May 312017
 

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine Suspends White House News

Everybody knows Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine for its coverage of current news in Los Angeles, California, the White House, United States and occasionally, the world.

We went recently on a hiatus to re-think the direction of our magazine and here is what we concluded.

Los Angeles and California rule! Our City, State and their leadership are progressive. They stand for human rights, tolerance, consumer protection as well as social and economic justice. They are committed to environmental protection and delaying climate change. They insist on guarding our safety, health, justice and prosperity even at the risk of contradicting the federal government. Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine wholeheartedly supports Los Angeles’ and California’s direction and will continue reporting on Los Angeles, notable Angelenos and California.

The world experiences ups and downs. There are news, changes and yes, terrorists still wreck havoc, murder and maim innocent people. Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine will continue its coverage of world’s major news and will always stand in solidarity with democracies anywhere in the world.

United States news matter to us all and Anything L.A. will continue reporting on developments that have a nationwide impact.

As for the White House that runs the Country we all love: the current political climate doesn’t lend itself to objective coverage or objective commentary. As progressives we can’t – and don’t – condone the current direction of our Country. Quite frankly, if America continues being made great again at this pace, it may just implode and take us all with her….

As much as a hair color or body weight are – and should be – off limits, the lack of ethics, blatant conflicts of interest, perpetuating economic disparity, social injustice, lack of compassion, spreading “alternative facts”, political shortsightedness, lack of environmental responsibility and the diminishing authority of the United States in the world are not. And yet, in a Country whose Constitution grants the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, legitimate news reporting is referred to – by the White House – as “fake news”. Republican Greg Gianforte – who was charged with attacking a reporter while still a candidate – has nevertheless won the special election for Montana’s U.S. House seat. Hate crime is on the rise. Truth-tellers are being consistently ridiculed, demeaned and defamed by the White House, many Republican politicians and conservative voters. The phrase “I don’t trust the media” seems to have become a Republican mantra.

The truth is that no American patriot can maintain an objective perspective when our Country, its security, health, environment, prosperity and future are at stake. (It’s impossible not to react when the Country and people we love are in danger!) That’s why Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine suspends its White House news coverage and will from now on abstain as much as possible from reporting and commenting on POLITICAL developments in the White House, Washington D.C. and the United States at large until the direction of our Country changes.

Anything L.A. will continue championing progressive American values. To compensate for the lack of White House news coverage, we’ll expand other sections of our magazine.

The world maybe in a flux, our Country may have lost its way, but California and Los Angeles continue being true to American – or perhaps today, Californian – values.

Anything LA. Magazine stands with the majority of Angelenos who believe that future is forward. We hope that our wise readers – most of whom share our liberal / democratic views – will understand.

May 262017
 
Hate Crime In Portland

Heroes Of Portland: Taliesin Namkai-Meche (L) and Ricky John Best (R)

On the first night of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which coincided with the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend this year, Portland’s resident Jeremy Joseph Christian, took on two American-born and raised teenage girls (one of whom was wearing a hijab) on a commuter train. He screamed at them Islamophobic slurs, threatened them and ordered them to get out of the United States.

Three white men (Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, Ricky John Best, 53, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21) came to the defense of the terrified teen girls.

The allegedly pro-white and pro-American, white supremacist Jeremy Christian (35) attacked the men with a knife, aiming at their necks. The attack resulted in the death of Ricky John Best (53) and Taliesin Namkai-Meche (23). The third man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher (21) is recovering from the injury he sustained.

The killer who didn’t stop talking even during his arraignment said (among other things): “You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism.” Christian was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation, one count of felon in possession of a weapon and hate crime.

According to reports, Jeremy Christian is a high school dropout with a criminal record – which includes robbery, kidnapping and possession of a weapon – who had difficulty earning a living. Christian was active in Portland’s white supremacist movement and ranted about his Nazi convictions on Facebook. Some sources speculate that he might be mentally ill. But enough about a killer whose failures don’t deserve attention. An adult man attacking helpless teenage girls? That’s not patriotic, that’s contemptible!

The good Samaritans who came to the rescue of the young girls threatened by Jeremy Christian are the true heroes. They deserve recognition and tributes.

Taliesin Namkai-Meche (23) was a son and an older brother. He recently graduated from Reed College with a degree in economics. He died a hero.

Ricky Best (53) was a military veteran with 23 years of honorable service who retired in 2012. He worked as a technician for Portland’s Bureau of Development Services. Best left behind 4 teenage children. He died a hero.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher (21) is the Portland State University music student and a budding poet. He is recovering from the injury he suffered. He is the only hero who survived the horrific attack.

These three white men – two of whom sacrificed their lives – are true men, true heroes and true American patriots. They will be honored and remembered long after the name of the crazed killer is forgotten. (We can only imagine the love, regrets and gratitude of the saved girls and their loved ones!)

Anything L.A. doesn’t stand alone in recognition of the Portland Heroes. Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown condemned the hate crime. Portland’s Mayor, Ted Wheeler commended sacrifices of the men who were willing to risk their lives to protect others. The Portland community came together to honor its good Samaritans. No wonder that once crowdfunding campaigns for the victims and the survivor were created, donations poured in. No amount of money can replace a loved one, but the shocking and unexpected deaths and injury, respectively bring immediate and long term costs which the caring donations will help cover. And the donations came from everywhere. America is strong and even against many odds, America didn’t lose its moral compass. The donations already topped one million dollars. (A small portion of the money will be used for mental health services for the two teenage girls who were the intended targets of the white supremacist killer.)

