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OPINION: Privacy Act harms L.A. bloggers, online entrepreneurs

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Aileen Luib
The Baller on a Budget

I believe in the American Dream because I am lucky enough to be the American Dream. And I’m not alone; there are millions of business owners in California and I imagine some of them share my success story. As we built our businesses, we relied on our nation’s democracy to make our dreams come true and now I’m using that very democracy to keep my dreams alive. I’m writing today to my local newspaper to specifically advocate for a legislative fix to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) by asking my representatives to continue to allow the use of tailored online advertising.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) recently passed to ensure that consumers have the right to know the information any business has collected on them. These rights are important, but some aspects of the law are incredibly challenging for small businesses like mine to implement. Other aspects of the law are vague and unintentionally wipe out major sources of revenue, most notably the language related to online advertising.

Before any of these issues were a part of my lexicon, though, I was just a girl born to immigrant parents who came to this country from the Philippines to escape poverty and to give my three sisters and me a chance at success. We were on a strict budget growing up. I worked as many as three jobs simultaneously, moved many times, and my poverty mentality caught up with me as I amassed credit card debt. Eventually, I began to heal my complicated relationship with money and decided to blog about it in hopes of helping others.

It’s common for white men to write about finance, wealth, and money management, but I felt strongly that a young, female Filipina would provide a different, relatable perspective to many online users – especially millennials who are struggling due to rising living costs and exorbitant student loans. Thus, my blog Baller on a Budget was born.

Through this blog, I chronicled my path to financial freedom. I accomplished feats I never thought possible: at 23, I paid off my credit card debt; I bought my own car with cash; made almost $40,000 during my second year of blogging, and purchased my own home at the age of 26 with my boyfriend.

The blog discusses both the good and the bad experiences I encountered along the way. To support and monetize this content, I turned to advertisements. This allows anyone to access my blog without having to pay a subscription fee. Now, the advertisements make up a significant amount of my income and my blog remains free for anyonethat wants to read it.

We need clarifying language to assure that online entrepreneurs like myself can continue to make a living like this and also protect consumers’ privacy. As my practice currently stands, I don’t handle any personal information of any readers or process any payments. The online advertising I use relies on privacy practices in which identifiers that are not directly tied to a person are transferred. Advertisers do not need to know a reader’s name, address, or any other personally identifiable information. I rely on “ad networks” to make this all happen as I cannot run my own advertisement program, nor would I even begin to know what ads would even be relevant to my readers. This is a separate business in its own right.

As the CCPA currently stands, all of this would be jeopardized. And in some way, so too would the free flow of information, which is at the very heart of our democracy. While online news and information sources are increasingly moving towards a subscription-based model, I hold tight to the hope Baller on a Budget can stay free because who knows — somewhere, some other little girl born to immigrant parents, working three jobs, might be inspired to dream big too.

Despite some improvements, L.A. smog continues to kill

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Many Angelenos still remember the perpetual brown haze that hung over the city as recently as the late 90s. And although Southland air quality has improved considerably since those smoggy days, a new study suggests the City of Angels still deserves its reputation as America’s air pollution capital.

Researchers with the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the Marron Institute at New York University found that pollution from ozone and small particles caused 7,140 deaths in 2017 nationwide, along with 15,680 serious illnesses. Of those, nearly a third came from California, and mostly Los Angeles or Riverside.

The researchers also found that although those figures are an improvement compared to deaths and illnesses in 2010, recent policy changes by the Trump Administration could undercut improvements, in particular the recent repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

“Data from the EPA itself predicts that this repeal will result in hundreds of deaths and thousands of morbidities that would have been prevented under the Clean Power Plan,” the study’s authors warned.

In fact, a new study has found conclusive evidence that clean air policies aren’t only good for the environment, but also lead to a decline in childhood asthma. According to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, a 20 percent decline in tailpipe emissions and fine particle pollution over the past 25 years corresponded to a 20 percent decline in the rate of new asthma cases in children.

SpaceX tries for third time to launch array of internet satellites

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HAWTHORNE (CNS) – Hawthorne-based SpaceX will make a third attempt today to launch the first batch of what could ultimately be thousands of satellites providing space-based internet service around the globe.

