A pound of prevention

Expanded Humane Society facility hopes to meet challenge of growing pet populations

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/30/2014

Earlier this month, the Pasadena Humane Society opened a new facility next to its existing campus, aimed at keeping pets in homes and out of shelters.   
The Humane Society opened the $20 million, 35,000 square foot Animal Care Center on Jan. 9. It is currently closed on Mondays, but will be open to the public seven days a week starting Saturday.
The new facility at 361 S. Raymond Ave. includes a wellness clinic with an expanded, high-volume spay and neuter clinic that will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, allowing veterinarians to perform 20 spay and neuter procedures on dogs, cats and rabbits per day. No city money was used for the construction of the Animal Care Center, which was funded by community supporters.
On Monday, the Pasadena City Council decided that on July 14 it will consider an ordinance that would either require all dogs and cats to be spayed and neutered or just all pit bulls and pit bull cross breeds older than 4 months.
Ricky Whitman, vice president of community relations for the Pasadena Humane Society, said that breed-specific legislation will not solve the problem of pet overpopulation. The agency’s position is that all dogs and cats should be spayed and neutered.
“There are more animals than there are homes for them. All adopted pets get spayed and neutered before going to their new homes, so it’s publicly owned animals we want to appeal to to come in and offer low-cost spay/neuter,” said Whitman. 
The Animal Care Center also features an affordable vaccination and microchip clinic that is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays; a dog daycare that will open in February; an education and training center that will host seminars and training classes; a dog boarding facility; underground parking; and the shelter shop, an expanded pet store with food, accessories and clothing. All proceeds from retail sales will go to Humane Society programs.
“It’s a very exciting time,” said Steven R. McNall, president and CEO of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. “We’re focusing on expanded programs to help stop the tragedy of pet overpopulation. The Animal Care Center is a proactive approach to keep animals in their homes and out of the shelter.” 

The wrong tree?

