Los Angeles World Airports has created a phasing plan in conjunction with LAX’s concessionaires to minimize impact to passengers during the overhaul that will replace existing retailers and eateries in some terminals over the next year.Read the entire article here.
After a two-year long process aimed at providing travelers with better vendors and restaurants, the Los Angeles City Council awarded nine retail contracts for the Los Angeles International Airport in a 12-1 vote last week.
In September, the city’s Board of Referred Powers evaluated eight contracts due to protests that arose from a perceived conflict of interest involving the chairman of the Board of Airport Commissioners, Alan Rothenberg, who maintains some stock in a restaurant that was included in the bidding contracts. Protesters argued that the chairman’s stock with the California Pizza Kitchen, estimated at over $1 million dollars, was indicative of a conflict of interest. In a subsequent investigation, HMS Host International’s contract, which included the California Pizza Kitchen, was thrown out.
The Board of Referred Powers approved four of the five food and beverage bids and three retail bids. The Board of Airport Commissioners approved two remaining retail packages and the City Council approved nine of the 10 packages last week in a 12-1 vote.
“Bad policy tends to be done in a rush," contended Tony Cardenas, the chairman of the Board of Referred Powers and sole dissenter. Cardenas argued that more time was needed to carefully consider the ten-year deal and said contracts should have been sent back to LAX officials.
But proponents of the new concessions argue concerns over the contracts were carefully considered and that the process to approve them has been thorough.
The Los Angeles World Airports said they are working with the concessionaries to implement the new changes while minimizing inconvenience to LAX’s travelers....
October 31, 2010
October 29, 2010
Despite raising $15,313,579 and spending $14,844,250, more than double the Republican hopeful in the race, polls suggest Democratic incumbent Patty Murray is not the sure win some expected in next week’s U.S. Senate race.Read the full report here.
A Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of 750 Likely Voters conducted Wednesday shows Dino Rossi, the Republican hopeful, picking up 48 percent of votes. Murray’s voter support is estimated at 47 percent in the poll. Three percent of voters said they prefer a different candidate and 2 percent said they were still undecided.
In a separate Survey USA poll conducted this week, sponsored by KING-TV Seattle, the candidates are tied.
Unlike earlier polls that put Murray at a slight advantage, Washington’s Senate race is projected to be a toss-up.
Further, if the race winds up being as close as polls show, there is a possibility that a winner will not be projected next Tuesday night. Unlike other states, Washington voters only need to submit their vote-by-mail ballots on Election Day....
October 25, 2010
"LAPD’s Foothill Division Tackles Increasing Violent Crime Amid Budget Cut" by Reut Cohen for Neon Tommy, October 25, 2010:
It’s a chilly October evening in Pacoima. On El Dorado Avenue a family has set up a table where they are carving pumpkins and hanging up the season’s garish, yet somehow endearing, Halloween decorations. Farther down the street a couple of kids are shooting a basketball on the narrow street. From these scenes alone, an observer would not assume this city maintains one of the worst reputations for poverty and gang violence in Los Angeles County.
Indeed Pacoima is among the most underprivileged of areas in Los Angeles. The city’s schools, like those in many nearby towns, are still performing below the state’s target Academic Performance Index score. Dropout rates remain significantly higher than the state average. Aside from the well-known gang violence, the city also has a problem with prostitution. Further, it appears, just from casual observation, that Pacoima is overrun with liquor stores.
It’s a city with more than its share of problems.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Foothill Division, whose jurisdiction covers 46.13 square miles and includes Pacoima, has its work cut out for them. There have been 13 homicides this year so far, up 8 percent compared to last year. Incidents of rape are also up 77 percent from last year around the same time.
The Foothill Division, despite budget cuts to the LAPD, is doing its best to cope.
“My goal when I come to work is to look after my guys in the field, and to make sure they’re taken care of and not abusing or taking advantage of any citizen,” said Sergeant Adrian Moody, who has been with the LAPD since he was 29-years-old. Sgt. Moody became a police officer because of a desire to make a difference—and general annoyance at being pulled over so often, for no apparent reason, he contends, in the Downtown Los Angeles area where he grew up. He wanted to be an agent of change and make a positive difference in the LAPD.
Read the full feature here.
Sergeant Moody serves a population of approximately 182,200. (Reut Cohen)
Prior to his promotion, Sgt. Moody worked in a gang unit. He said that many members join because of familial ties, coercion or a desire for protection. Moody explained that many members eventually realize their mistake and try to get out of violent cliques.
The majority of gangs operating around Pacoima are Hispanic, including Pacoima Project Boys and Pacas Knock Knock Boys. Pacoima Piru Blood is the major Black-American gang that operates around the area....
October 18, 2010
In the wake of international censure following Israel’s three-week offensive in Gaza, which ended in January 2009, a pilot campaign called “Soldiers Speak Out” was launched. The grassroots campaign provides testimony from Israel Defense Forces soldiers both in video format and in speeches to audiences. The campaign was so successful, according to organizers, a decision was made to extend it and bring soldiers back to the United States in October to speak in 25 cities, including Los Angeles.Read the full article here.
“Israel is very dear to my heart and it felt like the world is very much against us,” said Orit K., a female soldier who served as a combat medic and who spoke at USC last week. “I see the news talking about soldiers like they are like monsters. I know this is not true.”
Orit characterized Israel as a forward-thinking nation, contending that her service in the frontlines with the Israeli military was not an anomaly and that Israeli women are able to pursue military careers in fields like combat and aviation.
