Archive for October 29, 2014

Be on forefront of Nelles’ future

By Conal McNamara

Whittier Director of Community Development

WHITTIER – The city has completed the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Lincoln Specific Plan — commonly known as the site of the former Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility.

To assist the public in their review of the Lincoln Specific Plan Draft EIR, an informational meeting has been scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. The meeting will be held at the Whittier Community Center, 7630 Washington Ave.

The proposed Lincoln Specific Plan has been submitted by the project developer, Brookfield Residential, and proposes the development of up to 750 housing units and about 208,350 square feet of commercial space. In addition, the project proposes nine planning areas distributing commercial and residential land uses with Independence Park as its central component.

There are three commercial and six residential planning areas. Additionally, four historically significant structures are proposed to be rehabilitated and integrated into the project area. The DEIR provides information about potentially significant impacts, identifies ways to minimize these impacts, and evaluates feasible alternatives.

The Draft EIR will be available for public review from now through Dec. 1, 2014. It is available on the city’s website at, and can also be reviewed in hard copy at the following locations:

• Whittier City Hall, Community Development Department, 13230 Penn St., Second Floor.
• Whittier Central Library, 7344 S. Washington Ave.
• Whittwood Branch Library, 10537 Santa Gertrudes Ave.

To receive notification of further meetings or for questions regarding the proposed project, call me at (562) 567-9320 or via email at


Herding Lions

Almost all of the nearly 150 Whittier Host Lions Club members gathered on Sept. 18 at the Whittier Masonic Lodge for a monumental event – the first club picture in 20 years. The image was taken by Tom Guerrero of Say Cheese Photography.

This week’s homily

Tom and Virginia Boles

By Thomas M. Boles DMin., D.D., PhD.

Psalm 14:1

The fool hath said in his heart,

There is no God.

A skeptic is a person who, when

he sees the handwriting on the wall,

claims it is a forgery.

Gordon Liddy, a White House aide during the Nixon administration,

was a student of the German philosopher Nietzche.

Nietzsche taught that man’s will was of supreme importance, not God’s.

A man with a will of iron, Liddy saw no need for God.

After serving a four-year prison term for his part in the Watergate scandal, Liddy renewed his friendship with some former FBI colleagues, who asked him to join their Bible study.

He agreed, with one caveat: “Please do not try to convert me.”

Of course, things didn’t work out as Liddy had anticipated.

He had been willing to read the Bible as an historical document,

but his friends’ attitudes toward the Bible made him take a closer look.

He began to think about God. If God is infinite and we’re finite,

he thought, how can we ever understand Him? Liddy reasoned,

God will have to communicate with me. Then he realized, the Bible is God’s communication.

Still, he argued, we can never be worthy of God. And again, he was hit by a thunderbolt:

God sent His Son to make us worthy (by virtue of His crucifixion and resurrection), and to keep the dialogue going between God and man.

Liddy suddenly per perceived a need for God and he accepted Christ.

God is surely alive. The question is: Is God alive in you today?

Ian Calderon slated to speak at WHOW event

Assemblyman Ian Calderon is slated to address a meeting of the Whittier Hills Oil Watch from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 at the Palm Park Aquatic Center, 5703 Palm Ave. in Whittier.

Calderon is running against Rita Topalian for a seat in the 57th state Assembly District on Nov. 4.

Geologist Dr. Tom Williams, Alexandra Nagy of the group Food and Water Watch and professor Eric Lindgren of Whittier College are also expected to speak.

For more information visit




When God meets the good road

About 30 motorcyclists from Morningstar Christian Chapel in Whittier gather at the end of a 108-mile ride to Old Town Temecula on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The church offers monthly jaunts through its Motorcycle Ministry. Head Pastor Jack Abeelen was among the participants with pastor Bill Swaim, center, leading the way.

Take part in Whittier’s new voting districts

Provided to by the city of Whittier

On Oct. 14, 2014 the City Council approved the Community Participation Plan (CPP) that will guide the city in its efforts to create voting districts for City Council elections. This historic effort is under way following approval by Whittier voters of Measure W in June, 2014.

The city looks forward to your participation in this critical process. Now is your chance to get involved and help guide Whittier in its efforts to determine the appropriate boundaries for electoral districts.
As a valued community member, Whittier is encouraging each resident to take the time to sign up online so they can receive meeting notifications and information related to the process. The first round of community meetings is scheduled as follows:
• 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Uptown Senior Center
• 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at Palm Park
• 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20 at Parnell Park
Prior to these meetings, community members also have an opportunity to meet with the technical consultant, Dave Ely, Compass Demographics, at the IT training room in City Hall. Community members will be able to review sample maps as a starting point to give an idea of how equal population districts might be distributed.