Council changes position on pit bull ordinance  

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/30/2014

Just 30 hours after the Pasadena City Council held off from enacting proposed legislation mandating the spaying and neutering of pit bulls, police were forced to shoot and kill one of three pit bulls that attacked a cyclist.
The Wednesday morning incident prompted Councilman Steve Madison, who proposed the ordinance, to renew his calls for better control of pit bulls.
“Pit bull lovers, and there are a number of them and they are passionate about their dogs, argue that they don’t bite any more frequently than other dogs,” Madison wrote on Facebook a few hours after the attack. “That’s beside the point, because we are talking here about the gravity of the harm, the severity of the attacks.”
Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra told the Pasadena Weekly that the department’s focus in on public safety and not on one particular breed. “Our viewpoint is any dog could be a threat,” Ibarra said.
In Wednesday’s attack, the dogs — which had not been sterilized — went after Pasadena resident Andrew Ross, 37, shortly after 5 a.m. in the 1400 block of North Fair Oaks Avenue, as Ross was walking his bike. 
According to a witness who notified police, the dogs knocked Ross down and dragged him by his legs. Ross fended off the attack by using his bicycle to block the animals, then broke away and climbed on top of a nearby car, where he stayed until police arrived.
According to Ibarra, the dogs were still in the area when police arrived and initially appeared to be leaving, but then turned and began advancing toward the officers while barking aggressively. 
An officer discharged a shotgun, killing one of the dogs. But the two other dogs continued advancing on officers, who were then forced to shoot at the other two dogs, which then left the area but were later recovered by animal control officers. The conditions of the other two dogs were unknown. 
Just before midnight Monday, the City Council voted 5-3 to table Madison’s proposed law, which was first passed by a 6-1 vote in November and was up for a first reading and passage. Now, the ordinance will be brought back for reconsideration in July. At that time, the council will decide whether to proceed with plans to target only pit bulls for sterilization or include all breeds in the program. By that time, the Pasadena Humane Society will have finished its survey of licensed dogs in Pasadena. 
Monday’s action marked a major about-face for the council.
Council members John Kennedy, Terry Tornek and Gene Masuda voted against the motion to table the matter, desiring to deny passage on the first reading.
“I continue to feel, and based on what I’ve read and what the [Pasadena] Humane Society told us last time we discussed mandatory spay and neuter, that we should continue with the path we set out on in October, when we discussed mandatory spay and neuter for all breeds,” said Councilwoman Margaret McAustin, who along with Mayor Bill Bogaard and Council members Victor Gordo, Jacque Robinson and Madison voted to table to issue until the council’s July 14 meeting.
In November, when the matter came up for a vote, the pit bull-specific ordinance was opposed only by Robinson.
“The desire to criminalize millions of completely innocent dogs, or groups of anything else who have been generically and unfairly deemed to universally fit some negative connotation as a whole is fundamentally wrong on every level,” said Pasadena resident Josh Liddy, one of 55 people to turn in speaker cards prior to the marathon meeting.
“People are individuals, and so are dogs. If you treat them in the opposite ways then you not only discriminate wildly but also resoundingly fail to even attempt to address the problems associated with the individual incidents or attacks that have jump-started these debates in the first place,” Liddy said from the speaker’s podium.
Like a similar law passed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, Pasadena’s proposed law would force sterilization of pit bulls older than 4 months. The law would exempt show and service pit bulls, those used by law enforcement and dogs facing health issues during sterilization.
Pro-dog Web sites have been attacking Madison’s proposed ordinance for the past three months. 
“Breed-specific legislation has a long history of being  HYPERLINK "http://www.nopitbullbans.com/2013/10/31/what-is-bsl/" \t "_blank" racist legislation,” wrote the editor of nopitbullbans.com. “And yes, even breed-specific, mandatory spay/neuter legislation doesn’t just target pit bulls, but often their minority owners, typically African-Americans and Latinos.”
“Uneducated, cruel owners are to blame for violent dogs, not just pit bulls, but dogs in general,” wrote Jessica Carla de Lima-Moran. “And these owners would ignore a ban regardless. These bans are useless.”
There are 14 states with laws prohibiting such breed-specific legislation. State lawmakers in California cannot establish most breed-specific laws, but county supervisors and city council members may establish breed-specific spay/neuter programs, Pasadena City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris said Monday night. Dozens of California cities have repealed or rejected such legislation, a staff report on the ordinance explained, while eight cities have joined with Riverside County in passing these types of laws.
Despite overwhelming opposition to the ordinance, Madison held fast to his position that pit bulls are a dangerous breed.
“I continue to believe, based on the data and facts I have seen, that pit bulls are extremely dangerous,” Madison said Monday. “There is undeniably a correlation between this breed, for whatever reason, there is a connection between this breed and severe attacks. I do think it is incumbent upon us to take some action. I’m not worried that my Maltipoo is going to kill someone.”
The local ordinance was opposed by the Pasadena Humane Society. 
“Mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs and cats remains our recommendation,” said Humane Society Vice President Elizabeth Richer Campo. “It is smarter to have effective vicious-dog ban laws that support the work of the Humane Society to ensure the community is safe.”
According to Monday’s presentation, 15 percent of the dogs in the care of the Pasadena Humane Society are pit bulls, and 27 percent of all dogs euthanized are of that breed.
Pasadena has not had a fatal pit bull attack, but there have been a number of incidents involving the much-vilified animals. 
On Jan. 11, a man was trapped inside his car by an aggressive pit bull on Washington Boulevard, near Lincoln Avenue. The dog was Tasered by a Pasadena police officer. The animal escaped, but was picked up as a stray two days later. Ultimately, the owner volunteered to surrender the dog to the Humane Society.
On two occasions prior to Wednesday morning, Pasadena police officers were forced to kill roaming pit bulls that charged toward them. 
In October, a pit bull that was not on a leash attacked a man walking his dog in Victory Park in east Pasadena. The man was trying to stop the animal from mauling his pet. Councilman Masuda, whose district includes Victory Park, told the Weekly that the man was not seriously injured. Since the incident, the city’s Public Works Department has placed more signage in the park, reminding dog owners to keep their pets on leashes.
Masuda said at the meeting that he had never seen so many people express their opposition to a single topic before, referring to the correspondence that poured into the city in the weeks before Monday’s meeting.
“As a council I know we care about public safety, but is this law fair? I don’t believe it is,” Masuda said Monday. “I don’t support having a pit bull ordinance right now. I think we should have the other ordinance come forward, where all dogs and cats are equally spayed and neutered, to have a breed-neutral law, rather than a specific law.”
In his Facebook posting, Madison expressed vindication for his position on the issue.
“They argue that if properly cared for pit bulls are loving, peaceful pets,” he wrote. “Well, three of the five fatal attacks in California last year were by the victim’s family’s pets. But even if true, that many pit bulls behave peacefully does not change the fact that year-in year-out the overwhelming number of the most severe attacks are committed by this breed, notwithstanding its relatively small population.”

