Sheriff Livingston; Cease and Desist Human Rights Abuses of ICE Detainees

From :  Gayle McLaughlin

Former Mayor of Richmond, CA

6111 Orchard Ave, Richmond CA 94804

 

To : David Livingston

Contra Costa Sheriff

651 Pine St, Martinez, CA 94553

 

RE:       Cease and Desist Human Rights Abuses of ICE Detainees

Date:   November 3, 2017

 

Sheriff Livingston,

 

It has come to my attention through reporting by Otis R. Taylor, Jr. of the San Francisco Chronicle on November 2, 2017, that there has been a series of complaints by several female ICE detainees in the Contra Costa County West County Jail located in Richmond, California.  

These complaints include horrendous conditions of detention that the ICE detainees are suffering in the County jail under contract with ICE. The report describes jail cells with no toilets, the humiliation of female inmates forced to relieve themselves by urinating and defecating in their clothes or plastic bags, being locked-up for 23 hours a day, frequent cancellation of the one-hour time outside the cells, intolerable food, lack of basic health care services, and a terrifying environment with distressed inmates screaming and pounding on their cell doors.

As a U.S. citizen, a resident of Richmond, a tax-payer and a former Mayor of Richmond, I demand that you immediately stop these intolerable conditions of detention and cease all and every abuse of basic human rights of the people detained in any facility under your jurisdiction.

I demand that you send me written confirmation that you will stop such activities. You risk severe legal consequences if you permit these abuses within your facility to continue.

You are hereby warned and advised that you will be held responsible legally and politically for the actions denounced by the inmates. The actions constitute not only violations of basic human and constitutional rights, but are also attacks to the integrity and reputation of the Richmond community with our city being the location of the facility in which these cruelties are conducted.

Citizens and elected officials of Richmond, myself included, have demanded repeatedly that you cease and desist participating in ICE abuses and that you terminate your contract with ICE. You have ignored these requests and by doing so, have violated the dignity and principles of our City and County.

Sincerely,

Gayle McLaughlin


Universal Tuition Free College for All

Education is a key element of a democracy and prepares our youth for success in an increasingly complex world. Yet in California, and across the country, higher education is still inaccessible to many or is completed with a mountain of debt. I am tired of seeing us deny so many the opportunity to grow themselves and change their communities. This is why my campaign and many others are fighting for Universal Tuition-Free College – and we are seeing progress!

Just this fall, San Francisco began its Free City College program after a vote last November. Their success led to Bernie Sanders hosting a rally at City College of San Francisco in September where he praised the city’s action as “a model for the United States of America.” (Click to read more about this amazing success).

My campaign was canvassing this event and the energy from this success story reassured us that when we fight, we win. The actions of San Francisco and our work in Richmond shows that when normal people get organized and build inclusive, progressive organizations we can make real change in our communities. A critical element of this is growing and supporting corporate-free candidates, who will fight for the people because that is who we are powered by. For many politicians that sounds like a revolutionary idea in a democracy, but I have seen that it is the ONLY way we can achieve the changes we desperately want.

My corporate-free campaign will take the fight for Universal Tuition-Free College to Sacramento. We know it’s popular, it works and is necessary. Stand with me today to make it possible for ALL Californians!


Building local Progressive Alliances

To achieve serious progressive change we must get active, organizing and mobilizing locally! We can create progressive, corporate-free, inclusive, diverse, and year-round organizations that fight for the local hot issues and elect corporate-free candidates to local office. This is the mindset we had when we built the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and we created a helpful video to outline the elements that made us successful:

Some of the most important elements were;

Build inclusively:

  • It is necessary that you build your progressive alliance to be inclusive of every background; gender, race, class, disability, sexual orientation and creed. This also includes members of different progressive organizations, anyone who is serious and willing to work together deserves a seat at the table. This is why our model is an “alliance”!

Be corporate-free:

  • We know the devastating impact corporate cash has had on our democracy. The only way we can successfully fight for the people is if we are powered by them, not corporations! Corporations are not people and they use their money in this broken campaign finance system to win favors and support. Do not allow them to co-opt our movement!

Organize around candidates and local hot issues:

  • You want to identify the issues that affect your community most and mobilize people around progressive solutions to them; we refer to these local issues as “hot issues”. From that support you can then begin to build serious campaigns for corporate-free candidates, so you can have grassroots AND governing power!

