By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ
SAN FRANCISCO — Tens of thousands of people waving rainbow flags lined streets for gay pride parades Sunday in coast-to-coast events that took both celebratory and political tones, the latter a reaction to what some see as new threats to gay rights in the Trump era.
In San Francisco, revelers wearing rainbow tutus and boas held signs that read “No Ban, No Wall, Welcome Sisters and Brothers” while they danced to electronic music at a rally outside City Hall.
Frank Reyes said he and his husband decided to march for the first time in many years because they felt a need to stand up for their rights. The couple joined the “resistance contingent,” which led the parade and included representatives from several activist organizations.
“We have to be as visible as possible,” said Reyes, wearing a silver body suit and gray and purple headpiece decorated with rhinestones.
“Things are changing quickly and we have to take a stand and be noticed,” Reyes’ husband, Paul Brady, added. “We want to let everybody know that we love each other, that we pay taxes and that we’re Americans, too.”
Activists have been galled by the Trump administration’s rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The Republican president also broke from Democratic predecessor Barack Obama’s practice of issuing a proclamation in honor of Pride Month.
At the jam-packed New York City parade, a few attendees wore “Make America Gay Again” hats, while one group walking silently in the parade wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts as they held up signs with a fist and with a rainbow background, a symbol for gay pride. Still others protested potential cuts to heath care benefits, declaring that “Healthcare is an LGBT issue.”
“I think this year is even more politically charged, even though it was always a venue where people used it to express their political perspectives,” said Joannah Jones, 59, from New York with her wife Carol Phillips.
She said the parade being televised for the first time gives people a wider audience. “Not only to educate people in general on the diversity of LGBTQ community but also to see how strongly we feel about what’s going on in office.”
In Chicago, 23-year-old Sarah Hecker was attending her first pride parade, another event that attracted wall-to-wall crowds. “I felt like this would be a way to not necessarily rebel, but just my way to show solidarity for marginalized people in trying times,” said Hecker, a marketing consultant who lives in suburban Chicago.
Elected officials also made a stand, among them New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said his state would continue to lead on equality. Cuomo, a Democrat, on Sunday formally appointed Paul G. Feinman to the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. Feinman is the first openly gay judge to hold the position.
But the pride celebrations also faced some resistance from within the LGBT community itself. Some activists feel the events center on gay white men and are unconcerned with issues including economic inequality and policing.
The divide disrupted some other pride events this month. The No Justice No Pride group blocked the Washington parade’s route, and four protesters were arrested at the parade in Columbus, Ohio.
In Minneapolis, organizers of Sunday’s Twin Cities Pride Parade initially asked the police department to limit its participation, with the chairwoman saying the sight of uniformed officers could foster “angst and tension and the feeling of unrest” after a suburban officer’s acquittal this month in the deadly shooting of Philando Castile, a black man, during a traffic stop.
The city’s openly gay police chief called the decision divisive and hurtful to LGBT officers. On Friday, organizers apologized and said the officers were welcome to march.
But anti-police protesters disrupted the parade with chants of: “No justice, no peace, no pride in police” and carried signs reading “Justice for Philando” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Meanwhile, pride march organizers have taken steps to address the criticisms about diversity.
Protesters for “Black Lives Matter” also delayed the start of the Seattle parade, parade-goers said.
“The pride celebration is a platform for that dialogue to happen,” San Francisco Pride board president Michelle Meow said this week. The large “resistance contingent” leading San Francisco’s parade includes groups that represent women, immigrants, African-Americans and others along with LGBT people.
New York parade-goers Zhane Smith-Garris, 20, Olivia Rengifo, 19 and Sierra Dias, 20, all black women from New Jersey, said they did not feel there was inequality in the movement.
“Pride is for gay people in general,” Dias said.
There were scattered counter protests and a few disruptions, including a small group in New York urging parade-goers to “repent for their sins.” But most attending were unified in celebration and in standing up against a presidential administration they find unsupportive.
