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The Homeless Crisis Can Affect Us All

The Homeless Crisis Can Affect Us All

LOS ANGELES, CA – Amid the increasing Homeless crisis in California, Trump has promised to do “something” about it during his visit to the West Coast this week. Although he didn’t mention any specifics, the LA Mayor has already stated that he is willing to cooperate with the Trump administration to solve this issue that affects us all.

THE ISSUE

The last couple of years have been hard for the housing situation in California.  San Francisco has never had such levels of people living in the streets, some even with incomes and steady jobs. The Bay has always been considered one of the areas in the United States with higher rents, if not the most. But in the last few years, and partially because of the influence of the Silicon Valley monopoly in the area, the housing crisis has peaked.

Between 2018 and 2019, the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count noted the number of people living in the streets increased by 12% in the whole county and by 16% just in the city.

LA’s skid row is a perfect example of the phenomenon. Lines of tents fill the streets around some of the biggest shelters in the city. Another area of homeless concentration is Koreatown. As of today, there are more than 60,000 people living on the streets in Los Angeles County.

One of the biggest misconceptions about homelessness is that it only happens to people with drug and self-destructive habits or to those who suffer from mental illness. But the actual reality of the housing crisis is that it can happen to anyone.

Mike Dickerson, who works for Ktown for All, a homeless advocacy group, talked about some of the most surprising stories he knew of homeless cases.

“I think a lot of people have this perception that danger lurks in the encampments,” he said.

“And for myself and for other volunteers, what we found is people who are just people like everyone else, who have fallen into hard times, whether that’s because of their own personal issues or because their landlord evicted them or because the rent rose in a way they could no longer pay.”

Shawn Pleasants, 52, is a perfect example of this.

SHAWN’S STORY

Shawn Pleasants has an impressive resume. A San Antonio native, he was high school valedictorian and went on to major in economics from Yale University with a scholarship. After succeeding in many banking jobs at Wall Street, he became a small business entrepreneur.

He gathered success with a filmmaking company that he co-founded in California chasing a Hollywood dream. They focused on the adult film industry during the ’90s, when the DVD industry was about to explode. He made enough money to buy a large and luxurious home in Silver Lake, LA.

But a few wrong turns in life 10 years ago left him homeless. After having some differences with his co-founders, losing his mother to cancer and becoming addicted to painkillers after sustaining a back injury, he lost everything he had.

Today he lives in the streets of Koreatown with a tarp as his sole refuge.

“I am responsible for my own choices. I own all my decisions,” he said.

He admits many people have told him before that a person like him, hard-working, well-formed and capable, should not be in this situation.

“But I’m like, should anybody be here? Who should, then?” he asks.

HIS LIFE IN THE STREETS

Pleasants is gay and has shared his life with another homeless man for the last 10 years. They met before being homeless and now they live in the streets together. In fact, they have lived in the same street for the last six years, but they are thinking about changing locations soon.

When asked about shelters, his opinion is simple and straight. “They’re always set up with such rigid protocols. I would leave the place immediately.” He says he hates the restriction of his freedom and feels like he would need to get rid of all his things due to the lack of available space.

“I would prefer to be somewhere where I can still go to the library and do the things I need to do when I need to do them.”

Shawn owns a cell phone and a laptop and frequents the library, where he spends long hours reading the news online and keeping himself up to date with worldwide events. His phone plan is free under a program released by the Obama administration.

He says he knows the schedules of certain churches and some food pantries so he can effectively get free meals to get by.

Although his remaining family has insisted several times on helping him, he is defiant. “I am not trying to bring another family member down,” he said. “I fell into it. I have to climb my way out of it.”

HIS VIEWS ON THE HOMELESS CRISIS

He believes the fact that he has the background he does, should not come as a shock.

“I think people point to things like mental illness or like drug abuse, which do exist in this population, but they aren’t the primary problem,” he said pointing to a close tent, “You’ll find musicians, there’s a photographer, you’ve got all different types of people.”

Shawn does not believe that Trump’s proposal of moving homeless people to a governmental facility is the best solution. “That’s not going to connect people to jobs, to housing, to services.”

He thinks the best approach is to give homeless people a long-term chance to end their string of bad choices and bad luck. He mentioned, for instance, the huge need for bathing facilities. These would allow people who live in the streets to shower and clean up. Hence solving many hygiene issues.

 “And in order to get a job, we need to have clean clothes. Where do I iron? How do I keep them pressed?”, he also noted.

