Open Letter: Response to Recall Editorials

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In the editorial “Recalls Rarely Productive…”, I do agree that “it is so critical for voters to get to know the candidates running for office.” But is that enough?  Unfortunately, candidates make statements in campaigns that do not always turn into actions once elected. Therefore, voters have the right to a recall process.

I disagree with your statements regarding recalls. You may have an OPINION about recalls, but my statements regarding a recall will be based on what the California Constitution states about a recall.

It is the electorates’ prerogative to conduct a recall anytime (after the required waiting period) for any reason they desire.


Article 2 in the California Constitution provides all the information needed for “Voting, Initiate and Referendum, and Recall.”

Section 1: “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.”


Section 13: “Recall is the power of the electors to remove an elective office.”

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in their guide to recalls, section 2 states “Neither the California Constitution nor the Elections Code states under what circumstances a recall is justified.” Also stated is “the statement and answer are intended solely for the information of the voters. No insufficiency in form or substance thereof shall affect the validity of the election proceedings.” The information on the petition and the response does not have to legally be verified; statements can be true or not, it is the voter’s decision to verify if the statements are true or false.


Easily translating the above: it does not matter the reason why voters want an elected official out of office, it is the right of the voter to conduct a recall!

Everyone is entitled to opinions; however, we do have legal guidance from the California Constitution and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.


Voters need to decide if they will make a decision based on someone’s opinion and campaign statements or if they will do what they have a right to do according to the law!

The voters must decide, but they cannot continue to be deceived by the media nor elected officials about their rights and the rules regarding elections, including recalls.

Although the voters have the right to initiate a recall, they should consider the issues – are the issues relevant to the current climate in the city? Are the accusations based on personal issues or issues that will impact the residents? Will the issues make a difference in the city?

What are the important issues?  How will addressing these issues move the city forward to ensure we continue to provide the best services and programs to the residents of Commerce?

As I stated in a public meeting and will continue to reiterate: The voters need to decide who they want to represent and serve them in the City of Commerce!


Denise Robles is a member of the Commerce City Council. Sources: and guide to recall. 


Bold text was added as emphasis and not in original text.


Understanding the ‘Wall of Separation’ Between Traditional Republicans and New Conservatives

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s evident in recent elections and day-to-day political clashes in Washington that there is a substantial divide between traditional Republicans and what we may term “new conservatives.” Oh yes, it’s true that there are shades of differences on each side of this divide. To be specific, everyone knows that there are “liberal Republicans” at one end of the spectrum and “Tea Party conservatives” on the other end. They seldom even speak to each other, and the difference between them has become obvious.

This division has become so great that it may well tear apart what I like to call the traditional Republican Party. The main question here is, how we can understand this division in American politics?

Perhaps it may be captured in the phrase, “the courtship of Republicans by conservatives.” The Republican Party dates back to elections just before the Civil War and its great leaders included Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, Coolidge, Eisenhower and Reagan—to name a few. Coolidge was probably the last of the great “traditional” Republicans, meaning the last of the Republicans who truly believed in limited government based on the documents created by the Founding Fathers.

The Roosevelt Revolution under FDR pushed government in another direction, assuming that more government would solve all of the nation’s problems. In 1937, Senator Bailey of North Carolina stood up on the floor of the Senate and said that the Roosevelt program needed to be stopped. To begin that process he issued a “Conservative Manifesto.”

Soon Bob Taft appeared. And then others—Barry Goldwater, Russell Kirk, and more. By the early 1950s a conservative movement was alive and growing. Taft was unable to gain the Republican Party nomination, to his great sorrow.

The courtship of Republicans by conservatives was a movement in earnest when the Republicans nominated Goldwater as their presidential candidate in 1964. One might even say that the Goldwater affair was “an engagement.” Why he was dramatically defeated by LBJ will be debated forever, but one result was a cooling of the conservative/Republican courtship. Ronald Reagan eventually appeared on the scene after several election cycles and was elected president. The courtship ended and a marriage was consummated. The Republicans had a conservative president.

