Published Since 1924
of Southern California
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California Winter 1997 Vol. 71 No. 1
ACLU Files Suit Against Prop. 209 The reasons the ACLU filed this lawsuit are many:
Prop. 209 unjustly denies women and racial minorities
equal protection as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution; The 209 Lawsuit:
Prop. 209 bans constitutionally-permissible affirmative
action programs; Prop. 209 touted itself as a civil rights
What’s Happened So Far . . .
initiative when instead it was based on a belief that civil Nov. 6: ACLU, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, NOW,
rights laws have gone too far in protecting women and Employment Law Center and other civil rights activists
minorities; and, similar to the way Colorado’s Amend- file a lawsuit in federal district court in San Francisco
ment 2 attacked the rights of lesbians and gay men, Prop. to block implementation of Propostion 209.
209 creates a different political process for the women Nov. 27: U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson grants a
and people of color in California by placing specific temporary restraining order (TRO) against Prop. 209.
BY R AMONA R IPSTON hurdles in their path to seek redress for discrimination —
“It is not for this, or any other, court to lightly upset the expectations of the Nov. 29: Civil rights lawyers move to expand the TRO
it creates specific disadvantages for groups historically against Prop. 209 to include the Regents of the
voters. At the same time, federal courts have no role more important than to discriminated against. University of California.
uphold the federal Constitution and ensure that the laws of our states do not Yet for many people, these reasons are unimportant.
violate basic constitutional rights — rights that form the very foundation of our The legal arguments, the historical references, the moral Dec. 6: The U.C. Regents are added as a defendant in
system of democracy.” plaintiffs' amended complaint. Judge Henderson grants
questions are all irrelevant.
a TRO against the Regents, allowing affirmative action
Thus wrote Judge Thelton Henderson, Chief Judge of the U.S. District For many people, the fact that a majority of Califor- programs to continue for the upcoming school year.
Court in San Francisco, on Nov. 27, as he temporarily blocked Proposition nians voted for Prop. 209 seems to be enough.
Dec. 16: Judge Henderson grants plaintiffs' motion to
certify a defendant class of "all state officials, local
The system of checks and balances ensures that the rights of the few are governmental entities or other governmental
instrumentalities bound by Proposition 209."
not swept away by the votes of the many.
Dec. 23: Judge Henderson issues preliminary injunction
Without these safeguards in place, the American system would allow a against Prop. 209 pending determination of its
majority vote to permit slavery, ban people of color from living in certain
Jan. 3: Defendents appeal the preliminary injuction and
neighborhoods or require that women not work outside the home. the class certification. Hearing is set for Feb. 7.
ACLU/SC Executive Director Ramona Ripston Jan. 14: Without waiting for the Judge Henderson’s court
to consider and act on its still-pending motion to stay,
209 from going into effect. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with ‘It won, it should be law,’ goes the logic. or overturn, the preliminary injunction, intervenors
many other civil rights organizations, brought legal action against the anti- Thankfully, that is not how this country works. (proponents of Prop. 209) file a motion for a stay with
affirmative action initiative the morning after it was passed into law by a More than 200 years ago, the Founders of this country the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.
sizable margin of California voters last November. Whether or not California’s created a system to ensure the equal voice of all citizens Jan. 22: The Ninth Circuit accepts intervenors’ motion.
affirmative action programs will be allowed to continue is now a question for — not just the majority. The intricate systems of checks Oral arguments for the stay set for Monday, Feb. 10.
the courts to decide. please see Majority, page 5
Peter B. Edelman resigned from his position of assistant secre- VALERIE SMALL NAVARRO
tary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services In signing last year’s welfare reform bill, President Clinton has put millions of men, women
last September in protest over President Clinton’s signing of the and children directly in harm’s way. And California will be hit especially hard by this particular
welfare reform bill. brand of “reform.”
On Dec. 16, 1996, the ACLU of Southern California presented Based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, the cost to California for “ending welfare
Edelman with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award. as we know it” comes to more than $8 billion over the next six years. The biggest loss to the
What follows are excerpts from his remarks that evening. state (not including any additional costs to county governments), comes from Washington’s
BY PETER E DELMAN decision to relieve itself of the safety net for legal immigrants. No less than 44 percent of the
We have been failing for some time to fulfill our respon- LYNDSAY BRICE
much touted federal savings from this legislation comes directly from cuts to legal immigrants
sibilities toward poor children, and now we have taken a quantum — and California bears more than 40 percent of those costs.
leap backward. I am afraid we will cause some real pain before According to a testimony before a U.S. Senate hearing,
we are finished with this great new social experiment. We are about to find out between 1985 and 1995, $13 billion of monies distributed by 44 percent of the much
We are about to find out what happens when we ask poor what happens when we the Defense Department was “lost” by defense contractors touted federal savings
children to walk on the high wire of life without a safety net. (source: Take the Rich Off Welfare, Mark Zepezauer and Arthur
Our national grand jury has issued a blanket indictment. If you ask poor children to Naiman). Furthermore, another $15 billion is still not ac-
from this legislation
are on welfare it’s your fault. If you are poor it’s your fault. walk on the high wire of counted for because of “financial management problems.” comes directly from cuts
Straighten up. Sink or swim. Yet, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
We have adopted as national policy a brand new idea — life without a safety net. 93% of the budget cuts ($61 billion of $65.6 billion) in entitle-
to legal immigrants.
