Letter to the Editor: Bellflower councilman's lewd joke

Dear Editor:

I am very upset that a Bellflower city council meeting started with an XXX rated joke about rape by a councilman, and not a prayer or a flag salute.

I believe what we witnessed and heard violated the city’s, school district’s, county’s, state’s, and federal government’s sexual harassment policies to prevent a hostile work in environment at city hall for employees and citizens. The punchline of the councilman’s joke tried to normalize rape and other crimes reserved for XXX movies for the very disturbed.

The dirty joke culture of the council should give all parents pause when giving permission for their students/ children to attend or watch city council meetings for civics credit in person, on local cable or online. Luckily, the joke was given just before the meeting started for the sake of those children who could have been watching.

Since November and December, I have sent the council testimony and other evidence to be considered for an ethics review of this same councilman. Bellflower’s inaction now has given this councilman the idea he can say anything, and this violates government policies to protect students, employees, and taxpayer dollars.

John Paul Drayer
Bellflower

Letter to the Editor: A new perspective on homeless

Dear Editor:

Kudos to Lorine Parks for her fine backstory about some of our homeless in Downey.

I, for one, “Miss Skeptical,” have become so leery and disappointed with the drug/alcohol abuse and con artists connected with street people that most of the time I write people off.

Thank you for this fine article and please continue this most needed awareness.

Babs Keller
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Local newspapers

Dear Editor:

I loved Michael Chirco’s story in the March 21 issue of the Downey Patriot. (“The Paper at My Feet.”) It put a smile on my face.

I think every city should have a Downey Patriot to inform them of what’s happening in their city. Personally, I would love to see more crimes.

We had one today and thanks to the Downey Police Department, they caught caught their man after a short foot pursuit. I love happy endings.

My neighbors and I are very grateful to the police department.

Margie Gutierrez
Downey

Letter to the Editor: No more bars in Downtown Downey

Dear Editor:

So The Avenue is going to be another drinking establishment? (“Proposed Buyer of Avenue Theatre Asks to Extend Escrow,” 3/28/19)

First, Foxy’s became the Downey Brewing Company, a place that the new owners didn’t even bother fixing on the outside but is obviously succeeding in attracting the hardcore drinking crowd.

Then Club DB Lounge and Godtti’s on Firestone have been expanded and draw even more drinking crowds late into the morning hours.

Oh, then you have the restaurants that are truly bars with food that have gone through suspicious name changes: BRB (formerly Mi Cielo) and Tempo Cantina (formerly Cocina Distrito).

The part that seems the most deceitful is that many of these Downey businesses started off by saying they were going to offer “quality eating experiences” and shortly after they stop providing decent food and focus exclusively on the sale of alcohol.

What is there to draw anyone to the Downtown Downey scene? Only the farmers market on Saturdays, the new Studio Movie Grill, and a few legitimate eating establishments. Other than that, the revamping of downtown has sold out to the highest bidder, those who don’t care about creating a downtown with character and charm and instead focus on the monetary potential: alcohol sells!

M. Padilla
Downey

Letter to the Editor: CVS swiped my personal data

Dear Editor:

On March 9, I went to the CVS at 7915 Florence Ave. to return a $7.69 item.

When I presented the item along with original purchase receipt to the clerk, he stated an ID was required. Why, I had no idea but obligingly I removed my California driver’s license and placed it on the counter for him to view. Instantly the clerk snatched my license from the counter and swiped it through his register reader.

I was not asked permission nor forewarned in any way that my most valuable private driver’s license identity/data would be stolen from me in this manner. Aghast, stunned, incredulous, infuriated and violated best describe my feelings upon this outrageous theft of my identity.

When I sufficiently recovered from my shock to speak to the manager, he told me, “Since November this has been CVS policy.”

If I was told my license must be scanned to make the return, I would have emphatically declined since my license data privacy is vastly more important to me than a $7.69 return.

Who knows in what data bank my driver’s license data now resides? Who knows what can or will be done with it? Who knows if the data bank is breached or sold or rented, what nefarious acts may ensue using my identity? Who knows how many CVS customers everywhere are victims of this identity theft scheme?

It’s too late for me but I hope others will be aware of this (what should be illegal) CVS policy before they also become victims.

