Wednesday, June 28, 2017

City of Baldwin Park Worst Offender in Tow Scandal According to Civil Grand Jury

Royal Coaches is Baldwin Park's Hired Tow Company
The Los Angeles Civil Grand jury released a report this week that has found Baldwin Park the worst offender in Los Angeles County of an ongoing police-tow scandal. The news is relevant, especially given You can find the report here. Civil Grand Jury Report.

The towing scam worked like this. The Baldwin Park Police would target undocumented drivers at DUI checkpoints. They would then tow and impound the car for 30 days. The fees would be in the thousands of dollars, and the owner would lose the car at auction.

According to the report, Baldwin Park failed Due Process by not notifying those it impounded cars from, charged extraordinary administrative fees, and towed the most cars of any city, raking in millions for Royal Coaches and the Baldwin Park Police.

On June 21, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal also held that cities can no longer hold a car for 30 days, unless it has probable cause (a fancy way of saying there needs to be some evidence) that releasing the car would cause danger to the public. Holding a car any longer than necessary violated the rights of the owner of the vehicle, under our Fourth Amendment Right to be free from an unreasonable seizure.

What the report didn't say, because the City Council fought the court order to release records is that over a 5 year period, Baldwin Park towed 15,247 cars, making $12 million between the City and the tow company. The City essentially used the police department to steal all that property to enrich certain members. Who are they? How come they don't tell us?

Since Manny Carrillo, the Director of Parks and Recreation tried to shut down the boxing club, I've been pointing out how corrupt this city is. Now, even the courts have come to find the same conclusion. (The problem, however, has been that nobody wants to prosecute these people making these decisions and hold them accountable.)

The city officials and administrators, like the Mayor and Council Members, are professional thieves that add no value to our City. Instead, they just take, and many of them don't even live here, like the Mayor. In my mind, it really makes me wonder why we need to be taxed and why we even need a city council. (A small percentage of our taxes are going to services, and it seems like most of it is getting laundered to corrupt players.) I think our lives are just fine without having a city council.

The residents of this City are poor. The last thing they need is for oppressive city officials and an oppressive police force to make their lives harder than it needs to be.

Remember, "Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice." -Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, June 25, 2017

On What It Means to Be Redeemed: A Milestone in My Life

Prodigal Son by Rembrandt
(I saw in St. Petersburg, Russia). 
Yesterday, I was feeling kind of down after a difficult week, but I received a letter in the mail that changed my mood. I opened it, and it was a check for a modest sum of money. (I told you finding that pearl was a good sign; you can read about it HERE). 

I smiled. I showed it to my mother, and she asked,"How much is it for?"

I said, "That's not important. It's enough to pay off the last of my student loan."

"Really?"

"Yup. That's it. It's over. I'm free. Told you that pearl was good luck."

"Maybe, huh? Well, you're lucky to live with me. That's how you paid off your loans so quickly."

"That is true. I'm so glad it's over."

I looked at the check. I looked at it again. It wasn't because it was a large sum of money, no. But it was about the right amount I needed to pay off the last of my student loan. It represented my freedom, and I was so happy to feel free: Free at last. Debt really is bondage.

For five years, it's felt like a millstone around my neck. I remember leaving law school, wondering how am I going to pay off this huge loan (which stays with you until you die, because you can't file bankruptcy against it).

This morning, I thought about it. Really, with my student loans gone, my life reads like a Grimm's Fairy Tale. The fairy tale would go like this.

Once upon a time, two poor foreigners from another land married and had two children in the Wastelands. This Wasteland was so bad, all the children stayed poor when they grew up and never made it to a good school. And the family didn't have much money, but the father always worked extra hours so that his children had books to read. Even though they didn't read much, they always told their children to read.

When his son became a teenager, he realized that the only way out of this Wasteland was going to be for him to do better on examinations than the smart and rich kids all across the kingdom. So, he told himself this every day for four years. And, because his grades were so good, the state decided to pay for his entire undergraduate education. 

At the State Academy, he struggled at first, but worked very hard, competed and did well, receiving an education in literature and biology. 

Afterwards though, he decided he needed a break and lived in a foreign land for awhile. In the new land, they too gave him an education, a job in technology, and made him a subject to enjoy the benefits of the new land.

But, in the other kingdom, the state academy called him back and offered him a spot to study law. It was his dream to be a lawyer and go to a good jurist school. 
At the time, 8,000 students applied for 320 spots. He was picked.

