Archive | July, 2017

Protesters March for Single Payer in the California Assembly District of Speaker Anthony Rendon

27 Jul




Protesters, on Sunday, July 23, marching toward Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s South Gate Office; photo by Barry Saks 

More than 150 people marched from Hollydale Park to the office of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in South Gate, on Sunday, July 23, for California Senate Bill 562, also known as the Healthy California Act.

At the rally in the park, people told the crowd why they were there with chants interspersed.


Michelle Manos, Sunday, July 23, speaking to protesters gathered in Hollydale Park, South Gate, California; photo by Barry Saks 

One speaker was Michelle Manos, who’s an activist with California for Progress.  Manos said while this country may have a high standard of health care, “only certain people have access to that excellent healthcare and that is absolutely preposterous.  Your ability to survive a disease or an accident should not depend on the dollar amount in your pocket or bank account.”


Yolanda Gonzalez, on Sunday, July 23, speaking to protesters in Hollydale Park, South Gate, California; photo by Barry Saks

Another speaker was Yolanda Gonzalez, who is a Green Party activist, said, “As an educator and a teacher for 25 years, I’ve seen students who can’t learn… because they are sick….They don’t make it to the doctor (because) they cannot afford the deductibles.”

A third speaker at the park was Lori Margaret.  She said she has worked all her life for nonprofits and “never had great health care.”  Margaret said, “With the ACA (Affordable Care Act), I actually was able to get my knee replaced and I had an emergency hysterectomy…and on my salary it was a lifesaver.  She added she will do anything to fight for the health care for everyone else.


Marcia Martin, on Sunday, July 23, speaking to protesters in Hollydale Park, South Gate, California

Another speaker at the park was Marcia Martin, who later emceed the protest outside the South Gate office of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.  Martin, who is an environmental and racial justice activist, said, “The area I was born and raised in it has been subject to environmental racism.  It was contaminated by Exide Technology, which operated in the city of Vernon for over a 100 years.  For over 33 years, they operated on a temporary permit and spewed lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium 6, benzene, 1 3 butadiene into the atmosphere.  It contaminated our soil…and consequently contaminated our ground water…Pretty much we’re the most vulnerable community and most in desperate need of (Senate Bill) 562.”

One chant at the rally was “When the system fails us, what do we do?  Pass SB562.”  Another chant was “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, health care greed has got to go.”  A third chant was “Anthony Rendon, what do you say.  How many people died today?”  A fourth chant was “What do we want? Health care!  When do we want it?  Now.”  A fifth chant was “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”  A sixth chant was “When health care is under attack, what do we do?  Stand up, fight back.”

After the rally in the park, the protesters marched about three-quarters of a mile to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office.  One chant during the march was “Medicare for all is our fight.  Health care is a human right.”

At the office, more people spoke with chants interspersed among them.


Reed Heisley-Shellably, on Sunday, July 23, speaking to protesters outside the office of Assembly Speaker Anthouy Rendon in South Gate, California; photo by Barry Saks

One speaker was Reed Heisley-Shellaby, who was identified as a member of the Los Angeles Green Party and Health Care for All, said we face a health care and a political crisis.  He said regarding healthcare in California three million people don’t have health care with many underinsured and some go bankrupt because of their health care costs.  He pointed out a disparity exists because of class and race.  He cited a study, which showed people living in South Los Angeles will live 11 years less than people living in Beverly Hills.  Heisley-Shellaby told crowd the health care crisis can be solved by getting rid of the health insurance industry.  He said the political crisis California faces is because “the Democratic Party leadership is bought by the health insurance industry and by the pharmaceutical companies.  Currently the chair of the Democratic Party in California, Eric Bauman, he was a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical companies….The Sacramento Bee reported that (Assembly Speaker) Rendon received over $36,000 in 2015….Rendon, Kevin DeLeon and Jerry Brown, all Democrats, have received combined $370,000 from groups opposed to Single Payer Health Care legislation and $3.4 million in campaign donation from the health insurance industry.”


Gayle McLaughlin, former Mayor of Richmond, on Sunday, July 23, speaking to protesters outside the office of Assemby Speaker Anthony Rendon in South Gate, California; photo by Barry Saks

Another speaker outside Assembly Speaker Rendon’s office was Gayle McLaughlin, who is running for Lieutenant Governor in 2018.  McLaughlin, who was the Mayor of Richmond, California from 2007-2014, said all four of her campaigns were funded without corporate funding.  She said democracy in California is under corporate control and that a corporate-free candidate should run against the Speaker.

