Bridging the gap: The chasm that’s killing Guyana

first_imgEveryone agrees that strategic execution is important, but the disconnect between strategy-making and strategy-execution continues to plague this People’s National Congress (PNC)-dominated Government across all sectors.Irrespective that this 2018 Budget is the biggest ever, what is sorely missing from this document are the ideas that can competently secure optimal value for money. Thus, billions are wasted every year on expenses that have negligible impact on the people: such an overseas travel and accommodation by Ministers to useless trips, like a mercury conference, which the President attended in Switzerland. On many occasions, it appears that the intended beneficiary of the 2017 spending programme in the Public Sector was not the ordinary people, but a PNC/Alliance For Change (AFC) elite political cabal, their friends, and their families, as this small group of under-100 PNC/AFC folks enjoy a good life.In the real world, a nation’s leadership typically drives strategy-making; but from his performance over the last 30 months, we must not expect much from President Granger. Like his predecessor, former President Ramotar, they unfortunately are both unfit and under-skilled for the job at hand.There is now enough evidence to prove that he is incapable of setting the required strategic direction for the nation, and that is why we are seeing so many pageants in the presidential function today; it is all a diversionary tactics to hide Granger’s incompetence.If one were to ask Granger the hard question on the goals and developmental metrics of his Government, it is clear as day he would float. If one were to ask him to define his strategy as a President, he may say, “Taking the Guyanese to the good life”. But what is the good life? And how does he plan to take the people there?You see, unless you can define the mission and lay out the “HOW”, you are nothing but a loser as a CEO; and clearly, this is the role Granger seems to have acquired a “legal transport” over – a political loser. An economy must be project managed; and like him or hate him, this is where Bharrat Jagdeo shone.It is clear as day that President Granger is unaware of the details of the workings of the Public Sector Implementation Programme (PSIP), and this is his fundamental failing. Rather, he has outsourced it to two other gentlemen; Harmon (a lawyer) and Jordan (who calls himself an economist). But clearly, in their competition for power, they have collectively bungled the entire project management process. So, in the final analysis, there is little alignment between the strategy and the required project-based work; and thus the strategy is difficult for the ordinary public servant to understand.If the public servants who have to do the day-to-day detailed implementation are struggling to understand the strategy of the Government, then they are not adequately enabled to proceed appropriately at delivering value and results.The bottom line remains that Granger does not offer adequate clarity to connect the dots between the works the implementers are responsible for executing, and how those relate to the desired strategic outcome. Thus, unless Granger learns his job quickly, this economy is doomed.Today, all we are observing is the prioritisation of the pageantry projects, like repainting State House rather than fixing the productive sectors, like the sugar industry. The praxis for the entire decision-making process under Granger is extremely flawed, because he is spending billions of dollars on projects that will not be generating money, but would be sucking even more money from the economy.My grandmother left me with an elementary skill many moons ago – you must always invest in real estate, and never in fancy, expensive cars. At the London Business School, this principle was confirmed by real evidence, with the professor clarifying why this strategy is important to expand wealth.If one observes this 2018 Budget, it has just under a billion dollars in travel, hotels, and food for the big boys. But what is startling is if one observes the Ramotar years vs the Granger years, one would see exposed the backward mentality of Granger (shine clothes and nice dresses while the ordinary people are put on the breadline on the sugar estate). There is no better explanation of this backward pageantry mentality of Granger than by exposing that he would have spent three and a half times as much as Ramotar on State House over a three-year period, as the table below extracted from the 2018 Budget exposes.It is clear that Granger does not get the fact that “pageantries” do not feed and house the nation. Even Burnham knew better on how to serve the people. Wither Guyana under Granger?last_img read more

