THE VOORHIS VOICE

Progressive Voice of the Pomona Valley

December 2015

 

        

www.claremontdems.org                                                                                        claremontdemocrats@yahoo.com

MEETINGS AND SPECIAL EVENTS

 
 
Saturday, Dec. 5, 4-6pm
Napier Center, Pilgrim Place
Holiday Party & Awards Ceremony
Marilee Scaff, David Levering, & Eve Mefferd, honorees
Elected officials will be present:
Show Up, Sound Off & Bring a friend
 
Fridays, Dec. 4, 11, & 18  12-2pm
Rabi’s Café, 930 Central Avenue, Upland 
Issues Committee Luncheon
No speaker: Bring your issue
This is a lotta fun.
 
 
Monthly Membership Meeting at Porter Hall
None held in December
 
 
I Really Enjoyed Thanksgiving
by John Forney, DCC President
 
Thanksgiving was filled with poignant significance this year as I realize that I might not have been here for it.  My open heart surgery has given me a new appreciation for some of those things in life we so often take for granted.  Family, friends and colleagues, a truly blue sky, justice work to be done, family and friends gathered around the table this past Thursday -- all an abundance of blessing. 
I want to thank the many friends in the club who have sent well wishes, cards and visited me during this period of recovery.  You are most valued colleagues in our efforts to turn our politics back toward sanity and functionality.  I especially want to thank our Board who in my absence so ably represented our club and took care of daily business.  You are a godsend.
 
We have a marvelous Holiday Party planned for Saturday, Dec. 5 (more elsewhere on that), and I look forward to joining you as we recognize two community stalwarts who over the decades have given the Claremont community so much: Marilee Scaff and David Levering. Eve Mefferd (YD’s CHS) will also receive recognition. We are expecting many elected officials as well. Show up and give them an earful.
 
As we move into 2016 much work awaits us, from getting a headquarters up and running to Get Out the Vote organizing later in the year.  I look forward to be able to join you out canvassing neighborhoods and registering new voters.  Remember, when you contemplate settling back on the couch in front of the TV, we have candidates who are really saying something.  We are not the party of half-baked merchants of fear and ignorance.  Yes, Marco, Ted and the rest, global warming is real.  And so is our groundswell to address it.
 
 
 
 
Holiday Party, Dec. 5
by Carolee Monroe
Our annual holiday party will honor the service of three Democrats in the Claremont community.   Marilee Scaff, David Levering and Eve Mefferd will be recognized for their many contributions. The event, on Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 4 until 6 PM at the Napier Center, Pilgrim Place, will also celebrate the club’s many accomplishments throughout the year. Joining us will be Supervisor Hilda Solis, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Assemblyman Chris Holden.  Many other elected officials including those of adjoining districts, along with members of our city council and school board have been invited.
 The program for the event includes a buffet dinner with non-alcoholic beverages.  All DCC members and interested Democrats are invited to attend.  Members are asked to renew their memberships for 2016 while others are encouraged to join.  Attendees are also asked to bring a dessert for 4 to share.  Additional parking will be at the Friend Meetinghouse lot.
 Marilee Scaff has held positions with the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education, the League of Women Voters, the United Nations Association-USA and Sustainable Claremont.   She has spent hundred years focusing on child and adolescent welfare and education, the environment and local control of water.
David Levering has been a long-time progressive activist. As a member of the Democratic Club of Claremont, he has served on many committees including the writing of “The Claremont Manifesto” and the establishment of The American Institute for Progressive Democracy. Levering ran for Congress to expose David Dreier’s link with the Gingrich faction. He is Professor History Emeritus, Cal Poly Pomona and past-Chairman of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.  
Eve Mefferd has been a member of the Young Democrats Club at Claremont High School, serving as an officer for three years. She currently is the club president. Mefferd was given the Claremont Outstanding Academic Achievement Award by the Claremont City Council in her in her sophomore and junior years. She is a member of the National Honor Society.  Mefferd has contributed to the DCC as a volunteer staffing our booths and designing and creating materials for our booths and parade entries.
 
 
Syrians: Immigrants or Refugees?
by Carolee Monroe
A recent program of the Pomona Valley Chapter of the United Nations Association-USA featured Dr.Adnan Aswad, Dr. Barbara Aswad and Dr. Abdul Kublan.  Entitled “Immigrants or Refugees: the Syrian Diaspora,” the program summarized the history behind the conflict in Syria along with the results of the strife. Adnan Aswad began the  presentation by addressing the first part of the topic with definitions of “refugee” and “immigrant,” thus showing that the 5 million Syrians who are and have been leaving their homeland are refugees as they flee from the destruction that five years of war has caused. Fifty-five percent of the Syrian population is now displaced. Adnan Aswad then talked about Syrians abroad, giving information about the movement of the refugees as they travel to and throughout Europe. Included in the presentation was information about Europe’s open-borders Schengen Agreement, refugee status and camps, resettlement, citizenship and statelessness, peace conferences and resistance by EU countries toward accepting refugees. 
The ongoing conflict in Syria has many “players.” Within Syria, government forces oppose Al Qaeda, ISIS, and local splinter groups. The EU and the USA back the Syrian government and support the so-called “moderate opposition,” rebels against the government.. Russia and Iran oppose the Syrian government, Al Qaeda, and Isis as well as the rebels whom the USA and EU support. Regional conflicts are between Hezbollah (representing Iran, Syria and Lebanon) versus Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Gulf States. Turkey opposes Isis but attacks the Kurds who have been the most effective anti-Isis military force in the region.
Adnan Aswad then listed the many needs of the refugees and how we can help: money, material goods, housing, transportation, education and contacting our elected officials advocating support for the Graham-Leahy Bill (S.2145). 
Most Saudis Support Isis
You might think that Isis has no friends. That would be wrong as some of our best friends are also their friends. “In an online poll conducted in July 2014, a formidable 92 percent of Saudi citizens agreed that ISIS “conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law.” NY Review of Books,
 
 
 
Stealing the Presidential Election
By Bob Gerecke
 
Under our Constitution, the President of the United States is elected by an Electoral College.  Each state is assigned one Electoral College vote for each of its members of Congress, i.e., two votes for its two Senators and one vote for each of its representatives in the House of Representatives.
 
