Mitt Romney isn’t just out of touch; he’s also out of sync with the movement to shrink government. In an interview clarifying his now-infamous speech to donors, captured on clandestine video, Romney said, “I think people would like to be paying taxes.”
Come again? He also said, “The good news is if you are doing well enough financially that you can pay a tax.”
That’s good news?
Romney apparently had low-income people in mind. But if he’d rather see them working than collecting government benefits, the last thing he should want is to reduce the returns to labor — which is what income taxation does. Workers should be free to keep the full fruits of their labor.
I have an idea for the GOP presidential candidate: Test your belief that people like to pay taxes by proposing to end all penalties for nonpayment. Abolish the IRS. Make taxes voluntary. Then we’ll see who would like to pay and who wouldn’t. He says he’s for less government. Okay, Mr. Romney, prove it.
How many people does he suppose would choose to pay for the occupation of Afghanistan, or the drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, or the war on certain drug makers, sellers, and consumers? How many would be willing to pay for all the corporate welfare that riddles our so-called free-enterprise system?
Speaking of corporate welfare, in his speech Romney had much to say about dependence. “There are 47 percent who are … dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” He figures those folks won’t be voting for him and his allegedly small-government message.
Yet the New York Times reports, “The states with the highest percentage of federal filers who do not owe income taxes tend to vote Republican in presidential elections,” attributing the information to the Tax Foundation. “Research by Dean Lacy, a professor of government at Dartmouth College, has found that states that receive more in federal spending than they pay in taxes have become increasingly Republican in presidential elections.”
So Romney has the 47 percent wrong. But more important, he overlooks the fact that many low-income people work hard at two or three jobs and are the victims of anticompetitive corporatist policies that build barriers to advancement.
But that inconvenient fact aside, low-income people aren’t the only ones dependent on government. Another group is even more dependent: the people of the corporate world who expect government to provide bailouts, guarantees, and contracts. In the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008, it’s slightly cruel to stigmatize working-class and poor people who get government benefits, while letting big business and big banks off the hook. Romney supported the financial bailout and, aside from talking vaguely about tax loopholes, does not question the pervasive system of government privilege for big business.
The military-industrial complex is a case in point. As author Nick Turse documents, many thousands of American businesses are under contract to the military establishment, making everything from clothing to weapons. Many more invest resources looking for contracts.
Private consumers are the losers. If you were to suggest to the corporate executives that they wean their companies from the government, they’d laugh. It’s much easier to make your money off the taxpayers rather than take your chances with fickle consumers free to take their business elsewhere.
No one has a right to other people’s money. That’s a simple moral precept summed up in the words “Thou shalt not steal.” It’s no less stealing if the government does it for you. Invoking democracy is no help here, because if an individual has no right to steal, it is logically impossible for any group of individuals to have such a right. No matter how many zeros you add together, the sum will be zero.
Let’s end all dependence on government. Doing it in one fell swoop would be ideal, but short of that, here’s a workable strategy: Cut taxes from the bottom up and welfare from the top down. This will move us toward a free society and win popular support along the way.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman magazine.
Voter fraud hearings in Vernon wrapped late last week, but not before one witness swore off ever voting again, and another complained about attorneys snooping into his Facebook page.
“I won’t vote again. This is crazy,” voter Jason Roberts said amid a lengthy round of questioning, than added, “obviously I voted for the wrong person, otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting up here.”
Roberts’ claim that the challenges to his residency in Vernon were politically motivated was stricken from the official court record, along with several other colorful asides that peppered testimony during the three-day long hearing. The hearings were only supposed to determine if the challenged voters actually lived in Vernon when they voted. If they didn’t, then their votes would be thrown out, potentially affecting the outcome of the June 5 city council race.
But even the hearing officer, former judge Deborah Wong Yang, who pointed out that some of the testimony had gone “far afield,” appeared drawn in by the election drama bubbling underneath the hearing’s main questions of residency.
At one point she asked for clarification on the names of two candidates from a previous city council race so she could better follow testimony that seemed to imply some voters were being bullied over how their ballot votes were cast.
