Ammiano, Tom

Tom Ammiano is a long-term leader in San Francisco who was recently elected to Represent the 13th District in the Assembly.

More Humane Practices Needed for California's Toughest Prisons

By Tom Ammiano

California State Assemblymember

People in maximum security prisons are not warm and fuzzy types, but that doesn’t excuse the California prison system for abusing their rights.

Even if we don’t like prisoners, there are reasons we should care about the prisoner hunger strike that ended earlier this month. Human rights apply to everyone. Let me tell you about it:

Prisoners have been complaining about conditions the SHUs – Secure Housing Units – for years. In fact, there was another hunger strike two years ago. Shane Bauer, a freelance reporter who was once held prisoner by the Iranian government, visited the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison and discovered it compared unfavorably with what he experienced under the Iranians.

U.S. Attorney Attacks on Medical Cannabis Don’t Make Anyone Safer

By State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

In the past, the U.S. Attorney General said his prosecutors should only go after medical cannabis providers that were clearly violating state laws. In the past, we had also been told that operations would focus on dispensaries that operated near schools and parks. But now Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District was quoted last week as saying, “The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state's medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need.”

Why Walmart Loves Welfare

By Bobbi Murray
The Frying Pan

You may have already heard that uber-retailer Walmart plans to open a 33,000 square-foot store in L.A.’s Chinatown.

Last week opponents of Walmart’s Chinatown store gathered at Sixth and Park View in MacArthur Park to listen to Walmart “associates”—the retailer’s preferred term for its employees—talk about their need for public assistance to make ends meet.

If you know L.A., you know MacArthur Park is nowhere near Chinatown. But it is across the street from a California Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) building—a place you’d go to apply for social services such as welfare and health care— for support you might need if you were employed at a poverty-wage job.

Support you might need if you work at Walmart.

AB 9: It’s Time to Stop Bullying in California

By Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

Many of us were taught as kids to say “Sticks and stones may break my bones (but words will never hurt me)” as a way of making us feel better when confronted with conflict but the fact is that words do have tragic consequences. Every day young people in California schools are subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying based upon real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.  Bullying is an all-too-common problem that affects young people of all backgrounds, particularly in early adolescence. Whether they are directly victimized, many teens have been at some point verbally or physically threatened. Some have witnessed or know of other teens that have been chronically intimidated or physically harmed.

It’s Time to Close the Corporate Loopholes in Prop 13

By Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

As California faces a severe fiscal crisis at the state and local level, my Republican colleagues in the Legislature have suggested a range of “solutions” for California’s budget crisis including instituting a spending cap, repealing environment regulations and reforming our pension system. 

To no one’s surprise, none of their solutions dealt with closing any of the egregious tax loopholes that benefit corporations and cost the state millions of dollars each year.  Given our economic situation, all aspects of our tax system, including the property tax, must be examined and closing corporate loopholes should be first on the list.

It’s Time for CalPERS to be Socially Responsible

By Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

I have introduced the Socially Responsible Investment Act, AB 2337, to prohibit the use of public pension funds in predatory investment schemes. The legislation would require CalPERS and CalSTRS to disclose and divest from any investments in companies engaged in predatory business practices that rely, or result in, the displacement of residents in affordable housing in order to generate profits for investors.

Public pension funds have been a primary source of equity for what affordable housing advocates have termed “predatory equity”, a form of real estate speculation predicated on the displacement of low and middle-income renters from affordable housing.   

Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights, has been urging CalPERS for over a year to voluntarily adopt “predator free” investment criteria, pointing to the large scale displacement of tenants in East Palo Alto and New York City fueled by CalPERS money.