Jun 302017
 
Summer Night Lights Are On

Mayor Garcetti kicking off the 10th Summer of Summer Night Lights in South Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of LA Mayor’s office.

 

“Summer Night Lights” Kicks Off 10th Year of Providing Fun, Safe Spaces for Young People and Families

 

Mayor Eric Garcetti kicked off the 10th consecutive year of Summer Night Lights (SNL), a landmark program that keeps parks and recreation centers open late to provide young people and families with safe, fun gathering spaces during the summer months.

Hundreds of Angelenos joined the Mayor, Councilmember Curren Price, police and fire officials, and SNL supporters for the evening celebration at Ross Snyder Recreation Center in South L.A.

“Every family in Los Angeles deserves safe places to spend time together, have fun with their neighbors, find new opportunities and resources, and create strong relationships with the people who serve them,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Summer Night Lights has made all of that possible for countless Angelenos over an incredible decade of success, and created a model for building stronger communities in cities across America.”

SNL is a signature initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) — offering free food and activities at 32 City parks, and connecting young people and families with job opportunities and other resources. The program also aims to help reduce crime and violence during the summer months.

In 2007, then-Councilmember Garcetti founded ‘At the Park After Dark’ in response to a fatal shooting near a local park. The following year the program was expanded across the City as Summer Night Lights.

SNL is an essential component of the comprehensive GRYD strategy, which includes gang prevention, gang intervention, violence interruption, community engagement, and juvenile gang reentry programs.

Mayor Garcetti has expanded GRYD services, bringing both prevention and intervention work to every GRYD zone for the first time. A 2016 evaluation report found that 83.4% of GRYD clients decreased their risk of gang joining overall; and a new study by researchers at Cal State L.A. and UCLA found that GRYD intervention work prevented 185 gang-related violent crimes across L.A. over a two-year period — including an estimated 10 fewer homicides,175 fewer aggravated assaults, and 43.2 percent fewer gang retaliations.

Since 2008, there have been more than 5.6 million SNL site visits for activities ranging from healthy cooking classes and sports leagues, to dance and art workshops.

The program works to directly re-invest in Angelenos most affected by unemployment by creating a broad range of local job opportunities. In 2017, SNL will employ over 850 Angelenos of all ages — including 352 young people. Members of the Youth Squad receive training in everything from community organizing and outreach, to how to spot the signs of human trafficking and provide trauma-informed services.

On top of the free meals, entertainment, sports, and art activities, SNL sites will have booths with information on educational and job opportunities for young people, resources for families experiencing domestic violence, and more.

The generous support of foundation and corporate donors pays for about half the program’s cost, demonstrating the effectiveness of the public-private partnership. SNL program partners include LAPD, Department of Recreation and Parks, Department of Cultural Affairs, the Hungry Hog & Starving Steer, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and Los Angeles area professional sports teams, among others.

The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles (MFLA), an organization that brings together private, philanthropic, non-profit, and government resources to sponsor programs, works closely with the GRYD Foundation to partner with private donors for the SNL program. Donors to the 2017 SNL Programming include the Walt Disney Company, the Weingart Foundation, Katie McGrath & the J.J. Abrams Family Foundation, the LA Dodgers Foundation, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, LA84, and the Eisner Foundation.

SNL will run from 7 p.m.-11 p.m., June 28-August 5 and August 11-August 25 at the following locations:

  • 109th Street Recreation Center
  • Algin Sutton Recreation Center
  • Costello Recreation Center
  • Cypress Park Recreation Center
  • Delano Recreation Center
  • El Sereno Recreation Center
  • Glassell Park Recreation Center
  • Green Meadows Recreation Center
  • Highland Park Recreation Center
  • Hubert Humphrey Recreation Center
  • Imperial Courts Recreation Center
  • Jackie Tatum Harvard Recreation Center
  • Jim Gilliam Recreation Center
  • Lanark Recreation Center
  • Lemon Grove Recreation Center
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center
  • Montecito Heights Recreation Center
  • Mount Carmel Recreation Center
  • Nickerson Gardens Recreation Center
  • Normandale Recreation Center
  • Normandie Recreation Center
  • Ramon Garcia Recreation Center
  • Ramona Gardens Recreation Center
  • Ross Snyder Recreation Center
  • Sepulveda Recreation Center
  • Slauson Recreation Center
  • South Park Recreation Center
  • Sun Valley Recreation Center
  • Toberman Recreation Center
  • Valley Plaza Recreation Center
  • Van Ness Recreation Center
  • Wilmington Recreation Center

For more information, please visit http://grydfoundation.org/programs/summer-night-lights/.

 

 

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Jun 292017
 
L.A. Record Rooftop Solar

Mayor Garcetti Announces Completion of the World’s Most Powerful Rooftop Solar Project. Photo courtesy of LA Mayor’s office.

 

Mayor Garcetti Announces Completion of the World’s Most Powerful Rooftop Solar Project

 

Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to celebrate the completion of a historic rooftop solar project that will generate enough renewable energy to power nearly 5,000 homes.

The 16.4 Megawatt (DC) Westmont Solar Energy Project in San Pedro will produce more than 28 million Kilowatt-hours of electricity every year, making it the most powerful rooftop solar project in the world.

“We are putting sustainability at the center of everything we do in Los Angeles — and that means investing boldly to expand the use of local solar and renewable energy,” said Mayor Garcetti. “While Washington buries its head in the sand, we are carrying the fight against climate change forward in our city, and the Westmont Solar Energy Project is strong evidence of our commitment to a sustainable future.”

The project is part of Los Angeles’ rooftop solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program, the largest of its kind in America. The FiT program enables the owners of large buildings to install solar panels on their roofs, and sell the power they generate back to LADWP for distribution into the power grid.

“Our goal is to create a clean energy future for Los Angeles and solar is a big part of our strategy,” LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said. “Along with helping spur the clean energy economy in Los Angeles and meeting renewable energy goals, the expansion of local solar builds more resiliency and reliability into the power grid. Local solar systems are like mini power plants that generate power right where it is being used, saving on transmission costs and taking advantage of the city’s abundant sunshine to help meet electrical demand.”

The Westmont project includes more than 50,000 solar panels, covering 50 acres of roof space. It ranks second in size only to the solar project at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino — though Westmont’s highly efficient solar panels and unique roof design will enable it to surpass that project in total power generation.

The project advances several of the goals outlined in Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn, including the expansion of renewable energy use and eliminating the use of coal power.

The new solar project was developed by PermaCity Solar, together with building owner BlackRock and financial partners True Green Capital and GAF. Through a partnership with EmPower America, the country’s first Veteran Workforce Development Organization, the project trained 50 veterans in project management, roofing, and electrical skills. Through its program, EmPower has trained and employed more than 25,000 veterans in return for tax benefits.

“The way this project came together — its design, the installation and the financing — satisfies everybody,” said Jonathan Port, CEO of PermaCity Solar. “The workers get high pay, the owner gets a new roof, and the City gets the power. It’s nice when we can make all that happen.”

