Council Committees Approve Plan for Street Vending Permit System

November 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Two Los Angeles City Council committees approved a comprehensive plan Wednesday for a regulated permit system for street vending, which would end the city’s distinction as the nation’s only major municipality that bans the practice.

The City Council in February voted to stop making street vending punishable with a misdemeanor criminal charge, although it is being penalized through citations as the council works on the permit system for the industry.

The proposal for the permit system was drafted by the Chief Legislative Analyst  (CLA) and was approved without objection at a joint meeting of the Economic Development Committee and the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee.Vendedor Ambulante

“It’s alarming to know that we are the largest city without a vending policy,” Councilman Joe Buscaino said. “If you look, cities around the world have vending policies that work for everyone. This is exactly our end goal, and today the system is a failure, it’s an embarrassment.”

The permitting proposals include provisions such as limiting vendors to two per block in many locations. While some of the provisions are opposed by vendors, there has been wide support in the industry for the effort to decriminalize street vending.

One provision sparking debate would require businesses on a block to sign a letter of approval allowing the vendor to operate, which is something the council had recommended previously. Although the CLA report did not state a preference on the issue, it said if the council wished to adopt it, the panel should consult with the city attorney in closed session as to the provision’s legality.

The committees added an amendment to the report that would direct the city attorney and CLA to consider allowing businesses to opt out of having vending on their block rather than having all businesses sign a letter opting in.

The idea of requiring businesses to opt in or allowing them to opt out has been opposed by some street vending organizations and advocates.

“We strongly support a comprehensive sidewalk vending program, but we are concerned about a proposal that would require vendors to obtain permission of brick-and-mortar businesses, whether consent or dissent,” Doug Smith, an attorney at Public Counsel, told the committee. “This is an unfair burden to the vendor applicant and could lead to increased instances of extortion.”

The CLA report outlines a plan to create a list of additional “non-vending” areas that may include alleys and city-owned property, while creating a process for certain streets to be named “non-vending” areas by City Council action.

The estimated cost for potential enforcement models contained in the report could range between $3.37 million to $5.87 million. To recover those costs through permit fees of $125, between 26,950 and 46,885 certificates would have to be issued.

The report also estimates that the first year of operation for legalized street vending could cost a vendor between $2,932 and $21,861 in overhead due to equipment purchases, fees, permits, insurance and inspection costs, although it recommends a number of ways to reduce the cost to vendors, including exploring the feasibility of contracting with a manufacturer that would produce carts that have already received plan-check approval from the county.

The report also recommends that once the total number of available vending locations has been determined by the council, that the Economic and Workforce Development Department be instructed to develop a lottery system that reserves a percentage of the certificates of operation for disadvantaged individuals.

The report recommends banning vending near schools unless only fruits and vegetables are being sold, and also banning it near popular venues like Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood Bowl.

One of the motivations for the City Council to legalize street vending and create the permit system was concern that leveling misdemeanor criminal charges against vendors could make some undocumented immigrants a target for deportation.

“I think the city of L.A. and this council has come a long way in terms of our view of street vendors. A few years ago, I didn’t think we would be having this conversation,” Councilman Jose Huizar said in February.

“But the environment is correct — whether it’s the environment nationally or here locally — acknowledging the benefits that street vendors bring to us and the acknowledgment that we should bring them out of the shadows to contribute to the economy,” he said.

The “national environment” Huizar alluded to was President Donald Trump’s stated intention to increase deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.

The committees also approved a second motion that would amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code in a section that is still being used by enforcement agencies continue to cite vendors for “peddling” from vehicles or push carts, as the section was not included in the previous two sections that were altered to decriminalize vending.

Decriminalizing Street Vending at L.A. Parks Under Review

October 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Two Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Tuesday that would decriminalize street vending in the city’s parks in an effort to protect undocumented immigrants from receiving criminal charges that could lead to deportation.

Concerned that the misdemeanor charge for street vending at a city park could lead to the deportation of some immigrants without legal status, Councilman Jose Huizar co-authored a motion with Councilman Mitch O'Farrell to decriminalize the offense. Pictured:  Councilman Huizar (center) meets with street vendor organizers. (Office of Councilman Jose Huizar)

Concerned that the misdemeanor charge for street vending at a city park could lead to the deportation of some immigrants without legal status, Councilman Jose Huizar co-authored a motion with Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to decriminalize the offense. Pictured: Councilman Huizar (center) meets with street vendor organizers. (Office of Councilman Jose Huizar)

The City Council decriminalized street vending on sidewalks in February, but the change did not apply to parks operated by the Department of Recreation and Parks, according to the motion introduced by council members Jose Huizar and Mitch O’Farrell.

When Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 with a promise to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants, some members of the City Council expressed concern that street vendors could end up being targeted for deportation after receiving a citation for vending.

“In February, the Los Angeles City Council voted to decriminalize street vending in order to keep our mostly immigrant vendors out of the overreaching aggressive arms of our federal government looking to target otherwise law-abiding immigrants for deportation,” Huizar said. “This motion and another I co-introduced last week help us maintain a consistent stance against the federal government and more importantly, in support of our immigrant community.”

The council’s February vote replaced criminal misdemeanor charges for street vending with citations and removed criminal penalties against a person who fails to pay an administrative citation.

The new motion would direct city staff to explore ways to remove the misdemeanor charge for vending in parks and report with recommendations to replace it with other penalties to compel compliance without the threat of a criminal penalty.

“The fear and uncertainty endured by our nation’s undocumented immigrant population due to actions by the current administration is polarizing. The thought that a `chargeable offence,’ to a vendor who is selling ‘elotes’ or popsicles could be used under the current administration as just cause for deportation has created real fear amongst those most vulnerable,” the motion states.

New Homeless Outreach Team Targets East, Northeast L.A.

September 28, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

(Office of Councilman Jose Huizar)

(Office of Councilman Jose Huizar)

Councilman Jose Huizar last week introduced the new homeless outreach team for Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Northeast LA.

Huizar worked with County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to bring a new intensive outreach team to serve those experiencing homelessness – specifically outside of Downtown LA, the councilman said last week.

The new team includes a mental health worker, substance abuse counselor case manager, medical provider and a peer with lived experience, the same combination of teams that have had success on Skid Row.

“More resources are needed from County partners to address the mental-health crisis in CD14 and beyond,” said Huizar, pointing out that a third of the homeless population struggles with mental health illnesses.

“This is a key step forward, but we need more resources and immediate response teams for those experiencing mental health crises,” Huizar said.

Se Rechaza Plan de Limpieza Exide

September 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

El plan desarrollado por reguladores estatales para limpiar la contaminación masiva cual fue dejada cuando la planta de reciclaje de baterías automotrices en Vernon dejará a demasiada gente en peligro, dijeron activistas ambientales, oficiales elegidos y residentes de municipalidades en cuales se han encontrado niveles peligrosos de plomo y otros contaminantes tóxicos en una rueda de prensa en Commerce este lunes.

El peligro y riesgos para la salud no paran en el portal o en el límite de la propiedad y tampoco deben quedar ahí su limpieza, muchos dijeron sobre el plan del Departamento De Control Sobre Substancias Tóxicas de California (DTSC) para limpiar propiedades contaminada por plomo de la planta cerrada de Exide Technologies.

Casi 200 personas asistieron a la rueda de prensa organizada por la “Coalición Para Comunidades Sin Plomo”, un grupo comunitario que representa a los pueblos de Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Bell, Huntington Park Maywood y Vernon, vecindades y municipalidades dentro de la zona de 1.7-millas que beneficiará de la limpieza. Después de la conferencia para los medios, manifestantes caminaron hasta las oficinas de la agencia estatal DTSC en Commerce, en donde exigieron coreando y con gritos una limpieza mayor y más rápida por parte del DTSC.

El peligro y riesgos para la salud no paran en el portal o en el límite de la propiedad y tampoco deben quedar ahí su limpieza, dijeron el Consejal Jose Huizar y diputado estatal Miguel Santiago. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

El peligro y riesgos para la salud no paran en el portal o en el límite de la propiedad y tampoco deben quedar ahí su limpieza, dijeron el Consejal Jose Huizar y diputado estatal Miguel Santiago. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

 

Compartida en julio, el plan de la agencia recomienda la remoción de tierra contaminada desde las yardas de aproximadamente 2,500 propiedades, siendo los hogares revelados por investigaciones con los niveles más altos de plomo y en lugares donde niños y mujeres embarasadas están corren riesgos mayores.

El plomo es una toxina peligrosa que es conocida como causa de enfermedades nuerológicas, descapacidades cognitivas o cerebrales, aún a bajos niveles de contacto. Aunque oficiales federales y estatales a cargo de la salud pública hayan establecido niveles aceptables de contacto, expertos dicen que no hay ningún nivel de contacto sin peligro.

Residentes y activistas excoriaron el plan como insuficiente y demasiada despacio para enfrentar al peligro para la salud. Este lunes, señalaron al DTSC que se debe agregar a las vias peatonales y a los interiores de viviendas al plan, y ampliar a la área designada para remediación. Vías recreacionales o “peatonales” se explica como la área entre una yarda o propiedad y la calle, que muchos residentes tratan como una extensión de su hogar.

