Metro Asks Public to Help Stop ‘Suicide by Train’

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

With three people already committing suicide this year along the Metro Blue Line, transit and sheriff’s officials today appealed to the public for help halting the practice by remaining vigilant and watching for pedestrians on the tracks.

“Light-rail trains operate at grade in urban areas throughout the world without the prevalence of suicide we’re experiencing on the Metro Blue Line,” Metro board chair Diane DuBois said. “I’m very concerned about this and am appealing to the public to help Metro reverse the trend.”

“We continue to invest in safety improvements (coupled) with education and enforcement of safety laws,” she said. “And while our rail safety ambassadors and operators have thwarted some suicide attempts, we can’t stop them all.”

According to Metro, 14 “safety ambassadors” are stationed at seven locations along the 22-mile Blue Line, which stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach. The ambassadors are on duty from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to answer questions, warn people not to walk or drive in the path of an oncoming train and to keep an eye out for potential suicide victims.

The ambassadors have stopped at least three suicide attempts on the line, according to Metro.

Metro has also posted signs at rail stations providing the number for the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center’s crisis line – (877) 727-4747.

Sheriff’s officials conducted stepped-up enforcement today around the Blue Line’s Willowbrook station to crack down on pedestrians and motorists who ignore safety signs or trespass on the tracks.

Monterey Park Doctor Accused of Illegal Prescribing, Insurance Fraud

September 26, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A Monterey Park pediatric physician accused of peddling diet pills is facing charges of Medi-Cal fraud, insurance fraud, unlawful prescriptions of controlled substances and sale of a controlled substance, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed last week.

Dr. Thomas Lin owns and operates a pediatric clinic known as “Kids’ M.D.” on Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park.

Over the course of several months, investigators from the California Medical Board posed as new patients and were allegedly able to secure diet pills known as phentermine with little or no physical examination by the 43-year-old doctor or his physician’s assistant.

Investigators allegedly received the drug either by paying his front office staff or getting the drug for free, according to the District Attorney’s Office, which also alleges the physician fraudulently billed for services that were never rendered to his patients.

Lin pleaded not guilty, along with two of his employees who are charged in the 55-count indictment.

Lin faces 14 counts of fraudulent billing to Medi-Cal, 11 counts each of unlawful prescribing and unlicensed practice of medicine, nine counts of sale/offer to sell/transportation of a controlled substance and one count each of insurance fraud, grand theft and unlawful inducement for referral.

Nobel Lin, a 40-year-old physician’s assistant who is not related to the doctor, is charged with five counts of unlawful controlled substance prescriptions.

Ricardo Chavarria, a 25-year-old employee of the doctor, is charged with two counts each of sale/offer to sell/transportation of a controlled substance and unlicensed practice of medicine. He allegedly sold the drug away from the clinic, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Chavarria was charged separately and pleaded not guilty to an additional count of sale of a controlled substance, a charge stemming from his alleged interaction with undercover investigators, according to Deputy District Attorney John Niedermann.

The three defendants are due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Friday for a pretrial hearing.

East L.A. Fatal Shooting is Deputy’s 7th Shooting

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy twice removed from patrol duty after he was involved in his fifth and sixth shootings was involved in a seventh shooting last week when he and a colleague shot and killed a suspect in East Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The deputy, Anthony Forlano, is an 18-year department veteran, and three of the shootings involved suspects who turned out to have been unarmed, according to The Times.

Forlano had been assigned to a desk job following his fifth deputy- involved shooting, on Aug. 1, 2008, and returned to patrol duty after a transfer to the Community Oriented Policing Services unit, according to a letter, cited by The Times, sent Wednesday to the county Board of Supervisors by the chief lawyer with the Office of Independent Review, which investigates deputy- and officer-involved shootings.

He was removed from patrol duty again after a sixth shooting, this one on Oct. 19, 2011, for which he was cited for “tactical deficiencies,” the letter from OIR Chief Attorney Michael Gennaco states.

Forlano was ordered returned to patrol duty by then-undersheriff Paul Tanaka — who retired earlier this year amid criticism of his handling of discipline in county jails — and is now campaigning to replace Sheriff Lee Baca. The deputy was working overtime for the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station when the most recent shooting occurred, according to the letter.

“This case illustrates the need for more work to be done on developing formal processes to determine whether deputies who are involved in multiple shootings should be retained in field assignments,” Gennaco wrote.

“More importantly, once a determination has been reached to remove a deputy from the field because of multiple shootings or poor tactics, protocols should be developed so that any request to revisit that decision is thoughtful, deliberate, and well-considered, with personal involvement of the sheriff.”

Man Charged In Alhambra Murder

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

 A San Gabriel man was charged Wednesday with murdering an Alhambra man gunned down Sunday, Sept. 22, in his garage.

