choreographer Mecca Vazie Andrews. Andrews will offer a movement-based social practice project called Fringes. She will also host a free movement workshop at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 29 and open studio drop-ins on Sept. 24, the opening weekend.

    Video artist Paul Pescador has produced Greetings Friends, titled after an animated Disney film, Saludos Amigos. In 1940, the United States government created the Office of Inter-American Affairs out of concern for potential Nazi infiltration in Latin America. They hired Walt Disney to produce animated cartoons. Some of us may remember watching these on afternoon TV during the 50s. In these films the artist attempts to understand how Disney iconography is still being culturally appropriated. Pescador will present his film followed by a Q-and-A at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 in Angels Gate’s Main Gallery II.

    Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles/Latin America is huge, even for the most dedicated art enthusiasts. Seventy locations over hundreds of miles make it necessary to choose exhibits that feature artists and subjects that appeal to you. Fortunately, six separate South Bay and Long Beach art exhibitions will be connected via free shuttle bus service through the weekend of Sept. 23 and 24. The offering makes it easy for the public to arrange and enjoy an art-filled day at no cost. That’s the impetus behind the art weekend set up by the South Bay/Long Beach Hub, a collective of local arts institutions produced in partnership with Getty-led Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

    Three separate shuttle loops will connect six cultural centers during the Sept. 23 art weekend.  Angels Gate Cultural Center connects two hubs Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro and  the Museum of Latin American Art and to the University Art Museum in Long Beach. A second shuttle serves the Torrance Art Museum and ESMoA (formerly known as the El Segundo Museum of Art)  in El Segundo. The third shuttle can be taken from ESMoA to Otis College of Art and Design. Riders can change shuttles in order to visit more locations. All the museums have exhibitions dedicated to PST: LA/LA. For more information on the shuttle tour contact each museum individually, call (310) 878-4812, or email: aschnoor@andreaschnoor.com.

    PST: LA/LA officially runs from September 2017 until January 2018. There is so much outstanding and important art to see, and most people will only see a fraction.

    Details: pacificstandardtime.org, angelsgateart.org

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  • Los Rostros de DACA:

    • 09/15/2017
    • Zamná Ávila
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Dreamers Face the Death of DACA

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Diana Hernandez was only 2 years old when her mother brought her to America.

    Her single mother was encouraged by her two other siblings to come to the land of opportunities and provide a better life for her children.

    “I don’t remember anything from when I was 2 years old,” Hernandez, 19, remarks. “I knew we were very poor, but I didn’t know I was undocumented.”

    Hernandez always wanted to be a doctor, but her dreams were stymied when conversations about college began to surface.

    “[My mother said,] ‘I am here to help you and support you, but first, I don’t know if we can afford it and second of all we don’t have papers, no tenemos papeles,’” Hernandez, who grew up in San Pedro, said. “I was bummed out many times. ‘What if all my hard work doesn’t pay off?”

    She knew college was a necessity to become a doctor and, while she questioned her future, she didn’t give up school.

    “Like my mother said, ‘Hasta donde se pueda, (Up to where it is possible)’” she recalled.

    But everything changed for her after President Barack Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, in June of 2012. The policy was established to protect people who were minors when their parents brought them to the United States, known as Dreamers. They were allowed to go to school and work without being deported by receiving a renewable two-year deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

    Hernandez filed the paperwork, paid the fees and was set up with DACA by the summer of 2015.

    “This is one step closer to reach your goal,” she remembered reflecting. “It started coming together and I actually had a possibility in my life.”

    Friends from Boys & Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor’s College Bound program joined Diana Hernandez’s joyous graduation celebration on June of 2016 from San Pedro High School. Today, Hernandez faces an uncertain future after the Sept. 5 announcement from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy might come to an end within six months. Photo courtesy of Diana Hernandez.

    Through the Boys & Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor’s College Bound program she was able explore her option and get several private scholarships and loans (undocumented students are not eligible to receive federal grants or loans) to attend the University of California San Diego.

    “I do not have a full ride to UCSD,” she said. “All the money is from organizations and universities that give out loans.”

    There, she has decided to combine her love for math with that of medicine. She is majoring in bioengineering. Her aspiration is to become a biomedical engineer.

    “I want to be able to help people … by making medical devices to expand their life spectrum,” she said.

    But her dreams are now in limbo. On Sept. 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Donald Trump administration was going to rescind DACA within six months.

    “I was really crushed because [we were given] a span of six months where we are floating and at the same time drowning,” Hernandez said.

    Alejandro Campos said the announcement from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy within six months is not deterring him from achieving his goals in America. Photo courtesy of Alejandro Campos.

    Alejandro Campos has a similar story. He was a teenager when something made him divert attention from his educational and career goals.

    “I didn’t realize I was undocumented until I was in high school, when I tried to get into the Army,” Campos, 33, said.

    He was only 8 years old when his mother brought him to the United States from Mexico to escape domestic violence. They had family here who were already citizens. So, Alejandro and his mother joined them and overstayed their visa.

    Unable to pay for higher education, Campos spent most of those years working construction and odd jobs to help his mother. This changed four years ago, after saving some money to pay for his education and Obama signed DACA.

    Hugo Villanueva is questioning his future after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration would end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy within six months. Photo courtesy of Hugo Villanueva

    Thirty-five-year-old Hugo Villanueva was 12 years old when he came to the United States, also escaping violence. His father was the mayor of a small town in Mexico, who would use government money to help the poor. This displeased rich landowners, who persecuted the family. In 1985, the father was murdered.

    Villanueva had an older brother living in the United States. In 1994, his brother asked his mother to come to this side of the border where they would be safe.

    “We flew to [Tijuana] and spent a week without eating and sleeping on the streets,” he said. “A lady took us into her home let us bathe and fed us.”

    In August of 1994, after several attempts, the two crossed the border.

    Most people do not realize the high costs and complicated process of the immigration procedure. Asylum, for example, is rarely granted to Mexican citizens.

    His brother was able to sponsor their mother and she now is a citizen. However, Villanueva’s sponsorship is taking longer because siblings rank lower on the levels of sponsorship. If he were to attempt to get sponsored by their mother, the process would start again and might take another 15 to 20 years.