Counting down

Pasadena’s homeless population has declined in recent years, thanks in large part to people like Joe Colletti and organizations like Friends in Deed 

By Nick Smith and Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/23/2014

Last week, dozens of Fuller Theological Seminary students and community volunteers met in Payton Hall on the Fuller campus to prepare for the annual Pasadena Homeless Count and Subpopulation Survey. The Office for Urban Initiatives (OUI) at Fuller, a community-based nonprofit research organization, in collaboration with the city and the Pasadena Housing and Homeless Network, conducts the survey each year to more accurately estimate the population of Pasadena’s homeless residents on a given day.   
Pasadena has been conducting the headcount, which was performed Wednesday night, since 1992, after the US Census reported there were 432 homeless persons in Pasadena. Not satisfied with this number, Joe Colletti, an adjunct professor at Fuller, went before the Pasadena City Council and proposed an official homeless count. The idea, Colletti said, was that a more accurate number could better inform policy with regards to funding aid programs for the homeless.  “We really were very intentional about ending homelessness in Pasadena,” Colletti told the Pasadena Weekly. “And the best way you can measure that is by doing annual counts that will show the numbers are either going up or down.”
In September 1992, 250 volunteers canvassed the streets and shelters of Pasadena and determined approximately 1,017 persons were homeless — more than double the Census estimate.
‘Well-oiled machine’
Colletti has an extensive resume regarding homelessness and community development. He is the founder and CEO of the Institute of Urban Initiatives and co-founder and CEO of the Episcopal Housing Alliance and Economic Development. He currently serves as director of OUI at Fuller, where he has taught urban development for more than 20 years. Over the years, he has created numerous residential and nonresidential programs aimed at helping people with mental illness, substance abusers and victims of domestic violence. 
In February, the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Congregations named Colletti its “Person of the Year,” among other local- and state-government awards he’s garnered.
For such an accomplished person, Colletti has not forgotten the spiritual calling with which his passion for the underprivileged began.
“I believe that the biblical command is to solve social injustices, not avoid them,” he said. “The idea is to end them.” Now, after more than two decades of experience in conducting the count, “it’s a well-oiled machine,” he said. “The more key persons we got together and the more often we got together, the better we got at implementing homeless counts. As volunteers come back each year, we get better and better.”  This “well-oiled machine” has been so successful here in Pasadena that similar programs have been implemented across Southern California under Colletti’s guidance. A homeless count and subpopulation survey is now required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Program. While the continuum of care program had focused for many years on moving homeless people from the streets to transitional housing and eventually into permanent housing, this was determined to be quite costly; it could take an average of two to three years before a homeless person obtained permanent housing. According to Colletti, this method has proven to be more effective.
“If I was a homeless person and you were helping me while I’m in housing, you’re going to be a bigger help to me because I’m housed,” Colletti said. “You’re helping me not lose it.”
‘They’re just folks’
The Weekly reported in April that after a spike in the number of homeless persons in Pasadena beginning in 2008 due to the Great Recession, reaching its peak in 2011 with 1,261 persons, the 2013 count reported a promising 37 percent decrease in the number of homeless people over the last two years, with 772 homeless people living in Pasadena. 
HUD defines homelessness as someone living in 1) a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks or abandoned buildings, 2) an emergency shelter, or 3) transitional or supportive housing for homeless persons. It must be noted that count figures do not include those residents at extreme risk of becoming homeless. In fact, one in four Pasadena residents live in a household with an income of $15,000 or less, according to an OUI report.  Still, Colletti and hundreds of volunteers are committed to ending homelessness in Pasadena. Homelessness for Ron Crosthwaite, a volunteer in Wednesday’s count, hit close to home and inspired his participation.
“My son had a drug problem and that really led to his homelessness,” he said. “He went into this homeless phase and then just disappeared altogether. We didn’t see him for six months.”
Fortunately, his son checked into the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Pasadena, got clean and is now working as an interstate truck driver. But his close encounter with homelessness helped Crosthwaite realize something which perhaps inspires other passionate anti-poverty advocates like Colletti in their work: “Your image of the homeless is one thing and the people that you meet are entirely different,” said Crosthwaite. “They’re just folks.”
Shelter from the storm
Friends in Deed, a division of the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Congregations, has been providing homeless services in the area for 120 years. Richard Cheung, a chiropractor who serves as one of the co-chairs on the Friends in Deed Board of Directors, said he’s proud of the Women’s Room, Food Pantry and Bad Weather Shelter that are all run by the nonprofit organization.
“From what I’m seeing as a resident and business owner in Pasadena, at one point from a very completely subjective observation the homeless population looked like it had dropped,” said Cheung. “That was confirmed by the head count that the housing department did. We would like to take part of the credit in that with what we do over at Friends in Deed. Obviously there are other agencies but we definitely like to take credit for that along with the others. We’re the agency of last resort, which is really important because when you’re in need you’re in need.”
This winter the Bad Weather Shelter is only being opened when the temperature drops to 40 degrees and there’s a 40 percent chance of rain. The shelter first opened in 1986 and was located at the Salvation Army gymnasium until 1989. It then moved to its current location at the Pasadena Covenant Church, located at 539 N. Lake Ave., next to the Foothill (210) Freeway and the Metro Gold Line Lake Ave. Station. Colletti served as the first director of the shelter.
In November 2012 the city of Pasadena discontinued its usual contribution of $60,000 to keep the shelter running. Now the shelter relies on donations to stay afloat.
So far Pasadena has experienced unseasonably warm, summer-like weather, so the shelter has not yet opened this winter. When it’s open, the Bad Weather Shelter serves everybody who needs a place to sleep, which is why Cheung got involved with Friends in Deed.
“We get right to the heart of the matter,” he said. “We don’t dance around. We’re really impactful. We make a difference, truly, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
They may have started out as a Christian organization, but now they’re interfaith, said Cheung.
“We’re nonjudgmental,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or atheist; if you are hungry and homeless we will feed you and give you shelter, because that’s what people do.”
Cheung said that the shelter is always looking for support, whether it’s financial or through volunteering, adding they don’t want to be Pasadena’s best kept secret.
Recently Mayor Bill Bogaard asked Friends in Deed to co-host with him during his 41st annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, which will be held April 30 at the Pasadena Convention Center. The keynote speaker will be Elise Buik, CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
“We really want the community, businesses and residents, to really take part, regardless of your political views. No matter how the economy is doing there will always be people in need. That’s just a fact.” 
For more information on Friends in Deed, visit friendsindeedpas.org or ecpac.net.