“Esto no lo aguantarían en Porter Ranch o Beverly Hills,” dijo Monsignor John Moretta de la Iglesia Resurrection en Boyle Heights, uno de los organizadores principales de la lucha para rectificar al los daños causados por Exide.

Moretta aludía a la esfuerza rápida y económicamente fuerte que se efectuó en Porter Ranch, donde los residentes exigieron la clausura de una de la instalaciones de Southern California Gas Co. en Aliso Canyon después que se descubrió un escape de gas en octubre del 2015. Tomó menos de tres meses para trasladar a más de 2,000 residentes, cerrar a las escuelas y re-establecer a los alumnos en otros colegios, mientras los residentes que han tenido que vivir por décadas en la sombra tóxica de Exide todavía esperan que sus hogares se barren de la contaminación.

“Tiene todo que ver con la política y el dinero”, dijo Moretta. “Nuestros oficiales gubernamentales tienen que implementar un plan que sea 100 por cien sostenido por el presupuesto”.

Según los monitores de la calidad del aire, alrededor d 110,000 personas fueron expuestos a emisiones carinogénicos de la planta y más de 10,000 propiedades podrán tener algún nivel de contaminación por plomo. Expertos ambientales califican a la contaminación como la más grande en la historia del estado.

“Nuestros oficiales gubernamentales tienen que implementar un plan que sea 100 por cien sostenido por el presupuesto”, dijo Monsignor John Moretta de la Iglesia Resurrection en Boyle Heights. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

“Nuestros oficiales gubernamentales tienen que implementar un plan que sea 100 por cien sostenido por el presupuesto”, dijo Monsignor John Moretta de la Iglesia Resurrection en Boyle Heights. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

El Consejal de Los Angeles Jose Huizar dijo que la comunidad ha “gritado por auxilio” por más de 30 años, mientras la agencia DTSC “permitió” a Exide “contaminar” mientras “nuestros hijos fueron expuestos a contaminación de plomo, en el aire y en la tierra”.

“Y ahora el DTSC está ignorando la necesidad para un plan de limpieza complete que llega a todos los lugares en donde nuestro niños juegan y viven”, Huizar dijo en un correo electrónico a EGP. “El plomo está en todas partes, incluyendo las vías recreacionales, y es razonable que todas las áreas de la zona contaminada se deben limpiar… Esto es, literalmente, una cuestión de vida o muerte”, Huizar dijo. “¿Donde está la urgencia y porque no estamos armando una limpieza entera?” Calificó cualquiera esfuerza de limpieza menos de eso como inaceptable.

EGP intentó contactar al DTSC para una respuesta pero a punto de imprimir todavía no habían respondido, pero previamente, la agencia ha dicho que no tiene suficiente dinero para un limpieza completa – que expertos de salud y el ambiente estiman llegar a los $400 millones o más.

Como parte de su arreglo con autoridades federales para cerrar permanentemente y evitar cargos criminales, Exide accedió pagar $50 millones para la eliminación de sus gasto peligrosos; de eso, $26 millón era para a la limpieza de las vecindades cercanas. Después de mucho clamor de la comunidad, el Gobernador Jerry Brown accedió prestarle $176.6 millones al DTSC para una investigación y prueba igual como trabajo de limpieza en los barrio alrededor de la planta cerrada.

La Supervisora Hilda Solis dijo lunes que la área enmarcada por el plan de limpieza es demasiada pequeña y debe ser ampliada fuera del circulo de 1.7-millas. Ha criticado frecuentemente a los reguladores estatales por no actuar de manera suficientemente agresiva y por ignorar recomendaciones del condado y de los residentes.

Como Moretta, está convencida de que si las comunidades compuestas por Latinos de la clase trabajadora eran, a cambio, de más dinero y anglosajónes, el estado estaría haciendo más.

“Residentes tienen todo el derecho de estar enojados con el paso lento de la limpieza”, diputado estatal Miguel Santiago dijo a EGP. Dijo que había asistido a la manifestación porque tiene una responsabilidad a sus constituyentes seguir presionando a los reguladores estatales, algo que es, para el, una “prioridad principal” desde su elección.

Una encuesta informal de más de 4,000 residentes efectuada unas semanas antes de la revelación por la DTSC de su plan, señalo que muchos de los residentes de la área impactada temen por si mismos y los familiares con quienes viven ser envenenados o padecer de cáncer como resultado haber sido expuesto.

Los coros y gritos el lunes eran muy aparecidos a los que se han escuchado en cientos de manifestaciones, protestas y foros públicos durante los últimos cinco años.

Es una pena la comunidad tiene que recurrir a medidas tan drásticas como las protestas para declamar sus posiciones, dijo Moretta, agregando que los residentes del este y el sureste están recibiendo tratamiento como ciudadanos de segunda clase.

