Jul 082017
 
2018 Climate Action Summit To Take Place In San Francisco

Photo property of PBS News Hour

California Governor Brown Announces Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September 2018

On July 6th on the eve of the G20 Summit, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced via video message at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany that the State of California will convene the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco, California in September 2018 for the Global Climate Action Summit.

“It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change. That is why we’re having the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018,” said Governor Brown in his remarks. “President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done.”

The Governor spoke via video message during the final hour of the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany and was introduced by Christiana Figueres, former United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary and currently the convener of Mission 2020 and Global Ambassador for the Under2 Coalition. The Global Citizen Festival was attended by thousands of people and featured remarks from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and performances from Coldplay, Shakira, Pharrell Williams, Ellie Goulding and others.

California will convene representatives from subnational governments, businesses, investors and civil society at the Global Climate Action Summit to demonstrate the groundswell of innovative, ambitious climate action from leaders around the world, highlight the economic and environmental transition already underway and spur deeper commitment from all parties, including national governments.

Today’s announcement is the product of months of discussions between the Governor and Christiana Figueres, who, following the conclusion of the successful UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, encouraged the Governor to host a summit in 2018 in California to drive further climate action. Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León has also been a key partner and recently joined other state Senators to urge the Governor to convene the world’s climate leaders in California.

“The growing threat of climate change demands an immediate and unified global response,” said Senate Leader Kevin de León. “California remains committed to a clean energy future and we welcome the responsibility to lead on America’s behalf. My colleagues in the Senate appreciate Governor Brown agreeing to hold this global summit and look forward to working with him to welcome our partners from around the world.”

The summit, which will be held ahead of the 24th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24), will mark the first time a U.S. state has hosted an international climate change conference with the direct goal of supporting the Paris Agreement.

Governor Brown’s complete remarks are below:

“Hello, Hamburg. I’m Governor Jerry Brown. Greetings from California.

Look, it’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change. That’s why we’re having the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018.

Come join us – entrepreneurs, singers, musicians, mathematicians, professors, students – we need people that represent the whole world because this is about the whole world and the people who live here. We have to do something and we can do it. That’s why we want to join together in this Climate Action Summit in 2018 in San Francisco.

Yes, I know President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done.

So, see you there. Thanks.”

The Governor’s video message and additional information regarding the summit can be found at: https://globalclimateactionsummit.org/.

 

 

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Jun 012017
 

California Governor Co-Forms U.S. Climate Alliance

It is with true Californian pride that Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine publishes the following announcement of California Governor Brown: his response to President Trump’s rejection of the Paris Climate Agreement. Los Angeles stands with you Mr. Governor!

 

CA GOVERNOR BROWN, NY GOVERNOR CUOMO AND WA GOVERNOR INSLEE ANNOUNCE FORMATION OF U.S. CLIMATE ALLIANCE

Brown, Cuomo and Inslee Will Serve as Co-Chairs, Urge Other States to Join Alliance

In response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee today announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.

“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” said Governor Brown. “I don’t believe fighting reality is a good strategy – not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”

California, New York and Washington, representing over one-fifth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, are committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.

“The White House’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions. We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York’s leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet.”

“I am proud to stand with other governors as we make sure that the inaction in D.C. is met by an equal force of action from the states,” said Governor Inslee. “Today’s announcement by the president leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout our nation. While the president’s actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up.”

Together, California, New York and Washington represent approximately 68 million people – nearly one-in-five Americans – and the states account for at least 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. California will continue to work closely together with other states to help fill the void left by the federal government.

With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.

California’s Leadership on Climate Change
Today’s announcement complements the Under2 Coalition – an international pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences – formed in 2015 by California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany in the lead up to COP21. The growing coalition now includes 170 jurisdictions on six continents that collectively represent more than 1.18 billion people and $27.5 trillion GDP – equivalent to 16 percent of the global population and 37 percent of the global economy.

Eighteen U.S. jurisdictions, including climate alliance co-chairs New York and Washington State, have joined the Under2 Coalition, representing 89 million people and 28 percent of the U.S. population. The Governor’s upcoming trip to China includes meetings in Sichuan and Jiangsu, the first Chinese provinces to join the Under2 Coalition.

Building on the global momentum to combat climate change and continuing California’s leading role in broadening collaboration amongst subnational leaders, Governor Brown will travel to China tomorrow to strengthen California’s long-standing climate, clean energy and economic ties with the nation. The Governor will also attend the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany to represent subnational jurisdictions that remain committed to climate action.

Earlier today, Governor Brown issued a statement reaffirming California’s ongoing commitment to aggressive action on climate change and last month called on the administration to keep the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement.

California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, has advanced its nation-leading climate goals while also growing the economy. In the last seven years, California has created 2.3 million new jobs – outpacing most of the United States – cut its unemployment rate in half, eliminated a $27 billion budget deficit and has seen its credit rating rise to the highest level in more than a decade.

In March, Governor Brown reaffirmed California’s commitment to exceed the targets of the Clean Power Plan and the state’s efforts to curb carbon pollution, which include establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor has also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.

This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.

The Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. These efforts build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru, Chile, Australia, Scotland and Sweden and Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.

 

 

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Jan 252017
 
Governor Brown Delivers 2017 State of the State Address

Governor Brown delivers 2016 state of the state address.
Photo Credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol

Governor Brown Delivers 2017 State of the State Address:
“California is Not Turning Back, Not Now, Not Ever”

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today delivered his State of the State address, departing with the traditional practice of listing every issue and restating every priority to focus on the “broader context of our country and its challenges.”

In his remarks the Governor vowed to “defend everybody – every man, woman and child – who has come here…and has contributed to the well-being of our state” and committed to protecting the state’s gains on immigration, health care and climate change, guided by the principles that make California “the Great Exception” – truth, civility and perseverance.

