Montebello Residents Get Rid of Hazardous Waste

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Residents of Montebello and the surrounding area were able to free up space in their garage this weekend by getting rid of old TVs and computers that no longer work at a free Los Angeles County Household Hazardous Waste and E-Waste Roundup.

Workers at the Household Hazardous Waste and E-Waste Event collect and properly dispose of items that residents. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

The event gave area residents the opportunity to get rid of household hazardous waste like bug spray, chlorine bleach, nail polish, hair spray and motor oil and E-waste like old cell phones, computers, TVs and microwaves.

“What we’re doing is taking things that don’t belong in landfills anymore because they’re hazardous, they’re toxic to the environment,” Martin Zemlock Jr., a Supervising Engineering Technician for the Solid Waste Management Department at the County Sanitation District of Los Angeles County, said. “And giving people a free way to get rid of them.”

Zemlock said it is illegal to improperly discharge of hazardous material or throw it in the trash, which is not environmentally safe. It is also illegal to transport more than 15 gallons or 125 pounds of household hazardous waste per trip to a collection center. People caught disposing of this material improperly can be heavily fined, said Zemlock.

“Very rarely are you going to get caught because usually we’re talking small stuff, you threw away a bottle of oil, a bottle of drain cleaner something like that,” Zemlock said. “But you should still be conscientious enough to say ‘hey this is toxic to the environment I don’t need to do it.’”

John Hicks had previously attended mobile collection events before taking an old printer to the event this week. He attends these events to ensure he does not break the law.

“If it wasn’t for this [event], this stuff would end up in my trash someplace,” Hicks said. “Either you’re going to be a good citizen or you’re not.”

The hazardous waste roundups are mobile events, going from community to community in hopes of educating local residents about what items are considered hazardous waste.

“As the rules and laws increase, there’s more stuff that can’t go to the landfill, that’s why we put these events together, so people can throw stuff out,” said Zemlock.

Evelyn Yoshimi took computers, printers, a microwave, paint and some medical items to the event to clean up her garage.

“I don’t want to throw it into the trash where it would be exposed to the environment, this is a safer way to dispose of things,” Yoshimi said. “I have no use for [the E-waste items] in fact some of them didn’t work.”

Zemlock told EGP that the items residents bring changes, but noted that E-waste has become popular recently.

“It varies from paints to electronics to oil,” Zemlock said. “Anywhere from paint to fertilizers, to things you would find under your sink that have been there forever. Electronic waste has been more of a recent thing but we have been receiving them.”

Zemlock pointed out that the items people dispose of can be demographically based.

“In the past there has been a lot of the pesticides, drain cleaners, garden products, and oil,” Zemlock said. “Specially in the neighborhoods like this area that like to do their own home maintenance and their own car maintenance.”

Residents that still need to get rid of any hazardous or E-Waste can go to any of the weekly mobile collection events or to a permanent collection center.

“They are mostly L.A. sites but nobody really cares. As long as you are getting the waste there, that’s all that’s going to matter,” said Zemlock.

For more information on what is considered hazardous waste or to get the addresses to your nearest collection center, visit www.cleanla.com or call 1(800) CLEAN-LA.


LA County Voters Share Their Views on the Upcoming Election

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Next Tuesday, Nov.6, voters nationwide will decide whether they want to reelect President Barack Obama to another term or turn the keys to the White House over to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. In California, voters are also faced with 11 statewide measures dealing with everything from increasing taxes to changing how the state punishes criminals, labels foods, and how state legislators do their jobs.

Political campaigns are spending billions trying to inform voters about their candidate or their side of an issue, yet last week when EGP did an informal canvass of local residents on how they will vote, many voters said they knew little about the ballot measures they will be voting on in just a few days.

Voter apathy or disenchantment with the political process could keep many people from voting next week, people like Montebello resident Louis Frau who says he doesn’t trust either presidential candidate.

“There’s lots of issues that concern me but it makes no sense to even mention them because they [politicians] don’t listen. They do their thing and they forget about the rest,” he told EGP, adding, “They should stay away from wars and spend the money here.”

Frau says some people are talking about the election, but “if you’re like me, they won’t vote.”

“In California they have some nice propositions that I believe are good for the people and I hope people vote for them…like Proposition 36,” he said, referring to the measure to revamp the three strikes law to only impose a life sentence when the third felony conviction is for a serious or violent crime.

