L.A. Home to First U.S. Central American Plaza

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

First District Councilman Ed P. Reyes and Central American dignitaries and community leaders on Saturday, April 20, inaugurated the nation’s Central American plaza—“Plaza Centroamericana Francisco Morazán”.

According to Reyes, the naming of the plaza recognizes the more than 575,000 Central Americans living in greater metropolitan Los Angeles, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau is home to the largest population of Central American immigrants outside of Central America.

The plaza is a pocket park, on 8th Street in the Westlake district, features the bust of Francisco Morazán, the first Central American president, who fought to unify Central America during turbulent times after its independence from Spain, according to Reyes’ office.

Lincoln Heights-Area Fire Quickly Knocked Down

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Three small grass fires broke out Tuesday in rapid succession near the Pasadena (110) Freeway in Lincoln Heights, but the blazes were quickly doused and no one was injured.

The fires were reported about 1:05 p.m. near Avenue 26, and were doused within a half-hour, according to Cecil Manresa of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

AltaMed Receives Grant to Support Health Treatments

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles-based nonprofit AltaMed Health Services Corp. has received a $50,000 grant to support diabetes and hypertension treatment, the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust announced Wednesday.

The grant was one of three the trust awarded to community health centers in California, totaling $140,000.

The foundation made the awards in conjunction with the National Association of Community Health Centers.

The foundation said that through its partnership with NACHC, it is “providing much-needed funding to support affordable community-based health care models that are producing innovative programming in the area of chronic disease management.”

AltaMed Health offers 43 sites and contracted physicians in Los Angeles and Orange counties, staffed with bilingual and multicultural employees.

Man Shot to Death In El Sereno

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A man was shot and killed Monday while driving a pickup truck in the El Sereno area of Los Angeles, police said.

Shortly after the man was wounded, the truck crashed at Huntington Drive and Monterey Road around 7:10 a.m., said Los Angeles police Officer Sara Faden.

Authorities withheld the name of the dead man, who was in his 30s, pending family notification. No arrests were reported.

Senators’ Panic on Immigration Over Boston Bombings Makes No Sense

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It didn’t take long for some members of Congress to jump to the wrong conclusion following the horrific Boston Marathon bombing and to start claiming that Americans would be in danger from more attacks of this type if a new and comprehensive immigration law under consideration is allowed to pass.

Two brothers, Chechen refugees from Russia, were responsible for the bombings and terrible carnage in Boston, and were rather quickly identified after a robbery and carjacking. Much was quickly learned about the brothers because their presence in the US was well documented. While they may have felt isolated and little in common with Americans, they were not living in the shadows as most undocumented immigrants in this country do today.

We think these facts should lead to the realization that every person in the U.S. must be documented not only because it makes a country less secure to have an underground population, undocumented, unlicensed, untaxed and unidentified, but because it also divides the country’s people.

You have to wonder if some of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who panicked after the Boston attack have had their heads constricted by Washington’s beltway.

It’s time to stop the nonsensical rhetoric, and get on with the reforms needed in our immigration system.

The Strawberries of Wrath

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The haciendas of Spanish America were based on enormous land grants from the Spanish crown and became the sites of large plantation farms worked on a neo-feudal basis by servile or near-servile labor. Such farms, typically, were situated near large concentrations of native labor, and that labor was controlled primarily through debt-peonage.

The haciendas of California were established on the preexisting pattern of Mexico, and located in places where large Indian populations were available to work the farms.

When California was annexed by the United States, the most influential Anglo settlers took over many of these haciendas and transformed them into modern agribusiness operations. The big California agribusiness plantations, built on the legacy of the haciendas, continued to rely on large amounts of cheap farm labor from segments of the population whose bargaining power was, for one reason or another, effectively nil. During the Depression and Dustbowl era, they relied on migrant farm workers from Oklahoma and other places who’d been tractored off their land by bank foreclosures.

In the 1940s, the U.S. government created the Bracero program to supply foreign guest workers from Mexico. Whether or not the irony was lost on them, I can’t say.

