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

Gary Sinise named grand marshal of Rose Parade

PASADENA -- Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, who is most famously known for his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark film “Forrest Gump,” was announced this week as the 2018 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal. 

Sinise will ride in the 129th Rose Parade, themed “Making A Difference,” and participate in the pre-game celebration of the college football playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl, both held on Jan. 1, 2018.

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise

Tournament of Roses president Lance Tibbet made the announcement at Tournament House in Pasadena. In his remarks, Tibbet referred to Sinise as someone making a difference in his community through his work with veterans.

“The 2018 theme, ‘Making A Difference,’ is a way to honor and celebrate all of the people in our communities, who quietly and without desire for reward or recognition, act in selfless, generous and kind ways to aid or benefit others. Gary Sinise is absolutely one of those people.

Gary’s humanitarian work with our defenders, veterans, first responders and their families over the years, embodies our theme to the fullest.” shared Tibbet. “As members of a community, a country and a planet, we all have the ability, power and responsibility to help one another and as Gary likes to say....we can always do a little more.”

Sinise has been working in support of veterans for nearly 40 years. His commitment started in the early 1980's when he began supporting local Vietnam veterans’ groups in the Chicago area and co-founded the Vets Night program at the Steppenwolf Theatre. This program continues to this day and invites veterans to a free dinner and performance for each one of the plays produced at the theatre. 

Among his numerous film and television roles, it was his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor, which formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community. Shortly after the film opened, Sinise was introduced to the Disabled American Veterans organization as they invited him to their national convention to present him with their National Commanders Award for playing the double amputee. 

Sinise’s involvement with veterans has included volunteer work for the USO, performances with his band, the Gary Sinise & Lt. Dan Band entertaining troops around the world, and the creation of the Gary Sinise Foundation which was formed in 2011 with the mission to honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. 

In recognition of his humanitarian work on behalf of veterans, Sinise has earned numerous distinguished awards including the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Medal of Honor Society, the Spirit of the USO Award, the Sylvanus Thayer Award from the West Point Association of Graduates, the George Catlett Marshall Medal from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the Presidential Citizens Medal which is the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation, among others.

Rio Hondo's Pathway to Law program recognized with state award


WHITTIER -- Rio Hondo College has received the third annual Diversity Champion Award from California LAW for excellence in building its Pathway to Law School program, which guides students in pursuing dreams of becoming lawyers and judges.

The award, announced this week, will be awarded Feb. 24, 2018 at the annual Pathway to Law Summit at the University of San Francisco.

California LAW – the acronym stands for leadership, access and workforce – serves as statewide coordinator and chief navigator of the Pathway to Law School program launched in 2015 to aid underrepresented, first-generation students interested in pursuing legal careers. The program includes 28 community colleges and six California law schools.

“Thank you so much for your commitment to the Pathway to Law School program through innovative and creative ways of keeping Rio Hondo Pathway students engaged and inspired to achieve success in the law,” California LAW Executive Director Leslie J. Cunningham wrote in her announcement.

“Your accomplishment of graduating 24 certified law pathway scholars in spring 2017 made the Rio Hondo Pathway program a true frontrunner for the Diversity Award,” Cunningham wrote.

The nonprofit group is committed to creating a pipeline of diverse students from high schools, community colleges, four-year institutions and law schools into law and law-related fields so the profession reflects the state’s diversity.

“This award is truly an honor,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “We are committed to helping create a pathway to legal careers for our students, and this award recognizes the excellent strides being made in that effort.”

Rio Hondo College’s Pathway to Law School program includes seven classes, activities and internships to expand students’ understanding of the skills and education they will need for law school. This year, Rio Hondo College added mentorships with local advocates to its list of activities, which includes a mock trial team and the Pre-Law Society.

“This program really helps students by exposing them to different activities and experiences other campuses can’t provide,” said Ryan Serrano, a second-year Pathway participant. “I'm glad Pathway is receiving recognition for preparing tomorrow's attorneys and politicians.”

Serrano, who is captain of the mock trial team and president of the Pre-Law Society, said his goal is to enter the political arena – inspired by his work canvassing for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election.

“It was a life-changing experience,” Serrano said.

For now, he’s preparing for a mock trial competition in February and revitalizing the Pre-Law Society with a program of speakers that include local lawyers and state political leaders.