time limits for the help we give. You are only allowed to be Our national grand jury ment programs enacted by the 104th Congress in 1995-96 came
needy for five years out of your adult life, and then you are on from programs for low-income people. Especially hard hit were
your own. And a state can declare your maximum time of need has issued a blanket 93% of the budget
food stamp programs and Supplemental Security Income for
to be anything less that it likes — whatever amount of time it indictment: the elderly and disabled. cuts in entitlement
likes. A lot of states are accepting the invitation: four years, What does this mean in nitty-gritty terms for the immigrant
If you are on welfare it’s programs enacted by
three years, two years. It doesn’t matter if you play by all the families affected by these sweeping reforms? Broadly speaking
rules. It doesn’t matter if you constantly look for jobs, take your fault. If you are it means: the 104th Congress in
training, do everything that is asked. When the time comes Legal immigrants already in the country before the date of 1995-96 came
poor it’s your fault.
you are out. enactment of welfare reform — Aug. 22, 1996 — will be denied
And if you’re a legal immigrant we have another new idea Straighten up. Supplemental Security Income and Food Stamps until they from programs for
— no help at all. Not a time limit for help. Just no help at all. become U.S. citizens, unless they fit into narrow exceptions low-income people.
please see Sink, page 4 -Peter Edelman please see Welfare, page 4
Do You Want More Information? www.aclu-sc.org
Civil Liberties Opinion : Political Contributions as Speech
Campaign Finance Reform:
An Impossiblity Under Buckely
BY S TANLEY K. SHEINBAUM debt is currently $5 trillion, meaning a 20 percent
For a number of years, I have been hoping that increase in that debt. Just think about that $5 trillion BY O PEN F ORUM STAFF
ACLU, with its awesome legal expertise, would adopt national debt, which Presidents Ronald Reagan and After prolonged negotiations between the Los Angeles
a more realistic view of the need to reverse Buckley v. George Bush escalated five-fold during their dozen Police Commission and the ACLU of Southern California,
Valeo, the 1976 Supreme Court decision that under- years in office. the Los Angeles Police Department agreed to maintain a
mined the promising campaign finance reforms of the Their goal was to award supply-side tax cuts to the “probable cause” standard before investigating political or-
early 70s. wealthy and the corporate sector, alongside huge mili- ganizations. The December resolution ended an 18 month
Regrettably, these efforts have been for naught, and tary expenditures, and to double the previous defense effort by the ACLU to prevent the relaxation of Los Angeles’
the ACLU, spurred on by its national leadership, con- budgets. This was done, ostensibly, to end the cold strict limits on police investigations into such civilian groups.
tinues to treat Buckley as the Constitution itself, not war—all prodded by lobbying backed by those non- According to the settlement — ratified by the Police
merely a wrongly decided Supreme Court decision. Our neutral campaign monies. Commission on Dec. 10 — undercover investigations of
national ACLU leadership keeps telling us that “lib- Now, as a society, we have that much less for political organizations may not be initiated without “prob-
erty” is the more important issue, a glib position that education, health, and the social essentials that are now able cause” to believe that such groups have or will actually
permits the organization to stay conspicuously on the receding as goals under the revolution led by Newt
sidelines in this most important political issue. Gingrich—an easy sell because of that very debt. The
Supreme Court decisions other than Buckley have ACLU can talk all it wants to about liberty, but it is The initial proposal to loosen these strict
been reversed over time. The recent presidential cam- always a distraction playing right into the hands of those
paign has made it apparent that something is basically who don’t give a damn about civil liberties. standards came directly after the
askew with campaign financing in general, making it The secondary fallout from that $5 trillion debt is
even more important that the ACLU come to grips with even more interesting and critical. An almost impercep- bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal
tible lobby has thereby been cre-
The ACLU, spurred on by its national leadership, ated—in the form of financial in- Building in Oklahoma City in 1994.
continues to treat Buckley as the Constitution stitutions. During the Reagan and
Bush presidencies, $4 trillion in The ATD immediately sought elimination of
itself, not merely a wrongly decided Supreme new federal securities have en-
Court decision. Our national ACLU leadership riched those lenders—the banks, virtually all of the regulations set up by
financial institutions, mutual funds,
keeps telling us that “liberty” is the more etc.—all of these wanting higher the ACLU consent decree.
important issue, a glib position that permits the interest rates, i.e. “higher profits.”
Federal Reserve Board Chairman commit violent crimes. The LAPD’s Anti-Terrorist Division
organization to stay conspicuously on the sidelines Alan Greenspan is the agent. These (ATD) must continue complying with requirements origi-
in this most important political issue. higher rates that depress real in- nally imposed on the department in 1984 as a result of an
vestments are at the sacrifice of ACLU lawsuit over massive spying conducted by the ATD’s
the Buckley controversy and address campaign finance jobs, real wages, and production. predecessor, the Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID).
