Outside Downtown Long Beach Convention, Pro-Immigrant Protesters Chant ‘Free the Children’

8 May

About 10 people, near the corner of East Seaside Way and South Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach, just below the Long Beach Convention Center, on Saturday, May 8, stood on the sidewalk with their signs and chanted slogans in solidarity with the immigrant children being detained at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Using call and response, Someone would shout, “What do we want?” The others would shout, “Free the children.” Then someone would call, “When do we want it?” The others would respond with “Now.”

The protest was organized by BAMN, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.  

Long Beach May Day 2021 Coalition Demands Accountability From Feds, City Regarding the Housing of Immigrant Children at Convention Center

6 May

Solidarity with immigrants and workers, has always been central to the annual Long Beach May Day events. This year was no exception. However, this May Day, the Long Beach May Day Coalition had another issue to confront—the federal government, with the cooperation of the city, is housing unaccompanied immigrant children, many who are indigenous at the downtown Long Beach Convention Center.

A decorated car in the parking lot of the closed Food 4 Less grocery store, on May 1, 2021 in celebration of International Workers Day at 2185 E. South Street; Poto by Barry Saks.

The event began with a caravan of about 80 cars from the parking lot of the closed Food 4 Less grocery store, at 2185 E. South Street in North Long Beach. Before the caravan, the May Day participants decorated their cars.

Among the cars and the people in the parking lot was Alfredo Carlos, a political science professor at California State University Long Beach. Carlos, who has a doctorate from the University of California Irvine, said, “My dad was a member of UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local) 770 (when I was) growing up. We’re at a grocery store that is closed down…This is something that could have completely happened to him. He worked at Sav-On (drug store) his whole life. So, I’m out here supporting the struggle of people like my dad.”

Out of the parking lot, the caravan of cars, with horns, turned right onto South Street. The caravan weaved through the streets of North Long Beach eventually ending at Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave.

About 150 people attended the hours-long, multilingual program of English and Spanish in the southeast corner of the park, near the Long Beach Vietnam Veterans Memorial featuring the “Huey” helicopter. The program consisted of music, speeches and poetry.   

An email of May 1 before the caravan from the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition contained a social media toolkit. It, in part, said, “The rapid increase of detention facilities for migrant children in our community is an ineffective response to an issue that has drawn public outrage from across the globe. It is a tragedy and a logistical failure brought on by the federal government’s decision to cling on to harmful Trump-era policies, namely the emergency regulation ‘Title 42’ implemented by the Trump Administration through the Center for Disease Control, that institutionalized family separation by allowing agents at the border to deny legal (a)sylum claims and separate families.

“Grassroots (o)rganizers have proposed creative and compassionate solutions that truly protect children and don’t rely on keeping them in cages. We must welcome those who are seeking safety from violence and persecution with care and compassion.  We must hold the City of Long Beach and the Federal government accountable for the well-being of the children at the Long Beach Convention Center through community oversight.” 

Samuel Farber on Trumpism

6 Jan


I’m posting a link, https://jacobinmag.com/2021/01/donald-trump-white-working-class-trumpism, to a piece, “Trumpism Will Endure,” by Samuel Farber, which helps me understand the situation now in the United States.

Farber has some formulations, which with I strongly agree and I believe are worth discussing.

One might call it food for thought.

I knew Farber when he lived in Los Angeles and taught at UCLA. I remember him lamenting on his inability to get academically published. Ironically, after moving to New York and teaching there, he has had at least two books published on Russia and Cuba, and numerous shorter pieces published.

President-Elect Joe Biden Picks Antony Blinken for Secretary of State

23 Nov

The New York Times and other news organizations reported on Monday, Nov. 23, President-elect Joe Biden picked Antony Blinken for Secretary of State.

According to the American Academy of diplomacy, Blinken is “managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and the Herter/Nitze Distinguished Scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies” and “held senior foreign policy positions in two administrations over three decades—including Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration.”

