Tuesday, April 16, 2013

WATCH IT HERE: Author Andrea Stewart receives a Certificate from Assemblyman Gatto on "Good Day Sacramento"

A certificate from Assemblyman Gatto was presented to science-fiction author Andrea Stewart, winner of a “Writer of the Future Award” on CW 31’s “Good Day Sacramento” last week.  The certificate was presented to Andrea  by the President of Galaxy Press, John Goodwin.  The Writers and Illustrators of the Future Awards was held on Sunday April 14, 2013 and recognized twenty-four rising stars of science-fiction writing and illustration.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Los Angeles Firefighters Offer Wind Safety Tips

After the fierce winds in Los Angeles last week, and moderately high winds expected this week, I thought it might be useful to post wind safety tips from the Los Angeles Fire Department.  A heartfelt thank you to the LAFD for helping to keep our homes and families safe.

Los Angeles Firefighters Offer Wind Safety Tips

With strong winds predicted for our area, the Los Angeles Fire Department reminds Southern Californian's to use caution at home, in the workplace and on the road. 

Strong winds compound wildfire danger. We therefore ask residents - especially those in foothill and wildland communities, to use caution with flame, heat and spark producing equipment, including vehicles, barbecues and power tools. 

Those living near flammable vegetation should remain vigilant to the possibility of brush or structure fires, and report nearby smoke and flames immediately to 9-1-1. 

Additional preparation, such as a fire safety survey of your property and a review of household emergency and neighborhood evacuation plans can help remove the apprehension that many of us feel when winds begin to blow. 

With the possibility of downed power lines causing local power outages, drivers should use extreme caution when approaching darkened traffic signals. Whether driving on a main thoroughfare or a side street, motorists should treat all non-functioning traffic signals as a four-way-stop. 

If you encounter downed wires, assume them to be energized and potentially lethal. Be careful that such wires haven't electrically charged puddles of water, chain link fences or other conductive sources - and report them to authorities. 

In many circumstances, but especially during high winds, firefighters discourage the use of candles, lighters, fire pits and fuel-powered lanterns. 

If you experience a loss of electrical power, do not use devices designed for outdoor use to light, heat or cook within your home. Before you activate a portable generator, make certain you know how to use a generator legally and safely. 

In fact, now is a good time to fully charge your cell phone, check your flashlights, portable radios and spare batteries. Place these items strategically, and make sure others know how to find them. 

And finally, please take a moment now to secure household items, such as outdoor furniture, that could cause harm or damage if catapulted by a wind gust, and to remove flammable items from around your home. 

When outdoors, wear sturdy glasses to protect your eyes, and be careful for toppling trees, wind-blown debris and high profile vehicles buffeted by turbulent wind. If you must get behind the wheel, Los Angeles Firefighters remind you: "Heads Up, Easy on the Throttle and Expect the Unexpected!" 

Brian Humphrey, Spokesman 
Los Angeles Fire Department 

LA Times Business Beat: Limiting Lawsuits

A restaurant owner was threatened with a lawsuit for not posting enough of these warning signs. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times / December 12, 2005)
Limiting lawsuits
Brett Schoenhals thought he was following the law by putting one of California's all-too-familiar warnings in the bar of his Coffee Table restaurant in Eagle Rock.
Soon after he posted the sign, "This facility contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm," he got a letter from a lawyer saying he was representing an irate patron who wanted to see more warnings.
Invoking the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, or Proposition 65, the lawyer threatened a lawsuit. The restaurant owner was told he faced fines of $2,500 a day for violations.
Infuriated, the Coffee Table owner decided to fight. "I plastered my whole place with signs everywhere," he said.
Afterward, he confronted the lawyer, who dropped his complaint. But Schoenhals did not stop there. Convinced he and other business owners were too often being extorted, he took his frustrations to Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles). The lawmaker introduced a bill to help businesses avoid fines for minor violations, if they promptly fix problems, and it is set to get its first legislative committee vote Tuesday.
"The voters passed Proposition 65 to be protected from chemicals that could hurt them," Gatto said. "They did not intend to create a situation where shakedowns of California's small business owners would cause them to want to close their doors."
You can read this article and more at the Los Angeles Times HERE
Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.  www.asm.ca.gov/gatto 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Smart-a-Thon Competitors Raise Education Funds