    Villanueva, a Harbor City resident, said he has been in the process since 2001. While he has some community college credits, he now has to work as a busboy to help support his ailing 78-year-old mother. He questions whether he should resume his education or save his resources in case he is deported back to Mexico.

    “It’s going to bring all of us back into the shadows,” he said. “It ties a knot around your feet and hands.”

    A World Without DACA

    Upon his announcement to rescind the policy, Sessions argued that Dreamers were taking the jobs of native-born Americans, denying “jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take their jobs.”

    The Trump administration went as far as using claims to pit Americans of African descent against undocumented immigrants.

    “It’s a known fact that there are over 4 million unemployed Americans in the same age group as those that are DACA recipients; that over 950,000 of those are African Americans in the same age group; over 870,000 unemployed Hispanics in the same age group,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, hours after the announcement.

    About 800,000 Dreamers who came into the United States without documents, when they were minors, will be eligible for deportation. In California, more than 200,000 youths will be impacted.  Every year, about 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, according to a 2015 study published by the Indiana International & Comparative Law Review called, Access to Higher Education for Undocumented and “Dacamented” Students: The Current State of Affairs.

    But Vincent Burr, president of the Carson-Torrance Branch of the NAACP, dispelled those claims, stating that the current administration has been attempting to pit communities of color against each other sinceTrump took office.

    “We are not being displaced by the DACA recipients,” Burr said. “We are being displaced by the outsourcing of work…. He’s created nothing but diversion.”

    Burr noted how most of the work Trump has in his private businesses is outsourced to other countries.

    “And yet, he still says, ‘Make America great,’” Burr said. “It’s left up to people in the community not to be distracted by the propaganda. When he attacked people, people of color he attacked all of us. We have to keep the eye on the prize: To bring unity.”

    Hernandez agreed, noting that immigration is an issue that doesn’t only impact Latino  immigrants. Dreamers are comprised of people from not only Latin-American nations but nations across the world, she said.

    “People of color should be united,” she said. “I remember having a teacher say, ‘They are still hiring people at my job, so I don’t think I’m taking anybody’s job.’”

    Trump urged Congress to replace DACA within six months, when the current administration plans to phase out the program.

    The Department of Homeland Security adjudicated  requests for DACA accepted by Sept. 5; it will no longer accept advance parole requests associated with DACA. It will only adjudicate DACA renewal requests received by Oct. 5 from beneficiaries whose benefits expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018.

    Following the announcement, protests broke out throughout the nation, including a rally Sept. 6, at Harvey Milk Park in Long Beach.

    Undocumented and Unafraid

    A diverse group of about 200 people showed up at the Long Beach park that evening.

    “They are using these tactics to keep us afraid,” said Elizabeth Garcia, a member for the Democratic Socialists of America Long Beach, who spoke at the rally.

    Beyond the economic statistics and political arguments there is one reason, and one reason alone that should be considered, she said.

    “There is value that is inherent,” she said. “We protect people because they’re human beings.”

    Rev. Nancy Frausto encouraged Dreamers, Sept. 6, during a rally in response to from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals within six months. The rally took place at Harvey Milk Park in Long Beach, . Photo by Raphael Richardson

    Rev. Nancy Frausto, an associate rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach called the audience to action.

    “I am a DACA recipient,” Frausto said. “We Dreamers are powerful. We are going to unite with each other. We are not going to allow ourselves to be stepped on.”

    She also spoke of the fear that has resulted from rescinding of the policy.

    “Dreamers, I know what you are feeling,” she said. “I know that it’s a scary time, but don’t give up. We are strong; we are resilient; and we are Americans.”

    Michelle Conley of Indivisible Long Beach shared the sentiment.

    “These Dreamers are American in every single way, but one: in paper,” Conley said.

    Ester Del Valle, the mother of a DACA recipient, took a brave step on the stage as she spoke of the pride she has for her daughter, who graduated from college. She said she does not regret coming to this country or to the City of Long Beach without documents.

    “It’s difficult to share something that in these moments we [are living], as a mother, as a neighbor,” she said in Spanish. “It’s not easy to share the story, but I have to because there are other parents who are afraid…. What I ask is that the representatives fight for us…. It is urgent that the City of Long Beach becomes a sanctuary city.”

    A Place to Feel Safe

    The rally was not just intended to discuss the recent DACA policy decision by the administration, but also to call for the Mayor of Long Beach, Robert Garcia, a Peruvian immigrant, and his city council to call help pass a sanctuary city ordinance. The ordinance would help protect undocumented immigrant by preventing city agencies, such as the police department, schools and churches, to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport undocumented students and workers.

    Supporters of immigrant rights say the mayor has remained silent on the local law proposal.

    “We want the city to stand with immigrants and our way of life,” said Alicia Morales, program manager for the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition. “It is also an opportunity to engage our city leaders.”

    Morales is an undocumented immigrant and a DACA recipient.

    “Yesterday (Sept. 5) was a blow to our humanity,” Morales said. “To watch what Jeff Sessions rescinded was unreal…. Were we expected to resume a life of second-class status? DACA was not given to the undocumented community. We fought for it…. We cannot let white supremacy dominate our society.”

    While she is determined Morales also is scared, she said.

    “I began to reflect on [Jeff Session’s] statement and I realized that they are serious,” she said. “The weight of that deadline is daunting.”

    She said she understands the reaction toward undocumented immigrants as breaking the law, but she also calls on Americans to reflect on the reasons immigrants come to this country.

    “People need to question the root causes of immigration and realize that the U.S. is complicit in the migration of all these immigrants,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a free pass to give the people who have … contributed to society.”

    Efforts were made to contact Garcia, but his office has not responded as of press time.

    Understanding DACA

    In 2007, the DREAM Act bill, which would have provided a pathway for permanent residency for unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as minors, failed to get bipartisan support in the Senate. It was considered again in 2010; the bill passed the House of Representatives but did not get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican Senate filibuster. The failure of the DREAM Act to pass in Congress was the driver for Obama to sign DACA. The policy allowed certain immigrants to escape deportation and obtain work permits for a period of two years, renewable upon good behavior. To apply, immigrants had to be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, must have come to the United States, when they were younger than 16, and must have lived in the country since 2007. In August 2012, the Pew Research Center estimated that up to 1.7 million people might be eligible.