When asked about his future, Shawn flashed a confident smile. “I’m gonna start a small business again,” he said.

Car Drives Into the Ocean, Driver Found Swimming

Car Drives Into the Ocean, Driver Found Swimming

SAN PEDRO, CA – A car drives into the ocean after a crash in San Pedro left one man swimming for his life. The motorist drove off a 30-foot cliff and ended up on a rock-strewn beach in San Pedro. However, he was soon found swimming in the ocean Monday morning.  

Moreover, details report the man driving the SUV hit a curb in the 4100 block of Pacific Avenue around 3 a.m. As a result, the car ended up smashing through a guard rail before hitting a fence. Shortly after, the SUV plummeted down the cliff. It landed upright, on one end in the front. Additionally, the roof of the vehicle was also positioned alongside the cliff. The vehicle remained there for some time.  

Still, the driver, identified as a 33-year-old man managed to escape the crash with minor injuries. However, he was unable to climb back up the cliff which leads back to the road. He was also the only occupant in the SUV at the time.

Furthermore, once the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived, they found the driver in the Pacific Ocean trying to swim back to land. However, he was rescued by the LAFD and treated on their boat before being taken to the hospital. Additionally, the driver was transported to the hospital in fair condition. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Moreover, the driver’s SUV was thoroughly searched by firefighters to make sure there were no other people involved in the crash.

Death of Palmdale Boy Under Investigation

Death of Palmdale Boy Under Investigation

PALMDALE, CA – Suspicion surrounding a 4-year-old boy’s death has led to an ongoing homicide investigation.

Originally, the child’s parents reported that “baby Noah” drowned in a pool on the 1200 block of Avenue S, confirmed Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza.

After taking Noah to a Los Angeles children’s hospital, it was discovered that he had trauma on his body. Lt. Mendoza believes this trauma was not caused from drowning. Noah died a little after 8 a.m. the following day.   

According to Mendoza, there is still a lot of information that is unclear.

The boy’s parents have not been arrested but are still being questioned by the authorities.

The community pool where Noah was reported to have drowned is part of the family’s residential complex.

As of now, authorities cannot confirm whether the child has ever been in foster care but believe the parents and siblings to be his biological family. However, three of the children have been taken into protective custody.

Detectives have reason to believe that there were prior reports made concerning the welfare of the children. Authorities plan to work with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services for further information.

Investigators want to be sure they have all the facts before proceeding. Authorities continue to monitor the case closely and will present more information in the coming days.

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger believes the protection of children is a shared community effort. “Noah’s case is a chilling reminder that government alone cannot do this,” she said.

Also adding that, “nothing will change without the support and involvement of everyone around us and everyone in our local communities,” said Barger.

If you have any information that might be pertinent to baby Noah’s case, please contact the Los Angeles County Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.

Motorcyclist struck and killed in North Hollywood

Motorcyclist struck and killed in North Hollywood

NORTH HOLLYWOOD. California – A woman in a vehicle struck and killed a motorcyclist in North Hollywood. Additionally, the incident occurred on Thursday morning.


Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Lisset Fuentes said they responded to the crash after a call around 5:30 a.m. Specifically, the accident happened at the intersection of Vineland Avenue and Vanowen Street. Moreover, this happened at a red light.


Furthermore, witnesses at the scene described the incident in further detail for police officers. They claimed to see the motorcyclist stopped correctly at the light. Then, a red Audi speeding southbound on Vineland Avenue struck the motorcyclist.


Fuentes added that the motorcycle was flung several hundred feet past the initial site of the crash.


Astonishingly, the red Audi continued to speed southbound after the incident. Then, the Audi crashed into multiple vehicles that were parked and unoccupied.


However, the Audi collided with a white SUV with such force that the SUV turned over into the street.


Currently, officials have not yet identified the victim. Officials have only reported that the victim is male. Furthermore, officials pronounced the victim dead at the scene.


Investigators on the scene are not sure how fast the vehicle was traveling at the time of the incident. However, Fuentes reported, “To cause all this … it had to be at a pretty significant high rate of speed”. Then, he added that officials were holding a woman in connection with the accident.


Currently, officials have not reported whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Falcon Transport Stops Making Insurance Payments, Shuts Down Fleet

Falcon Transport Stops Making Insurance Payments, Shuts Down Fleet

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO – In a similar fashion to the abrupt closure of mega-fleet Arrow Trucking, the 700-truck operation of Falcon Transport suddenly shut down on Friday, April 26. The company, based out of Youngstown, Ohio, sent emails and messages to drivers alerting them to immediately stop work.

