Sep 292016
 

California Governor Jerry Brown

Governor Brown Signs Earthquake Early Warning Legislation

 

On 09/29/16 Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation – SB 438 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) – to help advance the development of a statewide earthquake early warning system in California.

“We’ve seen the devastation earthquakes have caused in California,” said Governor Brown. “This keeps us on track to build a statewide warning system that can potentially save lives.”

Specifically, SB 438 establishes the California Earthquake Early Warning Program and Advisory Board within the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to advance the implementation of the program and spur further investment in the early warning system. Under the legislation, an Earthquake Early Warning Program business plan will be developed and submitted to the Legislature by February 1, 2018.

“The early earthquake warning system will help save lives,” said Senator Hill. “In emergencies, every second counts and the urgent alerts that will be sent by the warning system can help prevent devastating and life-threatening missteps. Californians will be safer thanks to Governor Brown, his Office of Emergency Services, my colleagues in the Legislature who have supported SB 438, and the many public and private partners working on the early warning system.”

In 2013, Governor Brown signed SB 135 by then-State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) mandating the creation of a statewide earthquake warning system led by Cal OES and in conjunction with partner organizations from the California Integrated Seismic Network, the private sector and all levels of government.

“California is earthquake country and we’re not waiting for the next big earthquake to take action,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “By continuing to advance this life saving system, we’re leveraging technology to better prepare and protect Californians throughout the state.”

Earlier this year, Governor Brown directed $10 million to Cal OES in the 2016-17 state budget to further expand the state’s earthquake early warning system prototype, called ShakeAlert.

“The action we’re taking today moves us one step closer to making a statewide early warning system a reality,” said Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci. “It also promotes stronger partnership with the private sector to maximize the investment required to make this system sustainable for the future.”

Earthquake early warning systems are currently in place in Mexico, China and Japan, and other countries throughout the world are in the process of developing such systems.

For full text of the bill, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

FROM THE EDITOR: No bearing on our esteemed Governor whose work we admire, but Early Earthquake Warning For California Is A Distant Future… Mexico, China and Japan have them in place. We are planning to have… a PLAN(!) for an Early Earthquake Warning for California by 2018. That is, if California doesn’t experience a devastating earthquake before that date…

Sep 292016
 

Clean Streets L.A.

Reeyan Raynes is accustomed to having unusual weekends for a high school senior. While many of his peers may have been at the beach or watching football on a recent Saturday, Reeyan was organizing the Kiwanis Club, Girl Scout troops, and neighbors for a roadside clean-up in his West Hills community. And this isn’t something he just started doing: Reeyan has been instrumental in organizing monthly clean-ups for the past two years!

Reeyan’s interest in serving his community began in middle school when he got a behind-the-scenes look at the Los Angeles Fire Department. The visit motivated him to find ways for teenagers to get involved in emergency preparedness. He joined the Public Safety Committee of his local Neighborhood Council — and when a position on the West Hills Board became available, Reeyan was asked to step up as chair of the Community Beautification Committee. From his new position, he worked with co-chair Tony Brosamle and other members of the Board to organize monthly clean-ups.

This latest clean-up attracted over 40 volunteers, who collected more than 60 bags of overgrown weeds and loose litter. Reeyan is just one example of a community member organizing successful clean-up efforts with Neighborhood Councils happening around the city on a regular basis.

To encourage these efforts, we’ve created the Clean Streets L.A. Challenge which rewards Neighborhood Councils and Community Groups for organizing and hosting clean-up efforts across the city. To find out how you can participate, visit the Clean Streets L.A. website and do your part to help make our city more beautiful.

/ excerpted from Mayor Garcetti’s Website /

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Sep 292016
 

Commuter Train Crash In Hoboken, NJ

On Thursday (09/29/16) during morning rush hours, a commuter train crashed on the Hoboken NJ train station. Train no. 1614 on route from Spring Valley entered the Hoboken Station at a high rate of speed (the protocol calls for 5 miles per hour), the front cart of the train became airborne and hit the Hoboken Terminal building on Track 5. The impact destroyed parts of the train and caused wide spread damage on the Hoboken Station where the roof has collapsed, loose wires are hanging in the air and water is pouring down on the terminal.