Those that are interested in taking advantage of these meetings will be asked to schedule an appointment through the City Clerk-Treasurer’s office.
Additional details for these meetings and informational materials that highlight the process and background information will be posted online for reference. To receive the latest updates, provide your contact information at the Voting Districts Formation (VDF) webpage at
Community participation is integral to the process needed to create voting districts for the city. Arellano Associates will lead the outreach efforts to implement the CPP with city staff guidance.
For additional information, call Kathryn Marshall, City Clerk-Treasurer, at (562) 567-9854,


Marriage chaos in the courts

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute

By Brad Dacus

President, Pacific Justice Institute

Like me, you have probably been frustrated and disappointed by what seems like an avalanche of bad news lately in the fight for natural marriage. In the midst of the confusion being caused by our courts, I wanted to give you three quick insights about what is happening, and what we can still do.

1. The battle is not over, but the battlefield is shifting. With the media triumphantly proclaiming the end of natural marriage as we know it, they are hoping to short-circuit a debate that is definitely not over. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court shocked most legal experts (myself included) by declining to hear a number of cases striking down marriage laws in the Fourth Circuit (based in Virginia), Tenth Circuit (based in Denver) and Seventh Circuit (based in Chicago). Cases are still very active, though, in the Sixth Circuit (Cincinnati), Fifth Circuit (New Orleans) and in lower federal courts in other parts of the country. It is likely that one of these remaining courts will uphold natural marriage laws and that the Supreme Court will step in at that point.

2. Our next great challenge will be to protect the church. PJI has been very active in filing friend-of-the-court briefs in many of these marriage cases, and we will continue to stand up for natural marriage in the courts. It is not a foregone conclusion that same-sex marriage will be forced on every state. In fact, if you look across the Atlantic to Europe, LGBT activists have not been able to convince the courts to force their will on all member countries, and many continue to staunchly resist. The same could happen here. Regardless of what happens in the coming months, though, we will be focused on protecting the church’s independence from government mandates. Whatever it takes, we absolutely cannot allow local, state or federal officials to dictate who pastors must marry, what will be preached, or any other essentials. Make no mistake — the activists will push further; marriage is only the beginning for them. It is up to us to protect the liberties our Founders and forefathers have handed down to us.

3. This next month offers us an opportunity to take action. In less than a month, each of us will get the chance to vote for members of Congress, as well as many state and local offices. While it is very tempting to conclude, based on the judicial activism we’ve seen lately, that our votes don’t count, I urge you to use this election to speak out on the importance of natural marriage and our constitutional freedoms. Regardless of party affiliation, if a candidate has not taken a strong stance of defending marriage, we cannot afford to vote for that candidate. I have been amazed the last several months as even some politicians who claim to be conservative have abdicated their responsibilities to defend their state’s laws, or have otherwise “gone wobbly” on the sanctity of marriage. PJI can’t endorse or oppose particular candidates, but let’s all do our homework before voting so these elected officials know how important religious freedom is to us!

We can’t sugar-coat it — these are very challenging times in which we live. But that’s all the more reason to pull together, stand firm and send our roots deeper for the great cause of freedom. Our children deserve no less!

Running the race …

Pioneer welcomes new assistant principal

Steve Rodriguez

Whittier Union brings on 30 new teachers

By Juliette Funes

VMA Communications

WHITTIER – Pioneer High School has a new assistant principal of curriculum at the helm, Steve Rodriguez, a former administrator at El Rancho Unified with more than 15 years in education.

The addition of Rodriguez comes on the heels of the Whittier Union High School District hiring 30 new teachers – the largest number of educators the district has hired in a single school year since 2007, ensuring that it meets its commitment to reducing class sizes and adding more sections.

“Because of our commitment to reduce class size, we have hired more teachers than we have for several years and are thrilled to welcome them to the Whittier Union family,” said Whittier Union High School District Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson. “I have no doubt that each member will help us honor our dedication to student success.”

Rodriguez, a native of Pico Rivera who now lives in Whittier, earned his bachelor’s in Social Science, master’s in Education and master’s in Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University.

During his 15-year career at El Rancho Unified, Rodriguez taught history and social science at Rivera Middle School for eight years and then transitioned to El Rancho High School as the dean. He later served as assistant principal of business and activities and assistant principal of curriculum.

While at Pioneer, Rodriguez said he aims to improve the student experience and positively impact student learning.

