Letter to the Editor: Tony Mendoza deserves due process

Dear Editor:

As someone who has lived and been civically engaged in Downey for a long time, I am particularly disturbed by the unfair treatment of State Sen. Tony Mendoza by some politicians in Sacramento.

Given the current climate of workplace environments, it’s particularly critical that we afford anyone who has been accused of discretions the opportunity to present the facts via a thorough and complete investigation. Everyone is entitled to due process, and the ability present his/her side of the story, even an elected official.

The allegations against Senator Mendoza occurred years ago. However, none of the accusations involved any form of touching. In fact, none of the accusers have suggested any form of bodily contact.

At most he has been accused of making someone feel uncomfortable. That makes me very suspicious, but that aside, we should not be quick to judge without allowing both sides to be heard. 

I am really interested in the truth to these allegations as are many of my neighbors. However, it would be wrong for us to rush to judgment or come to a conclusion without the benefit of the facts. To do so would be the ultimate wrong and speak ill of us as a society raised on the concept of truth and fairness (innocent until proven guilty). 

Sen. Mendoza has always been there for our community and has always been a dedicated family man. I have always considered Senator Mendoza a man of honor and has represented our majority Democratic district well.

Let’s ensure due process for Sen. Mendoza and afford him the fairness that any of us would demand if we were in his position.

Betty Monroy

Letter to the Editor: Roy Moore was the victim of a smear campaign

Dear Editor:

Martha Burk stated in her opinion piece, "That also tells us something about the Grand Old Pedophile Party (no need to say more)." Yes, Martha Burk, something more needs to be said.

The allegations against Roy Moore have never been proven and have all the appearance of a politically motivated attack. Lyndon Johnson was famous for accusing one of his opponents of having relations with barnyard animals. He gleefully said he wanted to hear his opponent deny the charge,

As proof, Gloria Allred showed an inscription in a yearbook, also allegedly doctored to show a relationship. In my yearbook, somebody drew a flying saucer. According to the fractured logic shown by Allred's allegation, that would mean there are aliens walking among us, or at least within orbit of the planet.

Finally, with regards to the point of the quotation I started with, at the time of Roy Moore's alleged molestations, he was a registered Democrat, active in party politics. 

Thomas Smith

Letter to the Editor: Invest in new fire stations

Dear Editor:
I'm pleased that our Measure S revenue appears to be well spent so far with the onboarding of new police officers, park rangers, firefighters and other safety personnel. 

While public safety is certainly our top priority, Measure S also calls for increased spending on infrastructure, including of course, repaving of residential streets, repair of sidewalks, curbs and gutters, which are the kinds of improvements most sought by those who voted for Measure S. We also need to invest in our fire stations. 

An architect has been engaged by the city to develop plans for modernization of our fire stations, which in some cases haven't been upgraded since they were constructed.  The Fire Station improvement project is certainly an appropriate use of Measure S funds, but I think two of the stations need more than upgrading to support the present day mission of the fire service. 

Station 2 on Imperial and Station 3 on Paramount are too small to accommodate the larger fire apparatus now in use, or the support facilities within each station for the health, safety and welfare of the personnel who work and live in them. 

Instead of upgrading Station 2 and Station 3, I think Measure S revenue would be better spent on construction of new stations to replace them. 

Station 3 especially needs to be replaced. This station was built in the 1950's on a lot with water department pumping facilities which take up half of the lot. The fire station is too small for the fire apparatus which have to be backed in from traffic lanes on Paramount Boulevard, causing a safety hazard for motorists and firefighters. Modern fire stations are much larger and are designed for fire apparatus to be driven through instead of backed in. 

The lot Station 3 is constructed on is not large enough to accommodate an apparatus "drive through" design. Station 3 should be relocated to a larger lot. Coincidentally, there are larger lots just south of the auto parts store on Paramount which are underutilized that would be ideal to construct a new state of the art fire station to replace the existing, obsolete facility. 

I recommend that the architect developing the fire station modernization plans be directed to include options for construction of new replacement facilities, in addition to upgrade of existing. 

It may be more cost-effective to demolish and build new facilities instead of upgrading existing. 