The former Senior Biden Campaign Adviser and now Biden’s choice for Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke, by Zoom and Facebook Live on Monday, May 18, on “The U.S.-Israel Relationship in a Biden Administration” for the Democratic Majority for Israel. To hear his talk, go to https://barrysaks.com/2020/05/18/senior-biden-campaign-adviser-tony-blinken-speaks-on-the-u-s-israel-relationship-in-a-biden-administration/.

Recipe for Sugar Snap Pea, Garlic, Cheddar Cheese, Egg-White Omelet

17 Nov

One of my favorite eats is my morning omelet. While I don’t eat it every morning, I eat it often, perhaps three or four times each week.

As the title suggests, it consists of sugar snap peas, cheddar cheese, garlic, egg whites and some no-stick cooking spray. 

First, I apply an ample amount of cooking spray to the bottom of the frying pan.

Second, I crush the garlic (I use a lot, perhaps more than most people.).

Third, I heat the pan on a low heat and place the crushed garlic in the pan.

Fourth, every 15 or 30 seconds, I move the garlic around so it fries as evenly as possible.

Fifth, I take a handful of fresh sugar snap peas, wash them and I cut them length-wise.

Sixth, after the garlic is browned to my liking, I add the sugar snap peas and fry them with the garlic, probably no more than a few minutes, just long enough to get them hot.

Seventh, I add the egg whites.  I’ve learned to use as little egg whites as possible because the egg whites fry evenly and it’s easy to serve open face.

Eighth I add cheddar cheese.

Ninth, when egg-white liquid is no longer runny, I place it open-face on a plate,

I must confess what makes my omelets special is what I put on top. First, I put some mango salsa followed with nacho-style cut pickled jalapeño peppers. To me it’s yummy. Enjoy.

Long Beach Residents Rally for Democracy

8 Nov

About 100 people rallied, on Saturday, Nov. 7, in the rain, wind and cold, outside Long Beach City Hall at 411 West Ocean Blvd., demanding electoral “democracy,” according to a jpeg flyer from a Facebook page of Black Lives Matter – Long Beach, announcing the rally.

The same flyer listed as sponsors Long Beach Forward, LiBRE (Long Beach Residents Empowered), the Long Beach Chapter of Democratic Socialist of America, BLM – LB, QOWS (Queers Obliterating White Supremacy), Anakbayan – Long Beach (a local Filipinx youth and student organization), LBIRC (Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition) and the GRRRL Collective, whose Facebook About Page characterizes the organization as “an intersectional, queer, pro-migrant, pro(-sex)-worker, trans-inclusive feminist collective organizing, learning, and healing together in Long Beach.”

Audrena Redmond, who is an activist with Black Lives Matter – Long Beach, emcees, the Saturday, Nov. 7, rally for democracy; Photo by Barry Saks

Audrena Redmond of BLM-LB emceed. In her opening remarks, Redmond, in part, said, “After Barack Obama was elected, (some) people had the audacity to say, ‘Oh we live in a post-racial America.’ I beg to differ and I think the last 12 years have really proven that point…. Race colors everything in this country, our economics, our social standing, education, health care, all of that.”

Vick Bouzi, representing DSA-LB, in part, said, “We gather here today to be sure they count all the votes, which they did…but we’re not here riding for Biden, no. He’s the architect of the 1994 crime bill, that put so many brown and black bodies in prison…. We are not here for Kamala Harris, the self-proclaimed top cop in California…. From the top to the bottom, the Democrats are rotten. It stinks all the way down to Mayor Robert Garcia.” He added the Democrats have a “weak neo-liberal politics that revolves around identity, that revolves around representation.”

Brooklyn Desmond, who said she was once homeless, spoke, on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the rally for democracy; Photo by Barry Saks

Brooklyn Desmond was in the crowd. Desmond, who identified herself has a queer, black person who has been homeless, asked the crowd that instead of ignoring the homeless, when walking over them, that the crowd should respect the homeless by acknowledging and paying attention to them.

