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Posts tagged as “Los Angeles”

Overnight Full Closures of Topanga Canyon Blvd (SR-27) for Slope Repair


Special To Topanga Journal

Motorists will be detoured to Malibu Canyon Road and Las Virgenes Road

Full overnight closures of Topanga Canyon Blvd (SR-27) between Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) and Grand View Dr. near Jalan Jalan, Imports will take place from 10:00pm to 5:00am daily beginning Monday April 29 though Thursday May 2. CalTrans is closing TCB at night to repair and restore eroded slope embankments along the highway. This year, the hillsides along TCB had multiple rock and debris slides onto the highway, triggering full closures of TCB, sometimes for days. 

Topanga Canyon Blvd Traffic Photo By Kriss Perras
Topanga Canyon Blvd Traffic Photo By Kriss Perras

Signs are currently posted advising motorists to use US-101, Las Virgenes Road and Malibu Canyon Road as alternate routes. Motorists should expect delays and are strongly advised to use alternate routes or avoid the area. The town of Topanga will remain open to motorists.

Motorists will be detoured to Malibu Canyon Road and Las Virgenes Road.” Eric Menjivar, CalTrans District 7 Information Officer

Drivers can check traffic conditions before they leave by visiting the Caltrans Quickmap.

ON THE WEB:

http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov


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IPCC Report: “We’re Almost Out of Time” by RL Miller


Special To Topanga Journal

“We’re almost out of time.” A few weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report warning people about climate change. Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) would require “rapid, dramatic changes in how governments, industries and societies function.” 

By RL Miller

Doesn’t global warming mostly affect the polar bears? Well, no. Global warming affects people. Sea level rise is the most clear cut consequence of climate change, but many more impacts — some of which are better understood than others — will begin to make themselves felt. To bring this home, scientists have “high confidence” that 1.5°C of warming would result in a greater number of severe heat waves on land. In addition, climate change is making California’s droughts worse. Southern California’s wildfire season used to be limited to the Santa Ana wind season of October until the first rains of November; now wildfire season seems to start October 1 and end September 30. Climate activists talk about people on the frontlines of impact — those who are affected most. While you might think that “frontline communities” refers only to the people in coastal communities such as Florida and the Arctic — and, yes, Malibu — the term also refers to everyone in California living in or near a wildfire corridor. That’s Topanga, among many other places.

“The costs of doing nothing are incalculable. The tiny city of Imperial Beach in San Diego County, populated mostly by Latino renters, is weighing the estimated cost of $150 million to retreat from the ocean against its $19 million annual budget. Beach cities, such as Malibu, will need to determine what, if any, City services should be provided to protect private property — or leave the property to be abandoned to the rising seas.” RL Miller

And whether or not the hills burn this year or the next year, the actuaries who write insurance policies are calculating the increased risk of wildfires. Premiums will go up, policies will be non-renewed or dropped, and homeowners will have to resort to the FAIR plan. It’s already happening in Northern California neighborhoods damaged by the October 2017 fires.

The costs of doing nothing are incalculable. The tiny city of Imperial Beach in San Diego County, populated mostly by Latino renters, is weighing the estimated cost of $150 million to retreat from the ocean against its $19 million annual budget. Beach cities, such as Malibu, will need to determine what, if any, City services should be provided to protect private property — or leave the property to be abandoned to the rising seas.

In short: yes, global warming does affect people. Every week or two it seems there’s a new report on a different aspect of life climate change will mess up. Barley shortages mean less beer and higher beer prices. Fewer insects limit agriculture. Shorter winters mean tick-infested deer and trees killed by bark beetles.

What can one person do? Global warming is such a, well, global problem. Al Gore’s 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth suggested personal choices to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Plant a tree. Go vegan, or at least eat less meat. Fly less. Change a lightbulb, change the world. Yet carbon emissions continue to rise.

Science-oriented people look at the climate problem and imagine scientific solutions that generally fall into two categories: storing carbon and altering the planet’s chemistry. The technology for the first, commonly known as CCS (carbon capture and storage) is in its infancy; it’s expensive. The second involves the stuff of science fiction: giant mirrors in space reflecting the sun’s rays away from the atmosphere, equally giant hoses sucking the carbon and vacuuming it into space, vast deposits of iron filings into the ocean to changing the chemical composition of seawater.

Although climate change begins as a scientific problem, it becomes obvious to most people the solution is mired in politics. Solar and wind energy poll like Mom and Apple Pie, but their progress is being blocked for political reasons. Specifically, the Republican Party in the United States generally denies the scientific reality, while politicians of all stripes are not sufficiently visionary to make the drastic changes demanded by the science. One solution to climate change is to get political: vote deniers out. I’ve founded Climate Hawks Vote, an organization building grassroots political power for the climate movement, that aims to do just that.