“This year, especially, it’s a bit of a different atmosphere,” said Grace Cook, a 17-year-old from suburban Chicago who noted the more political tone in this year’s parade, including at least one anti-Trump float.Original Article: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/25/gay-pride-parades-sound-a-note-of-resistance-and-face-some-9/
SANTA ANA – A friendly game between former players of two professional Mexican soccer clubs on Sunday afternoon, June 25, turned violent when dozens of fans rushed the field and began beating each other, forcing authorities to suspend the match.
The “game of legends” between former Club America and Pumas players at Eddie West Field at 602 N. Flower St. was intended to benefit Santa Ana-based United Soccer Talents Foundation, which supports soccer players.
But shortly after 2:15 p.m., during halftime, about 50 fans began fighting, Santa Ana police Cmdr. Jeffrey Smith said. Officers working the event were supported by patrol staff to shut down the event and clear the field and stands.
A contingent of Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies were called for crowd control, and the Huntington Beach Police Department airship “Angel” assisted, Smith said.
Five suspects were detained, he said. No officers were injured and no property was damaged.
“The game did not continue after that,” Santa Ana police Sgt. Rosa Ponce de Leon said.
According to Enrique Gutierrez, a reporter and producer for Contragolpe.net who witnessed the match and brawl, some fans realized there was not enough security and a handful of them from Club America’s side got on the field and challenged Puma fans. Seconds later, a few Pumas fans accepted the challenge and got down on the field as well.
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A video on Contragolpe.net shows fans fist-fighting and several men knocked down on the ground, one appearing to be unconscious. A police officer is shown beating another man with a baton.
Support groups for both teams, known as “barras,” are among the toughest and most violent in all of Mexican soccer, Gutierrez said.
“It is too bad that reputation has crossed over here too,” he said.
At the half, the former Club America’s players led 2-1.
Some of the better known players included former Mexican national team members Luis Roberto Alves “Zague” and Alberto Garcia Aspe, Paraguay’s Salvador Cabañas, Chile’s Fabian Estay and Colombia’s Andres Chitiva.
var _informq = _informq || ; _informq.push([“embed”]);Original Article: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/25/santa-ana-soccer-game-turns-violent-as-fans-rush-field-get-into-fight/
The story behind #FlowersOnYourHeadOriginal Article: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/26/this-is-why-all-of-those-people-have-flowers-on-their-heads-at-arroyo-seco-weekend/
Here’s how Goldenvoice’s newest Southern California festival stacks up to its most recent onesOriginal Article: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/26/how-arroyo-seco-weekend-compares-to-coachella-stagecoach-desert-trip/
BIG BEAR — After six days of battling the Holcomb Fire, firefighters have reached 80 percent containment as of Saturday morning and Highway 18 has reopened, according to an update from San Bernardino National Forest Service.Acreage “shrunk” to 1,503, down 37 acres from Thursday’s estimate “due to more accurate mapping,” Forest Service officials said via Twitter just after 7 a.m. Saturday. […]Original Article: http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20170624/holcomb-fire-80-percent-contained-smoke-advisory-remains-for-victor-valley?rssfeed=true
As the tug-of-war between public and charter schools intensifies across California, a pressing concern for local schools has emerged: What will happen to nonclassroom-based charters?Thousands of High Desert parents opt for their children to be educated outside of the traditional school setting, one of the most popular choices being to send them to publicly-funded, independently-operated charter schools.Some of those […]Original Article: http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20170624/local-charter-schools-struggling-since-ruling-restricts-satellite-locations?rssfeed=true
APPLE VALLEY — He calls himself the “Trump of Apple Valley.”Like the president, Kerry Henard is brash and unapologetic. Unlike Donald Trump, who primarily uses Twitter, the town resident prefers YouTube and, more recently, Facebook to convey his message.Since March 2016, Henard has posted 179 videos to his YouTube channel that document what he sees as municipal ineptitude and hypocrisy. He has filmed everything from gushing sprinklers to “disgusting” park […]Original Article: http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20170624/digital-provocateur-resident-troll-gets-towns-attention-with-youtube-videos?rssfeed=true
ADELANTO — During a special meeting on Friday, the Adelanto Elementary School District Board of Trustees opted not to hire a search firm to seek a new superintendent, instead appointing Dr. Amy Nguyen-Hernandez to fill the role.Nguyen-Hernandez, who served as the interim superintendent for just two weeks before her appointment, said she is “honored” to fill the vacancy left by former superintendent Dr. Edwin Gomez since he […]Original Article: http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20170624/aesd-appoints-dr-amy-nguyen-hernandez-as-new-superintendent?rssfeed=true
SACRAMENTO — When I first learned about the existence of something called the California Board of Equalization, it sounded like something that might have existed in the novel, “Animal Farm.” All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Few things sound more totalitarian than a government agency in charge of equalizing things.
