Monterey Park Walks for City’s Literacy Program

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Supporters of “Literacy for All of Monterey Park” turned out last week to support the city library’s literacy program at the 4th annual LAMP walkathon, an effort to raise money for the program that has reached its capacity due to budget cuts at a time when enrollment is increasing.

Nancy Ishino-Gilmore, a member of the Library Board of Trustees and a volunteer English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teacher at the library, participated in the walkathon in hopes of raising awareness about the program that used to be free but is now charging students a fee to make up for a loss of funding.

Denise Tang, a Monterey Park Library paige helps walkathon participants sign up and donate to the library’s literacy program. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“This brings [the program] to the attention of everybody,” Ishino-Gilmore told EGP. “We need to do everything we can to bring in a little more money because we don’t want to charge our students more.”

The literacy program is based at the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library on South Ramona Avenue.  Norma Arvizu, literacy administrator at the library, told EGP that Literacy for All serves over 1000 students a year, ranging from children to adults. After many ESL classes were cut in the area, Arvizu said people flocked to the library’s ESL program.

“Our program has grown 435% since the beginning, when we first initiated the program in 2008,” Arvizu said. “Since then our program has grown to full capacity, we have a waiting list of people wanting to get in.”

The ESL classes taught through an adult education program at the library include writing, speaking, grammatical structure and citizenship classes. The classes are free but students pay a  $20 material fee to help offset the cost.

“We’re recognized in the state of California as having the most comprehensive literacy program within a library setting, which means it’s very unique,” Arvizu said.

One of Arvizu’s tasks is to raise money for the literacy program, which is run with only 2 full- and one part-time employees, and 11 volunteer teachers trained by Arvizu.

According to Arvizu, the library’s citizenship’s program has a 98% passing rate and has to date helped over 2,000 people become citizens.

“You have an enormous immigrant population”  in the area, Arvizu said. “They know how important it is to learn English and to be able to pass the citizenship exam as well.”

Sandra Wong, Director for Monterey Park Christian School Preschool on Garfield went to the event to donate and get her walkathon t-shirt to help promote the program and event.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Wong said. “I can’t believe that a public library would be doing something like this, so I think its great to be able to donate money towards the materials they need to help the program.”

Former volunteer Brian Henderson has moved out of Monterey Park but still attended lat Saturday’s walkathon fundraiser.

“It’s a really great community program and over the last few years funding for programs like this have been cut, so its really important when fundraising activities like this come up that the entire community pitches in and supports it,” Henderson said.

With many of the donations sent online after the walkathon event, the total amount of the donations the program received won’t be available until next week. Arivizu hopes, however, that the fundraising efforts surpass last year’s $8,300 raised. Their goal was to raise $8,500 this time around.

“I’m always hopeful and optimistic because this community really does appreciate any classes that are offered like this,” said Arvizu.

Donations can be made to the Monterey Park’s literacy program online at www.razoo.com/story/lampliteracy. For more information about the library and the program visit the city website at www.ci.monterey-park.ca.us.

Gold Medal Olympians Visit Montebello

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Shoppers at a local mall got a gold treat last week when the players from the 2012 gold medal-winning US Women’s Water Polo Team visited The Shops at Montebello to sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans.

People from the area and from across Southern California visited the mall for their chance to meet Olympians Brenda Villa, Courtney Mathewson, Lauren Wenger and Elsie Windes.

“Its a unique opportunity for folks to connect with the Olympic movement all together. It’s not often that people get a chance to meet Olympians in their daily lives. These woman are very inspiring,” Jen Rottenberg, Chief Marketing Officer for USA Water Polo, told EGP. “They got their gold medal, they came back and it’s really exciting for them to get to talk about that experience, with people and to share their success.”

