Report: 1 In 3 Hospital Patients Over 35 Has Diabetes

May 22, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Nearly a third of hospital patients at least 35 years old in California have diabetes, adding $1.6 billion annually to healthcare costs in the state, according to a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released last week.

The study was based on a review of hospital discharge records for 2011, the latest such data available, said Dr. Susan H. Babey, a researcher at the center.

Although diabetes may not be the initial reason for the hospitalization, the disease is responsible for numerous complications, including blindness, kidney and cardiovascular ailments and amputations.

About 95 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes have the type II form that “often is preventable,” said Babey.

“Once you have diabetes, there is no real cure, so it becomes really important to manage the condition so that some of the complications that come out of poorly controlled diabetes don’t occur,” Babey said.

She said that diabetes “is hitting every community hard, but the disproportionate number of hospital patients with diabetes among California’s ethnic groups is especially worrisome.”

UCLA researchers found that 43.2 percent of hospitalized Latinos 35 and older have diabetes, compared to a statewide average of 31 percent.

“American Indians/Alaska Natives are similarly impacted, with 40.3 percent of hospital patients having diabetes, followed closely by African-Americans (39.3 percent) and Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders (38.7 percent), according to a UCLA statement.

About 27 percent of hospitalized Caucasians 35 and older have the disease, said Babey.

Diabetes — one of the nation’s fastest-growing diseases — added $1.6 billion to hospitalization costs in California in 2011 and the cost may even be higher this year, said Babey.

Hospital stays for patients with diabetes cost nearly $2,200 more than stays for non-diabetic patients, according to the study.

“This study highlights the growing, costly problem of diabetes on patients, our healthcare system, budgets and taxpayers,” according to a statement released by California Controller John Chiang.

“Investing in prevention and wellness strategies that keep people healthier now can help reduce the demand for medical care and the drain on budgets in the future,” Chiang wrote.


Monterey Park Water Rate Hike Worries Seniors

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


Worried about the impact to seniors and people on fixed incomes, Monterey Park residents at a community outreach meeting last week voiced their concerns about recently approved water rate increases that will nearly double their bills in September and almost triple them by 2018.

Like many of its neighboring cities, Monterey Park is asking residents to pay more for their water, wastewater and solid waste to help the city pay for much needed capital improvements.

Management Services Director Chu Thai told the dozen or so residents at the meeting that the increase is needed to reduce revenues the city takes from its General Fund to offset the cost of ongoing leaks caused by the water system’s aging pipes.

“We’re trying to minimize the cost we spend on the system,” Thai explained. “The goal is to collect enough for the system.”

According to the city’s 2012 Water Master Plan, there is a need to replace a water reservoir, two wells, over 50 miles of pipelines and upgrade water meters.

“We have a major loss of water,” said Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works Ron Bow. “It shows the age of our system.”

(Right): Monterey Park Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director Ron Bow discusses condition city pipes. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

(Right): Monterey Park Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director Ron Bow discusses condition city pipes. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

The city council approved the rate hikes at its April 16 meeting, after a great deal of back and forth with city staff on various funding options, eventually settling on an increase that will raise $100 million over the next 20 years to replace pipes that date back to 1960.

Residents will also see an increase in their wastewater and solid waste bills to pay for replacing sewer mains that are over 100 years old and to offset a $1 million deficit in the waste management fund every year, according to the city.

“We’re just trying to catch up to Athens rate,” said Bow, referring to customer waste rates that have remained unchanged since 2009, despite Athens’ rates going up. “We are trying to stay even, we’re not asking for anything more,” Bow said.

A typical single-family home, which has a 5/8 or 3/4 water meter, consumes 12 units or 8,976 gallons of water every month and has a 96-gallon trash bin and recycle bin, will see their utility rate increase from $53.36 to $83.97 in September. That bill will reach $130.29 by 2018.

Those numbers come as a shock to Teresa Gallardo, an 84-year old resident who has lived in Monterey Park for decades.

“For people like ourselves who are on fixed income, there’s no way for us to go out and earn more money to support these added expenses,” she said.

Several people, some who have lived in the city for decades, questioned why the city has delayed improvements for so long, which they said has caused the costs of repairs to skyrocket.

“Why didn’t they start years ago, because then the increase would be gradual and you learn to absorb it in your budget,” said Gallardo.

Ivy Conkain, 82, says the increase is “unreasonable and impossible.”

“If we need this much money we should issue a bond,” she suggested.

Sheila Robles, 76, has lived in the city since 1964 and like Conkain, thinks the city should put the rate increase on the ballot for voters to decide.

