Letter to the Editor: Repeal the Social Security Offset

September 28, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Right now, all civil service retirees across the U.S. are having their Social Security cut by two-thirds.

Social Security keeps two-thirds of their Social Security earning and only gives the retiree one-third. This is affecting teachers, firemen, police officers, mail carriers, and anyone working in civil service, city, county, federal and state jobs.

Example: If the civil service retiree is entitled to $1,500 a month in Social Security benefits, they will ONLY receive one-third of it, or a total of $500 per month.

As of 1983, civil service retiree can no longer “double-dip” (new term) which means they can not receive two pensions, one from their employer and one from Social Security. They can only receive ONE full pension and one-third of what they put into Social Security before working as a civil service employee.

This is unconstitutional and Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking to amend Title II of the Social Security Act to repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision that was passed by Congress in 1983 with 197 members of the House and Senate voting for it to pass.

I hope that by writing to our Congressmembers and Senators, we can get them to have a change of heart and to repeal this unfair law, because it did more damage than good to our hard-working men and women who retired under the civil service system.

The evidence is clear: the homeless situation can be alleviated if people’s FULL SOCIAL SECURITY IS RESTORED.

Seniors’ standard of living is at an all time low. Hopefully, Americans can support Senator Elizabeth Warren’s efforts, S.1651, the Social Security Fairness Act, and urge Congress to REPEAL the Government Pension Offset.

 

 

For more information, visit www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1651/all-info

Aspiring Writers Hone Skills With ‘Conchas y Cafe’

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Pens in hand and notepads at the ready, the budding group of writers at the East Los Angeles Library listened intently as their instructor gave them tips on how to breathe life into their stories not yet written.

The ten adults are taking part in “Conchas y Cafe,” a 10-week adult writer’s workshop where they jot down their thoughts, experiences and observations, then work on ways to improve what they’ve written.

For some, the Tuesday night class comes after a long day at work, school or in the kitchen. Others are retired or homebound caretakers who find the class a welcome night.

Lea este artículo en Español: Aspirantes a Escritores Refuerzan Sus Habilidades con ‘Conchas y Café’

Luis Antonio Pichardo, one of the course instructors, says many of the participants stepped away from writing for a time but are pursuing it again now that they are older.

He said the workshop’s name, “Conchas y Cafe” – Spanish for coffee and the name of a Mexican pastry – is meant to reflect the casual, but intimate setting they give the writers.

“The goal is to promote literacy in the community,” he said, adding that most “people end up writing about their community, personal experiences and family.”

Sixty-eight-year-old Susy Chavez lives in Montebello. She’s retired and enjoys spending her days with her children and grandchildren, but on Tuesday nights, it’s all about being a writer.

“It’s been my heart’s desire to complete a children’s book,” she told EGP. She said it’s a dream she put off for years but has revived with help from the writing group.

“I was working in isolation, without getting any feedback,” she explained. “I realized I needed character development and the words to really hold an audience.”

For the last six weeks Chavez and her fellow aspiring writers have been working on a variety of writing prompts and assignments aimed at building their creative writing skills. There are four weeks to go in the workshop, which will culminate with the group producing a 20-page collaborative book.

“I just wanted to write and I’ll write wherever they will let me!” says office worker Sarah Alvarado. “I don’t get to be creative at work but this workshop has created a second life for me,” she said about her workshop experience. She said it’s changed her outlook about her part-time hobby, and no longer calls herself a “wannabe-writer.”

“People get sheepish about calling themselves writers,” she explained. “We think there’s an ego in that, but this group has helped me grow out of it,”

Alvarado is not yet comfortable telling people about the blog where she writes about things like her visit to the Natural History Museum or the time she went ghost hunting, or the “hair guru” who changed her view on life.

“I don’t care if anybody reads my stuff,” she said. “I’ve learned I just need to write.”

“Eastside Johnny” told EGP he joined the group after his wife passed away. He said his wife had encouraged him to get on with projects he had put off for years. After she died, “I realized if I don’t do it now it might not happen.”

But by mid-December, Eastside Johnny and the group’s other members will all be published authors. Each will have at least one story in “Conchas y Cafe,” the first in a series of books produced by writers in the workshop with the same name. Stories will be typed on a vintage Smith Corona typewriter and the book sold at the library’s bookstore.

