Jovenes LGBT Necesitan Más Educación de Salud y Apoyo, Según Estudio

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Los estudiantes homosexuales, lesbianas y bisexuales están en mayor riesgo de tener comportamientos poco saludables o seguros, de acuerdo con un estudio de los Centros de Control y Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) dado a conocer el 6 de junio.

De acuerdo con el informe, los jóvenes que se identificaron como homosexual, bisexual o lesbiana son más propensos que los heterosexuales a tener prácticas sexuales riesgosas, tomar alcohol, utilizar drogas y tener actitudes suicidas o violentas.

“Este reporte debe ser una llamada de atención para las familias, escuelas y comunidades de que necesitamos hacer un mucho mejor trabajo apoyando a estos jóvenes”, señaló Howell Wechsler, el director de la División de Salud Escolar y Adolescente de los CDC.

El funcionario destacó la necesidad de llevar a cabo esfuerzos para promover la salud y seguridad entre los adolescentes que tomen en cuenta los factores de estrés adicionales que estos jóvenes enfrentan debido a su orientación sexual, como “el estigma, la discriminación y la victimización”.

“Estamos muy preocupados de que estos jóvenes enfrenten disparidades tan dramáticas por tan diferentes riesgos de salud”, agregó Wechsler.

La investigación, denominada “Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12 in Selected Sites-Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, United States, 2001-2009”, fue publicada en el Reporte Semanal de Morbosidad y Mortalidad de los CDC.

Los estudiantes homosexuales y lesbianas tenían niveles más altos en siete de diez de las categorías de riesgos de salud, consideradas como aquellas que contribuyen al desarrollo de comportamientos que contribuyen al uso de drogas, alcohol, tabaco, violencia e intento de suicidio, entre otras.

Asimismo, en el caso de los estudiantes que se identificaban como bisexuales, se dio una prevalencia mayor de los riesgos de salud evaluados, de acuerdo con las autoridades.

En el caso de este grupo, estos tenían niveles mayores en ocho de las diez categorías evaluadas.

“Las escuelas y las comunidades deben tomar pasos concretos para promover ambientes saludables para todos los estudiantes, como prohibir la violencia o el acoso escolar, creando espacios seguros donde las personas jóvenes pueden recibir el apoyo de adultos comprensivos y mejorando la educación de salud y los servicios de salud para atender las necesidades de la juventud homosexual, lesbiana y bisexual”, declaró Laura Kann, jefe del Departamento de Evaluación y Vigilancia de División de Salud Escolar y Adolescente de los CDC.

El informe, que es el primero que llevan a cabo las autoridades federales que toma en cuenta un amplio número de factores, analizó datos de la Encuesta de Comportamientos de Riesgo Juvenil entre el 2001 y el 2009 en siete estados y seis áreas urbanas.

Los estados incluidos son: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont y Wisconsin; además de los distritos escolares de áreas metropolitanas como Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Nueva York, San Diego y San Francisco.

Kareem Abdul Jabar Visits Garfield High School

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Basketball great Kareem Abdul Jabbar visited Garfield High School Wednesday morning to discuss the film he created, "On the Shoulders of Giants (the story of the greatest team you never heard of)." The feature-length documentary honors a group of sports pioneers who have been all but forgotten to time, and it celebrates the legacy of a magical game – and the shoulders that today’s players stand on. This story finds its footing in the rhythms of jazz, its roots in the Harlem Renaissance… and its voice in a group of players much too talented to be ignored. The film is now available on Netflix. (EGP Photo by Mario Villegas)

June 9 2011 Issue

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Commerce Official Wants Full Audit of Water District

June 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Attempts to shine a light on the Central Basin Municipal Water District have proved a difficult battle in the past 24 months, said Commerce Councilman Robert Fierro at a Tuesday council meeting.

He directed staff to draw up a letter of support backing a full-scale audit in order to get answers from a district that he says has failed to justify recent water rate increases.

Recent revelations of excessive travel expenses and connections to politically powerful allies have also raised red flags about the district’s finances that need to be examined, he said.

Fierro represents the city of Commerce as a member of the Southeast Water Coalition, one of the few groups that regularly monitors the activities of water districts, entities that have jurisdiction over one of the region’s most valuable resources.

The coalition is critical of Central Basin’s project to construct a recycled water pipeline that starts in Pico Rivera and is expected to end in Vernon, on the grounds it will raise water rates in the region.