(Left to right) Dalia Sanchez and Azusena Sanchez pose for a photo with Brenda Villa, who along with Courtney Mathewson, Lauren Wenger and Elsie Windes signed autographs and took photos with fans of the US Women’s Water Polo Team at The Shops at Montebello. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Villa, a four-time Olympian and four time-medalist, was raised in Commerce, played on the boy’s water polo team at Bell Gardens High School and trained at the Commerce Aquatic center now named after her.

“The fact that we are able to be in Montebello, relatively close to where Brenda grew up and she’s this well known” is special, Rottenberg said. “I think its cool for people because we’re taking her and her teammates to the whole community.”

Villa met with fans and even family members at the event taking photographs, signing autographs and handing out imitation gold medals to her young fans.

“Its home, I grew up in this area so I always see a few people I know,” Villa told EGP. “So for me it’s nice because I feel I’m two degrees separated from everyone that shops at this mall.”

Sam Carpenter the Director of Marketing and Business Development with Simon Property Group which the owns the Montebello mall and others across the country, told EGP they enjoy putting together events like this for shoppers and the community.

“It’s a good community event, Carpenter said. “Brenda Villa is a local star, she’s from the community and we’re always looking for opportunities to work with and be partners with the folks that are in our backyard.”

Desiree Verdugo from City Terrace waited in line to take a photograph with the players and get the athletes’ autographs to add to her collection.

“I’m just a big fan of USA for one, Olympic sports and women athletes in general, so this is great,” said Verdugo.

Mathewson, who has visited the area before, told EGP she felt the mall atmosphere helps promote her sport.

“A lot of families go to the malls on the weekends, so you catch some people here that have never heard of water polo and you can interest them in a new sport,” Mathewson said. “So you get not only the fans but also people hanging out enjoying their day at the mall.”

Ryan Kotob, a 7th grader from Yorba Linda who plays water polo for So Cal, brought a water polo ball he bought online, which was used at the Olympic games, to get it signed before he headed to his own water polo tournament in Irvine.

“Ever since the Olympics started I just got really interested in Water Polo,” said Kotob.

Windes, who posed with her gold medal and shared it with fans, told EGP she hoped that the event inspires new athletes.

“It’s always fun to get the sport out there and show people the medal or inspire other players, or at least get the sport out there for young kids so maybe they’ll start playing,” said Windes.

Gloria Sanchez took her two young daughters who enjoy swimming to the event after cheering for Team USA during last summer’s Olympics.

“We heard that they were going to be here and since we watched the Olympics [my daughters] were really excited because they like Team USA,” Sanchez said.

Villa told EGP that water polo is a small sport and that it gets attention every four years with the Olympics, but she hopes the 2012 gold medal win will help the sport grow. Wenger also told EGP she was happy with the event’s turnout.

“It’s a great turnout, we’re just happy to be here in Montebello, I’ve never been here so it’s cool to spread the word of water polo and also see somewhere new,” said Wenger.


6th Street Bridge Design Winner Announced

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles city officials have announced the winner of an international competition to redesign the 6th Street Bridge that must be replaced due to structural decay.

Architecture firm HNTB beat finalists AECOM and Parsons Brinckerhoff; all three of the firms’ designs were presented to the public in September. The design competition began in April of this year.

The new design features angled cable-supported arches that will offers entry access at the base of each arch. (Photo courtesy of HNTB)

“The new 6th Street Bridge will be a world-class, iconic piece of Los Angeles infrastructure because of this international design competition and the community’s involvement every step of the way,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the announcement released Oct. 19. “Los Angeles is where the world creates and innovates, and the selection of HNTB as the winning team reaffirms our ability to cultivate and attract the best and brightest in architecture, design, and engineering right here in Los Angeles.”

The HNTB design features huge swooping angled, cable supported arches. The bridge offers entry access at the base of each arch, access to the river and gathering spaces on both sides of the river.

“The HNTB Sixth Street Viaduct conceptual design – a ribbon of arches – melds current structural technology with an aesthetic vision that embraces the entire 3,500 foot length,” said City Engineer Gary Lee Moore. “It will be an infrastructure element that I anticipate will become an icon for Los Angeles.”

