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By Veronica Mackey


According to the California Center for Disease Control, 18.5 percent of California high school students report bullying on school property.


While educators work hard to combat the problem, author, martial arts and bullying expert James Gavsie says our schools are falling way short.


“It’s not their fault.  Schools are doing some amazing things with our kids, but they are not set up, nor do they have the personnel or expertise to effectively combat bullying,” Gavsie said.  “Schools typically bring in a speaker who will give a great anti-bullying presentation.  But then the speaker leaves.  It’s like going to the gym and working out for one day, and saying ‘Well, I’m glad that’s taken care of.’ To get results, you need to keep going.”


Gavsie is the founder of MAX Impact Martial Arts in Los Angeles and author of Renegade’s Guide to Stopping Bullies, now available on He also developed a year-long, school-based mentorship program aimed at helping students avoid and overcome bullying.  Business partner, California National Guard Sgt. Donald DeNoyer, has done a remarkable job, Gavsie said, giving presentations and implementing the program at schools.  


Santa Maria High School has seen an 80% drop in bullying cases since the school year began last August.  


People of all age groups and cultural backgrounds come to Gavsie for martial arts and self defense training, and solutions to their bullying problems, including children of celebrities. When asked what kinds of problems celebrity kids have, he said the only difference is that these clients are high profile.  Other than that, the problems are the same.  


In addition to working with civilians, Gavsie has trained police officers, Secret Service agents, Navy Seals, and personnel in almost every branch of the military.


“I was the gentle giant in school, a big overweight kid who didn’t like fighting. I was an easy target and soft spoken.” said Gavsie, who is 6’3” and weighs 250 lbs.  While his size gets immediate respect, bullying is more about mindset, he said. 


“When I moved to L.A. and started my martial arts business, parents wanted physical techniques to help their kids stand up to bullies.  I explained they needed to talk their way out of this and understand what is happening with bullying.  What they really needed was something that didn’t rely on physical strength.” 


He added:  “Bullying has more to do with criminal psychology and less to do with child psychology,” and likened school recess to what typically happens on the prison yard.


A former software developer, Gavsie has various techniques to combat cyber bullying. 


For every social media platform, he says, a different type of solution to cyber bullying is required.  “With a text, no one else sees it so you can block a person from your phone.  But if someone photoshops a picture of you and posts it on Instagram, how many people can see that photo?”


Gavsie works with a lot of adults who’ve been bullied as kids and are afraid of confrontation.  “Parents need to model behavior for their kids,” he said. “We want our kids to be good versus just nice.  The difference is nice kids will allow themselves to be disrespected in order to maintain so-called friendships.  They will allow people to push them around. Good kids won’t put up with that. They understand a real friend will value them.”  


For more information on James Gavsie and anti-bullying, visit His book, Renegade’s Guide to Stopping Bullies is available on











By Veronica Mackey


On Tuesday, a public hearing was held to consider appealing the Inglewood Planning Commission’s denial of a special use permit to allow a beauty salon with 300 feet of a similar use at 10800 S. Prairie Avenue. 


Miguel Tellez applied for a permit for a barber shop which specializes in children’s haircuts.  The proposed shop would be located within a two-story shopping center which includes a car wash, gas station and AM/PM store.  It would occupy the space about AM/PM. There are two other salons in close proximity to the proposed barber shop—Diva’s Salon and Capital Nails.


A City staff person reiterated the conditions required to obtain a permit, and also said access to the second story of the building is unsafe.


The building’s owner said the proposed tenant “is very suitable to my space that is available” and “Access is all legal, it has proper exits. If they said the balcony was unsafe, we will make it safe.”  


A mother wants the shop to operate.  “It’s going to be a hair salon for just kids,” she said.  “There’s nothing for kids around here.  It will make it more pleasant and kids will be entertained while they wait. I’m for it.”


“I think you have too many beauty shops and nail shops.  I’m against it,” Willie  Agee said.   


Councilman Ralph Franklin toured the site of the proposed barber shop.


“I went there. There is a balcony facing Yukon and … you have to go up the stairway and zigzag.  The children using the salon would be between 2-12.  If you are not watching them, all it takes is a second for them to fall off the balcony and for them to get hurt.”  


Franklin’s second point is that Diva’s Salon, located within 300 feet of the proposed barber shop, is already providing haircuts for children as well as men.   “I don’t support the vision of the applicant, but I clearly support the vision of the planning commission,” he said.