    Republican Party leaders denounced the DACA program as an abuse of executive power.

    The Mechanism

    Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund President and general counsel Thomas A. Saenz explained how rescinding DACA could have a negative impact in a Huffington Post column published Sept. 1, Another Reason Trump Should Ignore Texas’ DACA Deadline.

    Texas issued a threat at the end of June coercing Trump to rescind DACA by Sept. 5, which, as he promised during his campaign, he did.

    Saenz said racial animus can jeopardize an exercise of government discretion.

    “The Supreme Court held over 40 years ago that unconstitutional, discriminatory intent may be proven through indirect, circumstantial evidence,” Saenz wrote. “In this regard, Trump already starts at something of a disadvantage…. Trump continues to receive advice from folks — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and anti-immigrant Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — whose histories and ongoing comments strongly suggest bias and prejudice. “Unfortunately, some of these same people are the ones who are presumably providing ‘legal’ advice on DACA.”

    DACA: Only a Temporary Solution

    While fighting for the stability of DACA recipients is important, it is also important to understand that DACA was an executive order, which was not passed by Congress. That’s important because it is only a band aid to larger issue, said journalist Eileen Traux, author of Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for the American Dream.

    Obama signed the executive order in hopes that Congress would pass an immigration reform law while the Dreamers found some relief, but that did not happen.

    “DACA doesn’t resolve their immigration status and, as we are seeing, leaves [Dreamers] vulnerable,” Traux said. “It seems like a game in which the immigrants always lose.”

    Passing a DREAM Act should be the ultimate goal, she said.

    “In addition to focusing on defending DACA, we need to go the extra mile and find the permanent solution through legislation, realizing the status through the law.”

    Nevertheless, the news that 45 was rescinding DACA struck fear in the hearts of Dreamers. But many are vowing to put themselves out there and fight for immigration reform.

    La lucha sigue y no nos daremos por vencidos (the struggle continues and we won’t give up,” Campos said.

    With all the partisan games being played in Washington, D.C., Dreamers may have to continue their struggle, as Hernandez’s mother once said, “Hasta donde se pueda.”

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  • Ports’ CAAP Falls Far Short

    • 09/14/2017
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Port Truckers, Residents Speak Out at Banning’s Landing Meeting

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    On Aug. 30, representatives from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach took public comments on their draft Clean Air Action Plan at Banning’s Landing. Unlike past versions, there was no broad mechanism for incorporating public stakeholder viewpoints into the plan. Dozens of local residents stepped forward to fill that gap. In the eyes of many, the CAAP’s first, and most obvious problem was simply how long it would take —18 years — to achieve its zero-emission goals.

    “I have watched my brother and sister struggle with asthma and suffer. Watching someone you love suffer, it’s heartbreaking,” Veronica Salas said. “Waiting 18 years is way too long. We need to do it now.”

    “The plan reads like a plan of deferred action, with goals set too far into the future — an approach which we know is not sustainable,” said Kathleen Woodfield, representing San Pedro Peninsula Homeowners Coalition.

    For decades, protecting the environment has been portrayed as an elitist concern, for those who can afford it. But local residents see environmental neglect as a daily peril.

    Sisters, Adriana and Angelica Vargas, spoke for many about how port pollution robs area youth of a normal childhood.

    “I play softball at my high school and we’re supposed to practice every single day. But most of the time we have to cancel practice, because of the air pollution,” Angelica Vargas said. “Diesel trucks are one of the largest contributors to our dangerous air quality.”

    “Clean air is a human right, and we are not being given that right,” Adriana Vargas added. “It needs to change now. We need zero emissions or near zero no later than 2023.”

    But the theft of childhood starts much earlier than that, emphasized Andrea Rodriguez, a Long Beach mother of two, as she described the life of her 3-year-old daughter, who has suffered from respiratory problems since the age of 6 months.

    “When she wants to go run in the park, or swim, or something, it’s terrifying for me to see her actually run out of breath, and it actually hurts me to tell her, ‘Oh no, hija, you can’t do that no more,’” Rodriguez said. “When I tell her, she actually starts crying. Because a toddler, all they want to do is just run around, go swimming, do different things that a child should be doing at that age.”

    “I don’t want her to be suffering,” Rodriquez concluded. “I know that we need that change now, instead of later, because I want her to be a child.”

    “I was raised in South LA, right next to the 110 Freeway, so I don’t even think I know what clean air is,” Louie Flores said. “Why do we have to wait so long? People’s lives are on the line.”

    “I’ve been a resident for 31 years. I raised my son here. He is away at college breathing clean air for the first time in his life,” Woodfield echoed.

    Truck drivers had similar tales about how their families have been affected as well  because of how — as illegally misclassified owner-operators — they’ve been forced to pay for the lion’s share of the cost for clean trucks that the industry likes to take credit for.

    “I had to work 20 hours a day, six days a week. I could only see my children on Sundays,” Renee Flores said.

    “I live in Palmdale, but I work here in Long Beach,” Hector Zelaya said. “I sleep in the truck. I see my family once a week, on the weekend.”

    “I had to work 12 to 14 hours a day,” said Manuel Rios. “I had to work those hours because I had to support my family and pay the truck expenses. And that affected my family, and that affected me. In 2013/2014, I had a heart attack and a brain stroke. And what happened, after five years of paying my truck, I lost it,” he said. “So my question is. ‘Why do the truck drivers have to pay for clean air?’”

    “We really need a change,” said Carlos Ordas of Wilmington. “Our lives are at risk — everybody that’s here, everybody that’s outside, my family, your family, the family of every driver that’s here….  We don’t need the change in 2023. It’s 2017 now,” he said. “What else are we going to see if we wait six years? We need the change as soon as possible.”

    Long Beach Alliance for Children and Asthma representative Sylvia Betancourt spoke at an Aug. 30 public comment about the Port of Los Angeles Clean Air Action Plan. Public meeting video screen capture

    Many of the dozens of community residents who spoke up referenced the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, which has been deeply involved in local air quality policy for more than a dozen years. Speaking for the alliance, Sylvia Betancourt first expressed support for the zero-emissions goal articulated by the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach, then said, “What we need is a plan for how to get there. We need to know what are some interim goals for zero-emission trucks, and also for cargo-handling equipment. We need to be sure that all public monies are spent toward zero emissions technologies and nothing less.”