Bell Gardens resident Jesus Ramirez won’t be voting Tuesday because he is not a US citizen. Nonetheless, he’s been watching the commercials on the different propositions but says he’s still not really well informed. Immigration is his top priority, besides the economy, and he says as long as the presidential candidates “don’t do anything against immigrants, its good enough.”

Like Ramirez, several Boyle Heights residents told EGP they are eager to be able to participate in the democratic process, but cannot vote because they are not yet citizens.

Whittier resident Nicole Reyes, 39, was visiting Eagle Rock last week and told EGP she is voting for Obama. “I think he’s the best candidate for the country and I just don’t believe in the Republican platform at all… I’m a life-long Democrat,” she said. California’s large Democratic voting block has led many election strategists to see an Obama victory as a forgone conclusion.

Miriam Lopez says immigration and the economy are her top issues right now. “We all want to be fine but sometimes it’s not easy to find a solution overnight,” said the Bell Gardens resident in Spanish. “Lets hope the best man wins and that everything will improve.”

Mihael Yehudi of Monterey Park says the economy and unemployment are the biggest issues facing the country. He is also concerned about the money being spent on the wars.

He told EGP he’s doesn’t know much about the ballot propositions, but did say “I’m against the death penalty,” referring to Prop 34 which if passed would eliminate California’s death penalty, replacing it with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

East Los Angeles student Adrian Lopez says he is concerned about the national health care reform.

“I’m really interested in seeing how the funding will be allocated because I know Mitt Romney wants everything to become state-regulated, but right now our state is bankrupt,” he said. “I just want to make sure that there is a plan set up for California and we’re not in a financial crisis throughout the next four years,” he said.

Though he is concerned about public education, Lopez admits he has not looked closely at the two propositions that purport to fund schools: Prop 30 that increases the state sales tax a quarter cent and the income tax rate paid by the state’s highest income earners, and Prop 38, which would increase the income tax rate for most Californians based on a sliding scale.

“I have my family trying to tell me more and more but right now I know more about the presidential candidacy,” he said.

Former Montebello resident Virginia Acosta says she’s still working on reading all the measures but she feels the presidential election is more important anyway.

“I know for the schools I’m going to vote yes on 30…I volunteer here at the schools and I see how there is less and less money for schools every year and I don’t understand why they continue to take from the schools, that kinda concerns me… there’s not enough funding…I know this because it affects my son,” she said.

Echo Park resident Ernesto Lopez, 28, was visiting Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights on Sunday. He said he will be voting yes on Prop 30 but no on Prop. 38.

Most of the voters EGP talked to said Obama has their vote.

Hiyde Gomez a resident of Highland Park said the poor economy was not caused during Obama’s presidency: “Obama is the right choice, he hasn’t been a bad president, he inherited the country in bad shape,” said Gomez, speaking in Spanish. “He needs another chance to advance all he has worked toward.”

Antonio Lopez of Glassell Park was also visiting Boyle Heights and like Gomez, he too thinks the president needs more time.

“He is well-informed and is the most experienced candidate,” Lopez said in Spanish. “Its impossible to bring back the economy to the way it was before in just four years.”

Here are a few more of the comments made to EGP by Nicole Reyes of Whittier, Sandra Espinoza of Highland Park, Hiyde Gomez of Highland Park, Ernesto Lopez of Echo Park and Antonio Lopez of Glassell Park.

Prop 30: Increases taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and sales tax by ¼ cent for four years.

Hiyde: I think its good. They should increase the taxes of the wealthy not the poor.

Prop 32: Prohibits unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.

Nicole: No. Some campaign contributors are exempted. Taking out unions, PACS—it doesn’t do anything for political reform.

Prop 33: Changes current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether a driver has had a lapse in their insurance coverage.

Hiyde: No, because we work hard enough to get insurance and its already expensive enough.

Ernesto: Yes. It doesn’t really affect me negatively or the state. Helps reinforce insurance laws. I don’t see it as bad.

Prop 34: Repeals death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Directs $100 million to law enforcement agencies for investigations of homicide and rape cases.

Antonio: Its controversial. When someone kills someone, I don’t think we should take their life as well, but when they are in prison we are supporting them.

Prop 35: Increases prison sentences and fines for human trafficking convictions. Requires convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders.

