May 052017
 

Religious Liberty Executive Order

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

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

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

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

In the opinion of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti:

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

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

 

 

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Apr 262017
 

L.A. Commemorated Armenian Genocide

Tens of thousands of Armenians and their friends (including Los Angeles city’s leadership) marched on Monday outside the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard in commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

The Armenian genocide took place between 1915 and 1918 (and again between 1920 and 1923) and resulted in a mass murder of one and half million Armenians living in Turkey. The Armenians were killed, tortured, exploited and starved to death.

Countries like France, Argentina, Greece and Russia have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Republic of Turkey till today’s day denies that a genocide was committed against the Armenians. (During the Monday’s march the Turkish flag and a statement denying the genocide were flown above Los Angeles.)

Even though evidence against Turkey has been gathered and recorded by Great Britain, Germany and America – the countries who were trying to save surviving Armenians – at the time, Turkey was never formally admonished, forced to either return the Armenian land it occupies or pay restitution to the genocide victims’ descendants. (To learn more visit: http://www.armenian-genocide.org)

A genocide or holocaust is the pragmatic extinction of a nation or ethnic group. It is a crime against humanity. It always begins with the government creating unjustified fear and hatred of such a group by the society at large which often incites violence and hate crimes.

Remembering and honoring victims of the Armenian Genocide and the Jews murdered in the Holocaust is of utmost importance always. Perhaps even more so today when our new administration – which has attempted to introduce nationality and religion-based travel ban – is prosecuting Mexican nationals living in the United States: detaining and deporting individuals without criminal records and even protected by the Dream Act; tearing apart families and separating mothers from their children. Singling out any ethnic group or nation for prosecution of any kind is inhumane. Historically, it has led to mass tragedies.

We cannot allow history to repeat itself: anywhere, ever. It is our moral responsibility to recognize warning signs and prevent discrimination and prosecution based on nationality, ethnicity or religion.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a statement:

“I stand today with survivors of the Genocide, the Armenian Diaspora in Los Angeles, and people throughout the world to remember a great suffering. We stand together in our conviction that the horrible wound opened in 1915 can only be healed through full and unqualified acknowledgement of the truth.

Today’s commemoration is about more than remembering one of the lowest moments in world history. It is a time to reflect on and admire the strength and perseverance of the Armenian people — who for more than a century have inspired people everywhere by insisting on proper recognition, refusing to let their story be minimized, and demanding that their ancestors never be forgotten.

At a moment when the world is again confronted by unthinkable atrocities, we look to the Armenian people’s relentless pursuit of justice, and compassion for all who face oppression and seek refuge. We find hope in that example — and today we march arm-in-arm, lifting our voices to honor the 1.5 million Armenians who died, and stand up for those who face injustice everywhere.”

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

 

 

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Apr 262017
 

Not Winning With Sanctuary Cities

First, a federal appeals court blocked the President’s travel ban, twice. Now his attempt to retroactively attach conditions to federal funding approved by Congress has been found unconstitutional as well.

The latest executive order intended to force communities (sanctuary cities) to cooperate with immigration enforcement, led to numerous lawsuits which were filed in Washington State, Massachusetts and California. San Francisco and Santa Clara County’s lawsuits were the first to be heard by a judge. Consequently, the first preliminary injunction in the lawsuits filed in California was issued by U.S. District Judge William Orrick.

In the words of U.S. District Judge Orrick: “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves.”

While commanding the court’s decision, San Francisco City Attorney, Dennis Herrera pointed out that neither the President nor the attorney general can ignore the Constitution.

The injunction will be in effect while the lawsuits make their way through the court system. It effectively blocks President Trump from using federal funding as a bargaining chip against cities that protect immigrants from deportation.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the following statement on the ruling to block the President’s executive order on immigration enforcement:

“Today’s ruling by Judge Orrick is good news, and reminds us that people’s rights transcend political stunts. The Constitution protects cities’ right to create humane, sensible policies that keep our neighborhoods safe and our communities together. It is time for the federal government to stop attacking cities and scapegoating immigrants, and begin focusing on the hard work of comprehensive immigration reform. I will keep working to defend the rights of all our residents — including immigrants — and fighting to protect our own federal tax dollars, which Angelenos want to invest in keeping their families safe and our city strong.”

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

 

 

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Apr 032017
 

North Carolina Against LGBTQ Rights

North Carolina repealed the HB 2, better known as the “bathroom bill”, last week. The repeal is seen as an attack on the LGBTQ community because it denies transgender people the use of restrooms, changing rooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity.