Turning down the volume

Schiff’s bill makes the FAA and Department of Transportation responsible for reducing helicopter noise in LA County

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/23/2014

Recently approved legislation introduced by Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff calls on US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Federal Aviation Administration to come up with a plan to curb what Schiff calls “disruptive helicopter noise” throughout LA County. 
However, Schiff’s bill specifically exempts helicopter operations related to law enforcement, one of the biggest contributors to the types of noise that most residents complain about, as well as emergency and military operations, but not news media.
Members of Pasadena DMZ, a citizen’s group that advocates for regulation and public oversight of helicopters, were not entirely satisfied.
“We are definitely suffering from the lack of oversight of helicopters of all types,” said Pasadena DMZ member Jenny Durling. “Here in Pasadena, we are particularly disturbed by police helicopters as they are used as a first response to everything.”
Schiff’s Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act was slightly amended before being approved by both houses of Congress last week as part of a yearlong $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. The main difference is that the revised act would require the FAA to begin work on regulating helicopters to reduce noise impacts in LA County, where the funding bill allows the FAA a chance to complete its own recommendations and prove their effectiveness prior to imposing regulations. The FAA and the Secretary of Transportation have up to a year to set regulations relating to flight paths and altitudes for helicopter flights.
In May, Schiff hosted a roundtable with homeowners and representatives of public safety agencies to explore voluntary measures that law enforcement agencies could undertake to reduce noise in nonemergency situations.
“There is little doubt that police, first responders and other public safety helicopters comprise a portion of helicopter noise in residential communities across Los Angeles County, and while these agencies of necessity are excluded from the bill, we will be working with them to reduce their contribution to the noise when doing so would not compromise their vital operations,” Schiff wrote at the time. “These agencies can contribute to the solution as well, and it’s my hope that today’s roundtable will be the first of many steps to help homeowners across Los Angeles get a little peace and quiet from helicopter noise.”
A portion of Schiff’s bill states: “The Secretary shall (1) evaluate and adjust existing helicopter routes above Los Angeles, and make adjustments to such routes if the adjustments would lessen impacts on residential areas and noise-sensitive landmarks; (2) analyze whether helicopters could safely fly at higher altitudes in certain areas above Los Angeles County; (3) develop and promote best practices for helicopter hovering and electronic news gathering; (4) conduct outreach to helicopter pilots to inform them of voluntary policies and to increase awareness of noise sensitive areas and events; (5) work with local stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive noise complaint system; and (6) continue to participate in collaborative engagement between community representatives and helicopter operators: Provided, that not later than one year after enactment of this act, the secretary shall begin the development of regulations related to the impact of helicopter use on the quality of life and safety of the people of Los Angeles County unless the secretary can demonstrate the effectiveness of actions taken under the previous proviso to address helicopter noise.”
“After years of pushing,” Schiff said in a statement issued shortly after the House vote, “residents should finally begin to see some relief from unnecessary helicopter noise. This legislation will hold the FAA’s feet to the fire and ensure that they are making every effort to reduce helicopter noise. Now, the FAA will have one year to act on its pledge to reduce helicopter noise through voluntary measures, or be forced to put in place real rules to provide relief to homeowners.”
Durling said Schiff’s measure falls short of solving the problem.
“A number of citizens, myself included, have reached out to the Pasadena Police Department, the mayor and the safety committee, but our issues continue to fall on deaf ears. The noise pollution from these aircraft is horrific and someone needs to put limits on flight patterns, heights and time spent circling over residential areas,” Durling said.
“Without including the police,” said Pasadena DMZ member Daniel Molitor, “the discussion is pointless.”

