Coalition Pushes For Mexican Citizens’ Right to Vote While In the U.S.

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A campaign to allow Mexican citizens to vote abroad was launched last week by a coalition of Mexican political parties, organizations, and interested citizens hoping to lift a 94-year ban on expatriate voting prior to the next Mexican presidential election on Sunday, July 1, 2012.

Experts estimate there are between 5 and 10 million Mexicans living in the U.S. who might vote if the process were made accessible.

“The Mexican Constitution guarantees every Mexican citizen the right to vote in Mexico’s Presidential Elections. For the last 94 years, however, the three branches of Federal Power, the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial as well as the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) have consistently refused to take the practical steps necessary to allow Mexicans residing in the U.S. to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” stated Carlos Lazaritt, a U.S. citizen with dual Mexican citizenship.

“The time has arrived for President Felipe Calderon, Senator Manlio Flavio Beltrones (the Majority Leader in the Senate), the leadership of the Lower House of Congress, and the IFE to take proactive steps to insure that all Mexican citizens residing abroad have meaningful mechanisms to vote. Otherwise, we must conclude that the democratic system developed in Mexico is only for Mexican citizens residing in Mexico. That is totally unacceptable,” he concluded.

The campaign is supported by the Partido Accion Nacional/ National Action Party (PAN), Partido Revolucionario Institucional/ Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), Partido de la Revolucion Democratica/ Revolutionary Democratic (PRD), Movimiento de Regeneracion Nacional/ Movement for National Salvation (MORENA), Frente Civico Zacatecano, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, Alianza Bi-Nacional Bracero Proa, & Vamos Unidos USA.

Montebello’s First Female Councilmember Promoted Public Service

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Montebello’s first female councilmember and long-time businesswoman Elaine Kirchner passed away following a brief illness on Sept. 7 at the age of 93.

Kirchner, also known as the “First Lady of Montebello,” leaves behind a legacy in areas such as education, public service, business and cultural exchange. She once said that, in her lifetime, she was “happy to see more equality and acceptance for women in our country,” that women’s “opinions are respected and they matter.”

Elaine Kirchner was the first female councilmember in Montebello.

Kirchner moved to California in 1924 and spent her childhood in East Los Angeles, attending Lorena Street Elementary, Stevenson Junior High, Garfield High School. She studied at Los Angeles Junior College before transferring to Santa Barbara State College.

She married Allyn Kirchner in 1938 and moved to Montebello in 1944 where she was active in the community, becoming the city’s first female councilmember in 1958.

During her tenure, she set up a sister city relationship with the Japanese city of Ashiya, a relationship that continues today.

Kirchner’s numerous accomplishments include serving as president of the Montebello Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the YMCA Board of Managers, and president of the Beverly Hospital Foundation. She was especially proud of her association with the Montebello Women’s Club and the Soroptomist International of Montebello.

She opened Montebello Travel, the first travel agency in Montebello, in 1961, where she served as president until 1992 when she sold the business.

In 2006, Kirchner set up the Elaine Kirchner Live Your Dream Scholarship through Soroptimist International. “I would love to see this scholarship program have an impact throughout the lives of the recipients, from the time they enter college all the way to the start of their careers,” she said of the scholarship.

Donations to the “Elaine Kirchner Live Your Dream” scholarship can be sent in c/o of the Soroptimist Club of Montebello, the Montebello YMCA or the Beverly Hospital Foundation.

‘Casa del Mexicano’ Could Wind Up in the Hands of MAOF

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The California Attorney General’s could intervene in the sale of “La Casa del Mexicano”— a nonprofit cultural institution in Boyle Heights whose controversial operators filed bankruptcy earlier this year to avoid foreclosure.

The State Attorney General’s office cannot comment on the details, but there might be a proposal for another nonprofit to take over the building, spokesperson Lynda Gledhill told EGP.

Since February, community activists have kept a wary eye on Casa del Mexicano and have even organized efforts to buy the property after the so-called directors of the nonprofit Comité de Beneficencia Mexicana, Inc., husband and wife Martha and Ruben Soriano, filed for bankruptcy.

Members of the community have accused the Sorianos of fraud, and using the nonprofit for personal financial gain.

Read this story IN SPANISH: ‘La Casa del Mexicano’ Podría Terminar en Manos de MAOF

According to Javier Rodriguez, director of the March 25th Coalition and the Committee to Rescue la Casa del Mexicano, a deputy attorney of the California Department of Justice has been investigating the situation and would prefer that the property be turned over to another nonprofit group.

The attorney general’s office and the lender, Brownstone Mortgage Capital Corporation, have agreed that the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) would qualify, according to Rodriguez.

However, the loan was taken out under the nonprofit’s name, which was translated to English, and it is still in bankruptcy proceedings. The last scheduled auction for the property was postponed until Oct. 24, Brownstone Senior Vice President Henry Villaseñor told EGP.