According to reports, at least one person is dead and over 100 people are injured. The injured are among passengers of the train (especially the first train car) as well as commuters waiting for the train’s arrival on the terminal.

All commuter service (including PATH) was suspended in and out of the Hoboken Station. The Federal Railroad Administration’s investigators are on the way to the scene of the crash at the time of this writing. Terrorism isn’t suspected.

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Sep 282016
 

The First Presidential Debate 2016

The First Presidential Debate was hosted on 09/26/16 (Monday) by the Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It was moderated by NBC News Lester Holt. It bears mentioning that in spite of challenges thrown at him by the Presidential Candidates, Holt remained in control and moderated the debate with remarkable tact and patience. The three sections up for a debate – in case you missed it – were “achieving prosperity,” “securing America” and “America’s direction.”

One Presidential Candidate was measured and advocated for common sense. The other was visibly emotional and promised to make ALL our dreams come true. For a kid, the choice would be obvious. Thanks God, kids are not allowed to vote. We are.

There will be two more presidential debates: the next one will take place on October 9th at Washington University in St. Louis and the final one on October 19th at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

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Sep 282016
 

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shimon Peres Died

Israel’s ninth president and one of its founding fathers, Shimon Peres died on 09/27/16 at 93 following a stroke. An important figure in Israel’s politics, Peres worked side-by-side with Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and is credited with developing Israel’s military power and its nuclear program.

A statesman for over 50 years, Shimon Peres was a witness to and a co-creator of history in the Middle East. Internationally, Peres is best known for his efforts to create peace between Israel and Palestine, the two-state solution which culminated in signing of the Oslo accords. These efforts were awarded with a 1994 Nobel Peace Prize (which he shared with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat).

In response to the news of Peres death, President Barack Obama issued a statement which reads: “There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves. My friend Shimon was one of those people.”
In his statement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls Shimon Peres “above all, a man of peace.”

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Sep 282016
 

“Fall Friday Nights” To Provide Safe Family Fun

“Fall Friday Nights” kicks off second year of providing safe spaces, family fun, and opportunities for young Angelenos

 

On September 26th 2016 Mayor Eric Garcetti kicked off Fall Friday Nights, a program to keep eight parks and recreation centers across Los Angeles open late with special activities for young people and families.

Fall Friday Nights is an extension of Summer Night Lights (SNL), a signature Mayor’s Office initiative that just concluded its 9th year. The program provides free activities and food for young people and their families, upwardly-mobile job opportunities for local residents, and a safe place for people of all ages to spend Friday evenings.

“The kind of incredible community-building that we do with Summer Night Lights shouldn’t have to end when the school year starts — and that’s why we started Fall Friday Nights,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This is a national model for providing safe harbor in areas impacted by gang-related crime, and for giving Angelenos in some great neighborhoods access to resources they need and deserve.”

Both the summer and fall programs are run by the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD), and aim to build positive relationships between communities and the police officers assigned to keep them safe. In 2015, 20 of 32 communities surrounding Summer Night Lights sites saw a reduction or no change in gang-related crime.

In 2007, then-Councilmember Garcetti created a program known as At the Park After Dark, in response a tragic shooting near a closed public park. The program was relaunched the following year as Summer Night Lights to keep City parks open late for six weeks during the summer.

The two programs have hosted more than 4.9 million visits from community members — for activities ranging from sports leagues and art workshops, to exercise and healthy cooking classes. In 2015 alone, more than 452,000 meals were served.

Normandie Recreation Center was a new Summer Night Lights site in 2016, hosting an estimated 15,000 visits and serving nearly 14,000 meals.

“Programs like Fall Friday Nights are vital to communities in my district,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “I want to thank Mayor Garcetti for his leadership on this issue and for continuing to provide our constituents with programming beyond the regular work day. It’s programs like these that make a difference in the lives of our families.”

In addition to offering free meals, entertainment, and sports and art activities, the program will highlight resources related to domestic violence prevention, post-secondary education, access to employment, and educational opportunities for teens and young adults.

Fall Friday Nights 2016 will also provide jobs for youth coordinators, program coordinators, and artists at the eight sites. Summer Night Lights 2016 is estimated to have created more than 800 jobs, including 352 positions for Youth Squad members ages 17-24.

