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Black California Counts!

Ditas Katague, Chair, National Advisory Committee on Race, Ethnicities and Other Populations, U.S. Census Bureau, displays 2020 Census question format.

LOS ANGELES - New America Media, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Advancement Project California hosted a panel discussion at the Japanese Cultural Center on the stakes and risks of the 2020 Census, and why California counts.

The event was part a collaborative effort among statewide non-profit organizations convened to help educate policymakers and community leaders about the policies and government investments needed for a fair and accurate count in 2020, according to sponsors of the Oct. 6 gathering.

Decisions being made by Congress and the Trump Administration will determine whether planning and funding for the 2020 Census are sufficient for a fair and accurate count, but already, Trump's 2018-2019 budget request was already woefully inadequate and unrealistic, the non-profit advocates charged in a Census and California fact sheet.

"Necessary testing has already been cut back due to lack of sufficient funds. The window for the administration and Congress to prevent a failed 2020 Census is narrowing quickly," the document indicated.

"California's more than 2.5 million young children are especially at risk of being missed. Black and Hispanic children have the highest undercounts of any age group. Sixteen California cities rank in the top 100 places with the highest number and percent of children under the age of 5 living in hard-to-count census tracts," the fact sheet continued.

Advocates have prioritized ensuring there is sufficient funding in the 2018-2019 budget for outreach efforts, and that a committee of trusted, experienced organizational leaders is established to ensure hard-to-count populations are reached. They are also working to provide local governments with similar populations participate in a program established by Congress to improve the accuracy of the census address lists.

"We are at risk of losing federal funding for programs and political representation in the House in the decade after 2020," said Dr. John Dobard, manager of Political Voice, Advancement Project California, which advocates for policy and systems changes that foster upward mobility in communities most impacted by racial and economic injustice.

Census data helps determine the allocation of over $600 billion in federal funding and programs to communities across the country, such as Medicaid, nutrition, housing, highway planning and construction, and children's health insurance, to name a few. It also determines the reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives, so California needs all residents counted to receive its fair share, Dobard stated.

However, innovations in how the organization will administer the count, shifts in the federal landscape, such as a leadership void at the Census Bureau, and California's demographics will make that difficult, said Dobard.

As she introduced presenters, Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media, said it was an honor to partner with the groups to forge a better grasp of what's at stake for California's communities, and why it feels like the 2020 count is a riskier proposition than it as in 2020.

A threat to an accurate count in the Black community he's served has been the ability to actually culturally identify Blacks in the state, particularly because of tremendous shifts out of Los Angeles to the Inland Valley of San Bernardino and Riverside County, and other areas, stated Reverend Samuel Casey, executive director, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement.

Another challenge was apathy and getting Blacks to participate, especially when it came to the federal government's promise of more resources, he said.

Even the question format proves problematic, he said. "In each one of these communities in the Inland Valley, one of the challenges I know there's going to be is African Americans explicitly identifying as African Americans or Black," Casey stated.

"There are those who are multi-racial, who would probably prefer to identify as Latino or as Asian, or some other ethnicity, rather than identify as Black, even though we're familiar with the "One-drop" rule within our nation. If you have one drop of African blood in your system, you are by definition African American and/or Black," Casey continued.

It will be important to pay attention to the cultural relevance of materials presented, he urged.

Other presenters were Ditas Katague (Chair, U.S. Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee on Race, Ethnicities and Other Populations), Ofelia Medina (Director of State Civic Engagement Policy with NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) Educational Fund's Policy Research and Advocacy, Stewart Kwoh (Founding President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles), and Dr. Joely Proudfit (Director of California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center, California State University- San Marcos) concurred that distrust of the American government, whether federal, state, or local, would be a major hurdle in getting residents to participate in the count.

"The state quickly realized in 1990, we had a huge undercount of over 800,000 people here in California, and we lost billions of dollars, and we lost getting an additional congressional seat," Katague stated.

