South Bay Bloggers

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Tuesday, May 6th 2014

Small Torrance nonprofit looking for BIG help

In the city of Torrance there is a place you should know about. Tucked away between Carson and Maple Streets, in the corner of an office building on Crenshaw Boulevard is The Torrance Pregnancy Help Center.

This is a wonderful place that holds a message of HOPE to all who enter, for the born and unborn alike. For this is a nonprofit agency dedicated to the helping of those, who may find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy and in need of short or long term assistance.

This is an organization dedicated to the service of the most vulnerable among us. Many of the women who enter may be young and totally unprepared to handle the situation they now find themselves in. Scared and not knowing what to do, or where to turn for help, the Center is always there for them. And this is why the Center is so important, for this is a safe caring environment staffed with people who only want the best for all involved.

The mission of the Pregnancy Help Center is, “to provide a safe, caring environment where every woman facing a crisis pregnancy can receive counseling, education, and practical assistance in order to eliminate the crisis and choose life for her baby; and to inspire others to embrace sexual health and integrity.” Other services provided are: pregnancy testing, ultrasound, STD testing along with the counseling.  These services are free for all clients, and are part of the Center’s operating costs.

So this is where you and I come in, and why we all need to Walk for Life on May 17th. We are not only walking to raise money for the Pregnancy Help Center, but also to raise awareness for the Center; because the life of the unborn is not something to be taken casually, or ignored.  If God counts every sparrow that falls from the sky, how much more will He remember those who are the most vulnerable among us?

So now it’s time to take action and prepare to walk, so take out your day planner, grab your check book, and write down this date, time and place: May 17, 2014, Veteran’s Park in Redondo Beach California, 90277, between the hours of 8:30- 11:00 a.m. That’s when and where the 27th annual Walk for Life is going to take place.

Onsite registration will start at 7:15, with the Walk actually beginning at 8:30 a.m., with all ending promptly at 11:00 a.m.

Online registration is available at http://www.ministrysync.com/event/?e=6079.

Also there will also be a fundraiser for the Center at California Pizza Kitchen in the Manhattan Village, 3280 N. Sepulveda Blvd in Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 all day on May 28th with 20% of your check will go to the Pregnancy Center. To take part in this fundraising event  please bring an event flyer which can either be picked up at the Walk or at the center itself.

For more information on either of these events, to volunteer or donate to the Center, please call the Torrance Pregnancy Help Center: 1311 Crenshaw Blvd. Suite A, Torrance, Ca. 90501, 310-320-8976, www.supportphctorrance.org.

So, I am looking forward to seeing you all at the beach, where we will walk for Life. And please remember EVERY STEP MATTERS!

-Michael

 

Monday, April 15th 2014

Interview with City Councilman Tom Brewer

Recently I had the privilege to sit down with City Councilman Tom Brewer to discuss his bid for the Mayor’s office in the City of Torrance. Not only did the time go by quickly, but it went by hopefully, hopeful that Mr. Brewer would be the next Mayor of Torrance.

Even though the Nation is coming out of the 2008 recession, The City of Torrance will still need a strong leader to replace the very successful Mayor Scotto, for the economy has not yet started to take off, and I believe that Tom Brewer is that man.

Without a doubt, Mr. Brewer is a very talented individual, and a solid blend of experience, education and proven ability. All of which will be needed to draw upon, if he should be the  one chosen to lead the City of Torrance forward into the twenty First Century.

Not only is he a Laboratory Scientist at UCLA, where he has been for the past 38 years working for the health needs of all, and a member of the Torrance City Council for the last eight years working for the day to day needs of the citizens of Torrance, but he also has a MBA. All of which has prepared him for this most difficult job, at this still difficult moment.

When asked why he wants to continue serving the people of Torrance in the political arena, having just finished helping steer The City of Torrance to safety through the turbulent waters of the last five years, a period so paramount with danger that it almost saw the collapse of the American economy (as though America really were falling into the Pacific Ocean and taking California with it, as was predicted in the late 60’s).