Councilman José Huizar said the best of the best design was delivered for the new Sixth Street Viaduct.

“This bridge by HNTB honors the history of the original while boldly looking toward the future with major river, pedestrian, multi-modal and community gathering features. Our new bridge will not only bring people from Point A to Point B, but to Point C – the bridge itself. It will be a shining-star destination spot worthy of the City of Angels,” said Huizar in a written statement.

HNTB was selected from a panel composed of members from Bureau of Engineering and Caltrans. The winning design was approved unanimously by the Design Aesthetic Advisory Committee (DAAC), which includes engineering, architecture, and urban planning professionals, in addition to residents, business representatives, and river advocates, according to the city.

The redesign and construction will cost $401 million and will be funded primarily by the Federal Highway Bridge Program’ additional funding will come from State Prop 1B funds and local matching through Measure R and Prop C, according to the city.

The project is expected to begin in 2015 following approval from the Board of Public Works and the City Council. Almost 5,000 jobs are expected to be created. Construction is scheduled to be completed in late 2018, and the official opening in 2019.

A video of the project can be seen at: http://bit.ly/RbHNdQ


October 25, 2012 Issue

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Commerce Pushes Voters to Approve Half-Cent Sales Tax

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A small east Los Angeles County city with a strong industrial base has a lot to gain on Nov. 6—an estimated $4.5 to $5 million a year if voters approve a taxing measure placed on the ballot by the city council.

The City of Commerce may only have about 12,000 residents living in it’s four neighborhoods but thousands more visit the city on a daily basis for work or to visit some of the city’s main income generating businesses like the Citadel Outlets, Commerce Casino and Costco.

Mayor Lilia R. Leon has been giving a series of speeches in the city that have focused on informing voters about Measure AA, a half-cent sales tax initiative on the November ballot.

“This measure will provide an opportunity for our residents to become involved by participating and voting ‘Yes’ on Measure double-A,” Leon said at a State of the City Address at the Commerce Senior Center last week.

The tax equates to 50 cents on every $100 spent, and will generate an estimated $4.5 to $5 million a year, she said.

“This is money the state cannot take away from us. This money will be used for our infrastructure, to make sure and ensure that our facilities are maintained. And at the same time that we do not take away from our general fund or anymore services to our residents, or more importantly, fire and safety protection,” Leon said.

The city, which celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in 2010, has suffered from the “Great Recession” and for the first time since it’s incorporation, recently laid off seven employees due to the loss of redevelopment funds. The state forced the elimination of redevelopment agencies in February under Assembly Bill X1 26. Commerce and other cities used tax revenues collected through redevelopment to create housing and other projects that create revenues and countered the proliferation of blight.

“But in order for us to continue our vision of the future, we have to look outside the box,” said Leon. “We have to look at the future and how do we continue to provide funds for the city without depending on the state, because we don’t know what the state is going to do. We didn’t anticipate them taking redevelopment away, so we don’t know what is next,” the mayor told Commerce residents during her “State of the City” speech.

Leon noted the Citadel as a prime example of redevelopment in the city. “It used to be an old tire company and now it’s a thriving outlet where more than 50 million people visit that Citadel on a yearly basis,” she said.

The sales tax increase would bring in needed revenues to the city that has cut $6 million in its budget over the last four years, she explained.

The revenues would maintain law enforcement and fire service levels, and would help ensure that the city can provide services for our residents and industrial residents, like maintaining roads and facilities that are deteriorating. The funds would also prevent further reductions in services and city employee pay cuts.

Highlighting some of the city’s “treasures,” Leon noted the “the Brenda Villa Aquatics Center”—recently renamed after the Olympic Gold Medalist who grew up in the city—as well as the city’s “Camp Commerce” in Lake Arrowhead,” the city’s library which now allows laptops to be checked out, among other services and programs unique to the mostly industrial city.

