Dos legisladores republicanos, entre ellos la congresista por Florida de origen cubano Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, acaban de expresar su apoyo a la propuesta presentada por los demócratas en la cámara baja para una reforma migratoria.
Jeff Denham, republicano por California, anunció su respaldo el pasado fin de semana y el martes lo hizo Ros-Lehtinen, quien dijo en un comunicado enviado por su oficina estar “a favor de cualquier enfoque que ayude a avanzar en las negociaciones”.
“Otros miembros” de la cámara baja “podrían producir pronto una medida bipartidista que puede merecer apoyo y soy cautelosamente optimista acerca de que podemos aprobar una reforma migratoria significativa”, comentó la legisladora por Florida.
El Senado, bajo control demócrata, aprobó una propuesta bipartidista para una reforma migratoria el pasado junio, pero desde entonces la Cámara de Representantes, de mayoría republicana, no ha logrado alcanzar un acuerdo.
El proyecto de reforma aprobado por el Senado establece inversiones millonarias para mejorar la seguridad en la frontera con México y abre una vía a la ciudadanía para más de 11 millones de indocumentados.
Los demócratas de la cámara baja también presentaron su propia propuesta, muy similar a la aprobada por el Senado.
El presidente Barack Obama insistió la semana pasada en que la reforma migratoria debe aprobarse este mismo año, porque será algo bueno para la economía, y destacó que está en manos de los republicanos que salga adelante en el Congreso.
Por su parte, el presidente de la Cámara de Representantes, el republicano John Boehner, ha dicho que ese órgano está dispuesto a afrontar los problemas del sistema de inmigración “paso a paso”, pero no con un proyecto de ley integral al estilo del aprobado en el Senado.
Candidates for the city council of Bell Gardens and seats on the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education are in the final stretch of their campaigns for next Tuesday’s November 5 General Election. Voters will be asked to decide whether they want to keep long-time incumbents or see a change in their councilmembers or board members.
Here is a brief look at the views of some of the candidates obtained by EGP through statements and interviews.
Bell Gardens City Council
In the city of Bell Gardens, which has had its share of election campaign scandals in the past, three seats are up for a vote: the three candidates with the highest number of votes will be elected.
Incumbents Daniel Crespo, Priscilla Flores and Sergio Infanzon are facing three challengers, teacher and former planning commissioner Jose Mendoza, business owner Jasmina Saavedra and Yvette Silva, a pharmacy manager.
Two of the big issues facing whoever is elected are whether water rates for 30 percent of Bell Gardens residents should be raised after nearly two decades of no increases. Staff has said the water system is in serious need of maintenance and updates. Elected officials will also have to find ways to spur economic development after the loss of Redevelopment Agency (RDA) revenue that was for years used as a tool to bring new businesses and affordable housing to the southeast city.
Crespo told EGP that under no circumstance would he vote to increase water rates. He said many of the city’s residents are just barely getting by financially, and Bell Gardens will have to find another way to address the water systems large operating deficit. Using some of the city’s previous developments as examples, Crespo said he plans to work on deals with large retailers and restaurants to bring revenue to the city.
Flores, however, says she is conflicted about whether to raise water rates or sell off the city’s water rights. She believes it is unfair for the 70 percent of residents who get their water from non-city owned utilities to continue to subsidize the city’s water customers, but understands that many residents will find it hard to afford rate hikes.. She told EGP she thinks a gradual increase in rates could be the best solution.
Flores thinks the city should address its revenue issues by continuing to seek outside grants to help pay for some services and infrastructure improvements, and to continue to negotiate with businesses that would be a good fit for the small city.
Infanzon, who of the three incumbents has been on the council for the shortest amount of time, says updating the city’s 15-year-old master plan is a top priority. Doing so would give the city a blue print for future housing, transportation and business development. He also said he would focus on revitalizing three underdeveloped corridors along Garfield, Eastern and Florence with different types of restaurants and businesses. He also emphasizes the importance of developing the next generation of city leaders by being involved with local youth.