Sadly although the school would pay some, he was going to have a heavy burden of debt. (Especially, because the legal job market was one of the worst in history.) In any event, he decided to go. Graduated. And took the state law exams and passed. But still had debt.

Upon passing the exams, he found the people running the Wastelands, where he grew up, to be terrible and corrupt administrators, oppressing and stealing from the people. But fighting them wasn't going to really make him any money. And he had a crisis of faith on how he was going to make a living, pay off his debt, learn lawyering, and challenge those in power. 

But in time, other people, like his fair godmother and godfathers, saw what the new lawyer was doing and supported him. So, in five years time of graduating, he was free from debt. 

And at this is the point, this is where we're at in this saga, which is still ongoing.

[To be continued . . .]

I'm just grateful I made it against all the odds. And I'm very grateful to be free and out of debt. I'm very grateful to the one who decided I was worth it to free me, not because of anything I've done, but because of his own goodness and kindness and forgiveness. In short, to be redeemed means that someone pays a price to buy you from the bondholder; so that you can be free and know what that feels like and is.

I wanted to end this post with a parable Jesus told that I'm reminded of. In Luke 7, a prostitute spends a great fortune on perfume and pours it on Jesus' feet and cleans his feet with her tears and hair. A teacher of the law sees this and is disgusted, because the woman's lifestyle made her filthy. (He's probably also upset that all that money went to waste.) The teacher of the law says, "If this man really were a prophet, he would know who this woman is who is touching him[.]"

So, Jesus asks his apprentice a question. He tells Simon that there are two who are in debt. One owes 500 silver coins. One owes 50 coins. Then asks Simon, who would be more grateful of being forgiven his debt? And Simon answers, obviously, the one who owed 500.

And Jesus then states, whoever has been forgiven of much loves much. Whoever has been forgiven of little loves little. Stop and think for a moment why would someone spend so much on perfume and do what she did.

Personally, I've been forgiven a lot; so, I need to remember that and show it more often.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How to Start a Social Revolution (Part 1 of the Change Series)

The Rage, Flower Thrower
by Banksy
Today, I'm convinced that we are in desperate need of change. In America, it appears that a seething anger is brewing against the players controlling corporations and governments; they are also known as the 1%. So, how are things going to change? And how do we bring it about?

The answer to this question almost always fall into one of two answers: violence and non-violence. In other words, does might make right? I've spent a considerable amount of time reading what others before me have said.

To be honest, I was actually unhappy and disturbed to hear the answer of some in the nonviolence camp, some of who actually argue that we have to talk to those in power with reason and that reason will change them. Andre Trocme, who I highly respect, advocated this.

So does, Scilla Elworthy, a peace activist. She says in her TED talk (you can listen to it here: Fighting with Nonviolence): " . . . but it is hopeless to be angry with the people. They are human beings just like us. And they're doing what they think is best. And that's the basis on which we have to talk with them."

Her talk echoes the same belief as Trocme: The enemy could be reasoned with, which I don't know if I agree with. I do agree, though, that she's probably right that it's hopeless to be angry at these people.

I laughed to myself when I heard the idea about reasoning with the tyrants. I thought about our Mayor and City Council and our City Attorney and manager and thought sarcastically:

Oh, like they're really going to listen to reason. Please stop stealing from our funds, because it's making everyone in the City worse off. And you're promoting poverty by doing it. And people need to have a future, and you're stealing from their future too. 

And by the way, lying, cheating, and stealing is morally wrong and promotes a culture where you say it's ok for everyone to do. So, please stop, even though you're taking millions of dollars from us to buy your nice houses and cars. Just stop. Please, so everyone can be better off.

I don't think that's going to work with these people or other tyrants in power. Nonetheless, I completely agree with Elworthy when she says this about bullies and tyrants:

"Bullies use violence in three ways. They use political violence to intimidate, physical violence to terrorize and mental or emotional violence to undermine. And only very rarely in very few cases does it work to use more violence."

It's easy to see why violence or the use of force or power becomes more attractive when tyrants are violent, immoral, sociopathic, and indecent. And in my view, violence isn't limited to just the use of force. It encompasses the evil tactics of lying, cheating, stealing, and defaming others too, as I mentioned in my post on: On Honoring or Profaning God's Name

And the reason these methods don't work, is really; one evil regime is being placed by another one, though it is true, it can be the lesser of evils. No; really, a social revolution or change has to be focused on having good and just governance from the start. And I believe this will never happen, when it is founded and started by immorality, violence, and deception.