Hiyde: No if it includes crossing undocumented immigrants – yes if it’s only for sexual related human trafficking.

Prop 36: Revises law to impose life sentences only when new felony conviction is serious or violent.

Ernesto: Yes. I agree with the three strikes law but if the third strike is not a serious felony, they shouldn’t get life imprisonment.

Antonio: Yes. It would be good because some laws are not fair. There are innocent people that need another opportunity.

Prop 37: Requires labeling some food sold to consumers made from plants and animals with genetic material changed in specific ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as “natural.”

Nicole: I think it’s a good thing. I don’t’ know why, but some things are not required. I heard on a news program that Soy Milk needs to be labeled but not cow’s milk. I think they should have full disclosure across the board.

Sandra: Yes. They should put it on food, I think that’s why a lot of people get sick.

Prop 40: New State Senate districts to be drawn by the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission. If rejected, districts will be­ adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court.

Nicole: I think it’s bad. I think it’s going to be harmful to lower-income minority communities. I need to do more research but I’m leaning toward ‘no’.

Measure B in city of L.A.: would require porn actors to wear condoms.

Espinoza: Yes, with all the diseases we need to protect the actors and others should follow their example.

Nicole: Yes, I think it would be good for the industry.

Measure J: seeks to extend for another 30 years a one-half cent sales tax already being paid by consumers in Los Angeles County to accelerate county transportation projects funded under the voter-approved Measure R, which will expire in 2039.

Hiyde: You can’t do anything to fight traffic but trains are good.
Antonio: More than anything we need more light rails.

Ernesto: We need more public transportation. I follow the Metro blog, new light rail lines, bus lines. I’m a big user of public transportation and if we can get it quicker, I’m all for it. If we can get it a little faster, people will use it… Not just [the construction of a new route] a few miles a year.


L.A. Officials Look to Increase Taxes In 2013

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday signaled its strong support for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund city services, but also moved forward with three additional proposals that could go before voters in March – taxes on parking, property and home sales.

The council, which directed the City Attorney’s Office to draft ballot language for the tax increases, has until Nov. 14 to decide which ones to advance to the March 5 municipal primary election ballot.

The sales tax increase is projected to raise $215 million annually for the city’s general fund, according to city officials. A $39 parcel tax would raise about $30 million annually that would be dedicated to funding the Department of Recreation and Parks, which has been decimated in recent years by decreasing subsidies from the city for utility costs.

A tax on home sales is projected to raise about $80 million annually, and a tax on private parking lot owners, which is expected to be passed on to drivers, would generate a little more than $40 million per year.

“At the appropriate time, I believe my request to you will be that we move forward with one tax, and that will be the sales tax,” City Council President Herb Wesson told the council.

The city’s top budget analyst, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, said the city has made dramatic strides since the start of the Great Recession to cut costs without asking voters to pay more in taxes, including shedding about 5,000 jobs, cutting services and recently moving to roll back civilian employee pensions for newly hired city workers.

But the city is still facing a budget deficit of $216 million for the next fiscal year that starts July 1.

“What’s at risk today is really the public safety programs that the city has. Without a new revenue source, it is impossible to maintain public safety in both police and fire at the same levels that we have today,” Santana said Wednesday.

A handful of other City Council members – Bernard Parks, Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl – telegraphed their preference to ask voters only for a sales tax. Parks referred to the menu of other taxes as an effort to “nickel and dime” residents.

“Our residents understand sales tax increases for reasons that are necessary,” Koretz said. “They don’t hit anyone so hard … that a business would leave or that an individual would struggle with a half-cent sales tax.”

Councilmen Mitch Englander, Richard Alarcon and Dennis Zine opposed moving forward to put the tax increases on the ballot. Englander said a sales tax increase would hurt small businesses and argued there are still more places to cut costs, including contracting out management of the Convention Center, zoo and senior centers.

“Until we get there, we’ve done all that, we’ve exhausted all of our resources, I think we’ve got to focus on that first,” Englander said.

A sales tax increase, Englander said, would cause people to go to other jurisdictions with lower sales taxes to purchase big ticket items. As part of advancing the sales tax proposal to the ballot, the city will commission an outside economist to estimate the net loss to sales within the city.

The Central City Association, one of the city’s most powerful business groups, expressed frustration that it had less than 24 hours notice about the sales tax plan, which Wesson unveiled Tuesday.

