Randy Economy: Fighting Corrupt Politicians for Years.

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@EconomyRadio Follow Randy Economy on Twitter!
Follow Randy Economy on Twitter @EconomyRadio

Monday, September 28, 2009

ANGELS WIN WESTERN DIVISION! I got my tickets to the Divisional Championship!

Brooklyn Dodgers win the 1955 World Series.Image via Wikipedia

Tonight, my Angels won the WESTERN DIVISION and are heading to the MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL POST SEASON. I went on line last week, and ordered two tickets to the playoffs for Home Game #3. 

I am hoping that this year we can have a true 5 FREEWAY Series between the Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.  Anyway....way to go Angels! 
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vote 4 PJ Mellana 4 Assembly holds a GREAT Celebration at Anaheim Stadium! WHAT at amazing GAME! A's beat Angels 15-10

Tonight I was one of around 100 friends and supporters of California State Assembly Candidate PJ Mellana to celebrate his campaign and to watch the Angels lose to the Oakland A's 15-10 in a slugfest.

It was an amazing night of fun, and PJ's enthusiastic supporters had a ball in the picture perfect Southern California sunshine.
PJ is running for Assembly next year in the 50th District (Bellflower, South Gate, Downey, Bell Gardens). His campaign is in high gear, and tonight it was about fun, hot dogs, celebrating, and hoping to watch the Halos wrap up the Western Division title.

Friday, September 25, 2009

RANDY ECONOMY: LCCN Column hones in on API Test Cheating Scandal at Furguson; Angry ABCFT Rep calls me "demented." OMG, are you kidding me?

My column this week in the Los Cerritos Community News has already sparked anger from members of the ABC Federation of Teachers Union. Ina Tennison, a retired teacher and an Activist here with the ABCUSD Teachers Fed has resorted to calling me "demented" in my thinking, and not "worthy" of knowing the name of the teacher who got caught cheating over at Furguson Elementary. Here is my Column for this week, and followed by INA TENNISON'S angry letter. Thanks, Ina for your "kind words." Your a class act. "Demented, no!" Seeker of the TRUTH, yes!
Randy Economy


Furguson Elementary School in Hawaiian Gardens had its state accountability results thrown out this year after the ABC Unified School District found that a 3rd Grade teacher had inappropriately coached students while they took standardized tests.Because of this misdeed by the unnamed teacher, Furguson Elementary, located at 22215 Elaine Ave., will not receive an Academic Performance Index score as part of the state school accountability system.API serves as a barometer of student achievement and determines whether a school has met its academic growth targets for the year.

Furguson will be ineligible for two years for state performance awards like the California Distinguished School Award, according to John Boivin, administrator for the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program Office at the California Department of Education.

So, here’s the low down on how the “alleged” cheating took place:

When reviewing the testing booklets to erase any stray pencil marks, a Teacher at Ferguson noticed that a booklet from one 3rd Grade teacher's classroom had an “unusual” amount of erasures that changed incorrect answers to correct responses, said Boivin.

When approached, the student in question claimed to have been “coached” during the test by this "unnamed 3rd Grade Teacher."

“Coached” to cheat? Are you kidding me?

Additional student interviews and a review of test answer booklets in the class indicated “inappropriate coaching,” and according to published reports in the Long Beach Press Telegram, one test booklet had 33 questions in which wrong answers had been erased and changed to correct responses, the district's investigation revealed.Because the alleged cheating affected at least 5 percent of the school's tested students, state rules forbid Ferguson from receiving an API score this year.

Listen, Furguson Elementary School has lots of wonderful teachers, and great students. The misdeeds of a few sneaky teachers have caused a huge black eye to the image of this campus that has been through rough times recently.

Why do we tolerate any cheating on State Testing from any teacher?

It’s a sad commentary on our education system when we see these activities occur. I applaud the ABC School District for making sure that this never happens again! What’s your opinion? Drop me a note to RREconomy@CerritosNews.com

LETTER from ABC Federation of Teacher Member Ina Tennison:


You don't deserve to know because you only delight in demeaning those who do well. However...the three you named are still working--go figure with your demented brain. Your warped sense of righting wrongs only suits a few. Cheating is not acceptable and it was handled properly. Get your facts straight before you spout off.

Ina Tennison, retired
Teacher of 35 years in ABC

Response to Ina:

I have my facts totally straight. Cheating is UNACCEPTABLE PERIOD!

If you have a problem with John Boivin of the California Department of Education, perhaps to vent your anger directly to him.

