• Videos of 3/21/19 Automation Meeting March

    • 03/22/2019
    • Reporters Desk
    • News
    • Comments are off

    On March 21, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners held a public meeting on the appeal of APM Terminals permit application to up grade Pier 400–an upgrade that would result in the in the terminals conversion to a fully automated one. A few thousand longshore workers and community members attended the hearing and spoke out against APM Terminal’s efforts.

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  • See It, End It!

    • 03/22/2019
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    Film and Arts Festival Takes on Human Trafficking

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    A  film and art festival that explores human trafficking will premiere March 29 and 30 at the Warner Grand Theatre. Called the See It, End It! Human Trafficking Film and Arts Festival, the two-day event is intended to be an educational, preventative and awareness-building event.

    Opening night features the critically acclaimed Skin in the Game, which follows a former prostitute’s quest to find her 15-year-old daughter, Dani, who was abducted off a  suburban American sidewalk and entrapped by the human trafficking world.

    The second day of the festival will feature Unbridled and Love, Sonia, a talk led by comedian Marti MacGibbon and a number of short films including Modern Slave.

    Unbridled tells the true story of trafficking survivors healing as they care for abused horses.

    The festival is the site of the North American premiere of Love, Sonia, a film that follows the path of a trafficked child from India to Hong Kong to Los Angeles where she finds freedom with the help of the Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Human Trafficking.

    The award-winning short film,  Modern Slave,  is one of 10 short films that will be featured Saturday. It delves into the hooks that keep  exploiting trafficking victims.

    Cyber safety films and activities will also be presented for children in both Spanish and English. Organizations and vendors will provide products and resources for prevention, awareness, assistance for victims of human trafficking, and information on taking action. Proceeds will go to expanding outreach and awareness of human trafficking, and providing support for programs of the YWCA Harbor Area and South Bay in human trafficking prevention.

    The festival’s founder, Patrick Erlandson said his fight against human trafficking began when he worked for the United Nation’s Refugee Agency in the 1990s. He recalled reading reports of children in Egypt, Somalia and Sudan escaping war and famine to Israel only to be tricked by people connected to the sale of human organs sold on the black market.

    It was the betrayal of children, the most innocent and vulnerable among us that got Erlandson fired up. He noted there are  many similarities and dissimilarities in how victims are trafficked around the world.

    “Human trafficking is affecting far too many families to be allowed to continue being seen as the problem of others, that someone else will deal with. Each of us as artists, business people and soccer moms have a part to play in ending this.”

    Time: 6  to 10 p.m. March 29; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 30

    Cost: $10-$30

    Details: www.seeitendit.com

    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

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  • AQMD Designates Carson as “Environmental Justice” Community

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    Carson, Wilmington and West Long Beach have been designated as a single “environmental justice” community by the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board as part of “Year 1 Implementation” of recent amendments to California’s health and safety code. The process that led to this designation, as well as community response — including upcoming public meetings — is on the district’s website.

    This action results from two bills passed in 2017, AB134 and AB617. The first measure funded community air-quality projects, including clean-vehicle and ports investments. Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) authored AB617, an amendment to the state health and safety code, to reduce air pollution from commercial and industrial sources.

    Garcia’s measure requires the California Air Resources Board to develop a uniform statewide system for annually reporting emissions of air pollutants and toxic air contaminants. It also requires the regional air district to deploy monitoring equipment by July 1, 2019 to measure and record air pollutant concentrations in disadvantaged communities.

    Jo Kay Ghosh, a health-effects officer with the district, said although the title of AB 617 addresses “non-vehicular air pollution,” the district’s efforts will address “mobile and stationary sources,” including diesel emissions.

    The California Air Resources Board directed the district to focus on three communities during “Year 1 Implementation.” The other two are San Bernardino and East Los Angeles. On Oct. 12 the district hosted a public meeting at the Wilmington Senior Center that provided information on the implementation of AB 617. The meeting discussed what was termed a “Community Steering Committee” process with the goal of providing input on the development of “Community Air Monitoring Plans” and “Community Emission Reduction Plans” through a series of monthly committee meetings.

    The work of the committee is to provide input on the development of community air-monitoring plans and community emission reduction plans. Ghosh said the meetings are at an “early stage” but going through the outreach meetings allowed “us to look over technical data” and gather information from the designated communities.

    There are approximately 30 people on the community steering committee, Ghosh added, representing a diverse membership including government agencies, school districts, labor, community organizations, chambers of commerce, and residents.

    On the morning of Jan. 10, the AQMD held one of a series of community steering committee meetings, at Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center in Carson, but will not hold another in Carson until August 7. The committee’s next meetings happen April 11 and May 9, at 2001 River Avenue, Long Beach. For a more extensive schedule of 2019 meetings see the AQMD website: www.aqmd.gov/nav/about/initiatives/environmental-justice/ab617-134

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  • Dominguez Channel Critical to Stormwater Management

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    Carson is undertaking the Carriage Crest Park Stormwater Capture Project, an effort to improve water quality, in compliance with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit under the Environmental Protection Agency. The project is designed to capture stormwater from about 1,100 acres of the Dominguez Watershed, which drains into the Dominguez Channel that runs through the middle of Carson.