We have not yet had the opportunity to take a position on the half-cent sales tax, and we would have appreciated being part of the discussion,” said CCA Vice President of Legislative and Legal Affairs Anne Williams. “We support the city in trying to maximize revenues, but we just want to remind you that the process of how we get there is just as important.”

One of the city’s largest employee unions, Service Employees International Union Local 721, praised the council’s effort to look for new revenue rather than more cuts.

“It’s also high-time for City Hall to get serious about making rich folks, who have done very well, contribute more to make L.A. sustainable,” SEIU Local 721 spokesman Ian Thompson said. “Working families are doing their part. The wealthiest 1 percent should too.”

East LA Schools Receive ‘Fun’ Math Tool

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Wearing penguin paper hats and cheering “JiJi! JiJi!” elementary school students in East Los Angeles last week treated a math software character like a celebrity.

East Los Angeles children were enthusiastic about the math program’s mascot “JiJi” the penguin. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Students at Belvedere Elementary School and Eastman Elementary School are now participating in an educational program that makes math less intimidating by presenting puzzles and slowly introducing symbols and words, it was announced on Oct. 25.

A three-way partnership between Hyundai Motor America, East Los Angeles-based TELACU and MIND Research Institute has brought the program to the schools.

“MIND will be providing all the software and teaching guidance on the system, Hyundai provides the financial resources to have that program,” and TELACU will continue to collaborate on the project to insure that programs like this support K-12 education, so students will go on to college and even graduate school, TELACU President David Lizárraga told EGP.

Children described the video game-like program as fun. “Math is easier than we think,” Melony Robles told her peers during a school assembly that also serves as a press conference.

The MIND Research Institute’s ST Math program uses visual learning to teach math concepts. It is equally accessible and challenging for native English speakers and English Language Learners alike, Christine Byrd, of the MIND Research Institute, said in a press release.

MIND Education Division President Andrew R. Coulson said the company’s strategy is to “put radically improved digital learning tools in the hands of teachers and students.”

“Visionary community and corporate partners like Hyundai and TELACU are leading this charge to math success for all students, changing attitudes about math and creating the next generation of problem solvers, innovators, and critical thinkers,” Coulson said.

Hyundai Motor America Director of General Affairs Zafar Brooks said the STEM curriculum in the math program would help the children reach graduation.

“With our non-profit partners MIND Research Institute and TELACU, we are honored to invest in an ST Math program to benefit children in East Los Angeles,” Brooks said in a written statement.

During the assembly, Lizárraga told the children he uses math every day and having a strong education will help them realize their dreams—just like he fulfilled his dreams.

“We have to do everything in our power to ensure that our students are all proficient in math,” LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia said in a written statement. “Thank you Hyundai, TELACU and MIND Research Institute for your support in making this happen, we need more programs like this in every school.”

About 30 teachers will also be receiving professional development to incorporate and build upon the program in the classroom.

For more information and to download sample games, visit www.mindresearch.net


Ballot Recommendations – Tuesday, Nov. 6 Election

November 1, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Obama for President

Eastern Group Publications endorses the reelection of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.

After all the noise and bitterness of the campaign, we are convinced that President Obama is the person best suited for the task of rebuilding America’s middle class. Jobs are now being created in growing numbers and his pledge to help bring jobs back to America is the best hope American jobless workers have.

There is finally hope that the country’s medically uninsured can finally receive the medical care they need, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions, and people under 26 years of age can now stay on their parents’ medical policies. Medicare we believe is safe as is Social Security with a Democrat as president, since it was a Democrat President who pushed through legislation for Social Security and Medicare.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney has failed to earn our confidence because of his practice of changing or manipulating his platform throughout the primary and general election campaigns.

Probably one of the most important tasks a U.S. President will have to decide on will be the appointment of two or perhaps three new Supreme Court justices. We feel that there needs to be more balance on the Court that in recent years has moved far to the right in matters of corporate responsibility and workers and woman’s rights. We believe Obama’s appointments will be more centrists. And while were disappointed that the president did not push for comprehensive immigration reform during his first term in office, we believe he will work to get it done in the next term.

Lastly, lest we forget, Osama bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is disorganized and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming to a long and expensive end.

United States Senator

Our endorsement goes to Senator Diane Feinstein, a senior member of the US Senate, and easily one of its most respected and influential members of the senate.