Like Summer Night Lights, Fall Friday Nights is an innovative public-private partnership that allows the City to offer programming free of charge for all participants and provides meals, activities, workshops, and access to resources in the communities most in need.

Fall Friday Nights is a program in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles and the GRYD Foundation. Program partners include: the Los Angeles Police Department, Department of Recreation and Parks, Department of Water and Power, L.A. County Department of Public Health, and Los Angeles-area colleges and universities.

Fall Friday Nights will run from 5 p.m.-9 p.m., September 23 – November 10 at the following locations:

• 109th Street Recreation Center
• Mount Carmel Recreation Center
• Normandie Recreation Center
• Sepulveda Recreation Center
• South Park Recreation Center
• Valley Plaza Recreation Center
• Wabash Recreation Center
• Wilmington Recreation Center

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Sep 272016
 

Legendary Golfer Arnold Palmer Died At 87

Loved and respected by peers and fans alike, Arnold Palmer made golf popular in the United States and on TV. His achievements as a professional golfer paved the way for such greats as Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and others.

During his illustrious career which started in the 1950s, Palmer won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. Palmer won the 1960 U.S. Open and two British Opens (in 1961 and 1962). It is hard to believe, but the man recognized as America’s best golf player never won a PGA Championship.

In addition to being a first-class golfer, Arnold Palmer was also a successful businessman, a top-notch spokesman and author of several books on golf.

He loved the game of golf and played it till his last days, RIP Champion. More about Arnold Palmer from golf experts

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Sep 272016
 
Nine Injured In Houston Mall Shooting

The gunman: Houston attorney, Nathan DeSai.  Photo from LinkedIn

On September 26th 2016 a man went on a rampage, shooting at random passersbys in a Houston shopping mall. The police shot and killed the gunman.

According to Houston’s Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen, of the nine people injured, three were treated at the scene, four were treated in a hospital and subsequently released. Two (one in serious and one in critical condition) remain hospitalized. Both are expected to survive.

The shooter arrived at the scene in his Porsche loaded with firearms, several thousands of rounds of live ammunition and some old military paraphernalia including a Swastika. He was wearing an old military uniform. (A search of the gunman’s home revealed a larger collection of weapons, military uniforms and military artifacts.) The gunman was identified as a Houston attorney, Nathan DeSai. According to reports, DeSai’s law office closed recently while he continued working from home. As of now, the motive for the senseless shooting remains unknown and no link to terrorism was found.

In a written statement Gov. Greg Abbott said: “As victims of the Houston shooting fight for their lives this morning, Cecilia and I ask that all Texans join us in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers.”

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Sep 262016
 
Vin Scully Los Angeles Voice

Photo of Vin Scully shamelessly stolen from Vin Scully’s Website (http://officialvinscully.com/)

67 years?! Vin Scully, a sportscaster and beloved play-by-play announcer of the Los Angeles Dodgers is hanging up the mike after 67 years.

Instantly recognizable for his smooth voice, Vin Scully had an impressive career as a national sportscaster on CBS Radio and NBC TV. He called the All-Star Game and World Series games. He also called NFL games and yes, even tennis and golf competitions.

His talent and work earned Vin Scully numerous recognitions, but here in Los Angeles we consider him “ours”. And Los Angeles did – and does – express its love for Scully. This year, in honor of his final season with the Dodgers, Los Angeles City Council renamed Elysian Park Ave. to Vin Scully Ave. and the address of Dodger Stadium will forever be 100 Vin Scully Ave. Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti bestowed on Scully the Key To The City. Following the last Dodgers’ game called by Scully this Sunday, each member of L.A. Dodgers, one by one, tipped his helmet to him…

There are many voices and many sportscasters out there. Vin Scully distinguished himself by announcing Dodgers’ games solo, without a partner at the mike. It was Vin and the individual listener, one-on-one, without a third party chiming in. This was Scully’s true magic, the ability to develop a connection with each listener. One of the reasons we are all eager to pay a tribute to Vin Scully is that he had us all believe we are his friends.