The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) was also a critical partner on the project.

“California has led the way in demonstrating that climate change policy and economic growth aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Mary Leslie, LABC president. “With the Westmont opening, we are once again distinguishing ourselves as national leaders capitalizing on the economic promise the FiT program has to offer.”

To learn more about solar FiT projects in Los Angeles, visit www.ladwp.com/fit.

 

 

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Jun 272017
 

Carl’s Jr. Underpays Employees

 

CITY OF LOS ANGELES SEEKS $1.45 MILLION IN RESTITUTION, PENALTIES FROM CARL’S Jr. RESTAURANTS FOR ALLEGEDLY FAILING TO PAY L.A. WORKERS MINIMUM WAGE

City Attorney Mike Feuer and City’s Office of Wage Standards Join to Protect Workers

 

City Attorney Mike Feuer and the City’s Office of Wage Standards announced that the City has taken action against Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC, demanding the company pay $1.45 million in restitution and penalties for repeatedly failing to pay dozens of workers at multiple Los Angeles locations the City’s minimum wage.

“L.A. law is clear: employees must be paid at least the minimum wage. Anything less is a slap in the face to workers struggling to make ends meet. This is a major corporation that should know the rules,” said Feuer. “Our offices will always aggressively stand up for workers to ensure they get the wages they’re owed, and all the protections and benefits the law demands.”

“The minimum wage is a legally established threshold below which employers may not venture to pay their workers,” said John Reamer, Inspector of Public Works and head of the Bureau of Contract Administration. “The minimum wage was established to ensure economic equity and opportunity, and the Office of Wage Standards will continue to partner with the City Attorney to regulate and enforce compliance with the law.”

Following a report from a Carl’s Jr. employee, L.A.’s Office of Wage Standards (OWS) (in the Bureau of Contract Administration) launched an investigation in coordination with the City Attorney’s Office. As a result of the investigation into the company’s financial records, it is alleged that Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC failed to pay 37 employees the Los Angeles minimum wage of $10.50 per hour from July 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. In addition, the City cited the company for allegedly failing to post the notice of the current minimum wage rate, sick time benefits and employee rights required under the City’s Minimum Wage Ordinance at two Los Angeles locations.

The City is demanding the company pay $910,010 in penalties to the 37 employees identified by OWS investigators no later than July 24, 2017. (The funds are to be delivered to and distributed by the OWS to impacted employees.) The City is seeking an additional $541,423 in penalties and fines for allegedly: violating the City’s minimum wage law, failing to post the required notice and failing to provide investigators access to interview employees at two locations.

Failure to make payments could result in a civil action. Additionally, a lien could be placed against any property owned or operated by an employer who fails to pay wages, penalties, and administrative fines calculated by the City Attorney’s Office.

Deputy City Attorney Alexander Freedman and Dania Minassian are assigned to the matter.

 

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Jun 252017
 

Remembering Otto Warmbier

22 years old Otto Warmbier has died only days after being returned to the United States by North Korea.

The University of Virginia student – on his way to Hong Kong for a study-abroad program – used the days before the program was to start for a brief tour of North Korea. As he was about to depart North Korea, he was arrested at the airport and charged with allegedly stealing a political poster from his Pyongyang hotel room. In the court, the alleged theft of a propaganda poster became “hostile acts against the state”. In spite of his tearful “confession”, Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor.

Then only 21, in a strange land, without any contact with his family, Otto was locked up in a North Korean prison. No one knows what transpired behind the walls.

In May of this year, United States officials were notified by North Korea – in an emergency meeting the North Koreans requested – that Otto Warmbier has been in a coma for a year. In official explanation, Warmbier’s condition was blamed on botulism which he allegedly contracted in prison.

On June 13th, Otto returned to Cincinnati, Ohio. His family and a medical team greeted him at the airport, he was unresponsive. Warmbier arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in a state described by doctors as “unresponsive wakefulness”. From the moment the plane landed in the U.S. Otto couldn’t see, hear, move or respond.

Less than one week after his return to Ohio Otto Warmbier has died. The exact cause of his coma and eventually, death isn’t known. Botulism was excluded. It was discovered that a significant amount of Otto’s brain tissue was missing. Otto’s family is devastated.

Following Otto Warmbier’s passing, President Donald Trump said in a statement: “Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing. There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto’s family and friends, and all who loved him.”

In the aftermath of Otto Warmbier’s death, the Trump administration considers banning – or restricting – travel to North Korea.

*

No one knows what really transpired during Warmbier’s stay in North Korea.

Did Otto steal a propaganda poster as the North Koreans allege or not? Assuming that he did, how can a theft of a poster (wall art!) be interpreted as “hostile acts against the state”? Again, assuming that he stole a poster, charging him for the cost of replacement would make sense. Issuing a financial penalty would be justified. Calling an alleged theft of property “hostile acts against the state” isn’t. “Punishing” an alleged – or even actual – theft of a poster with 15 years of prison and hard labor isn’t, either.

Warmbier’s tearful court “confession” speaks volumes of the treatment he was subjected to. One can only imagine what happened after the sentence was handed down, what kind of treatment sent the young, intelligent and healthy man into a coma….

Otto Warmbier represented the best of American youth. He was the captain of his high-school soccer team and a homecoming king. Passionate about economics and rap music, he had a penchant for thrift store shopping. He had spunk and zest for life. Thousands turned up to honor his memory and celebrate his life. It wasn’t his time to die.

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

 

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Jun 242017
 
Grand In Downtown Los Angeles

Photo copyright AC Martin

The Wilshire Grand Center has opened in Downtown Los Angeles, setting records. The 73-story building at 1,100 feet high is the tallest building west of the Mississippi and 9th tallest in the entire United States! Yes, there is more! The spectacular roofline of the new building is designed to reflect the shape of the Half Dome rock formation in Yosemite National Park. (The building is one of very few high-rise structures in DTLA without the mandatory flat roof providing helipad.) Another striking characteristic of the Wilshire Grand Center are its millions of programmable LED lights. So is its cost: $1.2 billion.

Grand In Downtown Los Angeles

Photo copyright AC Martin

Here in Los Angeles where we’re all concerned with the possibility of a major earthquake, one has to wonder about the safety of a building as tall as the Wilshire Grand Center. Well, it is supposedly safer than our one family homes. The specifics are actually quite stunning, you can read more about them here.

The spectacular skyscraper, a new landmark in Downtown L.A., is the brainchild a Korean businessman Yang Ho Cho, 68, a chairman of Hanjin Group (the owner of Wilshire Grand Center) whose father Choong Hoon Cho founded the Hanjin conglomerate. The lead designer of the project is David C. Martin.

Grand In Downtown Los Angeles

Photo copyright AC Martin

To paraphrase the owner, The Wilshire Grand Center is an upscale world-class 73-story skyscraper in the heart of Downtown, Los Angeles. Wilshire Grand Center boasts not only the 900-room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel, but also cutting edge restaurants, business spaces, and attractive nightlife offerings. It is the tallest structure in the Los Angeles skyline and it will contribute to the rich cultural and economic revival of Downtown.

