A couple nights ago I attended a meeting of the city council on whether to declare my city, Culver City, a sanctuary city. It was already acting as one, but the measure made it actual law.

Culver City is its own city within LA county, with its own police force; I live on the dividing line, which means that if I observe a crime being committed on my side of the street I call Culver City police, but if it's across the street it's a matter for LAPD. Culver City police is the police force I volunteer with. It practices neighborhood policing, in which police are assigned to a specific neighborhood for years and sometimes permanently, so they can get to know who lives there and what's normal and what isn't. They also believe in de-escalating situations rather than charging in with guns blazing, and I have seen this in action. No organization is perfect... but they're really good.

One of my neighbors emailed me to inform me of the sanctuary city vote, and so I showed up. I live in a fourplex, and found at the meeting that all four apartments in my building had at least one representative at the meeting: a 100% building turn-out! I'm in the first row in the black jacket. The guy on my right is my downstairs neighbor.

It was my first city council meeting. There was a huge turn-out consisting of hundreds of Culver City residents and eight or ten non-resident paid Trump agitators. The Trump agitators were next to me, against the wall.

Because of the huge turn-out, the council had other matters go first. I was charmed by the multiple Farmer's Market vendors who spoke to urge the council to re-hire a guy named Emanuel who had been running the market for nine years, all eloquently praising him, often mentioning "despite his youth." When they were done, Emanuel himself spoke. He mentioned being 29, so he started when he was 20! Impressive. He was voted in. I was also intrigued by the several vendors who made references to the previous manager leaving under what were apparently mysterious circumstances ("Emanuel took over after [I forget his name] left... for whatever reason," and "Since [Whover] went... wherever he went," etc).

Then we moved on to the main matter. 79 people spoke, at two minutes each. All but one of the actual Culver City residents were in favor of the sanctuary city resolution, which is pretty amazingly unified. It was cool to hear everyone's stories - immigrants, descendants of Holocaust survivors, lawyers making lawyerly suggestions, teenagers, pastors, veterans, and a hilarious number of parents of exactly two children, many of them attending the same high school. (Culver City has the fourth most diverse school population in America - 25% African-American, Asian American, Latino/a, and White.)

The Trump agitators loudly booed and cat-called Every. Single. Speaker. This despite the council members repeatedly telling them not to. A high school student from an immigrant family made a very moving speech, and started crying when he spoke about his family's struggles; the Trump agitators loudly mocked him. At that, the entire audience got up and gave the student a standing ovation.

The agitators' speeches were clearly meant for some audience other than their actual one; Trumpers on youtube, I think. They threatened and insulted the council members and audience, yelled, "Sessions is coming for you!" invoked strange Biblical conspiracy theories, and said, "They're gonna rape your women!" and "They're gonna kill you all!" Culver City is extremely liberal and this did not go over well.

The meeting started at 7:00 PM, and ended at a quarter to 1:00 AM. By around 11:00, the heckling and booing was getting pretty old. A Muslim speaker who was calling for peace and brotherhood got called a murderer and terrorist. At that point, I snapped, "SHUT UP!" and a council member had the loudest yeller evicted. When he was allowed back in about half an hour later, he brandished and set off a taser. He was then escorted out by the cops and not allowed back in.

The remaining agitators got bored and left before the actual vote. The council members spent about an hour debating the actual provisions of the measure, with input from the chief of police and the city attorney. In the end, the measure passed 3-1 (the dissenter also voted for sanctuary, but as a symbolic measure only without specific provisions), with one provision stricken (providing funds for immigrants' legal defense) and a few others reworded. Victory!

The whole thing got me interested in city politics, which I haven't been involved in previously in that sense. It was also nice to do something as a part of my community, after mostly living under a rock for the last two years.
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Yesterday night, when I had a long and grueling tech rehearsal for the Virginia Avenue Project (a theatre mentoring group for low-income kids that I've volunteered with for the last fourteen years), summed up my feelings about the last election: joy and sorrow, anger and hope.

The kids were overjoyed at Obama's victory, and sad and angry and confused at the passage of the discriminatory Prop 8. They told me they ran to friends' houses and banged on the doors cheering, and asked me how anyone could seriously believe that children didn't already know that some people are gay, and why it mattered to anyone whether or not someone else got married.

These kids are Asian, white, Latino/a, African-American, and probably other mixtures and races that I'll only know if it happens to come up in conversation. They're all under eighteen, and eager to vote when they're old enough. They wrote the plays we're teching-- one about a gay man trying to get up his nerve to come out to his parents.