On Friday, June 23, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon decided SB 562 will remain in the Assembly Rules Committee and will not move forward.





More than 100 Attend Town Hall on Single Payer in Rendon’s 63rd California Assembly District

14 Jul



Audience at Town Hall on Single Payer, Saturday, July 8, in the Mayfair Activities Room of Mayfair Park, Lakewood, California; Photo by Barry Saks

More than 100 people, with some from the 63rd Assembly District of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, on Saturday, July 8, held, what the headline of the press release of the day before of California Nurses Association characterized as a “Town Hall… on Single Payer,” in the Mayfair Activities Room in Mayfair Park, 5720 Clark Ave., Lakewood, California, also in the Assembly Speaker’s district.


Marcia Martin, Environmental and Racial Justice activist,on Saturday, July 8, speaking at the Town Hall on Single Payer on the contamination by Exide Technology; Photo by Barry Saks

The first speaker of the town hall was Marcia Martin.  Martin, who was identified as an environmental and racial justice activist, said, “I am a constituent.  I was born and raised and currently live in the city of Bell, which is in the district…My community lies within an area contaminated by Exide Technology.  It was a battery-recycling plant in the city of Vernon that operated for nearly 100 years…It spewed lead, arsenic, chromium-6, cadmium, benzene … and other carcinogens and toxics into the atmosphere.  We breathed it in.  It contaminated our soil and consequently has contaminated our ground water.”


Michael Lighty, the Public Policy Director for the California Nurses Association, on Saturday, July 8,speaking at the Town Hall on Single Payer; Photo by Barry Saks

After Martin, Michael Lighty, the Public Policy Director of the CNA, spoke.  He said, “I know that there is some sense out there that SB (Senate Bill) 562 is a radical idea or something from the far left…. Have you ever heard of Warren Buffett? Now does anyone think Warren Buffett’s a leftist?” Because Warren Buffett came out this week, co-chair of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the most successful investment companies in the world…and he came out for single payer….So what we are trying to do with 562 is take those principles that have succeeded in Medicare since 1965 and apply them to the rest of the health care population.”

One person in the audience before the start of the meeting was Bill Eisen, 72.  Eisen said lives in Torrance and thought healthcare should be a human right.  He said, “Our country needs to provide its citizens with affordable healthcare just like every other western country” and soon after added, “I frequently attend the Los Angeles chapter of the Healthcare for All group.”  When Eisen was asked if he were a registered Democratic, he said, “No, I’m registered (as) no party preference…I think the Democrats are totally corrupt right now.”

Another person in the audience was Jennie Vargas, 55.  Vargas, before the event started, when asked if she were from Rendon’s district, raised her hand.  Vargas said she lives in South Gate, is registered Green Party.  When asked if she was willing to protest outside Rendon’s office, she said, “I did that!”


Audience, after the Town Hall on Single Payer event, on Saturday, July 8, posing; Photo by Barry Saks


Long Beach City Council at Next Meeting to Decide Yes or No on $2.5 Million Settlement Regarding Allegedly the Use of Excessive Force by LBPD

8 Jul

One agenda item the Long Beach City Council is to decide or not on the Long Beach City Attorney Charles Parkin’s recommendation that $2.5 million plus attorney’s fees and costs in full settlement be paid to the cousins, Miguel Contreras and Miguel Vazquez, and their attorneys, to lawsuits filed.

Court records show, in October 2016, a jury, in the Los Angeles courtroom of Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh, awarded the two cousins more than $1.5 million in a lawsuit filed against the city and the two Long Beach Police Department officers, alleging they used excessive force.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram story, “Cousins win $1.6 million verdict after graphic video shows Long Beach police hitting them with batons,” of Oct. 11, 2016, identified the police officers as David Faris and Michael Hynes and pointed out the LBPD did not “deny striking Contreras and Vazquez with the batons.”  In the story, Long Beach Deputy City Attorney Howard Russell, said, ‘Our contention was and is that the officers acted reasonably and lawfully.’

According to the same story, it was in late November of 2010 in the early morning hours “when Contreras and Vazquez were returning from The Falcon bar in Long Beach…(w)hen they got back to Vazquez’s apartment in the 1600 block of Broadway, Vazquez saw officers Faris and Hynes yelling at a small group of people that included a friend of his, according to Vazquez’s lawsuit, Vazquez claimed that when he tried to find out what was going on, one of the officers told him to go home and pushed him away.”  Then the altercation between the two LBPD police officers and two cousins was video-recorded on a cellphone.

To watch the video, click here.