Progressive Voice of the Pomona Valley

MARCH 2019








Fridays, 11:30-1:00 pm 
Issues Luncheon

Village Grill, Claremont
Get informed – and inform


Friday, March 812-1:30


Eddies’ Italian Eatery

Stater Bros Shopping Center (Foothill Blvd)

Speaker: Christine Gatson-Michalak from White People for Black Lives; also from Claremont AWARE (The Alliance of White anti-Racists Everywhere): ‘Identifying Your Personal Stake in Collective Liberation’.

Cost: $17 includes non-alcoholic beverage, tax and tip - Italian dishes, some vegetarian. Note: the meal is served promptly at noonthe talk begins at 12:45 and is free and open to the public


Saturday, March 16, 9:30am

Executive Board Meeting


Monday, March 25, 7-9 pm

Member’s Meeting

Napier Center, Pilgrim Place

Speaker: Luis Duran , California Alliance of Retired Americans.

The meeting is free and open to the public.  A club members  ;business meeting (beginning about 8:15) will follow the speaker 





March 4:  Indivisible General Meeting:  Rick Rosenbluth, Chair of the Claremont Planning Commission, will discuss affordable housing and re-development. &n bsp;The meeting will be in the Louise Roberts Room, Claremont United Church of Christ,  7:00 PM

March 4:  Andrea Ritchie, author, attorney, Senior Soros Justice Fellow, Researcher-in-Residence at Barnard Center for Research on Women, ‘Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color’, 7pm Balch Auditorium, Scripps College.  First in a two-part series on Gender, Policing and Public Health


March 10:  The League of Women Voters - Mt. Baldy AreaGun Legislation in the Golden State: Perspectives on Reform from Legislators and Activists.  Hahn 101 Pomona College 1:30 – 3:30. RSVP: Kristi Lopez@sen.ca.gov/909-599-7351. Part of a yearlong speaker series on gun violence.


March 20:  Progressive Christians Uniting / Conscientious Projector series.  Film is Cheshire Ohio – a story of Appalachia, of power and control by American Electric Power, disregard for the community and people of Cheshire… and the region and beyond. 7 pm, Claremont Forum (west end of the Packing House.)


March 29Fifteenth annual Cesar ChavezBreakfast sponsored by the Latino and Latina Roundtable. from 8 A. M. to 10 A. M. (with registration between 7 and 8 AM) at the Sheraton Fairplex  Conference Center601 W McKinley Ave., Gate 3 in Pomona. For registration information go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/latinoa-roundtable-presents-15th-annual-cesar-e-chavez-breakfast-tickets-56453661421?fbclid=IwAR0NysgBKwXE4IRnaE6QEWtlP7S_HaPrcKlOCYwRU2ROIXaX4q5Se_CRiyg&utm_source=Unknown+List&utm_campaign=cbc8c8586d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_02_15_07_47&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_-cbc8c8586d-


April 14: Claremont Earth Day

The DCC's Earth Day booth has doubled! With so much to share about the “Green New Deal”, animals, foods, crafts and thought-provoking messages will be displayed and dispersed.  Our “Bug Man”, Stephen Simon, will provide anyone who chooses the opportunity to get up close and personal with a tarantula and other many-legged creatures.  Our popular Cricket Cookies are back as they were a favored item last year.  Of course, reasons to consume bug protein over beef will be displayed.  So too will be information about saving bees, along with bee magnets as reminders to take home.  We will be adding information about wind technology and giving away pin-wheels. The event on Sunday, April 14, will be along Second Street and coincide with the hours (8 AM - 1 PM) of the Farmers Market. 



Democratic Club of Claremont News

From the Editor:


The calendar section of the VV continues to expand as I get more information about relevant meetings and events.  If you know of any that I’m missing please let me know.

The first essay in the new California’s Great Progressives series – on Carey McWilliams -  seems from comments I have received, to have been a success.  The second in the series, on Jerry Voorhis, is being published this month.


Merrill Ring


Email Contact:  on the subject line write EDITOR VV and address the message to m36ring@earthlink.net


President’s Letter

In the transition from former President John Forney to incoming President Sam Pedroza, the matter of writing a piece for the Voorhis Voice has been waived.  Next month Sam will take up the task.



Club Elections

At the February member’s meeting, the following people were elected to DCC offices:  Sam Pedroza, President; Chris Naticchia, Vice-President Programs; Murray Monroe, Vice-President Membership; Carol Whitson, Treasurer, Carolee Monroe, Recording Secretary; John Forney, Corresponding Secretary. They plus people appointed to offices will constitute the Executive Board for the next couple of years.