Last but not least, have a long-term strategy:

  • Everyone in the organization needs to understand the long-term strategy because we are engaged in long-term battles. When we fight, we win but we must be committed to the fight!

Using this model and these tenets is how the Richmond Progressive Alliance was able to get 5 out of 7 city councilmembers to be corporate-free progressives. With mobilization and organization, we forced the oil giant Chevron to pay $114 million in additional local taxes.

Electoral times with progressive candidates are the ideal time to start building your local corporate-free political organization. Following the steps presented in the included video, you may start organizing around one or more local corporate-free candidates. At the same time I ask you to create a parallel and overlapping Gayle for California club in your city or county. In this way you will have in your hands the organizing tools of an election, with support for one or more candidates.

As a part of my campaign for Lt. Governor, I feel it is important to build local Gayle for California clubs all over California. This organizing infrastructure will assist in getting corporate-free candidates like myself elected to statewide office AND to create a real movement of people across the state who can continue the fight for progress. Too often campaigns activate people to get them elected and then leave this vital infrastructure behind once the votes are cast. I believe this is short-sighted and that the only way we can truly win is if we are focused on supporting and growing the infrastructure that we build.

If you share this vision and want to build local progressive power to fight for the 99% and elect corporate-free candidates like myself, join us as a Club Coordinator and reply to this email with “Club Coordinator” in the subject line! If there is already a club in your area or another progressive organization then join as a Local Leader, replying with “Local Leader” in the subject line. No matter which role you choose please fill out our volunteer form so that we can easily communicate and build with you.

We can have the change we desperately want to see in our communities, we just have to get active, organize and mobilize. Remember, when we fight, we win! Thank you for your support.


Honoring Those Who Have Died with Activism and Resistance

Tonight is Halloween, and as I open my door to neighborhood children full of joy and excitement, I reflect on the origins of this autumn holiday and what it means to honor those who have died.

For more than 4,000 years the pre-Celts and Celts of Europe celebrated of the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter with Samhain (sow-in), which later became All-hallows-eve or Halloween.

On this night our Celtic ancestors invited home their family and clan ancestors roaming nearby fields and roads. They also feared the harmful souls with scores to settle. People wore masks and ghostly gear to fool the spirits and to pass as one of them.

Like in other celebrations around the world, food and treats were prepared for the living and the dead. In Mexico the 3,000-year-old pre-conquest festivities honoring Mictecacihatl, the Lady of the Dead, continues in the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Tonight my thoughts are a mix of children’s joy and adults’ sadness. My mind and heart go out to the 50,000 Native American Californians killed under Spanish rule before 1834; the 140,000 Native American Californians killed after the U.S. conquest of California, the 110,000 Californians killed by others, mostly by gun violence, during my lifetime; the 6,300 young Californians killed in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan; and the 22,000 Californians who died of opioid overdoses since 1999. I also grieve for all the Californians who died because of homelessness, or because they lacked medical insurance, or were killed by police, or were burned alive by fires sparked by the negligence of a powerful utility company, and so on … and these are just the Californians!

Tonight I acknowledge the pain of all these past Californians and their families, and re-commit myself to give everything I have to work for a society where things are more just, healthier, and much happier. It won’t be easy, but a Better California is Possible!

I ask you to work with me: Get involved in your city, in your union, in your neighborhood. Celebrate life, honor your ancestors, remember those who we failed as a society, and connect with your friends and neighbors so we build a community where we do not fail anyone.

Be a volunteer in my campaign and/or help my campaign to reach out to many in California with the successes of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. This video gives you a flavor of the message I’m taking all over California: Organize locally for corporate-free political power!

Let’s celebrate this Halloween and many more to come by honoring those who have died with activism and resistance.


Corporate-free Campaign

For too long our democracy has been compromised by corporations and the 1% using our broken campaign finance system to legally bribe our politicians. A study conducted by Princeton in 2014 proved that the US is an oligarchy, not a democracy. The most glaring proof of this conclusion is apparent in the tables below:

There is virtually no change in the likelihood of policy passing even if ALL Americans want something. Yet the more the elites want something, the more likely it is to pass. The same elites that utilize our broken campaign finance laws to lobby and bribe weak politicians to get their way.

The only way we will get our democracy back is through evicting corporate cash from our political system. When private interests get candidates elected they are beholden to them. BUT if candidates get elected through public financing, they would be beholden to public interests. To many politicians in this current corrupt system this idea seems radical; I just call it democracy.