I've already seen a lot of blame being handed out to certain groups, primarily African-Americans and Mormons, for the passage of Prop 8. There's nothing wrong with looking at the demographics of the vote. But let's neither forget that there's plenty of blame to go around-- no racial group that I know of had less than about 49% of its total voters voting for Prop 8 and against justice and equality-- and let's not become the forces of the very hatred and group stereotyping that we deplore in others.

If the Presidential election was consistent with pre-election polling, military veterans, white men, and people over the age of fifty, as groups, voted for McCain. As a group, Latinos, African-Americans, Mormons, and people over the age of fifty voted for Proposition 8. But I cheered for Obama and booed the passage of Prop 8 with a male Latino/white military veteran, and the next day I did the same with senior citizens, African-Americans, and Mormons. And even teenagers are not a right-thinking monolith, though I have to say that spending time with my small, self-selected crew of them gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Groups are made of individuals. Stereotypes are not reality. Plenty of GLBT people are also African-American or Mormon. When we meet the enemy, let it not be us.

Here's a good column on the subject by the always-worthwhile Ta-Nehisi Coates on Prop 8. His commenters, generally an intelligent bunch, are also worth reading. I didn't read all of them, but the first few were right on the money.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry will return to continue the fight. Backstage machinations are ongoing. An announcement of our new direction should be up within the next week or so.
Yesterday night, when I had a long and grueling tech rehearsal for the Virginia Avenue Project (a theatre mentoring group for low-income kids that I've volunteered with for the last fourteen years), summed up my feelings about the last election: joy and sorrow, anger and hope.

The kids were overjoyed at Obama's victory, and sad and angry and confused at the passage of the discriminatory Prop 8. They told me they ran to friends' houses and banged on the doors cheering, and asked me how anyone could seriously believe that children didn't already know that some people are gay, and why it mattered to anyone whether or not someone else got married.

These kids are Asian, white, Latino/a, African-American, and probably other mixtures and races that I'll only know if it happens to come up in conversation. They're all under eighteen, and eager to vote when they're old enough. They wrote the plays we're teching-- one about a gay man trying to get up his nerve to come out to his parents.

I've already seen a lot of blame being handed out to certain groups, primarily African-Americans and Mormons, for the passage of Prop 8. There's nothing wrong with looking at the demographics of the vote. But let's neither forget that there's plenty of blame to go around-- no racial group that I know of had less than about 49% of its total voters voting for Prop 8 and against justice and equality-- and let's not become the forces of the very hatred and group stereotyping that we deplore in others.

If the Presidential election was consistent with pre-election polling, military veterans, white men, and people over the age of fifty, as groups, voted for McCain. As a group, Latinos, African-Americans, Mormons, and people over the age of fifty voted for Proposition 8. But I cheered for Obama and booed the passage of Prop 8 with a male Latino/white military veteran, and the next day I did the same with senior citizens, African-Americans, and Mormons. And even teenagers are not a right-thinking monolith, though I have to say that spending time with my small, self-selected crew of them gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Groups are made of individuals. Stereotypes are not reality. Plenty of GLBT people are also African-American or Mormon. When we meet the enemy, let it not be us.

Here's a good column on the subject by the always-worthwhile Ta-Nehisi Coates on Prop 8. His commenters, generally an intelligent bunch, are also worth reading. I didn't read all of them, but the first few were right on the money.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry will return to continue the fight. Backstage machinations are ongoing. An announcement of our new direction should be up within the next week or so.
rachelmanija: (Barack)
( Nov. 5th, 2008 08:35 am)
This is a really bittersweet election-- Obama won, but so did the loathesome, cruel, discriminatory Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California. The legal status of thousands of married couples is now completely up in the air.

My hope is that the next four years will either let more Californians meet the married gay couples in their midst and see that they're not that scary after all, or, as is more likely, that the legal battle to divorce married couples against their will is going to be so mean and hateful that it will end up convincing those same Californians that it's wrong to force couples to divorce and also wrong to refuse them the right to marry. One way or another, I can't imagine not having a "reverse Proposition 8" proposal on the ballot four years from now. And I hope we've gained four years' worth of feelings of compassion and justice.
rachelmanija: (Barack)
( Nov. 5th, 2008 08:35 am)
This is a really bittersweet election-- Obama won, but so did the loathesome, cruel, discriminatory Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California. The legal status of thousands of married couples is now completely up in the air.