*

As horrific as the actions of Jeremy Christian have been, hate crimes are on the rise since President Trump was elected. According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, hate crimes against Muslims in America rose by 44 percent in 2016 alone.

Muslims are not the only victims of hate crime. White supremacists target also racial minorities. The latest target of a suspected hate crime – at the time of this writing – is basketball superstar LeBron James. During LeBron’s absence, the gate of his West Los Angeles home was spray-painted with a racial slur. The vandalism / suspected hate crime has been photographed and reported to the police. The slur has been painted over.

LeBron (32) who has legions of devoted fans, is a three-time National Basketball Association’s champion and has been named the league’s Most Valuable Player several times. Still (in the words of LeBron James):

“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough.”

If fame and fortune can’t protect a celebrity from discrimination, hate and crime, what’s in store for regular people of religious or racial minorities during the time when the worst elements of our society feel entitled to exercise their misguided “patriotism”?

For the record, hate crime isn’t patriotic. It is akin to ethnic cleansing (genocide!) and / or religious prosecution. Had the white supremacist “patriots” bothered to familiarize themselves with the American Constitution they would have known that both are illegal in the United States of America.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Very tragic and very inspiring

★★★★★
5 5 1
There are angels among us. We are mourning the heroes. They'll be remembered. They belong in American history books. The coward who attacked teeneage girls is a pitiful excuse of a man, #NotAPatriot. The coward doesn't represent America.
May 252017
 

City Attorney Mike Feuer

“This was a very important case to me – as a father, as a son, as someone who recognizes the damage that body shaming can do because it is so humiliating,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “The issues that surround body shaming can be devastating – not only to daughters and mothers, but also to sons and fathers, members of the LGBTQ community, to a trans kid who might be struggling with identity, to people who are disabled. The message today is clear: body shaming is not tolerated in the City of Los Angeles.

“When I first heard about this case, I was incredulous that while the taking of the photo in these circumstances is clearly against the law, the actual distribution of it didn’t have any real consequences,” continued Feuer. “So just this week, the California State Senate passed a bill I’ve sponsored (SB 784 – Crimes: disorderly conduct: invasion of privacy). The bill provides that if you take a photo of someone in these circumstances without their permission–someone who is nude or partially clothed–and then distribute it, the penalty is enhanced by $1,000 and the individual whose photo was taken is entitled to restitution in an amount necessary to get that picture off the internet and out of public distribution. That’s crucial, because every day that picture lives online is another day of humiliation. I am optimistic this bill will soon be enacted and further protect Californians from body shaming.”

Feuer’s office filed a criminal case against former Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers in November for allegedly secretly photographing a 70-year-old woman in the nude while she was in the shower area of a local fitness center. Mathers allegedly posted the photograph to social media.

Mathers, 29, was charged with one count of invasion of privacy (PC 647(j)(3)(A). Today she entered a plea of no contest and will perform 30 days of community labor.

“This country has a growing problem of bullying through body-shaming on social media that needs to be addressed,” said State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) “Having a photo taken of you in a fitting room or locker room when you have a reasonable expectation of privacy is humiliating in and of itself — but when that photo is then shared across social media the victim can experience long-term harm and embarrassment. This type of behavior is destructive and Senate Bill 784 will make sure our laws keep pace with the ever changing social media environment. As the Mather’s case has demonstrated, this legislation is an important step to protecting the privacy of Californians.”

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine supports the work L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer in this case, too. Apart from any legal repercussions, this particular act of body shaming says a lot about the perpetrator. Obviously, Dani Mathers doesn’t have either a mother or grandmother, leave alone any respect for women or the aging. Worse, it didn’t occur to her yet that she herself is a woman and a human being who is not immune to either life or aging. Let’s hope that time and the inevitable changes it produces will reform her.

The case – in spite of the legal victory – is quite depressing. Here is a wise take on it, from Twitter.

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer On Body Shaming

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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May 242017
 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer Office Has Its Hands Full

The very accomplished L.A. City Attorney who has successfully asserted justice in Los Angeles and for Los Angeles on many occasions has more work defending Los Angeles and Angelenos since January. The excess work originates from Washington.

The latest example: Attorney General Session’s New Charging And Sentencing Directive. By all appearances the new directive (you can read it for yourself here: http://docdro.id/sa9wc0g) urges Elected District Attorneys, Attorneys General and State Attorneys to ignore the reality of each individual case and pursue the harshest sentence allowed by law. Complying with this Directive – and its ineffective and archaic “Tough on Crime” approach – would not only overwhelm the prison system but inflict injustice on Angelenos. It would improve nothing and serve no one. It would do nothing to ensure our safety, prevent crime, lower recidivism rates or rehabilitate the perpetrators.

Over 30 Current and Former Elected District Attorneys, Attorneys General and State Attorneys Sign Open Letter Denouncing Federal Return to Past “Tough on Crime” Mandates

Current and former elected state and local prosecutive leaders from around the nation have signed an open letter expressing “grave concerns” with the recent directive by Attorney General Jeff Sessions requiring federal prosecutors nationwide to charge, pursue, and seek the longest possible sentences, for the “most serious, readily provable offense.” These elected local prosecutors caution that the new AG directive marks an “unnecessary and unfortunate return to past ‘tough on crime’ practices that … don’t enhance or promote the safety of our communities.”

The bipartisan list of signers comes from several states, large cities, and smaller localities. These elected officials represent over 30 million Americans and hail from 17 states plus DC. This diverse and expansive group of elected leaders stressed their commitment to “prioritizing the safety, fair treatment and dignity of all members of our community” and to “undertake innovative approaches that promote public safety and fairness.”