Now that the voters have decided to continue to keep our fire services local rather than contracting with the County, let's invest Measure S funds in building the best facilities we can for the Downey Fire Department. 
Brian Heyman

(The author is a retired fire marshal and serves on Downey’s Building Appeals Board.)

Letter to the Editor: Ideas for Cristina Garcia

Dear Editor:

I just received a brochure from Assemblymember Cristina Garcia. It informed her constituents that our state government has now passed AB617 to improve air quality and to address pollution in cap and trade.

I’d like to know how much money has been spent on air quality in the past several years. This bill has appropriated $300 million, with more to come.

Then AB 1132 gives air pollution control to districts, which can require a facility to cease operations until a full hearing can be held. Let’s not forget pending negotiations will cost California citizens $2 million for conversion of a vacant lot, located on the boundaries of Commerce and Bel Gardens, into a park. Then $226,000 to fund transportation for school groups to the ocean.

I was 16 years old before I saw the ocean, and there are millions of children in the U.S. who either haven’t seen it or will never see it. Is there any other spending you can think of to extract money from California citizens?

Each year, Assemblymember Garcia wants to know if anyone has an idea for a new law. Can you think of a law that might cut taxes on this highly over-taxed state? Maybe make a new law saying that State Legislatures and government will not try to take away Proposition 13. Make a new law that will require Californians to obey federal laws.

While we’re at it, make a law that all government officials will obey the Constitution of California – that being Article 3, Section 6 of the Constitution, which every state official swore to do. Or maybe let us vote on whether we want a sanctuary state to protect illegal criminals. Maybe make a law to cut the outrageous tax on gasoline. Enough is enough already.

When these laws have passed, maybe I could think of a few more.

Elsa Van Leuven


Letter to the Editor: Garcetti versus Trump

Dear Editor:

The Trump Administration repeatedly threatens to withhold federal money from cities that don’t cooperate with immigration policy.

Then L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti stated that L.A. is a sanctuary city on TV, challenging the Trump administration. Now L.A. wants 3.1 million in federal funding. They said no.

Eric Garcetti has to learn that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Mike Sandoval

Letter to the Editor: 5K a major inconvenience to church parishioners

Dear Editor:

I'm writing today to express my outrage at what occurred yesterday morning as I and others attempted to get to our places of worship on a bright Sunday morning.

Sure, I knew the parade was Sunday, but we've always been able to get to church (St. Mark's for me).

After seeing Downey Avenue closed, I went up Brookshire, just to find the road closed at Cherokee with the road blocked going both north and west. I needed to go west. I managed to squeak by the barriers, only to be yelled at by a city worker. Hearing that we were attempting to get to our church, he let us go, but not before telling us we wouldn't be able to "get out."

Arriving at church, I found others who were turned back and had to park several blocks away and walk. The capper was one of our members who is handicapped and in a wheelchair with a health aide. They were literally stopped by one of our fine officers in blue, made to surrender their driver's license and registration, and were told, "I'll be giving this information to the district attorney to follow up on." They did make it through, but were quite shaken.

Since when can a city prohibit citizens from engaging in their constitutional right to worship? I'm sure all the churches located on Downey Avenue had the same issue.

Whoever planned a 5K to be run on a Sunday morning, closing all the major roads through downtown Downey where all these churches are located, should have their head examined. I hope someone in city government, or the chamber of commerce, can figure out a more appropriate time for this activity.

Dan Vaughn

Letter to the Editor: Keep the Energy Department

Dear Editor:

“The energy department produces no energy, let’s get rid of it.”

The above point was mentioned in an article published (11/23/17) by the Downey Patriot last week. I disagree wholeheartedly with that idea. Why? It does not make sense.

Energy is the lifeblood of this country and our society, and the role that the federal government plays in managing it is crucial to reduce our dependency on oil and other carbon fossil fuel sources.

With the catastrophic climate changes that we are experiencing in different parts of the world on a regular basis, we need to unite all our efforts to find solutions to global warming or we will destroy the world as we know it.

The mission of the Energy Department, that the writer is suggesting to eliminate, “is to ensure America's security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”

We know that during the last 200 years we have had more CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) than thousands of years before the industrial revolution (1860). 