Notó que Sam Atwood, un vocero para el South Coast Air Quality District Management District (Distrito de Manejamiento de la Calidad del Aire Costa Sur) había etiquetado las áreas contaminadas como las peores que había visto en su vida.

“Tenemos hijos y familias en las calles”, dijo Moretta. “Es hora que empieza hacerlo.”

Reportero de EGP Carlos Alvarez contribuyó a este artículo.

State’s Plan For Exide Cleanup Continues to Draw Protests

September 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The plan developed by state regulators to clean up the massive contamination left behind by a now defunct battery recycler in Vernon will leave too many people in danger, environmental justice advocates, elected officials and residents of neighborhoods and cities found to have unsafe levels of lead and other toxic pollutants said at a press conference in Commerce Monday.

The danger and health risks from lead don’t stop at the front door or property line, and neither should its removal, speakers said about the California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) plan to clean properties contaminated with lead from the now closed Exide Technologies plant.

About 200 people attended Monday’s press conference organized by “Lead-Free Communities Coalition,” a community-based advocacy group representing residents of Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Bell, Huntington Park Maywood and Vernon, neighborhoods and cities in the 1.7-mile zone targeted for cleanup. Following the press conference, protesters marched to DTSC’s offices in Commerce where they shouted and chanted for DTSC to do more and to do it faster.

At a press conference in Commerce Monday, Monsignor John Moretta (center), joined by hundreds of community activists and elected officials demanded the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control include parkways and home interiors in its Exide clean up plan. contamination zone. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

At a press conference in Commerce Monday, Monsignor John Moretta (center), joined by hundreds of community activists and elected officials demanded the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control include parkways and home interiors in its Exide clean up plan. contamination zone. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

The agency’s plan released in July calls for removing lead-contaminated soil from the yards of about 2,500 properties, with the priority being homes tested to have the highest levels of lead and where children and pregnant women are at highest risk.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents all the neighborhoods and cities in the impacted zone, said a canvass of 20,000 homes in the area earlier this summer found that 50% of the homes have children under the age of 6.

Lead is a dangerous toxin known to cause neurological disorders, learning and cognitive disabilities and lower IQ’s even at low levels of exposure. While the federal government and state health officials have set acceptable rates of exposure, health experts say there is no safe level.

Residents and activists have blasted the plan as insufficient and too slow to deal with the ongoing health hazard. On Monday, they said they want DTSC to add parkways and home interiors to the plan, and to expand the area targeted for remediation. Parkways are the area between a yard or property and the street, which many residents treat as an extension of their homes.

They said it’s time for state lawmakers to do what’s right and fully fund the the cleanup  of their neighborhoods.

“They wouldn’t stand for their (DTSC) actions in Porter Ranch or Beverly Hills,” said Monsignor John Moretta of Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights, a lead organizer in the fight to rectify the damage caused by Exide.

Moretta was referring to the quick and well-funded cleanup effort that took place in Porter Ranch, where residents demanded the closure of a Southern California Gas Co. facility in Aliso Canyon after a leak was discovered in October 2015. It took less than three months to relocate more than 2,000 residents, shut down schools and move students to other campuses, while residents living for decades in Exide’s toxic shadow are still waiting for their homes to be cleaned.

“It’s all about politics and money,” Moretta said. “Our government officials need to implement a plan that’s 100 percent funded.”

According to air quality regulators, as many as 110,000 people were exposed to cancer-causing emissions from the plant and upwards of 10,000 properties may have some level of lead contamination. Environmental experts say the contamination is the largest in state history.

Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar represents one of the most heavily contaminated neighborhoods, Boyle Heights. The community has been “screaming for help” for more than 30 years, while DTSC allowed Exide to continue to pollute, he told EGP. “All the while our children have been exposed to lead pollution, in the air and in the soil.

“And now, the DTSC is ignoring the need for a full cleanup plan that reaches all of the places our children live and play,” Huizar said. “The lead is everywhere, including parkways … This is literally a matter of life and death,” he said. “Where is the urgency and why aren’t we doing a thorough cleanup?” He called anything less than a full cleanup unacceptable.

EGP reached out to DTSC for comment but had not heard back as of press time, but the agency has previously said it does not have enough money to do the full cleanup – which public health and environmental experts have put at $400 million or more.