The PEOPLE of this School Distict pay the salaries of EVERY teacher here, and we deserve transparency and accountability when these type of misdeeds occur.

Randy Economy

Thursday, September 24, 2009

MY 1,000,000th READER is Cesar Olea of Whittier, California!

Tonight at 6:33 pm, I reached my 1,000,000th READER, and he is Cesar Olea of Whittier, California.

Cesar wrote me this note, and sent me a "time clock" of when the "big moment" occurred:

Attached is proof I was your One Millionth Reader for your Blog site. You are Truly an inspiration, one of Gods finest works. Thank you for allowing us million readers + to share in "The World Around Us" through your eyes. It has been such an Honor knowing you. Wishing you and the Family. All the Best! You are a MIRACLE!
God Bless!
Your Friend,
Cesar Olea

Below is a MAP of where my Readers came from on this AMAZING day....September 24th, 2009!

They came from 36 different States, and from readers in Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania, The United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, United Arab Emirates, Korea, China, and Japan.

A MILLION thanks for looking at "The World Around Us!"
Randy Economy
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Friday, September 18, 2009

3rd Grade Teacher at Furguson Elementary School in Hawaiian Gardens caught "cheating" on API Tests. Who was this teacher?

The teacher rigged the test, and got caught cheating.

Furguson Elementary School in Hawaiian Gardens had its state accountability results thrown out this year after the ABC Unified School District found that a 3rd Grade teacher had inappropriately coached students while they took standardized tests.

Because of this misdeed by the unnamed teacher, Furguson Elementary, located at 22215 Elaine Ave., will not receive an Academic Performance Index score as part of the state school accountability system.

(API serves as a barometer of student achievement and determines whether a school has met its academic growth targets for the year). Furguson will be ineligible for two years for state performance awards like the California Distinguished School Award, according to John Boivin, administrator for the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program Office at the California Department of Education.

Here's the lo' down on how the cheating took place: Some of these details also appeared in Thursday's Long BEACH PRESS TELEGRAM.

While reviewing answer booklets to erase any stray pencil marks, a Teacher at Ferguson noticed that a booklet from one 3rd Grade teacher's classroom had an unusual amount of erasures changing incorrect answers to correct responses, said Boivin.

According to the Furguson Elementary School Web-site, there are three 3rd Grade Teachers at the Hawaiian Gardens campus. They are a "Mr. Sanchez," a "Mrs. Marquez" and a "Ms. Montgomery."
Anyway, when approached, the student in question claimed to have been coached during the test by this "unnamed 3rd Grade Teacher." Additional student interviews and a review of test answer booklets in the class indicated inappropriate coaching. One test booklet had 33 questions in which wrong answers had been erased and changed to correct responses, the district's investigation revealed.

Because the alleged cheating affected at least 5 percent of the school's tested students, state rules forbid Ferguson from receiving an API score this year.

My Opine:
Why do we tolerate any type of cheating by public school teachers?
Who is this 3rd Grade Teacher? We deserve to know the truth.
I hope that every teacher that cheats to rig state or federal mandated test gets fired and held legally accountable in a court of law. We have a crisis in Public Education, and no one should ever condone this type of activity.

I hope the ABC Federation of Teachers launches it's own investigation to see if this is taking place at other schools, and to reveal the name of this cheating teacher.

(If it happened at Furguson could it be going on elsewhere?)

Your thoughts? Drop me a note at RREconomy@aol.com

Randy Economy
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Health Care in America: Were #37!!! Guess who has the BEST HEALTH care in the WORLD?

With all this Health Scare chatter going around this country, I wanted to post this amazing, eye opening, jaw dropping clip about where the Good Ole' USA ranks against the world in Health Care. It is from the TALENTED PAUL HIPP and was sent to me from one of the greatest guys ever from the Hamlet of La Palma, California.

Remember, the United States may be #1 in lots of areas, but when it comes to providing health care for our citizens, well, were #37.

Pass this around to your friends, and doctors....and enjoy.

Randy Economy

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taste of Cerritos and Business Expo simmers at the Preforming Arts Center!


THE Taste of the Region & Business Expo was held tonight (Wednesday, September 16) at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

This annual event was one of the best ever held here! No, I take that back. This was the BEST CHAMBER EXPO EVER!

Congratulations to Catherine Gaughen, Executive Director of the Chamber and her talented staff Jill Ovard, Melody Sandoval and May Peitzsch for pulling this incredible event together.