Citing the English poet John Donne, the Governor made it clear that California is not an island and America’s future is inextricably tied to California’s future: “When California does well, America does well. And when California hurts, America hurts.”

Below is the text as prepared for delivery:

Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State of the State Address
Remarks as Prepared
January 24, 2017

“Thank you. Thank you for all that energy and enthusiasm. It is just what we need for the battle ahead. So keep it up and don’t ever falter.

This is California, the sixth most powerful economy in the world. One out of every eight Americans lives right here and 27 percent – almost eleven million – were born in a foreign land.

When California does well, America does well. And when California hurts, America hurts.

As the English poet, John Donne, said almost 400 years ago:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

A few moments ago, I swore into office our new attorney general. Like so many others, he is the son of immigrants who saw California as a place where, through grit and determination, they could realize their dreams. And they are not alone, millions of Californians have come here from Mexico and a hundred other countries, making our state what it is today: vibrant, even turbulent, and a beacon of hope to the rest of the world.

We don’t have a Statue of Liberty with its inscription: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” But we do have the Golden Gate and a spirit of adventure and openness that has welcomed – since the Gold Rush of 1848 – one wave of immigration after another.

For myself, I feel privileged to stand before you as your governor, as did my father almost sixty years ago. His mother, Ida, the youngest of eight children, was born in very modest circumstances, not very far from where we are gathered today. Her father arrived in California in 1852, having left from the Port of Hamburg, aboard a ship named “Perseverance.”

It is that spirit of perseverance and courage which built our state from the beginning. And it is that spirit which will get us through the great uncertainty and the difficulties ahead.

It is customary on an occasion like this to lay out a specific agenda for the year ahead. Six times before from this rostrum, I have done that, and in some detail. And, as I reread those proposals set forth in previous State of the State speeches, I was amazed to see how much we have accomplished together.

We have:

  • Increased – by tens of billions – support for our public schools and universities.
  • Provided health insurance to over five million more Californians.
  • Raised the minimum wage.
  • Reduced prison overcrowding and reformed our system of crime and punishment.
  • Made California a world leader in the fight against climate change.
  • Passed a water bond.
  • Built up a rainy day fund.
  • And closed a huge $27 billion deficit.
  • And during the last seven years, California has reduced the unemployment rate from 12.1 percent to 5.2 percent and created almost 2.5 million jobs. And that’s not all.

But this morning it is hard for me to keep my thoughts just on California. The recent election and inauguration of a new President have shown deep divisions across America.

While no one knows what the new leaders will actually do, there are signs that are disturbing. We have seen the bald assertion of “alternative facts.” We have heard the blatant attacks on science. Familiar signposts of our democracy – truth, civility, working together – have been obscured or swept aside.

But on Saturday, in cities across the country, we also witnessed a vast and inspiring fervor that is stirring in the land. Democracy doesn’t come from the top; it starts and spreads in the hearts of the people. And in the hearts of Americans, our core principles are as strong as ever.

So as we reflect on the state of our state, we should do so in the broader context of our country and its challenges. We must prepare for uncertain times and reaffirm the basic principles that have made California the Great Exception that it is.

First, in California, immigrants are an integral part of who we are and what we’ve become. They have helped create the wealth and dynamism of this state from the very beginning.

I recognize that under the Constitution, federal law is supreme and that Washington determines immigration policy. But as a state we can and have had a role to play. California has enacted several protective measures for the undocumented: the Trust Act, lawful driver’s licenses, basic employment rights and non-discriminatory access to higher education.

We may be called upon to defend those laws and defend them we will. And let me be clear: we will defend everybody – every man, woman and child – who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.

My second point relates to health care. More than any other state, California embraced the Affordable Care Act and over five million people now enjoy its benefits. But that coverage has come with tens of billions of federal dollars. Were any of that to be taken away, our state budget would be directly affected, possibly devastated. That is why I intend to join with other governors – and with you – to do everything we can to protect the health care of our people.

Third, our state is known the world over for the actions we have taken to encourage renewable energy and combat climate change.

Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts. And these are the facts: the climate is changing, the temperatures are rising and so are the oceans. Natural habitats everywhere are under increasing stress. The world knows this.

One hundred and ninety-four countries signed the Paris Agreement to control greenhouse gases. Our own voluntary agreement to accomplish the same goal – the “Under Two M.O.U.” – has 165 signatories, representing a billion people.

We cannot fall back and give in to the climate deniers. The science is clear. The danger is real.

We can do much on our own and we can join with others – other states and provinces and even countries, to stop the dangerous rise in climate pollution. And we will.

Fourth is infrastructure. This is a topic where the President has stated his firm intention to build and build big.

In his inaugural address, he said: “We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.”

And in this, we can all work together – here in Sacramento and in Washington as well. We have roads and tunnels and railroads and even a dam that the President could help us with. And that will create good-paying American jobs.

As we face the hard journey ahead, we will have to summon, as Abraham Lincoln said, “the better angels of our nature.” Above all else, we have to live in the truth.

We all have our opinions but for democracy to work, we have to trust each other. We have to strive to understand the facts and state them clearly as we argue our points of view. As Hugo Grotius, the famous Dutch jurist, said long ago, “even God cannot cause two times two not to make four.”

When the science is clear or when our own eyes tell us that the seats in this chamber are filled or that the sun is shining, we must say so, not construct some alternate universe of non-facts that we find more pleasing.

Along with truth, we must practice civility. Although we have disagreed – often along party lines – we have generally been civil to one another and avoided the rancor of Washington. I urge you to go even further and look for new ways to work beyond party and act as Californians first.

Democrats are in the majority, but Republicans represent real Californians too. We went beyond party when we reformed workers’ compensation, when we created a rainy day fund and when we passed the water bond.