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

City seeks public input on south Rancho campus development

 Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

DOWNEY – A community workshop will be held Nov. 16 to gather public input on a development plan for the Rancho Los Amigos south campus.

Downey is in the planning stages of campus development plan using funding from Metro. 
The plan will guide future use and development of the south campus using long-term policies developed with residents’ input. 

The meeting will be held at the Barbara J. Riley Center starting at 6:30 p.m. 

Shared Stories: Apple bobbin’ and tear dobbin’

Sharon Benson Smith pours her grief into poetry and draws strength from positive memories. This piece is a tribute to her lively mother who passed away on Halloween. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns

By Sharon Benson Smith

I had dreaded the arrival and celebration of Halloween
it was the night Mom was rushed to the hospital
and the out-of-doors never again to be seen.

It’s the night to which children look forward to costuming and trick-or-treat
But I’d been thinking of it as the night the “rug was pulled from under our feet.”
This Halloween, October 31, 1978, will mark one year to the day
And I now recall that it all happened this way.

I rushed from work to the market to buy our trick-or-treats
And prepared something real fast for my family to eat.
Then I made my nightly call to Mom before the doorbell started ringing
And as usual, her voice, in its mom-manner, was singing.
“Hi, Mom, how are you tonight; I was just worrying about your
Having to get up and down to answer the door.”
“Dad will be back soon, Doll, he’s just at the store.”
“Okay, mom, just checking, but now I’ve got to go
I’ll call you tomorrow during lunch break as you know.”

All of the above had to have happened before the hour of seven;
Later she was taken in an ambulance; I got the call about eleven.
While in the emergency room, I was told she asked: “Where is my Shay?”
Well, Mom, you better believe your Shay was on her way.

Shawna was right, that little smarty, Mom would want us to have a costume party;
With boys dressed as cute hobos and girls as spooky witches
And a few clowns jumping around just to keep us all in stitches.
Some to be dressed as cuties, and others as scaries
Little devils and skeletons, and ballerinas and fairies.
She’d want us to go trick-or-treating and do some apple bobbin’
Instead of my thinking of hiding away sobbin’ and tear dobbin’!

So, I allow my thoughts to replay the happy scenes  
Like when Mom dressed as Casper the ghost one long ago Halloween
And succeeded in fooling Dad and we kids, as well as our neighbor, Jean.

Up through the years my thoughts take me away to the Whittier YMCA
When Mom was asked to be a judge that particular Halloween day
She couldn’t vote for her flappers but Tracy and I won anyway.
I have a picture of her wearing a badge that simply states “Judge;”
That’s another memory I’ll never allow to become just a smudge.

Who is that dressed up like a regular G.I.                                                                   
Wearing boots too large and at least knee-high
Going around saluting and repeating aye-aye?
How very cute she was, our mother, our queen
Even dressed as she was in fatigues of khaki green.

Then who’s the witch in the gruesome mask with a long hook nose
Who is the witch -- everyone asked -- but nobody knows.
She has an ugly hunch-back and talks in a witch’s cackle:
“Hello there, My Pretty, wouldja like a candy apple?”
She was playing the part I mean just so perfectly
That only the process of elimination revealed Grandma B!

When I told Steve I was writing on the subject of Halloween
He then reminded me of the following scene.
He responded to the knock at the Creedmore door
And could never even guess what he was in for.
There stood a colorful though shabbily dressed gypsy
She arrived all alone – now who could this be?
She held a huge light bulb, symbolic of a crystal ball
He’s asking himself: “Who is this real doll?”
She kept her hands covered and across her face was a veil
Still asking himself “Who is this weirdo” – Steve could not tell.
He went on to say “she uttered not a single word”
He continued asking himself “Who is this strange bird?”
Now Steve, as you know, is a pretty sharp feller
But couldn’t discern who this was, this gypsy fortune teller.
He said it took about twenty minutes of studying the ol’ gypsy
Then she made a certain gesture and he knew it was Grandma B!

Sister Donna reminded me of the party held at the bowling alley.   
It was the night that Mom dressed up like Phyllis Diller
The “most original” prize she won was that Halloween thriller.
I can picture her hamming it up and talking in that Phyllis Diller twang
Just a-laughin’ and a-jokin’ about her husband, Fang.