Summaries of Talks at DCC February Events


Robert Blackey, Professor Emeritus of History, CSU San Bernardino, discussed the idea of American Exceptionalism at the club luncheon on February 8.  Notes taken by Carolee Monroe.


Calvinists in the 16th century, believing that some people are predetermined before birth to be given grace and entrance into heaven, used the term ‘exceptionalism’ to talk of such people.  . Many other religionsas well as ethnic and political groups, have thought of themselves as exceptions to the general run of mankind: Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Mormon, MarxistChinese.  Americans expressed our Exceptionalism as Manifest Destiny thereby justifying expansionism and the treatment of Native Americans.  

Adam Michnik, the Polish thinker, describednationalism as an egoistic self-serving self-deception, where one focuses on one’s own injuries rather than comprehending the whole.  Carl Schurz’s famous line “My country right or wrong” is actually followed by the words “if right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be set right.”  Most people stop at the first phrase of the statement, which G.K. Chesterton compared to “My mother, drunk or sober”.  The origin of American Exceptionalism is actually achallenge from our founders as something to live up to inst ead of the myth that has come to surround the idea..

More recently, actor and icon John Wayne, in an interview, expressed little respect for Native Americans’ loss of their homeland, instead describing the Native Americans as “selfish” to want to retain it.  This view continues today as challenges are made in courts to Native Americans’ deserving of any further benefits, entitlements and services.  This protracted interpretation of American Exceptionalism has been distorted further with the presidency of Trump. 

Dealing with Trump requires a comprehensive confronting of his lies. Letters to the editor, the t eaching of critical thinking skills and of history are three important responses.  Blackey also recommends reading a current article by Eric Alterman, “The Decline of Historical Thinking”.  Alterman's view is that economic inequality has led to “intellectual inequality”, a result of limited resources.  One result is the accessibility of a major in history in colleges.  With fewer students enrolling, as they believe they need to major in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), fewer classes are offered.  Big donors are giving to STEM, further decreasing class availability.  Blackey further recommended Jeffrey Sachs’ new book A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism as a roadmap for the United States.  Sharing in peaceful cooperation is advocated, rather than intruding in international issues for nationalistic reasons.

The speaker also talked about Allen Guelzoof Gettysburg College who has written about President Lincoln’s purposes for fighting the Civil War. Guelzo credits Lincoln as having fought the war to free slaves.  (This was disputed during the Q/A, with economic issues being the primary motivation.)

Other topics in the Q/A included battles over territories; status of Jewish Poles in Poland; US endeavors to change the world to be like us; the symbiotic relationship between religion and nation; the support Trump receives from Evangelicals because of his current stand against abortion; and the developing link of nationalism and isolationism with an effort to exclude participation in NATO, etc.


The speakers for the February25th&nb sp;members’ meeting were Sienna Ross, Pitzer College freshman, and Shayok Chakraborty, Pomona College senior.  The title of their presentation was “The New Faces: The Role of Youth in The Progressive Movement Today”. (Notes taken by Carolee Monroe.)


Sienna, having lived out of country and out of state, compared her experiences in those places with California. Differences in education, health care, prescription drugs, school lockdown drills, gun control and mental health have led to her becoming a progressive activist.  

Shayok told of the origins of the College Community Action Network in 2016 as a movement to support sanctuary for immigrants in Claremont. The group has continued, grown and expanded its efforts, including participation in local actions such as canvassing for Claremont City Council candidates.  Extending its efforts beyond Claremont to engage in Democratic Party politics, the group hopes to maintain an ADEM Delegate seat.  As Shayokran successfully in the recent AD 41 ADEM election, CCAN’s intent is to maintain a student representative in the Democratic party structure.  Their issues can be identified as a ”path to Claremont” for today’s young adults.  Desiring a Claremont lifestyle, Shayok said, today’s young adults realize the need for affordable housing and financial security. Furthermore, they are eager to engage in the political process to achieve their goals.  

The Q/A topics included the redistricting of the city, senior lifestyle needs, collaboration between students and other organizations, knowledge of the political process, voter registration and student debt.  For more information, contact the group at collegecommunityactionnetwork@gmail.com

Essays Etc. by Club Members


Great California Progressives #2

The Democratic Club of Claremont is in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.  We California Progressives have a long tradition of producing some of the great figures in American political thought and action.  These essays are dedicated to ensuring that we current members of the club and the party know our ancestors. 