Once his term neared its end, who would follow Reagan became an important question from the point of view of the courtship paradigm. Certainly, George H. W. Bush did not fit that mold. Though it appeared that George W. Bush was a conservative as he took office, it became clear to many that his big-spending binge and tendency to get involved in foreign wars disqualified him from the pantheon of conservatives—if Reagan be the standard of measurement.

And what followed? The Republicans turned to an older Republican, whose “turn to run” seemed to have arrived. The nomination of John McCain moved the courtship of a conservative candidate to the fringes.

Now the important question: Will mainstream Republicans—this likely includes the more liberal group from the Northeast, and the newly emergent bevy of self-styled conservatives—be able to at least have a coffee date? Will they return to a more serious courtship with the hope of a second marriage? Or, will the new conservatives insist that the Republican establishment adopt all of their programs immediately?

It certainly is fair to ask whether the current Republican establishment will look back to its past, before the term “conservative” entered the political lexicon, and see that the most popular American in the 1920s was a Republican—Calvin Coolidge. A traditional Republican, he stood for limited government and had reverence for the Declaration and the Constitution. He thought balancing the budget was a good idea, too.

If the courtship between Republicans and conservatives is to be renewed, each party will have to give a little. Republicans must renew a commitment to the principles that traditional Republicans stood for. The new conservatives say they are for those things that are the essence of the traditional Republican Party—limited government and a reverence for the Declaration and the Constitution. Their rambunctious style and their demand for reform makes for good theater but is unrealistic, given President Obama’s control of the White House, his Democratic Senate, and his liberal agenda. They need a clearly stated plan of their goals and a timetable for achieving it.

If the Republican/conservative courtship is to resume, and eventually mature into a marriage like Ronald Reagan’s, the parties will need to sit down and have serious talks. They may even need wise marriage counseling.


Dr. L. John Van Til is a fellow for humanities, faith, and culture with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.


Cities’ Finest: Armed, Brutal and Cowardly

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

On Oct. 22 in Santa Rosa, California, two of that city’s “finest” cowered behind a car door and gunned down a thirteen-year-old boy carrying a toy rifle. This little boy, Andy Lopez Cruz, was walking down the street with a fake plastic rifle when the two “heroes” boldly got out of their police cruiser, hid behind the passenger side door, and called out to him. When Andy reacted like any human being would and turned to face them, our brave boys in blue shot a child carrying a toy, because they were scared.

Physical courage is hardly the highest virtue, nor one linked particularly closely with any other measure of moral worth. But physical courage is a virtue all the same, and one sadly lacking today in our cowardly police departments, who hide behind a comical array of war machines and gun down anyone of any age or species who inspires the slightest tremor of fear in their faint hearts. Family pets, the mentally disabled, the elderly — seemingly anything that can move can terrify our brave police officers, so overwhelming them with abject, presumably pants-wetting fear that they draw their weapons and open fire willy-nilly on whatever has their teeth chattering in terror.

In July in Hawthorne, California, a police officer was so overcome by fear at the sight of a little doggy less than a quarter his size that he had no choice but to fire five shots into the animal in front of its owner. Of course one can hardly blame the officer in question, as he only had three of his colleagues there with him and could not possibly have prevailed against the ferocious animal, which reached nearly to the officer’s waist when on its back legs. Letting the owner calm the animal down was also plainly not an option, as the owner was a dangerous villain guilty of a heinous crime — annoying the police while black.

In January in Maryland, a 26-year-old with Down’s syndrome and a reported IQ of 40 was murdered by not one, not two, but three off-duty police officers because he dared try to see a movie twice without buying a second ticket. The possibility that such an offense might not be worth taking a man’s life over never occurred to our fearless officers, who were put in mortal fear of their lives by his anger at being asked to leave that they were forced to tackle him and “subdue” him until he asphyxiated. Down’s syndrome has such a classic, easy-to-spot presentation that even lay people can readily diagnose it in newborns, but it seems these heroic officers had never watched “Life Goes On.” And who can blame them for their fear? Their victim stood all of 5’6” and weighed nearly 300 pounds, presumably all muscle.