When workers got too uppity and attempted to fight for better pay and working conditions, the agribusiness plantation bosses had the U.S. government to enforce discipline on foreign workers by deporting them. When native-born migrant workers became unruly and tried to organize, the farm owners resorted to vigilantism — as recounted by John Steinbeck — using the same kinds of terror tactics as the blackshirts hired by Italian factory owners in the 20th century and the Central American death squads still operating today.

The armed assault on Bangladeshi strawberry pickers at New Manolada Farms in Greece fits into this background narrative like a foot into a well-worn shoe. The farm employs several thousand foreign migrant workers, many of them not government-documented. Around 200 migrant workers demanded six months’ back wages from the farm’s owners. The supervisors told them they would not be paid, and ordered them back to work. When a group of workers refused to comply, a supervisor opened fire, wounding 28 of them. New Manolada has been associated with high levels of anti-worker violence in recent years, including one case in which an Egyptian man was beaten and then dragged for a kilometer with his head jammed in a car window.

Although the local mayor dismisses this latest atrocity as an isolated incident, labor activist Natassa Panagiotara said such slave-labor conditions are common among the big strawberry farms employing foreign laborers in the area. The shooting took place against the background of economic collapse in Greece and the increasing prominence of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, which is associated with quasi-private paramilitary vigilantism against workers and immigrants.

In contemporary America, native-born wage-workers are intimately familiar with how it feels to have their livelihoods and subsistence subject to the whims of an employer. But at least they’re able to organize and expose their employer to public humiliation, as Imolakee migrant tomato pickers have in recent years and as Walmart workers did late last year. And if they get fired, at least they don’t have to worry about being deported for it.

But for undocumented immigrants, and even legal “guest workers,” this dependency is turned up several notches. As with Greece’s foreign farm workers, the genuinely slave-like conditions that exist for many American garment workers, sex workers, etc., are enforced by immigration law.

The enforcement of imaginary lines on a map results in an “illegal” status for many human beings which, despite being utterly imaginary in its moral basis, is all too real in its effects. Closed borders are a powerful tool for labor discipline by employers. They magically transform some workers into “illegal” beings dependent on a patron for their continued survival. And, much like racial divisions that weakened the labor movement (land owners in the south destroyed the tenant farmers’ union by exploiting such divisions), they facilitate a divide-and-rule strategy that pits native-born and immigrant workers against each other and makes them see each other rather than the employer as their enemy.

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory.

Making Poverty a Crime

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ebenezer Scrooge, the Dickens character, perfectly personified the nasty rich. For example, when asked to make a charitable donation for people trapped in poverty, Scrooge curled his lip in contempt and snarled: “Are there no prisons?”

Blessedly, our American society has progressed well past such heartless disdain. Unless, of course, you happen to be poor in Ohio. Or Georgia. Or in the nationwide utopia envisioned by Newt Gingrich.

Ohio’s Civil Liberties Union recently issued a report documenting the Scroogian return of debtors’ prisons after finding that municipal courts in that state are jailing poor people unable to pay court fines. Last summer, a suburban Cleveland court threw 45 people in jail because they couldn’t come up with the money for fines they were assessed, and the Sandusky Municipal Court imprisoned 75 down-and-outers for the same “crime.”

Besides the fact that jailing indigents for debts cost the courts way more than the fines they owe, it also violates the U.S. and Ohio constitutions.

But what the hey — on to Georgia, which has enhanced the debtor prison experience by privatizing it.

Say you roll through a stop sign. Uniquely, the Peach Tree State counts that as a criminal offense.

Now, say you can’t pony up the full fine. Suddenly, you’re in the clutches of a for-profit, private probation corporation. It charges probationers a $15 “start-up” fee, a $25 photo fee, and a myriad of other fees — on top of the fine they owe. Fail to pay, go to jail.

Where did this rip-off system come from? A private probation outfit bribed the head of Georgia’s Board of Pardons to get it passed.

And don’t forget Newt! During his failed campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, the former House Speaker said America needs to bring back workhouses for welfare children. Neat, huh? Let’s criminalize poverty. That’ll teach ‘em.

OtherWords.org columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

Small Business Opposes Multinational Corporations’ Tax Avoidance

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In our highly partisan environment there seems to be very few issues that Republicans, Independents and Democrats agree on. This partisanship is easily seen in Congress but is also alive with voters across the country. Small business owners are often no different than their customers in demonstrating divergent opinions on issues depending on their political preferences.