Barbara Sterling
Downey

When leaders don't think

I take exception to Rick Rodriguez’ comment (Mayor’s Corner, Downey Patriot, March 22) that begins, “One of my favorite times of the year is when we get to celebrate STEM education at the City of STEM Big Science Fest at the Columbia Memorial Science Center. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and is the driving force in schools to prepare our children for the future…”

If he’d said that STEM is “a driving force” instead of “the driving force,” I could have lived with the statement. But there has been too much accepted opinion, on the part of the public, the media, and in much of academia itself, that the STEM curriculum is the only one worth pursuing, while in fact the purpose of education should be to educate—to teach the ability to understand as well as think something through, and to provide an individual with the means to pursue information in order to gain knowledge, and with luck and as time goes by, wisdom.

Who can deny that the areas covered by the STEM acronym have not just underscored but created almost everything we know and experience by way of the physical and material development of civilization? For thousands of years, mathematicians and scientists, architects, agronomers, physicians, building and road engineers, chemists, botanists, geographers, biologists and other figures have worked within a universal scheme of experimental observation and demonstrable proof to make ultimate use of the simple question, “I wonder why?”

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But there are other aspects of human experience that are just as fundamentally crucial, and which we’re not examining closely enough in our historic moment. They would include the moral and ethical considerations we ponder when we think of how we use, or won’t use, technology. Why do we feel uncomfortable at the idea of universal facial recognition, where you can go anywhere and have your order taken? Or do we? The same with AI and the imminence of thought-reading machines. What do they threaten by way of loss of freedom? And who, ultimately, controls the use of new discoveries? Government? Corporations? The military?

Is scientific theory unassailable? What about when it’s used to justify the extermination of groups of people, as in the Holocaust? Or in the hideously cruel medical experiments on African-Americans and the mentally ill during the early 20th century? Believe it or not, there was once a prominent school of science that told us that character and intellect are determined by the shape of your head. It was called Phrenology. Some people still think there’s something to it.

Where does STEM fit into our notion of political engagement, of ethical behavior, of personal, familial and community relations, of right and wrong? Conversely, what is it that keeps us denying the utterly catastrophic changes that are upon us due to the scientifically proven fact of climate change?

These are existential questions that call in philosophy and art to help express the mysteriously perverse complexity of human behavior. And they’re outside the lines of STEM.

I don’t know if our local educators are asking these questions when it’s great to get kids off their Instagram feeds and out onto the excellent adventure of science. But it’s clear that Rick Rodriguez, in yet another of his feel-good pronouncements, isn’t. I don’t mean to single him out; he seems a good-hearted fellow who puts himself out there for the community, even if he makes ill-considered statements, like his recent comparison between the Mark Taper Forum and the Downey Civic Theatre, as though they were close to being the same thing.

And besides, for decades now, every local politician who becomes Downey mayor has had to wave the baton as drum major for the civic band. It’s an increasingly scarifying world out there; it doesn’t hurt to get a little reassurance at home.

Photo by Joan Anderson

Photo by Joan Anderson

But we don’t need a leader who doesn’t think before he speaks. I’m posing this in the larger context of the healthy changes that seem to be going on in Downey, which appears to be bouncing back from the collapse of the aerospace industry, and of Tesla’s betrayal. Without a vigorous cultural life, a busy gallery and club scene, a verdant city center for people to gather and discuss, or just sit and muse; and in the midst of a demographic shift that’s transformed Downey into a largely Latin-American and Asian city, the abundance of volunteer groups and community organizations have put a bounce back into Downey’s step.

I think part of this has to due with the physical expansion of the Kaiser Permanente medical complex, one of whose buildings recently gained certification as a children’s hospital. A large number of KP professionals and semi-professionals, plus administrative staff, are either commuting to Downey or looking to move here, if they haven’t already. The younger ones see good schools, numerous places of worship, excellent social services and fire and police departments, and recognize it as a good place to raise a family. Downey’s ethnic transformation is taking place without the usual tensions and resentments that accompany powerful change between social groups. Maserati’s proposed dealership move here, however small, tells us that they’re seeing something worth investing in.

Downey’s civic leaders have, over the past decades, made a point of reaching out to business in a state that has made business onerously expensive. Credit them for that. At the same time, they’ve tended to lack the breadth of knowledge and interest, the deeper perspectives on history and the currents of change, that could help them make relatively informed decisions in steering Downey to a greater place. They didn’t need all that in the past. Downey’s always had it pretty good. But just listen to them now, when the council is in session. Even if they’re compelled to deal with time-consuming agenda items, their references are depressingly narrow. We’re not seeing widely informed men and women work through community problems and weigh the implications of their decisions—or lack of them. Mostly we’re watching bureaucrats in action, happiest when giving out ribbons and commendations.