Making matters even worse for the LGBTQ community, the HB 2 has been replaced by a new law which takes away from them anti-discrimination protections, including employment and housing. North Carolina’s LGBTQ community has been hit hard. Their plight however is beginning to attract support. Among notable supporters is the NCAA men’s basketball championship which has already relocated all regional games – which were to take place in North Carolina – elsewhere.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, expressed his support for the North Carolina’s LGBTQ community by calling on L.A. city officials headed to North Carolina on non-essential business to boycott the state that officially withdrew its recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s rights and their need for anti-discrimination protections.

“Every American deserves to live free of discrimination, and the law signed last week by Governor Cooper does nothing to protect the rights and dignity of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Cities should have every opportunity to make policies that affirm values of equal justice, protect people from hate and bias, and uphold the Constitutional right to self-determination. Until that is made real in North Carolina, I urge the City Council to extend L.A.’s ban on non-essential travel to the state by City employees. I would sign that ban right away, and will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that Angelenos’ tax dollars are never spent to support bigotry based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti

It is hard to comprehend that in the 21st Century – and with about 20% of the millennials identifying themselves as members of the LGBTQ community! – anyone would question the need for non-discrimination or civil rights’ protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Sexual orientation or gender identity is an inherent part of personal freedom and human rights. Not supporting the rights of this historically disadvantaged community is absurd. ALL law-abiding and tax-paying U.S. citizens are entitled to rights that keep them safe and free to live as they choose. Anything LA Liberal Magazine says: Live And Let Live!

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

 

 

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Feb 222017
 

New Immigration Enforcement And L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti made the following statement on DHS Plans for Implementing the President’s Executive Orders on Immigration:

“Stoking fears of mass deportation, turning our backs on refugees and children, denying asylum-seekers the right to see a judge, and showing indifference to suffering are not policies to make us safer — they’re a cruel abandonment of everything we believe as Americans and stand for as Angelenos.

Whether they live in Van Nuys or Virginia, East L.A. or East Lansing — Americans everywhere expect their leaders in Washington to act with the justice, grace, and tolerance that give us our identity. The Administration’s release today of details on how it will implement the President’s executive orders on immigration enforcement reveal plans that run counter to fundamental American principles: Protecting our homeland means focusing on criminals who pose a threat to our safety and security — not turning local police into a deportation force or creating widespread fear by targeting hardworking immigrants who contribute so much to our economy, culture, and spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. And that no matter who is in power, people who have already built lives in this country — or seek refuge from violent persecution, religious oppression, and other extreme hardships — should never have to live in fear of their families being torn apart, and should be able to count on all of the protections that our Constitution and judicial system provide.

Los Angeles stands firm on those ideals, and I will do everything in my power — in partnership with the City Council, our City Attorney, the LAPD, advocates for immigrants, educators, and members of Congress — to protect and defend the rights of all Angelenos whose families may be unjustly affected by these orders. We will fight for the people who call our communities home, and stay committed to leading with the humanity and openness that define us as a people.” — Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles’ Mayor’s statement is noble and courageous. At some point however the authority of the City and the State ends and is superseded by the Federal authority.

President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration were explained during a press conference on February 21st 2017 by the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. A memorandum of the Department of Homeland Security explains which specific groups of undocumented immigrants are priorities for removal. The people who:
(a) have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(b) have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
(c) have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(d) have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) are subject to a final order of removal but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States;
(g) in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.

During immigration raids, none of the above exempts the undocumented immigrants who don’t pose a threat to national security and who didn’t break any but one of American laws by entering the Country illegally. Some of them have been detained and deported already. While a panic is spreading across the nation, Sean Spicer reassured that: “everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at any time.” The new immigration guidelines open the door for mass deportations in accordance with “expedited removal” procedures. “Expedited removal” vastly reduces court proceedings, meaning the undocumented immigrants will be either deprived of access to the justice system entirely or have access to appeal or otherwise defend themselves severely limited.

To have the new immigration regulations enforced efficiently, the President is increasing the budget of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, etc. There will be thousands more immigration officers and judges and many more detention centers to expedite deportations.

As far as we know, for now at least, DACA and the protections it provides for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children will remain in effect as the sole exception to the wide-reaching immigration sweep.

When we think of undocumented immigrants, we usually imagine people illegally sneaking into our Country and compromising our safety. We think of these people as “them”, not “us”. As much as this image and reference is true in a small percentage of cases, in the vast majority of cases, it isn’t “them”, it’s very much “us” and about “us”. Why? Because the undocumented immigrants have legally-American and / or American-born families. The new immigration guidelines and enforcement are not just a punishment to undocumented immigrants but a huge disruption to all Americans: American families torn apart, American children not being sent to school, taken to a doctor or vaccinated, crimes not being reported, no eyewitnesses to accidents, significant changes in economy, etc. Many are terrified of a sudden separation of their family. The fear affects the “illegals”, traumatizes their legal families including children and negatively affects normal functioning of the community.