A former planning commissioner, challenger Mendoza told EGP he played a part in the approval of The Bicycle Casino’s hotel expansion project, which will bring new revenue and jobs to the city. He said he hopes to fill the vacant storefronts he sees with businesses that fit the limited space available in the city’s small 2-mile radius. He said increasing water rates could cause financial hardships, but needs to know more about the issue before making a decision.
Saavedra and Silva did not provide information for this article.
Montebello Unified School District
The MUSD Board of Education, for a district that spans from Bell Gardens on the south to Monterey Park on the north, encompassing the cities of Commerce, Montebello and parts of East Los Angeles, has two separate board elections on Tuesday’s ballot: On one, voters can vote for three candidates; they must vote for just one on the other.
The third largest district in the County must implement Common Core standards and decide how to spend new local district control funds. Questions have been raised as to whether MUSD distributes resources equitably across the district. MUSD has adopted a district wide career pathway curriculum, opened a technology-focused high school, and expanded career offerings at its adult school. MUSD also received a $7 million grant to purchase thousands of wireless laptops for student use.
When elected, board members will continue to deal with how to recover from years of financial cuts and declining enrollment.
On one of the ballot questions, the seats of longtime board members Hector A. Chacon and Gerri Guzman and Benjamin Cardenas, who was appointed late last year to fill the seat left vacant by Ed Chau’s election to the state assembly are up for grabs. The three incumbents are being challenged by community educator/historian Lani Cupchoy; retired electrician Frank Thomas Morales and Sonia Saucillo, who lists “domestic engineer” as her occupation.
The separate special election to fill the remaining two years of the seat left vacant by the death of Marcella Calderon has drawn challengers to the board appointed incumbent Paul Montoya, who has held the seat for two-years and hopes to be elected for the first time. Challengers include Edgar Cisneros, a deputy aid to County Supervisor Gloria Molina, and C.J. Salgado, a physicist/manager/ recruiter.
Guzman told EGP that the past unequal distribution of services, specifically to cities like Commerce and Bell Gardens, has been corrected. She said MUSD has allocated a large amount of funding for infrastructure omprovements in the south. The district has embraced new educational models, including technology and career pathways, as well as a growing number of dual-immersion programs while she has been on the board, Guzman said.
Cardenas, who has been on the board for less than a year and is on the staff of U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, told EGP that students must be looked at as a whole, and the importance of recognizing and addressing social issues, such as poverty and hunger, as well as being tech-ready for the 21st century world. He said he hit the ground running and that his experience working for Napolitano has helped him identify resources for the district. He thinks the district must strive to move students out of English Learner classrooms as soon as they become proficient.
A product of the district, Cupchoy, who was a part of a campaign that brought community gardens to all MUSD schools in Bell Gardens, told EGP there is still an uneven distribution of services to south side schools, and that the district’s practice of keeping teachers categorized as temporary employees for years is unfair. She also wants to see a return of the arts, and says the district needs to return to its golden days.
Hoping to fill the remaining two years of the special election seat, Cisneros told EGP MUSD must embrace technology, and better prepare students for college and the job market. He said he was not aware of claims about the uneven distribution of services until he started campaigning, but told EGP if elected he would make sure taxpayer dollars are used wisely across the district.
Salgado told EGP that the district’s main responsibility is academics, and says more attention needs to be focused in areas such as technology, math and engineering, to provide fields of study that would create career opportunities in the future. He would like to ensure that programs found in the district’s Applied Technology Center, are found elsewhere.
Appointee Montoya told EGP that he has not witnessed an uneven distribution of services while on the board, and noted that many of MUSD’s funds go to schools in Bell Gardens. He said more needs to be done to get parents involved in their child’s education. A computer system administrator himself, Montoya told EGP he would like students to be able to use technology as a learning tool. He said it’s important to make sure that technology systems adopted by the district do not quickly become obsolete.
Chacon told EGP that he plans to use his 20 years of experience to help students graduate and prepare for college. Saucillo-Valencia also told EGP she would rather see students learn at a slower rate to be sure they are really ready for college.
Tuesday, Nov. 5 is Election Day. For more information about the election contact the local city clerk’s office.
