Top Seed Chatsworth Rallies to Beat Garfield for City Title

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Garfield High School’s dream season came to an abrupt halt Saturday, as top-seeded Chatsworth rallied for a 66-61 victory to capture the City Section Division III boys’ basketball championship.

On a warm night in a hot and capacity-filled Roybal Learning Center gym, the Bulldogs were cold at the free throw line in the first half, and it proved to be costly.

Garfield led 27-22 at halftime, but could have left the court leading by much more. The Bulldogs, however, made only five of 17 free throw attempts.

“We haven’t been a good free throw shooting team all season and it definitely affected us tonight,” Garfied Coach Ricardo Rivas said. “We practice free throws every day, but they didn’t fall. It wasn’t our night.”

Garfield High School’s Julian Sandoval, right, fights off the pressure from Chatsworth’s Derrick Hector in Saturday’s City championship game. EGP Photo by Mario Villegas

It was, however, another big night for Chatsworth’s Derrick Hector, who drilled five 3-pointers to score a game-high 26 points to lead the Chancellors (25-9) to their first City title.

Hector was at his best when his team needed him most, scoring 12 points in the game’s final five minutes to bring Chatsworth back from a 53-50 deficit. He hit two 3-pointers and converted two free throws to put his team up, 58-53.

“What can you say?” Rivas said. “He hit the tough shots when he had to. He just played a heck of a game. My hat goes off to him and Chatsworth.”

Garfield (21-7) sorely missed its starting point guard David Laroue, who fouled out with 5:30 left in the game. Laroue scored only five points, but the Bulldogs could have used his defense and leadership.

“It really hurt us when Laroue fouled out,” Rivas said. “That’s when Hector got hot. Laroue’s our leader and we kind of go as he goes.”

Both teams were riddled by turnovers in the first half, as they combined for 29 miscues. Chatsworth Coach Scott Switalla said he was disappointed with his team’s sloppy play in the first half.

“We turned the ball over 15 times (in the first half) and I don’t know when we had 15 turnovers in a game, let alone a half.” he said. “Garfield shot terribly at the free throw line to keep us in the game. They turned the ball over and a lot of it was unforced, and we didn’t capitalize. It was a very sloppy game in the first half.”

Junior center Joe Joaquin had a big night for Garfield with 21 points and 19 rebounds. Frankie Aguilar scored 11 points and Mauricio Camacho had seven and Julian Sandoval added six.

Garfield, which rolled to the Eastern League title with an 11-1 record, made its first-ever appearance in a City Section championship game.

Groundwater Festival Opens Saturday

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

For the fourth year running, the Water Replenishment District (WRD) will host its Annual Groundwater Festival, “Treasure Beneath Our Feet,” on Saturday at its headquarters in Lakewood.

The free public event is expected to draw as many as 4,000 participants, according to WRD. The festival aims to teach people about the importance of the groundwater supply, both in terms of quantity and quality in fun and informative atmosphere.

The festival will include family-friendly interactive educational activities for the whole family, as well as 40 exhibitors representing water companies, government agencies, environmental groups, the Aquarium of the Pacific, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and WRD’s award winning Eco-Gardener classes.

“We hope the public joins us this Saturday to help us celebrate our 4th Annual Groundwater Festival,” said WRD Board President Sergio Calderon. “This fun, educational and interactive event can be enjoyed by all as they learn about WRD’s mission to protect, replenish and preserve the ‘treasure beneath our feet,’ groundwater.”

The Groundwater Festival concludes National Groundwater Awareness Week, which runs from March 6th to the 12th. Locally, groundwater supplies nearly 40 percent of the region’s water consumption that is used by 10 percent of the state’s population.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  on Saturday, March 12, at WRD headquarters: 4040 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712.  For more information on WRD and the Groundwater Festival “Treasure Beneath Our Feet, ” visit www.wrd.org.

Cal State L.A. Providing Free Tax Return Service

March 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

If you earn $49,000 or less a year and are unable to fill out your own tax returns, you can get them done for free at Cal State L.A. on Saturdays through April 2.

For the 13th year in a row, accounting students certified by the IRS are providing income-tax preparation services to low- to moderate-income individuals through Cal State L.A.’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program.

VITA services for the 2011 tax season will take place on the third floor of Salazar Hall, room 343. It will operate on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.  Appointments are not necessary.

To save time, tax filers are encouraged to get all necessary documents together before arriving. Since there are certain limitations and requirements that are mandated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), tax filers are encouraged to see what they should bring with them, as well what types of returns can and cannot be done. For details, go to http://www.calstatela.edu/programs/vita/ or call (323) 215-5486.

The number of volunteers trained to be part of the program was expanded from 60 last year to 90 this tax season, according to VITA site manager and director of marketing Frank Murguia.

“This was done in part to reduce the wait time of clients, as well as to expand the number of students who would receive real-world tax accounting experience, said Murguia who added they hope to process 500 tax returns by the filing deadline.

