Apr 112017
 

San Bernardino School Shooting

Non-terrorism related shooting at the North Park School, an elementary school in San Bernardino, resulted in the death of an eight year old child, a teacher and the shooter.

Although details are still sparse, it seems that the shooting was the result of a domestic dispute between a husband (53-year-old Cedric Anderson, of Riverside) and his estranged wife (53-year-old Elaine Smith, a special-needs teacher) and was intended to be a murder suicide. Tragically the circumstances of the shooting (the gunman entered a classroom with a lesson in progress and started shooting at his wife while two children were standing behind her) involved two young children who were not intended targets. One of the children (eight year old Jonathan Martinez) has died shortly after the shooting. The other child has been wounded and is hospitalized.

To keep the North Park School’s students safe and away from the crime scene, they were initially taken by a bus to California State University’s San Bernardino campus and later to the Cajon High School where they were reunited with their anxious parents.
Watching the reunion on TV, the children appeared remarkably calm although one can easily imagine that the students who witnessed the shooting in their classroom are traumatized and will likely need help to recover their sense of normalcy.

A shooting at any school is every parent’s worst nightmare. But a shooting in San Bernardino, where a terror attack killed 14 people and wounded 22 others little over a year ago, even more so. The fear the parents of the North Park School’s students had to endure yesterday is hard to imagine.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a statement on the San Bernardino School Shooting.

“School campuses are sacred spaces where children should be free to learn, play, and grow without threat of violence. Today’s shooting at North Park Elementary in San Bernardino is a reminder that deadly weapons can shatter that sense of security, mercilessly and without warning — leaving parents and educators struggling to address the questions, fears, and anxieties that gun violence creates for our young people. My thoughts are with the victims and survivors, Mayor Davis, and all of our neighbors in San Bernardino affected by this unthinkable tragedy. Our gratitude goes to all school personnel, first responders, and crisis workers who kept children safe and are helping families cope with the aftermath. On behalf of all Angelenos, I stand with them in their grief, commend their courage, and send prayers for the healing of bodies, minds, and hearts.”

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

 

 

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Apr 102017
 

Palm Sunday Bombings In Egypt

On one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, Palm Sunday, two Coptic churches in Egypt were attacked by terrorists. (Coptic means Egyptian. Coptic Christians are Christians just like we are, except their rules are stricter than ours. They are orthodox.)

In the first attack (at the St. George’s Church in Tanta) an explosive planted under a seat in the church went off during a packed Palm Sunday service. The explosion killed 27 parishioners and wounded 78.

The second attack took place just outside of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria. As the suicide bomber who attempted to enter the church was asked to pass through a metal detector, he opted to detonate the explosives on his body near the entrance to the church. At least 16 people were killed and 41 wounded. (According to reports, some Muslims have been accidental casualties of the attacks as well.)

Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared three days of national mourning following the bombings. (With many injured, the total death toll rose to 47 by early Monday, Egypt time.)

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Palm Sunday attacks on Coptic churches. (According to ISIS the bombers were Egyptian nationals. The bombers nationality has not been officially confirmed by Egyptian authorities, as of yet.) In a statement, ISIS threatens more and even bloodier attacks to come. Egypt is about to declare a three-month state of emergency during which additional safety measures will be implemented.

Many world leaders – including President Trump and President Putin – condemned the Palm Sunday attacks. So did António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit Cairo in April, expressed his grief.

(Christians are a minority in Egypt, they constitute about 10% of Egypt’s 91 million predominantly Muslim population. After the government of Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011, the attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt intensified. Physical violence against Christians, their churches, homes and businesses have been reported even before the latest attacks.)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed L.A.’s – and Anything L.A.’s feelings best:

“I am heartbroken for our friends in Egypt, where the forces of terror took their brutality to houses of worship on one of Christianity’s holiest days. We can only imagine their pain — and send prayers for peace, strength, and solidarity in the face of cruelty that holds nothing sacred and respects no boundaries. This is a moment of indescribable sorrow, but the triumph celebrated on Palm Sunday is a timely reminder that evil is no match for the love, friendship, and faith in the future that Los Angeles will always share with Egyptians and people around the world.”

May the good Lord protect our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters during the Holy Week and beyond!

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

 

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Apr 032017
 

Suicide Bomber Caused Explosion At St. Petersburg Subway

Early afternoon on April 3rd 2017, a lone suicide bomber killed 11 and wounded 45 with a homemade bomb on a subway in St. Petersburg in Russia.

Luckily, a second bomb – disguised as a fire extinguisher – was found and disarmed at another subway station in St. Petersburg before it could inflict more devastation.

The identity and affiliations of the suicide bomber are not known at this time. Speculations include an extremist Chechen as well as a terrorist affiliated with ISIS angered over Russia’s military support of Syria.

Following the attack, security was increased at all mass-transportation facilities throughout Russia.

The governor of St. Petersburg, Georgi S. Poltavchenko, declared a three-day morning period in the city. He also called for increased alertness.