Let’s do that again and set an example for the rest of the country. And, in the process, we will earn the trust of the people of California.

And then there is perseverance. It is not an accident that the sailing ship that brought my great-grandfather to America was named “Perseverance.” That is exactly what it took to endure the dangerous and uncertain months at sea, sailing from Germany to America.

While we now face different challenges, make no mistake: the future is uncertain and dangers abound. Whether it’s the threat to our budget, or to undocumented Californians, or to our efforts to combat climate change – or even more global threats such as a financial meltdown or a nuclear incident or terrorist attack – this is a time which calls out for courage and for perseverance. I promise you both.

But let’s remember as well that after the perilous voyage, those who made it to America found boundless opportunity. And so will we.

Let me end in the immortal words of Woody Guthrie:

“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me…

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.”

California is not turning back. Not now, not ever.”

*

From Anything L.A. Magazine:

  • Yes, to affordable education!
  • Yes, to affordable health insurance!
  • Yes, to living wages!
  • Yes, to human rights!
  • Yes, to climate control!
  • Yes, to a healthy economy!

Governor Brown takes on President Trump and defends the values California stands for (as last week’s Women’s March in Los Angeles has shown). Thank you Governor Brown: we spoke up and you heard us!

Anything L.A. Magazine is 100% behind our Great Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. who DIDN’T mellow with age. We are prouder than ever to be Californians!

 

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Jan 022017
 

New California Laws For 2017

California government, with Governor Brown at the steering wheel, worked tirelessly to introduce, pass and sign 898 new laws. The laws treat into effect in 2017. We are obviously not going to discuss all of them here but here are a few worth noting.

Holding a cellphone or any other wireless electronic device while driving is illegal and punishable by law starting in 2017. From now on any such devices have to be mounted in front of the driver (without obstructing the view of the road, of course) and only a single swipe / single tap feature or function activation is allowed while driving.

Vehicle registration fees are rising on all vehicles and trailers.

Minimum wage is going up (for those employed by businesses with 26 or more employees) from $10 to $10.50 per hour. The minimum wage is to gradually increase and reach $15 per hour in 2022.

No more statute of limitation on rape. In 2017 California joins the 16 States that don’t have statute of limitations on rape. (13 additional States vary on the definition of rape.) Until now California’s law limited the time for prosecution of a felony sex offense to 10 years, the sole exception: the emergence of new DNA evidence. For Californians, the new law means more hope for justice for rape victims. (The law applies to rapes committed after January 1st 2017.)

Good mood while pampered is allowed: free wine and beer can be legally served to customers in hair salons and barbers shops before 10 pm.

Stocking EpiPens by businesses is legal. Businesses, educational institutions, entertainment venues and such prepared for EpiPens’ use in cases of life-threatening allergic reactions can now buy and stock it legally.

We have the Right-To-Die. The law makes death-on-demand legal for terminally-ill patients and legalizes physicians’ assistance for patients who choose to die.

The last one – technically doesn’t belong on this list – but yes, recreational marijuana use became legal in California in 2017 and some Angelenos simply couldn’t contain their joy…..

L.A. celebrates legalization of recreational marijuana use

California is making progress in safety, security, justice and healthcare. (Not to mention our commitment to delaying climate change, renewable fuels and environmental protection.) Happy New Year!

Additional information on specific California laws is available on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/
Full information on new California laws for 2017 is supposed to be available here
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/newLawTemplate.xhtml but isn’t, hopefully it will be soon.

 

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Dec 162016
 
Gov. Brown On Climate Change: "We Will Persevere"

Governor Brown addresses scientists at American Geophysical Union fall meeting. Photo Credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol.

 

Governor Brown to Climate Scientists: “We Will Persevere”

 

Rallying thousands of scientists at one of the largest international gatherings of its kind, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called on the scientific community – the “truth-tellers” and “truth seekers” – to mobilize for the climate fight.

“The time has never been more urgent or your work never more important. The climate is changing, temperatures are rising, oceans are becoming more acidified, habitats are under stress – the world is facing tremendous danger,” said Governor Brown at the American Geophysical Union’s annual fall meeting in San Francisco. “It’ll be up to you as truth-tellers, truth seekers to mobilize all your efforts to fight back. We’ve got a lot of firepower. We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the universities, we have the national labs and we have the political clout and sophistication for the battle – and we will persevere. Have no doubt about that.”

“We will pursue a path of collaboration and bold political advancement – whatever they do in Washington – and eventually the truth will prevail,” Governor Brown continued. “This is not a battle of one day or one election. This is a long-term slog into the future and you are there, the foot soldiers of change and understanding and scientific collaboration.”

Governor Brown’s remarks follow the action to prevent further coastal oil and gas drilling, reduce ocean acidity and boost renewable energy development in California. In recent weeks, Governor Brown issued a joint release with the governors of Oregon and Washington and the premier of British Columbia reaffirming their commitment to climate action at the close of COP22. The Governor also announced 29 new members to the Under2 Coalition, an international climate pact formed by California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences. A total of 165 jurisdictions have now joined the coalition representing more than a billion people and $25.7 trillion in combined GDP – more than one-third of the global economy.

California’s Leadership on Climate Change
California is playing a world-leading role in setting aggressive climate goals, broadening collaboration among subnational leaders and taking action to reduce climate pollutants.

In September, California took bold action to advance its climate goals, establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.

This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.

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

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

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.

From the editors of Anything L.A. Magazine: we are journalists not lawyers, and admittedly, we don’t know whether California’s commitment to slowing down global warming can in fact prevail against the federal government. But – as Angelenos – we are immensely proud of California’s Governor. Governor Jerry Brown – in spite of his age – is progressive and his heart is in the right place. I believe that I speak for the overwhelming majority of Californians as I express our sincere gratitude. Few leaders have the gift of courage and foresight, our Governor does.