    Carriage Crest Park, owned and operated by Carson, was identified by water authorities as a site for a regional stormwater capture project due to its proximity to a storm-drain junction, two potential diversion points, and its potential for multijurisdictional partnership.

    Julio Gonzalez, sustainability administrator for the City of Carson, says water is being drained from the surface of the park into underground stormwater chambers, and  then pumped into the sewage system. The project started in Aug. 2018 and the completion date is June 2020.

    Gonzalez says Carson’s water management consists of three watersheds — Compton Creek in the north, Dominguez Channel in the middle and Machado Lake in the south.

    The California State Water Resources Control Board considers the entire city and many surrounding communities—including the land around Compton Creek and Machado Lake — to be part of the Dominguez Watershed. The overall drainage area consists of about 110 square miles across southern Los Angeles County.

    From a freshwater source near the Hawthorne Airport, the Dominguez Channel meanders almost 16 miles through Gardena, Torrance, Harbor Gateway, Carson, Wilmington, and finally empties into the East Basin of the Port of Los Angeles. As the water flows to the ocean, a tidewater — a stream that’s affected by ocean tides — results.

    The entire Dominguez Watershed area is about 96-percent developed, largely residential, and artificially bounded by a system of storm drains and flood-control channels. Because of the surrounding population density, trash is a major issue, but water management has in the past mostly focused on stormwater diversion.

    On an official level, Carson and Lawndale were incorporated into the Dominguez Channel Watershed Management Group in 2015. Other governing bodies within this group include the city and county of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, and the cities of El Segundo, Hawthorne  and Inglewood.

    On an unofficial level, there’s a Friends/Amigos of the Dominguez Watershed blog online but the most recent entry is dated 2011. There’s also a Dominguez Channel Facebook page but it, too, has little activity.

    In 2018, the State Water Resources Board began studying the possibility of cleaning up the Dominguez Channel, clearing it of trash and sediment, and possibly, at some point, incorporating bike paths and undertaking similar projects.

    Gonzalez says the clean-up studies have just begun and it’s too early to discuss cost or a timeline.

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  • Women Who Rock: Portraits of Courageous Heroines

    • 03/22/2019
    • Melina Paris
    • Music
    • Comments are off

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    Visiting Evelyn McDonnell at her quiet home nestled close to Cabrillo Beach, one may be surprised to find a trailblazer in San Pedro with a comprehensive publishing career recognizing women recording artists.

    She is the editor  of Women Who Rock, a pivotal book of essays and striking illustrations, by women, of more than 100 female musicians who have made a sonic imprint on our lives. McDonnell, who also is director of the Loyola Marymount University journalism program, has devoted her career to the topic of women musicians.

    This release isn’t the McDonnell’s first foray in documenting musical greatness. She released Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways, a book that posed the question of why the Runaways didn’t become one of the greatest bands of all time.

    McDonnell has been published works in Rolling Stone, Ms., Spin, Vibe, Interview, Black Book, Us, Billboard and Option. McDonnell was once the pop culture writer at The Miami Herald, senior editor at The Village Voice and associate editor at SF Weekly. She has also written the books Mamarama: A Memoir of Sex, Kids and Rock ’n’ Roll, and Army of She: Icelandic, Iconoclastic, Irrepressible Bjork.

    McDonnell noted that when she first started talking about Women Who Rock it looked like we were about to have our first woman president. She said there was a feeling that women’s voices were being celebrated. But that changed before she even had her contract in hand.

    McDonnell reflected on the timing of the book idea at that pivotal moment.

    “It went from being timely to being necessary,” she said.

    It’s a different climate now. Trump was elected president and legislative efforts to control women’s bodies was stepped up several notches soon after. Women Who Rock was released the same week as Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault hearings ahead of his fight for confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    McDonnell has had a perpetual interest in women musicians and issues surrounding gender and creating art, making noise, and being heard. Between McDonnell, her publisher and agent, they recognized a contemporary trend in publishing portraits of courageous heroines, like the Rebel Girls series. Realizing there weren’t heroine stories focused on music and there was a need for an update on books from the past, this project was timely.

    Shocking Pynk!

    Women Who Rock is served up in shocking pink.

    The book covers a long chronological span that includes several genres, and unexpectedly, some obscure artists. Even if you’ve heard of someone in the book, you may not have heard their music.

    “I knew as I was editing it that I was working with all these gifted writers and illustrators, that it was a very special experience,” McDonnell said.

    McDonnell was pleased that Women Who Rock has illustrations in ink, paint, pencil and digital color rather than photos, making the book unique. It captures the idea that both the essays and the art are portraits. They are the writers’ and the artist’s interpretations of the musicians. Under that shocking pink, the book’s illustrations are pictured on the hardcover. They have gotten some criticism on the velvety, embossed pink book cover. McDonnell noted it’s particularly from older women as opposed to the younger women,  who are “raised with that consciousness—acceptance of femininity and acceptance of the pink.”

