Give the finger to Trump and vote Sheriff McDonnell out this November !

Forget about the race for governor and all those races for assembly members and congressional representatives, progressives in this county should laser-focus on the race for Sheriff in November. Los Angeles County Sheriff Department with a $3.2 billion budget is “the nation’s largest jail and consequently is also the nation’s largest provider of mental health services. In addition, this department has contracts with 42 cities, the courts and community colleges, while also dispatching deputies to patrol county parks and hospitals and to conduct search and rescue operations across 4,751 square miles.” Alex Villanueva, the son of a Puerto Rican father and polish American mother, historically forced current Sheriff McDonnell into a runoff.  He is a former sheriff deputy and an Air Force veteran with strong academic credentials.  He has articulated a powerful narrative that resonated well with progressives in this county [check out his website…

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The Insurmountable Crisis of Public Education In Los Angeles

There is no other honest and robust conversation that needs to be held in this city as the one dealing with public education. Anything we collectively want to achieve revolves around as to how well we educate our children.  Our self-governed political system is not sustainable if our schools fail to educate our children. Yes,  public education is the foundation or the thread that weaves together that social fabric that sustains our democracy.  And, economic vitality heavily relies on an educated work-force, indeed progress in itself is not attainable if our children are not well-educated. Civic leaders, the business community, teachers, parents, and other civic groups have to elevate the conversation about the challenges facing our public education.  And, said conversation has to go beyond charter schools vs. traditional schools. Millions of dollars are spent in school board races in these proxy wars between…

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The homeless crisis in LA is grotesque, unfair and it underscores lack of political imagination

No hyperbole here, but Los Angeles is teetering on the brink.  The quality of life in this city is not sustainable when in every other block in Los Angeles we find homeless people living in tents.  The lack of progress is so pronounced that many Angelinos are so disgusted and frustrated.  The blight and misery in the streets of Los Angeles are of biblical proportions.  At this point,  they might be worse than one might see in Tijuana when crossing the border or even worse than the ones in the barrios of Honduras. Los Angeles Times devoted an entire week of editorial pieces to unload its harsh criticism of this problem.  The paper actually called it “a national disgrace.” You know our city has hit rock-bottom when it is in on the United Nations radar for failing to help those living in extreme poverty….

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Trump came, he spoke and he didn’t charm !

Finally, President Trump decides to come to California, the state has become the epicenter of the resistance.  When he declared his candidacy for the presidency, most people here in the state laughed. He was never taken seriously and Californians didn’t see him beyond being a star from a reality show.  It took more than a year for President to make it to the state that totally repudiated his candidacy.  Hillary Clinton badly beat him by 4.3 million votes that eventually made him lose the popular vote in the presidential election in 2016.  His visit is being interpreted as some sort of giving California the finger.  Afterall, he came to inspect the eight prototypes of what could be “a beautiful wall,” that the majority of people in the state vehemently oppose.  He stopped by in Beverly Hill for some cash and spent the night in one…

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Antonio is back on the ballot, will Latinos give him another chance?

The contours of the gubernatorial race have begun to sharpen.  This is an important race, California has become the focal point of leadership for the resistance.  California also is the richest and largest state in the nation with a $2.3 trillion dollars economy.  The state is not only “the forefront of most of the modern-day innovations. but it also leads the nation in social policies and political discourse.” Two Republicans and many well-known Democrats are vying to replace termed-out Governor Brown.  In California’s top-two primary system, the top two vote-getters regardless of party affiliation will advance to the general election that will be held in November. “25% or 5.2 million of all voters in California live in Los Angeles County.  A  47.5% plurality of this county is Latino voters.”  This might be the reason why former Mayor Villaraigosa is polling better than he did three…

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“Hollywood not Brown Enough” Do Latinos Care ?

That time of the year, the 90th Annual Academy Awards is about to happen again. There is also that usual annual conversation about Hollywood not broadening the circle of opportunities in the acting categories for minorities. So much for Hollywood being a bastion of liberalism.There are those who argue that “competition” is not only in the best interest of the arts but said “competition” makes actors and actresses better.  Additionally, these defenders of the status quo assertively claim that “talent,” not ethnicity should be the primary consideration in awarding Oscars. Furthermore, they claim that it is silly to protest about Hollywood lacking diversity. Hollywood is driven by money and it shouldn’t engage in any exercise of affirmative action, they further argue.  They also stated that giving awards based on one’s color of the skin will utterly destroy excellence.   Why professional basketball a sport…

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Will weed take us to the promised land?

“We can’t have a civil society if everyone is smoking pot.” Governor Brown told a group of journalists last year.  The governor might have been somewhat sarcastic with that statement.  But it is worth to explore the complexities of legalizing this drug. The passage of Proposition 64 in 2016 made the growing and selling of marijuana legal for recreational purposes. California has been right, front and center trying to decriminalize marijuana for many years. It became the first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. This pot legalization has been introduced with great fanfare and many people optimistically expect to see the same success that took place in Colorado where millions were collected in taxes in the first year voters approved it. Evidently, there are many complex issues that need to be tackled.  But most conversations appear to solely be focused on the new…

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Yes, “Coco” is good but Disney/Pixar shouldn’t be telling our story and Latino consultants need not to be selling out

Disney-Pixar Animation Studios’ new film “Coco” has been introduced with great fanfare in both sides of the border.  The movie has done well domestically. It made a little over $70 million in the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  And it was an utter success in Mexico, and it made almost $50 million. Enough. I will leave to others to write more about how great this movie is. I want to laser-focus on another story that has been utterly ignored.  Disney shouldn’t be telling our story.  This corporation doesn’t have a good history with Latinos in Calfornia, from refusing to pay its fair share in Anaheim, home in where the majority are Latinos,  to joining Pete Wilson back in the 1990s in attacking our communities. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I dislike Disney with a passion for the obvious reasons. I dug…

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Year One, We Survived Trump !

Most of us still remember Trump’s grand escalator entrance at his Trump Towers lobby in New York when he first announced that he was running for the highest office in this land.  Latinos vividly remember that day, here are some of his remarks: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”  The backlash was swift not only from Latino organizations but also from many progressive corners in this country.  People also laughed at him and everyone thought that before this man would become their commander in chief, hell would have to freeze over. It has been a year since people around the world and people in this country were stunned by the election of…

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Gentrification and the Poor in Los Angeles !

Major developments started at Downtown and as land became scarce developers started looking for more land into other communities throughout Los Angeles.  Not long ago the “Reef Development” was approved in which developers just sailed through the process with no major obstacles. Even when some activists argued that the this Reef development was going to displace at least 40,000 poor renters.  The Councilman and many other community-based organizations they all embraced said development. Now, a new project called  Macarthur Park luxury development-“The Lake on Wilshire.”  has started its process.  This ambitious development is near McArthur Park and Westlake area and it will build “a 41-story, 478-unit, luxury apartment tower and a 220-room luxury hotel.” The development has gotten the blessing of the councilperson who represents that area.  It has also gotten the green light from prominent non-profit organizations located in this neighborhood.  Some of them…

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