Let Us Remember the Fallen As We Prevent Future Wars

As we remember all of the men and women who have died on the battlefield and in active military service, it is also important to think about the many risks we face today when America’s military engages in and escalates violent conflicts overseas.  

Let me be clear: The world is living through a perilous, dangerously tense time. Donald Trump’s repeated threats of nuclear annihilation loom over the Korean peninsula. In recent months, America has shredded the Iran nuclear deal and waded militarily into the conflict in Syria. Washington continues to supply repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia with military hardware, deepening the destruction and blood-letting in Yemen.

All of this is taking us in the wrong direction from building a world on the principles of peace, not war. Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day and originally honored those lives lost while fighting in the Civil War. Later, Memorial Day became a day to remember all those Americans who died in military service. But I believe this day should also serve as a moment to reflect on the ways we can and should avoid military conflicts and the tragic loss of lives everywhere caused by war and destruction.

I have always taken an anti-war approach to U.S. policy. In the 1980s, I was involved with the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) working to stop U.S. intervention in El Salvador. And as the Mayor of Richmond, I was a member of Mayors for Peace, where I co-sponsored national resolutions to stop funding wars overseas and start putting money into our communities instead.

The fact is, there are so many opportunities we could seize in our towns and cities today if we rerouted billions of dollars we spend annually on military endeavors, and funded creative, innovative projects and social programs in their place.

For instance, the U.S. House of Representatives – with no less than 131 Democrats signing on – just passed this year’s National Defense Authorization Act that budgets an eye-popping $717 BILLION for military spending. Did anybody do the math on how many tens of millions of hungry, under-housed, under-schooled Americans could be fed, housed and schooled with just a portion of that money? I wish they had.  

Our society has so much potential to do more, rather than less, with all of our skills and creativity. It will take political will and vision to shift away from war so that we prevent more precious loss of American lives, and lives across the globe, in the future.

Anti-war activism has a history, and we must draw on that history today, more than ever, to mobilize for peace across all corners of the globe.


Gayle McLaughlin is the Only Lt. Governor Candidate 100% United with Renters

Hi, I'm Gayle McLaughlin, I'm the former two-term mayor of Richmond, California and a corporate free candidate for lieutenant governor of California.

With the primaries just around the corner, I want to talk with you about an issue that keeps me and so many Californians up at night. Housing.

There are few things that matter more than having a roof over our heads. It's right up there with having enough food to eat and having safe water to drink. Yet in 21st century America and especially in our great state of California - which is now the fifth largest economy in the world - housing is becoming a nightmare.

California is losing our working families, our young people, our seniors, our artists. Everyday people are being priced out of our cities because they can't afford the skyrocketing rents. Our great state is losing the people who make it great.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Yet establishment politicians keep telling us, "Landlords can charge whatever the market will bear." They say, "You can't tell people how much they can charge for rent or how much a housing developer can charge for his units! This is America!"

Well, I say we can fix this problem BECAUSE this is America. Because this is California. This land was built on a dream, but our dreams aren't achievable if we are struggling simply to stay where we belong. Working people deserve the right to rent affordable homes. We deserve it more than developers and landlords deserve windfall profits.

The time for hands-off laissez-faire "let the market do its thing" thinking is over when it comes to housing. We've been there done that. California, it didn't work. But today there is a powerful renters movement comprised of working families, students, retirees, neighbors, and friends, taking hold across the state and I am the only candidate for lieutenant governor who stands 100% united with renters demanding affordable housing for all!

So, how are we going to do it? Well, we're going to roll up our sleeves and make a few big changes to housing policy. As Lieutenant Governor, I promise to use every ounce of influence I have to level the playing field for renters in two important ways:

One, by expanding rent protections throughout our cities and, two, by building more affordable housing.

Let's start with rent protections. The fact is most cities in California don't have rent control. But other cities HAVE passed rent control ordinances. However, even in those cities with rent control there's a big problem. It's called the Costa Hawkins Act. Costa Hawkins, which passed in 1995, puts restrictions on the housing units subject to rent control. This includes - preposterously - any structure that was built after 1995 or after a city's rent control ordinance went into effect. For cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles - which passed rent control in the late 70s and early 80s - it means any building built in the last four decades is exempt from rent control.

We need to repeal this law and that's just what we're going to do.

Nearly 600,000 signatures for a ballot measure to repeal Costa Hawkins were turned in last month. People that signed these petitions - and so many more Californians understand that we're at a crucial moment that can shift the tide for renters.

Repealing this unjust Costa Hawkins Act will put protections in place for all renters in our rent-controlled cities and, on top of that, we absolutely need to establish rent control laws in towns and cities that have yet to implement such laws.