    “I have seen that generational divide over the pink,” McDonnell said. “It’s “pynk” as Janelle Monáe did in her song, Pynk. That song captures the whole thing of celebrating women in this extremely provocative way.”

    There is the sense upon seeing the book that it has finally arrived. There are so many women artists now. Women Who Rock is an honest appreciation of them and all of their highs and lows — what made them who they are from Bessie Smith to Patti Smith and Joni Mitchell to Pussy Riot to Lauryn Hill. The compendium contains more than 100 essays, all written by female journalists, musicians, DJs and poets, capturing each artist and placing her in the context of her genre and the musical world at large. McDonnell said there was a need to connect them to the women that came before them.

    “Hopefully, we don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel, in terms of problems women have [experienced] in music or of them thinking that they are the first person to do this,” McDonnell said.

    As McDonnell wrote in her introduction, the women in these pages have persisted against all odds, rape, bad contracts, sexual exploitation, addiction, anorexia, corrupt managers, suicide, domestic violence, prison and murder. These are recurring motifs.

    “We can learn from the women who have come before us and pioneered,” McDonnell said. “Because there is a tendency to try to turn powerful women, creative women into lone wolf figures.”

    She thinks of it as a tactic of the patriarchy, giving the example of the recent remake film,  A Star Is Born. McDonnell was struck by Lady Gaga being the only woman in the entire film.

    “It’s unbelievable … as if she just sprang out … she doesn’t even have a mother,” McDonnell said. “Her girlfriends are drag queens, they’re men. She’s this singular creation, literally made by the man, Adam’s Rib… it’s so biblical.”

    She is not discrediting the individual efforts of women and their singularity but, McDonnell noted, they’re part of a community, and history and a lineage and most women recognize that.

    Since Women Who Rock was published, a political action group has been formed. McDonnell never thought that this was going to be one of the results. It’s called Turn It Up. It’s a Times Up, Me Too, 50/50 by 2020 (50/50 male/female at every level across organizations and pay parity by 2020) political-action group of women, or female-identified, musicians and DJs, journalists, scholars, and engineers. The goal is to raise awareness of women who work in the music industry and to gain parity for them. The group will have workshops and events, such as letter-writing campaigns that point out to local media companies how they could involve more women.

    McDonnell and four Women Who Rock collaborators held a panel discussion March 5, at Loyola Marymount University. They discussed the role of politics in music, which the panel asserted unanimously, is tied together. Even though women still must fight to be heard, the take away was that progress is happening, gatekeepers are evolving (bookers and promoters), many of the millenials will not frequent clubs that don’t book female bands, and there is more inclusion for everyone, including non binary artists. There are new paths forward for women, which McDonnell further elaborated on. It was never in her mind to create this activist group and community but it is beyond her expectations, which were to just turn people onto a bunch of artists and music that they didn’t necessarily know.

    McDonnell believes women are increasingly going to control their own music. They will be mistresses of their own destinies, not just be the singers or producers but that they will handle all the aspects of their music making or that when they work with men, they will work as collaborators, not the “quintessential Svengali relationship.”

    “Or, it can go the totally opposite way, where we’re just going to have these idealized hologram pop stars that don’t actually exist in our pure projections of, someone, mostly male fantasy,” she said. “It might be the two extremes. In Japan there’s already pop stars who actually do not exist. It’s like a pure fantasy creation.”

    It won’t be the male musician having to rescue and turn the female singer into the star. McDonnell said women will have their own agency. She referred to A Star is Born again, saying she actually did like the movie but if she thinks about it abstractly, the entire message is wrong.

    “Shouldn’t that storyline progress?” McDonnell said.

    The Friends of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is hosting a book signing March 31 at 4 p.m. to celebrate the release of Women Who Rock.

    Details: www.populismblog.wordpress.com

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  • Women’s History Month: Defend Abortion Rights

    By Melina Paris and Mark Friedman, RLn Reporters

    Women’s right to access abortion is a precondition for women’s emancipation — their right to control their own bodies, to choose whether to bear children, when, and how many.  Securing this right is in the interest of all workers because it makes it possible for men and women to unite in common struggle as equals. In 2018, a coalition of anti-abortion groups initiated more than 200 actions across the country that called for the federal government to end Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, and other health care. President Donald Trump has said he would support such a measure. A ban on federal funding for nearly all abortions has been in place since 1976, renewed every year by Congress, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans. Even while it is legal, the right to abortion is under attack. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, women’s access to abortion has been steadily chipped away. Anti-woman, religious, and anti-working-class forces have fought relentlessly to impose waiting periods, parental consent laws, denial of insurance coverage, restrictive time limits, and other arbitrary regulations. They’ve driven the abortion procedure out of most hospitals and passed restrictions that shuttered abortion clinics, making it more difficult for working-class women, especially in rural areas, to get an abortion. Many medical plans no longer pay for abortions.

