My grandmother, grandfather, uncle and mother were Holocaust survivors…
Catholics from Lithuania who were forced into a concentration camp by the Nazis. Seventeen million souls were lost in that genocide, but my family was lucky to escape and survive. They arrived at Ellis Island in January, 1949 on the ship, The General Muir.
Not long after emigrating to the USA, my grandmother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
I grew up in a family that had to deal with the harsh realities of mental illness. It was difficult. I remember my grandmother screaming paranoid accusations at my family and me. She accosted my mother as her demons screamed at her. I watched as she physically attacked my father… These things didn’t happen every day, but they happened enough and left their mark.
With the help of, at best, mediocre governmental programs and the church, we managed to get her some peace. Medication and counseling somewhat quieted the demons that tormented her. It wouldn’t be long before the government slashed programs to help with such issues.
My father, a Republican, always hated Jimmy Carter for killing those programs. As a kid I remember it having more to do with Reagan… In hindsight, both the Red and Blue parties let thousands of those in need, down, including my grandmother.
I remember my father having to fight the VA and the government for medical help from debilitating injuries he sustained while stationed overseas. After 40 some years of legal battles, red tape and shenanigans, he had finally won his settlement.
… It was the night before I left to move to Los Angeles. November, 1990. New York was at the height of the crack epidemic. There was an army of the homeless. Crime was unstoppable. Addicts were jonesing, everywhere. The voices in the heads of the mentally ill were a chorus of devils, unbroken and without refrain. I said goodbye to friends, schoolmates, teachers and old haunts… I was glad to leave.
When I arrived in Hollywood, I realized crime here was different. Drug-running and gang violence ruled the streets. It wasn’t long before I was on the front line viewing the L.A. riots that started after the Rodney King verdict was delivered. I was working a vacuous part time job at Pico and La Cienaga that paid my rent and band rehearsal while I was going to school. I drove home to Hollywood, dropping off a female co-worker on the way. Both of us, more than frightened.
I watched my neighbors arm themselves. We heard news of the National Guard being called in. They wouldn’t roll in for a few more days.
From my rooftop, my neighbors now an armed militia that encircled our building, I watched as a man got stabbed. I wasn’t going to be a hero, but I ran back to my apartment and called 911. Line was busy. I still wonder whatever happened to him…
On Sunset Blvd. and Van Ness, as the sun set, I watched as the city burned.
Community revitalization — the kind supported in my platform — helped drive out gang violence and organized crime. Leaders in working class and minority communities made this happen… not the will of big corporations or developers raising rents, but by people power.
Now we’ve got a new problem: for the past decade I’ve seen L.A. turning into the way New York was… and it isn’t pretty.
Midnight , May 8, 2018. I was going to bed when I heard a noise outside. I looked out the window, nothing. A few minutes later, another noise. Definitely something outside. A man had broken onto our property. I called out and asked what he was doing there. He responded with an expletive.
I was on the phone with 911 as I went outside to ask the man to leave. He appeared intoxicated but not super threatening. As I reached the gate, he grabbed a shovel from the shadows and repeatedly swung it at my head. The doorway arch was the only thing that stopped me from being decapitated.
Police arrived one hour and 49 minutes later.
I’m 6’4, 225 pounds and even I was shaken by this experience. Imagine if this had happened to my wife, or to a child, or any of my neighbors. How would they have faired?
When the police arrived I was informed about the consequences of Propositions 47 and 57. I voted for both of these bills, like most of you, to help reduce prison populations and let out nonviolent offenders. But I soon learned that our Elected Representatives had failed us, in failing to close loopholes allowing violent criminals to go free.
It was because of this experience that I was going to be declaring a run for the Los Angeles City Council in 2018, but learned that I had missed key deadlines and so focused on trying to connect more to my community’s issues directly.
Then I became involved in a horrifying case…
Spring of 2019. A homeless man, possibly suffering from mental illness, set his two pitbulls to attack an innocent bystander in a peaceful public park.
This was the last of four separate attacks in five months committed by this man and his dogs.
Brutal visible injuries. (I have pictures of my neighbor who suffered through the last attack.) I spoke to the police… they were unable to do anything about it: The dogs were taken, and thankfully not euthanized, but the man was never arrested. After 2 court hearings that we were required to attend, after sworn testimony from all that had been attacked , even after all the evidence was given, the powers that be wanted to and still want to give the pitbulls back to him.
I knew then that I truly had to run. #VoteCommonSense
We need to prioritize and have a plan of action.
- Helping those who can’t help themselves.
- Getting them and keeping them off the street.
- Amending/changing/discarding Prop 47 and 57.
Please read my platform. I spell it out.
Time for Truth.
Proposition 47, with the Orwell inspired title, “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.” and Prop 57, “Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative,” both tried to clear our prisons of nonviolent offenders, such as those incarcerated for cannabis offenses. That’s what we the people wanted. Sadly, it did far more than that. Sex offenders, the masterminds of shoplifting rings, and pimps convicted of trafficking children were let back onto our streets again and their crimes reclassified as misdemeanors.
** Proposition 57 deemed the following crimes as “non-violent” and made the perpetrators eligible for EARLY PAROLE and RELEASE into our local communities:
- Rape by intoxication
- Rape of an unconscious person
- Human Trafficking involving sex act with minors
- Drive-by shooting
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Hostage taking
- Attempting to explode a bomb at a hospital or school
- Domestic violence involving trauma
- Supplying a firearm to a gang member
- Hate crime causing physical injury
- Failing to register as a sex offender
- Discharging a firearm on school grounds
- Lewd acts against a child 14 or 15
- False imprisonment of an elder through violence
- The proposition allows career criminals to be treated as first time offenders when appearing before a judge.
Let that sink in…
When I am elected, I will take swift action to make sure these violent crimes are justly classified as that, violent. This does not require a dismantling of the good parts of Propositions 47 and 57; rather, it requires upholding the will of the people of California.
The lesser of two evils is still evil.
Register and Vote Independent!