Leon said the city council continues to fund programs, like the homework hotline and city’s scholarship program, because they are investments in the community’s future. “By building a stronger community, we build a stronger city,” she said.

While the city has avoided a major fiscal emergency, Leon said passing Measure AA is vital to protecting services and programs “while enhancing the quality of life for everyone who lives, works and visits here in the City of Commerce.”

During the meeting husband and wife, Ignacio Perez and Esperanza “Hope” Perez, asked the mayor some questions. Ignacio asked if Measure AA would affect property taxes. No, responded Leon. Hope asked if the tax would apply to residents shopping outside the city, like in Montebello. Again, Leon said no, explaining that the sales tax would only apply to taxable purchases made in the City of Commerce.

After the meeting, the Perez’s told EGP they supported the measure and compared it to Pico Rivera’s sales tax. The sales taxes in Pico Rivera didn’t stop shoppers from going to the city, so they say they are not concerned it will deter sales in Commerce. For the first time in the city’s history, Commerce’s roads have potholes, they said, explaining why they think more revenue is needed.

Commerce Employee Association leader Kevin Larson told EGP the labor union supports the sales tax increase.

“Commerce is unique in that the vast majority [of sales tax] doesn’t come from residents but from visitors,” Larson said, explaining the residents would benefit from the sales tax without paying all of it.

Citadel Outlets Managing Partner Steve L. Craig has endorsed Measure AA, Leon said.

In a letter to the mayor and city council earlier this month, Craig indicated that maintaining and enhancing the city’s retail and entertainment district, and its infrastructure is in the best interest of businesses.

“Given that 60 percent of the City’s Annual Operating Budget is derived from businesses located on this one and a half mile stretch of Telegraph Road, between Washington Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, enhancing and beautifying this infrastructure becomes all the more important,” he wrote.

“We support Measure AA as a mechanism to provide much needed financial resources to the City of Commerce, to make such infrastructure improvements along with other city wide improvements. We further recognize the need to make $35 million dollars of overall infrastructure improvements to attract new businesses, grow existing business and improve the overall quality of life in the community.”

Following her speech, Leon said she and her fellow members on the city council and city staff are available to answer questions from residents who call or visit City Hall.

The last of the State of the City addresses is scheduled for tonight, Oct. 25, at 6:30pm at Veterans Park Meeting Room, 6364 Zindell Ave.


Gov. Brown, Mayor Villaraigosa Campaign For Proposition 30

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday called Proposition 30, the sales and income tax increase initiative on the November ballot he supports, a path to ensuring students get the educations they deserve.

That’s why virtually every prominent educator in the state and business leaders are fighting for Proposition 30 to secure desperately needed funding for our public schools and colleges,” Brown said at Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood, where he was joined by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Proposition 30 would increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent on the dollar for four years and raise the income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. The increased revenues would result in an increase to the minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges under terms of Proposition 98, approved by voters in 1988.

Revenue generated by Proposition 30 would be deposited into a newly created state account, the Education Protection Account. Of the funds in the account, 89 percent would be devoted to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and the other 11 percent to community colleges.

Each school district would receive at least $200 per student in funds from the account and each community college district at least $100 per full-time student. The measure also would guarantee funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments, according to supporters of the measure.

“With Latino students making up more than half of California’s public school population, the Latino community has the most at stake if Prop. 30 doesn’t pass and our schools and colleges suffer another $6 billion in cuts,” Villaraigosa said.

“Now is our opportunity to make our voices heard and ensure our children have the education they need for good jobs and strong communities.”

Proposition 30 would generate an additional $6 billion in state tax revenues from the 2012-2013 through 2016-17 fiscal years, according to an estimate from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos. Smaller amounts would be generated in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years.

Brown has called Proposition 30 “modest, fair and temporary.”

Opponents of Proposition 30 say its passage would hurt small business and job creation, and the Legislature should first enact meaningful changes to the public employee pension systems and cut wasteful spending before raising taxes.

