Mitad de los Conductores que Huyen en Los Ángeles No Tienen Licencia

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

El 51,2 por ciento de los conductores de Los Ángeles que huyen tras causar un accidente fatal no poseen una licencia de conducir válida, según un reporte dado a conocer el 11 de octubre.

El informe “El tráfico de Los Ángeles. Analizando temas de seguridad: problemas y lo que hay que hacer” afirma que los conductores sin licencia son nueve veces más propensos a huir de la escena de un accidente fatal.

Elaborado por Don Rosenberg, fundador de “UnlicensedToKill.org”, un sitio web que busca llamar la atención sobre el riesgo que suponen estos automovilistas, el estudio indica que los conductores sin licencia son 4,4 veces más propensos huir después de un accidente.

“Es fácil notar que los conductores sin licencia o que portan una licencia no válida son una inmensa amenaza para la sociedad”, afirmó Rosenberg, cuyo hijo murió en el 2010 cuando la moto que conducía fue embestida por un vehículo conducido por un inmigrante sin licencia.

El informe señala además que el 19,9 % de los accidentes automovilísticos fatales ocurridos en 2008 involucró a un conductor sin licencia.

Recogiendo datos de 2011 de la Fundación para la Seguridad del Tráfico de la Asociación Automovilística Estadounidense (AAA, en inglés), el estudio señala que los conductores sin licencia tienen una tendencia a manejar embriagados cinco veces mayor que los conductores con licencia válida.

El reporte -que también analiza otros riesgos del tráfico de Los Ángeles- indica que no hay grandes diferencias entre aquellos que no poseen licencia por no haberla obtenido nunca, “la mayoría de ellos indocumentados”, o quienes no la tienen por haberle sido revocada o suspendida, “predominantemente ciudadanos o residentes legales”.

“Estadísticamente, de acuerdo con el estudio de la AAA  ‘Sin licencia para matar ‘, ambos grupos son conductores casi igual de atroces”, aseguró el estudio.

Asesor Legal de Huntington Park Renuncia

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

El abogado de la ciudad de Huntington Park renunció tras una protesta realizada por residentes que pedían la destitución de todos los concejales, informaron el miércoles fuentes de la ciudad localizada al sureste de Los Ángeles con un 97% de habitantes hispanos.

El abogado Francisco Leal terminó una relación laboral de nueve años de su firma de abogados, Leal y Trejo, con esta ciudad de cerca de 58.000 habitantes.

Leal, quien fue criticado esta semana en una protesta que pidió la destitución de todos los concejales por recibir cerca de 600.000 dólares anuales de salario, aclaró que ese dinero se trataba de servicios legales de su firma a la ciudad y no de un sueldo como empleado.

Sin embargo, la ciudad decidió que era “mejor” para Huntington Park considerar otras opciones para atender mejor sus necesidades, declaró el administrador de la ciudad, René Bobadilla, al diario local Los Cerritos News.

Los promotores de la destitución también vinculan a los concejales con el ex alcalde de Huntington Park John Noguez, quien enfrenta acusaciones de corrupción.

Noguez, elegido en noviembre de 2010, fue arrestado hoy en conexión con acusaciones de haber certificado avalúos inferiores a lo real para contribuyentes a su campaña, en propiedades en áreas muy cotizadas como Beverly Hills, Brentwood y Pacific Palisades.

La denuncia pública contra Leal fue hecha por Maryland Sanabria, del grupo “Únanse Ciudadanos de Huntington Park”, y cuenta con el apoyo de la ex concejal Linda Guevara, quien dejó el Concejo ante las acusaciones de que no vivía en la ciudad.

Para que la solicitud de destitución sea sometida a votación pública se necesita que sus promotores presenten 3.100 firmas válidas ante el registrador de la ciudad.

October 18, 2012 Issue

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Once Failing Highland Park School Making Strides

October 18, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

People unfamiliar with Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park might take a quick glance at the campus and its latest student standardized test scores and assume it’s a new, well-performing school. It wasn’t to long ago, however, that the campus was one of Los Angeles Unified School District’s worst performing schools, plagued with gang violence, buildings in danger of collapsing in an earthquake, and many unhappy parents.

School officials, parents and students gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 11. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

School officials last week held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of three new buildings on the Northeast Los Angeles area campus. The event happened to coincide with the release of the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) reports that showed Burbank had increased its score by 100 points, far above the average increase across the district and the state.

LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser congratulated the school’s students and staff, saying it was a historic day for the campus, referring both to the new buildings and the higher test scores.

Kayser noted that as the school’s API was going up, discipline problems at the school were going down: Only six incidents for bad behavior were reported last year, he also said.

Lea esta nota EN INGLÉS: Hace Logros Escuela Local Que Antes Tenía Mala Fama

The campus is composed of a traditional middle school, Luther Burbank Middle School, and two magnets: Luther Burbank Middle School Police Academy Magnet and Luther Burbank Middle School Math and Science Magnet. The school’s API score is for all three schools combined. Burbank students earned 794 points—just six points away from the API target of 800.

Former LAUSD Board member David Tokofsky, who emceed the ceremony, gave parents credit for finding the earthquake fault on the campus that led to the new construction, but said it was “Huizar’s fault” the problem was addressed. Now Councilman Jose Huizar was LAUSD’s board president when the District implemented its $19.5 billion New School Construction and Modernization Program, funds used to pay for the new structures at Burbank Middle School.

“… Our goal wasn’t just to build new schools, we also wanted to improve existing schools with aging infrastructure that were in need of repair,” Huizar said at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “Burbank Middle School was one of those schools. With these much-needed improvements, Burbank students, parents and teachers can take pride in a transformed and beautiful campus designed to support academic excellence. A very special thanks to everybody who made this possible.”

The campus now has a new two-story gymnasium, one-story multi-purpose building and a two-story, 11 classroom building. Construction began in 2009 and was completed in August of this year. According to the District, the Burbank Middle School redevelopment project included the removal and replacement of approximately 48,500 square feet of building space located in a seismic fault zone.

While construction was going on at the campus, the schools’ academics were also undergoing a transformation. The school was reconstituted in the spring of 2011 under the No Child Left Behind Act, after attempts to improve it under LAUSD’s Public School Choice (PSC) reform failed. The school choice reform focuses on in-district and out of district groups competing to take over the management of underperforming schools. In Burbank’s case, no group competed with school staff to reform the academics and the staff seemed unwilling to implement the plan they wrote. As a result, LAUSD made the decision to reconstitute, which meant that all of the school’s teachers had to reapply for their jobs. Not all them were rehired.

During the 2008 public school choice process, parents complained that the school had been in Program Improvement Status since 2004 and that it had a reputation as being overrun by gangs.

Principal Arturo Valdez, one of two principals now at the campus, told EGP the 100-point API increase was due in part to the reconstitution, but also in large part due to the implementation of new expectations, a new curriculum and new pedagogy.

“Other schools that have been reconstituted haven’t had growth” at this level, he explained.

Valdez said the school has been addressing the gang issue with the best gang prevention and intervention program: hope.

“It’s giving students a hope, a sense of home and belonging and purpose,” he said. “And I think this teaching staff has done an incredible job at engaging the kids and giving them a little success—and once you do that, they like the feel of it, they want to continue.”

Local District 5 Superintendent Roberto A. Martinez credited Valdez’s vision for the student’s success. Valdez, however, said it is the student’s hard work that is paying off.

Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council Member Janet Dodson said during the event that there is a marked difference in student attitude at Burbank Middle School. She said she wandered around campus recently and could not help but notice the students “smiles” when around Valdez. That “speaks volumes of the relationship the principal has with the students,” she said, adding that Burbank is now a safe haven for students.

Reina Gomez, mother of Police Magnet 6th grader Estevan Saul Parra, said she was very excited about Burbank’s academic improvement. Her son is bused to the campus at 6:10am and doesn’t get back to South Los Angeles until 4:25pm. “It’s been a sacrifice but it’s worth it,” Gomez said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it’s been a good experience so far.”


New Lincoln Heights Park Named in Honor of L.A’s Councilmember Reyes

October 18, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Los Angeles city officials were joined last week by members of the Lincoln Heights community as they broke ground on a new river adjacent green space in the community located a short distance from downtown Los Angeles.

Councilmember Ed P. Reyes, center, was surprised to learn that the project has been named after him. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Ed P. Reyes)

Much to the surprise of 1st District City Councilman Ed P. Reyes, the new park, previously called the Humbolt Greenway, will now be known as the Ed P. Reyes Riverway, a tribute to the councilman’s efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Nuevo Parque en Lincoln Heights es Nombrado en Honor del Concejal Reyes

Public Works Commissioner Jerilyn Lopez-Mendoza announced the $4-million stormwater project at a press conference last week, and used the occasion to highlight the important role Reyes has played in bringing new interest to the Los Angeles River.

