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California Democrats Sanctuary Includes Violent Criminals

As published on Fox and Hounds Daily

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) have been clear that they oppose California allowing the state or its sanctuary cities from cooperating with immigration officials unless the individual committed a violent crime.

Under California law, throwing acid at someone or rape of an unconscious, intoxicated or mentally ill victim is not considered a violent crime. Neither is vehicular manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, arson, solicitation of murder or exploding a destructive device or explosive with intent to injure. 

A recent article by Jazmine Ulloa, Los Angeles Times, makes this clear distinction:

After being accused of rape, Andrew Luster jumped his $1-million bail and was later captured in Mexico by a bounty hunter on TV.

Ventura County prosecutors said he drugged three women and videotaped the assaults, and a jury convicted him of 86 counts of poisoning, sexual battery and rape of an unconscious or intoxicated person. But with none of his offenses listed among the 23 crimes that California considers “violent” felonies in its penal code….

In drawing the line at crime violence, why would Kevin de Leon and Anthony Rendon extend sanctuary and protection to predators like Andrew Luster?

While Eric Holder will be in Sacramento tomorrow, collecting his $25,000 a-month-taxpayer-funded-check from the state’s taxpayers via our Legislature, he needs to be the adult in the room and ask the Democratic leadership to remove their rose-colored glasses and realize that there are distinctions between “hardened criminals,” “undocumented immigrants,” and those who perpetrate the abbreviated state list of “violent crimes.”

Ending “sanctuary city” ordinances does not mean that law enforcement in those communities become “quasi immigration enforcement officers.” Rather, it reopens the door to the real need of providing continued cooperation between law enforcement and immigration officials and ensuring societally dangerous and violent criminals are identified, detained and deported. They should also include those convicted of gang activities, rape, arson or those who sexually assault the elderly or mentally ill victims.

The following crimes are not covered by the definition of violent crimes under recently passed Proposition 57:

Here is short list of crimes California does not consider violent: 

・ Vehicular manslaughter

・ Human trafficking involving a minor

・ Battery with personal infliction of serious bodily injury

・ Throwing acid or flammable substance

・ Assault with a deadly weapon

・ Assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer or firefighter

・ Discharging firearm at an occupied dwelling, building, vehicle or airport

・ Rape where victim legally capable of giving consent

・ Rape by intoxicating substance

・ Rape where victim unconscious of the act

・ Rape/sodomy/oral copulation of unconscious person or by use of date rape drugs

・ Rape by threat of public official

・ Inflicting corporal injury on a child

・ Domestic violence

・ Arson of a structure or forest land

・ Arson of property

・ Solicitation to commit murder

・ Grand theft firearm

・ Assault with a deadly weapon by state prison inmate

・ Any felony involving the personal use of a deadly weapon

・ Holding a hostage by state prison inmate

・ Exploding a destructive device or explosive with intent to injure

Part 1: The “Please, Don’t Hit Me” Party

After spending a few days in Washington, D.C. interacting with party leaders and activists from across the country, listening to their stories and asking questions about their organizational structure and how they communicate to the public; It became clear that the battle ground members and those leading the massive marches in DC and yesterday in Berkeley, are fighters, willing to push back and take on the challenge, while many, California Republicans, have adopted the, “Please, Don’t Hit Me” strategy.

California Democrats deserve credit, for taking almost any issue and converting it into a crisis. They use this approach to mobilize thousands of people through email, social media and community organizations; with a unified voice, they blame it all on Republicans.

A few weeks ago they began spending $25,000 a month of taxpayer money to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, nearly a month before Donald J. Trump took the oath of office, because of Trump’s campaign speeches.

Trump was sworn in office just ten days ago and when Holder was hired, no one knew what policies or changes he would actually suggest to congress, or who will fill all of the Secretary posts, or what executive orders he will undo. This single move, of hiring Eric Holder blanketed the airways, newspapers, social media, and was used to mobilize communities around the notion that: Donald Trump is dangerous to California and we need protection.

