Vote "No" on Proposition 16 — "The PG&E Monopoly Act." This self-serving proposition is a perfect example of a company buying an election for themselves. They are spending about $35 million to buy deceptive, essentially nonstop TV ads. The fliers will hit our mailboxes soon.
Their proposition will enshrine their monopoly in the state Constitution, and for all practical purposes prevent any competition by requiring a two-thirds vote for municipalities (or other community cooperatives) to set up or expand an electricity district.
Existing municipal power companies like the L.A. Department of Water and Power, Pasadena or Burbank would also be required to get such a vote to expand their service areas to new customers. Many also think these proposed restrictions will slow the expansion of renewable energy.
They are couching their ads under the "Taxpayers' Right to Vote" banner. This is very deceptive. We already have the right to vote — they just want to prevent competition in utility rates by requiring an almost impossible two-thirds vote.
Note also that these anti-competitive provisions would also apply to SCE and SDG&E and their service areas.
It is almost impossible to get a 2/3 vote on anything in California. Vote "No" on 16.
Columnist mistaken about Arizona lawLike so many who are not aware of what is actually in the recently passed and strict Arizona Immigration Law, Valley Sun columnist Anita Brenner writes mistakenly that "police have the right to pull over anyone who 'looks' illegal." ("Left. Right. Left. Right." May 13.)
The Arizona law does not say that, although a lot of Latinos, both legal and illegal, think it does. Even President Obama has stated wrongly that even a person visiting an ice cream shop faces the possibility of being under suspicion as an illegal immigrant with his interpretation of the law.
It is important to know that the Arizona law from Senate Bill 1070 conforms fully with the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. Under the law, Arizona police cannot stop anyone merely because of their appearance or ethnic group.
The key words here are "legal contact." Only when someone is pulled over because of a traffic violation, being in an accident, suspect in a crime, etc., in the first place can an officer inquire about proper identification and immigration status.
Let's remember that the Arizona law was passed only because state residents want protection from the massive illegal entry into Arizona ever since President Reagan gave amnesty to 2 million illegals in 1986 and following Presidents George Bush Sr., Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have failed to secure the southern border, which is the responsibility of the federal government.
Arizona has more illegals than any other state, 460,000, and has been doling out $1 billion annually for educational and medical services for the illegals. In the case of the state, it is only defending itself with the new law.
Have your home alarm system checkedIn March our home in La Cañada was burglarized and ransacked. When the sheriffsshowed up, their first question was, "How did they get in?" We showed them the large pane of glass in the French door that had been shattered. The second question was, "Did you have your alarm on?"
Yes, we did. I had set it twice that day, once first thing in the morning at 7 a.m. when I headed to a meeting and then a second time when I left again at 9:40 a.m. It appeared that in addition to entering through the broken glass panel, the burglars went out one of our doors. So why didn't the alarm go off?
I called the alarm company to check the system. I wanted them to confirm the alarm was on when the burglary occurred. The first thing the technician told us is that the monitoring box for the system was not on the right day or time. The technician said that the box does not record the right information when there are power outages or there is a seasonal time change. For an hour he tried to figure out if the alarm had been on, extrapolating from what time the system said to what it actually was. He said he was going to bring someone else in to figure it out, but it appeared the alarm was off.
I requested the head of the department come out and check the system. They confirmed our alarm was on during the burglary and had been set twice that day. However, they checked each door and found that one of the doors had become disconnected and was not working. I asked them what they were monitoring if they weren't telling us when our system was working improperly.
Bottom line, your alarm is not necessarily protecting your home. It might not be monitoring the correct day or time and may not even be working in certain places. If you have glass sensors, they only work about 50% of the time. If you have a current system, call your alarm company and have them check everything. Then have them show you how to do your own self-check. From there, have them recommend upgrades to your system for more protection.
Liu should put kids' interests above unionCalifornia continues to impose its financial crisis on schools through sharply reduced funding. La Cañada Unified School District faces additional cuts, but has had to lay off very few teachers to date. Other districts have had to lay off hundreds of teachers at a time.
Any cuts impact quality of education throughout our state, but the cuts are made more devastating to students because rigid tenure rules force districts to lay off the least senior teachers, regardless of their skill. Since many districts assign their newest teachers to the lowest-performing schools, the seniority rule maximizes the impact of cuts on kids who can afford them the least, those in lower-performing schools.
In response, a bipartisan bill (Senate Bill 955) authored by state Sen. Richard Huff, a Republican, was backed by Senate Education Committee Chair Gloria Romero, and committee member Elaine K. Alquist, both Democrats, and is pending before the entire Senate. A similar bill is percolating in the state Assembly. If passed, the bills will likely enhance districts' flexibility in notifying teachers of potential layoffs, reduce mandatory hearings prior to layoffs and allow reassignment and layoffs to be based on teacher effectiveness and subject matter needs in addition to seniority.
As the father of three children and the president of the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, I fully support SB 955 because I am concerned with our children's teachers' skill, not "years in the system." While experience of course is beneficial to a teacher, this is only one attribute. The problem with rigid tenure rules is that they presume the longer-serving teacher must be better than the more newly hired teacher, and therefore must be kept even if this presumption is false.
Carol Liu is La Cañada Flintridge's representative in the state Senate. Or is she? Despite her eight years on the City Council and full knowledge of our community's intense interest in the quality of public education, she voted against SB 955 in committee. This results from her support from the California Teachers Assn., the labor organization that has strangled every great reform idea for education that might interfere with the union's interests. These interests include impeding or preventing the termination of poorly performing teachers. SB 955 is the latest example. It is a great idea that will help LCUSD and other districts manage the financial crisis without badly damaging quality of education.
I strongly urge those interested in public education to contact Liu and remind her that no matter how heavily the union backs her, we parents are her constituents, and we expect her to put kids' educational needs over the union's special interests.