Before the Industrial Revolution, there were 250 (ppm) parts per million of CO2 in the air. Now it has reached 450 ppm.

We have the technology to solve this problem and we must for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.

What we need now is the will. Citizens’s Climate Lobby (CCL) is working for a common sense solution and is helping put together a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus with Democrats and Republicans, because the earth is not a Democrat or a Republican.

The Energy Department should not be abolished as it has been suggested to save money for the rich. On the contrary, we need people and more resources to tackle global warming issues.

The time is now.

Guido Rivero

Letter to the Editor: Parking scofflaws

Dear Editor: 

We go to the post office on Lakewood Boulevard at least two or three times a day. My husband sells several items on Ebay and we use the post office closer to our home. 

It has really become more of a pain than a convenience. Everyone who goes there thinks that it’s a drive-thru; no one takes into consideration the handicap persons who really need the parking close to the entrance. People park in the handicap without a handicap placard, double park, don't even think of other people. 

I really think someone or maybe a police officer should watch this location. I am sure Downey could get so much revenue just from the inconsiderate people that think that they are more important than anyone else. 

M. Contreras


Letter to the Editor: Drain the swamp

Dear Editor: 

Roy Moore, a Republican, is running for senator of Alabama. He is accused of sexual harassment. Is he guilty? He will probably lose the election. 

Bill Clinton was accused of many sexual indiscretions but served two terms. He lied to Congress and the American people. What was his punishment? He lost his law license. He didn’t need it because he gets almost half a million dollars for a one-hour speech in Russia. Who needs it? 

President Kennedy was also guilty of sexual indiscretions but no charges were filed. Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo Koepeckne in a watery grave and went to “sleep it off” before reporting it. He and other men took their girlfriends for a special time together and what was his punishment? He was elected to serve as chairman of the Ethics Committee. 

Now we learn about Al Franken. He was being groomed to run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2020. And these sleazy politicians are wondering if he should be put out of office. Really? Now we learn our state senator, Tony Mendoza, is also accused. 

On top of all this, we learn that $15.2 million of our tax money is used to pay off the ladies who have sexual harassment complaints against our government leaders. We should demand the names of these sleazeballs be released. They should be put out of office with no pension. But probably nothing will happen. 

The only upside that could happen is maybe this is the only way to “drain the swamp” since we can’t get much-needed term limits.

Another issue: I’m not a tax expert but I noticed in Jim Hightower’s article, whose articles appear often in the Downey Patriot, that he is concerned that President Trump’s tax plan will add $1.5 trillion to our national debt. I don’t recall in his other articles that he showed any interest when President Obama increased our debt more than all previous presidents combined. 

Elsa Van Leuven


Opening a temporary homeless shelter in Norwalk is the right thing to do

The Southern California Youth Correctional Reception Center & Clinic opened in Norwalk in 1954, a sprawling campus on Bloomfield Avenue between Imperial Highway and Foster Road that housed juvenile offenders convicted or accused of various crimes, violent or otherwise. 

A homeless encampment under the 605 Freeway in Norwalk. Photo by Alex Dominguez

A homeless encampment under the 605 Freeway in Norwalk. Photo by Alex Dominguez

For 58 years the facility aimed to rehabilitate wayward children, even as it simultaneously dealt with allegations of abusive voluntary confinement, violence among staff and prisoners, and rampant suicide attempts within its walls. 

When the center was shut down Dec. 31, 2011, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights called the closure “a monumental achievement in our ongoing campaign to shut down California’s dangerous, expensive, and ineffective youth prisons.”

But for all its infamy, the prison operated relatively free of public scrutiny during its nearly six decades in Norwalk. Its closure was the result of ubiquitous budget cuts, a decision by the state of California that had nothing to do with shuttering an allegedly violent detention center and everything to do with dollars and cents. 

Six years later, state and county officials have drawn up a plan to repurpose the facility as a wintertime homeless shelter. It would open in December or January and provide approximately 112 homeless residents with overnight shelter, through April. 

