Since the flip flops and bombs coming out of the WH may have your head spinning, here are some concrete facts to keep you positive in this week’s edition of What Went Right (4/16/17)
- Change is happening from the ground up. The Anchorage Alaska Assembly got more progressive with the election of democrat Suzanne LaFrance, over a Trump supporter, replacing a retiring conservative, along with the election of the two first openly gay representatives to the Assembly. Democrats kicked but in Illinois. The city of Kankakee elected its first African-American, Democratic mayor. West Deerfield Township will be led entirely by Democrats for the first time. Elgin Township flipped to an all-Democratic board. Normal Township elected Democratic supervisors and trustees to run its board ― the first time in more than 100 years. Cummings and Hosea became the first black members of Normal Town Council and Normal Township Trustee, in a predominately white, Republican region of the state.
- Arizona enacted legislation to reform the state’s civil-asset forfeiture policies, increasing the burden of proof required for property seizure, which is a really good thing. Forfeiture laws lead to “policing for profit”, allowing for seizure of property based on just the suspicion of criminal activity, without a requirement of a conviction or even a charge. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign a bill that would toughen criminal penalties for harassment based on sexual orientation or disabilities, putting then on the same level as harassment based on color, religion, ancestry and national origin.
- Delaware is doing its part to help immigrants. The Christina School District is the first school district there to officially adopt a “safe haven” policy to safeguard undocumented students in their district, and the Delaware Dept. of Health and Social Services sent an email to employees stating the agency will “respect” immigrants’ privacy and will not share information about anyone’s immigration status without a court order. Iranian immigrant, Askar Sahebjam, 73, traveling with an approved visa, who was held for questioning and deported back to Iran when he arrived in the US on the day of the first travel ban, has now been allowed back in the US after three months of advocacy on his behalf.
- A Federal Judge again found that a Texas voter ID law was passed with the intention of discriminating against minority voters. The judge had previously made a similar ruling, but was instructed to review the issue again after Texas appealed the decision,
- Republic Governor of Alabama resigned amid campaign finance fraud indictment and is replaced by a woman, Lt. Governor Kay Ivey (albeit another republican). The Governor is one of three top republican leaders in Alabama to be forced from power recently. The House Speaker was convicted of felony ethics violations and the head of the state’s judiciary was suspended after being convicted of violating judicial ethics with an order against same-sex marriage.
- The ACLU filed more than a dozen lawsuits nationwide seeking government documents related to the implementation of the travel ban after the Customs and Border Protection offices failed to substantively respond to Freedom of Information Act requests and they sued the Wisconsin state university system for refusal to provide health insurance coverage to trans state employees who are seeking to have gender confirmation surgery.
- The Gwinnett County Police Chief did the right thing by immediately firing two white police officers who were seen on video beating a handcuffed black man they’d pulled over for a traffic violation rather than defend and praise them or blame the victim.
- Virginia Senators raised the salary of the female clerk of the chamber to bring it in line with her male counterpart on the House side, who was earning $19,000 a year more, though she’s been on the job for 27 years to her counterparts only 5 years.
- The federal hiring freeze has been lifted.
- Bill O’Reilly is taking “a vacation” after his advertisers abandoned him in droves.
- And our fun facts for the week, Health Inspectors in Florida found 13 violations at the ‘Winter White House” kitchen, a record high, 3 of the violations were deemed “high priority,” meaning they could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on food served. I hope no one important that golfs there almost every weekend gets sick. A Florida Court upheld a ruling against Trump National Doral’s who tried to stiff a local paint store, ordering them to pay a Miami paint store over $315,000 in paint costs and $282,949 in attorney’s fees. Paint Stop winning bigly. And let’s not forget that Ben Carson got stuck in an elevator for 20 minutes while touring a Miami Housing Project.
I have to give out a shout out to the many resisters all over the country that turned out in YUGE numbers for tax day marches, indivisible groups attending Easter break town halls in droves, and a special nod to Rise and Resist New York for the civil disobedience they engaged in over the travel ban at Trump Tower in NYC. They Rock.
Let’s remember we have an important election next week in Georgia 4/18 and upcoming People’s Climate Change March 4/29 and March for Science 4/22.