President Biden

CA Ballot

STATEWIDE

Governor – Gavin Newsom

Lt. Governor – Eleni Kounalakis

Secretary of State – Shirley Weber

Treasurer – Fiona Ma

Attorney General – Rob Bonta

Senator – Alex Padilla (make sure to vote for him in two places, to complete this term and for a full term)

Controller – Ron Galperin

Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tony Thurmond

Commissioner of Insurance – Marc Levine

Board of Equalization District 3 – Tony Vasquez

State Assembly 51 – TOSS-UP Rick Chavez Zbur or Louis Abramson

LOS ANGELES

Mayor – Karen Bass

City Attorney – Teddy Kapur 

City Controller – Kenneth Mejia

County Assessor – Jeffrey Prang

Board of Supervisors District 1 – Hilda Solis

Board of Supervisors District 3 – TOSS-UP Henry Stern or Lindsey Horvath

Sheriff – Eric Strong

City Council District 1 – TOSS-UP Eunisses Hernandez or Gil Cedillo

City Council District 3 – Bob Blumenfeld

City Council District 5 – Katy Young Yaroslavsky

City Council District 7 – Monica Rodriguez

City Council District 9 – TOSS-UP Dulce Vasquez or Curren Price

City Council District 11 – TOSS-UP Greg Good or Erin Darling

City Council District 13 – Mitch O’Farrell

City Council District 15 – Danielle Sandoval

Office 3 – Sherilyn Peace Garnett or Tim Reuben

Office 60 – Sharon Ransom

Office 67 – Fernanda Maria Barreto

Office 70 – Holly Hancock

Office 90 – Melissa Lyons

Office 116 – David Gelfound

Office 118 – Georgia Huerta or Melissa Hammond

Office 151 – Patrick Hare

Office 156 – Carol Elswick

LA Board of Education 

District 2 – Rocio Rivas

District 4 – Nick Melvoin

A Story from Israel

A post from a friend:

We were in Israel just before Covid began in 2020. Our guide was 9 months pregnant, studying to be a rabbi, and amazing scholar and teacher for us. Emma reached out to her in this terrifying time. This is what she wrote back. It’s an important, human read:

Thank you so much for thinking of me😊 We are ok. Trying to keep it together and stay optimistic… Here is something i wrote on FB the other day… This post is in English, for all my friends and family around the world.

My parents brought me to live in Israel when I was only 8 years old. Besides the heat and the palm trees, my first memory is from the first Golf war in January 1991, when we were woken up every single night and went to the bomb shelter while wearing a gas mask.

I grew up in Israel of the nineties.

I remember every single bus explosion, but I also remember the joy and the tremendous hope brought to us by the Oslo accords and signing the peace treaty with Jordan.

When the violent second Intifada started, in September of 2000 I was drafted to the Army, and spent the next 3 years of my life fighting the enemies in Gaza and defending my country. Missiles flew above my head and snipers aimed at me daily.

After my military service I moved to Jerusalem, which became my eternal home and unconditional love.

During my academic journey at the Hebrew University, I was fortunate to meet those “enemies” for the first time in my life. They were Arabs, and they were smart, interesting, intelligent, gentle, but the most important thing about them was that they didn’t want to kill me, instead, they very much wanted to be my friends.

Those encounters 20 years ago and all the others that followed, changed me. And I thank God about it every single day.

My beloved country is burning from within. This wave of violence and hatred is at a completely different level from what we are used to. My heart is breaking a thousand times every single day while listening to the news, and all I can think of is how scared the Jews and the Arabs are from one another, each thinking that they are the enemy of the other. I truly understand, because I remember myself thinking exactly that. Most Jews and Arabs in Israel don’t have the opportunity to meet, because if they did, they would understand that all of us are destined to share this land and live together. It is not going to change, even after this round of violence. And at the end, when it is all over, all of us will still be here and we will need to learn again how to live side by side. Most importantly we will need to look in the eyes of our children and tell them where were we when our country was burning.

So I want to tell you where was I tonight, together with my husband and my children, and together with many hundreds of other parents, grandparents and their children. Jews and Arabs. Young and old. We came together, to meet, and to show one another how sorry we are for the situation on the ground and to testify that we choose to get along and to live together.

Love. Hope. Solidarity. Compassion. Kindness. Generosity. Big hearts.

This is what I saw tonight. This is my country. This is my people. These are my Jewish and Arab neighbors. Thank God for all of them.

And since you will not hear about it on the news, i will attach a few pictures of this beautiful evening in Israel, just outside of Jerusalem, where we, Israelites, Jews and Arabs, chose to love one another, because we are all equal human beings and also because we all belong and love this land so very much.

