State Accuses Curacao of ‘Preying’ On Latino Customers

October 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

California’s attorney general is suing one of the country’s largest electronic and appliance retailers for preying on its Latino consumers, specifically those that are low-income, Spanish speakers and immigrants.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the lawsuit against the Curacao retail chain Oct 20, saying in a written statement that the decision comes following a joint investigation with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. The lawsuit alleges that Curacao engages in numerous and pervasive unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a lawsuit filed this week, accuses retailer Curacao of engaging in predatory practices.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a lawsuit filed this week, accuses retailer Curacao of engaging in predatory practices.

Curacao has nine stores in Southern California.

According to Becerra, the retailer targets its marketing and advertising to Latino consumers who have little experience dealing with credit cards and retail payment plans. He accused the company of engaging in “bait and switch” schemes, adding items and services to the customer’s contract without telling them; failing to inform customers that translated contracts are available; not informing customers of the company’s return policies and failing to honor its return policies.

The lawsuit further accuses the retailer of padding its profits by pressuring customers into buying extended warranties and adding other services to customers’ credit purchases that wind up costing the customer double or triple the amount they thought they would pay. The lawsuit also accused Curacao of harassing and threatening customers who fall behind on their payments.

“Curacao is a well-known retailer among many Latino families in Southern California and even markets itself as un poco de su país (a little bit of your country),” said Becerra. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this case to prove that Curacao deliberately and systematically preys on these very families and their hard-earned money,” the attorney general said.

Curacao’s practices are not only “disgraceful,” they are also “unlawful,” Becerra said.

 

GM Settles Multi-State Lawsuit Related to Faulty Ignition Switches

October 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A Los Angeles judge has approved a $120 million multi-state settlement with General Motors involving allegations that the automaker concealed safety issues related to defective ignition switches in its vehicles, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Oct. 19

California will receive more than $7 million in the settlement, which was reached between GM and the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia and GM and approved by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Sotelo. The agreement concludes a multi-state investigation into the auto
manufacturer’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects associated with unintended key-rotation and/or ignition-switch related issues in several models and model years of GM vehicles, according to Becerra.

Becerra said it took nearly a decade for the company to inform consumers that its ignition switches were faulty.

“What GM did is inexcusable,” he said. “We are holding GM accountable today for this blatant violation of the law, which threatened the lives of millions of Americans. All companies should be put on notice: the California Department of Justice has zero tolerance for those who put profits over
people.”

In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to unintended key-rotation and/or ignition-switch related issues. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch which, under certain conditions, could move out of the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off”’ position. The impacted driver experiences a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes.

The vehicle’s safety airbags may also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death in certain types of crashes in which the airbag was otherwise designed to deploy.

Acting Head of ICE Threatens Calif. With More Raids

October 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement lashed out today at California’s newly signed “sanctuary state” law, saying it will lead to federal raids “in local neighborhoods and at worksites,” but the Los Angeles legislator who introduced the bill called the comments a “heavy-handed threat.”

“The Trump administration is once again making heavy-handed threats against California because we won’t help them tear apart families and our economy in the process,” said Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. “The acting ICE director’s inaccurate statement exemplifies the fear-mongering and lies that guide this administration.”

ICE Acting Director Tom Homan issued a statement Friday saying Senate Bill 54 — officially known as the California Values Act — “will undermine public safety and hinder ICE from performing its federally mandated mission.”

He said the law will effectively eliminate most cooperation and communication between his agency and local law enforcement in California, and prohibit local law enforcement from contracting with the federal government to house detainees.

“ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community,” Homan said. “ICE will also likely have to detain individuals arrested in California in detention facilities outside of the state, far from any family they may have in California.”

Homan said the law provides a shield for deportable illegal immigrants
“and creates another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense
of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect.”

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, called Homan’s remarks a “callous threat,” saying that carrying out neighborhood raids would only “terrorize law-abiding communities, disrupt family life and harm the economy.”

“ICE has limited resources and should spend those resources wisely,” he said. “Targeting families while they shop for groceries, drop kids off at school or head to work is fiscally and morally bankrupt.”

