Guest Opinion | James De Pietro: “We Should Expect More of our City Commissions”

first_imgOpinion & Columnists Guest Opinion | James De Pietro: “We Should Expect More of our City Commissions” By JAMES DE PIETRO Published on Thursday, July 30, 2020 | 2:18 pm 84 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena More Cool Stuff At the end of June, via Zoom, Pasadena’s Transportation Advisory Commission or “TAC” held its first meeting in five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected so many lives in our community. In addition to being TAC’s first virtually held meeting, it was also my last as a member, having served as the District 7 representative since 2013.While proud of my time on TAC, the past several months have provided some critical distance and strengthened my view that our city commissions are invaluable resources that are undervalued and underutilized. Furthermore, I believe that Pasadena and our City Council should use our commissions to further engage with the public and develop and vet policies that affect every corner of our city.Pasadena has more commissions, committees, and boards than its neighbors because they all serve a critical function – community participation with knowledgeable and informed members of the public. These commissions help advance diverse issues such as arts and culture, planning, accessibility and disability, the status of women, and now potentially police oversight.During my time on TAC, I had the privilege to serve alongside transportation engineers, affordable housing developers, community organizers, and a retired bus driver, to name just a few. Other than our dedicated city staff, few know these complicated issues better than these commissioners because they bring both their professional expertise and real-life experience. Because of their unique qualifications, we should expect more from our commissions because of the unique position they play in serving both the public and the City Council.One of the most controversial issues that arose during my time on TAC was the proposed construction of a road diet along Orange Grove Boulevard. This plan would have reduced the number of vehicle travel lanes as well as created a center-left turn lane with buffered bike lanes. Because departments did not develop an adequate public outreach strategy and leverage the knowledge of our commissions, the situation has become a case study in how well-intentioned government objectives and community group interests do not always align. The lasting effects have included the erosion of public trust and an increase in public division.In the case of Orange Grove Boulevard, TAC or other city commissions could have interfaced with the City Council and department staff earlier so that they could have played a more constructive role. Our commissions could have dedicated meetings to provide both City departments and the public the opportunity to evaluate plans and express their support or opposition. By doing so, commissioners could have helped ease tensions by listening and aiding in the development of a thoughtful community-based compromise that benefited most interests and assisted the work of the Departments of Public Works and Transportation and the City Council.As a city, we are facing significant health and economic challenges. When we ask so much of our elected officials and our tireless public servants, we need to acknowledge that they are sometimes under-resourced from both a personnel and informational standpoint. To expect our City Council and Pasadena employees to do everything is unrealistic and unfair. However, with some changes to how we utilize our Commissions, they can help alleviate this strain by bridging the gap between the government and the public.Like many other commissions, TAC operates as an advisory body to the City Council and its expressed purpose is to discuss, analyze, evaluate, and make policy recommendations. But far too often commissions are brought into discussions too late to make substantive impacts. The result is that they are relegated to a more reactive and isolated role than a proactive and visible one and thus operate more like islands than part of an integrated system.Therefore, a proposed solution is to empower commissions to develop regular and actionable policy recommendations to the City Council. The first step toward this objective is for our commissions to hold additional meetings and not just in one location, but across the city, so that they can hear the diverse opinions of our residents, businesses, and visitors.When I look back at my time on TAC, I am incredibly proud of its work, such as updating transportation metrics from level of service (LOS) to vehicle miles traveled (VTS) and advocating for more significant funding for alternative transportation infrastructure. However, TAC often worked without public input because our meetings were not easily accessible, and because we did not prioritize community outreach, and this should not be the case.Every person who has served on a commission knows that there are limits, rules of operating, and systems to protect the public, city departments, and the City Council. These are essential checks on balancing power, and non-elected commissions need to be careful and considerate not to overstep their authority or burden city staff. Keeping these considerations in mind, however, commissions can and should play a more significant part in shaping Pasadena into the place we want it to be.Going forward, I believe that there are two things that, as a city, we should consider. First, the City Council should fully take advantage of our commissions by assigning them more responsibility and providing them with additional autonomy to explore issues so that they can actively participate in policy recommendations.And second, commissioners should demonstrate greater leadership in the community. Aptly positioned, commissioners should use their time of service to promote issues, call for action, communicate and educate others, and bring additional voices and diverse viewpoints into the process.Pasadena has so many public commissions because it highly values community involvement and the free and respectful exchange of ideas. Accordingly, we need to update the role of our commissions now so that they can act in an effective, engaging and approachable way.James De Pietro represented District 7 as a member of the City of Pasadena’s Transportation Advisory Commission from 2013 to 2020 and served as its Vice Chair and Chair during his tenure. He lives and works in Pasadena. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Community News faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Top of the News center_img Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Community News Herbeauty15 Countries Where Men Have Difficulties Finding A WifeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWant To Seriously Cut On Sugar? 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Fun and ‘Mayhem at the Milk Market’