He quietly and calmly looks up and with a casual smile and says “because I love this city. I have been here since 1953, and I not only love this city, but I know this city. And after having watched her grow from farms and fields to what she is today, one of the leading cities in America. I want to keep it that way, and this is something I know, I can do.”

Upon being asked, what he thinks is the biggest concern of this city; Mr. Brewer says that employee pensions are the topic that is on everyone’s mind. It appears that the City of Torrance has a more dramatic shortfall then was at first thought. Previously, as of a year ago, the shortfall was thought to be about 200 million dollars of what was needed over the next 30 years. However, upon the conclusions of a recently conducted study, it has been discovered that in reality the shortfall is really around 400 million dollars.

And upon this rock is exactly where the three candidates running for The Mayor’s office clearly separate themselves from each other.  While Pat Furey has whimsically dismissed the public’s concern over this serious issue as nothing more than ‘Pension Envy’ and Bill Sutherland suggests a two tiered system, which could possibly create resentment between old and new employees.

Tom Brewer appears most likely to take a more practical approach to the situation; stating that since some of the Cities Safety Employees (which include Fire and Police) contribute nothing to their pensions, maybe this policy should be changed.

Advocating instead for a new structured policy, one which would ask these two groups (as important and appreciated as they are for what they do) to start contributing to their pensions, just as he does at UCLA, contributing 9% to his own retirement.

However, this is not overly popular with the cities employee unions, which has caused Mr. Brewer to receive no financial support from them, while these same unions are pouring huge financial support into the coffers of his opponent Pat Furey.  However, this does peak volumes about this man’s character, and determination to do the right thing, even when faced great opposition. Which also suggest to this blogger, that Tom Brewer is someone when once elected, will continue to take a principled approach to the Office of Mayor in the City Torrance.

Another major concern of his is the rejuvenation of the Infrastructure of the city. While he feels that the City Council has done a great job weathering the storm of the past five years, they have understandably not had the resources to address the needs of the streets and the roads of Torrance which are in need of repair.

Mr. Brewer says that this is an issue that needs to be addressed by the next mayor to keep Torrance at the forefront of business, “While I do not support any attempt to overdevelop the City of Torrance, I do think that smart growth and revitalization is important. A City that neglects its infrastructure is not a city that attracts new business or keeps current business. I tend to view the North side of Rosecrans in El Segundo as a model of what needs to be done on Hawthorne Blvd, as well as other major roads in Torrance”.  

Education is another item that he has a great passion for, having been a volunteer on the ‘Torrance Educational Foundation Board’ for the last 16 years, and having raised much needed money for the Torrance schools (while at the same time running his own Professional organization for the last 25 years).  He gets it, and knows how important good schools are, and has a plan to help the schools of Torrance move forward, “Families and business do not locate to areas with bad schools. They locate to places where there are good schools. Since children are the future, they need the best facilities. I understand this and have a plan to cut the cost of education by allowing the schools to use city facilities at no cost and vice versa; and the result of this will be to allow more money to go into the classrooms”.

And one of the best reasons Mr. Brewer claims that the citizens of Torrance should vote for him is because, as he says in his own words, “I can bring people together, because I do not hold a grudge, I am easy to deal with, and I work well with others. Even if I am only elected by 33 and 1/3% of the vote I will be the mayor of everyone, and will consider all with upmost importance”.  And in this day and age of political infighting, this is a breath of fresh air.

-Michael

 

Wednesday, April 2nd 2014

Torrance Forum Reflections

Heidi Ann Ashcraft   Tim Goodrich     Mike Griffiths   Milton Herring   Rahmat Khan

Leilani A. Kimmel-Dagostino   Ryan Mand   Aurelio Mattucci   Omar Navarro

Clint Andrew Paulson   Geoff Rizzo   Alex M. See   Norm "Opa" Segel

Charlotte Ann Svolos   John Paul Tabakian   Kurt Weideman

These are your candidates for Torrance City Council.  To put it simply, Torrance has an embarrassment of riches.  It is a well-run city with scores of involved and talented professionals and volunteers.  Four, possibly five City Council seats are open for voters to fill.  Two of those seats are currently held by incumbents running for re-election.  All of the candidates have skills, training and experience to recommend them.