The district has failed to justify a surcharge that would go toward the pipeline project, according to Fierro, who described elected district directors as reluctant to respond to public questions.

“We wanted to have Central Basin explain, and to make us part of the process,” Fierro told EGP on Monday.

Commerce officials asked the water district to send a representative to the city to explain to the public why the surcharge was being imposed on ratepayers.

It took several tries to set up the meeting, but when their local representative from water district, Art Chacon, finally arrived, Fierro said he acted “unprofessionally,” and was “disrespectful to residents seeking answers.”

At the time, Commerce resident Ed Miles had collected 1,400 signatures from residents opposing the surcharge and subsequent rate increase on the grounds it would place an unfair burden on low and medium income residents, a concern shared by other officials on the Southeast Water Coalition board.

Faced with the seeming unresponsiveness of the district – the pipeline project has since been approved and is now half done – the coalition has made request after request to their state legislators, asking them to perform a full scale audit of Central Basin, but to no avail, Fierro said.

At one point an audit was in the works, but Fierro says State Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) canceled meetings that could potentially have led to the audit, one of the few ways the public can exercise oversight on the water district.

Fierro says Calderon and his brother Tom Calderon, a former state assemblyman, backed a recall against him and fellow Commerce Councilwoman Tina Baca Del Rio in 2009 and suspects it was because they were vocal about issues that affected the water district: A claim echoed by Del Rio at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Why would a senator, a senator’s brother, and people they knew, why would they all want to put money into a recall? It’s related. There’s no doubt about it,” Del Rio said.

Back then Fierro and Del Rio opposed a proposed power plant in Vernon. Central Basin’s recycled pipeline would have benefited from having the proposed power plant as a customer.

“The building of this power plant would mean so much money for so many different individuals. It was a matter of you know what? Tina, Robert, they’re really small potatoes, they need to be moved out of the way, so we can move forward with these projects,” Del Rio said.

Fierro says Tom Calderon has worked for the Central Basin as a consultant, and both Calderon brothers have defended the water district’s interests in the legislature.

Both Del Rio and Fierro say their criticisms of the Calderons are not personal, but they are frustrated that attempts to request oversight over the obscure governmental entity have been thwarted by people with connections to the district.

Legislators “have resources to request an audit so [the Southeast Water Coaltion] tried to get their support and blessing… we tried many legislators,” but according to Fierro, their attempts were stymied by some of their own elected representatives.

Fierro told EGP the coalition is now seeking help from freshman Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who “fortunately” is chair of the State Joint Legislative Auditing Committee.

“Hopefully Assemblymember Lara will listen to our concerns,” because the “Central Basin has avoided a full audit [since] 2001, so [the legislature has] never been exposed to their finances, never been given an opportunity to be critical of all the money they oversee.”

Fierro says the Southeast Water Coalition has enough money set aside to help fund a full-scale audit. The coalition was started 15 years ago and is comprised of eleven cities with common interests in advocating on water issues. Their meetings are open to the public and their board of directors, which consists of city council members from member agencies, meets every two months.

News that Central Basin board members have spent nearly $100,000 on travel expenses raise “big red flags,” Fierro says. Commerce’s own water district representative, Chacon, spent $25,000 in travel expenses to attend water conferences.

“I don’t see any other water district, or even city council members that spends so much money on travel,” Fierro said.

Chacon was recently fined $30,000 by the FPPC for failing to report $37,138 in contributions and $41,608 in expenditures on his campaign finance forms prior to being re-elected to the water district board in 2008.

Chacon did not respond to EGP’s requests for comment when the travel expenditure amounts and the FPPC violations were first reported.

After hitting a wall with legislators, the coalition and others decided to try and get their message out through the media. “The best way to expose Central Basin to public is to question them in the media outlets,” Fierro says.

Even though officials on the water district board are elected, Fierro and others in the community feel Central Basin is a “public entity with no oversight.”

It doesn’t help that most people are unaware of what the Central Basin does and who their representatives are. But ultimately the district’s decisions affect “thousands of people and these decisions are in the millions [of dollars],” Fierro says.

“We want to have Central Basin be accountable. They are supposed to be representatives of our cities,” he said.

He described the Central Basin Municipal Water District as a “political child in the corner, in the dark… with no oversight, lack of public scrutiny,” and yet the district has “say-so in what projects get done, the opportunity to decide who gets contracts… water is a source of survival.”

