The Homeland Security agency governing board voted unanimously to pull the grant because the conditions imposed by the supervisors violated the grant guidelines. That wasn’t news to Ahern and his staff who told both supervisors and the ad hoc committee that had recommended changes to Urban Shield that the changes would result in loss of the grant.
Supervisors Nate Miley and Scott Haggerty, who both represent the Livermore Valley, voted against the motion to change the program. As expected Supervisors Keith Carson and Wilma Chan were in favor, which left Supervisor Richard Valle with the deciding third vote. After a five-minute timeout to “eat chocolate” (according to Bay City News) he cast his vote in favor and against public safety.
The detailed training exercises, particularly those aimed at active shooters or other terrorist attacks, were critical to keeping first-responders sharp should those terrible situations arise. Sadly, looking at the way things are going across the country, it’s likely not an “if”, it’s “when.”
The majority of the board responded to a small, well-organized pressure group that claimed the Urban Shield exercises were militaristic, racist and xenophobic and had a negative impact on communities of color and immigrants. The vote just made the entire Bay Area less safe. If the program can be re-established in another county—two are interested including San Francisco, then first-responders can resume this valuable training. If not, then the public and its safety are the losers.
Political junkies noted that there’s one congressional district that still is not represented in the House of Representatives—North Carolina 9. Last month, the state election commission pitched the results of the November election, where the Republican candidate held a lead of less than 1,000 votes and ordered a new election starting with a fresh primary.
Campaign consultant has been arrested and charged with illegally harvesting absentee ballots and then turning them in. He turned in 592 of the 684 absentee ballots cast in the county.
While he faces felony charges, you may be surprised to know that former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in 2016 that allows just such a practice. It makes a mockery of the election process, but was used very successfully by Democrats in contested districts in the 2018 midterms. The former law required ballots to be delivered personally or by a relative—now it’s open game.
Neal Kelley, the Orange County registrar, told the San Francisco Chronicle that people were dropping off 100 to 200 ballots at a time. Democrats flipped several seats in Southern California after trailing in the election day count.
At one point, we had four adults of voting age living in our home. Two passed on and we received absentee ballots for both for several years. It was the same for our daughter and another young adult—it took several years for them to be taken off the voting rolls. If we had kept sending in ballots—breaking the law—they could still be voting today—from the grave and other states.