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Since 1989 | Baldwin Hills | INGLEWOOD | Culver City | palms | Ladera Heights | Marina Del Rey | Playa del rey | View Park | West LA | A Jackson Publishing Community Newspaper

March 2012 | VOL. 23 , NO. 1 | www.foxhillsdigest.com

The Fixer

Attorney Greg Wood Photo by Jenny Lopez

Mediation Attorney

Greg B. Wood

By Anthony Ewart I’m not saying Attorney Greg Wood is the only person who could orchestrate a happy ending to SOPA, per se, but if there was a legal equivalent to the Fantasy Football League, like a “Fantasy Court Hearing,” all parties involved in said issue would probably want to give him a call -- and on a related subject, I’m proud to be the only person you’ve probably ever heard use the term “Fantasy Court Hearing.” In the business of “Show” we’d call Atty. Greg Wood a “Deal Maker,” not a Deal Breaker; an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialist serving as a Mediator/Arbitrator and Settlement Counsel, Greg Wood is able to parlay his 37 years’ experience as a litigator in Intellectual Property (Copyright, Trademark and Patent) Law into helping adversarial clients find common ground on heated disagreements and confrontations bound for huge, tabloid laden courtroom eruptions where hundreds of thousands – if not millions of dollars – can be wasted in legal fees. In film lore we call characters like this, people able to make problems go away, a “fixer,” and the Hollywood fixer has gone by many different names. In the 1993 film “Point Of No Return” he was called “Victor the Cleaner,” and aptly played by Harvey Keitel; Keitel went on to immortalize the role of the fixer just one year later in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 classic “Pulp Fiction” as Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe. Perhaps Harvey Keitel will portray Greg Wood in the PG-13 film version of his life – of course it would be a calmer, gentler, more subdued portrayal than Mr. Keitel is accustomed to since Greg’s mediating skills are subtler and his negotiating techniques layered with greater nuances; still, I think Tarantino would be pleased. Greg describes the motivating factors for his services this way: “When someone gets mad at someone else the knee-jerk reaction is to sue somebody, well, I don’t let the client’s emotions derail the focus on resolution. Other people might take the money

and sue, but if you come into my office I’m going to ask you, ‘Do you really want to go to court or are there alternative ways of resolution we can explore without you handing over your bank account.’ In other words I want to find out what is really going to be best for your business – right now. Let’s work through the emotions; is litigation the best choice? Do you really want high-profile publicity or are you genuinely interested in solving this problem?” Essentially what you get with Greg Wood is an Attorney who’s had a long successful career and is now in a position to cherry-pick his cases. Here’s how Greg sums up his philosophy on mediation: “I’ve spent most of my life litigating, so I know the majority of the time, in the very end, cases will settle anyway – meanwhile, you’ve just put your lawyer’s kids through college. So, if there’s a chance to settle in the beginning – at the very early stages – let’s try to get it done. From my standpoint it’s beneficial because I’m not trying to impede the business process, I become an ally of the business process, and when a client sees a good result from a resolution that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg they’ll come back to me when they have another dispute.” Clearly Felicitas, the Roman Goddess of “good luck,” had very little to do with the success of Atty. Greg Wood, rather, it’s been the sheer number of repeat business Greg has earned from jobs well done. Mystery solved. What is a mystery to many is exactly why Greg decided to become an attorney; it wasn’t his first choice. You see, funny as it may sound, Greg Wood is a jet rocket scientist – literally. He has a Masters in Engineering and if you should ever happen to be in attendance at a dinner party in Malibu and someone yelled out, “Help! My Jet is down! Is there an F15 Radar Tracking engineer in the house?!” Atty. Greg Wood would be able to step forward from the crowd and affirm, “Yes, I’m an F15 Radar Tracking Engineer; how can I be of service?” STORY CONTINUES >>>PAGE 12

The New Fox Hills Digest

By Anthony Ewart

In 1989 the Fox Hills Digest was launched. At the time, Fox Hills, and much of the surrounding area in Culver City looked nothing like it does today – but what Fox Hills Digest Publisher Prather Jackson saw in Fox Hills was “promise.” With such a beautiful area it would only be a matter of time before investors started building residences here, and corporations would adopt Fox Hills as their home headquarters. Looking

around today it’s clear that this vision of economic prosperity has come to fruition. Steve Rose, President of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, has seen the spectacular growth of Fox Hills over the years, the most visible being the Westfield Shopping Center and The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center. The Westfield Shopping Center alone has brought Best Buy, Target, Coach, and Gold’s Gym to Fox Hills; and the flourishing businesses

in Fox Hills, like The Courtyard by Marriott, has helped other areas of Culver City prosper, like Playa Del Rey, who are now home to the L.A. Clippers’ corporate offices and practice facility. Through all of this expansion Jackson Publishing has also evolved, branching out into the Hollywood Weekly -- but more importantly, we are excited to be a part of the next stage of development for Fox Hills.

PAGE 2 COMMUNITY

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ART+CULTURE

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BRASS BANDITS HIT LA SCHOOLS - The

WHITNEY HOUSTON - Whitney Houston was an

LL’S CONSIGNMENT AND JEWELRY - Small business profile on

words “black market” usually summon images of drugs, guns or pirated DVDs — not tubas.

icon and a once-in-a-lifetime talent who inspired a generation

BUSINESS new business in the Fox Hil s Community.


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COMMUNITYNEWS Hold On To Your Tuba: Brass Bandits Hit L.A. STAFF

PUBLISHER/EDITOR IN CHIEF Prather Jackson VICE PRESIDENTS Bernice Harris Michael D Coxson

OPERATIONS Erskine D. Mcswain (1991-2000)

The words “black market” usually summon images of drugs, guns or pirated DVDs — not tubas.

MANAGING EDITOR Jenny Werth DIR. OF MARKETING Launy Rhem LIFE & STYLE EDITOR Niki Shadrow ASSOCIATE EDITOR Anthony Ewart GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Karen Bystedt Dallas J. Logan CONTRIBUTORS Christina Anastasiou Yota Batsaras Anthony Calderon Sid Fish Fran Scott Niki Shadrow Pamela Spyrs Sharon Spyrs Jenny Werth Steve Zall ART DIRECTOR Kristal Lindo SITE DIRECTOR/ GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jenny Lopez PHOTOGRAPHY Karen Bystedt Jenny Lopez PRODUCTION MANAGER Hector Santacruz

Teacher Ruben Gonzalez conducts the South Gate High School band. According to Gonzalez, thieves passed up a computer as well as a stash of valuable flutes, saxophones and clarinets to get to the school’s tuba - Krissy Clark for NPR By Krissy Clark- AP/NPR

The words “black market” usually summon images of drugs, guns or pirated DVDs — not tubas. Yet authorities in Los Angeles say the instrument is in such high demand that the black market may be what’s driving a wave of local tuba thefts. Ruben Gonzalez is teaching an after-lunch band class at the scene of one recent tuba crime — the music room at South Gate High School outside L.A. He starts with a request only a band teacher would make.

“Make sure we rinse out folks — we don’t need any hamburgers or hot chilies coming through those instruments,” he says. While the kids rinse out and tune up, Gonzalez points to a row of gashes along the door jamb. He and his students noticed them one morning earlier this school year. “I’m walking in, I’m like, ‘That was never there before,’ and I’m like, ‘You know what, guys? I think somebody tried to break in,’ “ he says. Then Gonzalez noticed something

DISTRIBUTOR NEWSWAY For Advertising Inquiries call: (323) 315-9498. fox hills digest is a monthly publication wholly owned by Jackson Publishing Company. © 2012 All Right Reserved. Reproduction of any content without written permission of the Publisher is expressly prohibited. Letters to the editor may be sent to: Editor@JacksonPublishing.com jackson publishing 1438 North Gower Street, BOX 42 Hollywood, California 90028 . The opinions/ideas presented here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jackson Publishing or its affiliates.

La Banda Rebelde charges twice as much per song as a band without a tuba charges. People have been known to throw hundred-dollar bills into the tubist’s horn to show their appreciation.

else. Once the thieves got in, they bypassed a computer as well as a stash of valuable flutes, saxophones and clarinets. According to Gonzalez, “All they took were the tubas.” It sounds like the punch line to a bad joke, but security cameras confirmed it with grainy footage of three guys in hoods lugging away two concert tubas and a sousaphone on wheels under cover of night. A couple months later, thieves broke into Gonzalez’s classroom again, stealing two more. Amazingly, that’s just the tip of the tuba-theft iceberg.