At least twice, the crowd shouted out, “Ain’t (sic) no power like the power of the people (be)cause the power of the people don’t (sic) stop.” Others would respond with “Say what?” The mood was celebratory and of relief regarding the results of the 2020 Presidential Campaign. The crowd also chanted, “White supremacy has got to go.” Another repeated chant was “Black lives they matter here.”

Three days earlier, about 70 people of the same groups met at the same location again demanding electoral democracy.

Barry Saks is a member of DSA-LB.

This version of the above story was corrected on Monday, Nov. 9, for the misspelling of Audrena Redmond’s first name. It’s Audrena not Andrena.

California Governor Signs First-in-the-Nation Legislation to Create Taskforce to Study Reparations, to Make Recommendations on Reparations for Slavery

11 Oct

As the people of California and the nation confront their history regarding race, California Governor Gavin Newsom, on Wednesday, Sept. 30, signed Assembly Bill 3121, the first in the nation, which will create a nine-member task force to study and make recommendations on slavery and its reparations for descendants of slaves.

The Governor, in part, said, according to a press release, “As a nation…. (o)ur painful history of slavery has evolved into structural racism and bias built into and permeating throughout our democratic and economic institutions.”

Shirley N. Weber, Assemblywoman of 79th District authored A.B. 3121; photo taken from the the Assemblywoman’s website.

The bill was authored by Democrat Assemblywoman Shirley N. Weber, representing the 79th District. Weber, the chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, said, according to the same press release, “California has historically led the country on civil rights, yet we have not come to terms with our state’s ugly past that allowed slaveholding within our borders and returned escaped slaves to their masters.”

Also, according to the California Globe, the Assemblywoman said, “After emancipation, California and local municipalities allowed or even actively pursued discriminatory practices akin to those found in the South to deny former slaves and their descendants access to housing, quality education, employment, fair wages, voting rights and the practice of professions.”

Republican State Senator Brian Jones, representing the 38th District, opposed the bill.  Jones, who is the chair of the Republican State Senate Caucus, argued, on Friday, Oct. 2, in a radio interview on KUSI radio, San Diego, that it was inappropriate for California to pass the bill because the issue was a national and not a state issue. The state senator said, “My ancestors didn’t own slaves. Many Americans’ that are alive today families did not own slaves.”

Five members of the taskforce will be appointed by the Governor, two by the Senate pro Tempore and two by the Assembly Speaker.

Democratic State Senator Steven Bradford, representing the 35th District and vice-chair of the CLBC, before the Governor’s signature in an interview with the California Globe, said, “If the 40-acres-and-a-mule that was promised to free slaves were delivered to the descendants of those slaves today, we would all be billionaires” and added, “I hear far too many people say, ‘Well, I didn’t own slaves, that was so long ago.’ Well, you inherit wealth — you can inherit the debt that you owe to African-Americans.”

Legal adviser Richard Weaver, in an earlier California Globe interview, addressing some of the legal challenges regarding who should receive reparations, said, “It’s a legal minefield. If it’s ‘all black people,’ does that include an immigrant who came over from Ethiopia in 1993? Does it cover mixed race people? What percentage until they can’t? How can they prove it? Do they have genealogy that traces it back? What’s the approved method? There’s hundreds of other questions that would pop up too.”

Taryn Luna, in her Sept. 30 Los Angeles Times story, pointed out that Southerners brought slaves to work in their gold mines in 1848 during the gold rush, according to the California Historical Society and slavery was allowed after California joined the union  because of a legal loophole, that in 1852 California passed its own fugitive slave law, that until 1863 California had its own laws forbidding African-Americans from testifying against whites in court and that as recently as last year Sausalito Marin City School District received the state’s first desegregation order in fifty years.

Long Beach Expands Open Streets Initiative Along Pine Avenue from 4th to 5th Street

26 Sep

Long Beach expanded its Open Streets Initiative, according to a press release of Friday, Sept. 25, to provide Covid-19 support for local businesses along Pine Avenue from 4th to 5th Street, beginning on Friday.

