Angelica

Angelica

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Traditions that Bind

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Parents, especially those with young children, seem to know no limits when it comes to the holidays.  They will spend their last dime, stay up until their eyes are beyond bloodshot, doing whatever it takes to make sure little ones get a visit from the bearded man in the red suit.  Hours of preparation will go into making the perfect Christmas dinner and folks will brave L.A. traffic, fight for parking spaces and stand in long, lines to maintain holiday tradition.

 

As adults, we want to pass on the holiday traditions we had as children that made our Christmas celebrations so bright.  There are so many memories to savor.  Some chop their own trees and wait until Christmas Eve to decorate.  Some open gifts at midnight, while others wait until day light on Christmas Day.  In sunny L.A., a common caricature is one of Santa surfing at the beach. 

 

Whatever traditions were handed down by our families, it is clear that the holidays bring us closer together than at any other time of year.  They are a big part of our memories, and they provide meaning and a sense of belonging.

 

Whatever holiday traditions you hold near, I hope that it is something you truly enjoy and something that holds meaning for you.  Since Christmas and New Years are times of reflection, I would like to offer my thoughts on how to manage traditions, which is really the result of expectation.

 

If you are stretching yourself way beyond your capacity to tradition, it is time to reassess your holiday traditions.  If you are trying to maintain a level of gift giving, holiday preparations or activities that you neither have the time, money, or energy to fulfill, it is time to revise what you’re doing.  You may have to say no to that Christmas party or plan on staying an hour instead of three, trim down your gift list, or order Christmas dinner from a supermarket or local restaurant.  Don’t beat up on yourself if you can’t pull off everything the way you want to.  Remember what is really important.

 

Traditions bind us, and the result can be joyful or frustrating. We may feel loving as we share tradition, or it can feel like a noose around our necks.  Feeling the comfort tradition brings is

 

good, feeling burdened and obligated by it is not.

 

The holiday spirit does to a person what no other time of year can, providing inner joy, peace and celebration, bringing smiles to young and old kids alike.  The desire to please and make everyone happy, however, can take its toll.  So make sure that you can find a little happiness for yourself this holiday season. 

 

You may have to adjust your expectations of what you are actually able to do.  But if it will bring you peace of mind, it will be well worth it.  Make a tradition out of releasing yourself of unrealistic expectations and “have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”

 

Families in District 1 will be celebrating this holiday season with an even bigger smile on their faces as Councilman George Dotson hand delivered 3 cars-full of Christmas gifts to residents throughout the district.

 

To kick off his 2nd Annual Toy Giveaway, Councilman Dotson, who was dressed in a red Santa Claus hat, distributed gifts to four families out of the Inglewood ICOPS Center on Manchester Blvd.  Families entered the center and immediately lit up when they saw the tables stacked high with presents, and were greeted with hugs and well wishes for the holidays.

 

On the purpose of the event, Councilman Dotson shared, “We had four families, whose name were given to me by the different schools in my district, Warren Lane and Kelso. The principals expressed to me that these families were really in need, my purpose of doing this, is to help those in need.”

 

He continued, “Today, we have been blessed to be able to give away toys as well as gift certificates for food from Ralphs and Vons. We also have gift certificates from Target. I’ve been blessed with donations from some wonderful sponsors such as: The Rotary Club, Jan Vogel and the One Stop, as well as wonderful neighbors who are too numerous to mention, who have dropped off toys and given money so that this can happen. It’s not only me, I may be the hub, but the spokes and the wheels are the people in the 1st District.”

 

Cynthia Rhodes, a mother of two beautiful young girls, couldn’t hold back the tears as Councilman Dotson handed her a stack of gifts for her children and a gift certificate for Target and Ralphs. She said, “I’m very happy to be selected for such a wonderful event. Today for me, it’s a symbol of what I’ve been hoping for all this time. We stay in a constant state of praise and gratitude and this is the result of it. So, it’s pretty awesome to see gratitude come to life right before our very eyes.”

 

The event culminated with a caravan of volunteers driving throughout the district delivering gifts personally to other families whose names were provided by Inglewood Housing Authority and the Inglewood Police Department.

 

As we crossed intersections, turned down familiar avenues, climbed out of the car, and entered the homes, families were warm and inviting, and the children were excited and eager to open their gifts. The looks on the faces of all the volunteers as well as Councilman Dotson, was one of pride and joy.   

