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Challenging Times Call for Connecting Leaders —Call For California Network for Revolutionary Change Conference

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 in Featured, News | 0 comments

All across the United States, intense challenges are calling forth determined leadership. Increasingly more homegrown leaders are standing up to realign reality to new possibilities: Whether in response to increased police shootings and incarceration; or the denial of basic shelter and healthcare; or the absence of true education and democratic choices; or the privation of dignified livelihoods and healthy surroundings.

 

We can do better as a country, a powerful example for the world.

The Luis J. Rodriguez Campaign for a New California tapped into this new energized leadership. Now leaders who want to bring about systemic change have begun moving forward to build a California Network for Revolutionary Change.

 

This is a call for innovative, solution-based thinkers—people from all walks of life to join this network of practical, grassroots leaders, activists, writers, artists and more to unify our common goals for deep and broad environmental, social and economic justice.

 

This network’s backbone is comprised of established leaders in their respective diverse communities linked by common concerns requiring unified actions. Their vast experiences, knowledge, and continuous study of current events happening here and around the world provides the framework for “the other” Fresno, Merced, Oakland, San Francisco, Salinas, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, and other California cities and counties.

 

If people have lost family and loved ones to police brutality in your community—we’re looking for you.

If the “poverty octopus” slides within your community—we’re looking for you.

 

If people in your community are being stuffed into the unjust, bloated prison-for-profit system—we’re looking for you.

 

If you would like to contribute to the creation of non-violence platforms—we’re looking for you.

Join with us at our California Network Convention:
October 18, 2014  in Salinas, California

Contact us at:
818-898-0013
info@rodriguezforgovernor.org

Taking A Stand on Migrant Rights

Posted on May 1, 2014 in Featured, News | 1 comment

 
The Luis J. Rodriguez for Governor of California Campaign stands in solidarity with the thousands gathered on May 1, 2014 for immigration justice, the end of deportations, a livable wage for all workers, and the end of economic and social distress.

Immigrants, with or without documentation, are human beings first. Being undocumented does not exclude them from what is a worldwide recognition that any human being must be guaranteed essential rights and protections. No government should be allowed to limit this or abuse their power. Yet immigrants in the U.S., particularly from Mexico and Central America, face harassment, discrimination, abuse, threats, detention, and deportation. This also impacts migrants from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and everywhere else. It adversely affects the rest of U.S. born or naturalized working class and poor, by pitting one group against the other.

Undocumented migrants are treated as the worst criminals, even being held for months or years on end without hearings, proper legal assistance, and fed into private prisons for profit. As governor, Luis J. Rodriguez, would place a moratorium against deportations in California, work to expedite the legalization process for all migrant workers, and he would make sure all residents, regardless of their documentation status, obtain the same rights and benefits as any other resident. This includes, but not limited to, equal access to health care, housing, and education.

Luis J. Rodriguez is the only officially endorsed Green Party candidate for governor. He will challenge the two-party stranglehold on elections and the corporate control over who gets heard, who gets elected. He will shed light on the real issues and expose this “pay to play” electoral process that is undemocratic. Vote for Luis J. Rodriguez for California governor. Vote for true immigration rights and justice for all.

Please get out and vote on June 3 for a real choice, a real voice.
Committee to Elect Luis J. Rodriguez Governor of California, 2014
Call: 818-898-0013.

Email: info@rodriguezforgovernor.org

Download pdf version here

Rodriguez at Exide: “I worked in that plant…I saw people harmed….it doesn’t have to be this way.”

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized | 0 comments

(Los Angeles: April 10, 2014) Yesterday Luis J. Rodriguez, Green Party-endorsed candidate for California Governor, returned to the Vernon, California lead recycling plant where he once worked as a blast furnace operator.

At the gates of what was once NL (National Lead) Industries– now owned by Exide Technologies– Rodriguez called  on the people of California to join the growing community outrage against lead and arsenic poisoning and state “regulators” who have shielded the law-breaking recycler for far too long.  A major action is set for 10 a.m. , Monday, April 14 at the plant, 2700 S. Indiana Ave.

“In the late 1970’s, I  worked in what is now the Exide plant, then operated by another battery recycling company,” says Luis J. Rodriguez, Green Party-endorsed Independent Candidate for Governor.

“I saw the neurological effects of the lead dust and fume we worked in daily. Long-term Exide employees are just as much victims as are the communities.

“It’s not about the workers vs. the people in the neighborhoods. It’s about whether the State of California is going to shield corporate polluters or protect the people. It’s about a fundamental restructuring of the economy so that job preservation does not have to come at the expense of human health.”

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Rodriguez spent years working in Southeast L.A. heavy industry before becoming an award-winning author, poet and social justice activist.