“I hate to ask, but who’s Mr. Ybarra? And who’s Mr. Newmire?” The two names belong to Michael Ybarra and Daniel Newmire, who squared off in the April city council election. Ybarra came out the winner, after several votes were invalidated, but Newmire has filed a lawsuit disputing the results.
Yang said she tried to go into the hearings without familiarizing herself with any of the city’s recent, tumultuous history, and even failed to recognize Reno Bellamy, whose lead in the June 5 race could be impacted by the ruling she makes.
Bellamy was the last to take the stand. He said the city and chamber’s efforts last fall to get people registered to vote was understandable, but after a certain point it got “obscene,” and even resulted in an “altercation” at his home. “I asked them, can you please stop knocking on my door? I get it. I’ve registered and we need to move on,” Bellamy said.
When Yang asked Bellamy’s attorney, Joe Maher, to explain his line of questioning, he said he wanted to know why voter residency challenges were made in the two recent city council races, and not during two previous elections.
He claims back when the city was threatened with disincorporation and Vernon’s cityhood was at stake, the chamber and city were only too happy to have the same voters who are now being challenged in these hearings cast ballots.
“The city of Vernon in a push to keep its incorporation, said come one, come all, we’ll take everybody… The city of Vernon used their votes. They used their votes for the very lifeblood of the city to stay incorporated, otherwise it would be gone,” said Maher.
Facing disincorporation, Vernon officials promised to implement a set of reforms, many requiring voter-approval, in return for the support of State Sen. Kevin de Leon who then worked to defeat AB 46, Assembly Speaker John Perez’s bill to dissolve any city in the state with fewer than 150 residents of which there is only one, Vernon.
Bellamy’s four vote lead over Martinez was certified by the County, which ran the election and refused to consider challenges from the Vernon business chamber. But after the chamber appealed to Vernon city officials, who according to the city charter have the final say in its elections, they decided to hold a hearing on the matter in accordance with an exciting city ordinance.
In the April election, the Vernon business chamber endorsed and campaigned for Ybarra. At the time they also challenged the residency of several voters, and because the city ran the election, the determinations were made before ballots were counted in the Vernon City Council chambers.
This time, the business chamber endorsed Bellamy’s opponent, Luz Martinez. Armed with an election law expert as their attorney and private investigators to establish the whereabouts of the voters, the business chamber again challenged several votes cast. Based on their findings, they say some of the challenged voters lied on the stand. Other witnesses seemed to have done the work for them, admitting on the stand to spending more of their time sleeping or living in other cities like Garden Grove, Lucerne Valley and even another state, Arizona.
Still, almost all of the challenged voters claimed they consider Vernon home and that they are being unfairly scrutinized. One voter, Victor Garcia, was shocked to see attorneys brandish printouts of his Facebook conversations, prompting him to accuse the attorneys of “stalking and harassing” him. The attorneys merely responded, “You need to set your privacy settings.”
The hearings have generated some indignation from voters at having their “right to vote” challenged and their personal lives on display. Several voters being challenged now, including members of the Gulla and Roberts families, showed up at a housing commission meeting several months ago angry that their votes were thrown out of the April election, said Bellamy, who sits on the commission. At the time, he feared that Michael Ybarra’s family was bullying residents, who live in city-owned housing and who voted for Newmire.
“As a housing commissioner, I’ve asked the Ybarras not to do that. I’ve claimed that they’ve been bullies,” he said.
Yang said she was “giving leeway” to the testimony about recent elections, because of the information could reveal how canvassing and the voter registration process was handled.
Attorneys for both sides are scheduled to turn in final briefs to Yang by Oct. 2.
A $3 million federal grant will allow East Los Angeles College to expand and continue running a program to train workers for logistics jobs, many of them at the Port of Los Angeles, the seventh largest port in the world.
“I’m very excited because there is a high rate of unemployment. There are a lot of displaced workers whose jobs went overseas,” said U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Her office administers the grant together with the U.S. Department of Education.
ELAC’s share of the funds is part of a nationwide $500 million pool of stimulus grant money going to colleges, universities and other programs across the country. The grant money was given out competitively through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative to create job and skills training opportunities in a range of fields including advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care.
While ports across the country are expected to be a driver of jobs in the logistics industry, right now not many workers are trained to take them on. “There are 3.7 million jobs going unfilled,” Solis said.