    Celinda Vazquez, the vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, explained how current efforts in Washington, D.C., have advanced this erosion.

    “The Title X program provides affordable birth control and reproductive health care to people with low incomes, including those who couldn’t otherwise afford health care services on their own,” Vasquez said. “The program has received bipartisan support from Congress since its inception — until the Trump-Pence administration.”

    Vasquez noted that the Trump administration has imposed a gag rule that bans doctors across the country in the Title X program from telling women how they can safely and legally access abortion. The new rule makes it impossible for patients to get birth control at places like Planned Parenthood and it prohibits doctors from giving women full information about all of their sexual and reproductive health care options.

    The rule puts health care at risk for 4 million patients — 41 percent of whom get their care at Planned Parenthood, including at the Los Angeles offices. Planned Parenthood California serves more than 700,000 Title X patients.

    Vazquez says that as long as the gag rule is in place, Planned Parenthood LA would not participate in the Title X program citing their ethical obligation to their patients. She noted that gag rule would mostly impact communities of color (21 percent identify as black or African American. 33 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino).

    Nourbese Flint, policy director and manager of Reproductive Justice Programming of Black Women for Wellness echoed these concerns.

    Flint said there are two ways services in the Los Angeles area can be impacted. The first, clinics limit their services or closing their doors completely; the second way is through funding cuts to the program doing the important work of providing sexual and reproductive health education.

    “For example … Black Women for Wellness, wouldn’t have the same type of funding to work with young black teenagers around healthy relationships, reproductive and sexual health care and reducing unintended pregnancies,” Flint said.

    “Today what we see is not only a systematic effort to limit access to reproductive and sexual health care by changing the rules around the Title X policy and other funding sources but a concerted effort to weaponize the federal government against abortion access to women in every way possible. This includes denying abortions to undocumented women in the custody of ICE, or dictating what words are off limits for federal health employees to use, or not funding or defunding important research around abortion access.”

    Services can be impacted in L.A. by direct services with clinics either closing their doors are limiting services or cutting funding of sexual and reproductive health education in communities and schools.

    For Black Women for Wellness defending abortion rights means supporting the plantiffs in lawsuits against the federal government’s changes, engaging in public education campaigns.

    There’s a lawsuit involving Crisis Pregnancy Centers before the Supreme Court that could make it much harder for low-income pregnant women to learn about their options. The centers present themselves as full-service women’s health clinics, but are actually deceptive fronts for anti-choice organizations that mislead, frighten, and pressure women at a vulnerable time.

    This fight is worldwide — hundreds of thousands are marching in Ireland, Argentina, Poland, Kenya and elsewhere. These actions demonstrate the possibility — and necessity — of organizing a broad public campaign of action, country by country, state by state, to push back the growing array of restrictions on women exercising their fundamental right to control their own bodies.

    The biggest problem in defending abortion rights is the failure of women’s groups to mobilize women and men to defend this gain. They tell us to keep quiet, to vote for Democrats who will look out for us, but they also have cut back access. This mistake has emboldened those who are determined to deny women their rights. Working people must take the moral high ground and fight for the advancement of all humanity. Defending women’s right to choose abortion is a central part of that fight.

    This underscores the importance of mobilizing in the streets as opposed to just lobbying or voting.

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  • Veggie Secrets of Pedro

    By Gretchen Williams, Dining and Cuisine Writer

    San Pedro eateries have veggie secrets, delicious dishes hidden in the menu, created to delight the vegetarian and omnivoree alike.

    The Whale &  Ale Pub is well known for beef and lamb, and yet their vegetable curry is a spectacular dish seasoned to perfection.

    You can have it spicy if you like, served with basmati rice and Major Grey’s chutney.  The portobello mushroom burger is amazing, with all the customary burger trimmings and the best English chips.  The Whale & Ale’s signature salad with bleu cheese, walnuts and mushrooms, dressed with The Whale & Ale house dressing is always wonderful.

    Nazalie’s on Pacific and 20th is a splendid answer to the veggie question — the tabbouli is terrific, full of fresh parsley, tomatoes and the traditional bulgur wheat.  The falafel is also a classic, with great texture, crunchy and savory with excellent garlic sauce and homemade pickled turnips for accent.  Nazalie’s is a San Pedro favorite.

    The Chori Man is known for chorizo but his special secret is the soyrizo chile relleno burrito — full of flavor, fabulous salsas.  The Chori Man is becoming a destination for hipsters from Los Angeles but San Pedro is getting hip to this great little place on Alma Street.

    Sirinat Thai has many vegetable entrees, noodles and rice dishes packed with goodness.  The garlic eggplant is splendid, served with brown rice if you like.

    The green papaya salad is the secret of the menu, crisp and brimming with fresh vegetables — order it without the shrimp for a real veggie experience.  The sauce is bright with citrus and spices.

    Women of Ischia

    “All you see, I owe to pasta,” Sophia Loren once said.

    Carmela DiMeglio Zuanich was a vision, the beautiful manifestation of Italian womanhood, her nip waist and full skirted frock embroidered with blossoms. It was as though the legendary Italian actress herself had come to San Pedro on March 14.

