Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews Publisher and CEO, Dolores Sanchez was honored last week by the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) as Latina Publisher of the Year.
Sanchez was presented with the award Oct. 4 during the NAHP’s annual national convention in Anaheim, California.
The convention draws executives from publications across the country, including both English and Spanish language newspapers and magazines.
EGP publishes 11 weekly community newspapers, including this newspaper, in Los Angeles County. All of the newspapers offer content in English and Spanish.
According to the NAHP, Sanchez was selected from a large group of nominees.
She was saluted for her “positive contributions” to the industry, and for her service to the Hispanic community.
Upon receiving her award during the Latina Publishers Breakfast sponsored by Macy’s, Sanchez thanked the NAHP for the honor, then took a few minutes to address her fellow publishers, calling them heroes for their persistent and unwavering dedication to telling the stories of importance to Latinos that the mainstream media often ignores.
“I know your struggles, how hard it is at times to keep going in this industry,” Sanchez said. She reminded the publishers and editors in attendance that they are doing important work, and that they give a voice to the Latino population, which is still very under represented at all levels of the media.
“Here we are in 2013 and there is a television show about police in Los Angeles that only has one Latino police officer, and he’s the guy with all the problems,” she said. “Don’t give up, because if you don’t give a voice to this community, who will?”
Author, director, and actress Josefina Lopez served as the award breakfast’s keynote speaker. She emotionally talked about her experiences growing up and striving to tell the stories of Latina women like her, who don’t fit the typical image of women portrayed by the media.
Her latest film, “Detained in the Desert,” tells the story of two people on opposite sides of the immigration debate who are lost in the desert but find each other, leading them to discover their humanity and the true plight of migrants crossing the Arizona desert.
Detained in the Desert’s world premiere screening will take place as part of the 16th Annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) this Friday at 5:00 p.m. at TCL 6 Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Mann’s Chinese Theatre), Theatre One, 6925 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028.
Three elected officials on Tuesday expressed their commitment to helping residents of Boyle Heights and others affected communities shut down a lead acid battery recycling plant in Vernon, which has repeatedly emitted harmful chemicals into the air and soil while operating on a temporary permit for over 30 years.
Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Funcionarios y Residentes Regañan a Reguladores por Contaminación Continuo Proveniente de Exide
State Sen. Kevin de León hosted the Town Hall in Boyle Heights to discuss issues related to Exide Technologies in Vernon. He was joined by Sen. Ricardo Lara, Assembly Speaker John Pérez and area residents who angrily told state and local regulators that they are not doing enough to protect the health of hundreds of thousands of people living and working in the area.
Pérez called on the regulators to understand the frustration of residents, noting that this is only the most recent, not the first, town hall meeting on Exide, which has been an air quality offender for years, but is still allowed to continue operating.
“Generations feel ignored by the very people who are supposed to protect them,” Pérez said. “When you look at the decades of harm on this community, it is incumbent on you to do everything… you have got to do everything in your power to shut down repeat offenders.”
The often-raucous meeting lasted two hours longer than originally planned and took place in the auditorium of Resurrection Church where community activists and Neighborhood Watch members have been organizing to force the permanent closure of the battery recycler.
Air and toxic substance control authorities and the director of the LA County Department Public Health, which will be administering blood testing to residents in the designated area, made presentations and took questions.
Residents were for the most part unsatisfied with answers to their questions from regulators, with the audience from time to time angrily breaking into a chorus of shout to “shut it down!”
Pérez put Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) Director Debbie Raphael and AQMD Executive Officer Barry R. Wallerstein on the spot, asking them if they believed the plant should be allowed to continue to operate or shut down based on its track record?
Raphael told Pérez she didn’t know, but earlier in the meeting she said DTSC had already shut down Exide once, and they are not done yet.
“We are not walking away” from the problem, Raphael said.
The crowd wasn’t impressed with her answer, however, and continued to give Raphael and Wallerstein a tough time.