Public financing already exists in some of our cities. Richmond is one of 6 charter cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, and Richmond) throughout California that has taken advantage of laws allowing for public financing of elections. Berkeley will be the 7th city to use public financing in its City Council races starting next year. We in the RPA benefited a lot from this. It helped us to get a super-majority elected. I encourage all activists to take local advantage of this law and get local city councils to pass ordinances implementing partial funding and matching funds for local elections. Corporations and developers who generally control city councils are of course opposed to this. They cite other priorities for city money as if having fair elections shouldn’t be a key priority.

There are 400 chartered cities in California which could be pressured by citizens to implement publicly funded city electionsYet again another example of when we organize locally and fight for progressive change, we win.

Having taken that mentality and fought corporations like Chevron in Richmond, and winning, I know how we can take this battle to the statehouse. Our democracy has been hijacked and it is a top priority of mine to evict corporate cash from our system and replace it with public financing at the state level.

Together we can and will win back our democracy, the future of our country depends on it.


Millionaires must pay their fair share!

California needs a more progressive Millionaires’ tax. We need one that raises the rate of the tax as the income increases.

Currently, millionaires making $1 million in a year pay a total 13.3% in California income taxes. I propose a progressive and incremental millionaires’ tax that increases 1% from the current tax rate (13.3%) for each million dollars of taxable income. Someone making $5 million in a year would pay 18.3% total tax to the state. The maximum would be 25.3% for millionaires earning $12 million or more a year.

This tax adjustment would raise billions that we could invest in fixing our education system, upgrading our infrastructure, repairing our roads and bridges, and preparing our grid for a 100% clean energy future. We could also take a serious step to address the gross income inequality that we face today.

A study from Stanford University* has shown that recent tax increases on the top-earners did not cause a flight of top-income earners to other states. For millionaires, living and making money in California have historically outweighed other factors.

To achieve a new millionaires’ tax, we have to get active, organizing and mobilizing locally! We can create progressive, corporate-free, inclusive, diverse and year-round organizations that fight for the local hot issues and elect corporate-free candidates to local office. This is how in Richmond we were able to get 5 out of 7 city councilmembers to be corporate-free progressives. With mobilization and organization, we forced the oil giant Chevron to pay $114 million in additional local taxes.

I am taking the experience of our successes in Richmond to the Lt. Governor's office now. With your support, we can make a Millionaires Fair Share tax and all of its benefits to Californians possible. Your donation of $27 today is not only an investment in my campaign for bold progressive change, but an investment in our future, saying YES to a system that serves the 99%.

Thank you for being with me in this fight for justice. Your support makes it possible!

*Millionaire migration a myth, say researchers at Stanford Center on Poverty and

Inequality https://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/november/millionaire-migration-myth-110212.html


A candidate for lieutenant governor says inmate firefighters are slave labor. Is she right?


One person who is being vocal is Gayle McLaughlin, the former Richmond mayor who is running for lieutenant governor in 2018. She says using prisoners as firefighters amounts to “slave labor” and calls it an example of a criminal justice system “gone deeply wrong.”

“I want inmates in California to learn new skills – but trading a cell for a wildfire and $1 a day, that’s just crazy,” McLaughlin wrote in an email pitch last week to potential supporters. “We have to pay everyone real wages and restore the civil rights of people who are serving a sentence.”

(read article)


Gayle McLaughlin admired in article on New York Mayoral Policies

To compare our mayor to some of the other mayors you write about. Gayle McLaughlin, from Richmond County, California, she has a program to give ex-felons $1,000 a month stipend. I think de Blasio would have a tough time supporting that. Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the son of the most radical mayor you wrote about who succeeded his father as the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, recently spoke at the Democratic Socialists of America conference. I don’t see Mayor de Blasio doing that anytime soon. He didn't endorse Sanders, or Zephyr Teachout. The mayor doesn't even support the legalization of marijuana when 60% of Americans do. He’s to the right on some issues these other mayors are taking up. Is de Blasio the leader of this nationwide progressive movement because of his ideas, or just the fact that he’s the mayor of New York City?

And Gayle McLaughlin is running for Lieutenant Governor now. She’s trying to move a step higher. I'm not saying de Blasio is the most radical of the bunch. But I'm saying that because he is at the head of America's most powerful and influential city, he certainly is the most representative of the movement. And he has the most influence, because he employs 300,000 people. You know, he could hire 30 people and hide them away some place, and it would take the reporters, like, a year or two to find them!

..

(read article)