A City Of Tuba Aficionados

At least 23 tubas have been stolen from eight different high schools in and around L.A. in less than a year — not something these campuses can afford, given public school budgets these days. As for where all these stolen tubas are going, there are competing theories. Some say they’re being sold for scrap metal. But police say more likely it has something to do with banda, a kind of tuba-heavy Mexican polka music that has become very popular around L.A. It’s so popular, in fact, that Los Angeles school police officer Omar Sanchez says an underground economy has sprung up. “If I just said, ‘Hey, I got a friend who knows a friend who knows a friend who has a tuba,’ you can easily sell it from word of mouth and the black market,” Sanchez says. “It’s big money. It’s just very popular music around here — in any Latino culture

area. Me being a fan, I can understand. [I’m] a big tuba aficionado.” At a Mexican restaurant in South Los Angeles, a group called La Banda Rebelde plays on a makeshift stage in the parking lot. People swarm around them just to hear the tuba. According to one audience member, “Once you put the tuba in there, it makes the whole song different — makes it better.” But the tuba effect doesn’t come cheap. The band here charges $20 a song — almost twice as much as a group without a tuba. People have even been known to stuff $100 bills down the tuba’s bell.

Putting Bertha Back In Retirement Back at South Gate High School, that kind of cash could go a long way. At $7,000 a pop, band teacher Ruben Gonzalez says, the tubas stolen from his band will cost more than $35,000 to replace. In the meantime, the band is relying on a 40-year-old sousaphone called Bertha. “We’ve retired her a couple times, but we’ve brought her back because obviously now we have no tubas,” Gonzalez says. The school hopes to raise enough money for new tubas in time for band camp this summer.

AVPA Hosts: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles

By Geoff Maleman

The Culver City High School Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) hosted the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles on Friday, February 10. As part of their “Alive Music Project,” the GMCLA performed for over 500 students, including a dozen classes and nearly 200 AVPA students. The chorus performed several songs, including “Imagine” and “True Colors.” The presentation included personal stories from several members of the chorus, sharing their

experiences as gay men, overcoming prejudice, and how much joy they get from singing. Founded over 30 years ago, the GMCLA has used music to overcome prejudice. While every year over 85% of LGBT students in American schools experience physical or verbal abuse, the new FAIR Education Act of 2011 was passed in order to help combat bullying of LGBT students. The act supports the inclusion of LGBT individuals and their

contributions to American history and modern life. One of the goals of the “Alive Music Project” (AMP) presentation is to stimulate discussions about Harvey Milk, the Stonewall Uprising, and Matthew Shepard, among other subjects. The goal of the GMCLA is to show students, gay or straight, that they can find their own voice through music or whatever medium they choose by staying in school and treating each other with kindness and respect.

GMCLA Artistic Director Jason Armstrong also provided a master class with the AVPA Chamber Singers on February 9. He worked with the Chamber Signers on two selections, giving them feedback on their performance and providing great insights into singing and vocal production. The Chamber Singers also performed one song for the members of the GMCLA after the presentation on February 10. “I’m very honored to have had the

opportunity to host the GMCLA here at Culver City High School,” said Dr. Tony Spano, AVPA Music Director. “To have them perform for such a large number of students was truly inspiring. And to hear their individual stories made it all the more special.” “It was just great to have Jason come work with us,” said Eric Mandzuch, senior and President of the AVPA Chamber Singers. “We learned a lot, and then to get to hear the chorus, well they were just amazing!”


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State Legislators Meet in Los Angeles Local leaders, experts and youth wil share the best of Los Angeles’ innovative health, education and juvenile justice models for possible statewide expansion

California’s future prosperity depends on all Californians having a fair chance to thrive and succeed. But right now in Los Angeles, low income and young men of color have the lowest life expectancy rates, highest unemployment rates, most murder victims and fewest high school and college graduates of any demographic group. In a new effort to improve the lives of young men, key California policymakers will come to Los Angeles on March 2nd to listen to testimonies from our young men and the barriers they face in the areas of education, safety and employment. Following a standing room-only hearing in Oakland, California lastmonth state legislators will head to Los Angeles on March 2, for a second field hearing investigating ways to improve the lives of young men of color in the state, with a focus on establishing commonsense school discipline and law enforcement policies. The California Assembly’s Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, which was formed by Speaker John Pérez at the request of the Chair, Assemblymember Sandré Swanson, seeks to harness the promise and lessons from the frontlines of Los Angeles’ most successful and innovative policies and programs. “Los Angeles needs its young men. All of them,” said Kafi D. Blumenfield, President and CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation. “But today, boys and young men of color face unique and significant barriers to their well being. Right now in L.A., lowincome young men and young men of color have the lowest life expectancy rates, highest unemployment rates, represent the most murder victims and have the fewest high school and college graduates of any demographic group.” Investing in young men of color can reap huge dividends. Per a 2007 study, African-American and Latino men graduating high school generate $681,130 and $451,360, respectively, in additional dollars for the state of California. WHEN: Friday, March 2; 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Research shows that young men of color have the lowest life expectancy rates, highest unemployment rates and lowest graduation rates of any population in LA

WHERE: Expo Center, 3980 Bill Robertson Lane, Los Angeles WHO: Members of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color: Assemblymember Sandré Swanson, chair (D-16), Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo (D-28), Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-51), Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher (R-75), Assemblymember Warren T. Furutani (D-55), Assemblymember Richard S. Gordon (D-21), Assemblymember Shannon L. Grove (R-32), Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-12), Assemblymember Tony Mendoza (D-56),Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-31), Assemblymember V. Manuel

Kafi Blumenfield

Liberty Hill Foundation, President & CEO Investing in young men of color can reap huge dividends...Per a 2007 study, African-American and Latino men graduating high school generate $681,130 and $451,360, respectively, in additional dollars for the state of California.

Pérez (D-80), and Assemblymember Anthony J. Portantino (D-44). Those testifying at the hearing include: - Dr. John Rogers, UCLA IDEA - Monica Garcia, School Board President, LAUSD - Felton Williams, School Board President, LBUSD - Kenyon Davis, youth representative, Californians for Justice - Victor Rios, UCSB - Judge Nash, Director of Juvenile Court - Kim McGill, Director of Youth Justice Coalition - Manuel Pastor, USC - Lian Cheun, Khmer Girls in Action - Geoffry Winder, GSA Network

- Celso Gallardo, youth representative - Maria Brenes, Inner City Struggle - John Deasy, LAUSD Superintendent -Chris Steinhauser, LBUSD Superintendent - Eddie Madison, CADRE - Carlos Gomez, youth representative, Strategy Center - Tony Cardenas, LA City Councilmember - Lou Calanche, Legacy LA - Juan Llamas, Weingart East LA YMCA - Rene Ayala, youth representative, Strategy Center - George Weaver, Brotherhood Crusade

Man Gives U.S. Vets Two Things: Haircuts, And Hope By Jasmyn Belcher AP / NPR

To help U.S. troops ease back into civilian life, veteran Anthony Bravo Esparza offers them a haircut, and a safe and friendly place to hang out. Esparza — known to his friends as “Dreamer” — sees it as a way to help former soldiers find their way. Dreamer’s barbershop is easy to find; it’s set up inside a trailer in the parking lot of the West Los Angeles Medical Center campus of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Last year, Army vet Paul Crowley went in for a haircut. Since then, he has become Dreamer’s assistant. They sat down recently to talk about how their friendship began. “When I showed up, I was washed,” says Crowley, 60. “Yeah, you’d been drinking,” answers Dreamer, 67.

Veterans Paul Crowley (left) and Anthony Bravo Esparza, known to customers as “Dreamer,” offer solace to military personnel returning from overseas duty.

“I was totally out of hope. And part of that was the way I looked. I hadn’t shaved in a couple of weeks; my hair was filthy and scraggly,” Crowley says. “But getting the haircut made me feel, for lack of a better word, ‘normal’ — which I hadn’t in a long, long time.”

Back then, Dreamer says, “I saw a guy that could at some point, rise above it. And I just felt that I can help ya.” Crowley first came to Dreamer’s trailer in 2009. He hung around there for a while, but he didn’t get his first haircut until 2011. “Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Never underestimate the power of a haircut,’ “ Dreamer says — and then he acknowledges that he’s taking some historic license. “Of course, he never said that — but he should’ve said it.” Working from a white trailer that’s decorated with plants and streamers, Dreamer cuts the hair of 200 veterans a month. He’s been cutting veterans’ hair at little or no cost for years now. Several years ago, he started working out of the trailer at the VA complex. Now the shop has chairs and umbrellas out front — all in patriotic red, white and blue.

Crowley says. “But when I’m there at the trailer — I’ve watched a guy that just came right off the streets, not doing too well, and the only thing he has to pay you with is an orange.” “Whatever you got, we’ll make a deal,” Dreamer says. “I got rubber band balls; I’ve got pebbles, rocks, washers.” “I’ve never seen you turn anybody away. It’s amazing to me to see the guys that come in, in the beginning,” Crowley says. “And then after they’ve been there a little while, they’re going out to look for work.” And before long, he says, “they walk in with a suit, and the haircut you had given them the day before. And you can’t even recognize them compared to the day they walked in there. You impressed me from the very start, and I respect what you have imparted to me. It’s what has made me into a better person, because of my interaction with you.”

