May 30, 2013
Brian W. Carter
LAWT Staff Writer
As Senator Curren Price readies to transition to the Los Angeles City Council, Assemblywoman Holly J. Mitchell (D-54) has announced her bid for the 26th District seat. Mitchell’s run for Senate will fall under the same umbrella she continues to hold for the state: edifying families and a healthier California. Continuing a proud legacy of African American leaders, Mitchell, if elected, would follow City Council elect-Member Curren Price and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, both of whom have served the 26th District.
“When I ran three years ago, I ran on a platform of supporting working families and children,” said Mitchell. “I have focused my three years, thus far, in the Assembly, on a platform where we looked at… building a healthy California, which means building healthy families.
A health and human services advocate, Mitchell has spent her career bringing awareness and shedding light on public affairs. She has worked in the district office in Los Angeles for State Senator Diane Watson. Mitchell served as a policy analyst for the California Senate's Health and Human Services Committee where she was instrumental in helping keep health care initiatives alive.
Mitchell’s legislative accomplishments with the Western Center for Law and Poverty helped to create many programs including the Healthy Families program. She has also served as executive director of the Black Women's Health Project in Los Angeles. She currently chairs the Assembly's Budget Sub-committee #1 on Health & Human Services, a member of the Committees on Budget, Health, Insurance and Public Safety and Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Mitchell also chairs the California's Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) and the Select Committee on Foster Youth, and is a member of the Women's Legislative Caucus.
Elected in 2010 to the Assembly, representing the 54th District of Los Angeles, Mitchell serves a number of diverse communities, which include the Crenshaw District, Culver City, UCLA, Cheviot Hills, Mar Vista, the Fairfax District and parts of South Los Angeles.
“As chair of the budget subcommittee, I’ve worked really hard to make sure that the needs of working women and their children are made a top priority,” said Mitchell. One bill in particular Mitchell has been working on is in regards to hydraulic fracturing and that effect that could have on the community.
The agenda won’t change according to Mitchell who plans to continue to strive for better policies in California. She has proven to be a legislative heavyweight having had multiple bills signed by the governor of the state. Mitchell says you can expect the same kind of devotion and representation from the 26th District seat.
“The residents of the Senate District could expect a similar kind of platform and commitment from me,” said Mitchell.
Amongst the busy work of an Assemblymember, Mitchell makes time for her teenager. This serves as a front row view when it comes to issues such as quality and accessible health care in the educational systems. She’s about family because she understands it’s the building block of a healthy community, which leads to a healthy city and ultimately, a healthy state.
“A healthy family means, healthy environment, economy, bodies and looking at public safety as a health issue as well.”
May 23, 2013
By William Garth
Special to the NNPA from The Chicago Citizen
A Federal Trade Commission study of the U.S. credit reporting industry found that five percent of consumers had errors on one of their three major credit reports that could lead to them paying more for products such as auto loans and insurance.
Overall, the congressionally mandated study on credit report accuracy found that one in five consumers had an error on at least one of their three credit reports.
“These are eye-opening numbers for American consumers,” said Howard Shelanski, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics. “The results of this first-of-its-kind study make it clear that consumers should check their credit reports regularly. If they don’t, they are potentially putting their pocketbooks at risk.”
The study, in which participants were encouraged to use the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) process to resolve any potential credit report errors, also found that:
• One in four consumers identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores;
• One in five consumers had an error that was corrected by a credit-reporting agency (CRA) after it was disputed, on at least one of their three credit reports;
• Four out of five consumers who filed disputes experienced some modification to their credit report;
• Slightly more than one in 10 consumers saw a change in their credit score after the CRAs modified errors on their credit report; and
• Approximately one in 20 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 25 points and only one in 250 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 100 points.
Other study results can be found in the executive summary of the report.
“Your credit report has information about your finances and your bill-paying history, so it’s important to make sure it’s accurate,” said Charles Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The good news for consumers is that credit reports are free through annualcreditreport.com, and if you find an error, you can work with the credit reporting company to fix it.”
The FTC report is the first major study that looks at all the primary groups that participate in the credit reporting and scoring process: consumers; lenders/data furnishers (which include creditors, lenders, debt collection agencies, and the court system); the Fair Isaac Corporation, which develops FICO credit scores; and the national credit reporting agencies (CRAs). It is based on work with 1,001 participants who reviewed 2,968 credit reports with a study associate who helped them identify and correct possible errors on their credit reports.
Consumers in the study were selected to match the demographic and credit score information of the general public, and participants were encouraged to dispute errors that could affect their credit standing. Credit reports with potential errors identified by study participants were sent to Fair Isaac (FICO) for rescoring.
After completing the FCRA dispute process, study participants were provided with new credit reports and credit scores. The original reports were then compared with the new reports. If any modifications were made as a result of the disputes, the impact of errors on the consumer’s credit score was determined.
Congress directed the FTC to conduct a study of credit report accuracy and provide interim reports every two years, starting in 2004 and continuing through 2012, with a final report in 2014. The reports are being produced under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACT Act.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
By Xavier Higgs
LAWT Contributing Writer
A multi-agency task force arrested 10 gang members last Wednesday as part of a two-year investigation stemming from a series of cold case homicides.
Montebello police and federal agents targeted a Southside Montebello gang in an attempt to resolve dozens of unsolved homicides and gang-related activities.