Councilman Eloy Morales said, “I think it’s a great idea, but the fact that it exists for children doesn’t mean it’s not for adults.”  The appeal was denied.


Last week, several residents showed up demanding answers in the investigation involving the shooting deaths of Marquintan Sandlin and Kisha Michael by Inglewood police over a year ago.  At one point, tempers flared and conversations became heated.  Mayor James Butts and council members walked out and the meeting was adjourned.  


Sandlin and Michael supporters were back on Tuesday, hoping to hear results of the investigation, which was previously expected to be released this week.  However, Mayor Butts announced, there has been a delay.   Police say the investigation will be extended at least to the first or second week of May.


Before he opened the meeting for public comments, the mayor set a few ground rules: “If the meeting gets out of order, if there is clapping, whistling, or talking over people, I will recess the meeting.”


“Your city is not happy with what happened to these people.  Shame on you,” a woman told the mayor.  “You say we’re out of order, but this is entirely and completely out of order.”  


Everyone who came to the podium about the shooting spoke for a few seconds and used the remainder of the one-minute time allowed silently holding photos of each victim.  


“We come to support the family that continues to ask for answers.  We’re concerned about how the meeting was adjourned last week. We’re asking attorneys whether you followed the Brown Act.  You can’t just walk out on the public because you don’t want to hear what they say,” a woman said.


 “We’re not asking you for money, we’re just asking you to stop killing us,” a woman said.  She continued speaking after being told by Mayor Butts that her time had expired, shouted expletives and resisted attempts by the sergeant-at-arms to remove her from the podium.  “I’ll keep coming every Tuesday,” she said.  


WINNIPEG, Manitoba/OTTAWA– As Trump supporters wait to see what will happen with the proposed wall south of the border, America’s northern neighbors are dealing with their own border concerns.


Nearly half of Canadians want to deport people who are illegally crossing into Canada from the United States, and a similar number disapproves of how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is handling the influx, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday.


An article by, examined how Canadians view increasing numbers of immigrants coming from the U.S. to escape deportation.  Since the election of President Trump, Canada has seen “hundreds of asylum-seekers of African and Middle Eastern origin” enter from the U.S.  


Trudeau, whose views differ from Trump’s on the handling of undocumented immigrants, is being attacked on both sides—by liberals who want to see more lenient immigration policies and conservatives who say immigrants pose a security risk.


According to the poll, 4 out of 10 respondents said the border crossers could make Canada “less safe” and 48 percent support increasing deportation of those living in Canada illegally.  That number is almost identical to the number of Americans—50 percent of U.S. adults support deportation. 


“Refugees are much more welcomed when we have gone and selected them ourselves as a country, as opposed to refugees who have chosen us,” said Janet Dench, executive director of Canadian Council for Refugees.


Of those polled, 46 percent disagreed with how Trudeau was handling the situation, 37 percent agreed, while 17 percent did not know. In January, a separate Ipsos poll found that 59 percent of Canadians approved of Trudeau, while 41 percent disapproved.


Trump’s travel ban has impacted the number of people willing to brave icy weather and cross the border on foot.  There were four times more asylum claimants arriving at land border crossings than at airports in the first two months of 2017, new Canadian data show, according to the Toronto Star.


“(The) airport was the easiest way, but because of the visa requirements, it is becoming more difficult to travel here by air than by land, and it is easier to get a visa to the U.S. than to Canada,” Dench said.


More than 7,000 refugee applicants entered Canada in 2016 through land ports of entry from the U.S., up 63 percent from the previous year, according to Canada Border Services Agency.


While some have risked hypothermia to cross Canada in the dead of winter, others have chosen to wait it out.  Canadian officials are bracing for an even greater influx of migrants when the weather gets warmer.


“They will make a dash for Canada, whether they are going to go through cold weather to die or not,” said Abdikheir Ahmed, a Somali immigrant in Manitoba's capital Winnipeg who helps refugees make claims.


Since late summer, 27 men from Ghana walked to Manitoba from the U.S., Yeboah said. Two lost all their fingers to frostbite in December and nearly froze to death.


Illegal migrants interviewed by Reuters in Canada said they had been living legally in the United States and had applied for asylum there. But they had fled to Canada for fear of being caught up in Trump’s immigration crackdown.