They also say that there is no guarantee that the measure will increase school funding, a point that a number of financial analysts say is true, but point out that the measure has the potential to free up money in the General Fund for other state services.

A rival measure, Proposition 38, would increase personal income tax rates for 12 years for annual earnings over $7,316 using a sliding scale from 0.4 percent for the lowest individual earners to 2.2 percent for individuals earning more than $2.5 million.

During the first four years, 60 percent of revenues would go to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, 30 percent to repaying state debt and 10 percent to early childhood programs. Thereafter, 85 percent of revenues would go to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and 15 percent to early childhood programs.

The increase would be roughly $5 billion in the 2012-13 fiscal year, $10 billion in the 2013-2014 fiscal year and tending to increase over time, according to an estimate from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Matosantos.

“Proposition 38 will transform our public schools and provide all students with access to the programs and services they need to succeed,” said California State PTA President Carol Kocivar.

Opponents of Proposition 38 call it a “flawed, costly and misleading initiative” that would hurt small businesses, as many small business owners pay personal income taxes rather than corporate taxes. They also say the measure would do nothing to alleviate California’s current fiscal crisis.

If voters approve both measures, the one getting the most yes votes will prevail.

Artists Claim Victory in ‘First Street’ Mural Battle Struggle’

October 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

A coalition of artists on Tuesday declared “victory” in their fight to save a historically significant mural in East Los Angeles. The announcement came just hours before the Los Angeles County Planning Commission was to hold a public hearing on a proposed new school that artists feared would end up destroying the murals.

The Coalition to Save The First Street Store Building was formed several months ago to fight efforts to remove or demolish “The Story of Our Struggle,” an 18-panel mural painted in 1974 on the site of the former First Street Store where developers want to build a new charter school.

The group had successfully gathered thousands of signatures from local residents who did not want to see the mural destroyed during redevelopment of the property that for decades was the site of the only department store in East LA.

Tuesday morning, the Coalition announced that they had reached an agreement with the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools and their developer, Pacific Charter School Development to preserve the murals that visually tell the story of the Chicano movement. The announcement was made via an email sent by “Don Juan” Johnny Gonzalez, one of three artists who created the mural.

Gonzalez, according to Coalition chair and spokesperson Irma Beserra Nuñez, is credited with “creating the Chicano mural movement,” which makes the mural that much more significant, she told EGP. He was recently recognized at the Fowler Museum during the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time, as the innovator behind the movement, Nunez said.

The coalition, the charter school operator and the developer are working together to create “PLAZA LA PRIMERA™,” which will include a freestanding mural wall, according to Gonzalez’s email.

David Botello, who designed the mural along with Gonzalez and Robert Arenivar, told EGP the Coalition began meeting with the Alliance and county representatives about three weeks ago and on Monday night they signed a working agreement in which the Coalition agreed not to appeal the permit to demolish the Ranch Market as part of their strategy to save the mural located along two sides of the adjacent First Street Store building, on 1st Street and Townsend.

A middle school and a high school are planned for the two properties.

The developer had said preserving the First Street store façade in its current state was impossible due to school safety concerns, according to Botello.

But after months of often contentious arguments over the viability of preserving the murals, an attorney, Susan Brandt-Hawley, working voluntarily on behalf of the Coalition, secured permission for the group to bring in Melvyn Green, a well-known and highly respected structural engineer to review the structure and the artwork.

“He found not only can we preserve the entire wall-very easily-but that it needs to be featured for the community,” Nunez told EGP.

It can be done without being taken apart, and it will still meet state safety building codes for new schools, Botello said.

While a formal project has yet to be submitted to the county planning commission for approval, the former First Street Store, located at 3640 E. 1st St., is slated to become the permanent home of Alliance Media Arts and Entertainment Design High School (an existing Alliance school in East LA). Only plans for the proposed middle school have so far been submitted for approval.

However, during a hearing in August, Coalition members said the middle school and high school are tied together, with shared facilities like a parking lot, which they said justifies their petition for a full Environmental Impact Report to be conducted.

