Former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond:  “I’m not a U.S. company and I don’t make decisions based on what’s good for the U.S.” Californians can change this. Pass AB83!

Updated 3/20/23

In 2010, the Supreme Court decided in the corrupt case Citizens United that corporations were actually “an association of citizens,” opening our elections up both to dark money and the influence of the foreign investors who now hold over 40% of all shares in US corporations.

We take the word “citizen” very seriously here in Ventura County. At Swap Meet Justice’s monthly citizenship fair, we know that applicants wait years, and sometime decades, before they can get the help they need to become citizens and to receive the privilege of voting. Foreign investors jump the line and abuse our voting process to increase their profits.

AB83 – Political Reform Act of 1974: contributions and expenditures by foreign-influenced business entities could help level the playing ground by preventing these entities from messing with our elections. (Lot of resources, fact sheets, etc. here)

It passed through the Assembly Committee on Elections with our Assemblymember Steve Bennett and is heading for a hearing in thee Appropriations Committee. We don’t have a horse in that race (your friends/family might – check here), but this is a great chance to strike back at Citizen’s United.

Continue reading “Former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond:  “I’m not a U.S. company and I don’t make decisions based on what’s good for the U.S.” Californians can change this. Pass AB83!”

The GOP members on the VC Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on making it easier for the rich and powerful to buy our elections. Second hearing is March 28 – Be ready! Item # TBD, 10:30 am.

ZOOM/VENTURA – “County Board of Supervisors – Agenda Item (?) – Rescinding the current limit on campaign donations” (Second hearing March 28, 10:30 am) Ventura Co. Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Avenue

Post updated 3/17/23

Read this!:

Supervisors Gorell, Long and Parvin, the three “conservative” members of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors DID vote for a second hearing to rescind the current limit on campaign donations, opening the door further to undue influence of big money donors. (Here’s their letter)

Shame on them!

An agenda item noted as #44, squeezed between two proclamation ceremonies, and a letter to the editor by Assemblyman Steve Bennett was all the warning we got about this destructive action that could wipe out 16 years of election reform.

Public comments and letters will be taken in as usual, but we need more people in the seats, as well!

Agenda Item TBD. Second Public Hearing Regarding Adoption of an Ordinance of the County of Ventura Repealing the Ventura County Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance

  • Go here for instructions for speaking at the meeting and to attend by ZOOM. Pre-registration to comment is encouraged – you can pre-register here. (
  • Submit email comments to w/ copy to Supv Vianey Lopez at by NOON the day prior to the meeting (Monday). Indicate in the Subject Line the Agenda item number (e.g., Item No. 44) on which you are commenting. Your email or written comment will be distributed to the Board of Supervisors and placed into the item’s record of the Board meeting. Public Comments submitted in writing are public records and subject to disclosure.
  • Read the AB571 Fact Sheet, the Board Letter, and comments already submitted here under “Item Attachments.”

Read Assemblymember Bennett’s comment here.)

Continue reading “The GOP members on the VC Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on making it easier for the rich and powerful to buy our elections. Second hearing is March 28 – Be ready! Item # TBD, 10:30 am.”

Just say “NO!” to Trump-like policies on asylum! Deadline – March 27.

Letter from Democrats here: “We all want the same thing – a safe place for our families to live and thrive. That’s exactly what parents are looking for when they reach our border and request asylum. We all want our children to be alive and well. For some parents that means they have to trek international borders to keep themselves and their children safe from persecution and violence. 

Moms know the importance of keeping their children and families safe. We know we have to do more on our border to protect those fleeing violence hoping to find asylum here. 

Our nation cannot, and should not, block vulnerable asylum seeking women, children, and families from finding safety within our borders. The right to access asylum upon arrival at a U.S. border is foundational to international and domestic refugee law.”

Comment Kit – How to write and post a comment that will count!!

The proposed rule is called “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” and comments are due by 11:59 pm on March 27.

Continue reading “Just say “NO!” to Trump-like policies on asylum! Deadline – March 27.”

To all who’ve promised to never forget…it’s starting again.

We are on a historically dangerous path. Tell your legislators to reintroduce the Equality Act now and to publicly disavow all anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and state legislation!

Sunday, March 5th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, signing his odious book, and dog-whistling that he would “never surrender to the “woke” mob, or, as defined by Merriam- Webster – those aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice.)