“It’s not just Exide. There are dozens of  poisoned communities across the state. It’s about Governor Brown’s cozy relationship with these polluters and the failure of the Department of Toxic Substances Control to protect the people.”

Rodriguez is asking voters to consider what’s at stake as the June 3 primary approaches.  “The Republicans openly call for an end to all regulation of these businesses while Jerry Brown simply maintains a facade of regulation without real enforcement. There’s very little difference there.

 

“My administration will put people before profits, safe jobs and healthy communities instead of neighborhoods held hostage by corporate polluters.”

 

Rodriguez on Bonilla police brutality lawsuit: “A system that cannot feed and shelter the people ultimately turns to violence….”

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized | 2 comments

 

I am in complete solidarity with Aloni Bonilla as she pursues her federal civil rights lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol and CHP Officer Jose A. Ramirez. It would be easy to dismiss this case as one of a rogue officer, a man who simply brutalized this young woman out of a depraved heart.  But when you consider Aloni’s case within the context of the growing epidemic of police violence and deadly force in California, we need to probe more deeply; we need to ask ourselves “Why?”

 

Because we’ve seen 13-year old Andy Lopez shot seven times by a sheriff’s deputy for carrying a toy gun in Santa Rosa. We’ve seen Kelly Thomas, homeless and suffering from schizophrenia beaten to death by police in Orange County, recently acquitted in a travesty of justice.

 

The list is long and growing; police violence– particularly, but not exclusively– against working class people of color, has become commonplace and this violence cannot be understood apart from another form of violence in California: poverty. With 8.7 million Californians now barely surviving below the poverty line; with massive, unrestored cuts to basic safety net programs; with hunger, homelessness and unemployment pushing millions into desperate circumstances, we see the growing domination of our communities by the police.

 

A system that cannot feed, clothe and shelter the people ultimately turns to violence. This is the context of what happened to Aloni Bonilla. This is the context of how the videotape showing Officer Ramirez brutalizing Aloni was wrongfully excluded at her criminal trial. This the context of the complete failure of the California justice system to uphold this young woman’s constitutional rights. And that is why we are here today to support the filing of her suit today in Federal District Court.

 

As you know, I am running for Governor of California. As Governor, I would not sit idly by while police violence escalates across this state. I would bring all of the executive, constitutional and persuasive powers of the office to bear on this epidemic. I would push for the creation of a Department of Civilian Oversight of Police, with subpoena powers.  I would withhold state funds from police departments that fail to reign in, discipline and discharge officers who think their badge is carte blanche to brutalize and kill. Most important, I would re-direct the vast resources of this state, the $20 billion budget surplus and the wealth that is generated daily here in the 8th largest economy in the world to immediately eliminate poverty and the criminalization of the poor.

 

Today I stand in support of Aloni Bonilla and wish her the best of luck in her lawsuit.  

 

Committee to Elect Luis J. Rodriguez Governor of California, 2014. For more information, go to www.rodriguezforgovernor.org.

April 4: King assassination anniversary demands new commitment to end poverty

Posted on Apr 4, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized | 0 comments

 Dr. King’s Legacy, Jerry Brown’s Shame and the                            Rodriguez Campaign to                          End Poverty in California

 “The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization…The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”

       —-Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967

Today we mark 46 years from the day that Martin Luther King, Jr. was cut down by an assassin’s bullet while supporting striking garbage workers in Memphis, Tennessee. In his last weeks on earth, Dr. King’s vision and commitment was to America’s poor of all colors, creeds and faiths.

On this day, as 8.7 million Californians and one out of every four children have been pushed into poverty we would do well to remember that with a $20 billion dollar budget surplus, Governor Jerry Brown remains opposed to restoring the massive cuts in programs like CalWorks and CalFresh, with the result that 3.7 million more Californians are in poverty than when Brown took office. And we would do well to consider that the Republican candidates in this election have similarly failed to call for the restoration of these cuts, let alone the elimination of poverty.

 

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“Why are there forty million poor people in America?” asked Dr. King in 1967. “And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.”

Luis J. Rodriguez is asking the same question:                                                        

 “There is no excuse for poverty in California,” says Rodriguez, Green Party-endorsed candidate for governor of California.

“Not when we are the 8th largest economy in the world. Not when our ports alone generate 38 billion dollars a year. Not when the Brown Administration proposes $11 billion to pay off the debt while 8.7 million Californians remain impoverished.

“My campaign is about organizing a movement to politically empower the people and redistribute the resources of this state to immediately and completely eradicate poverty.”

On June 3, voters will have the chance to elect Luis J. Rodriguez, a governor who will honor Dr. King not with empty words, but with the determination to use all the powers of the office to eliminate poverty in California.