After investing millions of its own money for outreach in 1999 and partnering with ethnic media, California outpaced the entire country by two percentage points in participation, according to Katague.

"California gained an additional congressional seat, which was great … but that was by just 18 people being counted," she said. She is most worried about the Census Bureau putting funding toward ethnic media advertising campaigns, which have had huge impacts.

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UCC clergy, part of interfaith prayer vigil in Las Vegas, mourn 59 lives lost to gun violence

Three United Church of Christ ministers were part of a unity vigil Monday night in Las Vegas, a gathering of people of all faiths coming together in solidarity to mourn the 59 lives lost to gun violence.

Charlotte Morgan, a UCC member in discernment and pastor of Indigo Valley Church, a three-year-old new church start, helped organize the candlelight prayer service at the Guardian Angel Cathedral the evening of Oct. 2. A vigil made necessary after a gunman opened fire on a concert crowd during the weekend, wounding more than 500 people.

"We are a city, despite the bright lights and neon, with hundreds of churches. We are a people of deep and profound faith," Morgan said. "We all gathered right off the Strip because it was necessary—to feel the energy of the city as we expressed our heartfelt grief and our faith. It was important to be in the midst of the energy that makes this the city what we are."

VegasVigil-gong.jpgEight faith leaders took turns hitting a gong 59 times to remember those who died. Tears streamed down the faces of the people in the pews as they prayed.

"I was at first taken back by all of the outstretched hands of those who attended, wanting to touch the hands of clergy," Morgan said. "Attendees were physically reaching out for care, for connection. It was an amazing physical presence that people wanted to have."

"We put this worship service together in 45 minutes," Morgan said. "We wanted to have interreligious engagement—so eight of us came together. Everyone stepped aside from faith, race, creed, job, position to make this vigil happen."

The event, led by Bishop Joseph Pepe of the Las Vegas diocese and Fr. Bob Stoeckig of the cathedral, brought together clergy from many Christian denominations—UCC, Catholic and Episcopalian, as well as Jewish rabbis, Unitarian Universalists and Muslim groups. Morgan, the Rev. Jamie Sprague-Ballou, of Mary Magdalene Friends UCC, and the Rev. Kathryn Obenour, a member of Indigo Valley Church and former pastor at Las Vegas United Church of Christ, represented the denomination.

VegasVigil-Charlotte.jpgAs members of the Clark County Ministerial Association, Morgan said the interfaith leaders came together after the shooting Sunday night to create a clergy emergency response team. The vigil was part of that response. They were able to do that, she said, because of strong relationships previously forged before the massacre called them to action.

"I am so proud of the clergy in our community who came together to create this same-day clergy response team," Morgan said. "There was a writer who once said 'Dig a ditch before you need water.' We did that. We needed to form caring everyday relationships with each other. Ministers and rabbis get together... to study the Torah, or to have coffee. Those relationships made a difference today."

"Before the service, I met with several clergy at the front of the church," Morgan continued. "We discussed that the vigil is one step. We must continue over days, weeks and months to help our community. We set plans in place that our next step is to contact the area hospitals and begin to reach out to the healthcare workers in the hospitals. This meeting became important and prophetic. After the vigil, I spoke with one of our senators and he had horror in his eyes. He had visited a local (emergency room). As he told me, 'There was not an inch of the E.R. floor without blood.' We just stood and held one another. There were no words."

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Stater Bros. Markets Continues to Expand Instacart’s Same-Day Grocery Home Delivery Service

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA (October 3, 2017) – Stater Bros. Markets is committed to enhancing our customer’s shopping experience while providing convenient solutions to meet their lifestyle needs through the partnership of Instacart online grocery ordering and home delivery service.

On October 4th, Stater Bros. will further expand this service to locations covering zip codes in areas of the Inland Empire, the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles.