After the final Dodgers’ game he called, Vin Scully said: “I needed you far more than you needed me.” It is impolite to disagree, but Vin should know that he isn’t underestimated. He was the soundtrack of our lives. In a chaotic world, Vin Scully was the warm, familiar voice reassuring several generations of Angelenos that all is well in the world. We love you Vin Scully!

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor / E. Elrich

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Sep 262016
 

2016 Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods

Watching the news one could easily – and MISTAKENLY! – assume that the only opportunity individuals have to express themselves on public issues are protests. It isn’t so.

An individual can have an impact on many aspects of local government, civic matters, planning and shaping of his or her community. Being civic-minded is a good beginning, but to truly participate one needs knowledge and skills we weren’t taught in school. This is where Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods comes in. By organizing workshops, presenting issues, bringing together citizens and their elected representatives, it enables civic-minded individuals to become meaningfully involved in their neighborhoods and our city.

On Saturday, September 24th Los Angeles City Hall hosted the 2016 Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods.

Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods works with L.A.’s Neighborhoods Councils on educating our city’s residents on ways to participate in government.

True to its motto “Neighborhoods First: Your Voice, Our City”, Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods organized an exciting and event-packed day for attendees, again. There were:

  • over 40 free workshops teaching civic skills and exploring several current projects such as One Water L.A. and Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative
  • opportunities to network with City’s staff as well as elected officials
  • a chance to join a regional or Citywide alliance of Neighborhood Councils
  • a chance to speak with Neighborhood Councils’ leaders
  • all of the above complete with a breakfast, lunch and yes – obligatory in L.A. – parking

The event was a smashing success: congratulations Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods on your great work! It is needed.

Big politics begins with your neighborhood, YOU CAN make a difference. Learn how on Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods Website.

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Sep 252016
 
The Key to the City of Los Angeles

The Key to the City of Los Angeles given to Vin Scully by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Vin Scully Appreciation Day. Photo courtesy of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office.

Mayor Garcetti Presented Vin Scully with Key to the City of Los Angeles

Mayor Eric Garcetti presented the Key to the City of Los Angeles to Vin Scully on September 23rd 2016 at a pre-game ceremony celebrating the iconic broadcaster’s 67-year career with the Dodgers. It marked the first time Mayor Garcetti has presented the honor since he took office in 2013.

“Vin Scully’s legend will live long after he takes off his headset and leaves the booth for the final time in his storied career. For 67 years, Vin has been more than the voice of the Dodgers — he has been the soundtrack to some of the best and most exciting moments of our lives. It is close to impossible to imagine Dodger baseball without his incomparable way with words and the boundless wisdom he has shared with generations of fans around the world. Vin Scully is the very definition of an L.A. icon, and he will forever have the gratitude of the city whose story he helped to write.” — Mayor Eric Garcetti

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Sep 242016
 

Fall 2016 And Spring 2017 At L.A. Staples Center

The Fall lineup (and the beginning of 2017) at L.A. Staples Center comes charged with star-power, athletics and family shows! There will be Red Hot Chili Peppers and Shawn Mendes live in concert, to name only some of the highlights. There will be WWE RAW, Cirque Du Soleil and yes, Disney on Ice – Worlds of Enchantment for the young members of the family. A great entertainment lineup – Staples doesn’t disappoint! – will make Fall Golden in Los Angeles.

Fall 2016 Concerts At L.A. Staples Center

Marco Antonio Solis – October 8th, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Keith Urban – October 20th, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – March 7th & 8th, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Eric Church – March 31st, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
Shawn Mendes – July 12th, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Fall 2016 Entertainment At L.A. Staples Center

Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions – September 24th, 2016
WWE RAW – October 3rd, 2016
2016 League of Legends World Championship Final – October 29th, 2016
Cirque Du Soleil: Toruk – The First Flight – November 11th-13th, 2016
Disney on Ice – Worlds of Enchantment – December 15th-18th, 2016

Tickets are available online at www.staplescenter.com, via axs.com, by phone at 888-929-7849 or the STAPLES Center Box Office.

STAPLES Center is located at 1111 S. Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, CA 90015. Phone: (213) 742-7100; Website: www.StaplesCenter.com

Sep 242016
 

African American Museum Opens

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture officially opened on Saturday 09/24/16. President Obama dedicated the museum in a ceremony in the morning, joined by tens of thousands of people.

