Anthony Rendon

Xavier Becerra Gets No Love

Setting aside the snub of hiring Eric Holder to do the job Attorney General Xavier Becerra is supposed appointed and confirmed to do, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon was recently on Univision’s weekend political show Conexión. DeLeon talked about immigration, Donald Trump, defending California’s rights and the like. He mentioned Eric Holder several times, but failed to mention Xavier Becerra.

If California politics was a 90’s sitcom, Becerra would be Screech from “Saved by the Bell” – he is part of the cast, but no one seems to cares.

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Transcript and video file below:

TV Anchor Jairo Diaz Pedraza: Thank you very much Sergio Flores. Well we have the senator, the president [pro tempore] of the Senate, Kevin de León to answer these questions about the contract with Eric Holder for legal help in case of the possible… a possible trial against the Trump administration. Welcome Mr. León.

Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León: Thank you Jairo!

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: Tell us… tell us why hire Eric Holder?

Kevin de León: Well, I think that the candidacy of the President-elect is a threat, a real threat to our community, of the real interests of a great state like the great state of California. As the leader of the Senate, my role was to accept everything to defend the rights of our policies on the environment, climate change, health care, and the defense of the human rights of immigrants. I decided with my colleague, the Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Rendon to contract the legal services of the ex-prosecutor of the country, the whole country of the United States under President Barack Obama, Mr. Eric Holder. To give us strategic legal tactics forbetter said, about what you can and cannot do to an administrator who continues to threaten the values of a great state like the state of California.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: How much will the state of California be paying Mr. Holder?

Kevin de León: It’s $25,000 a month. We split half of this bill, $12,500, from the Senate and $12,500 from the Assembly. But I think that…

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: For four years or for how long?

Kevin de León: For three months.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: Three months.

Kevin de León: And then we are going to re-negotiate. I think that it’s a payment, or [rather] a small investment in comparison to what is at stake. We have billions of dollars hanging by a thread right now.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: With the decision of President Trump?

Kevin de León: [Yes,] with the decision of President Trump.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: For example, how much would you take away? How much are we talking about Senator?

Kevin de León: It can be billions; it can be twenty, forty, sixty billion dollars. It’s not known yet, for example…

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: In which sectors?

Kevin de León: In medical care, the ACA that is the health care coverage of President Obama. It’s $20 billion that we receive every year for the more than 6.5 million people that are already enrolled in this medical care program.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: Sure.

Kevin de León: Of Obamacare. If the plan is to destroy and diminish the funds, as soon as possible, according to the statements of the Republicans in Congress as well as President-elect Trump, we will be left with a $20 billion dollar deficit in the budget in the state of California. That is true.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: Senator, There are 800,000 undocumented people who obtained their driver’s licenses. The federal government could demand the government of California to hand over all that information of the undocumented [people] for them to be able to locate and deport them.

Kevin de León: Look, [let’s] make this very clear, because I was the one who negotiated the driver’s licenses for the more than 800,000 people that can drive their cars today without the fear, without the terror, of having their car confiscated by a tow truck. Or much worse, being deported for being undocumented. The files, the personal data, are at this moment frozen in the records of the state of California. So that means, in a nutshell, if the federal government comes and says that they want access to that data, we will not give it to them. Now or later, today or tomorrow, or the next day, we will not hand over that data because that is personal data that belongs to the state of California, not the federal government.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: In 30 seconds Senator, a message for the undocumented [people] that are going to live these next four years with Donald Trump.

Kevin de León: Well, we have to organize, we have to do everything possible, and my role is to do everything possible to defend the interests, promoting the necessary polices. In defense matters in a given case, if there are raids, massive deportations, the local police will not cooperate with the federal government. [We will] intervene in the deportation[s]. If someone has a crime, for example: a violent criminal, a violent bandit, an assassin, a [drug] trafficker, that’s another thing. But the majority of our working people are hardworking people.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: Thank you very much Senator Kevin de León for being here on Conexión California

Kevin de León: No Jairo, it’s a pleasure for me. Thank you very much.

Jairo Diaz Pedraza: Thank you very much. Let’s take a break.

Video Filehttps://youtu.be/dDqfNiZRDl4

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.”