My hope is that the next four years will either let more Californians meet the married gay couples in their midst and see that they're not that scary after all, or, as is more likely, that the legal battle to divorce married couples against their will is going to be so mean and hateful that it will end up convincing those same Californians that it's wrong to force couples to divorce and also wrong to refuse them the right to marry. One way or another, I can't imagine not having a "reverse Proposition 8" proposal on the ballot four years from now. And I hope we've gained four years' worth of feelings of compassion and justice.
Adrian has informed me that he may not be available for dinner on Tuesday, as "I'm expecting to stand in line at the polls for ten hours! And if anyone tries to intimidate anyone from voting, I'm going to stop that! So I might get arrested."

Best excuse ever! I told him that if he's still in line when I show up, I'll wait with him, and if he's in jail, I'll bail him out. And if I'm still in line or in jail, I'll take a rain check with no hard feelings. I might demand compensatory sexual favors later.

After that conversation, I decided to set my Election Day alarm for 6:00 AM and bring food, water, and plenty of reading material. Though I don't expect turn-out to be that crazy where I am, and expect it to be even less so in San Dimas, Adrian's teeny little town.

I tried to sign up for the CREDO text message election action alerts, but was foiled-- I guess you need to have CREDO's cell phone service?

Perhaps, assuming I don't get stuck in line for eight hours myself, I'll cruise around and see if any polling place needs Election Fairy water or coffee or snack deliveries.
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Adrian has informed me that he may not be available for dinner on Tuesday, as "I'm expecting to stand in line at the polls for ten hours! And if anyone tries to intimidate anyone from voting, I'm going to stop that! So I might get arrested."

Best excuse ever! I told him that if he's still in line when I show up, I'll wait with him, and if he's in jail, I'll bail him out. And if I'm still in line or in jail, I'll take a rain check with no hard feelings. I might demand compensatory sexual favors later.

After that conversation, I decided to set my Election Day alarm for 6:00 AM and bring food, water, and plenty of reading material. Though I don't expect turn-out to be that crazy where I am, and expect it to be even less so in San Dimas, Adrian's teeny little town.

I tried to sign up for the CREDO text message election action alerts, but was foiled-- I guess you need to have CREDO's cell phone service?

Perhaps, assuming I don't get stuck in line for eight hours myself, I'll cruise around and see if any polling place needs Election Fairy water or coffee or snack deliveries.
Tags:
Quote of the day regarding McCain's debate performance, from an LA Times article:

A Republican media savant with no small experience in presidential politics e-mailed me, “He’s Bob Dole morphed into Howard Beale from Network. I’ve had fistfights with guys who looked less angry. I don’t see how he gets on a commercial airline and passes security.”

At this point, I only see five scenarios in which McCain could win the election:

1. The Bradley Effect. This is a controversial theory that white people lie on polls and say they'll vote for black candidates when they actually won't, for fear of being considered racist. Note that it is a theory about lying in polls, not about racism in general. If the Bradley Effect is not actually occurring in the McCain-Obama election, it does not mean that there is no racism: it means that the racism is already reflected accurately in the polls. I personally think that the polls probably do accurately reflect the extent to which racism is affecting the election and that the Bradley Effect, if it exists, will be too small to make a difference.

2. Vote fix via Diebold voting machines. I really hope the Obama campaign has a plan for this possibility.

3. A real or fake al Qaida tape endorsing Obama in order to throw the election to McCain in the hope of igniting a world war when he launches a war against Iran. Hopefully this won't happen, and if it does happen, hopefully it won't work.

4. A terrorist attack, either by an American masquerading as a Middle Eastern terrorist group in order to throw the election, or by an actual Middle Eastern terrorist group in order to throw the election. I really hope this doesn't happen. But if it does, I hope everyone votes exactly the same way they were planning to vote the day before, or it will really be a case of letting the terrorists win.

5. Obama reveals himself to be a lizard-alien on live TV. Though honestly, so long as he doesn't also reveal that the purpose of his health care plan is to keep Americans as healthy as possible because they taste better that way, I would probably vote for him anyway.

ETA: Or assassination. I think this thought upsets me so much that I didn't even think of it until I posted. But I don't think that would elect McCain, I think it would make for Biden in a landslide. God I hope Obama's Secret Service is good.
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Quote of the day regarding McCain's debate performance, from an LA Times article:

A Republican media savant with no small experience in presidential politics e-mailed me, “He’s Bob Dole morphed into Howard Beale from Network. I’ve had fistfights with guys who looked less angry. I don’t see how he gets on a commercial airline and passes security.”

At this point, I only see five scenarios in which McCain could win the election:

1. The Bradley Effect. This is a controversial theory that white people lie on polls and say they'll vote for black candidates when they actually won't, for fear of being considered racist. Note that it is a theory about lying in polls, not about racism in general. If the Bradley Effect is not actually occurring in the McCain-Obama election, it does not mean that there is no racism: it means that the racism is already reflected accurately in the polls. I personally think that the polls probably do accurately reflect the extent to which racism is affecting the election and that the Bradley Effect, if it exists, will be too small to make a difference.