In signing the bill Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown said, “This bill states that local authorities will not ask about immigration status during routine interactions. It also bans unconstitutional detainer requests and prohibits the commandeering of local officials to do the work of immigration agents.”

But Brown also stressed what the bill “does not do.”

“This bill does not prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way,” he said. “They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California. Moreover, the bill does not prohibit sheriffs from granting immigration authorities access to California jails to conduct routine interviews, nor does it prevent cooperation in deportation proceedings for anyone in state prison or for those in local jails for any of the hundreds of serious offenses listed in the TRUST Act.

“These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure  of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day,” he said.

Ciudad, Condado, Estado Toman la Lucha Para Defender DACA

September 14, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

La decisión de la administración Trump de poner fin a la iniciativa DACA, Acción Deferida para los Llegados en la Infancia, ha desencadenado un torbellino de actividades a nivel de ciudad, condado y estado, todos dirigidas a frustrar la acción del presidente y empujar al Congreso a adoptar una solución permanente para los cientos de miles de inmigrantes traídos al país ilegalmente como niños.

Las protestas y promesas de batallas legales no son sorprendente dado que uno de cada cuatro receptores de DACA – o cerca de 200.000 de los jóvenes beneficiarios – viven en California.

Hablando en Los Ángeles el martes, el procurador general de California, Xavier Becerra, prometió luchar contra la decisión “en todos los frentes”

Becerra, unido por los fiscales generales de Minnesota, Maryland y Maine, presentó una demanda el lunes en San Francisco contra la administración, argumentando que el gobierno federal violó la Constitución y las leyes federales cuando se movió para rescindir DACA.

“La iniciativa de DACA ha permitido a más de 800.000 Dreamers (Soñadores) – niños traídos a este país sin documentación – salir de las sombras y convertirse en estadounidenses exitosos y productivos”, dijo Becerra luego de una mesa redonda con defensores de inmigración en el centro de Los Ángeles. “Nunca he visto un momento en nuestro país cuando castigamos a los niños por salir de las sombras”.

La semana pasada, la Universidad de California presentó una demanda contra la administración por considerar que la decisión violaría los derechos de debido proceso de miles de estudiantes inmigrantes de escuelas UC. Ese mismo día, el concejal de Los Ángeles, José Huizar, presentó una moción dirigiendo al abogado de la ciudad para presentar su propia demanda o para unirse a la demanda del estado prometida por Becerra.

El martes, los supervisores del condado de Los Ángeles agregaron sus voces, adoptando una medida para apoyar las demandas traídas por otros cuerpos gubernamentales y para perseguir un boicot financiero de la clase de estados “hostiles” a DACA prohibiendo a empleados del condado viajar a esos estados en negocios del condado.

Fiscal General de California Les Dice a los Dreamers Que Vuelvan a Aplicar

Según Becerra, con la ayuda de los 200,000 receptores de DACA del estado, California se ha convertido en “la sexta economía más grande del mundo”.

Los funcionarios federales de inmigración ya no aceptarán nuevas solicitudes de DACA, pero la agencia está recibiendo solicitudes de renovación de DACA, de dos años, hasta el 5 de octubre, de los beneficiarios actuales cuyos beneficios expirarán antes del 5 de marzo.

Flanqueado por representantes de grupos de derechos de los inmigrantes, Becerra dijo el martes que hay ayuda financiera disponible para los Dreamers que no tienen la cuota de renovación de $495. “Si tiene la oportunidad, envíe sus documentos”, dijo el fiscal general. “No queremos que nadie se vea privado de la oportunidad de volver a aplicar”.

Cynthia Buiza, directora ejecutiva del California Immigrant Policy Center, instó a los beneficiarios a no “hacer del dinero un tema”.

Agregó Martha Arevalo, directora ejecutiva del Centro de Recursos Centroamericanos: “No deje que las preocupaciones financieras sean una razón para no volver a aplicar. Podemos encontrar soluciones”.

Becerra dijo que la eliminación de DACA afecta indirectamente a millones de residentes, así como a negocios, organizaciones sin fines de lucro y las ciudades del estado.

“Haremos todo lo que podamos para ganar”, dijo.