“Our communities are safest when prosecutors assess each case on its merits, taking evidence-based steps to reduce the chance the defendant will offend again,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “The draconian mandates of the Trump Administration are a setback for our justice system.”

Miriam Krinsky, the Executive Director for Fair and Just Prosecution – a group that works with prosecutive leaders around the nation committed to new thinking – noted that this letter “reflects a trend among a new wave of prosecutors nationwide who are rejecting excessively punitive policies in favor of data-driven and sensible approaches to improve public safety.” Krinsky, who also spent 15 years as a federal prosecutor, added: “The past few decades have amply demonstrated that harsh sentences – especially for low level drug offenders – do not deter crime and instead disproportionately impact people of color and fill our jails with individuals struggling with mental illness, drug addiction or poverty. We need prosecutors such as these who are willing to stand strong in the face of political winds intent on reviving the failed one-size-fits-all ‘tough on crime’ mindset of the 1980s.”

In addition to Feuer other signatories to the letter include District Attorneys Cy Vance (Manhattan), Kim Ogg (Houston), Mark Dupree (Kansas City), George Gascon (San Francisco), Sherry Boston (Atlanta), and Beth McCann (Denver), former DA Gil Garcetti (Los Angeles) as well as Attorneys General Karl Racine (Washington, D.C.), Ellen Rosenblum (Oregon) and TJ Donovan (Vermont).

Justice is supposed to be blind to remain objective and fair to each individual. Attorney General Session’s New Charging And Sentencing Directive lifts the blind of Lady Justice eyes: it would effectively remove mitigating circumstances and force prosecutors and judges to practice injustice regardless of its impact on individuals, constituents and ultimately, our City and Country.

 

 

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May 232017
 

Terrorist Attack In Manchester

On May 22nd 2017, immediately after Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, a 22-year-old British Muslim, identified by authorities as Salman Ramadan Abedi, exploded a shrapnel-laden, home-made bomb at the exit of the venue. As a result 23 people (including the terrorist) have died and 116 were injured.

Any terrorist attack is terrifying and outrageous, this one even more so because so many of Ariana Grande’s fans are children, tweens and teens. (The youngest person killed in the Manchester bombing was only 8 years old!)

The compassion and solidarity of the people of Manchester following the explosion was heart-warming. Housing, food and transportation were provided free of charge to all affected. Queen Elisabeth visited injured survivors in the hospital.

British authorities acted swiftly and upon analyzing the improvised explosive device concluded that neither the device nor the attack were the work of a lone wolf. In the days following the Manchester tragedy, Salman Abedi’s home was searched. The police found plentiful supplies for bomb-making. Eight suspected co-conspirators were arrested in connection with the terrorist attack. UK’s state of emergency has been reduced from “critical” immediately after the attack to “severe”.

Tributes to victims and survivors of the Manchester terrorist attack continue growing. Several vigils were held. The United Kingdom, Europe and much of the world – including the United States – stand together with Manchester in condemnation of the attack.

Shortly after the terrorist attack in Manchester, Ariana Grande said:
“We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win… Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.”

Having canceled her world tour following the tragedy, Ariana Grande has just announced that she’ll hold a benefit concert (“One Love Manchester”) in Manchester on June 4th. The star will be joined by other artists for the benefit performance (among them: Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Usher, Take That, Pharrell Williams and Niall Horan).

The goal of the benefit concert is to raise money for “We Love Manchester Emergency Fund” created by the Manchester City Council and the British Red Cross in support of the victims and survivors of the May 22nd bombing. Ariana Grande is true to her words.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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May 212017
 

Betty Shelby Got Away With Murder

Even though we have seen the video of how the killing of 40-year-old, unarmed, African American, Terence Crutcher unfolded, white Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby was acquitted by a jury.

During the testimony, officer Shelby defended herself by saying that she shot Crutcher because he didn’t obey her command to lie on the ground and then reached inside his SUV for what she presumed was a gun.

The widely circulated video of the shooting tells a different story. Terence Crutcher – who as we now know was under the influence of drugs at the time – had both hands raised and was never threatening.

Officer Shelby was acquitted because, in the words of her defense attorney, “she just overreacted”.

In response to the acquittal, Rev. Joey Crutcher, Terence’s father said: “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder.” Protesters took to the streets and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.” in front of the hotel where Shelby was staying. The crowd eventually disbursed, peacefully.

The killing of Terence Crutcher is one of several killings of unarmed African American men by police officers recently which inspired the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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May 202017
 

Investigation Of Chris Cornell’s Death

The death of the lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave is under investigation. His suicide cannot be explained by his shocked family, friends or fans. It is known however that Cornell was on a prescription anti-anxiety medication and the possibility that the prescription may have influenced his spur of the moment decision to kill himself is being explored.

Chris Cornell was only 52 at the time of his death. He had a happy family life. In professional life, Cornell was accomplished and successful.

Cornell was one of the influential figures of the 1990s grunge movement. Soundgarden was considered one of the leaders of Seattle’s grunge music scene along with such giants as Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Chris Cornell’s career can be seen as having several distinct stages.

1/ 1984: the co-founding of Soundgarden and the hits from the time ”Rusty Cage”, “Outshined” and “Jesus Christ Pose”.

2/ 1991: Cornell’s collaboration with several members of Pearl Jam led to the founding of Temple of the Dog.

3/ 1995: the height of Soundgarden’s success (the band was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Record for “Superunknown”). The album included such hit songs as “The Day I Tried to Live”, ”Fell on Black Days”, ”Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman”.

4/ After the 1997 breakup of Soundgarden, Cornell continued performing solo.