first_imgWhatsApp “Mayhem at the Milk Market” is for families… and it’s all for FREE.  In addition to the special Sunday market with eats and treats, there will be two wizard shows, jugglers, a balloon contortionist, a unicyclist, a puppet show, some crazy characters and Leon Anderson, one of Ireland’s greatest magicians. The Flawless Dance Team (as seen on the Late Late Toy Show) will perform and showcase their superb talent and there will be all-day fun, games and music with a great DJ. There will also be competitions, including a kids colouring competition with the chance to win a family Holiday in Kerry. The entertainment is being co-ordinated by Fun Ireland, one of Ireland’s top event management companies.The shops and stalls will be offering all-day family ‘munch and lunch’ deal options to suit all tastes ranging from grill-bar beef lunches and savoury crêpes to Thai vegetarian dishes and delicious desserts. There will be extra seating so that families can enjoy their food and watch the fun unfold. The market will be open from 11am to 4pm, with entertainment from 11.30am to 3.30pm and with the greatest “mayhem” happening between 12.30 and 3.30pm. The website at www.MilkMarketLimerick.ie has all the details.David O’Brien adds “the Mayhem event also provides an opportunity for anyone considering a special event to see the venue in use in a different way. We are very excited about the potential of the market as a venue and believe it can become the epicentre of some great ‘happenings’ in Limerick City. During the next few weeks we will be publishing a guide to the Milk Market as a venue. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in organising or sponsoring an event at the market we would love to hear from them”. Twitter Linkedin Print Previous articleFord’s top crash test ratings across the worldNext articleMuiris Gavin takes over at Dermot G O’Donovan, Solicitors admin A new FREE event for familiesThe Milk Market Limerick is set to stage a series of fun and exciting events, beginning with “Mayhem at the Milk Market” —  a brilliant free family day out on Sunday, March 20, from 11am to 4pm. According to David O’Brien, market manager, “We all know the Milk Market is rightly famous for its Saturday market.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up However, since the market’s redevelopment as an all-weather facility, it has been the ambition of the Limerick Market Trustees to stage both exciting multi-day markets and special events… sometimes combining both. The fun “Mayhem at the Milk Market” event on Sunday, March 20, will be a superb FREE event for families, and a perfect example of a great market and an exciting event coming together. It will be the first in a series of ‘Mayhem’ and other events we are working to create for the market and for the city”. NewsLocal NewsFun and ‘Mayhem at the Milk Market’By admin – March 7, 2011 610 Email Advertisement Facebooklast_img read more

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COVID-19 variants put brakes on loosening restrictions in New Jersey, Murphy pauses reopening

first_img:Adonis page/iStockBY: BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC NEWS(NEW YORK) — Just days after he loosened COVID-19 restrictions for businesses, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that an indefinite pause is being implemented on further measures to reopen the state because of the coronavirus variants circling the country.“I wouldn’t say it’s an alarm. There are a bunch of things coming together at the same time and we’re trying to balance all these sorts of megatrends,” Murphy said during his COVID-19 briefing. “Getting that balance right is not easy. So, we’re therefore using caution.”Murphy conceded that the state is “back to leading the nation in the spread of this virus.” He noted that the statewide positivity rate is 8.48% compared to neighboring New York’s 3.22%.“My guess is we won’t be opening capacity for some time now because of the caseload,” Murphy said on CNN Monday morning.On March 11, Murphy signed an executive order increasing indoor and outdoor capacity limits from 35% to 50% for certain businesses, including restaurants, food courts, bars, gyms, casinos, barbershops and nail salons. The order also allows indoor gatherings of 25 people (instead of the previous 10) and outdoor gatherings of 50 people (instead of the previous 25).The new limits, which Murphy described on Monday as “fairly modest,” went into effect on Friday. They do not apply to religious services, political events, funerals or memorial services.“I don’t think we have seen links specific to openings,” Murphy said at his public briefing. “I don’t think we’ve got any evidence of that.”Murphy said a notable increase in COVID-19 variants in the state in recent days prompted the decision to hold up on taking more steps to relax restrictions.Judy Persichilli, the commissioner of the state’s department of health, said on Monday that the state is grappling with 400 reported cases of COVID variants, including 389 cases of the U.K. variant, three cases of the Brazilian variant, one of the South African variant and seven of the California variant.“Variants of concern have been shown to be more transmissible and able to cause more severe disease,” Perschilli said.She said that overall, there are 1,192 people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19, including 428 in critical condition and 217 on ventilators.Murphy said at least 21,666 residents have died of COVID-19 complications since the pandemic began.Aside from the surge in infections from variants, Murphy said the latest COVID-19 data actually indicates the virus is “plateauing” in the state.Murphy said that more than 3.5 million people in the state have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and of those 3.5 million, 1.2 million are fully vaccinated.The governor started the Monday briefing by announcing that some restrictions on in-person visits at long-term care facilities are being lifted, particularly for residents who are fully vaccinated.“Our long-term care facilities should be working with families to allow for in-person in-door visitation with their loved ones. We know that some residents are suffering from the impact of social isolation,” Murphy said.Under the new guidelines being recommended by the state, indoor visits can be arranged at long-term care facilities in regions where COVID-19 activity is low to moderate.“In all cases, every resident and visitor must properly wear face masks, especially while indoors,” Murphy said.He said that with Passover and Easter coming up, “The overriding principle that we are working under is that we recognize that families need to be able to be together, especially when so many have been kept apart for so long.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Led Zeppelin Announce 50th Anniversary Illustrated Book