The new museum features American history from the African American perspective. The exhibitions will document African American history as well as African American influence on – and contribution to – American culture.

The inaugural exhibitions showcase some of the 34,000 historic artifacts collected by the museum such as an airplane used to train Tuskegee airmen and Nat Turner’s Bible. Many of the valuable artifacts and historic documents on display are African American families’ precious heirlooms contributed to the museum to keep their ancestors’ history and experience alive for generations to come.

The idea of the Museum of African American History and Culture is over 100 years old, it dates back to black veterans of the Civil War. On Saturday 09/24/16 it became a reality.

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Sep 232016
 

Washington State Mall Shooting Suspect

On Friday 09/23/16 five people have been killed in a shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, about 65 miles north of Seattle, WA. According to the mall’s security footage, the suspect entered the mall unarmed only to resurface some 10 minutes later at a Macy’s store bearing a riffle. He shot and killed four women ranging in age from a teenager to a senior citizen and one man. The riffle was found later at the scene of the massacre.

The image of the suspect – who was wearing a black T-shirt and black shorts at the time of the attack and was described by witnesses as a 20-30 years old Hispanic – was captured on surveillance video.

BREAKING NEWS: the shooter has been identified and arrested. He is 20-year Arcan Cetin who attended Oak Harbor High School in Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. (Cetin wrote on his Facebook page that he is from Turkey.) There is no information on the killer’s motive, yet.

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Sep 232016
 
Killer Cop Betty Shelby Charged In The Killing Of Unarmed African American Man

Photo provided by the Tulsa Oklahoma Police Department

Following the police killing of unarmed African American man, Terence Crutcher protests were held in Tulsa, OK and other cities demanding justice for the victim and his family. On Thursday 09/22/16, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced first degree manslaughter charges against Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby in the death of Terence Crutcher.

Anything L.A. Magazine believes that EVERY life is sacred, but it’s impossible not to notice that the people killed by police officers are predominantly unarmed African American men. There is something VERY wrong if and when police officers feel ENTITLED to kill a man whose car has stalled on a highway because he didn’t drop to the ground at the command of an approaching police officer. Any stranded motorist’s assumption would be that the police arrived to help, not to order him to the ground, taser and kill him.

Anything L.A. Magazine supports the Police Department. It doesn’t support crime, no matter who the perpetrator is. Terence Crutcher was a son, a brother, a husband, a father of four and a college student. He had his hands in the air. He was unarmed and wasn’t threatening the officers or anyone else for that matter. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALIVE TODAY.

Thanks to a video that showed the complete exchange between the police and Terence Crutcher, Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby has been charged in his death.

Parallel to the killing of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK massive unrests rocked Charlotte, N. Carolina following the killing of yet another African American man, Keith Lamont Scott by police officers. (The killing took place on the parking lot of the apartment building where the man lived with his family.) According to his wife Rakeyia Scott, who witnessed the killing and appealed to the police not to shoot him, Keith Lamont Scott didn’t provoke the officers’ actions and was unarmed. (Scott was partially disabled having sustained serious injuries in a near-death motorcycle accident last year.)

The protesters in Charlotte demanded the police release their video of the accident. Several days later, the Police Department released some footage which doesn’t conclusively show whether Keith Lamont Scott was unarmed as his wife said, or armed as the police claims. So far no charges have been filed against any of the officers involved in the shooting.

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Sep 232016
 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer Our own Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer to attend a meeting of U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in Washington, D.C. If it sounds like “business as usual” to you, it isn’t. It’s a huge recognition of the Federal Government for our City Attorney Mike Feuer’s – and his team’s – victory over Wells Fargo Bank.

As you surely know, on Tuesday 09/20/16, US Senator Elizabeth Warren “interrogated” the CEO of Wells Fargo John Stumpf on the unethical practices of his bank. Those practices included – but were not limited to – opening multiple accounts unauthorized by Wells Fargo customers and accruing / collecting monthly fees for them.