LAUSD, State Education Policies Flawed, Study Finds

June 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The Los Angeles Unified School District needs critical reform in teacher evaluation, tenure and teaching assignment policies, according to a national study of the district released Tuesday.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan, privately funded research organization based in Washington, D.C., studied five key policy areas— staffing, evaluations, tenure, compensation and work schedule.

The study, sponsored by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, says state and local policy failures in those areas pose huge obstacles to the nation’s second-largest school district.

“The sheer size of LAUSD is reason enough to view its prospects for reform daunting,” the report’s authors wrote. “Add to that mix the state’s extreme financial turmoil and it becomes even harder to envision a successful turnaround strategy.”

The release of the study, which surveyed more than 1,500 teachers and principals for input on its data findings, comes as the district continues to struggle to keep its on-time graduation rate above 50 percent and is still at the mercy of a state budget crisis that threatens more layoffs if the economy worsens.

A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents the district’s teachers, criticized the study, calling it misguided and performed by non-educators.

“The approach of this study is all wrong,” Duffy said. “It does nothing to reinforce the profession, the quality of people we’re bringing in, ongoing training for administration, and creating quality professional development.”

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said he welcomed the report.

“As an agency that receives public funds in exchange for the privilege of educating nearly 700,000 students in this district, it would be irresponsible not to welcome this analysis,” Deasy said.

The 58-page report titled, “Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in LAUSD,” cited problems with the district’s practice of assigning teachers to schools during the hiring and transfer processes. It said the district’s policies exacerbated a faulty hiring system during recent years when the district experienced significant downsizing.

The district requires principals to first look at a “priority placement” list when hiring teachers, the study found.

“LAUSD principals are often pressured to hire teachers who lost their position at one school who then land on the `priority placement’ list, commonly known as the ‘must place’ list, before they are allowed to consider other applicants,” the authors wrote.

However, three-quarters of principals surveyed said teachers hired from the priority placement list are rarely, if ever, a good fit for their schools.

The study’s recommendations focused heavily on teacher evaluation. It said teachers should be evaluated annually, and student achievement should be the main criterion on which teachers are evaluated.

The district recently announced that it would try evaluating some elementary school teachers based on yearly student performances. The teachers union challenged the plan at the state level, but its complaint was rejected.

The report also recommended an overhaul of the district’s seniority-based system. California is one of only 12 states that mandates layoffs be conducted in order of reverse seniority. Arizona, Florida and Idaho have outright banned consideration of seniority as the primary determinant in layoff decisions, the report stated.

A recent court case protected some of the city’s lowest performing schools from seniority-based layoffs, but the settlement “falls short of a more permanent solution to the staffing problems created by seniority-based policies,” the report found.

“I firmly believe the way we get to 100 percent graduation is by strengthening the teaching profession,” Deasy said. “LAUSD remains deeply committed to supporting and developing a process by which we learn from places where exceptional teaching is taking place and provide meaningful growth opportunities for teachers who need it.”

The study attacked the state’s required tenure system, which mandates that teachers be considered for tenure after two years on the job.

The roadmap recommends, at minimum, extending that to four years. It found the district is moving in the right direction by requiring principals to sign off on tenures, but added that a more substantial tenure review would be the most successful policy.

It is wrong to talk about reforming the evaluation or tenure systems without talking about how teachers are trained, Duffy said.

“We need to sit down with universities and colleges and say, ‘We’re going to stop taking your product, because it isn’t a good product. Stop being money-making mills and understand that if education is very important, you have to have a standard by which you take people,”’ Duffy said.

The study also recommended phasing out salaries based on continuing education. Instead it recommends giving higher salaries to the top 5 percent to 15 percent of teachers who consistently score well on evaluations based on student performances.

Duffy called the salary recommendations ludicrous.

“Stop paying people for going back to college to get better at their skill or craft?” Duffy said.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has clashed with UTLA in recent months, called the study thorough and thoughtful.

“I look forward to turning their research into reality by continuing to work with the leadership at LAUSD until all students have access to the effective education they deserve,” Villaraigosa said.

L.A. Wants Out of ‘Secure Communities’

June 9, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

The City Council voted Tuesday to support state legislation that would allow the city to opt out of the federal government’s “Secure Communities” program that requires police to submit fingerprints of arrested people to federal immigration officials.

