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 252016
 
President Obama’s Legacy

President Barack Obama listens while meeting with Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman and Jeffrey Zients, National Economic Council Director, in the doorway of the Oval Office, Jan. 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Obama era is coming to an end, President Elect Trump will be sworn in the office in a few short weeks. Nearly half of Americans look forward with anticipation and hope to his inauguration and his turn at the wheel.

It is a tradition however to look back before closing a chapter. President Obama is considered one of the least popular presidents in the U.S. history, right now. What is President Obama’s legacy?

President Obama is being blamed for his policies, decisions and actions whether they were right, wrong or beyond his control, as if no one noticed that the unpopular today President has in fact… saved America.

A few examples of things the President is scrutinized for:

  • his economic policies
  • his internal policies
  • his international policies
  • his policies on climate change
  • and – of course! – Obamacare

When President Obama took over the White House, he inherited many liabilities. To name just a few: a growing recession, high unemployment rate (7.8%) and the costly war in Iraq. These inherited liabilities were a growing threat to the Country as he was taking the oath of the office, way before he was able to make – leave alone, implement – any decisions.

Bottom line, President Obama took over a sinking ship – we’ve come dangerously close to sinking! – and not only restored it back onto an even keel but corrected some of the crisis’ causes AND moved us as a nation forward.

President Obama stopped American economy from collapsing

  • Confronted with the greatest recession since the Great Depression, President Obama signed the 2009 $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to stimulate hiring. His strategy was a success and produced desperately needed jobs.
  • His HAMP and HARP programs helped save millions of American homes from foreclosure.
  • He repeatedly extended unemployment benefits to protect the jobless until they find employment.
  • To prevent future predatory lending, President Obama created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • To make sure that Wall Street doesn’t continue its questionable business and trading practices, he enforced stricter regulations of the financial industry.
  • President Obama bailed out the American automotive industry and he was right. The bailout helped turn the industry around and created over 100,000 jobs.
  • By attracting private investment into the nation’s largest banks, he orchestrated a privately-funded bailout of the banking system.
  • The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act protects consumers from exploitation by credit card companies.
  • To end wasteful spending, President Obama eliminated banks from the Federal Student Loan Program and expanded Pell Grant for students from low-income families.

President Obama worked with other nations to prevent global recession
He played an important role in securing over 500 billion dollars from the G-20 countries for the International Monetary Fund to ensure financial liquidity of emerging markets. The President’s participation helped prevent global recession.

President Obama ended the war in Iraq and improved national security

  • He’s ended the war in Iraq.
  • In a covert operation of U.S. Special Forces, the head of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Ladin, was executed.
  • President Obama eliminated the use of interrogation techniques which violated the Geneva Conventions. (These techniques were approved for use and used by his predecessor’s administration.)

President Obama advanced civil rights

  • Because of President Obama, members of the LGBT community can now openly serve in the American military. There is no “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” anymore.
  • Obama expanded the definition of Hate Crimes in the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The definition now includes – in addition to religion, color, race and national origin – also disability, gender and sexual orientation.
  • To ensure that progressive values are represented in the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama nominated Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Both were confirmed and are serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Obama protected environment

  • He laid the groundwork for closing old, coal-powered power plants that release the most carbon monoxide emissions. Once implemented, it will curb global warming and protect human health.
  • Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act which expanded areas eligible for protection including wilderness, rivers and historic as well as hiking trails.
  • The President was responsible for the speedy reparations paid by British Petroleum to the victims of the Gulf Oil Spill.
  • He invested more than any other U.S. President in research in the area of renewable energy from biofuels and cleaner coal to electric cars and other forms of efficient energy use and production.

President Obama created THE FIRST healthcare system for all Americans

His historic Health Care Reform is the first universal health insurance in the United States. It is intended to provide health security to all, including patients with preexisting conditions, adult children still living with their parents, etc. (As we all know by now, Obamacare is costly and imperfect. It can be modified, improved and made cost-effective. Its concept however is sound.)

***

President Obama has accomplished all of these and a lot more (the items listed above are merely a few highlights) while improving the image of America in the world.

The most recent act of our “unpopular” President? He’s working on making a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in areas of the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard a law.