Two for one

The diet treatment for a controversial yeast overgrowth condition also serves as a great way to lose weight

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/9/2014

If you’ve tried weight loss programs like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or the Atkins Diet, and you’re still looking for a diet that will give you results quickly, it’s time to start getting creative and thinking outside of the box. One very effective diet is actually a treatment program for a common but relatively unknown disease. Luckily, anyone can do it. 
You may have heard of candida, or candidiasis. It’s a controversial term for a fungal infection not acknowledged by all medical professionals. It is an overgrowth of yeast in the body caused by candida albicans, a diploid fungus. There is a long list of wide ranging symptoms, including jock itch, depression, anxiety, nail fungus, migraines, sugar cravings, chronic exhaustion, bad breath and weight gain, to name just a few. 
If you think you have some or all of these symptoms, you can be tested for candida. Personalabs, a privately funded medical testing coordinator, has two testing center locations in Pasadena: 221 E. Walnut St., Suite 248, and 960 E. Green St., Suite 290. Personalabs gives people the ability to order laboratory testing online, regardless of health care coverage, then have their specimens collected at one of 1,700 locations across the country. Qualitative tests for candida antibodies costs $272.
“A healthy immune system usually keeps its growth under control but in immunocompromised states chances of invasive candidiasis are quite high. A positive outcome of this test would mean that either the patient is currently suffering from the disease or has suffered in the past,” explains the Personalabs Web site.
The treatment for candida is diet based and results in quick and natural weight loss. The good news is that you don’t need to have candida to do the Candida Diet. However, it is a strict diet that is by no means easy to maintain. But, if you stick with it, you are guaranteed to lose weight. So why not give it a try?
The Candida Diet, created by author and candida expert Lisa Richards, comes in stages designed to stop feeding and ultimately eliminate the yeast in your body by taking cheese, chocolate, alcohol, bread and other food out of your diet. The length of each stage varies and depends on the severity of your candida overgrowth and how strictly you adhere to the diet.
In the first phase, which lasts for a few days, you cleanse. Some even fast before this step. Cleansing involves sticking to a restrictive diet of raw salads and mostly green, steamed vegetables, such as artichokes, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, garlic, green beans, kale, onions and zucchini; some herbs and spices, such as basil, cayenne, black pepper, cilantro and sea salt; and virgin coconut oil and olive oil.  
The next phase, the Anti-Candida Diet, is the most important. It’s more balanced than the cleanse, but it still prohibits fruit, sugar and most starchy vegetables. The idea is to cut out as many carbohydrates as possible. Adding to the list above, you can now eat vegetables, such as tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, olives and rutabaga; live yogurt cultures, such as probiotic yogurt and Kefir; meats, such as beef, chicken, lamb and turkey; fish, such as anchovies, herring, sardines and salmon; nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts and sunflower seeds; non-glutinous grains, such as buckwheat, millet, oat bran and quinoa; herbs and spices, such as dill and paprika; oils and seasoning, such as sesame oil, coconut oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar; and beverages, such as chicory root coffee and cinnamon, peppermint, ginger and licorice teas. Everything else is out. This phase lasts a few weeks to several months, depending.
Finally, you’ll want to start taking probiotics and gradually reintroduce foods to your diet, such as low sugar fruits and beans. Ideally, you won’t even want to fully return to your original, unhealthy diet.
“The healthy, energetic feeling that you get from a diet of nutritious whole foods is worth the cost of missing out on a few treats,” writes Richards on her Web site, thecandidadiet.com. In her book “The Ultimate Candida Diet Program,” she talks about the weight loss benefits of following this difficult diet. “Some people experience a dramatic weight loss when they switch to a Candida Diet. Often this is a good thing. The Candida Diet is full of healthy vegetables, non-glutinous grains and proteins. So when candida sufferers quit junk food and start a more balanced diet, the fat just naturally falls off.”  

