More than two-thirds of Los Angeles County residents support the idea of making their hometown a “sanctuary city,” according to a new poll released Monday by Loyola Marymount University.
“With such a high level of support for sanctuary cities, ICE enforcement would be more difficult. In our survey people are sending a clear message that ICE is not welcome here,” said Fernando Guerra, professor of political science and director of the study.
The poll found that 40 percent of those surveyed said they “strongly support” a sanctuary city where they live, with 28 percent saying they “somewhat support” the idea. Fifteen percent said they “somewhat oppose” their town being a sanctuary city, and 17 percent “strongly oppose.”
The sanctuary city question was one of dozens asked by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles as part of its Forecast LA conference. The conference was held Wednesday at LMU.
Although there is no official legal definition of a sanctuary city, many cities in California have voted to declare themselves one. The city of Los Angeles has declined to take the title even though its practice of limiting its cooperation with the federal government on deportations fits the typical definition.
The issue of sanctuary cities has gained prominence in the national discussion since President Donald Trump has threatened to cut federal funding to them.
Eighty-four percent of Latinos said they strongly or somewhat supported the idea of sanctuary cities, compared to 67 percent of African-Americans, 57 percent of Asian-Americans and 51 percent of whites.
“We found as the generations get younger, the support increases,” StudyLA Associate Director Brianne Gilbert said. “While all generations were supportive of their city being a sanctuary city, millennials were the most supportive, at 74 percent.”
The survey was conducted by telephone and online in January and February, among 1,200 Los Angeles city residents and 1,200 residents in the rest of the county. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The City of Los Angeles will have to decide soon whether to limit short-stay rentals, an activity now illegal in some residential areas.
According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, the city has already started to tax these rentals, and has already collected more than $20 million this fiscal year.
The city could reap as much as $37 million a year under an agreement it reached last year with Airbnb, which uses an online platform to connect would-be vacationers and temporary renters to home and apartment owners interested in making some extra money.
Groups in some neighborhoods have loudly complained that short-term rentals are disrupting their neighborhoods and creating a public nuisance. They point out that even in areas where such rentals are illegal, there is no enforcement of the rules.
Under pressure from these groups, the city is considering a plan to limit the number of days owners can rent out their properties to no more than 180 a year.
In a letter to the city, Airbnb said limiting rentals to 180 days and only to an owner’s primary residence, would cut projected tax income by $15 million annually.
The city could be facing a $224 deficit in the new fiscal year, so the idea of losing $15 million in potential taxes weighs heavy.
That being said, we believe that setting regulations for primarily residential neighborhoods is both reasonable and needed.
Failure to do so will leave residents vulnerable to their neighborhoods becoming hotel rows, where all the hotels are single-family dwellings. It puts residents at risk of losing their right to live free from the types of activities that commercial areas are better suited to handle.
We think that allowing residents to rent their properties for short periods, for a limited number of days to earn some extra money is fine, as long as they are not allowed to turn their homes into hotels, and their residential neighborhood into tourist destinations.
The memos signed by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly released Tuesday make sweeping changes to immigration enforcement policies, making the possibility of mass deportations of immigrants in the country without permission more likely, activists said Tuesday.
Calling the changes an effort to “enhance public safety,” Kelly’s memos put in place guidelines aimed at beefing up Pres. Donald Trump’s earlier executive actions on immigration, building on his campaign promise to deport millions of immigrants in the country illegally. Trump’s order said, “Aliens who illegally enter the United States without inspection or admission present a significant threat to national security and public safety.”
Lea este artículo en Español: Casa Blanca Adopta Reglas Para Aumentar Deportaciones
In a dramatic change from the Obama Administration, not only will undocumented immigrants convicted of violent crimes be subject to deportation, so will those deemed to have “abused” public benefit programs or who “pose a risk to public or national security” in the judgment of an immigration officer.
Any unauthorized immigrant even suspected of a crime could be deported under the new rules.