These zip codes include: 90201, 90220, 90221, 90262, 90270, 90280, 90601, 90602, 90606, 90660, 90723, 90805, 91008, 91010, 91321, 91350, 91351, 91387, 91390, 91702, 91706, 91722, 91723, 91724, 91732, 91733, 91740, 91741, 91744, 91745, 91746, 91748, 91765, 91773, 91789, 91790, 91791, 91792, 92220, 92223, 92320, 92346, 92354, 92359, 92373, 92374, 92399, 92530, 92532, 92543, 92545, 92548, 92551, 92555, 92562, 92563, 92567, 92570, 92571, 92582, 92583, 92584, 92585, 92586, 92587, 92590, 92591, 92592, 92595 and 92596.

Customers living in these areas will find the same everyday low prices and exceptional quality online that customers enjoy while shopping in Stater Bros. supermarket locations throughout Southern California.

“Partnering with the best, most beloved local grocery retailers is a key cornerstone of our business,” said Nilam Ganenthiran, Chief Business Officer at Instacart. “Stater Bros. is a beloved brand, and we are proud of this partnership that allows us to bring customers a whole new range of products with delivery in as little as an hour,” Ganenthiran further added.

“With over 81 years behind our name, Stater Bros. trusted brand is centered on great quality, everyday low prices and exceptional service,” stated Pete Van Helden, President and CEO of Stater Bros. Markets. “Now our valued customers can enjoy that same great quality and take advantage of our everyday low prices while shopping from the convenience of their home. The expansion of Instacart demonstrates Stater Bros. ongoing commitment to accommodating the evolving needs of our valued customers,” Van Helden concluded.

Stater Bros.’ customers can access Instacart home delivery service by visiting https://www.instacart.com/stater-bros. All Instacart orders must exceed $10.00. The delivery fee is $5.99 for delivery within two hours, and $7.99 for delivery within one hour for orders exceeding $35.00. An Instacart Express membership offers unlimited one-hour deliveries for an annual fee. Visit the Instacart website for a free two-week trial of Instacart Express. About Instacart

Instacart helps people cross grocery shopping off their to-do lists with just a few clicks. Customers use the Instacart website or app to fill their virtual shopping cart with items from their favorite, local stores and Instacart connects them with shoppers who hand pick the items and deliver them straight to their door. Founded in San Francisco in 2012, Instacart has quickly scaled to over 140 markets nationwide and partnered with retailers across the United States. By combining a personal touch with cutting-edge technology, Instacart offers customers a simple solution to save time and eat fresh food from the most trusted grocery brands. Instacart is the only grocery service that can meet today’s on-demand lifestyle by delivering in as little as one hour. First delivery is free at www.instacart.com.

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Police body camera footage depicting rape victims won't be released in California under new law

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure Tuesday that would prohibit the public release of police body camera footage or other videos that depict victims of rape, incest, sexual assault, domestic violence or child abuse.

The new law will not change existing policy. Generally, police departments across California don’t release body camera footage outside of a courtroom. This measure, Assembly Bill 459 from Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Arcadia) enshrines extra protection for such footage into state law.

Lawmakers have struggled to pass more wide-ranging police body camera policies. A bill that would have allowed much more footage to be released did not advance this year.

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How Antonio Villaraigosa went from a union organizer to a union target

Antonio Villaraigosa launched his political career off his work as a union organizer, and labor played a critical role in getting him elected to office. So it was a remarkable moment when Villaraigosa, as Los Angeles’ mayor, blasted the city’s teachers union where he once worked as “the largest obstacle to creating quality schools.”

Now, as Villaraigosa runs for governor, this evolution is the reason one of the state’s most powerful interests may try to sink his campaign.

“Unless a miracle happens … there’s going to be a lot of money put into efforts against Antonio,” said A.J. Duffy, the former president of United Teachers Los Angeles. “It’s going to be down and dirty.”

Villaraigosa is the most prominent Democrat in California to challenge the teachers unions, a fight that he has continued since leaving the mayor’s office in 2013. Since then, he notably sided with students in a lawsuit that argued that their state constitutional rights were violated by state laws regulating teacher layoffs, firings and tenure. The lawsuit initially triumphed but was later overturned.

