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ParkRx LA Day El Cariso Park/Dia de Park Rx Parque El Cariso, Sylmar, CA, April/Abril 28, 2019 9am – 12pm

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Celebrate Chicano Park Earth Justice Day Super Bloom California Poppies #EarthDay

Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve State Park – a project of the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund

Chicano Park was founded April 22, 1970 — the same as Earth Day.

Photo gallery CC BY NC SA The City Project | Robert García

Super Bloom California Poppies 2019

Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve State Park – a project of the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund

Photo gallery CC BY NC SA The City Project | Robert García

 

Special Counsel Mueller has no confidence this president did not criminally obstruct justice. Vote. Five page summary in excerpts.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is summarized in five pages in the file attached below. The excerpts summarize first principles. The 400 page report and appendices, which provides details, is a best practice for writing clear simple prose explaining complex factual, legal, and policy matters. The following are key takeaways.

The heart of the Special Counsel report is this. No person in the nation is above the law. Congress has alternative means to address presidential misconduct besides criminal prosecution through investigation, oversight, and impeachment. Other jurisdictions such as New York and California may have criminal jurisdiction. As a matter of fairness, this president would not be tried for, and could not defend himself against, criminal charges until after he left office. A criminal charge would undermine the ability of the executive branch to govern. A US Department of Justice legal opinion states a sitting president cannot be prosecuted while still in office, and Special Counsel is an attorney in the Department. Special Counsel does not by any means clear the president of criminal wrong-doing. “[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’ s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Special Counsel Mueller has done his part. It’s up to the House and Senate to do their parts. More importantly, we the people have the right to vote to hold this president and his enablers accountable for his attacks on the rule of law, democratic governance, and truth itself.

Special Counsel conducted a thorough factual investigation to preserve the evidence while memories were fresh and documentary materials available, even though the Office did not reach a binary either/or decision to decline or charge.

Special Counsel concludes the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. The Office sought charges against two groups of Russian nationals. The Office charged certain individuals connected to the Trump campaign with making false statements or otherwise obstructing the investigation or parallel congressional investigations. The investigation did not establish that members of the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.

Special Counsel used the DOJ standard of discretion to initiate or decline a criminal prosecution. The standard is “whether admissible evidence would probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction for such an offense.” If the answer was yes, Special Counsel considered “whether the prosecution would serve a substantial federal interest, the individuals were subject to effective prosecution in another jurisdiction, and there existed an adequate non-criminal alternative to prosecution.”

The following are some implications of Special Counsel’s report.

Congress has the constitutional authority continue to investigate this president and impeach him while he is in office within the separation of powers.

This president constitutionally can be indicted and tried after he leaves office.

The next president can pardon this president. Ford pardoned Nixon. Ford justified the pardon on the grounds that a pardon would bring the nation together and allow the nation to move on. Ford pardoned Nixon after the House voted on articles of impeachment including obstruction of justice, with both parties acting against Nixon.

Regarding Attorney General William Barr, even the report as redacted speaks for itself, providing evidence that Barr lied in misrepresenting the report to Congress and the nation. The Attorney General nevertheless has prosecutorial discretion to charge this president with a crime or not while the president remains in office.

Are other criminal jurisdictions bound by the same reasoning and authorities not to charge this president with a crime while he is in office if their investigation uncovers additional evidence? Presumably even the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York will need approval from the DOJ to do so even with additional evidence of guilt, notwithstanding its fierce independence and reputation as the Sovereign District. States like New York and California presumably are not bound by federal policies against indicting and trying a sitting president.

Impeachment is the opiate of liberals. Vote.

Robert García is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the SDNY in the public corruption unit, and a civil rights attorney experienced in death penalty defense, criminal defense, and police misconduct lawyering.

Resources

Mueller Report Excerpts Five Pages
The New York Times Interactive Mueller Report
Mueller Report on Special Counsel’s Office Website
Mueller Report OCR Word File
Special Counsel’s Charge
We Cannot Fault Mueller without Reading the Report
SDNY Sentencing Memo Michael Cohen
Watergate Grand Jury Road Map
The Path to Unseal the Watergate Road Map

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April 17 Roberto Clemente April 15 Jackie Robinson Equal Justice

In addition to Roberto Clemente’s accomplishments on the field — a 15-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove Award winner, two-time World Series champion with the Pittsburgh Pirates and member of the 3,000-hit club — he was a fierce advocate for Latino players and against Jim [and Juana] Crow segregation. A year after he died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while escorting earthquake relief from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua, Clemente became the first [Latino player] inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

On Monday and Tuesday, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in baseball on April 15, 1947, by having every player wear his No. 42 jersey, which was retired in 1997 and remains the only one to receive that special honor by all 30 teams. Many Puerto Ricans believe the same M.L.B.-wide retirement should also go to Clemente, who also made his major league debut this week, on April 17, 1955.