Wilshire Grand Building
900 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, California
Phone: (213) 550-1878
Website: www.wilshiregrandcenter.com

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

 

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Jun 232017
 

L.A. Justice Fund

Mayor Garcetti on the City of Los Angeles’ $2 Million Share of the L.A. Justice Fund

“Immigrants do not stand alone in Los Angeles, and this City is bound to the American values of equal justice and due process. Today’s City Council vote makes possible the allocation of our $2 million share of the L.A. Justice Fund, an extraordinary public-private partnership. But the L.A. Justice Fund is about more than dollars — it means that more Angelenos will have legal protection, more families will stay whole, and more people will be able to build lives with the people they love, in the country they chose.” — Mayor Eric Garcetti

Members of the City Council also shared statements of support for the L.A. Justice Fund:

“I’d like to thank my colleagues for approving the L.A. Justice Fund and for making it a priority in our budget. The fund falls in line with the Mayor’s efforts to defend Los Angeles and the council’s commitment to defend all its residents, regardless of immigration status. At the core of our democratic system is the belief that every person has the right to due process. The L.A. Justice Fund expands that right to more Angelenos, increasing their odds of prevailing in removal proceedings.” — Councilmember Gil Cedillo, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Immigrant Affairs and Civil Rights

“Our commitment will help protect vulnerable members of our community who currently live in fear of deportation and uncertainty about their future. We’re taking the necessary steps to ensure that the fund upholds the guidelines we’ve set forward and rightfully provides the vital aid and representation our immigrant communities need in order to keep families together.” — Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee

“In a nation founded by immigrants, we are a city of immigrants. The City of Los Angeles’ diversity defines us as Angelenos — it is, more than anything else, the heart and soul of what makes our City so unique. As we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, we are also assisting the immigrants among us to defend themselves against a federal government that seems focused on divisive rhetoric instead of inclusive dialogue and dividing families instead of bringing them and America together. We hope for a better day. We will work for a better day. In the meantime, we will do all we can to protect the most vulnerable among us.” — Councilmember José Huizar.

The L.A. Justice Fund, led by Mayor Garcetti, is a $10 million public-private partnership to assist immigrants who are facing deportation proceedings without legal counsel. The City of Los Angeles’ $2 million share of the fund, which the Mayor first announced in December 2016, received final City Council approval today. Other partners include the County of Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs has issued a Community Resource Guide for Immigrant Angelenos that includes comprehensive know-your-rights information and resources, including contact information for legal service providers and community organizations. The guide can be downloaded in English and Spanish at lamayor.org/KnowYourRights.

In March, Mayor Garcetti signed the twentieth executive directive of his administration, “Standing with Immigrants: A City of Safety, Refuge, and Opportunity for All.” It ensures that L.A.’s public servants stay focused on protecting people, serving communities, and saving lives — not inquiring about immigration status or engaging in federal civil immigration enforcement. The directive expands longstanding LAPD policies on immigration enforcement to Airport police, Port police and firefighters — and prohibits all city employees from using public facilities or resources to assist or cooperate with federal civil immigration enforcement. It also requires that every city facility and service be made available to all Angelenos without regard to citizenship or immigration status, and orders protections on the confidentiality of information submitted by residents who enroll in city programs and services, unless required by law.

 

 

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Jun 232017
 

Dangerous Construction Debris Company Brought To A Halt

 

CITY ATTORNEY FEUER SECURES INJUNCTION AGAINST OPERATORS OF DANGEROUS BOYLE HEIGHTS CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS COMPANY

Operation was the Site of a 25-Foot High Pile of Construction Debris that Caught Fire and Smoldered for Six Weeks

 

City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office has successfully secured an injunction prohibiting further operation at a construction and demolition debris company in Boyle Heights that allowed an 11-million ton mountain of flammable materials to pile up to 25 feet high, catching fire and smoldering for six weeks. The site, the epicenter of multiple fires, required numerous City resources to contain.

“The injunction we’ve secured is a positive first step toward cleaning up this incredibly perilous fire hazard,” said Feuer. “The dangerous conditions at this facility posed a daily threat to residents, businesses and employees in this Boyle Heights neighborhood.”

The injunction approved by the court prohibits Clean Up America Inc., and its operators at 2900 East Lugo Street in Boyle Heights from hauling debris to the property or allowing additional debris to be placed on site. The defendants were also ordered to immediately establish accessible fire lanes as determined by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Further hearings are scheduled for June 30, 2017, to finalize the court’s order and ensure the facility is in full compliance with State, County and City fire and life safety laws. The City Attorney will also seek full restitution to LAFD and to the Department of Public Works, Sanitation Bureau for the cost of removing thousands of tons of debris during the 2016 fire abatement as well as all investigative costs.

The civil lawsuit alleges that over a period of two years, Clean Up America Inc. failed to sort and remove debris within its required 15 day period and instead allowed incoming debris to be piled on top of already existing debris. As a result, an 11-million ton mountain of construction debris was created measuring 250 feet wide by 250 feet long and more than 25 feet high. On September 18, 2016, three weeks after being ordered by regulators to stop accepting incoming material and remove all refuse from the site, the refuse caught fire and smoldered for over six weeks. Its immense size left no room for fire access lanes, hampering LAFDs ability to quickly put out the fire.

Clean Up America Inc. continued to bring debris to the facility despite repeated orders from regulators to stop.

Deputy City Attorney Jessica Brown and Deputy City Attorney Juliann Anderson are handling this litigation.

 

 

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Jun 212017
 

Cocaine Dealing At Day Care Stopped

 

CITY ATTORNEY MIKE FEUER SEEKS INJUNCTION AGAINST OWNERS OF HIGHLAND PARK HOME ALLEGEDLY DEALING COCAINE WHILE OPERATING UNLICENSED DAY CARE CENTER

 

City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office, in partnership with LA IMPACT, has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the owners of a Highland Park home where, allegedly, large scale cocaine sales take place and an unlicensed childcare business is being operated. Within the past month, more than 20 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated $430,000 in wholesale value were recovered at the property.

“The rampant drug activity we allege at this home is a dangerous blight on the community—and especially alarming because little kids are caught up in the middle of it. Imagine if your children were being cared for in the same house where cocaine was being sold,” said Feuer. “My office will do everything in our power to shut down what we allege is an incredibly toxic combination of illegal drugs and day care.”

The lawsuit names Felipe Talamante and Garcia Talamante, the owners of a multi-unit residential property located at 5215 Marmion Way in Northeast Los Angeles. For at least the past two years the property allegedly has been known by law enforcement as a site for the distribution of narcotics and heavily frequented by drug users and buyers. The location allegedly is also being used as an unlicensed child care center for children between two and seven years old and is located within 900 feet of Monte Vista Elementary School.

In 2015 a search warrant was executed on the property, resulting in the arrest of defendant Felipe Talamante and the recovery of 20 kilograms of cocaine. In May 2017, a second search warrant was served resulting in the recovery of an additional 20 kilograms of cocaine as well as two rocks of cocaine and digital sales. Defendant Felipe Talamante was again taken into custody for narcotics sales and child endangerment.

