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Briefly In the News

DeVore demands prisoners’ release

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore has issued letters to officials of the Peoples Republic of China, from Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong to several local police officials, demanding the release of four imprisoned women with close ties to California. The women are all adherents of Falun Gong, a religion that is under suppression in China.

Yao-Hua Li, and Yi-Bo Zhang, reportedly in detention at the Xuhui District Detention Center in Shanghai, are the mother and sister of Yi-Yuan Chang, assistant director of the Center for Esthetic Dentistry at UCLA.

Jinhua Ma, believed held at the Anhui Women’s Forced Labor Camp since September, is the mother of MaQiong Wang, a longtime Californian.

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Chunyan Wang, reportedly held in the Laioning Province Women’s Prison, is the mother of Ping Yu, a longtime Californian.

“Though the constitution of the People’s Republic of China formally guarantees freedom of religion, the fact is that Communist authorities use force to oppress particular faiths, including Falun Gong, various Christian sects, Buddhists and Muslims,” DeVore said. “I am sending letters demanding the release of these prisoners for two reasons: because their Californian loved ones deserve no less from a Californian public servant, and because the cause of liberty is the cause of every American.”

Harman residential treatment bill dies

State Sen. Tom Harman’s Senate Bill 268 was defeated by the Assembly Health committee, Harman announced Wednesday. The bill would have required residential recovery applicants to self-certify that they are in compliance with local zoning laws and to submit an updated fire clearance with their license renewal.

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“One of the goals of residential recovery is allowing for the full integration of genuine treatment homes into neighborhoods,” Harman said. “SB 268 would have smoothed that process while preserving the character of the neighborhoods.”

Harman claims residential treatment facilities lack reasonable regulation so local zoning and fire regulations are routinely ignored. “Clients in these facilities deserve to reside in an environment that reflects current standards and requirements for safety,” Harman said. “My bill sought to protect [clients]by upholding the integrity and accountability of the facility while at the same time preserve the safety and beauty of our neighborhoods.”

The bill was granted reconsideration by the Assembly Health committee and can be brought up again.

Traffic in local region dips for first time in 25 years

Drivers in the Los Angeles/Orange County region have seen a slight relief on congested roads, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority.

A 2009 Urban Mobility Report shows that each driver spent two hours less sitting behind the wheel of their car during 2007 compared to the previous year. These changes represent the first break in traffic growth in 25 years.

Even with a decrease in traffic, the region remains the No. 1 congested area in the United States, followed by Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Delays from traffic cost travelers $1,500 in the Los Angeles/Orange County area and 53 gallons of extra fuel during 2007.

“We are seeing a decline in traffic on our roads, but we expect the opposite when the economy rebounds,” said Peter Buffa, chairman of the OCTA. “Public transportation gives commuters badly needed relief from traffic while saving them money and cutting down on carbon emissions. It’s also critical that we continue to improve our freeways to reduce gridlock.”

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Old-fashioned sing-a-long planned at senior center

Steve Lawless and Jeanine Just will lead a sing-a-long for all ages at the Susi Q Senior Center from 1 to 3 p.m. July 20.

With Lawless on the piano and Just leading the voices, the duo will perform Broadway favorites, old standards, folk and love songs, while attendees join in.

The fee is $5. The center is at 380 Third St. For reservations, call (949) 497-2441.



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