This is only the beginning, what to expect? Increase in psychological problems, crises in several industries, crime, diseases, homelessness, an urgent need for orphanages for American children separated from their parents, not to mention high anxiety in ethnic American citizen communities that anticipate being targeted based on profiling.

Significant and negative impact on local economy will lower our standard of living. High anxiety and fear of authorities will not only disrupt normal functioning of communities but diminish our safety and wellness. If you think about it, the consequences of the new immigration guidelines and enforcement will reverberate throughout the society at large and affect us nearly as much as the illegal immigrants.

Perhaps we should secure our borders first and then deal with the undocumented immigrants already here humanely, in a fashion befitting a nation of immigrants? This way future immigration problems would be prevented, current immigration problems would be solved while the rest of the nation would continue functioning without fear, increase in disease and crime or economic instability. Such a gentler and more diplomatic approach would also strengthen relationships with our neighbors and help preserve the international image of America as compassionate, fair and respectful of human rights. Just a thought.

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

 

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Jan 172017
 
Gene Cernan On The Moon

Gene Cernan On The Moon. Photo Courtesy of Egger1.com

“During 20 years as a Naval Aviator, including 13 years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Captain Eugene A. Cernan left his mark on history with three historic missions in space as the Pilot of Gemini IX, the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo X, and the Commander of Apollo XVII. After flying to the moon not once, but twice, he also holds the distinction of being the second American to walk in space and the last man to have left his footprints on the lunar surface.

Captain Cernan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1956 and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Post Graduate School in 1963. Among his numerous honors, the most significant are the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal with Star, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the FAI International Gold Medal for Space, induction into the U.S. Space Hall of Fame, enshrinement into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Naval Aviation’s Hall of Honor and the International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Captain Cernan was awarded NASA’s first Ambassador of Exploration Award, the Federal Aviation Administration’s prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, and the 2007 Lindbergh Spirit Award presented only every five years. In December, 2007, The National Aeronautic Association presented Captain Cernan with one of the most prestigious aviation trophies in the world, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, in Washington, DC. Last April, Captain Cernan was honored by receiving the 2008 Rotary National Award for Space Achievement, and he recently received the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Gold Air Medal, one of the most important international awards, in the Fall of 2008.”
(Excerpt from http://egger1.com)

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement after Cernan’s death:
“Truly, America has lost a patriot and pioneer who helped shape our country’s bold ambitions to do things that humankind had never before achieved.”

In honor of Gene Cernan’s passing L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti said:
“Today, we lost one of America’s greatest astronauts, Gene Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon and one of only three people to travel to the moon twice. Gene inspired a generation of budding scientists to turn their eyes to the sky in awe and dedicate their lives to space exploration. In the wake of his passing, I’m reminded of Gene’s own words, and the message he worked to instill in our nation’s young people: ‘I walked on the moon. What can’t you do?”

Captain Eugene A. Cernan died at 82 following a fulfilled (and amazing!) life. He was the commander of the final Apollo (Apollo 17) lunar landing mission (during which he took his historic walk on the Moon) in 1972. We didn’t make any progress in traveling to – or exploring – the Moon since… (in 45 years!)

“Too many years have passed for me to still be the last man to have left his footprints on the Moon. I believe with all my heart that somewhere out there is a young boy or girl with indomitable will and courage who will lift that dubious distinction from my shoulders and take us back where we belong. Let us give that dream a chance.”
Captain Eugene A. Cernan

 

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Jan 112017
 

Lucas Museum Of Narrative Art

After a thoughtful deliberation, the one BILLION dollars Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has chosen Los Angeles as its home.

What is the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art?
The non-profit museum, which features a bold new architectural design, will be a one-of-a-kind gathering place to experience collections, films and exhibitions dedicated to the power of visual storytelling and the evolution of art and moving images. The museum will present original work by world renowned and emerging artists, cutting-edge digital technologies, and daily film screenings in state-of-the-art theaters, as well as extraordinary educational opportunities for students of all ages. The Lucas Museum will truly be a museum unlike any other. The facility will be designed by the award-winning architect Ma Yansong of MAD Architects.” Read more about the incredible new museum.

What does the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art mean to Los Angeles?

  • 1500+ New Construction Jobs
  • 350+ New Permanent Jobs
  • $1 Billion+ Invested by George Lucas & Mellody Hobson
  • $0 Cost to Taxpayers
  • that’s of course in addition to being an asset to Angelenos, Los Angeles students and visitors from around the country and the world!

L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti in response to the welcome news said:

“Art exists to inspire, to move, to educate, and to excite. Thanks to George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, millions of Angelenos and visitors will enjoy an extraordinary collection anchored in storytelling — an art that carries so much meaning in the history and legacy of Los Angeles.