According to Elaine Shibata, Chair of the Office of Computer Applications and Office Technology at East Los Angeles, logistics skills are needed in a wide range of industries. “It’s everywhere. It can’t be outsourced. That’s why it’s an appealing major,” she says.
The grant will help ELAC’s program pay for expensive training equipment, fund students’ certification fees (saving students the $460 fee for national logistics certification), and even expand their offerings to include other certifications in areas like hazmat and security.
ELAC’s Technology & Logistics program started in 2007 and was driven by industry partners, in particular UPS, seeking skilled workers. The college has also partnered with the after-school program at Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School, the Wilshire-Metro Worksource Center, and the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services/CalWORKS program.
Since 2007, Shibata says their program, which can be finished in six to seven months, has produced “success stories,” including a single mother on welfare who was recruited and was able to skip entry-level positions at her first job in the field.
Shibata says their program is an especially good opportunity for veterans who already have many of the skills, but not the certification. Some have even finished the courses in just one semester. “Military is all about logistics, so we don’t start with our beginning courses with them,” she said.
The ELAC program is the only one “west of the Rockies” that gives college credit for its logistics program, Shibata adds. Currently they are putting the last touches on an associates degree program in a partnership with Cal State LA that is set to debut in 2013.
A Los Angeles judge Monday threw out the conviction and prison sentence of a man who spent 19 years behind bars for a 1993 gang-related killing, after the key witness against him admitted he lied.
John Edward Smith, now 38, was convicted of murder and attempted murder for the drive-by shooting and, in 1994, was sentenced to life in prison.
The Torrance-based public interest law firm Innocence Matters took the case in 2010 and contacted witness Landu Mvuemba, who immediately recanted his testimony, saying his identification of Smith in a photo lineup was the result of police pressure, defense attorney Deirdre O’Connor said.
Cheers and applause rang out in a crowded downtown courtroom as Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Schnegg granted Smith’s petition for release.
“Congratulations,” the judge told the defendant and his family, adding that the District Attorney’s Office “did the right thing” by showing no opposition.
The evidence in support of Smith’s release is “reliable” and the petition “must be granted,” Schnegg said.
Outside court, the defense attorney, surrounded by Smith’s family members, said the release was “a long time coming.”
O’Connor said Smith maintained his innocence throughout the years in prison, and always claimed he was at his grandmother’s home at the time of the shooting. She said both Smith and Mvuemba underwent repeated polygraph tests confirming Smith’s claim of innocence.
“The more I dug in, the more troubled” she became, the attorney said.
As for the original lawyers who handled Smith’s defense, as well as the initial prosecution which won the conviction, O’Connor said she “doesn’t have much good to say about anyone who handled the case early on.”
O’Connor contended in court papers that evidence about Smith’s alibi was never brought up during the trial, and prosecutors withheld statements from witnesses that pointed to another man who could have been the shooter.
In a court declaration, Mvuemba wrote that the police “laid out the whole story line telling me who did it and how,” adding that he “felt a lot of pressure to go along with it.”
He claimed he tried to withdraw his identification of Smith, but still testified against him.
Smith’s grandmother, father, brothers, sister and a small crowd of other relatives and friends waited with O’Connor outside the courthouse early this evening for Smith, before being told that paperwork dictated his return to the county’s Inmate Reception Center before he could be released.
“They want to make sure they’re not making a mistake when they release someone,” O’Connor said of the bureaucratic shuffle. “but there’s no fear of that when they arrest someone.”
But Smith was expected to go home Monday night.
“We’re going to get him home to the family so that everyone can enjoy him,” his brother Adrian Wade said.
With “Carmageddon II” just days away, Caltrans officials this week urged motorists not to get complacent over the success of last year’s San Diego (405) Freeway closure in the Sepulveda Pass, warning people to stay out of their cars unless absolutely necessary.
“We are 100 percent sure that this Carmageddon II is going to go off just as well as it did last year if we have the cooperation of the public,” Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles said. “If you absolutely have to drive, plan ahead. Take some extra water with you, take some provisions, take some food. Take your medications with you if you have to be out on the road because if you do get caught in a traffic jam, it could be for hours.”
