Weekend Open Thread: Vern’s March Letter to Anaheim Democrats




Like I already told you once, I’ve somehow become the Vice President of the Anaheim Democratic Club, and my main responsibility is writing a newsletter each month.  With apologies to our non-Democrat friends, I think this month’s letter makes an okay Weekend Open Thread;  you’ll notice that the only Republicans I insult are the ones in Washington.  And Lucille Kring.  This IS your Weekend Open Thread, talk about anything here or not here.

Happy Vernal Equinox, Anaheim Democrats, what’s up.

The Train Wreck – slash – Clown Show in Washington continues to fascinate and terrify us to the point of paralysis, but on the day I write this we Democrats have something to celebrate: the Republicans were unable to kill Obamacare, so we’ve still got it! What happened? Well, from way over here on the left it seems like all Washington Republicans are equally mean. But if you look closer, the vast majority of them are just mean, but there’s also, on the far right, the “Freedom Caucus” (formerly “Tea Party”) who are VERY mean, and off toward the center are the “moderates,” who are JUST SORT OF mean.

The Trump/Ryan healthcare plan, written by the insurance companies, was carefully tailored to be JUST THE RIGHT, Goldilocks amount of mean, so as to get the most possible Republican votes. Look – it woulda knocked countless folks off their healthcare coverage, provided a huge tax cut for the rich, and still added to the deficit – just plain mean! But it wasn’t mean enough for the Freedom Caucus, and it was a little TOO mean for many moderates. And as Ryan tried to make it a little meaner for the Freedom Caucus, he started to lose more moderates. Long story short, “Repeal and replace” just couldn’t be done. LOSERS.

Here in Anaheim, our one Council Democrat, José Moreno, continues to do the best he can, but it becomes clearer and clearer, that even though he has some partial allies with the nicer Republicans on council (on such matters as fiscal responsibility, transparency and not giving out hundreds of millions of dollars to well-connected businesses) he’s still the only Democrat, and we could use some more next go-round. He is the strongest member on improving police oversight and accountability, and he appears to be the only member in favor of ending the cruel and unconstitutional Camping Ban against the homeless, even as they continue to die at a rate of two per week without their tents and sleeping bags.

Meanwhile, his enemies on both left and right are trying to use the hot-button issue of Sanctuary City status against him. Councilwoman Lucille Kring got what she thought was a clever idea and wanted to force a vote on the issue, simply because she thought forcing José to go on record in favor of sanctuary would hurt his chances of re-election in 2018. For some reason this vote never happened. Maybe the Orange Juice Blog punctured the whole bubble by letting Anaheim know that WE ARE ALREADY A SANCTUARY CITY, in every meaningful sense.

There was an injustice a few weeks ago on Palais Street in the middle of our fair town. Caught on video that millions of Americans saw, an off-duty LA cop living on that Anaheim street began manhandling a small 13-year old, trying to drag him onto his lawn, over some dumb dispute about other kids walking across his corner lawn on the way home from school. Friends of the boy joined in and tried to separate the two; the cop eventually panicked, pulled out a gun and fired it, fortunately hitting nobody. Here’s the messed-up part: the rogue cop faces no charges at all, not even at work, while the young man and one of his friends are facing charges of “assault on a police officer.” This is a huge injustice: the cop never identified himself as a cop, and all of the “assault” came from the cop’s side. Our great party passed a resolution on this subject! 

We attended most of the trial of the family of Monique Deckard against the city of Anaheim – that’s the mentally ill central Anaheim lady who was killed by three panicked Anaheim police when she came out her front door with two knives a couple years ago. This was historic in a couple ways: It was the first time, since Anaheim cops started wearing body cameras, that the public and jury were allowed to see the resulting footage; and the jury awarded a small amount to the family, agreeing that the cops bore some responsibility for how things happened. The Orange Juice Blog covered the trial here.

Our Democratic Congressman Lou Correa (the new Loretta) has been doing a pretty good job standing up to the Trump administration especially on immigration issues. He did somewhat “step in it” last week though: A vehicle resembling an Immigration Enforcement (ICE) vehicle was caught on film driving slowly across the Christ Cathedral parking lot. This was handed over to the bishop, who complained to both DHS leadership, ICE leadership, and Congressman Lou; Lou in turn made a big fuss. But it turned out that was a Customs Enforcement vehicle that was there for a color guard for a fallen comrade (how did the Bishop not know that?) A couple facts remain: that was an improper use of an official vehicle according to the rules we found, AND this confusion should have been foreseeable in today’s paranoid climate. Well, never mind, keep speaking truth to power, Lou!

What have our people in Sacramento been up to? Well, I accidentally butt-dialed our fine assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva the other day, so ended up asking what she’s been busy with, and boy has she been busy! I wish I’d-a written it all down – now I can’t get through to her! But that included work to keep tuition down at state colleges, work to defend our state legally from whatever the Trump administration tries to do to punish us, and a new plan to SAVE FULLERTON’S COYOTE HILLS from rapacious Chevron – Coyote Hills which we should mention were betrayed by, among others, bad Fullerton Democrats Doug Chaffee and Jan Flory.

Everybody make calls for California’s single-payer healthcare bill, Toni Atkins’ SB 562, which will begin its trip thru the Senate soon: If you’re in Anaheim you’re represented by either Josh Newman (714) 671-9474 (who does support the bill but needs to know you’ve got his back!) or Janet Nguyen (714) 741-1034, who probably never will but call her on principle!

Okay, take it easy! The dude abides.

March 24, 2017

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.