These homeless residents would be bussed into the facility at 5 p.m. and bussed out at 7 a.m. the following day to designated locations throughout Southern California. The program would be professionally managed by an agency that specializes in dealing with the homeless population. 

Initial reaction to the proposal has been mixed, with opponents utilizing the NIMBY argument – Not In My Backyard! Any plan that would bring more homeless to Norwalk is a non-starter, they say. 

The problem is, the homeless are already here. They are on Firestone Boulevard, loitering outside the Imperial Manor. They are behind Office Depot, sheltering in tents underneath the shadow of the 605 Freeway. They are on Studebaker Road, sprawled on the concrete floor at a bus stop. 

They are everywhere. 

The state/county proposal simply takes these people off the streets – or at least up to 112 of them – and offers them a warm, safe place to lay at night. It’s the humane, compassionate thing to do. 

Homelessness is a pandemic afflicting the entire region and citizens have indicated they are willing to finance effective solutions. 

By giving its blessing to the shelter, Norwalk can be a leader in the battle to make homelessness extinct in Los Angeles County. It can serve as a model to other communities – communities that too often prefer to kick the can down the road and make this regional issue someone else’s problem. 

Homelessness is not someone else’s problem. It’s our problem.

If Norwalk could house a juvenile prison for 58 years with nary a peep of controversy from residents, repurposing the facility into a temporary homeless shelter for 4 months seems like a no-brainer.

It’s simply the right thing to do. 

OP-ED: Thank you for your service

Dr Mary Cutting Army Cake best.jpg

On Veterans Day, November 11, 1988, President Ronald Reagan said, “We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.”
As America recognizes Veterans Day this Nov. 11, I hope we can all understand what this day really means. Current estimates have the total population of United States military veterans at 18.5 million with female veterans accounting for 1.6 million of this honorable group and veterans over the age of 65 at 9.2 million. It’s an obvious statement to say these individuals may be your mother, father, brother, sister and/or grandparent, or, at the very least, that of someone you know.

But as a group, our veterans are often overlooked, not just for their service but for the challenges facing them upon their return as civilians.
As citizens, we reap the benefits of our veterans' bravery and dedication to preserve our democracy and protect our constitution. When we see enlisted members enjoying leave in our communities, some of us are inclined to shake their hand, buy them a meal or simply say thank you. But what happens when our veterans take off the uniform? Unfortunately, they become invisible to many of us. And this is a problem.
The veteran homeless population in Los Angeles alone is estimated between 5,000 and 8,000 souls. These are hard numbers to grasp. Our veterans deserve absolute respect for carrying on a tradition of service and valor that keeps our nation safe and strong.

I recently saw a movie called "Thank You for Your Service." This film tells the very important story of veterans' lives once they return home. Their struggle is one that can only be truly understood by the brave men and women who have seen the horrific events of war and battle. It is a reminder to us all that the way we treat our Veterans should not be something we recognize one day a year, it’s about how they are treated every single day.
This Veterans Day, I encourage all of us to do a simple task of helping one soldier or veteran. It can be by writing to an active member of our service (a future veteran), help sponsor a companion dog to support a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), donate accumulated frequent flier miles, or offer to take a veteran to a doctor’s appointment.

You can also make a difference by calling 1-877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) to help veterans on the streets or on the verge of becoming homeless. Call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get information from the local VA.
You can also donate to the Wounded Warriors Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) and the Living Tree Foundation.
Lastly, on the top of a hill in Arlington Cemetery stands a tombstone that simply reads: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” We must not let those veterans around us become forgotten and do our part to honor them and their families. Thank you for your service to our country.
Mario A. Guerra is a former mayor of Downey and current Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army. He is also the author of "Embracing Change; An Immigrant Saga" and can be reached at www.marioaguerra.com

Letter to the Editor: U.S. presence in Niger is necessary

Dear Editor: 

This is in response to Peter Certo’s column entitled “A U.S. Soldier Died in Niger. What are we doing there?” (The Downey Patriot, 10/26/17)

First off-there were four U.S. soldiers that were killed in Niger, not one.