There are dangerous and explosive forces operating in American society right now, where the widespread anger we see in almost every sector of society is an expression of the primal fear of what we’re losing, what’s becoming of us. The money is gone except to the few, leaving the rest of us to live in debt. The notion of fair play is becoming a sucker’s game. The sense of personal autonomy and control is vanishing in the rise of a media surveillance state. The country is breaking up into bickering tribes at home while the rest of the world moves ahead in solving its problems and finding new trade routes that don’t include us.

How all this has affected the private lives of our local citizens and neighbors is of course impossible to know. But Downey isn’t impervious to change. Obligatory half-time speeches aren’t cutting it anymore. Those forces of anarchy and destruction are out there, and it’s becoming more and more imperative that if our Downey leaders want to talk to us in a meaningful way, they’ll need to listen to themselves first.

WeWork needs a new plan to address its business issues

By Angel Gutierrez

If your house had no windows, faulty wiring, and a bad foundation, what’s the first step you would take to fix it? Would you decide to repaint the house, or would you go to work fixing the essential problems first?

The answer’s obvious. But in the business world, many companies face deep foundational issues, yet nonetheless, devote their focus to cosmetics. It’s a common mistake that has spelled ruin for many promising businesses.

Could WeWork be next?

If you’re unfamiliar, WeWork is perhaps the top co-working company in the country (co-working meaning an office space where companies, usually startups, share common spaces and amenities). They’re expanding everywhere, and have recently announced a new Palo Alto location here in California.

The company hit the scene at just the right time when it was founded in 2011 – real estate was cheap due to the economic downturn, and the hip millennial business craze was in full flight across the country.

Over the last eight years, WeWork has matured from a trendy startup into a $47 billion dollar company, according to Fast Money. But as the company has grown, they’ve opened themselves up to new problems.

For starters, WeWork has a spending problem – a big one. According to Recode, last year, “[WeWork’s] net loss was $723 million in the first half of the year on about $764 million of revenue.” This wasn’t a one-off; the company has a pattern of money going in and out at just about the same rate.

That’s probably fine today while the economy is hot. But in the event of another downturn, such a small amount of cash-on-hand could be a real problem.

WeWork’s also come into some ethical dilemmas lately that threaten their reputation as a socially-conscious 21st-century company. For instance, it’s no secret that WeWork takes heavy investments from Softbank, a Japanese company that’s bankrolled by the Saudi government – especially problematic given the kingdom’s human rights violations.

Not to mention, WeWork’s also taken heat for their poor response to sexual harassment allegations and for firing cleaning staff who asked for a pay raise.

So far, WeWork has not done much to address the problems themselves. Rather, they’ve embarked on a new expansion and rebranding effort. They now operate under an umbrella brand called “the we company” and are launching new business ventures in the education and housing spaces.

Launching a new rebrand and expansion isn’t a bad thing. But if this is WeWork’s only solution to poor financial management and problematic ethical situations, then it’s not the right move.

Not to mention, the rebrand itself has raised some eyebrows. By calling itself “we,” WeWork is mirroring the name of a well-established Canadian charity called the WE Organization. The WE Organization has been around for over two decades, and in that time has made a mark around the world for their philanthropic efforts. Furthermore, the charity is involved in many of the same sectors as WeWork.

It’s one thing to change your company’s name, but when you're using a similar brand as a nonprofit that is involved in the same sectors, it's certainly not the most ideal look for the millennial-driven company.

Bottom line: WeWork’s effort to rebrand itself and grow as a business is fine. However, it is not the sole path to solving the true problems facing the company. WeWork has a lot of potential as it expands in California. If the company can solve its internal flaws, there is no doubt that WeWork will achieve even greater success.

Angel Gutierrez is the President/CEO of Crescent College.

Letter to the Editor: American Legion's 100th birthday

Dear Editor:

On Thursday, March 14, the American Legion Post 270 and the City of Downey celebrated the 100th anniversary of the American Legion at city hall.

I want to thank David Niemeyer and his band from Warren High School for playing the National Anthem. I would also like to thank the mayor's veterans sub-committee for their support and input with this celebration.

I would also thank Jason Chacon and the rest of Parks & Recreation staff for their assistance in seeing this come to fruition. And special thanks to Montebello Post 272 Honor Guard for posting the colors. Thanks also to my fellow veterans who attended this celebration.

Finally, thanks go to our Mayor Rick Rodriguez and his staff for his support.