“With your vision and ability to inspire, you have changed the way we regard the Los Angeles River. You have helped Los Angeles realize that what was once a neglected, graffiti-scarred concrete channel is truly the lifeblood of our city,” Mendoza said. “For that, we thank you and honor you with this project.”

The Ed P. Reyes Riverway will be located on Humboldt Street between Avenue 18 and Avenue 19. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Ed P. Reyes)

The project will convert a 135-acre space, located between Avenue 18 and Avenue 19 in Lincoln Heights, into a stormwater greenway, according to the project announcement. It will take runoff-water though a storm drain beneath Humboldt Street and transport it through landscape features that will cleanse the water of pollutants and trash before releasing it into the Los Angeles River. The project will also include vegetation, trees and an irrigation system. The park will be lit with solar lights, and include bridges, drinking fountains and a bike stop for pedestrians.

Reyes, who heads the City’s Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, emphasized the importance of public work projects such as this to the improvements to his district and his overall vision for Los Angeles.

“This project is important to the health of the Los Angeles River, the health of the environment, our neighborhoods and our families who live, work and play here” Reyes said.

Reyes has been one of the most adamant backers of efforts to green the L.A. River and return it to its natural state. He has pushed for funding of an Army Corpse of Engineers’ study to determine the feasibility of such a plan.

Enrique C. Zaldivar, the director for the Bureau of Sanitation, said the project will benefit the community in many ways.

“In order for us to reconnect with our Los Angeles River, we must implement projects like this that achieve multiple benefits—a clean river and waterways, better communities, a healthier environment,” Zaldivar said. “Through the green infrastructure showcased here, we are pushing towards our clean water goals while providing opportunities for our Angelenos to experience it up close.”

The Bureau of Sanitation will fund The Ed P. Reyes Riverway and it is expected to be complete by mid 2013.

For more information about The Ed P. Reyes Riverway project, please visit www.eng.lacity.org/iuprs or call the Dept. of Public Works Public Affairs Office at (213) 978-0333.

Editor’s Note: Am earlier version of this story said the new space would be 135 acres. In actuality, the project takes urban runoff from a 135-acre subwatershed or drainage area that all leads to the LA River via the project site.


Yang Decision Could Change Winner in Vernon Election

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Seven people voted illegally in Vernon city council elections held this past summer, according to the city’s appointed hearing officer.

Deborah Wong Yang’s decision Monday could change the June 5 election results, currently certified by the Los Angeles County, that gives the election to Reno Bellamy, tipping the scale toward his opponent Luz Martinez. If the Vernon city council accepts Yang’s decision, Bellamy would have 27 votes instead of the original 34, losing out to Martinez’s 30 votes from June 5.

Calling it a “joyous day” in a statement released through the business chamber, Martinez said she is looking “forward to the coming days or weeks when I will be officially sworn in to serve the remainder of the council term of our former mayor and Councilman Hilario ‘Larry’ Gonzales.”

Bellamy, on the losing end of the results, declared it a “sad day for democracy,” and decried the hearing process as a “dog and pony show” that should have been held in a “real court.” As of Monday, he did not yet have definite plans to challenge Yang’s decision, and said he would have to talk to his lawyer and family and “decide from there.”

Vernon Chamber of Commerce president Marisa Olguin said Yang’s decision “demonstrates the strength and vigilance of residents and business constituents who came together again to make sure there is no hint of corruption in its democratic and governing process.” She added the chamber hopes the District Attorney’s office will “hold those criminally accountable for their poor attempt to manipulate the integrity of the electoral process.”

Vernon decided to take up claims by the local business chamber and several residents that as many as ten ballots were cast by people who do not actually live in Vernon. Yang’s seventeen-page decision details her reasons for invalidating seven of the voters challenged, including voters testifying that they did not actually intend to make Vernon their home, the way in which they filed their voter registrations, and the lack of “clarity and candor” of a few of the voters who were called to the stand during a three-day long hearing process.

Yang says Bernard Patrick Roberts, David Timothy Roberts, Gary Edward Sabara, Jr., Victor Garcia, Glenn Davis Gulla, Denise Irene O’Connell, and Robin Andrew Miller voted illegally and their votes should not be counted in the final tally of the June 5 election. She also found that the Vernon chamber’s attorney did not provide enough proof to show that two voters, Dennis Eugene Roberts and Dean Allen Gulla, cast their votes illegally. Their votes should still be counted, Yang concluded.