“I wish they would have fixed what they are going to fix over time instead of all at once,” she said. “It wouldn’t have been so much now.”

While the city has approved the increases, residents could still shut down the proposed rates hikes, but it will require at least 8,180 of the city’s property owners and utility customers to protest the increase in writing before the end of a June 18 public hearing on the charges. The city, however, is only required to count one protest per parcel, no matter how many tenants are located at the property.

“We need to get started,” said Bow, who outlined the capital improvements the city hopes to move forward with in the next five years.  “We can all agree that we need to work our infrastructure.”

The rate hikes will not affect Monterey Park residents who obtain their water through California Water Service or Golden State Water.

Both Sides in Commerce Recall Claim to Be Victims of Fraud

May 22, 2014 by · 5 Comments 

A failed recall attempt in the City of Commerce is continuing to generate attention as parties on both side of the issue point blame and claim they are the victims in the ongoing saga.

As previously reported by EGP, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk disqualified hundreds of signatures submitted on each of the recall petitions targeting Commerce City Council members: Tina Baca Del Rio, Ivan Altamirano, Lilia Leon and Joe Aguilar.

Backers needed 25% of the city’s eligible voters, 1,577 signatures, to force a recall: a separate petition was circulated for each council member. The county invalidated approximately 4,000 of the signatures collected, leaving proponents approximately 225 to 500 signatures short on each of the petitions.

During a city council meeting earlier this month, council members accused recall proponents of fraud and asked the city attorney to explore options for holding those responsible accountable.

This is not over, Baca Del Rio said.

At the time, City Attorney Eduardo Olivo told the council the process was ongoing because the proponents had a right to recount and question the county’s disqualifications; a right they exercised on May 8.

Recall proponents were represented at the meeting by Commerce resident Mike Alvarado, a leader of the recall effort; Sylvia Ortiz, a consultant hired by the group to manage the signature gathering process; and Attorney Brad Hertz, a partner in The Sutton Law firm which specializes in political election law and litigation. Commerce City Clerk and Elections Official Lena Shumway was also present.

According to an article posted on the Hews Media Group-Community News website and emailed to EGP, Ortiz “was accused by the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder of forgery and willfully adding deceased people to the recall petitions, and that the Registrar Recorder will ask the Los Angeles District Attorney to investigate.”

Shumway, Regina Ip, media and communications officer with the L.A. County Registrar Recorder and Hertz, however, all told EGP they could not confirm or recall anyone from the County Registrar’s office making such a statement.

(Clockwise): Commerce Councilmembers Joe Aguilar, Tina Baca Del Rio, Lilia Leon, Ivan Altamirano and Denise Robles

(Clockwise): Commerce Councilmembers Joe Aguilar, Tina Baca Del Rio, Lilia Leon, Ivan Altamirano and Denise Robles

“Ortiz reportedly admitted to forgeries and adding names of deceased people,” the article alleges.

“The City is not aware of whether or not Ms. Ortiz admitted to any forgeries.” Shumway told EGP via email. “The city did not witness any admissions by Ms. Ortiz during the review by the proponents,” she added.

In an email, Hertz told EGP he does not “recall the Registrar’s office accusing Ms. Ortiz of forgery or willfully adding deceased people’s names or signatures to the recall petitions, and the Registrar’s office did not make such accusations against Ms. Ortiz.” He also clarified “the signature review lasted several hours” and not 40 minutes as the article states. “On the following Monday, I informed the Registrar’s office and the Commerce City Clerk’s office that the proponents had decided not to continue with the signature review process,” Hertz told EGP.

Jaime Valencia, who along with Alvarado spearheaded the recall effort, told EGP the proponents were “shocked” by the county’s findings and asked for a “full investigation into the matter.”

He said Ortiz was hired because she “came highly recommended” and was known for the high profile campaigns she managed in Southeast L.A.” and the East LA Cityhood movement. According to Valencia, Ortiz’s pay was based on the number of signatures collected.

In an email, Valencia said county election officials informed them some of the signatures “had been falsified with the suspicion directed at one particular individual hired to gather the signatures,” but he did not name the individual.

“We are hurt and disappointed that one individual would try to sabotage our efforts to recall,” he said.

The targeted council members are not buying claims that the recall effort was “sabotaged” or the proponents were victimized. Altamirano said they became suspicious when they heard Ortiz would be the campaign manager.

“We had heard from other council members, in different cities, that Ms. Ortiz has a bad reputation and has engaged in improper activities in recalls in their cities,” Altamirano told EGP.