A City of Commerce neighborhood is recovering this week from a real scare, but it has nothing to do with Halloween ghosts or haunted houses. Their scare came from the reality of living near one of the most heavily traveled freeways used by tanker trucks and trailers.
At about 9:30 in the morning on Oct. 27, a dual tanker truck crashed on the 710 Long Beach Freeway and erupted into flames just above their homes.
The tanker truck spilled the 8,000 gallons of crude oil it was carrying, according Los Angeles County Fire officials. One of the two tanks ignited in flames as it hung off the freeway overpass bridge located above Noakes Street, near South Sydney Drive in the Bristow Park neighborhood. The second tank fell and exploded on the rail tracks below. The highly flammable crude oil made its way into storm drains where it spread, provoking more flames along a stretch on Sydney Drive where parked vehicles caught on fire.
The thick black plumes of smoke and the nauseous smell of burning chemicals drove many residents out of their neighborhood, located adjacent to the Union Pacific rail yard. The fire was extinguished by 10:40 a.m., but the freeway remained closed until just before rush hour Monday so transportation and fire officials could inspect the integrity of the structure to ensure it was safe.
Four hazardous materials companies were called in to help LA County Fire’s Health Hazmat team remove the crude oil and clean up the mess the, fire and spill had caused. Crews scraped off the residue and soot, pressure washed and removed the tar-like substance being hauled up manholes, according to Don Ellis of LA County Fire Health Hazmat. The petroleum product in the large flood control channel below extends below ground from Atlantic Boulevard to just north of Slauson, he said.
Ellis expected the clean up to continue until about today, Oct. 31. The transporter was Pan Pacific Petroleum, he said, noting that the driver was badly burned in the accident.
Temporary concrete rails now block the gap in the bridge rail that was damaged in the fire.
Joseph Rios, 26, said he woke up to the sound of an explosion. He documented much of the fire on his cell phone. His aunt, Anita Lemus, came home puzzled about the smoke that appeared to be coming from the back of her home, but was really a block or two away. The 69-year-old Lemus described the pitch-black smoke as “spooky.”
Florentino Robles said neighbors were scrambling, some with garden hoses in hand, because they feared the raging fire would spread to a nearby business that specializes in the sale of firewood and charcoal, which would have been catastrophic.
“The truck was hanging from the bridge by its wheels, all that remained was its skeleton,” Robles told EGP in Spanish. “Nobody knew if anyone had been injured.”
Eighty-three year-old Ester Cuvarrubias lives on Sydney Drive in a home wedged between two businesses, one of them the firewood and charcoal company that stacks its product outside on wood pallets several feet high.
Cuvarrubias said the fire spread quickly on the hillside directly across the street from her home.
“I got so scared,” she said. Cuvarrubias says she feels safe now, but is worried there’s nothing to prevent it from happening again. “If it wasn’t for that truck [parked in front of my home] we wouldn’t have a house any more,” she said, describing how close the fire had come to her home.
The three semi-trucks, two work trucks and a work machine burned in the fire all belonged to building contractors Barraza & Son’s, located near Cuvarrubias’ home, according to people who were near the site when it caught fire.
Thirty-six year-old Esmeralda Jacobo and her family also live on Sydney Drive. They were among the residents who didn’t sit back wait for an evacuation order, but piled into their car and sought refuge elsewhere. According to Jacobo, her 5-year-old son was taken ill that day, was vomiting and had diarrhea. Her husband suspects the burning chemicals in the air made him sick.
According to Commerce Media Specialist Herlinda Chico, the fire department did not issue an evacuation order, but a fire company was assigned to go door to door to assess the situation. They found that many residents had already self-evacuated to a safer area.
According to Caltrans, the fire damage to the overpass included 50 feet of destroyed bridge railing, 60 feet of destroyed guardrail, the partial melting of an overhead sign.
Commerce Mayor Joe Aguilar, in an email to EGP on Tuesday, said, “Our primary concern is making sure our residents who were impacted are receiving the resources and information they need.”
He also thanked “the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Public Works Department and City staff whose quick response greatly minimized the impact on our community.”
