Not My Belt Buckle: Supervisor Hahn Responds

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I write in response to a June 22nd  Letter to the Editor [RLn vol. Xxxviii No.13] regarding the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s decision to spend a reported $300,000 on new belt buckles for deputies’ uniforms.

I have to agree that this did not strike me as a good use of taxpayer money. However, while the Board of Supervisors oversees the Sheriff’s Department’s $3 billion budget — the sheriff has discretion when it comes to spending their general funds on things like uniforms. The author claimed that my office did not respond to her dozen phone calls complaining about the issue. While I will admit that it took some time to find the answers she wanted, my office did respond to her inquiries.

I take issue with the author’s characterization that the County of LA spends taxpayer money “willy-nilly.”  I take the responsibility of spending tax money very seriously. The Board of Supervisors follows a rigorous budget process, complete with a hearing open to the public and opportunities for residents to comment.  In fact, we just passed a Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget that is balanced,  is responsible and directs tax money to the most basic and vital government responsibilities — things like public infrastructure improvement, the homelessness crisis, healthcare for low income residents and services for foster children.

I agree with the author that funding new uniforms for the Dana Middle School marching band is a worthy cause, although the money the Sheriff’s Department used for those belt buckles could not have been used for this purpose, as the author seemed to imply.   However, as far as I know, my office did not receive a formal request for funding from the school.  I encourage local organizations to come to my office with funding proposals. I have a great team that vets all proposals and identifies organizations and programs that we can help.

Janice Hahn
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member

To Richard Foss

I have really been enjoying Richard Foss’ reviews and articles.  He seems to really appreciate good food, and reading one of his reviews is like being there with him.  His commentary on dining etiquette and dining in general really make you think.

John Mattson
San Pedro

Thanks for SCAQMD Protest Article

Thanks James and Terelle  for your efforts. I think all local “elected” officials should be investigated by FPPC commission for public disclosure of possible campaign finance violations/not properly disclosing campaign donations, too — i.e., Los Angeles City Councilman Joe B., Carson Mayor Albert Robles, Assemblyman Mike Gipson & others. Follow the trail, follow the money, and see who is in whose pocket?

Ricardo Pulido
Carson, former Carson Commissioner

A Note About Impeachment

Let’s talk about impeachment.

There’s more than enough evidence to begin an impeachment inquiry to remove Donald Trump from office.

The three previous impeachment inquiries in the House (involving presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton) rested on less evidence than is already publicly known about Trump — and on issues far less serious than the Trump team’s possible collusion with a foreign adversary to win the election and Trump’s subsequent attempted cover-up.

But impeachment is a political process. Republicans will support impeachment only if they think that they’ll lose their jobs by enabling Trump’s transgressions. And even if it does take Democrats until the 2018 elections to take back control of the House and pass an impeachment resolution, we have to start pushing now and be ready to go the moment we take back power.

That’s why I was thrilled that last week MoveOn joined the call for Trump to be impeached. We need MoveOn to help build and sustain a massive amount of pressure on vulnerable Republicans to impeach Trump. It’s not going to be easy, but the very future of our democracy hangs in the balance.

I hear some progressives say, “But Mike Pence is just as bad as Trump.”

Yes, Pence is ultra-far right. As a progressive, I disagree with him on absolutely everything. But we know what to expect from Pence, and we can fight him on the issues. He’s not the irresponsible and unpredictable man who currently sits in the Oval Office. (And, anyway, getting to the bottom of Trump’s web of lies and cover-ups could very well take down multiple people in the White House, including Pence, or in the case of a Trump impeachment or resignation, leave a greatly diminished, compromised, lame-duck Pence in his stead.)

And some Democrats in Congress say that we have to wait to pursue impeachment until Democrats take back the House in 2018.

Rubbish. It’s absolutely the reverse.

The path to winning in 2018 (and thereafter) begins with Democrats in Congress showing the American people that they have the courage and backbone necessary to take back our nation. It means calling for the impeachment of Trump and holding politically accountable every single person in his administration and in the House and Senate who have enabled his disgrace of a presidency.