Carmageddon II will occur this weekend, with some ramps along the 405 Freeway between the Santa Monica (10) and Ventura (101) freeways closing as early as 7 p.m. Friday. Lanes on the 405 will begin closing around 10 p.m. Friday, and the entire freeway stretch will be shut down by midnight.
The closure, which will enable crews to demolish the north half of the Mulholland Bridge over the freeway, is expected to continue until 5 a.m. Monday.
Sepulveda Boulevard will be available as an alternate route during the closure for local traffic only.
The demolition and reconstruction of the Mulholland bridge is part of the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass improvement project that is adding a 10-mile northbound carpool lane and making other upgrades along the route. The project is expected to be completed next year.
According to Caltrans, an average of 278,000 motorists drive the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass every day. That estimate is an average, so the actual number of cars that travel the typical weekend day is generally lower than a weekday, according to Caltrans.
Speaking at a news conference, Miles said that to avoid a traffic nightmare over the weekend, about two-thirds of the people who typically get on the 405 Freeway — the nation’s busiest — need to stay out of their cars during the closure.
Caltrans will have 30 additional portable electronic message signs on various freeways during the closure to provide up-to-date travel information to motorists. It will also have round-the-clock monitoring from its Los Angeles area Transportation Management Center in hopes of providing faster responses to emergencies that arise affecting freeway traffic.
“I-405 is still the nation’s busiest freeway,” according to K.N. Murthy, executive director of transit project delivery for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is overseeing the $1 billion 405 Freeway construction project.
“Other connecting L.A. freeways have their own congestion challenges on weekends,” Murthy said. “The closure is still in the geographically constrained Sepulveda Pass, where there are no immediate or effective alternate routes. That’s why we still need the public’s full and complete cooperation if this second closure operation is going to be as successful as the first.”
The first Carmageddon took place in July 2011, and motorists heeded the weeks of warnings to avoid the area, leaving many streets in and near the closure area practically abandoned for the weekend. The demolition work on the south side of the Mulholland bridge during that closure was completed ahead of schedule, and the freeway was reopened 17 hours early.
But that success has prompted some fears that motorists this year would be a little more complacent. Metro officials also warn that there likely won’t be an early finish to the work during Carmageddon II, because two sets of bridge columns must be removed, compared with one last year. The demolition work will also be more complicated because of inactive utility lines, according to Metro.
(CNS) – A 250-gallon container filled with a chemical overheated at a Commerce warehouse Wednesday, but firefighters hosed it down to keep it cool, authorities said.
Firefighters were called to the warehouse in the 5500 block of Slauson Avenue around 2:45 a.m., said Robert Diaz, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher.
“They just had to cool the container with some hose lines,” Diaz said.
He did not know what kind of chemical was in the container or the type of business where it was housed. Firefighters left the scene shortly before 5 a.m., he said.
(CNS) – Trader Joe’s corporate officials say they are acting “out of an abundance of caution” and ordering the recall of one type of its house brand peanut butter over salmonella concerns.
“Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter” should not be eaten “pending health-related inquiries,” the Monrovia-based grocery chain stated.
The Food and Drug Administration posted the company’s voluntary recall on its web site, but did not comment on the company’s statement.
The potential salmonella contamination could cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly or others with compromised immune systems. Healthy persons who get infected with salmonella experience fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and a most unpleasant distress of the lower intestinal system.
Trader Joe’s is offering refunds.
(EGPNews) – L.A. Councilman Ed Reyes adjourned last Friday’s City Council meeting in memory of Fr. John B. Luce, known as the pastor of the Chicano Movement, who served at the Church of the Epiphany in Lincoln Heights.
Fr. Luce died of congestive heart failure in New York City on Monday, Sept. 17. He was 81.
A Harvard graduate, Fr. Luce was a lifelong Episcopal priest instrumental in the fight for Latino rights during his priesthood in Los Angeles from 1965-1973. He worked with young students to improve the quality of schools in Mexican-American communities.
Fr. Luce is survived by his nephew, Ian Luce, and niece, Susan Luce. A memorial service is being planned in his memory at The Church of the Epiphany.
Mark your calendar for events surrounding the David Alfaro Siqueiros’ mural unveiling. Events kick off this week and will continue until Nov. 3.