In June, back in California, police officers with the Los Angeles Police Department thought they smelled the trademark smell of someone enjoying an illegal chemical and burst into the home of an eighty-year-old man who, startled in the night by strangers in his home, drew a gun and was immediately killed by a fusillade fired by the heroic officers in question, who boldly executed an old man in his bed. Why these officers could not explain who they were or back out of the room to avoid the old man’s fire is unknown, but one thing is certain — we are all safer now that this eighty-year-old man cannot brandish a pistol at strangers who burst into his bedroom in the middle of the night.

Discussions of police abuses usually turn back to policies and procedures that should be changed and the need for increased accountability. These things are important, but also important is addressing the unbelievable degree of cowardice we tolerate in our police officers today. If you’re so afraid of danger that you’re a danger to those around you, you have no business in any kind of dangerous job and should consider going to work in some nice comfy office somewhere. Physical courage isn’t the greatest virtue, but it is a virtue all the same. contributor Jonathan Carp is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a nurse. He lives in Tacoma, WA.


Three Month Filing Extension Granted For Personal Injury Claims Against Exide

October 31, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

The US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has granted an extension for residents of southeast Los Angeles County who want to file claims against Vernon-based Exide Technologies.

The original filling date of October 31, 2013 has been moved to January 31, 2014.

Read previous story: Residents Aided In Filing Claims Against Exide 

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Residentes Reciben Extensión para Someter Demandas por Daños en Contra de Exide Technologies


Exide has been accused of exposing residents to cancer-causing levels of lead and arsenic emissions from its lead-acid battery recycling plant in Vernon.

Earlier this year, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) required Exide to develop a risk reduction plan after the facility’s health risk assessment showed it posted an unacceptable health risk to more than 250,000 residents in the surrounding area, including Vernon, Huntington Park, Maywood, Commerce, Montebello, Boyle Heights and unincorporated East Los Angeles.

Saying it was overloaded with debt, Exide filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 30, 2013. Part of the bankruptcy process included giving notice of a 45-day window to file a claim against the company by anyone who feels they have been harmed by Exide’s actions, before the bankruptcy filing is settled.

Residents said the short notice did not give them enough time to gather information needed to file their claims. “Given the fact that people have only been made aware of the potentially hazardous air emissions and contaminated soil near Exide in the last few weeks, the original Oct, 31st claim deadline was unrealistic,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach), who along Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) sent a letter to Exide requesting an extension. The filing period was extended to 90 days.

“Though a 90 day extension provides a bit more time for potentially impacted individuals to seek relief, the community has dealt with 25 years of pollution and time is not on our side. Given the short time frame, it’s my priority to continue to work with the community to ensure that justice is served,” said Lara.

Earlier this spring, toxic control officials identified potential health hazards from Exide to workers and residents in the area. A SCAQMD study revealed air emissions levels of lead and arsenic high enough to raise the local cancer risk.

Longtime Boyle Heights resident Rita Govea said during a recent neighborhood watch meeting that she believes her thyroid cancer and many of the medical problems suffered by other family members are directly related to decades of exposure to Eixde’s harmful emissions.

The basis for the residents’ claims is personal injury due to their exposure to toxic emissions, known as “toxic tort,” said Anastasia Mazzella, an attorney volunteering her services at the same meeting. The monetary amount can be an estimated amount for medical bills, loss of earnings, emotional distress, or if unknown at the moment write, “to be determined.”

Timing is still crucial, since residents still have little time to gather the information needed to support their claim.

De Leon said he was “deeply disappointed” that ‘the judge’s ruling continues to deny a realistic opportunity for residents to file claims.”

He said 90 more day is helpful, but barely enough time for the residents who have been exposed to the plant’s pollution for decades.

Earlier this month, DTSC and Exide Technologies reached an agreement that would require Exide to invest more than $7 million over the next two years to upgrade its Vernon battery recycling facility and to pay for blood tests for anyone who wants to test their lead levels.