There are potential benefits to his stance — donations from wealthy supporters of the education reform movement and the ability to cast himself as a man willing to stand up to one of his party’s most influential constituencies. Some argue that these are the very reasons Villaraigosa picked a fight with labor.

“He made a political calculation … that this was a way to further his political ambitions,” said one state education leader who will have to work with the next governor and did not want to be identified. “If you’re going to run for governor or senate, you want deep pockets supporting you.”

Villaraigosa declined to comment about the moneyed forces on both sides of the issue. But he argued his motivation is pure.

“I really wasn’t looking for a fight with anyone, and I’m still not, but I made it clear, I will fight for these kids,” he said in an interview at Dolores Mission, a Catholic elementary school he attended for two years. “Look at these kids. These kids can learn.”

The rifts with labor emerged once he became mayor in 2005. He was labeled a “scab” when he crossed picket lines the following year during the first major city workers’ strike in a quarter-century. He later clashed with unions over furloughs and layoffs as the city grappled with the recession.

But tensions grew exponentially as the mayor unsuccessfully tried to seize control of the Los Angeles Unified School District, arguing that city schools needed to be dramatically overhauled because they were failing the neediest students. He eventually gained control of more than a dozen struggling city schools through a nonprofit he founded. He also shaped district policy by helping elect like-minded school board members.

He questioned policies fiercely guarded by teachers unions, such as seniority protections that resulted in constant layoff notices to the younger teachers who tend to staff the most challenging schools. He grew to support using student test scores to evaluate teachers and other overhauls anathema to union leaders.

Villaraigosa argues that he sought to work with the city’s teachers’ union and only criticized them when he had no other choice.

“I didn’t want to fight with them. I still don’t. I believe in teachers. I believe in collective bargaining,” he said. But “there was resistance to virtually everything we did. I wanted to partner, but they just fought us tooth and nail.”

UTLA representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Joshua Pechthalt, the president of the California Federation of Teachers, worked at UTLA at the time and has known Villaraigosa for decades.

“I don’t think he saw it as being anti-union in any way, but being sensitive to kids like he was, and for us to block the kinds of reforms he was supporting was doing a disservice to those kids,” said Pechthalt. “I would disagree with him but I don’t think it necessarily came from a bad place.”

Villaraigosa’s fight is personal. He looks at the children playing dodge ball at Dolores Mission and sees himself.

The roots of Villaraigosa’s arc from union organizer to union critic can be traced to his upbringing in City Terrace, and the patchwork of public and private schools he attended in Boyle Heights and downtown. His passion for organizing was forged during the social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s — as a teenager he led student walkouts at his Catholic high school and picketed in support of the farmworkers’ boycott at the supermarket where he worked.

But the seeds of his later-in-life criticism of teachers unions also were sown then, as he saw the opportunities that education could afford and the obstacles for underprivileged students.

Fights prompted by anger from his chaotic youth — when as a toddler he witnessed his alcoholic father beat his mother before deserting the family — and a spinal surgery as a teen led to his expulsion from Cathedral High School.

He was sent to Roosevelt High, a public school where one out of four graduated, and placed in basic reading and math classes and vocational training, despite the college-prep classes he had taken previously, he said. “This is what the counselor told me: ‘You look like a guy who wants to have fun. I’m going to give you classes that aren’t going to make you work very hard.’”

Villaraigosa gives a pep talk to students where he played football as a student at Cathedral High Sc

He grew bored and dropped out, worked and partied. Eventually, prodded by his mother and a teacher who saw a spark in him, Villaraigosa returned and graduated with a 1.4 grade point average. “It was a Catholic school that gave me a foundation, but it was public school that gave me a second chance,” he said.

That opportunity ultimately led to Villaraigosa’s earning a law degree and working at labor and civil-rights groups before launching his political career: six years in the state Assembly, including a stint as Assembly Speaker; two years on the city council; and eight years as mayor.