Ray Gard
Post Commander
Post 270
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Traitor in the White House

Dear Editor:

I remember vaguely, years ago when I was a child in the 70's, President Nixon on the cover of a news magazine sitting atop our family coffee table. But I never put together the significance of the story or time until I was a teenager.

Then around the age of 12 to 13, I started to really pay attention to the news about the Tehran hostage crisis. I recognized how then candidate Reagan capitalized on then President Carter's impotence.

It was my first lesson in how the political narrative is manipulated by clever individuals who know how to work the media and control what the average person thinks.

Recently, Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI, gave a compelling interview to 60 Minutes which was broadcast Feb. 17. In it, he details disturbing revelations about professional colleagues of his trying their best at damage control.

The question becomes: "Is President Trump compromised by a foreign power, namely Russia?" And if so, what to do about it?

I have lived 52 years on this planet come April, and I have never witnessed something like this before. Excuse me if I choke a bit and lose my train of thought.

What we have here is an unprecedented occasion where major law enforcement players believe the White house has been compromised by Vladimir Putin through Donald Trump.

At the same time you have major Republican figures like Mitch McConnell and Leslie Graham collaborating with Trump to push their own political agendas knowing the controversy that surrounds him (Trump).

Nothing, apparently, not even the suggestion of the highest office in the land being compromised by foreign powers can discourage the self aggrandizing right wing figures from taking advantage of the chaos and distraction that Trump's presidency dictates.

It is profoundly disgusting to witness the current Republican leadership opportunistically pushing forth their agendas while everyone seems to be distracted by the scandal that is Donald Trump.

Two things come to mind: first, this President is no doubt a traitor to this country and a Benedict Arnold.

Second, there are GOP leaders who will suffer the indignities of all collaborators throughout history, the end of their careers if they are lucky. Being dragged into the street by an angry mob if they are not lucky.

My great hope is the latter.

Garett Bell
Downey

Letter to the Editor: U.S. intervention in Venezuela

Dear Editor:

Much has been said about the US intervening in Venezuela to restore democracy in that country. While this is very laudable, it is a misguided effort.

If we are serious about expelling socialism from this continent, we should restore democracy in Cuba. This would be easier since we already have a military base there.

Cuba has been the effective exporter of socialism to Latin America since 1960 when Fidel Castro consolidated his power in Cuba. Sixty years later, the Castro dynasty continues in Cuba and we have never done anything to eradicate it.

Once Cuba is no longer socialist, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela will not have the services of their intelligence apparatus to spy on their own people. Their military “advisors” will have to return to Cuba and so will all the “experts” that Cuba has exported to its satellites countries to maintain vigil over their population.

If we are going to intervene in the name of democracy, let’s do it where it will be more effective. Let’s get rid of the Castros’ pernicious influence in Latin America once and for all.

Jorge Montero
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Breastfeeding policy

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to the Downey Unified School District for receiving an A from the California Women’s Law Center for its policies protecting the rights of lactating students and employees.

These policies are not just an investment in the employees and students—it is an investment in their children, and in our future. Breastfeeding has been proven to contribute greatly to public health. It is the safest, most nutritious food for babies and can provide lifelong health benefits. Breastfeeding has also been proven to be a healthy choice for mothers, lowering their rates of breast cancer and other diseases. It is environmentally sustainable and is affordable for all mothers.

But breastfeeding is not something a student can pursue as hobby—after school or just on the weekends. A lactating woman must express her milk every couple of hours or she will be at risk for infection and the eventual cessation of breastfeeding. So when a teen makes the decision to breastfeed her baby, she is making a very adult decision. She is making a big commitment that is not without sacrifice. She is investing her time and energy in not only the health of her child, but also in the relationship and bond that will lead to a well-rounded and successful older child and adult. By providing the necessary accommodations, DUSD is living up to its Character Counts motto that we all see around our great city.

In just three short years, DUSD improved their grade from a ‘D’ to an ‘A.’ In DUSD today, a teenager who finds herself pregnant might choose not to have an abortion, or she might not drop out of high school, seeing that she can still possibly finish high school and be the mother she envisions herself being. It’s not an easy path, but mothers are phenomenally good multi-takers. And when it seems doable, more teen mothers will take that path.

Supporting these students is a really smart move on the part of DUSD. It is a policy to not further marginalize individuals who are already somewhat marginalized. With this new policy, DUSD benefits all of us as well.

Lana Joy Wahlquist
Downey

The author is an accredited leader with La Leche League of Downey.