Quince otros estados también han presentado una demanda que desafía el final del programa de DACA.

UC Es el Primer Sistema Universitario en Entrar en Batalla Legal

La demanda de la UC presentada el 8 de septiembre en San Francisco contra el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés) y su secretaria interina, Elaine Duke, es la primera de su clase en ser presentada por una universidad. La demanda alega que la administración de Trump no proporcionó la notificación apropiada a la población impactada como lo requiere la ley.

“Como resultado de las acciones de los acusados, los Dreamers se enfrentan a la expulsión del único país al que llaman hogar, basado en nada más que un capricho ejecutivo irracional”, dice la queja. La presidenta de la UC, Janet Napolitano, que fue secretaria de DHS del 2009 al 2013, encabezó la creación del programa DACA por parte de la administración Obama en el 2012, estableciendo un riguroso proceso de revisión de aplicaciones y de seguridad, según la demanda.

Los solicitantes de DACA sólo fueron aprobados si estaban o se habían graduado de la preparatoria o la universidad, o estaban en el ejército, o un veterano con licencia honorable. No pueden haber sido declarados culpables de un delito mayor o de lo contrario representar una amenaza para la seguridad nacional o la seguridad pública.

“Ni yo, ni la Universidad de California, tomamos el paso de demandar al gobierno federal a la ligera”, dijo Napolitano. “Sin embargo, es imperativo que defendamos a estos miembros vitales de la comunidad UC”.

La demanda solicita al tribunal que anule la acción de Trump porque es “inconstitucional injusta e ilegal”.

Concejal de L.A. Pide Que el Abogado de la Ciudad Se una a las Demandas

Se cree que aproximadamente 100,000 receptores de DACA viven en el área de Los Ángeles. Una moción presentada la semana pasada por el concejal de Los Ángeles, José Huizar, dice: “Estos Dreamers fueron traídos aquí como niños y han demostrado ser residentes legales contribuyendo al tejido social y la diversidad de los Estados Unidos” acción legal en nombre de la ciudad para defender su presencia”.

Cuando se le pidió que comentara en la moción, el portavoz de Feur, Rob Wilcox, dijo: “Nuestra oficina ya está en conversaciones con otras entidades gubernamentales sobre la mejor manera de maximizar nuestro impacto en la lucha contra la eliminación de DACA”.

Condado para Apoyar Demandas, Boicotear Estados Hostiles de DACA

Los supervisores del condado votaron el martes para instituir una prohibición de viajar a los estados no amistosos del DACA y para apoyar los desafíos legales a la orden de Trump de terminar la política.

La supervisora Hilda Solís defendió una restricción de un año en los viajes del gobierno del condado a nueve estados que amenazaron con acciones legales para poner fin al programa, diciendo podría “costarle a los Estados Unidos aproximadamente 460.000 millones de dólares”.

Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Luisiana, Nebraska, Carolina del Sur y Virginia Occidental estarán sujetos a las restricciones de viaje, que no se aplicarán en caso de asistencia de emergencia para catástrofes o trabajos críticos de aplicación de la ley.

La votación fue de 3-1, con la Supervisora Kathryn Barger desdentando y el Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas absteniéndose, aunque ambos apoyan a DACA y votaron a favor de medidas relacionadas.

Los jóvenes adultos de todo el país afectados por la acción de la administración están contribuyendo a la economía de los Estados Unidos, no tomando de ella, dijo Sonja Díaz, directora fundadora de la Iniciativa Política y Política Latina de UCLA.

“Noventa y uno por ciento de los destinatarios de DACA están empleados. DACA es un neto positivo para la economía de los Estados Unidos “y terminarlo le costaría a California sólo $11.3 mil millones”, dijo Díaz a la junta directiva.

David Rattray, vicepresidente ejecutivo de la Cámara de Comercio de Los Ángeles, prometió el apoyo de los líderes empresariales en cualquier lucha para restaurar el programa.

Los empleadores han invertido en la contratación y formación de los llamados Dreamers y están “atónitos por lo estúpido que es esto, francamente”, dijo Rattray a la junta.