5/ In 2001, Cornell joined forces with Audioslave, the band that featured former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford. During his time with the band, Audioslave released three albums.

6/ In 2007 Audioslave disbanded. In 2012 Soundgarden reunited, Cornell joined the band again and in the same year the band released its sixth studio album “King Animal”.

Chris Cornell’s was a talented artist and a decent human being dedicated to the welfare of children. He had no reason to end his life early. Hopefully the investigation exploring a possible link between his prescription medication and his suicide will help make sense of his death and bring a measure of peace to his loved ones.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Entertainment Editor, I. Sturm

 

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May 202017
 

Disgraced Former Fox News Chief Has Died

Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign from his job last July due to sexual harassment allegations and a sexual harassment lawsuit by Gretchen Carlson, died at 77.

Roger Ailes is credited with helping to develop Fox News into a leading Republican news channel. Under his leadership Fox News established its authority among Republicans and became extremely profitable to Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

For his role as an asset to the company, the disgraced Ailes received a $40 million severance upon leaving. According to sources, Aisles’ affiliation with Fox News didn’t end with his resignation. He continued to serve as Rupert Murdoch’s informal adviser.

His professional accomplishments aside, Ailes will be remembered for creating exploitative work environment which fostered the likes of Bill O’Reilly. For years women working at Fox News were denied advancement opportunities, intimidated and sexually exploited. Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly may be among the best known Ailes’ accusers, but certainly not the only ones.

Roger Ailes who was a great broadcaster and a very successful man will be remembered also as a member of the “good old boys club” who – like President Trump – believed that fame and power ENTITLE him to sexual favors. It’s ironic that the very accomplished and powerful man was brought down by women he perceived as powerless.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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May 182017
 

Washington Shenanigans

The shenanigans in Washington D.C. don’t seem to stop:

  • The shocking firing of FBI Director, James Comey
  • President Trump’s strange reference to tapes of their conversations in the White House
  • Comey’s alleged memo which supposedly claims that President Trump asked him to stop investigating Gen. Flynn who – in the words of the President – is “a good guy”
  • The President leaking top-secret Israeli intelligence to his Russian visitors. (No American photographer or reporter was allowed into the meeting, but a Russian photographer was.)
  • President Putin offering to bail out our President with transcripts of the conversation with Russian representatives during the “confidential” White House meeting.
  • Finally, the appointment of Special Counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, whose sole responsibility will be to oversee the investigation of the Trump campaign and administration’s possible ties to Russia.

In the opinion of many:

  • the President’s reference to “tapes”
  • his alleged request to stop the FBI investigation of Gen. Flynn
  • his repeated inquiries whether he himself is being investigated

have all the characteristics of obstruction of justice. Many draw parallels between Watergate and Trumpgate.

Yes, we have a Special Counsel to investigate the President’s – or his people’s – Russia ties now but such investigations tend to take a very long time. Even when the results come in – and should they be compromising – with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and Senate there is little likelihood that the President or his administration will be held accountable for any misdeeds that might come to light.

Of course, President Trump – who is at odds with the FBI and the media – calls the investigation “Greatest Witch Hunt In History”. Really? Than why did President Trump fire James Comey in the midst of the Russian probe? Why did he try to discredit legitimate reporting by referring to media as “fake news”? Why did the President – according to numerous reports – explore the legality of prosecuting reporters who report unfavorably on his administration? (What’s on the agenda next? Censorship?) Why did the President consider canceling regular press conferences at the White House? The times are strange and worse, reminiscent of the era when the press – not the FBI, House of Representatives or Senate – brought the then-president to his knees.

Most politicians, entertainers and business leaders welcome the truth. President Trump seems to be terrified of it. He is against any probe into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia. He fights the media for their ACCURATE reporting since his inauguration into the office. Does he have something to hide?

The integrity, patriotism and journalistic professionalism of reporters saved America in the past. (The investigative reporting of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward from The Washington Post – yes, the very same Washington Post President Trump dismissed as “fake news” early on – brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency.) It may be up to American media to save the United States, once again.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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May 172017
 

City Attorney Mike Feuer Secures Restitution For Victims

CITY ATTORNEY FEUER SECURES RESTITUTION FOR VICTIMS ALLEGEDLY SCAMMED BY CHATSWORTH WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION COMPANY

California Restoration to pay $88,000 to 23 victims, $150,000 Civil Penalty, Establish Restitution Fund of $250,000

In his continuing efforts to protect consumers, City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced his office has secured restitution for 23 victims allegedly scammed by Chatsworth-based California Restoration, a $250,000 restitution fund for additional victims and a civil penalty of $150,000. The City Attorney’s lawsuit alleged that for at least the past four years, California Restoration regularly engaged in fraudulent business practices.

“Imagine your home is flooded with sewage and the company you call for help takes advantage of you instead,” said Feuer. “Whether it’s Wells Fargo creating fake accounts, phony lawyers scamming immigrants or sewage removal companies allegedly victimizing customers, we will fight to hold L.A. businesses accountable and stand up for consumers. That’s why, in addition to the restitution we’ve gotten for 23 victims, we’ve set up a fund for other customers who believe they’ve been victimized. We’re now asking them to come forward.”

California Restoration, owned by Matthew and James Monroe, is a Chatsworth-based water damage restoration company that removes water and sewage from residential homes. The City Attorney’s complaint alleges that for at least the past four years, the company regularly engaged in the following unlawful business practices:

  • Used contracts that omitted the description of the work to be completed, the cost of the project, the approximate date of completion, and the customers’ three-day right to cancel.
  • Made substantial misrepresentations in the procurement of the contract and defrauded customers with false and fraudulent pretenses.
  • Made false and fraudulent statements in support of claims submitted to insurance companies.
  • Unlawfully initiated legal action against former customers and dissuaded them from cooperating with the Contractor’s State License Board.