reform, once and for all. In the meantime, the ACLU keeps on saying that That litigation resulted in a consent decree outlining some
The ACLU nationally has long been unwill- nothing can be done about all this because of Buckley v. of the nation’s strictest limits on police initiatives against
ing to deal with an economic Bill of Rights. The ACLU Valeo, as if that decision is in stone. Obviously, that political organizations. In the 17 years in which the consent
of Southern California is the only affiliate to adopt such decision is in place. That doesn’t mean, however, that it decree has remained in force, not a single incident was
a policy. The ACLU of both Southern and Northern is God given. If the ACLU gives a damn about the reported by the LAPD in which an investigation of actual
California have adopted policies that call for limitations welfare of this country, it would gear up its talent— criminal conduct was impeded by the strict guidelines. Those
on campaign contributions and expenditures. litigation, political and public policy resources—for a guidelines and the consent decree also provide for the Police
Almost all observers—other than the National campaign to overturn Buckley, in the courts, in Congress Commission’s auditing and strict oversight of the ATD’s
ACLU—have come to the realization that tax breaks or in the court of public opinion. please see Police, page 5
and economic benefits ensuing from campaign contri- By accepting Buckley as is and not being willing to
butions have a deleterious effect on the distribution of throw its unique talents behind figuring out how to
income in this country. The ACLU fights for liberties, reverse it, the ACLU comes close to being on the wrong
but liberties are impeded when the economic arrange- side of the struggle. The literal purchase of tax breaks,
ments work in favor of one group as against another. loop holes and subsidies has resulted in an escalating
There is the famous saying that both the rich and the deterioration of a reasonable income distribution in this
poor in France have the right to
sleep under the bridges of the By accepting Buckley as is and not being willing
Seine. It is no less than a scandal
that the ACLU itself chooses not to throw its unique talents behind figuring out
to be involved in fighting against how to reverse it, the ACLU comes close to being
this flagrant abuse of justice.
When I have raised this issue
on the wrong side of the struggle. The literal
with officials of our national purchase of tax breaks, loop holes and subsidies
ACLU organization, there has al-
has resulted in an escalating deterioration of a
ways been one pat response about
liberty. It is as if we seriously reasonable income distribution in this country.
contend that the First Amendment
was intended to protect people proportionally to their country. The protections against product damage to the
wealth, with the rich enjoying the greatest protection environment and to the health and welfare of individuals
and the poor, the least. are slipping away. Under the ideological cry for less
What is the National ACLU talking about? Liberty government, we find ourselves insufficiently guarded
to do what, to accomplish what? There is hardly a major against pharmaceutical damage and exorbitant drug
issue confronting this country that liberals support that prices.
is not undermined by campaign financing. Quickly, I I remind you of what Barry Goldwater said a dozen
can rattle off health care, corporate borrowing, banking, years ago, which was that unless the campaign finance
and especially the arms industry. This country is just issue is resolved, we will destroy the liberties that do
about the greatest purveyor of all when it comes to arms exist in this country. What the deuce is the ACLU afraid
manufacturing and financing of that. of, its big-dollar contributors?
A recent newspaper column by Robert Scheer cited
a White House and Pentagon decision to order 220 more Stanley K. Sheinbaum is a chair emeritus of the ACLU
F-14s, at a total cost of $1 trillion! The total national Foundation of Southern California.
2 ACLU of Southern California Winter 1997
chilling effect on prospective employers. George initially
worked in his father’s real estate business, and eventually
found work with a national hotel chain. He successfully
completed his probation, and earned positions of increasing
responsibility within the hotel service industry.
Forty years elapsed. George was retired, living quietly in
BY O PEN F ORUM S TAFF Los Angeles on his Social Security checks, when the letter from the LAPD arrived. “Adding
When ACLU Intake Coordinator Steve Brick read the letter from George D., he immedi- insult to injury,” wrote George, “the LAPD sent the letter to my old address, and my neighbors
ately brought it to his supervisor’s attention. Written in an arthritic scrawl by a 63-year-old opened it. Their attitude has changed toward me since.”
man, the letter detailed the humiliation and fear he experienced after he received notification Associate Director Elizabeth Schroeder, who supervises the intake program, decided to
from the LAPD that he was required to register as a sex offender. intervene on George’s behalf. Acting upon advice from numerous concerned and cooperating
George D’s crime? In 1956, when he was 23 years old, George engaged in oral sex with attorneys, action was finally instigated in San Diego, the jurisdiction where the original
another man in a parked car in a secluded San Diego neighborhood at 5:00 a.m. He was arrested conviction took place. With the help of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties,
by a passing police officer, pled guilty to what Elizabeth Semel offered to find pro bono coun-
was then a felony offense, and placed on five sel for George, and picked up all the costs
years probation. In 1994 New Jersey led the nation as the first state to pass a sex offender registration law that associated with the case. Semel is a prominent
At the time, George was 16 days shy of included community notification provisions. Although several states already required convicted
criminal defense attorney and past president of
sex offenders to register with state public safety agencies, New Jersey’s law required the police to
completing his 4-year Navy enlistment. He notify communities that an offender lived in their midst. Congress soon followed suit, mandating the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
had served 41 months aboard ship, 16 of those that states either set up registration and notification programs or lose federal crime-fighting and also a member of the San Diego ACLU’s
in the Pacific. In celebration of his impending money. Both the National ACLU legislative office in Washington, D.C, and the Sacramento Board of Directors.
discharge, George went dancing till the early lobbyists for the ACLU California affiliates, cited documented instances of vigilantism, and privacy San Diego attorney Michael McGlinn be-
hours of the morning, and was admittedly concerns in contesting this ill-conceived public policy. The wide-sweeping measures, however, gan helping George. Meanwhile, George’s
have usually won passage.
inebriated at the time of his arrest. police record finally arrived from Sacramento.
California, which has had sex offender registration laws on the books for decades, expanded
George’s military record was outstanding. these statutes in response to the new federal law. The new laws went into effect in January, 1995, It proved that the 1956 incident was George’s
On the 4.00 scale used by the Navy, he held an and required people convicted of specified offenses after July 1, 1944, to register yearly within 10 only conviction — and it was for an offense
extraordinarily high 3.97 conduct rating after days of their birthdays. Registration included not only current address and car license plate that had been reclassified as a misdemeanor
four years. Upon his arrest, however, George’s number, but required a trip down to the local police station for fingerprinting and a mug shot. and listed as a “non-registerable sex offense.”