L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (right) joined protesters in Commerce Monday who say the state's plan to remove hazardous waste from homes is insufficient. Sept. 18, 2017 (EGP photo be Fred Zermeno)

L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (right) joined protesters in Commerce Monday who say the state’s plan to remove hazardous waste from homes is insufficient. Sept. 18, 2017 (EGP photo be Fred Zermeno)

As part of its deal with federal authorities to permanently close and avoid criminal prosecution, Exide agreed to pay $50 million for the removal of its hazardous waste; of that, $26 million was to go toward cleaning the surrounding neighborhoods. After a great deal of pressure from the community, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to loan DTSC 176.6 million for environmental testing and cleanup work in the neighborhoods surrounding the closed plant.

State officials have said they will go after Exide to recoup the money, but no one seems clear on how or when that will happen.

Solis points out that this is not the first time the community has come together to demand a swift and thorough cleanup.

“This week’s rally was months in the making because DTSC is not listening to our communities who are buried in pollution and lead,” she said in an email to EGP. “DTSC’s methodology has limited ability to identify ‘hot spots,’ including parkways in front of homes,” said Solis, who has repeatedly criticized state regulators for not being aggressive enough and for ignoring recommendations from the county and residents.

She said the state is offering vouchers to residents to pay companies to go and “vacuum their carpets and wipe down walls,” and that’s not good enough.

The interiors should be decontaminated by hazardous waste experts at the same time that they remove lead from the exterior, she said.

Like Moretta, Solis believes that if the predominately Latino working class communities were more affluent and white, the state would be doing more.

“Residents have every right to be angry with the slow pace of the cleanup,” Assemblyman Miguel Santiago told EGP. He said he attended the rally because he has a responsibility to his constituents to keep the pressure on state regulators, something he’s made his “top priority” since first being elected. Santiago sent a letter to DTSC asking the agency to look into including parkways in its plan.

An informal survey of more than 4,000 residents conducted a few weeks before DTSC released its plan revealed that many residents in the impacted area live in fear that they or someone in their home may get lead poisoning or cancer due to their exposure.

There’s tremendous interest in how Exide has affected them, Solis said..

The chants and shouts Monday were much the same as those heard at hundreds of rallies, protests and public hearings over the last five years.

Moretta said it’s a shame the community has to resort to drastic measures like protests to make a statement. Residents in east and southeast communities are being treated like second-class citizens, the Catholic priest said.

He noted that Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality District Management District had labeled the contaminated areas the worst he has ever seen,

“We have children and families on [those] streets,” Moretta said, referring to additional areas that should be cleaned.

“They’re [DTSC] suppose to protect people and our environment from toxic substances,” Moretta said. “It’s time they start doing that.”

EGP Staff Writer Carlos Alvarez contributed to this story.

Updated 9/22/17 : Adds information from Sup. Hilda Solis about the availability and effectiveness of vouchers for interior cleaning of homes.

UC Sues Trump Administration Over DACA Repeal

September 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The University of California on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of the college system and its students, including those at its Los Angeles and Irvine campuses, by rescinding the DACA program on “nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” and a city of Los Angeles councilman introduced a motion directing the city attorney to either file his own lawsuit or join one planned by the state of California which was announced Wednesday by Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects immigrants who were brought to the country illegally when they were children to safely live, work and study without fear of deportation.

The UC’s lawsuit filed in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, Elaine Duke, is the first to be filed by a university seeking to stop the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program, which currently protects over 800,000 undocumented young people. The lawsuit alleges the Trump administration failed to provide proper notice to the impacted population as required by law.

”As a result of the defendants’ actions, the Dreamers face expulsion from the only country that they call home, based on nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” the complaint reads. UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012, setting in place a rigorous application and security review process, according to the lawsuit.

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012. (New America Media)

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012. (New America Media)

Applicants for DACA were only approved if they were in or had graduated from high school or college, or were in the military, or an honorably discharged veteran They cannot have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. “Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led,” Napolitano said in a statement released by the UC. “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community. They represent the best of who we are — hard working, resilient and motivated high achievers. To arbitrarily and capriciously end the DACA program, which benefits our country as a whole, is not only unlawful, it is contrary to our national values and bad policy.”

The lawsuit asks the court to set aside the Trump administration’s rescission of DACA because it is “unconstitutional, unjust, and unlawful.”

The UC system, including UCLA and UC Irvine, has roughly 4,000 undocumented students, a substantial number of whom are part of DACA, as well as teachers, researchers and health care providers who are DACA recipients, according to UC.

Roughly 200,000 of the 800,000 DACA recipients in the country live in California, and it is believed that about 100,000 live in the Los Angeles area.

“These Dreamers’ were brought here as children and have proven themselves to be lawful residents contributing to the social fabric and diversity of the United States,” states the motion introduced by L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar that instructs City Attorney Mike Feuer to pursue legal action on behalf of the city.

When asked to comment on the motion, Feuer’s spokesman Rob Wilcox said, “Our office is already in discussions with other government entities on how best to maximize our impact on fighting the removal of DACA.”