Orit said she has spoken to many crowds and characterized most reactions to her story as surprised.
“Mostly it’s the first time that they see that we’re human like them,” she said. “Even people who are not Jewish or pro-Israel would come up to me and say that they are proud of me.”
(Photo Courtesy of StandWithUs)
Other soldiers involved in the speaking tour said that while most reactions have been favorable, some audience members have been overtly hostile.
“Some people have their mind set before they come and don’t even care what you’re saying,” said Inon T., a reservist who also served as an officer in a combat unit. “We sometimes speak to people who get their information from slogans at anti-Israeli rallies.”
Inon fought in the 2006 war involving Israel and Hezbollah. In his talks, he recounts an incident from the war in which he approached an elderly Lebanese woman who was screaming in pain.
Inon described approaching the woman with a medic to treat her, but said he eventually realized she was wired to explosives and was, in effect, a human trap....
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a major opposing Muslim voice to the Cordoba Initiative mosque near Ground Zero, is calling for Muslims to take a stance against “political Islam.” Jasser founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy in 2003. The organization seeks to “provide an American Muslim voice” while arguing for the founding principles of freedom in the U.S. Constitution. Dr. Jasser is a recognized expert on the concept of political Islam and radical American Islamist organizations. Jasser is a former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy and served 11 years as a medical officer.Read the full interview here.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser (Photo: Matthew Dutile)
You have been featured in the media discussing the Cordoba Initiative mosque near Ground Zero. Why are you opposed to the mosque?
Zuhdi Jasser: Notice the name of the organization. If we were alive in the 13th century we wouldn’t understand, but today we do. Cordoba was apartheid. Non-Muslims had their own identification tags during Islam’s control over Spain. Even before the issue of the mosque came up, Feisel Rauf was one of my concerns in the Islamic community. The problems, even with his book, “What’s Right With Islam,” are his ideas. He’s actually an Islamist. People like Rauf, who are soft but believe in Islamism, give the West a sense of complacency. He is supportive of sharia law (Islamic law). Rauf says sharia is like the Declaration of Independence. I don’t know what planet he is living on. We need to separate mosque and state. He’s a very skilled apologist for Islamism. Look at how many months it took him to condemn Hamas. On Aaron Klein’s show in June he said he didn’t want to offend any side by calling Hamas a terrorist organization. To build a community center like he’s building, which is in the millions in cost, suggests foreign funding. It’s too expensive to get funding from within the United States. People in the Islamic community, or in any community, know how hard it is to raise money to do anything. As a Muslim, I am opposed to using foreign funding from Gulf States that oppress women and support theocracy. There should be transparency on the funding....
October 4, 2010
"Human Rights Council’s Criticism Of Israel Unjustified" by Reut Cohen for Neon Tommy, September 30, 2010:
In the aftermath of the deaths of nine “shahada seekers” and mercenaries this past May aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, the United Nations issued its version of a “fact finding report.” Like other reports issued by the United Nations, it unilaterally places blame on Israel and - not surprisingly - fails to address the activists’ radical objective, proclivity for violence and the real motivation behind this opera bouffe.Read the full article here.
A cache of weapons was found on the Mavi Marmara. Financing was subsidized by a Turkish charity said to have ties to terror groups. Insani Yardim Vakfi, or IHH, has aided Islamic Totalitarian organizations including Hamas, and is believed to have ties to global jihadist organizations. The “peace activists” on board the ship, who invoked the massacre of the Jews in Khaibar in their chants, sailed to the region with an intent to do harm and garner media attention for the specific purpose of breaching and ending the blockade. Since all of the other vessels peaceably cooperated with Israeli authorities and docked at Ashkelon to have their cargo inspected and thereafter have it transported by truck to Gaza, it stands to reason that those aboard the Mavi Marmara had an entirely different agenda.
Furthermore, Israel lawfully controls traffic both in and out of Gaza from the Mediterranean and Negev. Foreign humanitarian goods are allowed into the region despite the 15,000 tons of aid subsidized by the Israeli taxpayer that is shipped to Gaza from Israel on a weekly basis. Israel is not the only country in the region to impose a blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza. Egypt has imposed a similar blockade since 2007, when Hamas took power. Egypt has sealed its border with Gaza and is in the process of erecting a steel wall to keep Islamic terror groups from engaging in terror activities, including smuggling weapons. Blockades and checkpoints are the result of terror - not the cause of it.
The assertion that Israel “reaps rewards” from its relationship with the United Nations can be described as naïve at best. In the late 1960’s, the United Nations began to turn against a nation that they formally recognized two decades prior. Arab states, along with the Soviet Union, became a de-facto majority of Third World states recognized by the United Nations. The United Nation's obsessive condemnation of Israel disregards the very foundation for the organization’s existence. It constitutes a violation of equality principles that are guaranteed by the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also suggests that the United Nations is incapable of carrying out its own mandates.
In its first year of operation, the Human Rights Council failed to acknowledge or condemn human rights violations and atrocities that occur in many of the world’s other countries and far exceed any of Israel’s alleged crimes. The second year of operation was just as dismal, the only glimmer of hope being when the Council “deplored” the sad state in Burma. Unfortunately, the Council also praised Sudan for its “cooperation.” During the Council’s third year of operation, it became evident the only country to be subjected to the kind of intense scrutiny that only examines one side of the issue would be Israel....