California Democrats charged that Trump would attack California on climate change, immigration, Obamacare, and stated, “‘[Holder] will be our lead litigator, and he will have a legal team of expert lawyers on the issues of climate change, women and civil rights, the environment, immigration, voting rights — to name just a few,’ Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in an interview.”

The best part of this Democratic strategy is the claim that it is being done in the name of bipartisanship, when the actions taken have been strictly partisan.

As an example, the California Democratic leadership has said, they fear Donald Trump will begin with massive deportations, yet Trump’s last comments dealt with deporting only undocumented immigrants that are criminals and finding a solution for the rest. Where was that anger and fear, when President Obama was deporting three million immigrants? Why wasn’t Eric Holder hired then? The reason is that the Democrats’ strategy is to blame Republicans, as Republicans sit idle and accept the blame.

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While some Republicans are comfortable with their crumbs, others are afraid of reprisal and some just lack a spine.

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The Democratic Party has controlled both houses of the state legislature for the better part of 20 years. Yet opposition research, policy challenges, and contrasts usually happen during the election season, when it should be occurring 24-hours, 365 days out of the year.

There should be other opinions and challenges inserted into the conversation and that requires a new strategy of a willingness to “push back,” rather than the tendency to not act and simply say, “Please, Don’t Hit Me.”

Policy Making Through Social Media Relationships

By: Hector Barajas & Bryan Merica

With the stroke of a few keys on a laptop or phone, our entire society is empowered to organize, mobilize and bombard policy makers with ideas for change or to highlight an army ready to act in opposition to a policy – such is the power of our digital age.

Too many groups continue to live in a time when developing and molding policy required the transmission of those ideas based on preexisting relationships between an organization and politicians, with regulatory bodies of government and/or other decision makers.

The digital world has irreversibly shifted the landscape of how people gather information, how we communicate, and how policy gets shaped. Like so many tectonic shifts, many of these changes have been incremental and often unnoticed, but the cumulative effect is dramatic.

telephone social network blue

Under the old rules of the game, those who could afford to pay for better representation would often gain greater access and better results – these rules don’t necessary apply online. The new rules are based on the creative and viral nature of digital content to offer an entirely new avenue into the public affairs arena.

In California, 80 percent of our population is using the Internet and more than 16 million are on Facebook. Of those 16 million Facebook users, each person spends approximately an hour of their time each day on this specific social media platform alone.

From posting pictures, memes, inspirational quotes, watching videos, and catching up with friends and family. Facebook provides us with a glimpse on how organizations and associations are failing to use the latest modes of communication to their detriment.

Social media Use

Social Media Usage By Age

Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, “98 personal data points that Facebook uses to target ads to you” writes:

“While you’re logged onto Facebook, for instance, the network can see virtually every other website you visit. Even when you’re logged off, Facebook knows much of your browsing: It’s alerted every time you load a page with a “Like” or “share” button, or an advertisement sourced from its Atlas network. Facebook also provides publishers with a piece of code, called Facebook Pixel, that they (and by extension, Facebook) can use to log their Facebook-using visitors.”

“On top of that, Facebook offers marketers the option to target ads according to data compiled by firms like Experian, Acxiom and Epsilon.” 

“When combined with the information you’ve already given Facebook, through your profile and your clicks, you end up with what is arguably the most complete consumer profile on earth: a snapshot not only of your Facebook activity, but your behaviors elsewhere in the online (and offline!) worlds.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Understanding digital insights such as these provides campaigns with the opportunity to develop novel solutions. While Facebook is the current “Social Media King,” there are dozens of other social media platforms with their own unique reach and audience:

  • Twitter provides unparalleled access to policymakers and political insiders
  • LinkedIn gives an avenue for issue-based content to reach relevant professional circles
  • Pinterest is ideal for reaching audiences like parents and teachers
  • Instagram is one of the best avenues for reaching millennials
  • Snapchat reaches even younger audiences with location-relevant content
  • YouTube is a major channel for delivering engaging video content to a wide range of audiences.