And he also has Crowley around, to lend a hand.

“Thank you, buddy. We’re going to move forward — that’s why we comb our hair backwards,” Dreamer says with a laugh.

“I mean, I’m not cutting hair,”

“That’s right.”


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theNation FlashNews Senate Pushes Bills To Boost Small Business Growth WASHINGTON (Reuters) Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced plans on Tuesday to push forward legislation to spur capital formation for small businesses, an issue that has spawned a rare showing of bipartisanship. The Nevada Democrat said the Senate Banking Committee would hold a hearing on small business growth next week and he applauded the House of Representatives for its own progress on related legislation. “Too many Americans are still hurting financially or struggling to find work,” the Nevada Democrat said in remarks delivered on the Senate floor. “And it is crucial for Congress continue efforts to create jobs and rebuild our economy.” The House, with bipartisan support, passed four bills late last year to help small businesses spur job growth by revamping federal securities laws that some say have hindered access to capital. One of the House measures would eliminate the ban on general solicitation that keeps privately held businesses from advertising securities sales to accredited investors. Another would create a regulatory framework to let private businesses use “crowd-funding” - a capital raising technique where investors take small stakes in companies over the Internet. It would allow companies to raise up to $2 million annually from investors pledging no more than $10,000, or 10 percent of their annual income. The push has encouragement from outside Congress. The White House has expressed support for crowd-funding and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is considering updating its own rules to foster capital formation. Earlier this month, an SEC advisory panel urged the agency to relax outdated rules that trigger public financial reporting for companies, but it stopped short of backing crowd-funding, citing concerns about investor protection. Reid said the Senate measures would improve innovators’ access to capital and streamline how companies sell stock through initial public offerings, or IPOs, while protecting investors. While he did not elaborate on the bills, he noted that Senate Democrats have been working on them “for months.” Senators Jon Tester and Pat Toomey introduced a bipartisan bill in September that would broaden an exemption to allow companies to sell up to $50 million in shares without filing lengthy paperwork. Currently, businesses can only raise $5 million under the rule. Senators Charles Schumer and Toomey also introduced a bipartisan bill in December to reduce the cost of going public for smaller companies by exempting them from certain regulatory requirements, such as hiring an outside auditor to verify internal controls.

Obama Gives GOP Taste Of Michigan Campaign Ahead

President Obama never mentioned Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or the other Republican presidential candidates by name in his speech before the United Auto Workers Tuesday, Feb. 28th

President Obama appears to check smartphone as he heads for the Oval Office after speaking to the UAW, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. By Frank James / AP / NPR

President Obama never mentioned Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or the other Republican presidential candidates by name in his speech before the United Auto Workers Tuesday, Feb. 28th. He didn’t need to; everyone knew who he had in mind when he accused some critics of the federally financed auto industry bailout of peddling distortions. As they campaigned in Michigan ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary, Romney and Santorum have continued to make their challenging counterfactual argument that the government should never have bailed out GM and Chrysler even if those companies are now enjoying a financial turnaround. So even as voters were going to the polls in Michigan to vote in the primary, Obama was giving whoever becomes the eventual GOP nominee a taste of the general-election campaign to come.

saying that the problem is that you, the workers, made out like bandits in all of this; that saving the American auto industry was just about paying back unions. Really? Even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you-know-what.

Barack Obama

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

“They think the best way to help families afford health care is to undo the reform we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans

OBAMA: “... I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these politicians completely rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet. These are the folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”

“About 700,000 retirees saw a reduction in the health care benefits they had earned. Many of you saw hours reduced, or pay and wages scaled back. You gave up some of your rights as workers. Promises were made to you over the years that you gave up for the sake and survival of this industry, its workers, and their families. You want to talk about values?

“Now they’re saying they were right all along. Or worse, they’re

“Hard work – that’s a value. Looking out for one another – that’s

a value. The idea that we’re all in it together – that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper – that is a value. “But they’re still talking about you as if you’re some greedy special interest that needs to be beaten. Since when are hardworking men and women special interests? Since when is the idea that we look out for each other a bad thing? To borrow a line from our old friend Ted Kennedy: what is it about working men and women they find so offensive? “This notion that we should have let the auto industry die; that we should pursue anti-worker policies in hopes unions like yours will unravel – it’s part of that same old you’reon-your-own philosophy that says we should just leave everyone to fend for themselves. “They think the best way to boost the economy is to undo the reforms we put in place to prevent another crisis, and let Wall Street write its own rules again. “They think the best way to help families afford health care is to undo the reform we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans, and go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased. “They think we should keep cutting

SUSAN WALSH/AP

NBC NEWS / MARIST POLL IN MICHIGAN

found President Obama leading Romney in Michigan by 18 points and Santorum by 26 points.

taxes for the wealthiest Americans so that billionaires can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries. “I don’t think so. That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess. And we can’t afford to go back. Not now...” If the president sounded confident, maybe even a bit triumphant, some polling suggested he had reason to feel upbeat, at least in Michigan. A recent NBC News/Marist poll found the president leading Romney in the state by 18 percentage points and Santorum by 26 points. Those results suggested that while the opposition of the GOP candidates to the auto bailout was a winner with Republican base voters, it played decidedly less well with the state’s Democrats and independent voters.


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5 the Justice Department over 24 years. Crayton says Congress also considered other factors, such as “the continued presence of race-based voting decisions, driving white voters in some jurisdictions to not support candidates that non-whites prefer.” Crayton says such behavior has prevented “voting coalitions across races,” providing “lots of evidence that this [federal protection] is still needed. ... African-Americans have been voting for white candidates for a long time, partly because they were the only candidates available. But white voters haven’t built up the same record.”

4. Does the conservative makeup of the Supreme Court improve the chances that voter protections will be overturned? Pitts suggests the strong bipartisan congressional support for the 2006 extension may have set the bar too high for court intervention.

South Carolina is one state that requires special clearance from the Justice Department to change its election laws. Here Charles Monnich casts his vote in the GOP primary at Martin Luther King Memorial Park in Columbia, S.C. on Jan. 21. Gerry Melendez/MCT /Landov

Is The Voting Rights Act Endangered? A Legal Primer

The roiling legal battles over election laws passed in various states have potential y far-reaching consequences: the fate of a key section of the 1 965 Voting Rights Act. By Corey Dade / AP /NPR

T

he landmark legislation requires the Justice Department to “pre-clear” any changes to election laws in some or all parts of 16 states, mostly in the South, because of their histories of racially discriminatory voting practices. The Justice Department recently used the mandate to block a voter identification law in South Carolina on grounds that it would harm minority voter turnout. South Carolina has filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the decision, and legal observers believe the case has a strong chance of reaching the Supreme Court, where justices would be asked to rule on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. Texas, another “pre-clearance” state, has asked the Supreme Court to rule on its redistricting plan. A challenge of the Act brought by Shelby County, Ala. — which recently lost a ruling in federal district court — also could be headed to the High Court. Each jurisdiction argues that its election processes no longer inhibit minority voters. NPR asked three legal scholars to weigh in, and they agreed that minority voters still need the protections of the Voting Rights Act. But its survival, they said, faces a real threat given a Supreme Court now openly skeptical of the law. Mark Tushnet, a professor at Harvard Law School; Kareem U. Crayton, a professor the University of North Carolina School of Law; and Michael J. Pitts, a professor at

the Indiana University School of Law, answer five of the most pressing questions.

1. Why is the Voting Rights Act facing so many legal threats now? “Conservative Republicans have been aggressive about the unconstitutionality of [the law] for a while. That’s part of their partybuilding strategy in the South,” says Tushnet, a constitutional law scholar and specialist in civil rights law, who served as a law clerk to late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The timing of the more recent lawsuits, Tushnet says, is owed “to conservative composition of the Supreme Court.” A pivotal Supreme Court ruling in 2009 suggested the mandate — known in legal circles as Section 5 of the law — may no longer be constitutional. “In part due to the success of that legislation, we are now a very different Nation,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. Roberts also said continued enforcement “must be justified by current needs.” Opponents welcomed the Roberts opinion as a sign of the court’s new willingness to reconsider the constitutionality of one of the civil rights movement’s greatest achievements. “This has all the subtlety of a cymbal crashing,” says Crayton, who served as legal counsel to the congressional black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific

American caucuses, which jointly filed an amicus brief in the 2009 case defending the Voting Rights Act. “[Roberts] wrote the outline for the briefs that are being submitted now in these cases.”