Second, those men were Green Berets, who specialize in force enhancement in an unconventional warfare environment. In other words, they were there to train the people of Niger to protect themselves the next time Boko Haram, ISIS or Al Qeida comes to loot their villages, kill their men and enslave their women. 

Third, our involvement in Niger did not come out of thin air. U.S. special forces arrived in Niger in January 2013 on the orders of President Obama with the intention of conducting unmanned reconnaissance missions over Mali and to support counter-insurgency efforts of our other partners in the region. This was done in conjunction with French. 

Lastly, I wonder if Mr. Certo recalls the night of April 14-15, 2014, when Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in nearby Chibok, Nigeria. Many of the girls would become sex slaves or “brides” for the men of Boko Haram

Our presence in Niger and the other countries in Central Africa are worthy considering our limited level of involvement and the potential threats that exist. 

Or we could do what Mr. Certo would probably suggest if another Chibok-like atrocity were to occur: express outrage, blame it on the effects of post colonialism and seek a condemnation of the event through the United Nations. Yep, that will sure show them.

Kevin Merrick

Letter to the Editor: If the U.S. goes to war with North Korea, don't blame Trump

Dear Editor:

Someone posted a letter here who was worried that President Trump might get us into a war with North Korea. Such a war would be horrific. My father was killed in the Korean War when I was two years old, so I understand the abhorrence of war and would like it very much if the United States and all other nations could avoid war forever. 

But we should be rational here. If war starts it will not be because the United States, under the direction of President Trump, started a war. War would only start if North Korea launched nuclear weapons at the United States or one of our allies, whom we have promised to defend. 

I pray for peace in this and all situations. But I know that peace does not come with good intentions. This is why the United States had to go to war with Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan in the last century. As our nation suffered the loss of over 2400 people at Pearl Harbor what would have happened if we had simply ignored that and sent a letter of protest to the Japanese? 

The U.S. did not start World War II and we will not start a war with Korea. If a war is going to start let's not blame our President, let's look at reality. North Korea is threatening to murder hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. We will be forced to protect ourselves and other people in the world. Self-defense is not only necessary in the practical sense, but morally as well. 

But let's all pray for peace and to for the end of the insanity of war until we have no other option.

Fr. John Higgins

Letter to the Editor: No oil drilling in the arctic

Our modern civilization is based on fossil fuels – gasoline, coal, oil and natural gas. However our present overuse of fossil fuels must come to an end as it is hurting our planet. Scientists say that burning fossil fuels is producing an excess of CO2 or carbon dioxide, which is one of the main gases warming the planet.

The other day I read an article written by Bill McKibben, (LA Times (10/23/17), regarding drilling for carbon fossil fuels in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

McKibben said that the budget under consideration in Washington would allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. The final decision may come down to a group of House Republicans who have announced they are interested in “climate solutions”.

With the help of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, 60 lawmakers — 30 from each party — have been persuaded to join a caucus that aims “to educate members on economically viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy.” If the members take that mandate seriously, saying “no” to Arctic refuge drilling should be a no-brainer.

The refuge is not only a beautiful, wild, serene place, it is a safe storage container for something very dangerous; the carbon that the oil will produce if it is ever burned.

The possible 7.7 billion recoverable barrels of oil the refuge may contain if piped down to civilization would release carbon dioxide equivalent to opening 820 new coal-fired power plants and running them for a year. It would be like putting 23 million new cars on the road and operating them for the next three decades.

Democrats and Republicans should say no to this terrible idea of drilling for oil in the Arctic.

Guido Rivero

The Affordable Care Act must go

By Marilyn M. Singleton, M.D.

We are living in strange times. Virtual money, virtual friends, virtual reality. And regrettably, we are currently burdened with virtual leaders and virtual health insurance coverage.

Last month’s Gallup poll revealed that by a huge margin the “most important problem facing the country today” was dissatisfaction with the government. Our representatives in Washington spend more time meeting with moneyed “stakeholders” than fashioning constitutional legislation based on what their constituents voted for.

When our “representatives” occasionally take a break from sniping at the White House or one another, they offer platitudes and intangibles to distract us from their ineffectiveness. Sustainability, the rich, social (in)justice, the common good, a living wage, a better health care system are glittering generalities, known in some circles as propaganda.

