As the nation prepares to honor its veterans Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) wants the military to look out for today’s combat troops by monitoring nearly 80 large burn pits near U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives adopted Schiff’s amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill, requiring the Secretary of Defense to study the health risks of the open-air pits where plastics and other waste material are incinerated.
“These are big pits where the military burns refuse,” Schiff said. “Unfortunately, they burn stuff that creates a lot of toxic fumes.”
A 2010 Government Accountability Office report found that the military does not track whether the burn pits cause respiratory damage or other health risks to people stationed nearby.
The defense appropriations bill passed in the House Thursday and now heads for the Senate.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) delivered a direct message to a leader of the revolutionary movement in Libya earlier this month.
Mahmoud Jibril, the interim Prime Minister of the Transitional National Council of Libya, visited Capitol Hill on May 12.
Sherman — whose district includes part of Burbank and who is the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonprofileration and Trade — expressed unease about the backgrounds of Libyan fighters who may have ties to Al Qaida. In a letter handed to Jibril, Sherman focused on Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, whose claims include being commander of the rebel forces in Libya and assistance to Al Qaida in Iraq.
Sherman wants Jibril to ban from his potential government-in-waiting any Libyan rebels who have supported Al Qaida or fought U.S. troops in Afghanistan or Iraq.
“Even if Mr. al-Hasidi’s comments boasting of taking action designed to kill many dozens of American soldiers are entirely fabricated,” Sherman wrote, “such claims should disqualify him of serving in any capacity.”
Sherman also told Jibril he believes that Libyan strongman Moammar Kadafi’s currently frozen international assets should be used to repay the United States for its support of NATO air strikes in Libya, which have loosened Kadafi’s grip on power and cost the U.S. an estimated $700 million so far.
Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) is moving uptown. She is relocating her district office from 701 S. Central Ave. in Glendale to 501. N. Central Ave. The move is effective June 1.
Liu also named a new district director to replace Tahra Goroya, who resigned. Talin Mangioglu, a Pasadena resident fluent in Armenian and Spanish who joined Liu’s staff in 2005, has taken the post. Liu’s district office number is (818) 409-0400.
A bill from Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) to beef up penalties for attacks on private security officers who work at court buildings and community colleges has passed the state Senate and is awaiting action in the Assembly.
Liu’s legislative director, Robert Oakes, said the Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff’s Assn. asked Liu for help in increasing the potential penalty for battery against a private security officer to be the same for attacking police, firefighters or emergency medical technicians.
The current penalty for misdemeanor battery on a private officer is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Liu’s bill would double the time and the fine.
Liu, chair of the Senate Human Services Committee, recently joined the majority in a 4-3 vote against a proposal by state Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) to bar welfare recipients from using government-issued debit cards to buy alcohol or tobacco.
Oakes said Liu shares Dutton’s concern about taxpayer dollars being used to buy cigarettes or alcohol, but said the legislation is the first step down a slippery slope of regulating the products people can buy. Oakes said the decision on what to purchase ultimately is one of personal responsibility.
“How much time are we going to spend at the legislative level on this instead of fixing the budget?” Oakes said.
Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), whose district includes La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge, this month honored local teens who have shown an early penchant for volunteerism.
Among the 2011 recipients of Dreier’s Youth Volunteer Awards program are: Dylan Bechtle of La Crescenta, a tutor for the Crescenta Valley High School Academy of Science and Medicine; Michael Choi of La Cañada, who raises funds for the Friends of Veterans of the Korean War Assn. and has rallied other students to participate in Relay for Life, Heal the Bay and AIDS Walk fundraisers; Kevin Matthew O'Toole of La Cañada, a St. Francis High School student who works at the escorts and errands desk at Huntington Hospital; Molly Shelton of La Crescenta, who helped raise funds for 19 girls in Kenya to finish secondary school through the nonprofit Project Jambo; and Katherine Sobota of La Cañada, whose volunteer activities include participation in the 30 Hour Famine sponsored by the Christian ministry World Vision.
The California League of Women Voters on May 13 honored the organization’s Glendale/Burbank chapter with the Yellow Rose Award in recognition of the group’s role in advocating for a campaign finance reform law in Glendale. In 2008, the City Council passed strict campaign fundraising limits that took full effect this year.