Information from City News Service was used in this report.
With the recent signing of Senate Bill (SB) 416 on October 1st, the California Department of Transportation caught some residents off guard by moving quickly with a workshop last week at the El Sereno Senior Citizens Center to discuss the future sale of properties no longer needed for a transportation project.
Erick Solares, a deputy attorney at Caltrans, led the workshop that drew a standing room crowd of local residents gathered for the first of two public workshops organized to gather suggestions for regulations on the sales of surplus residential properties in an area known as the 710 corridor. The audience included residents from all areas within the corridor, from Pasadena to El Sereno.
Caltrans acquired the properties in El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena for a proposed extension of the 710 Long Beach freeway to the 210 Foothill freeway that was never built. Current efforts focus on an underground tunnel along with other alternatives including a light rail option and enhanced street traffic systems.
Solares told the crowd that the workshop is “the very beginning of the process.” He cited that these workshops bypass normal protocol by allowing residents to have input on the regulations before they are drafted. The suggestions however, cannot alter the current law, the Roberti Act, that governs the sales of surplus properties.
Local resident Teresa Almeida pressed Solares to provide a definitive timetable so she could make a decision on whether to purchase the home her mother has lived in for over thirty years.
“How can I make a decision if I don’t know what will be under my home?” Almeida asked.
Solares said it could take up to a year to have finalized regulations. Specific properties designated surplus will not be identified until the final environmental review for the current 710-project is complete. That review will determine the alignment of the route.
With a history that spans six decades, the 710-freeway project has slowly moved at the speed of traffic on existing southland freeways. Caltrans official, Paul Brown, told the audience that the passage of SB 416 represents “a new beginning for a new process.”
Before Caltrans can move on with its new process, it will have to face residents long troubled with its past performance.
Many residents expressed frustrations related to rent increases, poor maintenance, and gridlock on previous attempts to purchase their homes. One resident referred to the agency as a “slumlord” to the delight of many in the audience. Some of the suggestions that were provided by the audience included a rent credit towards the sales price. Others wanted the value of occupant paid for repairs to offset the sales price. The most popular suggestion was to freeze rent increases since the homes will eventually be sold.
Several residents voiced concerns over the ability of low- to moderate-income occupants to afford the homes even with the new priority provisions. Some suggested the ability to have co-signers with no income restrictions. Others want to see their “net income” used as a base income for any sale.
El Sereno resident Peter Garcia asked that a task force be created to review eligibility requirements to prevent developers from “land grabbing” properties. SB 416 provides a provision for low-income housing authorities to purchase property if no current or former occupant buys the property.
Specifically, four categories were created to identify priority of sale. The first three relate to current and prior occupants and the fourth one relates to housing-related entities with a goal to have occupants own the homes. Potential buyers cannot have owned real estate within the last three years, but it is unclear how that provision would impact current occupants who might need financial assistance from a relative who owns other property.
The Roberti Act and SB 416 aim to create affordable housing for local residents through the sales of surplus properties owned by state agencies. “We would love to see current occupants buy their homes,” Solares said. Current residents who are unable to purchase the home will receive non-monetary assistance. Solares did not define what the assistance is at the workshop. Solares said the next scheduled meetings will be held once the draft regulations are released which is tentatively scheduled between late 2013 and early 2014.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation into law on October 1st. State Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) drafted SB 416 to expedite the sale of 500 properties no longer needed to construct the northbound 710 freeway extension.
The bill sets up four tiers of priority for eligible tenants. Any unsold properties are to be auctioned off at fair market value. The bill creates an exemption to existing law by allowing
Caltrans to revise its definition of “fair market value” for the properties to reflect existing “as is” condition. All proceeds from the sales will be deposited into a special account used to fund repairs until all required repairs are made. Once all the properties are sold, all remaining funds will be transferred to the State Highway Account for eligible projects in El Sereno, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra and La Cañada Flintridge.
During a city council meeting last week where the attendance was higher than usual, Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez balked at calls for her to resign in the wake of her husband’s arrest on suspicion of selling methamphetamine near a school.