The closure was so immediate that it deprived drivers without jobs, pay, access to fuel, and for many not even a way to get home. Even worse, the fleet also left millions of dollars in freight sitting on the shoulders of roads or in truckstops. The fleet was literally just abandoned where they were. Prior to this, Falcon had been delinquent with payments to brokers and insurers.

An indication of just had abrupt the ceasing of operations was Andy Straley, the company’s executive director of safety, compliance, and risk learned of the shut-down at the same time as the drivers. This is in spite of the fact he’s part of upper management.

According to Straley, around 80 to 140 drivers were stranded by the sudden closure. The company even went so far as to de-activate the driver’s fuel card. Straley later went on to call the move by the company ‘unethical.’ He speculates that the company didn’t have fully comprehend the ramifications of what they’d done.

Filing a Lawsuit

Drivers and other employees of the company have reacted by already filing class-action lawsuit. In the suit, they allege the company violated the WARN Act, which stipulates that companies with over 100 employees offer a 60 day notice before group layoffs or a shutdown. Consequently, employees are asking for back pay and any benefits owed during that would-be 60 day period.

Straley also mentions that he and other employees used money out of their own pockets, to help drivers get back home.

The reason for the sudden closure remains somewhat of a mystery. Most people suggest that it was tied to the shutdown of the General Motors Lordstown Complex last month. It was a major customer of Falcon’s. Some within the company dispute this idea however. Regardless, the company had stopped paying insurance on the trucks at least a month ago.

A Son’s Love: Helping His Mom to Get a Car!

A Son’s Love: Helping His Mom to Get a Car!

FERNLEY, NV – An act of love and kindness from a thirteen-year-old-boy has gone viral. A single woman, Krystal Preston, posted on social media after her son did something that shocked her. He got her a gift: a surprise car!

She had been struggling without a vehicle to get around with her three kids and three dogs. And, as a single mother, it was difficult to manage everything. Little did she know, however, that her son was working on a plan.

Apparently, her son saw videos online of people buying cars for mothers or loved ones and surprising them with the vehicles. He decided he wanted to do the same for his own mom. In fact, he already worked on yard work for different people in the community – little odd jobs here and there.

His Plan

One day, he found a car on sale, which a woman posted on Facebook. When he inquired about the 1999 Chevrolet Metro that the woman had up for sale, he tried to make a deal with her.

He planned to sell his Xbox or trade it in for the car, as well as help earn the money by doing some work for the woman. Eventually, she agreed to the deal and let him earn the car in his own way. After he did, she helped him surprise his mom by picking them up to bring them to the car.

His mother, speechless, did not believe that her son had made this happen. As Preston stated: “I lost it, I bawled so bad, I was just like, ‘There’s no way.’ What 13-year-old do you know buys their mom a car, I don’t know any, never heard of any. I can’t even express it, like there’s no words that can express my gratitude and how proud I am.”

It seems many others are, as well, since this feel-good story has spread across multiple states already.

Electronic Mail… by Truck? Changes in the USPS

Electronic Mail… by Truck? Changes in the USPS

CALIFORNIA – A new wave of technology is hitting US mail, and it’s now starting in California. The US Postal Service plans to add seven electric delivery trucks to its fleet in Stockton and Fresno. This particular area is known for its poor air quality. So, the hope is that the electric trucks can help combat this problem.

Not only will the trucks help to reduce emissions, but they’ll save in fuel costs as well. In fact, USPS expects each truck to save between $4,000 and $6,000 a year! In addition, they hope to save 37 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. They will test this theory in the upcoming trial period for the trucks.

Motiv Power, a Silicon Valley conversion company, converted these 1.5-ton delivery trucks to electric power. The first of the trucks from Motiv Power started deliveries on Tuesday. The remaining nine trucks are set to head out in Fresno and Stockton in the upcoming weeks.

The trucks, based on a Ford E-450 chassis, have a range of up to just about 90 miles. This should be more than enough for a daily mail delivery route. In addition, the trucks have a top speed of 60 miles per hour. And, they expect the trucks to be much quieter than previously.

In addition to the new electric trucks, USPS plans to replace its fleet with more contemporary models, as well. Since the old trucks are a bit outdated, more than thirty years old, they are looking at new models for the next generation mail trucks. Only will tell what the USPS decides. But, it is clear that they are sending the mailing industry into the future with the new plans!