We have not always agreed with the Senator on issues, such as some of her past proposals on immigration reform, or sending US troops to Iraq, but we can think of only a few other members of the Senate with her stature and leadership.

U.S. House of Representatives

27th District: Judy Chu— Supports Health Care Legislation, immigration reform—the DREAM Act, her seniority is a plus for California.

32nd District: Grace Napolitano—has wide experience on water issues, small business advocate, supported DREAM Act, proponent of immigration reform, member of the House with a lot of seniority.

34th District: Xavier Becerra—a senior Democrat on powerful committees who has experience on financial institution regulation, supports affordable healthcare, and is well respected as a non-nonsense politician by his constituents.

38th District: Linda T. Sanchez—a hardworking representative whose views on Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Healthcare and other services we agree on. A senior democrat whose seniority California cannot afford to lose.

40th District: Lucille Roybal-Allard—a consensus builder whose work to pass the DREAM Act, comprehensive immigration reform, affordable health care, and whose seniority has allowed her to bring back to her district federal funding for many local projects.

State Senate

33rd District: Ricardo Lara—running unopposed—Mr. Lara has been engaged with the communities he represents, therefore we join those supporting his re-election.

State Assembly

49th District: Edwin P. Chau—Mr. Chau has impressed us with his work on the Montebello School Board. His strong support of school programs among them Garfield High School, with his personal funds has gained our support.

51st District: Jimmy Gomez—a strong advocate for affordable health care, Gomez has impressed us with his wide knowledge of this district’s needs, beyond healthcare, such as in transportation, education and the needs of small business, has earned our support.

53rd District: John A. Perez—as Speaker of the Assembly, Perez, despite being a Democrat, has been able to push for some of the difficult cuts needed in the state budget. At the same time, he is supportive of affordable health care; adequate school funding. He has earned our support.

58th District: Christina Garcia—A local activist not afraid to voice her opinions on local issues. We look forward to seeing what she can accomplish at a higher level in the Assembly.

County of Los Angeles

Yes on Measure J– To advance Los Angeles County’s traffic relief by accelerating light rail/subway construction within five years. Measure seeks to extend the one half sales tax approved by voters under Measure R for another 30 years, with independent audits. Approving this measure now will save county taxpayers money in the long run, since interest rates on the money are likely to be substantially lower than they will be in future years. By borrowing now, the County can accelerate the transportation projects already identified and in some cases underway. It should be noted, however, that we are seriously concerned about opponents claims that Metro officials have refused to meet with those opposed to some of the projects proposed, or their efforts to seek assurances that accelerating projects will not lead to impacted communities having no say in how those projects impacts are mitigated in their neighborhoods. Giving permission to buy bonds using taxpayers dollars is not as one opponent said “a blank check” to allow Metro authorities to do whatever they want, and we urge Metro and the elected officials who make up the Metro Board, to be responsive, open and engaged with the communities they

represent, even when their views differ. That being said, we believe that rail projects are part of the traffic solution for the region, and should become part of a transportation plan that includes bus service and gets riders where they need to go in the fastest, least expensive way possible. Today, that’s not always the case, and that needs to be fixed. There is no denying that if Metro fails to sell bonds for transportation enhancements at today’s affordable interest rates, someday we will have to finish the job at a greater cost.  Vote Yes on Measure J.

No on Measure A–Only advisory, this measure asks voters if they are in favor of making the County Assessor an appointed rather than elected position. While current County Assessor John Noguez and two of his staff are alleged to have accepted campaign contributions in return for lowering taxes on some expensive Westside properties, some thing

no other assessor has been accused of, voters do not need to hand the position over to county elected officials, giving them even more power than they already have.

City of Los Angeles

No on Measure B– This measure would require producers of adult films to obtain a county health permit and require performers in adult films to use condoms while engaged in sex acts, to provide proof of attending a training course on blood-borne-pathogen … Violators would be subject to fines and criminal charges. Our health inspectors and police officers have enough crime to worry about and don’t need the added work of policing the wearing of condoms by sex film actors.

Earlier EGP Ballot Recommendations:

—Vote Yes on Proposition 30: A temporary increase in sales tax and income taxes on higher income Californians.

—Vote No on Proposition 31: Well intentioned but poorly written budget reform.

—No Recommendation on Proposition 32: Pay Check deductions for political causes.