Shortly after these laws took effect, the ACLU/SC’s intake department was besieged by people
dogtags were literally ripped from his neck Moreover, McGlinn’s record search turned up
seeking information about the new requirements. The accompanying article illustrates but one
and he was given an undesirable discharge. In isolated instance of how such draconian public policy can affect people’s lives. a 1961 San Diego court order vacating George’s
the decades following, this discharge had a please see “Sex Offender”, page 5
hearings. In a decision that has significance far beyond this case, the
judge ruled that Congress cannot cut off immigrants’ rights to judicial
review for constitutional challenges.
Native American Heritage Comm. v. CalState Long Beach rights bill AB101 in 1992. In addition to shouting homophobic slurs, David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a
In a major victory for the ACLU, the California Court of Appeal ruled approximately 200 officers, some in full riot gear and on horseback, volunteer attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, along with
in December that a lower court erred in ruling that the protection of charged into the crowd, striking and trampling demonstrators. Volun- Marc Van Der Hout with the National Lawyers Guild represent the
sacred Native American lands violates the First Amendment’s prohibi- teer attorney Hugh Manes will try the case, assisted by staff attorney immigrants, along with ACLU senior staff attorney Carol Sobel, Legal
tion on government endorsement of religion. The appeal court held that Taylor Flynn. Director Mark Rosenbaum, and volunteer counsel Paul Hoffman.
the state may choose to set the land aside for a Native American religious
site. The ACLU is fighting to block CalState Long Beach from erecting Rutherford v. Block People v. Pratt
a mini-mall on property that all agree is part of the ancestral village Under a decade-old consent decree, the ACLU regularly monitors The ACLU is part of the legal team trying to overturn the 1972 murder
Puvungna, an important trade, cultural, and religious center for Native conditions in the L.A. County jails. Recently, staff attorney Silvia conviction of Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, the former Black Panther Party
Americans indigenous to Los Angeles County. Raleigh Levine, former Argueta has begun looking into access to protease inhibitors by HIV+ leader. Hearings have been held recently on the issue of whether a
Slaff Fellow, now ACLU volunteer attorney, is the counsel in the case. inmates. Recent medical research has shown that in combination with former sheriff’s deputy and ex-Panther was an undisclosed police
other medications, the inhibitors have proven to be incredibly effective informant at the time he testified against Pratt. Showing such a
Loder v. City of Glendale in fighting the virus. relationship is crucial to re-opening the case. Pratt has always said he
The ACLU won important rights for current employees in a case that was in the Bay Area at the time the murder was committed in Santa
tested a government employer’s right to test for drug use. The City of Chabad v. City of Beverly Hills Monica. Legal Director Mark Rosenbaum is working on the case. Public
Glendale required all current employees seeking promotion and all new In a case closely related to the ACLU’s successful litigation in Affairs Director Allan Parachini is also in the process of obtaining FBI
job applicants to submit to a drug test. The ACLU challenged the law on American Jewish Congress v. Beverly Hills, the affiliate was once again documents pertinent to this case via the Freedom of Information Act.
privacy grounds; on January 6, 1997 the California Supreme Court ruled in court in November on the issue of whether or not Chabad would be
that current employees enjoyed a reasonable expectation of privacy and able to erect its 27-foot menorah in a city park. In AJ Congress, the Locke v. Eastwood
could not be tested. New applicants, however, who are required to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Beverly Hills had violated the First The ACLU, through volunteer counsel Doug Mirell, will be filing an
undergo a lawful pre-employment medical examination can be tested for Amendment when it gave Chabad preferential access to the park. In the amicus brief with the California Supreme Court in support of the public
drugs. Volunteer attorney Marvin Krakow handled the case for the wake of the decision, the city enacted new laws that forbade untended and media’s qualified right of access to all civil trials under the First
ACLU. overnight displays and imposed a 14-foot height limitation, among Amendment. The trial court issued a ruling that all members of the media
other restrictions. Chabad argued that the law was unconstitutionally and public would be excluded from the courtroom whenever the jury was
Mackler v. City of Los Angeles targeted against the menorah. The ACLU represented three new clients not present during the trial of an action brought by actress Sondra Locke
Settlement was reached in January, 1997, on a lawsuit against the who had submitted display applications prior to Chabad, and who against Clint Eastwood. The underlying litigation was settled before the
LAPD on behalf of Peter Mackler, who was assaulted during a Woodland sought the right to erect their displays based upon a first-come, first- jury rendered its verdict; the California Supreme Court granted a petition
Hills demonstration against Gov. Wilson's veto of AB101 in 1991. When served policy. The District Court upheld the city’s time, place, and for review. The ACLU will raise fundamental First Amendment issues,
Mackler sought the badge number of the officer who was pushing and manner restrictions and precluded Chabad from again obtaining pref- while remaining sensitive to personal privacy concerns which may arise
jabbing him with a baton, the officer responded by striking him with the erential treatment over these and all other prior applicants. Chabad in certain types of civil proceedings (e.g., child custody disputes which
baton on his face, causing facial contusions and knocking off and applied for an emergency appeal to the 9th Circuit, which was denied. have not historically been open to the press or public).
shattering Mackler's glasses. Two other officers repeatedly lifted The case was brought on behalf of the Alliance for Survival, Jerry Rubin,
plaintiff several times and threw him. In addition to $87,000 in monetary and the L.A. Coalition to End Homelessness by volunteer attorney Doug
damages and fees, the City agreed to issue a clear and unequivocal order Mirell and senior staff attorney Carol Sobel.