Much gratitude to the Mary Pinola-Crescenta Valley Chamber Education Fund for their support of education in our community.  While my team, "The Gatto-ettes" were not victorious, we did have a lot of fun and were happy to help raise money for a good cause.  Competitors should be warned that my office is already studying up and practicing strategy for next year.
Newspaper clipping from the April 4, 2013 edition of the La Canada Flintridge Outlook

Congratulations Crescenta-Cañada Pet Hospital on your Remodeling and Ribbon Cutting

By Natalie MAIER - Crescenta Valley Weekly

On March 22, the Crescenta-Cañada Pet Hospital had a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate its recently finished remodel of the facilities and its anniversary. A short tour was given by CCPH owner Dr. James “J.D.” Speas around the hospital.

“[The pet hospital] is 55 years old,” said Speas. “She needed a facelift.”

Among the changes pointed out by Speas during the tour was a newly established wall in the back room, constructed specifically to close off the dedicated surgery room. Some of the benefits of the wall include the provision of a more sterile environment that also allows doctors to work without interruptions....

...After the tour, certificates were presented to Speas and his daughter and co-owner Jessica, including ones from the chamber of commerce, the City of Glendale, Senator Carol Liu and the California Legislature Assembly.

“We wish you much success and many happy, wagging tails,” said Suzane Dunwell, senior field representative for Assemblyman Mike Gatto as she presented Speas with the California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition.

Following the ceremony, the guests made their way out front for the official ribbon cutting. Many congratulations and handshakes were exchanged and root beer floats were distributed....

Speas said that although the environment in which they work is much nicer, the medicine and overall practice of caring for the animals remains the same.

“We’re feeling young at 55!” He said. 

This post contains excerpts from an article that appeared in the Crescenta Valley Weekly.  You can read this entire article and more at the Crescenta Valley Weekly by clicking HERE

WATCH IT HERE: Mike Gatto honors Burbank Resident at State Capitol’s Holocaust Remembrance Day

Sacramento, CA – The poetry of Burbank resident David Meyerhof, child of holocaust survivors, has been read around the world, and yesterday, was read by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) on the floor of the California State Assembly. Meyerhof’s poetry was featured at the State Capitol’s Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, at the request of Gatto.  The ceremony honors Holocaust survivors, liberators, and the children of survivors. 

Meyerhof, a retired-middle-school teacher who taught for 33 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is the child of two Holocaust survivors.  During the ceremony, Assemblyman Gatto spoke of the courage of Meyerhof’s parents, and all Holocaust survivors, and described how generations now have used art – music, films, paintings, novels, and poetry – to better fathom the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust.  The Assemblyman then read one of Meyerhof’s poems aloud to the chamber.  

Another of Meyerhof’s poems,  “My Mother,” was distributed at the ceremony.  It tells the tale of Meyerhof’s mother fleeing Germany in the aftermath of Kristallnacht (Crystal night) when the Nazis attacked Jews walking on the street, threw over 30,000 Jews in concentration camps, and smashed the windows of Jewish homes, schools, businesses, and synagogues until the ground was filled with so much glass it looked like crystals. 

After their escape from Germany, Meyerhof’s mother took care of children in Anna Freud’s Nursery in London until his parents immigrated to the United States. His father went on to become a physics professor at Stanford University where he taught for 43 years.  The nation of Germany has now named a science research facility after Meyerhof’s father.

“It is an honor to share the story and the struggle of the Meyerhof family, and all the victims of the Holocaust, through David Meyerhof’s powerful poetry,” said Gatto.  “Often, those seeking to perpetuate the memories of a most difficult time for all humanity need to look no further than their own communities.  I am so honored that David Meyerhof could participate in the ceremony yesterday.”