 

I stopped Councilman Dotson for a quick second at the last drop off and he added, “Just knowing that you can make someone’s week or year, it really makes a difference. We can all make a difference, we just have to do it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Stevie Wonder in the House

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stevie Wonder will be in the House (of Toys) this Saturday, Dec. 20 for his 19th annual holiday benefit concert at the Fabulous Forum.  This year, he’s bringing an extra special treat to fans—a performance of songs from his double album, Songs in the Key of Life. 

 

Wonder’s signature album topped the charts in 1976, hitting #1 on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone. “I Wish,”  “As,” “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Love’s in Need of Love Today” are just a few classic favorites from the masterpiece.

 

According to Wonder’s Facebook page, “Songs In The Key Of Life will be celebrated with a special tribute by The GRAMMYs on Feb. 16th! The Recording Academy, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS will present "Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life — A GRAMMY Salute," a primetime entertainment special that will celebrate the iconic songbook and remarkable legacy of the 25-time GRAMMY winner.

“The two-hour show will feature the biggest names in music today performing Stevie’s songs and will air on CBS Television Network Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, from 9 – 11 p.m. ET/PT.”

 

Stevie will be joined by special musical guests.  This year’s line-up was not available at press time.  Past performers and participants include Alica Keys, Boney James, Babyface, Chaka Khan, Jamie Foxx, Justin Bieber and Corinne Bailey Rae. 

 

This year’s House Full of Toys show culminates an 11-date North American tour, which showcased Songs in the Key of Life performances at each stop.  The tour, which began on November 6 in New York City, made its way through DC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta to name a few cities.  

 

Concert goers are encouraged to bring unwrapped gifts to the holiday show, which will be passed on to underprivileged children.  The House Full of Toys event benefits Wonder’s We Are You Foundation, which supports local charities and families in need.

 

Tickets are on sale now.  Visit www.ticketmaster.com or call (800) 745-3000.  For more information on the GRAMMY event, visit www.grammy.com.

 

 

 

Butts Nominated to MTA Board

Thursday, December 18, 2014

South Bay officials want a larger share of federal money and influence for transportation projects, and they believe Inglewood Mayor James Butts can deliver.  In fact, they voted last week for him to replace Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor as the regional representative on the Metro board.

 

Torrance Mayor Pat Furey nominated Butts for the post.  The Southwest Corridor Cities subcommittee voted in his favor. The City Selection Committee is expected to ratify the appointment at its meeting in January.

 

As a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member, Butts would represent the Southwest Corridor, which consists of 18 cities in the South Bay and Westside. 

 

Despite O’Connor’s 13 years on the board and support from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti,  O’Connor only won votes from Culver City, and 4 small Palos Verdes Peninsula cities.  With $1 billion of the $40 billion allocated to the Southwest Corridor over the next 30 years, Corridor cities would only get about 2.5 percent of the funds.  They are paying more than that in sales tax revenue, according to reports.   

 

"I'm very honored to be chosen by cities and to be chosen as the first representative from Inglewood to be nominated for the board," Butts told the Santa Monica Lookout. "I hope to provide a voice for the Westside cities on the Board as we move forward.”

 

With 12 votes, Inglewood represents the second largest voting population (Torrance is number one with 15 votes) in the Southwest Corridor.  With Butts as the Corridor’s representative, Inglewood would be in a strong position.

 

In regard to Inglewood, Butts said he would “revisit the issue of grade separation for the Florence-Centinela crossing of the Metrorail (and) develop a shuttle or turnaround solution to move passengers from the Florence-La Brea station to the Forum and the new Hollywood Park Tomorrow development site.”

 

Traffic in Southern California is the cause of much frustration, road rage and late night jokes. However, Butts has high hopes that even in 405-ville, the MTA Board and officials can find a clear path out of gridlock.  It begins, he said, with strong leadership. 

 

“I want to provide an effective collaborative voice for the Southwest Corridor Cities,” he said.  He envisions a “countywide transportation system that reduces our reliance on the automobile, resulting in cleaner air and less reliance on oil.” 

 

Don’t we all?

 

Assuming he is approved by the full City Selection Committee in January, Butts will serve a four-year term that ends in January 2019.  There are no term limits for MTA board members.

 

 

Metro Board members are selected by City Selection Committee subcommittees representing the four regions of LA County—the North County/San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Southeast Long Beach and Southwest Corridor. 

Members include all five County Supervisors, the mayor of Los Angeles, three mayoral appointees and a non-voting gubernatorial appointee.