    “If we’re looking at natural gas, that’s a detour, as far as we’re concerned,” Betancourt continued. “It’s a detour from what our goal is and will ultimately cost more money. [It] will also be a continued burden on our community…. It’s extremely important that we take into account and we prioritize health — health for our children, health for our families. We can have both a healthy community and good-paying jobs…. They’re not mutually exclusive…. We can have both.”

    The CAAP’s shortcomings had one simple explanation, according to Jesse Marquez, founder and executive director of Coalition for a Safe Environment.

    “The reason it’s not as strong in the new update is because both Port of LA and Port of Long Beach eliminated the advisory task force committee,” Marquez said. “Our organization was part of that. LBACA was part of that. East Yard Communities [for Environmental Justice] was part of that. The USC Keck School of Medicine — Andrea Hricko and Dr. Ed Avol — were part of it. So there was no real outside public participation in this go-around.”

    Several such groups are now members of a coalition, GASP, or Green and Sustainable Ports, including San Pedro coalition, the alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council, all of which were represented in the meeting.

    Speaking for NRDC, senior attorney Melissa Lin Perrella made three main points. First, “The CAAP needs to create zero emission percentage targets for 2020, 2025, and 2030, and these targets must be laid out in the plan,” Perella said. “If we are serious about attaining ZE goals, we can’t be ambiguous about the path to getting there.”

    “Second — contrary to statements in the draft plan — we do not believe that SB1 precludes the ports from banning older trucks,” Perrella stated. The move would “potentially tie its hands and the hands of future boards from implementing what has been the most effective strategy the port has adopted for reducing emissions from trucks,” she warned. “I would request that you reconsider your legal analysis and keep all strategies on the table, including truck bans, fees, and incentives, in the final CAAP.”

    Finally, Perrella cited the ports’ recognition, in the original CAAP, “that it is in their business interest to attract trucking companies that can meet environmental, safety, security and labor standards,” an aspiration that’s only been partially realized thus far.

    “In that vein,” Perrella said, “We ask that the CAAP explicitly commit to developing a clean trucks program that is sustainable for both workers and the community.”

    Peter Warren, speaking for the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, but also for the coalition, as a member of GASP, specifically endorsed Perrella and Betancourt’s comments, adding some more of his own.

    “The senate bill prohibition on ports regulating trucks is fake news. It’s not what’s in SB1,” Warren said. “CARB has said so.

    “The ports’ pollution baselines in the CAAP are outdated and distort the truth. Both ports track container traffic on a year-to-year basis, rather than compared to an arbitrary past year. The CAAP requires the same approach, he argued. “The ports must stop relying on data points that compare current reductions in air pollution factors to a baseline in 2005…. You’ve got the easy fruit from 2005 and 2011, and did a really good job, but basically since then it’s been standstill and since then some air quality measures have worsened.”

    “Funding is required,” he added. “We need real sources of funding identified in the CAAP, not amorphous ideas for where money will come from.”

    And finally, Warren cited the need to assess health risks. “To improve public health and reduce industry practice of placing extraordinary externalized costs on the community, the CAAP must include a health risk assessment tied to the CAAP measures. This assessment would include the present and analyze the cost of legacy and continued pollution on the community as well as the health benefits of required emission reducing technology.”

    Air Quality Management District Board member Joe Lyou expressed some similar concerns. “I’d like to express my appreciation for all you’ve done,” he said, “but it’s not enough. The way I look at this you happen to be the largest source of air pollution in the most polluted air basin in the country, so we have to do more, and we have to do more sooner.” He specifically cited the need to “protect the truck drivers,” and to correct their misinterpretation of SB1. “If you can use incentives in 2023, you can use incentives now, so move ahead with the incentive program now, rather than later.”

    Adding more detail about what could be done immediately, Marquez summarized what his organization had researched about existing technology. They have identified six zero-emission trucks and four zero-emission tractors currently available, as well as 14 near-zero-emission natural gas trucks and 11 near-zero-emission tractors.

    “So don’t say they’re not available. Because they are available,” Marquez said. “You can place an order today.” They might not all be capable of doing everything a diesel truck can — going over the grapevine and back — “but the ICTF terminal is local. All the container storage yards are local,” he said. So they could be put to work today, as part of a well-crafted plan.

    “Electric zero emission trucks are more cost-effective,” he pointed out. “You pay $3 for diesel fuel now, it costs 35 cents [for] electricity. Since you don’t have a motor with pistons, the maintenance costs are significant.”

    The cost of electric trucks is likely to be a considerable portion of the plan’s total costs. The plan has a total cost estimate of $7.3 to $13.9 billion, of which $2.9 to $8.3 billion are for zero-emission trucks and just over $1 billion for near-zero trucks. In addition to the local residents, there were also industry representatives on hand, many pushing for near-zero technologies, arguing that they could help clean the air faster. But that would mean replacing the current truck fleet twice — and given the ports’ failure to act so far, it would mean forcing truck drivers to pay the lion’s share. This underscores the importance of putting all options on the table, rather than allowing certain powerful actors to continue exercising de facto veto power, and preventing some options from even being considered, as well as preventing certain kinds of evaluations from being made.

    The high cost of the plan was raised by several industry representatives, most notably Thomas Yellenich of PMSA, who repeatedly argued “technology that does not exist,” and criticized the supposed high costs of implementing it.

    “The health costs of inaction are greater,” Perrella told Random Lengths afterwards. “A strong CAAP will result in enormous savings by reducing health impacts, avoiding healthcare costs for residents and lost school and work days, and job creation benefits as zero-emission technologies are developed.”

    Community involvement has always been necessary to protect public health and the environment. In 2001, Mayor James Hahn first announced his policy of “no net increase” in port pollution in response to activists who secured pledges from multiple mayoral candidates.

    POLA’s initial report that it would meet the goal without any new initiatives was intensely criticized by community members, and with leadership from the Port Community Advisory Committee, a formal planning process was eventually instituted with full community participation. NRDC attorneys Gale Ruderman Feuer and Julie Masters played a key role in that process, bringing well-established methods for counting externalized health and mortality costs into the analysis.