Now, I'm not naive. I'm highly aware of the steep challenges cities face when they try to pass rent control. But we passed the law in Richmond. The Richmond City Council voted to establish rent control in 2015 making us the first California city in 30 years to do so. And when we did the realtor industry came after us with a vengeance, forcing the City Council to repeal the ordinance and put it on the ballot.

Well, we held strong and Richmond residents voted overwhelmingly to establish rent control in 2016. Was it easy? Nope? But each city that passes rent control gives encouragement to other cities. People are feeling encouraged by Richmond's leadership.

Today, more communities are fighting to keep the dream of an affordable California in their towns and cities. They are fighting in Santa Ana, in Long Beach, in Glendale, in Inglewood, and in Pasadena. They are fighting because they know they can win.

But rent control isn't enough.

Another major focus for me as Lieutenant Governor will be to build more truly affordable housing.

I intend to do what previous state officials haven't had the courage to do - stand up to developers, devise incentives, and demand that more of our state's new housing be built below market rate.

Right now too many units are not being built for our struggling working families. They're not for that neighbor you saw loading up a u-haul yesterday. They're not for the parents working two, three, sometimes four jobs to cover preschool and medical costs. No, those new units are more and more being built for an exclusive group of people who can afford them.

I am pleased to endorse the new San Francisco Community Housing Act. This act will fund municipal housing with a progressive parcel tax, exempting owner-occupied homes making less than the median income. The homes will be permanently owned and maintained by the city and will be overseen by a community council of tenants elected by tenants. This is the type of affordable housing measure we need to see statewide!

Californians, we are at a crossroads. We can stand by and watch as the housing crisis becomes more of a nightmare. We can shrug our shoulders and simply pay sometimes up to 60 and 70 percent of our income in rent forgoing other necessities we can simply watch as the extreme inequality in our state widens and opportunities for all but the most fortunate among us shrink, or we can act.

We can say we've had enough of real estate developers ruling the day. We've had enough of landlords being able to jack up rents without restrictions. We've had enough of establishment officials being funded by real estate lobbyists.

A renters movement has begun and we're not turning back! As your Lieutenant Governor, I promise to fight every day to push the renters' movement forward and to stand up for the right of every Californian to an affordable home.

I promise this because I love this state and all its people. I hope you'll join my campaign and tell everyone you know who loves California to come out and vote in the primary on June 5th.

Thank you very much.


Whose State? Our State!

The central political question of the 2016 presidential race was inequality - of all kinds.

But instead of the progressive populist working alongside us to create a utopia, we got a greed-mad demagogue who uses hate to whip up votes.

Did you know that in February 2017, Richmond became the first city in the nation to call on Congress to initiate Trump impeachment hearings? Gayle authored that resolution.

Take a minute to leave this post and open a new tab or window. In the search bar, write Gayle McLaughlin and add - in two or three words - one of the progressive issues most important to you. Odds on you’ll find that not only does Gayle have a perfect platform, she’s got the history of working on those issues!

Click to Watch Gayle’s New Interview with Jimmy Dore on the Jimmy Dore Show

Today, it’s not Bernie-Hillary-Trump. It’s one proven progressive in a primary field of 11. And in this Lieutenant Governor race, Gayle has united the progressive movement - she’s endorsed by 35 regional chapters of the Bernie-inspired Our Revolution and the national Our Revolution; the California Green Party and 11 of it’s chapters; the Democratic Socialists of America and 11 of its California chapters; the Peace & Freedom Party; Movement for a People's Party; Socialist Alternative; and many, many more progressive organizations. Gayle co-founded the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and as our Lt. Governor she will continue to organize throughout the state to ensure that every one of our communities have a voice in Sacramento.

Read Gayle’s corporate-free challenge to the big spending in this race - from the SF Chronicle.

Gayle needs your help to counter the two candidates who are trying to buy this election.

Will Eleni Kounalakis’ $10 million - most of it from self-funding and a $5 million super PAC funded by her father (Kounalakis runs the land development corporation founded by father Angelo Tsakopoulos - both are top Democratic donors) give her the job?

Will Cole Harris, a Republican hedge fund manager spending $250,000 or more on media each week - who says he also could spend $10 million on the race - come in second?

Orwill we rise up and put Gayle first, because she puts us first?

If you want to help Gayle win on June 5, here are three things you can do:

1) Click to donate $27, $99, $270 or more TODAY so we can increase our media spend to keep up with Kounalakis and Harris.

2) Click to canvass scores of friends who can vote for Gayle in just minutes using VoterCircle.

