The 16¢ per square foot parcel tax was badly defeated – getting only 46% of the vote when it needed 66% (due to Prop 13). It would have raised close to $500 million to offset the costs of the recent contract negotiated between LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) and the teacher’s union (UTLA).

President Trump is proposing to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to impose tariffs of 5% growing to 25% on Mexico to deter illegal immigration from Central America. This will hurt our economy, and Mexico’s economy because we are each other’s largest trading partners. Citizens and businesses in Texas and California will be particularly badly hurt by the tariffs. The impacts will be felt on prices in the supermarket, the price of cars and many other consumer goods.

Every elected President has an agenda for the nation. Every President swears an oath to uphold the constitution in so doing. All Presidents get sued, but no President within my memory or knowledge has so consistently violated the nation’s laws and its very constitutional framework as President Trump has over the past 2.5 years.

Just the other day I read a news blurb about an election reapportionment case from my home state of Ohio. Reading further, one of the chief counsel was a remarkable woman I’d worked closely with more than 40 years ago in Boston. So I downloaded it for a little light reading. The opinion is 300 pages long and fascinating reading. It highlights the extremes of partisan gerrymandering, and the efforts of a thoughtful three-judge court and highly technically proficient counsel to assess and then remedy it.


Tariffs are taxes on imported goods. They are a sales tax that the buyers/ US consumers and business must pay. So when the President raises taxes on Chinese goods; he is adding 10% and now 25% to the costs of goods made in China. He also may be raising the prices of goods made in America by indirection as the domestic manufacturers have fewer competitors and are thus able to raise their prices. The same applies to foreign steel and aluminum, to foreign made cars, to washing machines and solar panels.

 Our Democratic system is based on three co-equal branches of government whose roles are described and circumscribed by the US Constitution and by respect for the laws they enact and the court decisions they render. Even as we may disagree on policies and politics of these three branches, we need now more than ever the support and leadership of individuals who value the pillars of American democracy.


In 2015-16, Candidate Trump ran on an anti-immigrant platform, claiming that Mexico was exporting its rapists, murderers and drug lords to the US. Not only was this not true, but there was no crisis at the border – illegal immigration was on a steady downturn and had been since the early 2000s.  Two years later, there is a very real crisis at the border, and President Trump is preparing his re-election campaign on the same themes of building a Southern border wall and cracking down on illegal immigrants. What was fiction then has turned into a real crisis under President Trump’s leadership and management skills (or rather lack thereof). Families from Central America are trying to get from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala into the US and Mexico to claim asylum from the dangerous conditions prevailing in their own countries.

President Trump seems to be in a deep and angry funk, lashing out and firing staff and cabinet members left and right, and is continuing to ever more deeply alienate all but his most core supporters.

I think the nation needs a candidate who can thoroughly trounce him in just as many states as possible – the industrial Midwest, parts of the South and the Southwest – so that there is no earthly doubt about his complete repudiation. It has to be with a message of hope and optimism that appeals to the best in Americans and looks to our collective future, not to their worst fears.

Farm incomes are down and farmer’s debt to asset ratios are increasing. The overall problem for US agricultural incomes is global over-production. This has cut US farmer’s net incomes by about 50% since 2013. The Trump Administration’s policies on trade and immigration are further hurting farmer’s bottom lines.