Thursday, September 27 7p.m.
“Under the Stars with Gregorio Luke” Father Serra Park, 125 Paseo de Plaza
Gregorio Luke, an expert in Mexican and Latin American art and culture, will present his popular outdoor multi-media show on the life and artworks of David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Thursday, October 4, 7 p.m.
“Letters to Siqueiros” Pico House, 424 N. Main Street
Award-winning filmmaker and author Jesus Treviño will screen “América Tropical,” a 1971 documentary about David Alfaro Siqueiros. Artists Wayne Healy, Barbara Carrasco, and John Valadez will each read a letter to Siqueiros describing his impact on them personally and their work.
Friday, October 5 – 7 p.m.
“Siqueiros in Los Angeles, a lecture by Dr. Irene Herner Reiss” Pico House, 424 N. Main Street
Author, historian and Siqueiros expert, Dr. Irene Herner Reiss, will present a lecture about the time Siqueiros spent in Los Angeles and the roll of the mural as a cultural artifact in the city.
Tuesday, October 9 – 12 p.m.
Opening of América Tropical Sepulveda House, 125 Paseo de la Plaza
Opening of the América Tropical Interpretation Center and the mural to the public.
Tues-Wed, October 16 -17
“Siqueiros Legacy: Challenge of Conserving the Artist Monumental Murals, A Two-Day Symposium”
Day 1: América Tropical Interpretation Center, 125 Paseo de la Plaza 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Day 2: Getty Center 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Registration by September 30 required. Spaces are limited.
A group of international speakers will present the different aspects of conservation, transportation, installation, and presentation associated with some of Siqueiros’ most important murals.
Saturday, October 20 and Saturday, October 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Continuing the Siqueiros Legacy: A Mural Tour of Eastside LA”
Departs from América Tropical Interpretation Center, 125 Paseo de la Plaza
$20 general admission/$10 student. Reservations available.
Artist Raoul De La Sota will lead a bus tour of Los Angeles murals. Tour will begin with the viewing of the América Tropical and will include visits to works by Los Streetscapers, Judy Baca, Kent Twitchell, and more.
Note: Wear comfortable shoes, as there will be some walking.
Saturday, November 3, 2012 – 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“¡América Tropical! A Festival Celebrating Siqueiros”
La Plaza de Cultura y Artes and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, 501 N. Main Street
Festival exploring the artistic, social, and historical significance of América Tropical through food, music, dance, children’s activities, and more. Visit amigosdesiqueiros.org or getty.edu for more information.
Saturday, Sept. 29
9am-5pm—1st Annual Keeping Boyle Heights Clean Up Day sponsored by the Melissa Lives Foundation. Take part in full day of cleaning, education and fun-Clean-up begins at Mariachi Plaza (Corner of Boyle / 1st St.). For more information, visit facebook/melissalives2012 or www.infocusmarketinginc.com .
10am-2pm—U.S. Humane Society Offers Boyle Heights Residents Free Dog and Cat Rabbies Vaccinations and Pet Food. Location: Hollenbeck Park (415 S. St. Louis St. LA 90033) near the picnic tables. No RSVP required, but animals should be on a leash or in a pet carrier, or keep animal in vehicle with window down until approached by a “greeter.” For more information, call1-888-837-3193.
10am-5pm— LA County Dept. of Animal Care and Control Celebrates 75th Anniversary with Adoption Day Event at 6 County Care Centers. Adopt a dog or cat for $19.37. Enjoy Animal Control dispalys, music & refreshments. Laker Girls at Downey & Carson centers from noon to 1:30 p.m. For more information and locations, visit http://www.facebook.com/CountyofLosAngelesAnimalCare.
11am-Noon—Descanso Gardens Presents Fall Organic Vegetable Gardening classroon lecture & garden talk led by Native Horticulturist Rachel Young. Free for members/ $10 nonmembers. Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, near the interchange of the 2 and 210 freeways. For information, visit www.descansogardens.org.
2-3:30pm—Free “family law” at the Benjamin Franklin Library in East L.A. A family lawyer will share information on: Divorce, Custody and Visitation Rights, Child Support, and Domestic Violence. The library is located at 2200 East 1st St. L.A 90033. For more information, call (323) 263-6901.