Along the way, labor buttressed his campaigns, donating millions of dollars and dispatching members to walk precincts, man phone banks and turn out voters.

Ultimately, Villaraigosa’s education legacy is viewed as mixed “when you drill down and take a look at actual accomplishments,” said former state Sen. Gloria Romero, who was the state leader of Democrats for Education Reform. She said he did make “some very good strides and great progress.”

When Villaraigosa left office in 2013, a Times analysis found that the mayor’s schools overall performed comparably to district schools with similar demographics, though some saw notable improvements.

Villaraigosa argues that change takes time and points to the graduation rate at his alma mater. When he took office, Roosevelt’s graduation rate was 36%; the class that graduated earlier this year is expected to be in the high 80s.

Villaraigosa’s fight with the teachers unions occurred at a time there was a growing rift among Democrats nationally about education. Teachers unions have historically been among the party’s most stalwart supporters but some – notably then-President Barack Obama — questioned their priorities.

The growing divide was not as visible in California, where the California Teachers’ Assn. had long been one of most powerful forces in state politics.

That’s why Villaraigosa may have reason to be concerned: In 2014, CTA spent $12 million to defeat Marshall Tuck, a huge sum in an obscure race to be state superintendent of public instruction. Tuck is a Democrat and former charter school leader whom Villaraigosa hired to run the nonprofit that oversaw his schools. If CTA and other teachers unions decide to go after Villaraigosa, they could paint him as on the same side of the education debate as corporate interests and Republicans rather than teachers and Democrats. Or they could support his top Democratic rivals in the race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Treasurer John Chiang, who have less controversial records on K-12 issues.

Follow the money race in the governor's race on our fundraising dashboard »

The upside for Villaraigosa is that education reform efforts are supported by politically active millionaires and billionaires, and his 2018 campaign has already received financial support from these donors. Others have funded his efforts to shape the city’s school board. A critical question will be whether such donors fund an independent effort to boost Villaraigosa’s campaign, as they did for Tuck in 2014.

CTA president Eric Heins and the CFT’s Pechthalt declined to comment on their organizations’ plans, saying they would announce endorsements later this year. The race is a priority given the governor’s influence on funding, accountability, curriculum and other policy.

Naturally we’re going to be very concerned about who gets elected to that seat and look at their record,” Heins said.

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NFIB Reacts to Assembly Passing ‘Ban the Box’ Mandate

SACRAMENTO, Calif., September 15, 2017 – Following the California State Assembly passing Assembly Bill 1008 (McCarty) today, NFIB California State Executive Director Tom Scott issued the following statement on behalf of our 22,000 small business members:

“We are deeply concerned with the passage of AB 1008 and are urging Governor Jerry Brown to veto this bill which interferes with a small business owner’s ability to fill open positions, imposes new onerous requirements, and subjects them to new potential legal liabilities.

“AB 1008 places business owners in a difficult position by requiring them to make conditional offers of employment without being able to ascertain if an applicant has a criminal history that could have a negative impact on the business’ operations. At the same time, this bill provides no legal protection whatsoever for a business owner who hires someone with a criminal background. If that individual commits another crime against customers or other employees, the business owner will be liable for negligence in hiring.

“A simpler, alternative way we could approach this important issue could be allowing full disclosure to an employer of criminal records while incentivizing those employers with a tax credit for hiring ex-convicts. Since this bill instead focuses on regulating and penalizing job creators, NFIB is strongly urging Governor Brown to veto AB 1008.”

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Leyva Lead-Free Drinking Water Bill Signed Into Law

SACRAMENTO – After earning bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 427 authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will further ensure the safety of drinking water in California.

SB 427 provides clarification to SB 1398 (Chapter 731, Statutes of 2016) which improved the safety of drinking water by protecting Californians from toxic lead exposure. Specifically, SB 1398—which took effect on January 1, 2017—requires all California public water systems to compile inventories of lead pipes in use and provide that information to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). SB 427 specifies a timeline for replacement of service lines that contain lead and those lines whose content cannot be determined. This important bill also ensures that the SWRCB has the authority to enforce the provisions of last year’s SB 1398.

