Richardson Bailey Champions Diversity in School Board Race

By Julie Romero McKune

MichelleRichardsonBailey.jpg As a retired PUSD teacher with 35 years of teaching experience, I strongly support Michelle Richardson Bailey for PUSD School Board. Michelle has a passion for educating our youth and believes that education should be a top priority in the Pasadena community. She is a forward thinker who puts children first.  Her primary focus is ensuring equity in education.  It is a fact that the make-up of our current school board does not reflect the diverse student population of our school community, Michelle believes in order for the board to be successful at effectively addressing the educational needs of every student, it is important, that it be comprised of members who represent diverse perspectives, reflective of the student population it serves.  The school community of PUSD can benefit greatly from her experience, skills, knowledge and ability to bring the voice of the underrepresented to the table.   Michelle will bring fresh new energy to the PUSD Board.  She is deeply committed and involved in the community, with a strong connection to the religious, business, civic and school communities.  Her years of service in the community have given her a passion and experience for advocating on behalf of our youth and their families.

She applauds the district’s marketing/branding efforts in an attempt to improve its image but believes that there is also an immediate need for affordable housing for families with school age children (workforce housing).  She believes that it is going to take instituting a 21st century hands on approach to addressing the needs of the students and the families who are struggling to achieve before we can begin to see the slightest narrowing of the achievement gap.   Michelle will use her connections to the resources and members at every level of the Pasadena Community to foster support for making PUSD the #1 choice for education in this community.

Michelle Richardson Bailey attended PUSD schools: Washington Elementary, Don Benito Elementary, Eliot Junior High, Pasadena High School, and Pasadena City College. She is the mother of three children, who all attended Pasadena public schools. With over 20 years of experience in public education including 14 years as as PUSD employee, Michelle currently serves on the PUSD Customer Experience Advisory Group, the School Site Council at Blair school and the Equity and Access Committee.  She founded the Superintendent’s Advisory Council, now the Classified Advisory Council, and served formerly on the PUSD LCAP Committee, representing classified employees and the PUSD AB 86 Committee (Adult Education Consortium Program) in support of Adult Education.  Michelle has been endorsed by United Teachers of Pasadena, State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Council Member Tyron Hampton, among others.

Michelle has earned my trust and I’m confident that she will be committed to support all teachers and students.  I’m asking you to support Michelle.  Let’s work together to elect Michelle Richardson Bailey on Tues. March 7, 2017.

Julie Romero McKune taught K-3rd grade for 35 years, retiring in 2014.  She taught at PUSD schools:  Linda Vista Elementary School and Allendale Elementary School and schools in the Mountain View School District, San Gabriel Unified School District. Throughout her career, McKune has served low socio/economic communities, predominantly Latino.  She is an active member of the Teachers Union. United Teachers of Pasadena, CTA, and NEA.


Kimberly Ellis Leads Progressive Wave in CA

Kimberly Ellis represents a tidal wave of progressive change in the California Democratic Party by running for the top CA Democratic Party seat, the California Democratic Party Chair.  Ellis is CEO of EmergeCalifornia, a non-profit organization which trains women to run for office.  She challenges the seasoned Democrat, Eric Bauman, California Democratic Party Vice Chair since 2009 and 8 term L.A. County Democratic Party Chair.  While Ellis’ focus is on rebuilding the party by “developing the next generation of community organizers, start recruiting and training organizers who will organize around issues in their local community.”, Bauman’s focus is also investing in hiring local organizers and being able to broker meetings between elected officials and activist leaders to come to consensus “facilitating those kinds of meetings where we activists talk to the elected officials talk with our union brothers and sisters, talk with the other organizations that are key to our party and bring solutions that work for all of us.”

Ellis and Bauman are starkly different when it comes to money in politics.  Getting money out of politics is one of Ellis’ top priorities in order to “level the playing field for women, for people of color, for Millenials, for LGBT, and other underrepresented communities to serve in elected office.”  Bauman is the textbook example of how money in politics works against the best interest of the people.  Bauman’s consulting firm was paid $12,500 a month by the pharmaceutical industry and its allies, which collectively spent over $100 million to successfully defeat CA Prop 61, which would have lowered drug prices in California.

Both candidates have differing strategies in dealing with elected officials who do not support Progressive values.  Bauman says “There are members of our party up there who are as conservative as some Republicans….we have got to work with them or we’re never going to change them.”  Ellis on the other hand chooses to leverage the voters.  “I think we can try to work with them, but if that doesn’t work, we work around them.  I actually think that a lot of people who run for office today, run for the wrong reasons.  They run because they want to be something, not because they want to do something.  And as a party we do actually choose candidates, we do that at the local level.  It’s another reason why we need to make sure that we are democratizing the Democratic Party in a way that opens up the local level to more voices, more perspectives, more diversity.  So when our elected officials aren’t doing what they should be doing which is advocate on behalf of the people, it is our job to call them out, to hold them accountable, to make sure that we organize, to make them pay at the ballot box.”  Watch the Bauman-Ellis (1.16.17) forum here.