L.A. is gaining a new jewel with the breathtaking Lucas Museum of Narrative Art — and its presence here means that a day at Exposition Park will soon bring unrivaled opportunities to be immersed in stories told on canvas and celluloid, be moved by the richness of African-American history and expression, be awed by the wonders of science and the natural world, take a journey to the world of space exploration, and sit in the stands for a world-class sporting event.

I believed in the vision for the Lucas Museum, and we went after it with everything we have — because I know that L.A. is the ideal place for making sure that it touches the widest possible audience. I am deeply grateful to Mellody and George, and to our educational, governmental, and cultural leaders for their extraordinary support in helping us bring the museum home. Now it’s time to build the vision.”

 

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Dec 272016
 
Happy Holidays Los Angeles From L.A. Mayor

This gorgeous photo is the property of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti

L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti wishes Angelenos of ALL cultural backgrounds Happy Holidays:

Merry Christmas:
“Everywhere in our City of Angels — whether exchanging presents and singing carols, making tamales and sipping eggnog, going to a posada, or worshiping at Midnight Mass — we unite on Christmas by embracing all that is good in our world. The most meaningful gift we can give today, and every day, is sharing our joy and light with others. My wish is that we will always live in the spirit of kindness, compassion, generosity, and hope that this holiday brings into our hearts.”

Happy Hanukkah:
“During Hanukkah, we remember a story about the triumph of hope against all odds, and celebrate the beauty and resilience of light. And even after generations of telling our children about the miracle of the oil that lit the temple in Jerusalem for eight days, the message of Hanukkah endures like that flickering flame. May this time of year always remind us that nothing is brighter or warmer than the light we find within ourselves — and nothing is stronger than the hope we give to each other in our times of greatest need.”

Happy Kwanzaa:
“Kwanzaa is anchored in ancient traditions and timeless values that have given people of African descent the power to build great civilizations and thrive after extraordinary hardship. We take these seven days to contemplate principles of self-determination, shared responsibility, creativity, unity, purpose, and faith — and rejoice in the great power they possess in our lives. May the kinara fill homes with light, and our hearts with the joy, warmth, and peace that this holiday brings to people all over the world.”

 

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Dec 192016
 

Slaughter On A Berlin Christmas Market

On December 19th 2016 a truck driver with Polish license plates plowed into a crowded Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, at a high rate of speed. The 18 wheeler loaded with steel went over the curb and onto the plaza surrounding the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church which hosted small merchants’ stands with traditional Christmas decorations, snacks and beverages. There was festive music and crowds of people in a holiday mood when the terror struck.

(The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is not only centrally located in the capital of Germany but holds a symbolic meaning to Germans reminding them of the horrors of WW2 bombings.)

As a result of this horrific Christmas time attack, twelve are confirmed dead. Fifty are injured. A passenger in the truck has been found dead. The driver didn’t attempt to break during the incident and escaped from the scene. According to latest reports, the driver was arrested. It isn’t known as of yet, whether the tragedy was an accident or a deliberate act of terror. (German authorities contacted the company that owns the truck. It appears that the truck may have been stolen. The identity – or even nationality – of the driver wasn’t made public so far.)

UPDATE: The Polish driver of the truck that caused carnage in Berlin was found murdered. The man under arrest for allegedly driving the truck during the massacre was wrongly accused and has been released. A manhunt for the killer-driver is over. Berlin truck killer Anis Amri was shot dead in a confrontation with two police officers in Milan, Italy on 12/23/16. The Tunisian refugee denied political asylum in Germany – but not deported – was in fact a terrorist who pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti issued the following statement:

“Los Angeles stands with the people of Germany in their grief and sorrow following today’s horrific attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. We mourn those lives lost.
This is a time of year where people everywhere – and of many faiths – turn their focus to all that is good in our world, and recommit themselves to the love and understanding that lies at the core of our humanity. Inhumane and evil acts like today’s cowardly attack cannot be allowed to diminish our resolve to live those ideals. And we will never abandon the values of brotherhood and sisterhood that the enemies of peace seek to take away.”

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

 

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Dec 022016
 

sanbernardinologo

White House Press Secretary on the Anniversary of the San Bernardino Attack:

“One year ago today, the people of San Bernardino endured the horror of a terrorist attack whose reverberations touched all of America. The 14 innocent men and women who were taken from us that day had come together to celebrate the holidays and represented the best of our country. Their paths to the Inland Regional Center—whose mission is to serve fellow members of the community—varied. Some of the victims were just beginning careers of service, while others had devoted decades to those around them. The brutality of the attack’s perpetrators could not have been in starker contrast to the selflessness and generosity that characterized those taken from us.

In the year since this tragedy, we have mourned those we lost, just as we have continued to confront the violent ideology behind this attack as well as the terrorist groups, including ISIL, that propagate it. As the President told the nation shortly after the attack, “we will succeed in this mission because we are on the right side of history.” Today, as we remember the horror of last December 2, we also recognize our progress in that campaign and the enduring truth of the President’s words.”