2. If the law has been so successful, why overturn it? Or has it become a would-be victim of its own success? “This,” Tushnet says, “is a complicated legal question.” Plaintiffs say the Voting Rights Act unfairly applies only to selected jurisdictions rather than the entire nation. Taking up their side of the argument, Tushnet explains: “Indiana has a voter ID law, but Indiana isn’t a covered jurisdiction. If there’s reason to worry about the impact of voter ID laws on minorities in South Carolina, which is covered by the law, there’s probably reason to worry about it in Indiana.” Tushnet also notes “the atmospherics of President Obama’s election. ... For those who feel that this is an advantageous time [to challenge the law], it seems inappropriate to think there is pervasive prejudice against minorities in a nation that has elected a minority president.” The pressing legal question, Tushnet says, “is whether there is enough contemporary evidence that there are still enough problems” blocking minority voters’ access to the polls. Most data show strong increases in minority voter registration and election turnout since the 1960s, in the South and nationally.

The Pew Research Center says the 2008 elections included the most diverse electorate in U.S. history, as non-whites made up nearly 24 percent of all voters. The share of white voters slid to 76.3 percent from 79.2 percent in 2004. Black turnout reached a record 65.2 percent in 2008, compared with 55 percent in 1988, according to the Pew study. Driven by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, blacks turned out at the same rate as whites for the first time. Also in 2008, the voting rates of both Asian-Americans and Hispanics increased by roughly 4 percentage points from 2004, according to the Census Bureau.

3. Given the increased participation of minority voters, why should the federal government continue to provide them special protection? “The fact that you see overall voting increases doesn’t mean there aren’t problems in specific jurisdictions,” Tushnet says. He offers a fictional example: “Expanded access in Atlanta doesn’t tell you if there are problems in, say, rural Georgia counties.” Even if circumstances for minorities have truly improved, Congress believes they haven’t improved enough. In 2006, lawmakers voted to extend the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years. Congress reviewed 15,000 pages of documents, including some 421 voting changes proposed in local jurisdictions that were denied by

Then there’s the import, and potential fallout, of overturning a landmark act of Congress. “This is widely known as one of the most successful civil rights laws in history, and to read the headlines the next day saying ‘Supreme Court Strikes Down Voting Rights Act’ — that headline maybe isn’t one the justices want to read,” says Pitts, who worked as a trial attorney in the Voting Section of the Justice Department under George W. Bush. Instead, Pitts sees the court possibly weakening the law incrementally, in multiple cases that might arise over some years: “Tweaking it in such a way that makes it less onerous for governments to comply with Section 5. Some have referred to it as death by a thousand cuts.”

5. What if the Supreme Court eventually does strikes it down? Would American elections change? “Wow,” Crayton says. “Well, that has serious legal and political implications, obviously.” He says it would have any number of consequences for the presidential, congressional and state elections, particularly if the court hears the case this year. Crayton cited the court’s role in the 2000 Florida recount as a cautionary tale: “If you are of the thought that the Supreme Court shouldn’t be mucking around in electoral politics, this would be your case to fight. Communities would be mobilized.” He believes court action also would compromise redistricting maps for many states: “It would raise the question of whether states that have had to comply with federal oversight would rethink their redistricting plans.” Tushnet predicts “a falling-off of minority participation in rural areas” and more states adopting voter identification laws. However, he says, “it wouldn’t go back to the world of widespread effective disenfranchisement because there’s enough political power in the AfricanAmerican community to keep things from getting too bad.” Pitts says some “backsliding” might occur in contests for lower offices: “The one minority member of the five-member school board somewhere might be redistricted out of office. Then it becomes much harder to undo that through litigation, rather than Section 5 holding things in place.”


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MARCH 2012 | VOL. 23 | NO. 1



Travel + Leisure Disney World Wedding:

An African Night In Central Florida Despite what people may think, not every Disney wedding is a Mickey and Minnie affair

By Rebecca Dolan / HuffPost

Our group passed carefully through the trees under the dark sky -- 30 people following but one lantern. After crossing the train tracks and finding a well worn path, we continued on to the village. It wasn’t long until we reached the clearing. Beyond this market square was our destination: a time-worn fort with crumbling plaster, its exterior gray except for a drapery of hot pink bougainvillea. This was the old Fort Harambe, where the wedding celebration was to be held.

Although she was delighted by how everything turned out, Annemarie points out to future brides that planning a Disney wedding can have its traps, especially for less Type A brides like herself. “I found that if I didn’t call or email, I’d never hear from them,” she said. “It might not be a problem for brides who had more to do -- our wedding was so simple -- but I was conscious of that.”

The Wonderful World Of Disney Weddings Despite what people may think, not every Disney wedding is a Mickey and Minnie affair, though those are available. To the contrary, Disney offers a range of themed locations -- options are only limited by a couple’s imagination. The wedding I recently attended was held in Animal Kingdom’s African-themed village. At the reception, of my dining companions, Lisa, shared her own Disney wedding story with me. She, too, held her reception in a park, choosing EPCOT’s Living Seas as a venue, where her guests were surrounded by beautiful sea life. A dessert hour was held in the Italy pavilion. She went on to tell me of a friend’s wedding, which adopted an old Hollywood aura at Hollywood Studios’ Brown Derby Restaurant.

FlashNews Sprinkles to Open Ice Cream Shop and opens world’s first 24 Hour cupcake automat at Beverly Hills Location Sprinkles, one of the L.A.-based bakeries deemed responsible for kicking off the international cupcake craze, launches their 24-hour cupcake access and Ice Cream shop. Sprinkles Ice Cream shop is a back to basics creamery with a Sprinkles twist! Sprinkles Ice Cream will also serve up ice cream into crisp waffle cones, pressed between fluffy cupcake tops or piled high into sundaes topped with housemade sauces and toppings. The automatic cupcake machine dispenses freshly baked cupcakes, cupcake mixes, apparel and even cupcakes for Fido! In the heart of Beverly Hills nestled between Sprinkles Cupcakes and the brand new Sprinkles Ice Cream, 24 Hour Sprinkles will be continuously restocked day and night with a variety of freshly baked cupcake flavors.

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From there, guests were taken in groups to ride the Tower of Terror to pose, if you will, for their souvenir wedding photo. Hopefully before dinner. In Florida, Disney offers four different collections of wedding packages that can be tailored for any couple. The Disney Weddings website gives a great overview of the options. Our hosts chose from the Wishes collection, and kept the celebration intimate with just over 30 guests and a lovely interfaith ceremony at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion.

Into Africa After seeing the newlyweds out with a cloud of bubbles, our party headed by bus to Animal Kingdom. This was especially cool as they let us slip in the back door -- hence the hike. The festivities were held in the courtyard of the real-life Tamu Tamu restaurant, which lay within the walls of the faux fort. Inside, strings of bare light bulbs faintly illuminated a setting of lantern-topped tables with trees that permeated the airy wooden roof. The dinner selection nodded to the African theme, featuring spiced

steak and Ethiopian wat-style chicken with herbed roasted vegetables and blue-cheese laced potatoes. The cake, shaped like a vintage suitcase stuffed with a map, was surrounded by quotes that added to the “Casablanca” feel. Annemarie, the lovely bride, told me that the location, though both lovely and unique, was also a practical choice. If holding a park wedding, you have to wait two hours after that park closes. Animal Kingdom closes earliest, whereas others can stay open as late as 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. -- even later depending on the season.

Disney’s rules and restrictions - like that whole timing thing - can also be a lot to navigate, she adds. Check out her perspective here.

A Night to Remember There were no giant mice that night, no pumpkin coaches (though also available) and nary a castle in sight, but there was still the sense of being in an enchanted place. It reflected the personalities of the laid back couple, while still seeming like an elaborate destination wedding. Before we could get too comfortable in our “Out of Africa” fantasy, before the clock struck midnight, we had a dark, wooded hike back to reality.

Take a Hike: Court Rules U.S. Forest Service Can’t Charge People to Just Visit National Forests By Lindsay Williams-Ross / LAist

MA ruling released earlier this month by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of four hikers who objected to having to pay a fee to visit a National Forest, and this could find visitors relieved of having to pay daily or annual fees to simply visit the land. According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the “court reversed a district court ruling, saying the federal authorities violated the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA)” by requiring users pay a fee. The specific location where the case’s plaintiffs had visited was the Coronado National Forest in Arizona, but the ruling might bring an end to the national Adventure Pass program. “The Adventure Pass program began in 1997 as part of a Fee Demonstration Program,” explains the Daily Bulletin. “It attracted protests from activists who said it amounted to ‘double taxation’ for using federal lands already paid for through taxes.” This does not mean, however, that the

Photo of poppies in the Los Padres National Forest by Matt McGrath Photo via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

forests will no longer charge fees. At issue is visitors who do not use the park amenities being asked to pay to visit the land. Many hikers, roadside snackers, and photographers--or even just those who park inside the forest-have been asked to provide proof of fee payment, though they contend they did not use any of the amenities offered at national parks: Those who go to a place in the forest

with “a majority of the nine amenities” such as picnic tables, permanent toilets, garbage cans and running water, may be charged, the court said. It is, indeed, said the court, possible to visit a National Forest, but not use the amenities, and therefore, it is not okay for the US Forest Service to demand a fee. Decisions on the 9th Circuit affect western states, however an Arcadia-

based U.S. Forest Service spokesperson had nothing official to say about the recent ruling. In the ruling Judge Robert Gettleman wrote: “Everyone is entitled to enter national forests without paying a cent.” Many people may opt to avoid the fee stress altogether, and visit places like Angeles National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, or Cleveland National Forest on “fee free” days, such as those offered on Veteran’s Day or National Public Lands Day in the past.western states, however an Arcadia-based U.S. Forest Service spokesperson had nothing official to say about the recent ruling. In the ruling Judge Robert Gettleman wrote: “Everyone is entitled to enter national forests without paying a cent.” Many people may opt to avoid the fee stress altogether, and visit places like Angeles National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, or Cleveland National Forest on “fee free” days, such as those offered on Veteran’s Day or National Public Lands Day in the past.