    Replacement of high-sulfur bunker fuel in ship engines was another idea that came from PCAC members but was initially rejected as not even worth considering. It is now an international standard. Thus, it seems both perverse and anachronistic that the public has played such a limited role in the latest iteration of the CAAP.

    It also seems perverse and anachronistic that port truckers are still being expected to carry the burden. “I was obligated to buy a truck in 2010, for the Clean Truck Program, I paid my truck last year, but I don’t want to pay for the same thing,” port trucker Guillerima Velasquez said. “I don’t want to be a slave, I’ve been slaving to pay money for a clean truck.”

    “We certainly support zero emission trucks,” Teamster representative Barbara Maynard said. “But I am here to say the ports of LA and Long Beach have become the embarrassment of this country. Why? Because of the way these drivers have been treated. It’s now a national story, and there’s no stopping it…. The exploitation of these drivers must stop,” she said. “We cannot let this Clean Air Action Plan go forward without some real meaningful solutions to the exploitation, the indentured servitude, the slavery that these drivers are suffering. So please, do something about it.”

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  • Trump’s Ending of DACA Could Mean 800,000 Deportations

    • 09/14/2017
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    While running for president, one of Donald Trump’s key campaign promises was to end DACA “immediately.” On Sept. 5, after almost nine full months, “immediately” finally happened — sort of. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement, which would be effective in six months. But the very next day, Trump reversed himself — or at least created mass confusion — by saying he might extend the effective date further, if Congress failed to act during those six months.

    DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a 2012 executive order by President Barrack Obama that protects some 800,000 undocumented immigrants, who were brought to America as children. They’ve become known as “Dreamers” — as in the American Dream — and DACA has become broadly popular, since the idea of punishing children for their parents’ actions doesn’t sit well with most Americans, even many with strong anti-immigrant hostility.

    That general sentiment — plus more than a decade of sustained grassroots activism — helps explain the overwhelming response against DACA repeal, both in public statements and mass demonstrations nationwide. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, Detroit, New York, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere.

    Religious, political and educational leaders spoke out as well. The unanimity of response marked a significant milestone. The history of immigration struggles has usually seen  a significant gap between what community-based organizations and activists want, and what politicians are willing to consider. Now, however, that gap seems to have almost vanished. In a perverse way, Trump has managed to bring people together, after all.

    “These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement. “It’s up to members of Congress to protect these young people and our future.”

    “President Trump’s action on DACA is cruel — it threatens to tear families apart, puts our economy at risk, and will do nothing to unify America or make us more secure,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “DACA recipients are all of us: teachers, students, business owners, young people thinking about starting families of their own in the only country they know: the United States. They belong here. And we’ll fight for them to stay.”

    “The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said. “The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me’ (Mark 9:37). Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond.”

    “The administration is at odds with what the majority of Latino evangelicals have endorsed for over a decade,” said Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. “Congress must pass legislation protecting DREAMERS immediately.”

    California’s higher education leadership sent a joint statement to Congress urging legislators “to immediately enact the bipartisan legislation that will protect our nation’s Dreamers.” Leaders of the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities joined with California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in calling for congressional action, and condemning Trump. “We are deeply disappointed by President Trump’s callous and misguided decision…. This is a step backward for our nation — a nation built by immigrants,” they wrote.

    On Sept. 8, UC went further, filing suit to challenge Trump’s repeal of DACA.

    UC President Janet Napolitano, was secretary of Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 and oversaw the creation of the DACA program in 2012.

    “Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led,” Napolitano said. “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community.”

    A growing number of states are filing suit as well.

    All this is taking place against a background in which public opinion is strongly on the Dreamers’ side.

    Just after the election this past November, a Global Strategies poll found that 58 percent of respondents favored keeping DACA, while just 28 percent favored repeal.  More recently, a Politico poll found 58 percent favored letting DACA recipients stay in America with a chance to eventually become citizens, while just 15 percent favored deportation. Trump’s base is at odds with the vast majority of Americans, but even they are split.

    Efforts to reform immigration have been bifurcated throughout the 21st century. On one hand, attempts at comprehensive immigration reform try to synthesize different issues and advocacy positions into one giant piece of legislation; on the other, smaller stand-alone efforts try to deal with specific pieces of the problem.

    The Dream Act — the legislative version similar to the DACA policies — was first introduced in 2001, with bipartisan authorship, and is the most significant and persistent example of those stand-alone efforts. But the fact that it could not be passed by Congress shows how difficult politics have become. In 2010, it was passed by the House of Representatives, but five Senate Democrats failed to support it in a cloture vote. So it died, despite having majority support in both houses of Congress.

    At the time, Obama was still trying to court Republican support, and had actually surpassed George W. Bush in the number of immigrants deported. Initially, activists had been reluctant to criticize him, but as the efforts to work with Republicans proved futile, activist criticism intensified. Some began referring to him as “deporter-in-chief” as early as 2011. The criticism intensified throughout the election cycle, and eventually Obama enacted DACA as an executive order in June 2012 to protect the subgroup of young immigrants, even as the level of deportations remained high in comparison to pre-2000 levels. As a result, many continued to call Obama “deporter-in-chief,” including Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who has used the term more in sorrow than in anger.

    If Democrats fumbled their effort to pass a special, targeted immigration bill, Republicans preceded them, fumbling a sweeping effort in 2005/6, when they had control of government.

    In December 2005, the House passed the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, commonly known as the Sensenbrenner Bill, for its sponsor, Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, by a vote of 239 to 182. It was supported by 92 percent of Republicans, opposed by 82 percent of Democrats. Sensenbrenner dealt with a wide range of specific issues but the most toxic made it a crime to assist an illegal immigrant to “remain in the United States.”

    House passage of the Sensenbrenner Bill touched off a wave of protests which thoroughly derailed it in the Senate and helped fuel the Democratic wave which retook the House for Democrats in November 2006. The first big demonstration in Chicago had more than 100,000 on March 10, but demonstrations erupted nationwide on May Day, with more than 500,000 people turning out in Los Angeles.

    At the time, labor journalist David Bacon, author of books The Children of NAFTA and Communities Without Borders, spoke with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about how U.S. immigration struggles fit into the global economic picture, and how working class communities were redefining the terms of struggle for themselves in sharp contrast to political leaders.