The launch of the 60 “Starlink” satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral was scrubbed twice last week, once due to upper-level winds over the Cape and once to give the company a chance to “update satellite software and triple-check everything again.”

SpaceX will try again at 7:30 p.m. California time Thursday.

The 60 satellites are packed into the fairing atop the Falcon 9 rocket, with SpaceX founder Elon Musk noting recently that it was a “tight fit.”

Musk’s goal of creating a space-based internet network will require far more than just 60 satellites. Musk noted that providing “minor” internet coverage would require six more launches of 60 satellites each, while offering “moderate” coverage would require another 12 such launches.

SpaceX has previously estimated that its proposed Starlink array could involve as many as 12,000 satellites in varying orbits to provide global internet coverage, with the project taking at least a decade to implement.

On Twitter, Musk seemed to indicate his hopes weren’t very high for the first batch of satellites, writing, “Much will likely go wrong on 1st mission.”

In a statement, the company noted that the mission “will push the operational capabilities of the satellites to the limit.”

“SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future,” according to the company.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket to be used in the launch was previously used in missions in January of this year and in September 2018. SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage again after the launch, guiding it to a barge named “Of Course I Still Love You” floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

Avenatti charged with stealing from Stormy Daniels

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Federal prosecutors have charged celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti with misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars belonging to a former client, porn star Stormy Daniels.

The indictment, announced by the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan Wednesday, marks the disintegration of a relationship that propelled Avenatti to national prominence and adds to his mountain of legal troubles as he stands accused of more than three dozen crimes in California and New York, The New York Times reported.

Avenatti is accused of taking more than $295,000 from Daniels, who is named in the indictment as “Victim-1” and was identified as the actress by a person with knowledge of the case, the Times reported. After helping her secure a book contract last year, according to the charges, Mr. Avenatti sent “a fraudulent and unauthorized letter” bearing Ms. Daniels’s signature to her literary agent, demanding that a portion of the book advance be wired to a client trust account he controlled.

Avenatti is accused of putting the money toward his personal expenses, including plane tickets, hotel stays, meal delivery, dry cleaning and a monthly payment on a Ferrari. Avenatti denied all of the charges against him on Wednesday and said he looked forward to fighting them in court, the Times reported.

“At no time was any money misappropriated or mishandled,” he told The New York Times, saying that any funds related to the book were part of his representation agreement.

“She received millions of dollars worth of legal services, and we spent huge sums in expenses,” he added, referring to Daniels, whom he said he had not represented since February. “She directly paid only $100 for all that she received.”

Avenatti drew national attention when he began representing Daniels in early 2018, filing lawsuits against President Trump and Michael D. Cohen, the president*s former lawyer and fixer. He sought to release Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, from a hush agreement she had signed before the 2016 election. As part of that deal, she accepted $130,000 and agreed to keep quiet about a sexual relationship she said she had had with Mr. Trump in 2006.

Both of the lawsuits Avenatti filed on behalf of Daniels were dismissed, and in one case she was ordered to pay Trump $293,000 in legal fees. Daniels’s story created further trouble for the president, culminating in Cohen’s guilty plea last year to campaign finance crimes related to the hush payment. This month, he began serving a three-year prison sentence. The same office that won Cohen’s guilty plea — the public corruption unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York — filed the new charges against Avenatti, which included aggravated identity theft.

The new charges add to numerous others filed this year. Avenatti was arrested in New York in March on extortion charges, accused of seeking millions from Nike in exchange for what he described as evidence of misconduct by company employees in the recruitment of college basketball players. On Wednesday, he was also indicted on those previously announced charges.

In a separate indictment filed in California this spring, Avenatti was accused of stealing millions of dollars from five other clients, one of them a paraplegic man who had won a $4 million settlement but received only a fraction of that in periodic payments that never exceeded $1,900. Avenatti was also accused of filing fake tax returns to a Mississippi bank, and of lying repeatedly about his business and income to an agent of the Internal Revenue Service, creditors, a bankruptcy court and a bankruptcy trustee.

Avenatti, who spent much of 2018 crusading against Trump on cable news shows and teasing a presidential run of his own, has called the cases against him politically motivated.

