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An Earthquake Here, A Hurricane There

Thursday, September 21, 2017

With the occurrence of 4 hurricanes and 2 earthquakes within just 3 weeks, it appears that “Hell hath no fury like September!”


Weather experts and disaster recovery teams have been working around the clock since Harvey touched down in Texas and Louisiana on August 25. Harvey let out its full fury for 4 days.  The Category 5 hurricane claimed $160B in damages.  


Those affected in the region were still recovering from the massive damage when Irma tore through South Florida, making landfall on Sept. 10.  The Category 4 hurricane left a deadly path of destruction in the Caribbean Islands, the National Hurricane Center said.


Weather experts took notice of another hurricane, Jose, which grew in intensity on Sept. 6.  However, it remains offshore and was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sept. 14 as it headed toward New England.


Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 storm. It is projected to swing just north of the Dominican Republic, and could be headed for the Eastern United States.  


Meanwhile, Mexico is dealing with the aftermath of a devastating magnitude-7.1 earthquake which struck 100 miles south of Mexico City around 1pm local time on Tuesday.  It is the second major quake to rock the area in as many weeks. 


Two weeks ago, a more powerful earthquake destroyed parts of Mexico’s Pacific Coast and led to the deaths of more than 90 people. At least 30 children are still being reported as missing after a school in Southern Mexico collapsed.


Shelters are packed, as are makeshift hospitals, and schools are closed indefinitely. Residents are being told to stay inside and away from windows.  But thousands have not heeded the order, rushing to the destruction, hoping to find missing loved ones among the rubble. 


More than 225 were dead as of 2pm Pacific time, CNN reported.  That figure has risen by at least 25 since Tuesday. 




By Veronica Mackey


On Tuesday, councilmen from all 4 Inglewood districts approved a number of items on the agenda.  Mayor James Butts was away in Sacramento, and Councilman Eloy Morales served as Mayor Pro Tem.


The meeting began with a public hearing to consider an ordinance that would amend the  Inglewood Municipal Code, and establish permit parking.  The council heard public comments in favor and against permit parking on 97th-99th streets, between La Brea Avenue and Myrtle Avenue.


A woman who lives on 98th Street wants permits because workers at the auto shop on La Brea and 98th have taken up spaces needed by residents for years.  She said they don’t honor the posted parking restriction signs.   


Another woman on 97th Street is against the permits.  “I don\t see the purpose of this permit,” she said.  “It’s not going to change anything.  All it’s going to do is—we’ll be paying out of our pockets.”


Morales addressed a question by a man who wanted to know how the 4-person-per-household limit will apply if a separate unit exists in the back of a house. The municipal code doesn’t specify whether 4 additional permits will be given if there is a front and rear house on the same property, he said.  The council will put this issue on the agenda and decide on the best course of action at a later date.  


Council members approved:


•Payment of invoices for environmental testing and related services at 101-105 S. La Brea Avenue (submitted by ECO & Associates) and general automotive repairs (submitted by The Bus Service Center)


•A purchase agreement for a Ford Passenger Wagon XLT; and cooperative purchase agreement (piggyback) to purchase a Toro Goundsmaster-4000-D Lawnmower


A resolution to establish an Inglewood Housing Trust Fund to receive and disburse donations to assist with affordable housing needs was also approved.  This item was a follow up from a previous meeting when Mayor Butts announced the fund.   


Long time resident Ray Davis commented that the fund should involve a citizen’s committee, and said Councilman Alex Padilla should oversee it.  Davis also said, “We don’t live in a Socialist state.  We have folks on fixed incomes, who are healthy as horses, who are gaming the system.  There should be a 5-year limit (for assistance).”


During closing comments council members thanked the public for supporting various community events.  George Dotson commented on his District 1 document shredding event;  Padilla mentioned his District 2 Picnic and Chili Cook Off, and Ralph Franklin acknowledged City officials who participated at his District 4 town hall meeting.


A special hearing was set for September 26 at 2pm to consider amending a zoning code to modify marijuana/cannabis regulations.






By Veronica Mackey


There is nothing like a shared crisis to bring people together, and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are living proof.  Neighbors helped neighbors.  State and federal officials worked tirelessly to rescue people and bring them to safety.  Agencies brought in plane and truck loads of food and emergency supplies.


These natural disasters brought out the best in people.  But they also brought out the worst.  You’d think with so many human lives at risk, everyone would be focused on personal safety and survival.  Sadly, there are some who see disasters as opportunities to rob and assault people and gouge prices.  Others are thrill seekers and deniers who don’t see hurricanes as something that will harm them personally.


Why people act inappropriately during natural disasters


What kind of person makes crime a top priority when they are in the midst of a Category 5 hurricane that could essentially wipe out their life, the lives of people they love and all their earthly possessions?  


Why do some people refuse to evacuate despite repeated warnings?  Why do others deliberately put themselves in harm’s way, and even treat a hurricane as a form of entertainment.


The Sun reported that gangs were taking advantage of evacuated properties across Florida during Irma.  One group allegedly looted an empty sports store in Orlando, sparking a stand off with SWAT team officers.


Other reports emerged of people who appeared to view the hurricane as a real life amusement park.  A video surfaced of a family running happily toward the ocean in Florida. In another video, children were seen jumping into waist-deep water, as if the flooded street was a public pool.