4-9pm—The nonprofit Montebello Lions Club will host a Food Truck Festival on Sept. 29 at the Montebello Senior Center. The event is from 4 to 9pm & includes entertainment and delicious food. The Montebello Senior Center is located at 115 S. Taylor Ave. Montebello. Trucks will be located in back of the Center. For more information, contact Chris Ohrmund at (909) 598-0554 or email@example.com.
6-9pm—Opening Reception for “L.A. Skin & Ink,” an exhibition of Los Angeles’ unique tattoo cultures and movements of the last 60 years at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. Runs through Jan. 6, 2013. The museum is located at 5814 Wilshire Blvd., LA 90036. Admission: $7 for adults; $5 for students, seniors, and veterans; free for CAFAM members. Free admission for all the first Wednesday of every month. For more information, call (323) 937-4230 or visit www.cafam.org.
Monday, Oct. 1
6pm—East L.A. Library Hosts Free Family Flamenco Dance Program. Spanish classical and flamenco dancer Susana Elena will perform in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Program educates and entertains children four and older and their families. Susana presents a variety of different dances, provides short descriptions of them, and encourages audience interaction. An introductory castanet lesson will be offered to those interested afterward. Susana Elena, the recipient of a certificate from the L.A. County Arts Commission that qualifies her to teach and perform standards-based dance arts in the classroom. The library is located at 4837 E. 3rd Street, L.A. 90022. For more information, call (323) 264-0155.
Tuesday, Oct. 2
4-7pm—East LA: Deferred Action Forum presented by the Los Angeles Immigrant Youth Coalition at Esteban E. Torres High School. Youth & attorneys will facilitate workshops on “deferred action” applications for work permits and stopping deportations. School is located at 4211 Dozier St., L.A. 90063. For more information call Yoana Pena (323) 928-1827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Cristina Patricio email@example.com or visit www.theiyc.org .
6-7:30pm—U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra’s Office Hosts U.S. Military Academy Information Session. Open to local area students and their families to help them learn more about military service academies and how to navigate the application process. Location: 1910 W. Sunset Blvd. – Third Floor Conference Room-LA 90026. RSVP by contacting Brenda Vargas at (213) 483-1425.
6-9pm—Candidates Forum with people running for a seat on the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council at Franklin High School, in the school cafeteria. Candidates must be a local stakeholder: live, own property or work in Highland Park. Franklin High School is located at 820 N. Ave. 54, LA 90042. The election will be held Oct. 13 at the Highland Park Senior Center.
Wednesday, Oct. 3
4:30-9pm—L.A. Cash for College Family Night at the College and Career Convention. Open to middle and high school students & parents interested in learning more about choosing and paying for college; college campus life; accessing financial aid regardless of immigration status; California Dream Act & Federal Deferred Acton Program. Event will be held at the LA Convention Center, South Hall: 1201 S. Figueroa St. LA 90015. Free admission/parking at Convention Center $12. Get a free ride at one of these locations (call for schedule): Chinatown Service Center: 727 N. Broadway, downtown LA. (213) 972-8840; El Centro de Ayuda, 3467 Whittier Blvd. LA 90023, (323) 265-9228. For more information, visit www.lacashforcollege.org.
On Oct. 6, the League of Women Voters Pasadena host “Are You In the Know?”, a free public forum to analyze California’s 11 November Ballot Measures. Forum will be held from 9:30am to noon at the Women’s City Club, 160 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena. Lunch will follow and costs $20, including tax, tip and parking. Information and reservations are available by calling (626) 798-0965, 10 am-1pm, Mon-Fri. Walk-ins welcome; no charge for forum.
Grand Opening of L.A. County’s Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles takes place Oct. 6. The four-block urban green space, running from the L.A. Music Center to L.A. City Hall, will come alive with music & dance, and international aerial movement pioneer Bandaloop, performing a large-scale vertical dance suspended hundreds of feet high on the exterior of City Hall to open the final section of the park. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. on the Music Center Plaza, and continue through 10:30 p.m. Event is free and open to the public. For a complete schedule & more information, visit http://www.grandparkla.org.