The City Attorney’s lawsuit alleges: Investigators observed children being dropped off at the home throughout the day as part of an illegal day care business and numerous children were observed playing on the patio where criminal activity was taking place. The recovered cocaine was found in the same room with a child size mattress where the children would allegedly nap.

The lawsuit seeks the closure of the property and monetary penalties, costs of the law enforcement investigation and attorney’s fees. The City Attorney will also seek a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to shut down the illegal day care center.

Inaugurated in July 1991, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (L.A. IMPACT) is the brainchild of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association. The task force is a compilation of numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County whose primary focus is to investigate major crimes, with an emphasis on dismantling mid to major level drug trafficking organizations.

Since July, 2013, City Attorney Feuer has expanded his Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program and has filed 86 abatement lawsuits and obtained 89 injunctions requiring comprehensive physical and managerial improvements to nuisance properties. In this same time period, the office has successfully secured the closure of seven gang/narcotics locations and recovered $1.25 million in costs and fees. Feuer also recently established an easy-to-use online method through which residents may report properties with gang and / or narcotics activity in their neighborhoods. He’s asking residents to report these properties by calling his office at (213) 978-8340 or visiting the City Attorney’s website: www.lacityattorney.org. All reports may be made anonymously.

 

 

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Jun 172017
 

Bill Cosby Mistrial

After several attempts, the jurors in the Bill Cosby trial failed to reach a unanimous decision forcing Norristown (Pennsylvania) judge O’Neill to declare a mistrial. The jury consisted of five women and seven men (four white women, six white men, one black woman and one black man).

Cosby was facing three charges of aggravated indecent assault in a case brought forth by one accuser, Andrea Constand. Dozens of women whose encounters with Bill Cosby were past the Statute of Limitations and could not be prosecuted, reported extremely similar rape methods used by the entertainer. Cosby lured the women he wanted to have sex with into one-on-one meetings, offered them drinks and drugged them. (In a prior civil deposition, Bill Cosby admitted that he obtained Quaaludes, a powerful hypnotic drug, to give it to women with whom he intended to have sex. Incidentally, an overdose of Quaaludes can cause coma and death.) Most of the women accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct reported losing control over their bodies, losing their ability to speak and waking up later, raped.

Immediately after the mistrial was declared, clearly relieved Bill Cosby thanked the jury and wished all fathers Happy Father’s Day. His wife Camille vented her anger at the judge, prosecutors and media in a statement read by Cosby’s spokeswoman.

The prosecutors announced that the case will be retried. Gloria Allred, the attorney representing many of Bill Cosby’s accusers, said she hopes that at the next trial the court will allow other women harmed by Cosby in the past to testify.

Andrea Constand – who was raped by Cosby – and her mother, Gianna Constand – to whom Cosby apologized for the rape of her daughter and offered to make amends by paying for Andrea’s education – were unmoved by the mistrial.

*

Here is our take: women don’t talk about being raped. There is a huge social and self-imposed stigma accompanying rape. Being raped is perceived as a failure and a loss. Rape victims are often blamed for being raped. Rape victims are often seen as “damaged goods”. Most cases of rape are not reported. The prosecution of rape cases is rarely successful.

Here are statistics on rape in the United States provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

According to various sources 1 in 3 women has been – or is – sexually harassed at work. A women promoted by her rapist will not report the rape…. (Why are we mentioning sexual harassment? Most of Bill Cosby’s accusers were lured into uncomfortable situations with him by career / business-related promises.)

Just to be clear, like the majority of Americans I too used to be a Bill Cosby fan. I didn’t want to believe that the symbol of American fatherhood could be a rapist. Still, if over 50 women came forward (permanently destroying their reputations!) and accused Bill Cosby of rape, Statute of Limitations aside: Bill Cosby is a rapist. (Over 50 women were brave enough to come forward, one wonders how many other women didn’t come forward!)

Bill Cosby is a terrific actor who made us all believe that he is a great man. As a human being, Bill Cosby is a predator who used his celebrity and power for sexual gratification assuming that his status as “America’s Favorite Dad” will keep him immune from prosecution. So far he’s been right. In the court of public opinion however – especially, female public opinion! – there is no doubt. His social / financial status, age and disabilities are NOT mitigating circumstances in a case of rape.

Cosby’s own past admission that he obtained Quaaludes to get “his way” with women of his choice confirms that all his accusers’ accounts of their experiences with Cosby are TRUTHFUL.

A mistrial? Give me a break! Even Fox News cleaned the house and got rid of Bill O’Reilly and his former boss Roger Ailes! Either some member of the Norristown jury is a major Bill Cosby fan, really needed money or is a rape-denier. Don’t believe me? Ask ANY woman!

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

 

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Jun 162017
 

A Dreamer Detained

Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, a 19-year-old high school student in Ossining, N.Y., was detained and is scheduled for deportation to his native Ecuador. His arrest took place one day after the arrest of his mother who brought him here illegally while he was still a minor two years ago.

Puma Macancela was arrested on the day of his prom and just days before his high school graduation ceremony.

The arrest of Puma Macancela, a successful student who also held two jobs: one at the local McDonalds and another at a restaurant, was followed by a wave of support. His high school, community, relatives, immigration activists, immigration lawyers, Washington politicians and nearly 20,000 people Online support his cause.

Lawyers representing Puma Macancela have filed for a stay of removal. They also asked that authorities grant him one more year in the United States so he could finish high school and become a certified mechanic.

Puma Macancela didn’t break any law. Even his “illegal” presence in the United States isn’t his fault: he was brought here by his mother as a minor. The mother – in spite of the family’s financial hardship – tried to establish their legal status in America: she lost her fight for asylum, didn’t fail to pursue it. (She was financially unable to continue the fight.) The kid is obviously a champion, being able to catch up with high school curriculum in a foreign to him language and graduating on time… (How many American kids can you think of who could compete with Puma Macancela?….)

Long story short, Puma didn’t do anything wrong. He has done plenty right. He didn’t – and doesn’t – pose a threat to America or Americans. One has to wonder how he made ICE’s priority for removal list. (Didn’t President Trump emphasize that “murderers and rapists” are priority for deportation? Didn’t President Trump express his support for “Dreamers”?)

We don’t have a horse in this race. But it seems wrong that in the Country created by illegal immigrants (the Pilgrims!), the Country where we made ourselves legal, others are denied this opportunity. That in the Country built on achievement and overcoming, an achiever is prosecuted.

We may not know the details of the current immigration law, but we know history and that’s why we thought that it might be appropriate to reprint a statement released by Anne Frank Center For Mutual Respect – a statement by its executive director, Steven Goldstein – on Facebook the other day. (Incidentally, we don’t understand the words in Hebrew: we are not Jewish, just human.)

*

“Tonight, we honor the memory of Anne Frank with the Statue of Liberty nearly in our grasp. We are among the blessed ones, and Anne Frank was not.