Feuer’s office spearheaded the case following a collaboration with the Contractor’s State License Board, the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Insurance. After California Restoration had its contractor license suspended, the City Attorney moved to address past violations, identify victims and ensure that future violations do not occur.

In addition to requiring California Restoration to pay restitution and penalties, the company will remove all liens placed against former customers and dismiss all pending lawsuits against former clients. California Restoration also must:

  • Allow customers to cancel contracts up until midnight of the third day after the contract is signed.
  • Use the same language in its contracts that it used during its oral sales presentations.
  • Not dissuade customers from reporting their experiences to regulatory agencies, including Contractors State Licensing Board.
  • Make only truthful statements to customers and the public at large about their services.
  • Include in all its contacts key information, including the cost of the work to be completed, the approximate dates upon which the work will be completed, its contractor license number, a description of the project including materials and equipment being used, among other items.

Consumers who used the services of Cal Restoration, Inc., and/or California Restoration, LLC between July 15, 2012 and May 15, 2017, and believe they were victimized, may be eligible to receive restitution. They should contact (213) 978-8070 or email mike.n.feuer@lacity.org.

 

 

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May 162017
 
Mayor Garcetti Facilitates Affordable Housing

Photo courtesy of LA Mayor’s Office

 

Garcetti creates more affordable housing and protects thousands of Angelenos from eviction by enabling the City to legalize certain unpermitted housing units.

 

Mayor Garcetti signs Ordinance to legalize more Affordable Housing Units: Mayor Eric Garcetti today signed a new law that will create more affordable housing and protect thousands of Angelenos from eviction by enabling the City to legalize certain unpermitted housing units.

There are currently thousands of occupied units across Los Angeles that were not permitted properly when they were built. This ordinance creates a path to legalization for many of those units, allowing the City to ensure that they are safe and habitable, without displacing families from their homes.

“Too many Angelenos are already struggling to stay ahead of rising rents — and we must take action to protect our communities, and keep families in their homes,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This ordinance will improve the health and safety of our housing stock, add more units to the market, and bring us closer to meeting our affordable housing goals.”

The new ordinance will use existing State Density Bonus provisions to legalize the unapproved units, once they have passed all necessary health, safety, and habitability inspections. The City will permit the units in exchange for long-term commitments from landlords to keep them affordable.

“Passage of the Unapproved Dwelling Units Ordinance is a small but significant step to address affordability in Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “Buildings zoned as multiple family, including apartments and duplexes, will now be be brought to code while ensuring health and safety requirements, adding to our housing stock. We are in a housing crisis and need to use every tool within reach to increase our affordable housing supply.”

“The UDU ordinance is a common-sense solution to increasing the City of Los Angeles’ affordable housing stock and protecting low- and moderate-income Angelenos doing their best to get by living in unapproved units at no fault of their own,” said Councilmember José Huizar, Chair of the City’s Planning Committee. “This ordinance will directly benefit and protect those residents and their families while increasing our available affordable housing stock for others.”

To give property owners time to pursue this new route to legalization, the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) is developing a program that would defer certain code enforcement proceedings, while landlords bring their unpermitted units into compliance.

This new policy is just one piece of Mayor Garcetti’s strategy to solve the affordability crisis in Los Angeles. The Mayor has also called on the City Council to pass an Affordable Housing Linkage Fee — a fair, reasonable requirement that market-rate developers build affordable housing or contribute to the City’s affordable housing programs. This could add 1,000 new affordable housing units to the market every year-— about double the current rate of production.

Owners of multifamily buildings who have questions on how to pursue legalization of unapproved dwelling units can contact the Department of City Planning’s Priority Housing Project (PHP) program at (213) 202-5456 or dcpphp@lacity.org.

 

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May 142017
 
The Final Production Of CTG Block Party

The Echo Theater Company production of “Dry Land” opens this Sunday, May 14th at 6:30 pm at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

 

CENTER THEATRE GROUP’S BLOCK PARTY CONTINUES AT THE KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE WITH

THE OPENING OF THE ECHO THEATER PRODUCTION OF “DRY LAND” ON SUNDAY, MAY 14th

The Third and Final Installment of Block Party Will Run For 11 Performances Only

 

Center Theatre Group’s Block Party continues with the opening of The Echo Theater Company production of “Dry Land” this Sunday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel and directed by Alana Dietze, “Dry Land” will begin previews May 12 and continue for 11 performances only through May 21, 2017.

Block Party highlights some of the remarkable work being done in other, more intimate theatres throughout Los Angeles by fully producing three previously staged productions. The three visiting companies received the full support of Center Theatre Group and its staff in order to fund, stage and market each production. This year’s Block Party started with the Coeurage Theatre Company production of “Failure: A Love Story” April 14 through 23 and continued with The Fountain Theatre production of “Citizen: An American Lyric” April 28 through May 7.

“Dry Land” is a haunting play about female friendship and an abortion that takes place in the locker room of a central Florida high school. Written when Spiegel was just 21 years old and still an undergraduate at Yale, the play is a deeply truthful portrait of the fears, hopes and bonds of teenage girls — as gut-wrenching as it is funny. In his New York Times “critic’s pick” review, Ben Brantley called “Dry Land” “tender, caustic, funny and harrowing, often all at the same time.”

