City Terrace Resident Receives ‘Woman of the Year’ Award

March 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The long-time president of a local community organization was recognized Monday during the 28th Annual “Woman of the Year” Awards presented by The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Commission for Women.

Supervisor Gloria Molina, pictured left, presents the Woman of the Year award to City Terrace resident Gloria Chavez, far right, for her work in the community. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Gloria Chavez is a resident of City Terrace, a hilly blue-collar neighborhood located in Unincorporated East Los Angeles near the junction of the San Bernardino 10 and 710 Freeways. Supervisor Gloria Molina selected Chavez as her First District’s 2013 honoree; she was among nine honorees from across the county recognized for their hard work and dedication at a special award luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The awards are presented in March as part of the observance of Women’s History Month, a time to pay tribute to the impact women have had in both the pubic and private sectors.

The County’s honorees were selected for their service to the community, and more specifically as volunteers working on behalf of women’s issues. Within their professions, they have advocated for women’s rights, and according to the event program, the honorees are exemplary role models to women and have worked to bring about social and economic change to further women’s equality.

“As a civic leader, Gloria Chavez is known for her tenacity and fearlessness – two traits I highly respect,” Molina said. “Over the years, she’s joined me in tackling numerous issues ranging from public safety to basic county services.”

Chavez has served as the City Terrace Coordinating Council’s president for 26 years. Under her leadership, the Council has encouraged young women to go to college and to spend their summers working in the organization’s Creative Thinking Program where they not only help tutor school-aged children, but also serve as positive role models for the mostly low-income participants, especially the girls. The program also provides high school aged youth the opportunity to volunteer as peer tutors, according to the commission.

Back in the 1970’s, Chavez was a homemaker and admits she didn’t know “the first thing about community organizing.” But seeing many problems she got involved with the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) in East Los Angeles and became the group’s first president. She went on to establish the Coordinating Council in the mid-1980s, according to the commission.

“As President of the City Terrace Coordinating Council, she demonstrated what women in leadership positions can accomplish for their communities She also demonstrated an ‘I can’ attitude. She encourages everyone to never fear unknown territories, such as community organizing,” according to the commission’s event program.

“Ms. Chavez has encouraged women to further their education, serve as role models for young women and to believe in their abilities to learn and to enact change.”

The City Terrace Coordinating Council has taken on several issues including public safety and creating enrichment opportunities for young people in the community. Over the last 26 years, the council, lead by Chavez has brought new traffic lights and streetlights, paved roads and neighborhood sidewalks, and a reduction in graffiti. Violent crime is down in City Terrace.

Molina said Gloria Chavez’ “nuts and bolts approach is remarkably effective – and with her help, together we’ve witnessed a civic renaissance in City Terrrace. It is more informed, vocal, and active than it has been in years, and so much of that is thanks to Gloria Chavez’ organizing skills.”

Gloria Chavez was presented with the Woman of the Year Award at the Los Angeles County Commision for Women ceremony on March 11 at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Also honored at the Los Angeles County Commission for Women’s 28th Annual “Women of the Year” Award Ceremony, are: Second District honoree Marsha Temple; Third District honoree Kim Lamorie; Fourth District honoree Sara Pol-Lim; Fifth District honorees Gloria Pollack, Karen Sutherland and Ingrid Chapman. Community-at-Large Honorees are Xiomara Flores-Holguin in the area of Health, Joyce Feucht-Haviar in the area of Education, Zna Portlock Houston, Esq. In the area of Law/Public Safety.

LA County Commission for Women, commissioners are: Veda E. Ward, Ph. D., president; Becky A. Shevlin, Vice President; Charlotte Lesser, treasurer, Ruth V. Creary, Ph.D.; Reiko Duba; Norma L. Gallegos; Gerda Govine, Ed. D.; Alice S. Petrossian; Michelle Piñedo: and Olivia G. Rodriguez.