Operating under the cloak of munificence and on the premise (or pretense) that the financial and physical best interests of everyday people were at heart, the proponents of the unipartisan Affordable Care Act produced an unrecognizable version of insurance. Health insurance in the United States grew out of concerns for the high cost of serious injuries due to the wide use of machinery in the early 1900s. The ACA – to quote President Obama – “fundamentally changed” the American the health insurance market to forcibly insure individuals for every medical issue no matter how minor.

Of course, the promised benefits were illusory since most patients would never meet the high deductible. The ACA robbed us of choice in the insurance market. No more inexpensive major medical insurance policies for those over the ripe old age of 30.

Predictably, nearly half of ACA marketplace enrollees polled in a Kaiser Family Foundation health reform survey report that their premiums, deductibles, and copays have been going up and will create a “financial burden.” And sixty percent of those with any kind of private insurance expect their premiums to go up “a lot.”

Their perception is based in reality. In the 20 states where the information was available the 2018 premium increases range from 33 to 49 percent.

As for the negative effects on the other half of the patient-physician relationship, a recent Mayo Clinic study verified that the government-mandated electronic health records are contributing to increasing rates of physician burnout. A majority of those surveyed indicated their electronic medical record systems were causing a clinical burden, resulting in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment.

Moreover, the new complex metrics required under the Medicare Access and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), have become a new source of frustration and increased clerical duties.

The ACA and its progeny must go. Responsive government is based on an exchange of ideas with the voters and accordingly, constitutional laws that advance the interests the citizenry. The ACA appeared to respond to the wishes of corporate lobbyists and social engineers, not the public at large.

Dissatisfied with the government? Reject the political pap and decide whether you would rather pay $600 per month and a $5,000 deductible for services that you do not want or need or have the ability to buy inexpensive major medical insurance and pay out-of-pocket for routine office visits.

Keeping in mind the hacking of 143 million Equifax records, do you want your medical records housed and managed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology or in your doctor’s office?

For many, the answer is clear. Support policies that put the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship first, last, and always.

Dr. Marilyn Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist and Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) board member. She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School.  Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital.

Letter to the Editor: It's about time California helps vulnerable animals

Dear Editor:

The same op-ed appearing in the Opinion section on Thursday, Oct. 19, appeared on the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) website on October 13, 2017, with a different name: “Pet Care Advocates: California Governor’s Signature Puts Businesses, Pet Lovers At Risk.” Note that the author of the original article and the PIJAC are both based in Washington D.C.

Closer to home are those of us that question how requiring pet stores to sell rescue animals will put small businesses at risk. Unless that risk is that they will be out of business because they purchase many of the dogs and cats they sell from puppy mills and kitten factories. 

AB 485 will go into effect in 2019 and will require pet store operators to obtain dogs, cats, and rabbits placed for retail sale in California from an animal shelter or rescue group. This law is consistent with over 230 other cities and counties nationwide that have implemented similar ordinances. In California, over 33 municipalities have such ordinances, including Los Angeles, Oceanside, San Francisco and Sacramento. 

The main goal of this law is to address puppy mills and kitten factories which are mostly located out-of-state in overcrowded and unsanitary facilities that do not provide the puppies, kittens, or their parents with adequate food, water, space, socialization or veterinary care. Unfortunately, pet stores are the primary retail type storefront used to sale these mass produced puppies and kittens to the public.

While pet stores will no longer be able to sell purebred dogs “with papers”, the law does not ban the sale of purebred dogs to California residents. If a California consumer wants a purebred dog, they will still be able to work directly with a reputable breeder.

The ASPCA’s shelter intake and surrender statistics indicate that only 37% of dogs and cats currently come from breeders while 54% of dogs and cats come from animal shelters or rescue groups. While impossible to accurately calculate, it is estimated that as many as 25% of dogs that are available in shelters are purebred dogs (without papers).

The ASPCA estimates that nationwide, there are 6.5 million companion animals that enter U.S. animal shelters every year. Over 1.5 million of these animals are euthanized, and about 3.2 million are adopted.