Fifteen states filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the end of the DACA program, but Becerra said California was planning its own suit because it is disproportionately harmed by the action.

Council Grapples With Issues In Franchise Waste System

August 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

With complaints rolling in about higher rates and poorer service related to the new franchise waste hauling system, a Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday looked at ways to improve service while acknowledging the chorus of negative feedback.

The Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee did approve a motion that aims to reduce prices for some customers. But after its members questioned leaders of the Bureau of Sanitation, it seemed clear that higher prices will be a reality to some degree as long as the franchise system remains.

“We are moving more and more toward a landfill-free city, a landfill-free society. That brings with it significant changes, and important changes in behavior. Sometimes they do come with additional costs,” Bureau of Sanitation Director Enrique Zaldivar told the committee.

The franchise waste hauling system that went into effect July 1 is meant to expand recycling opportunities to thousands of businesses and apartment buildings while also cutting down on pollution by reducing the number of trucks on the street.

Before the change, recycling was only automatically available to single-family homes in the city.

Under the recycLA system — which was previously called the Zero Waste LA system — seven companies handle an estimated $3.5 billion in commercial waste hauling in Los Angeles. Each company is assigned as the sole trash hauler for commercial sites and multi-family complexes in one or more of the city’s 11 zones.

Since the new system began, many businesses and landlords have complained about hiked prices and reduced service, but because their trash collector now essentially operates a monopoly, they have no other option.

When the council approved the franchise system in December, some council members predicted it would reduce waste by 65 percent in the city and that the new standards would make rates that varied widely and sometimes were different for businesses on the same block farer.

“Today, we will change that and bring fair, predictable rates to customers without punishing people for doing the right thing and wanting to recycle,” Councilman Jose Huizar said then.

Only six weeks into the new system, council members on the committee spoke of a multitude of negative phone calls and feedback related to higher prices and poorer service. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said he had received four calls alone in the hours before the meeting.

Councilman Mitchell Englander also said his office was getting flooded with calls.

“We’re all getting the same phone calls each and every day. Our office is overloaded,” Englander said. “In fact, I don’t remember a time where we’ve gotten so many irate phone calls over one particular issue that’s directly impacting so many different people.”

Englander said the landlord of the building where his field office is located said his bill went from $3,400 a month to over $12,500 per month before being able to negotiate it down.

One motion the committee approved would allow business customers to share bins with neighboring businesses in order to maximize the use of each bin and reduce costs.

Dan Meyers, the franchise division manager for the BOS, said the department was also looking to develop an online tool which would allow customers to see how adjustments to service could improve their bill by reducing the size of their bin or frequency of their service.

Zaldivar said some of the high bills were the result of businesses not being aware of the franchise change and that they could reduce their charges by “right sizing” their service by reducing or altering their plan.

Councilman Paul Krekorian said he hoped that companies granted a monopoly were not “doubling down by increasing rates, by manipulating the bin handling in a way that will oversell their service to their customers. In fact, quite to the contrary, I expect those providers who have been given this monopoly to go the other way to bend over backwards and ensure that each and every customer’s needs are met.”

He added, “I, for one, will be looking at changes in this policy if I don’t see that result.”

Chiang Takes Campaign for Governor to Boyle Heights

June 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

State Treasurer John Chiang began what is being billed as a statewide listening tour for his campaign for governor Tuesday in Boyle Heights, one day short of a year before the primary election. While there, he also picked up an endorsement from Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the area that was once home to former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is also a candidate for governor.

“John is the very definition of a public servant,” Huizar said at Mariachi Plaza. “If you want flash and no substance, look no further than the White House at this time, and see how that’s working out. But if you want a trusted, steady and fearless leader who knows when to be tough against special interests, who knows when to cross the aisle to get things done for the people, then John Chiang is your choice for governor.”

The endorsement comes as a bit of a surprise in the gubernatorial race, given Huizar’s relationship with candidate and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who supported Huizar’s bid to replace him on the City Council.

Their relations became strained during the 2015 election season, however, when Villaraigosa backed former county Supervisor and Councilwoman Gloria Molina in her bid to unseat Huizar. Molina and Villaraigosa go way back, supporting each other’s political aspirations for decades.

Villaraigosa has not commented on Huizar’s backing of Chiang.

Chiang thanked Huizar for his support, calling him a “dear friend” and an “extraordinary council member.

“This is such a fantastic place,” he told the crowd of supporters. “I am so honored to be in this community. I strongly support Jose and his extraordinary efforts to strengthen this community by investing in safer neighborhoods.”

After the event at Mariachi Plaza, where mariachi musicians have gathered since the 1930s in hopes of being hired by visitors, Chiang visited the Libros Schmibros Lending Library and dined at Al & Bea’s Mexican Restaurant.