Read the story in the New York Times . . .

Click to watch the Jackie Robinson Impact Film by Spike Lee . . .

Mendez v Westminster School District of Orange Co. Latino Civil Rights Pioneers April 14, 1947

Sylvia Méndez and her Mexican-born father and Puerto Rican-born mother helped lead the fight for equal protection, human dignity, and freedom, and against discrimination in public schools in California and beyond. On April 14, 1947, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down discrimination against students on the basis of “Mexican and Latin descent or extraction.” The Court of Appeals upheld the  the lower court decision protecting  students of “Mexican and Latin descent or extraction” or with a “Latinized or Mexican name,” or “non-English-speaking school children of Mexican ancestry or descent.” The case was a class action on behalf of 5,000 similarly situated children. The decision helped end segregation of Latino, Native American, and Asian children in the state.

The Mendez case paved the way for Brown vs. Board of Education in the US Supreme Court in 1954. According to NAACP LDF attorney Robert L. Carter, who drafted the brief, Mendez was “a model for the brief eventually in Brown vs. Board of Education, which I wrote, so that’s the link between Westminster and Brown.”

What’s less acknowledged is the fact that Méndez is an important part of the civil rights movement for all Latinos, including Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans. According to Sylvia Méndez, “We didn’t have that divide Mendez vs. Westminster, which not many people are aware of…it wasn’t just the Mexicans in the court case. We also had [Jan Malban] who were also Puerto Rican, who were also friends of my family, and there were two other Puerto Rican families who were part of the Mendez vs. Westminster case aside from us….”

The Méndez family retained and paid David Marcus, a civil rights attorney, because he successfully represented Puerto Ricans and Mexicans who had been segregated in the public parks and pools of San Bernardino.

The Méndez family lived in the community because they leased a farm from the Munemitsus family, a Japanese family who was interned at Poston, AZ.

Sylvia Méndez received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012.

In 1931, a state court judge struck down segregation of Mexican American students in public schools in Lemon Grove, CA, in the Superior Court for the State of California in San Diego County. This is said to be the first successful school desegregation case in the nation.

Latin Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants began pursuing civil rights strategies for equal access to education beginning in the early 20th Century, leading to the canonical victory in Brown. Early civil rights groups included the NAACP, LDF, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Alianza Hispano-Americana.

Mendez v Westminster School District of Orange County, 161 F.2d 774 (9th Cir. 1947) (en banc), aff’g 4 F.Supp. 544 (DC SDCA 1946)

Sylvia Mendez, sylviamendezinthemendezvswestminster.com

Suset Laboy, Meet Felicitas “La Prieta” Mendez: Pioneer in the Struggles for Desegregation, Centro Voices e-Magazine

Robert R. Alvarez, Jr., The Lemon Grove Incident, The Journal of San Diego History, San Diego Historical Society Quarterly, Spring 1986, Volume 32, Number 2, reporting on Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, Petition for Writ of Mandate No. 66625, February 13, 1931, and Conclusions of Law, March 31, 1931.

Joyce Kuo, Excluded, Segregated and Forgotten: A Historical View of the Discrimination of Chinese Americans in Public Schools, 5 Asian Am. L.J. 181 (1998)

Jeanne M. Powers, On Separate Paths: The Mexican American and African American Legal Campaigns against School Segregation, 121 American Journal of Education 29 (2014)

 

Hate Crimes, White Nationalism, and White Supremacy House Judiciary Committee Eva Patterson Equal Justice Society

I am President of the Equal Justice Society located in Oakland California.  Our mission is to transform the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts. . . . I come in peace. . . .

Fast forward to 1964 — our fellow Texan LBJ helped pass the Civil Rights Act.  At its signing, he said, “We (Democrats) have lost the South for a generation.”

[T]he Southern Strategy was devised to encourage white people to abandon the Democratic Party and vote for the GOP. It was a shrewd and effective political strategy but it drove yet another wedge between Black and white people.

Fast forward to 2008–America elected a Black President. Unfortunately, this proved unsettling in that some white people who felt superior to Black folks had to deal with a Black President and a Black family in the White House.

In 2015, Donald Trump began his campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists.”  He called for a Muslim ban.  When white supremacists marched in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and Soil,” a slogan right out of the Nazi playbook, Mr. Trump says there are good people on both sides.  He recently called asylum seekers “animals.”

[A man] goes into a place of worship and murders Black souls who were praying with him.  Jews are massacred in the Tree of Life Synagogue on the Sabbath. Muslims are slaughtered as they start prayer in peaceful New Zealand.