The orders also call for beefing up the ranks of enforcement authorities by adding 10,000 more Immigration and Custom, or ICE officers, as well as 5,000 more border patrol agents and 500 Air & Marine Agents/Officers, but congress would first have to approve funding for the new hires.
During a telephone press conference Tuesday, Jen Smyers, Associate Director for the Immigration and Refugee Policy for Church World Service, called the implementation of the memos unprecedented and unconceivable.
“All three of these executive actions go against our core values as Americans and that is why we are calling on congress to stop these memos through the appropriations process,” Smyers said.
Local advocacy groups such as The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA), one of the areas in California most affected by recent immigration raids, labeled the newly announced measures a “deeply troubling development.”
“Secretary Kelly has unleashed an unprecedented witch hunt on millions of immigrant families …We are categorically opposed to these measures which threaten our families, hurt our nation’s economy, and stand directly opposite to our nation’s history and values,” said CHRILA Executive Director Angelica Salas in a press statement.
The Trump Administration has however decided to leave the Deferred Action Program (DACA) program created in 2012 by Obama intact.
Under DACA, about 750,000 people brought to the country illegally as children were granted a reprieve from deportation and allowed to get work permits. These undocumented youths or “dreamers” as they are often called, will remain “unaffected,” at least for now, by the federal agency’s new orders.
During his daily press briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the goal of these policies, “take the shackles off” and “give more authority to the federal agency to enforce immigration laws.” He emphasized that “anyone who is here illegally can be deported at any time.”
That scares Maritza Garcia.
The Inglewood resident and mother of two U.S. born children is a DACA recipient but her husband and brother are in the country without permission or any form of protection.
Her husband Carlos and brother Tomás were brought to the U.S. as children, at ages 8 and 9 respectively, but neither of the men, now in their late 20s, applied for DACA protection, fearing one-time misdemeanor convictions in their teens for drug possession would make them targets for deportation.
“They were young and stupid, but they have never gotten in trouble again,” Garcia said. “My husband and brother both work construction jobs, they support us,” she said. “If they get deported it will hurt my kids, all of us,” she told EGP by telephone.
Under the new guidelines, her fears are not without merit.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, said “The administration’s immigration executive orders will have serious negative consequences for our country, ripping apart families and crippling our economy.”
She said the country should be working on reforming our “broken immigration system,” and “focusing on deporting those who are a threat to our country, not on those who are contributing members of our communities.”
Petra Falcon, Executive Director of Promise Arizona, PAZ (part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement), said during the telephone press conference that her organization has witnessed a change in morale within the immigrant communities they serve.
“Families are beginning to save money and are continuing to send their children to school but are paying close attention to the news and going to our offices to ask for help,” Falcon said.
In Los Angeles, groups like CHIRLA are also being proactive, educating the immigrant community through “Know Your Rights” sessions and by offering counseling services.
“We have been anticipating this,” said CHRILA’s political director, Apolonio Morales. He said the group has been holding “informational sessions to ensure folks understand that if they are detained they still have to go through their due process. They have rights to an attorney, to speak to family members … and don’t need to sign anything before speaking to a lawyer,” Morales said.
Morales also advises the community to stay alert and to demand to be told whether the official knocking at their door id an LAPD officer, or really an ICE agent.
“We’ve already seen ICE knocking on doors saying they’re police … so people open their doors and end up getting deported. We need to know that the distinction is being made clear,” Morales said.
On Saturday, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon is hosting a “Know Your Rights!” informative forum that will offer free consultations with immigration attorneys. It will be held at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College – South Tent from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information you contact his district office at (213) 483-9300 or visit their page here.
Information from EFE and City News Service used in this report.
Donald Trump will be inaugurated Friday as the 45th president of the United States following a long and contentious fight for the White House.