On Monday, DTSC announced it had reached an agreement with Exide, and that the Stipulation and Order would require the company to set aside $7.7 million to pay for upgrades to reduce arsenic emissions, replace the leaking piping system, conduct lead blood testing for residents, and to do dust and soil sampling in the area.
While the order first needs to be approved by the bankruptcy judge, DTSC and AQMD consider it a partial victory. Residents, however, aren’t looking for an agreement that resolves or lifts the suspension order issued by DTSC in April. They don’t want Exide to be left off the hook and allowed to continue to operate.
On Monday, Exide representatives told CNS they have already begun working on a $4 million upgrade to the plant’s underground storm-water piping system and “high-efficiency filters.”
Residents, aware of a Dow Jones Business News report that states Exide will pay four times that amount, $16 million, in bonuses to employees under its restructuring plan, believe the amount of money to pay for upgrades and testing is woefully insufficient.
Nonetheless, despite constant calls to shut Exide down, regulators said they are obligated to follow due process in dealing with Exide. They said legislators can help by approving legislation for stiffer penalties for non-compliance that will also prevent polluters from reopening.
Pérez responded by telling regulators to use some “creativity” to bring justice to those who have been exposed to contamination coming from Exide for decades.
Asked what it would take for the plant to be shut down, regulators said there has to be evidence that the plant poses an eminent danger to residents and that it does not have the ability to operate safely: something residents say has already been proven.
Speaker after speaker called for additional tests to check for chemicals such as arsenic and benzene. Boyle Heights resident Teresa Marquez and others said they aren’t satisfied with the county health department director’s assertion that that arsenic testing is too complicated.
“We have baby teeth [that you can use for testing]!” Marquez shouted from her seat.
In the meantime, AQMD is reviewing Exide’s risk reduction plan and a California Environmental Quality Act study is happening concurrently with the permitting process, Wallerstein said.
DTSC’s Brian Johnson said not issuing the permit could set in motion shutting the plant down.
During his presentation, Wallerstein said AQMD is not comfortable that the testing at the facility is reflecting regular operation levels, that the pollution control devices are working properly and that the outdated designs of the equipment at the plant keep breaking down.
“Frankly, its an embarrassment that this plant is not able to operate within the rules and regulations,” Wallerstein said.
In 2013, AQMD has had 83 site inspections and issued four notices of noncompliance, with a couple more being issued his week, Wallerstein said.
Michael Arellano, a Boyle Heights resident, told elected officials and regulators that he and others had received a claim form regarding Exide’s bankruptcy and they didn’t know how to respond to it. De León said they would talk to Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard’s office about maybe having a meeting on this topic before the fast approaching deadline of Oct. 31.
Exide’s next bankruptcy hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5.
El gobernador de California, Jerry Brown, firmó la semana pasada en Los Ángeles la ley AB 60 que permitirá a los inmigrantes indocumentados tramitar legalmente una licencia para conducir por este estado, el décimo primero en EE.UU. en autorizar esta medida.
La rúbrica tuvo lugar en las escalinatas de la alcaldía de Los Ángeles, en un ambiente casi festivo, ante decenas de personas que corearon en español “Sí se pudo”, y numerosos políticos y representantes de organizaciones sociales, sindicales, fuerzas del orden y la Iglesia Católica.
“Cuando un millón de personas sin documentos conduzcan legalmente en el estado de California el resto de este país tendrá que tomar nota. Nunca más las personas indocumentadas estarán en la sombra, están vivos, bien y son respetados”, dijo un vehemente Brown que fue recibido entre vítores de “campeón”.
Se estima que alrededor de 2,5 millones de personas en California podrán regular su estatus al volante gracias a esta medida, de las cuales se espera que al menos 1 millón lo haga durante el primer año en vigor de esa ley, según dijo a Efe el legislador Luis Alejo.