    “For the first time, I saw lots of people carrying signs that said ‘no guest worker programs,’ and this is, I think, different and something that went beyond what we’ve seen before,” Bacon said.

    “Because, really we’ve been told now by Congress for quite a while that the only alternative to the odious Sensenbrenner Bill — which would criminalize 12 million people — is to allow Congress, the Senate specifically, to pass enormous guest worker programs and, in fact, force people who are here without papers to become guest workers as the price of legalization. And there were many, many people, including speakers up on stage also condemning this idea.”

    This marked a clear break with Washington-centric politics.

    “Really, what’s going on here is that the trade agreements, like NAFTA, and this neoliberal free trade regime [are] displacing enormous numbers of people around the world so that, worldwide, there are about 170 million people living outside the countries in which they were born, and overwhelmingly this is due to the kind of enforced poverty that this free trade regime is producing,” Bacon said.

    That system came crashing down with the Wall Street collapse in 2008, but even then neo-liberal ideas continued to dominate almost all issues in Washington except — tellingly — this aspect of immigration. This shows immigration activism among the first to free its thinking from putting people into boxes as commodities, and recognizing them as full human beings first and foremost.

    The fact that all manner of elite leadership now — politicians, educators, even business leaders — have come around to defending Dreamers using similar language and expressing similar attitudes is a testament to the power and persistence of a movement for human dignity that’s made enormous progress over the past decade, since May Day 2006, and the defeat of the Sensenbrenner Bill. We’re still a long way from passing something truly humane in its place — not just a Dream Act, but a comprehensive bill providing for all. But the terms of debate have undeniably shifted, and whatever happens next, the long-term shift in thinking will only grow stronger over time.


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  • War of Words — from the Right

    • 09/14/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    Your Second Amendment Ends at My First Amendment Rights’ Nose

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    I have a long standing, if not ingrained interest in free speech. This fundamental right is essential to the very enterprise of running a newspaper. One might call it enlightened self-interest.

    Armed with the First Amendment, the Fourth Estate — as we the media are often referred — have a very long tradition of defending this right. It is foundational to what we believe our liberties are built upon.

    Today, the idea of free speech is being challenged in ways that most of us thought were settled back in the days of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s on UC Berkeley’s campus. Instead, this issue has resurfaced at Berkeley but not by leftists. It was started by far-right white nationalists.

    The far-right, who some call fascists and who are supported by the KKK and other white nationalist groups, have shown up to support speakers such as controversial right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart and right-wing columnist Ann Coulter — both of whom were invited to speak on campus by the Berkeley Republican Student organization.

    Some might consider this provocation, but in the follow-up clashes between the right and the left — with the left far outnumbering the right — the mainstream media has been drawn into a strange dilemma over free speech, one making the white nationalists the victims and protectors of free speech.

    What is unseen by many is the ramping up of hate-speech since No. 45 was elected president. It can be found on the neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, or in the mass emailed newsletter sent by Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of FedUp PAC and conservativeHQ.com.

    One Viguerie newsletter called for an investigation, “into the real circumstances causing the death of three people, including two state police officers killed in” Charlottesville, N.C.  on  Aug. 12. The article went to praise No. 45 for his response to Charlottesville, saying “President Trump was right that there was violence from both sides. However, Virginia Democrats in control of the investigation and the fake news media are already whitewashing the violence of left-wing extremists.”

    This of course does not admit to the provocation by organizers of the Charlottesville protest, including armed KKK members and other white supremacists who marched around a church carrying torches the night before the August confrontation. The right to free speech has certain restraints and responsibilities, like not yelling “fire” in a crowded theater or “there’s a bomb at LAX.” But is bringing a noted racist onto a famously liberal UC campus comparable to these actions? The far right argues it is not. Yet, it is certainly a provocation — a staged conflict organized with the understanding that there would be a response, maybe even provoking violence. This is not sophisticated strategy; it is just common sense.

    Imagine what would happen if a redneck entered a bar with a mostly African American clientele in South Central Los Angeles and started yelling “nigger” or a Trump supporter went to a Muslim mosque screaming some blasphemy about Allah and burning the Koran. It’s common sense that in these two scenarios, free speech wouldn’t fare well. The speaker may have the right to say it, but it would be highly ill-advised. Go ahead and do it if you must, but be prepared to either run like hell or take your lumps, for these fightin’ words have limited protection.

    This, in the end, is about the protection of civil discourse versus speech intended to bully, denigrate or intimidate. The American mainstream media is only attracted to reporting on the violent consequences without deconstructing the causes. What we are witnessing is just the tip of the hate speech fulcrum, propelled by social media and hidden in digital media and networks we don’t monitor. It is rising up and will consume this nation in a false narrative of protecting free speech via the white hood of racism at the expense of protecting the liberty of free speech.

    Have the anti-fascists or antifa, as they are called, gone too far in response to these provocations, or are they just being used to confuse the media and the public over free speech and protests? All I can say is that your free speech and second amendment rights stop at the tip of my nose. Every citizen has the right to self-defense.

    In America today, the far right — its promotion of fake news, its attacks on the “liberal media,” global warming and DACA immigrants — is weaponizing speech to create conflict. The aim of weaponizing speech in this way is to reframe both long-settled disputes and the current debate: free speech vs. hate speech.

    For example, the anti-government group in Oregon known as the Patriot Prayer group planned a rally in Portland this past month, but at the last minute moved it just across the river to Vancouver, Wash. The move didn’t prevent the far-right protesters and white nationalists from clashing with counter protesters. In a report on the incident demonstration, “One right-wing extremist drove his truck alongside counter protesters and began engaging them before putting his truck in reverse and driving straight toward the crowd.” This didn’t hit the national news because no one was killed.

    In the end, far-right ideologues like Viguerie spew weekly missives such as the following:

    Left-wing activists are vandalizing statues of American Founders such as Thomas Jefferson. Former Vice President Joe Biden writes, this is a “battle for the soul of this nation.” The left is using Charlottesville as an excuse for left-wing violence and to advance their political agenda. We need an independent investigation to prevent the [liberal] whitewash.