 

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Nov 132016
 

Flag of the State Of California

On November 10th Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued the following statement on the 2016 presidential election and the transition to a new administration:

“Today we saw the beginning of the transfer of power to the President-elect.

While the prerogatives of victory are clear, so also are the responsibilities to ensure a strong and unified America. As President Lincoln said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ With the deep divisions in our country, it is incumbent on all of us – especially the new leadership in Washington – to take steps that heal those divisions, not deepen them. In California, we will do our part to find common ground whenever possible.

But as Californians, we will also stay true to our basic principles. We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time – devastating climate change.

E PLURIBUS UNUM.” (“out of many one” the motto of the US)

Wise words, Governor Brown. We’ll be moving forward in hope that the rights of Californians will be protected and that California’s commitment to meet the climate change challenge head on will remain in place. Thank you Mr. Governor, California needs your reassurance today more than ever.

 

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Nov 102016
 

Anti-Trump Protests Across The Country

From the East to the West Coast Americans took to the streets to protest the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. Hashtags #NotMyPresident and #HeIsNotMyPresident took over Twitter.

Anti-Trump rallies were held in most States including California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, Oregon and in front of the White House. There were prayers as well as fear, anger, disappointment and outrage across the Land.

In cities with Trump buildings the protesters made a point of gathering in front of them. In other places, people gathered in front of local landmarks. In many areas, streets, highways and freeways were blocked by protesters. Students at colleges and universities nationwide were exercising their right to protest.

At one point, in Los Angeles there were so many protests taking place simultaneously, the LAPD didn’t have enough manpower to control them. Hundreds of people brought 101 freeway (between Downtown L.A. and Hollywood) to a halt last night. According to latest reports 28 people were arrested in anti-Trump rallies in Greater Los Angeles.

There were Trump piñatas, masks and puppets as well as burnings of the American flag. The prospect of #CalExit (cessation of California from the Federal government) was raised.

L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti said in a statement:

“One of our greatest privileges as Americans is the right to free expression. Last night, thousands of Angelenos came together publicly to make their feelings known.

I understand that the results of Tuesday’s election are painful for many of us, and this kind of engagement can be a meaningful part of the healing we need after such a long and divisive campaign. But walking and throwing objects onto freeways is dangerous for pedestrians and drivers — and it puts a heavy burden on people just trying make it home to their families or get to work safely.

I am proud that the demonstrations in Los Angeles have been mostly lawful and peaceful, and that our officers are working with demonstrators to keep people out of harm’s way. Protests can, should, and must proceed in that spirit — and I urge everyone to look out for their fellow Angelenos and put safety first.”

Several days after the Election and the first meeting between the First Family and the family of the President Elect the nation remains bitterly divided.

UPDATE: Anti-Trump protests continue in many States, including California. A large protest is scheduled for Saturday 11/12/16 in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. (10,000 people are expected.)

There is nothing wrong with protesting. However the time for self-expression was the election. Continued protests, some involving vandalism of property (ours, not the President Elect’s!) and violence against police officers (our city’s, not Federal government’s!) are not only futile but senseless. No protest can change the outcome of Presidential Election.
Social activism, civic initiatives – both of which are peaceful – might moderate the impact of some federal policies on Los Angeles and California.

The time for expressing our preferences has ended once the polls closed. Now it’s time to get ready for a new era with President Trump at the steering wheel. We and the President Elect will have to make some compromises. It’s time to look for the positive and focus on values we can agree on. It’s time to move on.

 

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Oct 232016
 
Tom Hayden Passed Away

Photo courtesy of TomHayden.com

Tom Hayden, legendary activist, later a politician and ex-husband of Jane Fonda has died at 76.

Hayden established himself as a political activist in 1960s. Activist at heart, he stood for what’s right from civil rights, peace, social justice and environmental protection to the fight for clear labeling of products containing cancer-causing chemicals and an increase on tobacco sales’ taxes.

A Democrat through and through, Hayden served on California State Assembly and California Senate for a total of 18 years. He passed over a 100 measures in California, some of the most notable are:

• Establishment of a statewide Agent Orange registry;
• Equal university access for disabled students;
• Recruitment of gay and racial minority AIDs researchers at universities;
• Requirement of set-asides for renewable energy in state planning;
• Extension of sexual harassment codes to professional relationships;
• Prohibitions on date rape drugs;
• Funding for tattoo removal;
• Standards prohibiting MTBE in drinking water;
• Requirement for longer holding periods for lost animals in shelters;
• Reducing start-up fees for new small businesses;
• Requiring trigger locks on guns sold;
• Training for immigrant parents of public school children;
• Drafted largest state park and environmental restoration bond in nation’s history;
• Minimum vision standards and testing for senior drivers;
• Funding for gang intervention projects.

Tom Hayden was also a prolific writer who authored and / or edited twenty books. His latest book is “Inspiring Participatory Democracy: Student Movements from Port Huron to Today”. (Now just days before a crucial presidential election, we all have participatory democracy on our minds…)

Tom Hayden has died. We have lost a good man. Hayden lived his life well and made a positive impact on our reality. Tom Hayden leaves behind a proud legacy.

(Some information for this article was excerpted from TomHayden.com, The Peace & Justice Resource Center)

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

 

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Oct 152016
 

mayorgarcettiannounces

Mayor Garcetti Announces $64.6 Million For Sustainable Affordable Housing Development

State Cap-and-Trade Funding includes $12 million in financing for Jordan Downs redevelopment as well as critical transportation improvements

The City of Los Angeles has been awarded nearly $65 million in cap-and-trade funding from the State to develop environmentally sustainable affordable housing and make critical transportation improvements, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on October 12th 2016.

