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Biden visit overshadowed by Saugus school shooting

LOS ANGELES — Former Vice President Joe Biden visited Los Angeles Trade-Technical College Nov. 14 ahead of a pair of Southland fundraisers for his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but his speech was overshadowed by a school shooting in Saugus that left two students dead.

Biden opened his speech by addressing the deadly shooting and vowing to take on the gun lobby if elected president.

The failure of federal leaders to address gun violence has been “intolerable for a long time,” Biden said.

“And the fact that our Republican friends, led by this president, is so desperately afraid of the [National Rifle Association], afraid of the gun manufacturers, and yields in a way that is quite frankly sickening.”

He added, “I’m so tired of people talking about your prayers. Dammit, we have to protect these kids. We have to do it now.”

Gun ownership rights supporters have questioned whether additional laws would reduce the number of school shootings, citing in the case of the 16-year-old suspected shooter at Saugus High School laws prohibiting minors from possessing a firearm and for anyone to have a firearm on a school campus.

Biden also spoke for 64 minutes at a 6:30 p.m. reception at The Riveter, a female-oriented event space in West Los Angeles, with tickets priced at $100, $250, $500 and $1,000, discussing the shooting, how he wants to change the culture of how women are treated in the United States, citing what he called high rates of violence against girls and women in high school and college.

“Women who die as a consequence of domestic abuse have an exponentially greater chance of dying when the other person in the household owns a weapon,” Biden told the crowd of about 150, going on the criticize President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for the failure to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Biden concluded the event discussing foreign policy and climate change.

Biden gave a 24-minute version of his previous speech to about 125 people at an evening reception at the Pacific Palisades home of Rick Lynch, the owner of the entertainment marketing firm BLT Communications, and music video producer Lanette Phillips. Tickets were priced at $500 and $2,800, the maximum individual contribution during the primary campaign.

Earlier in the day, the Biden campaign released what it dubbed a plan “to invest in middle class competitiveness.”

The 10-year, $1.3 billion plan would: 

• Repair highways, roads and bridges; speed the transition to electric vehicles.

• Increase funding for high-speed rail, including for the California High Speed Rail project

• Double funding for airports through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.

• Invest in freight infrastructure, including inland waterways, freight corridors, freight rail, transfer facilities, and ports.

• Invest in energy infrastructure for a 100% clean energy economy,

• Double federal spending in clean drinking water and water infrastructure, and focus new funding on low-income rural suburban, and urban areas that are struggling to replace pipes and treatment facilities.

• Spend $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure and triple funding to expand broadband access in rural areas.

• Spend $100 billion in improving public school buildings.

• Expand the New Markets Tax Credit, make the program permanent and double Community Development Financial Institutions funding.

• Double funding for the Economic Development Administration to help underserved communities tap existing federal resources.

• Create a new $10 billion Cities Revitalization Fund focused on creative revitalization projects in distressed cities like redeveloping post-industrial waterfronts, energizing main street business districts and building new green public spaces.

• Create a new fund to support the establishment and revitalization of “anchor institutions” — including hospitals, colleges and universities, and government administrative offices — in distressed areas.

• Quadruple funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which provides small manufacturers with the technical expertise needed to compete in a global economy.

• Enact a national strategy to develop a low-carbon manufacturing sector in every state;

• Establish a Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit to aid communities that experienced mass layoffs or the closure of a major government institution.

• Double federal funding to $3 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative to bolster private sector investments to small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color.

• And establish a competitive grant program for new business startups outside of the nation’s biggest cities.

The plan will be financed by revenue by repealing the Trump administration’s tax cuts for corporations and “ensuring corporations pay their fair share”; reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion and outsourcing; closing “other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth, not work”; and ending subsidies for fossil fuels, according to the campaign.

Wave Wire Services