Russia isn’t immune to terrorist attacks. Moscow’s subway system was attacked twice in 2004; 48 people have died as a result. Another attack at Moscow’s metro (in 2010) killed 33 people. In 2011 a suicide bomber’s attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport killed over 36 people. In 2013 terrorist attacks on a bus and a train station took the lives of 30. A bomb killed 224 aboard a Russian plane flying from Egypt to Russia – and downed the plane – in 2015. A mystery still surrounds the tragic crash of a plane carrying members of the legendary Alexandrov Ensemble Choir from Russia to Syria in 2016; 92 have perished… Most of the attacks were carried out by Chechnya’s Islamic terrorists, in some the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

It is note-worthy that the latest attack took place during Russian President Putin’s one-day visit to St. Petersburg. The President laid flowers for the victims and injured and was briefed on details of the attack.

President Trump expressed his feelings about the attack by saying: “terrible thing”.

St. Petersburg is the second largest city In Russia and its original capital. It’s a city of historic significance, spectacular architecture and museums that hold some of world’s most impressive art collections. It is also Los Angeles sister city. On this sad day, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement on the Tragedy in St. Petersburg:

“My heart is with the people of St. Petersburg, who are coping with tremendous loss and sorrow after today’s deadly explosions. I hope that the source of this unthinkable tragedy is discovered quickly, so that their minds can be eased and normalcy restored. On behalf of all Angelenos, I send prayers for peace and offer whatever assistance we can provide to Governor Poltavchenko and everyone in our beautiful sister city on the Baltic Sea.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti

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

 

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Feb 252017
 

LAPD Doesn’t Enforce Immigration Rules

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson have taken issue with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s agents (ICE) misrepresenting themselves as “police” officers while conducting immigration investigations and enforcement. Our City’s leaders expressed their collective dismay and displeasure in a letter to John F. Kelly, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security and Susan M. Curda, Los Angeles’ District Director of US Citizenship And Immigration Services requesting immediate discontinuance of this practice.

ICE agents are not Los Angeles police officers and LAPD officers don’t enforce immigration rules. Los Angeles leaders strongly oppose ICE agents’ tactic of posing as “police” officers.

It has taken our city and Los Angeles Police Department 40 years to develop trust of all its residents, including documented and undocumented immigrants, which helps keep Los Angeles safe. Residents are not afraid to report crime. Residents come forward as victims and / or witnesses to crime. Los Angeles residents trust our police officers. Public trust is precious and shouldn’t be exploited for any reason.

LAPD doesn’t carry out Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s duties. ICE and LAPD are two separate entities.

With all due respect to DHS and its efforts to implement the President’s Executive Orders on Immigration, when ICE agents improperly identify themselves as “police” officers, the image of LAPD which became synonymous with protection and service is undermined.

Public safety in Los Angeles is important to all Angelenos regardless of their immigration status. Angelenos’ trust shouldn’t be compromised by any individual or organization (including a government agency) de-facto impersonating our police officers.

The President’s Executive Orders on Immigration affect only a fraction of Los Angeles residents, but the loss of trust in Los Angeles police force will jeopardize the safety of all Angelenos.

 

 

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Jul 102016
 

Rappers For PeaceIn the aftermath of recent killings in Dallas, Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, two black rappers – Snoop Dogg and the Game – organized and took part in a peaceful march of racial minority men on the Police Department Headquarters in Los Angeles.

The march was announced on Instagram and urged African American, Mexican and all other race men to leave their weapons and anger behind and stand united in delivering a message of unity, respect for human life and the need for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts between minority men and law enforcement.

The march coincided in time with a LAPD graduation ceremony. After the ceremony, a meeting was held which included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck as well as Snoop Dogg and the Game.

Snoop Dogg addressing police officers stressed: “Respect is key. Think about the person you’re pulling over and their family. Because that way, you’ll have more of a consideration of life and de-escalate as opposed to escalate.”

The Game, made a great point, saying, “The cops that died in Dallas weren’t the cops that shot and killed Philando or Alton. As much as Philando and Alton didn’t deserve that, those cops in Dallas didn’t deserve that.”
He also said: “I took those police uniforms off of those police officers that met an untimely demise last night and I turned them into what they really are before they put them on, and those are human beings, like me and everyone standing here.”

Los Angeles Police Chief Beck expressed similar sentiment in regard to the need to address and resolve the recent racial tensions which resulted in the loss of seven human lives:
“We are all furious about what has happened to this conversation – that there is no dialogue, that it is becoming a screaming contest from opposite sides of the room. It can’t be that. The way to solve problems is to sit down, look them in the eye and work it out.”

It’s remarkable to see individuals from different walks of life getting together for a meeting of the minds. Peaceful dialog and immediate reforms are badly needed, but the dialog and reforms have to be based on the understanding that color, ethnicity and / or uniforms aside, we are all EQUALLY HUMAN.

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

 

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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.”