    Stunning notes of opera rang in the rafters of Michael’s Tuscany Room as over 230 women, from infancy to 93, celebrated the history of their heritage.  The Women of Ischia was organized by Carmela Zuanich to bring women together, countering a similar dinner organized by the men each year.

    Bruscetta, pasta and red wine brought the women together, and the pleasures of the table were shared, as well as the stories of the families brought from the Old Country. Many tales of hardship and sacrifice were told, daughters and granddaughters recounting the stories of their Ischian forebears.  Several women remembered the families made from “Ischian kids” and the “Pedro kids,” born before and after the trip to America.  “They loved Ischia, and yet they left, because they loved us more” said a granddaughter of Ischia.

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  • Monsanto’s Weed Killer is “Substantial Factor” in Cancer, Says Jury

    • 03/22/2019
    • Reporters Desk
    • News
    • Comments are off

    MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you all with us once again.

    One of the largest biotech agribusiness chemical companies on the planet is Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, now that it merged with Bayer, that is, especially. They were back in the news again because a federal jury ruled that the weed killer Roundup was a substantial factor in causing the cancer of defendant Mr. Edwin Hardeman. While Trump’s EPA said Roundup is probably not carcinogenic to people, the World Health Organization and independent researchers have found Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, is most likely a carcinogen. Thousands more cases are being filed. What will this mean and what will this portend for Monsanto and the future of their products, the battles with agribusinesses, and for the rest of us?

    Well, we’re joined today by Samara Geller, who is a Senior Research and Database Analyst for the Environmental Working Group. And Samara, welcome. Good to have you with us.

    SAMARA GELLER: Thank you for having me.

    MARC STEINER: So I want to start with this short video of the lawyer who won the case. This took place last month in February when he was commenting on the case and his deposition he took with the folks from Monsanto. Let’s listen to what he had to say.

    ROBERT BRENT WISNER: When I took Monsanto’s deposition, I took their corporate representative deposition. He said to me that there is no evidence across the board that there’s any association with cancer. That’s just nonsense. There is a mountain of evidence and this company needs to get straight and to be honest with its customers and say listen, there is evidence that it’s associated with cancer, and let people make a choice about whether or not they use the product. This case is about failure to warn. And the simple fact is they haven’t warned, and they’re going to keep being sued until they do so.

    MARC STEINER: I’m curious, your perspective on this. You have what he was saying here as he was taking the deposition before the verdict took place. And clearly, our EPA in the United States has been saying that there’s probably no real connection between that product, Roundup, and their products, and cancer. The World Health Organization, some independent researchers, have found just the opposite, that there probably is. And nobody’s really spoken definitively as I’ve read or seen so far. But talk about this debate going on and what that really means.

    SAMARA GELLER: So there is mounting evidence showing a link between glyphosate and cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, which is part of the World Health Organization, they classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Also in 2017, the state of California included glysophate on its Proposition 65 registry. So this Proposition 65 registry is a list of chemicals that the state of California publishes every year. That list contains carcinogens, also reproductive and developmental toxicants. And so, we have the World Health Organization which is fiercely defending its position on glyphosate as being a probable human carcinogen. We have the state of California, which is also aligned with the World Health Organization.

    But we also have emerging evidence coming out of the University of Washington. So these researchers recently did a meta-analysis. So they actually pooled data from studies that were published between 2001 and 2018, and this particular subset of studies actually found a 41 percent increased risk in non-Hodgkin’s in the highest exposed group. That’s pretty damning evidence right there, so that’s a very compelling link between glyphosate and the development of cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But we also know that the judge in this case recently in San Francisco unsealed internal documents from Monsanto that showed that the company worked behind the scenes with the EPA to promote the claim that glyphosate was safe and to point the finger away from the evidence showing to the contrary.

    MARC STEINER: And this is the second phase of these trials, is that correct?

    SAMARA GELLER: Right. So we’re actually in that second phase right now, so the jury will have an opportunity to review this evidence, this batch of unsealed documents from Monsanto. Also, Monsanto publicly worked to discredit the valid work of researchers and the valid conclusions of scientists revealing the harms of this chemical.

    MARC STEINER: So I’m going to play another clip here for all of you and for our guest. This is a gentleman who actually won the first case last year leading up to this year’s case, and this is what he had to say. I found it really interesting and compelling, and I want to see where we think this might take this entire struggle.

    SPEAKER: Why was the label important?

    DEWAYNE JOHNSON: The label is important because as a pest controller and as those guys out there doing this in the professional field of applying herbicides, it’s a requirement to understand your label and to look at your label. It’s very serious. There’s a whole chapter on reading the label, how to read it, and what to look for. So if that was on the label, people can make an informed choice.

    SPEAKER: What did that verdict mean to you?

    DEWAYNE JOHNSON: The verdict really meant to me that this thing was not done in vain. And I remember standing there saying to myself, if I lose this case, this company is going to be able to get away. And then they’ll be able to say see, we told you our stuff didn’t do that.