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.   www.asm.ca.gov/gatto 

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Meeting with California Bankers Association

It was a pleasure to meet with representatives from the California Bankers Association during their
Annual Legislative Conference Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

LA WEEKLY: Hit-and-Run Blowback on LAPD

Excerpts from last weeks LA Weekly article on the hit-and-run epidemic that continues to plague Los Angeles.  A special thank you to my staff for their many volunteer hours working to apprehend Damian Kevitt's assailant.
Doctors try to save bicyclist's remaining leg as legislator calls for crackdown

The hit-and-run driver of the minivan that struck bicyclist Damian Kevitt one morning near Griffith Park must have felt and heard the impact. He probably saw Kevitt caught on his hood. Yet as horrified eyewitnesses gaped, the driver — a young, well-groomed Latino — took off down the on-ramp to the 5 freeway, sucking Kevitt under his minivan and dragging him 600 feet.

Trapped facedown, the 36-year-old cyclist was battered against the pavement, shearing off parts of his feet and big areas of skin. As he tried to free himself by grabbing at the road, the ends of some of his fingertips were ground off.

Seconds later, a motorist saw Kevitt's bloodied body roll into the second lane of the I-5. Kevitt's life was saved only because the quick-thinking driver used his car to create a safety zone, shielding the victim's body from the freeway traffic rushing past.

After the Feb. 17 incident, doctors at County/USC Medical Center were forced to amputate Kevitt's shattered right leg. But they repaired his broken wrists, arms and ribs, and soon, Kevitt and his doctors will be engaged in a heroic battle to save his maimed left foot, possibly by transplanting a muscle and healthy veins from Kevitt's back. (A previous effort to transplant a muscle taken from his abdomen to his left foot failed...)

...Coverage by local TV stations, coupled with anger from the local bicycling community, has generated unusually strong interest in the case. On Sunday, two aides to state Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Justin Hager and Jason Insalaco, joined the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, L.A. Critical Mass, Midnight Ridazz, CHP and others to leaflet cars and talk to spectators, soccer players and dog walkers who use the Ferraro Soccer Complex near the Los Angeles River on Zoo Drive, where Kevitt was struck...
...Investigators have a few important clues: The minivan, described as gray or white, bore a red-and-white "Se Vende" sign — and a phone number to call. According to CHP, that phone number, partially memorized by eyewitnesses, has a 213 area code and ends in 0776. A $25,000 reward offered by the city and the highway patrol seeks information that will lead to an arrest and conviction...

...Insalaco and Hager have gone to the soccer fields every few days, passing out a flyer seeking the public's help. "We feel the driver almost had to be someone involved in soccer that day," Hager says. 

Even as Gatto's aides work to drum up leads, the state assemblyman is tackling the bigger crisis. As the L.A. Weekly first reported, L.A. is in the grip of a little-discussed, decadelong hit-and-run epidemic. Drivers in the city flee nearly half of all collisions — more than 20,000 hit-and-runs annually. Nationally, 11 percent of collisions are hit-and-runs. In L.A., that rate has ranged in recent years from 42 percent to nearly 50 percent...

...Assembly Bill 184, authored by Gatto, would extend the statute of limitations on hit-and-runs from one year to three years. The bill cleared the state Assembly Public Safety Committee several days ago...

...Hit-and-run victim Don Ward, a bicyclist with Midnight Ridazz, memorized most of the license plate of the Jaguar driver who struck him and put him in the hospital a few years ago. Then Ward himself caught the driver — by calling Jaguar body shops. LAPD had informed Ward that they'd need a couple of weeks just to run the plate numbers.

The driver, convicted of "misdemeanor property damage" for crushing Ward's bike, was high-powered City Hall lobbyist Glenn Gritzner. Since it was too late to test Gritzner for drugs or alcohol by the time he was apprehended, a judge sentenced him to just 30 days of trash pickup.