Chamber representatives want authorities to go beyond Yang’s recommendations. The chamber’s own investigation “uncovered relationships between current/former Councilmembers and households where illegally votes were cast,” Olguin wrote in an email to EGP. “Based on the evidence and witness testimony… the D.A. public integrity division’s automatic next step would be to investigate the connections of these relationships and validate for themselves if there was a conspiracy,” she added.

During last month’s testimony, it was revealed that Dennis Roberts, whose own vote was not invalidated, but whose family members’ votes were, said he occasionally golfed with the brother of Eric Fresch, the late, former city administrator and city attorney in Vernon. Before he died, Fresch was the target of an audit concluding the city’s finances were mismanaged while he was receiving a salary of more than a million dollars a year. Dean Gulla is a former employee of Red Carpet Car Wash, managed by sitting councilman Richard Maisano.

During a previous city council election in April when the chamber also challenged several votes, their attorney Fred Woocher said the D.A. may not be interested in pursuing the individuals the chamber challenged, but “what [county prosecutors] would be more interested in is if somebody put them up to it” and if it were a “widespread effort by someone to affect the outcome.”


500 East LA High School Students Unite In Flashmob

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Students at Esteban E. Torres High School in East Los Angeles last week “got a feeling” that their homecoming game and dance would be memorable.

Nearly 500 students packed the quad on Oct. 12 for a lunchtime mass flashmob dance to the Black-Eyed Peas’ hit song, “I’ve Got A Feeling.”

The event marked the culmination of the schools’ first spirit week; the school opened three years ago and the football team has been in existence for two years. Last year, the school graduated its first senior class.

Five pep rallies–one for each school on the campus–took place earlier that day, with students dancing to “I’ve Got A Feeling” to celebrate the school’s athletes.

Torres High School students participate in a choreographed dance for their homecoming week celebrations. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

The dance was led by the East LA Performing Arts Academy, one of the five schools on the Torres campus, which is supported by a grant from the Flourish Foundation, a charitable organization established by Phil Rosenthal, producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” according to an LAUSD press release.

East LA Performing Arts Academy Principal Carolyn McKnight said her students have been studying the world-wide flashmob dance movement and the dance choreography was taught to all her students, and campus-wide to leadership and dance students, the cheer squad, as well as half of the football.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be a tradition,” McKnight said about the activity that brought together the students who were smiling, laughing and moving their bodies.

Senior Gracie Aguilar, a volleyball and softball player, told EGP the flash dance was fun and inspired other students to be more outgoing.

The Toros played and beat Bernstein High School, located in Hollywood, for the homecoming. The Toros varsity football team won 10 to 6 varsity, while junior varsity won with a 7 to 0 score, according to McKnight.

Torres Football is a Division 2 team and does not currently compete against the nearby Roosevelt Roughriders or Garfield Bulldogs that are Division 1 teams, according to Torres Head Football Coach Peter Cuevas.

The opening of Torres High School stirred some concern early on among East LA Classic fans who worried the moving of students would be the end of the long-time Roosevelt and Garfield rivalry. However, the fear so far has been unfounded and Torres is still several years away from catching up in numbers and performance.

The East LA Classic is on Oct. 26 this year.

Cuevas said students at Torres come from both Roosevelt and Garfield schools attendance areas, and Torres is still forming its own identity, “It will take some time,” he said.

“We are ‘the new pride of East LA,” said Aguilar, reciting Torres’ unofficial school motto.

Football player Ray Robles, a student at the East LA Performing Arts Academy and one of the team’s standout players, said the spirit activities help make Torres a little more like established schools. Robles attended Roosevelt High School his freshman year.

Robles said the first year of football was difficult because players didn’t get along due to loyalty to their past alma matters, however, the team has now come together. They attended the East LA Classic last year and sat together without picking a side, he said.

What a video clip of the flashmob dance at EGPnews.com


Los Angeles County Assessor, 2 Others Arrested

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, who has been on leave while investigators probed allegations that his office reduced property tax assessments in exchange for campaign contributions, was arrested Wednesday along with two other people.

Noguez, whose real name is Juan Renaldo Rodriguez, was taken into custody shortly before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at his Huntington Park home by District Attorney’s Office investigators, according to prosecutors.

