Archive for Viewpoints

CBS Sunday Morning to air important story

By Brad Dacus

Dear Friends of Children’s Privacy,

With your help, we at Pacific Justice Institute have been able to defend vulnerable children, and their need for privacy at school. We are currently in the middle of a fight against the Co-ed Bathroom/Locker Room Bill in California. We also recently defended young teenage girls in Colorado who had a biological male student using their school’s girls’ bathroom. (If you haven’t watched the video about it, I’d encourage you to do so by clicking here.)

I’m excited to announce that due to our involvement in this issue of children’s privacy, I was asked to sit down with the national CBS Sunday Morning show for an interview on Sunday, June 8. My interview will air on their show. You can check your local listings to see what time the show will air in your city. I hope you are able to watch it!

During the interview, I made it clear a number of times that there needs to be love and compassion for those who deal with gender identity issues. But I also pointed out the importance of having privacy for all students. In our ever-changing world, it’s important that we each stand for truth and moral principles, but that we do it with love. Our children, and everyone’s children, deserve nothing less.

Running the race,

Brad Dacus is president of Pacific Justice Institute

Get out and vote

By Brad Dacus

President, Pacific Justice Institute

Let me ask you a very important question … have you voted today? It’s primary day in California and many other jurisdictions, and it’s crucial that every one of us participate.

When we stop and think about it, so many of the battles PJI is fighting for constitutional freedoms begin at the ballot box. Without God-fearing leaders and lawmakers, our efforts in the courtroom are often frustrated.

If you’re like me, it is easy to become discouraged by the direction of our country and the decisions of our politicians. But nothing will change if we’re not engaged and doing our God-given duty to cast a vote for freedom. Primary day is especially important – many are predicting a historically low turnout, which means every vote is crucial. And keep in mind that, even when your candidate doesn’t win, our votes together can cause politicians who don’t share our values to sit up and take notice, especially in closely contested races.

Can I ask you one more question? Have you ever considered volunteering with PJI? We are indebted to our faithful volunteers who are such a big part of our ministry. We have opportunities and needs right now in multiple areas, from legal research to media relations to administrative assistance, and at locations across California.

By voting and volunteering, you can take a positive step today toward turning our country around.

Running the Race,

Brad Dacus

Keep Whittier united: Vote ‘no’ on Measure W on June 3

By Sylvia Granados Southerland

Last year, speakers at a Whittier City Council meeting challenged the city’s long existing at-large voting system as a claimed violation of the California Voting Rights Act. They requested that the city change to a district-based election system. No changes can be made to the City’s Council election without a change being made to the City Charter. This requires a vote of the “People of the City.”

On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, citizens of Whittier will decide whether or not to create City Council Member Districts. If this measure passes, the city will be divided into four districts of equal population and Council Members from each of these districts will be elected only by voters who are residents of that district.

A Mayor would be elected every two years by all of the people to fill an at-large position. Under the current City Charter, the Mayor is selected on a rotating basis by Council members who are elected by all of the people.

Last year, speakers at Council meetings stated that districts would benefit under-represented minorities who can’t seem to get representatives elected in the current at-large voting system. As an American of Hispanic descent, I strongly disagree with this premise. Having lived and worked professionally in the City of Whittier for more than 20 years, I have never experienced bias in Whittier, neither personally or professionally as alluded to by the Latino Coalition.

Whittier is a vibrant and historic community, rich in diversity with many ethnicities represented throughout our beautiful city. More than 50 percent of those elected to local Whittier School Boards are Hispanic. We the people voted for these trustees based on issues that are important to us, not on their gender or ethnicity.

When you give up your right to vote for 60 percent of the City Council, you are abdicating your right to vote for a council member who is spending your tax dollars. We must preserve our freedom to hold all council members accountable and Whittier’s tradition of voting for council members who serve all the people.

Keep Whittier United. Vote “no” on Measure W.