—Vote No on Proposition 33: Don’t let auto insurers have another tool to raise rates.

—Vote Yes on Proposition 34: It’s time to drop the death penalty.

—Vote Yes on Proposition 35: Harsher penalties for people convicted of human trafficking.

—Vote Yes On Proposition 36: Change the Three Strikes Law so the third strike only applies to violent or serious crimes.

—Vote Yes on Proposition 37: A step toward better labeling of foods.

—No on Proposition 38: Higher Income taxes to pay for education.

—Yes on Proposition 39: Change the tax code that allows multi-state corporations to get away with not paying their fair share of state taxes.

—Yes on Proposition 40: Voters approved turning over redistricting of political boundaries to a Citizens Commission, their maps should be upheld.


Candidate for Congress Runs ‘Grassroots’ Campaign

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

David Sanchez, a long-time Chicano activist and community college professor and now candidate for the 40th Congressional District, visited East Los Angeles College on Monday where he passed out flyers and talked to students in the college’s Free Speech Area.

David Sanchez campaigned at East Los Angeles College to meet students and earn their vote for the upcoming election on Tuesday Nov. 6. (EGP Photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Sanchez is running against Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, the incumbent who received over 65 percent of the vote in the June primary election. A little over 25,000 of the districts’ 224,000 registered voters cast ballots in the race.

The redrawn 40th District includes unincorporated East Los Angeles, Downey, South Central Los Angeles, Bell, Bell Gardens, Bell Flower, Maywood, Cudahy, Paramount, Huntington Park, Commerce and Florence.

This is Sanchez’s sixth attempt at winning public office and his second time running against Roybal-Allard. He previously tried to unseat LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina, receiving 6 percent of the vote.

With the exception of Sanchez, Roybal-Allard and Molina have faced no opposition for reelection.

“I got 8,000 votes, so I figure if I can get 8,000 more I’ll win this race,” Sanchez told EGP about the June Primary where Roybal-Allard received over 16,000 votes.

Sanchez is one of the founders of the Brown Berets, a group of activists heavily involved in the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 70s, as well as the Mexican-American University, which on its website says it is a private “off campus, non-traditional, alternative education university,” where “the programs are completed entirely by correspondence or by e-mail.

Sanchez says he is focused on creating jobs, improving educational opportunities and bringing resources to the district. He also wants to get inflation under control and for the country to shift gears from “war mode” to “peace mode,” with more resources staying in the country to help Americans, he said.

Though Roybal-Allard has political seniority, including a storied family legacy of political participation and serving as a senior member of the House Appropriation’s Committee, Sanchez does not appear intimidated. Instead, he’s banking on her political experience to move his campaign forward.

“20 years with no change is too long. Elect a new congressman!” his campaign mailers say.

It’s been a long, hard nine-months, Sanchez told EGP about his campaign. “I feel that our community needs grass roots representation, somebody who can address some of the issues in our community,” he said, explaining why he is running.

Sanchez says he is pretty much self-funding his campaign, operating with less than $5,000, so unlike races in other areas, there are no TV ads or a never-ending stream of mailers and phone calls supporting Sanchez’s campaign.

“I’m campaigning mainly person to person, we’re going out to talk to the people and letting them know how we feel. And the way I feel personally, there’s a lot of people in political positions that are just in it for the money and we need someone who can strategically give some of the leadership that will bring back jobs and funds for our community,” he said.

Sanchez notes that Roybal-Allard has raised over $500,000 for her campaign, and accuses her of being indebted to her campaign contributors.

“I haven’t done favors for people so if I have a fundraiser, not a lot of people are going to come because I haven’t done favors for them. And there’s something wrong with that whole process, I mean, why should big money control politics?” he said. “I think big campaign contributions are an injustice to democracy.”

Roybal-Allard, meanwhile, has received numerous endorsements for her reelection, including from the Democratic Party and a long list of labor, environmental and women’s groups. Many of the endorsements credit her with bringing funds to improve local infrastructure, including $20 million to restore the Los Angeles River, as well as for authoring legislation such as the DREAM Act, and bills aimed at curbing underage drinking and teen pregnancy.

Sanchez said he’s been standing on the streets talking to voters in the different parts of the district. Having run for office previously has helped him improve his campaign skills and garner supporters, he said.

