Guest column

Harley Rouda

Candidate for 48th Congressional District

Cruel Health Care Plan

Congressional Republicans finally released their long-awaited plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and it’s even more of a disaster than anticipated, being panned by experts across party lines. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s independent analysis, about 24 million Americans will lose their healthcare coverage by 2026 if this legislation is passed, nearly doubling the rate of uninsured people. 

The proposal cuts the available ACA subsidies in half and restructures them based solely on age, eliminating any consideration of income when distributing tax credits.

Additionally, under this plan, insurance companies would be able to charge older consumers five times more than younger consumers and enables them to reduce the types of medical expenses covered in their plans. 

The proposed bill would also dismantle Medicaid as we know it, while phasing out the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion that provided so many previously uninsured people with quality healthcare coverage for the first time. We need to protect Medicaid, not leaving the poor and working families forced to choose between paying their mortgage, for their child’s education or for their healthcare. 

Despite the Administration’s constant promises that no one will lose their coverage, the most marginalized Americans will be the hardest hit by this devastating plan, including unemployed people, working class Americans, the elderly, disabled people, and women. It’s completely backwards and nonsensical to create a healthcare system where the more help you need from the government, the less you get. 

In Orange County, residents above the age of 60 will get 39% less in healthcare subsidies - about $2,500 less per year.

In many ways, this legislation is not just a healthcare bill, but functions as a massive redistribution of wealth to the richest Americans in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy. Champions of this plan deceitfully position their proposal as a way to promote freedom in the marketplace, but creating a system where working class and elderly Americans are unable to access affordable healthcare coverage is not a real form of choice.

At the same time, this healthcare proposal is a direct attack on women’s reproductive rights. The plan includes a provision that would prevent Medicaid patients from using their insurance to get treated at Planned Parenthood. As the largest provider of reproductive health in the country, Planned Parenthood provides a wide variety of low-cost preventative care, cancer screenings, and other vital services. Many areas don’t have the medical infrastructure to replace these services, leaving low-income women to fend for themselves. 

In addition to dismantling Planned Parenthood, an incredibly important organization that millions of Americans depend on every day, a provision in the House GOP plan prohibits subsidies from being spent on plans that cover abortion, which would make virtually every healthcare plan in California ineligible for the proposed tax credits.

While some representatives in Washington, like Dana Rohrabacher, have punted on taking a position on the legislation, Americans are luckily catching on to this ruse put forth by House Republicans. 

According to a recent poll from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, about half the country understands that the GOP plan will increase the number of uninsured and raise prices for consumers who have to buy coverage on their own. While Paul Ryan admitted on Wednesday that the current plan’s structure must change to pass the House, it is unclear how they will amend the legislation.

Despite some obvious problems with the ACA, like its impact on small businesses or rising premiums, it’s undeniable that President Obama’s landmark reform has done some groundbreaking and amazing things for people in need, both in terms of expanding critical health care coverage and lowering cost for most Americans. 

Just in the 48th Congressional District, 76,899 residents have received healthcare coverage through Covered California and the Medicaid expansion, according to Health Access.

Ultimately, our nation’s healthcare system reflects how we treat each other in times of need and millions of Americans lives are at stake. We need to join the rest of the advanced world and finally ensure that healthcare coverage is a right for every American. 

In the meantime, members of Congress need to have a real conversation about ways to improve upon our existing healthcare system, not to completely dismantle it and throw millions of people off their current healthcare coverage. Healthcare cannot continue to be treated as a hyper-partisan political game, and we need to work together to find common sense reforms that increase the level of provided care and lower the costs for our most vulnerable people.

Note from editor: At time of going to press, no vote had been taken on the Republican healthcare bill.


Flower at the Top of the World

Click on photo for a larger image

Stunning photo by reader Kate Rogers


LBHS’ Cinderella and cast extend an invitation to a Royal Tea Party on March 25 & April 1 at 11 a.m.

Cinderella is inviting the princesses and princes in the Royal Kingdom of Laguna Beach to attend her first Royal Tea Party this Saturday at the high school.

Snow White, Jasmine, and the Prince will also be there, serving royal tea treats and drinks. 

The court jesters will entertain Cinderella’s guests with singing, balloon animals and the creation of royal crafts. Princess Belle will be present, reading her favorite books. 

“Belle’s favorite thing to do is read,” shares Cinderella, “So I asked her to pick a few of her favorite books to read to our junior princesses and princes.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Kurtis Glade

Much laughter is guaranteed for those attending the Royal Tea Party with Cinderella (Ellie Glade) and the Prince (Hunter Mills)

The Godmother has been kind enough to lend the pumpkin carriage so the guests can take pictures with Cinderella and the Prince. “I am so proud of Cinderella and her performance in the musical,” says Ms. Godmother. 

The carriage will be available at 11 a.m., but as soon as the clock strikes 12 p.m., it will return to its status as a normal pumpkin. 

Guests are encouraged to dress up as their favorite princess or prince. There will be many photo opportunities at this once-in-a-lifetime party. 

“While Cinderella has been quite busy with our production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” says LBUSD Drama Director Alexis Karol, “I am so happy she can take a break and throw a Royal Tea party for her loyal fans.” 

The party is organized by the Drama Boosters, a dedicated group of parents and community members.  

The two royal tea parties will take place from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Sat, March 25 and Sat, April 1. Tickets are $10 per person and will be available at the box office at Artists Theatre at 625 Park Ave. 

All proceeds benefit the LBHS Drama program. For tickets to the musical Cinderella, visit https://lbhs.booktix.com.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

March 24, 2017

Say goodbye to the marine layer for a while 

I finally made the cover of GQ Magazine. Yea, Grandpa’s Quarterly.