El Departamento de Vehículos a Motor (DMV) tiene de plazo hasta el 1 de enero de 2015 para comenzar a dar permisos de conducción a indocumentados, si bien quieren adelantar el proceso a septiembre u octubre de 2014.
“En los próximos meses van a tomar medidas de emergencia para prepararse porque tienen que abrir oficinas adicionales y contratar gente”, explicó Alejo, quien advirtió de que hasta que se tramiten las licencias las cosas seguirán como hasta ahora.
“Como cualquier otra ley hay que esperar a que sea puesta en práctica”, afirmó el asambleísta estatal.
Los políticos coincidieron en calificar la jornada de hoy como de “momento histórico”, para unos que lucharon por décadas por una medida así, como el concejal Gil Cedillo, fue incluso algo personal.
El alcalde de Los Ángeles, Eric Garcetti, optó por la expresión “un día de justicia”, mientras que el jefe de la policía local, Charlie Beck, indicó que se trataba de “un día de orgullo”.
“Es un gran paso adelante para que las calles sean más seguras”, comentó Beck.
La tarjeta de identificación que licencie el DMV a personas indocumentadas no tendrá validez federal, ni servirá para conseguir empleo o prestaciones sociales.
Los solicitantes tendrán que pasar un examen, como el resto de aspirantes a conductores en California, y podrán después obtener un seguro de automóvil.
“Se logró, pero desafortunadamente muchas de nuestras familias han sido deportadas, separadas por no tener algo como una licencia”, admitió Alejo.
Desde la Coalición por los Derechos Dumanos de los Inmigrantes en Los Ángeles, CHIRLA, su directora Angélica Salas, expresó su satisfacción por lo conseguido ya que supone una alternativa que antes no existía.
“Ahora tienes la opción. Decir sí a la licencia o no. Los que la necesiten podrán tenerla. Significa que van a poder manejar sin que les pare la policía y les quiten su carro, muchas veces en frente de su familia, grandes humillaciones”, apuntó Salas a Efe.
Actualmente hay una decena de estados donde los inmigrantes indocumentados ya pueden sacar un permiso para conducir: Nuevo México, Utah, Washington, Illinois, Nevada, Oregón, Maryland, Vermont, Colorado y Connecticut.
En Los Ángeles, no faltaron las voces de inmigrantes que gritaron en coro que tras lograr “hoy la licencia” y mañana le tocará el turno “a la reforma (migratoria)”.
El presidente de la Asamblea John Pérez y los senadores Kevin de León y Ricardo Lara el martes expresaron su apoyo de ayudar a los residentes de Boyle Heights y otras comunidades afectadas, a cerrar una planta de reciclaje de baterías de plomo en Vernon que ha emitido repetidamente sustancias químicas nocivas al aire mientras operaba bajo un permiso temporal durante los últimos 30 años.
Durante la reunión acerca de Exide Technologies, los funcionarios y residentes criticaron a los representantes de las agencias de control de polución que estaban presentes por permitir que la planta exponga a residentes a sustancias tóxicas.
Read this story IN ENGLISH: Elected Officials, Residents Scold State Regulators for Exide’s Continued Non-Compliance
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into a law a bill that prohibits law enforcement agencies from detaining undocumented immigrants arrested for minor crimes for deportation if they have been arrested for a minor crime.
The so-called “Trust Act,” authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiana, D-San Francisco and signed by the governor on Oct. 5, sets strict statewide standards on how police share information about arrested immigrants with federal immigration authorities when complying with the federal Secure Communities program, which required law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of anyone arrested.
Enforcement of Secure Communities varied across the state. In some areas, police agencies would hold people arrested for minor crimes for 48-hours, and some claim the law has resulted in innocent people being deported.
Secure Communities, according to the ACLU, permits the detention of immigrants based on their immigration status, which they say “undermines the proper process of law and reduces trust between immigrant communities and local enforcement agencies the law.”
The new law still allows for those arrested or covicted of a serious offence to be detained by authorities for 48 hours before they are transferred to a federal deportation center.