Exide Technologies, located at 2700 S. Indiana St. in Vernon, is one of the two lead-acid battery recycling plants west of the Rockies. It has been operating since 1992 and currently recycles 23,000 to 41,000 batteries daily.


ELACYC Presents 2013 Angel Awards

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The East Los Angeles Community Youth Center presented their annual awards of excellence at a gala event held Oct. 24 at the L.A. Hotel Downtown.

Los Angeles Councilman Gilbert Cedillo, left, was awarded the Man of the Year award by presenter Frank Villalobos, right.(EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Los Angeles Councilman Gilbert Cedillo, left, was awarded the Man of the Year award by presenter Frank Villalobos, right.(EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

The nonprofit center, which provides academic and recreational services and programs to at-risk youth in East Los Angeles, presents its Angel’s awards to individuals whose work supports the goals and values of the organization that include family, community, individual responsibility and citizenship.

Proceeds from the event benefit services offered by the youth center, including a summer camp,  aquatics, tutoring, boxing, arts, mentoring and family services in a safe environment for boys and girls 7 to 17.

Frank Villalobos, of Barrio Planners and a long-time supporter of the youth center, helped present the 2013 awards and at times seemed taken over by emotion as he saluted recipients for their outstanding work to support local youth, and the center.

The 2013 Life Achievement Award was presented to Judge Gregorio Roman.

Supervisors Reject Oil Drilling Lease, ‘Fracking’ in Whittier

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to reject a lease between Whittier and a Santa Barbara-based oil company estimated to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties for the city.

The site in question – 1,280 acres in the hills – was acquired in 1994 with funds generated under 1992’s Proposition A, a measure passed by voters to preserve open space, public recreation areas and wildlife habitats.

“There was no intent to ever resurrect the oil uses of the property,” said Belinda Faustinos, an alternate to the California Coastal Commission, referring to plans to establish a park on the land. “We need to maintain the trust of our voters.”

Dozens of residents, environmentalists, politicians and community advocates were among 111 people signed up to testify before the board Tuesday.

The vast majority were opposed to the project.

“Oil drilling with Prop A funds would never be allowed in the Santa Monica Mountains,” Sierra Club spokeswoman Nidia Erceg said.

Others warned that if approved the project would set a precedent that would open the door for the exploitation of other potentially oil-rich land in Baldwin Hills and Montebello.

Supervisor Michael Antonovich also worried about the repercussions beyond Whittier.

“If you’re granted a deviation from Prop A … all the other agreements … would be violated,” Antonovich told a lawyer for Matrix Oil. “You’re creating case law that would have detrimental impacts countywide and statewide.”

But one conservation group, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, which originally filed one of several suits seeking to stop the project, announced an agreement in August to allow the project in exchange for royalties up to $11.25 million annually.

The group said it would use that money to buy and preserve other county land, a move that Whittier Mayor Bob Henderson said at the time would extend the benefits of Prop A to another generation.

Whittier and Matrix officials say the lease restricts drilling to a seven-acre site and that a third-party gatekeeper would assure that footprint would not be expanded. The agreement also prohibits high volume, high pressure hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking.”

But environmental consulting firm Sapphos Environmental — hired by the county’s Regional Park and Open Space District to assess the project – said the conditional use permit issued by Whittier allowed for up to 60 wells to be phased in at the city’s sole discretion.

The study concluded that air and water quality would suffer, a finding echoed by Whittier’s own Environmental Impact Report, according to county staffers.

“It’s inconsistent with the intended purpose of Proposition A,” Sapphos President Marie Campbell said of the project.

Matrix Oil representatives called the study misleading.

“The amount of misinformation surrounding this project is significant,” Joe Paquette of Matrix said.

In June, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant enjoined the project, citing the parties’ failure to get the county’s approval. That injunction expires on June 20, 2015, when the agreement governing the original purchase of the land expires.

Lawyers argued Tuesday about whether the county board had the standing to approve or oppose the agreement.

“Everything they’ve done shows they intend to move forward … without the board’s consent,” county attorney Larry Hafetz told the supervisors.