    His out-of-context quotation from Biden is amusing because Joe absolutely is right: this is a battle for the soul of our nation. The question is whether we will be misled by the very people we trust to protect free speech or by those who would use the First Amendment to denigrate the rights of us all.

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  • Andy & Renee

    • 09/14/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off


    Sept. 15
    Comedy in Old San Pedro
    Join in on this free comedy show. You won’t find a cheaper ticket.The Serial Killer Of Comedy, Mike Muratore, is the emcee for the night. Comedians include Cameron Moffid, Eric Rocha and Ron Bush. *Parental Discretion Is Advised ~ Adult Humor.
    Time: 7 pm. Sept. 15
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 831-2928
    Venue: Machine Art Studio, 446 W. 6th St. San Pedro

    Sept. 17
    Andy & Renee
    Award-winning Southbay rockers Andy & Renee return to the Grand Annex for a riveting tribute to The Band’s legendary Last Waltz concert.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17
    Cost: $25
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Sept. 21
    Metalachi, The Two Tens
    Punk band The Two Tens is opening for the World’s First and Only Heavy Metal Mariachi Band.
    Time: 8 p.m. Sept. 21
    Cost: $15 to $18
    Details: (562) 435-2000
    Venue: The Federal Underground, 102 Pine Ave., Long Beach

    Sept. 23
    The Arsenio Rodriquez Project
    The Arsenio Rodriguez Project is an all-star ensemble of top Los Angeles musicians dedicated to the music and memory of Arsenio Rodriguez, the father of Cuban Salsa.
    Time: 8 p.m. Sept. 23
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St.,San Pedro

    Sept. 24
    Soniquett Flamenco
    Experience an exciting afternoon of Flamenco dance and music. The show features Sarah Parra, Jose Cortez, Diego Alvarez Muñoz Jose Tanaka, Cuadro Flamenco dancers and Flamenco Guitar Dojo guitarists.
    Time: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 24
    Cost: $25 to $35
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/soniquett-flamenco
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Popfuji IV: An Independent LA Music Showcase
    Brouwerij West’s monthly summer concert series, Popfuji, continues with its fourth indie music summer concert. The September lineup features: Caught a Ghost:
    Time: 12 to 8 p.m. Sept. 24
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.brouwerijwest.com
    Venue: Brouwerij West, 110 E. 22nd St., San Pedro

    Sept. 29
    Sept. Swing Party at The Sky Room
    Long Beach’s dance-friendly, deco supper-club The Sky Room hosts their swing sextet.
    Time: 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sept. 29
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 983-2703
    Venue: The Sky Room, 40 S. Locust Ave., Long Beach

    Sept. 30
    Everyday Outlaw

    Down from the High Sierras, this Tahoe-based country band kicks up the best of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and George Jones with a traditional honky-tonk lineup of acoustic guitar, telecaster, pedal steel, bass and drums.
    Time: 8 p.m. Sept. 30
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    The Fred Schreuders Project
    Makule Productions is proud to announce the next monthly event offering the best in jazz, featuring the Fred Schreuders Project.
    Time: 8 p.m. Sept. 30
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 320-8802
    Venue: Ohana Club Room, 21718 S. Vermont Ave., Torrance

    Stones & Stewart
    Stones & Stewart takes the audience back to this magical time in the 70s and 80s. Jumping Jack Flash as the Stones and Gregory Wolfe as Sir Rodney deliver the one-two rock ’n’ roll knock-out punch.
    Time: 8 to 11 p.m. Sept. 30
    Cost: $17.50 to $22.50
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/stones-gaslamp
    Venue: Gaslamp Long Beach, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach


    Sept. 17
    Pipe Dream

    Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Staged Reading Series returns for its final season, with its premiere performance of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Pipe Dream. .  Using minimal sets and costumes, but featuring the full script and score, the Reiner Staged Reading Series is a perfect way to celebrate the whole spectrum of musical theatre, while discovering some new favorite songs and shows.
    Time:  7 p.m. Sept. 17
    Cost: $27
    Details: (562) 856-1999, ext. 4; www.musical.org
    Venue: Beverly O’Neill Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Sept. 22
    Boeing Boeing
    A zany French farce featuring the swinging bachelor Bernard and his three stewardesses – all engaged to him without knowing about each other.  Turbulence abounds when airline schedules change and they all end up at his Parisian flat at the same time.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, Sept. 22 through Oct. 21
    Cost: $23 to $45
    Details: https://shakespearebythesea.secure.force.com
    Venue: Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro

    Sept. 23
    Celebrate the Halloween season with the Long Beach Playhouse in the company of the most classic monster ever to roam through literature, film, and stage – Count Dracula! As Lucy Seward succumbs to a mysterious illness which is draining her life force, her father and his long-time associate, Dr. Van Helsing hunt the true cause of her malady – a vampire stalking London.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 23 through Oct. 21
    Cost: $20
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Sept. 30
    All in the Timing

    The Studio Theatre proudly presents All in the Timing by David Ives. This critically acclaimed, award-winning evening of comedic short plays combines wit, intellect, satire and just plain fun. Ives’ collection of six fast-paced glimpses into the eccentricities of life, love, communication and dating will shine a light at the absurdity of life.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through 30
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Bea

    Oct. 7
    Kill Climate Deniers

    The global premiere of playwright and activist David Finnigan’s hyper-real story for the stage told in the style of an action film that looks squarely into our battle against man-made extinction. What happens when the unstoppable force of climate change meets the immovable object of politics?
    Time: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays, through Oct. 7
    Cost: $15 to $25
    Details: www.thegaragetheatre.org
    Venue: The Garage Theatre, 251 E. 7th St., Long Beach


    Sept. 16
    glass / cedar / grass

    Palos Verdes Art Center is pleased to announce glass / cedar / grass,  featuring contemporary works by Haida artists Corey Stein, Lisa Telford and Corey Bulpitt. Trained in traditional native art making techniques, these artists are discovering new forms of expression to comment on contemporary life.
    Time: 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 541-2479, pvartcenter.org
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center/Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education, 5504 W. Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Sept. 22
    Building a New California
    Rancho Los Cerritos announces a new exhibit, Building a New California: The Lives and Labor of Chinese Immigrants from 1850 to 1930. This exhibit highlights the experiences and contributions of Chinese immigrants in the Los Angeles region through photographs and artifacts.
    Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 22
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.rancholoscerritos.org
    Venue: Rancho Los Cerritos, 4600 Virginia Road, Long Beach