According to, people usually don’t evacuate due to physical disabilities, they can’t stand to leave their pets behind, or they have a false belief that they won’t be affected that much because they came out okay in a previous storm.  Even people with the means to evacuate stay behind because they fear their homes will be looted or damaged more if they vacate.  More people will evacuate if officials say it is mandatory, according to one study in the Journal of Transportation Engineering.


Another hurricane in the making


In the aftermath of Irma, all eyes are now on Hurricane Jose as it meanders off the Atlantic coast through next week, AccuWeather reports.


Currently a Category 1 hurricane, Jose is churning about 500 miles to the east-northeast of the Bahamas.  Meterologists expect Jose to fluctuate between a minimal hurricane and tropical storm over the next several days.


At best, Jose will continue to move in a circular pattern to the south, then the northwest, then the north into this weekend. This pattern will keep Jose between Bermuda, the Bahamas and the southeastern coast of the U.S and keep it safely away from land.


At worst, Jose could move toward the west, close to the coast of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England.  Should this happen, there will be increased risk of beach erosion and coastal flooding next week. Hurricanes are no joke.  Learn from the devastation of Harvey, Irma and even Katrina.  




Top 5 Ways 9/11 has Changed America

Thursday, September 14, 2017

By Veronica Mackey


It’s been 16 years since the event occurred that would change the course of America and the world forever.  The devastating terrorist attacks on America—which claimed over 3,000 lives, and caught us unaware—was so horrific that words used to describe the myriad of events on that fateful date remain inadequate.  It is known simply by its date—9/11.


Since radical Islamic terrorists waged war on America, steps toward heightening national security have taken center stage.  Today, 9/11 continues to impact our way of life. It affects everything from air travel to race relations and how businesses are run.  Here are some of the top ways 9/11 has changed American life—for better or worse:


1.  Creation of Homeland Security.  New regulations on everything from border security to natural-disaster management emerged after the attacks under the newly created Dept. of Homeland Security.  The department absorbed and reorganized 22 existing agencies dealing with domestic safety, law enforcement and immigration. 


2. Transportation Security Administration.  The dreaded airport pat-down is now the norm for air travelers.  And that includes everyone from children to grandma and grandpa.  But are we safer on planes?  If the fact that there have been no more hijacking of airplanes, crashing into American buildings since 2001, then the answer is yes.  Lately, there has been a rise in attacks between airline personnel and passengers.


3. Electronic surveillance.  Michael Jackson wasn’t wrong when he sang, “electric eyes are everywhere.”  The terrorist attacks made us more suspicious than ever of each other.  Now everyone is suspect for all sorts of reasons.  People’s lives are tracked on and offline via surveillance cameras, social media and everyday cellphone video.  It has brought to light everything from criminal activity to racially motivated police shootings.


4.  Securing Business Data.  For many companies, keeping technology safe and people working required a shift in how business is done.  A Forbes article (Sept. 8, 2011) described how companies were forced to create emergency evacuation plans and systems for data recovery and the ability to work remotely.


5.  Muslims were placed under the spotlight.  Because men responsible for the attacks were Muslim, this group came under severe scrutiny.  Subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and attacks on Christians in countries where Islamic religion is practiced confirmed for many that Middle Easterners are enemies of America.  


However, Rick Love. president of Peace Catalyst International and consultant for Christian-Muslim relations with Vineyard USA, doesn’t agree.  In an article for Christianity Today (Sept. 6, 2011), Love pointed to the National Prayer Breakfast in 2005 as proof.  King Abdullah II of Jordan forcefully spoke out against terrorism, he said, despite media complaints that Muslims remain silent. 


Love also noted other Muslim countries that are building bridges. “Qatar hosts the annual Doha Interfaith Conference. King Abdullah al-Saud of Saudi Arabia promotes interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance, which was unheard of prior to 9/11. This same dynamic is happening in the U.S. among Muslim organizations and local mosques.”



It’s Hispanic Heritage Month!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

For the next month, from September 15 through October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month will be celebrated across America.  This national observance recognizes the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the group's heritage and culture.


Like Black History Month, it began as a week and was later extended to a month.  Hispanic Heritage Week was sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles), and first proclaimed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-Pico Rivera) wrote a bill expanding the observance to a full month, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan 20 years later in 1988.  


It’s interesting that the legislation was sponsored by two California lawmakers and implemented by a president from California.


Historically, September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in 1921.  Mexico, Chile and Belize  celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively. 


In the U.S., the commemorative month is celebrated by community festivals and educational activities.  The beauty of National Hispanic Heritage Month lies in its ability to share cultural activities and educate non-Hispanics.  And when people of all races and backgrounds appreciate the customs of a particular group, everyone’s life is made richer.  


From food to music, holiday traditions or historical figures—where there is mutual respect, there is less prejudice and propensity for violence. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month or any other cultural observance reminds us that we all want the same basic things—love, respect, honor, and opportunities to live a decent life.  It is our basic right as human beings.


With the renewed enthusiasm for White Supremacy and Neo Nazism, there has never been a better time to demonstrate the power of tolerance and diversity.  We in Inglewood have an opportunity to show the world that brown, black and white people can and do live peacefully side by side.  


Progress made in the city is not only a result of economic development, but a favorable living environment.  There is no doubt that when the NFL and other large investors considered coming to Inglewood, they didn’t just look at the location, but the people within this city.  The racial and political climate can make or break a city.  As much as Inglewood is ideally located, has great leadership and nice weather year ’round, I doubt investors would take a second look if Inglewood had been known for race riots.


To all of my Hispanic friends, Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!


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