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ART+ Culture “Houston’s amazing range of vocal capabilities coupled with her natural beauty stunned the most cynical of music critics.”

WHITNEY HOUSTON 1963 - 2012

The world says goodbye to a legend Whitney Houston was an icon and a once-in-a-lifetime talent who inspired a generation of singers and brought joy to mil ions of fans around the world. She had a voice of unmatched beauty and power that changed music forever, and she leaves behind an indelible legacy of timeless songs that wil never be forgotten.

By Jenny Werth

Two Legends: Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston at the Grammys 1998 Photos by Bill Jones.

SIDE STORY: Whitney Houston Biopic Won’t Necessarily Cast An African-American Actress To Portray Legend Less than a week after Whitney Houston was laid to rest, at least one major network has already been discussing the production of a biopic of the late legend’s life and even a televised live farewell concert. STORY CONTINUES >>>PAGE 11

Her voice made my skin tingle; created tears in my eyes and left me gasping for that last ounce of breath to finish her ballads. Into the air waves of our radios, she sang beauty marked with poignancy and extreme emotion. And just when you thought she couldn’t possibly sing any stronger, or with any more passion, she sang what became the soundtrack for countless of lovers with the hauntingly beautiful song “I Will Always Love You.” It was the theme song of the movie “The Bodyguard,” during a scene that shows a desperate Kevin Costner thrashing across a busy concert hall to rescue Houston from what he feared was potential harm. “I Will Always Love You” became the song that showed the power of a love that knows no boundaries, nor cares if it must cross volatile borders. And it is just one of the many songs Houston performed that took on a life of its own. One that seemed to parallel the intense love she felt for Bobby Brown. A love that notoriously often shadowed her repetitive struggles with addiction. However, instead of repeating the continual flow of information the paparazzi constantly announced about her personal life and all its unstable turns; let’s focus on her voice that was steady in its

prominence. This is a celebration of a woman whose songs blared out of our car radios as we took road trips; words we screamed out while performing ‘cameos’ in the shower; and ultimately the influence of a magical singer that has left us far too soon. Houston’s amazing range of vocal capabilities coupled with her natural beauty stunned the most cynical of musical critics. For when Houston took the stage, the passion that burned in her eyes matched the depth of her voice. And it often left her audience speechless. Houston was a force totally of her own- whether you liked her style of music or not- few would argue that her voice didn’t reach notes that left many breathless. It was a voice that was admired by her peers and adored by her fans. But, her talent didn’t stop with her vocal chords. Indeed, she was also an accomplished actress. In totality, she was the personification of a rare talent. One who could tackle any song, or take on the big screen as well as she could perform for a soldout concert- always with her raw flair of heart and soul. STORY CONTINUES >>>PAGE 11


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MARCH 2012 | VOL. 23 | NO. 1

CultureCalendar LACMA: now- May 6, 2012 In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States

MoCA: now –APRIL 2, 2012

GETTY: now- may, 6 2012

A TRIBUTE TO MIKE KELLEY

Pacific Standard Time: LA Art 1945-1980

A Tribute to Mike Kelley will encompass 23 of Kelley’s works as well as works by John Altoon, Cody Choi, Douglas Huebler, William Leavitt, Marnie Weber, and Johanna Went, donated to MOCA by Kelley.. For more info : www.moca.org

The exhibition includes works by Iconic figures such as Louise Bourgeois, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Lee Miller, Kay Sage, Dorothea Tanning, and Remedios Varo. For more info : www.lacma.org

march 13 - April 22

A celebration of contemporary art movements of Los Angeles. For more info : www.getty.edu

GREEN DAY’S

AMERICAN IDIOT

MAKES L.A. DEBUT “It’s an experience... thrilling, emotionally charged, and as moving as any Broadway musical I’ve seen this year!” -Charles Isherwood, The New York Times Slinging razor guitars , thundering drums and an anti-hero named Johnny. Not the prelude of typical entries in the canon of musical theatre. But these elements herald a groundbreaking American musical all the same: with the burning passion of characters who yearn for something more, songs bursting with emotion and a story that dares you to feel and celebrate and hope. The music of Green Day and the lyrics of lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong captured the zeitgeist of a generation with its Grammy® Award-winning multi-platinum album. American Idiot puts those raw emotions front and center in a highly theatrical and thoroughly satisfying rock opera that burns up the stage. Monster hits like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, “21 Guns.,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the title track soar like they were written for the stage under the direction of Tony Award® winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), choreography by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (Black Watch) and music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal). For more information about American Idiot, and ticket sales please visit: www.centertheatregroup.org

Ahmanson Theatre | 135 N. Grand Ave. | Los Angeles, CA | 90012

ERIN BOHEME MAKES SUNDAYS SULTRY

Renowned jazz artist inspires sultry sundays at the strand house in Manhattan Beach

evenings through February (with the exception of Sunday, February 5 in honor of the big game) from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There is no cover charge.

She’s topped the Billboard charts, attracted the attention of 60 Minutes, collaborates with Michael Bublé and now Erin Boheme brings her smooth jazz talent to StrandBar at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach.

Boheme recently completed her second album, a collaboration with Bublé, which is set to be released early this year. StrandBar at The Strand House overlooks the Manhattan Beach Pier and the Pacific Ocean. The energized bar features a broad selection of wines, beers and cocktails, including house specialty cocktails designed by their resident mixologist.

Critically acclaimed for her smooth jazz vocals, Boheme, whose debut album, What Love Is, reached #17 on the U.S. Billboard Top Jazz Album Chart, will headline with her band at The Strand Bar on Sunday

The Strand House is a rustic, yet refined new American restaurant with stunning ocean views in a modern, multi-level venue. Passionate about fresh, local ingredients, Chef Neal Fraser is a regular visitor to local

farmers’ markets, where he carefully collects ingredients for the discerning menu and cocktails. The Strand House is completely devoted to using organic and sustainable methods when purchasing and cooking. The farm-driven menus change seasonally. The Strand House is located at: 117 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, Manhattan Beach. For information and reservations call 310.545.7470. Visit The Strand House at: www.thestrandhouseMB.com.


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9



Opinions Rev. Al Sharpton

Back to the Future:

All Roads Lead to Selma, Alabama , February 28th we watched Wil ard Mitt Romney give another lackluster speech following his victory in Arizona and extremely slim win in Michigan. Once again devoid of passion, it was as if he was reading someone else’s words without any clear vision of what his platform would be in office.

O

nce again devoid of passion, it was as if he was reading someone else’s words without any clear vision of what his platform would be in office. At the same time, you had Rick ‘I don’t believe in higher education’ Santorum give his own speech as if he didn’t lose yesterday. And whether it was Romney or Santorum speaking, it’s important to note that neither mentioned the other by name last night, indicating therefore that they’re in it for the long haul. The truth is, it really doesn’t matter who becomes the eventual GOP nominee because all of the contenders and the Republican Party as a whole have proved that they would indeed like to take the country back -- back to a time when systematic maneuvers suppressed the votes of people of color and the marginalized. While

they try to regress us back, we must do something today for the sake of our collective future. From March 4-9th, my organization, National Action Network, will partner with congressional leaders, activists and everyday citizens as we once again make the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. We will begin at the Edmund Pettus Bridge this Sunday, march at least 10 miles per day, stay in tents along Route 80, convene rallies and teachins along the way, and finally gather in front of the Alabama State Capitol on Friday, March 9th. After the state of Alabama passed the most draconian anti-immigration legislation, and at least 31 states now have voter ID laws on the books, we must take immediate action if we hope to preserve any notion of progress. The Selma to Montgomery March consisted of three different marches in 1965 that marked the political and

emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. Beaten with billy clubs and attacked with tear gas, it was the third march which lasted five days that made it to Montgomery after soldiers from the Army, members of the Alabama National Guard (under federal command), FBI agents and federal marshals eventually protected the demonstrators. It was because of these marches, and the national and international attention they garnered that Congress rushed to enact legislation that would protect voting for all Americans. It was called the Voting Rights Act, and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law later that year on August 6, 1965. It’s amazing that almost 50 years after this historic legislation was enacted that we now find ourselves under attack yet again. After countless sacrifices -- including many people of all races that literally gave their lives for equality -- we are watching the very gains we achieved being

