South LA gets a taste of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

The wellness and diabetes group from the Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center has climbed on board to take part in celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s food revolution.

The lesson today, “Fish Made Easy,” included a basic red sauce sautéed with garlic, olives, and basil baked over a white fish and served with what the cooks called “brilliant broccoli.”

Caroline Snow, one of the instructors giving free lessons to community members out of the Big Rig Mobile Teaching Kitchen parked on East 120th Street in front of the medical center, offered simple directions: “We’re using the canned tomatoes sauce here on the rig, but you can use fresh tomatoes and with the summer season coming and growing new gardens its great to pick your own tomatoes, puree them, and use that. Then we’re making the sauce, putting the fish with it and baking it for a few minutes.” [Read more…]

NAACP trains Black church leaders about health equity

1.1 million people in the US are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

1.1 million people in the US are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

African-Americans comprise about half of all HIV-positive people in the United States. The NAACP is promoting education that might help halt the trend. It held a forum on Thursday in Manhattan Beach on HIV, health equity, and the black church.

The event, part of NAACP’s California Hawaii State Conference, drew an array of people, including Black pastors from South L.A. “We’ve been in this losing streak for a long time,” one said.

A long-time health care worker from Inglewood also attended. “Everyone thought this was a gay, white disease,” she said. “And I said no, that’s not true.”

Hear more voices from the event in a story from Annenberg Radio News:


HIV Statistics among Black women

HIV Statistics among Black women


Twenty years after the Rodney King Riots: Building a healthy Watts

imageBy Andrea Kobrinsky Alday

What does it take to make a farmers’ market viable in a low-income community? The answer is complicated in a neighborhood like Watts, where some people still remember when 103rd Street, which now borders a lively Saturday Farmers Market, was nicknamed “Charcoal Alley” because of the fires that burned buildings to the ground during the Watts Riot of 1965.

Many unhealthy conditions persist today that contributed to the powder keg atmosphere in South Los Angeles in the 1960s and again during the Rodney King Riot twenty years ago: high rates of unemployment, poverty and crime. Neighborhood schools continue to battle high dropout rates. Gang violence makes some people reluctant to visit unfamiliar territory – including the Farmers’ Market.

In a neighborhood park on the corner of 103rd and Central Aves., an effort is underway to take steps toward a healthier South L.A.— by providing an affordable and welcoming place to buy fresh produce and to get good advice on nutrition. We took our most recent group of California Endowment Health Journalism Fellows to the Watts Healthy Farmers’ Market to hear from market founders and vendors, who detailed the successes and challenges they’ve encountered since the market opened in July 2007.

With grants from the California Community Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, plus ongoing support from the Watts Healthy Farmers’ Market Collaborative, the open-air market is held every Saturday in Ted Watkins Memorial Park.

This glimpse behind the scenes includes images by several credited photographers, including one who prefers to simply use the Flickr screen name “Asian Eater.” For more on our visit to the Watts Healthy Farmers Market, see ReportingonHealth’s “Vegetables and Violence: The challenges of operating a farmers market in South Los Angeles.”

Or visit the Farmernet listing on the website published and operated by Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), a private non-profit organization that operates several certified farmers’ markets in the City of Los Angeles.

This story originally appeared on Reporting on Health.

Census numbers show California hardest hit by poverty

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imagePoverty numbers are high across the country but in California, they’re even higher. The 2010 poverty rate was 1.2 percentage points above the national rate.

Jessica Bartholow, a legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty says the numbers are to be expected.

“The Californians can’t be surprised by the newest poverty data released by the census. We’ve been seeing high unemployment and unemployment is a major contributor to poverty.”

Bartholow also expressed her fears for what this might forecast for California:

“In California what we’re most concerned about with increasing numbers of poverty are more families out on the street without housing and more people experiencing hunger.”

Politicians from both parties agree creating more jobs is the key to reducing poverty. Bartholow says the new numbers should give lawmakers even more incentive to find a solution.