The grants come from California’s new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program, overseen by the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) — a committee formed by the Legislature to advance local community revitalization efforts.

The $64.6 million awarded to Los Angeles is the largest allocation to any city in California, and follows Mayor Garcetti’s successful advocacy in 2015 to lift the cap on such awards from $15 million.

The new funding will provide gap financing for four permanent supportive housing developments for formerly homeless Angelenos, totaling 348 units, and additional two affordable developments, totaling 205 units for low-income Angelenos.

“Affordable housing development can be about more than building four walls and a roof for people who need them, it can also give everyone — regardless of income — a chance to be part of L.A.’s green, connected future,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Smart design helps us to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by linking communities to more transportation options. This is transformative work, and I applaud the Strategic Growth Council on its vision.”

Over the last two years, the City has received nearly $100 million from this innovative program, which supports housing and transportation projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through mixed-use designs that encourage walking, bicycling, and the use of mass transit.

The long-awaited Jordan Downs redevelopment project was awarded $12 million for its first phase of construction. This grant provides $2 million for the extension of Century Boulevard through the Jordan Downs site in Watts, creating a complete street with wide sidewalks, bike lanes, shade trees, and a re-routed bus line to improve connectivity to the Metro Blue line. It also provides approximately $10 million to finance 135 units in the first phase of construction.

“This nearly $12 million grant provides needed financing during a critical time for the Jordan Downs redevelopment project,” said Douglas Guthrie, President and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. “The site is being prepared for development, Century Blvd extension is on schedule and the residents have a renewed sense of hope. The award demonstrates this agency’s commitment to leveraging all available opportunities to ensure that we can continue to make progress with the project. The funding will be utilized toward the construction of the initial residential units.”

“We are delighted to receive over $64.6 million in AHSC funding, which will enable the City of Los Angeles to create nearly 553 new units of affordable housing for low-income families and homeless individuals and reduce over 93,000 metric tons in GHG emissions,” said Rushmore Cervantes, General Manager of the Housing and Community Investment Development of the City of Los Angeles. “This award is also a testament to the remarkable collaboration of the City, the development community, and technical assistance providers to secure funding to meet the Mayor’s vision for a more sustainable and livable city for generations to come.”

This successful round of funding is due to the high capacity of the City’s affordable housing partners, the leadership of the Housing and Community Investment Department of Los Angeles (HCIDLA), and technical assistance provided by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. The Mayor’s Office will continue working to ensure that Los Angeles receives its fair share of state funding, partnering closely with the Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Engineering, and the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst.

 

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Oct 052016
 

California Governor Jerry Brown

Governor Jerry Brown has signed many new bills and amendments to existing laws, recently. Among them are three pertaining to rape. One of them changes, one expands and one modifies existing California rape law.

Senate Bill No. 813: NO Limitation Statute In Rape Cases In California
A rape is s rape whether it took place yesterday or 25 years ago. In a rape case, the perpetrator may not be easy to identify, find or prosecute (think of Bill Cosby!) while the rape victim / survivor is effectively sentenced to a life with a trauma. Rape charges and / or prosecution of a rapist however have a 10 year limitation statute. Now, thanks to Governor Brown – at least in California – rape survivors will be able to pursue and get justice without time limitations.
“This bill would allow the prosecution of rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation, and sexual penetration, that are committed under certain circumstances, as specified, to be commenced at any time. The bill would apply to these crimes committed after January 1, 2017, and to crimes for which the statute of limitations that was in effect prior to January 1, 2017, has not run as of January 1, 2017.” Read full text of the new law

Assembly Bill 701: Expanded Definition Of Rape
Expanding the legal definition of rape will allow / facilitate the prosecution of a wider range of sex crimes as well as increase sentences for sex offenders. The new bill states that in California “all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault may be considered rape”. Rightfully so, any type of sexual assault is rape. Read full text of the new law

Assembly Bill 2888: Harsher Sentencing Guidelines For Rape Of Victims Incapable Of Giving Consent
This bill clearly aims at preventing lenient sentences for rape of unconscious or otherwise incapacitated victims. If you recall the recent case of California’s rapist Brock Turner, you may remember that the law recommended up to 14 year prison sentence; prosecutors called for 6 years and yet, Turner (thanks to the judge’s way too lenient recommendation!) was released from jail after only 3 months!
“This bill would prohibit a court from granting probation or suspending the execution or imposition of a sentence if a person is convicted of rape, sodomy, penetration with a foreign object, or oral copulation if the victim was either unconscious or incapable of giving consent due to intoxication.” Read full text of the new law

Some people still believe that rape is “only” a sex crime. It isn’t. It’s a crime of violence, it asserts the perpetrator’s domination over the victim by force. In this aspect, rape is no different than murder or armed robbery, all three involve assault.

From now on (well, starting in January 2017) in California rapists will be prosecuted like all other violent criminals. No more excuses (no statute of limitation); no more lenient sentences (mandatory sentencing); no brakes on technicalities with the newly expanded definition of rape.

Rape is the most degrading and humiliating of crimes. Until now so was the judicial process: it often demeaned rape survivors more than the rapists. No wonder the majority of rape cases are not reported. The new legislation changes the power differential between rape victims and rape perpetrators in California’s court system. It is likely to encourage more reporting and – let’s hope! – prevent rapes.

In 2016 Governor Brown and California Legislature took a stand on behalf of rape victims and survivors. From now on, with no statute of limitation on rape charges; the definition of rape expanded to include all forms of rape and with rape victim’s incapacity to give consent no longer held against the rape victim but the rape perpetrator, there is new hope for justice for rape victims. The new Bills empower – restore dignity to – rape victims.

The three recently passed Bills change the legal landscape of rape law. Hopefully, they’ll serve as inspiration and models for change of national rape law.

