What Really Counts: The Debt, Women, and Our Future

July 7, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

What do women really want from our President? This is a question President Obama should be asking if he wants to keep his job for another term — which hinges on the women’s vote. His campaign emphasizes the appointments of very talented women: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, Elizabeth Warren to launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and other outstanding women to top Cabinet posts; such as Secretaries Hillary Clinton, Janet Napolitano, Kathleen Sebelius, and Hilda Solis.

But such accomplishments do not begin to go far enough. For one thing, by authorizing major cuts to traditionally women’s jobs in education, health care, and family planning, the President allowed an assault on women’s economic status and health-care access. Moreover, he allowed opponents to divert the conversation about economic recovery from the millions of unemployed and the massive increase in Americans in poverty to an obsessive focus on reducing the deficit through government program cuts. And because women comprise the vast majority of public-sector teachers, nurses, social workers, caregivers, and others being laid off, women are now bearing the brunt of job losses.

These shortsighted and cruel cuts are not only harming millions of people and their families; they will soon harm us all. With health, education, and poverty alleviation programs being scrapped, our nation is undermining the most important asset for our economic future: the “high-quality human capital” economists tell us is essential for success in our post-industrial knowledge/service economy. Yet instead of educating the public about this, the Administration has itself started to talk about job creation exclusively in the private sector – with no mention of the havoc being created by gutting employment in the public sector, or of its dire future consequences.

Instead, the Administration joined “the sky is falling” talk about the deficit, failing to point out that our federal debt (roughly equal to our annual GDP or about $14 trillion, a ratio of 1-to-1 according to the most alarmist calculations) is actually far lower than our debt to GDP ratio during World War II. It is also far lower than that of many other countries. Japan had a 2.25-to-1 debt to GDP even before the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster. Certainly we have to watch our national debt, especially because so much of it is owed to foreign nations. But it must not be used as the rationale for cutting essential services or for a wholesale firing of public employees, much less as an excuse for demonizing unions, without which we would not have had a middle class.

As television and radio host Larry King stated recently, “The average guy isn’t sitting today in a diner going ‘Oh, the deficit.’” Instead we’re supposed to genuflect to the “wisdom” of the old boys clubs on Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce about the importance of addressing the deficit through spending cuts alone to jobs which provide needed human capital. Continued focus on cutting teachers, health care workers, and other traditionally female jobs will not address the stalling of the economy, but instead will mean a lot more pain and no gains for a lot more people both in the short and long term.

We’ve got to also debunk clichés about a typical American family sitting around the dinner table being better at understanding how to balance a budget than officials in Washington. In reality, most Americans’ mortgages average about $172,000 – more than four times the $40,000 average annual salary. College students also amass heavy debts with student loans, but few would encourage young people to forgo the enormous future value of a higher education. Moreover, businesses routinely take on substantial debt in order to invest in future research and development that produces a high return. As Sally Kohn reported in her USA Today op-ed, “IBM borrows twice as much money as it earns annually. Boeing borrows four times more than it earns. JP Morgan Chase… borrows 50 times more than it earns … If the U.S. were borrowing anywhere near as much as Chase bank, we’d have legitimate reason to worry. But in general, borrowing money is necessary to invest in the future — whether the future of a business or the future of a nation.”

With the recent announcement of an opening for a new Chair of the President’s Council on Economic Advisors, there is an opportunity for the Administration to re-direct the conversation to what has been ignored at our peril: the urgent need for investing in our nation’s human infrastructure. And choosing a woman who understands these vital matters could go a long way to applying the fundamentals of economics in a more balanced way. We need the voices of women to talk about what really counts: increasing the real wealth of our nation by investing in its human beings.

Riane Eisler is best-selling author of The Chalice and the Blade and most recently of The Real Wealth of Nations and founder of the Center for Partnership Studies (www.partnershipway.org). Kimberly Otis is a women’s rights advocate and Director of the Center’s Caring Economics Campaign.

Salazar Archives Donated to USC

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The family of Ruben Salazar donated the former Los Angeles Times journalist’s archives to the USC Libraries, which will put the artifacts on public display, the university announced on Wednesday.

The archives include photographs, correspondence, news clippings and draft manuscripts, cards and letters from supporters, and his briefcase, with the contents carefully preserved. The collection documents his life from birth in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 1928 to his 1970 death in East Los Angeles.

Salazar was killed while covering the National Chicano Moratorium march against the Vietnam War in 1970. He was inside a bar in the midst of the protest when he was struck in the head by a tear-gas canister fired by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy.

USC Libraries received the donation from Salazar’s children, Lisa Salazar Johnson, Stephanie Salazar Cook and John Salazar.

“As significant as his story is to Southern California, it is also a story of much national and international significance….” according to Catherine Quinlan, Dean of the USC Libraries.

During his years at The Times (1959-1970), he became a role model for Latino journalists, serving as a foreign correspondent and Mexico City bureau chief.

Salazar worked for The Times from 1959 to 1970, when he left to become news director for KMEX.

Sheriff’s investigators determined that deputies on the scene made some errors, but found no evidence that Salazar was targeted.

“Ruben Salazar was an inspirational role model to me when I was a college journalist in the early 1960s,” USC Journalism professor Felix Gutierrez said. “I got to know him later when he covered Chicano Movement advocacy for better educational opportunities. As a professor, I try to teach and live up to the high standards he set.’’

Free Bilingual Summer Shakespeare Workshops Come to Griffith Park

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A children’s summer workshop series focused on the works of William Shakespeare, with sessions in both English and Spanish, kicks off July 10 in Griffith Park.

The “Players in the Park/Jugamos en el Parque” workshops are being conducted by the Independent Shakespeare Co. (ISC) and are free to attend, but RSVPs are required.