“It’s hard for me to say what’s really going on,” Villaseñor said, declining to answer some of EGP’s questions. “All that we do know is that it is still in bankruptcy and its auction has been delayed again, we are waiting for that date … it’s been in default for at least a year.”

Rodriguez and others have accused the Soriano’s of mismanaging the former mosque built in 1904 and established in 1931 as a nonprofit center to promote Mexican culture.

Rodriguez said, according to the nonprofit group’s bylaws, and the state’s requirements for nonprofits, a board of directors is supposed to be making policy decisions for the center, including all finances associated with running the property and organization.

However, there is no board in place, and the Sorianos have been running the facility as their own private venture, going so far as taking out a loan in a similar name against the property, despite not having authority to do so, according to Rodriguez. They have now defaulted on that loan, leaving the center in a precarious situation.

The 70-year-old institution was founded with the help of the Mexican Consul General of Los Angeles and once offered English classes as well and other civic, social and Mexican cultural activities in Boyle Heights.

The attorney general’s office did contact MAOF and asked whether we would be interested in taking possession of the building, confirmed Executive Director Martin Castro. “[They] wanted to ensure the land and building went to a charitable organization,” Castro told EGP.

MAOF is interested in acquiring the property, it is one of three nonprofits being considered, Castro said.

“I’ve given you as much as we know. Until bankruptcy is absolved by the judge, we won’t be granted the title,” he said.

Castro said his organization toured the facility located at 2900 Pedro Infante St. with a representative of the attorney generals’ office. The building, it seems, is still being leased for private events and the parking lot may be used for periodic flee markets, he said.

Signs promoting Lucha Libre! (Mexican-style wrestling) events at the venue are still popping up around town.

Marta Samano of Academy of Latinos Leaders in Action, a decade old nonprofit, says “the community” has asked the attorney general to allow the property and facility to remain in the hands of a viable nonprofit, and recommended three such local groups.

“We had decided that MAOF could continue to provide oversight to the Comité de Beneficencia Mexicana,” said Samano, who identified herself as a key negotiator.

MAOF was suggested because it is a well-established organization that could continue the mission of the organization itself, she said.

The stakeholders are now waiting to see what the Sorianos will do. They could continue to file for bankruptcy. Samano says they appear reluctant to let the building go.

The building is still being rented out for boxing and wrestling events, dances and flea markets on the weekend, said Samano, who is frustrated that the attorney general is not using its power to pressure the Sorianos to transfer it to another nonprofit.

“The attorney general has allowed them to continue to do business like nothing [is going on],” she said.

Martha and Ruben Soriano could not be reached for comment.

Montebello To Investigate Possible Misconduct By Two Police Captains

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Two Montebello police captains were relieved of their duties pending an investigation into alleged misconduct, according to Paul Loehr, the city’s human resources director.

Captain Greg Wilsey was put on paid administrative leave, while Captain Brian Dragoo was relieved of his “primary duties” and assigned to “process paperwork” on Sept.  21, Loehr said. Wilsey served for a time as acting police chief before Kevin McClure was appointed to the position.

Read this story IN SPANISH: Montebello Investigará Posible Mala Conducta por Dos Capitanes de Policía

Loehr said the city took action immediately after a complaint about misconduct was lodged. The allegations relate to events that happened in the “recent past” and are “related to [the captains’] duties as management representatives,” he said.

Loehr emphasized that “misconduct” still refers to a broad set of circumstances, and he was reluctant to give further details about either case, saying release of information could color responses during interrogation and skew or bias the investigation as a whole.

According to Loehr, the investigation has nothing to do with the city’s recent financial crisis, nor to a controversy from two years ago when 13 police officers sued then police chief Daniel Weast.

“Nobody’s been charged with anything at this point. All they are, are just allegations or concerns that were raised,” he said.

The two captains’ cases are mostly un-related, Loehr added. “It’s my understanding they’re separate issues, although there may be links… it was somewhat coincidental” that the two were suspended from their duties at the same time, he said.

The city will bring in an “external investigator” rather than conduct an internal investigation, which could last one or two months, Loehr said. If nothing is found, Wilsey and Dragoo will be reinstated to their positions.

Northeast LA Alert, Man Sought for Child Annoyance

October 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

(EGPNews) – The Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday told parents to be on the alert for a man in a silver car who exposed himself to children.

The warning came after girls seated along the fence at Buchanan Elementary School in Highland Park spotted the man sitting in a silver vehicle “engaged in behavior that indecently exposed him to students,” states the Local District 4 Student Safety Alert sent home to parents.

The crime occurred on Sept. 30 at 12:12 while school was in session.

School officials ask that parents and students immediately report if they observe a man parked in a silver car in or around their school but to not approach the suspect.