‘Right Policies, Political Will Can Transform Liberia’

first_imgThe Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Dr. J. Mills Jones, has declared that the path to Liberia’s economic transformation will depend on the right policies and the political will to act by the government.Speaking at the second anniversary of the National Toiletries Incorporated in Bernard Farm, outside Monrovia on Friday, he said destiny did not bring Liberians “together as a nation simply to be hewers of wood and to keep our necks to the grinding stone.”He reechoed a statement he made during the dedication of the new Central Bank of Liberia building, saying that out of the ashes of despair, “we can build a new nation, using that edifice as a symbol of what is possible.”“Today I say again, come and see.” He was referring in part to Mr. Fomba Trawally, whose inspirational story of himself from a wheel barrow pusher to owner of the Liberian National Toiletries Incorporated as a chapter in the emergence of the new Liberian economy.“I have always said that poverty is not our destiny. To those who have any doubt about this, I say see what this poor young man from Lofa, Fomba Trawally, has done,” Dr. Jones said.As a nation, Liberia can do the same, he repeated. “Trawally’s story is a story of hope and my message to Liberia is to be hopeful. Out of the valley of poverty, we can lift ourselves to the mountain of prosperity,” Dr. Jones declared.“Indeed, something good can come out of Liberia and therefore we must create the environment that will bring forth more Fomba Trawallys,” Dr. Jones urged.Not only can it be done, it must be done and with faith in the Liberian people, it will be done, Dr. Jones said. “It will make Liberia a better place. This is about laying the cornerstone for the new Liberia that we must build; it is about unleashing the potential of our country,” he stated.An empowered and vigorous Liberian private sector will be Liberians’ declaration of independence, “and in addition to the flag and the national anthem we will then be on the road to freedom from the claws of poverty,” Dr. Jones stated.He made it clear that economic empowerment of Liberians will not just happen and argued that change at the margins, while certainly can be called progress, “will not be the impetus for transformative change.”Dr. Jones emphasized that showcase meetings and talking about the private sector do not amount to a plan and making things up as the nation goes along is not a strategy.“Simply calling the private sector the engine of growth will not make it so and a culture of national dependency can hardly be a rallying call for transformative economic empowerment,” he said.Liberians, he said must come to a national consensus that building a Liberian middle class, based on a vibrant private sector, with Liberians playing a meaningful role, is a national priority.“Then we need a holistic plan of action to be implemented by people who believe that the economic empowerment of Liberians is an idea whose time is long overdue; people who will not speak out of both sides of their mouths, pretending to be for change while using subterfuge to fight the agents of change,” Dr. Jones stated.Liberia, he said, has lost the 20th century, and well meaning Liberians cannot sit back for “us to lose this century. So it is time to say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done.”Turning to the country’s microeconomic stability, Dr. Jones said good policies don’t come from the sky, “they come from people—their thinking, their competence, their commitment, and how they relate with their fellow citizens. Leadership must believe in something good; must believe in the people; must have a caring heart; must have the courage to act on the basis of conviction for the greater good.”Dr. Jones argued that economic empowerment of Liberian entrepreneurs is key to macroeconomic stability and therefore policy makers must believe this to be the case.He explained that access to finance at affordable rates coupled with other supportive measures for Liberian entrepreneurs, including nurturing a more friendly business environment, will be an important aspect for planning a more balanced approach for macroeconomic stability.Dr. Jones explained that there are times when proactive economic policies are needed. “In some places they call it ‘affirmative action.’ The Liberian economy, to get on a path of greater relevance for the Liberian people, needs carefully crafted affirmative action, meaning we need more economic policies that reflect the context of the Liberian experience.”Dr. Jones said the Central Bank of Liberia has demonstrated visionary thinking with encouraging results. “As of end of July 2015, 198 borrowers had benefitted, including 26 loans to gain home ownership from the National Housing Authority.“Deposit with Afriland Bank has facilitated lending to 47 farmers in 10 counties, some being prominent personalities.”On the Liberia Business Association initiative, Dr. Jones said banks involved have made 152 loans to businesses in 14 counties. “One of the Liberian entrepreneurs benefitting from the initiative is the owner of the National Toiletries Incorporated, providing jobs to 62 Liberians.“Compare the impact of the U$5m deposit with the billion-dollar investments in the extractive industry. As in other countries, even highly developed economies, the major source of employment is small and medium-scale businesses.”He concluded that with vision and commitment, “we can use the resources that we have, even if not much, to transform lives; that we do not have to wait for others to do what we can do for ourselves.Mr. Trawally, president of the National Toiletries Incorporated recounted his journey where he was once pushing wheelbarrow and has now transformed into the owner of a company that manufactures an assortment of toilet tissues and paper towels that are presently being sold throughout the country.He appealed to the Ministry of Commerce for another five years tax credit to enable the company stand on its feet and commended the ministry for its assistance since the company was established in 2011.Present at the occasion were several officials, including Mr. Richard Tolbert, former chairman of the National Investment Commission, Rep. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Paynesville Mayor Cyvette Gibson, a representative from the US Embassy, Mr. John Davis, president of LBDI, representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and LIBA, among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Laila Ali on gender-breaking ballot for Boxing Hall of Fame