Pet stores are going to have to rethink their business models and focus on working with rescue groups and animal shelters if they want to sell dogs, cats or rabbits. A legislative report indicates that, in California, taxpayers spend approximately a quarter of a billion dollars annually to house animals in local shelters.

It is about time that California started to rethink what is best for our most vulnerable and dearest companions.

India Griffin

Letter to the Editor: We need to stop wildfires

Dear Editor:

It is true. To avoid more wildfires we need Carbon Fee and Dividend now.

In other words, we need to put a rising price on fossil fuels to have a climate that is livable.
As planet Earth warms up more and more on a daily basis because of human activity, we need to curb burning of fossil fuels so we can have a livable planet.

People have heard about recycling or wind and solar power. 

But for some reason many people are not convinced that using less gasoline by driving electric or hydrogen vehicles, or using solar panels and recycling are necessary to help the planet.

The data is in. Human excesses are causing climate change or global warming. So what to do?Well, the first step is to pass Carbon Fee and Dividend.

In other words, use the market place to reduce carbon pollution by putting a price on coal, oil and gas at the source and return the money collected to each U.S. household through a monthly dividend check.

No one wants to be told what to do, but the law can give choices: if one buys products made with carbon fossil fuels, then the consumer will have to pay a little more.

Studies have shown that with Carbon Fee and Dividend, carbon fossil fuel pollution will be reduced by 30 per cent within the next 10 years; it will create 2.5 million jobs and give us a cleaner environment in which to live. It may protect us from ever more ferocious wildfires.
The Earth is not Democrat or Republican. It is all of us.

Peggy Payton wrote to a local newspaper (LATimes: 10/18/17) that
“It is reasonable to expect our leaders to take action before disasters strike by addressing their chief accelerator, human-induced global warming. 

A gradually escalating price on carbon, specifically a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend, would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere while encouraging the use of energy sources other than fossil fuels. It would be a powerful move away from disaster.”

So let’s all have Carbon Fee and Dividend as a first step to stop global warming before it is too late. 

Guido Rivero

OP-ED: Requiring pet stores to sell rescue animals put small businesses at risk


Two of America’s largest pet care associations, a California breeder association, and a California pet store owner said California Governor Jerry Brown put small businesses at risk this weekend with his signature of Assembly Bill 485.

AB 485 implements a statewide ban on the sale of non-rescue, non-shelter dogs, cats, and rabbits from pet stores.

“Assembly Bill 485 reverses California’s tradition of leading the nation in pet and consumer protections,” said Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) President Mike Bober, who in a video release in September urged Brown to veto AB 485. “It also strips consumers of many pet store protections, risks hundreds of jobs, and reduces pet choice.”

American Kennel Club (AKC) vice president of government relations, Sheila Goffe, said that AB 485 “fails to distinguish between professional breeders and pet profiteers.”

“AB 485 blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders,” said Goffe. “This is not good for Californians or their companion animals.”

Bober said the amendment, which exempted pet stores from warranty laws, consumer information requirements, fines, and other important regulations, left consumers without proper protections.

“Governor Brown regretfully did not recognize the harm AB 485 will do to his constituents, including the many stores, breeders, and business associations across the Golden State that contacted him,” said Bober and Goffe.

Stormy Hope, Secretary of the Southern California Kennel Owners and Breeders Association, joined in the concern for California’s pets and their purchasers. “The enactment of AB 485 represents a troublesome new reality for California’s pet owners. Their choices will be limited to pets from unknown sources, with unsubstantiated health backgrounds, and without consumer protections.” 

Animal Kingdom founder Adam Tipton, whose three stores employ 26 people, has been a California small business owner since 1995. He said Brown’s signature endangers “not just my employees, but also my customers.”

“Animal Kingdom has had thousands of customers from all over California, other states, and even other countries come to us because of our professionalism and animal care practices,” said Tipton. “For 22 years, our focus has been to choose happy & healthy pets for our customers. AB 485’s ban will leave us without a ready supply of pets.”