2. Vote fix via Diebold voting machines. I really hope the Obama campaign has a plan for this possibility.

3. A real or fake al Qaida tape endorsing Obama in order to throw the election to McCain in the hope of igniting a world war when he launches a war against Iran. Hopefully this won't happen, and if it does happen, hopefully it won't work.

4. A terrorist attack, either by an American masquerading as a Middle Eastern terrorist group in order to throw the election, or by an actual Middle Eastern terrorist group in order to throw the election. I really hope this doesn't happen. But if it does, I hope everyone votes exactly the same way they were planning to vote the day before, or it will really be a case of letting the terrorists win.

5. Obama reveals himself to be a lizard-alien on live TV. Though honestly, so long as he doesn't also reveal that the purpose of his health care plan is to keep Americans as healthy as possible because they taste better that way, I would probably vote for him anyway.

ETA: Or assassination. I think this thought upsets me so much that I didn't even think of it until I posted. But I don't think that would elect McCain, I think it would make for Biden in a landslide. God I hope Obama's Secret Service is good.
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Had I still had any shred of respect remaining for John McCain, I would have lost it when the moderator asked them about late-term abortions. Obama said they had to remain legal if the mother's life or health was in danger. McCain sneered, made air quotes with his fingers as he said, "The mother's health" in contemptuous tones, and added, "That's an extremist pro-abortion position."

...I don't need to break your hearts with tragic links proving that yes, pregnancy can be dangerous and can actually kill women, right?

In related news, given that it's on the yahoo news site in a set of 499 debate photos, I guess this photo was not doctored. Um, wow. McCain attempts to eat Obama's brain.
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Had I still had any shred of respect remaining for John McCain, I would have lost it when the moderator asked them about late-term abortions. Obama said they had to remain legal if the mother's life or health was in danger. McCain sneered, made air quotes with his fingers as he said, "The mother's health" in contemptuous tones, and added, "That's an extremist pro-abortion position."

...I don't need to break your hearts with tragic links proving that yes, pregnancy can be dangerous and can actually kill women, right?

In related news, given that it's on the yahoo news site in a set of 499 debate photos, I guess this photo was not doctored. Um, wow. McCain attempts to eat Obama's brain.
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rachelmanija: (Heroes: Save the world)
( Mar. 21st, 2008 12:42 pm)
The other night I went to the peace rally at the Federal Building. It was small but enthusiastic-- as was the Free Tibet rally across the street! There was lots of supportive honking and peace-sign flashing, especially from the city bus drivers. It was a cold night, colder than I remember any others this year. Our breath condensed in the air, and my fingers got so numb I could barely hold the candle.

Remember how I met [livejournal.com profile] dawnybee at the WGA rally several months ago? She was at this one too, though neither of us knew that the other would be there. Synchronicity in action... and some more when the guy we got to take our photographs turned out to do business in Pune, an Indian city I've been to a ton of times... the same business I'm in, TV animation. Schmoozing at a peace rally: only in LA.

Here's Dawnybee's photos. I'm the woman in the jean jacket. The intent was just to cover the event, not make art, but the blurred lights in the background are surprisingly pretty.

Next time I'll try to alert you folks earlier to events so more of you can attend, should you support the cause. I will probably be hitting the streets in support of gay marriage next, since I'm on some mailing list alerts for that.

Make your voices heard.
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rachelmanija: (Heroes: Save the world)
( Mar. 21st, 2008 12:42 pm)
The other night I went to the peace rally at the Federal Building. It was small but enthusiastic-- as was the Free Tibet rally across the street! There was lots of supportive honking and peace-sign flashing, especially from the city bus drivers. It was a cold night, colder than I remember any others this year. Our breath condensed in the air, and my fingers got so numb I could barely hold the candle.

Remember how I met [livejournal.com profile] dawnybee at the WGA rally several months ago? She was at this one too, though neither of us knew that the other would be there. Synchronicity in action... and some more when the guy we got to take our photographs turned out to do business in Pune, an Indian city I've been to a ton of times... the same business I'm in, TV animation. Schmoozing at a peace rally: only in LA.

Here's Dawnybee's photos. I'm the woman in the jean jacket. The intent was just to cover the event, not make art, but the blurred lights in the background are surprisingly pretty.

Next time I'll try to alert you folks earlier to events so more of you can attend, should you support the cause. I will probably be hitting the streets in support of gay marriage next, since I'm on some mailing list alerts for that.

Make your voices heard.
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