The new legislative acts pertaining to rape are sure to contribute to Governor Jerry Brown’s legacy. By declaring allegiance to victims’ rights and – dare I say? – women, the Governor pioneered new approach to justice for rape victims and made ALL Californians proud.

 

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Sep 152016
 

garcettieducationwithinreachforallstudents

Mayor Eric Garcetti, Dr. Jill Biden, and LACCD and LAUSD officials launch the Los Angeles College Promise — guaranteed admission and a tuition-free year at local community colleges for 2017 high school graduates

Mayor Eric Garcetti and a host of local and national partners today launched the L.A. College Promise, making Los Angeles the largest city in America to guarantee high school graduates in the class of 2017 at least one tuition-free year of higher education.

The announcement was made on the campus of Los Angeles City College, where Mayor Garcetti was joined Dr. Jill Biden, the Second Lady of the United States; Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom; LACCD Board of Trustees President Scott Svonkin; LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer; LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez; and LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King.

LAUSD students who began classes in the fall and graduate in 2017 will be the first to qualify for the L.A. College Promise, which guarantees admission and a year of tuition-free education on one of the nine campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District. The L.A. College Promise will provide students with resources and support that ranges from tutoring and mentoring programs to financial literacy workshops.

“Higher education should be within reach for every student in Los Angeles. The L.A. College Promise is a path for every Angeleno to earn a high school diploma and pursue the skills and education they need to realize their dreams and potential,” said Mayor Garcetti. “When the first Promise students step onto campus next fall, they’ll be doing more than putting themselves on a launching pad to prosperity — they’ll embody a commitment that is fundamental to who we are as a people, and what we want for our future.”

To be eligible for enrollment, applicants must be graduating LAUSD seniors (Class of 2017) who are eligible for California in-state resident tuition and have completed FAFSA or California Dream Act applications.

Last year, the White House released the America’s College Promise proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students.

“Today, there is tremendous reason to celebrate. Today is about a promise that we as Americans must make to all of you. We are here to celebrate the L.A. College Promise,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “But what does that mean? A promise is not just a thought or a nice idea. No, a promise is a declaration. A declaration that your Mayor, your schools, and your teachers are making to you. It’s a declaration that says we believe in you — every single person here. We believe in your determination and resilience. We are making a declaration — an assurance that you can attend one year of school tuition-free. An assurance that you can concentrate on your studies, and get ahead.”

Unemployment is currently highest among Americans who completed their education with a high school diploma or less. By 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree — and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree, according to a Georgetown University report.

“The LACCD Board of Trustees committed to President Obama’s “America’s College Promise” when we heard of his initiative,” said Scott J. Svonkin, President of the LACCD Board of Trustees. “We are the nation’s largest community college district and proud to create a Promise program as President Obama envisioned. We want to thank Dr. Jill Biden for her leadership and helping us launch the Los Angeles College Promise. This is just the beginning. Our goal is free community college for everyone. We are engaging the business community — that is in need of a qualified and trained work force — and philanthropists that understand the value of community colleges to work with us and support free community college educations for generations to come”

“L.A. Unified is honored to join with the Los Angeles Community College District and the City of Los Angeles in educating the next generation of skilled workers, creative thinkers and effective problem-solvers,” said Superintendent Michelle King. “Of the 30,000 students who graduated in 2015, more than 60 percent pursued a post-secondary education immediately after high school, including 37 percent who enrolled in community college. With this new agreement in place, the Class of 2017 will be empowered to enroll in a community college that offers the courses, the certificate and the transfer opportunities for them to embark on a career or pursue a university degree. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of our students, our families, and the future of Los Angeles.”

The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles has raised $1.75 million to cover more than half the cost of the first year of L.A. College Promise. Donors include the Karsh Family Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Union Bank Foundation, and the Baxter Family Foundation.

For more information about L.A. College Promise, please visit LACollegePromise.org

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Sep 092016
 

governorbrownsignshistoricclimatechangelegislation

California Sets Most Ambitious Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets in North America

Ten years after California adopted the toughest greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in the nation, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today strengthened that commitment, signing SB 32 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) and AB 197 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), which require the state to cut emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and invest in the communities hardest hit by climate change.

“Climate change is real, and knowing that, California is taking action,” said Governor Brown. “SB 32 and AB 197 are far-reaching moves that continue California on its path of vast innovation and environmental resilience.”

Governor Brown signed the legislation from the Vista Hermosa Natural Park, a 10-acre urban wilderness project built atop an old oil field and the first public park built in more than 100 years in the densely populated western edge of downtown Los Angeles.

California is on track to meet or exceed the current target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as established in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). The new 2030 requirement in SB 32 will help make it possible to reach the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050.

“With its Clean Car Law in 2002 and the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, California took a global lead in adopting policies to clear the air, transition to clean energy and reduce climate pollution,” said Senator Pavley. “Those policies have fueled billions of dollars in private investment and spawned a thriving clean-energy sector. SB 32 sends an unmistakable message that California is resolute in its commitment to remain on that healthy and prosperous course.”

“In order for California to remain an economic and environmental leader the state will need to also be a trailblazer on issues related to equity,” said Assemblymember Garcia. “Placing the health and economic impacts of climate policy on vulnerable populations second will stunt the state’s prosperity.”

AB 197 establishes a legislative committee on climate change policies to help continue to ensure the state’s actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are conducted with transparency and accountability.

“Today is a proud day for California,” said Senate President pro Tempore De León. “Together we redoubled our commitment to global climate leadership and building the clean energy economy of tomorrow, while ensuring environmental justice so all Californians benefit from our climate policies.”