Sanchez supporter Hector Gascon of Commerce was once Sanchez’s student. Gascon said Sanchez has a wide platform but he likes it.

“He says he will help the community—as all politicians do—and I told him to keep that agenda because as Latinos … many politicians get into office and forget about the community. I said ‘just don’t forget about the community.’ He seemed real about it. Usually everyone sits and waits for the community to serve them and many times, they don’t serve the community,” Gascon told EGP.

ELAC student Melissa Godino, 20 of East Los Angeles, said Sanchez impressed her: “I don’t see the other candidate coming here [to ELAC]. He has my vote,” she told EGP.

Godino said Sanchez’s message about having another university in the area really resounded with her because the fiscal crisis has Cal State LA students coming to ELAC for classes—causing ELAC students difficulty in getting classes.

“If he could help get those grants (educational) it would be beneficial for us. Hope he gets those grants,” she said referring to comments he made in a recent speech.

Alejandro Ponce, 41 also a student, cannot vote for Sanchez because he doesn’t live in the 40th district, but he said he really liked Sanchez’s message because it was brief and to the point.

15 More Schools to Get Support Program for Foster Kids

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the expansion of a pilot program to keep foster youth in high school.

The program was pioneered in 2008 as a joint effort between Supervisor Gloria Molina’s office, school districts in the San Gabriel Valley, the Department of Children and Family Services, other county departments and agencies and Casey Family Programs.

“When we began this pilot program years ago, our goal was simply to reverse our high school drop-out rates among our foster youth by developing a solid education plan to address each child’s unique need,” Molina said.

“Three years later, a total of 423 youth have participated in the program – and we enjoy an 80 percent high school graduation rate.”

Molina said intense collaboration between DCFS social workers and school district staff has been key to the program’s success.

Staffers check students’ grades weekly, set up tutoring sessions and transportation assistance, and help participants schedule summer school classes, SAT prep courses and exams and plan college tours. The assistance is based on an educational plan tailored to suit each individual student.

The program was piloted in the Pomona and Montebello unified school districts and now includes several other districts, including Los Angeles Unified.

In June 2011, 175 foster youth participated. Twenty-three were seniors: 18 graduated, 11 enrolled in community college, one went on to train at a vocational school and two went directly to a four-year university, according to Molina.

Youth in foster care are among the most at-risk population in Los Angeles County, particularly during the transition from foster care to adulthood. Molina cited research showing that foster youth often fare worse on standardized tests and report higher dropout rates, absenteeism and truancy.

Based on the board’s unanimous vote, the educational program will be expanded to 15 more schools.


SWAT Team Shuts Down Bell Gardens Neighborhood in Search of Suspect

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A robbery suspect who was thought to have barricaded himself inside a Bell Gardens residence turned out not to be at the address, police said on Wednesday.

Investigators conducting surveillance on a home in the 6000 block of Luddell Street beginning around 3 p.m. Tuesday eventually tried to call out the suspect, who was wanted in connection with a robbery in Santa Fe Springs, said Sgt. Kent Miller of the Whittier Police Department, which provides police services in Santa Fe Springs.

When they got no response, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team was called in around 6 p.m., Miller said. A search warrant was obtained and deputies entered the residence, but the suspect was not there, and the scene was cleared by 10:30 p.m., he said.

Bell Gardens police assisted in the investigation, according to a watch commander at that department.


Huizar Involved In Bumper-Bender, Passes Sobriety Test

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar was involved in a minor collision on Oct. 25.

Three cars were involved in the accident, according to Huizar spokesperson Rick Coca.

“LAPD gave the Councilmember a DUI sobriety test, which of course he passed. The Councilmember is glad that nobody was seriously injured,” Coca said in a written statement.

Officer Venus Hall, of LAPD Media Relations, confirmed the councilman passed the sobriety test.

The collision happened at 6:45 p.m. at the intersection of First Street and Boyle Avenue, near Huizar’s home in Boyle Heights, according to Coca and the LAPD.

Eagle Rock Brush Fire Causes Little Damage

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A fire scorched several acres of brush north of the Ventura (134) Freeway in Eagle Rock on Monday.

The blaze was reported near Figueroa Street about 11 a.m., said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Firefighters appeared to have gained the upper hand on the flames within an hour.

No structures were damaged, and no one was hurt. Humphrey said.

Three westbound freeway lanes were closed while crews worked to clear the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol.

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