But California’s BOE, founded in 1879, simply is a banal tax board that oversees collection of the state’s sales and excise taxes. It also handles appeals of the state’s income and corporate taxes. The “equalization” has nothing to do with equalizing Californians’ financial status, but making sure “that county property tax assessment practices were equal and uniform throughout the state,” according to the agency’s own description.
Currently, it’s the only state tax bureau in the nation run by elected officials. The board has four elected members who represent large districts, plus the state controller. It has a staff of more than 4,000 people and offices across the state. There have been multiple efforts to eliminate the agency over the years, and in the wake of a series of recent problems, it looks like the agency finally is having its powers drastically reduced.
California legislators recently approved some urgency bills that are part of a budget deal that will surely be signed by the governor. One such bill takes away most of the board’s powers and replaces them with two new departments. The first agency will collect taxes and fees, explained the Sacramento Bee. The second will serve as a tax court run by administrative law judges. Almost all of the BOE employees will work under the new agencies.
Columnist Dan Walters argued in April, following a Department of Finance audit that was highly critical of the BOE, that it’s time for the board to go away after allegations “such as spending lavishly on personal offices, misusing civil service workers and interfering with pending tax cases.” Board members, he added, treat these elected posts as “well-paid sinecures or stepping stones to higher office.”
As a limited-government guy, I should be applauding the board’s dismemberment. We’re talking about gutting a tax board, which should be every libertarian’s dream. Few politicians really aspire to be members of the Board of Equalization, so Walters has a point about sinecures and stepping stones. Nevertheless, gutting the board is terrible news for taxpayers.
“It’s the difference between being represented by elected officials who are accountable to the people in their district or the IRS model,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. He doesn’t downplay the problems at the board, but argues that the Democratic-dominated Legislature targeted the BOE mainly because “it is perceived as too taxpayer-friendly.” Indeed, Republicans wanted the board to retain its powers.
“People still need representation for taxation,” said BOE member Diane Harkey, whose fourth district represents Orange, Imperial, Riverside, San Diego and parts of San Bernardino county. “People don’t have the time and resources to fight a tax agency with unlimited resources.” She said the agency’s problems could have been corrected. “Did they shut down the Senate?” she asked, after three senators faced criminal charges.
Indeed. Elected board members — perhaps given their interest in higher office — and their staffs frequently serve as advocates for the lowly taxpayer. Sure, the new agencies will have an adjudication process by which taxpayers can appeal their cases. But “administrative law judges” are not actual judges. They are agency employees. Would you want to throw yourself at the mercy of some faceless regulatory entity or an agency accountable to elected officials?
I know what I would choose. The current system works a little like a congressional office. There’s no saying your U.S. representative will be able to help you, but you’re more likely to get help from Congresswoman Whatshername than you are by sending letters to an unknown functionary in a governmental department.
Furthermore, elected board members have been sensible voices on important matters of tax policy. For instance, Board of Equalization member George Runner, a Republican, and Fiona Ma, a Democrat, have called for user-friendly tax rules for marijuana dispensaries. Currently, these businesses aren’t allowed to have bank accounts under federal law, but are supposed to pay taxes. Yet it’s frowned upon to show up at BOE offices toting bags of cash.