The 47-year-old county assessor – who was elected in November 2010 – was being held in lieu of $1.385 million bail. He is charged with 24 felony counts, including 13 counts of misappropriation by a public officer, five counts of perjury, four counts of accepting bribes and two counts of conspiracy.

“Criminal charges filed against the assessor allege that instead of acting in the best interests of the citizens of Los Angeles County he turned his back on them to engineer assessment reductions for those who paid for favored treatment,” District Attorney Steve Cooley said.

Also arrested Wednesday were Mark McNeil, a principal assessor promoted by Noguez to head the Major Appraisal Division, and Ramin Salari, a tax consultant and Noguez campaign contributor, according to prosecutors.

“Tax consultant Salari is accused of bribing the assessor to win big tax breaks for his clients while lining the assessor’s pockets with cash,” the district attorney said.

The assessor appointed McNeil as head of the Major Appraisal Division “to ensure that Salari’s clients got tax breaks, ranging in some cases to $150,000 or more per piece of property,” Cooley told reporters.

McNeil is charged with 13 felony counts of misappropriation by a public officer and one felony count of conspiracy. He was taken into custody at his West Los Angeles home and was being held in lieu of $1.16 million bail.

Salari is charged with 23 felonies – 13 counts of misappropriation, eight counts of bribing an executive officer and two counts of conspiracy. He was arrested in Encino and was jailed in lieu of $1.36 million bail.

The criminal complaint alleges that Noguez accepted $185,000 in bribes from Salari between February 2010 and September 2010. Salari is also accused of paying $100,000 in bribes to a former appraiser, Scott Schenter, who was arrested in May in connection with corruption allegations and was the first to be charged.

Soon after receiving the checks and a list of properties represented by Salari, McNeil or his representatives appeared at Assessment Appeals Board hearings that resulted in the reduction of the assessed value on numerous properties, including the Old Spaghetti Factory and properties in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach and Torrance, according to the criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint also alleges that Noguez approached Schenter between October 2010 and November 2010 and told him to “take care of our buddy Ramin” and “we have to take care of our donors.”

Schenter was arrested May 21 in connection with allegations that he falsified documents and reduced property values by $172 million in exchange for campaign contributions to Noguez.

Schenter is awaiting a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial on 30 felony counts each of falsifying accounts and falsifying records.

It was not immediately clear when Noguez, Salari and McNeil would be arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Noguez’s attorney, Michael J. Proctor, said in a written statement that the defense “will vigorously defend Mr. Noguez in the courts, which is where this should play out.”

Defense attorney Mark Werksman called the charges against Salari “baseless” and said they “completely distort the relationship between Mr. Salari and the county assessor’s office.”

“He never bribed anyone and he never received any advantage on behalf of his clients. The reductions that he got in tax assessments were based on the merits of each application and most were sustained on appeal,” Werksman said.

The district attorney said the arrests were part of an “ongoing, multi-faceted investigation” into allegations of public corruption in the assessor’s office.

Cooley – who has worked for the District Attorney’s Office for nearly four decades and called in May for Noguez to resign – said, “This particular case, what I know about it, strikes me as the largest and most significant public corruption case in terms of county government, very, very significant, very substantial. This is an elected official and this is a serious case involving bribery and corruption.”

Cooley said “there may be more to come in terms of other aspects of this case.”

Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz said the estimated loss to the taxpayers involving the counts filed was $1.16 million.

“It was the Westside primarily. In this case alone, there were 13 properties affected,” Schwartz said. “That is nowhere near what we believe the total number of properties affected will be.”


Ballot Recommendations – Tuesday, Nov. 6 Election

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes on Proposition 30—Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment: This proposition would temporarily increase taxes on people earning more than $250,000: employing a four-tier rate that increases as incomes go up. The increase is supposedly for seven years. The proposition would also increase the sales tax by one-quarter cent for the next four years. While each of these increases is supposed to be temporary, too often they never come back down, even in times of a revenue surplus.

And while proponents of the measure claim the measure would increase money going to schools, there is no guarantee that the actual amount received by schools will increase. Rather, the estimated $8.5 billion in new revenue will be used to meet constitutionally required school funding levels, freeing up money in the state’s General Fund, which could then be used to pay for other services.