As a result of “Operation Sudden Impact,” thirty-nine people indicted, thirty-three arrested, six homicides solved, seized 600 grams of methamphetamine, and 20 firearms were apprehended.
Montebello police and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents made these arrests. Furthermore with several dozen federal and state indictments, authorities are confident this will be a factor to resolve several unsolved gang homicides.
Authorities said dozens of killings stemmed from ongoing rivalries over drugs and turf.
Nevertheless, those in custody face an usually long list of federal and state charges, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, witness intimidation, extortion, and assorted weapons and drug charges.
As a part of the investigation, law enforcement officers infiltrated the Southside Montebello gang and obtained evidence of alleged crimes. Their activities included extortion, carjacking, armed robbery, homicides, drive by shootings, as well as firearms and narcotics trafficking.
At a news conference in Montebello, U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. said, “the beauty of this investigation is we’re going to attack this from different angles.”
Among the arrested gang members is Joe John Dorantes, 27. Detectives say Dorantes gunned down Albert Garcia and his 12-year old son, Juan, in June 2008 at a graduation party.
Another of the main suspects is an original member of the "killer squad." Jimmy Valenzuela, 27, who lives in Montebello, is accused of suspicion of committing two gang-related execution style slayings. He was arrested in June 2012.
According to LA County District Atty. Jackie Lacey, charges ranging from narcotics sales to sale of an assault weapon, to being a felon in possession of a gun, will be filed against 14 of those arrested. Also the District Attorney’s office has associated six Montebello gang members with four homicide cases.
District Atty. Lacey also praised the collaboration of federal, state and local police. “This represents a win for the residents of Montebello and surrounding communities,” said District Atty. Lacey.
In a 68-page indictment, Federal prosecutors said nine of the 18 charged in four indictments violated the RICO statue.
U.S. Atty. Birotte also said the Southside Montebello gang is the target in this case.
“We believe there are other gangs that are involved as well,” said U.S. Atty. Birotte.
City News Service
Los Angeles World Airports plans to name the new central hall of the LAX international terminal the “Antonio R. Villaraigosa Pavilion,” it was recently reported. Airport commissioners voted Tuesday on the honor, the Daily News
reported on its website. The $1.7 billion expansion of the terminal, named after former mayor Tom Bradley, is about $200 million over budget, according to the Daily News.
Airport officials defend the overruns, noting that the curved, wave-like roofs of the new structure were an ambitious and difficult project.
May 16, 2013
By KENNETH MILLER
Assistant Managing Editor
Recently during a televised interview, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made public for the first time his firm commitment to secure funding for Crenshaw-LAX light rail Leimert Park Village Station Stop.
Late, Tuesday evening the Sentinel obtained an exclusive statement from Mayor Villraigosa that reaffirmed his commitment.
“I am strongly committed to a station at Leimert Park, and my office has worked closely with the City Council to identify $40 million to contribute towards the building of that station. I look forward to working in partnership with the MTA Board of Directors to make the Leimert Park station a reality.”
A much anticipated vote on whether to build a train station that would stop in Leimert Park Village as part of the $1.7 billion Crenshaw-LAX light rail project is scheduled before the Metro board at a soon to be determined date, but now Mayor Villaraigosa and Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, a long time advocate of the station, have joined forces on the issue providing a unified front that can only result in a bright future for Leimert Park and the Crenshaw line.
“I have always been committed making sure that Leimert Park had a station and stop, but now I am proud to admit publicly and remove all doubt about my goals all along,” said Villaraigosa.
The Mayor’s public comments came on of heels of years of doubt and prodding from local, state and federal officials who fought to secure a Leimert Park Station.
The Leimert Park Station will be an economic boon for businesses in Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Vista, View Park and other African American communities.
The region consists of 11,782 residents and 79.6 percent of them are Black, making the region the heart and soul of African American culture and caretaker of its heritage.
Privately, Villaraigosa has been steadfastly committed to the project but as the final days of his two-term tenure melts away, he felt it was necessary to inform the public and quiet his critics on the subject.
Two years ago, despite overwhelming support for a station from a broad coalition of business owners, neighborhood groups, the church community and residents, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted to build one only if it could fit within the existing $1.7 billion-budget allocated for the project, leaving the station’s future in question.
The bids for the Crenshaw-to-LAX line are in and have been reviewed and the Metro staff has already made a recommendation to the MTA board on which bid to accept – a non-binding, but early “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” for the station.
The recommendation, which will be carefully watched by residents, transportation advocates and elected officials throughout the county, will precede a vote by the full Metro board May 23.
Any decision not to include a station in Leimert Park will be widely criticized by many, including every elected official representing the Crenshaw community – City Council members and members of the state legislature and of the U.S. Congress – who all joined in an unprecedented show of unity to call for the stop in Leimert Park Village.
It will also deeply disappoint hundreds of residents who packed the Metro Board hearing room calling for a stop in what is the heart of the African-American community and increasingly, an important residential and business center for Latinos.
Pre-construction work began last year for the Crenshaw Line light rail that will connect the Green Line to the Expo Line in 2018 (and maybe LAX at some point). However, without a stop in historic Leimert Park, it may be a project not worth having, but the mayor whom Blacks elected to city hall twice has made it a final priority.
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