So, who you gonna choose?

In the interests of full disclosure, let me state that I attended the March 31st Candidates' Forum hosted by the League of Women Voters in order to support my candidate, Milton Herring.

I have the honor of knowing Retired Lieutenant Colonel Milton Herring personally.  He is a giant of a man with a true humility who is not likely to tell you about his many accomplishments (you have to beg him), but he is likely to be the first to reach for the check.  Openly honest with a faith strengthened on the battle field (where he learned how to lead men), Milton has offered his services to the city in order to bring people together.

His campaign motto is 'Proven Leadership'.  While this is accurate, it is also an understatement that is reflective of the man.  Please visit his website, www.electmiltonherring.com, to learn more about him and his candidacy.

I urge all Torrance voters to cast one of their votes for Milton Herring.

But that is not the end of the story.

Many of the candidates at Monday's Forum made positive impressions on me and other voters.  This small article will not have time to mention all of them and all of their accomplishments, but allow me to mention a few of them here; I plan to attend more forums and I will post my thoughts and observations on all of the candidates throughout the forums.  And since I expect that Torrance voters are most familiar with the incumbents, I will post about them at the end.

Two of the candidates who stood out in the forum were Clint Paulson and John Paul Tabakian, both of whom have impressive training, extensive experience (Paulson in government contracts and Tabakian in education) and passion for the city.  They offer voters a fresh look at city debt and planning.  If you want 'business as usual' for the City of Torrance, these are not your candidates.  These men are anticipating the future and want to position the city now for issues that are sure to come.

If Clint Paulson and John Paul Tabakian were on the City Council, they would be well assisted by Leilani A. Kimmel-Dagostino, who is a budget analyst with an MBA from PepperdineUniversity.  Ms. Kimmel-Dagostino appears to have an in-depth understanding of city finances and, along with Paulson and Tabakian, a concern for the Pension Obligation which clouds the budget with future debt.  Also, Ms. Kimmel-Dagostino has gained an awareness of residents' concerns through her numerous hours of volunteer work in Torrance.

Any of these candidates would serve the city well.

Before closing, I would like to make one, small observation.  Given the number of candidates, there wasn't enough time in Monday's forum for any of them to explain their PLANs for the city moving forward.  Most of what the audience heard were the candidates' 'lists of concerns' - not what they would do about those concerns.

An open suggestion to all candidates: briefly tell us what you would do about the problem/s you have cited.

The next blog will focus on Omar Navarro, Mike Griffiths, Aurelio Mattucci, retired Policeman Geoff Rizzo, Tim Goodrich - who gave the most 'professional' presentation - and 'not-to-be-overlooked' dynamic teacher Charlotte Ann Svolos.

I'll see all of you - and all of them - at the next forum.

 

Jim Stump
author of "Walks Along the Pier" - stories of the counseling profession
author of "Psychotherapy: All the Dirty Little Secrets Your Therapist Doesn't Want You To Know" - a guide to selecting your psychotherapist
Twitter: @jimstump22

INTERVIEW: Milton Herring - 'Proven Leadership'

Milton Herring is a candidate for the Torrance City Council because he believes that citizens who have received the benefits of a great nation have a duty to 'pay it forward'.  Mr. Herring has attempted to do just that by engaging in public service his entire adult life.  In addition to serving 28 years in the military (4 years in the United States Air Force and 24 years in the United States Army from which he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving in Kuwait and Iraq as well as other far-flung places), Mr. Herring has served 28 years with the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Locally he has served the City of Torrance as a Traffic Commissioner (a position he currently holds), as a Board Member for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence/South Bay (for seven years), the Lions Club service organization (for which he served as president for 1 year), a member of Torrance Kiwanis Club, the Torrance Historical Society, the Friends of Madrona Marsh, the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veterans.