“SB 32 extends California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction goals. AB 197 changes the game on how we make sure those goals are reached,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “The successful effort behind these two bills is the latest sign of a growing consensus that protecting the environment and improving public health are inextricably linked and that maintaining that link is key to advancing future environmental actions. The Assembly – where AB 32 was passed 10 years ago – will be vigilant and vigorous in making sure California’s climate change goals are met, and are met as we all intended.”

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

California’s Leadership on Climate Change
While California emits around 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, the state is playing a leading role in broadening collaboration among subnational leaders.

These efforts include spearheading the Under2Coalition, a global climate pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in the world’s average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. A total of 135 jurisdictions representing 32 countries and six continents have now signed or endorsed the agreement. Together, they represent more than 783 million people and $21 trillion in GDP, equivalent to more than a quarter of the global economy. Signatories commit to either reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieving a per capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050.

In the past year, the Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change.

Governor Brown also joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.

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

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

Additionally, the Governor issued an executive order last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, a goal which is now codified by SB 32.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Jul 062016
 

TheSummerMealsProgram

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), locally referred to as the Summer Meals Program, is a federally funded, state administered program that provides meals to low-income children throughout the summer so that students are able to eat nutritious meals when school is out of session. The goal of this program is to ensure that no child goes hungry during the summer months.

Free breakfast, lunch, and snacks are available to anyone under the age of 18 at sites including libraries, schools, non-profits organizations, and recreation centers. Meals and snacks are also available to individuals with disabilities over the age of 18, who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled. No application or proof of income is needed. To find a summer meal site near you, please visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/summer-food-rocks/ or call 1-866-348-6479.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED
If you would like to partner with the SFSP and become a sponsor site, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) at http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/nt/. Sponsors can be local government agencies, camps, faith-based, or other non-profit organizations. Sponsoring agencies may also manage multiple sites. The CDE reimburses agencies for the cost of meals provided, as well as for the operational and the administrative cost of providing meals.

Volunteers are also needed to help run each site. Organizing activities for children and teens encourages them to come back to the site day after day. Some of these activities include arts and crafts, tutoring, mentoring, drama, sports, and computer training. In addition to healthy meals, the SFSP also promotes physical, social, and educational development. For information on volunteer opportunities, please contact your local summer meal site to learn more.

The Summer Meals Program is the right idea at the right time! No child should go hungry in Los Angeles, the city known for its excess. If you have the time and heart: VOLUNTEER! No child deserves to be hungry.

Jan 312015
 

John Mellencamp Sets Out On Plain Spoken Tour First Leg of Tour Kicks Off

John Mellencamp’s Plain Spoken Tour Kicks Off

After kicking off his Plain Spoken Tour with sold out shows in South Bend, IN, Louisville, Cincinnati and two nights at Nashville’s historic Ryman Theatre, John Mellencamp will crisscross North America for a total of 80 shows, hitting his hometown of Bloomington, as well as Chicago, Los Angeles, four nights in New York, and multiple dates across Canada. The tour, produced by AEG Live, will continue through August and features special guest Carlene Carter. Tickets and VIP packages for the “Voice of the Heartland’s” 2015 tour are selling out quick – fans can purchase available tickets for the Plain Spoken Tour at JohnMellencamp.com.

Accolades for the tour’s opening night are already pouring in: “For this opening-night performance, both Mellencamp and Carter came out confident and purposeful, ready for the 79 dates ahead to mine the roots of American music and investigate what it means to live and die.” South Bend Tribune

“Friday night at a sold-out Louisville Palace, the 63-year-old Mellencamp had his share of fun — he’s always been a consummate showman — but there was an underlying richness to his set that was far more impressive.” Louisville Courier-Journal

“John Mellencamp’s sold-out Plain Spoken Tour stop at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati felt more like 3,300 old friends getting back together rather than 3,300 strangers meeting for a night of music–that’s the effect of Mellencamp’s music. It feels good and familiar, like going back home after being away for years; and Saturday night, it felt damn good to all that attended.” Out of the Blue

The Rock And Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy Award winner released Plain Spoken September 23, one of the most lauded records of his career, to rave reviews. Fans will receive a digital download of Plain Spoken with their ticket purchase.

Praise for Plain Spoken:

“Folk-rock and philosophy are the making’s of John Mellencamp’s new album, Plain Spoken. The music looks back towards Bob Dylan’s “Blood On The Tracks, with strummed guitars, and brushes on the drums and neck-rack harmonica, and the words ponder trouble, power, love, God, freedom, and mortality – the concerns of a songwriter acting his age.” New York Times

“Rugged, rural and packed with an aging rocker’s gimmick-free reflections on life and hope Plain Spoken is the first album in Mellencamp’s “lifetime contract” with Republic. The stark, soul- baring lead single, “Troubled Man” like the rest of the album, follows the acoustic path of Mellencamp’s last two project’s 2010’s No Better Than This and 2008’s Life, Death Love and Freedom.” BILLBOARD

“Hemingway-esque” Philadelphia Inquirer

PLAIN SPOKEN TOUR CALIFORNIA DATES

  • July 23 Fresno, CA: William Saroyan Theatre
  • July 25 Oakland, CA: Oakland Paramount Theatre of the Arts
  • July 26 Sacramento, CA: Sacramento Community Theatre
  • July 28 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE

JOHN MELLENCAMP
Mellencamp’s career in music, spanning more than 35 years, has seen him transition from pop star to one of the most highly regarded songwriters of a generation. The Voice of The Heartland continues to evolve artistically with Plain Spoken—the first new music from the artist since 2010’s critically acclaimed No Better Than This. Plain Spoken is John’s 22nd full length album. Mellencamp is incredibly acclaimed. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy winner, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award, and Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also one of the most successful live concert performers in the world. The social activism reflected in his songs helped catalyze Farm Aid, the concert series and organization that has addressed the struggle of American family farmers for more than 25 years. The unique instrumentation of his band and his poignant songs about everyday life in the American heartland, are widely credited with being the forbearer of the Americana/No Depression genre of rural-inflected music. The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is a musical with music and lyrics by John Mellencamp, a libretto by author Stephen King and production by T Bone Burnett. This extraordinary collaboration 16 years in the making is a haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge, performed by an ensemble cast of 15 actors and a four-piece live band, comprised of members of John Mellencamp’s band. The Musical is currently on tour in North America. An 80-city tour in North American and Canada begins in January 2015. His final performance held in Indianapolis at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on August 4th will benefit the Riley Children’s Foundation, which supports Riley Hospital for Children (rileykids.org). Also an accomplished painter, his one-man show The Paintings of John Mellencamp is currently on view at Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA from January 17 to April 12, 2015.