Co-instructor Jennifer Fuentes, pictured right, goes over an assignment with a writer at the East Los Angeles Library. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Co-instructor Jennifer Fuentes, pictured right, goes over an assignment with a writer at the East Los Angeles Library. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Yet, exciting as it may be to be a published author, it’s not why Maria Ticas, 53, signed up for the workshop. She told EGP writing is a tool to help her better communicate with her autistic son.

“He doesn’t talk too much but he likes reading my stories,” she said proudly. “I use what I write to teach him,” she said.

Ticas says she leaves her stories on her young son’s pillow to read. Sometimes the stories are about her life growing up in El Salvador where she was a teacher for 10 years, or they could be about something she’s having trouble explaining to her son.

She told EGP that she couldn’t stop her son from continuously hitting his head, so she wrote about a monster who lost his head after doing the same thing. “My son read the story and said he would stop because he didn’t want to end up like him,” Ticas said in Spanish. She says she appreciates having a course close to home where she can learn about story telling and the proper way to write.

East L.A. resident Fabiola Manriquez, 51, works part-time and says she wanted something affordable. A free, 10-week course was definitely within her budget.

“I wanted to become a better writer, but if I had to pay for this workshop I probably wouldn’t be able to afford it,” she said.

By day, she oversees the kitchen at a day car facility, but on Tuesday nights she cranks out story after story about her past. She described herself as very private when she first started the workshop, but says she is now open to writing about her life.

“I’ve come to terms with a lot of things, because when you write you do a lot of self reflection.”

Each week the group is given writing prompts, or topics to write about. One of the exercises involved writing something about freedom, justice, liberty, education or morality to share with the class. Manriquez decided to use a technique she’d picked up in the class: saying more with fewer words.

“Without education one cannot defend freedom, justice or morality,” she read aloud during last week’s class.

The fear of not being good enough is what keeps most people from writing, Manriquez told EGP. It’s a fear she knows first hand, but says she’s overcoming with help from Conchas y Cafe.

The next workshop cycle begins Dec. 15. For more information, call  the library for details at (323) 264-0155.

 —-
Twitter @nancyreporting
nmartinez@egpnews.com

EGP Is Moving – But Not Going Away

August 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve loved our 10 years in Highland Park, which in many ways has become home to us.

But Highland Park is changing and the challenges to find a new affordable location were too many to overcome without sacrificing what we try to do on our news side.

The good news is our new location is just a few minutes away and more centrally located for all readers of our community newspapers.

We are very excited about being in the heart of Lincoln Heights and welcoming the area into the family of communities we serve.

EGP remains committed to continuing to cover the news of East and Northeast Los Angeles and the cities of Bell Gardens, Commerce, Montebello and Vernon.

We may be physically moving out of Highland Park this week, but rest assured, you’ll continue to see our reporters and management in the area.

Our new location address will be;
161 S. Avenue 24, Los Angeles, 90031
(cross street North Broadway) and you can still reach us at (323) 341-7970 or at our new number (323) 221-1099.

Continue to look for us on your front lawn or at local newsstands every Thursday.

EGPNews Receives Commerce Commendation

April 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Commerce City Council presented Eastern Group Publications, publisher of the Commerce Comet and this newspaper, a commendation for “more than 35 years of service to the residents and stakeholders of Commerce and the East Los Angeles area.”

The council, on the recommendation of Councilman Ivan Altamirano, presented the commendation to EGP during its April 7 council meeting.

Back row, left to right: (Commerce City Council) Ivan Altamirano, Tina Baca, Lilia Leon, Hugo Argumedo, Oralia Rebollo. Front row, left to right: (EGP News) Bianca Preciado, Gloria Alvarez, Dolores Sanchez, Jonathan Sanchez, Jacqueline Garcia.

Back row, left to right: (Commerce City Council) Ivan Altamirano, Tina Baca, Lilia Leon, Hugo Argumedo, Oralia Rebollo. Front row, left to right: (EGP News) Bianca Preciado, Gloria Alvarez, Dolores Sanchez, Jonathan Sanchez, Jacqueline Garcia.

“EGP’s efforts have cultivated public enlightenment by providing fair and accurate reporting of news and events throughout the region,” states the commendation.

Publisher Dolores Sanchez thanked Altamirano and the council for the recognition, and said the newspaper remains committed to covering local news and issues and positive stories, not just political exposés.

Sanchez said the Comet and city officials might not always agree on issues, but they are both committed to Commerce residents.

“Commerce feels like home,” Sanchez concluded.

Copyright © 2017 Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews, Inc. ·