Sylvia Granados Southerland is former president of the Whittier Chamber of Commerce and is an L.A. County Consumer Affairs Commissioner



Congratulations to council winners

To the editor:

Friends, go to to read this letter since it won’t be printed or published in the Whittier Daily News.
When Jim Corbett defeated the popular John L. Sullivan for the world heavyweight boxing championship, the crowd booed the younger boxer and there was almost a riot. Big John L. walked over to Corbett and shook his hand. Then he put his arms around the younger boxer and told the boisterous crowd, “He won fair and square.”
Makes one think of our recent Whittier City Council election. The ghost of the Terminator says “I’ll be back” instead of being gracious in defeat.
It’s good to stay in a competitive mood and to know that change and growth are possible. You might not be No. 1 yet but take pride in where you are, what you have accomplished, and know that growth is possible. You have more to offer than you realize.
Not everyone looks at a situation as you do. Just because someone thinks differently does not mean you are being opposed, it’s OK to have different values and different viewpoints, but, at the same time, we should care about the success of others.
Mark Twain said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that. But really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Color your thinking. Think great instead of “that will do.” Think a 24-7 homeless shelter. Think Whittier in another Rose Parade.
Congratulations to Bob Henderson and Fernando Dutra for their election victories. Congratulations to our new mayor and our new mayor pro tem.
God bless America, pray for and thank our veterans and our active troops, let’s have a higher-than-1-percent voter participation on June 3 to amend our city charter, and … Happy Easter Whittier.
Arthur Rock

Vote on April 8

To the editor:

Sharing ideas helps us make better decisions. Let’s try a new experience. Let’s grow and develop.
Avoid trying to convince anyone that you are right. People will believe what they prefer to believe.
Once we realize that something no longer works for us, we should get rid of it … such as our current electoral system. Today’s cleaning is tomorrow’s triumph.
Share your vision with others. Don’t sell yourselves short. Be proud of all you have accomplished and experienced. It’s fine to follow your dreams, but be honest about your intentions. Don’t make any false promises if you want to continue to get the necessary help to reach your goals. Focus on collaborating with people. God always gives us the time to do the things that really matter. Have you ever noticed that when you don’t have enough to do that time stretches out in front of you?
Don’t judge people by their age but by what they do, which will be surprisingly different from what you’d think they would be able to do based on their age. After his seventh straight term one would think Bob (Henderson) would seriously consider retirement in his golden years. For a job that doesn’t pay much it’s sure funny how people keep wanting to get re-elected.
Fernando (Dutra) is a different story. He was never elected. He was appointed. The past two years he has shown us he is capable of serving us as a duly elected member of our City Council.
God bless America, pray for our troops and our veterans, and don’t forget to vote on April 8.
Arthur Rock

Electoral change could be a good thing

Dear sirs:
When we listen to the thoughts of others we have the opportunity to reduce our mistakes. Our differences lead to growth. Everyone likes the idea of progress, but few people like the idea of change.
As a city, we should cherish and honor the chance – the opportunity – to head in a new direction. There are changes facing Whittier and some of us might not have as much control over these changes as they would like. We only have control over ourselves.
Never expect everyone to agree 100 percent with you. I don’t. Other people have ideas and thoughts just as valid as yours.
To recognize this makes one a mature, civilized member of society and elevates the level of our civilization and our society.
Some people are worried about the change to our electoral system here in Whittier. Does not change reinvigorate us as a city? The issue is not about voting rights … the issue is what is fair and equitable for Whittier as a whole.
We must not place limits on ourselves and what is possible. We must break up some of our restricted thinking. Let’s choose the direction we want to go as a city and turn our dreams, hopes, ideas and thoughts into possibilities. Don’t let changes made by others disturb you.
A new electoral system could bring Whittier back to life. It could make us vibrant once again. But changing our electoral system is a public endeavor. People have to get involved.
When I see our car dealerships, our markets such as Albertson’s, and other businesses that have given up on Whittier reduce our local sales tax revenue it is only logical to believe that to remain financially strong and to sustain our fiscal growth we need to make a change.
We need to make that choice – that decision – in our June 2014 special election that fits our needs.
God bless America, pray for and thank our active troops and our veterans, and think positive about the future of Whittier.

Arthur Rock

Another look at things in Sacramento

By Debra Bowen

Secretary of State:

A Sacramento judge has rebuked Secretary of State Debra Bowen for seeking to prevent thousands of signatures from being counted in a referendum drive against the highly controversial Co-ed Bathroom Bill.