Shifting campuses

Earthquake faults force San Rafael Elementary to relocate to the former Allendale Elementary site in 2017   

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/9/2014

After nearly a century, San Rafael Elementary campus is being closed and the school relocated. During a seismic study in 2011, it was determined that four earthquake faults run beneath the only public school campus in West Pasadena. The study was in preparation for modernization of school buildings by the Measure TT Bond Construction program. A state law puts a hold on any structural improvements within 50 feet of the fault lines. 
“The San Rafael campus is safe to inhabit,” said Adam Wolfson, communications director of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). “It’s a public school building, which are some of the safest buildings in the entire state. But one part of the law says we can’t do any substantial renovations to that campus, so that’s one of the main reasons we’re doing the move.”
At its Nov. 7 meeting, the Pasadena Board of Education decided to relocate San Rafael to the site that used to be Allendale Elementary, next to the Blair middle and high schools campus. Since Blair International Baccalaureate School is using that space during its own renovations, and additional improvements will need to be made after that, the soonest a relocation could happen is the 2017-18 school year. San Rafael Elementary will continue to 
operate at its current campus until then.
“Right now we’re doing construction at Blair, so that Allendale campus will be used to temporarily house students from Blair High,” said Wolfson. “That’s the first use. Once that happens, then that campus needs to be rehabbed and properly prepared for an elementary school, which is how we get to 2017.”
This decision was made after the San Rafael community requested that the district look into rebuilding on an area of the campus outside of the fault zone, according to an article by West Pasadena Residents’ Association (WPRA) Vice President Catherine Stringer in that organization’s newsletter. Another option was relocating to a renovated Linda Vista Elementary campus, which was closed in 2006.
“Allendale was certainly not our first choice,” said Wolfson. “Sometimes Mother Nature has the final say.”
The board also recently formed a 7-11 Committee to determine whether San Rafael should be designated surplus, the first step the district must take before closing, selling or leasing the site. 

Center of the sports universe

Three popular ESPN shows will broadcast live in front of City Hall

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/2/2014

Iconic Pasadena City Hall has been featured in numerous television shows and movies over the years, and this week it will be the site of three popular programs on ESPN Radio.    
“The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “SVP & Russillo,” and “ESPN Radio College GameDay: BCS Special” will all broadcast live in front of City Hall Monday.
“The public is invited to come down and watch the shows live for free,” said William Boyer, public information officer for the city of Pasadena.
The live tapings will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. Each show will be broadcast back to back prior to the Bowl Championship Series Game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Auburn Tigers at the Rose Bowl. The shows will feature nine consecutive hours of live talk, interviews and analysis leading up to the game. 
“The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will begin at 7 a.m. on ESPN Radio with a simulcast on ESPNU. 
“SVP & Russillo,” featuring Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo, will start at 10 a.m. also on ESPN Radio with a simulcast on ESPNEWS. 
A special three hour “ESPN Radio College GameDay: BCS Special” begins at 1 p.m., hosted by Russillo, Trevor Matich and Brad Edwards. 
Following the live tapings there will be a pre-game show at 4 p.m. and the VIZIO BCS National Championship starts at 8:30 p.m., all on ESPN Radio.
Mike Tirico, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe and Joe Schad will provide commentary during the BCS game, wrapping up ESPN Radio’s 26-game bowl broadcast schedule.
“The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “SVP & Russillo” are sports talk radio programs which feature commentary on sports news and interviews with sports analysts and athletes. 
“College GameDay,” hosted by Chris Fowler, previews college football games and frequently broadcasts live around the country. The shows will return to their studios the following day. 