Most recently, the coalition had appealed the planning commission’s declaration that the proposal to build a new middle school would have no negative impact on the local community.

But according to LA County Director of Planning Richard Bruckner, they have now withdrawn their appeal. Alliance and the artists have been engaging in very productive meetings to evaluate alternatives for saving the mural, Bruckner told EGP.

“There’s no question the murals will be saved—they will be saved—it’s a question of how best to do that in a respectful and cost effective and timely manner,” Bruckner said.

The project to demolish the former market and replace it with an Alliance College-Ready Middle Academy can now move forward, he said.

Gonzalez’s redesign of the high school’s exterior creates a mural centered courtyard in front of the high school. The murals will be moved back about 10-feet so people can view the panels without having to cross the street, Nuñez said, adding that Green will continue to consult on the engineering portion of the project. The developer will partially pay for the project. They hope TO complete the plans and budget by January, she said.

Nuñez said this Plaza La Primera is the first step toward executing Gonzalez’s revitalization plan for First Street to become “Plaza La Primera Avenida de los Murales and Chicano Art Walk,” a cultural destination for tourists. Merchants can carry artwork for visitors to purchase, she said.

The coalition’s appeal set back the demolition of the market, originally scheduled to begin last summer. A new construction schedule for the middle school hasn’t been finalized but the work could begin at the end of this year, Pacific Charter School Development (PCSD) President and CEO Eli Kennedy told EGP.

“The team is going forward with a solution that is great for East LA, students and the preservation of a wonderful piece of art,” Kennedy said.

In a written statement, Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools President and CEO Judy Burton said: “We are pleased to work with the artists of the First Street Mural to preserve their beautiful mural, The Story of Our Struggle. As a school focused on the arts, the mural gives us the opportunity to use this piece of art as part of our educational mission. The mural will expose young adults to art firsthand and enhance their appreciation of the art around them. We are excited that the mural will be a real historical and educational resource for our students and our community.”

The project could serve as a model for how people can come together to work in the best interest of all the parties involved, Nunez said.

“We are really thrilled that everyone has come around to make this happen,” she said.


Bell Gardens Dismisses Excessive Force Claim

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Bell Gardens City Council this week rejected a claim against the city that accuses the city’s police department of using excessive force when they shot 20-year-old Johnny Estrada before arresting him in front of his mother’s home in Bell Gardens earlier this year.

EGP reported in April that officers responded to a call of a family dispute on the 6800 block of Marlow around 6:40 p.m. on April 20. According to authorities, Estrada was sitting in the driver’s side of the car with the engine running and was shot when he refused to follow commands by the officers to exit the vehicle.

Estrada was charged with obstructing a peace officer and his criminal case is pending.

Estrada and his mother Maria Alvarez filed separate claims against the city in late August. They alleged that the officers used excessive force when they shot Estrada three times through the car’s window, leaving Estrada with multiple bullet fragments to his cheek, scalp and spine.

According to the claim filed by Estrada, the alleged excessive force led to his partial paralysis. Alvarez alleges that she experienced emotional distress after witnessing the shooting and financial loss from her son’s disability. Both claimants asked the city for multi-million dollar settlements for damages.

Filing a claim gives the city a chance to look at the allegations and to decide whether to settle with the claimants before the matter goes to court. If the city denies the claim and decides not to settle, the claimants have the option of suing the city.

Bell Gardens sent the claim for review to Carl Warren & Company, a claims management and consulting company, which recommended the city reject the claim filed by Estrada and his mother.

Nicholas T. Razo, senior management analyst for the City of Bell Gardens, told EGP that the city rejected the claim based on Carl Warren & Company’s recommendation, but said the city cannot release the reason for the recommendation to deny the claim unless they go to court.

“Details cannot be divulged because of pending litigation,” said Razo.

According to Estrada and Alvarez’s attorney, —- Ryan, most claims against a city are rejected unless the city chooses to settle with the claimant.