For more information on the commission and the awards visit http://laccw.lacounty.gov/


Wyvernwood Protests Pick-Up, Push Anti-Profit Message

March 14, 2013 by · 19 Comments 

The fight over a proposed Boyle Heights area development is heating up again, with opponents to the project stepping up their protest with a rally yesterday where they demanded rental units be “for people, not for profit.”

The proposed redevelopment of the Wyvernwood Garden Apartment community could be up for final approval by the city later this year.

Backers of the project, which includes a number of community groups and local unions, see the proposed development as a way to bring needed jobs and improved housing stock to the working class neighborhood located just east of Downtown Los Angeles.

Residents and Community members for the preservation of the privately-owned apartment community gathered for a rally in February. (Photo courtesy of Paulo Freire Lopez)

Opponents see the “New Wyvernwood” as the tearing down of a community for increased profits and as adding more density in an already dense area.

The spacious green lawns of the residential community have become a battlefield of sorts, with supporters and detractors each holding rallies there to draw attention to their respective positions.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Actividades en Wyvernwood Aumentan, En Contra y A Favor del Proyecto de Reurbanización

On Wednesday, it was the opponents attempting to gather support for their efforts to block the project that would dramatically alter the privately owned 70-acre community by more than doubling the number of housing units and the construction of high-rise buildings. They claim approval of the redevelopment would result in the loss of affordable housing in an area where much of the population is low-income.

Wednesday’s “Take Back Wyvernwood” rally was just one of several planned protests being orchestrated by the Frente de Apoyo al Comite de la Esperanza (FACE a coalition of community-based organizations supporting the Comité de la Esperanza (Committee of Hope), which has been leading the opposition to the project.

An online petition to “Save Wyvernwood” — which opponents have started comparing to the forced evictions at Chavez Ravine in the 1950s to make room for the construction of Dodger Stadium — is another of the tools being used to gather opposition to the demolition of what is often referred to by supporters as a small village located within a larger city.

Wednesday’s rally was also in support of the national  “Homes For All” campaign being promoted by the Right to the City Alliance (RTTC), a coalition of 45 organizations and headquartered in New York, according to El Comité President Leonardo Lopez and spokesman Roberto Mojica. The campaign seeks to draw attention to the housing crisis being faced by low- and extremely low-income people of color in urban and suburban settings and, according to the groups website, call for the creation of one million new affordable and public housing units that are free them from the “grips of corporate and market-driven interests.”

Mojica told EGP that FACE is ramping up its efforts to inform the community about what they claim are the project’s drawbacks, such as the loss of rent-controlled units.

Wyvernwood was designed to foster a sense of community and open spaces where children can play, Lopez told EGP. It’s worth fighting for, he said.

Redevelopment would bring gentrification and displace low-income working class Latino families, some who have lived at Wyvernwood for generations, opponents claim.

Fifteen Group’s plan calls for a mixed-use community, demolishing several buildings and increasing the number of apartments from 1,187 to 4,400 rental units and condominiums in several new structures as tall as 18 to 24 stories high.

According to East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) community organizer Jose Fernandez, the Post-World War II community should be preserved and apartments units fully renovated.

“The property owner claims the apartments are so worn down that the only solution is to demolish them and start over again, but since they’ve been owners, maintenance has not been at adequate standards—that’s why there’s so many issues with the buildings,” Fernandez said.

However, opposition to the project is far from universal.

One group that may not support efforts to block the development is the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, which includes a cross section of the area’s stakeholders. In January, the council voted to support  “The New Wyvernwood,” but the vote and other decisions made at the meeting were nullified over procedural errors related to a change in meeting location.

According to BHNC President Edward Padilla, when the council found it had been locked out of its regular meeting place at the Boyle Heights Senior Center, they moved the meeting to the nearby Nichiren Shu Buddhist Temple, which they did not know was a violation of the requirement that meeting location changes be posted at least 24-hours in advance. The city attorney recommended that all decisions made at the meeting be vacated, Padilla explained.