The U.S. Constitution does not say how the states shall award their Electoral College votes.  Instead, Article II Section 1 empowers each state’s Legislature to determine the manner of appointing that state’s Presidential Electors.  A state can award all of its votes to the Presidential candidate who has received the largest popular vote in that state.  It can award its votes to all Presidential candidates in proportion to their percentage of the state’s popular vote.  It can award its votes district-by-district, i.e., if the Democrat received the largest popular vote in 5 House districts but the Republican did so in 7 districts, the Democratic Presidential candidate would receive 5 Electoral College votes, and the Republican would receive 7, with the 2 votes which the state has because of its two Senators either awarded to the candidate who received most of the statewide vote or else split between the two candidates.  It can even award all of its votes to the candidate who received the largest popular vote nationwide.
 
In some state governments which they controlled during redistricting after the 2010 census, Republicans gerrymandered Congressional districts to ensure that a majority of House seats were won by Republicans even where a majority of votes statewide were cast for Democratic candidates.  The result has been a substantial Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
The Chairman of the Republican National Committee has proposed that those gerrymandered states award their Electoral College votes district-by-district.  Because of gerrymandering, the Republican Presidential candidate would be awarded most of those states’ votes, even if a majority of those states’ and the nation’s votes are cast for the Democratic nominee. Republican-controlled states may change their states’ laws to do this just in time for the 2016 Presidential election, leaving no time to counteract it. In this way, Republicans can use their gerrymandered redistricting to control the Presidency as well as the House of Representatives.
 
States can be prevented from doing this by amending the Constitution, but that’s not feasible, because such an amendment would never receive the necessary 2/3 majority in both houses of the Congress, especially with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives.  It can also be prevented by passing ballot measures in states which have an initiative process.  However, only three of the seven states which Republicans have grossly gerrymandered have an initiative process, and even in those states a measure cannot be passed in time to protect theft of the 2016 Presidential election.
 
Even if gerrymandering of Electoral College votes can’t be prevented, nevertheless it can be neutralized.  Remember I said above that a state can award all of its Electoral College votes to the candidate who received the largest popular vote nationwide.  If enough states do this, their votes will constitute a majority of the Electoral College and will elect the nationwide popular winner. There is a movement to accomplish this.  Its website is http://www.nationalpopularvote.com
 
So far 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to award their votes in this manner; it will take effect when enough states have done so to constitute a majority of the Electoral College.  These 11 jurisdictions have 165 (61%) of the 270 electoral votes needed.  Success in getting the remaining 105 isn't a slam dunk, but it's possible -- and it’s necessary to avoid Republican control of the White House.
 
In California, the bill has already become law, with some Republican support.  On August 8, 2011, Governor Brown signed the National Popular Vote bill.  It was AB 459 by Jerry Hill of San Mateo, co-authored in the Assembly by Beall, Eng, Huffman, Ma, Mendoza, Portantino, and Williams, and in the Senate by Calderon, Hancock, Leno, Lieu, and Wolk.
 
If Republicans adopt the advice of their Chairman to award Electoral College votes according to the winners in their gerrymandered districts, and if the movement to award a majority of the Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote fails, Republicans will capture the Presidency not only in 2016; they may capture it permanently.
 
You see, they have also gerrymandered their state legislatures, which will draw their new U.S. House and state legislative districts after the next census, and the next, and the next, etc.  They can repeat their gerrymandering indefinitely, and with it they can control the Electoral College and the Presidency as well as the House of Representatives indefinitely.
 
I have asked (several times) southern California’s delegates to the Democratic National Committee to work hard on getting more states to adopt “National Popular Vote” legislation.  As far as I can tell, it’s not yet a DNC priority.  If it is, it’s being kept quiet, perhaps to avoid alerting and alarming the Republicans, although that won’t work, because Republican legislators in any state will notice as soon as Democratic legislators introduce bills to accomplish it.  Perhaps the DNC has given up hope of getting it adopted.  If so, the DNC has for all practical purposes given the Republicans the opportunity to own the Presidency for the foreseeable future.
 
The odds are that Republican legislators in red states and swing states will oppose “National Popular Vote”, so passing it in enough states to constitute an Electoral College majority will require a battle.  It’s a necessary battle worth fighting.  We can help to warn our Party’s leaders by bringing this issue to the attention of President Obama, our U.S. Senators, and nearby Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  I will continue to fight for a L.A. County Democratic Party resolution urging the DNC to support the “National Popular Vote” movement.
 
Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?
Let ‘Em Hear from You!
 
 
 
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The Voorhis Voice is published by the Democratic Club of Claremont, PO Box 1201, Claremont CA 91711.  The newsletter’s name commemorates the late Jerry Voorhis, a talented and courageous Congress member from Claremont.
 
 
Newsletter Editor: Ivan Light
                                        claremontdemocrats@yahoo.com
  
 
 
Debi Evans
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