December 2nd 2016, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy in San Bernardino said:

“Fourteen people were senselessly murdered one year ago today in San Bernardino. They were moms and dads, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors. Shannon Johnson, a resident of Los Angeles, was among those who died in the terror attack. This is a time for people in Southern California and everywhere to mourn the victims, remember the lives lost and changed forever, honor our first responders, and reflect on the values that give Americans the strength to move forward after tragedy and loss: love, compassion, unity, and understanding.”

 

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Nov 172016
 

Mayor Garcetti Congratulates L.A. Winners

On the election of Archbishop José Gomez as Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti stated:

“Los Angeles has been blessed by the spiritual guidance of Archbishop José Gomez, and it is encouraging to know that Catholics across America will benefit from his tremendous grace and wisdom. Followers of all faiths seek the Archbishop’s counsel and solace — and he has touched countless lives with his heart for those who struggle, suffer, and live on the margins. His historic Selection, as the first Latino to serve as vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, comes at a moment when his advocacy for immigrant communities can bring new hope at a time of great uncertainty. As someone who has been personally moved by his ministry, I know that Archbishop Gomez will be a compassionate, reassuring presence for millions in the United States and beyond.”

In addition, we have just learned that several distinguished Angelenos will be awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti congratulated Vin Scully, Frank Gehry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ellen Degeneres and Tom Hanks – via Twitter – on their upcoming receipt of the Presidential Medal Of Freedom.

The Presidential Medal Of Freedom is the highest civilian honor for exceptional contributions to the common good in the US. Being awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom is a huge recognition for the individuals receiving the prestigious award. It is also an honor for Los Angeles, the city that nurtures and celebrates creativity.

 

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Nov 082016
 

2013 LAX Shooter Sentenced

Paul Ciancia, 26, has been sentenced to a life in prison as a result of a plea deal that spared his life.

Ciancia mercilessly killed Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez (39), a father of two, and injured three other people (two of them TSA officers) during a November 1st 2013 LAX shooting rampage.

As a part of the sentence, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez recommended that Ciancia be detained at a psychiatric facility where he’ll receive treatment.

In a statement L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti said:
“Today’s sentencing closes a chapter on a horrific and terrifying episode that shocked Los Angeles and the nation. Officer Gerardo Hernandez was a brave Angeleno who had received a commendation for his work at LAX, and tragically became the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty — targeted and killed because of the uniform he wore, and his dedication to keeping travel at our airport safe and secure. Justice has been served to Paul Ciancia, and my hope is that his life sentence brings some measure of peace and healing to Officer Hernandez’s family and all whose lives he touched as a father, husband, friend, and protector.”

 

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Oct 252016
 

L.A. Metro Receives 50th New Light Rail Vehicle

Celebrating a milestone and an enhancement for rider convenience, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) took delivery of the 50th Kinkisharyo International (KI) Model P3010 Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) and announced reduced headways on the Metro Expo Line from 12 minutes to six minutes.

“With delivery of the 50th light rail vehicle of our total order of 235, Metro is keeping its promise of bringing modern, efficient and economical rail transit to areas where alternatives to traffic are badly needed,” said Metro Board Chair John Fasana. “The additional light rail vehicles allowed Metro to this week reduce the time between trains to six minutes from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekdays.”

“We’re making excellent progress getting more vehicles into service and riders will have relief from crowded conditions,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board First Vice Chair Eric Garcetti. “Since opening two new rail extensions, the Gold Line to Azusa in March and the Expo Line to Santa Monica in May, we’ve seen pent up demand for this service.”

Model P3010 is assembled at the KI facility in Palmdale under a contract approved by the Metro Board of Directors in August 2012. The base order for 78 LRVs was subsequently expanded when the Board exercised options for an additional 157 of the quiet and smooth-riding trains.

KI, based in El Segundo, Calif., delivers four Model P-3010 LRVs per month, according to its contract with Metro. Since beginning operations in Palmdale, the company has hired 404 full time workers locally and added another 146 workers on contract. The minimum wage earned at the facility is $17 per hour with an average wage of $21 per hour.

“The size of Metro’s order created a sea change for Kinkisharyo in Palmdale,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Michael D. Antonovich. “At first, the facility merely assembled rail vehicles and now the facility partially manufactures car shells, creating jobs for local workers and positioning the region as a location of choice for transit vehicle manufacturing and business investment.”

“We are as pleased as Metro is to celebrate the delivery of our 50th light rail car this month,” said Akiyoshi Oba, president of Kinkisharyo International, LLC. “We knew when we were awarded this contract in mid-2012 that the challenge of delivering the 50th car barely four years later could only be met by hard work and much collaboration with Metro, FTA, and our many subcontractors. And just as impressive as our speed of delivery is that we are adhering to our commitment to delivering the highest quality vehicles in the industry.”