Last year, ISC’s pilot program boasted a record attendance of more than 13,000, making it the largest summer theater event in the City of Los Angeles.

The Spanish and English workshops will take place before ICS’s three productions: “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” and “Hamlet,” and will feature imaginative exercises and activities taught by ISC Acting Company members that are designed to get the words of Shakespeare off the page and into the actions and voices of the young participants. By the end of the workshop, a child might be putting on a crown, picking up a toy sword, and portraying Prince Hamlet from the stage, according to an ISC press release.

“The pre-show workshop was a playfully interactive, imaginative, memorable experience, for my cousin’s children,” said Christina Nayve, a long-time patron who participated in last season’s program.

Players in the Park/Jugamos en el Parque is the only event in Los Angeles to present an educational workshop on Shakespeare’s plays in Spanish. Of the nine workshops, three will be delivered in Spanish. Materials at the workshops are also available in both Spanish and English.

ISC Acting Company members are well seasoned stage performers, whose experiences range from Broadway to London’s West End. At least five of ISC’s actors are Spanish/English bilingual.

“Being one of the teachers for Family Nights was the highlight of my summer because I was able to have a dialogue with the kids that watched our shows,” said Luis Galindo, company member and workshop teacher. “Dispelling the myth that Shakespeare’s plays are these impenetrable, boring monoliths and that they are really understandable and that they speak to each of us regardless of age, gender, ethnicity etc. makes it all worthwhile.”

ISC has historically attracted a youthful and diverse theater audience, ethnically and in terms of income. “We want to make ISC’s theater audience demographic mirror the demographic in Los Angeles,” ISC Artistic Director Melissa Chalsma said.

“Though Shakespeare’s plays were written in English, their cultural significance is transcendent. Access and understanding of these works supports ISC’s belief that classic plays are our cultural legacy and that like all great art, they are a vital part of forming bonds within our world.”

Workshops take place through Aug. 28 at the Griffith Park Old Zoo near 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., LA 90027. Workshops start at 5 p.m. and are followed by the play at 7 p.m. There is no seating on site, so you should bring a blanket or lawn chair, advice event organizers. For more information or to RSVP, call (818) 710-6306 or visit www.iscla.org.

Job Fair Targeting Vets On Sunday

July 7, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

A hiring fair sponsored by the U.S. and Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce called Hiring Heroes in Los Angeles is expected to draw 200 employers and 1,500 veterans and military spouses later this weekend.

California has the highest number of unemployed veterans in America, numbering 100,000. The Los Angeles area job fair is one of 100 hiring fairs the U.S. Chamber is hosting across the nation to serve veterans and their spouses.

The fair will take place at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on Sunday July 10, 2011 from 9am to 4pm. To pre-register for the event, go to http://www.regonline.com/HiringHeroesinLA.

Summer Months Bring Metro Improvements

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Metro has launched several improvements, with several more arriving in August, to increase rail ridership. It has improved the frequency of the Metro Gold Line, from Pasadena to East Los Angeles, and its Silver Line buses.

“With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon and the summer months ahead, providing this added service on the Metro Gold Line will be welcome relief to our Gold Line passengers,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy.

In August, the popular Day Pass will also be reduced from $6 to $5 and Metro TAP cards will be sold on board Metro buses for the convenience of passengers.

Knabe Launches Re-Election Campaign Website

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L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe has launched a re-election campaign website as he seeks his 5th and final term representing the County’s 4th district.

The website, Knabe2012.com, highlights many of Supervisor Knabe’s achievements, including “Safe Surrender,” which has saved the lives of 86 newborns since its launch. It also examines key issues, including Jobs and the Economy, Public Safety, and Transportation, facing LA County and the 4th district.

“I want people to visit Knabe2012.com not just to see the good we’ve done but also to see the issues we face
and my plans to address those issues,” said Knabe.

One Dead in East Los Angeles Shooting

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A man was shot dead in unincorporated East Los Angeles in the 700 block of Brady Avenue, near East Hubbard Street.

The shooting was reported at 11:23 p.m. on Monday, July 4. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not released.

“Homicide detectives are investigating the circumstances,” Deputy Benjamin Grubb said and urged anyone with information to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Callers who want to remain anonymous can call (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

Brush Fire in Lincoln Heights

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A fire burned through almost three acres of grass in the Lincoln Heights area before firefighters could bring it under control.

The blaze was reported pm Sunday at about 5:10 p.m. in the 2900 block of North Amethyst Street and was contained by 6:15 p.m. with the help of three helicopters and 60 firefighters, reported Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Two vehicles and a shed were damaged, but no injuries were reported.

Grassfire Controlled in Highland Park

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City firefighters made short work of a grassfire that moved into some trees near Highland Park Monday afternoon near the Pasadena (110) Freeway interchange at Via Mirasol.

Two city fire helicopters made several water dumps on the fire and camp crews etched out a fire line around the site.

The grassfire may have re-ignited from a fire the night before, but residents may recall that the grassy hills in the El Sereno area burn like this nearly every summer.

Participants Needed for 2011 Community Police Academy

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Do you know a community member that loves to be involved? Someone you have met that has the community at heart?

The Los Angeles Police Department is looking for candidates to attend the summer session of the Operations-Central Bureau (OCB) Community Police Academy.

The eleven-week course will be held at the Elysian Park Academy each Thursday night this between 6:00 and 9:00 pm this summer, beginning August 25 and ending November 3. The last day will include a graduation ceremony.

Candidates must be over 18 years old, live, work or go to school in an OCB area, and have no felony convictions.

Applications are available in both the Senior Lead Officer and Community Relations offices. Applicants may contact Sgt. Danny Roman Northeast Community Relations Officer at (213) 485-2548.

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