These Wells Fargo’s practices were known and spread nationwide, still no federal or state attorney’s office took legal action to put a stop to Wells Fargo’s shady sales practices or to protect consumers. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer was the only one who did. Acting as a true consumers’ advocate, City Attorney Mike Feuer not only dared to hold Wells Fargo legally accountable for its actions but succeeded! His pursuit of justice produced a settlement. On 09/08/2016 it’s been announced that Wells Fargo agreed to make restitution to consumers and pay $50 million in penalties. Read the settlement.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s commitment to fairness for Los Angeles consumers helps exploited Wells Fargo customers In Los Angeles area recover their money. The even more impressive outcome is that the settlement he negotiated for Los Angeles consumers – thanks to the cooperation with Federal Regulators – will actually benefit consumers nationwide!

The work – and impact – of a City Attorney is usually limited to the matters of the city he represents and its residents. It’s unprecedented that a CITY Attorney’s action has a nationwide impact.

Giving credit where credit is due: the success of Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s consumer action against Wells Fargo Bank is historic, it is a lifetime achievement and definitely, Mike Feuer’s legacy as a City Attorney. Congratulations and thank you Mr. Feuer!

On a different note, having Mike Feuer – or someone like Mike Feuer – on a State or better yet, Federal level could put some fear of God in the hearts of major corporations and actually PREVENT them from scamming consumers, in the first place. Just a thought.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor / E. Elrich

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Sep 222016
 

Mayor Garcetti 2016 Great Streets Challenge To Remake Los Angeles

Mayor Garcetti invites Angelenos to reimagine public spaces with 2016 Great Streets Challenge

 

Everyone has ideas for how to improve their local community, and Angelenos are being invited to turn vision into action.

On September 21st 2016 Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a $2 million grant program that gives L.A. residents a unique opportunity to reimagine public spaces in their own neighborhoods. The Great Streets Challenge, now in its second year, empowers Angelenos to transform streets and urban corridors across Los Angeles into vibrant, walkable spaces that reflect the unique character of their communities.

“Neighborhood character is the environment we create on our streets — the places where families and neighbors spend time together, where people take their dogs out for a walk or just do their shopping,” said Mayor Garcetti. “These public spaces should celebrate the people and culture that define them. That’s what the Great Streets Challenge is about.”

Angelenos can now apply for Great Streets Challenge funding to complete an improvement project along any street or corridor in L.A.. The City will award up to $13,000 to each winning applicant for community outreach, project implementation, and six to 12 months of technical assistance. Mayor Garcetti has set aside $2 million in total funding for the program this year, a $1.8 million increase over 2015.

“The Great Streets Challenge funds great grass-roots projects, helping to build the foundation for successful partnerships in communities,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee. “When we work together on a shared vision for our streets, we have a tremendous opportunity to create the types of positive changes that have lasting impacts on our neighborhoods.”

Last year’s Great Streets Challenge funded eight community projects with a total of $180,000 in City funds. Ninety-four individuals and organizations participated in the 2015 application process. The eight funded projects represented more than 40 community groups — including Neighborhood Councils, business improvement districts, and community-based organizations.

“The Great Streets Challenge will empower our neighborhoods to shape the future of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember David Ryu. “We want to engage the expertise and institutional knowledge of our residents to transform our streets into public spaces.”

The 2016 Great Streets Challenge builds on a series of successful neighborhood enhancement programs launched in recent months by Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative. In August, Mayor Garcetti announced Great Streets Great Business — a program that offers businesses located along Great Streets corridors access to a $4 million loan fund, and one-on-one guidance to help them meet difficult challenges.

Applications for the Great Streets Challenge are available through Nov. 20 at LAGreatStreets.org/2016-challenge. Winning applicants will be selected based on the strength of their community outreach strategy, and the project’s alignment with the City’s health, mobility, and economic development goals.

About Great Streets
Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Great Streets Initiative in October 2013 to transform streets across the city into more vibrant public spaces. A Great Street is a street that serves as the center of a neighborhood, where people can walk, meet, learn, and play on a daily basis. The Great Streets Initiative’s goals include improving safety and access, increasing economic activity, and encouraging community engagement. For more information, including a full list of the first 15 Great Streets corridors, visit www.LAGreatStreets.org.