Jordan Porter, a lawyer for Matrix Oil, said county staffers approved the lease before it ever went out for bid and that the board’s role was restricted to reviewing the use of lease revenues.

Whittier and Matrix have argued that any approval rights held by the county will expire as early as this month and no later than June 20, 2015.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky disagreed.

“Basically what you’re arguing and what the city of Whittier is arguing … suggests that Prop A lasts only 20 years,” Yaroslavsky said. The funding may end, but open space designated under the proposition is intended to stay open in perpetuity, he argued. “In perpetuity is in perpetuity.”

The vote by the board also dictates that any revenues from the project, if it moves forward, be used only to further the objectives of Prop A and not for Whittier general fund purposes.

“The issue will not be decided here, it will be decided in court,” Supervisor Don Knabe said, adding that he was reluctantly voting against the project in an effort to bring the parties to the table to discuss alternatives.

“I like our chances, because I think we’re right,” Yaroslavsky said of the court battle to come. “It’s a fight. It’s a fight for every piece of parkland that has been purchased through Proposition A.”

City’s Image An Issue in Montebello Election

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

While the city of Montebello is currently dealing with a scandal involving the mayor, it’s the future of two incumbents that is most pressing. Voters must decide if they want to reelect incumbents William M. Molinari and Art Barajas, and who should replace Frank Gomez who opted to not seek another term. Molinari and Barajas are facing challengers Anna Arriola, a retired financial technician; Emma Delgado an Operations Manager; Flavio Gallarzo, a teacher/school administrator; City Clerk Daniel Hernandez and businesswoman Vivian Romero. The three candidates with the most votes will be elected.

The candidates voted into office will have to take on the task of finding ways to bring revenue to the city without RDA funds and to address the city’s multi-million dollar debt obligation, and for improving the city’s image, damaged by allegations of financial problems resulting from alleged past improper handling of city’s finances.

Longtime resident and challenger Anna Arriola said she blames the city’s negative image on its current officials. She claims they have not always been straightforward, and she plans to use her financial background to take a close look at the city’s current finances before taking drastic, but potentially necessary actions such as raising taxes.

The three candidates with the highest number of votes on Nov. 5 will be elected to the Montebello city council.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

The three candidates with the highest number of votes on Nov. 5 will be elected to the Montebello city council. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Incumbent Barajas told EGP he would focus on economic development if reelected. He said one of his top priorities is to change the media driven negative image of the city as corrupt or dysfunctional in order to attract new restaurants, shops and shoppers to Montebello.

Molinari, the longest sitting member of the council, agreed that the hit to the city’s reputation in recent years has been the biggest impediment to attracting new businesses to Montebello. Changing Montebello’s image would help them convince new businesses to take advantage of the economic opportunities the city offers, he told EGP.

Challenger Romero said she wants to focus on economic development to ensure the city has the revenue it needs to improve its infrastructure. She favors potentially relaxing some ordinances to make the city more conducive for business. She said restoring the city’s reputation is also vital.

Challengers Delgado, Hernandez and Gallarzo, in previous statements, have suggested that the best way to address the city’s negative image is to replace those members of the council who were in office when the misuse and mismanagement of city funds was alleged to have occurred. Delgado told EGP she would like to bring cohesion to the board, while Gallarzo and Hernandez each told EGP they would like to see the city move forward and grow through new ideas from new city leaders.


Huizar Accuser Files Second Lawsuit

October 31, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A woman who is already suing City Councilman Jose Huizar alleging he sexually harassed her filed a second lawsuit Tuesday in an effort to block a subpoena issued by a city panel investigating the matter.

Huizar’s former deputy chief of staff, Francine Godoy, sued the city earlier this month claiming she was sexually harassed. She filed additional legal papers in Los Angeles Superior Court today hoping to block the subpoena ordering her to submit to a taped interview before the city’s Special Committee on Investigative Oversight.

City attorneys declined to comment on the legal action, but a spokesman for Huizar’s attorneys called the latest legal action “an attempt by Ms. Godoy to obstruct” the city’s investigation “of her absurd and malicious allegations.”