Barger, la única republicana de la junta no partidista, dijo que el condado debe tomar un papel agresivo y practico al presionar a los representantes del Congreso para elaborar una nueva legislación”.

“Tenemos que estar en la mesa y tenemos que presionar tan fuerte como podamos”, dijo Barger. “Esto es bipartidista, se trata de hacer lo que es correcto”, citando las declaraciones del entonces presidente Barack Obama del 2012, diciendo que DACA era “una medida temporal de suspensión” para dar tiempo al Congreso para actuar.

“El Congreso tiene que ponerse a trabajar, han tenido más de cinco años para hacerlo”, dijo Barger. “Si el Congreso no actúa en seis meses, es una vergüenza para ellos”.

Ridley-Thomas propuso que los abogados del condado presentaran un escrito de “amigo de la corte” en apoyo de varios estados demandando la administración de Trump.

Los receptores de DACA tienen derecho, según Ridley-Thomas, a “el derecho a la privacidad, el derecho dentro los pasillos del gobierno y en otros lugares sin preguntarse si alguien va a denunciarlo o a arrebatarte”.

La votación sobre los escritos amicus fue de 4-1, con Barger de disidente.

Basado en la moción de Solís, la junta también enviará una carta al presidente y al Congreso exigiendo acción legislativa, una medida que obtuvo un apoyo unánime. La junta directiva también dirigió a la Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del condado para ayudar a los beneficiarios existentes de DACA a renovar sus estatus antes del 5 de octubre.

La supervisora Sheila Kuehl presentó una moción para agregar la inmigración a una lista del condado de prioridades políticas, que actualmente incluyen la falta de vivienda, la protección del niño, la reforma del Departamento del Sheriff, la integración de los servicios de salud del condado y la supervisión y monitoreo ambiental.

El voto de junta directiva a favor de la nueva prioridad fue unánime.

California demanda al Gobierno federal por amenazas a ‘ciudades santuario’

August 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

California – California demandó esta semana al Gobierno federal por sus amenazas de retener fondos a las “ciudades santuario”, aquellas que han decidido de manera municipal no colaborar con el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) en la persecución de inmigrantes en situación irregular.

Por medio de un comunicado de prensa, el fiscal general de California, Xavier Becerra, anunció el lunes la denuncia contra “el intento inconstitucional” de supeditar la adjudicación de fondos federales a que las fuerzas de seguridad locales y estatales ayuden en sus labores al ICE.

“El Gobierno de Trump no puede manipular los requisitos de concesión de fondos federales para presionar a los estados, condados o municipios para que ejecuten las leyes federales de inmigración”, señaló Becerra.

Según los datos de la Fiscalía californiana, más de 28 millones de dólares de ayuda a través del fondo federal Edward Byrnes Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, destinado a programas de seguridad y prevención del crimen, corren peligro en California debido a los nuevos criterios estipulados por la Casa Blanca para su obtención.

El Departamento de Justicia confiaba en doblegar a las “ciudades santuario” con estas nuevas reglas que incluyen garantizar el acceso sin límite a los agentes federales en las ciudades para que busquen a indocumentados, o la obligatoriedad de que la policía municipal avise con un plazo de 48 horas de antelación acerca de cualquier intención de liberar a un inmigrante en situación irregular.

“Esto es una pura intimidación con la intención de obligar a nuestros cuerpos de seguridad a cambiar las políticas y prácticas que han determinado nuestra seguridad pública”, indicó Becerra.

Además, el fiscal aseguró que lucharán contra estas acciones federales “ilegales” que harían que California fuera “menos segura”.

En su comparecencia para anunciar la denuncia, Becerra estuvo acompañado por el fiscal de San Francisco, Dennis Herrera, quien también presentó una demanda en el mismo sentido en nombre de esta ciudad el pasado viernes.

Las acciones legales de California y San Francisco se unen a otras iniciativas en todo el país como la de Chicago, que la semana pasada denunció al Departamento de Justicia por negarle fondos federales debido a que es una “ciudad santuario”.

Como respuesta a la demanda de Chicago, el fiscal general, Jeff Sessions, afirmó que esa denuncia no servirá para que reciban los fondos federales, si no dejan de ser una “ciudad santuario”, y aseguró que “el dinero de los contribuyentes federales no ayudará a una ciudad que se niega a ayudar a sus propios ciudadanos”.