This law allows victims to report crimes, and trust police officers to use their judgement as to how use limited jail space, said Norma Chavez Peterson, executive director of the ACLU in Imperial and San Diego counties.
Brown signed the bill on the same that immigration rights activisrs rallied in Hollywood and across the country to demand that Congress take up comprehensive immigration reform. He also signed six other immigration-related laws that day, putting California at the forefront of efforts to address immigration issues.
Last Thursday, Brown signed a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a s driver’s license if they meet all the requirements, including passing a driving test.
Los Angeles Councilman Gilbert Cedillo tried for over a decade to pass similar legislation while he was in the State Legislature. He joined the governor at a signing ceremony in Los Angeles, and saluted him for making a difference.
“He is a great American and an optimist who looks to the future, while others cling to a past that never existed. He is an honorable man, ‘hombre de su palabra’ who has always kept his promise. That was true with the CA Dream Act, the towing bill, and now the CA Driver’s License bill. We are lucky to have such a visionary Governor leading this State out of challenging economic circumstances; investing in the future and setting the foundation for a California we can all be proud to call home.”
The governor did veto a bill that would allow legal immigrants who are not citizens to serve on juries. In his veto statement, Brown said: “Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship, This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury. I don’t think that’s right.”
A small street currently known only as Bailey Street in the mostly Latino Boyle Heights community will soon have an additional way of being addressed—“Avenida de Lucha Reyes.”
The street dedication was approved unanimously by the Los Angeles City Council on Oct. 4, Los Angeles Councilmember Jose Huizar, who represents the area, presented the motion.
Lucha Reyes, whose full name was Maria de Luz Flores Aceves, was a famed Mexican ranchera singer. A larger than life statue of her already adorns Mariachi Plaza, adjacent to the street being dedicated in her honor.
The street’s official name on street guides and maps and for mail purposes will remain “Bailey Street,” but additional signage will be installed indicating the new Lucha Reyes, the Huizar’s office clarified in a press release.
“I’m pleased that the City Council recognized Lucha Reyes’ place as the iconic figure she is to the Latino community,” said Huizar in a written statement. “As we improve First Street with new signage, gardens, decorative sidewalks, street furniture and trees, we will greatly enhance the area. Dedicating a street in honor of Lucha Reyes adjacent to Mariachi Plaza reminds visitors of Boyle Heights’ Mexican culture and regard for musical legends like Lucha Reyes.”
Monterey Park’s four legged residents may soon have their very own park in the city after residents help city officials decide whether they should move forward with a proposed dog park.
The city’s park and recreation commission will hold a public hearing on Oct. 14 to get input on the proposal.
The dog park would be located at Garvey Ranch Park in an unused lot next to the tennis courts along Orange Avenue. The park would be fenced up and divided into two areas for small dogs and larger dogs to allow for pets to be off their leashes. The proposal also states that the park would only be open during daylight hours.
Although some residents may be hearing about the proposal for the first time during Monday’s Recreation and Parks Commission hearing, the idea has been in the works for a couple of years, said Dan Costley, Monterey Park’s director of recreation and community services. Costley said the Recreation and Parks commission surveyed residents about what changes they would like to see at city parks and determined that a dog park was something most residents wanted and the city needed.
“There is a large dog population” in the city, Monterey Park Police Lt. Steve Coday told EGP. He said 295 dogs were licensed last year, but the number of dogs in the city is estimated to be higher when you take into account the number of dogs not registered.
“The city council has already approved a budget to build a dog park,” Costley said. “Now we’re just trying to get an okay from the people.”
Funding for the $80,000 project was secured as part of the city council approved the $3.2 million Park Master Plan for capital improvements included in the 2013-2014 fiscal budget.
“We don’t think its going to cost that much,” said Costley, explaining the project would require a only simple design and minimal building materials. “There’s not a whole lot to a dog park,” he said.
City staff originally considered locating the off-leash facility at Elder Park, but at a hearing on the location last July, residents expressed concerns about the logistics.