slowly and covertly stripped away. It’s important to remember that our Selma to Montgomery March next week isn’t about the past, however -- it’s about the future. Your future, my future, our children’s future and the future of this very nation. Without any validation, individual states are passing these strict voter ID laws that are clearly designed to disenfranchise the poor, people of color, the elderly and young folks. Instead of allowing utility bills and other items that were used for years as appropriate forms of ID for voting, supporters of these new laws would like nothing more than to discourage people from participating. Rather than making the process easier and open to all, they are working diligently on finding new ways to suppress the vote. The state of Alabama is where the civil rights movement found its heart. Today, when voter ID laws have crept into dozens of states, and one of the toughest and most reprehensible anti-

immigration bills passed in Alabama, we will gather once again in the deep South and march. Congressman John Lewis, who helped lead the march in ‘65 will join us, as will leaders from across the country. To learn how to participate in the Selma to Montgomery March, please visit nationalactionnetwork.net. Whether you march along this historic route with us, or help organize buses, or participate in any fashion, make sure you do something. We have fought far too long and sacrificed far too much to allow anyone to repeal justice. Say no to voter suppression and anti-immigration laws. Let’s remind the world once again what’s at stake here. It’s time to go back to the future: all roads lead to Selma on Sunday.

The opinions/ideas presented here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jackson Publishing or its affiliates.


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MARCH 2012 | VOL. 23 | NO. 1

COMMUNITYNEWS MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA LAUNCHES 2012 EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT MayorAntonio Villaraigosa

LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and community partners today launched the Greater Los AngelesEarned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Campaign Partnership, an annual effort to help qualified low and moderate-income families claim the tax credits they deserve.

“In tough economic times we need to make sure hardworking Angelenos are getting all the help they need,”

“In tough economic times we need to make sure hardworking Angelenos are getting all the help they need,” saidMayor Villaraigosa. “We want to ensure that all qualifying low and moderate-income households reap the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit and gain access to free tax assistance.” The EITC is a vastly underutilized benefit. The IRS estimates that 21% of all eligible families who qualify for EITC do not file a federal tax return to claim the credit. That means residents are leaving behind at least $300 mil-

FlashNews Culver City Fire Dept. receives grant for new extraction equipment

CALIFORNIANS TIGHTEN THEIR WALLETS AS GASOLINE PRICES SOAR

Average Cost for Regular Gasoline Climbed 64 Cents in November

The Culver City Fire Department displays its $6,101 check from Jules Berlin Agency and the Fireman’s Fund for new extraction equipment. Center left: President Alan Berlin of Jules Berlin Agency, Center right: Commerical Territory Sales Director Justin Arms of Fireman’s Fund.

Sacramento – Californians are feeling the pinch at the pump as gasoline prices jumped 20 percent in November prompting consumer consumption to dip 2.6 percent, according to a report released today by Chairman Jerome E. Horton of the Board of Equalization (BOE). Diesel fuel prices also increased 28 percent to $4.25 as consumption fell 5.3 percent in November. Generally, diesel use follows economic activity and is closely related to construction

March through November 2011 – Californians have cut down on the amount of gasoline they buy in the state. Contributing to this downward trend are likely high gasoline prices, driving more fuel efficient vehicles, taking alternative forms of transportation, as well as the slow economic recovery. Californians used 1.169 billion gallons of gasoline in November 2011, a yearover-year decline of 2.6 percent. The average price for gasoline rose 64

year when 207 million gallons of diesel were consumed. The average price for diesel rose 94 cents to $4.25 per gallon, a 28 percent increase compared to $3.31 per gallon the year before. Nationally, the average price for diesel jumped 82 cents to $3.96 per gallon, which is a 26 percent increase over November 2010’s average price of $3.14 per gallon. California gasoline and diesel fuel figures are net consumption, including audit assessments, refunds,

City of Culver City Official Election Information

lion in EITC inLos Angeles County each year. FamilySource Centers, the City’s anti-poverty system, provide a comprehensive array of social services to city residents that need them the most. During tax season, the FamilySource Center in Hollywood becomes a designated Volunteer Income Tax Assistance—or VITA—site. Supported by the EITC partnership, VITA sites provide families with free tax assistance and help them apply for tax credits. These sites also offer asset-building programs that include financial education and resources to help families open low-cost bank accounts. Youth Policy Institute 5500 Hollywood Boulevard, 2nd Floor Hollywood, CA 90028 (323) 836-0055

Foul odor complaints in Culver City & Playa del Rey No gas leaks reported CULVER CITY, Calif. (KABC) -- The Southern California Gas Company is investigating after they received hundreds of calls about a suspicious smell in the Culver City area. The utility company said there are no reported gas leaks that they’re aware of, but they received about 300 customer calls from Culver City and Playa del Rey about a smell in their homes and neighborhoods. “I smelled a very strong smell of gas and it just continued to get stronger and stronger,” said Culver City resident Sherri Moss. “It was definitely the smell of natural gas, exactly what you smell if you turn your stove on.” Service representatives went door to door to check for any leaks as a precaution, but so far, they have not found anything.

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 1500 of the City Charter, there shall be an election held to elect four members of the City Council and to submit to the City’s voters a measure related to a proposed increase in the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax (also known as the “Hotel” or “Bed” Tax). The election shall be held on Tues, April 10, 2012.

and transportation of goods. “I’m keenly aware of the negative impact higher gas prices have on hard-working families trying to make ends meet,” said Chairman Horton. “As we struggle through these challenging economic hurdles together, I’m committed to finding ways to help Californians get the assistance they need.” For nine months in a row – from

cents to $3.85 per gallon, a 20 percent increase compared to the average price of $3.21 the previous year in California. Nationally, the average price for gasoline increased 53 cents to $3.44, an 18 percent increase over the $2.91 average price the year before. Diesel fuel consumption in November 2011 totaled 196 million gallons, a decline of 5.3 percent compared to the same period the previous

amended and late tax returns, and the State Controller’s Office refunds. BOE is able to monitor gallons through tax receipts paid by fuel distributors in California. BOE updates the fuel reports at the end of each month.

“Right now, there’s no indication of any natural gas coming from our pipelines or any of our facilities in that area,” said Denise King of the Southern California Gas Company. “We’ve checked in the Playa del Rey area, where we do have underground storage facility. It appears that there is no indication of any natural gas coming from that facility, so at this point, we don’t know the source of the odor.”


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Davy Jones Dead: Singer Of The Monkees Dies At 66 (CBS/AP)

“Oliver.”

own instrumentals.

The Monkees lead singer Davy Jones has died, according to the medical examiner’s office in Martin County, Fla. He was 66.

He earned a Tony nomination at 16 when he reprised that role in the show’s Broadway production, a success that brought him to the attention of Columbia Pictures/Screen Gems Television, which created “The Monkees.”

The Monkees scored several hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer.” The series, with its “Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees” theme song, was a quick TV hit with viewers.

A spokeswoman at the medical office confirmed to CBSNews. com that it had received word of his death. “A possible autopsy may be performed after evaluation of the circumstances of the death and medical information,” the spokesperson said. His publicist, Helen Kensick, confirmed Jones died of a heart attack in Indiantown, where he had lived. Jones complained of breathing troubles early in the morning and was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, said Rhonda Irons of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s spokeswoman said there were no suspicious circumstances. Born in Manchester, England, Jones, a racehorse jockey-turnedactor, rose to stardom as a teen idol on the NBC comedy series, “The Monkees,” which ran from 1966 to 1968. Even before the hit U.S. TV show, Jones was a child star in his native England. He appeared on television and stage, including a heralded role as “The Artful Dodger” in the play

The show, which followed a rock group modeled after the Beatles, also starred Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. The show, clearly patterned on the Beatle’s film “A Hard Days Night,” chronicled the comic trials and tribulations of a rock group whose four members lived together and traveled to gigs in a tricked-out car called the Monkeemobile. The actors were originally banned from playing their own instruments on the show. After the show’s launch, The Monkees came under fire from music critics when it was learned that session musicians - and not the group’s members - had played the musical instruments on their recordings. In reality, Jones could play the drums and guitar, and although Dolenz learned to play the drums after he joined the group, he could also play guitar, as could Nesmith. The group eventually prevailed over the show’s producers, including music director Don Kirchner, and began to play their

Jones continued to ride horses later on in his life, and in 1996, he won his first race in England. “I’ve always thought if all the show business success hadn’t happened, I’d have been a world champion jockey,” he explained on his website. “It’s in my blood. I’ve always dreamed of going back to England -- riding a few winners.” Jones has been active on the music

scene as of late, and was on tour as recently as February 2012. According to his website, Jones had concerts lined up throughout this year. Jones is survived by his wife, Jessica. His website has photos of their wedding, which took place in Miami, Fla., in 2009. According to IMDB, Jones was married twice before and has two children from each of those relationships

At 5-feet-3, Jones was by far the shortest member of the group - a fact often made light of on the show. But with his youthful good looks, he was also the group’s heartthrob. After the series ended, The Monkees started to disband. Jones released a self-titled album in 1971. In the mid1980s, Jones, Tork, Dolenz and promoter David Fishof got together for a reunion tour. In 1987, Jones, Tork and Dolenz released a new album called “Pool It.” To mark The Monkees’ 30th anniversary, the group, including Nesmith, put out a new studio album in 1996 titled “Justus.” Also in the late ‘90s, the group filmed a special called “Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkees.” Jones also appeared on a popular “Brady Bunch” episode, which aired in late 1971. On the show, Marcia Brady promised her school that she could get The Monkees star to perform at a dance. He later made an appearance in the 1995 “Brady Bunch Movie.”