Cortez, who is up for reelection in 2015, did not directly respond to residents who called for her to resign during the public comment portion of last week’s meeting, but did address the residents at the crowded meeting as a group.
“Please understand that I serve as the mayor and I have never done anything to lie, cheat, or steal from the city,” Cortez said. “I will continue to do my job to the best of my ability.”
Cortez’ husband, forty-four year-old Ruben Guerrero, was arrested early on Oct. 17 at the couple’s Montebello home in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue, according to the sheriff’s department.
Last week’s council meeting was the first since the news broke that Guerrero had been arrested on suspicion of selling methamphetamine and narcotics near a school, according to sheriff’s officials. Guerrero was released from jail after posting $60,000 bail.
Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer Jane Robison told EGP that since Guerrero posted bail he was not due in court and therefore charges have not been filed.
“We have not filed a case on [Guerrero] because police have not yet presented the evidence to us,” she said in an emailed statement.
News of Guerrero’s arrest seemed to be the reason for the much higher than usual turnout at the city council meeting, which led to many people being forced to stand. Although there were a lot of speaker cards turned in, only a handful of residents actually spoke against the mayor during public comment.
Ray Rodriguez, a resident who said he works with a group of kids who most recently were part of the city’s 9/11 ceremony, told the council that the allegations led him to speak up against the mayor.
“I was given this certificate of recognition [by the city] but I think its tainted,” he said, before proceeding to rip the certificate in half, then throwing it in the trash.
“I hope you will resign, you don’t deserve the title of Mayor of Montebello.”
It was not immediately clear whether the majority of the residents who attended the meeting, were there to support or speak out against Cortez. Resident Linda Nicklas asked the mayor to “please resign” after questioning her involvement with candidates she is endorsing for election.
While some people in the crowd seemed to agree with applause, others were heard booing the demand.
Local resident Yvette Fimbres said she’s tired of Montebello residents hearing the same excuse over and over again: that “politics” are involved. She said she wants a mayor that can give the city their undivided attention.
“Once again our community has been plagued with negative news and scandal: When is this nonsense going to stop?” she said. “I feel it would be appropriate for the mayor to step down or take a leave of absence from her duties in the city until this issue is resolved.”
Cortez did not respond to calls for her resignation, but instead told the crowd of about 100 people that she wanted to “thank everyone for the tremendous amount of support” she has received.
“Thank you for allowing the investigation to take its course,” Cortez said. “Thank you for extending that courtesy.”
Mayor Christina Cortez did not return calls from EGP for comment.
City News Service contributed to this report.
1:57p.m UPDATE: On October 31, 2013, the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney filed a total of six felony charges against Ruben Guerrero.The charges include three felony counts of Transportation for Sales of Narcotics, three felony counts of Sales of a Controlled Substance – Methamphetamine and one felony count of Sales of Narcotics within 1000 feet of a School. The complaint alleges that Guerrero sold methamphetamine on three separate occasions within 1,000 feet of Montebello Intermediate. Guerrero’s next court date is Nov. 7 where prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $120,000. If convicted Guerrero faces up to 11 years in state prison, according to the D.A.’s office.
If convicted, Guerrero faces up to 11 years in state prison.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about revitalizing the Los Angeles River and creating a series of parks along the largely concrete-lined waterway Tuesday at Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard’s “LA River Day” event in Washington, D.C.
The event brought Members of Congress, representatives from several federal agencies and California state and local officials together “on Capitol Hill to discuss the LA River Revitalization Project and the necessary next steps to make this project a reality,” according to a statement from Roybal-Allard’s office.
“Investing in the restoration of the LA River’s infrastructure will finally breathe new life into the river and make it a great natural and cultural heritage resource,” said Roybal-Allard. “With public access that will reconnect communities that were previously divided by the river, we will see a reunification of Angelenos and the creation of an economic engine that, through tourism and recreational activities, will bolster the local and national economy,” she added.
He also met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy “to discuss a number of California issues,” Garcetti spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.
Garcetti and the City Council in August officially backed the $1 billion Alternative 20, the most expensive and comprehensive of four Los Angeles River revitalization options being considered by Congress.