Sep 212016
 

Unhappy Ending Of Brangelina

Both, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were already mega stars when they co-starred in the 2005 “Mr. And Mrs. Smith”. The high-voltage encounter generated heat that interrupted Angelina’s single motherhood and Brad’s marriage to Jennifer Aniston. Shortly after divorce papers were filed, the unbridled passion of Brangelina was reported from different ends of the world.

There was love and romance. The couple had three biological children and adopted two children together. (In addition to Maddox 16 whom Angelina adopted before she and Brad became a couple. Brad adopted Maddox later.) As a couple they dealt with the death of Angelina Jolie’s mother. As a couple they have collaborated on movie projects and done a lot of humanitarian and charitable work. Finally, they confronted Angelina’s inherited cancer-prone genes and decided on a radical approach to protecting her from a potential cancer threat, together. Only the few highlights indicate that Brangelina had a strong and resilient relationship. They were happy as a couple and as a family. At the insistence of their children and after nearly 10 years of being together, they got married in 2014.

Only two years after officially tying the knot in France, Angelina Jolie filed for a divorce from Brad Pitt on September 19th 2016 in Los Angeles. Brangelina, one of the most talked about entertainment industry’s love stories has come to a sudden end. In the divorce filing Angelina cited irreconcilable differences and the need to preserve the family’s health as the main reasons. She’s asking for sole custody of their six children with a shared legal custody and visitation rights for Brad.

We all want to know what happened and considering the couple’s high visibility there is plenty of rumors surrounding the divorce. Most of us will never know the actual reason. In the context of today’s Brangelina divorce announcement, one has to wonder what inspired the movie “By the Sea” written and directed by Angelina Jolie which tells the story of a marriage in crisis…

I don’t know any more than you do, but to an uninvolved observer the divorce isn’t a surprise. Of the two spouses, it is Angelina who experienced the most dramatic changes: death of her mother, giving birth to three children, several radical surgeries. Having such powerful experiences changes a person and her priorities. It makes one feel like a survivor. It makes life more precious. It brings the importance of life, family and compassion to the forefront.

Personally, I believe that Angelina is ready for the next chapter of her life as a writer and director, but mainly as a humanitarian (perhaps even, a politician?) while Brad is set to continue his career as a movie star and a part-time humanitarian / environmentalist.

Angelina was born and raised in actors’ family. She became an actress herself early on. She spent much of her life “making pretend”. Especially over the last 10-12 years however she’s discovered not only the realm of the “real” but her power in it. She used her financial and star power to limit suffering, to help children and people in need as well as to preserve natural environment. She’s knows that she can have an impact as an individual, an artist and a role model. (She may have lost her passion for “make pretend” in the process…)

Unhappy Ending Of Brangelina

For Brangelina to survive would have taken two people equally committed to making a difference in the real world, away from the acting profession, Hollywood lime lights, glitz and glamour, and award ceremonies. But there are transformative experiences in every person’s life that can’t be shared even with the person we truly love. Angelina’s experiences transformed and made her ready for the next stage of life. Brad witnessed her experiences and watched Angelina undergo significant transformation while he himself remained… a movie star. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that. But magic survives only if and when two people are willing to transform and change their priorities, TOGETHER.

(There are rumors that Brad Pitt had an affair. Did he have an affair with Marion Cotillard – his “Allied’’ co-star – while filming in London? Marion Cotillard, who is expecting a second child with her partner, denies it. Whether there was an affair – with whom? – or not, isn’t relevant. A couple’s bond isn’t limited to the bedroom. The bond can’t be threatened by an outsider. The bond dies at home. Whether or not there is / was an affair, the breakup still boils down to irreconcilable differences. Once shared priorities aren’t shared anymore, the “magical” bond is broken.

New rumors imply that Brad Pitt has been an unfit father. It’s hard to believe that Angelina would have tolerated his alleged “child abuse” for so many years…

These are rumors, nothing more.)

Brangelina was a fairytale to Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and to us. It may be an unhappy ending of Brangelina, the artificial construct. It is a new era of power for a woman of substance.

And what are your thoughts?