According to a separate Ipsos poll in Canada, 23 percent of Canadians listed immigration control as among the top national issues in March, up from 17 percent in December. It ranks behind healthcare, taxes, unemployment and poverty as top concerns.


Photo Caption:  Experts say the sudden rise in land border claims can be attributed in part to the anti-immigrant and xenophobic policies of President Donald Trump.  


The plot thickened on Wednesday when House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes suggested that intelligence agencies monitoring foreign officials may have “incidentally” picked up communications of Trump transition team members.  


Although the bipartisan intelligence team, which includes Nunes (R-Tulare, CA) and fellow Intelligence Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Burbank, CA), found no evidence to support Trumps claims that former President Obama wiretapped him, Republicans are already jumping on the bandwagon, suggesting the finding supports the commander-in-chief’s claim.


The data known as “incidental collection,” indicates that the targets of American intelligence gathering were foreign officials, not specific members of the Trump transition or Mr. Trump himself.


In fact, any American citizen who talks, messages or emails with a foreign official under surveillance would be picked up by intelligence agencies. This would include Obama administration officials and private citizens like journalists and business people.


FBI Director James B. Comey told the Intelligence Committee on Monday that the president was at no point the target of court-ordered surveillance during or after the 2016 presidential campaign. He also said that no president could directly wiretap a citizen without a warrant.


Meanwhile Trump said he felt vindicated by what Nunes said, and doubled down on his claim that he was spied on by the former president.  


Nunez said “Details about U.S. persons, details associated with the incoming administration — details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value — were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.”


He declined to say where he learned of the surveillance, but he said none of the information collected had anything to do with the F.B.I.’s investigation into the links between the Trump campaign and Russia.


Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer read Nunes’s statement during his news briefing Wednesday afternoon and said Nunes planned to come to the White House later that day to brief the president.  


Nunes’s press conference came as a surprise to his fellow committee members, raising eyebrows from Democrats. Schiff questioned whether Nunes is acting as a “surrogate of the White House.”  


At his own news conference later that afternoon, Schiff sharply criticized Nunes, given that his committee is in the middle of an active investigation that includes the question of whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia’s suspected attempts to meddle in last year’s election. 


 “The chairman will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or (if) he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he cannot do both,” Schiff told reporters. 


Nunes, who was a key figure in the Trump transition, told reporters that the monitoring appears to have been carried out legally.  


As President Donald Trump continues to push his immigration policies, which include mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, churches and government leaders throughout L.A. County are preparing for a showdown.  


Last week, the Malibu City Council voted 3-2 in favor of a resolution to become a sanctuary city.  Backers said the move is a chance for Malibu’s privileged to stand up for the city’s vulnerable population.


Los Angeles has officially vowed to defy federal immigration officials by not cooperating with orders by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Mayor Eric Garcetti put the stance in writing on Tuesday with an executive directive.  


At a press conference, the mayor stood with Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to underscore the city’s decision to expand their immigration policy.


The Los Angeles Police Department stopped asking citizens about immigration status years ago. Now, the practice has expanded to include the Los Angeles City Fire Department and the Los Angeles Airport Police.


Executive Directive 20 will also keep the information of citizens at city facilities private.


"The city of Los Angeles doesn't ask questions about where you come from or what language you speak or how you worship God, it is in our power to keep everyone safe," Garcetti said.


Beck added, "In L.A. we don't care what color your skin is, where your parents come from or what language you speak. We are your police department.”


The LAPD stopped honoring ICE detainers back in 2014 unless a warrant signed by a judge is presented. Garcetti also said education is the best defense against fear, and that efforts would be made to inform immigrants of their rights.


Several houses of worship are offering their premises as living quarters for some people.  However, noting that people are more vulnerable living in churches, members of LA Voice — a coalition of churches, synagogues and mosques — are offering sanctuary in their own homes.  Executive director, Rev. Zachary Hoover hopes to find shelter for more than 150 people. 


Sanctuary needs to be “a temporary” thing, Rev. Francisco Garcia Jr. of Holy Faith Episcopal Church in Inglewood, told the L.A. Times. “If it’s not a (deportation) case that’s likely to get overturned, (offering sanctuary) doesn’t make sense … for the family and for the movement.”


Not everyone thinks California should be home to sanctuary cities.  “We have so many homeless in California, so many vets in need, so many children who can’t read. Why are we spending our time and energy on people who are breaking our laws?” asked John Goya, a pro-Trump supporter in Long Beach.  


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