Baca Del Rio told EGP she thought it was suspicious that they had gathered “such a large number of signatures in such a short period of time.”

EGP’s attempts to contact Ortiz were unsuccessful.

“We need to bring these individuals to justice, not only for our city but for surrounding cities,” Baca Del Rio told EGP. She said recalls give cities a bad reputation.

Altamirano, Leon and Baca Del Rio also accused Councilwoman Denise Robles of being involved in the “disruption.”

“Their conduct is shameful … and every person involved, including Councilmember Denise Robles and her husband should be ashamed,” Altamirano told EGP.

Leon said Robles “has tried to give [proponents] as much assistance as possible,” and called her participation “disrespectful” to the community and a “mockery of the election process.”

Altamirano says the council would like to discuss how to proceed in closed session, but can’t because they can’t trust Robles to not inform her friends, “Ms. Ortiz and other responsible recall proponents,” about their decisions.

Robles countered that neither she nor her husband were part of the group that hired Ortiz. “I do not even know what she looks like,” she said.

“I am in full support of filing a complaint with the District Attorney for any election fraud,” Robles said, adding that as an elected official she has the right to be in closed session meetings.

Altamirano said he thinks “the community should demand Ms. Robles immediate resignation and apology” for her part in the failed recall attempt. “What she and her husband and other recall proponents have done is shameful and an embarrassment to democracy,” he said.

“I did not contribute financially, participate in the decision making of the recall process nor did I participate in the signature gathering,” said Robles, adding that the number of valid signatures gathered “show there are voters in the city that do not want the incumbents in office.”

Valencia said he had nothing to do with the alleged forgery and told EGP he feels betrayed. “We trusted that all the persons gathering signatures for the recall believed in our effort to get rid of the corrupt politics in our city,” he said. “We are viewing this as a temporary set back and are planning to continue the recall.”

According to Shumway, the city attorney is reviewing all issues related to the invalid signatures on the petitions, but at this time, they cannot comment on specifics.

“The City will take appropriate action to address such matters as soon as it has obtained all information that it requires,” she said.

Memorial Day: Remember the Ultimate Sacrifice

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces will be remembered this weekend at events taking place in Los Angeles County and all across the country in observance of Memorial Day, a federal holiday.

Memorial Day is officially observed every year on the last Monday in May, however some groups will hold tributes ahead of holiday on May 26.

Formerly known at Decoration Day, the national observance originated after the American Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. Years later it was extended to include all American who have died while serving in the military, in any war.

While for many people Memorial Day marks the start of summer fun with a three-day weekend that typically includes picnics and other outdoor activities, many veterans groups and others will observe the day with solemn ceremonies that include visits to cemeteries and memorials, speeches, the flying of the American flag. In East Los Angeles, for example, veterans and others will hold a 24-hour solemn vigil (Sunday 10am-Monday 10am) at the Mexican American All Wars Memorial at Cinco Puntos as part of an observance that is in its 67th year.

Other scheduled events include ROTC color guards, rifle salutes, wreathe laying, resource fairs and musical entertainment and food.

On Monday at 3 p.m. local time, the “National Moment of Remembrance” takes place. The public is asked to stop what ever they are doing to observe a moment of silence.


EGPNews has compiled a calendar of local observances open to the public:

 Saturday, May 24

9am—Highland Park Flag Raising Ceremony in Honor of Memorial Day. L.A. Councilman Gil Cedillo will join the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council for a public raising of a new flag at Memorial Square on the corner of York and Figueroa to honor Armed Forces fallen heroes and veterans.


10am—“Honoring Our Vets” Memorial Day Tribute in El Sereno at the Dr. Donald Newman Flag Pole. Join Councilman Jose Huizar, American Legion-Alhambra Post 139, El Sereno Veterans Monument Committee in tribute to our fallen heroes. Flag Pole is located at intersection of Huntington Drive & Eastern Avenue. For more information, contact Julio Torres at (323) 226-1646.


11am—Honoring & Remembering Our Heroes at the Cypress Park Veterans Memorial. A formal ceremony to honor fallen soldiers and their families will take place at the memorial, corner of Cypress Avenue and Pepper Street. A celebration follows at Rio De Los Angeles State Park. Sponsors: Councilman Gil Cedillo, Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council, Friends of Cypress Park Library & Cypress Park Veterans Committee. For more information, call (323) 226-1682.