The program was created in 2008 and calls for police to submit suspects’ fingerprints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement so they can be cross-checked with federal deportation orders.

City Councilman Bernard Parks, a former Los Angeles police chief who introduced the motion supporting the state legislation, said the program was intended to target undocumented immigrants convicted of violent crimes but has gone far astray from its original purpose.

A report by the city’s chief legislative analyst found that nearly 70 percent of people deported under Secure Communities had no convictions or were accused of minor offenses.

Washington, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have refused to sign agreements with the Department of Homeland Security to participate in the program. The governors of New York and Illinois have also recently withdrawn their states from the program.

Legislation for California to withdraw has passed the state Assembly and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

“One of the most significant issues of Secure Communities is that it impedes victims (from) making crime reports,” Parks said. “That is a 40-year journey in the city of Los Angeles for the LAPD … finding ways through language skills and also breaking down barriers to allow victims to come in, unimpeded to report crimes.”

Anti-immigration activists will accuse Los Angeles of being a “sanctuary city” and harboring criminals, Parks said, but “the large issue for me is that this is a home-rule issue. The city of Los Angeles should set policies as it regards how they conduct business with the community in which they serve.”

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who co-sponsored the motion, said Secure Communities threatens victims of domestic violence.

“A woman or mother may be afraid of coming forward and speaking about criminal activity in her neighborhood for fear of getting deported or separated from her children, who could be left in an abusive situation,” Perry said.

LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore said the city’s Special Order 40, which prevents police officers from considering immigration status when initiating a police action, has made the city safer since it was established in 1979 under then-Police Chief Daryl Gates.

Moore said other police agencies around the country have abused Secure Communities to target all illegal immigrants.

“The perception alone undermines our ability to maintain and build upon trust with these (immigrant) communities, trust that’s vital to our ability to maintain the safety for those communities and all Angelenos,” he said.

Labor and immigration-rights activists applauded the city’s move.

At a June 3 rally in L.A., Pomona day laborer organizer Suzanne Foster said Sheriff Lee Baca needs a refresher on the US Constitution, because undocumented immigrants do have rights. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

“The tide is turning on the dangerous, dishonest Secure Communities program,” Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said. “It’s snake oil. It makes communities less safe. It imperils civil rights and it is poisoning political efforts to reform unjust immigration laws.”
Councilman Greig Smith was the only vote against the resolution.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca last month made his support of Secure Communities public.

“Arresting officials are not deputized to enforce immigration laws. They are simply doing what they have always done. The only difference is that under Secure Communities, the fingerprints they take during the booking process are run through FBI and Department of Homeland Security databases,” Baca said and listed examples.

Immigrant rights activists have denounced Baca’s support of the program saying that the program was not needed to apprehend the criminals in the examples he gave.

Public Attention Bodes Well for East LA Eatery

June 9, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Things are looking up for a restaurateur who was almost forced to close his doors after the weight of debt and the state tax collector’s “heavy hand” almost crushed his family business.

A.J.’s B.B.Q Pit owner Jim Roman met June 2 with a California State Board of Equalization (BOE) liaison and supervisor to discuss his tax situation. An aide to Senator Ron Calderon, who assisted in setting up the meeting, was also present.

“I walked out feeling a very large weight was off my back. I felt like they listened, it was good,” Jim Roman told EGP following the meeting with the BOE where he was finally able to reach a written agreement on a plan to pay off his outstanding sales tax bill.

In search of help, Roman had reached out to local elected officials, the taxpayer advocate and EGP, which detailed his plight in a May 26 article. Because of the news report, a lot of businesses and community members stepped forward to provide moral support and to support his business, Roman told EGP on Monday.

“I know, without a doubt, that I would not have had a written agreement if I had not sought the help that I did,” Roman said.

The BOE had previously denied Roman’s request for a written installment plan because they had already revoked his business permit.

When Roman contacted EGP last month, he said he felt the BOE’s “strong arm” tactics were going to force him out of business. Jose Gonzalez, an East LA Works’ business consultant assisting Roman, said BOE was unsympathetic to the restaurant owner’s plight.

In addition to revoking his business permit, the local tax board office also put a lien on his credit card sales and sent a Sheriff’s deputy with a warrant, or a “keeper,” to sit in his restaurant and collect all his sales for the day.

Roman said those actions left him without cash or credit card revenue to run his restaurant so he could pay off his tax liability, which he said continued to grow as the BOE added on penalties and $300 a day for the “keeper.”