Four killed in early morning crash on Long Beach Freeway

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SOUTH GATE (CNS) – Four men were killed this morning when the driver of a BMW traveling at high speed on the northbound Long Beach (710) Freeway in South Gate lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a pole.

“We can confidently say that speed played a factor in this collision,” California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Lopez told reporters at the scene. “We have significant … skid marks indicating the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed just due to how long those skid marks are.”

The CHP received calls about 3:15 a.m. that a vehicle had crashed into a pole on the right side of the freeway near the Firestone Boulevard exit.

Firefighters responded and declared four people dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. All four victims had been riding in the BMW, which was wrapped around the pole.

Witnesses told the CHP vehicles were racing just before the crash, but it was unclear if street racing caused the accident, Lopez said.

“We have a lot of leads to go off of to see if there was indeed some racing prior to the collision, but right now that’s all speculative,” Lopez said. “All we know is … single vehicle, four fatalities.”

A SigAlert was issued for the Nos. 3 and 4 lanes for an unknown duration.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

The names of the victims were not immediately released.

Guy Fieri to receive Walk of Fame star

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HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will be unveiled today honoring Guy Fieri, who went from winning “The Next Food Network Star” to becoming one of the cable network’s best-known personalities.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, a longtime friend of Fieri, Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer at Discovery, the Food Network’s parent company, and Fieri’s oldest son Hunter will join him in speaking at the late-morning ceremony in front of the Eastown apartment complex on Hollywood Boulevard.

The star is the 2,664th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the first 1,558 stars. The ceremony will be livestreamed on walkoffame.com.

Born Jan. 22, 1968, in Columbus, Ohio, and raised in Ferndale, California, near the Oregon border, Fieri began his interest in food when he was 10 years old and sold soft pretzels from a three-wheeled bicycle cart he built with his father called “The Awesome Pretzel Cart.”

After selling pretzels and washing dishes for six years, Fieri earned enough money to pursue his dream of studying abroad as an exchange student in Chantilly, France, where he gained an appreciation for international cuisine.

Fieri received a degree in hotel management from UNLV in 1990, then was hired by Stouffer’s as a manager for its Long Beach restaurant operations. After working at Stouffer’s for three years, Fieri joined Louise’s Trattoria as a district manager, supervising its six restaurants.

Fieri opened his first restaurant, Johnny Garlic’s, a pasta grill in Santa Rosa, in 1996. He would go on to open more than 63 restaurants around the world, including in New York City, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, South Africa and Dubai, and a winery in Sonoma County. He is also the author of six cookbooks.

Fieri’s television career began in 2006 when he was the second-season winner of “The Next Food Network Star.” His first series on the network was the cooking show “Guy’s Big Bite,” which premiered that year and brought him a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2017 for outstanding culinary host. He was also nominated in the category in 2018 for “Guy’s Ranch Kitchen.”

Fieri also hosts “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” a four-time Primetime Emmy nominee for outstanding structured reality program. A special he hosted, “Guy Fieri’s Family Reunion,” won a Daytime Emmy in 2013 as outstanding special class special.

Man indicted for Nipsey Hussle killing

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A 29-year-old man pleaded not guilty today to a grand jury indictment charging him with the March 31 killing of Nipsey Hussle and the wounding of two other men in front of the rapper’s clothing store in South Los Angeles.

The indictment charges Eric Ronald Holder Jr. with one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a firearm, along with the allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm and caused great bodily injury and death.

The indictment — which was handed up May 9 and remained under seal until Holder’s arraignment — includes two new assault charges involving the same victims named in the attempted murder counts.

At a court hearing May 10, a judge appointed the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office to represent Holder following the withdrawal of Chris Darden — a former prosecutor best known for his work in the O.J. Simpson murder trial — as his attorney.

Darden penned a lengthy Facebook post that day in which he discussed being the target of threats for taking the case.

“I only know that as a lawyer it is my duty to protect the rights of my clients even in the face of threats or angry mobs … I cannot understand why in 2019 some people would deny a black man his 6th Amendment right to counsel of his choice. Or why defending such a man should invite threats not only against me but against my children too … Just as they were in 1995 — Cowards never change. These days these cowards don’t send letters instead they sit anonymously behind keyboards threatening a man’s mother and children. And some folks think that’s funny. It isn’t and I won’t ever forget it.”