So, what's the answer? The starting point is for all of us to do our part to hold ourselves and those who govern us to a higher standard. This, I'm convinced of. What does it mean? That in times like this, we're called "to be strong and courageous." (Joshua 1:6).

Trocme argues in his sermon that we're called to oppose a tyrannical society, because in the end, we're all morally accountable to God first, and we all have a part in enabling that tyranny.

That means, it's not good enough to use as an excuse that you or I did something that you and I know is wrong, because our boss told us too, or that we're afraid of losing our job. That's a price that all of us have to pay; so, in the end, when we give an accounting of our thoughts, words, and actions we can say that we did the right thing - even though there was a cost in doing so, like the heroes and heroines that came before us.

In short, no tyrant can exist without people following his or her evil orders. And if we all do our part to not obey such evils, whether you're a citizen or an employee of such tyrants, then I believe that such a regime will be destroyed and come to an end.

What's the tyrant going to do? Shout more orders and shout louder, when no one is listening? That's why all of us should no longer participate in carrying out and empowering such people in power.

I end with the message Jesus announced in the synagogue, after being tempted by Satan. He quotes from Isaiah, a book of the prophets, that the time for forgiveness, mercy, freedom, and equality is now. He says:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed
and announce that the time has come
when the Lord will save his people. (Luke 4:18-19).

Sunday, June 11, 2017

On Staying Young and Court Updates

I took a break this week from litigation; this Monday the California Supreme Court filed Julian's brief, a Petition for Review, against the City of Baldwin Park. Supreme Court link to Julian's Case I asked the Supreme Court to please review this case, because even though we proved that Baldwin Park was engaged in a multimillion dollar towing scandal, which it did everything to hide, the court denied me my attorney's fees.

The law says that if you get records from a city, as a result of litigation, you get attorney's fees; there's no exception to the rule. So, after the Court of Appeal went out of its way to say the City didn't have to pay for being bad about hiding records, which it stated in an opinion with incorrect and heavily flawed logic, I respectfully asked the highest court in the Golden State to please take up our case.

I'm not holding my breath, because there's only a 5% chance that review is granted. But, I felt like it was important to make a record of everything that happened, so that perhaps in the future, someone could research all this, and ask what really happened with Baldwin Park and those who tried to hold it accountable.

Well, I'm not going to lie, after I filed this brief, I was tired and felt burnt out. Not too long ago, I filed another brief with the Supreme Court on the same case. (Here's the Supreme Court link to it: Casas Supreme Court Petition for Review 1.) I just needed a mental break. So, I took four days off. (I might post my petitions for review on my blog to help other practitioners. Email me if you'd find this useful.)

A number of people have asked me why I don't work for a big firm. There's one reason: A big firm would never give you that much rest time.

But that's what I needed. I was tired and fried. I avoided reading or thinking about anything legal and just let my mind rest. I have another brief at the Court of Appeal to start next week against our favorite City anyways. I needed a break.

So, what did I do on my break?

I found a pearl in an oyster my mother bought me. Apparently, the odds are 1 in two million. I shucked the Pacific Oyster myself, and I slit the abductor muscle at the bottom holding it to the shell. I slid the flesh into my mouth. I chewed on it, although some say not to do this with oysters. And I thought I lost a filling. It was grainy and round and small. But I thought, Could it be a pearl?

I spat out what felt like a marble in my mouth. I rinsed it. And lo behold: I found a pearl! Wow. My first pearl. I couldn't believe it. And bless my mother for buying me those live oysters.

It was a good omen. White pearls represent wisdom. Not that I'm superstitious, but I interpreted it to mean that some type of fortune would be coming my way. It was way, way better than any fortune I could get in opening a fortune cookie.

Well, my friends and family have always said I was super lucky. Some people I know have even said that I'm the luckiest person they ever met. (I don't know about that.)

However, Louis Pasteur once said, "Chance favors the prepared mind." In other words, hard working people are luckier.

Incidentally, Pasteur wasn't the only one who discovered this. Denise Shekerjian found in her book Uncommon Genius, that geniuses tended to have more luck and worked harder than those who were good, but not great, in their field. Well, I'm grateful I got the luck factor going for me.