Who could forget Mom the year she dressed like a regular hill-billy
Again, she played the part, and I don’t mean willy-nilly.
With lots of freckles, an Okie drawl, and of course a snaggle tooth
In clodhoppers like Lil’ Abner’s granny, looking like she defined uncouth.

So as it all plays back and forth now in my heart and head   
These are the memories I should cherish of Mom instead.
Those memories of her that I should always indulge
Are those that make my love for her bulge.

There you have it, to Mom, my Halloween tribute
The night I went on a candy apple toot
It was the night I felt Mom prodding all the way
“That’s my girl, have yourself a ball, Shay.”
It was the night I didn’t do any apple bobbin’
It was also the night I didn’t do any tear dobbin’!

From those heavenly places, I know Mom was looking down
On her Shay the witch, on her Shay the clown.
I recall at this moment, and I don’t know why
The picture of a clown with a tear in his eye.
And I’m recalling Mom again assisting me
With a homework assignment – another biography.
All I remember of it now during this moment of gladness
“In the heart of a clown is a touch of sadness.”

Lord, as she asked of you for me as a teenager so very long ago
Please take good care her, she is such precious cargo,
And pardon me, Lord, for reminding you, of what you made so.

Paging Dr. Frischer: Hepatitis C

Recently, a number of my patients have been mentioning to me a commercial they have seen, instructing them to get a blood test for Hepatitis C.


Indeed, Hepatitis C has been all over the media lately. As a proud Baby Boomer (those of us who were born between 1945 and 1965), I was surprised to find that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is now recommending that all Baby Boomers be tested for Hepatitis C. One in 30 of us have the virus, and most are unaware of it.

Why has this become so important? Science has finally caught up with Hepatitis C, and there is actually a cure! Testing and treating can now make a huge difference.

Hepatitis C is a serious, blood borne infection, and an estimated 3.2 million Americans are living with it. Many have had it for years, or even decades, without any obvious outward symptoms. Although it can be a quiet disease, if left untreated, it may be causing serious damage to the liver, including cirrhosis, liver failure, or even cancer. Currently, there are more deaths annually from Hepatitis C than from HIV.

Why have Baby Boomers been singled out as being at higher risk? Estimates show that a whopping three out of every four people with Hepatitis C were born during those baby boomer years. Evidently, many Boomers were infected in the 1970s and 1980s, when infection control was not up to today’s standards. Note that the Hepatitis C virus wasn’t even identified until 1989, and blood donations weren’t screened for it until 1992. Because it can take up to 30 years for signs of Hepatitis C to appear, Boomers may only now be experiencing symptoms.

Are you at risk for getting Hepatitis C? The virus is primarily spread through contact with very small amounts of blood from an infected person, and can live outside the body for up to three weeks. 

It may be spread from a blood transfusion (prior to 1992) or from other blood products; unsterilized tools at a tattoo parlor; past recreational drug use which used shared needles; from infected medical equipment or procedures (rarely); and possibly from shared personal items that may have had small amounts of infected blood on them, such as razors or toothbrushes. It is even possible to contract the virus from blood that comes into contact with one’s skin, and then enters the bloodstream through a cut or opening.

Hepatitis C is now screened through a simple blood test known as the Hepatitis C Antibody Test. Testing is recommended for all Baby Boomers, for those who currently or have ever injected drugs, for those who received blood products before 1987, for those who have ever been on hemodialysis, for those who had an organ transplant before 1993, for those with HIV, and for those with elevated liver function tests.

As a health care professional, I find it to be truly amazing that Hepatitis C is now curable. In fact, newer treatments offer cure rates of about 95%!

If you are a baby boomer, or have any of the other risk factors listed above, I urge you to speak with your doctor and get tested.

Dr. Alan Frischer is former chief of staff and former chief of medicine at Downey Regional Medical Center. Write to him in care of this newspaper at 8301 E. Florence Ave., Suite 100, Downey, CA 90240.

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

Dr. John Garcia awarded mayor's Healthy Heart Award

 Dr. John Garcia, left, and mayor Fernando Vasquez.

Dr. John Garcia, left, and mayor Fernando Vasquez.