 

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Brown, Republicans side with growers, farmworkers still face deadly conditions…Cesar Chavez and the Struggle for Justice in the Fields

Posted on Mar 27, 2014 in Featured | 0 comments

“When she was nine years old, my mother picked cotton in south Texas” says Luis J. Rodriguez, Green Party candidate for Governor of California. “As a child, we lived in South San Gabriel, then a poor migrant community and my wife Trini was born into an impoverished farmworker family in the camps of Martinez, California. Thus, my family and I are rooted in and committed to the struggle of farmworkers for justice to which Cesar Chavez dedicated his life. Unfortunately, neither Jerry Brown nor his Republican opponents share my commitment.”

In 2012, Governor Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 2346 which would have imposed criminal penalties on growers and labor contractors that fail to provide shade and drinking water to California farm workers. The bill passed after 17-year old Maria Jimenez collapsed and died in a 105-degree Lodi grape field on May 14, 2008. She was one of ten farmworkers to perish due to heat exhaustion since 2004.

Had AB 2346 become law, violations would have led to six months in jail and a fine up to $10,000. But Governor Brown– ignoring thousands of farmworkers who marched demanding that growers and contractors be held criminally liable—caved in to agribusiness, refusing to sign AB 2346, declaring that existing regulations “were enough.”

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In 2008, Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez,   17, died of heat stress. Gov. Brown vetoed legislation that would have imposed criminal penalties on employers who deny farmworkers water and shade.

“What happened to Maria Jimenez and all those who died in the fields for lack of shade and drinking water must never happen again,” says candidate Rodriguez. “It is disgraceful that the vast majority of farmworkers continue to face poverty, water pollution, pesticide poisoning, hunger and even death. As Governor, I will stand with the men and women who labor to feed the nation. I will sign legislation imposing criminal penalties on employers and contractors who subject workers to life-threatening conditions.”

 

Exploitation and poverty are inexcusable in this, the eighth largest economy in the world.

We can and must Imagine a new California.

On June 3, Elect Luis J. Rodriguez

Green Party-endorsed candidate Luis J. Rodriquez returns to Watts; targets poverty, poor housing and official neglect.

Posted on Mar 11, 2014 in Endorsements, Featured | 0 comments

“Imagine a New California!”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10:00 a.m.

Watts Towers Arts Center Campus, 1727 E. 107th St., Los Angeles

From his childhood growing up in Watts, to his bid for Los Angeles Board of Education at age 22 in 1976 and through forty years of advocating for poor and working class communities across the state, Luis J. Rodriguez returns to the political arena…and to Watts.

The Luis J. Rodriguez Campaign for California Governor is holding a press conference this Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at the historic Watts Towers Arts Center Campus, 1727 E. 107th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90002 to announce the attainment of ballot status for author and community activist Luis J. Rodriguez. Watts symbolizes California’s neglect for poor and struggling communities—and Watts is where Luis first lived as an Angeleno from ages 2 to 6 years old, returning there in his early 20s.

“Watts has risen before and can rise again—this time as part of a statewide campaign that has made poverty the centerpiece of a six-point program for a new California,” says Rodriguez. “Watts has a more than 40 percent poverty rate and is indicative of the growing impoverishment that has given California the highest poverty rate in the country, although it also the richest state and the world’s eighth largest economy.”

On Friday, March 7, the last day for candidates to file, Rodriguez submitted the last of some 5,000 signatures of registered voters statewide, substantially reducing the required filing fee. A statewide apparatus of grassroots leaders and activists helped gather the signatures. The Green Party of California has officially endorsed Rodriguez for governor. He has also received the endorsements of Chicanos Unidos of Orange County, PODER of Santa Barbara, and Corazon Del Pueblo of Boyle Heights, among others.

In the mid-1970s, Luis returned to Watts and in 1976-77 ran for a district-wide school board seat for the Los Angeles Unified School District—one of the few Latinos to ever do so and the only one from Watts. He was 22 at the time. Luis first lived there when his family moved from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (Luis was born in El Paso, Texas but never lived there) in 1956.

“I’m honored to continue my ‘Imagine a New California’ now that we have achieved ballot status,” says Rodriguez. “This campaign aims to be the intersection of a clean environment, a vibrant economy and social justice for all. I am calling for the end of poverty, a livable wage and income, and quality free education and healthcare for everyone. I will fight to overhaul the bloated and failing prison system, and provide access to arts, music, dance, theater, writing, festivals, murals and more in every neighborhood.”

Host will be L.A. poet and educator Jeffery Martin. In attendance will be local teachers and high school students. For more information contact Anthony Prince at 818-898-0013 or email info@rodriguezforgovernor.org.