Twice on the eve of the Holocaust, the United States denied the Frank family’s application to immigrate to the United States. Again and again, America said no to Jewish refugees, as our government proposes to say no to refugees today.

Now wait. No one is comparing any policies today to the Shoah, a singular atrocity in human history. Am Yisrael Chai.

But we cannot ignore the parallels between pre-Holocaust Europe, and developments in the contemporary world.

The spiraling stages begin with demonization. Second, discrimination. Third, isolation. And unless we stop the spiral, well, that fourth and final step.

Just as you wouldn’t want a doctor to wait until stage four to diagnose cancer, you wouldn’t want an organization like ours to wait until stage four of inhumanity – genocide – to warn America of the potential worst.

When there is an 86 percent increase in Antisemitism in America in 2017, never again to the Jewish people!

When our government proposes an unconstitutional ban on refugees, never again to Muslim people!

When our government does nothing to stop the genocide of a million Nigerians by Boko Haram, never again to African people!

When our government stands idly by the emerging genocide of gay men in Chechnya, never again to LGBT people!

When our government sells arms to nations that view women as the property of men, never again to women everywhere!

In the Talmud, Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?”

Who are we if we turn away vulnerable refugees fighting for their lives?

Who are we if we slam the door on the immigrants who made America great in the first place?

At the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, we don’t see illegal aliens.
We see human beings.
And behind every human being, we see a history.

That’s why we’re the leading the way in fighting for mandatory genocide education in all 50 states.

That’s why we work with Congress to overhaul a federal hate crimes system that doesn’t come close to protecting the oppressed.

And that’s why we have a rapid response system to go into communities ravaged by acts of prejudice to help those communities heal.

We respond immediately. Why? When you wait to condemn hate, you normalize its fate!

Friends, we will not allow America to be pushed off the moral cliff.
Who will stand up for the 4th grader in Arizona targeted by U.S. Immigration just because she was born elsewhere? We will!
Who will stand up for the Syrian grandmother detained at JFK simply because of her faith? We will!
And who will call out our government when it propagates fear of the vulnerable and hate of the oppressed? We will!

If we are to honor the legacy of Anne Frank, we must see the choices before us, and the moral choices to make.
The moral choice insists…
L’olam lo od, never again in Hebrew!
Layees-sah moo-jah-dah-daan, never again in Arabic!
Aylevs yerpek, never again in Armenian!
Bo-le-sheh nikog-da, never again in Russian – and Chechen!
In the universal language of love, we proclaim Never Again to anyone…
with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you, and God bless.”

*

Just something to think about. We were wrong before. If we weren’t, no one would know Anne Frank’s name. It wasn’t supposed to be Republicans vs. Democrats. We were supposed to be Americans (and human beings), FIRST.

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

 

 

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Jun 142017
 

During a batting practice for a charity baseball game at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria (Virginia) a gunman shot and injured four Republican members of Congress today morning.

Among the injured is Stephen Joseph Scalise, the current United States House of Representatives Majority Whip and representative of Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District. Scalise was shot in the hip. He is hospitalized and in stable condition. According to sources, the other victims of the shooting are expected to survive as well.

The shooter, James T. Hodgkinson (66) from Belleville (IL), was shot during a confrontation with security / police force and hospitalized. He has since died. Based on his Facebook account, Hodgkinson was a contractor and the owner of a home inspection business. He was a supporter of Bernie Sanders and opposed the Trump presidency.

President Trump expressed the Nation’s gratitude for the swift action of Alexandria’s police and his support for survivors of the shooting.

Senator Bernie Sanders condemned the shooting.

Political differences aside, violence has no place in politics. Violence is not a way to resolve differences.

In a statement Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed his thoughts on the shooting in Alexandria:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the civilians and officers wounded in today’s shooting in Alexandria. The senselessness of this burst of violence is only compounded by the fact that it struck as Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were practicing for one of Washington’s great bipartisan traditions. We should all be grateful for the many acts of heroism and compassion that saved lives this morning — and mindful of how this tragedy underscores the urgency of ending the epidemic of gun violence in America.”

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

 

 

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Jun 132017
 

Two Attorneys General Lawsuit Against President Trump

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, allege that President Trump is violating the anti-corruption Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

Among the arguments raised in the lawsuit by the Attorney Generals:

  • The President’s continued ownership of his business empire
  • The Trump businesses’ acceptance of payments from foreign governments without the approval of Congress
  • United States government’s preferential treatment of the President’s businesses
  • Numerous appearances of the President’s use of his position for personal profit

The purpose of the Emoluments Clause is:

  • to prevent a president from exploiting the office for personal gain
  • to prevent national entities from influencing a president’s decisions in their favor by financial means
  • to prevent foreign entities from gaining a president’s favor through a direct or indirect bribe

The Two Attorneys General Lawsuit Against President Trump, the lawsuit filed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, isn’t the first or the only lawsuit targeting President Trump, several dozens of lawsuits have been filed since President Trump took office. The difference between this lawsuit and the many others is that this one is the FIRST filed by government officials. Now the case rests in the hands of a federal judge who will decide whether or not to allow the case to proceed. Should the lawsuit be allowed to proceed, the President would have to disclose his numerous business entanglements, including his businesses’ indebtedness, his personal tax returns, etc.

The significance of this lawsuit can’t be underestimated. The President of the United States should not be beholden to anyone (including his own business intersts) if he is to act in the best interest of our Country and our Country alone.
Until the President comes clean about his business, the American people can’t be certain of the actual motifs of his decisions. As it is, the President’s decisions are open to interpretations: they can be motivated by his sincere desire to “Make America Great Again” or – just as well – by his desire to improve his profit margins in a record time….

While the fate of the latest legal action is being considered, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the President’s revised travel ban.

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

 

 

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Jun 132017
 

LA City Attorney Cracks A Case of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

 

CITY ATTORNEY FEUER DETAILS LATEST CRACKDOWN, WARNS PUBLIC ABOUT DANGERS OF ILLEGAL SALE OF MIS-LABELED, COUNTERFEIT PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS

 

City Attorney Mike Feuer today detailed his office’s latest efforts to crack down on local merchants known to illegally sell counterfeit or mis-labeled pharmaceutical drugs as well as warn the public about their serious health and safety dangers.

“My office and our law enforcement partners will fight to protect consumers from the health and safety hazards posed by illegal pharmaceuticals,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “We’ll continue to aggressively prosecute people who dispense these drugs that endanger communities throughout Los Angeles.”

A civil law enforcement action was filed against Narcisco and Johana Gamez alleging illegal dispensing and furnishing of dangerous prescription drugs without a license, possession of mis-branded pharmaceuticals and unlawful possession and sale of narcotics.

The defendants are father and daughter operators of Ducleria El Venado, a storefront selling miscellaneous items including candy, snacks, herbs, tea and piñatas located at 11653 N. Glenoaks Boulevard in Pacoima. During multiple undercover investigations by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department and private investigators, defendants allegedly sold illegal, dangerous, mis-labeled and counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Neither defendant is licensed to sell pharmaceuticals nor is the business a pharmacy.