In 2010, the CSULA VITA program received the prestigious ‘Lowest Rejection Rate’ award from the IRS for the second year in a row and a Maria Shriver Letter of Recognition for providing outstanding services to the community for the past few years.

March 8 Election Numbers

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It appears that fewer than 200,000 of Los Angeles’ 1.6 million registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, either in person at the polls or by mail. The total number of voters inches up some, when voters eligible to vote in the Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles Community College District are factored in, bringing the total number of ballots cast to 221,487, according to unofficial results on Los Angeles’ City Clerk’s website.

Here are some of the local results.

City Council-District 14
José Huizar             9,266    64.22%
Rudy Martinez            5,163       35.78%

LAUSD Board of Education-District 5
Luis Sanchez              9,500     45.37%             Run Off
Bennett Kayser        8,132        38.79%            Run Off
John Fernandez            3,319          15.85%

Ballot Measures
Charter Amendment G-Fire and Police Pension Plan
Yes    129,695                        74.54%
No      44,294                             25.46%

Charter Amendment H-Contract Bidder Campaign Restrictions
Yes     131,553                        74.98%
No       43,904                            25.02%

Charter Amendment I-DWP Ratepayer Advocate
Yes     137,581                        77.57%
No       39,776                             22.43%

Charter Amendment J- DWP Budget Report to Council; Transfer Procedures
Yes     143,422                        81.53%
No           32,486                        18.47%

Charter Amendment L-Library Funding
Yes     113,350                                    63.32%
No           65,669                                    36.68%

Proposition M-Taxation of Medical Marijuana Collectives
Yes    106,654                                      59.34%
No           73,074                                        40.66%

Charter Amendment N-Campaign Finance
Yes      119,643                                      70.19%
No          50,820                                          29.81%

Proposition O-Oil Production Tax
Yes       82,898                                           48.93%
No       86,509                                       51.07%

Charter Amendment P-Establish Emergency Fund
Yes     107,996                                      65.91%
No        55,886                                           34.09%

Charter Amendment Q-Employment Provision
Yes      102,455                                      62.38%
No         61.784                                           37.62%

March 10 2011 Issue

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Smooth Sailing For Incumbents in Tuesday’s Primary Election

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With nearly two times the number of votes as his challenger, Councilmember Jose Huizar will get a second full-term representing Los Angeles’ Council District 14.

Following an often-contentious race, Huizar beat back his challenger, Eagle Rock businessman Rudy Martinez, getting 64.22 percent of the vote, according to Tuesday’s still unofficial election vote tally.

Martinez garnered 35.78 percent of the votes in the district that runs from Boyle Heights to Eagle Rock. Many had predicted the race would be closer.

Jose Huizar thanked this supporters at his victory party at Salisean High School. Also pictured, Huizar’s mother, wife and eldest daughter. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Going in to Tuesday’s election, voters regularly criticized both candidates for running dirty campaigns.
“I am honored and humbled that the voters of Council District 14 overwhelmingly supported my re-election,” said Huizar said in a written statement.

Three other incumbents in the city council—Paul Krekorian, Tom LaBonge, Tony Cardenas, and Herb Wesson—also enjoyed large leads in the election. Councilman Bernard Parks, however, may have narrowly avoided a runoff in the 8th District, but with an unknown number of provisional and absentee still to be counted, the outcome remains up in the air today.

Meanwhile, Mitchell Englander will be the newest member on the council, replacing his boss, Greig Smith in 12th District; Smith did not seek re-election.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education contest, all three candidates for Yolie Flores’ District 5 seat failed to receive a majority of the votes, forcing a runoff. Flores did not seek reelection.

On Tuesday night, Luis Sanchez, chief of staff for school board president Monica Garcia, was leading the race, followed by the teachers’ union backed candidate, retired teacher Bennett Kayser. John Fernandez, also a retired teacher, was in third place. Sanchez and Kayser will face off in the May 17 runoff election.

Three incumbent members of the Board of Education, Marguerite LaMotte (District 1), Tamar Galatzan (District 3), and Richard Vladovic (District 7) cruised to easy re-election victories.

In addition, two incumbents to the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, Mona Field (Seat 1) and Miguel Santiago (Seat 7), also easily won re-election. San Fernando City Councilman Steven Veres won Seat 3, with a high enough percentage of votes to avoid a May 17 runoff. A runoff will be needed in the race for Seat 5. Scott Svonkin will square off with teacher Lydia Gutierrez.

All the LA City charter amendments passed with a large margin except Proposition O, which would have taxed oil production in the city. Prop O appears to have been narrowly defeated, but the final outcome could hinge on a count of late and disputed ballots.

Per the city charter, the City Clerk has until March 18 to complete the official canvass.

Voters Approve Ballot Measures in Monterey Park and Commerce

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

While much of the media attention has been focused on the elections in corruption-plagued Bell, voters in several other local cities also were at the polls on Tuesday. Among them, the cities of Commerce and Monterey Park.