Sunday, May 25

10am—24-hour Patriotic Vigil at the Mexican American All Wars Memorial at Cinco Puntos gets underway. Veterans and others have volunteered to take shifts standing at attention at memorial located at the intersection of Lorena, Indiana, and Cesar Chavez in East LA. A public closing ceremony takes place Monday from 10am to11am. Service members, (veterans and active duty), distinguished guests, local leaders and volunteers will share what Memorial Day means to them. Local veterans who passed away in the last year will be honored. Sponsored by LA Councilman Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Jose Perez. For more information, call Tony Zapata at (323) 261-8533.


Monday, Memorial Day – May 26

10am—2014 Day of Remembrance at Montebello City Park at the Veteran’s Monument. Take part in tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. City Park is located at 1300 W. Whittier Blvd., Montebello. For more information, call (323) 887-4540.


10-11am—Closing Ceremony at the Mexican American All Wars Memorial at Cinco Puntos in East Los Angeles. See Sunday calendar listing for details.


10am—Monterey Park’s Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Veterans and War Monuments in front of City Hall. The ceremony, hosted by the American Legion Post #397, will feature speeches, patriotic music and military displays. City Hall is located at 320 W. Newmark Ave. For more information, call (626) 571-9211 or (626) 307-1388.


11am—American Legion Post 206 Commemoration in Highland Park. US Armed Services’ men and women who died in service to the country will be remembered. The Franklin High School ROTC will lower US flag to half-staff. Location: American Legion Hall, 227 N. Avenue 55. For more information, contact Highland Park’s American Legion at (323) 254-5646.


11am—Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Huntington Park-Maywood Post 2830 Memorial Day Service and Ceremony in Commerce and Bell Gardens. Armed forces of all wars will be honored. Service will be held at Park Lawn Cemetery located at 6555 E. Gage Ave. Commerce 90040. After the ceremony a luncheon will be held at 6611 Eastern Ave. Bell Gardens 90201. A $7 donation is suggested.  For more information, contact Highland Park’s American Legion at (323) 254-5646.


11am—Rose Hills 94th Memorial Day Observance in the Gardens at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. Former Labor Secretary & County Supervisor candidate Hilda Solis will serve as keynote speaker Solis is the author of the Green Jobs Act, which provides “green” collar job funding for veterans. Rose Hills is located at 38883 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier. For more information, visit

EGP Endorsements – June 3 Primary Election

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes on Proposition 41 – The Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014

A yes vote authorizes the sale of $600 million in general obligation bonds by the state to pay for construction, renovation and the purchase of multifamily housing, such as apartment buildings, to provide affordable rental housing for California’s large population of low-income veterans and their families.

In 2008, voters approved the sale of $900 million in bonds for the CalVet Farm and Home program but those funds have not have been utilized to help veterans buy farms or homes under the loan program. Proposition 41 would allow $600 million of those funds to be shifted to affordable, supportive and transitional housing for homeless and near-homeless veterans.

As many as 45,000 young veterans are expected to return to California in the next few years when their deployment ends.  We believe less than 1 percent of the state budget, about $50 million for 15 years, is well worth spending to meet our obligation to those who fought for our safety and freedoms.

We are no strangers to what happens to many of our veterans who lack supportive services and housing, we only need to look at Skid Row to be reminded.


No on Proposition 42 – Public Records, Open Meetings, State Reimbursement to Local Agencies, Legislative Constitutional Amendment. 

On the heels of revelations alleging scandal and corruption by elected officials in small cities, law enforcement agencies, and the state capital, we now have state officials pushing legislation to decrease transparency in government – and asking voters to say its okay under the guise of saving money.

Our state constitution requires that all meetings of governing bodies, such as counties, cities, community colleges, school districts and special districts, such as fire and water districts, which make decisions about programs, services, taxes or operations are to be open to the public. It also requires public notice of those meetings and public access to records of those entities and their decision makers.

The state is currently required to pay cities for the costs they incur complying with these obligations. Proposition 42 would transfer the costs of public access through the Public Records Act and the Brown Act, and all future public access requirements to local government, relieving the state of its responsibility to pay for its mandates.

We believe such a change will burden local governments already struggling to meet their obligation, and will endanger transparency and the public’s right to know.

The publics’ right to know is one of the hallmarks of a free society and cutting funding to support that right is misguided.Adding another cost to local government is unwise as far as we are concerned.

We don’t want public access to be in any way curtailed by excuses, either from the state or local government bodies straining to meet their budget obligations.

Paying to maintain the publics’ legitimate right to access government information is not a major cost in the state’s budget, but would be to local agencies and the public.

