Tuesday is California’s presidential primary, which could be crucial for Democrats. For Republicans, presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, recently assured we Golden State voters, “There’s no drought in California.” Of course Trump previously claimed, “Global warming was a plot by the Chinese to destroy our economy.”
It wasn’t a particularly good week for “Toxic” Trump. Offended by scrutiny of his late-arriving charitable donations to veterans, The Donald held a press conference and had a “man/baby” meltdown. He called ABC News reporter Tom Llamas “a sleaze,” and told CNN’s Jim Acosta, “You’re a real beauty.”
Interestingly, both reporters have Latino last names. And Trump also attacked the federal judge in his Trump University fraud case, “We believe he’s a Mexican” (In fact, the man was born in Indiana.) Frankly, imagining “Don the Con” with such an erratic and volatile temper in charge of the FBI, IRS and our nuclear arsenal, is downright chilling.
On a supremely brighter note, Monday, the night before the primary, former Santa Monica resident who represented us in the California Assembly (1982-1992) and Senate (1992-2000), Tom Hayden, returns. He will be the featured speaker at this month’s Activist Support Circle meeting at the UnUrban Coffee House on Pico Boulevard. (Details below.)
Hayden is currently director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City. But his legendary accomplishments as a social and political activist and author go back to 1962.
In the tabloids, however, Hayden was the then husband of actress Jane Fonda and the father of their son, actor Troy Garity. (Full disclosure, my late father, Arthur Neworth, volunteered for years in the Hayden assembly office on the Promenade.)
Hayden’s activism began as one of the initiators of the student activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS.) After being a “freedom rider” in the South, Hayden served as president of SDS from 1962 to 1963. That Hayden has “paid his dues,” and “walks the walk,” are understatements.
Hayden’s greatest notoriety came in 1968 when he played a major role in the protests outside the infamous Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Six months later, he and seven other protesters were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and incitement to riot as part of the “Chicago Eight” trial. Hayden and four others were convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot, but the charges were reversed on appeal.
Among Hayden’s co-defendants were Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Ironically, hosting the Activist Support Circle meeting will be Santa Monica’s iconic peace activist, Jerry Rubin. It is said of Jerry that he’s never met a tree he didn’t want to hug or a peace monument he didn’t want to save. But, curiously, many still confuse the two Rubin’s, prompting me in 2012 to write “The Tale of Two Rubins.”
In that column, I referred to the Chicago 8 Jerry Rubin as JR1 and the Jerry Rubin who has hosted the Activist Support Circle for over 10 years, as JR2. The fact is JR2 admired JR1. But, inexplicably, as JR1 evolved into a wealthy businessman, JR2 became more like the radical activist JR1 than the current JR1. (If that makes any sense.)
Truth be known, JR2’s public stunts were right out of JR1’s 1960’s playbook. Like when anti-nuclear activist JR2 put a pie in the face of Dr. Edward Teller, known as the “father of the hydrogen bomb,” who was speaking at UCLA. JR2 was arrested, tried and sentenced but he got the last laugh. In carrying out his public service at a senior citizen center, JR2 converted some of the seniors to the anti-nuclear movement.
As a businessman, JR1 became even wealthier and JR2’s antics were being erroneously attributed to him; JR1 went on KABC radio’s Ray Briem show with JR2. Keep in mind, JR1 was never fond of Tom Hayden. He thought Hayden considered him an opportunist, which I always kinda did.
On air, JR1 offered JR2 $10,000 to change his name. Stunned by such a lucrative offer, JR2 asked, “Change my name to what?” JR1 replied devilishly, “Tom Hayden.”
Tragically, a car killed JR1 in 1994 as a pedestrian jaywalking on Wilshire in front of his luxury condo. Eerily, pedestrian JR2 was recently struck by a car but, fortunately, is making a full recovery.
JR2 and Tom Hayden1 will be at the Activist Support Circle as listed below. As for “Don the Con,” it was revealed in unsealed court documents in the Trump University civil suit that ex-Trump employees admitted they preyed on the uneducated and misled consumers. It was also reported that in the past 30 years Trump has been involved in 3,500 lawsuits. I better stop or I might be No. 3501.
Activist Support Circle, free to the public, Monday, June 6 at 7 p.m. at the UnUrban Coffee House, 3301 Pico Blvd. Topic “2016 Presidential Election.”
Free parking at the U.S. Bank lot across the street. For more info contact JR2 at (310) 399-1000. Jack can be reached at email@example.com.