This global problem requires more than voting every two years, and it requires a sudden drastic change. So it needs everyone to speak out with the talent they have. Artists: make art about climate change. Musicians: write and sing songs that will move the feet and the heart. Architects and contractors: design and build more dense housing closer to public transit. Actuaries: calculate the risks of an ever warming world. Run for office. Tell people who are running for office to do more — and ask them to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, declining campaign contribution money from the fossil fuel industry. To change everything, we need everyone.

Most of all, the climate problem requires hope to solve it. Although it’s easy to ridicule the mindset of Denial on the Right, those on the Left are just as prone to despair. There’s plenty of reason to find despair in the IPCC report, but also reasons to hope.

Here are the top three things to do to fight global warming locally:

  1. Drive an electric vehicle or otherwise reduce the carbon footprint of your commute to zero. 
  2. Get politically involved with an organization such as Climate Hawks Vote; vote on November 6, but stay involved after the election.
  3. Every morning, find a reason to hope.

ON THE WEB:

http://climatehawksvote.com


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Sisyphus in the City: A Review of The Advocates


Special To Topanga Journal

Years ago, we went to L.A.’s Skid Row to attend a rooftop screening of an old film that’d recently been discovered. It was being shown by some local historical society, the big point being that a few seconds showed the same area of L.A. we were sitting in, but nearly 100 years ago. We rode our bikes to get there, and, running late, we focused entirely on pedaling as quick as we could on the way in. By doing so, we avoided noticing the expanse of tents and refuse, the people lingering wherever they could. 

Rick Paulas

By Rick Paulas

But a friend took the bus to meet us, and by the time the film was over, that line had stopped running. This was before Lyft or Uber. And so, in the middle of some late Saturday night, we walked through Skid Row.

Nothing overtly memorable happened, but it’s a kind of journey you never forget. It was only a few blocks from the rest of downtown L.A.—the whole trip couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes—but it felt like we had been transported to an entirely different country, time, or maybe universe. There were unique smells, garbage fire flickers, and chaotic arguments wafting into night. Residents were holding court inside or outside their tents, passing drugs or booze or food, or whatever else.

the whole trip couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes—but it felt like we had been transported to an entirely different country, time, or maybe universe.” Rick Paulas

Despite the expensive high heels and tailored suits in the swanky bottle service nightclubs nearby, here was an entire community that had been abandoned. This was the last place these people had to go, and when they got there, they were forgotten. I never looked at the city the same way. 

Homelessness is one of the most pervasive signs of a system that’s fraying at the edges, and since our late-night walk through Skid Row years ago, it’s only gotten worse in America. As one commenter in Rémi Kessler’s new film The Advocates points out, while encampments used to be relegated to the various city Skid Rows throughout the country, they’ve now sprawled well beyond that. Tents are pitched along highways, nestled under overpasses. They populate city parks, while others place cardboard boxes in storefront alcoves. You’d be astounded at the number of folks who spend their nights in their cars. 

While development quickens and high-rises continue to be built, what’s missing in our current urban mindset is building housing for people who need it. There’s already plenty for people who don’t, but have the money to invest; this is how you end up with so many empty, as one commenter put it, “safety deposit boxes in the sky.” But what’s also missing to get there—and this is at the core of Kessler’s film—is the idea that secondary solutions to homelessness (drug rehabilitation, treatment for mental health issues, a good paying job) are not as important as literally making houses.

During my work as a journalist in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, I’ve interviewed countless of homeless folks for a variety of reasons, and whenever I ask them what they need to get off the streets, the one thing they mention is: An indoor place to go. While there are people on the streets with mental health issues, for many, problems like drug abuse or violent mood swings are not the reasons for why they’re on the street, but problems that occurred after they got there. 

Consider: What would it be like to sleep on a city street, with traffic blaring by, unprotected from the elements, unsafe from passersby? Would you feel a little bit groggy every day? Maybe not in peak shape to attend a job interview? Or—and here is the dark secret of homelessness in America—maybe not rested enough to keep the job you have? And then, if someone has a drug that’s take the edge off for a few moments, would you refuse it? 

Kessler’s film begins with the tale of Yolanda and Ruben, a brother-and-sister pair who once had indoor lives. They live in a few cars that double as places to store their possessions, but the cars don’t run, and due to parking restrictions, every week they have to push them across the street to avoid a ticket. Imagine the toll that takes on a life, and how those parking tickets could add up if, one day, you’re not well enough to heft the heavy automobile across the street. Try being in a kind mood, or mentally focused enough to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps, with that lifestyle.

As an expert says toward the end of the film, the solution to homelessness is very straightforward: Give people homes. After seeing The Advocates, you’ll see why.

ON THE WEB:

http://cinemalibrestudio.com/the-advocates/#video


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Counties Challenge Legality Of California Medical Marijuana Law

by Kriss Perras

editor@topanga-journal.com

 

The State’s Medical Marijuana Act is coming under scrutiny from the counties. However, proponents of the law are stepping in to ensure the law stays in tact. On Friday, a San Diego Superior Court ruled that lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will be permitted to intervene in a lawsuit brought by several California counties seeking to thwart the state’s Compassionate Use Act.