But when the BOE inexplicably changed the terms of their verbal agreement and raised his weekly payments from $1,000 a week to $1,200, Roman said he felt he had reached the end of his rope.

It’s like they were “tying my hands and telling me to swim,” he said back then, noting he had been making the agreed upon payments.

Roman said when news of his situation became public, several other business people who said they had gone through the same thing contacted him and offered their support. Others expressed outrage.

“The local BOE employees appear to be using unreasonable tactics against an operator that wants to and IS doing the right thing,” said Jesse Torres, President and CEO of Pan American Bank, in a comment he posted online at egpnews.com. “Adding new debt by sending the ‘keeper’ when he has already been complying with the original, albeit ‘verbal’ agreement, makes no logical sense and appears overly punitive.”

Torres also encouraged EGP readers to patronize Roman’s restaurant saying, “The food is great!”
Roman said business owners from East Los Angeles to Monterey Park visited him just to tell him that they too, at some point, had had a similar experience with the BOE. They congratulated him for speaking out.

The levy on his credit card sales was lifted on Monday, which means he now has working capital. His weekly payment was lowered to $900 a week, and he expects his bill to be paid in full by June 29, at which time the BOE has agreed to reinstate his business permit.

Roman said the BOE has also agreed to work with him on next quarter’s tax filing, to avoid getting into the same mess again.

“I want to thank Jesse Torres of Pan American Bank, Jaime Rodriguez of Sen. Ron Calderon’s office, East LA Works, EGP and the community in East Los Angeles,” for their help, Roman said. He also thanked Arlene Dimapilis, district liaison to BOE Chairman Jerome Horton and José Gonzalez of East LA Works.

Roman, who not too long ago was recognized by Supervisor Gloria Molina for his contributions to the community, said he is now being encouraged to share his experience with local business chambers so other entrepreneurs, who may be too proud to ask for help, or are too intimidated or afraid of retaliation from tax collectors to speak out, can learn from his experience.

Autry Renovation Plan, and Southwest Museum’s Future, Still Tied In Limbo

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Councilmembers Ed Reyes (CD-1) and Tom LaBonge (CD-4) who represent opposing interests for two merged museums, met during a special Parks, Health and Aging Committee meeting on June 3 for a public hearing on renovation plans for one of the entities.

No decision, however, was reached on the Autry National Center Museum of the American West’s expansion plan for its Griffith Park site, because the committee’s third, tie-braking member, Councilman Herb Wesson, was not in attendance.

The hearing was scheduled after the City Council voted to take jurisdiction over the Autry’s $6.6 million renovation plan approved by the Board of Recreation and Parks Commission following complaints from Northeast Los Angeles residents who said they were not given an opportunity to speak on the item because they had been removed from the Board’s meeting agenda notification email list without their knowledge.

Local activists, including about 50 who attended last week’s meeting, say they are concerned the renovation of the Griffith Park museum will doom the Southwest Museum’s reopening in Mt. Washington. For years, they have pushed the City Council to tie the Autry’s plans to expand to the fate of the Southwest Museum. Their efforts have garnered more support over the last year, particularly from Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Reyes.

Jesse Rojas, Nicole Possert and Tony Butka listen as Darryl Ramos-Young speaks to the Committee. (Photo by Martha Benedict)

“Why was the Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe not included in the [state] grant application? How soon can we get a copy of the complete expansion plan for the Autry? Is Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe included in the plans?” Reyes grilled Daniel Finely, president and CEO of the Autry National Center, at the special committee meeting.

Finely declined to answer Reyes’ questions saying they weren’t relevant to the Autry’s renovation project, which could lose a state grant to help pay for the renovation if discussion on the project is prolonged.

“Our hope all along has been to display portions of the Southwest Museum collection in our Griffith Park museum,” Finely previously told EGP in a written statement.

The Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition praised Reyes for putting Finley on the spot and on the record. The group says the Autry has failed to live up to it’s 2003 merger agreement, and claims the Autry is stealing the Southwest Museum’s vast collections of Native American and Southwest artifacts. The Southwest Museum was officially closed to the public in 2010.

Dan Wright is an attorney and member of the Coalition. He says the Coalition has always feared the Autry would not live up to its promise to continue operating the museum. The group, which boasts about 75 member organizations, has worked hard to keep the issue in the public eye.