 

Jimmy Gomez Sworn Into Congress

July 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Former Eagle Rock Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez was sworn in Tuesday as a member of the House of Representatives, one month after he defeated public interest attorney and fellow Democrat Robert Lee Ahn in a special election in the 34th Congressional District.

The special election was prompted by the appointment of then-Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, as attorney general, succeeding Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate. Becerra endorsed Gomez, who said ran “to fight” President Donald Trump.

“My approach to policy, politics and government is shaped by experiences of my family and of my community,” Gomez said in his first floor speech after taking the oath of office.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez' wife, Mary Hodge and mother Socorro Gomez joined him Tuesday at his swearing in ceremony Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Photo Courtesy of Rep. Jimmy Gomez)

Rep. Jimmy Gomez’ wife, Mary Hodge and mother Socorro Gomez joined him Tuesday at his swearing in ceremony Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Photo Courtesy of Rep. Jimmy Gomez)

“As the son of immigrants who believes in this country and everything it promises, I have a profound commitment to protecting the rights of other immigrant families, no matter where they are from or the god they worship.”

He also said he supports “universal health care,” recalling that he spent a week in the hospital as a child and it “almost bankrupted my family.

“I believe young people from working families should have access to debt-free education because I know from my own experience that a high-school degree is not always enough, and a higher education can change a life. I believe everyone deserves access to clean air and water, and that climate change has exacerbated this challenge.”

“And lastly, to the people of California’s 34th district, I know why you sent me to Congress — to fight for our families, our state and our values. And I will do it every single day. I won’t let you down.”

Gomez was recently criticized by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R- Bakersfield, for delaying his swearing-in ceremony for weeks. Some Republicans suggested he was intentionally stalling so he could support Democratic measures pending in the state Legislature.

Gomez initially cited family conflicts for the delay in the ceremony, but it soon became clear Gomez was holding on to his assembly seat to help fellow Democrats pass a bill renewing the state’s cap and trade program, which he never got the chance to do as negotiations dragged on into late last week.

Gomez was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from UCLA, then earned a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University.

Gomez was the political director of the United Nurses Association of California and worked with several other unions, and also worked in the offices of then-Councilman Mike Feuer and then-Rep. Hilda Solis. He was elected to the Assembly in 2012, and re-elected in 2014 and 2016.

Gomez is the only Democrat to win a special election since President Trump’s inauguration.

Gomez’ assembly seat will be filled during a special election, on a date to be set Gov. Brown. As many as 9 candidates have already announced they will run to replace him.

 

Gomez to Represent 34th in U.S. Congress

June 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez will be sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives later this month after defeating public interest attorney and fellow Democrat Robert Lee Ahn in a special election in the 34th Congressional District.

Gomez, D-Eagle Rock, defeated Ahn, 60.12-39.88 percent, according to semi-official results released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Many outstanding ballots remain to be counted, according to Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan. An update on the ballot count will be released Friday, Logan said.

The results are tentatively scheduled to be certified on June 16,
with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors scheduled to declare the results official on June 20, Logan said.

The special election was prompted by the appointment of then-Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, as attorney general, succeeding Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate. Becerra endorsed Gomez, who said he hopes to “continue to build an inclusive and diverse country that values people from all walks of life.”

Both Gomez and Ahn are sons of immigrants.

At his election headquarters in Highland Park Tuesday night, Gomez called his win a victory for “California values.”

Jimmy Gomez and his supporters celebrate his victory Tuesday. (Jimmy Gomez for Congress)

Jimmy Gomez and his supporters celebrate his victory Tuesday. (Jimmy Gomez for Congress)

“Our communities came together to say ‘yes’ to progressive, California values. It’s been a privilege to run as your candidate and I am honored to be headed to Washington as your next representative in Congress,” Gomez said in statement posted on his campaign website.

You believed in our effort and it made all the difference. And we’re just getting started. I look forward to working with you — here in Los Angeles and in our nation’s capital — to ensure that we make the progress we need and deserve in the days and years to come.”

