A few current issues to keep an eye on—and to write some postcards about—
On gun violence:
New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have filed suit against the Department of Defense over its legal failure to report service members’ crimes to the FBI and national gun background check database. One example of the consequences of this failure to report was the shootings by Devin Patrick Kelley who killed more than two dozen people in a Texas church in November. Kelley had been convicted of domestic abuse while in the military, which should have made him ineligible to purchase firearms, but the Department of Defense never reported this conviction to the appropriate agencies.
THANK the cities filing this suit and their legal counsels
- Mayor Bill de Blassio, City Hall, New York, NY 10007, (212) NEW-YORK
- Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, City of New York Law Department, 100 Church St., NY, NY 10007, (212) 356-1000
- Mayor Jim Kenney, City Hall, Office 215, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 686-2181
- Sozi Pedro Tulante, City Solicitor, One Parkway Building, 17th Floor, 1515 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102-1595, (215) 683-5001
- Acting Mayor London Breed, Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 244, San Francisco, CA 94102-4689, (415) 554-7630 – voice
- City Attorney Dennis Herrera, City Hall, Room 234, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 554-4700
DEMAND that the Department of Defense begin fulfilling its legal obligation to report service members’ crimes to the FBI and national gun background check database
• Secretary James M. Mattis, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000, pyblic communications 703-571-3343
On cyber (in)security:
Investigators from the Wall Street Journal have found that many comments on a Department of Labor (DOL) web page regarding the “fiduciary rule” (which legally obliges investment counsellors to work in the best interests of their clients) are false. Commenting requires disclosing one’s name, address, phone, and email; anonymous comments are not accepted. The WSJ hired Mercury Analytics to contact posters of public comments—focusing on those not by individuals affiliated by industry or consumer groups. Twenty of 345 individuals contacted said they had not made the comments credited to them, even though the personal information attached was theirs. Almost all of the false comments opposed the fiduciary rule—claiming in one way or another that the commenter did not expect/want investment counsellors to work in their clients’ best interests. Similar problems regarding false comments also arose during the move up to the rescinding of net neutrality rules.
DEMAND that no decisions be made using these comments on the DOL web site until the issue of falsified comments had been resolved
- Secretary R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW , Washington DC 20210, (866) 4-USA-DOL
DEMAND an investigation of falsified comments on government comment pages
- Senator Ron Johnson, Chair, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 328 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-5323
• Senator Claire McKaskill, Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 503 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-6154
On organic meat and eggs:
Pending federal rules regarding the treatment of animals being raised for meat or eggs to be certified organic are being gutted. Under the rules, which were set to go into effect in March, producers and handlers participating in the National Organic Program were required to house poultry in spaces big enough for the birds to move freely, stretch their wings, stand normally and engage in natural behaviors and to provide livestock access to an outdoor space year-round and to house them in indoor pens that are sufficiently large, solidly built and comfortable so that the animals are kept clean, dry and free of lesions. USDA said it’s concerned the rules will stunt innovation and growth of the organic industry.
- Secretary Sonny Purdue, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250, (202) 720-2791
- Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chair, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, 109 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-4774
- Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, 731 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-4822
And one specifically for Californians:
The California State Water Board has confirmed allegations that Nestlé Waters North is taking water from the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California to which it has no legal claim. The Water Board has directed Nestlé to limit its water take to an annual 8.5 million gallons. Nestlé takes, on average, 62.6 million gallons a year to supply its Arrowhead brand water bottles. Nestlé must immediately cease any unauthorized diversions. This includes a series of well complexes in the San Bernardino National Forest from which Nestlé draws the majority of its water.
- California State Water Resources Control Board, PO Box 100, Sacramento, CA 95812-0100, Office of Public Affairs (916) 341-7365
• Nestlé Waters North America, 900 Long Ridge Road, Building 2, Stamford, CT 06902-1138, 888-747-7437