Israel & Palestine

I’ve been reading to educate myself more about the history of Israel & Palestine. I’m seeing an uncomfortable amount of anti-Semitic comments against Israelis & unfair ones re Palestinians. These are some articles regarding Israel & Palestine that I think are worth reading. I will be adding additional content as I continue to learn.

Historical Background on the Situation in Sheikh Jarrah – By Adam Carr

Bernie Sanders: The U.S. Must Stop Being an Apologist for the Netanyahu Government

Responding to Senator Bernie Sanders – by David Harris

Hamas: Important Excerpt from Covenant

The Escalating Israel-Palestine Conflict – Trevor Noah

An open letter to Trevor Noah – By David Harris

Lapid: The people of Israel, Jews and Arabs, are far better than this

Netanyahu Is Playing With Fire With the Democrats

Breaking the Silence: Israeli Soldiers Come Clean

Praying for peace, taking responsibility for our complicity

Let’s Roll

Dear Friends,
I am now allowed to share with you the release of my husband to be’s new single. This is Richard Smith’s 1st commercial release in the last 6 years, that were otherwise filled up teaching at USC Thornton School of Music & abroad, as well as touring.  

Last year, my love was diagnosed with Head and Neck Cancer which proved to be quite a journey for both of us. Following invasive surgery in January, the  necessary protocol that followed is known to be one of the most grueling of all Cancer treatments. They need to almost kill you to cure you. But if you can tolerate it, the end results are very encouraging. Richard had a job to do and did it without EVER complaining. Not once. Each morning to signal his medical team to begin the 5 hours of the treatment he underwent for 45 consecutive days he would use the words, “Let’s Roll” which is, you guessed it, the title of his new release. The music itself was written as he recovered with a renewed appreciation for all things, but especially his ability to still make music.
It would mean so much to both of us if you would have a listen.

xoxoxox,

Me

Dylan Farrow

My Thoughts on Dylan Farrow 

Much is being written about Dylan Farrow’s open letter in Saturday’s New York Times about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, thanks to her powerful adoptive father, filmmaker and current Oscar nominee Woody Allen. 

What isn’t being discussed by the various talking heads on every major network are the hard and cold facts about child sexual abuse, particularly when this life-altering crime is handled by family courts during a divorce or custody dispute. 

Dylan wrote that, “There were experts willing to attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child… I didn’t know that he would accuse my mother of planting the abuse in my head and call her a liar for defending me. I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doctor after doctor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal battle I couldn’t possibly understand.” 

Through my and my daughter’s own four agonizing years in family court, I saw the flaws of this impenetrable court system up close and personal.  While my case did not involve sexual abuse, it was no less disturbing. While I do not wish to discuss the specifics of my case at this time, I can testify to the anguish this system puts on the children involved in an effort to protect the parent in question. 

While I know a thing or two about the terrible state of this country’s family courts, and I’ve testified in Sacramento about the need for judicial oversight and system reform aimed at keeping children safer during custody disputes, I wasn’t as familiar with the facts about how child sexual abuse survivors are faring in the nation’s family courts. 

Since so many pundits are basing their opinions on “victim blaming,” “mother blaming,” or a misunderstanding of child sexual abuse and the courts’ treatment of it, and since Dylan’s open letter speaks directly to the legal system’s mishandling of her childhood trauma, I want to share with you some important facts that expose just how broken the family court system is, particularly for children who have suffered sexual abuse by a parent or authority figure. 

The Center for Judicial Excellence, which tracks horrific cases like Dylan’s, and advocates for widespread system reform of the nation’s family courts, shared the following startling facts with me, which were compiled by their colleagues at Child Abuse Solutions. 

Every discussion about whether Dylan is telling the truth needs to be grounded in facts. 

1) Children hardly ever fabricate allegations of sexual abuse. Studies analyzing maliciously fabricated allegations of child sexual abuse have found that children bring only 0% to 2% of such allegations. There is no reputable research to support the notion that children can be brainwashed to believe they have been sexually abused when they have not. 

2) Maliciously fabricated allegations of child sexual abuse are exceedingly rare. Most studies find that only 1% to 6% of all child sexual abuse allegations in custody and visitation disputes are maliciously fabricated. The remaining 94% to 99% of such allegations are either true or were brought in good faith, based upon a reasonable suspicion. Studies find that family law judges consider allegations of child physical and sexual abuse to be maliciously fabricated far more often than is supported by the research. 

3) Research has established that while mothers accuse fathers of child sexual abuse in 48% of cases involving such allegations, their allegations are found to be maliciously fabricated only 1.3% of the time. 