Mr. Herring and his wife, Cinda, chose Torrance, the All-American City, as the place they wanted to raise their three children because they wanted good schools for their children, solid housing values for their investment in a home and excellent public services - including a Police Department which maintains a high rate of public safety and a Fire Department second to none.  "I wanted a community that was safe for my family.  (In addition) Torrance offered excellent parks and recreation and a variety of sporting activities for my kids.  Those are important things that any family wants.  I am running (for City Council) to insure that families now will have those same benefits that I had.  I am running to maintain and improve upon those benefits."

Asked for other reasons he is seeking office, Mr. Herring said that as a Traffic Commissioner he is aware of the need for continuing improvement in certain areas of public service and he wants to see that residents receive it.

"This year Torrance will be electing a Mayor and four - possibly five - City Council members.  This is a turnover that is unprecedented in our history.  The voters should be looking for (candidates) with proven records of leadership, who know and understand the complex issues that are facing our community, who know how to get along with a diverse (population), (who are) team players prepared to make tough decisions...to keep our city on course...  With my experience in the military, the Federal Government and as a community (advocate), I believe I am prepared to meet those challenges."

So do we.

On June 3rd, please vote Milton Herring for Torrance City Council.

 

Jim Stump

author of "Walks Along the Pier" - stories of the counseling profession
author of "Psychotherapy: All the Dirty Little Secrets Your Therapist Doesn't Want You To Know" - a guide to selecting your psychotherapist
Twitter: @jimstump22

 

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Lieu at the Kovacs-Frey Pharmacy


Odette Leonelli, the head  Pharmacist of Kovacs-Frey Pharmacy, hosted State Senator Ted Lieu at her pharmacy last Friday.

Mark Tilford of Redondo Beach had sent out a flyer informing everyone in the are that State Senator Lieu would be in the area.

I wanted to make sure that I got there, so that I could confront him about State Senator Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), a legislator who has been convicted of eight felony counts, including voter fraud and perjury.

I got to the pharmacy a few minutes early, just in time to see the pharmacist, Ms. Leonelli.

Then Sen. Lieu showed up. He just waved at me, then entered the pharmacy.

I tried to take a few pictures of the state senator with some of the staff, but sometimes Ms. Leonelli tried to block my view.

I understand that she was uncomfortable, and wanted to make a good impression, but every constituent has the right to meet and greet and confront his or her legislator regarding key issues.

She had welcomed many of her patients to meet with the state senator, too. To the back corner of the store, she provided a few chairs and some pastries. A man with a camera began taking pictures. Then more people showed up.

Ms. Leonelli started talking about all the costs she was incurring because of a group of pharmacy benefit managers, like intermediaries, otherwise called PBMs, I mentioned right away the potential problems caused by Obamacare.

Right away, Ms. L cut me off:

"We are not here to discuss the Affordable Care Act."

I find it fascinating that individuals want to discuss bringing in more red tape and regulations instead of finding ways to get the government out of health care. The more government intervention which our legislators and voters permit into any system, the more compelled our legislators will be to bring in more government.

She was vehement that I did not bring up anything controversial, it seems.

Still,; the more that she described all the rules and red tape that she had to deal with in order to serve her customers, the more I felt for her plight. Now more than ever, individual medical professionals face greater pains to provide a direct and warm service to local customers. A letter in the Daily Breeze lamented the closing local pharmacies in the region, including a  historical fixture in San Pedro area was closing after 125 years!

Along with Sen. Lieu, the pharmacist  also had a lawyer, an elderly gentleman from a law firm in San Anselmo.

I was kind of surprised that that an attorney from the Bay Area was speaking with a pharmacist and her customers here in Redondo Beach.

As I was questioning Senator Lieu, Dr. Leonelli interrupted me a second time, rebutting:

"We are not here to discuss politics".