There were literally HUNDREDS of community and business leaders packing both the CCPA and the Sierra Room. It was elbow room only and this event...and everyone was in a great festive mood!

SCENE: Also had a great time with Chamber Prez Chris Halderson, LA County Board of Supervisor Chairman Don Knabe, Arts Commish Julietta Williams, Ex-Chamber Prez Alan Wood, Gary Chomiak, Becky Lingad, Pastor Dustin Parker of Concordia Lutheran Church and School, Tom and Samone of Delightful Crepes Cafe of Long Beach (amazing crepes!) Labeeb Moubarek of Forest Lawn, Charmed Cupcakes of Long Beach (incredible melt in your mouth red velvet cakes), Lou Juaneza or Westoff Studios, Los Cerritos Community News Publisher Brian "Just the News" Hews, LCCN Editor Jerry Bernstein, and LCCN Biz Manager Linda Bock, Cerritos College Trustee Candidate Shin Liu, Cerritos City Manager Art Gallucci, Planning Commish Chair Naresh Solanki, MPT Joe Cho, and lots of other wonderful friends and people who mean business here in Cerritos!

Randy Economy Photos

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Sunday, September 13, 2009



I want EVERYONE to BOYCOTT KAYNE WEST, and to never buy or listen to his music ever again. I have never been a fan of Kayne West, and tonight, I don't think anyone who saw the MTV Awards will be as well. Taylor Swift is literally an "American Idol," and after tonight, she is now an "Americans Icon." Her grace, and poise and talent will live on for years. One year from now, everyone will be asking, what ever happened to that nut Kayne West? I sure he will be in jail, or in some rehab center, where he belongs. What kind of role model is this Kayne? Watch this video. Send it to your friends, and BOYCOTT!
Randy Economy

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering: A note from Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in memory of fallen LA County Firefighters Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones


(Note: I recieved this wonderful tribute note this morning from Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who asked me to post it here on my Blog.  Today is September 11th, Patriots Day here in America, and we honor those we lost in the attack on America from terrorists.  We also pause today, and tomorrow to honor our Los Angeles County Fire Fighters Captain Ted Hall and Specialist Arnie Quinones who were killed fighting the wild fires here last week,   Thanks, for the kind blog, Zev!  Randy Economy).

On Saturday morning, I’ll be among the thousands of mourners who will quietly file into Dodger Stadium to honor the lives and courage of two Los Angeles County firefighters who perished in the Station Fire.

I’ll wish I wasn’t there.

Over the years, I’ve attended many memorials for fallen young cops and firefighters, immensely sad affairs full of rituals and tears. I know my presence—like that of other public officials—is important to send a message that such tragedies impact our civic community. But for me, no duty in my public life is more difficult or brushes more uncomfortably against my personal story.

At the age of 10, I lost my mother to cancer. Her death left a huge void in my life, one I couldn’t fully appreciate back then. Even today, I sometimes wonder how my adolescence might have been different had my mom been there to offer comfort and guidance as I grew older.

These thoughts and feelings are pushed to the surface whenever I attend funerals for police officers or firefighters. For invariably, sitting alongside the grieving widows, there are young children. I look at them, and I see me. How I wish I could turn back the clock and spare them the suffering they’ll face and the questions they’ll never be able to answer.

I know already that I’ll be wrestling with these emotions again on Saturday as we honor the firefighters who died when their truck plunged down a fiery canyon as they searched for an escape route for a crew consisting mainly of prison inmates.

Although Captain Ted Hall, 47, is survived by two grown sons, ages 21 and 20, such is not the case for firefighter Arnie Quinones, 35. Within days, his wife is due to give birth to their first child.

In any city or county, the death of first-responders in the line of duty is a community-wide tragedy. These brave men and women walk out their front door each day prepared to put their lives on the line for us. So this weekend, Los Angeles and the nation will embrace the Hall and Quinones families. We will tell them that their loss is our loss, too.

But in truth—and I know this from personal experience—their loss will last long after the mourners have left the stadium. May the Hall and Ouinones families take comfort in the knowledge that Ted and Arnie made a difference to our community.