These are just a few examples from a constantly shifting landscape. Most successful organizations utilize a combination of platforms to communicate with their target audience.

Relationships with policymakers are important, but in this digital age, you need to tell your story to get people involved in your cause and to build a community beyond your membership. While these efforts take time, building an army today that can support or oppose a cause, depending on how a politician or regulatory body responds, is vital in influencing key decisions. Ultimately, the cause and/or the client will be well served.

***

With two decades of political, legislative, and media experience, Hector Barajas has a proven track record of assisting clients with attaining their public policy goals by effectively communicating through the press, social media, and directly to decision makers. 

Bryan Merica’s 20 years of experience working in the technology industry drives him to continually deliver novel and modern solutions to his public affairs clients.

Amazing Saturday Night Fight: James DeGale vs. Badou Jack

While this deviates from my normal postings, I couldn’t help but write about an amazing duo that fought their hearts-out this past weekend.

Boxing fans were treated to an amazing fight as James DeGale (Age 30; Birthplace: England; Record: 23-1-1; Current International Boxing Federation Super Middleweight Champion) met Badou Jack (Age: 33; Birthplace: Sweden; Record 20-1-3; Current World Boxing Council Super Middleweight Champion) in a unification match this past Saturday, January 14, 2017, in Brooklyn, New York.

What a way to start the New Year!

It was a battle of two 168-pound technicians, with tremendous punching power, who stood toe-to-toe and fought from the beginning of each round to the very last second.

ref

 (Here is referee Arthur Merchante, Jr. who caught Jack’s left hand at the end of the fifth round – See Video Here)

The 12-rounds of high drama included more than 1,300 punches thrown, but in the end, the judges scored the fight: A MAJORITY DRAW.

In the post fight interviews, they each rightly believed they had won the fight and for this boxing novice, they both deserved to win. In the end, it was the sport of boxing that was the clear winner.

I hope to see a rematch between these two warriors.

The Real Work Behind Each Press Release

Don’t rely on the “send” button in your email distribution system, as the means to getting your press release converted into a media story.

The press release should only be sent after you have done the real work of putting together fact sheets, developed talking points, having the client approve a few opinion-editorials and communicated the significance of the issue with a reporter or select number of them. This doesn’t mean you have to conduct a press tour before issuing the release, but you need to pick up the phone and communicate your issue.

Identify key reporters (those who cover this particular issue or individuals you have built a relationship with) and give them a run down.

If the issue requires some background and/or a technical explanation, make the client or expert available to answer questions. This exercise will help you evaluate the situation and identify a missing component in your narrative. Keep the conversations “off the record” or “on-background” and embargo any documents until the release is sent (see Establishing Ground Rules with a Reporter).

By laying the groundwork first, a reporter is able to understand the issue and this takes away the guessing, as they scan through the 200+ daily press releases living in their inbox (see When to Send Out A Press Release).

Previewing the issue can also bring you back to earth.

At times, we get so caught up with the issue and client, that we become blinded as to whether the story is news worthy or get lost in the weeds that we fail to see the issue from the audience’s point of view. The last thing we want to do is come off as a conspiracy theorist.

Reporters will listen to your pitch, but also expect them to ask tough questions and verbalize the holes in your story. At the end your client will be better for it.

It is only after you go through this exercise, that you should feel confident in pressing the “send” button.

Establishing the Ground Rules With a Reporter

When reporters get a lead on a story, it is their job to talk with multiple sources, to gather facts and opinions, in order to analyze whether the story is worth pursing.

Before beginning an interview, its important to establish an agreement to determine how the information will be used and sourced, such as off the record, on the record, on background, or deep background. This agreement needs to occur at the beginning, not the end of the interview. You can’t begin an interview and then say, “Wait, that was ‘off the record.’”

Here is a brief summary of some ground rules when talking with a reporter:

“Off the Record” means the information can’t be quoted, referenced or used in an article. The information is offered to provide the reporter with a greater understanding of the issue.