After KI delivers a rail vehicle to Metro, it goes through a commissioning process that includes 1,000 miles of non-revenue operation and California Public Utilities Commission approval. Preparing the vehicle for revenue service can take about 45 days. Currently, there are 38 Model P-3010 vehicles in service and the 50th car should be ready for revenue service by mid-December.

“The taxpayers entrusted us with a great responsibility and the arrival of Kinkisharyo’s milestone 50th rail vehicle shows that Metro continues to deliver on the promise to build and maintain a world class transportation system in Los Angeles County,” said Metro CEO Phillip Washington.

 

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Oct 242016
 
2016 L.A. Aids Walk

Photo courtesy of AIDS Walk Los Angeles

This year’s L.A. Aids Walk which started in Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles was yet another successful event which brought fun and entertainment to all at hand while raising much needed funds for the ongoing fight with HIV / AIDS.

The 2016 L.A. Aids Walk was 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) long and took place on Sunday, October 23rd. The opening ceremony was attended by Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Supervisor, Hilda Solis.

Musical Performances by Estelle / Empire and India Carney / The Voice provided superb entertainment.

Among celebrity guests were:

  • Stephanie Corneliussen / Mr. Robot
  • Pauley Perrette / NCIS
  • Peter Gallagher / Law and Order: SVU
  • Bebe Wood / The Real O’Neals
  • Mary Hollis Inboden / The Real O’Neals
  • Jenna Ortega / Jane the Virgin

How about the score?

Top Walkers
Chaz Dean$70,550
Wayne Flick$58,000
John Squatritto$13,010
Pauley Perrette$12,875
Kendra Castleberry$11,951
Rusty Buchanan$10,175

Top Teams
WEN in Spirit – $76,975
Latham & Watkins – $61,971
APLA Health – $52,514
Starbucks LA/Central CA – $30,834
Team Comcast NBCUniversal – $26,307
Hollywood United Methodist Church – $25,055

The Big Winner once again, was the fight against HIV / AIDS. The proceeds 2016 L.A. Aids Walk will benefit APLA Health’s prevention, care, and advocacy programs for the thousands of men, women, and families affected by HIV / AIDS in Los Angeles County as well as more than 20 other HIV/AIDS service organizations that are able to participate and raise funds through the Community Coalition Initiative (CCI).

Learn more about the fight against HIV / AIDS in Los Angeles and in the U.S.
APLA Health
Los Angeles County Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office of National AIDS Policy
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

 

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Oct 182016
 

The Death Of King Of Thailand

“I extend my deepest sympathies to the people of Thailand on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

His quiet dignity, unyielding love for his country, and strong determination to bring progress to Thailand made him a revered figure in his nation and throughout the diaspora — including Los Angeles, home to the largest Thai population outside of Thailand and the first officially-designated Thai Town in the world. Having lived in Thailand as a student, I know firsthand the love and pride that His Majesty stirred in his people.

The thoughts and prayers of people everywhere are with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and the entire family, along with the millions across generations who knew His Majesty as their leader, defender, and the living embodiment of their accomplishments and aspirations.”  Mayor Eric Garcetti

 

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Aug 232016
 

MayorGarcettiLaunchesPartnershipWithAIGA

Mayor Garcetti Launches Partnership with AIGA, Edward James Olmos Spanish-Language ‘Get Out the Vote’ Campaign

Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced the L.A. launch of “Este Año tu Voto es Cosa Seria (This Year, Your Vote is a Serious Matter),” a non-partisan, Spanish-language voter awareness campaign. The announcement was made in partnership with AIGA, the professional association for design, and the campaign’s non-profit partners, NALEO Educational Fund, Mi Familia Vota, and the League of Women Voters.

“Our democracy is at its best when all citizens have their voices heard on Election Day,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The results of this election will have real consequences in the daily lives of millions of Angelenos — and we can’t afford for anyone to sit this one out.”
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will promote “Este Año tu Voto es Cosa Seria” as part of its broader efforts in civic engagement and non-partisan voter education. The campaign features actor and director Edward James Olmos in a series of public service announcements and :05-, :10-, and :15-second spots, which run daily on local Spanish-language networks KMEX Ch. 34 – Univision L.A., Telemundo 52 Los Angeles / KVEA, and Azteca 54. In September, the campaign will roll out posters on bus benches and bus shelters that direct Angelenos to NALEO’s bilingual toll-free number (888-839-8682) and Mi Familia Vota’s website (http://www.mifamiliavota.org) for voter education and registration information.

“No matter what your political affiliation, we cannot say it enough about how important it is to get your vote out,” said actor/director Edward James Olmos. “We need first-time voters, student voters and everybody to vote on November 8. For those unable to vote, please encourage those who can to commit to you that they’ll get their vote out. We’re all in this together.”