One rarely finds innovative policy solutions offered by unelected tax officials, who by the nature of their position rarely rock the boat or challenge current rules. Spend some time on the BOE website. So much of it is devoted to helping taxpayers navigate the system and exert their rights. At appeals hearings, elected officials often ask tough questions of the bureaucrats.
Sure, it’s a tax board that wants to collect our money. We shouldn’t get too maudlin about it. But I feel more equalized knowing there’s an elected official to turn to if I have a tax problem.
Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at email@example.com.Original Article: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/25/gutting-the-states-tax-board-is-bad-news-for-taxpayers/
For the last several months, all eyes have been on Georgia’s 6th Congressional District — a legislative seat that opened up when former Rep Tom Price vacated the post to become the secretary of Health and Human Services. Democrats, who raised and spent tens of millions of dollars on the race, touted political newcomer John Ossoff as the party’s best hope to capture a Republican district, in what they billed as a referendum on President Donald Trump.
But, to borrow a phrase from country singer Reba McIntyre, “that’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia” — at least for the Democrats. Republican candidate Karen Handel defeated Ossoff by a 52-48 margin, keeping the suburban Atlanta district in the GOP column.
As it turns out, to the surprise of many, “The Resistance” is quite resistible.
The only thing left to comfort depressed and demoralized Democrats at the Ossoff election night party was a cash bar; (yes, after raising a record amount of money he still charged supporters for their peach bellinis) and the hope of retaking control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election.
And there’s no way the Democrats win control of Congress without significant gains in California, as confirmed by newly elected state Democratic Chairman Eric Bauman, who told the New York Times, “If there’s a path to the Democratic Party regaining control of the House, it starts in California.”
So now the Democrats’ attention shifts west, specifically to four targeted seats in Orange County that were carried by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, currently held by Representatives Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, Darrell Issa, R-Vista, Ed Royce, R-Fullerton and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach.
What can California learn from the Georgia results? A lot.
First, GA-06 was an open seat in a district that didn’t vote for Trump in the primary and only went for him by one percentage point in the general election. The Democrats threw everything they had at it, making it the costliest congressional race in American history, and still came up short. In Orange County, longtime Republican officeholders will be running for re-election in districts that they all won handily in 2016, with the exception of Issa, who pulled it out in a squeaker.
Second, sometimes special elections produce atypical results, making the underdog party a lot more competitive than it probably should be. In May 2010 Republican Charles Djou shocked the world when he picked up a heavily Democratic open congressional seat in Hawaii after incumbent Democratic Congressman Neil Abercrombie resigned to focus on his campaign for governor. Djou was promptly dumped by voters the first time his name was on the ballot in a regularly scheduled election.
Midterm elections behave less like special elections and more like, well, midterm elections. So far, the “Obama coalition” of minorities, single women and young people has shown no ability to stay together without President Obama’s name on the ballot. The Democrats were crushed in 2010 and 2014 respectively, along with all four contested special elections this year and the U.S. Senate runoff in Louisiana.
The more elections we have, the more the “Obama coalition” looks less like a long-lasting political force and more like a cult of personality. In which case, President Obama looks less like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and more like L. Ron Hubbard.
Third, the Georgia election proved that Democrats will have a hard time winning in Orange County if Nancy Pelosi stays on as their leader, and Russia remains their issue. Pelosi may be a prolific fundraiser, but her left-wing San Francisco politics makes her political malathion to voters outside the Bay Area, and that includes Southern California.
My guess is that if Republicans take these races seriously, they will win in a walk. Why? Well, to borrow a phrase from Ray Charles, I’ve got “Georgia on my mind.”
John Phillips is a CNN political commentator and can be heard weekdays at 3 p.m. on “The Drive Home with Jillian Barberie and John Phillips” on KABC/AM 790.Original Article: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/25/socal-republicans-have-georgia-on-their-mind/