Xia Lin, 25, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Alhambra Superior Court in the death of Quin-Jin Fang, 43, who was shot multiple times about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 22 while sitting in a vehicle in his garage in the 300 block of North Monterey Street.

The murder charge includes gang and gun allegations.

The District Attorney’s Office declined to file a case against two other people, Bei Er Kuang, 24, of El Monte, and Wei Luo, 24, of Alhambra, who were initially arrested in connection with the killing.

A loaded handgun believed to be the murder weapon was recovered a short distance from the victim’s home, and the three suspects were stopped leaving the area in a Mercedes-Benz, Alhambra police said.

7-Year Old Killed at Custom Car Show

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Investigators were working this week to determine how a 7-year-old girl was struck and killed during a Santa Fe Springs custom car show that featured a “car-hopping” contest of bouncing vehicles.

Mia Chatman of Gardena was killed around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the show at a warehouse at 10230 Freeman Ave., according to Officer Bradley White of the Whittier Police Department, which patrols Santa Fe Springs under contract, and Lt. Joe Bale of the coroner’s office,

White said Chatman was struck when a driver lost control of a vehicle while exiting the building, killing her instantly.

Officer Diane Liberti said the gathering featured a “car-hopping competition,” which features low-rider vehicles that are equipped with hydraulics to help them bounce.

It was unclear if the girl was struck by a bouncing vehicle or if the car-hopping competition had ended before the girl was hit.

“The operator lost control of the vehicle and struck a 7-year-old female, which resulted in her death,” Liberti said.

Recalls Rarely Productive: Get Informed So You Don’t Feel the Need

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In this week’s edition, readers in the cities of Montebello and Bell Gardens have an opportunity to start getting acquainted with candidates for their local city councils and the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education. Residents of Commerce will also vote for MUSD board members.

We urge the voters in these cities to study the literature and past records of these candidates. Pay close attention to the election campaigns; question the candidates who are out campaigning for your vote. Get informed and then vote.

There is a tendency in some southeast Los Angeles County cities to start recall campaigns against elected officials, sometimes only a few months after a candidate is elected.

We are concerned that some of those who feel the need to push their recall agendas, especially when those efforts take place soon after an election is held, are failing to abide by the decision made by the majority of the voters in their city.

There is a way to replace an elected official after he or she has been given the opportunity and time for their actions to be judged, it’s called an election.

Does this mean that every recall is unwarranted? Absolutely not.

But the recall of elected officials should be reserved for cases when there is evidence of extreme malfeasance, as was the case in the City of Bell not too long ago. Recalls may well be warranted in cases where there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing, political corruption, fraud, or other types of impropriety, but not just because an official is not liked, or disagreement over one policy decision.

Recall elections place a heavy financial burden on a city’s budget; elections aren’t cheap.

Before supporting a recall effort, voters need to ask themselves if the person being targeted for recall has been proven unfit for the job, or is it just sour grapes, or worse yet, a grab for power on the part of someone in the recall group?

That is why it is so critical for voters to get to know the candidates running for office, and to follow their actions once elected.

EGP believes in the democratic electoral process and the people’s right to have a say in what government does. With that right comes great responsibility.

Recalls are rarely, if ever, productive.

The End to Domestic Violence Lies in Our Own Maternal Hands

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Earlier this summer, I publicly came forward as the third woman sexually assaulted by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. At the time, he was a United States Congressman, and Chairman of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee. Mr. Filner and I met in a public place to discuss the memo our new First Lady, Michelle Obama, had requested as to how my national initiative, The America’s Angel Campaign, www.americasangel.org, would address the horrifying escalation of violence in our military families.

As a clinician who has worked with abused women and traumatized children, as a patriotic citizen with a vision to inspire a national movement to strengthen the American family, and as a woman in touch with her instinct, how could I know, on that sunny day in San Diego, that I was entering the danger zone?

24 years earlier, I had my first experience of being restrained and assaulted by a man. In that moment, so many years before, I swore I would do whatever I had to do to empower my life, and the lives of other women, to never be in that position again. And, so I had. Yet, I discovered that even after climbing out of a victimized life, even earning my graduate degree against all odds, even creating programs to empower violated women, a Congressman in a public place with the opportunity to involve the White House in breaking the cycle of domestic violence, even then, again, as a woman, I was victimized.

The link between sexual harassment and domestic violence is narcissism, the dominant trait of men who feel entitled to degrade, dehumanize, and violate us. It is this male narcissism that haunts our female intuition and denies us equality to move about our lives without fearing for our survival. This is our common thread as women.

Over the decades, we have marched, rallied, built shelters, established hotlines, and even changed laws in a Herculean effort to stop the violence against us. Yet, the rates still rise as high as the hands that strike us down.