Across the country, activists representing a wide array of political and social views and causes have been gearing up to send the new president a message: We will not stand idly by as attacks are made on our or our neighbors’ civil liberties.
Rallies and marches on inauguration day and the day following are expected to draw thousands of protesters to the nation’s capital and in major cities like Los Angeles where the protests got underway last Saturday. Over 90 different groups, ranging from immigrant rights and environmental justice advocates, to women’s rights activists, labor groups and others, are scheduled to take part.
For Segovia Amigon of Los Angeles, talk of building a wall between the United States and Mexico, deporting 3 million undocumented immigrants and Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act feel all too personal.
On Saturday, Amigon joined hundreds of people at a rally organized by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles.
The rally was one of at least a half dozen local demonstrations scheduled to take place this week to protest Trump’s swearing-in Jan. 20.
Originally from Mexico, Amigon, 60, and her three children emigrated illegally to the U.S. over 30 years ago, but gained legal residency under an amnesty law signed into law in 1986 by former president Ronald Reagan. Six years later she became a citizen.
Amigon no longer lives in the shadows or fears deportation but believes she still has a lot to lose if Trump makes good on promises he made during the presidential campaign and since.
On Saturday, she recalled juggling multiple jobs — including joining the ranks of street vendors selling tamales and flowers during the holidays — to make ends meet. Today she works as a caregiver and is a member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which should afford her a certain amount of job protection, yet she fears her job could be at risk if Trump’s proposed policies lead to cuts in federally funded programs that help pay workers like her.
It was a sentiment echoed repeatedly Saturday as speaker after speaker emphasized the importance of standing together even as they fight for their individual causes.
There is power in numbers, many of the speakers pointed out during the rally that happened to coincide with the annual observance of the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
“A lesson [King] taught us is that a threat to justice to anyone is a threat to justice to everyone,” said Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU ULTCW, which represents 180,000 in-home caregivers and nursing home workers.
Butler argued that when the new administration goes after issues that matter to labor unions, environmentalists or immigrant and women’s rights activists, they are in fact, “coming after all us.”
“We have to be clear, there’s no space between our fights,” Butler stressed.
Melissa Minkin of Culver City attended the rally to show support and unity for all the advances in policy that could be at risk under a Trump Administration.
“I’m freaked out by everything that Donald Trump has said,” Minkin told EGP, adding she’s been making phone calls to family and friends to encourage them to attend the Women’s March Saturday at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.
“He’s a provocateur and bully and I’m troubled by his vindictive behavior,” added Minka’s friend Shifra Titelbaum, who predicted, “There are some dark times ahead.”
Billionaire and co-founder of the political advocacy group NextGen Climate, Tom Steyer, said he believes there will be an aggressive attempt to come after individual groups in order to divide them.
That’s why it’s vital for all communities to come together, said L.A. Councilman Curren Price.
“If we don’t do it now, we know we’re going to be in trouble later,” Price said.
Many in the crowd said they fear that Trump and the Republican-controlled congress will quickly eradicate Obamacare, the landmark legislation that has resulted in millions of previously uninsured people getting health insurance. They also fear Trump will reverse Pres. Obama’s executive order that has protected over 750,000 young adults from deportation. Trump has repeatedly stated he will repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with his own plan, but has yet to provide and real details. Much of his campaign also revolved around his promise to deport 8 million undocumented immigrants.
Susana Duarte, a Riverside resident and member of Homecare Providers Unions Local 3930, traveled to Los Angeles for the Jan. 14 rally. She told EGP she plans to attend more marches this coming weekend to show her disapproval for what she believes a Trump presidency will look like.
“There’s going to be a lot of changes with Trump, especially for Latinos,” she warned.
“I can’t tell you what he will do,” admitted Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) “But I can tell you what we will do: We will fight for you, we will protect you.”
At 3.6 million, Los Angeles County is home to the largest number of immigrants in the country, according to Supervisor Hilda Solis, who estimates that approximately 1 million of them are undocumented.