Letter to the Editor: Rio San Gabriel principal and staff

Dear Editor:

As one of the many grandparents who drop off their grandkids at Rio San Gabriel Elementary, I want to “shout from the rooftops” about the incredibly hardworking and loving teachers, principal and staff at this school.

As I sit comfortably warm and dry in my car, certain teachers rush to my car (every car) with an umbrella to shield my grandson from the pouring rain and walk him to the safety of the covered walkway.

Thank you for leading and teaching with your hearts - everyday, rain or shine!

Joan Heisler
Downey

How patience plays a role in local news coverage

Let me start off by saying this: I love my job at the Downey Patriot; I am not complaining.

One of the benefits of having a community paper is that you can rest assured that the individuals involved are dedicated to the distribution of information to a city that oftentimes they have very strong ties to (I myself am a “Downey Kid,” having been born, raised, and still residing here).

The downside, however, is community papers are often tiny in comparison to the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and even Orange County Register’s that people often associate with a newsroom.

There’s no extreme hustle and bustle at The Downey Patriot. You won’t find rows of loud whizzing, red-hot printing presses here. Most of our visitors are merely popping in to ask where the mammogram office is (it’s out the door and to the left, by the way).

The Downey Patriot is a small staff; walk into the office on any given day and you will find a handful of people in advertising / legals, our graphic designer, our publisher, and our two-man editorial team.

Let me repeat. Two. Man. Editorial team.

Now before you ask “what about the contributors,” yes, we do have a handful of great and talented individuals who do contribute to our weekly publication. Mark Fetter covers sports. Lorine Parks covers poetry and community events.

We do have the occasional intern, but they usually end up falling through. My Editor Eric Pierce is always telling me that “nine out of ten don’t work out,” although he now jokes that I was “number ten.”

But when it gets right down to the “regular ol’ news,” breaking news, crime, and human interest, much of that falls on the shoulders of Eric and I. Again, this isn’t a complaint; I can tell you for an absolute fact that we are both passionate about what we do.

But it admittedly gets a little frustrating when we get bombarded with comments and tweets about why we covered one thing over another. Why this crime wasn’t mentioned. Why we haven’t reached out to this sport team, but highlighted that one. Why your story hasn’t been published yet.

The Patriot is not a biased paper. It is not a lazy paper. We are not aloof.

The Patriot is however limited in its resources. Often times, what is published or not is determined by space and what is (or is not) available. Sometimes, we’re just forced to “pick our battles.”

This is where the “community” in “community newspaper” could really do wonders.

Want a team’s accomplishments to be featured? Send us a photo and a caption. A student doing great things? Shoot us an email. Fifteen police units with guns drawn and pointed at your neighbor’s house? Tweet us.

Often times our stories and tips come from you guys: the residents of Downey. We could not do our job without you; just cut us a little bit of slack sometimes.

We’re not intentionally ignoring you. We’re not shoving anything under the rug. Most times, we’re already backlogged with interviews, assignments, and content waiting to be published.

And lastly, in case I haven’t said it already…

Two. Man. Editorial team.

Part of being a journalist is having a thick skin. Maybe I still need to work on that.

In the meantime, the Downey Patriot will always be committed to providing the City of Downey with the news, public information, and stories that our community deserves. We’re not perfect, and we are most definitely small, but with the right support we are mighty. We are always open to hearing about what you, our readers, feel should fill your paper because in the end it is your paper.

Just remember, an email, tweet, or phone can go a long way with just a little bit of patience.

Support for Assembly member Garcia

Dear Editor:

If Saturday’s high attendance at Assemblymember Cristina Garcia’s inauguration is any indication of how well respected and admired she is, we can expect more responsive and courageous leadership from her for the 58th assembly district.

Heavy rainfall (a symbol of good luck according to Asian cultures) on her inauguration day could not dampen the enthusiasm of her constituents as they cheered her on for her bold activism. Hence, it was befitting that long-time union activist Dolores Huerta did the honor of swearing in Cristina alongside notable, long-time union activist Maria Elena Durazo, now a current California State Senator.

The display of enthusiasm among diverse constituents from across the 58th assembly district was evident as they showed up in full force to support her. And I’m certain she felt their overwhelming support behind her. The impact she has had on the 58th assembly district is why voters overwhelmingly voted her in for a consecutive term.

To our state Assembly member I say, “Cristina, you have had our back, and your constituents have yours, too. Continue to lead with confidence as many of us welcome your bold, tenacious leadership.”

Sandra Nevarez
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Don't dump your pets

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in great hope that it will shift the consciousness of anyone that is considering dumping their pet at an animal shelter that euthanizes animals.