What will happen next is unclear.

“There was no decision, and there’s some confusion as to what happens next,” Wright said following last week’s committee meeting.

“I thought it was unfortunate that the Autry didn’t have an answer [to Reyes’ questions]. Really, you can’t answer a basic question?” Nicole Possert, coalition chairperson, said regarding Finley’s refusal to address questions related to the Southwest Museum.

According to Wright, the issue could be heard again by the committee, or returned to the full City Council without a recommendation. The committee is scheduled to meet on June 14.

Wright said the Council’s decision to assume jurisdiction was a tremendous victory for the public and for transparency.

Recreation and Parks Commission President Barry Sanders, however, denied allegations that critics of the Autry had been deliberately deleted from the commission’s email list, but acknowledged there was a “glitch” in the notification system. He said the commission did not violate the Brown Act.

“Apparently, there was some glitch in terms of a voluntary special notification that is done, not by the Department of Recreation and Parks, but the Technology Department of the city. But we gave it all of our ordinary notice, there were speakers there on behalf of it, they had notice… but it was a regular meeting of the board and with all the normal notice,” he told EGP.

Sanders said he has been a long-time supporter of the Southwest Museum and donor to the museum when it was independent and trying to remain independent. “I like the SW Museum very much,” he said on Tuesday.

Sanders said the Autry’s project was just another matter on the agenda, and implied larger ramifications could be involved. “Now, if someone wants to go another way, that has other power, that’s their business. But we did what we were supposed to do,” he said.

Coalition members had hoped a meeting a few months ago with the Autry to discuss potential partners to operate the Mt. Washington site would lead to its reopening, but there was never any follow up, Possert said.

“Yes, they are looking, but the 100-lb question is who is going to operate a facility and market it as the Southwest Museum? And that, in some ways, is allowing the Autry to get out from under some of their responsibilities in the merger agreement to maintain [it] as a separate facility and identity under their umbrella,” she said.

The merger never stipulated the relocation of the Southwest Museum to the Griffith Park location, its expansion was an option but not its relocation. The identity and facilities of the Southwest Museum were to be maintained separate, Possert said. “People think we’re making facts up,” she said, adding people can read the merger for themselves on the coalition’s website.

Reyes would like the Autry’s grant deadline extended in order to review the scope of the project, according to Monica Valencia, the councilman’s spokesperson.

Reyes is trying to work with Sen. Kevin De Leon, the author of Prop 84, which will fund the grant, in regards to the funding, or creating an extension including the Southwest Museum in the scope of project, according to Valencia.

“Right now, they are looking at negotiating, ideally we don’t want the Autry to loose money,” she said.
The Southwest Museum is the city’s first museum and keeping it open and functioning, as a feasible and successful venue, is important to Reyes, Valencia added.

Like many Angelenos, Reyes fondly remembers visiting the museum as a child.

The councilman “has great concerns regarding the Southwest Museum, especially because our communities don’t have access to such an important collection,” Valencia said.

Deadline to Empty Prisons Should Light Fire Under Governor

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In failing to cut its prison population by 10,000, the state may be violating the first court ordered deadline to reduce its prison overcrowding.

Absent a budget, the state finds itself with no money to transfer inmates to county jails, or to pay for housing them in those facilities. It appears, given the current budget situation, the state may have few options to meet the deadline.

That does not bode well for local communities.

Rather than risking a court ordered release of felony offenders, state prison authorities should order the immediate release of a requisite number of low-level, non-violent offenders, and prisoners too ill to pose a threat to society to meet the first of four deadlines in November.

By then, we might at last have a budget in place, and tax revenues may have continued their upward climb, providing the necessary funds to meet the state’s financial obligations.

If Governor Jerry Brown and the Corrections Authority are as worried as they are professing that they won’t be able to meet the deadline, then we find it very hard to understand why Brown is saying he “might” request more time to comply with the court order.

Why wait? Shouldn’t Brown already be working on a request for more time, given the position the state finds itself in?

We do not believe the courts relish the idea of releasing dangerous felons into society under their orders, nor do they wish to risk harm to the citizens they have sworn to protect.

But without action from the state, they may follow through on ordering prisoners released.

EGP believes that the state must work quickly to do what is necessary to meet the November court ordered deadlines.

As for the Republican suggestion that the state build more prisons: Hello!! Haven’t they heard the state has no money!

CARTOON: SEC Revolving Door

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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