With President Barack Obama at the helm, we’ve made significant progress in:

  • Achieving economic balance at home
  • Ensuring balance in the world economy
  • Creating financial consumer protection
  • Financial protection of students
  • Advancement of civil rights
  • Environmental protection
  • Providing – FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY! – health insurance coverage for all
  • (this is a very incomplete list of President Obama’s accomplishments. It doesn’t include also Michelle Obama’s advocacy for military families, children, education or healthy nutrition.)

We are reading plenty of criticism of the President, lately. I wonder why?

  • Imagine the outcome of the last recession without Barack Obama in the Oval Office. We’d all be likely citizens of… China, today.
  • Imagine the outcome of the unemployment crisis without Barack Obama as President. There’d be soup kitchens on street corners and millions of people lining up for a bowl.
  • Imagine the outcome of the foreclosure crisis without Barack Obama as President. There’d be more homeless people than housed…
  • Imagine the auto industry collapse without Barack Obama in the Oval Office. For the first time in history of the automobile, there’d be no American-made cars.
  • Imagine the banking system collapse without Barack Obama in the Office. We’d experience another Great Depression!
  • Imagine consumers’ exploitation by the mortgage industry without Obama’s intervention. We all know that not all homes were foreclosed on for their owners’ fault. Many were cheated out of their homes. President Obama closed the “free-for-all” flood gates.
  • Imagine civil rights without Barack Obama. Tolerance is the mark of a civilized society. Thanks to President Obama civil rights in the United States have been expanded to include special protections for the disabled as well as for members of the LGBT community.
  • Imagine environmental protection without Barack Obama. Actually, you don’t have to imagine: you’ll see it soon after the President Elect takes office. Start saving for oxygen masks for yourself and your loved ones: that’s what the Chinese use to survive.
  • Imagine sick people in need of medical care without Obamacare……

It seems that nearly half of the population either didn’t realize the seriousness of the crisis Obama took on and didn’t consider the potential case scenarios we would have faced if it wasn’t for President Obama….

Anyone with some basic understanding of politics can appreciate the fact that even the President’s powers have limits and are set in context. Barack Obama is a democratically elected President of a Country that is a part of the international community, not a king or a dictator in the only country on Earth. His decisions were moderated by many factors. In some cases they reflected his personal values, but in most they were the best compromises available. He didn’t support senseless violence, didn’t gamble American lives to settle personal grievances, respected human rights, managed relationships with lenders the U.S. is beholden to the best way possible. He tried to do the most good for the greatest number and succeeded.

The results frustrated many. Those most frustrated chose to believe that presidential power has no limits and that electing a Republican political novice will make all their dreams come true. The most disappointed segment of population voted for – and elected – Donald Trump. Bad news: there is no job (even in the government of the United States!) and no person with an absolute or super power. Your dreams won’t come true under the incoming President, either.

It’s quite simple really, there is a moment every month when you have a “choice” to pay your mortgage / rent or take the money for your mortgage / rent payment and blow it on something you really want or need. Why don’t you follow your heart? Because the “choice” to pay for housing or blow the money foolishly isn’t really a choice. The same applies to the decisions a president gets to make: damn if he does and damn if he doesn’t. Of course, we are all “dumb” to be paying for housing as opposed to a dream vacation and we know it. So, why do we?….

To me personally – my opinion may not reflect the opinion of Anything L.A. Magazine – Barack Obama is a Hero, in more ways than one. The job of a President is to consider the welfare of all citizens and to ensure safe future of the Country. Barack Obama has done an extra-ordinary job and we were blessed to have him as a President especially at a time of a major crisis. He’s done right by our Country and by fellow Americans. He cares about our economy, safety, health, education, finances, civil rights, environment and the progressive direction of the United States. He – and his family – brought honor and grace to the White House, again. He restored America’s authority and image internationally.

President Obama’s legacy is a testament to his wisdom, courage and foresight. He may not have gotten everything right. We may not “love” the final outcome. But there is no denying that the unpopular President Obama saved America. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Time and history will do him justice.

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

 

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Good work Anything LA

★★★★★
5 5 1
Any moron can criticize, it takes someone with a brain to distinguish facts from fiction.

I don’t leave comments Online

★★★★★
5 5 1
I’m making an exception to say thank you to the President. My house was in foreclosure, I still own it. I lived on unemployment benefits for a while. I’m no expert on global warming, but my family and I survived because of Obama’s policies. Thank you Mr. Obama. You had my back.

About time to put things in perspective!

★★★★★
5 5 1
SIX STARS: Excellent piece. The much berated President deserves credit!
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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