Click Here for the full press release

“Imagine a New California” Campaign Challenges Governor Jerry Brown and Republican Neel Kashkari on the Key Issues Confronting All Californians

Posted on Jun 18, 2014 in Art, Featured | 1 comment

LOS ANGELES – Luis J. Rodriguez announces the next phase of the “Imagine a New California” campaign intersecting the three pillars of a healthy and thriving society—the environment, the economy and social justice. The aim of this campaign is to challenge both Governor Brown and his now Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari, through the November elections around 1) the end of poverty; 2) overhauling and transforming the failed and bloated prison system; 3) a clean and green environment for everyone; 4) free quality education from pre-school to higher education; 5) free quality health care under a single payer system from the cradle to the grave; 6) and access to art, music, dance, theater, writing, media, festivals, murals, and more in every neighborhood.

Luis J. Rodriguez, best-selling author and long-time community leader, ran for governor in the June 3 primary, obtaining close to 46,000 votes; this was the first primary for statewide office that was nonpartisan and where only the two top vote getters were able to move to the November general elections. With one of the lowest voter turnouts, without one corporate dollar and no big media attention, Luis was 6th of 15 candidates and first among the seven third-party and “no party preference” candidates. Statewide, Luis beat Governor Brown’s only Democratic challenger and two of Brown’s Republican challengers.

Governor Brown has amassed a “war chest” of around $20 million. Financial businessman Kashkari spent more than $4 million. Rodriguez’s electoral campaign emphasized the undemocratic nature of big money for public office, creating whole industries in advertising, airtime, and election materials, and excluding less heeled but still vital voices. Operating on a shoestring budget and comprised of volunteers—mostly young, working class and from communities of color—the Rodriguez campaign mounted a serious bid to create a meaningful choice for the millions of Californians on whose backs the budget has been balanced.

Despite the odds, Rodriguez traveled eleven times up and down the state, obtained 5,000 signatures and/or funds to be on the ballot, and garnered the endorsements of the Green Party of California, the U.S. Justice Party, the Mexican American Political Association, Corazon Del Pueblo of Boyle Heights, El Hormiquero of Pacoima, PODER of Santa Barbara, Chicanos Unidos of Orange County, Brooklyn & Boyle magazine, Chicano scholar Rudy Acuna, former Green Party vice-presidential candidate Rose Clemente, former California lawyer and whistle blower Kathleen Carroll, African American poet Jeffery Martin, and Vagabond Books editor Mark Lipman, among others.

Even with a major media blackout, Rodriguez had articles and interviews in the Huffington Post, Fox News Latino, Los Angeles Times, Truthout, Mint Press News, Orange County Weekly, Monterey County Weekly, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Truthdig, KPFK, Radio Bilinque, Monterey Herald, Daily Californian, Univision, La Opinion, and more.

The Rodriguez campaign served to unify leaders and connect important struggles such as the use of deadly force by police in Salinas and Santa Rosa; Ellis Act evictions of elderly in San Francisco; community resistance to toxic poisoning, including against the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon; linking to youth leaders in Watts, Fresno, Merced, Richmond and Oakland battling the schools-to-prison pipeline… and more. A long-range aim of this campaign is to build a unified movement of practical leaders to truly empower the poor and working class communities.

The “Imagine a New California” campaign will address the above issues on websites, social media, blogs, podcasts, public talks, and editorials. More trips and conferences are also planned, including the training of new leaders and possible future candidates for public office.

“We’re prepared to keep fighting for the close to 9 million Californians in poverty as well as others who have been forgotten and pushed out,” Rodriguez said. “It’s clear that Governor Brown and Kashkari will avoid or downplay these concerns as they debate through the November elections.  We must stay strong, focused and prepared to respond with real solutions to the very real problems facing the majority of Californians. We will not fold up our tents, but continue to push for an integral state that aligns its vast resources to human needs.”

Luis J Rodriguez

 

“I changed my mind and I’m voting for you….” San Benito Rising member Marian Cruz endorses Luis Rodriguez for Governor

Posted on May 9, 2014 in Endorsements, Featured | 0 comments

 
Hello Luis,
My son watched the segment on Book TV and recommended I contact you. I’m a lifelong Democrat, but Jerry Brown is a disappointment and I was considering voting Peace and Freedom, until my son told be that you were running for Governor.

My son was very impressed with you on Book TV and I decided to change my mind and vote for you. I changed my registration when Ralph Nader ran on the Green Ticket, but then felt to counter a Republican winning, went back to being a Democrat.

I’m a member of San Benito Rising a group of concerned citizens regarding hydraulic fracturing. We were able to collect over 4,000 signatures in less than three weeks to get an initiative with strict regulations, that will be on the November ballot.

I wish you the best and thank you for running for Governor.

Marian