During the campaign, Gomez said he ran “to fight” President Donald Trump.

“I’ve always believed that in times like these it’s important to run towards the fight and not away from it,” Gomez told City News Service.

“From expanding paid family leave, to leading the nation in the fight against climate change, we’ve demonstrated that progressive values are achievable. In Congress, I will work to build a new progressive coalition that puts our values first.”

Gomez concedes that the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, “was not perfect,” but he said he will fight to protect the gains made through the legislation. He has also called for immigration reform and vows to fight rollbacks by “climate change deniers.”

The assemblyman racked-up the endorsements of a who’s who in state Democratic politics, including Gov. Jerry Brown, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Leader Kevin De Leon and Sup. Hilda Solis among others. He also earned the endorsement of the California Democratic Party and Our Revolution, a progressive group with roots in the Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign for president, as well as numerous labor groups. United Farmworker co-founder Dolores Huerta was among those who spent the last days before the election working to get the vote out for Gomez.

Gomez was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from UCLA, then earned a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University.

Gomez was the political director of the United Nurses Association of California and worked with several other unions, and also worked in the offices of then-Councilman Mike Feuer and then-Rep. Hilda Solis. He was elected to the Assembly in 2012, and re-elected in 2014 and 2016.

In the April 4 primary, Gomez topped the 24-candidate field, collecting roughly 25 percent of the vote, with Ahn second with 22 percent. Because no candidate received a majority, Gomez and Ahn were forced into Tuesday’s runoff.

The district stretches roughly from Koreatown in the west to the Long Beach (710) Freeway in the east and from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in the south to the Ventura (134) Freeway in the north. It includes downtown Los Angeles, the Westlake district, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights andLincoln Heights.

Ahn, a Korean American, was looking to break through in a traditionally Latino district, saying there has not been a “Korean voice in Congress” for two decades, “and never from the Democratic Party.” He painted himself as a political outsider not beholden to special interests.

A Los Angeles native, Ahn has a law degree from USC and practiced law for a time before at a variety of Southland firms. He later joined his family’s real estate and asset- management business.

Gomez said he spoke to Ahn Tuesday night by phone and “welcomed his congratulations on our victory. I made it clear that his historic run will be remembered and that we will join together to build a stronger Los Angeles for everyone,” Gomez said.

Gomez’s victory creates the need for a special election to fill his Assembly seat. Former Montebello Unified School District Board Member David Vela announced Wednesday he will run for the seat. Community advocate and former 34th congressional district candidate, Wendy Carrillo, has also thrown her hat into the ring.

Following the April 4 primary, in which over half the candidates running for the congressional seat were women, former state senator Martha Escutia called on women to unite behind a single woman candidate, rather than continuing to split the vote. She and others have suggested backing one of the former candidates for congress.

Information from City News Service used in this report.

Jimmy Gomez for Congress

June 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The appointment of Xavier Becerra to become State Attorney General has left a big hole to fill in California’s congressional delegation.

It’s especially true now that Pres. Trump has set upon a path that could have some alarming consequences for gains made in the Golden State to protect workers rights, the climate, immigrants in the country without permission, and access to affordable health care.

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez is our choice for the 34th Congressional District.

Gomez currently represents much of the district in the State Assembly. When it comes to understanding how government works, we believe he is by far the more experienced of the two candidates in next Tuesday’s Special Election runoff.

Gomez will have some very big shoes to fill when it comes to replacing Becerra, who after two decades rose to be one of the top ranking and most influential Democrats in Congress before departing for Sacramento. Articulate, serious, with a depth of knowledge on many issues, Becerra was well versed and accomplished when it came to bringing things — resources and money — home for his district and the state.

Gomez won’t have the seniority of Becerra, but he has proven he can get things done. He has earned a reputation as a progressive lawmaker, whose record includes the expansion of paid family leave, funding for river revitalization projects, and speeding up the deadline to reduce gas emissions. Gomez pushed for at least 25 percent of the state’s cap-and-trade dollars to go to disadvantaged communities, and for at least 10 percent to be invested in low-income households.