Empowering addicts

A local secular alternative to 12 steps supports people taking recovery into their own hands

By Justin Chapman Pasadena Weekly, 1/2/2014

There is certainly no shortage of recovery programs and rehab centers in Pasadena and the rest of the San Gabriel Valley. 
Las Encinas Hospital is one. Impact House and the Pasadena Recovery Center are two other popular facilities. When demand is heavy, apparently the supply is there. With so many to choose from, one can be selective and pick the right philosophy that fits their needs.
The most prevalent recovery philosophy is the 12-step program. Nearly any time of the day or night a drunk or an addict can find an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting somewhere nearby. Most in-house outpatient programs follow the 12-step model. But not everyone agrees with the programs’ most basic philosophy: Admitting powerlessness and turning one’s self over to a higher power.
The 12-step method works very well for a lot of people, but not everyone. For those who want to take their recovery into their own hands, there are local secular alternatives to AA and other 12 step-based programs here in Pasadena.
Eric Harlacher is a survivor of both alcohol dependence and cancer. He’s a certified substance abuse counselor with an office in Pasadena. He utilizes a non-12-step treatment modality and leads SMART Recovery (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, or REBT) classes. SMART is a self-empowering addiction recovery group. It is evidence-based and upholds the idea that addiction can be overcome by disputing irrational thinking.
Harlacher said that his cancer and his alcohol dependence were “two very similar disease models that are seen so differently in contemporary society: the first deserving of compassion, the latter a moral failing that can only be driven out by systematic public shaming in a 12-step meeting. When I was a survivor, I was applauded for taking individual action. I was not told I was powerless, I was not told to sit down and make a list of my character defects.”
All of the qualities that served him so well as a cancer survivor — self-advocacy, seeking alternative medicine, researching the latest medical data — were undesirable and unwelcome in AA meetings, he said. That’s when he started looking for a different way to approach overcoming his addiction.
Another thing that bothered him about AA was the requirement to give oneself up to a higher power. He didn’t like being told that he couldn’t conquer his addiction on his own. As a counselor now, he personally witnesses people who do just that.
“We don’t hear about those people because if you look at substance abuse as this pyramid, say 10 or 20 percent of people at the bottom have no problem,” said Harlacher. “Whether for environmental or religious reasons they’ve never even tried alcohol. You have a big section in the middle that kind of use something or stopped or cut back. And if you work in the recovery community you see the very top of the pyramid, you see the people who seek out treatment and frequently you’re seeing the most difficult of the most difficult.”
Harlacher tailors his substance abuse counseling to each individual. Everyone is at a different stage of their recovery; therefore a one-size-fits-all model doesn’t always work.
“I don’t work harder than anyone sitting in front of me,” he said. “When you’re ready you’re ready. You meet somebody where they’re at. If someone is still holding on to alcohol as a substance, for a while at least you meet them there. Is this working out for you? You’re drinking for pleasure and you say you don’t have a DUI and yet you don’t see your kids, you’re filled with shame, your business partner doesn’t want to work with you. Is it possible any of these symptoms could be alleviated if you stop taking this magical liquid you say you’re so attached to? Then you get people who are very, very ready. They want to know the factual, ‘How do I do this?’” As far as a philosophy goes, he tries to keep that open, somewhere between a medical and academic model. 
“When I treat people, I try to leave it open because the word ‘disease’ has been tainted by a lot of people in AA. Whatever addiction is, everyone seems to agree that it’s progressive. Once you cross a certain line, it is incurable, but it can be treatable.”
And for him it starts with empowering and motivating people to overcome their addiction, not telling them they’re powerless. 

For more information, contact counselor Eric Harlacher, 65 N. Madison Ave., Ste. 302, Pasadena. Call (818) 639-4975 or visit helpmequitdrinking.com.