And it’s not clear if America can wait for the midterm elections, followed by what’s likely to be a long and drawn-out impeachment investigation, followed by a trial in the Senate. Just look at the damage Trump has done in just 151 days as president. We need to act now.

Plus, I’m in the camp that the “right” time to impeach isn’t about when it’s feasible in Congress — but about when the person in the Oval Office has committed high crimes and misdemeanors and recklessly and repeatedly violated the Constitution.

And here are the added benefits of starting right now: If MoveOn campaigns now for impeachment, there’s a real chance we can derail Trump’s disastrous agenda by eroding GOP congressional (and public) support.

It’s go time on impeachment.

MoveOn staff just briefed me on their plans for their impeachment campaign, and I’m impressed. Their plans include the following:

  • Exposing and shining a spotlight on the hypocrisy of Republicans who cover up for Trump and his team — with a particular focus on the 23 Republicans in districts that voted for Hillary Clinton last year. These lawmakers are vulnerable when they run again next year, so much so that Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida took care to point out to the media that he was “the first Republican to mention impeachment.”
  • Continuing to drive down Trump’s popularity. Already, Trump’s unpopularity is at a record high, not far from where Nixon’s was at the time of his own resignation. The fact is that when Trump is an albatross around the neck of Republican politicians, they will turn on him, making impeachment a political reality as well as a Constitutional necessity.
  • Urging Democrats to demand the truth — matching the passion I’m seeing in the grassroots base.

 Robert Reich
Berkeley
 

My Ocean

I live at the land’s end
I see the horizon, I see the sun
drop into the orange water
I live at the ocean with its morning
coldness and fog
I am awakened by the sound of ships’ horns
which signal new persons in town!

At my ocean the sun shines through
the fog to create light,
I become optimistic
Iia day I will
remember all my life,
a day that
there will always be enough time

The ocean is me, it is my soulmate
I am salty air, the greenish algae
I am the sand and the breakwater
I am the ocean’s mystery, a story untold

The ocean is my solitude, it is my sense
to slow my brain
my mind asks, “do the waves ever stop?”
Do the waves become repetitious blurs?
Never to be understood
the ocean waves are white noise, at a
California beach, never speaking, but knowing all

The waves can tell of my dreams, my
success, my failure, and urge me
to cope
John R. Gray
San Pedro

A Tortured Metaphor

As summer heats up, ice cream will refresh us. But with corruption and corporate control in Washington hotter than ever, we’ll need more than ice cream to revive our democracy.
If you think we tortured that metaphor, it’s nothing compared to how Big Money is torturing our democracy.

Whether you care about affordable, accessible health care, the climate, private prisons, military spending or an economy that works for everyone (not just the rich guys), there’s one thing that connects all these fights: It’s Big Money vs. the rest of us.

That’s why we’ve partnered with MoveOn to offer you a way to speak out against Big Money a thousand times over: a stamp to mark your dollar bills with the message, “Resist Big Money in Politics: Amend the Constitution.” MoveOn members have been sending that same message through phone calls, rallies and petitions for years. Now, you can join 65,000 STAMPeders (Ben’s the Head Stamper) who have been spreading that message by turning money into media.

Look, we’re tired of being on defense: fighting against Trumpcare, fighting against the Muslim ban, fighting against a corporate giveaway called an “infrastructure plan” and a massive transfer of wealth to the 1 percent  in the form of a Draconian budget, fighting against climate-change denial and fighting against Trump’s reckless abuse of power over his team’s ties to Russia.

We’d rather be fighting for a few things that we believe in. Medicare for All! Debt-free college for all! A game-changing investment in clean energy! Equality for all Americans!

But we won’t win fights FOR any of these things until we deal with the elephant in the room: the destructive force of Big Money in politics. So let’s take matters in our own hands … literally.

Money is the original viral marketing. As it moves from hand to hand, the average stamped bill gets seen by 875 people. So taking 15 seconds to stamp your bill is a lot of “bang for your buck!”

Seriously, though, stamping is effective and fun. Your message gets through because putting it on money is disruptive. And with what we’re facing from Washington and corporate media, we’ll have to use every tool we have to get our message out.

—Ben & Jerry
MoveOn.org