Whitney Houston:

Saying Goodbye to a legend STORY CONTINUED FROM >>>PAGE 7

lBut, all too often when you have a talent as inconceivable as Houston, you also find a human racked with internal pain and perplexity. However, this pain often finds enormous relief through the expression of song. And it’s these songs of deep furor that often become enormous billboard hits. They do so for one reason: they have the ability to verbalize the hunger for love so many human’s share in their hearts. But, sometimes that is simply not enough for the one who sings the words of a song’s accolade. The melancholy will stand witness to how often they can help heal others; despite their struggle to ever really quite restore themselves. And unfortunately Houston now joins a group of other incredibly talented singers who ultimately couldn’t find the peace so many of us search for in life. I watched a man press himself prostrate on the cement of the corner of the Beverly Hills Hilton (where Houston spent her final hours.) He was staring intently into a candle flickering in front of a picture of Houston. He was in the company of many other flames that also illuminated numerous other photos of Houston, along with many teddy bears, hearts and notes that have collected in tribute to her. There on the dirty sidewalk of a huge intersection in Los Angeles, people in traffic watched the candles lit in homage to her

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SUNSET GOWER + SUNSET BRONSON 23 sound stages, a new state-of-the-art post production facility, and over over 750,000 square feet of office and support space on it’s 28 acres.

Mourners place flowers and baloons at Whitney’s childhood church New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J

memory. Candles with flames that we find time and again are far too easily blown out. So, with her passing, we must thank God that Houston found the power of her voice while singing in her church and shared its talent with us during her 48 short years. For furthur information about Whitney Houston and her last projects please visit: www.whitneyhouston.com

Come join our community of filmmakers at the Sunset Gower + Sunset Bronson Studios! 1438 N. Gower Street | Hollywood, CA 90028 | http://www.sgsandsbs.com/

Side Story: Whitney Biopic STORY CONTINUED FROM >>>PAGE 7 “Obviously nothing will be done unless the family is supportive, but this would give them a chance to have a say in their daughter’s legacy, plus potentially make a lot of money,” a production insider tells me. “It would be a one-off massive concert where fans could buy tickets to hear all the songs Whitney sang and even have a charity component to it. But the bigger idea is organizing a film that tells the life of Whitney Houston, including the good and the bad.”

Rihanna and Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” star Jennifer Hudson are said to be at the top of the list of actresses under consideration to portray Houston. Vivica A. Fox, Jordin Sparks and even Will Smith’s young daughter, Willow -- eyed for the role of a young Whitney -- have seen their names circling amid rumors of a Whitney biopic. Tina Turner’s movie “What’s Love Got to Do with It” landed two Oscar nominations for

Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, and producers hope Houston’s story will do the same for whomever they cast. “It doesn’t necessarily need to be a great singer to play the role,” the insider tells me. “I’m sure they will use Whitney’s voice for the songs. What they are looking for is a great actress, someone that can bring to life both the pain and the joy Whitney experienced. Does she have to be an African-American actress? Not

necessarily.” The biggest obstacle for producers, however, will be convincing Whitney’s former label chief and mentor, Clive Davis, to be on board. “No one has brought this to his attention,” a friend of Davis tells me. “I’m sure down the road something like this will happen, but for the moment he is still too consumed with grief.


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businessprofile

LL’s

consignment and Custom Jewelry

Owners Lynn Patterson & Lorri Tarver By Jenny Lopez When you walk into LL’s consignment & jewelry store the ambience and layout is like no other consignment store. It is more along the lines of an upscale, highend boutique that one would find in Beverly Hills or on Melrose. Everything looks brand new and the racks are filled with brand names at reasonable prices. Gucci, Chanel, Fendi and Burberry are all carried in the store to name just a few. The jewelry offered at LL’s are custom-designed statement pieces that are bold, unique and one-of-a-kind. The store also carries shoes, handbags, belts and much more. The store is beautifully decorated, colorful and vibrant which you can’t help but feel good when you’re there. What is consignment? Consignment is an agreement between the Consignment store owner and the Consignor. The consignment store sells the items on behalf of the Consignor. At LL’s Consignment & Jewelry we seek and accept designer

label Men & Women clothing, purses, shoes and accessories. How does someone sell something at your store? Consignors bring in items that are new and/or gingerly worn, next to new, laundered, pressed without stains, rips, or tears. Items must be on hangers, for exchange of cash or store credit to purchase other in-store consignment items. Current inventory includes men and women’s designer wear, vintage, trendy and classic basics. Items are examined and accepted based on sellability. Accounts are established and activated with a minimum of 5 sellable items. What sets your store apart from others? Our consignment contractual agreement with consignors begin at a 50/50 split, while most consignment stores began at 60/40 split. With 60% going to the store and 40% to the Consignor. Proudly LL’s incorporates a

GIVEBACK incentive. Once the item is sold 5% is taking off the proceeds before the split, which is donated to an organization or foundation of the Consignors choice, not “LL’s” choice. LL’s is proudly & pridefully a GREEN store. The jewelry offered at LL’s are custom-designed statement pieces that are bold, unique and one-of-a-kind. The pieces appeal to someone who likes everything from the bling to the classic and everything in between. LL’s use the finest quality materials such as sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, and semi-precious stones. Also, the workmanship that goes into each piece conveys the essence of me as an artist. Our consignment & jewelry store ambience and layout is like no other consignment store. For that reason LL’s Consignment & Jewelry Store is available for movie sets, production and various event rentals. We have booked fashions extravaganza, book signings etc. In addition our store serves as a showroom for our sister-company, LL’s Decorative Floor; concrete, stamped,

LL’s Designer Consignment and Jewelry Boutique is the newest entrant into the clothing exchange business. Clothing exchanges are quickly becoming part of the new economy. They just make sense when saving cents is the prevailing thought for many frugal and discriminating consumers

overlay, epoxy reflector. Store uniqueness - Sip and Shop on Saturday open it’s doors to Independent artisans invited to participate in this marketplace opportunity to showcase and sell their products and services. While sipping on complimentary beverage, mimosas, wine, juice tea, coffee, and hors d’oeuvres. What kind of items and clothing do you carry? We carry Men & Women’s clothing, shoes, purses, and accessories. LL’s Jewelry are the finest quality, one-of-akind custom-designed statement pieces; necklaces, earrings, rings, cuffs, etc. There’s a fun vibe about your store, can you tell me about that? Our store is a true reflection of our warm, welcoming, fun-filled spirit/personality. At LL’s there are no strangers, “mi casa su casa”. We welcome guest from all walks of life and nationalities, weather they come to purchase or simply stop in to relax,

listen to the music or dialogue about the Latest & Hottest Topic.The vibrantorange signature wall color was created from both of our pizazz spirit. The mission was to have that “WOWAppeal factor” from the street to the sidewalk view, to the entry. In reference to our floor we wanted to create an upscale, trendsetter cutting-edge design. As an end result we achieved both. Can you tell me about L&L’s decorative flooring? LL’s Partners are certified “Decorative Concrete” designers. The “Decorative Concrete” floor-showroom was created by LL’s Partners. The cutting edge floor design is an industry-leading product in decorative concrete for residential and commercial properties. LL’s provide free estimates for custom seamless flooring, stains, dyes, stamped, sealers protective coating, restoration and more including countertops. UPCOMING EVENTS: March 25, 2012 ~ 2pm-6pm ~ Book Signing

“THE FIXER” MEDIATION ATTORNEY GREG WOOD and picked up a vehicle codebook to see exactly what constituted an “alley.” The answer was a roadway 25 feet wide or less, so Greg drove back down to Westchester and, with cars whirring by, measured the distance by placing his size 12’ feet one in front of the other. The outcome? 24 feet. Greg had actually been “officially” parked in an alley, but still, the parking officer could have let his friends move the car and, well, he had nothing to lose by trying. Parking tickets used to be handled in court by Assistant District Attorneys, so Greg found himself representing himself against the full power of the city of Los Angeles. . With the Parking Officer on the stand and dutifully answering all the Assistant D.A.’s questions pertaining to Greg’s parking violation, it was now Greg’s turn to cross-examine the witness. STORY CONTINUED FROM >>>PAGE 1 So, what was the impetus that thrust Greg into the legal world? Oddly enough it was a piece of justice that all of us crave for: beating a parking ticket. The setting was Westchester, California; Greg, who at the time was working at Hughes Aircraft in Control Systems Engineering and still in his

Master’s program, was simply cashing a check. He’d left friends in his car and advised them to move it if a parking officer came by, but upon returning he discovered a parking officert had come by, not allowed his friends to move his car and given him a ticket. With a frustration we can all empathize with Greg decided to fight the ticket. His parking citation was for “parking in an alley,” so Greg went down to the courthouse

Not being an attorney Greg made small talk with the Parking Officer, stalling while thinking about his plan of attack, but when the judge ordered Greg to get to the point of his defense, Greg boiled everything down to one simple question: he asked the Parking Officer, “Did you measure the roadway in question?” The Parking Officer responded, “No.”