The cast of “Dry Land” includes Daniel Hagen, Ben Horwitz, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Teagan Rose and Jenny Soo. The cast also includes Jacqueline Besson and Alexandra Freeman as well as USC School of Dramatic Arts students Francesca O’Hern, Bukola Ogunmola, Sidne Phillips and Tessa Hope Slovis. Scenic design is by Amanda Knehans, costume design is by Elena Flores, lighting design is by Justin Huen and sound design is by Jeff Gardner. Anna Engelsman is the production stage manager.

On Wednesday, May 17, audiences are invited to attend a moderated Stage Talk with the “Dry Land” cast and company following the performance. Patrons must purchase a ticket to that performance in order to participate.

“As we celebrate Center Theatre Group’s 50 years of creating theatre in Los Angeles, we want to turn the spotlight on some of the remarkable work being done on other stages,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie in discussing Block Party. “Coeurage Theatre, The Echo Theater and The Fountain Theatre, as well as others throughout L.A., regularly produce excellent, boundary-pushing work and we’re so glad they are sharing some of that work with us.”

Applications for the 2017-2018 Block Party are now being accepted. More information is available at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org/BlockParty.

 

 

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May 132017
 
Former Sheriff Lee Baca Found Guilty

Former Sheriff Lee Baca (right) with then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson sentenced former Los Angeles sheriff Lee Baca – who was found guilty in March – to three years of federal prison for obstructing federal corruption and civil rights investigation.

Baca resigned – or “retired”, if you will – in 2014 only after federal agents became suspicious of the way he run Los Angeles jails. The federal investigation uncovered corruption, intimidation, human and civil rights’ violations and abuse of power, among other “dirty” secrets of Lee Baca’s department.

Following the federal investigation, nine of Lee Baca’s subordinates in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were found guilty. (Among them, Paul Tanaka, undersheriff and Baca’s right hand man, who is serving a 5 year term in a federal prison.)

Lee Baca’s attorney attempted to use the former sheriff’s age (74) and a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s disease as a part of his defense strategy. The defense backfired.

Even though the prosecutor asked for only a two year sentence, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ordered the disgraced sheriff to serve three years in prison and in his statement stressed out that Alzheimer’s disease is not a “get out of jail card”. (A wise judge.)

Lee Baca is to begin serving his sentence by July 25. His attorney announced that he will appeal.

Following the sentencing, Lee Baca stated that that he is a man of principle. (Clearly, the wrong principle. One has to wonder how much of Lee Baca’s legacy of terror was actually uncovered, after all he worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for 48 years!)

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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May 122017
 
Mayor Garcetti Watches Over Owens Valley

Photo property of L.A. Mayor

 

Mayor Garcetti visits Owens Valley to monitor LADWP emergency flood control efforts

 

Mayor Eric Garcetti traveled to the Owens Valley to survey the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) emergency flood control preparations for what the utility expects will be a record snowmelt from the Eastern Sierras.

The trip comes after Mayor Garcetti declared a local State of Emergency to protect the lands and communities of the Owens Valley from flooding, as this year’s snowpack begins to melt.

“I declared this State of Emergency because we have a responsibility to protect Angelenos and the people of the Owens Valley,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We are acting as quickly and diligently as we can to address this potential threat, and I’m pleased by the progress we’re making.”

During his visit, the Mayor spoke with community members, met with LADWP workers involved in the flood control efforts, and toured key areas — including Mono Lake and Owens Lake — where the snowmelt is threatening communities and LADWP infrastructure.

This year’s snowpack in the Eastern Sierras is 241% above normal, and as spring goes on, LADWP expects the snowmelt to send up to 1 million acre-feet of runoff into the Owens Valley.

This runoff — nearly twice the amount of water that Angelenos use in a year — could damage local communities, hydroelectric power plants, and dust mitigation infrastructure in Owens Lake. Mayor Garcetti’s Emergency Declaration enables LADWP to act quickly in response to the threat.

 

 

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May 112017
 

Wage Theft Prosecuted In Los Angeles

 

CITY ATTORNEY FEUER FIGHTS FOR RIGHTS OF HOME CARE WORKERS AGAINST ALLEGED WAGE THEFT

Lawsuit Alleges Valley Homecare Provider Paid Employees As Little As $5.50 Per Hour or Less, Failed to Provide Overtime Wages

 

Continuing his aggressive fight against alleged wage theft, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced his office has sued a Canoga Park-based home care provider for allegedly routinely failing to pay its employees minimum wage and overtime.

“Stealing wages from hard-working men and women is reprehensible,” said Feuer. “No worker should be forced into poverty because an employer denies them their basic rights to a minimum wage and overtime. My office will aggressively combat wage theft and fight to ensure all workers are paid what the law demands.”

“This case is sending the important message that here in Los Angeles City, immigrant workers rights are being protected” said Aquilina Soriano, Executive Director of the Pilipino Workers Center.. Immigrant workers like the Filipina homecare workers of this homecare agency have suffered from poverty wages while providing heart-felt, quality care to the elders of our city.”

“SEIU 2015 fights every day for the rights of our dedicated home healthcare workers,” President Laphonza Butler, Local SEIU 2015. “We applaud City Attorney Mike Feuer’s leadership and commitment to fighting wage theft and look forward to continuing to support those efforts in the days ahead.”

The complaint alleges that during the last four years, Emelyn Nishi and her corporations Health Alliance Nurses Corp., and Hand Homecare Provider, Inc., have employed two hundred workers or more, mostly Filipino, immigrants. Defendants allegedly charge between $170 and $250 per day for 24-hour in-home domestic care to families. However, these employees allegedly were paid only $100 to $125 per shift, equating to as little as $5.50 per hour or less. According to the lawsuit, defendants allegedly pressured their employed caregivers to falsify time records to avoid overtime payments, and routinely threatened them with termination or blacklisting within the industry.