4) Medical evidence is very rare in cases involving child sexual abuse. Even in legally confirmed cases of vaginal penetration, the rate of abnormal medical findings is only 5.5%. The rate of abnormal medical findings in legally confirmed cases of anal penetration is only 1%.Genital tissue is very elastic and heals rapidly. Unless the child is examined by a medico-legal sexual assault specialist within 48 hours of the rape, any genital tears are likely to have healed and DNA or semen will have disappeared. 

5) The single most important indicator of child sexual abuse is disclosure by the child to a trusted adult. Because family courts use a civil standard of proof (a preponderance of the evidence, or just over a 50% likelihood) rather than the higher criminal standard of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt), substantially less evidence is required in family court to meet the burden of proving that a child needs protection from sexual abuse. NOTE- This is why the family court judge was able to deny Mr. Allen visitation with Dylan despite the fact that he was never criminally charged. 

6) Children who disclose sexual abuse by a parent in the context of a custody dispute are frequently not protected from further abuse. Research shows that: 

  • · Only 10% of children alleging incest are adequately protected from their identified perpetrators by family courts through long-term supervised visitation orders or no-contact orders. 
  • · The remaining 90% of children disclosing abuse receive no protection, with 70% continuing in shared custody and visitation arrangements without any supervision, and 20% being placed in the custody of the parent they accused of the sexual abuse, and losing unsupervised or all contact with the parent who sought to protect them. 

*For the specific research citations on all of the facts shared above, go here: http://bit.ly/1cVvM94 or visit Child Abuse Solutions. 

Given this last fact, what is remarkable about Dylan Farrow’s experience is that the family court in her case actually protected her from ongoing contact with her alleged abuser.  She was part of the only 10% of child sex abuse victims who are protected from their abusers during and after a divorce and/or custody fight.  In her case, the Judge apparently found her claim of abuse “more probable than not” despite the Yale psychologists’ reports submitted by Woody Allen’s attorneys.  Much is made by Woody Allen’s camp that a group of Yale psychologists found that the abuse did not happen and was either Dylan’s fantasy or that the abuse was “implanted” by Mia Farrow.  These Yale psychologists, however, were notably psychologists that Woody Allen treated with, and paid.  Additionally, they never interviewed the corroborating witnesses and they destroyed their notes, which in these cases are never done.  It is not surprising that the judge noted that he had reservations about the reliability of the Yale report. 

More importantly, the State’s team of psychologists – note they were not hired by Woody Allen or Mia Farrow — did find Dylan’s claims credible.  While it is true that Woody Allen was not charged criminally, the prosecutor explained that while he had probable cause to charge Woody Allen, he was not doing so because of his and Mia Farrow’s concern for the fragility of Dylan and what going through a criminal action would mean to her.  So, yes, Woody Allen has never been found guilty under the criminal code for child sexual abuse.  But the judge in the family court action effectively made the determination that it was more probable than not that the abuse occurred and Woody Allen received no visitation.  This finding was upheld by an appellate court that affirmed the judge’s order on this point. 

The system fails many other children which is why The Center for Judicial Excellence and other child-focused organizations are urging people concerned about the dangers of family courts for child sex abuse victims to sign their Change.org petition demanding Congressional Oversight Hearings on the Failure of Family & Divorce Courts. Their Kids of Divorce Speak Out campaign also shares videos of young survivors like Dylan who are speaking out about the crisis in the nation’s family courts that are stealing their childhoods and harming so many child abuse survivors. 

We should all work to ensure that survivors like Dylan Farrow are supported when they speak out about their abuse. We should investigate the facts, all of them, before forming conclusions. 

I would encourage people to not think of Woody Allen as a famous artist, but as a man.  No more or less special than anyone else. Whether art can be separated from the individual is a personal consideration and a decision everyone is entitled to make on their own.  However, if you love Woody Allen movies, do not use your appreciation of Woody Allen’s art as a basis to challenge Dylan Farrow’s credibility.  Although for some the issue of whether the art can be separated from the man is open to debate, for me it cannot.  I can, however, state with absolute impunity that Dylan Farrow’s story and her credibility is completely unrelated to how good a filmmaker Woody Allen is. 

I would also urge everyone to be wary of claims of bitter or vindictive mothers.  Any mother’s attorney will put the fear of God in a mother before abuse is ever mentioned to a Court because of the high risk that the Court will end up removing the children from her and giving them to the abuser. You speak and risk removal, or you remain scared and silent. As unthinkable as this is, it happens with great regularity. Visit The Center For Judicial Excellence webpage and you will see just how often. 

I have great appreciation for Dylan. Her courage to speak out in such a public way has instigated a long needed dialogue about these “private family matters” that are leaving our children unprotected and silenced by a system that must instead give them a voice and actually listen to them. 

Thank you for listening, 

Nancy Lee Grahn