Mojica and Lopez contend, however, that the city attorney’s decision was the result of the grievance they filed which alleged only supporters of Fifteen Group were invited to the meeting where the developer would present the project. They said the council did not even place a notice on the door telling people where they had moved the meeting to, and they only stumbled upon the meeting by asking people on the street if they knew where the large group of people, whose cars were parked in the lot, had headed.

A former member of the BHNC, Lopez said the issue is too important to be taken lightly. He emphasized that all of Boyle Heights could be impacted by the increased density and poorer air quality during the construction that could last a decade.

The BHNC recommendation is intended to inform the Los Angeles City Council about the community’s support or opposition the project.

There are many supporters of The New Wyvernwood, including current BHNC members Terry Marquez and Margarita Amador, as well as some new and long-time Wyvernwood residents who want modern facilities and amenities the market-rate apartments don’t currently offer.

Other supporters including Homeboy Industries, LA County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary-Treasurer Maria Elena Durazo, and others who support Fifteen Group’s Boyle Heights Jobs Collaborative that would prioritize the hiring of people from the local community.

As many as 10,000 construction-related jobs and another 3,000 non-construction jobs are expected to be generated by the 10-year, $2 billion redevelopment, according to Fifteen Group.

In addition to construction jobs, the project will bring modern housing, new green spaces, new retail options and public safety enhancements, Fifteen Group Principal Steven Fink previously told EGP.

Current residents in good standing will be able to move into a new apartment at the same rent, and the Resident Retention Plans will be legally binding and formalized in the project agreement with the City of Los Angeles, according to Fink.

Despite those assertions, however, opponents to the project are skeptical.

The City Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to take up the project at its May 9 meeting.

L.A. No Longer a City of Newcomers

March 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Marking a major change in demographics, by the end of this year L.A. will no longer be a city where most of the people were born outside California – a first for the city, and a “homegrown revolution,” said Dowell Myers, a USC professor directing the Population Dynamics Research Group, referencing a USC study released Tuesday.

In addition, the new study projects drastically-reduced population growth rates and major demographic population shifts.

“It’s an extraordinary moment in Los Angeles history – everything we know about L.A. will change,” Myers said. “With slower growth and change, we may find it easier, certainly less frantic, to keep up with public needs for new services and private demands for new development.”

The report predicts that by 2030 two-thirds of young Angeleno adults – new taxpayers, workers and homebuyers – will have been born in California.

Previous major trends that defined demographic changes in the Southland have diminished, beginning in 1990 and intensifying in the last decade, the report said. That includes the historic high level of immigration and ethnic change.

The Latino share of population was growing by 10 percent in the 1980s, but slowed to 3.2 percent in the first decade of this century, the report indicated.

Plus, the existing immigrant population is becoming increasingly long-settled, with roots in this nation that are developed over decades, the report said.

A coming wave of seniors is forecast, as baby boomers hang up their work clothes.

The ratio of seniors to prime-working-age people held steady in the ‘80s and ‘90s, at around 19 seniors per 100 workers. That ratio is expected to balloon to 36.4 seniors per 100 working age adults by 2030, according to the USC report.

Overall population growth will be low, according to the researchers. The L.A. population is expected to grow by 312,347 this decade, compared to a growth of 1.4 million people during the ‘80s.

‘Outfest Fusion Lab’ Pops Up in Highland Park

March 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Sandwiched between a furniture store and a hair salon, with a rental sign still hanging out front, a Highland Park storefront has been transformed into a dynamic space for the discussion and promotion of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality.

For this month only, the locale is home to Outfest’s inaugural “Fusion Lab” that offers programming such as workshops and film screenings, as well as a filmmaker work stations and equipment rental for those who want to create their own films.

“Fusion Lab” offers workshops and film screenings at its location on 5503 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Outfest is a non-profit organization that promotes LGBT inclusion in cinema. Its mission is to foster “artistic expression of gender, sexuality and LGBT culture and its transformative social impact on the world,” thereby protecting LGBT history, showcasing the present and nurturing LBGT future, according to their website.