We have been impressed by his interest in the needs of the local areas he has represented, such as Pico Union, Highland Park and Eagle Rock.

Gomez faced dozens of well-qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds in the Primary Election, and to his credit, a majority have now turned around and endorsed him. A slew of state and local leaders, labor groups and environmental groups have also thrown their support his way.

His challenger, Robert Lee Ahn, is smart and thoughtful, and while he and Gomez differ little on some issues, his positions are not as well flushed out as those of Gomez, and he tends to be more conservative on other issues.

If elected, Ahn would be the only Korean American in Congress, a reality that has inspired many Korean Americans to register and vote. While that’s impressive, it’s not enough to earn our endorsement.

Eastern Group Publications recognizes the potential in Jimmy Gomez. We believe he will be a thoughtful, energetic voice for the 34th District, just as we believed when we endorsed him in his runs for the Assembly.

And we have his expanding record in promoting transparency in campaign fund raising, and his present efforts to create for Californians a single payer health insurance program, as evidence of his willingness to take on tough issues.

These are hard times for the average middle class and poor American, and we believe Jimmy Gomez is the superior candidate to represent all Californians in Congress.

Fiscal de California Respalda a Californianos, Incluyendo a Indocumentados

May 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

El fiscal general de California Xavier Becerra aseguró el 3 de mayo que su prioridad es “garantizar la seguridad de todos los residentes de California”, incluidos los inmigrantes, “sin importar si tienen papeles o no”.

Durante el mensaje de sus primeros 100 días en el cargo, al que llegó escasos días después de que hiciera lo propio el presidente Donald Trump, Becerra pidió a las autoridades locales a dedicar todos sus esfuerzos a proteger a la gente del estado y “no para hacer cumplir las leyes de inmigración”.

“Pelearé con todas mis fuerzas para seguir avanzando las políticas de California”, dijo Becerra, que agregó que “esperamos poder trabajar juntos con Washington D.C.”.

El funcionario público hispano de más alto rango del estado, quien desde que tomó posesión el pasado 24 de enero con el objetivo de defender al estado en temas como inmigración y reforma sanitaria, hizo una marcada defensa de los inmigrantes incluyendo los indocumentados.

“Los respaldaré. Es difícil saber qué va a hacer la Administración en Washington D.C., pero lo que sí puedo decir con confianza es que en California entendemos porqué hemos avanzado tanto y porqué tenemos una sociedad que pudo prosperar cuando otros estados no pudieron lograrlo”, aseveró.

“Y mucho de eso es por personas como mis padres que fueron inmigrantes, que trabajaron bien duro y nunca dejaron de creer que aunque ellos no tuvieran la oportunidad sus hijos sí la iban a tener”, enfatizó.

Al referirse a la función de las autoridades locales, el fiscal aseguró que el Gobierno federal debe saber que “haremos cumplir las leyes que protegen a nuestras comunidades” y que “no es nuestro trabajo” hacer cumplir las leyes de inmigración.

“Por eso le dije al procurador general (Jeff) Sessions que era importante que supiera que estamos listos para trabajar con ellos pero no para convertir a nuestra policía y sheriff en agentes de inmigración”.

“Mi responsabilidad es proteger a las familias”, incluyendo a los inmigrantes, dijo Becerra enfatizando que él mismo es hijo de inmigrantes.

Igualmente explicó que espera tener la oportunidad de dialogar con el director de Seguridad Nacional para tratar el tema de los “soñadores” o beneficiarios de la Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA).

Hay muchos de ellos, “que tienen miedo y no saben si podrán seguir con su estatus de DACA”, indicó.

En otro apartado, Becerra indicó que hará todo lo necesario para garantizar las medidas de protección del medio ambiente que California ha establecido.

“Protegeré la calidad del aire”, aseguró refiriéndose al Plan de Aire limpio y otras medidas de protección del medio ambiente de la legislatura.

Sobre ese tema dijo que “no vamos a mirar hacia atrás” y que mientras “en Washington D.C. están tratando de detener el reloj y dar marcha atrás, en California seguimos avanzando”.