first_imgHiguain, Ronaldo help Juventus beat Leverkusen 3-0 LOOK: Taal Volcano island 2 days after eruption Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Taal Volcano eruption: House to develop rehab plan for Batangas, Cavite, Laguna SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS) PLAY LIST 02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)03:47PH’s Charly Suarez boxing lightweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)03:24PH’s James Palicte boxing light welterweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)01:04Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown FILE – Laila Ali speaks onstage at Sports Illustrated 2018 Sportsperson of the Year Awards Show on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. Rich Polk/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated/AFPCANASTOTA, N.Y. — Laila Ali is among the first female fighters to appear on the ballot for the 2020 class of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.The daughter of Muhammad Ali was joined by 11 others Tuesday for an international panel of voters: Sumya Anani, Regina Halmich, Holly Holm, Susi Kentikian, Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker, Jisselle Salandy, Mary Jo Sanders, Laura Serrano, Ana Maria Torres and Ann Wolfe.ADVERTISEMENT Francis Kong, Jason Magbanua headline ‘The School for the Passionate, New Bold U 2020’ Negros Occidental gov’t, church call for prayers for safety of Taal evacuees ‘People evacuated on their own’ LOOK: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 takes you straight to hell with a Music Video and First Look-Images Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley and Timothy Bradley are among the dozen boxers added to the men’s modern ballot for 2020. The others are Jorge Arce, Vuyani Bungu, Joel Casamayor, Diego Corrales, Carl Froch, Sergio Martinez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Antonio Tarver and Israel Vazquez.Balloting results will be announced in December. Induction is June 14 in Canastota, New York.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4 No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist MOST READ LATEST STORIES Taal Volcano’s lava fountain weakens, but Phivolcs says it’s not sign of slowing down View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

Upscale eateries eyed for Valencia mall addition

first_imgThe main objection to the plan approved Tuesday night came from attorney Hunt Braly, representing Town Center Drive restaurants in a dispute with the owners and operators of parking structures over how parking is reserved and otherwise allocated. Braly did not return a call seeking comment. A city study ordered after an earlier commission meeting on the expansion found ample parking at the mall and noted the dispute didn’t weigh in on the city’s review the current project, Hardy said. pat.aidem@dailynews.com (661) 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Westfield is in talks with the restaurant chains, including Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza Kitchen, which earlier announced plans to open at a new regional center under construction at Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway, Hardy said. “There’s a lot of interest from some fabulous restaurants and retailers who are excited to be there,” Dickey said. Westfield hopes to break ground in the fall and open the expanded and remodeled mall in spring 2009, Dickey said. Among the retail potentials are Williams-Sonoma; Coach, a high-end handbag and accessory store; Sephora beauty products; Bebe, a men’s and women’s clothing chain; Baby Style; and Apple Computer Inc., Hardy said. A parking structure also is planned, near Valencia Boulevard and Citrus Drive, and likely will include some first-floor business that would be “wrapped” by the structure. The expansion is one of two or three new phases planned, company officials have said. The next phase likely would include another anchor department store to join an enlarged Macy’s as well as J.C. Penney and Sears. SANTA CLARITA – P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’s Chris Steak House are among the 10 or so restaurants eyed to help anchor a Valencia mall expansion. The eateries would help anchor what planners are calling a “lifestyle center,” pleasant for pedestrians. Approved 4-0 Tuesday night by the city Planning Commission, the center also would include higher-end fashion and accessory shops. “The idea (is) these retail opportunities and dining opportunities will be designed in a way to create an outdoor living-room environment, family-oriented – with public art, an area for children’s play, a more adult area (and) water amenities,” Lisa Hardy, Santa Clarita’s planning manager, said Wednesday. The Westfield Corp., which owns the Westfield Valencia Town Center, is seeking to add 260,500 square feet to the mall on the east side, spokeswoman Katy Dickey said. last_img read more