3) Email Volunteer Coordinator Jon Gilgoff at [email protected] for packs of cards and window signs to distribute in your community (if you’d like a single item or t-shirts, please use Gayle’s online store).

Thank you,

Adriel Hampton
Gayle for California


Gayle's Socialist Campaign Covered by New York Times

The New York Times today covered the rising popularity of socialism with American voters and the accompanying surge of socialist candidates. Gayle is featured along with candidates from across the country, and with organizers from the DSA. She is endorsed by 10 DSA chapters in California, Our Revolution, Peace & Freedom Party (California's feminist socialist party), Socialist Alternative, and the California Green Party. 

Read the full article. 


A Progressive Candidate's Campaign Features Gayle McLaughlin

MEET GAYLE:
As a two-term Mayor of Richmond CA, Gayle led a successful grassroots movement to liberate her city from the grip of corporate giants and wealthy special interests. Her progressive transformation returned political power to their residents and local businesses and they defeated the oil giant Chevron’s attempts to buy our democracy.

Read the full post!


CounterPunch: Radical Mayors Leave Their Mark

Steve Early compares Richmond, CA, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and the Richmond Progressive Alliance and Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and his Jackson, MS, coalition upon the release of new books chronicling two local political revolutions: 

Mississippi and California aren’t much alike but the demographics of Richmond and Jackson share one thing in common: both cities are 80% non-white and voter registration is overwhelmingly Democratic. In both majority minority communities, corporate Democrats of color long ruled the roost, thanks to strong backing from local developers and manufacturers, other downtown business interests, and socially conservative black churches.

Read the full article in CounterPunch. 

Get Gayle's book, "Winning Richmond," free with a donation of $20 or more to her campaign. 

Purchase "Jackson Rising."


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

During the second half of the 1800s, more than two-and-a-half million Irish citizens immigrated to North America. My grandfather was one of them: Peter A. McLaughlin. As an eight-year-old boy from County Tyrone, Peter traveled with his father Michael, a farmer, and mother Mag, and his brothers and sisters to America with a thousand other immigrants in the steerage class of the “City of Rome” ship to arrive to Ellis Island on June 1st, 1896. They were bound for Chicago and to a new life.

I don’t know exactly why my Catholic farming ancestors decided to leave Ulster, in the North of Ireland, and emigrate to start a new life in America, but they had been fighting to survive invasions, famines, and oppressive landlords for a thousand years. With hope they saw America as a new promise.

Today, I want to honor all the people of Irish descent in California who worked and work hard to support their families and improve our state, while respecting also the rights of all Californians.

I extend a special appreciation to those who stood for social, economic and environmental justice over the years and to those who promoted and sustained Irish culture and language. Few have done it, to my knowledge, like San Francisco’s Brian Heron (1941-2011).

Brian Samuel Connolly Heron was born in Dublin, Ireland, the grandson of James Connolly, the hero of the Easter Rising in 1916. Brian was a true champion of workers' rights. Here in San Francisco, he worked as a union organizer to help the exploited Chinese sweatshop workers. He worked alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the United Farm Workers Movement, and with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Brian was nominated as Vice President of the Peace and Freedom Party, and helped organize the anti-war protest in Chicago in 1968 during the infamous Democratic National Convention. He was also a lifetime supporter of Native American rights, language, and cultural preservation. Brian was a founding member of the National Association for Irish Justice as well as the National Association for Irish Freedom, and founded the Center for Celtic Arts.

As we observe St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, let’s honor the legacy of Irish-American progressive patriots like Brian Heron, and let’s keep activating for a better California!

Paraphrasing James Joyce: “We are tomorrow what we establish today. Today we are what we established yesterday."


Celebrating Our Strength on International Women's Day

I recently became aware of a wonderful quote by Harriet Tubman, the leading abolitionist in the Underground Railroad:

“Don’t ever stop. If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”

Tubman’s line still speaks clearly to us today, on International Women’s Day, reminding us to “never stop” fighting injustice and inequality in its many forms, as we challenge corporate control and work to create a truly democratic society for all.    

While she was best known for her efforts to establish racial equality, Tubman also fought for women’s rights alongside the nation’s suffragists, making her a forerunner of the modern feminist movement. As we celebrate this historic day in Women’s History Month, it is important to remember the victories we have won – and the many visionary as well as ordinary women who sacrificed to make our opportunities possible.  

We still have far to go. Sexism remains embedded in our economic and political systems, and in our society and culture overall. The Harvey Weinsteins and Donald Trumps who have spent decades grossly exploiting and abusing women are only now beginning to feel the limits of their power, thanks to our movements for social change.