Photo of Pine Avenue from 4th to 5th Street, looking north; Photo by Barry Saks, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020

The closure to vehicular traffic will provide outdoor space for dining and other approved services. This Open Streets closure is in addition to the closure on Pine Avenue from 1st to 3rd Streets.

Mayor Robert Garcia said, “Open Streets, and particularly the innovative use of Pine Avenue, has been incredibly exciting to watch take hold. Businesses are thriving outdoors and it’s been a great experience for diners and our restaurants in these spaces.”

In addition to the Pine Avenue closures, more than 100 parklet locations have been installed throughout the city, providing businesses with an outdoor space to provide physically-distanced services. 

“With its concentration of businesses and restaurants, Downtown needs as much outdoor space as possible so business can thrive and residents have safe access to services,” First District Councilwoman Mary Zendajas said. 

Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce said, “It’s been exciting to see Pine Avenue come back to life with the installation of Open Streets.” “The expansion of this program is a welcomed development with the opportunity to create diverse and vibrant corridors.”

While vehicular traffic on Pine Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets will be prohibited, 4th Street and 5th Street will remain open to through traffic.

Andy Sanchez, who is 21 and works at Kress Market at 443 Pine Ave., said, “It will be interesting to see where it goes, to see if it will help business.” Sanchez, who said he’s going to a technical school to become an auto mechanic, added, “I think it shows like the shift in culture…Pine Avenue has a certain meaning that it carries with it now, it’s kind of the idea of the shops and the culture of people coming out to support the businesses and each other.”

Marked loading and delivery zones have been established throughout the area for curbside pick-up.

“As always, DLBA (Downtown Long Beach Alliance) supports building a strong consensus among stakeholders, as was accomplished with those located on Pine Avenue between 1st and 3rd Streets,” President and CEO of DLBA Kraig Kojian. “We will continue to communicate and collaborate with our partners and monitor the reactions from establishments located within this section of Pine Avenue.”

The Open Streets Initiative was approved by the City Council in June 2020 in response to State Health Orders closing indoor dining and other businesses due to Covid-19. On Sept. 15, the City Council approved the closure of Pine Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, providing additional space for businesses along the corridor to operate.


Mayor Robert Garcia Announces Covid-19 Mobile Clinic to Serve Immigrant, Undocumented Community

22 Sep

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, by email, announced Tuesday, Sept. 22, that partnering with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, the first of its kind, serving as a model for California and the nation, a Covid-19 mobile clinic will serve the Latinx, immigrant and undocumented communities.

The mayor reminded the reader his mother died of Covid-19 and was an immigrant and health care worker. 

He said, “She knew how hard it was for the undocumented to get medical treatment.”

The email pointed out In California, 60 percent of Covid-19 cases are from the Latinx community, while it making up 40 percent of the population.

President Donald Trump Acknowledges COVID-19 Vaccine Not Available Widely Until April 2021, Provides Aid to Puerto Rico, Calls Mail-In Voting “Scam”

18 Sep

President Donald Trump, at a press conference on Friday, Sept. 18, acknowledged a Covid-19 vaccine would not be available widely in the United States until April 2021, contradicting himself from an earlier statement.

While the novel coronavirus originated in China, he continued to call the virus the “China virus,” a phrase some call racist. He also claimed falsely presidential candidate Joe Biden had antivaccine theories.

The president also announced $13 billion of aid was being sent to Puerto Rico to repair the electrical grid, although previously the president had said the island did not deserve any aid because of corruption. When asked by a reporter why the aid was not given three years ago, the president responded by blaming the Democrats. The president also later, when asked a similar question about why the aid was being provided now, added it was to return to Puerto Rico a pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Judy Woodruff during the PBS Newshour, a few hours later pointed out Puerto Rico is important to many voters in Florida.

Through the press conference he read from a prepared statement. Near the end of press conference when he responding to reporters’ questions, he claimed mail-in voting was a scam without providing any evidence. He tried to make a distinction between solicited and unsolicited mail-in ballots, like he has done before. When he declared the press conference over, a reporter shouted to him that if he won the election would he still consider mail-in voting a scam. The president ignored the reporter.