“Fusion Lab is an expansion of Outfest’s commitment to nurturing emerging artists and to support filmmakers of color,” said Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer in a press release. “We are excited to see the stories that emerge from this vibrant community.”

Organizers acknowledge the location, without permanent signage, is a little easy to miss, but they hope Angelenos will seek it out anyway.

Highland Park was the venue for Fusion Lab’s inaugural event for its “deep history, cultural diversity, and dedication to the artists,” according to the group.

The lab kicked off Friday, March 8 with the screening of seven short films under the banner “Welcome to my World”, this includes three Latino-theme films: “Dish” (2009) about two young men and shot in East Los Angeles; “Remember Me in Red” (2010) about transgender friends and filmed in Los Angeles, and “Divorcio USA 2005/2012” (2012) about a couple divorcing and filmed in Mexico.

The short film screenings are scheduled under the names “Welcome to my World”, “Catch Me If You Can,” “Hello Darling” and “Love Me or Leave Me.” A total of 14 short films focusing on the Latino community or in Spanish, are sprinkled in the offerings. Screenings will take place every Friday, Saturday, Sunday until March 30. The screening area only has room for about 60 people, so registering online is encouraged to ensure you’ll have a seat.

The free workshops on directing, writing and editing theory will be taught by Outfest alumni. Workshop attendance is also limited; the first workshop on March 10 taught by Director Jamie Babbit was full several days in advance, according to Stoughton-Jackson.

The lab is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 8p.m., Fridays and Saturdays noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays noon to 8 p.m. Film cameras and editing software at computers will be available to use free of charge.

The film lab in Highland Park is supported by a grant from the Irvine Foundation.

Fusion Lab is located at 5503 North Figueroa Street, (at North Avenue 55).

For more information, to see a schedule of films to be screened visit http://www.outfest.org/outfest-fusion-lab/ or call (213) 480-7088.


Bell Gardens Casino Eyes Resort Style Expansion

March 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Bell Gardens appears to be on the verge of approving zoning changes that would make it possible for one its largest revenue generators to expand its business in the southeast city.

The Bicycle Casino is proposing to add a 100-room hotel to its site on Eastern Avenue near the 710 Freeway, but will need the city to first amend its zoning code to move forward. If approved, the Casino would expand to over 230,000 square-feet, creating a new resort-like venue similar to one in nearby Commerce.

In addition to the new hotel, the proposed expansion would include an additional gaming area, nightclub, restaurant/bar, business offices and retail shops, according to a city staff report.

The city council had planned on hearing public comment on the proposed zoning ordinance changes needed for the development at its meeting this past Monday, but Assistant City Attorney John W. Lam told the council that a technical issue involving the posting of the item on the consent calendar required them to postpone the first public hearing.

“It was a clerical mistake,” the city’s director of community development, Abel Avalos, said. “We want to make sure its clear and not have people question why it was mislabeled.”

The public hearing has been rescheduled for the March 25 council meeting.

Although the casino technically only needs the approval of the planning commission to move forward with their proposed project, the city must first amend its zoning code to create a defined use for a casino resort under its land use code. Avalos told EGP the new ordinances would clean up the city’s land use code and make it easier for the project to move forward.

In addition to clarifying the land use code, the proposed ordinance would adopt a standard parking ratio for a casino resort.

In addition to the 76,508 square-foot expansion, the casino would add additional parking to accommodate the new parking demand.

Even though the proposed hotel expansion would result in a reduction of the existing parking spaces, according to the gaming venues’ “Casino Resort Parking Study,” The Bicycle Casino plans to provide more parking spaces than required after the expansion.

Avalos told EGP the parking ratio is important because it ensures there is enough parking so as not to create parking problems on neighboring streets.

These type of zoning and land use changes are not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) according to the staff report because it will not result in a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment.

The development itself, however, is still subject to CEQA and will have to undergo environmental studies, Avalos said.

Following the public hearing on March 25, a second reading of the proposed changes is scheduled to take place at the April 8 council meeting and could be adopted by the city council 30 days later.