Newly-elected Rep. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) believes the tone in Washington may be changing and that more and more people are beginning to see the value immigrants bring to the country.
That’s especially true in California, said State Controller Betty Yee. “We’re the 6th largest economy. Why? Because of the contributions of our immigrant brothers and sisters,” she said.
“We’re not taking away jobs, we’re not criminals. Lets speak truths,” Yee said.
Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) acknowledged that with state lawmakers leading the resistance to Trump, Californians have less to fear than those in other more conservative states. He reminded the crowd that Martin Luther King Jr. did not stay in the comforts of the north, but instead traveled to the south to protest injustice and fight for civil rights.
“Our fights are easy compared to the rest of the country,” Gomez opined.
Mayors across California and school districts have vowed their cities will protect the undocumented community by not taking on the enforcement of federal immigration laws. State leaders have gone so far as to hire former Attorney General Eric Holder to serve as outside counsel to the legislature and defend the state’s constitution against Trump.
CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas says the country is ready to fight back.
“The day Donald Trump won wasn’t the day our civil rights were lost,” she told the protesters.
“When they say they’re going to roll back on our progress we have to say no!”
Rallies are not the only way to be heard, said Correa. y.”
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” he told the crowd, which included a large number of union members carrying signs reading, “stop the hate” and “we are here to stay.”
“Become citizens, register to vote – and please vote,” urged Steyer, who has poured millions of dollars of his own money into political causes, most notably to protect the environment.
“We know voting matters, but it’s what happens between elections that matters more.”
Stretches of Spring Street and Second Street in downtown Los Angeles will be closed beginning Friday as construction work continues on the $1.55 billion Regional Connector Transit Project, Metro announced Tuesday.
A series of weekend closures will see Spring Street blocked to traffic between First and Third streets and Second Street between Broadway and Main Street, according to Metro.
The closures begin at 6 p.m. Friday and will remain in place until 5 a.m. Monday and will recur each weekend through March, officials say.
The closures will not be in effect, however, during the Christmas and New Year’s weekends.
Businesses and residences will be accessible and bus service will be detoured around the closures.
The 1.9-mile underground connection will give Metro riders the ability to take light-rail trips between Azusa and Long Beach, and from the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles to Santa Monica, without transferring.
The project is expected to be completed by 2021.
Los Angeles is committed to delivering the “Greenest Games” in Olympics history, LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said Monday while pointing to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s recent “visionary” speech at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Conference as evidence.
Garcetti delivered the keynote address to a network of the world’s largest cities at the C40 conference in Mexico City last Thursday, where he announced new plans for L.A. to curb greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change, and increase electric vehicle use.
“The LA 2024 team are so proud of our mayor in taking this global leadership position on tackling climate change,” Wasserman said. “The Olympic family can be totally confident that Los Angeles 2024 would be a Games-changer when it comes to environmental sustainability.”
The private LA 2024 Bid Committee is competing with bid committees in Paris and Budapest to bring the Olympics to the Los Angeles area in 2024.
At the C40 conference, Garcetti talked about L.A.’s plan to work with other West Coast cities to fight climate change, discussed L.A.’s existing target of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and committed the city to being a leader in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5
degrees Celsius, as outlined in the international Paris Climate Agreement adopted in December 2015.
“Every city, every community, every individual has the power to fight climate change,” Garcetti said at the C40 conference. “We do not need to wait for any one person or government to show us the way. Acting together as cities, we can set an example for our neighbors, spur clean energy innovation, clean up our air, and speed up the inevitable transition to a low-carbon, opportunity-rich future for us all.”
The Los Angeles City Council set into motion Wednesday the initial stages of a $1.4 billion plan to repair a backlog of broken sidewalks that will allow the city to turn over the responsibility of future upkeep to property owners.
City officials plan to spend the funds, which will average at least $30 million a year over the next three decades, to fix about 11,000 miles of sidewalks throughout the city. The amount of money was agreed to as part of a legal settlement with disability advocates.