Judge Allen Sumner of the Sacramento County Superior Court issued a tentative ruling granting the writ petition of referendum supporters to have thousands of signatures counted that were delivered to the Tulare County clerk’s office before the deadline but were not accepted until after the deadline. Although tentative rulings are not official, they offer a preview of the court’s reasoning and are nearly always adopted as the official ruling of the court.

The Secretary of State’s Office has not yet indicated whether they will ask for oral argument to be held, or whether they will appeal the court’s ruling.

The Pacific Justice Institute is co-counsel in this case representing the referendum proponents. The president of PJI, Brad Dacus, commented, “Every Californian regardless of ideology should be encouraged by this ruling that strongly supports the fundamental right to have referendum signatures counted when they are delivered to county clerks ahead of the referendum deadline. These rights are too important for the Secretary of State, or a county clerk, to play politics when they don’t like a particular referendum.”

PJI also expressed concern about misinformation that is being spread by the Secretary of State’s office and some media outlets as to the current status of AB 1266.

“Quite simply, the law has not gone into effect because proponents have delivered more than enough signatures to place it on hold,” noted PJI attorney Kevin Snider. “It is mere wishful thinking on the part of politicians and activists to declare that the law is in effect. The California Constitution says otherwise, and even the Secretary of State has agreed with our position for other referenda that she deems less controversial.”

The law that has been placed on hold, AB 1266, would require all public schools in California to allow self-identified transgender students to choose the bathrooms and locker-rooms they want to use, as well as the sports teams they want to join, regardless of their anatomy or the objections of other students

Polling has shown the law to be unpopular among Californians. The Privacy for All Students coalition delivered abut 619,000 signatures to county clerks throughout the state in November. When about 505,000 of those signatures are validated, the issue will be placed on the ballot statewide in November, 2014.

Brad Dicus is president of the Pacific Justice Institute.


Bathroom bill update

By Brad Dicus


Pacific Justice Institute

SACRAMENTO – A referendum has put on hold a 37-word bill which would have opened up restrooms, locker rooms and showers in K-12 public schools to students “irrespecacrtive of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

Known as the Co-ed Bathroom Bill, Assembly Bill 1266 originally was due to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. But voters in all 58 of California’s counties have put on the brakes by submitting more than 600,000 signatures to the Secretary of State.

Under Article II, §9 of the California Constitution, the People have reserved to themselves their inherent power to review statutes enacted by lawmakers. “The voters are essentially part of the legislative process,” said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute. “Through the referendum, they either approve or veto the law,” Dacus said.

There has been some confusion about what constitutes a referendum. By its nature, a referendum involves a law that has been passed by the Legislature, but not gone into effect. Because the signatures have been filed, the implementation of the law is suspended until the final signature tally. After that, the law will continue to lie dormant until the voters render their judgment in the November 2014 election.

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Let’s not look like Signal Hills

By Erwin Ulbrich

WHITTIER – On June 6, 2013, there was a lawsuit in Department 85 of the Superior Court of California between the various parties suing the city of Whittier and Matrix Oil Company to stop oil drilling in the Puente Hills Wilderness Preserve.



In part, on Oct. 1, 2013, Judge Chalifant ordered “a final injunction restraining and enjoining Whittier and Matrix and each of them and their agents, servants, employees and representatives and all persons acting in concert or participating with them from engaging in, committing or performing, directly or indirectly, any activity or disturbance whatsoever on the Property in pursuit of, or related to, the (Oil) Project.”

This seems quite clear, but after the judgment, the various parties were approached to see if some sort of settlement (money) could effectively go around the judgment and let drilling proceed. On Oct. 29, 2013 the five assembled Los Angeles County Supervisors voted unanimously to stop the drilling and accept the judge’s ruling.

At this time, the city has encouraged Matrix Oil Company to spend millions of dollars on this project including four EIRs, multiple hearings, and project plans, a 14-foot-deep excavation with the foundation for three oil wells, numerous publications, etc., all of which are worthless because of this judgment.

Matrix Oil was also encouraged by receiving a lease from the city. Future appeals are now being discussed which will greatly add to this expense. Ultimately the oil company can be expected to come against the city for compensation and it will not be pretty.

Now is a good time to STOP this project to CUT the Whittier citizens’ losses. Let’s concentrate on redeveloping Nelles, our vacant Whittier Boulevard properties, and our emerging Regional Health Center as well as making Whittier a safe and beautiful place for our newly arriving citizens to safely live and to recreate.