Beverly Hospital earns five stars

first_img 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MONTEBELLO – Beverly Hospital ranks among the top 5 percent in the nation for making its patients less likely to experience life-threatening complications or even death. HealthGrades, a leading independent healthcare ratings company in Golden, Colo., based its results on three years of data collected and evaluated from 2003 through 2005 covering 28 different procedures. Beverly Hospital was one of only 266 facilities of the nation’s 4,791 non-federal hospitals to receive this distinction. The report, according to HealthGrades officials, is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to people seeking medical treatment.last_img read more

Southern Baptists go to ‘war’ internally

first_imgAfter purging liberals from their ranks, Southern Baptist conservatives who won control of their denomination are now taking aim at each other. The Rev. Wade Burleson, a Baptist leader from Oklahoma, says fellow conservatives who crusaded to only elect leaders who believe the Bible is literally true are carrying their campaign too far, targeting Southern Baptists who disagree with them on other issues. These leaders, he wrote on his blog, are “following the same battle plan conservatives used to defeat liberalism,” and have started a “war” for the future of the SBC. Burleson’s postings may have already cost him a leadership role in the denomination. Trustees of the Southern Baptist international missionary agency took the first step this month toward ousting him from their board, accusing him of “broken trust” for writing about a meeting on his Web site. Still, Burleson opposed the ban on speaking in tongues privately. He viewed the move as a dangerous effort to vet conservatives for purity, and said so on his blog. “Sadly, the Southern Baptist Convention is now moving toward a time when everyone must look the same, talk the same, act the same, believe the same on the nonessentials of the faith, or else you will be removed as ‘not one of us,”‘ he wrote in a Dec. 10 entry. About a month later, trustees voted him out. Delegates to the annual Southern Baptist gathering in June will decide whether to approve his removal from the board, which guides the work of more than 5,000 missionaries worldwide. Just two years earlier, a leading Baptist conservative had warned about the very infighting that Burleson is describing. The Rev. Morris Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, said conservatives must realize they have won the battle with liberals over biblical inerrancy and should now stop fighting. “I am concerned now that we have affirmed by vigorous endeavor that Southern Baptists are people of the Book, that we will develop a censorious, exclusivistic, intolerant spirit,” he said, in a speech to the denomination’s annual meeting. “If this occurs, we will be the poorer for it.” Asked recently to comment on Burleson’s allegations, Chapman said in a phone interview that the convention was in transition. “It is not uncommon for some who are accustomed to being in a crusade to have difficulty deciding when that period of time has concluded,” he said. The Rev. Bill Leonard, dean of Wake Forest Divinity School in North Carolina and a critic of the conservative takeover, said the Southern Baptists are burdened by competing goals: attracting new members, while creating strict boundaries between the convention and other Christians that end up making them appear “mean.” “The Southern Baptist leadership is so ideologically driven that it’s almost impossible for them not to continually draw lines and narrow the boundaries,” he said. “In the early stages, this was publicly evident with the moderates and liberals. Now, when the convention meets annually in June, you wonder who they’re going to throw out this year. There’s always somebody.” Burleson said he has received hundreds of e-mails and letters from around the world in response to his blog postings and that “99 percent of them are very positive.” He said he was “deeply hurt” by the trustees’ actions, but, as a matter of conscience, will continue to warn about what he sees as a dangerous trend throughout the 16.4-million-member denomination. “If the crusaders sheath their sword, I promise, I will sheath mine. I do not want to fight my fellow conservatives,” Burleson wrote on his blog. “However, the stakes of this war are too great to roll over without a fight. This war is about the future of our convention.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The seemingly minor conflict has broader significance. Southern Baptists are trying to reverse several years of stagnation in membership growth, partly through an ad campaign called “Caring People” that is meant to soften their image. Complaints of hardball church politics would undermine that effort. “Conservatives who loved the battles of decades past have fallen victim to a crusading mentality of bloodthirst,” Burleson wrote. “Since all the liberals are gone, conservative crusaders are now killing fellow conservatives.” Burleson first rankled the board over an obscure policy change: Trustees of the International Mission Board voted in November to bar future missionaries from using a “private prayer language,” or speaking in tongues in private. Previously, missionaries were discouraged from speaking in tongues publicly, but their private prayer was not monitored. The practice is common among Pentecostals, whose spirited brand of Christianity is spreading rapidly throughout countries where Southern Baptist missionaries work, and in the United States. Many conservative Protestants, however, reject the practice. last_img read more