May 172014
 

California Is Losing Tens Of Thousands Of Middle Class JobsMayors from Across CA Support Effort to Expand California Film & Television Production Tax Credit Program Posted by Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti .

In a call for action to support job retention and creation in one of California’s signature industries, the mayors from California’s largest cities — Los Angeles, Sacramento, Long Beach, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego, Bakersfield, Santa Ana, Oakland and San Jose – today signed a letter backing legislation that will expand and improve California’s film and television production tax credit. In the letter, the mayors assert, “Extending California’s film and television production tax credit program is a smart, prudent investment in California’s future and economic competitiveness. The program is one of California’s most efficient and proven economic development tools, generating 51,000 jobs and providing $4.5 billion in direct spending since its inception in 2009.”

The letter comes at a time when California is losing tens of thousands of middle-class jobs and significant tax revenue to other states and nations when it comes to film and television production. Of the 54 big budget feature films of 2012 and 2013, only one was shot exclusively in California. Further, the current program does not accord tax credits to network, premium pay cable or Internet television series produced in California, all of which are now being produced elsewhere. Given these realities, few understand better than the mayors who are on the frontlines working to keep their cities thriving, the economic benefits that film and television production brings to local economies and the serious financial impact of this exodus of jobs and revenue.

“This is about middle class jobs across our state,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “California’s current incentive program is not competitive — the demand for productions that want to stay here far exceeds the current program’s resources. As a result, hundreds of productions are forced to relocate outside of California.  By providing incentives for productions to remain or locate here, local employees are hired and the local economy is revitalized.”

The legislation, Assembly Bill 1839 by State Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), is currently making its way through the state Legislature with broad bipartisan and geographic support. It has been co-authored by 66 legislators from across the state, and is supported by major state labor and business groups such as the California Labor Federation AFL-CIO and California Chamber of Commerce. In fact, the Regional Economic Association Leaders (R.E.A.L.) Coalition, an association of California’s 20 most influential business and economic development entities, also issued a definitive letter advocating for the bill’s enactment. Moreover, local government groups such as the League of California Cities and the 41 local film commission offices support the legislation.

“This is an economic development program focused on the retention and creation of jobs and economic opportunity,” asserts Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “Enhancing the current program will help build a strong state and local tax base, and it is a wise strategic investment in California’s future.”

“A thriving film and television industry in San Francisco is creating jobs and economic opportunity for the residents of our world class city,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “This Statewide economic investment not only ensures that California remains competitive, but also brings an influx of local spending and tax revenue for the entire Bay

Area region and showcases our region to the world through the magic of the silver screen.”
The letter concludes with the mayors avowing that “to once again be competitive, California must put in place a meaningful, expanded credit that will bring back jobs, increase revenue, and support small businesses and vendors all across the state. Too much is at stake for the people of California to let this key industry slip away.”

May 082014
 

In a report commissioned by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, the occupational opportunities provided by casinos owned by American Indian tribes provided thousands of jobs to the citizens of California.

Tribal CA Casinos Provide Thousands of Jobs

Beacon Economics, an economic research and industry analyst firm located in Los Angeles, found out that a significant portion of the $8 billion economic output of tribal-operated casinos in the state is dedicated in supplying a steady revenue stream for the workers in the industry. According to their research, almost $3 billion of their expenditures go to salaries on people working for the casino industry, with the rest of their spending divvied up by advertising, administration, food and drinks, and gaming expenditures.

“Directly in the tribal government, in the tribal casinos and in the secondary impacts of the suppliers and other people that we use in our facilities,” CNIGA Vice Chairman Steven Stallings said. He also said that people who work for Indian-owned casinos have higher wages than California’s average and contribute to more than $100 million each year in income taxes.

While this may be good news for both investors and job seekers, critics panned the timing of the study with the recent push for the legalization of online poker and casinos in the state. With New Jersey finally embracing the potential of online gaming last year, some states started their campaign in allowing online gaming operators to offer their services. As of the moment, online gaming in California is still a gray area, and a lot of players are still unsure whether or not they are allowed to access gaming portals. However, Stallings dismissed the weird coincidence and said that the study is in preparation for the National Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention.

NIGTC is an annual country-wide gaming convention that pools Indian casino owners, stakeholders, and suppliers of products and services. The convention serves as a marketplace for buyers and sellers to have serious business and discuss the current trends and issues faced by the gaming industry. 888 Holdings, whose independent B2B arm is responsible for the creation of games on Bubble Bonus Bingo, has consistently used trade shows such as the NIGTC to showcase their portfolio to possible partners. In 2013, they used the G2E to announce that they’d taken over online operations for Wynn Resorts, Ltd., one of the biggest names in the casino industry.

“This is exactly the type of partnership we’ve envisioned when we formed (the network),” CEO Brian Mattingley said in a statement announcing the Wynn deal. “The challenge of establishing a robust, entertaining offering with ample player liquidity is one of our prime goals”.