Zev Yaroslavsky
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Overturned truck of L.A. County firefighters Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones,  who died trying to find an escape route for a fire crew.
Photo by Al Seib/L.A. Times

As Fire Season Approaches, Yaroslavsky Urges  Resident to Review Insurance Coverage Limits
As Los Angeles County’s 2009 fire season approaches, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is urging County residents to review their existing residential insurance policies to make sure that provisions covering loss or damage to structures and contents are adequate to protect them financially.
Yaroslavsky, joined by members of the County Commission on Insurance, revisited the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar, site of the devastating damage during last fall’s Sayre wildfire that destroyed most of the more than 600 mobile home residences located there.
“Thanks to our outstanding firefighters, no lives were lost here,” Yaroslavsky said. “But as ground zero for these catastrophic property losses, Oakridge is a stark reminder and pointed lesson in the importance of keeping our residential insurance policy coverages adequate and up-to-date.” Yaroslavsky advised residents to utilize the County Insurance Commission’s Insurance Tip Sheet for help in making informed decision when protecting their assets. Interested residents can visit the Commission’s website at www.lacic.org for that information and much more.
Scott Svonkin, Chairman of the LACIC, concurred with Supervisor Yaroslavsky, urging residents to prepare for the next fire, flood or quake. “Please take the time to review our tips and review your insurance needs. Taking a few minutes today will give you piece of mind and help protect your property.”

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Speaker Bass on the Resignation of Assemblymember Duvall

"Republican Party Elephant" logoImage via Wikipedia

(Sacramento) - Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) issued a statement and spoke briefly with reporters regarding the resignation of Assemblymember Mike Duvall (R-Yorba Linda).

Speaker Bass said, I am awaiting Assemblymember Mike Duvalls resignation from the Assembly. I know this is a difficult situation for his family and I wish them all well as they deal with it. In response to inquiries, the resignation does not remove the responsibility of the Assembly Ethics Committee from reviewing the matter.

Again, I have talked with Republican Leader Blakeslee and this will not have any impact on the Assembly continuing our important work in the final days of the legislative session.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Night Jazz at the Cerritos Sheraton Grille 91! A great night with the incredible Will Donato!

Great time tonight at the Cerritos Sheraton Hotel's "The JOY of SAX!" featuring recording artist Will Donato.
Weekly concert series is going on each Thursday night from 6 to 9 p.m. till the first week of October.
The food is incredible, and the Jazz is cool! Been having a total blast this summer enjoying the amazing music of Will Donato and the rest of his band! This is a "MUST DO" for fans soft cool jazz.

Make your PLANS to attend this great, affordable night out under the stars here in the Cerritos Towne Center for NEXT THURSDAY NIGHT!
Dinner is prepared by Chef Carlos Garcia, and usually runs around $9 per person for the buffet and music!

Plenty of fun, and the dancing gets you movin and groovin.

Randy Economy
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ass. Mike Duvall resigns over Open Mic "potty" talk. Who is next?

Well, it only took Assemblyman Mike Duvall less than 18 hours after his trash talkin' was revealed to throw in the towel.

The rock hard Orange County conservative Duvall,  was caught on an open mike making sexual comments, resigned today.

“I am deeply saddened that my inappropriate comments have become a major distraction for my colleagues in the Assembly, who are working hard on the very serious problems facing our state," he said in a statement posted on his website.

"I have come to the conclusion that it would not be fair to my family, my constituents or to my friends on both sides of the aisle to remain in office. Therefore, I have decided to resign my office, effective immediately, so that the Assembly can get back to work."

His resignation was announced on his "CAMPAIGN WEBSITE" not on his "Official California State Assembly Website.  Strange to me that he would have NO mention of his resignation on his state website...or is this "politics as usual" in Sacramento?

I wonder what his family must be thinking today?
-Randy Economy

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Caught on Tape: OC Assemblyman's MIKE DUVALL'S OTHER YOU TUBE Video you need to check out

There is a second revealing video about OC Assemblyman Mike Duvall you need to check out for yourself.

In this clip, he is presenting a State Resolution for California Biker Week...no problem...till at the end of this clip a brief...but revealing exchange takes place:

Duvall at end of his brief talk: "Hey we gonna Party tonight."

Host to Duvall: "AHHH...Yeah, I've known Mike since 1980 man, and there's stories to tell, and I appreciate you keeping quiet about them, man."

I wonder if some of "those stories" include Duvall's sexual affairs with 2 Female Lobbyists? See the story below.

Randy Economy

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Caught on Tape: OC Assemblyman Mike Duvall's Excellent Sex Adventures. What an Sad State of Affairs...literally!

Mike Duvall.

Making a REAL DIFFERENCE for Who?

Not, me Pal.