White supremacy is alive and well.  We want the Congress to take bipartisan action to denounce it. My written remarks have specific recommendations. We would like the Supreme Court to once again protect the rights of people of color. Chief Justice Roberts, when you dismantled the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v Holder, your assertion that racism has been eradicated was wrong. Please speak with your colleague Judge Bernice Donald of the Sixth Circuit who writes and speaks extensively on the resilience of racism.

We are hopeful that a majority of you will want to give the country a signal that we are “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Click on the image to watch the video

Written Testimony of Eva Paterson before the House Judiciary Committee

Oral remarks of Eva Paterson before the House Judiciary Committee

 

 

Civil Rights, Environmental Justice and Health Equity Framework PRRAC Handbook Parks & Recreation

The City Project with The Praxis Project and GreenLatinos published the chapter called “A Framework for Civil Rights, Environmental Justice, and Health Equity.” The Framework is in the PRRAC handbook called Strategies for Health Justice: Studies from the Field. The Rose Foundation calls the handbook “inspiring and incredible.” This post is the first in a series exploring the Framework applied in different contexts.

Here’s a summary of the Framework:

  1. Describe what you plan to do.
  2. Include affected communities at every step of the process, including people of color, low income people, and other traditionally marginalized communities.
  3. Analyze benefits and burdens on all people.
  4. Analyze alternatives to what is planned.
  5. Develop an implementation plan and distribute benefits and burdens equitably, avoiding discrimination.

Environmental Justice and Access to Parks, Recreation, Pools, and Beaches have been a Civil Rights concern since the beginning of the modern movement. In the 1950s and ’60s, Civil Rights advocates held “swim-ins” at pools and “wade-ins” at beaches, just as they held sit ins at lunch counters. However, to this day, people who are low-income or of color are frequently left out of the environmental discussion, even though they are the people disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and lack of access to healthy green space. Applying the five-point framework to park access, environmental justice, and health equity helps ensures the voices of frontline communities are heard every step of the way, and environmental benefits and burdens are evenly distributed.

Community victory for environmental justice, health equity, and civil rights, Los Angeles State Historic Park

PRRAC, Stragegies for Health Justice (2018).

The framework chapter is on pages 45 to 57. PRRAC is the Povertry & Race Research Action Council.

The Mueller Report and the Watergate “Road Map”- We Cannot Fault Mueller without Reading the Report

Mueller did what he was charged to do. Mueller did not fail when he delivered his report. The Barr letter is another story altogether.

Without reading the 400 page Mueller report, we cannot fault Mueller. Mueller most certainly did not exonerate 45. Many 45 associates have been convicted. Indictment too long has been the opiate of liberals to remove 45. We the people can vote based on publicly available information. The Watergate grand jury report “road map” summarized the evidence without making any recommendation.

The criminal law question is this: was a crime committed, and did 45 commit that crime? Set aside the fact that the Mueller investigation has already resulted in eight criminal guilty pleas; 37 criminal indictments; and separate criminal investigations in the Southern District of New York, other federal districts, and at least one state. (The Cohen indictment in the SDNY all but names 45 as Individual 1, an unindicted co-conspirator.  An unindicted co-conspirator is someone whom the prosecution believes is guilty, but is not charged for some policy reason. In this case, the policy reason might be 45 is the sitting president of the US.) Intelligence gathering within the intelligence community, including agencies and Congressional committees, is ongoing to determine if 45 is an asset, witting or unwitting, for a foreign government.

Mueller, a consummate lawyer and criminal justice professional, demonstrates integrity, independence, and a dedication to justice, truth, and the rule of law. I say that based on the experience and reputation of Mueller, and of members of his team who served as Assistant United States Attorneys for the SDNY; personal conversations with reliable source(s) who worked closely with Mueller in the past and knew him well; and my experience as a former AUSA for the SDNY.

The Mueller investigation involves different standards, which vary by context: (1) Mueller’s charging document, (2) the criminal law, (3) intelligence gathering, (4) Congressional oversight, (5) removal under the Constitution, (6) politics and campaigning among office holders and candidates, (7) the court of public opinion, (8) journalism, and (9) advertising to support journalism, or political campaigns. The criminal law involves the most rigorous standards – was a crime committed, and did 45 commit that crime? The criminal law defines the elements of the crime that must be established beyond a reasonable doubt based on admissible evidence subject to proper procedures, including the right to counsel, the presumption of innocence, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, the right to a jury trial,  the rules of evidence, and judicial review. Mueller apparently concluded, regarding 45, there are serious questions of law and fact about obstruction of justice, and there is insufficient evidence of conspiracy, based on his investigation.

Condemning or celebrating the investigation without reading the full report is inappropriate.

Robert García is a former AUSA for the SDNY and civil rights attorney experienced in death penalty defense, criminal defense, and police misconduct lawyering.

Resources

Mueller’s charge

Watergate grand jury report road map