Ryan told EGP that his clients intend to move forward with lawsuits against the city to pay for medical bills, lost wages and damages Estrada suffered from the gunshot wounds, which led to his permanent disability. Alvarez will also be moving forward with her lawsuit of emotional distress.

“A lawsuit will be coming shortly,” said Ryan.

Ryan also told EGP there is an audio recording of the incident, which he says supports his clients’ claim.

Since the claim was rejected by the city, Estrada and Alvarez have six months before the statue of limitations is up to file a lawsuit.

In the letter sent to Estrada and Alvarez, Bell Gardens’ senior management analyst advised the mother and son that if they file a lawsuit that the court determines to be frivolous, the city intends to seek attorney’s fees and costs from the plaintiffs.

Ballot Recommendations – Tuesday, Nov. 6 Election

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes on Proposition 39—Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses, Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding: Most states tax multistate companies on the percent of sales the business does in their state. But not California, which instead allows multistate corporations to pay taxes according to one of the two state formulas that is most advantageous to them. This makes no sense to us. All corporations, whether entirely based in the state or not, should be taxed based on the sales they do in the state. Analysts estimate that the current system has resulted in a $1 billion loss in revenue to the state. Additionally, California is left with collecting less tax that it otherwise would. It is also estimated that the added tax revenue from changing the tax code could generate as many as 40,000 jobs.

We understand why multistate companies don’t’ want to pay their fair share of taxes to the state; what we don’t understand is why any voter would vote against this proposal. Vote Yes on Prop 39.

Yes on Proposition 40—Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum: This measure is to approve the state district lines the State Citizens Redistricting Commission has submitted for voter approval. The commission held hearing throughout the state to listen to districting plans submitted by a diverse number of groups. Since the voters approved the formation of the redistricting commission to eliminate as much gerrymandering a possible by the legislature, we believe we must now follow through and approve their recommendations.  Vote Yes on Prop 40.

Previous EGP Ballot Recommendations:

Vote Yes on Proposition 30: Temporary increase on sales tax and income taxes on higher income Californians. While this measure is sure to hurt some of the people most in need of relief, without it programs that support some of our neediest residents are in danger of even more harmful cuts.

Vote No on Proposition 31: Well intentioned but poorly written budget reform. The proposition aims to make changes to the state budgeting process and give local municipalities greater control and flexibility when it comes to state mandated regulations, but it has too many problem areas for us to recommend its passage.

No Recommendation on Proposition 32: Pay Check deductions for political causes. Passage would make it impossible for deductions to be made from an employee’s paycheck for political reasons without their approval.

Vote No on Proposition 33: Don’t let auto insurers have another tool to raise rates. The proposition is yet another ploy by the auto insurance industry to find new ways to raise rates. Don’t believe the ads that claims good drivers will get a discount on the insurance rate, the real intent to increase the rates on new drivers or drivers that have for any number of reasons gone for a time without auto insurance.

Vote Yes on Proposition 34: Drop the Death Penalty. It’s time to end the very expensive charade that California is a state with a death penalty. Millions of dollars are spent on court and other costs related to convicts challenging their death sentence for years. Sentencing the to life in prison without the possibility of parole will formalize the reality of what we are already doing.

Vote Yes on Proposition 35: Harsher penalties for people convicted of human trafficking. Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable in our community, and should be labeled for what they are, sexual predators.

Vote Yes On Proposition 36: Change Three Strikes Law. Voters never intended for the three strikes law to send someone convicted of a minor, non-violent crime to 25 years to life in prison. Voting yes will make it so only those convicted of a serious or violent crime receives the harsher penalty.

Vote Yes on Proposition 37: Label Our Foods. While the law is not perfect and holds some exemptions that we do not understand, it is time to start letting people know what is going into their food.

No on Proposition 38: Higher Income taxes to pay for Education. Funding education is a priority for everyone, but this measure is not the right solution.

Editorial Cartoon

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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