The full name of our club is the Jerry Voorhis Democratic Club of Claremont.  And who is Jerry Voorhis members may ask?  He was one of the great progressives of California who was for a long time a Claremont resident.  While he is most famous for his being the first Nixon victim, as you read the following account of his life and activity notice how important he was in the co-operative movement.


Horace Jeremiah “Jerry” Voorhis

By Ivan Light 


The Voorhis Democratic Club commemorates Jerry Voorhis (1901-1984), who represented Claremont in Congress from 1937 to 1947, but most people today do not know the man’s interesting and important history. Jerry’s father, Charles Voorhis worked for General Motors in an executive position and must have been affluent because he sent Jerry to a private preparatory school in Connecticut.  Jerry went on to Yale University, graduating in 1923 Phi Beta Kappa. At Yale he was president of the Christian Association and was an enthusiastic supporter of the social gospel movement. Charles Voorhis encouraged his son to begin a career in business. But Jerry resisted, declaring that, "the Christian Gospel is to be taken seriously, and that needless poverty and suffering on the one hand and special privilege and inordinate power on the other are entirely contrary to its precepts.” 

After Yale, Jerry worked as a freight handler and receiving clerk, then took a job as a traveling representative of the YMCA in Germany. He caught pneumonia in Germany and returned to Wisconsin to recuperate at home. There he met a social worker named Alice Louise Livingston and married her on November 27, 1924. The couple moved to North Carolina where Jerry worked in a Ford Motor plant until he was accepted a teaching post at a school for underprivileged boys in Illinois. That job led to work in an orphanage in Wyoming that Charles Voorhis had earlier founded. Obviously this was a socially minded, affluent family. 

Jerry came to Claremont to attend the Claremont Graduate University from which he obtained a master’s degree in education. In 1927, Charles Voorhis offered his son an opportunity to found a boys academy in Pasadena where the elder Voorhis then lived.Jerry acceptedIn 1928, he founded and became headmaster of the Voorhis School for Boys in San Dimas. In addition to academic subjects, the boys received training in farming, mechanical work, and other manual vocations.  Charles and Jerry Voorhis would put much of the family fortune into the school. After Voorhis election to Congress, the boys’ school closed. Its land and buildings were donated to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

While running the school, Jerry Voorhis also involved himself in the Claremont community. He organized cooperatives among the citrus ranchers and encouraged trade unionism in the industry. Occasionally lecturing at Pomona College, Voorhis published articles on social policy, writing in 1933, "We could produce plenty for all, but we don't do it ... We will do it only when all producing wealth is owned publicly.”  With the support of Upton Sinclair, Voorhis ran unsuccessfully for California State Assembly in 1934. Two years later, he ran for Congress as a "Progressive Roosevel t-Democrat," and won the seat. Voorhis was reelected to Congress four times and had one of Congress's most liberal voting records. Voorhis'first legislative initiative was to propose a dramatic increase in spending for the Works Progress Administration in order to increase employment. This effort failed. Although Democrats held a big majority in Congress, then as now, many Democrats were conservative, and Voorhis emerged as a leader of a progressive caucus. 

In the run-up to the Second World War, Voorhis urged neutrality, opposed a peacetime draft, and, recalling the events that dragged the United States into World War I, he proposed to ban the sale of munitions to foreign nations and to prohibit loans to belligerent countries. In 1939, however, Voorhis announced his support for repealing the arms embargo, at the same time urging that the country remain neutrality. Once war was declared, Voorhis supported the internment of the Japanese-Americans but urged that officials be appointed to administer their property in order to avoid forced sales at bargain price.  During the war, Voorhis advocated more efficiently taxing higher incomes and war profits, planning against postwar unemployment, and planning for the nutritional needs of Americans. Voorhis also opposed dominance of big business in the war effort. 