The Bicycle Casino was originally approved for development in 1984. It is known for its poker tournaments and other card games, which continues to result in a significant amount of revenue for city coffers, though down in recent years.


Commerce Incumbents Claim Victory

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City of Commerce incumbents Mayor Lilia R. Leon, Mayor Pro Tem Tina Baca Del Rio and Councilmember Ivan Altamirano claimed victory this week following the city clerk’s release of election results showing the incumbents still in the lead Monday.

Leon and Del Rio were reelected to new full terns while Altamirano, who was appointed to the council last year, was elected for the first time. The city council is expected to certify the election results at the March 19 council meeting.

The latest March 5 election numbers include 223 provisional and absentee ballots not included in the original count following the election, according to the city’s Interim Public Information Officer Jason Stinnett.

The updated numbers show the gap widening between Lilia Leon and Joana Flores who in the earlier unofficial numbers was only trailing Leon by seven votes for the third place seat and finish in the race to fill three council positions. However, 34 votes now set them apart.

The semi-official results show:

—Tina Baca Del Rio gained 145 additional votes; bringing the total number of votes she received to 686, up from 541 in last week’s unofficial results;

—Ivan Altamirano gained 128 more votes; brining his vote total up to 635 votes;

—Lilia Leon’s vote total jumped from 492 votes to 623 votes in her favor.

Closing out the vote tallies, Joanna Flores finished with 589 votes; Jaime Valencia finished with 551 votes and Art Gonzalez received 465 votes.

In other local races voters voted in line with other L.A. County voters in the race for Seats 2, 4 and 6 on the Los Angeles Community College District Board Of Trustees.

While Ernest Henry Moreno received an overwhelming majority of votes from Commerce residents (76.97%) for Seat 4, Mike Eng barely received a majority of Commerce residents over John Burke with only 21 votes making the difference in the race for Seat 2. Both Moreno and Eng were elected.

A greater number of Commerce voters (44.59%) preferred David Vela over incumbent Nancy Pearlman who received just 25.56 percent of Commerce residents’ votes. Vela’s lead is likely due to his being better known in the local community due to position on the Montebello Unified School District Board as well as work as an aid to local elected officials. However, Vela’s popularity in Commerce did not carry the same weight in other areas of the County, unofficial results last week showed Vela in the lead by only about 6.5 percent of the votes.

Vela and Pearlman will face off in the General Election in May.


County Abandons ‘Clean Water, Clean Beaches’ Measure For Now

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A plan to charge Los Angeles County property owners a fee to fund the cleanup of regional waterways was abandoned Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, at least temporarily.

Nearly two months ago, the board acknowledged that the plan needed to be reworked, and Supervisor Michael Antonovich spoke out against what he characterized as a tax.

Supervisors Gloria Molina and Don Knabe – swayed by the number of protests against the plan since then – subsequently introduced a formal recommendation against instituting the measure “at this time.”

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky championed the “Clean Water, Clean Beaches” measure as a cost-effective way to reduce urban runoff – including trash and toxic substances such as industrial solvents, lead, mercury and infection- causing bacteria – into county waterways and the ocean. It was the result of years of work to reach consensus among dozens of municipalities and environmental organizations.

But Yaroslavsky seemed resigned Tuesday to taking a step back. He recommended that county staffers draft a 2014 ballot measure asking voters to fund projects to address stormwater and urban runoff pollution, adding to the Molina-Knabe motion. He then voted along with the rest of the board to table the Clean Water measure.

Elected officials, school district representatives and residents spoke out against more fees at a time when many property owners are already struggling economically. Fees for a typical homeowner would average $54 annually, while large commercial property owners could pay thousands of dollars, according to the Department of Public Works.

The county’s cost of complying with federal clean water regulations was more than $350 million in 2012, according to Yaroslavsky.

Santa Clarita City Councilman TimBen Boydston, who called the fee “a tax on rain,” mocked it by suggesting “perhaps a tax on sunshine … or a tax on air.”