The complaint alleges that since at least 2014, the defendants possessed and sold counterfeit pharmaceuticals including the injectable anti-inflammatory drug Diprospan, various misbranded pharmaceuticals which are prohibited from distribution in the United States, and narcotics which are illegal without a prescription. Investigators conducted multiple undercover operations at the business to purchase combinations of counterfeit and unlicensed pharmaceuticals from the defendants. Subsequent search warrants found stockpiles of misbranded and haphazardly stored drugs at the business.

The lawsuit calls for the permanent termination of the lease at the business and seeks an injunction prohibiting the defendants from continuing to illegally sell any pharmaceutical products and other unlawful business practices as well as operating any business elated to the manufacture, sale, storage and possession of commonly counterfeited goods. The defendants could also face up to $2,500 in penalties for each violation.

The City Attorney’s lawsuit is part of ongoing operations coordinated through the Health Authority Law Enforcement Taskforce (HALT) including the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, LAPD, and the LA County Dept. of Health Services. HALT operations target distributors and sellers of illegal pharmaceuticals at swap meets and small local stores. Products seized by law enforcement include antibiotics and antibiotic powders, steroid ointments, diet pills, diuretics, pharmaceutical placebos, liquid oils, creams and silicone products that may be used for body enhancements–pharmaceuticals that require prescriptions or cannot lawfully be sold in the United States. These products include drugs bearing non-English labels, drugs without lot numbers, warnings or expiration dates, and drugs not in original packaging.

Deputy City Attorney Kevin Gilligan, director of the City Attorney’s Anti-Counterfeit Enforcement Program, is handling the litigation.

 

 

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Jun 122017
 

2017 Gay Pride Resist March

A massive crowd gathered on Sunday in West Hollywood to celebrate Gay Pride AND for a Resist March. Los Angeles LGBTQ community fought for its rights long and hard and whole-heartedly supports any minority’s fight for human rights threatened by the current administration in Washington D.C.

Many thousands of people (by some estimates over 100,000!) turned out with signs protesting for women’s rights, climate change, affordable healthcare and undocumented immigrants under siege.

The Gay Pride Parade is well-known for its colorful and sometimes outrageous outfits. This time many participants wore t-shirts “Make America Gay Again” (a brilliant take on President Trump’s “Make America Great Again”!), some “Jesus Resisted” t-shirts were spotted in the crowd as well.

Brian Pendleton, Founder of #ResistMarch said: “This year the LGBTQ+ community is lending its iconic rainbow flag to anyone who feels their rights are at risk and to everyone who believes that America’s strength is its diversity.” He continued by saying: “When they come for one of us, they come for all of us. Which is why we our diverse intersectional community must unite as one.”

Sentiments of the LGBTQ and Los Angeles community were validated by the presence of – and speeches given by – many special guests, among them: leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) as well as Hollywood celebrities all of whom spoke passionately for causes of the LGBTQ community and the Resistance Movement. (I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that Los Angeles City leadership including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA City Attorney Mike Feuer participated in 2017 Gay Pride and Resist March as well representing the feelings of vast majority of Angelenos!)

   

Fittingly, the famous Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles sung “This Land is Your Land” at the conclusion of the event.

West Hollywood’s LGBTQ community has always been an important and integral part of Los Angeles. In 2017 – standing in solidarity with all fighting for human rights and social justice – L.A. LGBTQ community cemented its position as a powerful political voice for good on the national scene.

Learn more about #LAPride: https://www.lapride.org
Learn more about #ResistMarch: https://www.resistmarch.org

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

 

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Jun 102017
 
CicLAvia In Glendale

Photo property of CicLAvia

On Sunday, June 11, Glendale and Atwater Village will host the country’s largest open streets event! Streets will be closed to cars and open for cyclists, pedestrians, runners and skaters to use as a recreational space.

The 21st CicLAvia open-street event starts at 8:30 am outside of the Alex Theatre, located at 216 N. Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203 and it will lead from Brand Boulevard at Doran Street to Atwater Village on Glendale Boulevard to the south.

Things you need to know for June 11:

  • CicLAvia is FREE!
  • CicLAvia lasts from 9 AM until 4 PM
  • CicLAvia closes streets to car traffic and opens them for people to walk, skate, bike, play, and explore parts of Los Angeles.
  • CicLAvia is not a race! There is no start or finish line. You can enter the designated streets anywhere you want to.
  • CicLAvia traffic flows in two directions, just like regular traffic. Check out some safety tips.

If you didn’t participate in a CicLAvia open-street event yet, give it a try! There is no downside to participation: you’ll get to spend a day in good company, with people who appreciate the value of environment-friendly transportation. CicLAvia is healthy, entertaining and emotionally-nourishing. Say what you will, being surrounded by like-minded individuals creates – the hard to find in Los Angeles – sense of community.

Download CicLAvia flier

Learn more about CicLAvia In Glendale

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

 

 

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Jun 092017
 

FREE Movie Screenings In Pasadena

OLD PASADENA SUMMER CINEMA, JULY 1 – JULY 29, 2017

FEATURING 19 FILMS IN PREDOMINANTLY OUTDOOR FREE SETTINGS

Old Pasadena Summer Cinema (www.oldpasadena.org/summercinema) returns for another year as a month-long, FREE movie series featuring screenings in predominantly outdoor locations. Running from July 1 – July 29, this annual summer film program celebrates motion picture in all forms, offering a variety of audience-pleasing movie titles and genres in unique locales throughout the historic district of Old Pasadena. With nearly 20 screenings during the month, Old Pasadena Summer Cinema is the largest free open-air film festival in California and draws a broad local and regional audience. All the Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screenings are free and open to the public.

Three screenings in Central Park are themed events that include special activities and the chance to picnic in the park prior to each film. Bring your own chairs and blankets to Central Park. Films begin at 8:30pm and pre-activities begin at 6:30pm.

DATE NIGHT, SATURDAY JULY 8: The Sting (1973) PG. Register for a spot on a walking tour of Old Pasadena filming locations of The Sting with Pasadena Walking Tours, which includes a Prohibition-era cocktail at POP Champagne & Dessert Bar. Pre-film activities at the park include live ragtime music with Holly Street Stompers, swing dance lessons with Dance Street Studio, and a Prohibition-themed photo booth. Purchase $10 tickets for the Walking Tour at http://bit.ly/2rybJek

FAMILY NIGHT, SATURDAY JULY 15: Wreck-It Ralph (2012) PG. Join Neon Retro Arcade at the park with an arcade pop-up, costumed characters from the movie, superhero face painting, frozen goodies from Kona Ice, and a raffle.

LADIES’ NIGHT, SATURDAY JULY 22: Mamma Mia (2007) PG-13. Grab your besties and head to the park for a bohemian evening under the stars. Enjoy henna tattoos, hair braiding, and more with Gypsy Bazaar, learn to dance the Hustle with Dance Street Studio, and groove to an ABBA-inspired DJ.