The act makes medical marijuana legal for patients with a doctor’s recommendation.
“We are heartened that the court recognized the necessity of giving voice to those truly at risk from the counties’ ill-conceived actions,” David Blair-Loy, an attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said in a statement.

San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties argued in a lawsuit filed in state court that federal laws prohibiting all use of marijuana invalidate state laws that allow qualified patients to use medical marijuana. The ACLU, ASA and the DPA filed legal papers on July 7, 2006 seeking to intervene in the proceedings.

“We feel it’s critically important that California’s medical marijuana laws be respected by everyone,” Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA, said in a statement last Friday.

One such dispensary is located within the city limits of Malibu. And, our local government has been hot on the trail of this issue by imposition of a moratorium so no further such dispensaries can crop up here.

City Council Christi Hogin reported at a June Council meeting that crime rates increase when such facilities are present.

However, proponents of such dispensaries are standing firm in their defense of the Act.

Daniel Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Alliance, added, “These county governments have ignored the needs of their sick and dying residents and the advice of California’s physicians. By intervening in the lawsuit, patients will have the chance to confront their rogue county officials in court and defend the legality of the Compassionate Use Act.”

The ACLU, DPA and ASA maintain that state medical marijuana laws are not preempted by the federal ban on medical marijuana. While the federal government is free to enforce its prohibition on medical marijuana, even in states such as California that permit its use, all states remain free to adopt and implement policies of their own design – an opinion shared by the California Attorney General’s office and the attorneys general of several other states, including Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon, that permit medical use of marijuana.

The groups represent Wendy Christakes, Pamela Sakuda, William Britt and Yvonne Westbrook, Californians who use physician-recommended marijuana to treat medical conditions and their side-effects, including chronic pain and sciatica, multiple sclerosis, rectal cancer, epilepsy and post-polio syndrome. The groups also represent Sakuda’s spouse and caregiver, Norbert Litzinger, as well as Dr. Stephen O’Brien, a physician who specializes in HIV/AIDS treatment in Oakland, California, and believes that many of his seriously ill patients benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

In addition to entering the case, the group’s filing asked for a court order compelling the counties to abide by and implement California’s medical marijuana laws, as well as an order affirming that the state’s medical marijuana laws are not preempted by contrary federal statutes.

The lawsuit, initially brought by San Diego County and later joined by San Bernardino and Merced counties, challenges state laws that permit patients to use, and doctors to recommend, medical marijuana under explicit exemptions from state criminal laws that otherwise prohibit all marijuana use. The counties’ lawsuit further challenges the state’s Medical Marijuana Program Act, which calls for the implementation of an identification card program that would allow police and others to more easily identify legitimate medical marijuana patients.

Originally published in PCH Press © 2006 All rights reserved worldwide.

© 2017 Malibu Arts Journal. All rights reserved worldwide. 

An App Let’s You Protest Using Your Wallet

Special To Topanga Journal

Buycott App
Buycott App

Most Progressives look for ways to boycott the Koch Brothers’ products. If one is serious about it, this amounts to a Google search every time you want to buy something to see if it is indeed a Koch product. This may or may not yield the answer one is looking for and can consume a large amount of time. Well, now there’s an app designed specifically to tell you just that, and then some. It’s called Buycott. It allows to you to purchase products aligned with your values.

Buycott was created by Los Angeles developer Ivan Pardo. It gives users a way to discover what corporations make the products they are purchasing. If the purchaser disagrees with that corporation’s values, they can choose not to purchase that product.

There are many campaigns in the app, not just the one against the Koch Brothers. Would you like to ensure you buy foods that are Non-GMO? There’s a campaign in the app for that. There’s a no palm oil campaign. There’s an end animal testing campaign. There’s a Say No To Monsanto campaign. Buycott is crowd sourced and is available in 192 countries. That leaves many campaigns available to choose from. All of these add up to ways to purchase goods according to the way you think.

Here’s how it works. Download the Buycott app. Click on a campaign you agree with to join that campaign. For instance, Boycott Koch Industries. Now scan a product you want to purchase. The app will tell you if that product is made by the Koch Brothers. The same is true for all the other campaigns, if it is a GMO product, if that product used animal testing or if it is a Monsanto product.

The app also gives the user two lists, companies to support and companies to avoid. The app will tell you the companies that do things you are likely to agree with. If you join the buy chocolate that does not use child slavery campaign, it will not only scan the code to tell you if that product uses child slavery to make their chocolate, it will also give you a list of products that do not use child slavery to make their chocolate.

If you’re searching for a way to use your wallet to protest, Buycott certainly provides that opportunity.

http://www.buycott.com

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