Chiang chose to start the tour in Boyle Heights because of its rich history as a multi-ethnic community of immigrants that reflects the “vibrant and rich diversity throughout California,” according to his campaign.

His second stop on the tour was in San Francisco Wednesday.

Chiang officially began efforts to run for governor on May 17, 2016, when he opened an account to raise money for a campaign.

“I’m running for governor to make sure the future my parents provided for my family becomes a reality for the future of all California families,” Chiang told City News Service in February response to a series of questions emailed to his campaign.

“As a child of immigrant parents, me and my siblings grew up in a much different time. My parents arrived in this country, each dreaming of a better future. While their determination and relentlessness led to a middle-class neighborhood with better schools, we still experienced bigotry, as the first Asian-American family on the block, but my parents never gave up on a better life for my family.”

The field to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown, who is barred from running for re- election in 2018 because of term limits, also includes Chiang’s fellow Democrats Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Villaraigosa and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.

Chiang was elected treasurer in 2014 after two terms as controller. He was first elected to the Board of Equalization in 1998. He began his career as a tax law specialist with the Internal Revenue Service and later was an attorney in the State Controller’s Office.

 

John Chiang lanza Campaña para Gobernador en Boyle Heights

June 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

BOYLE HEIGHTS — El Tesorero del Estado de California John Chiang lanzó la que se ha sido llamada una gira estatal para escuchar a la gente esta semana en Boyle Heights, un día menos de un año antes de las elecciones primarias.

Chiang abrió su gira formalmente en la Plaza Mariachi, en donde músicos han congregado desde alrededor de 1930 en busca de contrataciones y trabajo como mariachis itinerantes. Visitó también el candidato postulado para Gobernador a la biblioteca extraoficial Libros Schmibros y aprovechó para tomar su almuerzo en el restaurante Al & Bea’s. Recibió el respaldo público del consejal municipal José Huizar, representante del Distrito 14, el cual incluye a Boyle Heights.

Chiang decidió lanzar su campaña en Boyle Heights por su innegable historia como puerto símbólico para generaciones de inmigrantes que refleja “la diversidad reluciente y la riqueza cultural que se extiende por California”, según su campaña.

La siguiente parada de su gira fue la ciudad de San Francisco.

Chiang inició oficialmente sus esfuerzos como candidato el 17 de mayo del 2016 cuando abrió una cuenta para recaudar fondos con cual correr.

“Estoy corriendo para gobernador para asegurar que el futuro que mis padres hicieron para mi familia sea una realidad para todas las familias californianas”, dijoChiang a City News Service el febrero pasado como respuesta a una serie de preguntas enviadas por email a su campaña.

“Como hijo de padres inmigrantes, mis hermanos y yo crecimos en una era muy distinta. Mis padres desembarcaron en este país, ambos soñando en un futuro mejor. Aunque su determinación y persistencia resultó en circunstancias económicas mejores y escuelas mejores, todavía nos tocó sufrir la intolerancia racial como la primera familia asiastica-americana en la vecindad, pero mis papas nunca dejaron de luchar por nuestro porvenir”.

Chiang prometió que si logrará ser elegido “sería un líder fuerte al nivel de la economía quien gobernará con inclusividad” además de “ofrecer soluciones concretas ante cuestiones como el mejoramiento de la infraestructura, el apoyo para el sector creciente de energía sostenible y la protección de nuestros vecinos inmigrantes”.

“La gente de California merece vivir en un estado que les provee un ambiente de bienestar y prosperidad, creación de empleos, protección de sus ahorros, ameliorización general de los costos de educación, incubando la continuación de inovación, acceso a seguro medico universal y el fomento de la diversidad cultural que le da a California su identitad especial”, dijó Chiang.

Para intentar reducir las cifras de la pobreza en el estado, las cuales son solamente peores en el Distrito de Columbia, después de adjustaciones basadas en el costo de la vida, según los números repartidos por el Departamento del Censo, el candidato propone “inversion el analisís de la infraestructura y la inversión que resulta en la creación de empleos”, y “la inversion en viviendas alcanzables para ayudar a los miles de los desalojados transicionar de la calles a sus propios hogares”.

California se “recupera de una desintegración del sistema hipotecaria y una crisis económica de un nivel cual no se ha visto desde la Gran Depresión, y ahora debemos enfocar en sanar a las comunidades más afectadas y debiles con más alojamientos alcanzable para gente de humildes recursos y la creación de trabajos”, Chiang dijó.