Current Premier League players ranked by career goals so far

first_img 12 6. Romelu Lukaku has scored 67 Premier League goals 13. Eden Hazard has scored 48 Premier League goals – scroll through the gallery to see the other current top scoring players in the league 2. Jermain Defoe has scored 150 Premier League goals 12 12 12 12 12 12 9. Yaya Toure has scored 59 Premier League goals 11. Harry Kane has scored 54 Premier League goals Jermain Defoe joined Michael Owen on 150 Premier League goals following his strike in Sunderland’s 3-0 win against Hull.Now he’s only got to score 110 more to catch top scoring Alan Shearer who is out on his own with 260.Here, talkSPORT looks at the current goal-getters.All-time top 10:Alan Shearer: 260 Premier League goalsWayne Rooney: 194 goalsAndrew Cole: 187 goalsFrank Lampard: 177 goalsThierry Henry: 175 goalsRobbie Fowler: 163 goalsJermain Defoe and Michael Owen: 150 goalsLes Ferdinand: 149 goalsTeddy Sheringham: 146 goalsScroll through the gallery to see the current top scoring Premier League players. 4. Peter Crouch has scored 96 Premier League goals 12. Gareth Barry has scored 52 Premier League goals 3. Sergio Aguero has scored 110 Premier League goals 5. Daniel Sturridge has scored 69 Premier League goals 10. Christian Benteke has scored 55 Premier League goals 12 12 12 12 7. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud have both scored 60 Premier League goals 12 1. Wayne Rooney has scored 194 Premier League goalslast_img read more

Classes to give tips to families of mentally ill

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts. PALMDALE – The Antelope Valley affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is offering a course to provide help and support to those with mentally ill family members. The weekly classes are 7 to 9:30 p.m. at two locations: in Palmdale, starting Sept. 7, at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, 38350 Sierra Highway; and in Lancaster, starting Sept. 12, at the Los Angeles County Community and Senior Center, 777 W. Jackman St. The classes are intended to help parents, spouses, siblings and other caregivers understand and support individuals with serious mental illness while maintaining their own well-being. The course will provide information about various mental illnesses, and also provide coping skills for handling crises and relapses. Volunteers who have family members with mental illness teach the course. The classes are free, but advance registration is required. Classes are limited to 25 people. To register for the Palmdale sessions, call Cliff Payton at (661) 951-4606. To register for the Lancaster classes, call Bob and Denise Boehlert at (661) 951-1757. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