“We’re at a key moment in our efforts to restore the L.A. River and I am making it clear to Washington that L.A. deserves Alternative 20, the most robust option and the only one that equitably shares costs,” Garcetti said.
The Army Corps of Engineers recently unveiled four restoration options — ranging in cost from $375 million to more than $1 billion — designed to return sections of the river, from Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles, to its natural state.
Each of the plans involve re-introducing layers of natural habitat over existing concrete. Sites that may be affected by the plans include Taylor Yard and the Verdugo Wash.
Army Corps engineers have tentatively recommended the second most conservative option, Alternative 13, which costs about $453 million and would restore about 588 acres of wildlife and aquatic habitat.
The public has until Nov. 18 to comment on an environmental impact study of the four options.
On Monday, Garcetti met with President Barack Obama, who welcomed the new mayor to Washington, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to seek federal funding for mass transit.
He also met that day with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and a series of officials from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Management & Budget and the Department of Interior to pitch Alternative 20.
Garcetti was greeted personally by Obama on “his first trip” to the nation’s capital as mayor, mayoral spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.
Curry did not provide details of the meeting, only saying that the pair had a “good discussion.”
Garcetti met Foxx Monday evening, according to Curry. Garcetti said last week he would ask Foxx for federal funding to help build a people mover at Los Angeles International Airport and expand the city’s commuter rail network, including bringing “mass transit into the airport.”
Curry said she was unable to elaborate on what was discussed in their talk, saying only that it was a “good” meeting.
A planned Crenshaw Line connecting the Expo and Green rail lines will run near the airport, but will not stop there. The existing Green Line stops 2.5 miles from the airport.
The mayor’s trip to D.C. also included a meeting with White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett to talk about a Los Angeles River revitalization project and other issues, Curry said. City Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell, who were also in Washington to support Los Angeles River issues, participated in that meeting.
Monterey Park’s Police Department will be conducting a yearlong traffic safety and crash prevention program that it will pay for using a $90,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).
Through special enforcement and public awareness efforts, Monterey Park Police Chief Jim Smith said the city hopes to prevent deaths and injuries on the road by partnering with the Office of Traffic Safety to educate the community.
According to Sgt. Brent Archibald, the police department recognized that the city was seeing a rise in the number of pedestrian-involved vehicle collisions, specifically among seniors. He said police plan to focus on a specific safety and crash prevention campaign each month. Sgt. Archibald told EGP the police department hopes the grant will help combat rising crash data trends.
The grant will provide funds for the city to conduct advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement, public safety presentations throughout the community, DUI saturation patrols, distracted driving enforcement, and seaat belt and child safety seat enforcement.
Two suspects accused of shooting at Los Angeles police officers in Highland Park were in custody Friday, a department official said.
The suspects — one in his late teens, the other in his early 20s – were arrested about 1 a.m. Oct. 25, Los Angeles police Lt. Richard Parks said.
The weapon said to be used in the alleged shooting, a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, was recovered, Parks said.
A SWAT team was dispatched to the 2200 block of North Avenue 57 in Highland Park after the “shots fired” call was received from officers about 7.30 p.m. Oct. 24.
Parks said four or five shots were fired.
The shooting suspects were found in an apartment building on the 2200 block, which was evacuated in the course of the search.
A perimeter around the apartment building remained partially in place early today, with some residents unable to return to their units as officers continued to search for evidence.
A handcuffed suspect already in custody for making terrorist threats was arrested again last Friday after he ran from a hospital in Montebello, where he had been taken for treatment of a cut finger, authorities said.
The man in his early 20s was in a deputy’s custody in the parking lot of Beverly Hospital about 11:30 p.m. when he made his break, Sgt. Pablo Partida of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station.
The area was surrounded and an air unit equipped with a thermal imaging camera spotted him hiding under a truck not far from the hospital, he said.
The man, who had been cut prior to his original arrest on suspicion of threatening a victim in the 5400 block of Rosemead Boulevard, was taken into custody just after midnight and now faces possible additional charges of escaping, Partida said.