Unfinished Business and Holiday Cheer

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Inglewood council wrapped up 2014 by approving a number of agenda items and recapping important achievements of the year.

 

A public hearing was held to consider approval of a draft of the Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report (CAPER) for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.  Grants Coordinator Damian Pipkins reported on Inglewood’s outreach to low-income seniors, veterans, the homeless  and those with disabilities, through federally-funded programs.  From Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014, “Three summer camps were held, which helped just under100 people.  We provided senior meals, again to just under 100 people,” Pipkins said. 

 

In addition, services were provided to the elderly (mostly homebound), and 6 streets and 22 sidewalks were improved.  The HOME program upgraded homes to make them more accessible to those with physical disabilities.   Veterans received help with rent and other essentials, and emergency grants were used to help the homeless.  “Case management assisted 17 people to go from homelessness to self-sufficiency,” Pipkins said.

 

Gil Mathieu had comments about the government’s Section 8 housing subsidy program.  “Many property owners are opting out of Section 8, availability is decreasing.  What I’m concerned about is a lot of these properties have been improved with HUD funds so there should be some stipulation about bailing out,” Mathieu said.

 

The council also took action to approve several year-end agenda items, including the purchase of new flooring for the Veterans Center and Rogers Park, new park lighting, new traffic signs and accessories, and liquid chlorine for water treatment.  Agreements were approved for public art to be created, which includes multi-media, a bronze sculpture, and urban theatre.  The City will consolidate four of its lots and a portion of two lots into one at 3656 111th St. 

 

Two public hearings were set for January 13, 2015 at 7pm.  The first will consider an appeal to allow the installation of a roof mounted telecommunications facility at 10318 Prairie Ave. The second will consider an ordinance amendment to the Inglewood Municipal Code to establish the Regent Circle Permit Parking District.

 

SCE representative Marvin Jackmon presented the City with a check for $13,000 as a reward for saving energy.  Wayne Spencer of the South Bay Workforce Investment Board announced the cities of Torrance and Lomita have been added to the South Bay Cities Council of Governments and will become eligible to receive various employment-related programs and services.  Also, SBWIB has received $1.1 million in funding from the U.S. Dept.

 

Labor to provide academic and occupational skills training for local youth.    

 

City Manager Artie Fields announced that Inglewood recently received an award for its outstanding work in labor relations and labor negotiations, which has saved the City millions of dollars.   

 

Commenting on the financial burden of lifetime retiree medical benefits which Inglewood faced before the renegotiation, Fields said, “This (type of deal) has placed a lot of cities on the brink of bankruptcy.  The (savings) is a result of the hard work of our staff and bargaining groups.”

 

The City's labor negotiations team, comprised of Fields, David Esparza, Jose Cortes, Jack Hoffman, and Mike Falkow, renegotiated with the City's 6 labor groups, resulting in successful reduction of unfunded liability.

 

Falkow said in a statement, “By exchanging the massive, high-cost benefit with a more reasonable Retiree Health Savings Plan, the savings amounted to almost $165 million over 30 years!”

 

A comment that the council is too agreeable prompted responses by Councilmembers Ralph Franklin and Eloy Morales. “We agree because we meet days in advance and, we read our agendas,” Franklin said. 

 

Morales’ comments were poetic:

 

“A lot has been said about our agreeing up here.  Well, while we have been up here agreeing, the Forum was reopened and Hollywood Park is already starting on a $2 billion project.  While we were up here agreeing, the deficit was cut almost in half, crime has been reduced.  We’ve all seen what has happened when we’ve been disagreeing.  Three thousand to 4,000 residents came out for the tree lighting.  It was an amazing turnout.  Positive things are happening while we’re up here agreeing.”

 

“I don’t know what else I could say after that,” Mayor Butts said.  He closed out the session with a recap of recent positive events in Inglewood. “Snoop Dogg has adopted the city, and we gave away 800 turkeys to needy families.   We’ve seen the biggest tree lighting celebration in the South Bay and including L.A.  We didn’t have to pay a dime for that.  We celebrated our children, and the adults were happy. That was the culmination of this year.  It’s what we work for—a happy, safe community.” 

 

Councilman George Dotson wished Inglewood a blessed, happy and wonderful holiday.  Councilman Alex Padilla made similar remarks. 

 

Inglewood City Hall will close on Dec. 19, 2014 and reopen Jan. 5, 2015. 

 

 

 

 

 

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