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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 8/18/20

Good morning!



Who would have thought the postal service would become a focus of our national attention in ensuring fair elections? But we live in strange times. Peter Bain wrote “I cannot recall there ever being the kind of issues surrounding a presidential election as we are now facing.”

Peter grew up in Cincinnati with the family of Rob Portman, junior Senator from Ohio. Peter noted that he is “not characteristically a ‘write your representative’ kind of guy.” But he was compelled by recent events to write a letter to Senator Portman that he suggested I pass on in these Musings and urge others to write to their elected representatives. Here it is—it nails the issue:


I am sorry to burden you with this. I have tried over the years never to abuse our longstanding friendship with specific political issues, but I find myself driven to share with you a concern that I never in my life thought would exist.

I am witnessing a sitting President actively working to undermine the integrity and legitimacy of our electoral process. Our nation has seen many moments of adversity and challenge over its almost 250 years as a free republic, a miraculous achievement and a model for the world. A core part of our success, in my view, lies in the fact that, through all the challenges and adversities we may have faced, we have succeeded in the peaceful transition of leadership. This success is rooted in the integrity and credibility of an electoral process that, while never perfect and like its country subject to improvement, has always earned the faith of its people.

There is no question that the rapidly approaching election will carry unique challenges because of the COVID pandemic. Both sides of the aisle should be doing everything they can to ensure that the election will be administered so that every eligible voter will be able to deliver their vote and have it counted. Through whatever lens one may use, it seems clear that the President is affirmatively acting to frustrate this. The current controversy swirling around the Postal Service has brought this issue to a breaking point.

It would be one of the great heartbreaks of my life, loving this country the way I do (and I know you do as well), to see the Republican Party ultimately viewed as seeking to delegitimize that exceptional aspect of our political history: a free and fair election.

I ask that you use your unquestioned integrity and reputation to act to ensure that all registered Americans are able to participate in the remarkable process by which we choose our leaders this election.

Our love to you, Jane, and the family!





A number of folks commented on the suggestions I gave yesterday for improving policing. The amazing Bridget Gless Keller reminds me that community policing is alive and well in Watts. She forwarded this video, honoring a remarkable couple dedicated to community policing. The program of which they are a part will have a new home in the new Frank Gehry designed Children’s Institute facility in Watts that will open next year:



Finally, this from David Lash and the importance of local news generally and the LA Times, in particular, and the sober realities associated with local news coverage:

So you hit on an obsession of mine . . . local news. When I was at Bet Tzedek, the most important thing I could do every day was to read what then was called the “Metro” section of the LA Times. It really covered what was happening across the city and in its pages I found much needed information that was critical to running an organization trying to make this city a better place. It was the only place covering issues that impacted everyday matters of importance to people living in Los Angeles. This was in stark contrast to the local television news. I can’t tell you how many times I yell at the tv when every local station is covering a car chase. Why does the local news assume we are interested in that? And why should that usurp what truly matters in our region, issues of poverty, heroism, schools, funding, homelessness, non-profits doing great work, local political races, zoning, new building projects, gentrification, racism, anti-Semitism, the list could go on forever. I got friendly with a couple of local tv journalists over the years. They only wanted sensational stories.

What news outlets choose to cover is as important as how they cover the news. Personally, I think Steve Lopez is the most important news voice in Los Angeles. He focuses on people and issues of true importance to who we are and what needs to be focused on.

Okay, I’ll stop… local news is so important and so underutilized and so disappointing. I agree with you about the LA Times…I just wish they would add a few pages every day to the California section and really gives us the news that matters on a personal, daily, experiential, building of community basis.

Thank you Peter, Bridget and David, three friends who, through their words, deeds, and humanity, are an inspiration.

Happy Tuesday,


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