April 2021 BayAreaGOP Newsletter Articles

Representatives Michelle Steel and Young Kim Address Crimes Against AAPIs

Two California Republican congresswomen have spoken out against recent crimes against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

Representative Michelle Steel has introduced House Resolution 153 “Condemning recent hate crimes committed against Asian-American and Pacific Islanders.” It cites, “2,808 firsthand accounts” of hate crimes against AAPI people. The resolution “affirms that the United States stands united in condemning and denouncing” anti-AAPI sentiments and actions and calls on law enforcement to investigate reports of crimes and hold the perpetrators accountable. Read House Resolution 153.

Representative Young Kim has written an opinion article for USA Today entitled “Bipartisan stand needed against hate crimes that target Asian Americans”. She says, “The rise in violence and hateful actions we have seen across U.S. communities during the COVID-19 pandemic is abhorrent, unacceptable and must stop.” After telling her own immigration story, she says “The fact that I and so many other members of the AAPI community are serving in Congress is proof of how far we have come. The only way we will build a brighter future is by coming together — and that starts with treating one another with respect and seeing each other as Americans.” Read Young Kim’s article.

Representatives Steel and Kim are both Korean Americans who represent Orange County in Congress. Representatives Kim, Ken Calvert, and David Valadao are cosponsors of H. Res. 153.

Redistricting Commission to California Citizens:
Draw My CA Community

By Roger Riffenburgh

California citizens have the opportunity to describe their own community and send it directly to the California Redistricting Commission.  The Commission has released a new electronic tool kit that invites Californians to answer questions and then draw their own community of interest.  That community can then be submitted to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission for consideration in the process of drawing lines for California’s Congressional, Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization Districts.

Every ten years, following the national census, states must redraw district lines to meet the constitutional requirement that districts for the same office contain roughly equal population.  In two initiative elections held in 2008 and 2010, Californians gave that power to a 14 member commission made up of 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 4 No Party Preference or other party members.

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a number of changes compared to the process California underwent in 2011.   The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that redistricting data will be released to all states on September 30, 2021.  Fortunately, the California Supreme Court anticipated this delay and adjusted the deadline for the Commission to submit its final districts.  The Commission’s current timeline calls for release of final districts by February 15, 2022.  This timeline could affect signature gathering periods and filing dates for 2022 elections, which normally would begin in late 2021.

The Commission includes three members from the San Francisco Bay Area. Two are registered Republicans and one is registered No Party Preference.  Jane Andersen, a Republican, is a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer from Berkeley who served as chair of the Legislative Committee of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California and taught earthquake preparedness classes for FEMA.

Russell Yee, a Republican, is a former church pastor whose ancestors emigrated from China and settled in Oakland.  Yee graduated from Oakland High School and has a PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Pedro Toledo, registered No Party Preference, is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Petaluma Health Center and serves as the rotating Chair of the Commission.

The Commission must consider public input while at the same time following certain criteria while drawing districts.  In addition to complying with population requirements, districts must be contiguous, compact, and minimize the division of cities , counties, neighborhoods and communities to the extent possible.  You can access the tool to draw your own community at drawmycacommunity.org.

Bay City Celebrates Renaming

 By Roger Riffenburgh
Thursday, April 1, 2021

Bay City leaders recently celebrated the city’s renaming. There were congratulations and virtual high fives all around as the Board of Supervisors passed the measure, and the mayor signed it. They had moved quickly to remove the name given by the Spanish colonizers and replaced it with a name which recognizes the area’s natural environmental wonder. The vote had been unanimous, though a few citizens thought that the Catholic saint’s name was actually quite fitting, as he was a social justice activist, who aided the poor.

The city’s change had followed up on the groundbreaking work done by the Bay City Unified School District. Despite the pandemic and their many closed schools, the district’s leaders had pushed ahead with the vital work of renaming 44 schools. They had the wisdom to realize, for example, that even though Abraham Lincoln had freed the enslaved, gotten the 13th Amendment passed, and lost his life in the process, his name must not be on a high school, because of his mistreatment of indigenous peoples. They understood that Dianne Feinstein, California’s first woman U.S. senator, had irrevocably tainted herself by replacing a damaged Confederate flag when she was mayor. These and many others could not have their names on public schools, where students would have the burden of thinking about their misdeeds.

The changes are very popular. Dr. Florence Lopez, the principal of Spinach Middle School, gushed, “I’m honored to have our school named after such an important vegetable, one with so many nutrients and antioxidants.” The school’s coach reported, “Dark green is a great color for our team uniforms, though I did need to work with Kale to make sure our uniforms were distinctive.” However, young Billie Chen, a student at Fauci Middle School, complained, “I’m really unhappy that my mom burned my Presidio sweatshirt – it was my favorite one.”

The public celebration will be held as soon as the pandemic ends, in Golden Bridge Park (the park was renamed when it came to light that the name Golden Gate originated with John C. Fremont, who led massacres of indigenous people). The celebration will be at the East Meadow right off of RFK Drive (formerly JFK Drive, before the intern revelations).

Parts of the above article are an April Fool’s joke, and parts are no joke at all.

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