Blue Ram Cichlid
Other than that, I've been working on my aquarium, which has the South American biome. I bought myself a blue ram cichlid, and it really made me happy. It's one of my favorite fish, and I haven't had one in years. I love how they swim. They come out and explore and have that punk rock hair style. I watched my new fish in amusement. Hey, I told myself it was ok to find something to reward myself; I just finished a Supreme Court brief.

Also, I've been doing quite a bit of research on aging and reversing aging. I wouldn't be the first journeyman in search of the Fountain of Youth. And it seems like there are a number of people today, who are also looking for the solution on aging and degeneration.

Do I have any insights this week? My big insight, as I mentioned in my last post on Heart Disease, (you can read about it Here) is that one of the driving forces of aging is increased levels of hydrogen peroxide. What does that mean for you?

Here's a very short summary. The Standardized American Diet (SAD) or standard Western diet is bad, and it's bad because it has low concentrations of toxins and is low in necessary nutrients. Over time, staying on such a diet, will lead to elevated levels of hydrogen peroxide. To reverse the effects, you have to change the diet. That's a very simplified and in some ways incorrect version of it - for now. And if there's more interest, I'll write more.

I also started on the BBC Series Sherlock. It's highly recommended and well-made.

Finally, here's another insight about aging from Cuban-French writer Anais Nin: "I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

On Heart Disease and Arteriosclerosis

After finishing up my Supreme Court petitions, for whatever reason, I started researching arteriosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) and heart disease. Although the common theory argues that cholesterol is the cause, the research I've been doing has shown that it's actually the build up of a transitional amino acid called homocysteine. (It's transitional, because homocysteine doesn't exist in a raw form in foods; it exists after processing proteins from our foods.)

I wasn't going to write on the subject, because although I marginally talk about health and nutrition, it's a fringe topic for my blog - which is focused more on municipal corruption, trends in government, travel, food, and reflections. But I was so excited to read about these alternative theories of heart disease that I decided I should share what I've learned.

Doctor Kilmer McCully in his book Homocysteine Revolution argues that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease but that homocysteine is. Homocysteine is the byproduct of processing the amino acid methionine, which is found in heavier levels in meat, milk, and eggs. There's a strong correlation when homocysteine builds up, that all kinds of evils happen in the body - including the hardening of the arteries, heart disease, and cancer. McCully injected rabbits with homocysteine, and it almost always resulted in the hardening of the arteries.

My own independent research confirms that elevated levels of homocysteine increase levels of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is unstable and can become a radical - meaning it wants to eat up electrons. Generally, in a living organism, that's bad news, because the taking of those electrons means stealing them from our cells - which often leads to the destruction or death of such cells. (In fact, for now at least, I've concluded that a major cause of aging is the build up of hydrogen peroxide in the blood. Perhaps others have reached the same conclusion, but through independent deduction, this is my theory, until a better one comes along; from a biochemical perspective, aging is caused by elevated levels of hydrogen peroxide.)

One of the weaknesses of the book, however, is that McCully doesn't explain why there's a build of cholesterol in people who have heart disease. Seneff, an MIT computer scientist, argues that cholesterol is being built up because the body isn't metabolizing or processing other proteins effectively, which then backs up the processing of cholesterol. She argues that cholesterol needs to bind with sulphur in order to be processed, and when the body isn't processing sulphur from amino acids correctly, cholesterol can't be used by the body; hence, it just builds up in the blood.

A good metaphor would be an assembly line run by gears. Someone throws a monkey wrench in the gears. As a result, a number of widgets on the assembly line start piling up and falling to the floor. Is the problem the backed up widgets or is the problem the wrench in the gear? Assuming this analogy is correct, regarding cholesterol, Western Medicine has decided to solve this problem by cleaning the widgets off the floor and not remove the wrench from the gears. (The main drug for it is called statins.) A simpler way of putting it, is that rising cholesterol is part of the smoke, not the actual fire; it's the effect, not the cause. But when we see smoke and fire, it's easy to say that the smoke causes the fire, even though it's the other way around.

So one question I had by reading all this is to ask what causes cholesterol to build up and homocysteine to build up too. I could be wrong, but to harmonize the findings of Seneff and McCully, I propose that the reason there isn't usable sulphur for the cholesterol is because the homocysteine isn't being processed effectively. The byproducts of homocysteine metabolism makes usable sulphur. For instance, one of the byproducts of breaking down homocysteine results in cysteine, which has sulphur. And if more usable sulphur was available, in the form of the correct amino acids, then the cholesterol could be packed with it and the body could use it, which would then result in the lowering of cholesterol levels.