Then I countered:


"But we are. You have here State Senator Lieu. . ."

She quickly changed the subject again.

The discussion at length spoke about the gouging practices of pharmacy benefit managers. I asked the lawyer and also Sen. Lieu to share what they would do to stop the gouging which the pharmacies face.


Leonelli, Sen. Lieu, and the attorney were all dead-set on the notion that more rules and regulations would stop the pricing out of local pharmacies.

Many people in the store spoke very highly of Dr. Leonelli, that she provided excellent customer service, that she would take the time and trouble to contact individual doctors and make sure that her patients were getting the best care.

Yet because she does not have the time or money to work with the insurance companies directly to get the proper funding for her patients and the medications, she and all other individual pharmacies must work through the PBMs, and these firms receive the monies from the insurance companies, yet reimburse the pharmacies pennies on the dollar for the medications which they provide.

Leonelli is going broke providing for her customers, and she gets only one-third, at most, reimbursed for the costs of providing her customers the drugs that they need.

I really feel for her. I do not believe, though, that more regulations are going to do any good. I tried to make this point a number of times, but I was interrupted by either Ms. L, or one of the customers, who was dead set on more regulations.

The attorney present at the Pharmacy, Lynn Carman, made frequent allusions between the PBMs and the Pacific Railroad in California during the late 1800s.

Currently, there are six PBMs operating in California, and I have read about the slow demise of independent Pharmacies. Yet just as the Pacific Railroad lost its monopoly hold over the transportation system in California, so to these PBMs can lose the supposed stronghold on independent pharmacies.

I also asked the lawyer and then the state senator if any medical professionals had shared their views on the subject. They did not know. I certainly was not thrilled with the idea that Senator Lieu would sit down with a group of lawyers to come up with legislation.

At the end of the presentation, I pressed state senator Lieu about Roderick Wright:
"Lieu voted to move a resolution to expel me?
Uh Oh!"

"Senator Lieu, there is a convicted felon in the state senate, Roderick Wright, and your silence on this is unacceptable."

All while I was trying to address the state senator in front of everyone in the Pharmacy, Ms. Leonelli tried to interrupt me by handing my some pastries (I had taken a few already).

She then told me that I had no right to be discussing such issues in her pharmacy.

I reminded her that I have a first Amendment right to speak to my state senator.

Lieu then shared with me that he voted with the Republicans to expel Wright.

I was actually very glad to hear this.

I then shook his hand, then pressed him to get other Democrats to vote the same way.

Later on, I spoke with the state senator outside of the pharmacy, and I pressed him on Ron Calderon, and the state senator told me that Calderon would announce on Monday (3-3-2014) what he was going to do.

It was an interesting evening, to say the least. I am beginning to believe that if individual voters work together and pressure their state senators, like Lieu, we will start seeing them make the right decisions and cast the right votes. I am also aware, though, that state senator Lieu is running for Congress, and would very much like for the issue regarding his silence on Wright to be silenced as a campaign issue.

 

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.

Twitter -- @ArthurCSchaper
https://www.facebook.com/arthurchristopher.schaper
arthurschaper@hotmail.com
aschaper1.blogspot.com
asheisministries.blogspot.com
waxmanwatch.blogspot.com

 

 

02/22/2014

@ArthurCSchaper

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Palos Verdes Estates Council-member George Bird, a registered Republican, and an elected Republican in a Republican stronghold, opted to endorse a Democrat for the state Assembly in 2012, despite the strong credentials of the Republican candidate, and the unprecedented severity (and deleterious consequences) of the 2012 election.

In the Friday, February 14 edition of the Daily Breeze, Bird's letter was published regarding Assemblyman Muratsuchi's decision to run for reelection instead of seeking higher office this year:

Reward Muratsuchi for not seeking a higher office

Re: “Muratsuchi says he’ll run for re-election” (Feb. 7):

How refreshing to see a member of the Assembly choose to stay and continue to serve those who elected him instead of jumping at the first opportunity to run for the state Senate.