But let’s be upfront about this, the increase in the sales tax will hurt a lot of people already struggling to get by. It’s not just the people buying a luxury automobile who will see the increase, so will the low-income families trying to put shoes on their children, buy detergent to wash their clothes, and put gas in their cars so they can drive to their low-paying jobs

Nonetheless, California is in a financial mess and the revenue raised will help the state avoid further harmful cuts to programs and services that help the state’s most vulnerable populations. Therefore we recommend a Yes Vote on Proposition 30.

No on Proposition 31—State Budget, State and Local Government Constitutional Amendment. While this proposition has some very well–intentioned provisions that would appeal to voters frustrated over the lack of leadership in Sacramento, it is the unintended consequences of this poorly written measure that have us concerned. Prop 31 establishes a two-year state budget, and allows local governments to alter application of state laws governing things such as air quality and other health and environmental standards. First, we are hesitant about approving any measure that would amend the California Constitution, placing efforts to fix any problems arising from the legislation out of reach. We also believe that passage of the measure, which has all but lost all of its original proponents, would create a patchwork of rules and regulations, and subject local constituents to the whims of politicians who carry water for developers. This measure would also give the governor unilateral authority to cut state funding in a “fiscal emergency,” giving the governor too much power to make cuts the voters don’t agree with. We strongly urge a No Vote on Prop 31.

No on Proposition 33—Auto Insurance companies. Prices Based on Driver’s History of Auto Insurance Coverage: This measure would allow insurance companies to set rates based on whether an applicant has had prior insurance. Currently, insurance rates are based on a person’s driving record, and the risk to the insurer. Under Prop 33, insurers would have the power to increase their rates if an applicant could not provide evidence of prior insurance, that’s a large penalty. The advertising campaign behind the proposition is deceptive, as is the insurance companies’ claims that driver’s will see their insurance rates go down if this measure is approved. People, who for one reason or another did not have auto insurance for a time would be forced to pay higher rates or go without auto insurance. In this economy, you can bet many will opt to go without. We need to ensure that all drivers on the road are insured. Voters have previously defeated a similarly flawed proposition and should do so again. Vote No on Prop 33.

Yes on Proposition 34—Death Penalty. Initiative Statute: Whether you consider it a moral issue or a financial one, Californians should pass Prop 34. Execution of a person sentenced to death in California is a rare occurrence. People sentenced to death are afforded every opportunity in this state to defend against an execution actually taking place, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Voting Yes on Prop 34 means that the state will no longer sentence murderers to death, but rather to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In reality, that is what we do now, accept we spend millions of dollars more doing it. This measure would save the state about $130 million a year. That $130 million could go to hire a lot of police officers or teachers. Vote Yes on Prop 34.


Big Food Behemoths Embarrass their Organic Offshoots

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

National brand-name conglomerates are in a bind over California’s Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a measure known as Proposition 37. Actually, it’s a double bind.

First, these gigantic food companies are frantically scrambling to defeat this citizens initiative, which would establish a state right-to-know labeling requirement on any food made with genetically engineered ingredients.

Fearing that its consumers will reject products containing the newfangled stuff, Big Food wants to keep such contents a secret. Since the California market is huge, the state’s adoption of a labeling law would have national ramifications. The $35 million corporate PR campaign against Prop. 37 should come as no surprise.

But many consumers did get a surprise. This media blitz accidentally revealed who actually runs those eco-friendly brands that green-minded consumers prefer. Many multinational companies have quietly bought up dozens of popular organic food firms in recent years without putting their names on the labels. That way, customers could easily be duped into thinking the organic brands are still scrappy independent businesses.

Now, though, the public is learning that those whole-grain Kashi cereals and crackers are made by a subsidiary of Kellogg, which is spending a ton to defeat Prop. 37. And that General Mills owns Muir Glen, a top producer of canned organic tomatoes. And Dean Foods, a huge “conventional” dairy company, owns Horizon organic milk.

General Mills and Dean Foods are joined in this spending spree to restrict consumer choice by such giant deceivers as Coca-Cola, ConAgra, Hershey, Hormel, Nestlé, Ocean Spray, PepsiCo, Campbell’s Soup, and Sara Lee.

Perhaps the oddest wrinkle in this twisted plot is that some of these Big Food organic subsidiaries already tell consumers on their labels that they their make their products without any genetically modified ingredients.

To keep up with California’s campaign for clearer food labeling, visit www.caRightToKnow.org.

Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. Distributed via OtherWords.org.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Copyright © 2014 Eastern Group Publications, Inc. · Log in