According to city documents, residents complained that the Elder Park location was not appropriate due to its close proximity to homes and schools. The lack of parking in the area also concerned residents, as did the sanitation and safety that comes with a park that is not exclusive to residents and lacks supervision by city staff.
Kay Manning, a longtime resident of Monterey Park, told EGP that the new location eases her safety concerns related to keeping the dogs away from children. She is familiar with the Garvey Ranch Park location, and feels it will help address the problem many cities face with irresponsible pet owners.
“We don’t really want dog [waste] everywhere,” Manning said. “We don’t want people walking their dogs on our lawns or sidewalks, so lets give them a place where they can do that.”
Monterey Park Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian told EGP that the new location, which is not near many homes and is adjacent to long-, wide street, addresses many of the issues raised by residents.
“Garvey Ranch is a better choice because the layout lends itself to a dog park,” she said.
A dog owner herself, Real Sebastian said people concerned with sanitation and safety should visit a dog park before they form an opinion. She explained that in her personal experience people who frequent dog parks “self regulate” and tend to be more respectful by cleaning after their dogs.
“It’s a great amenity for our city,” said Real Sebastian.
The dog park would be the first and only of its kind in the area, with residents currently traveling to Los Angeles or Pasadena to find a dog-friendly park.
Nadine Whitlock recently moved to Monterey Park and told EGP she had not heard that the city is considering opening a dog park, but hopes to learn more about it at the hearing.
Once the commission hears from residents they will provide their recommendation to council. If they decide to move forward, the project could be completed by next summer Costley told EGP.
The Parks and recreation Commission hearing will be at 7 p.m. on held Oct. 14, hearing will be held at Garvey Ranch Park: 781 S Orange Ave. For information, call Dan Costley at (626) 307-1497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A long-time Commerce resident and 24-year city employee has announced he is running for a seat on the Central Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors: The election takes place in November 2014.
However, Jason Stinnett isn’t just any local resident, he’s Commerce’s interim public information officer, a job that requires him to interact with the media, and most people would assume, put the city’s best foot forward when doing so.
That includes his bosses, on staff and on the city council.
Often outspoken, Stinnett has not shied away over the years from criticizing things he did not like in Commerce, including some past council members. Nor has he refrained from actively supporting others.
Some of those activities are now drawing fire from critics who question his motives.
Now he’s running for a seat on the Commerce-based Central Basin, which in recent months has been awash in controversy, including a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into political corruption in which the FBI served the water agency with subpoenas seeking documents related to contracts for groundwater storage plan and personnel records.
Central Basin board members Art Chacon and Robert Apodaca, who are both up for reelection next year, are among those whose records were sought by the FBI in August, the LA Times reported. In connection with that investigation, the FBI also zeroed-in on another elected official, Sen. Ron Calderon, whose office in Sacramento was raided in June.
Stinnett says working families in Southeast Los Angeles County deserve better. He hopes to unseat Chacon who represents Division III, which includes the cities of Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, Walnut Park, Monterey Park, Vernon and unincorporated areas of East Los Angeles.
But now, like the water district, he too is facing criticism for his political activities and connections.
In a recent recall notice served on Commerce council members, Stinnett is accused of receiving a pay raise for running the reelection campaigns of Mayor Pro Tem Lilia Leon and Councilmember Tina Baca del Rio. A third member of the council, Ivan Altamirano, has also been targeted for recall.
An article in the Los Cerrito News accused Stinnett of being “set to cash in” on his relationship with incumbents. In an opinion piece penned for the publication, Publisher Brian Hews accuses Stinnett of running the campaigns on city time and being a political “king” and a “Calderon minion.”
Robert Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies, told EGP he’s not familiar with the politics in Commerce, but Stinnett, like any city employee, can work on a political campaign as long as he takes time off from work, or is doing those activities on weekends, nights or vacations.