"He didn't even have his license suspended," says Ward, who joined the leafletting of the soccer fields Sunday...

...Gatto's staff has investigated another possible law — one requiring auto body shops to report suspicious damage to law enforcement via email — but says it will take time to assess the costs and technical challenges of implementing such a law.

Even so, Gatto says police can do far more. "The story of Damian Kevitt being repeated and kept in front of people might force the government to act," the state assemblyman says. "This has been going on since way back, long before anyone could blame budget cuts."

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You can read this entire article and more at the LA Weekly by clicking HERE

Mike Gatto is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.   www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Photo: Assemblyman Gatto meets with LeadingAge California

It was my pleasure to meet with representatives from LeadingAge California last month.

Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), with Jacqueline Seegobin, Tiffanie Al-Nasser, Martha Friday, Edith Grady
(Photo courtesy LeadingAge California)

LISTEN IN: KFI's Tim Conway Jr. Discusses "Helping Out the Small Guy" with Assemblyman Gatto

Assemblyman Gatto sat down with KFI Radio's Tim Conway Jr. to discuss "helping out the small guy."  Topics included the importance of educating and reading to our children, and the Assemblyman's legislation to help protect small businesses from "shakedown" lawsuits.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Two Years After The Bryan Stow Attack

Below is an excerpt from a blog post from the Fans Against Violence Website, examining the progress that has been made in creating safer stadiums in the aftermath of Bryan Stow's brutal beating.  You can read the article in it's entirety at the FAV website
Dodger fans, and the national media, rallied to support Bryan Stow in the days following his attack.
The photo above is from a vigil outside his hospital room
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times - April 9, 2011)

Two Year Anniversary of the Attack on Giants Fan Bryan Stow – Can Good Come From Such a Horrible Incident?

March 31, 2013 by John Doublin of Fans Against Violence

Two years ago today the sports community was forever changed when San Francisco Giants’ fan, Bryan Stow, nearly paid the ultimate price for his team loyalty. He traveled the 300 miles to cheer for his beloved Giants at the home of their rival, and was beaten almost to death in the parking lot of a Los Angeles Dodgers’ home game leaving him with severe brain injury.

This incident brought the issue of fan violence to the forefront, prompting the creation of FansAgainstViolence.org...
Bryan Stow and Family

...Since that day, Mr. Stow has been slowly recovering from his injuries, though a full recovery is not likely, as his injuries were numerous and severe. Mr. Stow’s family has since started a website, which updates well-wishers and fans of his current condition, along with improvements and changes in his condition.

So, what does all of this mean? What should we take away from this tragic and senseless act of violence? Is there a “silver lining?..”

...One way to look at the result of this terrible incident is that the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and the NCAA have all taken steps to protect fans in the stands. There are emergency security text code numbers fans can use to report fights and disturbances, stadiums have increased security and, most importantly, most fans are no longer tolerant of people such as those men who attacked Mr. Stow. Decent people in stadiums all across the country, and the world, are reporting violence in the stands more readily.

This incident also prompted California legislation, the Improving Personal Safety at Stadiums Act, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) which requires all professional sports venues in California to have a Security Text Code program in place.  That, in and of itself, should be counted as a minor victory.

It’s sad that it took the near death of a fan to bring this problem to the forefront of conversation, but as Mr. Stow and his family attempt to heal and return to some sense of a normal life, they can take solace in the fact that, although it came in the wake of such a horrific event in their lives, the likelihood of this happening to someone else in the future is greatly diminished due to his story...

You can read this entire article and more at the Fans Against Violence website

Mike Gatto is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.   www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

Future play-date?

A staff member at the district office captured this great photo from the Unified Young Armenians Telethon on March 24, 2013.  The photo shows me, sharing a photo of my daughter with the daughter  of local business owner Louise Gill.  Perhaps  one day we can arrange for a play date.