“Governor Jerry Brown’s signature of SB 427 emphasizes that every Californian should be able to turn on their taps and know that the water provided to their home is lead-free,” Senator Leyva said. “On the heels of SB 1398’s enactment last year, SB 427 will get us even closer to the goal of making sure that water flowing out of faucets is completely clean and safe from lead or other contaminants. I am thankful to the Governor and my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this common sense measure that will remove any unintended ambiguity from last year’s legislation and confirms that there are no significant delays in eliminating lead from our drinking water.”

In recent decades, California has been a leader in reducing lead exposure in drinking water. In 1986, the use of lead pipes and solder were banned. By 2010, all plumbing parts and water fixtures sold in California were required to be ‘lead-free.’ Given the detrimental health impacts of lead, even in very low levels, it is critical that California continues to take every step necessary to eliminate lead in drinking water. From 2012 - 2015, 98 public water systems in the state recorded levels of lead that exceeded the allowable lead amounts. Once fully implemented, SB 427 will help to minimize and ultimately eliminate instances where the health of thousands of families is placed at risk from lead tainted water.

SB 427 takes effect on January 1, 2018 and was supported by the California Association of Professional Scientists, Clean Water Action, Community Water Center, East Bay Municipal Utility District and Environmental Working Group during the legislative process.

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The Los Angeles Grand Jury Has Been Requested to Investigate California Governor Jerry Brown for Corruption

Nationwide — Billy Earley is a black Physician Assistant who posted an article on BlackNews.com in December of 2015, titled: California Medical Board Accused of Illegally Targeting Minority Doctors. In that article, Mr. Earley asked the Governor of California to launch a criminal investigation into the Medical Board of California for corruption. He comments, “The Medical Board consists of a hidden police department and they have joined forces with the Attorney General.”

Mr. Earley identified misconduct, consisting of, but not limited to: falsifying reports, manufacturing evidence, tampering with evidence, and Mr. Earley had forensic proof that police misconduct was done by the police. Governor Jerry Brown forwarded the complaint to the perpetrators and Mr. Earley quickly became the subject of severe harassment and government retaliation.

“Historically, the police are always screwing with black people lives, shooting and incriminating them,” he comments. Mr. Earley is fighting for his rights and the right to take care of his family without any legal help. Case Number: 15:16-CV-02274 AB(SK).

Mr. Earley has called on the Grand Jury to investigate ties between CVS and Jerry Brown. CVS Health was sued by Mr. Earley for calling his patients “negritos” short for the N-word and they said “black people” did not have pain. CVS recently opened 3,500 retail clinics inside of their pharmacy stores all over California and in other states. CVS has bolstered that they plan on taking over the “community” clinic market shares in this country. I am requesting that the Grand Jury investigate Brown and CVS because the pharmacy giant had access to government top secret investigative files and they are using this to point out doctors and get rid of them to take market shares. This is where the Grand Jury complaint for corruption begins…

CVS admitted in a Superior Court document that they have a “background partnership” with unknown Federal and State government officials. The document goes on to say that CVS is tapping into government resources to identify “bad” doctors and then pointing them out to their government “partners” to investigate these doctors; this includes tapping into the Controlled Substance Utilization Review System (CURES), not to identify patients, but to identify doctors.

Mr. Earley comments, “California Law, pursuant to 11165.1 – CVS access to CURES should be denied because CVS had their DEA registration revoked and they were charged with criminal violations stemming from the Florida ‘pill mill’ epidemic where people came from all over the U.S. to buy prescription drugs from their stores. Brown is accused of allowing CVS to utilize the CURES and California government agencies like the DEA to target and falsely investigate doctors; in order for CVS to accomplish their hideous and unlawful agenda of taking over the patients.”