So when we find an issue on which small business owners agree, regardless of partisan leanings, we should take notice. And when that agreement centers on one of them most contentious matters that Congress will soon be addressing, our elected officials in Washington need to pay close attention. Such is the case involving federal tax fairness between small business and large, multinational corporations.

Small business owners are keenly aware that multinational corporations are legally escaping paying much, and often all, of the highly publicized 35% U.S. corporate income tax rate. In a poll released early last year by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and others 80 percent of the small business owners surveyed said that U.S. multinational corporations using accounting loopholes to shift their U.S. profits to offshore tax havens is a problem. Seventy-five percent said that big corporations using tax loopholes harms their own small business.

Accounts of giant businesses like Boeing, General Electric, Pfizer, Microsoft and Honeywell International using offshore tax loopholes to dramatically lower their taxes – often to zero — are all too common. U.S. Public Interest Research Group just released report showing that each of America’s small businesses on average picks up the tab for $3,067 to cover the costs of tax avoidance by U.S multinational corporations playing the offshore profit-shifting game.

It is clear to small business owners that the ability of these large corporations to minimize their tax liability through offshore tax loopholes is contributing to our nation’s budget problems and is harmful to the small business community. This awareness of multinationals shirking their tax responsibility has resulted in a bipartisan small-business owner consensus on the need of large, multinational corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.

Last month ASBC and the Main Street Alliance (MSA) commissioned a scientific telephone survey of over 500 small businesses across the country. As national business organizations representing small and medium size companies, both ASBC and MSA have advocated for equitable taxation on big business profits to invest in the country’s infrastructure and address the national debt.

Here are some of the overwhelmingly bipartisan consensus results of that ASBC/MSA small-business owner poll just released.

—More than three quarters of small business owners support closing overseas tax loopholes with a unitary combined reporting system:

75% or more of Republican, independent and Democratic small business owners support this approach, which is successfully used by states to stop corporations from shifting the location of profits to avoid taxes.

—More than four out of five small business owners oppose a proposal to institute a territorial tax system (a system that would eliminate U.S. taxes on profits made or shifted offshore):

85% of small business owners oppose a proposal for a territorial tax system. Across party lines, at least 67% strongly oppose the proposal.

—Small business owners support ending deferral of taxes on foreign profits and requiring US corporations to pay income taxes on income earned overseas:

—When asked if foreign earnings of US corporations should be taxed after given credit for foreign taxes paid, 64% of small business owners expressed support. Within each party affiliation, at least 62%, expressed support.

These results should send a clear signal to Congress and the President from the country’s small business owners. The priority for reforming our nation’s tax code is to stop multinational corporations from using offshore tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And these elected leaders are also put on notice to not support any proposal for a territorial tax system for multinational corporations that would lock in what small business owners of all political persuasions view as completely wrong and unfair.

Frank Knapp is vice-chair of the American Sustainable Business Council and president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. American Forum 3/13.This article previously appeared in The Hill.

Local Communities Celebrate ‘Dia de Los Niños’/Children’s Day

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Bell Gardens’ Librarian reads to children at an Bell Gardens event earlier this year. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Saturday, April 27

1:30pm—City Terrace Library Día de los Niños Celebration. Festivities begin in the parking lot with outdoor art activities, book giveaways and performances by the Belvedere Middle School Drumline and Belvedere Middle School Rock Bands. Later enjoy Katia & Rafael the Mariachi Magicians, and the City Terrace Friends of the Library book sale. Library is located at 4025 E. City Terrace Dr. LA 90063. For more information, call (323) 261-0295.

2pm—Bell Gardens Library Día de los Niños, Diá de los Libros family storytime in English and Spanish, Play Lotería and participate in art activities. Free admission. Library is located 7110 S. Garfield Ave. Bell Gardens, 90201. For more information, call (562) 927-1309.