We finally flushed out that ugly prolonged marine layer thanks to a couple of cold fronts so surface visibilities increased to about 30 miles on Wednesday afternoon.

There wasn’t much rain on Tuesday, mostly drizzle or very light rain that only amounted to a few hundredths of an inch from the first front but the second front right on the heels of the first one was packed with plenty of cold unstable air. 

There wasn’t much action locally but several strong thunderstorm cells broke out over the Inland Empire and places north of LA, including many high desert communities. 

It looks like we won’t see a return of that marine layer for a while as a couple of weaker cold fronts are set to pass through here this weekend. We’ll be on the southern fringe of these fronts so any precipitation will be in the form of a few showers. After that a ridge of high pressure will settle over the area resulting in an offshore flow with warmer daytime temps and cool, crisp nights. 

On this date in 1996 a strong late season Santana wind event came to visit as the mercury soared to a record for March high of 94 degrees. That record still stands to this date. Also on this date in 2014 a very strong early season Southern Hemisphere swell with sets of 8-10 feet were exploding on Brooks Street’s Second Reef making for a grand opening of the 2014 south swell season. 

The real highlight of 2014 was the epic swell compliments of hurricane Marie in late August with consistent 12 ft. plus bombs hitting from a severe angle of 160 degrees. Marie entered our swell window as a powerful Category 5 storm with a central pressure as low as 912 millibars. Marie’s waves were the biggest from a hurricane since September 15, 1997 when Category 5 hurricane Linda lit up the Orange County Coast. Newport Point, better known as 15th Street did a fine imitation of Hawaii’s Pipeline with a few sets as high as 18 ft.

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!


City will be asked to back Tide Pool grant request

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council will be asked on Tuesday by Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow to approve a request for a $50,000 grant to expand the Tide Pool Educator Program.

Laguna created the program to preserve Laguna’s unique and fragile intertidal habitat and the critters that thrive there, endangered by throngs of visitors.

Two primary services are provided by the programs: Meet the Bus and the Intertidal Interpretation programs.

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Colorful life in the tide pools of Fisherman’s Cove

Each year, students from schools across Southern California visit Laguna via the Meet the Bus service. Classes convene at Heisler Park Amphitheater where lectures are presented on California Marine Protected Areas, of which Laguna is one. 

They also learn about low-impact tide pool viewing, after which they visit the tide pools below Monument Point where they learn to identify marine life in its natural setting, according to a staff report. 

Visitors of all ages can learn from and enjoy the interpretive program, which introduces them to low-impact tide pool viewing and how to identify the marine life in the pools.  

Educators are stationed at Shaw’s Cove when low tides and peak daylight overlap. They provide informational materials and answer questions.

If the council approves Snow’s request, an application for the Explore the Coast grant will be submitted to the Coastal Conservancy.


Barbara’s Column

2017 LBHS Foundation Scholarships are underway

 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

 

In 1947, the Ebell Club donated the first scholarship to a Laguna Beach High School student. 

Last year, 131 students were recipients of a total of $380,000 in awards and scholarships – thanks in large part to the efforts of the Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation. 

Photo: LBHS Scholarship Foundation

Eager students await the scholarship awards in 2016

Some of the donations go back as far as the one established by Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Boyd’s grandfather, Joe Thurston, well before the foundation was made official in 1988. Some new donors crop up almost every year. Some donations include serious money. Some are token amounts, mainly to honor the recipient.

Donors can take different paths to fund the scholarships via the Foundation: direct payment of a designated amount each year to the Foundation; contributions to the Foundation, which chooses the recipients; endowments, which require a minimum of $10,000, with the annual scholarship amount based on interest earned each year.

Most of the awards are sent directly to the schools, so the recipient is guaranteed the money is there and the foundation is guaranteed the money is being used as intended for post-secondary education. 

A very few awards are handed directly to the students, for whatever use they choose.  

About 25 percent of the recipients are selected by the 10-member Laguna Beach High School Faculty Scholarship Committee. 

The committee chooses the recipient, based on established criteria; or the donor participates in selection process and recommends award winners; or the committee initially screens the applicants, the donor participates in a second screening and recommends winners.

“In all cases, the donor is the driver,” said Foundation board member Diane Kloke.

Foundation President’s letter stirs some controversy

This year between 84 and 89 donors who directly select recipients received letters 

signed by school board member and Foundation President Ketta Brown requesting donors to recommend acceptable alternate recipients of their scholarships, to be decided by the scholarship committee.

Not going to happen, said Friends of the Laguna Beach Library board member Randy Ray, who advises the group on its scholarship strategy.

“It’s our scholarship and we should select who receives it,” he said. 

Brown wrote that providing more than one recipient would enable the Foundation to balance the scholarship dollars awarded, benefit the greatest number of students as best they could while maintaining the integrity of the Foundation’s unique processes and comply with IRS regulations.

It is true that some students walk away from the Convocation with a ton of awards while some other worthy student might go unrecognized and it just that which breaks the hearts of some Foundation members. 

“But scholarships are based on the each donor’s recognition of achievements by a particular student,” said Friends of the Library President Martha Lydick

Megan Vick vividly remembers the 2005 convocation.

She walked out of the Artists Theatre that night as the recipient of several scholarships, “Winning these scholarships instilled in me a new-found confidence, a realization that my community was willing to invest in my future,” Vick said. 

Besides raising a ton of money for Laguna Beach High School seniors the Foundation also establishes policies relating to the administration of the scholarship program, provides oversight of managed funds, manages the scholarship application process for graduating seniors and hosts a reception honoring the donors prior to the Convocation. 

Both events are a tribute to contributions of the Foundation, whether or not you always agree with its decisions. 

But wait---There’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com.

 

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