OPEN FORUM (ISSN 0030 - 3429) is published quarterly by The American Civil
or training bulletin clarifying that all on-duty LAPD officers must identify Liberties Union of Southern California and the ACLU Foundation, at 1616 Beverly
themselves, by name and badge number, to anyone who inquires, and American Arab v. Reno Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026. Telephone (213) 977-9500. E-mail: ACLU-
are prohibited from intentionally obscuring their name tags or other In the first major test of court-stripping provisions in the 1996 SC@ix.netcom.com Membership is $20 and up, of which $2 is the subscription
identifying insignia. The case was originally brought by former ACLU Immigration Act, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson ruled in mid- fee for OPEN FORUM. Periodicals postage is paid at Los Angeles, CA.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
senior staff attorney Jon Davidson, who continued the litigation for January that Congress cannot bar judicial review of a long-standing OPEN FORUM, 1616 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026.
LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund, and by ACLU senior staff First Amendment challenge to the INS’s attempts to deport a group of ACLU President Nancy Greenstein
attorney Carol Sobel. Palestinian activists in Los Angeles. Deportation proceedings began in ACLU Foundation Chair Lee Masters
1987; the court ruled previously that the proceedings be halted on the Executive Director Ramona Ripston
Marmillion v. City of Los Angeles ground that they violated the immigrants’ exercise of their First Amend- Editor Christopher J. Herrera
A five year old police brutality case is finally scheduled for trial in late ment rights. Following passage of the Immigration Act, the INS moved Contributing Editors
January. The case arose out of the LAPD’s handling of peaceful to allow the deportation hearings to go forward, arguing that the Act Sandra Jones, Samuel Mistrano, Valerie Small Navarro,
Allan Parachini, Elizabeth Schroeder, Duane Wells
demonstrations following Governor Wilson’s veto of the lesbian and gay explicitly took away the right of judicial review prior to completion of the
Vol. 71 No. 1 OPEN 3
and enough good child care. Ending poverty not only means opportunity but also clear
pathways to opportunity for young people. Ending poverty means having good schools. It
means tackling race discrimination. It means safe neighborhoods and healthy communities. It
continued from page 1 means people taking responsibility for themselves and their children, but it also means the
There is another brave new idea — the block grant for welfare. We had a social policy for community taking responsibility to make sure parents can do their job and children have a real
60 years. It wasn’t perfect. It definitely needed fixing. But the basic idea was right — a national chance. Personal responsibility and community responsibility have to intersect if we are going
definition of eligibility and assured federal funding to help everyone who qualifies. Now we to end poverty.
have a couple of new ideas: One — the state can do whatever it wants and call it reform. It can I want to say to you — to this particular audience — this is a civil liberties issue. Poverty
be real reform or it can be a bus ticket out of town. It doesn’t matter. Both are equally legal. is a civil liberties issue. If you can’t eat, you are hardly going to be able
Two — the money is limited. It can run out before the end of the year. If there is an to carry out your responsibilities as a citizen. If you can’t pay the
economic crisis, tough luck. Wait until next year when we get our new appropriation. rent, you’re not too likely to take part in the political process.
Unfortunately, landlords don’t wait for the rent, and children’s stomachs can’t wait We are remarkably If you’re struggling to keep your family together, you’re not
for the next fiscal year. Sen. Edward Kennedy, one of the few who stood up, called apt to vote or petition for a redress of grievances.
uninterested in the
this bill “legislative child abuse.” Poor people need allies now. They are as unpopular a
We are remarkably uninterested in the facts — whether jobs are actually facts: whether jobs are set of clients as any the ACLU has ever stood up for.
available, whether child care can actually be found, whether people on welfare actually available, whether Their cause is currently as unpopular as any we have
are actually able to function on the job. And what about the children of the seen. We desperately need a new infusion of interest, a
families who get cut off? Where are they to go? Orphanages? Declarations of child care can actually be new set of activists. The time is right now. The new
abuse and neglect simply because their parents are poor? Or just consignment to found. And what about the welfare law is being implemented in every state in
homeless shelters or the gutter? It is truly a remarkable time. children of the families America. The governors and the legislatures will act for
The saddest thing is this isn’t even what we should be talking about. We good or for ill. The private sector will be enlisted to help
shouldn’t be talking about the end of welfare as we know it. We should be talking who get cut off? find jobs or will sit on its hands and do nothing.
about the end of poverty as we know it. President Clinton was right about one thing. All those people
If we are talking about the end of poverty as we know it, welfare isn’t first on the list. It’s who said they wanted to give the states the responsibility have a
last. Welfare is what we do when everything else has failed. Ending poverty means having a responsibility of their own now.
serious jobs strategy. It means enough jobs, and jobs that pay enough. It means health coverage They have gotten their wish. They need to help make it work. So do we all.
Welfare Reform Hits California
fornia is presented with crucial questions: and disabled legal immigrants who long contrib-
should the state exercise these draconian uted to this society had the rug pulled from under
options presented under the federal reforms them when the federal government told them that
and can California make up the losses — and the system they have paid into would no longer
if so, how? provide for them in their declining years. Califor-
continued from page 1 grants and some immigrants who the Immi-
The state has recently taken an important nia must design a program to provide for these
(refugees and asylees during their first five gration and Naturalization Service does not vulnerable members of its society.
years here, veterans and their immediate contemplate deporting) will be barred from first step toward fulfilling this obligation
through a decision to continue to provide • California must ensure that the safety net
families, and people who have credit for 10 federal public benefits except emergency is there for immigrants who entered into
years of work and their immediate families). Medi-Cal, immunizations, testing and treat- Medi-Cal and welfare benefits to many legal
the country after August 22, 1996
Legal immigrants who enter after the ment of symptoms of communicable dis- immigrants. However, a proposal by Gov.