Enjoy another open-air option at One Colorado with films projected in the charming courtyard. Look for family favorites like Jurassic Park, Hugo, and Inside Out; two films that champion the underdog, Freedom Writers and Remember the Titans; and recent films like The Martian and Doctor Strange. Seating is provided at One Colorado, but be sure to arrive a little early for best options.

Distant Lands Travel Bookstore screens four travel-related films inside the store, including Samsara, a documentary filmed over five years in 25 countries around the world, and Riding Solo to the Top of the World, a remarkable chronicle of the people and places filmmaker Guarav Jani encountered during his time in the Changthang Plateau region of India near the Chinese border. Another indoor option, Flower Pepper Gallery, screens the beautifully animated Song of the Sea and stop-motion animation Kubo and the Two Strings.

Finally, Old Pasadena audiences have the chance to see a new documentary, The Cat That Changed the World, that follows the mountain lion P-22 in Griffith Park and the efforts to develop a wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon in Los Angeles. Following the July 13 screening at the Pasadena Senior Center, the filmmaker and featured wildlife experts will be on hand for a panel discussion with filmgoers.

2017 Old Pasadena Summer Cinema Program:

SATURDAY, JULY 1
Jurassic Park (1993) PG – 127 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
The classic sci-fi adventure that made the field of paleontology seem thrilling, Jurassic Park follows two dinosaur experts – Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) – as they tour a new island “amusement park” that hinges its success on DNA harvested from pre-historic insects and the living dinosaurs that resulted from this grand experiment.

THURSDAY, JULY 6
Song of the Sea (2014) PG – 94 min
Flower Pepper Gallery, 121 E. Union St. 7:30PM
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2015, Song of the Sea is a beautifully animated film that tells the tale of Saoirse, a mute child who is the last in a long line of “selkies,” women in Irish and Scottish legends who transform from seals into people. She escapes from her grandmother’s home to journey back to the sea and to free fairy creatures that are trapped in the modern world.

FRIDAY, JULY 7
Samsara (2011) PG-13 — 102 min
Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave. 8:00PM
Director and cinematographer Ron Fricke offers a striking glimpse into some of the world’s most remarkable happenings in a visually spectacular documentary. Filmed on five continents in 25 countries, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Freedom Writers (2007) PG-13 – 123 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
Assigned the thankless task of teaching freshman English at a gang-infested Long Beach, California high school, a 23-year-old teacher, Erin Gruwell resorts to unconventional means of breaking through to her hardened students: having them keep journals about their violent, troubled lives. Based on a true story, the film stars Hilary Swank as Gruwell.

SATURDAY, JULY 8
The Sting (1973) PG – 129 min
Central Park, 275 S. Raymond Ave. 6:30PM Music + Special Activities; 8:30PM Film
In Chicago in 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker. The classic film starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman was inspired by real-life cons perpetrated by brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff.

Old Pasadena served as a filming location for The Sting; our guided Walking Tour will visit several filming locales – please register in advance (http://bit.ly/2rybJek). At the park, enjoy live ragtime music with Holly Street Stompers, swing dance lessons with Dance Street Studio, and a Prohibition-themed photo booth.

Remember the Titans (2000) PG – 113 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
A true story of African American coach Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington, and his attempt to integrate the T.C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971. Boone is told by a member of the school board that if he loses even a single game, he will be dismissed. Subsequently, the Titans go through the season undefeated while battling racial prejudice before slowly gaining support from the community.

THURSDAY, JULY 13
The Cat That Changed the World (2017) NR – 75 min
Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St. 7:00PM
A new documentary follows the story of Griffith Park mountain lion P-22, detailing his plight at being hemmed in by freeways and urban sprawl and the efforts to develop a wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon in Los Angeles. Following the screening, the filmmaker and featured wildlife experts will be on hand for a panel discussion with filmgoers.

FRIDAY, JULY 14
Riding Solo to the Top of the World (2006) NR – 94 min
Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave. 8:00PM
Cinematographer-turned-director Guarav Jani captures the remarkable sights of one of the world’s tallest mountain range, Changthang Plateau, in India near the Chinese border. The documentary showcases how Jani made his film entirely on his own and offers a remarkable chronicle of the people, places, and things he encountered along the way.

The Martian (2015) PG-13 – 144 min.
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
After an exploratory mission goes awry, lone astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) must fend for himself along on the hostile surface of Mars in an extraordinary attempt at survival. Back on Earth, an international coalition of scientists launches a rescue mission in defiance of NASA protocol.

SATURDAY, JULY 15
Wreck-It Ralph (2012) PG – 101 min.
Central Park, 275 S. Raymond Ave. 6:30PM Special Family Activities; 8:30PM Film
Neon Retro Arcade and Old Pasadena Management District host Family Night in the park, featuring the tale of a video game villain who wants to be a hero. He sets out to fulfill his dream but in the process, creates chaos to the arcade he calls home. Enjoy a video arcade “pop-up,” costumed characters from the movie, superhero face painting, and treats from Kona Ice.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001) PG-13 – 116 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
A rag-tag group of con artists and ex-cons team up for the ultimate heist in this high-profile remake of the 1960 Rat Pack favorite. This “carefree caper movie” stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon, among other Hollywood power-players.

THURSDAY, JULY 20
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) PG – 101 min
Flower Pepper Gallery, 121 E. Union St. 7:30PM
After accidentally summoning an ancient spirit, a young Japanese boy named Kubo is separated from his mother and embarks on a journey to discover the truth about his missing father. Along the way, he befriends the kindhearted Monkey and the clumsy Beetle as he fends off the vengeful Moon King and two evil twin sisters with his shamisen, a magical stringed instrument.

FRIDAY, JULY 21
A Good Year (2006) PG-13 – 117 min
Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave. 8:00PM
Gladiator duo Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe again join forces for an adaptation of author Peter Mayle’s best-selling novel about a cutthroat London-based investment banker who relocates to Provence in hopes of selling a small vineyard he has inherited from his recently deceased uncle and learns to appreciate a slower pace of life.

Hugo (2011) PG – 126 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
Martin Scorsese’s gorgeous adaptation of Brian Selznick’s award-winning novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” follows a Parisian orphan, Hugo, who lives in a Parisian train station following his father’s death and learns to maintain its massive clocks. His efforts enable him to ferret away clock parts for a secret and magical invention.

SATURDAY, JULY 22
Mamma Mia! (2008) PG-13 – 108 min
Central Park, 275 S. Raymond Ave. 6:30PM Special Activities; 830PM Film
It’s Ladies’ Night in the park, with a bohemian evening under the stars before the upbeat musical Mamma Mia offers a picturesque escape to the Greek Islands. Enjoy henna tattoos, hair braiding, and nails with Gypsy Bazaar, learn to dance the Hustle with Dance Street, and groove to an Abba-inspired DJ.

Doctor Strange (2016) PG-13 – 115 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
After a car accident leaves him with nerve damage that ends his career as a New York neurosurgeon, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) travels to Kathmandu in the hope of finding an otherworldly cure for his injuries. There, a powerful mystic known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) accepts him as her pupil and trains him in the art of sorcery.