Does anyone remember Bell?

We urge a No vote on Prop 41.

Soda Warning Label: A Great Collaboration Between Health and Education

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Few diseases impact our Latino community as much as diabetes.  Most of us know the real life challenges of the disease.  Most of us have watched loved ones suffering with complications like skin lesions and nerve damage, amputations and blindness and kidney failure. Most of us have buried too many family and friends.

My own mother has been ravaged by the insidious disease of diabetes for the past twenty years, and currently suffers from a foot amputation.  My family eventually learned that all of this was avoidable, but it was too late for her.  The learning curve has been steep, and painful.

Diabetes is skyrocketing in Latino communities.  Diabetes rates have tripled in 30 years.  A study released last week showed that 43% of Latinos hospitalized in California have diabetes. Half of Latino children born in 2000 are expected to have diabetes sometime in their lives.  For the sake of our community, for the sake of our children, it is time to get the word out: diabetes is not inevitable, it is preventable.

It is also time to tell the truth about the role that soda and sugary drinks play in the epidemic.  With 16 teaspoons of sugar in every 20 ounces, our Cokes, Pepsis, horchatas, and Sunny Delights are the single largest source of sugar in our diets.  Even worse, unassailable scientific research has shown that liquid sugar – whether sucrose or high fructose corn syrup – is uniquely harmful because it gets absorbed so quickly into the blood stream, much faster than solid food.  When you absorb so much sugar so quickly it both wears out the pancreas and causes fatty liver disease, both of which lead directly to diabetes. Some research has even tied liquid sugar to dementia and Alzheimer’s.  These are scientific reality too few Californians know.

Senate Bill 1000, the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, is the first step toward raising awareness about the uniquely harmful effect of these products by providing consumers with this essential information.

The beverage industry has rallied its vendors, bottlers and merchants to try to kill the legislation.  They frame this public education effort as an attack on the private sector, insisting that our elected officials stand on the sidelines as more and more of our family members go to the hospital or into dialysis centers.

Industry opposition ignores one of the most fundamental purposes of our democracy – that we want the government to protect us from dangerous products – whether through automobile recalls, air quality warnings, or product safety warnings.  When science is this conclusive, our policy makers have a responsibility to act. That is what we elect them for.

Not surprisingly, the multinational soft drink companies are tapping deep into their corporate coffers to protect their image.  Yet no matter how much they spend on sophisticated marketing telling us that their sugary products make us happy – Vive Hoy (Pepsi) and Open Happiness (Coke)—and no matter how much they spend on expensive lobbyists in Sacramento, they can’t run away from the truth about the harms caused by their sugary beverages.

For our children this is especially concerning, since 73 percent of Latino teens consume a sugary drink or more per day.  If so many teens are putting that much liquid sugar into their veins, maybe it should not be a surprise that 23% of U.S. teens have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

While consumers may know that these products are not good for them, very few have any idea just how sick these sugary drinks are making us. In simple direct language SB 1000 will provide that education, placing a simple warning on the front of every can or bottle: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

Latinos recognize the need for this legislation. In a statewide poll conducted earlier this year, 74% of voters support putting warning labels on sugary drinks. Among Latinos, support is 86%. Our community knows better than most the impact of diabetes and is demanding action. What more do legislators who represent their constituents need to know?

While soda companies would like to make this about government versus business, the reality is this is about our right to know. SB 1000 provides us with the information we need to make smart decisions for our families. Whether we continue to buy these products is our right, but at the very least we should know about the risks they pose to our children and us. How many more Latinos need to have limbs amputated and die unnecessarily before we tell the truth about soda and liquid sugar?


Nativo Lopez is a long time community, immigrant and civil rights activist from Southern California. This opinion was written on behalf of the Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana.

Rosewood Women’s Club Celebrates With Style

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Beautifully dressed, makeup and jewelry perfect, and some gorgeous hats that remind one of a more glamorous time, the ladies of the Woman’s Club of Rosewood Park in Commerce were ready last Saturday to greet guests at their 16th annual fashion show and luncheon.

Women of all ages, some as young as 12 and others over 70, gathered with their families to help raise money to support programs for students in the 8th grade at Rosewood Park School in Commerce. Teachers and staff from the school were among those who attended the annual fashion show held at Stevens’ Steak House in Commerce.

The Woman’s Club is the oldest community civic organization in Commerce. It opened its doors in 1949 as a social group, but little by little, it changed, according to club members.