We share this planet with cultures that have no word for violence because they don’t know what it is. I have walked in civilized cultures where women have no sense to fear for themselves, where they can walk a street alone at night knowing their gender does not make them a target. What do these people know that we don’t? They know that their families and society can only be as compassionate, happy and peaceful as the children they raise.

Narcissism is normal in newborns. Living in the little world of “I,” the baby brain has no way to understand where the milk comes from or who soothes him when he cries. He just knows about “I.” What shifts this egocentric stage of “I” to “I and Thou” is the quality of nurturing the baby receives. Research shows that sons are more vulnerable than daughters, including a greater biological desperation for connection with mommy than females have. When a mother meets her son’s instinctual need for laughter and lullabies, his brain learns it is safe to trust others. This is how the shift begins. But, if a baby boy doesn’t have a “Happy Dance” with mommy, his brain won’t budge from his safe little world of “I.” In clinical terms, we call this arrested development. In practical terms, we call it narcissism. In my book, I refer to it as mother rage. In personal terms, you may call it predator, stalker, rapist, abuser, liar, or murderer.  For me personally, I add politician. Whatever you call it, the common thread is narcissists are still stuck in the “I” of infancy. Our insisting they “Just say NO!” to violence will not change the innate wiring of their brain.

Sisters, we say we want the violation and violence to stop. We rally for our freedom to live without fear. But, until we address the root cause of why little boys become violent men; until we value what peaceful cultures value, the violence against us will continue.

This might come as a terribly inconvenient truth, or the greatest truth to set us free, but since the dawn of time, how we mommy matters. This profound reality puts the power to end our violation in our own hands. Mother Nature gave it to us. If you want to argue with her, be my guest. If you want to create the change, she’s your go-to-girl.

We have a long way to go. We can start now.

 

Morgan Rose is a mental health professional who specializes in women’s issues. Her book, On Becoming NaughtABimbeaux: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Prince Without Ever Kissing Another Frog, reveals the psychology of dating, relationships, and intimacy. 

 

PBS Insults Mexican Americans Again

September 26, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

It seems that no matter how hard the taxpayer funded Public Broadcasting System (PBS) tries, it misses the Hispanic story and does so by ignoring the true Hispanic story stream in USA history.

It did it again in this week’s Latino/Hispanic study broadcast after much promotion. It presented a slanted view and omitted critical facts that could have benefited viewers. This is not the first time.

When famed PBS contributor Ken Burns did his acclaimed “Civil War” series, there wasn’t a mention of Hispanics who fought on both sides of the war and were key players in stopping Confederate forces in the west, in New Mexico battles.

 

When Ken Burns produced a multi-part series about World War II by in-depth interviews with veterans he included segregated Blacks while ignoring the hundreds of thousands of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans who saw combat in all theaters and, in fact, produced the second most awarded fighting man of the entire war (Cleto Rodriguez) as well as a Naval fighter pilot ace with 23 kills (Gene Valencia), 13 Medal of Honor awardees and a U.S. Marine Division commander (Lt. General Pedro del Valle).

National protests by Hispanics forced Burns and PBS to make some alterations but the original sin of ignoring Mexican American, Mexican and other Hispanic fighting soldiers, sailors and Marines is burned into the Hispanic mind. Time would heal that wound but then PBS does it again this week with their look at Hispanic/Latinos today and in American history.

Puerto Rican writers have declared that they were bored with the early parts of the broadcast. That was all Spanish and Mexican. Puerto Rico and Cuba weren’t mentioned until well into the program.

 

California and Texas were concentrated on and there nothing but negative stories and facts were presented. Worthwhile was experiences Mexicans suffered that Puerto Ricans and Cubans have never suffered. We saw ubiquitous lynching, murder and political repression of the Mexicans who predated Americans by decades in the two key parts of Mexico Americans desired above as part of the Yankee “Manifest Destiny.”

California was hell for Mexicans according to PBS. It was during and after the Gold Rush that new White Gold Rushers exercised a combined passion of bigotry and elimination of competition that saw the murder of Mexicans by hanging.

 

The new American state of California passed laws in the state that complimented federal laws that made it impossible for Californians with Mexican or Spanish land grants to hold on to their lands. American squatters simply took what land they wanted; lawyers made sure that judges refused to accept Mexican documentation for land grants.

Not discussed by PBS at all was the Mexican/Californian political contributions that managed to influence the new state’s Constitution or the ballot-box victories by former Mexican and new American citizen Romualdo Pacheco.

Captured by American forces in 1846 on a California trading vessel during the Mexican War, Pacheco was released after he swore allegiance to the United States. A rancher by trade, he was elected as a Democrat to the California State Senate in 1857, served two terms. He then became an Abraham Lincoln Republican.