Legal immigrants who come to this country
date of enactment will be barred for 5 years eases, certain programs as designated by the Pete Wilson does not go far enough to safe-
through family petitions after March 1997 will
guard the immigrant and citizen population have sponsors who will be legally obligated to
at risk in California due to immigrant cuts in support them should they fall on hard times.
Over 200,000 of California’s low income seniors and disabled legal the new welfare law. The following needs However, there will be situations where this is
must be addressed in any comprehensive impossible — for example, where their sponsors
immigrants who long contributed to this society had the rug pulled from package that California enacts: have died or abandoned them, where they are
• California must create a nutrition pro- abusive, or where the sponsors themselves have
under them when the federal government told them that the system they gram that meets the needs of its residents become impoverished. California must provide a
— including legal immigrants safety net for these immigrants when the sponsor’s
have paid into would no longer provide for them in their declining years. The federal food stamp ban leaves 373,000 legal support is unavailable.
immigrants without nutrition assistance in the • California must guarantee continued ac-
state of California. Poor nutrition places children cess to prenatal care and other crucial
after entry from Temporary Assistance to Attorney General, and other specific pro-
at a higher risk of lead poisoning, impairs the health care and nutrition programs re-
Needy Families (TANF, which replaces grams. immune system, and impedes intellectual devel- gardless of immigration status
AFDC or Aid to Families with Dependent Furthermore, the federal legislation pur- opment. California must ensure these families do Providing prenatal care to all low income women
Children), non-emergency Medi-Cal, cer- ported to eliminate state and locally provided not go hungry. is financially wise and important to the health of
tain block grants, and “federal means tested” programs — such as prenatal care — for the • California must continue to support se- children. For every $1 that is spent on prenatal
programs, unless they fit into the same nar- “unqualified” unless the state explicitly en- niors and disabled legal immigrants who care, $3 dollars is saved in emergency and other
row exceptions outlined above. acts a new law after the passage of federal become ineligible for Supplemental Secu- costs to care for citizen infants and their mothers.
In addition, the bill provides that “not welfare reform. rity Income California should continue to ensure that every
qualified” (meaning undocumented immi- This welfare reform also means that Cali- Over 200,000 of California’s low income seniors baby born is as healthy as possible.
a project to monitor the settlement and Sturm testified
before the school board that the ACLU chapter will con-
BY O PEN F ORUM STAFF West Hollywood — have already passed similar bans. As part duct follow-up visits to schools. Copies of the settlement
With a growing membership of more than 700 mem- of this effort, petitions were mailed to every ACLU member were mailed to local ACLU members, with an explanation
bers, the Long Beach Chapter of the ACLU of Southern in Long Beach and the chapter also co-sponsored a public of the situation and a request that members be alert to
California has taken an active role in its community. forum on the issue. potential violations of the agreement.
Recently the chapter began a campaign to curb the flow of The issue of school uniforms — which attracted President The chapter is also developing a project to educate high
cheap firearms into Long Beach. It has also been closely Clinton to Long Beach last year — has also been on the school students about the U.S. Constitution. Working with
watching the aftermath of the recent school uniform deci- chapter’s agenda. In 1994, the Long Beach school board Sam Mistrano, the ACLU/SC’s Field/Legislative Direc-
sion affecting the Long Beach Unified School District as attempted to impose a mandatory school uniform policy tor, chapter members are developing a list of high school
well as beginning a new chapter student project. despite a state law that allows individual parents to opt out of social study department heads in each of Long Beach’s 22
As an active member of the Coalition of Long Beach the policy with no penalization. The ACLU/SC sued the high schools. Two letters will be sent to these faculty
Citizens for the Prevention of Gun Violence, the ACLU school board on behalf of 27 low-income families who members in 1997 — one letter in April offering ACLU
chapter has been circulating a petition calling upon the city wished to opt out of the program because they could not afford educational material, brochures, and public policy hand-
council to ban the manufacture and sale of the cheaply the uniforms. As a response, the school district set up a outs, and another in September offering ACLU speakers to
made handguns known as “Saturday Night Specials.” uniform bank that low-income students could borrow uni- discuss the Bill of Rights.
Jim Sturm, chapter president, says that the petition has forms from each morning and give back at the end of each day,
been gathering signatures and that certain Councilmembers sharing the uniforms with other low-income students. To get involved, call your local ACLU chapter at the
have been supportive. He points out that a number of Last October, the school board settled the suit by allowing number listed on the last page of this newspaper, or call
California cities — such as Compton, Los Angeles and parents to opt out of the policy. The chapter has since formed Sam Mistrano at 213/977-9500 x261.
