The Valley Sun on Feb. 3 reported that the La Cañada Flintridge Republican "committee" endorsed three City Council candidates ("Republicans endorse three for council" by Joe Piasecki).
Al Restivo and his La Cañada Flintridge Republican Club, which is the chartered name of the group, has no authority to speak for the Republican Party regarding endorsements in nonpartisan elections where more Republicans are running than there are seats available. Five of the seven candidates for three seats are Republicans. One of the candidates Restivo's club endorsed isn't even a Republican, which a Republican Club is explicitly forbidden to do.
Restivo's immediate superiors are the elected members of the 44th Assembly District Republican Committee, for which Peggy Mew is the current chairwoman. This committee, in turn, is under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Republican Central Committee, currently led by Jane Barnett. Only Jane Barnett's committee is empowered to make exceptions by endorsing individual candidates in nonpartisan elections.
If Restivo operated within the chain of command, he would recommend candidates for endorsement to the 44th AD Republican Central Committee. The Committee would then interview them. If members vote to recommend them for endorsement, they take their case to the LA County Central Committee. Members of the County Committee then take a vote. If a candidate is approved by a majority of its more than 100 members, they are officially endorsed by the Republican Party.
Restivo also defied the 44th AD Republican Central Committee by referring to his club as a "committee," a term that has special significance in the Republican Party hierarchy. The Central Committee has explicitly told him not to do this. His Republican Club has no authority other than that granted to his organization by the 44th AD Republican Central Committee.
La Cañada Flintridge voters should know that the Republican Party has not yet endorsed any La Cañada Flintridge City Council candidates, and that Al Restivo is not the voice of the Republican Party in our town.
David C. Wilcox
La Cañada Flintridge
The writer is an alternate member of the 44th Assembly District Republican Central Committee
Trouble communicating with the city
I was most intrigued by the title of the "Piece of Mind" column in the Valley Sun last week — time for us to participate. It was not the subject of the comment, but the difficulty in getting our city government to allow us to participate was what it brought to mind.
After 28 years as a superior court judge, I and several friends have taken the training at the local sheriff's office to be certified as Community Emergency Response Team members. It was there that I learned that La Crescenta has a large and viable volunteer CERT group directed by volunteer leaders, but La Cañada, with someone paid to lead, has nothing.
Several judges here have tried to communicate with the city government about organizing but get no response.
In a major emergency when there are not enough professionals to help our residents, CERT is a resource that can help, but not without an organization. Perhaps you can help.
Thanks for your time and your most informative paper.
La Cañada Flintridge
No need for further prison studies
I read at www.lacandaonline.com with interest the La Canada Valley Sun piece entitled "Portantino announces prison reform bill, Plan seeks to lower recidivism rates as alternative to early release."
In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger commissioned former Governor Deukmejian to prepare a report entitled Corrections Independent Review Panel. This followed the 1990 Blue Ribbon Commission on Inmate Population Management and the Jan. 18, 1994, Little Hoover Commission Report. Finally, pursuant to AB 900, an Expert Panel Report was prepared at a cost of several million dollars seven years ago.
Each of these reports had commonalities:
1. Sentencing reform was necessary to use the limited prison beds to the highest and best use;
2. Release the aged and infirm from prison as they posed no threat to public safety whereas their lengthy sentences were the result of emotional appeals to fear rather than to any actual threat;
3. Implement substance abuse, anger management and other rehabilitation programs in prison;
4. Reduce inmate population to a manageable level; and
5. Provide inmates with a minimum 8th-grade-level education along with vocational skills.
There is no need for any further studies. Action is what is necessary. Governor Schwarzenegger slashed $1.2 billion from the CDCR budget in his last term, almost all of which was applied in a manner to almost completely terminate educational, vocational and rehabilitation programs.