Officials also urged students to take precautions when traveling to and from school, such as: walking in groups or pairs and remaining alert of your surroundings, do not approach suspicious vehicles, do not talk to or accept rides from strangers, report problems to the nearest school staff member or known adult at once, and to police as soon as possible.

Persons with information can call the LAPD Northeast Station at (213) 485-2549.

Man Found Dead Near 5 Freeway Identified

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – The body of a man found alongside the Santa Ana (5) Freeway in East Los Angeles has been identified as Benjamin Arellano, 26, of Los Angeles, said coroner’s Chief Craig Harvey. The cause of death was not apparent, Drucker said. Autopy results are still pending.

The body was discovered about 3:15 a.m. Sunday near the southbound freeway lanes north of Ditman Avenue, said Sgt. Harry Drucker of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.

SoCal Gas Highest In Customer Satisfaction, Study Finds

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) – Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) was ranked first in customer service, according to the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM, the company has announced.

SoCalGas earned the highest customer satisfaction ranking among large natural gas utilities in the Western United States and have the highest score among the 75 utilities nationwide that were included in the survey, and had and the highest score among the nine large utilities ranked in the western region for the period starting Sept. 2010 and ending July 2011.

Sixty-two thousand randomly selected natural gas customers were asked to rank their utility company on how well they did when it came to billing and payments; price; corporate citizenship; communications; customer service and field service.

For more information, visit

Montebello-Commerce YMCA Receives $100,000

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(EGPNews) – A local YMCA celebrating its 100th anniversary received a $100,000 donation last month from Beverly Hospital in Montebello, bringing them closer to their goal of $475,000 needed for an expansion project that will include more fitness equipment, café, and updated signage. The YMCA, which serves Montebello and surrounding areas, and runs a Commerce preschool, is looking to increase its presence in the community.

L-R: Beverly Hospital President & CEO Gary Kiff, Beverly Hospital physician, Beverly Hospital Board Chair Dr. Carlos Haro, PhD, Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon and Montebello-Commerce YMCA Executive Director Mike Newton.

Over 3 Million Look to Hospitals for Headache Relief, Particularly for Migraines

October 6, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

U.S. emergency rooms are full of people seeking relief from headaches, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released earlier this year.

According to the report, more than 3 million Americans went to hospital emergency rooms seeking relief from headaches and 81,000 of those resulted in hospitals admissions. One third of the emergency visits and two thirds of the hospital stays were for migraine headache, according to the data.

AHRQ also found that in 2008:

— Women accounted for nearly three out of four emergency department visits and hospital admissions for headaches.
— Migraines were about 4 times more common among women than men in both the emergency department and the hospital.
— People from the lowest-income communities were 2.3 times more likely than those from the highest-income communities to go to the emergency room for headaches—1,300 versus 565 visits per 100,000 people, respectively.
— Rural residents were 1.6 times more likely than their urban counterparts to make emergency department visits for headaches (1,425 vs. 896 visits per 100,000 people).
— By age, people 18 to 44 years old were the most likely to make emergency department visits for headache (1,626 visits per 100,000 people) and the least likely were those 18 and younger (345 visits per 100,000 people).
— The Midwest and South led the country in emergency department visit rates for headache (1,158 and 1,131 per 100,000 people), compared to the Northeast’s 809 visits per 100,000 people and the West’s 744 visits per 100,000 people.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Headaches in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008.

Excess Weight in Young Adulthood Predicts Shorter Lifespan, Study Shows

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Those 25-year-olds who are overweight now but think they will be fine as long as they lose weight eventually might need to reconsider. A study appearing online in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that people who are overweight during young adulthood are likely to die earlier than others.

“Young adults are so much heavier now than they were 20 years ago,” said June Stevens, Ph.D., lead study author. “Our results really make me concerned that getting heavy early in life could translate into a shorter lifespan for many Americans.”

The risk of dying was 21 percent higher in those with a higher body mass index (BMI). Moreover, after adjusting for other risk factors such as smoking status, physical activity and alcohol consumption, it was 28 percent higher.

“If you made everybody’s weight gain over those intervening years the same, there was still an effect of being heavier at age 25 on increased mortality,” said Stevens, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “BMI in young adulthood matters. You can’t just make up for it by losing weight later. You need to be concerned about your BMI throughout your young adulthood.”

Carrying a higher BMI or being overweight at 25 had a greater impact on African-American women than white women and on men compared to women. Yet, the influence of obesity early on in life was negligible in black men when adjusting for weight change throughout adulthood.

“Why would changes in weight from middle adulthood to young adulthood cancel out the effect of weight at age 25 in African-American men?” Stevens said. “I don’t really have an answer for that.”

Catherine Loria, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, said this study underscores the importance of adopting healthy habits earlier in life and sustaining it.

“The bottom line here is for all of these ethnic groups, weight in young adulthood was associated with mortality,” Loria said.

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