“As the “CEO” of the Downey Unified School District, Dr. John Garcia sets the tone, charts the course and works closely with the board of education to continue to keep our school district on its level of excellency that administrators, teachers, parents, students and the community have come to expect.  

While being mindful of all the demands his position entails, Dr. Garcia is ultimately guided by his clear vision for the district.  He can often he be heard saying, “Our children deserve the best.” 
Under his leadership, Downey Unified School District has been visited by numerous teachers from outside communities to see how they can instill DUSD’s practices into their programs. DUSD has been featured on PBS for their “Character Counts” program, and just last week Google visited Lewis Elementary to show our students their new Google Expeditions AR Pioneer Program. When Google comes to visit your schools, you know your Superintendent is doing an amazing job!

Dr. John Garcia grew up in Downey and is a product of our local schools. He has a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach; elementary teaching credential with a bilingual teaching authorization in Spanish from Cal State Dominguez Hills; a master’s in education from Cal State Fullerton and an Executive Masters of Business Administration and his Doctor of Philosophy from the Claremont Graduate University.
It truly is my honor to present Dr. John Garcia, Jr. with the Mayor’s Healthy Heart Award for his commitment toward improving the health, well-being and future success for the students of the City of Downey.

18-year-old Downey woman reportedly killed in DUI crash

DOWNEY - An 18-year-old Downey woman was reportedly killed in a traffic collision Sunday night in Downey. 

 Karla Salazar

Karla Salazar

The crash occurred at approximately 9 p.m. when a BMW SUV traveling eastbound on Firestone Boulevard rear-ended another vehicle stopped at a traffic light. 

The driver of the SUV, 21-year-old Lise Moreno Arredondo, of Whittier, was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, said Sgt. Jaime Pelayo of the Downey Police Department. 

Police said an 18-year-old woman in the vehicle that was rear-ended was transported to a hospital in critical condition.

Friends and family identified the woman as Karla Salazar and posted on social media that she died.

Salazar had graduated from Downey High School this past June. 

As of Wednesday morning, a Go Fund Me page in Salazar's honor had raised more than $7,300.

Downey's Lupita Infante to present at UCLA alumni scholarship event

DOWNEY -- Singer and television personality Lupita Infante will be presenting at the UCLA Latino Alumni Association’s annual scholarship fundraising event, The ULAA Fiesta de Inspiración!, taking place Thursday, Oct. 26, at the W Hotel in West Beverly Hills.


Lupita, who is herself a UCLA alumna and Downey native, is the granddaughter of legendary “Golden Era” musician and movie star, Pedro Infante, and the daughter of Pedro Infante, Jr., himself famous as a singer and movie star.  Lupita is currently on production break from taping for a Mexican television show.  

Asked why she was attending ULAA’s fundraising event, Lupita explained: "Students need us to show them that we care. They also need financial support. This event will accomplish both of those goals."  

The event is scheduled for Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at the W Hotel.  For ticket or sponsorship information, contact Bonnie Chen at bchen@support.ucla.edu or (310) 825-6533.  
About Lupita:
A native of Los Angeles, Lupita Marisol Infante, also known as Lu, grew up in the suburbs of Downey, a city associated in musical history with celebrated and highly successful brother-sister musical team The Carpenters.

It was here where Lupita started her creative development with music classes. She learned to sing and accompany herself on guitar which earned her early recognition at the City of Downey’s Way Out of Broadway Talent Show at the age of 10.  

This excitement for the stage, along with the inspiration of her grandfather and father, led her to pursue singing and the study of music. Lupita graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in June 2017, with a B.A. in ethnomusicology. 
This year, Lupita performed in one of Southern California’s largest Latin Music festivals, The L Festival, with headliners that included Daddy Yankee, Juanes, Marco Antonio Solis, and Alejandro Fernandez. She has also opened concerts for Shaila Durcal and Beatriz Adriana. 

Lupita’s album self-titled, "Lupita Infante," is an artistic expression of her musical upbringing, paying tribute to her grandfather Pedro Infante, and her father Pedro Infante Torrentera, with songs like “Cien Años” and “Padre Mío Amigo Mío”, accompanied by Mexico’s traditional mariachi sounds.  
Lupita is currently in taping for the sixth season of Mexico's edition of "The Voice" with Colombian celebrity coach Carlos Vives.

