Lyn Jensen's Blog: Manga, Music, and Politics

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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Link to Published Story: Fighting Hunger, Random Lengths, 11/9-22/17


Random Lengths has published my round-up of food charities in the Los Angeles Harbor area in the Nov. 9-22, 2017 issue and online. Here's the link to the online version (please copy and paste in your browser):
http://www.randomlengthsnews.com/2017/11/fighting-hunger-never-ending-battle/?ct=t%28Random+Update%3A+Rancho+San+Pedro
+Redevelopment%29&mc_cid=aefc1ee54d&mc_eid=%5BUNIQID%5D
Should the link be down, the text of the article follows:
More people go hungry in Los Angeles County than anywhere else in America — the roughly 1.5 million people who need food assistance is a number that’s remained fairly constant throughout this decade. Other counties across America rank higher in terms of population percentage, but Los Angeles ranks highest in the sheer number of chronically hungry mouths to feed.
Government and private programs address hunger based on the principle that freedom from hunger is a right. Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food.”
Giving Tuesday is Nov. 28 but the fight against hunger never ends. For communities in the Harbor Area, several food banks and charities are constantly serving residents who need food assistance. With the holidays approaching, many organizations are scheduling food drives — but they’re always in need of food, money and volunteers:
  • Carson: St. Vincent De Paul Society, in partnership with St. Philomena’s Catholic Church, distributes bags of groceries every Tuesday, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. The volunteers estimate that 25 to 30 families and 5 to 10 homeless individuals are fed every week. Most of the clients come from Carson, but also from Torrance and Long Beach. They also distribute clothing and toys. 21922 S. Main St., Carson. Details: (310) 835-7161, svdpla.org
  • San Pedro: Harbor Interfaith has no kitchen or pantry but accepts donations of food (and money and clothing). 670 W. 9th St., San Pedro. Details:  (310) 831-9123, (310) 831- 0603, www.harborinterfaith.org
  • Torrance: New Challenge Ministries is the largest food bank in the South Bay, said John Hernandez, president and senior pastor. It distributes about 4,000 pounds of food per week to about 15,000 people every month via about 20 organizations. They include the Boys & Girls Club and the Los Angeles Unified School District. (The district assists about 600 hungry families, including Washington High School, which teaches more homeless and foster children than any other school in California). Many grocery and other food companies donate their surplus. 21804 Halldale Ave. Details: (310) 320-4171, newchallengeministries.com
  • Torrance: GA United Services, through which Vern Ryan and his daughter Arlene Hyde have distributed about 150,000 pounds of food to perhaps a dozen organizations in almost as many communities—including Long Beach, Carson, Watts, Lomita, Gardena, Wilmington, and Torrance. They estimate they feed about 500 people on a weekly basis. Torrance’s post offices donate everything collected from their annual food drives—about two tons of food every year. Other support comes from such companies as Trader Joe’s. 22121½ Vermont Ave., Torrance. Details: (310) 530-0400, gaunitedservices.org
  • Long Beach: Food Bank of Southern California distributes food directly and through other nonprofit organizations to about 250,000 people throughout the county every week (about 2.5 percent of the population). Truckloads of surplus produce come in and corporations provide employee volunteers regularly. 1444 San Francisco Ave., Long Beach. Details: (562) 435-3577, foodbankofsocal.org
  • Long Beach: Rescue Mission is planning Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, along with food and gift drives. Volunteer coordinator Bethanie Miller estimates, “We serve about 19,000 meals a month and distribute about 2,000 articles of clothing.” The mission serves meals at the 140-bed Samaritan House (for men) and the 50-bed Lydia House (for women and children) and to the general public. 1430 Pacific Ave., Long Beach. Details: (562) 591-1292, lbrm.org

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Link to News Story: Carson Council Proposes Tax on Oil to Stop Fiscal Emergency (Random Lengths, 10/26-11/8/17)

Please see the latest issue of Random Lengths (Oct. 26-Nov. 8, '17) for my news article on the controversy surrounding Measure C, a new tax on oil refineries which the City of Carson is proposing to address a chronic fiscal emergency: 

http://www.randomlengthsnews.com/2017/10/carson-council-proposes-measure-c-stop-fiscal-emergency
/ct=t%28Random+Update%3A+Cities+Address+New+Weed
+Law%29&mc_cid=8fe6aed0f2&mc_eid=%5BUNIQID%5D

Should the above link be down, the content follows:

After finding Carson has a fiscal emergency for the second time in two years, the city council unanimously voted on Aug. 7 to propose a new tax on the city’s refineries. On Nov. 7 voters will be asked to vote on Measure C, the Oil Industry Business License Tax.

If passed the measure would impose a one-quarter-of-one-percent tax on the gross receipts of oil refineries in Carson, but it’s proving controversial. The city is presenting the proposed ordinance as necessary to raise an estimated $24 million for the general fund. The measure’s opponents are questioning the council’s motives.

Carson currently taxes its refineries based on the number of employees, which brings in about $5 million annually.

Names of all five council members appear in support of the measure in the city’s Voter Information Pamphlet. They argue the funds raised will be used to maintain and improve senior, youth, and gang diversion programs.

Their argument also claims, “Torrance and El Segundo receive $11 million each [from taxes on refineries] … but Carson receives only $5 million.”

Although Torrance and El Segundo do impose business license taxes on their refineries, neither city’s is based on gross receipts. 

Carson’s employee union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, supports the measure, according to representative Ana Meni. At a recent community meeting, she argued, if Measure C fails, “What programs do we cut?”

According to city staff, conducting the special election may cost the city $270,000. Opponents have sent out mailers charging the overall cost is closer to $400,000.

The larger amount includes what the city is spending on what it calls “information,” including the mailing of a special edition of the city’s official publication, the Carson Report. Described as an information guide, the mailing only presents the proponents’ side.

In response, some opponents, including Jan Schaefer of Carson Alliance 4 Truth, criticize the city’s “information” campaign. “The staff report actually said they couldn’t spend any money to promote it,” Schaefer said. “It seems they are promoting it.”

Proponents portray the opponents as representing big oil. Western States Petroleum Association is funding the opposition, including mailings and a website.

That website lists Local 675 United Steelworkers, which represents local refinery workers, as opposing the measure. David Campbell of Local 675 denied the union or the local had taken a position.

Matt Klink, campaign manager for the organized opposition, named Carson United to Stop Irresponsible Taxes, said the city council has been unable to balance the budget eight of the past eleven years.

“The measure was rushed onto the ballot. The council declared a fiscal emergency on Aug. 7 and put it on the Nov. ballot,” he said. “The city has a long history of budget deficits. Eight budgets have been unbalanced in the past eleven years.”

“The city has not been a responsible financial steward of taxpayers’ money,” he continued, offering, “They’ve spent $13 million in legal fees in the past four years,” as an example.

Klink also questioned the city’s claim the measure would generate $24 million. He said that figure is not taken from actual data, but from an analysis of a hypothetical refinery. Regardless of how much money the measure might raise, Klink added, “The council’s list of all the specific things funded, that’s just empty promises. It’s a general tax, and by law all [such] tax must go into the general fund.”

Link to proposed ordinance on Carson’s website:  http://ci.carson.ca.us/Government/Election2017.aspx
Link to campaign against Measure C:

www.measurechurtsme.com