Launched nationally on President’s Day, AIGA’s Get Out the Vote campaign wields the power of design to mobilize the communication design profession in support of voter engagement and to motivate the American public to register and turn out to vote in the 2016 election. AIGA is working to amplify the campaign in select major markets across America.

The L.A. Launch Of A Non-Partisan Spanish-Language Voter Awareness Campaign is expected to significantly increase the number of votes cast by Spanish-speaking Angelenos in the upcoming presidential election.

“AIGA, the oldest and largest professional association for design, believes that the power of design lies in its singular ability to deliver a message with clarity, emotional power, and the urgency to act,” said Julie Anixter, AIGA Executive Director. “AIGA’s initiative, Design for Democracy, part of its broader commitment to impact, channels the talent and experience of the most relevant designers in the country to join in on the efforts of community leaders in cities, like Los Angeles, to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Through this Get Out The Vote campaign we are very proud to support the efforts of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, Edward James Olmos, Agustín Garza, and so many others to ensure that the call to action, to vote, is taken seriously.”

Jun 172014
 

Los Angeles Kings win Stanley CupDuring the Kings’ championship rally on Monday afternoon, there was only one man sitting on the ice who got a lukewarm reception — the mayor. After emcee Bob Miller got huge cheers for introducing the team, front office personnel, and coaches to a raucous sold-out Staples Center, Eric Garcetti walked up to the podium to a mixed reaction. That is, until the end of his speech. Before he finished, Garcetti told the crowd, “They say there are two rules in politics. Never get pictured with a drink in your hand, and never swear.” Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup Caption Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Kings and their fans celebrate their Stanley Cup win at a rally inside Staples Center.
Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Caption Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times
LA Kings Justin Williams carries the Conn Smythe Trophy into Staples Center during rally celebration.
Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Caption Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Kings Captain Dustin Brown gets some help carrying the Stanley Cup from his son Mason.
Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Caption Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Thousands of fans turn out to cheer for the Kings in front of the Staples Center during the Stanley Cup parade.
Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Caption Kings’ fans celebrate the 2014 Stanley Cup
Wallly Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Mason Brown, son of Kings captain Dustin Brown, picks up confetti next to the Stanley Cup during the Stanley Cup parade.

As he pulled out a bottle of beer, Garcetti smiled and said, “Well, this is a big [expletive] day.”

The crowd erupted into one of its biggest cheers of the afternoon, and Garcetti was back in its good graces. On Monday, at least, the road to popularity in Los Angeles ran through the Kings.

Also speaking was Luc Robitaille, the president of business operations and Kings legend, who criticized pundits who thought that the team’s 2012 championship was a flash in the pan. He assured the crowd by saying, “To all you hockey experts, we’ve got more to come. Have a good summer, and we will see you here next year.”

One of the last speeches was from President and General Manager Dean Lombardi, who lost his voice in the 2012 championship rally. This time around, he was more than ready, and said, “I feel like the luckiest man in the world,” during his speech.

While that got a good reaction, the biggest cheer of the night, though, came at the end of Lombardi’s speech. He brought Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar up to the podium, and asked them, “You won a ring in 2012 and 2014. Which one is your favorite?”

Standing behind the Stanley Cup, which will soon sport the Kings’ names on the bottom of it for the second time in three years, the duo said simultaneously, “The next one.”

By Everett Cook
http://www.latimes.com

Jun 112014
 

Mayor Eric GarcettiGarcetti: State Cap-and-Trade Could Benefit L.A. Transit Projects
Mayor Eric Garcetti joined state lawmakers on June 6 in support of legislation he said would fund local public transportation and transit-oriented projects. State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and State Sen. Kevin de Leon visited a downtown Los Angeles transportation facility with Garcetti to discuss their plan to carve out a portion of California’s cap-and-trade proceeds for public transportation and transit-oriented development projects.The facility where the three officials met is being renovated into a LEED-certified lot that will house 200 low-emission buses as part of a project that would be eligible for the funding proposed in the plan. Garcetti touted the proposal as “smart legislation that would spend cap-and-trade funding where it naturally should be spent.” “Cities are where we work, where we live, but they’re also where we pollute, so addressing the needs of cities like Los Angeles is critical in tackling climate change,” the mayor said.

California’s 2006 law, AB 32, uses a cap-and-trade system to encourage companies and organizations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The “cap” sets a limit on the amount of pollutants that can be released a year and penalizes companies that exceed that limit. The cap is lowered 2 to 3 percent every year. Under the “trade” part of the law, companies that fail to meet the pollution standard can buy credits from those companies whose pollution levels are below the legal maximum. As the state’s emissions standards tighten, the allowances, or credits, would potentially become scarcer and costlier, pushing polluters to seek other strategies to meet the cap.