In exchange for democracy, he promised the crowd of +1000 regressives a bright and shiny new deal. He would suppress and silence the lesser-valued claimants of “We, the People” in exchange for his cynical Christian Nationalist version of the”core foundational principles that made this country great.” It’s ironic that his book’s title, “Courage to Be Free,” far better describd the LGBTQ+ protesters at the front entrance, a demographic traditionally targeted by fascist leaders, than it did himself.

Despite our blithe assumption that we Americans are exceptional – above the political trauma that’s happened elsewhere and beyond our own genocidal early history, scholars are now actively studying if the growth of White Nationalism under Trump could devolve into violent oppression of minority groups and dissenters if a fascist leader like Ron became president.

Continue reading “To all who’ve promised to never forget…it’s starting again.”

How close are train tracks to your home? Your job? Your kid’s school? Tell your legislators to make these train bills better!

Seriously! The train that derailed in East Palestine wasn’t even considered a “high-hazard flammable train” (HHFT).

The Department of Transportation (DOT) applies stricter rules to high-hazard flammable trains – those carrying flammable liquids in at least (20) consecutive tank cars — or (35) cars total. They are limited to a maximum speed of 50 miles per hour, and must have newer ECP braking equipment and special cars when transporting hazardous materials across the country.

Update: Since the East Palestine derailment on Feb. 3, Norfolk Southern has had TWO more derailments.

  • March 4, 28 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Springfield, Ohio.
  • March 9, 30 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Calhoun County, Alabama. A worker died.

Before we get to the bills, please watch this short video about how a Wall Street system designed for maximum profit has made the America’s train industry so dangerous…

Action #1: Email/call your legislators. There are now two bills introduced in Congress to address train safety and neither is perfect.

The derailed train in East Palestine (we now have to define WHICH derailment) had only (11) tank cars, not (20), not (35). It also had (2) crew members and (1) trainee. But before the “100 percent preventable” accident, train workers had worried that the 9,300 feet long (that’s 1.7 miles!), 18,000 ton, 151-car train was too long and heavy to travel safely

Continue reading “How close are train tracks to your home? Your job? Your kid’s school? Tell your legislators to make these train bills better!”

Missouri should be treated as a war zone.

“Missouri lawmakers vote against banning children from carrying guns in public.”

“We have 14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s. What has happened to us?” -Rep. Donna Baringer (D-St. Louis)

In 2007, the Missouri legislature removed permits-to-purchase requirements and in 2016, they repealed the law requiring safety training and permits to carry a concealed weapon, while decreasing the standards for self defense. Now, as a result of a recent vote against an amendment to a public safety bill that would have banned children from participating in this wild west free-for-all, the state has no minimum age requirement for carrying a gun in public.

All this firepower hasn’t made Missouri safer. The state’s gun violence rates have risen with each new law – they now have the 5th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US and firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens.

Listen to an apologist for this situation here! No matter what he says, armed children in the street is what war zones look like.

What can stop this progression to chaos?: Deaths? So far, no. Hard costs? Hasn’t slowed them down. All this carnage costs the state $17.6 billion each year, of which $455.3 million is paid by taxpayers. Jobs and income? Maybe…Tourism provides more than 304,000 tourism-related jobs and generates nearly $18 billion in tourism-related spending. According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the state plans “to invest more than $50 million in the Show-Me State’s tourism industry, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Missouri tourism is a powerful economic driver, and we’re committed to ensuring local tourism organizations, entertainment venues, and other attractions have the resources they need to stay open and thrive.

Are they committed enough to tell their legislators that Missouri may not offer enough for visitors to risk encounters with armed teenagers? Maybe if their state gets on advisory and travel restriction lists, they will.

Action #1: Write to Joe

Continue reading “Missouri should be treated as a war zone.”

Celebrate this upcoming Earth Day with an end to drilling off our west coast!

Tell your legislators to pass the West Coast Ocean Protection Act!

“In 1969, a massive oil spill occurred in Santa Barbara. A U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, visited the spill site and was inspired to establish the first national Earth Day on April 22, 1970. The first Earth Day saw 20 million Americans take to the streets and parks to express support for the environment. Public support for efforts to improve the environment led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.  Read more here.