The defendants allegedly also prohibited caregivers from discussing rates directly with clients and often threatened exorbitant contractual penalties for entering into a direct hire position with clients. Defendants allegedly misclassified their caregiver employees as independent contractors to avoid paying federal and state payroll taxes and sidestep government investigations.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against further alleged unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business acts as well as restitution to all current and former employees who were not paid minimum wages or overtime. In addition, defendants could face civil penalties up to $2,500 for each violation.

Feuer asked other workers who may be the victims of wage theft to come forward and report it directly to his office by e-mail at mike.n.feuer@lacity.org or by phone at 213-978-1868. Feuer emphasized that wage theft victims may report to his office anonymously.

Deputy City Attorneys Ben Delfin and Miguel Bahamon of Feuer’s Affirmative Litigation Unit are handling the litigation.

 

 

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May 102017
 

FBI Director James Comey FIRED

James Comey who is widely blamed for the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the last election was fired by the man he helped to win. The President’s gratitude lasted 110 days even though – according to President Trump! – Comey reassured him on three separate occasions that he (Trump personally) wasn’t a suspect in the Russian meddling investigation. (Why did the former FBI director go so far out of his way to disclose information pertaining to an on-going investigation?)

Rumor has it that President Trump couldn’t wait for the investigation of his campaign aides’ and his administration members’ alleged ties to Russia to be concluded. There could have been other reasons. One of them may be that during the latest hearing Comey dismissed President Trump’s accusation that President Obama wire-tapped phones in the Trump Tower. Another, that Director Comey recently asked for more funding for the investigation of a possible collusion between Trump campaign aides / administration members and Russia which has given the appearance of a too detailed investigation.

The President’s decision to fire the FBI’s director caused uproar: Democrats as well as many Republicans are alarmed. Many perceive the sudden firing as an attempt to stop the investigation. Others speak of it as a Nixonian move.

Not surprisingly, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is calling for a special prosecutor, independent from the current administration, to continue the investigation. His feelings are affirmed by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) who stated: “At this point, no one in Trump’s chain of command can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation”.

The latest development is nothing short of shocking. Alleged recommendations by the Trump administration’s members to fire the FBI director aside, the firing raises many concerns. Why fire a person who could have potentially cleared the Trump campaign and White House from alleged involvement with Russia? Why thank a person “ineffective” in his job in the termination letter? (One wonders whether Comey was “ineffective” or inconvenient.)

FBI Director, James Comey was on a visit to Los Angeles at the time and learned that he’s been fired from a TV set. He left Los Angeles in haste without completing his visit’s itinerary.

White House isn’t Apprentice. “You are fired.” was a funny phrase on a TV show. Firing the FBI director in charge of investigating allegations of collusion between Trump campaign aides / administration members and Russia isn’t. It gives the unsavory impression that the Commander-In-Chief is trying to interfere with an on-going investigation, delegate it to a more of a “yes man” as opposed to an objective investigator; or sweep the matter under the rug, altogether. How expedient and how UNPRESIDENTIAL!

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Above the law?

★★★★★
5 5 1
Today - after several more explanations from the President - I'm still scratching my head. How is it legal to fire the person in charge of investigation that has direct impact on the presidency? Let's say I'll get stopped by speeding. Is it OK now for me to fire the officer who stopped me? Based on the actions of the President, I'm assuming it should be. Right?
May 092017
 
Star-Studded 50th Anniversary Celebration At Ahmanson

Annette Bening and Alfred Molina in “The Cherry Orchard” at the Mark Taper Forum. Bening and Molina will participate in Center Theatre Group’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the Ahmanson Theatre. For more information, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/50thCelebration. Center photo by Craig Schwartz.

 

MATTHEW BRODERICK, TYNE DALY, KEITH DAVID, LOUIS GOSSETT JR.,

THOMAS SADOSKI, JIMMY SMITS AND MORE JOIN

ANNETTE BENING, SIR MATTHEW BOURNE, ALFRED MOLINA,

EDWARD JAMES OLMOS AND PHYLICIA RASHAD

FOR CENTER THEATRE GROUP’S STAR-STUDDED

5OTH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION PERFORMANCE

One-Night-Only Production to Take Place on Saturday, May 20th 2017 at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre

 

Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group, announced today that Matthew Broderick, Tyne Daly, Louis Gossett Jr., Thomas Sadoski, Jimmy Smits, René Auberjonois, Jon Robin Baitz, Bill Cain, Anthony Crivello, Culture Clash, Merle Dandridge, Tim Dang, Keith David, Shaila Essley, Davis Gaines, Harry Groener, Clint Holmes, David Henry Hwang, Gregory Itzin, Dale Kristien, Doug LaBrecque, Tzi Ma, Alan Mandell, Dakin Matthews, Christina Saffran, Benjamin Schrader, Shoshannah Stern, Lisa Vroman, Ed Waterstreet and Aryana Williams are set to take the stage at Center Theatre Group’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, Co-Chaired by Chairman of NBC Entertainment and Center Theatre Group board member Robert Greenblatt and fellow Center Theatre Group board member Sue Tsao.

The lauded group joins previously announced Center Theatre Group alums Annette Bening, Sir Matthew Bourne, Alfred Molina, Edward James Olmos and Phylicia Rashad for the one-night-only production from writer, director and producer Robert Egan. The performance will draw from the many landmark productions that have been brought to life on Center Theatre Group’s stages, as well as its continuing role in creating new work and helping to define the role of theatre both in Los Angeles and beyond.