He continues, “Here is a short list of what CVS, with the help of the federal and state government is telling patients all over the country: “Your doctor is under DEA investigation, FBI investigation, Police investigation, he is unlicensed, a murderer, no good, and he should be in jail.” The Grand Jury has been requested to investigate this because CVS has access to all of these government agencies, including Governor Brown, and they have partnered with them to provide unlawful investigations designed to target the doctors, many with false and fabricated evidence, stripping them of their due process rights and stealing their patients in the long run. This type of crime affects Black and brown people more than anybody else because of our color and because of their history.”

 

How can you help?

 

Sign Billy’s Petition on Change.org:

Requesting Congress to Enact a Law appointing a Civilian Police Review Commission to monitor and identify police misconduct.

 

-Or-

 

If you would like to help – Write to:

Billy Earley

2144 Wembley Lane

Corona, California 92881

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What Is California Waterfix?

Providing Southern California with a reliable water supply always has been a challenge. Just remember the recent drought and how everyone joined together to save water, which is something we should always do.

There is a plan, however, that would make water reliability much more secure. It’s called California WaterFix, or the Delta tunnels.

Our region gets about one-third of its water from Northern California through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where the California WaterFix project would be located. It would modernize the system that provides us water.

The plan includes building new water intakes and two large underground tunnels to move water under the Delta to the distribution system that supplies water to the Bay Area, the Central Valley and the Southland. This modern and innovative water system would reduce environmental conflicts in the Delta and help endangered fish, while also delivering high quality water.

California WaterFix is about reliably moving, capturing and storing water when it’s available in wet times so we can use it in dry times. It’s also about providing water to grow food that we eat and supporting lives and jobs across the state.

It is an investment we must make to help ensure our quality of life. We cannot survive without water, and we cannot take it for granted.

California WaterFix is a once-in-a-lifetime decision that will benefit our children and grandchildren, so it’s important to know the facts.

 

NEXT: The Cost of California WaterFix

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Man Arrested For Impersonating Pharmacist

SACRAMENTO, CA -- A Whittier man will appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court on August 24, 2017, to face charges of identity theft, forgery and counterfeiting.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has charged Benito Plascencia with one felony count of false personation, one felony count of identity theft, two felony counts of forgery relating to identity theft, one felony count of counterfeiting a seal and one misdemeanor count of false representation as a pharmacist. He also faces one felony count for theft of identifying information with a prior conviction of identity theft. His bail was set at $70,000.

Plascencia was arrested on July 31, 2017, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security while he was trying to cross the border from Mexico into California, at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Plascencia was arrested on a warrant obtained in May by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Chatsworth Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation. The arrest was the result of an investigation into allegations that Plascencia had been impersonating a licensed pharmacist and working at pharmacies in the Los Angeles area.

Investigators found that since 2001, Plascencia has worked at numerous pharmacies using the name and license number of a licensed pharmacist without the licensed pharmacist’s knowledge. To gain employment, Plascencia used a falsified driver license, pharmacist license and social security card that were issued in the name of the licensed pharmacist.

In 2007, Plascencia was charged with three felony counts of identity theft, one felony count of possession of a forged or counterfeit document, and one misdemeanor count of dispensing dangerous drugs without a license. Plascencia was alleged to have impersonated three doctors and was also alleged to have impersonated the same licensed pharmacist he is currently charged with impersonating. Plascencia pleaded no contest to one count of identity theft and was ordered to serve jail time and pay restitution.

He was also ordered not to be involved in any manner with the selling of prescribed medications in a pharmaceutical-like business or other business involving prescribed medicines.

From 1994 to 2010, Plascencia held a pharmacy technician license with the California State Board of Pharmacy, but he never applied for or received a pharmacist license. His pharmacy technician license was revoked following his 2007 conviction. Details from that case can be read here: http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/enforcement/fy0809/ac083229.pdf

Investigators believe there may be more victims of Plascencia’s in the Los Angeles area. Anyone with information or who may have hired Plascencia is asked to contact Investigator Scott Vredenburgh at the Division of Investigation’s Chatsworth Office at (818) 885-2000.

The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

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