    MARC STEINER: So that was Dewayne Johnson, whose case came before this one last year. And so, the question really in all this for me is what this means for the future of Monsanto. I mean, there’s a battle going on with Monsanto across the globe on numbers of fronts. And while they can lose a lot of money in these court cases, there’s 11,200 cases that are in various stages against Monsanto around this very same issue. So I’m curious in terms of regulation, in terms of the health of the people who are eating, the health of the people who are farming, the health of the people who are lawn workers and farm workers. I mean, what does this all mean for this? I mean, where do you think we’re going with this?

    SAMARA GELLER: So this is the second time in less than a year that Monsanto’s signature weed killer has been implicated as the cause of a person’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And as you said, there’s now more than over 11,000 lawsuits that are coming from farm workers, they’re coming from licensed pesticide applicators, they’re coming from groundskeepers, they’re coming from those most heavily impacted among us. They have repeated exposure to this pesticide from the highest levels of exposure. So these lawsuits are really just the beginning of a long list of cases that will keep coming against Bayer. And so, the chickens are really coming home to roost here. We really think the scientific evidence is mounting, and so there will be similar verdicts and similar outcomes to the last two.

    MARC STEINER: So Samara, since there are like 11,200 cases we talked about that are now going to be brought against Monsanto, and that we’ve heard these last two cases were not precedent setting in regard to these other cases coming, but they clearly are going to have an effect. So this is a huge company, and we’re talking about settlements that are tens of millions and hundreds of millions of dollars and more maybe that could be set against Monsanto and Bayer. So what’s the significance of all of this in terms of the entire things that have gone before this when it comes to dealing with Monsanto and Roundup?

    SAMARA GELLER: Well, it certainly puts Roundup in the spotlight. It certainly gets consumers, regulators, policymakers thinking differently about the way we regulate pesticides and the way we regulate tolerances of pesticide residues in foods. So this is all having an impact on a lot of different platforms. So EWG actually commissioned tests of popular oat-based products, a lot of them marketed to children. And so, in our tested based products, we detected glyphosate in nearly all of the samples, 95 percent of the samples we tested for glyphosate were positive. And so, we’re actually pushing consumers to do a number of things.

    First of all, eat organically if possible, so purchase organic food when you have the means and the opportunity to do so, and the choice to purchase organic. That will help reduce your exposure to glyphosate. But what’s really important to note about the way that the EPA regulates pesticides is that they often set the tolerances far too high to be adequately protective of children’s health. We know children are heavily impacted by pesticides. We know that there are children eating oat-based products that are growing, their bodies are developing, and they’re more susceptible to harms, including cancer.

    MARC STEINER: I’ve covered those things in the past and that’s very real. I think most people don’t know about that and people need to know about that. And finally, I’m just curious… These cases, we’ll see what happens in the second part of this case, but I’m wondering what effect you think this has on the work of your organization, other organizations in the political struggles with Monsanto, as well as the legislative battles in this country and in Europe. What effect do you think this will have on all that?

    SAMARA GELLER: Well, we’re urging the EPA to actually re-evaluate the evidence of harms from glyphosate. We’re urging them to prohibit this use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest desiccant. And so, we’re assuming this trial will definitely elevate these issues for those EPA regulators. We’re also looking to the FDA to really step up their game. They’ve been really woefully inadequate at releasing information that would help us to fully understand the scope of the problem. So right now, FDA recently released data on the detection of glyphosate in corn and soy, but they’ve really withheld data on some other food crops. We know it’s in wheat, we know it’s in barley, we know it’s in beans. So we’re pressuring the FDA to release data that would help shed light on the full scope of where it’s located in our food supply.

    We’re actually looking toward some recently introduced legislation by Representative DeLauro. She’s a representative from Connecticut and she’s promoting the idea that we should prohibit use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest desiccant on oats. The bill is also calling to reduce the permissible residue level of glyphosate by 300 fold, from 30 parts per million down to 0.1 parts per million. So that’s pretty significant. So this bill would dramatically lower people’s exposure to glyphosate, including children’s exposure. They want the USDA to routinely test these products that are marketed to children. That’s one component of DeLauro’s bill.

    MARC STEINER: Clearly this is kind of pushing some new issues out here and kind of extending this in ways that hasn’t happened before. We’ll have to really follow this closely. And Samara Geller, first, a, thank you for your work, and b, I look forward to talking to you again as we follow Monsanto and see where this goes.

    SAMARA GELLER: Great. Thank you so much.

    MARC STEINER: Thank you so much. And I’m Marc Steiner here for the Real News Network. Thank you all so much for joining us. Take care.

    Originally published on therealnews.com/stories/monsantos-weed-killer-is-substantial-factor-in-cancer-says-jury.

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  • Barragán on Frontlines of Immigration Battles

    • 03/21/2019
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    “Either you’re lying to this committee or you don’t know what’s happening at the border,” Rep. Nanette Barragán told Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen on March 6 at the first oversight hearing held under Democratic control of the House of Representatives.