Greg pushed on: “Could it have been as wide as 24 feet?” “Maybe.” “Could it have been as wide as 26 feet?” “I suppose.” Greg turned to the Judge and said, “Your Honor, if it’s 26 feet I’m not guilty!” The courtroom erupted with laughter and the Assistant D.A. jumped to his feet yelling, “Your Honor, may I ask Mr. Wood a question?!” The Judge agreed and the D.A. looked Greg directly in the eyes and asked, “Mr. Wood, did you measure that roadway?!” As Greg explained to me during our lunch interview here at Sunset Gower’s Stage café, “It was a deer in the headlights moment, Anthony. I turned to the Judge and said, ‘Your Honor, I don’t have to answer that do I?’ The Judge said, ‘No you don’t, Mr. Wood – case dismissed.’ I walked out of that courtroom thinking ‘Move over Perry Mason!’” …And justice for all. So, Greg finished his Masters in Engineering, went to Law School, passed the Bar and began his new career as an Attorney in 1975. Now, 37 years later, a career that began with a Homeric defeat of an Assistant D.A., Greg has

turned his attention to helping his clients avoid litigation whenever possible. In Hollywood, anyone looking for their 15 minutes of fame can hurl accusations of intellectual property theft at Studios and Production Companies and get their short-lived publicity – but before things progress to that level, where movie premieres are halted or filming stopped pending court proceedings, you’d call Greg Wood and have him…fix things. “Litigation is always risky,” Greg tells me shaking his head empathetically, “You have no control over your outcome when you walk into that courtroom because you’re placing your client’s fate in the hands of a Judge or a Jury who may have a completely different perception of your case. The bottom line is businesses want to do business, they don’t want to litigate, and that’s where I step in. I know litigation inside out and will take that route if necessary but I also know how to avoid it for my clients and deliver a resolution where their interests are protected. In a sense I use my litigation skills in the mediation room, behind closed doors, and I solve problems every day that the public has no idea ever existed.”


a One shopping e x p r i e n c e -of-a kind

ooring l F e t e r c n o r a t i v e C& C o m m e r c i a l ) LL ’ s D e c o (Residential consignment & jewlery

FEATURING THE

FINEST BRANDS FOR MEN AND WOMEN:

ACCEPTING ARTICLES NOW 5% of final price is donated to a foundation/organization of consignor choice

1 2 0 5 n o rt h l a b r e a , i n g l e w o o d c a + 3 1 0 . 6 7 3 . 0 9 8 8 s t o r e h o u r s : t u e s - s at 1 0 a - 7 p


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FOXHILLSDIGEST



MARCH 2012 | VOL. 23 | NO. 1



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15



INTERVIEW Ludlow B. Creary II, Attorney In a state like California, and especially in a city like LA, as unique as the stars of Hollywood, it’ no surprise to find some of the most treacherous, complicated, engrossing and newsworthy legal cases in American history. In this challenging legal environment Ludlow B. Creary II, who is a litigator/trial lawyer with areas of practice in civil litigation and criminal defense, is constantly in a position where his expertise is tested every day. In fact, the process is a ‘live performance’ in a court room that requires a lawyer that has an exceptional knowledge of the law, a knack for improvisation and an incredible ability to sway a jury. It’s like the intense passion found during the tango on “Dancing With The Stars.” There are unexpected twists and turns in the ‘dance’ between the prosecution and the defense that leave the audience- or a jury- full of anticipation. Just when they think they’ve figured out where the dance is going; a final dip and twirl can alter the entire performance and can change the direction of the trial. The process involves an audience akin to a jury that’s left wondering what unexpected move is coming next… will an unexpected source of evidence suddenly be thrown into the course of the trial? It’s the skills of a remarkable lawyer and the mindblowing dancer that keep both jury members and dance audiences on the edge of their seat. Just think back to the infamous O.J. Simpson trial. Most recently, we had the seemingly never-ending drama in the Michael Jackson trial that’s the newest in the long list of star-studded celebrity trials. They’re often even more interesting than the best of ‘drama’ movies because they are real life. So, when you find yourself being represented by a lawyer as talanted as Creary, you can sit back and breathe with a sense of relief. For Creary is one driven defense attorney who kicks some serious butt in the courtroom. Yet, you’d never know it from his down-to-earth manner and kind disposition. “(Clients employ me) because I am very committed to them, I really take on their issue and make it my issue. I take on their matters and they become as important to me as if they were my own matters.” None of this is surprising when you consider this native Angeleno, raised in Beverly Hills, has excelled at everything he’s put his mind to. He earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA; and then moved onto the University of San Diego School of Law (USD), where he earned his Juris Doctor. He’s a man of great integrity who is also incredibly adept at open communication- two essential qualities that should be present in any good lawyer. “I try to explain things in (lay mans) terms, I try to avoid jargon and make myself as accessible as I can to my clients. I (also) let them know that I’m not talking down to them and try my best to not be condescending. What it all comes down to is communication. A good lawyer is a lawyer who communicates with his clients,” Creary explains. Creary sums it up best, “The end result is you know there are pros and cons in every situation, so what a (good) lawyer does is explains the pros and cons to the client, explains the options to the client, empowers the

An Exclusive Q & A with Mr. Creary Q. Can you explain what kind of cases you typically try? A. Most of the cases that go to trial are serious felonies, but I have tried less serious criminal cases and some civil cases.

Q. How should one go about selecting the right lawyer for them?

AN ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT MAKES AN EXCEPTIONAL LAWYER “Clients employ me because I am very committed to them, I really take on their issue and make it my issue. I take on their matters and they become as important to me as if they were my own matters.” Interview by Jenny Werth

client and goes out, with these things in mind, to get the best results for the client. Being a lawyer is challenging to the very core of your being. It means days and nights of living and breathing your cases, often to the detriment of your own avenues for relaxation and a life of balance. That’s why a successful lawyer such as Creary enjoys a positive outlet to compensate for the tensions in his life. This is just one reason he finds solace in his soul through his immense love of music. In fact, he even has a band called Brown Suede where he plays the guitar and writes songs. In fact, the skills Creary uses as a strong trial lawyer serve him well as a musician. “A good trial lawyer uses a lot of improvisation during the trial,

and as a musician and song writer, I’m always thinking outside the box,” he explains. Indeed, Creary spends a lot of time driving to courthouses all over Southern California, which affords him the time to listen to music throughout the day. He explains how it all works in a way that would work perfectly for a catchy song. “Music actually inspires me and (then sometimes) I’ll get out of the car and a song or a melody will just drop into my head, and a lot of the time it was brought on from the song playing in the car.” And then there’s that side to him that truly does “sing in the shower.” “I write a lot of my songs in the shower… sometimes the melody, sometimes just the words, sometimes both. (Then when) I get out of the shower, this thing is just playing in

my head, and I can hear all the instruments and the vocals. (So), I go grab my acoustic guitar and I just play it and I sing whatever part of it I’ve got words too. Then I’ll lay it down and then come back to it later.” This is also something that often happens to Creary in his law practice. “Sometimes I’ll have an epiphany, we’ll leave court, go to lunch and something will just occur to me that hadn’t occurred (before.)” Certainly, he’s the kind of lawyer who is “quick on his feet,” and in this town of fallen angels, you better hope you find someone who can take your case and make it fly in your direction. For more information please visit lbcfirm.com or call (213) 480-6228 or (213) 293 9338.

A. Referral from someone you trust is the best way, also do your homework on the lawyer. The internet makes it easier to do this these days.

Q. What should one look for in a lawyer? A. Honesty, integrity, responsiveness to the client, a solid reputation and experience with your type of problem.

Q. How many cases (approximately) have you tried? A. Lost count, I think about 70.

Q. Why is it so important to have a lawyer with integrity? A. Because if lawyers have no integrity, then the legal system has none either.


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Fox Hills Digest- March 2012