Holder is accused of fatally shooting Hussle — whose real name is Ermias Joseph Asghedom — at about 3:20 p.m. March 31 in front of The Marathon Clothing store the 33-year-old singer owned in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue in Hyde Park. Two other men also were wounded in the attack, though only one of them was hospitalized.

Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said Holder got into a personal dispute with Hussle outside the store, then left and returned with a handgun.

Hussle was shot in the head and body and died at a hospital, according to police and the coroner’s office.

The police chief declined to discuss the nature of the disagreement between Holder and Hussle but stressed the shooting appeared to be a result of that dispute, not any type of gang rivalry or feud.

“We believe this to be a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder,” Moore said. “I’m not going to go into the conversations, but it appears to be a personal matter between the two of them.”

Holder was arrested by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies about 1 p.m. April 2 in the 9000 block of Artesia Boulevard in Bellflower after a witness called authorities to report seeing a person believed to be Holder.

The aspiring rapper is being held in lieu of $6.53 million bail while awaiting a June 18 pretrial hearing. He could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Hussle transformed himself from a South Los Angeles gang member to a rap musician and entrepreneur who channeled his success into efforts to help others stay out of gangs. He bought shoes for students, re-paved basketball courts and provided jobs and shelter for the homeless.

Hussle helped renovate a Mid-City roller rink and redeveloped the strip mall that housed his clothing shop, where he was fatally wounded.

California vehicle emissions continue upward trend, despite electric vehicle growth

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California’s road to 100 percent electric car adoption is long, but well on its way. However, experts warn that zero-emissions vehicle adoption won’t save the planet from pollution-induced climate change. In fact, vehicle emissions in the Golden State continue to rise, according to an article by CALMatters published in the Times of San Diego.

According to Sacramento’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, California’s ability to meet long-term climate goals at all is in doubt, and it could be due to transportation.

“The overall effects of the state’s policies aimed at reducing transportation greenhouses gases are largely unclear,” the Office concluded.

Read more at The Fourth Revolution >>>

Nipsey Hussle’s sister, former flame to discuss visitation over daughter

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Nipsey Hussle’s sister and former girlfriend, the mother of the slain rapper’s 10-year-old daughter, will work toward an agreement on the mother’s request to regularly see her daughter, the woman’s attorney said after a court hearing today.

Lawyer Larry Lewellyn said discussions between lawyers for both his client, Tanisha Foster, and Hussle’s sister, Samantha Smith, have been amicable thus far concerning the girl, Emani, and that both sides hope to reach a solution on a visitation schedule without court intervention. He said the best interests of the child will remain paramount.

Emani took turns sitting in court with her mother and aunt.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan was scheduled to hold a hearing on Smith’s petition for temporary guardianship of Emani, who has been living with her. Cowan closed the hearing to the public because the case involved issues concerning the welfare of a minor.

When Cowan asked Emani how she was, the girl replied shyly, “Good.”

Cowan also named attorney William Spiller Jr. to represent Emani’s interests.

Lewelleyn said before the hearing that Foster maintains her goal of obtaining custody of Emani. He said another hearing is scheduled for July 15.

Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, also left behind a 2-year-old son, Kross Asghedom, with longtime girlfriend Lauren London.

The 33-year-old Grammy Award-nominated performer and entrepreneur was killed March 31 in a shooting outside his South Los Angeles clothing store.

Eric Ronald Holder Jr., 29, is accused of killing Hussle and injuring two other men. He is charged with one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with two counts of attempted murder.

Landlord forcing out 102-year-old woman in favor of his daughter

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LADERA HEIGHTS (CNS) – A 102-year-old woman will be forced out of the home she rents in Ladera Heights by the end of next month in order to allow the landlord’s daughter to move in.

Thelma Smith lives alone, after losing her husband and most of her family. The rest of her family lives on the East Coast, CBS2 reported.

Family and friends have looked into the possibility of her moving into assisted living or with someone who live nearby, both of which are difficult due to her fixed income, the station said.

A family friend told CBS2 Smith would need government help, as well as assistance from family and friends to make such a move.

When the landlord was asked by CBS2 if he would kick out a 102-year- old woman, which he can legally do, he responded, “Would you take care of your child?”

Smith has until June 30 to move out.