Progressive Voice of the Pomona Valley

APRIL 2019






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

Village Grill, Claremont
Get informed – and inform


Friday, April 1212-1:30


Eddies’ Italian Eatery

Stater Bros Shopping Center (Foothill Blvd)

Sp eaker: Alma Trejo, California Labor Federation/CA Works Foundation.  Topic:  “Environmental Justice”

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, April 20, 9:30am

Executive Board Meeting


Monday, April 30, 7-9 pm

Member’s Meeting

Napier Center , Pilgrim Place

Speaker: Jeanette Ellis Royston, Pomona Valley Chapter of the NAACP.  The meeting is free and open to the public.  A club members business meeting (beginning about 8:15) will follow the speaker 





Sunday, 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.  Peter Coye, founder and CEO of California Energy and Power (and a member of the DCC)  will be showing a small version of a wind turbine and also be displaying how dropping a bag of rocks can produce electricity.  event on Sunday, April 14, will be along Second Street and coincide with the hours (8 AM - 1 PM) of the Farmers Mar ket. 



Monday April 15: Indivisible General Meeting.  7-8:45 Congresswoman Norma Torres will be the guest speaker.  Registration is required for this special event which is open to members of Indivisible Claremont/Inland Valley and their guests (up to 2).  Seating is limited, so reserve your ticket(s) now at :https:’ Louise Roberts Room, Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 Harrison Ave, Claremont, CA 91711.


Democratic Club of Claremont News


From the Editor:


I have just about got a complete handle on being editor of this newsletter.  There was a glitch, however, in the collection of information about the doings of other related organizations so the calendar is somewhat shortened this month.  However, the next person in the list of California’s Great Progressives – Hiram Johnson – makes his appearance here this month (though I decided not to include a mention of how much his initiative process has been corrupted, especially by corporate money.)



Merrill Ring


Email Contact:  on the subject line write EDI TOR VV and address the message to


President’s Letter


Dear Claremont Democrats,


Thank you for your trust in having me serve as President of this great club. We are going to have a busy next two years. What a time to be a Democrat! We vote, we organize, we advocate, we resist, and we take action! I l look forward to working with our active board and club members to continue to bring the programs and discussion on the issues that define our proactive platform. If we haven’t seen you in a while, I hope you make it back and participate in our lively discussions.


After proudly serving on the Claremont City Council for 12 years, I will bring a perspective on how to bring and implement the ideals of our Democratic platform to the level of government that affects us most - our local level. It is also my goal to bring in more voices to our club, voices that are already all around our community. From our engaged high schoolers that Carolee has worked with for several years, to our passionate college students. We also want to hear our working families that want the best that our region has to offer, and from our retirees that continue to make contributions for the betterment of our world. We have a great source of untapped passion all around us. I look forward to working with our club to inspire those voices and let them know that they have a home with our club.


As Democrats, we have our work cut out for us these next couple of years. I have all the confidence in the spirit and wisdom of our club members to help us carry our message from our city hall, to the state and to our Nation’s Capital. Let’s get to work!




Club Elections


At the March Executive Board meeting, the President’s nominations for appointed positions on the board were approved unanimously.  They were:  Debi Evans was appointed Political Strategy Chair and Merrill Ring was appointed Chair of the Issues Committee and Editor of the Voorhis Voice.



Summaries of Talks at DCC March Events


Christine Gatson-Michalak of AWARE-LA spoke on ‘Identifying Your Personal Stake in Collective Liberation’ at the March 9 luncheon.The talk was part of the DCC’s Gar Byrum Distinguished Speakers Series.  Notes taken by Carolee Monroe.


Christine Gatson-Michalak realized that she needed to involve herself as an active citizen when Donald Trump was elected president.  She is not among the middle class, she said, she is without income, education, health care or material possessions.  Yet she became conscious that whiteness privileges her. This  ;realization led to her attempting change.  Some actions she undertook were fool-hardy.  But eventually she found her niche as a facilitator of the Pomona Valley Saturday Dialogue hosted by the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere – Los Angeles (AWARE-LA). 


The organization is an all-volunteer alliance of white anti-racist people established to challenge racism and work for racial justice in a transformative alliance with people of color. It takes collective action to build white anti-racist and multiracial alliances to contribute to a broad-based, social justice movement.


One of her quotes was from a black woman, Lilla Watson: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.  But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”


AWARE-LA’s website shows links to its partners Show Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles (BLM-LA), Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), #Students Not Suspects, Justice Warriors 4 Black Lives (JW4BL), Justice LA, L.A. No More Jails Coalition and Alto Trump!


The speaker at our March 25 members’ meeting was Louie Duran who is treasurer of the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and a member of the Democratic Club of Claremont – his topic was ‘Why CARA?’


As a former union member and officer, Louie spoke of the American generation who had responded successfully to Fascism and to the Great Depression while helping the elderly, poor and indigent and also building a great labor movement.  Since the rosters of early union members have been lost, outreach efforts to bring individuals back into an organized effort to advocate for senior issues is ongoing.  An early group, the National Conference of Senior Citizens, was a force behind the passage of Medicare. Today, the Alliance for Retired Americans continues the advocacy for seniors and their families.  ARA is an outgrowth of the AFL-CIO, comprised of 55% union and union-retirees and 45% community based organizations.  While wealth in America continues to accumulate towards those already wealthy, ARA organizes to “bring back the middle class”, Duran said.  Susan Meyer, another official in the organization, shared more of the history of CARA.  Now 16 years old and one million strong, CARA has “sister groups” in 35 states.  As earned benefits are mis-labeled as “entitlements”, continuous political self-advocacy for senior issues is necessary.  Bedsides advocacy, CARA provides trainings in “elder empowerment”.  The DCC was  encouraged to rejoin in CARA.  Q/A topics included the differences between AARP and CARA; CARA’s positions on “offsets”; and capitalism vs. socialism.