    Barragán’s blunt assessment was well-deserved. Nielsen had earlier testified that asylum-seekers were not being turned away at the ports of entry—contrary to widespread media reports — and she had just doubled down on it again. When Barragán asked, “Was that your testimony?” Nielsen replied, “They’re not turned away.” It was an obvious falsehood, underscoring the Donald Trump administration’s signature contempt for honesty and accountability — even to Congress, where false testimony is a crime.

    “I have been there, first-hand, and I have seen it, twice,” Barragán shot back.  “More recently, it just happened on Saturday when I happened to be crossing the border with my mother.  I heard a gentleman say, ‘I’m from Honduras, I want to apply for asylum.’  He was already at the turnstiles at the Ped West entry. And the agent said, ‘Sir, unless you have a visa, you need to leave. You need to go away.’”

    This wasn’t Nielsen’s testimony, Barragán noted. “As a matter of fact, I pulled out my phone and started to record. And you know what? I was asked to stop recording. Why? Because they don’t want the American people knowing what is happening at that southern border.”

    But that was only Barragán’s most recent experience.

    “Do you know that two members of congress had to sleep overnight and spend 14 hours in the cold on the concrete at the Otay Mesa port of entry so a woman would be allowed to present herself because she was on U.S. soil and legally that’s what asylum allows? Did you know that?” Barragán asked Nielsen. The incident which involved Nielsen had been widely reported.

    Nielsen tried to evade, but Barragán pressed her, “Yes or no? Did you know that two members of Congress had to do that?”

    “I know that we have a process,” Nielsen said, evasive again.

    “Are you familiar with the asylum laws, Madam Secretary?” Barragán asked.

    “Yes,” Nielsen replied.

    Barragán followed up, “Where in the asylum law does it say… that you can be sent by an agent to another port of entry? Is it anywhere in the asylum law?”

    “What we’re trying to do is process,” Neilsen obfuscated again.

    “It’s not in there,” Barragán interjected, “I know. It’s a yes or no. It’s not in there. Because what you all are doing is not within the confines of the law.”

    Congressional oversight is supposed to ensure that government abides by the law, at a minimum. But oversight is clearly inadequate with regard to the Trump administration, which not only ignores the law, but also blatantly lies about it.

    Lastly, Barragán asked about Neilsen’s most outrageous claim.

    “You said that you waited to give direction on how to implement the zero tolerance policy, because you wanted to do it with compassion. Do you know how outrageous that sounds?” Barragán asked. “You wanted to separate children and families and you wanted to do it with compassion?”

    The absurdity was palpable, but utterly characteristic of the Trump administration.

    Six days later, Barragán joined her L.A. area colleague, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, along with two New York representatives, Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke to introduce the Dream and Promise Act, in order to protect undocumented immigrants who were protected under President Barack Obama administration policy.

    “For far too long, millions of immigrants have been forced to live with the uncertainty and fear of being torn away from the country they call home,” Barragán said in a statement announcing the act. “Today’s groundbreaking legislation puts forth permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for over two million DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], TPS [Temporary Protected Status] and DED [Deferred Enforced Departure] recipients.” The three programs provide protections for immigrants who may have no memories of countries to which they would otherwise be deported.

    It was not a radical, untested departure from past experience, she noted. It was a way to build a more solid foundation for the future.

    “As someone who represents more than 12,000 DACA-eligible youth and approximately 3,000 TPS holders, I know that when given a chance to fulfill the American Dream, our immigrant communities have excelled,” she explained. “For decades, immigrants have been an integral part of our society, our economy and our workforce by contributing in areas of education, public service and business. The Dream and Promise Act will finally provide relief for TPS holders and Dreamers and will forever change the course of our country.”

    The Trump administration began rescinding these programs in 2017, but court injunctions have partially limited their impacts. The Dream and Promise Act would finally provide permanent protection.

    “This bill is designed to promote justice and fairness for Dreamers, and for the TPS and DED holders who fled brutality, violence and natural disasters many years ago to come to this country,” Barragán said.

    Given Trump’s hostility to immigrants, a veto seems inevitable if it should reach his desk, however, public support for immigrants has increased dramatically in response to his attacks. This is one of the signature struggles of our time.

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  • A Stabbing in San Pedro

    Swift justice in brutal, tragic murder of local resident Jason Hodges

    By Adam R. Thomas, Editorial Intern

    Perhaps you’ve seen it over the past week. Driving into San Pedro on the 110 Freeway, a banner fluttering on a fence facing the southbound lanes greeting all who drive into the city. One with a simple message emblazoned on it: “Rest in Peace Suave.”

    “Suave,” in this case, was the nickname and handle to one Jason Elliot Hodges. Hodges was born, raised, and unfortunately saw his life ended in San Pedro last week when he was stabbed to death at the age of 41, in a series of events both tragic and all too common. He was a well-known figure in the San Pedro bar scene, on basketball courts at local parks, and among the tagging community as a friendly, outgoing figure albeit with a recently troubled personal history.