KCAL Channel 9 News Reporter Dave Lopez has blown the lid off of the California State Capitol tonight with the amazing "caught on video" tape of Orange County conservative Assemblyman bragging about his extra-maritial affairs with a lobbyist. Here are the sorted details....from the OC Weekly's R. Scott Moxley.

Read the entire Article in the OC Weekly here!

OC Assemblyman In Bed With Lobbyist . . . No, Literally In Bed
By R. Scott Moxley
SACRAMENTO--Freshmen legislators arriving in Sacramento receive advice from veteran
 politicians about the intricacies of working in California's capital. One of 
those tips is to remember that microphones broadcasting legislative debates can also capture embarrassing, career-ending personal admissions if a
 politician isn't careful. Michael D. Duvall, Orange County's 72nd Assembly
District representative, must have forgotten the warning.

In July--two days after Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Republican leader Sam Blakeslee put Duvall on the Rules Committee that oversees member ethics--the
 second-term, conservative, Republican assemblyman sat in a public hearing and vividly described lewd details about his trysts with a
 female lobbyist whose clients had business before another committee on which
 Duvall sits.

Duvall, speaking to a relatively mum Republican colleague seated to his 
left, apparently had no idea his dais microphone became live beginning about a minute before the start of a cable-televised committee hearing. He was
 captured in the middle of recounting portions of an affair.

"She wears little eye-patch underwear," said Duvall, who is married with two 
children. "So, the other day she came here with her underwear, Thursday. And
 so, we had made love Wednesday--a lot! And so she'll, she's all, 'I am going 
up and down the stairs, and you're dripping out of me!' So messy!"

That line may quickly become part of colorful Sacramento political lore. In 
the meantime, it leads me to a question: Can someone please buy the
 assemblyman a box of condoms?

Duvall--who was twice a president of the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce, served two terms as mayor of Yorba Linda before entering the assembly in
 2006, and is the owner of an insurance agency--continues his tale: "So, I am 
getting into spanking her. Yeah, I like it. I like spanking her. She goes,
 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah! Because you're such a bad 

He then laughed.

The assemblyman representing Anaheim, Fullerton, Placentia, Orange, Brea, La
 Habra and Yorba Linda then offered clues to the identity of his sex partner.

"And so her birthday was Monday," he said at the Wednesday, July 8 committee 
hearing. "I was 54 on June 14, so for a month, she was 19 years younger than 
me. I said, 'Now, you're getting old. I am going to have to trade you in.' 
And she goes, '[I'm] 36.' She is 18 years younger than me. And so I keep
 teasing her, and she goes, 'I know you French men. You divide your age by 
two and add seven, and if you're older than that, you dump us.'"


Click the OC Weekly link above to read the rest of this incredible story....

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Obama Back to School Remarks: What side of the issue do you stand?

I wanted to post the "Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama - Back to School Event."

Please, take a moment to READ this that will be delivered LIVE at Noon EST and 9 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Sept. 08, 2009.

Drop me a note and tell me your opinion. Is Obama out of his mind? Or is he totally "Right On?" Do our childen need to hear from it's President at the beggining of a school year? Does anyone REALLY care what OBAMA opinion is on each and every issue?

Send me your thoughts to RREconomy@aol.com.
Randy Economy

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009
The President:
Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next
iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and
AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gardena Councilman Steve Bradford Wins Special Election for 51st State Assembly District

California State AssemblyImage via Wikipedia

Gardena City Councilman Steve Bradford has been elected to the California State Assembly in a Special Election in the 51st District on Tuesday.

Since he recieved more than 50% of the vote, there will not be a run off. Bradford celebrated his election win at the Paradise Restuarant in Gardena flanked by supporters, family members and friends.
Polls were left open till 10 p.m. due to the wild fires that are occurring all over Los Angeles County.
Bradford takes over the Assembly seat previously held by recently elected State Senator Curran Price. Price endorsed him in this campaign. West Basin Water Board Member Gloria D. Gray placed a distant second place.
Price was elected to the State Senate in May 2009 to represent the 26th District in a Special Election. The 26th Sentate District was declared "vacant" after former State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisiors in last November's General Election.
The new Assemblyman thanked his many supporters for his landslide victory.
“I am proud of our campaign. I want to thank my major endorsers – Senator Curren Price, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, the elected leadership of the Cities of Inglewood, Lawndale and Hawthorne, and a host of community and civic leaders from throughout the 51st Assembly District – for their strong support.”

He will be sworn into office as soon as the Vote is certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorders Office.

