Op-Ed

By Senator Thomas J. Umberg, and City of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia

November 24, 2020

We hear and see it daily: California’s homelessness crisis has reached astounding levels and numbers.  It is the product of numerous factors: a lack of housing, the state’s high cost of living, mental illness, and drug use. Many of those that are struggling with homelessness are medically vulnerable and living on the streets, in their automobiles, or in shelters. There are families and individuals staying in motels across California because they cannot pass a credit check to lease an apartment. As a result, they end up paying more to reside in a small motel. The twin emergencies of the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires in our communities have further exacerbated California’s homelessness crisis. No matter how dire their shelter situation has become, or how they have found a way to get through day-to-day, many are still unfortunately left without a foothold by which to boost themselves up. It takes large, collaborative, societal efforts to combat homelessness.

By Senator Thomas J. Umberg

September 30, 2020

Republican Senator Joe McCarthy became a household name in the US by falsely accusing US government officials of being communists. His false allegations served to increase his fame at the expense of damaging confidence in our military, State Department, and federal government. It was Republicans who had enough of his demagoguery and its consequential harm to the country that stood up to his destructive self-aggrandizement that salvaged these institutions and our democracy. The tide was turned when the Republican General Counsel of the Army, Joseph Welch, responded to McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy Hearings: “At Long Last, Have You No Sense of Decency?”

By Senator Thomas J. Umberg

June 24, 2020

Many years ago, while transiting Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, my son Brett asked: “Who was O’Hare and why was the airport named after him?” I told him he was probably a mayor of Chicago or some other political figure. Not to let his question go unanswered, I looked up this fellow named O’Hare. Turns out Edward “Butch” O’Hare was a Naval Academy graduate who in 1942 single-handedly attacked a formation of nine enemy bombers (shooting down five) as they approached his aircraft carrier. For this act of courage Lt.Cmdr. O’Hare -- the Navy’s first ace – was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Roosevelt. After a year of non-combat assignments in the US, O’Hare requested a return to the Pacific Theater where he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses but was also killed in action in 1943.

By Senator Thomas J. Umberg

November 25, 2019

On Friday, October 25, 2019, an incident occurred during a football game between Segerstrom and Marina High Schools in Orange County, in which two student-generated signs with racial undertones were displayed near the entrance of the stadium, aimed at students and families of Segerstrom High School. Commendably, the Santa Ana Unified School District and the Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) addressed this incident immediately. HBUHSD and Marina High School accepted responsibility, and immediately apologized to the students, families and staff of Segerstrom High School. This was a necessary and prudent action taken by both administrations, and yet, the incident will reverberate for time to come.

By Thomas J. Umberg

September 27, 2019

In July 2018 our firm served a relatively routine request for production of documents in a business litigation matter. After a year of gamesmanship, the motion to compel production was heard on September 2019. We are awaiting the court’s final decision. Assuming the court adopts its tentative decision, we hope to receive the few hundred documents requested in December 2019. Unfortunately, this 17-month interval between request and production is not unique or even among the most egregious examples of discovery gamesmanship — delaying litigation, tying up the courts, and straining the ability of parties to access justice in civil disputes. This abuse of discovery’s intended purpose has resulted in a system that too often favors resources over merit.

By Senator Tom Umberg

September 20, 2019

Independent voters are the fastest growing group of voters in California. Almost 30% of all registered voters have made the conscious decision to disassociate themselves from any political party. Yet, there is reason to believe that this group is even larger.

Authored by Senator Thomas J. Umberg, 34th California District, and Brigadier General Robin Umberg, USA (ret.)

June 4, 2019

President Donald Trump has said that he will travel to Normandy, France to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6. The beaches and battlefields of Normandy have been sanctified by the blood of those who were killed, wounded or captured. This sacred site is where the US led coalition first fought its way into France to defeat the forces of Adolf Hitler. The coalition force of Americans (including undocumented immigrants), Brits, French, Canadians, etc. was comprised of all races, religions, and sexual orientations – some who had been previously wounded and returned to the fight despite their injuries.  Irrespective of their backgrounds, each U.S. soldier had sworn an oath “to support and defend the U.S. Constitution,” and each was determined to defeat this enemy who had sworn an oath to an unstable tyrant – the “Fuhrer.”

By Senator Thomas J. Umberg, 34th California District

May 27, 2019

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Trump administration had requested paperwork to pardon a series of accused or convicted war criminals, possibly during Memorial Day weekend. The reported accused, or convicted war criminals were involved in shooting unarmed civilians or killing prisoners. President Trump already has brought presidential pardon powers into the realms of scandal by using it to the benefit of political supporters and allies. This very notion of pardoning war criminals is so egregious that it dishonors the brave men and women to which we memorialized this holiday weekend.

April 5, 2019

Dear Editor,

After reading your recent editorial, Re: "Should Sacramento toughen the rules on who may run for President?” I wanted to note that my bill, SB 505, was misrepresented. The assertion that the prescribed requirements would prevent Peace and Freedom Party candidates from appearing on a presidential primary ballot is wrong.

By Senator Thomas J. Umberg, Chair

March 4, 2019

Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments

As the Chair of the California Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, I am both disheartened and angry at President Trump’s ongoing lies about the nonexistent, massive voter fraud he claims to have occurred in California.  I am equally frustrated to hear pundits and partisans depicting efforts to eliminate barriers to civic participation as somehow rigging the system to favor one political party over another.