Rosewood Women’s Club President Carmen Marquez poses with club members at  annual fashion show Saturday.  (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Rosewood Women’s Club President Carmen Marquez poses with club members at annual fashion show Saturday. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

“It started with a few women having a cup of coffee and then it grew and they had to move to Rosewood Park School to hold their meetings,” club president Carmen Marquez told EGP. “A few years later, it became a non-profit organization,” she said. We “promote culture and customs” to women of all ages, she added.

Twelve years ago the club began to raise funds to help Rosewood Park School, which is the only school in the Montebello School District serving Kindergarten through eigth grade. They decided to focus on the promotion of eighth graders ready to go to high school.

“We call it promotion because it is not really a graduation, but we want to recognize their work,” Robert A. Cornejo, the school’s principal told EGP.

Fashion designer Loretta Sandoval presented her women’s summer clothing line, which she says has something for every woman, especially mothers. “Good clothes at affordable prices,” explained the owner of L & M Fashions.

Live music performed by the Bill Chico Jazz trio added to the festivities and the nostalgia of bygone days.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia was among the guests at the event, and she took a moment to during the program to invite the community to participate in her “Walk and Talk” events, the next of which will take place in Commerce on June 7. She said the walks are a chance for her to meet her constituents, listen to their concerns, and to get in a little exercise at Rosewood Park.

She also encouraged the club to continue their support towards community activities and Rosewood Park School.

Many of the attendees left for home carrying raffle prizes won at the show.

Rosewood Park School has about 1,050 students and this year, 140 are eighth graders. The Women’s Club’s fashion show raised “$700-$800” for the school’s promotion ceremony, said Cornejo, calling it a “generous donation.”

The Woman’s Club holds a variety of events throughout the year. In June, it will hold its annual swap meet at Rosewood Park. The group rents spaces for one day to people interested in selling new or used goods; monies raised help the group sponsor other community activities.

25 Tons of Illegal Fireworks Seized In Monterey Park

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

You know summer is almost here when law enforcement agencies start to announce the number of illegal fireworks they have confiscated.

Acting on an anonymous tip, Monterey Park fire officials seized more than 25 tons of fireworks last week from a warehouse at 990 Monterey Pass Road, the fire department announced.

The fireworks posed a risk to the public and were moved from the warehouse to a more secure location, according to fire officials. Seven large tractor-trailers were required to move the large quantity of fireworks, they stated.

Fireworks are highly explosive and can pose a significant risk to the community if not stored and handled properly. Drought and severe fire conditions, like those now being experienced in the region and across the state, significantly increase the risk, said fire officials who asked the public to be mindful of the heightened danger at this time of year.

Illegal firework sales usually go up in the months leading up the Fourth of July holiday. A number of cities in Los Angeles County ban the sale and only allow professional firework displays.

The city is working with the State Fire Marshall to determine which health, safety, fire, and municipal code may have been violated.

“If you see something, say something,” Monterey Park fire officials reminded the public, noting it was an anonymous tip that led to their discovery of the firework cache.

Illegal Gun Possession Could be Cause for Eviction

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council came out in support of an Assembly bill that would give City Attorney Mike Feuer the power to continue evicting rental property tenants who illegally sell or possess firearms or ammunition.

The legislation, AB 2310, was introduced by Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas of Culver City and would re-instate a pilot program that “inadvertently” ended on Dec. 31, according to the resolution approved without discussion by the council.

The program was created in 2007 as an attempt to “combat criminal street gangs and gun violence by authorizing city attorneys and prosecutors” in certain cities, including Los Angeles, “to bring eviction proceedings against a tenant for illegal weapons possession when a landlord was unwilling or unable to act, typically out of fear or retaliation,” according to a report by the council’s chief legislative analyst’s office.

Landlords are allowed under state law to evict “a tenant found to permit, maintain or commit a nuisance or who uses their rental unit for an unlawful purpose,” the report said

Records from 2011 show the Los Angeles city attorney made use of the program 19 times to “send notices of intent to evict to landlords and tenants,” the CLA said.

AB 2310 was sponsored by the city attorney’s office and would renew a program that “was successful in Los Angeles,” according to the resolution authored by Council President Herb Wesson.

The bill passed out of the Assembly last month and is now being considered in the state Senate. It calls for the program to be renewed until Jan. 2019 and would allow city attorneys in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Long Beach to step in to evict tenants who violate laws regulating the sale and possession of guns and ammunition.

The original program — which was extended once after expiring in 2010 — also applied to the city attorneys of San Diego and Oakland.

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