Noon -5pm—Día de los Niños at Casa Cultural Saybrook, featuring environmental & art exhibits, foklorico dancers, games, music, arts & crafts, and community resource information services. Casa Cultural Saybrook is located at 6250 Northside Dr. LA 90022. For more information, visit casaculturalsaybrook.com, call (323) 724-8546 or email casacultural@hotmail.com

Sunday, April 28

Noon-3pm—Día de los Niños Celebration at LA Plaza de Cultura y Arte in downtown LA, across from the Historic Olvera Street Marketplace. Enjoy featured storyteller Jose-Luis Orozco, bilingual children’s author, educator, and recording artist. Participate in hands-on garden, culinary, and art workshops! Free & open to the public. Take Metro to Union Station & walk one block to LA Plaza, located at 501 N. Main St. LA 90012. For more information, call (888) 488-8083 or go to http://lapca.org.

Monday, April 29

6pm—Commerce Library Día de los Niños/Children’s Day – Stories and songs with Storyteller Georgette Baker. Free admission. Bilingual program for the whole family. Share the joy of reading & imagination. Library is located at 5655 Jillson St. Commerce 90040. For more information, call (323) 722-6660 or go to www.cityofcommercepubliclibrary.org.
Tuesday, April 30

2-5pm— Día de Los Niños, Día de los Libros at Cypress Park Library in Northeast LA. . Celebrate Children’s Day! Book Day! with crafts, songs, stories, and face painting! Free admission, Library is located at 1150 Cypress Ave. LA 90065. For more information, call (323) 224-0039.

4:30pm—Montebello Library Día de los Niños Open House. The event includes stories, art activities, and a book giveaway for children of all ages. Library is located at 1550 W. Beverly Blvd. Montebello 90640. For more information, call (323) 722-6555.

5-6pm—East Los Angeles Library Día de Los Niños magic show, watch Mariachi Magician performs amazing magic tricks. Ree admission. Library is located 4837 E. Third St., LA 90022. For more information, call (323) 264-0155.

5:30pm—Día de Los Niños/Day of the Child Celebration with Payasos (Clowns) at Lou Costello Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. Play games with members of the Clowns Union & Clowns of North Hollywood. Sponsored by County of LA & American Red Cross. Free admission. Park is located at 3141 E. Olympic Blvd., LA 90023. For more info, call (323) 944-5331.


Community Calendar: April 25, 2013- May 1, 2013

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Thur. April 25

5-11pm –“Who Remembers in East LA?” – The Year Book Exhibit, first edition. Art exhibit featuring Robert Vargas, Ofelia Esparza, Mario Lopez, Johnny Vatos, Fabian Debera; car show & more. Event is free, but donations requested & silent auction to benefit the Boys & Girls Club. Location: Cities Restaurant, 4512 East Cesar E Chavez Ave, LA 90022. For more information, visit “Who Remembers in ELA” on Facebook.

5pm—Thursday Night at the Movies at Robert Luis Stevenson Library. Come watch a movie at the library! Its free and fun for the entire family. Library is located at 803 Spence St. For more information, call (323) 268-4710.

7-8:30pm—Highland Park ‘Make Love, Not Gentrification’ Photography exhibit & discussion at Ave 50 Studio: 131 N. Avenue 50 LA 90042. Photographer and educator John Tapia Urquiza uses photos & and anecdotes to give a street level view of Highland Park. Free admission. For more information, call (323) 258-1435

Friday, April 26

1pm—High School Choir Festival at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Free Admission. Features 1,000 Students from 25 Southland High School Choirs & Special Performance by 80-Voice Festival Honor Choir & LA Master Chorale’s Professional Chamber Singers. Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 S. Grand Ave  LA 90012. For more information, call (213) 972-7282 or visit www.lamc.org/HSCF .

5-9pm—Happy Hour With a Cause Las Fotos Project Benefit at Eastside Luv Wine Bar y Queso, located at 1835 E 1st Street. A $5 donation at the door & a percentage of bar sales go to toward Las Fotos Project, a community-based nonprofit photography program for young Latinas facing adversity. For more information, visit LasFotosProject.org.