Randy Economy

GLORIA D GRAY DEM 2,591 19.19%
DAVID COFFIN REP 2,308 17.10%
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Saving Mt. Wilson from Fire: An Inside Look from the Observatory

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 31:  A mushrooming cl...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I want to thank one of my readers for sending me this post from Hal McAlister, Director of the Mr. Wilson Observatory, that has been on the brink of burning down due to the horrific and deadly fires here in the Southland. It is a great inside look at the chaos and determination to save this vitally important science facility here that connects Earth to the Heavenly Stars above us. The OBSERVATORY is LOCATED INSIDE THE SMOKE on the LEFT SIDE of pic.
Randy Economy

By Hal McAlister, Director

Tuesday, 1 Sep 09, 7:21 pm PDT - Much to report! I just got off the phone calling Larry Webster's office on the mountain hoping to confirm his arrival. Instead of Larry, the phone was answered by LA County Deputy Fire Chief Jim Powers who is in charge of protection for structures at the Observatory. Wow, do I feel much better. First, Larry, Dave Jurasevich and John Harrigan arrived safely on site. When I identified myself, Chief Powers asked if I would like a briefing. You can imagine my answer. Here's what I know.

Fire fighters arrived earlier than I previously reported and by 8:00 am they had started their prep work. They began at the northeast corner of the Observatory using drip torches all along a line from that point traversing the northern perimeter to the boundary of the antenna areas. They are currently applying the same treatment to the east and southern boundaries of the site and expect to complete that this evening. These fires will clear ground debris and burn down slope with the intention of meeting any approaching fire with depleted fuel. Many of you watched the Super Scooper drop a major load of water, which was deposited down slope from the backfires and not on the Observatory grounds. That has been supplemented by other aerial tankers and heli-tankers for more precision dropping at crucial locations. The goal is to slow down encroaching fire, disperse it and make it more manageable.

Chief Powers expressed his absolute confidence that they will save the Observatory. He said that while it may have appeared over the last day or so that the Observatory was being neglected, that they never lost sight of the importance of Mount Wilson's preservation and it is now their highest priority. He flew up to the mountain yesterday, was delighted with what he found and knew they could achieve success here. There are now 150 fire fighters on Mount Wilson. Not only are the crews from Calaveras County (Cal Fire) back up there, but there are Los Angeles County fire fighters and even a crew from Helena, Montana. They have eight engines equipped to spray fire retardant on structures in addition to the crew engines. Chief Powers told me this army of fire fighters is "not going anywhere. They are very hard working and talented people who will get the job done."

After this uplifting briefing from Chief Powers, Dave called me from the CHARA conference room where he will be bunking down for the night. He filled in with some other information he'd learned from the Chief prior to my own briefing.

The fire is slowly coming up to the mountaintop through the canyon containing the remnants of the old Strain's Camp. Mountain water wells are located above the old tourist camping site. They are also anticipated as coming up the steep eastern canyon located between the Berkeley ISI facility and the CHARA machine shop - due east of the 100-inch telescope. The back fires will burn all the way down this canyon to disable this approach. Dave reported seeing fire on the way up at Eaton Saddle down towards Camp High Hill.

There is no structural damage on the mountain. A short in a pull box produce by old flimsy splicing was compromised by the back fires and power lost to the high pressure fire pump system. (We have also obviously lost our internet connection to the mountain.) John Harrigan and Larry Webster were shopping at "Mount Wilson Depot" - the electrical storage area in the 100-inch telescope building - for materials to construct a new power line to the fire pump building. This should present no difficulties at all for those guys.

Our facility is in great shape for defensibility and in the hands of a group of enthusiastic, highly experienced and absolutely devoted fire fighters. I want to acknowledge my predecessor Bob Jastrow for initiating a brush clearing program that we have continued, and I thank folks like the W. M. Keck Foundation for helping us a few years ago with funding for that activity. Chief Powers assured me that there is never a need to fully evacuate our site and it is essential that we leave knowledgeable personnel on site to assist them and ensure that our fire fighting and support infrastructure is functional. "They are as essential to your protection as smoke alarms," Chief Powers said. That makes me feel so much better about letting Dave, Larry and John go back on site.

Hearing the absolute confidence and expertise in Chief Powers' voice has given me great optimism for, what the Chief said himself, would be "another hundred years for Mount Wilson Observatory."

Mount Wilson Observatory is in the hands of the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention. These are extraordinarily talented and devoted people who I know will do their best to protect this world science heritage site and save the continuing forefront science programs from our mountaintop.

Hal McAlister, Director
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