I know that you are probably thinking that someone will adopt your pet, or that some fantastic rescue group will step in and save your dog just in the nick of time. How I wish it were true that every single animal that sits in a kill shelter would be saved from taking their final breath waiting for a forever home that never materialized.

If you truly love your animal and can’t keep them for whatever reason, I ask that you do everything in your power to find them a loving forever home. As a volunteer at an animal shelter, I can tell you that the most beautiful, loving, trustworthy, friendly animals in our communities are losing their lives there; don’t fool yourself into believing that they only euthanize feeble old animals. Everyone is fair game, and everyone needs to be moved along to make room for the new batch of animals that are constantly coming through the shelter doors.

The shelters will tell you what can we do? We have no choice but to euthanize, this is a problem created by society, we’re cleaning up their mess by destroying these animals. Shelters will continue doing business this way. It’s up to us as citizens to step up to the plate and take care of our animals until they are old. There isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t give us every ounce of love that is inside of them -- they run to the door to happily greet us when we get home from work, they cheer us up on our saddest days, and they are happy to share every minute of their lives with us.

Don’t turn your back on your animal and betray them by dumping them at a shelter that kills animals.

Patty Jackson
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Infanticide

Dear Editor:

It should be very clear by now how dark and far our country has allowed itself to fall by worshiping at the altar of infanticide. The blood lust is sickening.

This on so many levels grieves me. When, where and how our heavenly father chooses to deal with this abomination, we better not get in his way, including myself. These are defenseless human babies, not farm animals. Not only is this vile and insane, but barbaric.

I believe when God’s righteous wrath is unleashed, not even prayer is going to make a difference. This is a warning -- turn back from these evil decisions before it’s too late.

Angel Cortes
Downey

Rising crime? We're getting a wall and guard tower

It’s good to be rich.

In 2020, The Case, Malibu’s first gated community in more than 20 years, will be opening up. Each of the new homes will have a price tag of $40 million to $60 million, six-foot walls and given the increase in robberies in this area, the community will feature a 24-hour guard tower.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Data from the LAPD’s West L.A. Division, which covers Brentwood and Pacific Palisades, burglaries are up 14 percent over the same period in 2017 and up 41 percent over 2016, and the prospect of a 24-hour guard gains appeal.”

Also on the list of new gated communities are The Mountain in Beverly Hills; Park Bel Air property across from the Beverly Hills Hotel and Beverly Park, which is home to Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington and Sumner Redstone; and Brentwood Country Estates off Mandeville Canyon Road, where Arnold Schwarzenegger lives. Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen lived there before they sold their home to Dr. Dre for $40 million in 2014.

The Bel Air Crest and Mulholland Estates are also famed for housing A-listers (Jennifer Lawrence purchased Jessica Simpson’s Mulholland Estates home for $8.2 million in 2014) as are several developments in Calabasas like the Oaks, a double-gated community where the Kardashians, Drake and Justin Bieber have resided.

What about the rest of us? Crime is also on the rise in East L.A., South Central, all of Los Angeles County, the Central Valley, and throughout California.

Crime is on the rise because many like the rich, liberal elite vote for soft-on-crime proposals like Proposition 47. That ballot measure reduced many drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer talks candidly about the impact of Proposition 47: “There’s an individual we have arrested 83 times since Prop 47 has passed, all on petty thefts, 83 times. That’s their job, that’s their career, they’re emboldened to do it because there’s no consequences.”

But those nice folks in Malibu voted to support Prop. 47 in a big way, by about 75 percent [3,303 yes – 1,200 no]. In the other proposed and guarded communities, the folks in Beverly Hills voted to support Prop. 47, three to one [4,650 yes – 2,225 no].

Why do the rich keep voting for measures that make it easier for criminals? The rich have the luxury to deal with the possible effects. They can protect their families from behind their gates and walls and protection by armed guards.

Again, what about all the rest of us?

What about the working families or single parents who can’t afford to live in these gated communities, with six-foot walls or armed guards? The middle and working class, who go in and out each day to support their family, feed and clothe their kids, and are just trying to get ahead in life. What about those people who are sick and tired of dealing with shoplifters, having their car broken into, and seeing drug addicts shooting up in public places?

The rich get to either make or influence the laws, by using their money to convince the rest of the state how to vote and no matter how it turns out, these elite, then get to protect themselves from any dire consequences.

Raul Riesgo is a commentator who has been featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. Follow him on Twitter @rariesgo