But as millions more people stand up and proclaim #MeToo, both here and around the world, gender equality gets that much closer to becoming a reality. The #MeToo movement shows the degree to which women have reached a level of courage and confidence to speak our truths and reveal the history of repression and abuse we have felt.

As the Mayor of Richmond, in 2008 I started an International Women's Day event called Sisters in Solidarity, which brought together Bay Area women to network and celebrate our local, national and international accomplishments. This celebratory tradition continues more than a decade on, and this Saturday, March 10, Richmond will hold its 11th Annual Sisters in Solidarity event!  

The objectification of women in our society is still a daily fact. We are disrespected and harmed, both directly and in subtle ways, through advertising, entertainment, in the workplace, in the home, in the political arena, and in our daily interactions. Men, too, are harmed by this objectification.

On the other hand, when sexual relations, work relations, political relations and family relations are based on genuine respect and equality, our society and culture are greatly enhanced.

It will take the ongoing hard work of organizing to make sure that women achieve our due equal rights, and, as your Lieutenant Governor, I intend to do everything in my power to support gender equality – which includes supporting more women leaders in all areas of society.

Across our state, all of us must fight for pay equity, full reproductive rights, paid family leave, free childcare, zero tolerance for sexual harassment and abuse, and gender balance in political and social structures. There are many layers of systemic oppression that we need to overcome together, including sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, xenophobia, ageism, disrespect and abuse of children and youth.

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate who we are, how far we’ve come – and to remember that when we fight together, we win.

Please join my campaign for California: gayleforcalifornia.org/donate


The Delta Tunnels Are a Water Grab – Not a 'WaterFix'

There’s a lie going around Sacramento, and much of the state, that we can solve California’s water problems by building two hugely expensive, environmentally disastrous tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.

So instead of calling the Delta tunnels project a “California WaterFix” like the governor, bureaucrats and water agencies are doing, let’s call it what it really is: a water grab of epic proportion.

Priced at $16.3 billion, the outrageous cost alone should be enough to kill this project, which would reroute water 35 miles to the Delta pumping stations through 40-foot-wide tunnels buried 150 feet underground, before sending it further south. The whole point is to divert more water from the Sacramento River to the Central Valley and Southern California, most of it to be used for agriculture.

Water agencies were supposed to pay for this boondoggle, but so far they’ve balked, putting up just 40% of the costs. It’s likely the state will later raise taxes to pay for the tunnels and use voter-approved Water Bond money, from Proposition 1, to pay for habitat restoration, despite many promises to the contrary.

californiadelta.org highlights the many thriving communities that rely on California's Delta.

Now, in an effort to appease an angered public, Governor Brown and the Department of Water Resources say they’re fine building just one tunnel at a cost of $10.7 billion. But it’s not enough to cut the Delta tunnels project in half. As your Lieutenant Governor, I’ll do everything in my power to see this costly and ecologically disastrous project killed. Period.

For decades, we’ve been sacrificing the health of our Delta ecosystem in the interest of sending ever more water south. The cost of the tunnels plan to the Delta’s fragile ecology can’t be underestimated. Threatened chinook salmon, endangered smelt and other at-risk fish and wildlife are barely hanging on as freshwater gets furiously depleted and more saltwater enters the Delta. It’s our responsibility to ensure that these species have a fair shot at survival – something that won’t happen if the tunnels get built. The health of the San Francisco Bay Delta ecosystem is literally at stake with this project.

Delta landowners and family farms are deeply against the tunnels plan, as are many of the water agencies that are being asked to pay for it though they don’t stand to gain. The fact is, water costs for farmers who rely on the Delta could quadruple or more if the tunnels get built.  

As your Lieutenant Governor, I will be in a unique position, on the Agriculture-Water Transition Task Force and as a member of the State Lands Commission, to weigh in on giant projects like this one. And believe me, under my leadership the Delta tunnels will never see the light of day. Stand with me, landowners, environmentalists and local governments in opposing this costly and irresponsible plan!

California is not alone in facing a water crisis. Across the globe, corporations and big agricultural interests are busy privatizing, monopolizing and harvesting this vital, dwindling resource that every human needs to survive. And with the impacts from climate change sure to worsen in coming years, conflicts over water scarcity will only grow. That is why it’s time to put a stop to the water grabs right here, right now. Yes, California needs solutions to our chronic water shortage. But the Delta tunnels aren’t a “WaterFix” at all. They’ll only magnify the financial and environmental problems we’re already facing.

Please join me: gayleforcalifornia.org/donatetogayle