When the American Civil War broke out, Governor Leland Stanford appointed Pacheco Brigadier General, Commanding Officer of the California Native Cavalry (a segregated brigade of former Mexican citizens) who delighted in rounding up Confederate sympathizers and disarming them.

Elected State Treasurer in 1863 Brigadier General Pacheco served his four-year term and returned to the State Senate.

 

He became Lt. Governor in 1875 and rose to Governor when Governor Newton Booth was elected to the U.S. Senate.

He served for a year until a newly elected governor took over. Pacheco ran for Congress against an incumbent and defeated him by one vote. He was sworn into Congress as the first ever elected Hispanic to the U.S. Congress. Pacheco’s one vote victory was challenged and the House of Representatives decided against Pacheco. He returned to California.

 

He ran for Congress again, won and served two terms. In 1890, the President of the United States appointed Pacheco the first ever Hispanic Ambassador. He served for three years as Ambassador to Central America, to each individual country as United States Minister.

While PBS presented pictures of lynched California Mexicans, of poor California Mexicans we saw or heard nothing of Romualdo Pacheco, former Mexican, Governor of California, State Senator, California State Treasurer, Civil War General; Congressman and Ambassador.

The Honorable Romualdo Pacheco was not mentioned by PBS. Why did PBS ignore the California Mexican when he pioneered a path in politics unmatched by anyone in the United States today?

Name one Hispanic who has served as state governor, Army general, federal congressman and Ambassador of the United States other than California Mexican American Romualdo Pacheco. Better yet, name any non-Hispanic politician who has achieved what this California Mexican did over a hundred years ago. PBS?

 

Contreras’ books are available at amazon.com <http://amazon.com> 

 

 

LA City Council Candidates Begin Fundraising for 2015 Election

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The pool of Los Angeles City Council candidates expanded last week to include Council President Herb Wesson Jr., who filed fundraising papers for the 2015 election with the city Ethics Commission.

Wesson can now raise money for a bid to keep his 10th Council District seat for a third term. He represents Mid-City, Koreatown and South Los Angeles communities and is serving a second yearlong term as council president.

Other incumbents seeking re-election are 14th district City Councilman Jose Huizar and 6th district City Councilwoman Nury Martinez. Huizar’s Eastside district includes part of downtown, Boyle Heights and northeast Los Angeles communities of El Sereno and Glassell Park. Martinez filled the San Fernando Valley-based 6th district seat vacated earlier this year by Tony Cardenas.

Since the filing period began Sept. 3, five candidates have filed to raise money to fill Tom LaBonge’s Hollywood-centered 4th Council District seat.

LaBonge, who came to City Hall under former Mayor Tom Bradley, is termed out after 14 years on the City Council, including two years finishing up the un-expired term of his former boss, the late City Councilman John Ferraro. His district also contains parts of the San Fernando Valley, such as Sherman Oaks and Toluca Lake.

Candidates to succeed LaBonge include his chief of staff, Carolyn Ramsay; Teddy Davis, a spokesman for former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Tara Bannister, vice president of the National Apartment Association.

City Councilman Paul Koretz’s chief of staff, Joan Pelico, and community college instructor, Steve Veres, also filed fundraising papers in the 4th district race.

Two potential candidates have their sights on the South Los Angeles 8th district seat held by termed-out City Councilman Bernard Parks.

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, president of South Los Angeles nonprofit Community Coalition, and Democratic political activist Bobbie Jean Anderson also filed this month to run for Parks’ seat.

City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents the 2nd district is also up for re-election in 2015, but he has yet to file papers with the Ethics Commission. If he decides to run for a second term, he has a potential challenger in David Hernandez, who filed papers this month.

 

Take Up Immigration Reform, Civil Rights Activists Urge Congress

September 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Rev. Jesse Jackson was among a group of civil- and immigrant-rights leaders in Los Angeles Monday calling on Congress to act on immigration legislation.

“The immigration debate is really about family values,” Jackson said at the downtown headquarters of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “The deportation of 400,000 people is a sin against the founding spirit of America, and if left unchecked, might well undermine the very idea of the American family as we will soon come to know it.’’

Jackson, founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said immigration is a “moral issue.’’

In June, the U.S. Senate approved immigration legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of people living in the country illegally. But Republican leaders in the House have condemned the bill, with Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, saying it was unlikely to ever come up for consideration.

Jackson and officials from MALDEF and other immigrant-rights groups said a raging congressional debate over ways to avert a government shutdown should not push issues such as immigration and poverty aside.

“Inevitably, new and pressing issues of importance will arise, but that does not excuse the failure of a full-time Congress to address the longstanding and critical issue of immigration reform,’’ according to Thomas Saenz, president of general counsel for MALDEF. “Reforming our current, counter-productive system is a moral and political imperative, and Congress must place top priority on addressing this issue.’’

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