The California Democratic Party Chair election occurs at the California State Convention on May 19-21, 2017.  The approximately 3200 delegates get to vote in the party chair election.  The delegates are roughly comprised one third elected by Assembly Districts, one third appointed by county central committees, and one third appointed by elected officials.

For more information on Kimberly Ellis, click here.

Berniecrats Win Majority in CADEM Elections

Excerpts from Common Dreams 1/12/2017

[In January 2017], thousands endured a bout of unfriendly weather to vote in their state’s Assembly District Election Meetings, oft-neglected elections that determine who will serve as delegates to the party’s yearly state convention, elect party officers, and represent their communities in the process of shaping the party’s platform.

In counties across the state, from San Luis Obispo to Sacramento, observers noted an unprecedented surge in activity. Where there are typically dozens of participants there were hundreds; extra ballots had to be printed to accommodate the turnout.

“I was in San Luis Obispo where veterans told me usually these elections might have 50 or so people come out,” Jonathan Tasini, a Bernie Sanders surrogate and long-time activist, told me in an email. “There were over 700 people who voted, cars lined the streets as far as the eye could see, the line looped around the union building where the caucus was held and people stood in the rain (in California!) to wait to vote sometimes for maybe an hour.”

The uniquely high turnout, Tasini noted, was “directly related to Bernie people organizing.”

Throughout his insurgent presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders argued forcefully that single-minded runs for the presidency are not sufficient — that there must be a grassroots “political revolution” accompanying any national objectives, and that this revolution must not merely adhere to a pattern of brief mobilization followed by apathy; political movements cannot succeed, he argued, if their activities are restricted by the peaks and valleys of our “quadrennial extravaganzas.”

Sanders supporters and progressive activists have taken this view to heart. After months of organizing and forming “slates” of candidates, former Sanders delegates, union members, and volunteers have turned the enthusiasm sparked by the Vermont senator’s national campaign into victories at the local level — including clean sweeps in many districts — with the ultimate goal of taking over the state party.

“Quite simply, the old guard didn’t expect to be so thoroughly out-organized, and it cost them big time,” notes Ryan Skolnick, who was elected as a delegate over the weekend. “There were around 1100 or so delegate spots…over 600 of them were taken by Bernie Sanders supporters and progressive activists.”

Though such local elections are rarely covered in the mainstream press, the work of activists and organizers in California did not go entirely unnoticed; Sanders applauded their victories in his recent CNN town hall. Also, Our Revolution, the organization set up by Sanders backers and volunteers last year, “sent more than 110,000 emails and 40,000 peer-to-peer text messages in January in an effort to mobilize Democratic voters for California’s local elections.”

But the groundwork for the remarkably successful [January] weekend was ultimately laid not by a prominent political figure or by an influential organization, but by tireless local progressives driven by a desire for systemic change.  Read more here.

Upcoming Forums (2.13.17, 2.23.17)

The Candidate Forum

Sponsored by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Old Pasadena Management District, Playhouse District Association and South Lake Avenue Business Association

Theatre @ Boston Court – 70 north Mentor Avenue (between Union Street and Colorado Boulevard)

Monday, February 13th from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Citywide Candidate Forum on Sustainability, Public Health and the Environment

Throop Church, 300 South Los Robles Avenue

Thursday, February 23rd at 7:00 p.m.

Measure H

To fund mental health, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental subsidies, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention, and supportive services for homeless children, families, foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals, and other homeless adults; shall voters authorize Ordinance No. 2017-0001 to levy a ¼ cent sales tax for ten years, with independent annual audits and citizens’ oversight?


The growing homeless crisis is disrupting nearly every community in the county — compromising public health and safety and hurting local businesses. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to help the 47,000+ homeless population, including many women and children. We need to act now to help them get off the streets and into housing with services….In just the first five years, the proceeds of Measure H would enable 45,000 families/individuals to exit homelessness into permanent housing and help an additional 30,000 families/individuals avoid homelessness.  Read more at


Accountability for the Crisis in Flint

The children of Flint, Michigan have been drinking water containing toxic levels of lead, which can cause irreversible brain damage and lifelong physical effects. The toxic water is also being blamed for vision and memory problems, skin lesions, and hair loss.1

The crisis in Flint started in 2014 when Gov. Rick Snyder’s hand-picked and unelected city manager decided to save money by switching Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Problems with the water were immediately apparent but state officials did not take residents’ complaints seriously until testing last fall showed elevated levels of lead in the blood of Flint’s children.

Gov. Snyder has finally, after 20 months, declared a state of emergency and is scrambling to do damage control and deflect blame.2President Obama has declared a state of emergency as well. But as chief executive of the state of Michigan, with an aggressive agenda of cost-cutting and austerity practices, responsibility ultimately rests with the governor.  

Sign the petition to urge the Justice Department to conduct a thorough investigation of poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water, holding Gov. Rick Snyder accountable for allowing this health crisis.