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Entertainment Editor / I. Sturm

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Sep 202016
 
Super Pollutant Restrictions For Healthier California

Governor Brown after signing the nation’s toughest super pollutant restrictions into law. Photo Credit: California State Senate.

Governor Brown Signs Nation’s Toughest Super Pollutant Restrictions into Law

On 09/19/2016 Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 1383 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), which establishes the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants including black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane. If followed worldwide, these acts would help cut the projected rate of global warming in half by 2050.

“Cutting black carbon and other super pollutants is the critical next step in our program to combat climate change,” said Governor Brown at a signing ceremony near a Long Beach playground bordered by oil refinery smokestacks. “This bill curbs these dangerous pollutants and thereby protects public health and slows climate change.”

SB 1383 reduces the emission of super pollutants (also known as short-lived climate pollutants) and promotes renewable gas by requiring a 50 percent reduction in black carbon and 40 percent reduction in methane and hydrofluorocarbon from 2013 levels by 2030. Sources of these super pollutants include petroleum-based transportation fuels, agriculture, waste disposal and synthetic gases used in refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosol products.

“The Super Pollutants addressed in this bill – black carbon, methane, and HFC gases – are powerful climate forcers that have a profound effect on climate change and global warming,” said Senator Lara. “They also have detrimental effects on public health. This bill represents a unique opportunity to balance our global vision for the future with a much more local and immediate perspective. With these bold and ambitious goals, we’ll continue to set the standard for climate policy worldwide. And most importantly, those changes will be felt right here in California and reflected in the health of our children and future generations to come.”

Super pollutants have more potent heat-trapping effects but remain in the atmosphere for a shorter time than carbon dioxide. Reducing these pollutants can have a more immediate beneficial impact on climate change – and communities. Removing one ton of diesel black carbon from the atmosphere, for example, is equivalent to removing 1,000 to 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide pollution. Worldwide, methane emissions alone are responsible for approximately 20 percent of current global warming.

“The policies that California is implementing, if achieved worldwide, would cut the expected rate of global warming in half by 2050, save millions of lives, avoid millions of tons of crop losses per year and slow dangerous climate feedbacks such as melting ice caps and rising sea levels,” said San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography Distinguished Professor Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan. “The benefits of such a policy can far exceed the cost of enacting it.”

California’s ongoing efforts to improve air quality and address climate change have already led to important reductions in super pollutants, and have provided a strong foundation for today’s legislation. SB 605 by Senator Lara, signed by Governor Brown in 2014, directed the California Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing super pollutants, which ultimately included reduction targets now set forth in this legislation. During last year’s Climate Week in New York, the Governor gave remarks at an event hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, where he outlined goals for cutting super pollutants that are now codified by today’s legislation.

One hundred and thirty-five jurisdictions representing 32 countries and six continents, or more than a quarter of the global economy, have signed or endorsed an agreement spearheaded by California to take actions to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. These Under2Coalition signatories seek to achieve these goals through a range of activities including reductions in short-lived climate pollutants like black carbon.

Many of the benefits of cutting super pollutants in California will accrue in the most disadvantaged parts of the state, where pollution levels and health impacts are often highest. Every $1 spent on cutting air pollution, particularly super pollutants, creates approximately $30 in public health benefit.

“Reducing short-lived pollutants is the right thing to do for public health and for environmental justice,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “By taking on harmful super pollutants like black carbon, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons, SB 1383 is another critical tool in our efforts to prevent and mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change. With this bill, California is once again leading the way for the nation and the world.”

For full text of the bill, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

California’s Leadership on Climate Change

While California emits around 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, the state is playing a leading role in broadening collaboration among subnational leaders and reducing climate pollutants.

California has cut black carbon emissions by more than 90 percent since the 1960s, has the nation’s strongest standards for limiting methane emissions from landfills and strictly regulates emissions from refrigerants, air conditioning and consumer products.

Last October, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation – SB 350 – to double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings and generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Governor Brown also committed to reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; reduce the release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.

In the past year, the Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. Governor Brown also joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.

These efforts build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru and Chile and Governor Brown’s efforts to convene hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.

Additionally, the Governor issued an executive order last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, a goal which is now codified by historic legislation the Governor recently signed that sets the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets in North America. The Governor also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.