Friday, April 26

7pm—Rotary Club of East L.A.’s 9th Annual Casino Night Fundraiser. Fundraiser supports local & international projects, such as scholarships for local youth. Hosted by Pan American Bank at Tamayo Restaurant: 5300 E. Olympic Blvd. LA 90022. Advance ticket $35 ($40 at the door): includes $50 of gaming chips, light buffet, entertainment & prizes. Buy tickets online at http://2013casinonight.eventbrite.com/ or for more information contact Carlos Torres (323) 264-3310 or email ctorres7520@gmail.com

Saturday, April 27

9am-3pm—Two Separate Free Countywide Household Hazardous and E-Waste Roundups: South Gate & Florence-Firestone. Los Angeles County residents can safely discard of household hazardous waste such as antifreeze, unused pharmaceuticals, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, home-generated sharps waste such as hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and intravenous needles, universal waste including household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and electronic waste (e-waste) such as TVs and monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones. Location #1: South Gate Park,-Tweedy Blvd. at Hildreth Ave. Location #2: Roosevelt Park Senior Center -7600 Graham Ave. LA. For more information, call County of LA Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to www.888CleanLA.com, contact LA County Sanitation Districts at 1 (800) 238-0172 or www.lacsd.org.

10-11am —Two Los Angeles Council District 1 Focused Debates & Forums (Eng &Span) hosted by The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council in partnership with the Highland Park Heritage Trust, Montecito Heights Improvement Association and the MT. Washington Association. Debate will take place from in English and in Spanish from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Location: Highland Park Recreation Center – 6150 Piedmont Ave., LA 90042. For more https://www.facebook.com/events/362397493869680/

10am-2pm— 2013 Healthy Kids Day on Apr. 27 from at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA: 2900 Whittier Blvd, LA 90023. Take the whole family for free swim, games, food, health screenings, crafts, giveaways and more. Call the YMCA at (323) 260-7005 for more information.

5-10pm—Building Chicano Studies – Photo Exhibit of MECHA 1968-1975 at Cal State University, Northridge. Hosted by Jorge Garcia & Oscar Castillo. Screening of documentary “UNREST” Free event, free food. Location: First Floor Jerome Richfield Hall, CSUN, Northridge. CA.

2-4pm—Gang Intervention Street Rally presented by End-Time Evangelistic Outreach Ministry, Inc. Campaign aims to reduce crime and violence by gang members and drug addicts.  Hear live music & stories of hope from ex-gang members, drug addicts. For more information, call (323) 438-0724 or visit www.bekingdomready.org

Tuesday, April 30

2pm—Movie Day at the Arroyo Seco Library in Highland Park. Free movie screening of a new release or fan favorite.  Pillows, blankets and popcorn welcome! Library is located at 6145 N. Figueroa St. LA 90042. For more information, call (323) 255-0537.

6-7:30pm—Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project Public Meeting at the PUENTE Learning Center. Get information on intersection improvements. Limited parking available, public transportation encouraged. Center is located at 501 S. Boyle, LA 90033. For more information visit 6stbrp.nationbuilder.com

Upcoming

City of Commerce Kids are Cute Baby Show, May 4 at Rosewood Park from 9am-Noon. Open to children 3 and under. Pre-registration was required; contact City Hall to see if space still available: www.ci.commerce.ca.us

Organization Telas de la Vida Presents “A Quilted Rebozo & Quilt Show” on May 5/Cinco de Mayo at Self Help Graphics & Arts. Telas de la Vida is passionate about quilting & sharing the Latino Culture with the quilting world. Event features Viewers Choice” Rebozo/Quilt Competition; Raffle of a Quilt & Rebozo (shawl); Handcrafted Items Reflecting Latino Culture for sale in La Tiendita & more. Admission is free, but donations welcomed. Self Help Graphics is located at 1300 E. First St., LA 90033. Easy access by Metro Link. For more information contact: Ida Leon Ramos at (626) 806-5512.

Lummis Day Fundraiser May 4 at the Heritage Square Museum. See an excerpt from “The Los Angeles Founding Families,” a unique theater piece dramatizing early California history. Enjoy live music, tasty specialties from neighborhood restaurants, sip wine or soft drinks & silent auction in one of L.A.’s most distinctive settings. Heritage Square is located at 3800 Homer St., adjacent to the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Tickets -$30 in advance, $35 at the door – at Galco’s, Antigua Coffee or Paypal at www.LummisDay.org. Proceeds support the 2013 Lummis Day Festival, set for Sunday June 2. For more info, email lummisday@yahoo.com.

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