    Oct. 5
    South Bay Contemporary Gallery in conjunction with Michael Stearns Studio 347 presents a co-
    located multimedia exhibition Diasporagasm. This exhibit is curated by artist, Beyoncenista, the alter ego of April Bey. This exhibit acts as a performance bringing together melanated artists working in Los Angeles, Haiti, Ghana, the Caribbean and West Africa.
    Drawing from the groundbreaking film Moonlight—a timeless story of human connection and
    self-discovery, the curator appropriates, amends and recontextualizes the juxtaposition of art,
    race and gender. The opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 5.
    Time: Oct. 5 through Nov. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 400-0544
    Venue: Gallery 347, 347 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Oct. 31
    17th Annual Frida Kahlo Artist Exhibit

    Enjoy another awe-inspiring exhibit featuring several artists at Picture This Gallery. The opening reception night, from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 16, will include live musical performances featuring CASI SON and Omar Perez, as well as Frida look-alike contest.
    Time: 12 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 31
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 233-3726
    Venue: Picture This Gallery, 4130 Norse Way, Long Beach

    Nov. 25
    TransVagrant Projects and Gallery 478 are pleased to present blink•point, recent work by Ellwood T. Risk.
    Risk is a self-taught artist who has been living and working in Los Angeles since 1992. An artist’s reception is scheduled 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9. Risk appropriates, alters, re-contextualizes, shoots (here and there), and re-presents the ordinary in unanticipated iterations. An artist’s reception is scheduled 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Nov. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 600-4873, (310) 732-2150
    Venue: TransVagrant Projects and Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro


    Sept. 15
    Sabor Latino
    Celebrate heritage at the City of Carson’s Sabor Latino. Expect music, entertainment, food and rides.
    Time: 3 to 10 p.m. Sept. 15 and 16, and 3 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 835-0212 ext. 1467
    Venue: Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson St. Carson

    Concert for Peace
    The Long Beach Vets for Peace along with Per Se The Band presents a Concert for Peace. This event will be about recognition, awareness and promotion of organizations that support the Disabled Performing Arts, Youth Programs, Youth Sports, and Veterans issues through music, poetry, dance and guest speakers.
    Time: 1 to 8 p.m. Sept. 15
    Cost: Free
    Venue: Long Beach Recreation Park, 4900 E. 7th St., Long Beach

    Oktoberfest at the Social List
    The Social List kicks off their 2nd annual Oktoberfest Beer Club kicks off on Sept. 15. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of an underground TSL network.
    Time: Sept. 15 through Oct. 31
    Cost: $15
    Details: (562) 433-5478
    Venue: The Social List, 2105 E 4th St, Long Beach

    Two Trains Runnin’

    See this documentary about the search for two forgotten blues singers, Son House and Skip James, set in Mississippi during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. The film revisits an important moment when America’s cultural and political institutions were dramatically transformed — all the more relevant today, in an era of renewed attention to race relations, police brutality and voting rights.
    Time: Sept. 15 through 21
    Cost: $15
    Details: (562) 438-5435; arttheatrelongbeach.com
    Venue: Art Theatre Long Beach, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach

    Sept. 16
    Fiesta in the Park
    This end of summer event will feature free music, entertainment for kids, a bar garden and food trucks.
    Time: 12 p.m. Sept. 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 570-7777
    Venue: Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach

    Long Beach Folk Revival Festival
    Get ready for a real good time with The Hollow Trees on the family stage at the Folk Revival Festival 2017. The Folk Revival Festival is a full day of music, activities, food and shopping.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 16
    Cost: $40
    Details: folkrevivalfestival.com/tickets
    Venue: Rainbow Lagoon Park, 400 Shoreline Drive, Long Beach

    The Longest Swim
    Visit AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles to tour its  historic warehouses on City Dock 1 and meet AltaSea’s partner, Ben Lecomte, who plans to be the first person ever to swim across the Pacific Ocean.
    Learn about the ocean research that AltaSea is doing to solve the world’s most pressing problems, including climate change, energy supply, and food security — and the ocean research projects that Lecomte’s team will be conducting during his epic 6-month swimming voyage across the Pacific.
    Time: 10 a.m. Sept. 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: RSVP@altasea.org
    Venue: AltaSea, 58 Berth, San Pedro

    Sept. 17
    Salt Marsh Open House
    Step out into nature and discover the hidden world of the Salinas de San Pedro Salt Marsh. Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium educators and Coastal Park naturalists as they help uncover the world of mud and water that is our local wetland.
    Time: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Sept. 24
    Caribbean Festival
    Experience a day in the sun Caribbean-style. Bring your friends and family to explore Caribbean cuisine, music, and culture. Enjoy live performances, art workshops, face painting and local food and craft vendors that represent the diversity and vibrant cultures of the Caribbean.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    Sept. 28
    Dark Harbor on The Queen Mary

    The normally placid Long Beach Harbor transforms into a seaport of pure Halloween horror as the Captain and the other Dark Harbor Sinister Eight Spirits return to prey on any mortals who dare to enter their realm after dark. You’ll make your way through spine-tingling mazes on and around the haunted Queen Mary, including for the first time a fourth maze aboard the ship.
    Time: Sept. 28 through Oct. 9
    Cost: $12
    Details: http://tidd.ly/aa6af0ea
    Venue: Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Way, Long Beach

    Light The Night
    Help celebrate the new colorful Ferris wheel at The Pike Outlets at the Light the Night event. The iconic Ferris wheel at The Pike Outlets got a colorful makeover.
    Time: 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 28
    Cost: Free
    Venue: The Pike Outlets, 95 S Pine Ave., Long Beach

    Southern California Boat Show
    Premiering this Fall, the Southern California In-Water Boat Show is making a big splash at Cabrillo Way Marina in the heart of Los Angeles Harbor. Come aboard and compare a large selection of new boats, as well as some of the finest brokerage vessels on the Pacific Coast.
    Time: 12 to 7 p.m. Sept. 28
    Cost: $15
    Details: www.socalboatshow.com
    Venue: Cabrillo Way Marina, 2500 Miner St., San Pedro

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