El fiscal general de California también habló detenidamente de la situación de algunas entidades que figuran como no lucrativas pero que en realidad, “se aprovechan de esa etiqueta para lucrar sus ganancias”.

Aseguró que investigará las organizaciones que figurando como “sin ánimo de lucro”, engañen a aquellos que han ofrecido servir y recalcó su énfasis en proteger a los veteranos para que no sufran con estas estafas.

El fiscal señaló también que le gustaría “hacer algunas preguntas” sobre una auditoría reciente que encontró que la Universidad de California (UC) ocultó más de 175 millones de dólares mientras aumentaba sus costos de matrícula.

Destacando que UC tiene “autonomía constitucional”, aseguró que la fiscalía también tiene “autoridad independiente” para investigar a cualquiera para saber si ha hecho algo en contra de los californianos.

Con respecto a otro tema que ha tenido mucha atención en el Estado Dorado, el hispano aseguró que “luchará contra la conspiración” de compañías productoras de medicamentos para evitar que inflen artificialmente los precios de los medicamentos genéricos.

“Creo que el futuro va a ser bueno, podemos estar optimistas aunque en este momento las nubes están oscuras. Vamos a hacer todo lo posible para ayudar a los que trabajan duro”, concluyó el fiscal general de California Xavier Becerra.

Gomez, Ahn to Face Off in June 6 Runoff

April 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez will likely face Los Angeles Planning Commissioner and Attorney Robert Lee Ahn in a June 6 runoff in the 34th Congressional District special election, according to semi-official election results released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

The seat was left vacant by former Rep. Xavier Becerra’s move to Sacramento to become the state’s attorney general.

Jimmy Gomez 2

(Jimmy Gomez for Congress)

Gomez and Ahn pulled to the front of the pack of 24 candidates, 19 of them, like Gomez and Ahn, Democrats looking to represent the overwhelmingly Democratic district. Most of the candidates have never held elective office, with the exception of Gomez and former Los Angeles Unified School District board member Yolie Flores.

Gomez, D-Eagle Rock, led the field with 8,156 votes, or 28.14 percent, with Ahn coming in second with 5,504 votes, or 18.99 percent, according to the county’s unofficial election results.

Democrat Maria Cabildo, an economic development director, was third with 2,778 votes, 9.58 percent.

According to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, about 13,400 ballots still need to be counted, including questioned ballots and vote-by-mail ballots that were turned in at polling places Tuesday or are received in the mail by Friday – but postmarked on or before election day. The next update of the count is expected to be released Friday afternoon.

Because no candidate received a majority, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held June 6.

Robert Lee Ahn

(Robert Lee Ahn for Congress)

The district stretches roughly from Koreatown in the west to the Long Beach (710) Freeway in the east and from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in the south to the Ventura (134) Freeway in the north. It includes downtown Los Angeles, the Westlake district, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights.

Twenty-three of the candidates were on the official ballot. The 24th candidate, Michelle Walker, a Democrat and community activist, qualified as a write-in candidate. Her vote total was not available Wednesday.

It’s noteworthy that more than half the candidates vying for the seat are women, many who said during candidate forums they were inspired to run following the Pres. Trump’s election, which triggered marches in support of women’s rights across the country.

Absent a major shift in the voting trend, it’s unlikely, though not impossible, one of the women candidates will pick up enough votes to move ahead of Gomez or Ahn for a place in the runoff.

It’s more likely outstanding votes for a woman will be distributed amongst all the female candidates.

The apparent failure for a woman to make it to runoff now has some political advocates looking to replace Gomez in the Assembly, should he be elected, with a woman.

Former state senator Martha Escutia, in a Facebook posting, asked if she was “naïve” to think that the women could have sat together and “agreed on ONE woman candidate to run?”

“Am I naive to hope for this?? I sincerely hope that Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez endorses a woman to replace him in the State Legislature!” she wrote Wednesday.

She called on women candidates to “consolidate please, no more debacles!”

Also coming up short were candidates with ties to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president. It was initially thought those ties could play in their favor in the congressional district because Sanders won the majority vote over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But with semi-official election results putting the voter turnout at about 9 percent, some political observers are questioning whether the fervor seeing during the presidential campaign can be sustained.

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