So, now you may be asking yourself - what causes these problems, and more importantly, what's the fix? Well, according to both scientists (and me as well), is that the problem lies in the Standardized American Diet (SAD). If this topic interests more people, I'll write more, I suppose.

Hope you found this piece interesting.

PS: After writing my article on Brussels Sprout sauerkraut, I found a scientific article that showed that changing the gut bacteria of a fish, expanded the fish's life by 40%. Gut bacteria appears to be the next trend in biological sciences.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What Kind of Influence Are You Having on Other People's Lives?

Rembrant's Artist in his Studio
(If the canvas is your life, and you're the artist,
what kind of picture is going to come out?
(And others will see it, even if you don't want them to.))
The other day, I was catching up with a friend, and I asked what I can pray for him about. It's not a usual question I ask him or others in general.

So his response was: "Why?"

I said, "Because I want to."

"But why?"

"Well, this week, I was catching up with another university friend. And he says, 'Less talk; more pray.' So, we prayed together, and it helped."

Then I said to him, I think we need people like him in our lives. And my friend agreed.

The conversation had me thinking a lot.

What kind of influence am I being on others? What kind of influences do you have on others? From your heart, are you passing on good or evil with your actions, words, attitude, and thoughts?

I can't always say I've been the best influence on others. In fact, I can remember the harm I caused in certain relationships, and can only say that I regret some of those moments.

It's no wonder though that Scripture commands us to be salt and light. In fact, Jesus says:

“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.

"You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven."

There are a number of important points about the passage, but the one that stand out to me is this. Both salt and light, in the message, are meant for a greater community. This version says we're salt for the whole human race. It says we're light for the entire world. That means we're commanded to be good for the benefit of those around us.

I think it's also important to remember that salt and light are great disinfectants, meaning that they have the properties to destroy evil. Take mold and throw it in sunlight, or drop it in a high concentration of saltwater, and it'll die.

Similarly, being good isn't about being quiet and not causing trouble. Part of the definition means we have to take an active stance against social harms and evils that we see. Evil and darkness can't exist where the salt and light are.

Finally, with reference to light, the light brings the lost back home. And that's what we're supposed to do.

So, that's the take away point for me this week: Be salt and light.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Are Section VIII Housing Vouchers Linked to Voting Fraud?

Thomas Nast cartoon of Boss Tweed stuffing the votes
I have a theory, and at this point, it's a theory until proven, but I believe that Baldwin Park's Section VIII Housing Vouchers are linked to voting fraud. I believe this, because the city has, over and over again, refused to release any information on who is receiving these vouchers and how these people are chosen.

A witness also confirmed that he's seen one of the Mayor's friends collecting absentee votes at Section VIII housing. This confirms my theory that the Mayor has several people collect his votes and has them fill them out for him. Lozano has a proven track record of lying, cheating, and stealing. Remember my post about how the Mayor is most likely undocumented, you can read here: Baldwin Park's Mayor is undocumented.

Lozano won the election against his incumbent because he had 48 votes more. He won his margin by vote by mail (also called absentee). The circumstantial evidence shows that Lozano's absentees only voted for him, and the voters didn't vote on other matters, like other public officials. That suggests that someone collected the votes and was lazy and voted only for Lozano to fill out more votes. (We never said our Mayor was bright.)

I propose that the Mayor cheats the votes this way. People who receive housing vouchers most likely fall in one of three categories, (1) friends and family, (2) criminals, and (3) the undocumented. Friends and family are loyal; so, wouldn't snitch on Lozano. Criminals and the undocumented are vulnerable and have something to lose.

Then, Lozano's men go and collect their ballots and fill them out in the same way, It's simple as that.

To be sure, I don't have the smoking gun. But perhaps more citizens need to ask the city to release the housing information. If they have nothing to hide, why are they guarding it so fiercely?

I know that stench of corruption, and seems like something is certainly rotten in Baldwin Park (and has been rotten for awhile).

PS: Lozano has been parading the fired ex chief of police, David Salcedo around to local groups. I suspect that Lozano is trying to run him for public office in Baldwin Park. Does that mean that Lozano won't be around anymore? I predict so.