Congratulations are in order to state Sen.Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who co-sponsored SB 277 which requires that California school children must be vaccinated against communicable diseases such as measles and whooping cough. SB 277 was signed into law June 30 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The new law requires vaccinations against measles and whooping cough for nearly all public and private school children including those in daycare. The law eliminates vaccination exemptions based on religious or personal beliefs and requires that children entering kindergarten be vaccinated unless a medical doctor certifies that a child has a medical history or a condition such as allergies that would make vaccinations detrimental to the child’s health. Children who are home schooled or in activities not conducted on school grounds are not required to get vaccinations.

Allen is a Samohi alumnus and former Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board member. Pan is also a pediatrician.

Early this year, a Samohi freshman baseball coach was diagnosed with measles. Luckily, players and students who may have had contact with the coach had already been vaccinated. About the same time, 14 infants were ordered quarantined and one of Samohi’s child care center’s rooms was closed indefinitely when an outbreak hit the facility. At that time, SMMUSD officials reported its vaccination opt-out rate to be 11.5 percent — down slightly from 14.8 percent a year earlier.

A group opposed to the measure marched from Santa Monica Pier to City Hall July 3 in protest of the law. Radio host Tim Donnelly, a former Assemblyman from Twin Peaks in the Inland Empire, filed paperwork with the state attorney general’s office to float a ballot referendum to overturn the new law within days of Brown’s signing. Donnelly claims the law violates religious freedom and parental rights.

I have news for Donnelly and all the other knuckle-draggers out there who still think the earth is flat. If you don’t like the ordinance, send your kids to private school or school at home. Your unvaccinated child shouldn’t put the public’s health in danger.

Bloom’s AB 1100 undermines democracy

Then, there’s the latest piece of shortsighted legislation co-authored by our own Assemblyman Richard Bloom along with Evan Low (D-Campbell). Bloom’s bill would call for raising the fee for filing a ballot initiative from $200 to $2,000. AB 1100, which recently passed the Assembly, is expected to go before the State Senate next week.

The trigger for Bloom’s bill was the “Sodomite Suppression Act” that would have criminalized homosexuality and “commanded” that gays and lesbians be executed. The proposal came from Huntington Beach-based attorney Matt McLaughlin who is in serious need of counseling — or real religion. Luckily, it never made it to the ballot.

I’m sure Bloom thought that a higher filing fee would discourage people from filing frivolous ballot proposals. But there’s also a huge downside: It would also exclude people of limited means from participating in governing and make it much harder to file legitimate grassroots petitions without extensive financial support. Talk about discouraging the democratic process — AB 1100 does it in spades.

Bloom’s bill is a knee-jerk reaction that won’t stop misguided people from submitting crazy ideas. Just think no further than Donald Trump.

Friend me on Facebook?

A number of local politically oriented Facebook pages have sprung up over the last few years. They include Residocracy’s page, “Santa Monica Government, Politics, Policies and People” moderated by former mayor and city councilman (and occasional Daily Press columnist) Mike Feinstein, Santa Monica Transparency and Santa Monica Green Space & Parks among others both open and closed to the public.

Also, there are a number of Facebook pages maintained by individuals. Recreation and Parks Chair Phil Brock’s page and Laura Wilson-Hausle’s page are always fresh and lively. She’s the neighbor waging war against the adjacent and very noisy Palihouse Hotel, which she says is an illegal operation condoned by City Hall.

The only problem is that with all these Facebook sites created and maintained by neighborhood groups and persons with a particular social agenda such as development, anti-airport or “safe streets,” is that they reach relatively few people and are preaching to the choir. There are always the same dozen people or so who repeatedly post to these various pages — some posting to multiple sites at the same time to insure that their opinion reaches the biggest audience.

Veteran political watchers claim the real number of local activists is around “a couple of hundred” and they’re disorganized. In other words, a few hundred activists (out of 64,625 registered voters) can’t seem to find a major issue and build a large, permanent core such as Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) did with rent control almost four decades ago.

SMRR’s success is built on convincing renters that the only thing between them and exorbitant rent increases and eviction is SMRR. It’s all nonsense. These days, SMRR leaders are interested in only one thing: staying in power and calling the shots on all aspects of Santa Monica life.

Rent Control is protected by City Charter. Any politician calling for an end to it would be playing political suicide. So what’s left?

It’s obvious that many of these groups and individuals are standing fast to whatever agenda or purpose they espouse. Many people hold grudges and that limits cooperation between groups. My question is, if we can’t find a common ground, expose the SMRR myth and elect three new council membersnext November, how is change ever going to come?

Bill Bauer is not on Facebook, but can be reached at

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