The number of damaged sidewalks began piling up about 40 years ago, when city leaders saddled themselves with the responsibility of fixing broken sidewalks damaged by tree roots, but soon ran out of money to finish the job.
In the intervening years, the question of who is responsible for the condition of the sidewalks was in dispute because state law says the task of maintaining sidewalks belongs to the adjacent property owners.
The City Council voted Wednesday to adopt a “fix-and-release” strategy that includes repealing a law that makes the city responsible for the repairs, while also committing to paying for the entire expense of one-time repairs on broken sidewalks next to both residential and commercial properties.
“For decades, the city of Los Angeles lacked a coherent plan to deal with crumbling sidewalks in our neighborhoods,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said.
“That’s all changing” with the sidewalk repair program – dubbed “Safe Sidewalks LA” – that is being launched today, he said Wednesday.
City officials will begin rolling out several sidewalk repair programs beginning next month. A website will go up on Thursday at http://sidewalks.lacity.org to accept repair requests.
One of the more immediate repairs will likely be the result of requests by those who have a physical disability and have trouble walking over damaged sidewalks and curb ramps. They will also be able to submit requests to have the repairs occur sooner.
The city is also in the midst of paying for repairs of sidewalks next to government facilities.
A broader, complaint-based program is also in the works, with the city expected to begin studying the environmental effects of doing repairs on a more widespread basis. The study would look into how the city will mitigate the effects of trees being removed as the result of the sidewalk repairs yet to be addressed.
While the environmental impact is being studied, property owners can move their repairs up in the queue by agreeing to pay for half of the costs. A rebate program will be available for three years to reimburse property owners up to $2,000 for sidewalks next to residential lots or $4,000 for those next to commercial lots.
Under the lawsuit settlement, the city is required to prioritize sidewalk repairs next to government facilities, transportation corridors and medical buildings.
A long-stalled plan to legalize sidewalk vending in Los Angeles will be taken up at a public hearing next month, amid concerns that misdemeanor penalties now on the books could put vendors, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, at risk for deportation under Donald Trump’s presidency.
The issue had been held up for more than a year in the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee, whose chair, Councilman Joe Buscaino, announced the scheduling of a Dec. 12 public hearing on the issue at City Hall.
The plan needs the approval of members of his committee if it is to go to the full City Council for consideration.
In a letter to their colleagues announcing the hearing, Buscaino and fellow Councilman Curren Price argued that quick action to legalize vending activity on sidewalks is necessary given recent national developments.
“Swiftly moving forward to adopt this policy gives us as a city the opportunity to stand up to the overt racism that has plagued our national discourse as of late,” they wrote.
Price, who chairs the Economic Development Committee that advanced the vending legalization plan more than a year ago, said recently that the issue of street vending remains controversial among members of the City Council and their varied constituents.
Council members are “still trying to build a consensus and must properly address concerns brought up by my council colleagues, business leaders and the community at large,” Price said in a statement to City News Service earlier this month.
Street vending policy has long presented a complex challenge for council members, who have said they need to look beyond a “one-size-fits-all” policy to balance competing interests and the needs of various neighborhoods.
Enforcement has also proved a challenge, with council members saying they need tools that are strong enough to prevent non-permitted vendors from operating, while at the same time not punishing vendors excessively.
Buscaino and Price’s letter follows pressure from activists concerned that vendors who are struggling to make ends meet are being treated as criminals under the city’s current vending laws.
The scheduling of the hearing also comes as stakes have potentially been raised for undocumented immigrants following the election of Trump, a vocal proponent of deporting immigrants who are in the country illegally and have criminal records.
Activists have said that many vendors have the added worry of potentially being flagged for deportation or becoming ineligible for citizenship if they are charged with a misdemeanor.