“We think that the census data that’s come out today will be really good evidence to the Governor Jerry Brown and to President Obama and to congress that we need some changes in how we are offering jobs for low income individuals but also how we’re relieving poverty.”

As long as unemployment stays high and relief is minimal, California will continue to battle high poverty.

The meaning of Proposition 19 for Los Angeles



Wandering the Venice Boardwalk, it might be easy to image a Los Angeles where marijuana is legal and easily available. But while Proposition 19 might have seemed like an easy pass in California — the state home to the hippy movement, first to reduce the maximum penalty for possession of marijuana and first to allow it to be grown and consumed for medical purposes — the reality is a little more complicated.

A poll conduced by the Los Angeles Times/USC on Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in California, shows opposition at 51 percent. Of the 441 likely voters polled by telephone, 39 percent support the measure. The poll also hints at the complex divisions between various demographic groups.

Men, for example, are undecided on the issue, while women are more likely to vote against it. Republicans “overwhelmingly” opposed Proposition 19, while the legalization of marijuana is supported by most Democrats and Independents. According to the poll, voters under the age of 40 are more likely to support Proposition 19 with 48 percent indicating a “yes” vote, while 59 percent of older voters opposed it. Only 28 percent of voters 65 and older supported Prop. 19. According to the LA Times/USC poll, Latino voters opposed the legalization of marijuana 2 to 1. White voters also opposed the measure in majority.

Support for Proposition 19 also depends on where you live in California, according to the poll. Researchers found that Proposition 19 was “leading only in the Central Coast counties and running far behind in the largely conservative Central Valley and in Southern California.”

Left: A celebration of marijuana at UC Santa Cruz on April 20, or “4/20,” courtesy of IndyBay

So, who might be most likely to vote for the passage of Proposition 19? A left-leaning, twenty-something male from Santa Cruz.

And least likely? A right-leaning woman in her late 60s from Bakersfield.

But what about in Los Angeles? This politically and ethnically diverse city could go either way on the vote. What would Los Angeles be like as a city with legal weed?

To begin with, smoking in public would still be illegal. Individuals would be able to carry up to an ounce without breaking the law. Lighting up in front of minors would be a big no-no, and so would driving. However, roadside impairment testing is extremely difficult for police, which may be considered cause for concern. What about the cost to buy marijuana? Well, pot could actually get cheaper. According to the Rand Drug Policy Research Center, the price of marijuana could drop significantly, by as much as 80 percent if legalized. Questions remain as to how much revenue sale and taxation of marijuana would bring into the state, and whether or not anti-marijuana laws would be enforced at a federal level.

How are you planning to vote on Proposition 19? Let us know in the comments box below.

Homeowners protest at the Los Angeles County Courthouse

By: Laurel Galanter and Benjamin Kapinos

Listen to the audio story here:

Read the audio script here:

About a dozen homeowners facing foreclosure protested Thursday at the Los Angeles County Courthouse. The demonstration was organized by the Home Defenders League, which is calling for a moratorium on foreclosure across California. Twenty-three states have already made this commitment.

The movement has been fueled by homeowners angry at the banks for seizing homes. Across the country, millions of poeple have lost their homes. Peggy is one of them.

“These are the banks who are once again making a profit and on whose back,” Peggy said. “We the people. We’re fighting back. The phoenix has arisen. We’re fighting back.”

They are losing their homes for a lot of reasons. Some lost their jobs, had health problems or could not handle escalating interest rates. Peggy is angry because she thought that after she lost her job, she was negotiating with the bank in good faith.

“It’s terrible, it’s terrible,” Peggy said. “They take your money, and you still lose your home.”

Then, she received a notice of foreclosure without warning. The league is demanding that banks first negotiate with homeowners before putting their houses up on the auction block.

Proposition 24 would change tax laws for businesses


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Supporters say it would end tax breaks for big corporations. Opponents say it would hurt small businesses struggling to survive.

Proposition 24 would repeal three laws passed in 2008 and 2009 that cut business taxes.

Scott MacDonald is a spokesman for Stop Prop 24. He says those changes were designed to help small businesses weather times like these.