“On the Record” means the information you provide can be used or quoted for the story. This includes using you or your client as the source of the information.

“On Background” means that the information can be used by the reporter, but not attributed to you. They can refer to you as “an expert” or “government official” or “a senior executive.” This type of agreement usually occurs when the information is sensitive, so the source is not disclosed.

“On Deep Background” means that the information can be used in a story or to enhance the reporter’s knowledge of the subject or as a guide for other leads, but the original source cannot be quoted or identified. Here is how Associated Press defines it: “The information can be used but without attribution. The source does not want to be identified in any way, even on condition of anonymity.” http://www.ap.org/company/News-Values

Before sitting down for the interview, write down what you want to say. Don’t ad-lib.

Set the ground rules for the interview.

Treat everything you say, even if you are “off the record,” as though you are “on the record.”

Remember a reporter will be talking to multiple sources and some key word or phrase you provide can open the door to another source, who might be willing to go “on the record.”

** Update:

A colleague and communications professional, Alicia Trost brought up a good point, these rules also apply when text messaging. Thank you @AliciaTrost

Adding Football To The Latino Vocabulary

As the National Football League (NFL) players begin their training camps, I have been fascinated by the league’s continued efforts to bridge the American culture in a bilingual and bicultural way to expand their fan base with the Latino community.

In the past few years the NFL has partnered up with Spanish language networks to put together a foundational understanding of the generational, ethnic, socio-economic and regional difference that exist within the Latino community. The NFL educated itself to understand that Latinos are not monolithic, we vary by region, dialect and customs.

NFL2

With the help of its media partners, the NFL has been running Spanish language ads promoting Sunday as a time for family, unity and of course sports.

Fox Deportes became one of the first Spanish-language networks in the U.S. to televise NFL games. For the newly acquired Latino fans who didn’t get enough football on Sunday, they can now catch Monday Night Football on ESPN Deportes.

Locally, the NFL began sponsoring bilingual events at schools and tailgate parties. During Hispanic Heritage Month, the NFL runs ads highlighting Latino players and individual teams have also launched their own fan base programs such as “Vamos Bears”, sponsoring local pass, kick and run the ball events and handing out “De Todo Corazon” (with all my heart) Bronco t-shirts.

The effort is paying off.

Tom Van Riper, contributor to Fobes, noted:

Hispanics comprised 8.7% of the viewing audience of NFL games in 2014, up from 5.5% in 2004 (numbers for the partly-completed 2015 season aren’t available yet). That translates to 1.5 million people, a jump from 779,000 a decade ago. It’s still a small percentage of the U.S. Hispanic population, estimated at some 50 million, but no longer an insignificant piece of the NFL viewership pie. Naturally, the league has shifted advertising dollars in kind. During the 2014 season, according to Nielsen, the NFL spent $243.8 million on Hispanic media, a 60% increase over five years. Most of that is television, where ad spending rose to $230 million from $139 million.

Hispanic fans tend to follow the same players as anyone else, too. The most well-known player in the market: Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, who scores an 84% awareness level among Hispanic consumers. He’s followed by the Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli (80% and 76% respectively), along with Reggie Bush (67%) and Richard Sherman (65%).

The NFL has done a tremendous job at seeking to capture the hearts and minds of Latinos and Latinas. They realize that building a loyal following will take years and their efforts include speaking to Hispanics in Spanish and English and understanding the culture and nuances that exist within each subgroup.

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, “The Hispanic population in the U.S. reached 55.4 million in 2014, or 17.4% of the country’s total population. According to Census Bureau figures, Hispanics are projected to number 106 million by 2050.”

Not only will the Latino population continue to expand, so will their wallets.

While these efforts have become commonplace for marketing agencies dealing with automotive, digital and beverage industries, it is still a relatively new field in public affairs, issue advocacy and community mobilization.

As the population and income growth number show, our industry can’t continue to ignore this important group of voters, consumers, community leaders and decision makers – It is time for our industry to add its own Latino vocabulary.