New radio system delivers

first_imgCapt. Ron Nelson, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, said although his department is making improvements in its VHF (very high frequency) system, it has no immediate plans to acquire the kind of UHF digital system adopted in Simi Valley. “It’s going to be a growing trend across the nation that people are switching to these UHF frequencies so they can communicate with each other. But it is expensive,” Nelson said. “It’s going to make their communication within their (Simi Valley’s) jurisdiction much easier for them.” As far as radio communications between Simi Valley officer and Ventura County sheriff’s deputies, Nelson doesn’t see any major problem. “It will be different, but when we communicate with each other we do it through our dispatch centers, and that doesn’t change,” he said. “We monitor one another’s frequencies on scanners, so we might have to make some changes there.” The Sheriff’s Department recently upgraded its radio system that serves as an alternate 911 center in Thousand Oaks. It expands radio dispatching capabilities and allows dispatchers to use channels that were previously unavailable at the Thousand Oaks center, which is operated by the Sheriff’s Department. The Thousand Oaks facility is a backup communications center that can be used in emergencies if the Sheriff’s Department has to evacuate the primary 911 center in Ventura. This occurred in March when flooding from the nearby Ventura County Jail forced dispatchers to evacuate their old underground dispatch center there. Riegert said the new Simi Valley system has more than 500 radios citywide, with about half used by the Police Department. It has coverage similar to the old VHF system but is much clearer, with no static and fewer spots in Simi Valley where radios lose communication. It is designed for portable radios to work inside buildings almost anywhere in the valley. “The entire city of Simi Valley – from crossing guards, to bus drivers to public works employees – are connected in an emergency or on a routine day-to-day basis,” he said. “If somebody acts up on a bus, the driver is connected to police. If police need barricades because of a traffic accident, they are connected to the Public Works Department. We’re still only scratching the surface in terms of the capabilities.” eric.leach@dailynews.com (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – Police are getting better coverage, quicker communication with other city employees and more privacy during sensitive investigations as a result of a new $6.4 million radio system that went into operation this summer at the Simi Valley Police Department. The equipment makes the department Ventura County’s first law enforcement agency to convert to the digital ultra-high frequency system other law enforcement agencies across the nation are expected to adopt by 2011. The conversion is partly the result of efforts by police and firefighting agencies nationwide to develop a uniform system, after communications problems developed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, Kern and Santa Barbara counties have already converted to the new radio system, including the Los Angeles Police Department. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.“In an emergency, such as we had in the Northridge Earthquake, we need the ability to talk to others across agency lines,” said Simi Valley police Lt. Greg Riegert, who helped set up the new equipment for his department. “I helped design our old system in the late 1980s, but the equipment was 15 years old, and it was falling apart. We had detectives and captains who didn’t have radios in their vehicles because we didn’t have replacement parts.” During the Northridge Earthquake, the department had three levels of communication. The first two crashed, Riegert said. “The third got us through the crisis,” he said. Simi Valley police Lt. Sterling Johnson said he and his fellow officers welcome the change. “We like it a lot better because we do not have as many dead zones,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot better system. We have LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff come into our area quite a bit, and we can communicate a lot better with them.” last_img read more

Barricade vexes Texans

first_imgMISSION, Texas – Jeff Reed offers outdoor dining on the Rio Grande at his restaurant, Pepe’s on the River. But with the U.S. government planning to build 700 miles of fence along the Mexican border, he has to wonder: Will his restaurant soon be “Pepe’s on the Fence”? Downriver in Brownsville, where the jalape o and lima bean fields run down to the water’s edge, farmer Fermin Leal is wondering whether the government intends to cut through his crops, run irrigation pipes under the fence or buy him out. “Most of our land goes up to what’s supposed to be the border, and yes, we need access to river water,” Leal said. President George W. Bush signed a law Thursday to erect more fences along the border to secure it against illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and terrorists. Republicans in Congress see it as their most significant accomplishment on immigration. The president called it “an important step in our nation’s efforts to secure our borders.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’But up and down Texas’ watery boundary with Mexico, farmers, ranchers and business owners are worried a fence will endanger their livelihoods and encroach on their property. Texas landowners – sick of illegal immigrants cutting their fences, stealing and trespassing, and tired of worrying about smugglers of humans and drugs endangering their families – have been demanding for years that Congress tighten the border. But not, some say, with a double-layer, $6 billion fence cutting through their land and keeping them and their livestock from the river. “It’s not going to work in Texas,” said Michael Vickers, who owns a cattle ranch on the border. “Who wants to close off the river to Mexico? The river is the lifeblood for a lot of cities.” Vickers said he worries that either his land will be cut off from the rest of the state and the country or he will lose access to 50 acres of water rights he has and can sell to area municipalities for up to $2,000 an acre. “I’d be in a DMZ-type zone, in between two countries,” Vickers said. The exact route the fences will take is not yet clear. And it is not yet known what the fences will look like – how tall they will be; whether they will be solid walls, or bars. Much of the land along the Texas side of the river is privately owned, some dating back to Spanish land grants.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more