Carol Horton, of the Citrus Community College District in the San Gabriel Valley, said it would have to pay “a staggering $42,937” under the measure. She and others argued that school districts should be exempted from the fee, which was intended to raise about $200 million annually.

Opponents also argued that the measure lacked detail on the projects to be funded and contended the ballot process was designed to push the measure through without scrutiny, while environmentalists and other elected officials hailed the measure as critical to supporting local cleanup efforts and weaning the county off its expensive, imported water supply.

“We urge you to move forward with your historic effort to fund clean water and fund clean beaches and let the voters decide,” said Fran Diamond, emeritus chair of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.

“Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of surface water pollution in the region,” said Noah Garrison, a lawyer for the National Resources Defense Council. “It sickens hundreds of thousands to millions of swimmers at our beaches.”

Some city officials, like those from Santa Clarita, argued that the measure duplicates local cleanup programs, while others, including the mayor of Inglewood, said regional support was critical to paying for expensive local cleanup.

Molina said she was initially surprised by the opposition of some city officials, saying she told those in her district that “you’re going to get fined, you’re going to get sanctioned” for not complying with federal regulations. But other concerns they raised, including questions about how the money would be spent, convinced her that the measure needed more work.

A spokesman for City Councilman Paul Koretz asked the board “not to kick it down the road.

As proposed, more than 50 percent of property owners would have had to protest the fee in order to avoid a ballot survey of owners to decide the measure’s fate. As of this morning, 113,422 property owners, just over 5 percent of the total, had filed a valid objection, according to the board’s executive officer.

Nevertheless, the board voted 4-1 not to move forward. Instead, county staffers were directed to work with schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations to try and address their concerns, and to educate the public about stormwater pollution.

County lawyers were asked to draft a ballot measure seeking voter support for an alternate funding mechanism, aiming for a 2014 election.

Antonovich cast the dissenting vote. Though he opposed the Clean Water measure, he objected to the language about drafting a new measure, saying the state, not voters, should be responsible for cleaning up the county’s waterways.

Yaroslavsky worried about the challenges ahead.

“It will take four votes to put this on the ballot,” Yaroslavsky said. “That will be a steep mountain to climb.”

The board asked staffers to report back in 90 days.

Police Museum Opens ‘Onion Field’ Exhibit

March 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A sign alongside the Hollywood (101) Freeway erected in memory of slain Los Angeles Police Officer Ian Campbell was unveiled March 9 on the 50th anniversary of his kidnapping in the infamous “The Onion Field” case.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and best-selling authors James Ellroy and Joseph Wambaugh were among the participants in the late-morning ceremony at the Los Angeles Police Museum in Highland Park, where an exhibition titled “The Onion Field” opened Saturday.

The Campbell Memorial Sign was unveiled on March 9. The sign will be located along the 101-Freeway. (Los Angeles Police Museum)

The sign on the 101 is at the Gower Street overpass — near the intersection of Carlos Avenue and Gower — where Campbell and partner Karl Hettinger were kidnapped on March 9, 1963, after questioning two robbery suspects during a traffic stop.

The suspects disarmed and abducted the officers, driving them to a remote onion field near Bakersfield. Campbell was shot to death, but Hettinger managed to escape.

Gregory Powell was arrested on the night of the murder and his accomplice, Jimmy Lee Smith, was arrested the following day.

Powell and Smith were convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment after California’s death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in 1972. Smith was paroled in 1982, but was in and out of custody several times before dying at a Los Angeles County jail facility in April 2007.

Powell died Aug. 12 at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville at the age of 79.

Wambaugh, a former LAPD officer, detailed the crime in his bestselling book, “The Onion Field.” It was made into a movie in 1979, with a cast including Ted Danson as Campbell and James Woods as Powell.


Monterey Park Approves Term Limits, Changes to Communications Tax

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Monterey Park residents voted last week to limit the terms of public officials and to update the language of the communications tax by passing two city ballot measures.