first_img2018 marks a special monument for Led Zeppelin, as the band celebrates their 50th anniversary this year. Despite no rumors or announcement of reunion shows, the rockstars are celebrating this momentous milestone with the release of an illustrated book entitled Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin.The group’s official social media accounts announced the new project, with surviving members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones providing input for the 400-page collection. The self-titled book is set to be released in October via Reel Art Press, with a pre-order currently underway. The career-spanning project is set to include “previously unpublished photos, artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives and contributions from photographers around the world.”A detailed description of what to expect explains:Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin is the first and only official illustrated book to be produced in collaboration with the members of the band. Celebrating 50 years since their formation, it covers the group’s unparalleled musical career and features photographs of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham on and offstage, in candid moments and in the recording studio. This definitive 400-page volume includes previously unpublished photos, artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives and contributions from photographers around the world.last_img read more

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Belgium experts ask for end to euthanasia based on mental health problems

first_imgFlanders Today 10 December 2015Euthanasia should no longer be carried out on the basis of psychological suffering alone, according to 65 Belgian psychiatrists, psychologists and professors in an op-ed published by De Morgen this week.On average, 2,000 people a year in Belgium choose to end their lives through euthanasia. Most are terminally ill, but about 3% of them request the procedure because of unbearable psychological suffering. In the past two years, there were about 100 such cases.The experts said they were “alarmed by the trivialisation” of the option. It cannot be objectively determined whether psychological suffering is incurable, they wrote, and pointed out that feelings of despair are typical of depression.Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.Wim Distelmans, palliative health-care professor at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and president of the Federal Euthanasia Commission, emphasised that the option is only available to those who have chronic and serious mental health problems. “It is only for those who have tried different medications, therapies and therapists for many years,” he said, adding that some patients, knowing they can turn to euthanasia if necessary, have found the strength to carry on.Distelmans has received support from political parties Open-Vld and SP.A. Open-Vld president Gwendolyn Rutten told Radio 1 that the measure is not available to just anyone who suffers from depression.http://www.flanderstoday.eu/innovation/experts-ask-end-euthanasia-based-mental-health-problemsEuthanasia-Free NZ 8 December 2015Open letter Remove euthanasia on the ground of purely psychological suffering from the law Death as therapy? We, representatives of various relevant occupational groups, are alarmed about the increasing trivializing of euthanasia on the ground of psychological suffering only.For the first time since the law was put into effect in 2002, a decision to allow euthanasia – the case of De Moor / Van Hoey – has been challenged by the evaluation committee and forwarded to the judiciary. The Australian broadcaster SBS made a documentary about this euthanasia case and the conversations between the patient and the doctor. The Economist also published a poignant video report (24 and Ready to Die) on a 24-year-old young lady from Bruges who was granted euthanasia on grounds of psychological suffering, but ultimately declined its execution.In our open letter in the Artsenkrant “Doctors’ Newspaper” (September 2015) we noted the legal uncertainty of a doctor approving euthanasia based solely on psychological suffering. In this opinion piece we want to draw attention to its specific problematic character, and in particular the fact that it’s impossible to objectify the hopelessness of psychological suffering.One would expect that this incurability is founded on indications of for example, organic injury or tissue damage – in other words, factors that are independent of what is subjectively felt and thought about the illness. Such objectification is problematic in relation to psychological suffering.Let’s be clear: psychological suffering is real and can be at least as severe as physical suffering. However, specific to mental suffering is the fact that you can rely only on the word of the sufferer to estimate it. And this is a good thing, because he or she is the only one who knows how much it hurts at that moment. At that moment… because when we suffer psychologically, we are often convinced that no other future is possible anymore. It is often precisely this thought that pushes a person into an abyss, because as long as there is perspective, a person can usually tolerate much.We see that some who are at first declared incurably ill, eventually abandon the notion of euthanasia because new perspectives appeared. In a paradoxical way, this proves that the illness cannot be called incurable.http://www.euthanasiadebate.org.nz/belgium-experts-call-for-a-removal-of-euthanasia-on-the-grounds-of-psychological-suffering/Thanks to Renee Joubert from Euthanasia-Free NZ for translating the documentlast_img read more

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