Although Mr. Portantino is a man to be respected, he is realistic enough to understand that in the midst of a depression, there is little money, and even less will, to implement the programs necessary to effectively reduce inmate population. I join Mr. Portantino in his fear that releasing young inmates who have not experienced successful rehabilitation is foolish and self-defeating. Because they have spent from three to seven years or longer in prison with no help to change their anti-social behavior, upon release they will have typically changed in only one way — having learned how to be better at what they did to get themselves incarcerated. However, another study to reach the same conclusion will not change what is needed and how California is failing to rehabilitate the incarcerated.
Prior to retirement in December, I was a volunteer Jewish chaplain in the state prison system, at which time I visited 26 of the 33 prisons; and a registered lobbyist in the capitol addressing a single issue, prison rehabilitation reform. I gave up for but one reason: It is clear that it will be at least a decade before California's economy will recover enough to implement any meaningful prison reform.
Thoughts on medical marijuana
[Re: "City to consider medical pot ban," on www.lacanadaonline.com.] Marijuana is highly effective as a painkiller for numerous medical conditions and treatment regimes. Judging from the actions of the planning board, none of the city's residents suffer from chronic pain. Or perhaps the planning board prefers that residents leave town to do their shopping or buy from a local street dealer.
Other cities in California (Albany, Berkeley, Richmond, San Jose, Oakland, Stockton, Sacramento) tax the sale of marijuana to pay for public services. Next time the city cries for funds from Sacramento or Washington, they ought to consider the anti-business position of the planning board on this matter.
Carnelian Bay, Calif.
An election suggestion
The LCF City Council Campaign is in full swing. You are probably noticing campaign ads, mailers, coffees, yard signs, etc. Three seats are open, and two incumbents are running for reelection. That leaves three spots for you to vote for on March 8th. Thank you Greg Brown for your years of service to the community. We do appreciate your dedication and support for our little city.
We are writing you today about Laura Olhasso. She was a tremendous representative and leader of our community during the Station fire. She was mayor during one of our community's most difficult times and she did an outstanding job representing our town to rest of the world. Laura is just one of our very dedicated and supportive representatives and we are proud to have her on our city council. She has proven herself. Her background and experience show proven leadership, exactly what we continue to need on city council.
While we believe most of you know and respect Laura's capacity to work on our cities behalf, we absolutely need you to get out and vote. Given the time and effort Laura has expended on our behalf, taking the small amount of your time to make sure she continues in place would seem to be a small price for each of us to pay.
There are three city council spots to vote for on March 8 and we ask that one of your votes be for Laura Olhasso.
John and Faye Therrien
City council choices
There are three easy choices for La Cañadans in the upcoming council election. Showing outstanding leadership and prudent management, incumbents Laura Olhasso and Don Voss should be an unquestioned choice for all voters. I support them both and hope that you will too.
And I hope you'll join me in supporting Charlie Kamar to replace outgoing Councilman Greg Brown.
Owning La Cañada 76 on Foothill Boulevard, Charlie has direct and daily involvement in city life. Community-issue discussions at his gas pumps are La Cañada's version of meeting at the old general store, and Charlie is frequently there to listen and offer constructive opinions. He brings a local-business perspective that will inform council deliberations, and as a successful merchant, Charlie knows what it will take to recruit and keep the kind of businesses we need.
Charlie and Taleen actively support La Cañada schools, with a son at Palm Crest and through fund-raising partnerships with the LCF Educational Foundation. Charlie knows the difficulty our schools face, and will look for creative ways to support them through the city-schools joint-use committee.
Living and working close to the freeway, Charlie has first-hand experience with traffic and noise levels already present. He will be an advocate for sensible and effective noise reduction, and will work closely with council colleagues to oppose the 710/210 freeway connection. And he'll work just as hard for a fair, equitable, and ecologically responsible solution to the sewer issues affecting homes below Foothill Boulevard.
Don't miss this opportunity to add Charlie's unique blend of experience and commitment to City Hall. Please join me in voting for Charlie Kamar for La Cañada Flintridge City Council.