There is nothing refreshing, let alone remarkable or significant, about a politician choosing to run for reelection. How is this refreshing, again? Such rhetoric defies definition, requires explanation.

Al Muratsuchi has placed the citizens of the 66th Assembly District before his self-interest by not running for the next office. Al Muratsuchi has well served the interest of the 66th District during his freshman year. The experience he gained will serve him well during his next term.

How did Assemblyman Muratsuchi serve his constituents by signing onto legislation which would permit illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, a measure which violates the United States' immigration laws, as well as the United States Constitution?

Muratsuchi was not serving the South Bay business community by agreeing to a minimum wage increase, which will only force out entry level workers, including young, minority employees seeking to enter the job market, especially during these difficult economic times.

Local leaders have criticized Muratsuchi's reticence to vote "Yea" or "Nay" on a number of bills. Not much integrity there. He sponsored an aerospace forum, which very few businesses attended. Not much leadership there, either. He waffled on the minimum wage increase by asking for the legislature to remove language tying increases to the rate of inflation. Still, his support for the bill hurt California’s small businesses.

And what leadership has Muratsuchi demonstrated on comprehensive pension reform, or tax reform, or the reduction in regulations?

Muratsuchi also supported AB 1266, which will permit students of decided gender (transgender students) to enter public school bathrooms with other students. This unseemly law motivated prompted initiative for repeal this November.

The constituents of our district recognize that the personal integrity of the candidate and his demonstrated ethics are more important than whether he or she is a Republican or a Democrat. Let’s elect good people, not political opportunists.

With all due respect, Muratsuchi had indeed shown some interest in seeking higher office. Even though the Los Angeles Times and later the Daily Breeze covered for the Democratic lawmaker, there is no hiding the fact that Muratuschi was looking for any opportunity not to run for reelection in a district with a rising Republican resurgence, in which the Democratic brand has been tarnished by a tax-and-spend extreme progressive supermajority in Sacramento.

Bravo to an individual who recognizes that we elected him to do a job and we don’t expect him to always be looking for his next higher political office.

Muratsuchi deserves no bows, Bravos, or applause for warming a seat, paid for by public sector unions.

If we ignore the self-interest of Muratsuchi, we certainly cannot ignore Mr. Bird’s fawning. Is he looking for favors from the Assemblyman?

Now more than ever, Constitutional conservatives, respect for the limited government and fiscal discipline, and most importantly the proper domains of the state regarding the identity of students an their liberty to learn free from social engineering, are values worth fighting for. Muratsuchi does not fight for these values.

Let’s reward the lack of self-interest and the lack of self-promoting by someone who puts us before him, by re-electing Al Muratsuchi to the Assembly.

Once again, there is nothing commendable about a candidate choosing to run for reelection for his current office instead of seeking higher office. This kind of compliment is akin to thanking people for obeying the law, or congratulating people for getting dressed before they leave their homes for work.

— George Bird, Palos Verdes Estates

The voters in Palos Verdes Estates should ask their Councilman why he continues to support a politician whose values clash, rather than complement, the values of the South Bay, particularly registered voters in the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

I emailed Mr. Bird the following:

As a registered Republican in the South Bay, why did you endorse Democrat Muratsuchi for election in 2012, and reelection in 2014?

David Hadley has announced and mounted a sizable campaign to represent the 66th Assembly District.

Your letter gave the impression that you are seeking a higher office with Muratsuchi's help.

Please explain your insistence on supporting a progressive Democrat who had advertised himself as a moderate, especially since you are a registered Republican.

Bird certainly owes his constituents an explanation for his flighty reasons for supporting Assemblyman Muratsuchi's reelection.

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.

Twitter -- @ArthurCSchaper
https://www.facebook.com/arthurchristopher.schaper
arthurschaper@hotmail.com
aschaper1.blogspot.com
asheisministries.blogspot.com
waxmanwatch.blogspot.com
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