Center Theatre Group has welcomed to its stages some of today’s biggest stars, including Matthew Broderick, Sterling K. Brown, Viola Davis, Jane Fonda, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Al Pacino, Chris Pine, Denzel Washington and more.

For more information about Center Theatre Group’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, please visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org/50thCelebration.

 

 

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May 082017
 

Democracy Wins: Vive La France!

France elected Emmanuel Macron with nearly 2/3 of the vote. At 39, Macron will be the youngest French head of state since Napoleon.

Emmanuel Macron – who held the office of Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs – has been described as a social democrat and a social liberal, but he is mainly a centrist. He stands for a free economy, European Union and environment; he is pro-immigration and against President Trump’s proposed “wall”.

Even though only 74% of French citizens turned out to vote (by comparison 60% eligible voters voted in our 2016 presidential elections) the French commitment to human rights, progress and tolerance prevailed.

Macron’s rival, Marion Le Pen representing the French extreme right and espousing similar views to those of President Trump, earned 1/3 of the vote. In the first gesture following his victory, Macron reached out to her supporters and pledged to work to unite the nation.

All in all: France won. France didn’t abandon the principles of its Republic: Vive La France! German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, referred to Macron’s win as a “victory for a strong, united Europe”.

With the notable exception of the United Kingdom’s prime minister, Theresa May a conservative hardliner who is leading Brexit, other recent European elections prove that Europe is still a pillar of democracy.

 

 

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May 062017
 

$10,000 Award for Emerging L.A. Theatre Artists

 

CENTER THEATRE GROUP NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS
FOR THE 2018 RICHARD E. SHERWOOD AWARD

June 5th is the Deadline to Apply for $10,000 Award for Emerging L.A. Theatre Artists

 

Center Theatre Group is now accepting submissions for the 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award. The deadline to submit an application is June 5th 2017, at 11:59 p.m.

The Sherwood Award is an annual $10,000 prize that supports innovative and adventurous theatre artists and engages them in a professional relationship with Center Theatre Group. The award is presented each year at the Ovation Awards ceremony produced by LA Stage Alliance. Two additional finalists will each receive a $2,000 honorarium.

Center Theatre Group invites individual emerging artists to submit an application if they have resided in Los Angeles for at least two years and have developed or collaborated in at least two fully produced projects in Los Angeles. Sherwood awardees demonstrate leadership qualities, push existing boundaries and are dedicated to improving the future of their respective artistic fields. Artists are not limited by title, role or genre, but they must have a relationship to contemporary performance rooted in theatre.

Center Theatre Group will also offer two information sessions to prospective applicants on Saturday, May 13 at 11 a.m. (must RSVP by Wednesday, May 10) and Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. (must RSVP by Thursday, May 18). To RSVP or to receive more information about the sessions, please email Sherwood@CTGLA.org. Both sessions will be held at The Music Center Annex building, 601 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Created in memory of Richard E. Sherwood, the $10,000 award aims to cultivate emerging theatre artists working in Los Angeles who push formal and aesthetic boundaries and demonstrate dedication to improving their respective artistic fields. Richard E. Sherwood was a patron of the arts with a special appreciation for emerging artists who are in the vanguard of theatre. He was president and then chairman of the Center Theatre Group Board of Directors from 1980 until his passing in 1993. The award is established as an endowed fund at Center Theatre Group by his family, friends, colleagues and fellow board members to honor Sherwood’s passionate commitment to theatre.

Past recipients of the Richard E. Sherwood Award include lighting designer Pablo Santiago, Miwa Matreyek of Cloud Eye Control, Sean Cawelti of Rogue Artists Ensemble, Miranda Wright of Los Angeles Performance Practice, Lars Jan of Early Morning Opera, lighting designer Christopher Kuhl and costume designer Ann Closs-Farley, among others.

For more information about the Richard E. Sherwood Award, please visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org/Sherwood.

For questions or concerns about the application process or to RSVP to the information sessions, please contact Sherwood@CTGLA.org.

 

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May 052017
 

Religious Liberty Executive Order

As a presidential candidate Mr. Trump promised to relax the restrictions on political expression by religious organizations defined by the Johnson Amendment, today he – sort of – kept the promise and signed “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” executive order.

Still, the executive order alone, without Congressional approval, does not repeal the Johnson amendment and doesn’t affect in any way the existing rule which prevents religious organizations from endorsing political candidates. Politically, the executive order is largely a gesture without a major impact other than permitting the IRS not to penalize religious organizations for political activities or speeches.

Like many other actions of President Trump’s administration however the executive order has the power to cause harm. It will negatively affect women (as it enables corporations to deny women access to no-cost contraception). It violates the separation of church and state. Furthermore, the President’s executive order isn’t an order on religious liberty or free speech but political liberty within religious organizations which may have dire consequences. Religion always was the glue that held us together, it united us. The latest executive order will lead to divisiveness within religious institutions and will greatly diminish their moral authority.

What’s next? Are we going to sit in separate pews? Go to either a Republican or Democratic church?………..

In the opinion of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti:

“The freedoms enshrined in our Constitution should be revered by all Americans, and the right to worship freely is inseparable from who we are as a people. But there is a clear difference between principles that unite us and politics that divide us. The executive order signed today by the President opens the door to a day when bigotry can be more easily disguised and protected under the cover of religious liberty. That should concern everyone who cherishes the idea that all people have dignity and deserve equal treatment.”

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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