Whittier has many hidden jewels and we should spend our blood and treasure on polishing and adding to these jewels, and not building a crappy oil field that would make us look like Signal Hills in the 1950’s.

It has taken us 20 years to get rid of most of the Powerine Refinery which dominates the view out of my diningroom window. I see people still complaining about the bad smell of old tank residue.

Periodically I must drive through the tertiary recovery oil fields north of Bakersfield; I sure would hate to have something like this between Whittier and Hacienda Heights as the badge identifying Whittier.

Erwin Ulbrich is a retired Boeing Aerospace engineer, 50-year Whittier resident and longtime supporter of parks in Whittier. He’s a member of the Audubon Society, California State Park Association, National Park Conservation Association, Whittier Conservancy (inactive) and Whittier Hills Oil Watch/Open Spaces Legal Defense Fund.


County’s oil ‘hearing’ nothing more than a sham

By J.C. “Mac” McFarland

Fellow Whittier residents,

Be neither deceived nor discouraged by last Tuesday’s “hearing” held by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on the Matrix Whittier Main Oil Project. Their vote against the project has potentially no direct impact on the future of the project. The matter is now in the hands of the courts and will, hopefully, be concluded in the not-too-distant future.

The supervisors held this meeting in an attempt to demonstrate to the public that the county has a strategic say in the project approval process. The hearing was not requested by the city of Whittier. The hastiness of the project hearing was also apparent as notice was sent only about 18 days prior to the hearing date of Oct. 29.

The hearing was stacked with opponents of the project ready to be recorded on camera. In fact, a week prior to the hearing, County Open Space District employees were directed to round up people to attend and speak (I have a copy of the e-mail). It is unfortunate that more time was not given to notice this hearing, as more of us who support the project could have attended.

The meeting was both a political event and an event staged as an impartial vote on the project. Many at the hearing complained dramatically that the city of Whittier was ignoring the county consent approval process critical to Prop A. County staff presented a report, based on an outside consultant’s analysis, that condemned the project. It also contained numerous factual errors, including the allegation that 60 oil wells could be drilled throughout the 1,280 acres of city land.

In fact, Matrix Oil is restricted to one drilling and production location on only seven of those acres, which is located in a canyon that is off-limits to the public. In addition, the county’s “findings” were written and published well before the hearing, and approved unanimously by the supervisors without any modification. So much for an open and honest process!

The county’s authority in this matter has already been decided by the California Superior Court. The judge ruled earlier this year that the county’s claims under Proposition A and the public trust doctrine were filed well beyond the statutory deadline.

Consequently, the county is also prohibited from challenging the authenticity of the Matrix Oil lease or Whittier’s Conditional Use Permit. His honor further ruled that Whittier’s obligation to obtain county approval of the project expires in June of 2015. Subject to further appeals or a negotiation, the project will proceed no later than that.

Here are some additional facts regarding the litigation that may be of interest to Whittier residents:

• Our city sought and obtained written approval to proceed with the oil and gas leasing process, and of the proposed lease, from the L.A. County Open Space District and County Counsel in August 2008. This was three months before bids were received and Whittier awarded the lease to Matrix Oil.

• All previous opponents in court have either dropped out, been ruled against or settled their lawsuits with our city, thus allowing the oil project to move forward. This includes the Open Space Legal Defense Fund, the Mountain Recreation Conservation Authority, and the State Attorney General representing the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

• The project is allowable and compatible with Prop A as stated in written reports submitted to the city during the CUP and CEQA review process by Prop A founders/authors Ms. Esther Feldman (CCS) and Mr. Carlyle Hall (Akin Gump). Opponents are misinformed and wrong in stating that the project is not allowed under Prop A.

As the significant majority of us have affirmed in the two most recent City Council elections, Whittier wants and needs the oil project. It will stimulate local business activity and provide funding for our city and for the Habitat Preserve in our hills. Matrix Oil and its partners are determined to pursue the project and are optimistic about a favorable outcome.

J.C. “Mac” McFarland is a lifelong Whittier resident who has served as director for PIH Health and is a 36-year member of the Whittier Host Lions Club. He has built a career as a CPA in the oil and gas industry and has represented Matrix Oil Corp. for the past eight years.