Stern said he does not think Stinnett’s off-the clock political activities, even supporting the campaigns of members of the city council who can fire him or give him a raise, necessarily represent a conflict of interest.
“It’s certainly not a legal conflict of interest that I know of… its not uncommon for people, employees, to work briefly on campaigns [in their free-time] for their bosses,” Stern told EGP.
Stinnett strongly denies that he has done anything wrong. Las t week he told EGP that he worked on the campaigns on his own time and a member of the city’s labor union, and has not broken any conflict of interest laws.
In a Sept. 27th Letter to the Editor published online but not by Hews’ publication Stinnett said the publication’s accusations without merit. He said all the appointments or meetings he attended that have come into question were pre-approved as personal leave-time or took place on his days off.
While he admits he has worked with local leaders and candidates in neighboring cities to help elect “honest officials,” he is quick to say that he is not politically associated with Senator Ron Calderon or his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon.
“I find it curious Mr. Hews would refer to me as a ‘Calderon minion’ in the same editorial in which he quotes Mr. Art Chacon, who took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from both Calderon brothers,” Stinnett wrote in this response to Hews’ Op-Ed.
“I think they are concerned with the Southeast culture of corruption… I think they know that I’m not susceptible to corruption,” he told EGP.
He says the accusations are politically motivated and “very deliberately crafted” to “mislead the public.”
Commerce City Manager Jorge Rifa, who declined to state whether Stinnett’s political activities are affecting his work for the city, told EGP that the city is still actively recruiting for the permanent PIO position. He noted that Stinnett has thrown his hat into the ring along with many others.
“He has applied, I’m not at liberty—at this point and time—to talk about the recruitment process,” Rifa told EGP, adding he wants to remain impartial during the hiring process.
Stinnett, who is campaigning under the last name Govea-Stinnett to reflect his Latino roots, told EGP he activism in Commerce has almost cost him his job on several occasions. He cited examples of speaking during public comment at Commerce City Council meetings, publishing opinion pieces critical of the city, and posting public records on his old watchdog website SaveCommerce.com
Stinnett defends his performance as the city’s interim public information officer, and says he believes he’s done an excellent job communicating with the media and stakeholders regarding city information, and he’s drawn very clear and careful lines not to cross his personal and professional activities.
“For me, one does not preclude the other… good government benefits residents and city employees,” he said.
Stinnett says he has not sought formal support from Commerce council members for his candidacy in the upcoming Central Basin election, but said the city is aware that he is running. He has already received support from the labor union that represents Commerce municipal employees. The Central Basin election is scheduled for November 2014, the candidate filing period has not yet opened.
A report released this week by Merrick Bobb, president of the non-profit Police Assessment Resource Center, shows Latinos and African Americans are subjected to canine bites more often than other groups arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriffs.
The report cites the fact that in the first six months of 2013, 100 percent of dog bites were to Latinos and African Americans; no whites, Asians or members of other groups suffered any dog bites.
Why the disparity? Is it that more canine units are deployed to areas of the County where a majority of the residents are either Latino or African American?
It’s hard to understand why sheriff deputies who patrol unincorporated areas of the County have chosen to use canines more frequently during their policing routines in minority areas.
The fact that only Latinos and African Americans seem to be targeted by the Sheriffs department for this type of deployments raises concerns about how the department is doing its job in these areas, and whether the higher deployment of canines is intentional.
According to the report, five sheriffs stations – Century, Lennox, Compton, Lakewood and the city of Industry— had more bites than all the other 21 stations combined, while more affluent areas had the lowest number of dog bites.
Is anyone surprised?
Worse yet, according to the report a lack of supervision was one of the reasons why certain areas may have been picked and not others.
The report recommends that the department track bite incidents by the dog and handler involved. But unless Sheriff Lee Baca takes more interest in why the disparity is taking place, we believe that Bobb’s recommendation will go unheeded.
The Board of Supervisors should be given a monthly report on the number of K-9 incidents and the areas where they occur.