FRIDAY, JULY 28
Cairo Time (2009) PG – 90 min
Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave. 8:00PM
A couple plans a three-week vacation in Cairo, but when the husband gets waylaid for work, he asks his former security officer and longtime friend Tareq to serve as his wife Juliette’s tour guide. He never imagined that they would fall in love, but the more time Tareq and Juliette spend together the more difficult is becomes for them to deny their intense attraction to each other.

School of Rock (2003) PG-13 – 108 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn (Jack Black) becomes a substitute teacher at a strict private school and turns them into rock star proteges – with the ulterior motive of competing against his former band for a battle-of-the-bands cash prize.

SATURDAY, JULY 29
Inside Out (2015) PG – 95 min
One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley 8:30PM
In Pixar’s beautifully animated film, 11-year-old Riley, uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco, struggles with a range of emotions after the move. Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) tries to guide her, but the stress of the move brings Sadness (Phyllis Smith) to the forefront. When Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, Anger, Fear, and Disgust conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

 

 

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Jun 082017
 

United States Senate Building

Like James Comey or not, his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was concise and clear.

Former FBI Director James Comey described:

  • A one-on-one dinner with the President
  • The President’s request for “loyalty”
  • The President’s repeated inquiries whether he himself was under investigation (Comey assured the President that he wasn’t on three separate occasions.)
  • The President’s “hope” that the FBI investigation of Gen. Flynn will go away because Flynn “is a good guy”.
  • Comey’s request to not be left alone with the President, again
  • and more

James Comey was fired by the President having failed to pledge “loyalty” to the President (above his commitment to impartiality and justice) or drop the investigation of Gen. Flynn as requested by the President. (The firing appears to be a punitive action, at best or an act of retaliation, at worst.)
Immediately after the firing of Comey, President Trump met with two Russian representatives and shared with them his relief clearly assuming that once Comey is gone so will be the investigation of Gen. Flynn.

While questioning James Comey, Senator Rubio emphasized that the President used the word “hope” but didn’t outright demand that the FBI seizes to investigate Gen. Flynn. The word “hope” is innocent when used by an equal. It becomes a demand, order or directive when used by a person in a superior position: when a parent, teacher, boss (or a President!) “hopes”, the “hope” becomes an order, we all know that.

Former FBI Director James Comey showed remarkable courage and integrity during his testimony. Now is the Senate’s turn. Will the Senate match his courage and integrity?
Murder, theft, fraud or obstruction of justice is inappropriate, IN ADDITION to being illegal. We don’t excuse criminal acts by admonishing offenders for their “inappropriate” behavior, criminal acts are prosecuted in accordance with the United States penal code.

According to legal experts however President Trump’s actions may have been inappropriate but not illegal. Vindictiveness, impropriety, lying, asking the FBI Director for “loyalty” and even attempting to influence an open FBI investigation is legally sound and socially acceptable, provided – of course! – you are the President.

James Comey’s testimony doesn’t provide sufficient legal grounds for the impeachment of President Trump. According to legal experts, we can trust President Trump with our lives, the future of our children and our Country.

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

 

 

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Unbelievable!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Having watched the entire Senate proceeding today, I can't believe the tolerance of the American justice system. Now, I know that American justice isn't blind and no, we are not equal under the law. Some appear free to break any law they choose and are immune to legal consequences. So sad and disgusting.
Jun 072017
 

Welcome Clooney Twins

On June the 6th (Tuesday) our favorite heartthrob George Clooney and his beautiful wife Amal (international law and human rights attorney) welcomed twins. The babies were born without complications and are healthy. The celebrity parents have a baby son and a baby daughter and named them Alexander and Ella, respectively.

The “official” announcement:

George and Amal married in 2014 in Venice. Both are happy and excited over the new arrivals. Chances are they’ll have an incredible experience as parents. As for the babies, without a doubt they’ll have terrific parents. Why? Because mature parents are best. With George being 56 and Amal 39, the kids have gotten lucky! Congratulations to the new parents and warm welcomes to the Clooney twins are pouring in. Here is one of many:

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

 

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Jun 052017
 

Ariana Grande Makes America Proud

Ariana Grande’s star-studded benefit concert “One Love Manchester” was held in Manchester the day after the barbaric attack on the London Bridge and Borough Market.

Grande was joined by pop’s greatest stars: Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Usher, Take That, Pharrell Williams and Niall Horan. In spite of wide spread fears following the latest terror attack in London and stringent security, 50,000 fans attended the “One Love Manchester” benefit concert.

The goal of the concert was to raise money for “We Love Manchester Emergency Fund” created by the Manchester City Council and the British Red Cross in support of victims and survivors of the May 22nd bombing. According to conflicting reports, the concert raised 3 to 9 million dollars, money that will help those affected by the terrorist attack in Manchester cope and – hopefully – recover.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine wasn’t among Ariana Grande’s fans before the tragedy in Manchester. We are now.
The shock of the bombing right after her previous concert in Manchester must have traumatized her no less than her young fans. It must have been tough for Grande as an artist and entertainer to witness / know that her music-loving fans were attacked; that there were deaths and serious injuries. She could have dwelled on existential questions and wondered about the future. She could have chosen to hide and recover. But she didn’t.

The very young Ariana Grande acted with courage and dignity. She organized a benefit concert to help those affected. She returned to Manchester. She visited her fans in local hospitals and gave them comfort. She kept her end of the deal and found it in her to perform and raise much needed recovery funds. Ariana Grande makes America proud! Her actions in the aftermath of the Manchester tragedy were American and spoke volumes of who we are as a nation. She is so young and so mature! Here is to Ariana Grande a beautiful, compassionate human being and a true artist.

These are two comments on Ariana Grande from Twitter:

 


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

 

 

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Jun 042017
 

Terrorist Spree In London

A terrorist driving a rented van over the London Bridge deliberately rammed into pedestrians. In the ensuing panic, three attackers armed with large knifes attacked people in restaurants and bars in the Borough Market area. (The terrorists were wearing fake suicide vests to inflict even more fear on unsuspecting public.)

The London Bridge and Borough Market Attacks: 7 dead, 48 injured (21 of the injured are in critical condition). Among the injured are visitors from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and several French citizens. The hospitals where the many injured are being treated have been placed on lockdown to ensure patients’ safety.

The three attackers were shot dead by Met police. One member of the public was injured by police targeting the terrorists. Three police officers suffered serious injuries. At least 12 other terror suspects were arrested in overnight raids in connection with the attack.

Prime Minister Theresa May called for stronger anti-terrorism prevention and harsher sentences for terrorists.

The area surrounding the Borough Market is closed to traffic, at least until Monday. A moment of silence for the victims will be held in the UK on June 6th.

This is the third terrorist attack in the UK since March of this year.

Meanwhile Ariana Grande’s star-studded benefit concert “One Love Manchester” will be held today in Manchester as scheduled with increased security. (Ariana Grande visited her fans – who were injured following her concert – in local hospitals.)

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

 

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