According to Tipton, “The public has been put at great risk by the false information that was used to pass this law. Our relationships with breeders mean we know exactly what pets are going to our customers; by targeting California’s pet stores, this law will allow unregulated breeders to flourish as customers find other sources for their pets. AB 485 risks customers’ ability to get the best pet for their circumstances.”

From Bob Hertzberg: Let’s follow Kentucky, but only when convenient

By Esperanza “Espie” Free

California State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) has logged some serious miles in his endless journey to try to find a state he can hitch his no-bail wagon onto.  

First, he touted New Jersey’s pretrial system as the model for California. 

Bob Hertzberg, right.

Bob Hertzberg, right.

But when New Jersey’s nine-month old experiment began crumbling, Hertzberg turned his attention to Washington, DC as the model for California. 

But his infatuation with DC didn’t last long. When Washington, DC police chief Cathy L. Lanier was deciding to transition to the head of security for the National Football League, she told the Washington Post that the city’s pretrial system “is beyond broken… You can’t police the city if the rest of the justice system not accountable.” The Post wrote, “Lanier has previously expressed frustration with the criminal justice system and said it allows for repeat offenders to be released.”  

After the Lanier’s comments, Hertzberg then high-tailed it down to the greener pastures of Kentucky, a state he is now trumpeting as latest model for California. 

Wait a second. Kentucky? Isn’t this one of California’s pariah states? After all, just a year ago Hertzberg voted for Assembly Bill 1887 – a measure to ban California public officials from traveling to and patronizing states like Kentucky over gender equality issues. Specifically, Hertzberg supported a bill that would:

“Prohibit a state agency and the Legislature from requiring any of its employees, officers, or members to travel to, or approving a request for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to, any state that, after June 26, 2015, has enacted a law that voids or repeals, or has the effect of voiding or repealing, existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression or has enacted a law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, as specified, subject to certain exceptions.”

With Hertzberg’s AB 1887 vote, he was vilifying Kentucky’s branches of government for failing to ‘protect the civil rights and prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, among other characteristics.’ 

On Aug. 23, Sen. Hertzberg lead a rally in support of SB 10 on the north steps of the California State Capitol where Hertzberg stated, “I just came back from Kentucky last week and I sat in a court room where there were a hundred dispositions and I watched people for six dollars a day, get home monitoring system.”   

Yet never mind the ethics and moral conviction. With political expediency again a priority for a desperate Hertzberg, Kentucky is no longer a backward, wayward state but a progressive one with regard to justice.

Even if we ignore the “moral failings” of Kentucky’s government, their pretrial system is a terrible model for California. Judges and prosecutors in Kentucky criticize the state’s pretrial system saying that it is bad for crime victims and public safety. Fayette County’s prosecutor has gone so far as to have bumper stickers printed saying, “catch and release is for fish, not felons.”  

If the Kentucky system is so great, why is the Louisville jail overcrowded, housing nearly 2,300 inmates with only 1,800 beds?

This is as shameless at it is embarrassing. You can’t have it both ways, Bob. 

Esperanza “Espie” Free is a local leader in Norwalk, working with local schools, law enforcement agencies and local community organizations to help parents, teenagers and families in need. Such programs include training domestic violence counselors and working with inmate outreach and prison ministry programs. 

Letter to the Editor: Unhappy with AAA

Dear Editor: 

AAA spends millions of dollars on television ads, hawking their car insurance policy, which is supposed to be so inexpensive that a lady tells them “to go back and recheck their figure” because she cannot believe how low it is. 

Giving AAA the benefit of the doubt, I signed up with them. Their TV ad also promises a stainless steel container for hot and cold beverages, and a $100 travel certificate as a reward for purchasing car insurance from AAA. 

After almost two months and several phone calls to the insurance agent, I still have not received the beverage container, but the agent offered an umbrella in its place. Since it is difficult to carry hot coffee or cold lemonade in an umbrella, I passed on the agent’s offer. 

By now I should have received the travel certificate. It never arrived. 

It is obvious AAA practices deceptive advertising, making promises to the customer it does not intend to keep. Our country is suffering from corporate greed; it seems that AAA has the same malady. Shame on them. 

Oh, by the way, I never received the monthly “Westways” magazine either. 

John Ralmon