June 14, 2023

The names we choose for our schools, our cities, and even our streets are consequential. Those we honor and, in some fashion, immortalize by affixing their names to our institutions should make us proud. When our children ask why their school bears a certain name – we should be able to describe why that person is worthy of such recognition.

June 14, 2023

107,500 people died last year of drug-related deaths – over 21,000 in California alone. Illegal drugs are now the number one cause of death for those between ages 24-45. To put that into perspective, more people died of drug-related deaths last year than the number of service members lost in the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan COMBINED. This is a level of death and destruction that should frighten every parent, teacher, health professional, cop, and lawmaker.

June 14, 2023

The corruption scandal in Anaheim and Irvine -- and its connection to the sale of Anaheim Stadium has largely overshadowed the original reason the sale was stopped – Anaheim’s violation of California’s Surplus Lands Act. The law was intended to prohibit just the type of collusion that occurred between Anaheim’s mayor – acting on behalf of the city – and the Angels organization. Unlike the attempted sale of the stadium, the Surplus Land Act requires a competitive bidding process to ensure taxpayers receive the highest value for their property.

June 14, 2023

Thursday’s piece, “Have We Learned Yet? Harsher Penalties Won’t Save us From Fentanyl” by the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, is deeply misleading.

The Ed Board argues that “It’s fantasy to think that we can interdict or punish our way out of this crisis, or that a criminal sanction will better dissuade someone from ingesting an illegal drug than the prospect of instant death or rotting flesh.”

What’s fantasy is comparing our fentanyl epidemic to the drug overdose crises of yore.

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.