The legislators’ plan would create a permanent pot of money taken from revenue generated from this cap-and-trade process. The funds would specifically benefit transportation-related projects, potentially in Los Angeles, under the Democratic senators’ plan. “Action is long overdue, but California is preparing to lead the nation in fighting climate change, and where better to start than right here in Los Angeles,” De Leon said. Steinberg said the fund, which could be invested into projects that put homes near public transit, would “dramatically reduce emissions” and “be a huge victory for our environment, our economy and the people of Los Angeles.”
Posted by Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on June 07, 2014
Published by Westside Today.

Mar 212014
 

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday a halt to what he called a “fatally flawed” recruiting process for the Los Angeles Fire Department and pledged further reform efforts.Mayor Halts Fatally Flawed LAFD Hiring Process
Garcetti made his determination after discovering that Fire Department staff organized special recruiting workshops for LAFD insiders, according to the mayor’s office.

KNX 1070′s Megan Goldsby reports the process resulted in the Fire Academy class containing a disproportionate amount of recruits related to LAFD staff, some of whom were related to senior managers with oversight over the recruitment and training process.

Department officials also considered only applications received within a 60-second time period, according to the mayor’s office. As a result of the move, the next scheduled Fire Academy class of approximately 70 cadets will not be held, and no more hiring will be made from the current civil service list, Garcetti said.

RELATED: Report: Leadership Overhaul, EMS Changes Key To LAFD Reform
“I have determined that the fire department’s recruiting process is fatally flawed,” said Garcetti in a statement. “Reforming the fire department is a key part of my back to basics agenda, and the integrity of its recruiting process is vital to ensuring the department responds quickly, is technologically advanced, and reflects the city it serves in the future.
Officials say a new recruiting process will begin after an initial three-month review by RAND Corporation, with hiring to take place within the coming fiscal year.
Earlier this month, Garcetti and the Fire Commission ordered an independent investigation into the Department’s recruiting and hiring process following comments from the mayor criticizing the ethnic and gender make-up of the LAFD’s mostly white candidate pool.
LOS ANGELES: www.CBSLA.com

Sep 222013
 
Secretive DWP Nonprofits Should Open spending Records Mayor Says

Secretive DWP Nonprofits Should Open spending Records Mayor Says / Anything L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called Friday for a public accounting of roughly $40 million in Department of Water and Power ratepayer money that went to two secretive nonprofit groups in charge of improving relations with the utility’s largest employees union.

“I think that ratepayers deserve to have transparency — to know where ratepayer money is going,” Garcetti told reporters as he prepared to take questions from constituents at a curbside “office hours” event in Boyle Heights.

The Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, controlled by union leaders and managers of the DWP, have received up to $4 million a year since their creation more than a decade ago.

Nearly all of the nonprofits’ money comes from ratepayers, records show. About $1 million per year has gone to salaries for a handful of administrators and more than $360,000 was spent on travel from 2009 to 2011, The Times reported Thursday.

Officials at the nonprofits, the DWP and the employees union, Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, declined to be interviewed about the institutes’ activities and spending.

The broad purpose of the organizations, city records show, has been to “identify” safety and training as core values at the department, and to promote “communication, mutual trust and respect” between DWP managers and the union. But ordinances establishing the nonprofits in 2000 and 2002 don’t specify how the ratepayer money should be spent.

“Everybody wants workplace safety,” Garcetti said Friday. “That’s a great goal. So I think that the reason why something like this would be set up in itself isn’t bad. But if it’s being spent well, let’s see where it is.”

For years, DWP managers and the city attorney’s office have quietly debated whether to make the institutes’ meetings and records public. The DWP has invoked attorney-client privilege to block disclosure of memos written by city lawyers arguing the nonprofits should be bound by open government rules that apply to city agencies.

On Friday, Garcetti, who has promised greater transparency at City Hall, sidestepped the question of whether he approved of an agency that he now oversees invoking attorney-client privilege to keep the memos secret.

“I’ll be talking to the department,” Garcetti said. “I’d like us to be able to show that. Obviously there’s some legal rights that the other side of this agreement has. But moving forward, if we’re putting money in, we should design this in a way where people know — if there’s nothing to hide, let’s see it.”

The DWP union ran a brutal and high-profile campaign against Garcetti’s election. The city recently reached a tentative four-year pact with Local 18, but the union has not yet ratified it.

Garcetti described his call for public disclosure of the nonprofits’ spending as “part of reforming DWP from a place where we did too many things behind closed doors and out of the spotlight to a place where we shine sunlight.”

“We’re spending the money on our bills,” he said. “We deserve to know where that money goes — how it’s spent, how it’s paid. And I welcome all people to be a part of that. This isn’t an us-versus-them. Whether it’s the union, whether it’s the bureaucrats at DWP, we should have them be a part of this mission to reform DWP.”

By Michael Finnegan