4 ACLU of Southern California Winter 1997
Simple Majorities 1996 ACLU
continued from page 1
and balances — the three branches of government, the repre-
Bill of Rights
sentational democracy, the bicameral legislature, the Consti-
tution and the Bill of Rights — are all in place to ensure that
the rights of the few are not swept away by the votes of the
many. Were that not true, a simple majority of voters could
dictate the way all Americans live their lives and impose their
will on the minority at any time, under any circumstances, for
any reason. On Dec. 16, the ACLU of Southern California held its most successful Bill
Without these safeguards in place, the American system of Rights Dinner to date, hosting 750 supporters and netting more than
would allow a majority vote to permit slavery, ban people of $200,000. Held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel and hosted by comedian
Julie Brown, the dinner observed the 205th anniversary of the Bill of Rights
During the 1950’s and 60’s — a mere by honoring four individuals for their commitment to the conservation of civil
30 years ago — people lost their lives rights and civil liberties.
for civil rights. And when the political
The 1996 Courageous Advocate Award went to Peter Edelman who Quincy Jones1996 Billprepares to present Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (top
left) with his of Rights Award. (photos: Lyndsay Brice)
resigned his position as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the
majority in the South decided to keep
Department of Health and Human Services to protest the president’s signing of the welfare reform bill (Excerpts from Edelman’s keynote address and related story can
segregation, the federal courts stepped be found on page 1).
in to prevent that majority from Pioneering choreographer Bella Lewitzky received her Bill of Rights Award from fellow choregrapher Debbie Allen for Lewitzky’s unwavering commitment to the First
Amendment and artistic freedom. In the 1950s, she refused to testify before Sen. Joe McCarthy’s House UnAmerican Activities Committee. She also refused to sign an
undermining the Constitution.
anti-obscenity oath for the National Endowment for the Arts, declining a grant of $72,000.
color from living in certain neighborhoods or require that Songwriter and recording artist Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds has consistently used his fame and success to reach out to disadvantaged communities and create
women not work outside the home. opportunities where there were few to be found. Responsible for the award winning “Waiting to Exhale”, Babyface was presented his award by composing and producing
During the 1950’s and 60’s — a mere 30 years ago — legend Quincy Jones.
people lost their lives for civil rights. And when the political Actor and activist William Baldwin was recognized for his efforts to educate people on the First Amendment, health care, gun control, the environment and
majority in the South decided to keep segregation, the federal reproductive rights. A member of the Creative Coalition, Baldwin has dedicated himself to speaking out and encouraging others to become involved in their government
courts stepped in to prevent that majority from undermining and society. Actor Alec Baldwin, who chairs the Creative Coaltion, made a surprise appearance in his brother’s honor.
Below: Honoree Bella Lewitzky (center) is joined by ACLU President Below: Honoree William Baldwin receives the
The historical reality is that the people who wrote the Nancy Greenstein (left) and ACLU Executive Director Ramona Ripston. 1996 ACLU Bill of Rights Award from Barry Hirsch.
Constitution and the Bill of Rights recognized that one of the
most important objectives of any government should be
limiting the ability of a simple majority to impose tyranny on
all. They also recognized that the federal government has a
responsibility to guarantee equal justice in ways no individual
state can defy.
In California, we seem to be still learning that history
continued from page 3
conviction, deeming the action dismissed and relieving George
of “all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense to
which he entered a plea of guilty.”
McGlinn contacted the Sex Offender Registration Pro-
gram in Sacramento and was eventually sent an official letter
releasing George from the requirement to register.
George was elated. But even though he no longer had to
register, he remained anxious over his Naval discharge. “I
served my country loyally for four years,” he said, “and I
can’t bear to think that my country regards my service was
‘undesirable.’ I just want to go to my grave knowing that the
United States recognizes my service for what it really was.” Councilmember Laura Chick pressuring the Police Commis-
George had attempted to upgrade his discharge once
before, traveling to the Pentagon in 1957 to plead his case. He
Police Spying Dispute Resolved sion to resume negotiations with the ACLU. Police Commis-
sion President Raymond C. Fisher, who went to substantial
was summarily turned down. Under current Navy standards, continued from page 2 lengths to continue the protracted talks with the ACLU,
George would be eligible for an honorable discharge. Unfor- investigations. Those procedures remain unchanged under accepted Chick’s proposal and the strict legal standard of
tunately, George’s own copies of his military records were the new rules governing the ATD. probable cause was maintained.
The initial proposal to loosen these strict standards came “We certainly have both Councilmember Chick and
On the 4.00 scale used by the Navy, directly after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Councilmember [Rita] Walters to thank for persuading the
George held an extraordinarily high Building in Oklahoma City in 1994. The ATD immediately commission and the LAPD to reopen these negotiations. That
3.97 conduct rating after four years. sought elimination of action is responsible for
virtually all of the regu- We agree that the nature of terrorism has changed since the this very positive result,”
Upon his arrest, however, his dogtags lations set up by the mid-1980s, and the ACLU’s hope is that the legitimate needs of said ACLU Director of
were literally ripped from his neck ACLU consent decree. Public Affairs Allan
That action prompted policing will not be hindered. But we feel the danger of opening Parachini.
and he was given an undesirable discharge.
the ACLU of Southern loopholes for spying on innocent political organizations is “We agree that the na-
lost 25 years ago when his parents’ house was destroyed by California to lodge a equally clear and should be an urgent priority for the LAPD. ture of terrorism has
fire. The military’s copies appear to have also been destroyed protest with the Police changed since the mid-
by fire when the military records warehouse in St. Louis Commission. The com- Allan Parachini, ACLU Public Affairs Director 1980s, and the ACLU’s
burned. After considerable bureaucratic wrangles with the mission subsequently hope is that the legitimate
Naval Board of Corrections, in late December, 1996, a refused to authorize the changes and ordered staff to negoti- needs of policing will not be hindered. But we feel the danger
Records supervisor took up George’s cause and is attempting ate over any alteration in the guidelines with the ACLU. of opening loopholes for spying on innocent political organi-
to streamline the upgrade process. He anxiously awaits the Last October, the commission — despite ACLU protests zations is equally clear and should be an urgent priority for the
results. — voted to drop the probable cause requirement for investi- LAPD. It was gratifying that, although we did not have
Out of a concern for privacy, George D.’s name in this gating political organizations. However, that vote touched agreement initially, ultimately we were able to reach a settle-
story has been changed. off a protest in the Los Angeles City Council that resulted in ment that benefits everyone.”