According to the results that still need to be certified by the city council, voters approved Measure EE, which imposes term limits on elected officials, by a large margin, 80.4% (3,200) in favor and 19.5% (779) against the measure.

Currently, Monterey Park elected officials, including members of the city council, the city treasurer and city clerk, all serve four-year terms. Prior to the passage of term limits, there was no limit on the number of terms a public official could serve.

Elected officials will now be limited to serving two consecutive terms per public office; however, they will be eligible to run again following a two-year or longer hiatus from office. The two-year waiting period does not apply if they want to run for another city office.

The term limit measure was placed on the ballot by the city council, City Manager Paul Talbot told EGP. He said after taking a look at what surrounding cities had done, the council decided the two consecutive term limit was reasonable.

The measure is set to go into effect once the unofficial results are accepted by the city council on March 19.

Newly elected council members Hans Liang and Peter Chan, City Treasurer Joseph Leon and City Clerk Vincent D. Chang, will be the first city officials to have the term limits imposed on them.

The time clock for city officials elected prior to the adoption of term limits, will not start running until after their next election in 2015, said Talbot.

According to the measure, partial terms lasting more than two years and resignations prior to the completion of a full term will be treated as a full four-year term.

Although state law is clear that voters may impose term limits on the city council, it is unclear if voters have the right to impose term limits on the offices of city treasurer and city clerk. Should a legal challenge overturn the term limits imposed on the city treasurer and city clerk, it would not affect the term limits imposed on the city council by the voter-approved ordinance.

According to Talbot, there has so far not been any indication that there will be an attempt to challenge either the term limits on the city treasurer or city clerk.

Passage of Measure DD, the other measure on the ballot last week, amends the existing telephone utility user tax (UUT) with an updated communications tax. The ordinance was passed with 60% (2,279) voter approval, according to the unofficial results.

The newly passed measure will amend Monterey Park’s Municipal Code, which regulates the city’s utility users taxes (UUT) by cleaning up the language of the telephone tax to reflect current technology.

“It was just so outdated,” Talbot said.

He told EGP that the city could have challenged legally for taxing new technologies since the ordinance was not clear on them. The new measure took the vagueness out, he said.

Passage of the measure does not increase the current telephone tax rate, which will remain at 3% for residents and 5.5% for commercial users. The tax generated $1.1 million in revenue for the city during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

“We don’t expect a fiscal impact,” Talbot added.

The new ordinance will take effect 10 days after the city council certifies the election results.

“This should have been done years ago,” Talbot said.


A Good Snooze, Regularly, Can Help the Heart Stay Healthy

March 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Cutting back on sodium and increasing physical activity are not the only ways to improve heart health – a good night’s sleep can also help promote cardiovascular health. One expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) says not getting enough sleep can have harmful heart-health effects.

The ideal amount of sleep is between six to eight hours, said cardiologist Alan S. Gertler, M.D., associate professor of medicine in UAB’s Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and part of UAB’s Heart & Vascular Services.

“Deep, high-quality sleep is needed to lower heart rate and blood pressure, which reduce stress on the heart,” Gertler explained.

Heart rate and blood pressure also rise and fall during rapid eye movement (REM) in response to dreams. According to the National Institutes of Health, those variable rates also contribute to making the heart healthier.

“Without enough sleep, there is an increase in blood pressure and stress hormones, lower glucose tolerance and weight gain,” Gertler said. “All of these factors can increase the risk of coronary artery disease.”

Sleep deprivation, which generally results from getting less than six hours of sleep per night, “can lead to elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which may be a marker of inflammation of the endothelial lining of the arteries, which can increase the risk of atherosclerosis,” Gertler stated.

Another sleep-related issue that can lead to heart problems is sleep apnea.

“Sleep apnea is a very common problem,” Gertler said. “It causes not enough air to get into the lungs through the mouth and nose during sleep, decreasing the amount of oxygen in your blood. As a result, sleep is interrupted through the night, and the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias and stroke increase.”

Gertler urges any patient who struggles with sleep to discuss the problem with his or her primary care doctor.


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