Downey scores 41 points in second quarter in rout of Lynwood, 62-6

DOWNEY -- The Downey High School football team defeated Lynwood last Friday night, 62-6, improving their record to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in San Gabriel Valley League play. 

 Downey High's dance team with former principal Allen Layne. Photo courtesy @downeyvikes

Downey High's dance team with former principal Allen Layne. Photo courtesy @downeyvikes

Downey travels to cross-town rival Warren on Friday for their annual showdown.

In the Downey/Lynwood game, the Vikings led 8-0 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter saw a scoring onslaught that has not been seen in recent history. Downey scored 41 points in the second quarter and led 49-6 going into the locker room at halftime. 

The Vikings added 13 points in the third quarter and led 62-6 as the quarter ended. Neither team scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Downey claimed the 62-6 win.

Viking quarterback Kijjon Foots completed 10/14 pass attempts for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Foots also ran the ball six times for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Kijjon Foots’ quarterback rating was 153.3. 

The Viking ground game was led by Baraq Ross’ seven carries for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Shane Olden had five carries for 94 yards and Alex Cortez had five carries for 31 yards and one touchdown.

The Downey receiving corps were led by Baraq Ross’ two catches for 61 yards and one touchdown, Noah Skobis’ two catches for 51 yards and one touchdown and Christopher Atkins’ one catch for 60 yards and one touchdown.

The Viking defense was led by Malcom Perry’s five solo and six assisted tackles, Jack Chapman’s four solo and four assisted tackles, Robert Barron’s five solo and three assisted tackles, Noah Skobis’ five solo and two assisted tackles and Tijeer Bryant’s five solo and two assisted tackles. 

WARREN FOOTBALL: The Warren High School football team was defeated at Gahr last Friday night, 46-42. 

With the loss, the Bears fell to 5-3 overall and 1-2 in San Gabriel Valley League play. Warren will host cross-town rival Downey Friday for their annual showdown and Gahr will travel to Paramount (7-1, 3-0). 

The Gahr/Paramount game will determine this year’s league champion. If Paramount wins, the Pirates will be the outright league champion if they can also beat Lynwood (3-5, 0-3) next week. 
If Gahr wins, Downey can still earn a piece of a tri-league title with Paramount and Gahr if they can beat Warren on Friday and Gahr next week.

In the Warren/Gahr game, the Bears took an early lead and led, 7-6, at the end of the first quarter. Gahr answered back, outscoring Warren 19-14 in the second quarter to take a 25-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Both teams scored touchdowns in the third quarter and Gahr maintained their four-point lead, 32-28, as the third quarter ended. That four-point lead would turn out to be the difference in the game. 

Both teams scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and Gahr held on for the hard-fought 46-42 win. 

At the time of this writing, no Warren game stats were made available. 

WARREN CROSS COUNTRY: The Warren High School girls’ cross country team returned from Washington D.C. two weeks ago after competing in the Glory Days Invite on October 7, finishing fifth overall in the Elite Division. 

Warren sent 19 runners to compete against 25 other teams from Maryland and Virginia. 
The actual running event took place in Manassas, Virginia. For history buffs, that is where the Battle of Bull Run took place during the American Civil War. The girls took a tour of Bull Run while visiting our nation’s capital, as well as Georgetown University and other historical venues. 

In recent years, Warren has also competed in Canada, Washington, and Texas and visited historical sites at each location.

The Warren girls’ cross country team has narrowly won both San Gabriel Valley League cluster meets. The girls will try to win the league title when they compete at La Mirada Regional Park next Wednesday. Warren has been challenged by Paramount and cross-town rival Downey. 

Coach Waldron mentioned that this is the most competitive girls’ cross country team Paramount has had in his 26 years of coaching and that Downey’s Laura Velasco is an outstanding runner. 

Warren has been led by this season by sophomore Nadine Gomez, senior Vilma Alvarez, junior Arianna Cervantes, senior Leann Pavana and freshman Natalie Esparza. Coach Waldron is very pleased with the dedication, hard work and continued improvement this year’s team has made. 

Waldron, his staff and runners are all looking forward to competing for the league title at S.G.V.L. Finals next week. 

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.