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100th Year Birthday, Slow Reopening, and Hope for the Future

RANTZ & RAVEZ-I was invited to join the parade celebrating the 100th Birthday of Encino resident and military veteran Ernest “Ernie” R. Dutcher, Jr. Senior citizen members and friends from the Wings over Wendy’s military group gathered in cars, many decorated with festive Happy Birthday signs and colorful balloons.

Riding my Harley Davidson motorcycle, I led the parade of veterans and friends gathered to honor and celebrate Ernie’s Centennial birthday. We drove code 3 (Lights and Sirens) with an LAPD escort to Ernie’s home just off Ventura Blvd in Encino. Upon arrival, we were joined by Ernie’s family and a huge gathering of his neighbors many carrying Happy Birthday signs. Channel 7 Eyewitness News was at the celebration and covered the story for local TV.   

While the celebration was held in the 5th City Council District, which is in Councilmember Paul Koretz’ territory, there was no sighting of him or any presentation from his office. 

LA City Councilmember John Lee from the 12th Council District came to the celebration with his staff and presented a Happy Birthday certificate to Ernie. 

Councilmember Lee has been a supporter of Wings Over Wendy’s members and programs and attends their community events. 

When an invited LA City Councilmember (I verified Koretz was invited by the sponsors of the event) and the elected representative of the Honoree can’t find time to honor a 100-year-old resident -- who happens to be a “D–Day” Veteran – it speaks volumes if he does not show up. However, most of us did not miss Koretz or his bloviating comments.       

As the Coronavirus “Stay at Home” restrictions are relaxed and slowly lifted, be watchful for what the State, County and City officials have in store for you and your wallet. More “fees” and additional “taxes,” no doubt.  

I believe that public pressure and community protests have helped force officials to begin to relax the “Safe at Home” directives. What was first announced as three more months of quarantine for Los Angeles quickly changed to a slow opening of business operations days later. With all the red tape imposed by officials, business owners will be stressed to comply with complications imposed by the government. But as business returns to some normalcy, we will all need to adjust to new procedures. 

When you drive down your local streets looking for those familiar “OPEN” signs, take a moment and check out the number of vacant store fronts displaying “FOR LEASE” or “FOR SALE” signs on the property. The Pandemic has caused a large number of business operations to permanently close and leave the retail trades. 

When it is all said and done, watch for new and additional government fees and taxes placed on products and services. There is never a fee or tax the government does not think about imposing on you. Just remember these words from RantZ & RaveZ: Say NO to any and all new taxes you are asked to vote for. I repeat, no, no, and hell no! This applies to all tax increases you are asked to support. You have been deceived before and the “system” will try to convince and deceive you again. This goes for all proposed new taxes.   

Brighter days lay ahead when we can again attend religious services, dine at local restaurants and most of all, purchase a new car with 0% financing for up to 8 years. Anyone looking for that new Chevy Corvette? 

Be safe and smile! Better and brighter days lay ahead for all of us. . .I hope, pray, and think!

 

(Dennis P. Zine is a native of Los Angeles who retired from the LAPD after serving 33 years. Dennis remains an active Level 1 LAPD Reserve Officer. Dennis served for two years as the vice chairman on the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission and was a member of the Los Angeles City Council for 12 years.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.