Voorhis often opposed the petroleum industry, questioning the need for the oil depletion allowance and exposing and defeating  a  corrupt deal that would have enriched Standard Oil at the taxpayers’ expense. The Los Angeles Timesdid not like this. In 1945, Voorhis opposed the bestowal of offshore drilling rights to oil companies. When their give-away failed in Congress, the petroleum industry blamed Voorhis. These stands led oil companies to give Nixon secret, financial assistance during the 1946 campaign against Voorhis.  Nixon ran on an anti-Communist platform. Voorhis' endorsement by the CIO’s political action committee was turned into a major issue because of Communists in the labor movement.  Nixon handily won the Republican-leaning district and Voorhis never ran against for public office.  Nixon's defeat of Voorhis was the first in a series of red-baiting political campaigns that later elevated Nixon to the Senate, the Vice-Presidency, and eventually to the presidency. Voorhis deemed himself "the first victim” of Nixon’s unscrupulous “formula for political success." He never forgave Nixon.   In 1958, Voorhis alleged that voters had received anonymous phone calls alleging that he was a Communist, that newspapers had stated that he was a Communist sympathizer and that when Nixon got angry, he would "do anything" to win. 

Jerry Voorhis

After leaving office, Voorhis completed his book, Confessions of a Congressman, then became  executive director of the Cooperative League of the USA . The Voorhis family relocated to Winnetka, Illinois for proximity to the League's headquarters. The League had fallen on hard times in the postwar period. Under his leadership, the League's financial position gradually improved and some major cooperatives that had remained aloof from the League were persuaded to join. The League expanded its purview, found ing the Group Health Association of America and the National Association of Housing Cooperatives.  Voorhis occasionally testified before Congressional committees in opposition to bills which would tax cooperatives. He shut down the League's moribund New York office and opened an office in Los Angeles. Voorhis encouraged the forming of cooperatives in Latin America and in 1963, the first hemisphere-wide conference of cooperatives took place in Uruguay. In 1967, Voorhis retired from the League. 

After 23 years in Winnetka, Voorhis and his wife moved back to Claremont where he wrote The Strange Case of Richard Milhous Nixon in which he stated that Nixon was "quite a ruthless opponent" whose "one cardinal and unbreakable rule of conduct" was "to win, whatever it takes to do it." "I did not expect my loyalty to America's constitutional government to be attacked," he wrote.  After Nixon resigned as President, Voorhis, noted, "Here is the philosophy of doing-anything-to-win received its just and proper reward."   Believing he had been labeled a subversive by Nixon, Voorhis "too k some satisfaction" in stating that Nixon himself had been the subversive, seeking, according to Voorhis, to impose "a virtual dictatorship" on the country. 

In 1972, Voorhis and his wife entered a retirement home in Claremont. Nonetheless, he continued to work on a number of committees and advisory boards. Voorhis died at the retirement home on September 11, 1984. In addition to his widow, he left two sons and a daughter. Voorhis is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena.  His papers are held by the Claremont Colleges’' Honnold-MuddLibrary Special Collections.


Letters from Club Members



Letter From Bob Gerecke: submitted Los Angeles Times

There's already an annual wealth tax on the primary asset of the middle class: the personal home.  The middle class "owner" pays the entire tax even if the bank that loaned the money really owns most of the market value.  So why not an equivalent annual wealth tax on the primary assets of the billionaires: stock, bonds and certificates of deposit, even if the billionaires owe money too? It's unfair to tax the primary wealth of the middle class but not that o f the billionaires.  Exclude assets held in IRAs, 401Ks and the like, because they too are assets of the middle class, not of the billionaires.



Letter From Merrill Ring – published Daily Bulletin February 14

I do love your headlines!  The AQMD has a plan for “clean-air projects”, for the improvement of air quality in the area.  So what does the headline in the Daily Bulletin say?  That the AQMD “floats idea for tax hike”!  It should have said “AQMD has idea for improvement of air quality.”  But no, the questions of the need for better air quality and the effectiveness of the proposal to achieve t hat, are completely hidden behind the issue of a tax increase to pay for it.  Come on folks, let’s get our priorities straight and give your readers an account of the issues that are most important.

Now YOU write!


Do so!  Of course, newspapers have so many restrictions (especially space) that very worth while letter do not get published.  But try! And if it doesn’t get published there, sent it to the VV and it most likely will be published here.  (Or if it does get published, send it here also and have it republished.)


Or call . . . .   & Complain (or Praise)







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Mail this form with your check to: Democratic Club of Claremont, P.O. Box 1201, Claremont, CA 91711


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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: Merrill Ring












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G et the new AOL app: mail.mobile.aol.com

On Friday, March 1, 2019, Merrill Ring <m66ring@gmail.com> wrote:

Attached is the March issue of the Voorhis Voice - please distribute to the mailing list.


Democratic Club of Claremont
"Liberal Voice of the Pomona Valley" http://www.claremontdems.org

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