Price and Buscaino state in their letter that “recent talks about changes to our nation’s immigration policy, including threats to deport millions of undocumented immigrants — starting with those with criminal records — has created significant fear amongst our immigrant communities.”
“Continuing to impose criminal misdemeanor penalties for vending disproportionately affects, and unfairly punishes, undocumented immigrants, and could potentially put them at risk for deportation,” they wrote.
The council members are proposing that the full City Council ask the City Attorney to prepare a revision that would “immediately decriminalize violations” in the city municipal code 42.00, which regulates sidewalk vending. This change could potentially advance faster than other elements of the vendor permitting program, according to a Buscaino aide.
Activists recently asked City Attorney Mike Feuer to suspend enforcement of the sidewalk vending ban while the council develops a new policy. But Feuer spokesman Rob Wilcox told CNS that the office “will continue to enforce the law.”
The City Council passed the original street vending laws and has the ability to “remove it,” he said.
Wilcox also said the Los Angeles Police Department “is the agency that writes the citations or refers a case for prosecution.”
Since Trump was elected president, various Los Angeles city leaders have publicly assured the immigrant community that they plan to resist federal efforts to deport immigrants with low-level offenses. Among them is LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who says the police department will continue with a decades-old policy of not actively helping immigration officials looking to deport
immigrants who have not committed serious crimes.
Price and Buscaino argued that the current vending policies do not work, and even Girl Scouts selling cookies from the sidewalk could potentially be issued citations.
“The city of Los Angeles has a broken and dysfunctional policy as it relates to the vending of food and merchandise on public sidewalks,” their letter says. “We are the only major city in the United States that prohibits vending of every type, at all hours, on all of the 10,750 miles of sidewalks throughout Los Angeles.”
They also noted that there is no ban on food trucks, “even though they are utilizing the same sidewalks to sell their products, only from the other side of the curb.”
The plan that will be heard in Buscaino’s committee calls for permitting stationary vending, such as taco stands, in commercial and industrial areas around the city, as long as the walkway is not obstructed and no more than two vendors are operating per block.
Most vending in residential areas would be prohibited under the plan, though an exception could be made for smaller, mobile push-cart vendors, the council members said.
The plan also calls for doing away with misdemeanor penalties, and instead, enforcing the rules through fines, confiscation of property and the revocation or suspension of permits. Only vendors with permits would be allowed to operate in the city.
Vendors would be limited to operating during the day and evening, such as between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Other hours of operations could be permitted for special cases, such as sporting and entertainment events, the council members said.
The proposed policy would also allow for the creation of “special districts” where more permissive or restrictive rules could be established. In setting up the districts, neighborhoods would need to have a “legitimate” reason for making the rules more restrictive. Those who want more flexible rules would have to show that it would not have a negative impact, under the proposal.
Those wishing to set up such special district would be able to do it through the City Council, the Board of Public Works or a petition with signatures from 20 percent of property owners or businesses in the proposed area.
The filing period opened Monday for people interested in running for office in Los Angeles’ March election.
Aspiring candidates will have from Nov. 7-11 to submit their declarations of intention to run, and about a month – from Nov. 12 to Dec. 7 – to submit nominating petitions.
The declaration and petiation filings should be submitted to the Office of the City Clerk’s Election Division at the Piper Technical Center, 555 Ramirez St., Space 300, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
The March primary and May general elections include races for mayor, city attorney and city controller. Also open are the eight City Council seats representing odd-numbered districts, and the even-numbered seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles Community College District boards.
City animal shelters will offer free cat adoptions starting Saturday, as part of feline-friendly promotions coinciding with National Cat Day.
A grant from the ASPCA will be used to cover the adoption fees, which are $76 for kittens under four months old, until the money runs out. Cats over four months old are already free to adopt.
Those who are unable to make a permanent commitment can also look into fostering kittens and adult cats on a temporary basis.
To find the nearest animal shelter, visit http://www.laanimalservices.com .