Vol. 71 No. 1 OPEN 5
Committee Meetings Chapter Meetings
Beverly Hills / Westwood
ACLU/SC Board Drug Policy Thursday, February 27, 7 to 9p.m. a panel discussion of “The Issues Involved in Same Sex
Wednesday, March 19, 7 p.m. Second Wednesday of each month. Marriages.” Speakers will be Taylor Flynn, ACLU Staff Attorney; Jenny Pizer, Managing
Executive Committee Free Speech Attorney, Western Regional Office, Lambda Legal Defense & Educational Fund; and
Tuesday Feb 11, 7 p.m. Last Wednesday of each month. 7 p.m. Heather Carrigan, Public Policy Associate, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Everyone invited.
Chapter Council Legislative Action Thursday, March 27, 6 p.m. Steering Committee meeting and no-host dinner will be held
Third Wednesday of alternate months. First Tuesday of each month. 7 p.m. at the Westside Pavilion.
Children’s Rights Lesbian/Gay Rights Board
The above meetings will be held at the Westside Pavilion, 3rd floor Community Room A,
Second Wednesday of each month. 7 p.m. Second Monday of each month.
10800 W. Pico Blvd., W. Los Angeles. For further information, call 310. 670. 7999.
Criminal Justice Medical Rights
Please call the ACLU for information. Third Monday of each month. 7:30 p.m. Hollywood
Death Penalty Worker’s Rights Second Saturdays of even numbered months, 10 a.m. John C. Fremont Library. 6121
Second Thursday of each month. 7 p.m. First Wednesday of each month. 7 p.m. Melrose Blvd. 213. 466. 5370. Wheelchair accessible.
Inland Empire Chapter
Unless noted, all meetings are held at the ACLU: 1616 Beverly Blvd., LA
90026. Please park in the fenced lot behind the building and use the rear Regular meetings change locations. For information, call Norm Holst: 909. 485. 1774.
entrance when attending night meetings. For further information about Lesbian and Gay Rights
other committee meetings which are not listed, call the ACLU at (213) Third Thursday of the month. Call 213. 977. 9500 x237 for information. All are welcome.
Second Monday of each month, 8:00pm. at The Center, 2017 E. 4th Street. For informa-
tion, please call 310. 425. 5433.
Notes from the ‘Net Orange County
First Sunday of each month. Chapter meetings. 10 a.m. 1670 Santa Ana Ave, Room F,
Costa Mesa. For information, call Kevin La Point 714. 722. 7542.
Japanese Latin Americans Forcibly Brought to US for Internment
I’m not one to be surprised much by the atrocious actions of governments, but the story in
For meeting dates and information, please call: 818. 794. 1234.
the most recent Open Forum regarding the forcible relocation and imprisonment of Japanese
civilians living in Peru was definitely a new one on me (Open Forum vol. 70 no. 4). Pomona Valley Chapter
It was bad enough for the U.S. to have placed law abiding Japanese-American citizens into Chapter meeting will now be held at The Haven coffee house, southeast corner of Main &
internment camps, but to go oversees and find innocent people to use as bargaining chips adds 2nd Street, Pomona. For meeting dates please call 909. 621. 4657.
a whole new dimension to this horrible chapter of U.S. history. The fact that this injustice has San Fernando Valley Chapter
been ignored for half a century makes it all the more unsettling. Open meetings are held every month and ACLU membership can be arranged on the spot so
Jenny Medsten bring friends. For information, please call Armand Keith, 818. 892. 7700.
Los Angeles San Luis Obispo
Ed. Note: The Executive Board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Mid-State
On Jan. 24, attorneys representing the Japanese Latin American families in this matter called Bank, 75 Santa Rosa Street in San Luis Obispo. The Complaint Review Committee meets at
on U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to settle the lawsuit stemming from this historic injustice. The 8 p.m. directly after the Executive Board meeting in the same location.
day before, Reno had publicly urged American citizens who were imprisoned by Nazis to come For further information, call: 805. 544. 0142.
forward and seek legal reparation. A Feb. 23 deadline for such claims prompted Reno’s remarks. Santa Barbara
ACLU and other attorneys representing the interned Japanese Latin Americans in the case Fourth Wednesday of each month, Blake Lounge, Unitarian Society, 1525 Santa Barbara
Mochizuki v. Reno are urging the United States to issue a formal apology and provide the same St. For information, call: 805. 966. 1216.
redress to these people that it gave its own citizens of Japanese descent who were interned during Singles
World War II. For information, call at 310. 392. 7149 or 818. 993. 5727.
You can contact the Open Forum via the Internet at: firstname.lastname@example.org First Monday of each month. Chapter meeting.
or by visiting the ACLU/SC website at: http://www.aclu-sc.org/ For information, call: Robert Ciriello 310. 833. 8628.
Whittier/San Gabriel Valley
First Wednesday of each month, 7:30 p.m. Board meetings. All members welcome to join
the discussion. For information, call: Paul Camhi 310. 696. 3751.
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6 ACLU of Southern California Winter 1997