    “I just . . . we lost a good friend,” said Arrin Burruss, a close childhood friend of Hodges when asked about his death by Random Lengths News. “Everyone knew him. He was a good guy. He was a basketball star in high school. The person who did this, I hope he spends the rest of his life behind bars.”

    On March 11 shortly before 10 p.m., Hodges entered into a literal back-alley gambling parlor at 719 S. Pacific Ave. in the alley behind the Pacific Food and Beverage Museum and George’s Barbershop. Described as “an illegal internet café” by Detective Jeffrey Tiffin with the Los Angeles Harbor Division Police Department, the parlor operated a series of computers that ran unlicensed gaming activities for patrons.

    According to eyewitnesses interviewed by police, a man named Joseph Jamall Center, also known as “Black Joe,” had been sitting and waiting in the parlor for several hours. Center had been there since the business opened around midday, neither drinking nor interacting with anyone, and was described by observers as behaving “weird” and keeping to himself.

    When Hodges arrived, witnesses told police that Center approached him from behind, grabbing him with one arm round Hodges’ neck, and then stabbing Hodges repeatedly with a knife in his other hand before fleeing the premises.

    Witnesses describe a panicked scene that followed, with some of the roughly half a dozen people in the parlor leaving the area, while others tried to attend to Hodges. A witness whose name is withheld at the request of Harbor Division Police Department due to potential testimony in any upcoming trial, told police that Center returned to retrieve the knife and had to be chased away.

    In the panicked minutes that followed, two women attempted to get Hodge’s vehicle while the parlor’s proprietors lifted the 6’5”, 220-pound Hodges up the steps of the basement-based parlor into the alley. It took several minutes for the women to return with Hodge’s vehicle, place Hodges into the back seat, and then drive to Providence Little Company of Mary hospital. At this point, no one had called emergency services.

    Unfortunately, Hodge’s vehicle stalled out on 6th Street behind Little Company of Mary’s. According to witness reports told to investigators, the women transporting Hodges to the hospital attempted to get the attention of the hospital employees but could neither bring the vehicle to the emergency entrance, nor would hospital employees leave the property without an official emergency call having been made due to policy.

    By the time any medical help could reach Hodges in his vehicle, he had bled to death, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Center fled not only the scene of the crime, but San Pedro and LA County entirely. According to Tiffin, he was tracked to San Diego, where he was arrested on suspicion of murder March 15 by a joint LAPD and FBI task force and brought to the Harbor Division police station to be interviewed.

    Asked about what Center’s motive may have been, Tiffin told Random Lengths News that he couldn’t speak to what was learned during the interview due to its relevance in upcoming court proceedings, though he did indicate that it seemed “disproportionate” with whatever offense Hodges might have given Center.

    “The only thing I will say is that it was due to an ongoing dispute,” said Tiffin. “We interviewed him. I can’t go into specific details about that, but even by then, by interviewing witnesses we had enough [to file charges]. Between the two there was no drugs or stuff involved, no prison beef, anything like that.”

    On March 18, Center was charged for the murder of Jason Hodges and potentially faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility for parole if convicted. Center’s next date in court is March 27 at Long Beach Superior Court.

    Friends of Hodges interviewed by Random Lengths News had nothing but kind things to say and couldn’t contain their grief over Hodge’s death.

    “He was dearly loved and will always be in our hearts,” said Yesenia Aguilar, the College Bound director at the Boys and Girls club, who said she grew up attending the club with Hodges. “He was like family. It hurts. You never understand why someone was murdered in the town they grew up in.”

    Others interviewed indicated that Hodges had been suffering from drug and alcohol addiction issues, especially since his mother and last living direct relative, Judy, died this past year. Shortly after his mother’s death, Hodges was convicted of a felony for fleeing the scene of a crime, and spent much of 2018 at the Men’s Central Jail “Twin Towers” facility.

    Despite something of a checkered past, nearly all those interviewed about Hodges spoke highly of him, saying he was a friendly and outgoing person and well liked amongst the community.

    Hodges’ social media feed on Facebook is filled with generally upbeat, positive video messages addressed to “‘Dro City” residents about making it through the week and working hard to enjoy life as much as you can.

    “This whole thing with Jason is all so shocking and horrible, horrible, horrible,” said Elke Freeman, who works for the Local 1309 Laborer’s Union, and grew up with Hodges. “I don’t know if this is going to trial, but I plan on being at every court date. It takes from your life as well. Because he was a part of your life.”

    There is a memorial for Jason Hodges planned for March 30 at 11 a.m. at Bethany Christian Fellowship church on 792 W. 10th Street. Burruss, his family and Freeman are working with the church to arrange the service and ask that any donations made in Hodge’s name be directed to the church.

    Speaking about both his friend and the rising crime rate in San Pedro, Burruss had the following to say:

    We need to look out for each other better in San Pedro. That’s my third close friend that was murdered. Regardless of what color you are, we all went to the same elementary schools, the same junior highs and the same high schools. San Pedro is a good town and we need to look out for each other better than this.

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