Two Democratic members of Congress from California – Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jared Huffman – have introduced H.R.470/S.22West Coast Ocean Protection Act, legislation intended to permanently ban oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.

Why do we need this?In 1994, California passed the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, which prohibited new leasing for offshore oil drilling in state waters. In 2018, however, the Trump administration released a five-year offshore leasing plan that proposed opening up the entire West Coast to new drilling. That proposal was blocked by the courts, but the threat of drilling will remain, said Senator Feinstein in a statement, until a permanent ban is enacted. The West Coast Ocean Protection Act, if passed, would provide that permanent ban.

Minimal script for cosponsoring legislators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep./Sen. [___] for supporting the passage of [Rep. – H.R.470/ Sen. – S.22] the West Coast Ocean Protection Act. It’s been 54 years since the oil spill disaster that started Earth Day. It’s long past time to get this done.

Minimal script for NON-cosponsoring legislators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to Rep./Sen. [___] to cosponsor and support the passage of [Rep. – H.R.470/ Sen. – S.22] – West Coast Ocean Protection Act to permanently ban oil and gas drilling off the western coast of the United States. Not only are these wells risking another environmental disaster that endangers local economies and healthy marine ecosystems, but the companies that own them are wasting millions of our taxpayer dollars, as Rep. Katie Porter called out in 2021 in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Continue reading “Celebrate this upcoming Earth Day with an end to drilling off our west coast!”

The deficit – “How will we pay for it?” is the wrong question and a “kitchen table budget” is the wrong analogy.

House Republicans are refusing a clean debt limit increase, regardless of the consequences of the U.S. defaulting on its debt. In fact, their new rules package deliberately removed a rule that automatically increased the debt limit to pay what we already owe. They also made rules to protect their rich and corporate donors from paying their fair share in taxes.

Biden, in his State of the Union address, tricked them into backing off of Social Security and Medicare for the moment, but they will demand the sacrifice of other vital programs with their pledge to cut appropriations to 2022 levels. This equals a possible 24% cut to non-defense programs, including “a wide array of public services that the federal government provides and that people and communities depend on, including public health; food safety inspections; air traffic control operations; the administration of Medicare and Social Security; housing and other assistance for families with low incomes; education and job training; and scientific and medical research, to name just a few.”

Ignore any GOP (or Sen. Manchin’s) “kitchen table” comparisons between a nation’s deficit and that of a family’s budget, unless you know someone down the block who mints their own money. Whatever homespun euphemisms they use to hide their historical hatred of anything beyond rapacious capitalism, know that research proves that their proposed solution – austerity measures – are proven dangers to economic recovery.

Action #1: Contact your legislators!

Continue reading “The deficit – “How will we pay for it?” is the wrong question and a “kitchen table budget” is the wrong analogy.”

Tyre Nichols’ mom is praying for a “greater good.” Let’s start with systemic change – pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“The race of a police office isn’t the determining factor of whether they’re going to commit excessive use of force, but the race of the victim.” – Ben Crump.

The 2021 bill – George Floyd Justice in Policing Act – addressed a wide range of law enforcement policies and issues including:

  • Lowering the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution, 
  • Limiting qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer,
  • Granting administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in pattern-or-practice investigations.
  • Restricting the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid holds.
  • Creating a National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct
  • Creating uniform accreditation standards for law enforcement agencies and requires officers to complete training on:
    • racial profiling,
    • implicit bias
    • the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.

What that bill was missing: Its scope was limited to law enforcement officers. Plenty of other government officials, such as prison guards, can and do violate the rights of citizens, including their right to continue living. A separate bill – the Ending Qualified Immunity Act was proposed to close this loophole.

Let’s put them both together this time!

Action: Tell your representative and senators we want systemic change – Re-start and improve the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Continue reading “Tyre Nichols’ mom is praying for a “greater good.” Let’s start with systemic change – pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”

The GOP’s first bill is its most important – “It’s a giant tax cut for rich tax cheats,” while adding to the deficit.

The GOP are masters at protecting the interests of their real base – the wealthy and corporations.

Call/email action – Tell your senators – Make the wealthy tax cheats pay their fair share!

Continue reading “The GOP’s first bill is its most important – “It’s a giant tax cut for rich tax cheats,” while adding to the deficit.”