Armed, Dangerous & Loaded: Louisville Truck Driver Disappears with Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

Armed, Dangerous & Loaded: Louisville Truck Driver Disappears with Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

LOUISVILLE, KY – Police and authorities are on the hunt for a possibly armed and dangerous Louisville truck driver who disappeared last month – with a lot of stolen money.

The former-trucker, identified as 29-year-old Mark Espinosa, worked for GardaWorld before the time of his disappearance. Apparently, he was fired from his job there a few days before he took off. It is unclear exactly why the company fired him at that time.

According to reports from the Louisville Metro Police Department, he went missing on December 5, 2018 somewhere near the Jefferson Mall in Louisville. The money also disappeared from an armored truck in that very same location.

Lt. Steven Kaufling spoke about the incident on Wednesday at a news conference. He stated that Espinosa allegedly was involved in stealing the money… which turns out to be “a large amount of U.S. currency.” How large? An estimated $850,000. And, there has been no sight of him since.

In response to the incident, police charged Espinosa with the theft of an interstate shipment. In addition, they issued a federal warrant for his arrest on the 10th of December. Kaufling also stated that he and his team of investigators do not believe this was a “random act of violence.” Instead, they believe the Louisville truck driver planned the theft.

The Search Continues

Now, both the FBI and local authorities are working together on the case. In fact, both GardaWorld and the FBI are offering rewards for information. GardaWorld is giving $50,000 and the FBI $10,000, for a total of $60,000 for any information on Espinosa’s whereabouts and the recovery of the money stolen.

Investigators describe Espinosa as a white male, five foot ten inches in height and somewhere between 230 to 235 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. Additionally, investigators note that Espinosa has connections in the Northeast as well as family members in different states including on the West Coast, Florida, and Texas. Anyone with information should report it to the officers in Louisville.

No Tax On Text Messages

No Tax On Text Messages

LOS ANGELES, CA – Good news for Californians. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will not move forward with its plan to tax text messages. The proposal had angered many Californians.

The state proposed the tax onto wireless bills. The funding would have gone to Public Purpose Programs. These programs let low-income individuals and families access a phone.

Californians, said one article, did not LOL about the proposal. Jonathan Manor of San Luis Obispo complained, “They’re going to tax us for breathing next.” Other residents said that Californians already face so many taxes that the addition of the text tax would be “crazy.” Many argued that texting is a form of speech, and speech is not taxable.

Regulators had scheduled a vote on the measure for January 10, 2019. However, on Wednesday, December 12th, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling against the measure. The FCC ruled that text messages are an “informative service” and not a “telecommunication service”. This ruling comes under the Federal Telecommunications Act, and more importantly, this means that California cannot charge for texting.

After this ruling, in light of the FCC’s action, assigned Commissioner Carla J. Peterman withdrew the draft proposal of the text messaging tax plan. No vote will take place in January after all.

Before this FCC ruling, no federal law classified text messages. The CPUC believed that telecommunication services could be taxed, and the tax could be used to support several CPUC public programs.

Tax Would Have Helped Low-Income Residents

The programs were designed to help low-income residents by offering discounted services for either a cell phone or a landline. Many residents who can’t afford phone communication find it difficult to find work, argued proponents of the proposal. But residents opposed to the measure argued back that they should not be on the hook for someone else’s phone bill.

President Trump will Visit California’s Deadliest Fire Victims

President Trump will Visit California’s Deadliest Fire Victims

The deadliest fires in the state of California became a reason for the president Trump to visit the state.

As the fires in California are out of control and there is a threat to withhold federal funds to battle them, President Donald Trump will be visiting some of the people,  buildings and homes, which got affected by it.

This is the announcement from White House. As the White House press Secretary reported, presidents’ visit to California is planned for Sunday. The details on Trump’s visit are not available yet.

Updates on this information is expected, as the secretary reported.

The wildfires in California, recognized as the deadliest in the state’s history, gained criticism from the President over the weekend, who placed blame for the fiery devastation on poor forest management.

According to Trumps’ tweets, billions of dollars were allocated to forest management. However, gross mismanagement of the forests caused fires.

President expressed his empathy to those who were forced to evacuate their homes and the families of people who died.

He also thanked the firefighters and FEMA and first responders for their incredible courage in the face of very grave danger.

Over the past few days, the president was monitoring the fires in California, which left 22 people dead and damaged more than 500 building and homes.