Incumbents Keep Seats in Monterey Park; Trash Contract Measure Passes

Monterey Park council race candidate and incumbent Mitchell Ing points to the number of votes that put him in the lead on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Mitchell Ing)

Trash contracts will be required to go out to bid in Monterey Park with voters passing Measure BB by a wide margin on Tuesday.

Incumbent Mitchell Ing and newcomer Teresa Real Sebastian, the top two winners in the contest for three vacant city council seats, were also vocal supporters of the measure. Incumbent Anthony Wong rounded out the top three.

Ing received 3,099, Sebastian received 2,546, and Wong received 2,223 votes in the unofficial count.
Just 143 votes separated Wong and Bob Gin who came in fourth with 2,080 votes. Luis Estrada trailed Gin with 1,973 votes.

Hans Liang, a top fundraiser, followed closely behind Estrada with 1,933 votes.

Measure BB passed 3,662 to 1,451.

On Wednesday, the city clerk’s office was still tallying up the number of provisional and vote-by-mail ballots that still need to be counted.

Ing said his win gives him the “assurance that voters like my approach.”

Sebastian’s win was a “pleasant surprise,” he said. Chinese media reporters who attended his victory party left early thinking the new council would consist of all Asian American members because of early numbers, he said.

Ing says he thinks Sebastian will be a good representative for non-Asian residents in the city, adding that part of her appeal was that she was the only woman running in these elections.

Sebastian told EGP on Wednesday that she is still taking in the news, but she is “eager and ready” for the job.

Voter turnout was 21 percent.

Commerce Contest Goes to Incumbent-Led Slate For Now; Term Limit Measure Passes
Commerce city council terms will be limited to three consecutive 4-year terms, or twelve years total, now that voters overwhelmingly passed Measure A on Tuesday.

Unofficial results have Incumbent Joe Aguilar, with 574 votes, and his running mate, newcomer Denise Robles, with 458 votes, dominating the field to win the two open city council seats. Together they took in nearly half the votes in a field of eight candidates.

Jaime Valencia came up short by less than a hundred with 372 votes. Jose Acero was not far behind with 312 votes, while his running mate, George Kevanian trailed with 201.

Measure A passed with 675 yes votes and 251 no votes.

The results could still change as there are still less then 67 provisional ballots and 166 vote by mail ballots that need to be processed, according to the city clerk.

Voter turnout at the polls was 16.52 percent, but this could increase when the vote-by-mail ballots are counted.

UPDATED: Commerce Contest Goes to Incumbent-Led Slate For Now; Term Limit Measure Passes

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Commerce city council terms will be limited to three consecutive terms, or twelve years, with voters overwhelmingly passing Measure A on Tuesday.

Unofficial results have Incumbent Joe Aguilar, with 574 votes, and his running mate and newcomer Denise Robles, with 458 votes, dominating the field to win the two open city council seats. Together they took in nearly half the votes in a field of eight candidates.

Jaime Valencia came in short by less than a hundred with 372 votes. Jose Acero was not far behind him with 312 votes, while his running mate George Kevanian trailed by another hundred votes with 201.

Measure A passed with 675 yes votes and 251 no votes.

The results could still change as there are less 67 provisional ballots and 166 vote by mail ballots that still need to be processed, according to the city clerk.

Voter turnout at the polling places was 16.52 percent, but this could increase with addition of vote-by-mail turnout information.

Commerce Contest Goes to Incumbent Slate; Term Limit Measure Passes

March 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Commerce city council terms will be limited to three consecutive terms, or twelve years, with voters passing Measure A on Tuesday.

Unofficial results have Incumbent Joe Aguilar and his running mate and newcomer Denise Robles dominating the field to win the two open city council seats. Together they took in nearly half the votes in a field of eight candidates.

Jaime Valencia came up short in the early numbers by less than a hundred votes. Jose Acero was not far behind him, while his running mate George Kevanian trailed by another hundred votes.

Voter turnout was 16.52 percent.

Incumbents Keep Seats in Monterey Park; Trash Contract Measure Passes

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Trash contracts will be required to go out to bid in Monterey Park with voters passing Measure BB on Tuesday.

Incumbent Mitchell Ing and newcomer Teresa Real Sebastian, the top two winners in the contest for three vacant seats, were also vocal supporters of the measure. Incumbent Anthony Wong rounded out the winners.

Edged out were Bob Gin who came in fourth in votes, and Luis Estrada, who trailed behind. Hans Liang, a top fundraiser, followed closely behind Estrada.

Ing said his win gives him the “assurance that voters like my approach.”

Sebastian’s win was a “pleasant surprise,” he said. Chinese newspaper reporters who attended his victory party left early thinking the new council would consist of all Asian American members  because of earlier numbers, he said.

Ing thinks Sebastian would be a good representative for non-Asian residents in the city, adding that part of her appeal was the she was the only woman running in these elections.

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