Essays Etc. by Club Members


Great California Progressives #3

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 third of the great California Progressives to be noticed here is Hiram Johnson, governor of California from 1911 to 1917 and then Senator from 1917 to 1945.


Hiram Johnson (1866 – 1945)

By Merrill Ring


We voters in California are all too aware that on our ballots there are some items called Propositions. We will have to study the issue and vote as we think best.  


Where did that exercise in direct democracy come from?  


The answer is that the putting of legislative items on the ballot for the voting public to decide on was the creation of one of the great California Progressives, Hiram Johnson.


Johnson, a California native and a lawyer, was Go vernor from 1911 to 1917.  He was also a very long serving Senator, from 1917 to his death in 1945.  His major accomplishments occurred during the years of his governorship, so I shall focus on that period.


He had come to prominence as an anti-corrupt ion attorney and became affiliated with radical reformers in the state.  What we have to realize is that the major corporations of the day were the railroads (how times have changed), especially Southern Pacific Railroad.  SP (and corporate friends) dominated California politics:  the state legislature was solidly in their pocket.  Johnson and his reformist allies wanted to break that corporate stranglehold.  Their program had several features, including making it possible for citizens to do an end run around the legislature by initiating and passing popular legislation via the ballot.  They succeeded and so we today have inherited the system of voting on Propositions in state wide elections.  


But that was not the end of the progressive legislation that Johnson presided over as Governor.  From Peter Dreier’s wonderful book The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: a Social Justice Hall of Fame:  “Johnson initiated a whirlwind of activity, leading the most successful progressive legislative session in US history.  He persuaded the state legislature to support me asures calling for the initiative, referendum and recall, and to pass a law allowing voters to elect US senators (who until then had been chosen by the state legislature), giving California voters more direct power than voters in any other state.  Despite Johnson’ own ambivalence on women’s suffrage, California gave women the right to vote in 1911, nine years before passage of the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution.  He also persuaded the legislature to provide free text books to children in public schools.”


Nor was that all – he created the Public Utilities Commission to regulate utility companies, reined in the railroads, created workmen’s compensation and child labor laws and a law giving female workers an 8 hour day.  And then there was the creation of the basics of what we call ‘t he social safety net’:  the set of provisions that enable people to live a decent life no matter how they came to need help.  


Johnson, thus, was the origin of today’s fact that California is the most progressive state in the union.< /p>


Johnson joined with Teddy Roosevelt to create the Progressive Party for the 1912 election: Johnson ran as TR’s vice-presidential partner: they won California but lost nationally.  (Later, when Senator, Johnson lost the Republican nomination for President in 1920). We Democrats need to remember that progressive political action originated in the Republican party and that only with FDR did we start becoming the party of social justice.


Johnson was certainly not perfect (we need to be continuously aware that great men have fla ws):  as a Senator he helped pass laws that prohibited Japanese from entering the US and he became a strong isolationist in the face of the growth of fascism elsewhere.  And we also need to recall that one of his great inventions, the use of Propositions on the ballot, has been corrupted by corporations who hide behind phony titles for ballot measures and who secretly fund campaigns for and against those exercises in direct democracy.





Letters from Club Members



Letter From Ivan Light (submitted to LA Times)


Bonnie Kristian called the war in Afghanistan "a reckless strategic failure that benefits no one." A reckless strategic failure, who could disagree? But Kristian is wrong to claim that this war benefits no one. Unfortunately, the United States now has built-in structural incentives to squander money and blood on useless wars in order to feed the military-industrial-Congressional complex. Millions depend on this parasitical complex for their livelihood and thousands for their dividends. Without war threats, why feed this monster? So wars are useless wars are invented. As Eisenhower warned, the Pentagon parasite has deflected trillions of taxpayer dollars from useful purposes and diverted them to scandalous waste. Nothing important can be fixed in the United States until we stop wasting trillions of dollars on useless wars.




Letter From Merrill Ring (submitted to the Daily Bulletin and to the author of the op-ed column)  


Steven Greenhut wrote in his column of 3/3To write about socialism, one needn’t fixate on its most-horrifying elements – gulags, executions and endless repression.”

Correction: to write (honestly) about socialism, one must not even mention those features of the USSR.  

Greenhut mingles two confusions in that single quote.  First, he confuses two partially related but different economic ideas, namely socialism and communism.  Secondly, he runs together an economic theory (communism) with how it was implanted in a particular country (Soviet Communism).  The result of the two mistakes is strange comparison of a theory with a country.  

Since his aim is to criticize Democrats for being socialists, he does not point out that none of his targets has proposed doing something that is a necessary condition of being a socialist, namely he fails to point out that not one single one of them (perhaps Bernie Sanders years ago) has not proposed doing something that is a necessary condition of being a socialist, namely making significant industries state owned.  Those Democrats, despite what they may call themselves, are social democrats not socialists – a further distinction that he skates over.

Greenhut’s column was intellectually irresponsible.  (Note: I am not a socialist – I merely have standards.)



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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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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