“This would be a prime opportunity for Ms. Godoy to tell her side of the story but given her attorney’s response, we can only conclude that Ms. Godoy is desperately seeking to avoid pointed questions about her outrageous allegations and is hoping to enrich herself with an out-of-court settlement,” spokesman Robert Alaniz said.

Huizar has denied he sexually harassed Godoy, but admitted he carried on an occasional and “consensual” affair with her.

The city panel looking into Godoy’s sexual harassment claims is composed of two former judges, a pair of law professors and a member of the American Arbitration Association. It has met once so far in closed session, on Sept. 13.

The committee was formed in August by City Council President Herb Wesson to

conduct an internal investigation of Godoy’s complaints.

Godoy originally lodged her harassment complaint in June with the state Fair Employment and Housing Department and obtained an immediate “right to sue.”

The lawsuit filed today claims the committee’s subpoena is a “cynical ploy” to obtain information that can then be used against her in her first lawsuit against Huizar and the city.

Wesson last week headlined a fundraiser for Huizar, who is seeking a third four-year term on the council. Wesson told the audience at the event that Huizar “is like my brother, he is my best friend on the council. I trust him with my life. He does the same for me.”

Godoy’s latest legal action contends Wesson’s involvement in creating the special committee “will be fatally tainted by Wesson’s deep, intimate personal and professional ties to Huizar and Wesson’s unabashed and enthusiastic public support of Huizar.”

The suit also claims Huizar did not receive a subpoena, and that Wesson is using the subpoena to “promote Huizar’s personal interests and Wesson’s political interests, as well as harass, vex, annoy and intimidate” Godoy in an attempt to hurt her case against the city and the councilman.

Alaniz said Huizar had not been subpoenaed because “unlike Ms.Godoy, Councilman Huizar has volunteered to cooperate and appear before the committee.”

Wesson said that while he authorized the creation of the commission, he strongly denied that he has any control over its actions. He said the city code “requires that all of the proceedings are kept strictly confidential.”

“Therefore, I do not control the committee and have no role in the investigation,” he said. “I have no knowledge of who is on the committee, and I have no knowledge of what they have done, or may do. To suggest that I have any role in the investigation is entirely inaccurate.”

Godoy attorney Michael Eisenberg contended, however, that the council has the “sole authority for all findings, conclusions and remedial actions” taken by the special committee.

Eisenberg said the city claims the results of the investigation would only be used to determine if the city will pay Huizar’s legal fees. But Eisenberg said that determination is unnecessary until the civil case is resolved.

Godoy was asked to appear before the special committee on Wednesday, but Godoy is pregnant and scheduled to undergo a C-section around Thursday, according to the lawsuit.

The scheduling of the interview was in “extreme disregard for the health of Ms. Godoy and her child as well as the normal discovery rules,” the lawsuit alleges.


Trojans Beat Utah, Faces Tough Oregon State on the Road

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 


SC beat Utah 19-3, during the Oct. 29 home game. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

SC beat Utah 19-3, during the Oct. 29 home game. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

It was all defense for the USC Trojans last Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum in front of 64,500 fans. The Trojans combined for 3 interceptions, 6 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries to shut down Utah’s offense. USC Quarterback Cody Kessler led the way with 230 yards passing on 21 completions and 1 touchdown. Utah never recovered, went down 19-3 in defeat.

The Trojans are away this weekend and next, with back to back tough games against Oregon State and then Stanford.

Trick or Treat Halloween Night at Atlantic Square in Monterey Park

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGP 2012 Archive)

(EGP 2012 Archive)

Today, Thurs., Oct. 31

4-7pm- Trick or Treat Halloween Night at Atlantic Square in Monterey Park. Be Safe, Have Fun, Great Treats! Look for the pumpkin in the window for participating stores. Atlantic Square is located at 5 Atlantic Blvd. & Riggin St., Monterey Park, CA. Sponsored by Ralphs & Rite Aid.

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