MacDonald: “We all know that this recession has hurt a lot of people. The last thing we need to do is burden the state’s small businesses and multi-state companies and others by passing Prop 24.”

That is not how Gregg Solkovits sees it. He is with United Teachers Los Angeles, which supports Proposition 24. Solkovits said with California’s budget problems, the state can no longer afford to give tax breaks.

Solkovits: A vote to repeal those tax breaks is a piece to solving California’s perennial budget problems. We have a revenue problem because we continue to give the wealthy and large corporations tax breaks.”

A poll taken last week showed voters tied, with a third still undecided.

Carly Fiorina trails by seven points in California polls

Listen to the audio story here:

Proposition 21 adds tax to Department of Motor Vehicles registration

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Proposition 21 is one of the measures on November’s ballet that does not seem to be making many waves. The proposition proposes to tack on $18 to register your vehicle at the Department of Motor Vehicles. That money will then fund state parks. Officials claim some state parks will be out of toilet paper by October.

At first, this seems like a win-win situation.

But not everyone at the downtown Los Angeles DMV has something good to say about it.

It is 9 a.m. and there is a line outside the door.

We do not know how many people showed up to register their cars, but we do know that in California last year, more than 22 million cars were registered.

That is a lot of cars, and Proposition 21 plans to get $18 from every one of those drivers to help fund 278 state parks.

Joshua Mendez showed up today to register his 1993 Honda Civic. He has to pay $175, but he is not too thrilled that those fees may go up.

“I think they should find another way because why should we be punished for…driving our cars…,” Mendez said. “It’s not like we can do anything about it even if it passes. We’re gonna have to pay that extra $18 to register our vehicle.”

There are dozens of conservation groups across California. Some said the extra money was necessary.

“Those parks area already heavily supported by non-profit organizations, and they do a lot,” said Jane Adams, the executive director of the California Park and Recreation Society. “But yet there is that need for more money to make the necessary maintenance and repairs for our state parks.”

Adams said tax payers will see changes if the proposition is passed.

“It may take a year for people to say, ‘Oh, I see that building was painted, or I see I now have access to those restrooms that have been closed.'”

One manager at the DMV declined to give her full name or be recorded. She said she has been there for 26 years, and no matter the cost, people will pay.

Carlos Cuevas agreed. He was there to register his brand new truck, and he paid $600.

“You have to do it,” Cuevas said. “You have to renew your plates. Because I need to drive to work. You have to drive around, and if you don’t pay, they’re going to stop you and give you a ticket,” Cuevas said.

In November, tax payers will have to decide what is more important: keeping toilet paper stocked in their state parks or pocketing that extra $18.

Report: Mass immigration causes California’s lack of education and rise in inequality

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a report last week that said California is last in a list of states ranked by the number of immigrants who have completed high school. The report further attributes this lack of education and the state’s sharp rise in inequality to mass immigration.

But A State Resilient: Immigrant Integration and California’s Future offers a more balanced view of the center’s report. A State Resilient presents California’s standing in terms of education, inequality and the immigrant labor force.

Though California has its share of educational challenges, Manuel Pastor, Justin Scoggins and Jennifer Tran of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) believe it is important to clearly understand the facts.

Pastor, Scoggins and Tran said California is simultaneously one of the most and least educated states in the nation. In their analysis, they found that 40 percent of California’s doctorates are foreign-born. They also found that, though inequality is an issue in the state, the rise in inequality has occurred mostly among the native-born. They said the “changes in our economic structure have not been driven by immigrants, but rather, have drawn immigrants to the state.”

They also argued that, if the state’s immigrant workforce really contributed to a slip in the quality of the workforce, it is difficult to parallel that with the state’s high standing when it comes to median household income and gross domestic product employed per worker.

“With the tough economic and fiscal challenges facing California, we need a balanced and common base of information,” Pastor, Scoggins and Tran said in an article. “[But] for those of us in the Golden State, the future remains bright, particularly if we can maintain the sense of openness and opportunity that have helped make California both resilient in the face of restructuring and a beacon to the people of the world.”