El campo para reemplacer al gobernador actual Jerry Brown, quien debido a los limites en la duración de servicio público como elegido no puede volver postularse para reelección, también incluye a los similarmente Demócratas, el Vicegobernador Gavin Newsom, ex-Alcalde de Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa y la ex-Superintendente de Educación Pública Delaine Eastin.

Chiang fue elegido a tesorero en 2014 después de dos términos como controlador. Fue anteriormente elegido por primera vez a la Mesa de Equalización en 1998 Empezó su carerra como especialista en leyes de impuestos con el Servicio de Ingresos Internos (IRS) y después como abogado en la oficina del Controlador Estatal.

Medida S es Criticada Por Líderes Angelinos

March 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

El controlador de la Ciudad de Los Ángeles, Ron Galperin, se unió a la lista de líderes locales opuestos a la Medida S, el 24 de febrero, y criticó la financiación de la campaña por la Fundación de Salud del SIDA (AIDS Healthcare Foundation en inglés).

“La campaña a favor de la Medida S no ha sido transparente con la gente de Los Ángeles. Ha engañado a los votantes ocultándoles cómo dañaría a la vivienda asequible. Ha engañado a los Angelinos diciéndoles que requiere que los funcionarios “desempeñen su trabajo” mientras elimina los fondos necesarios para poder prestar los servicios básicos de la ciudad y no aborda la crisis de vivienda”, dijo Galperin en una conferencia de prensa en el Centro LGBT en Hollywood.

“Ha engañado a sus propios endosantes resultando en cancelaciones de apoyo, ha declarado falsos endosos y usado nombres de oficiales erróneamente. Además ha mal guiado a la comunidad LGBT, colocando el nombre de la organización del VIH/SIDA para llamar la atención y puesto los fondos al servicio de una causa que en el mejor de los casos es irrelevante y directamente perjudicial a la gente que sirve”.

La Fundación de Salud del SIDA, sin fines de lucro establecida hace 30 años, trata a cientos de miles de pacientes al año y rinde servicios filantrópicos alrededor del mundo. Desde la semana pasada, el grupo ha invertido más de $4.6 millones en la campaña, casi el 99 por ciento de las contribuciones en apoyo a la Medida S.

El director general de la Fundación de Salud del SIDA, Michael Weinstein, defendió la inversión política de la fundación en enero, diciéndole a City News Service que el desarrollo en Los Ángeles está aumentando los costos de vivienda y dejando a muchos de sus pacientes sin hogar.

“Adoptamos una visión expansiva de la salud. Creemos que los determinantes sociales de la salud son igualmente importantes a las condiciones medicas de las que los pacientes sufren”, dijo Weinstein.

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La campaña a favor de la Medida S también ha sido criticada por imitar la apariencia de un avisos de desalojo en materielas de campaña enviados por correo.

La Medida S se encontrará en la balota del 7 de marzo y si es aprobada detendría todas las enmiendas del Plan General o los permisos especiales dados a desarrolladores para las zonificaciones de áreas. Esto sucedería por dos años mientras que la ciudad actualice su Plan General y los planes comunitarios de desarrollo de los vecindarios.

Los partidarios de la Medida S argumentan que el procedimiento actual de aprobación de solicitudes de zonificación de áreas da la impresión de que el concejo de la ciudad puede ser comprado. Ellos alegan que los funcionarios electos rutinariamente reciben donaciones de campaña de parte de los desarrolladores creando una relación acogedora.

Los oponentes de la Medida S incluyen al Gobernador Jerry Brown, al Alcalde Eric Garcetti y al concejal de la ciudad José Huizar. Ellos dicen que la medida limitaría la capacidad de construir viviendas asequibles y dañaría la economía local.

“Los partidarios de la Medida S quieren cerrar el desarrollo y están dispuestos a recortar los empleos y aumentar los alquileres para hacerlo”, dijo Huizar en una conferencia de prensa con algunos líderes latinos en Boyle Heights el jueves.

Algunos líderes de la comunidad LGBT se unieron a Galperin para criticar la Medida S.

“El Centro LBGT está construyendo cientos de unidades de vivienda asequible para los jóvenes indigentes y los pobres de la tercera edad”, dijo Lorri Jean, director general del Centro LGBT de Los Ángeles.

“Si la Medida S hubiese existido en el pasado, nos habría detenido y hubiera dejado a un sinnúmero de niños sin hogar en las calles. Esto no es la solución correcta para Los Ángeles”.    Aproximadamente una media docena de seguidores de la Medida S se presentaron en la reunión del Ayuntamiento de Los Ángeles el 24 de febrero y comentaron.

“La organización multimillonaria que nos apoya es el bueno en este caso. Sus desarrolladores millonarios y organizaciones son los malos, para que quedemos claros”, dijo Jill Stewart, gerente de la campaña a favor de la Medida S.

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