“As the assistant principal of curriculum, my role will be to support our teachers so that they have all the resources they need to ensure student success,” Rodriguez said. “I appreciate being part of a district that stays closely focused on improving student achievement for all of its students.”

Pioneer High School Principal Monica Oviedo said Rodriguez brings a rich educational background to the school, having worked closely with El Rancho teachers to support them in Common Core implementation and helping to improve teaching and learning.

“Steve served El Rancho Unified in various capacities, from being a student, teacher and coach to leading as a dean and assistant principal, demonstrating a tremendous work ethic and genuine humility along the way,” Oviedo said. “I am excited that he has joined our team and know that he is truly thrilled to be a part of our Titan family.”

In addition to Rodriguez, Whittier Union hired 30 other certificated staff, which includes teachers, deans and counselors who are working across the district. The additional staff members are a result of the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), a spending plan that calls for reduced class sizes and more counselors, among other programs.

To initiate them into Whittier Union, the 30 new hires – some of whom were on temporary contracts last year and were welcomed back to permanent positions – participated in Teacher Power, an orientation program introducing them to the district’s mission, vision and the cornerstone of its curriculum, the “Whatever It Takes” initiative.

“We have such an amazing group of teachers and staff, who work together in setting high expectations for our students at Whittier Union,” said New Teacher Program Specialist Wendy Brandt, who will guide teachers in their first years. “We’re very blessed to have such a collaborative learning and teaching environment with the focus on student support and success.”


This week’s homily

Tom and Virginia Boles

Psalms 106:2

A coincidence is a small miracle

where God prefers to remain anonymous

Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds

of the Lord? Or who can show forth all the

praise that is due Him?

By Thomas M. Boles, DMin. D.D. PhD.

On his way back to Italy, Columbus was disheartened and discouraged when he stopped at a convent one day. He asked for a drink of water. The monk who gave him a drink listened to his story.

Later, he was the man who spoke to Queen Isabella on Columbus’ behalf.

John Calvin, also on his way to Italy, found that the regular road was closed because of a war between Italy and France. Therefore, he had to pass through Geneva. There he met a man who, with fiery eloquence, demanded that he stay at Geneva and lead the work of God there.

While rummaging in a barrel of rubbish someone had left in his store at Salem, Abraham Lincoln came upon a copy of Blackstone’s Commentaries. Reading that book awakened his desire to participate in government.

George Whitfield was once a bartender in the Bell Inn. Unable to get along with his brother’s wife, he gave up his job and decided that perhaps he should return to college. He made his way to Oxford, where he prepared for his future. He is considered perhaps the greatest of all preachers.

A glass of water, a discarded book, a closed road, a disagreeable co-worker. Coincidence? More likely providence. The same hand is at work in your life.

Schools plan to celebrate killer as role model

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute

By the Pacific Justice Institute

SACRAMENTO – A pro-parent group is alarmed by upcoming plans for schools across America to celebrate several highly questionable individuals as heroes, including someone recently released from prison for manslaughter.

The killer-turned-hero is just the tip of the iceberg, according to attorneys at Pacific Justice Institute, who are calling on parents to pay attention throughout October to what is being taught in schools as part of LGBT History Month.

“It is almost unbelievable who these activists think should be held up as role models,” said Brad Dacus, PJI president. “Every year, this celebration gets more disturbing and bizarre, but telling kids that a killer is a hero represents a new low.”

The organizers of LGBT History Month annually select 31 “icons” of LGBT history that they urge schools and students to learn about and celebrate, one for each day in October. The list is posted at Perhaps most concerning to parents this year will be the inclusion of CeCe McDonald, who was released from prison earlier this year after serving time in prison for the killing of a man who had insulted her.

McDonald was charged with second-degree murder and accepted a plea of second-degree manslaughter after fatally stabbing the man with scissors. She is presented in LGBT History Month as a “prison reformer” who brought attention to the plight of transgender inmates.

Works by several of the other individuals included on this year’s list would not otherwise be allowed in schools, or most homes. For example, a music video of “icon” John Cameron Mitchell has been deemed too explicit to be shown on MTV Europe. Comedienne “icon” Margaret Cho’s routines are replete with vulgarity and not permitted in school. And kids who want to learn more about “icon” Natalie Barney will read that she decried fidelity and instead advocated for adultery.

Last year, the number of school districts officially celebrating LGBT History Month grew to include Los Angeles, Fresno, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and two counties in Florida. In most districts around the country, LGBT History Month is promoted with posters and other materials by the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) student clubs, and by individual teachers, without advance notice to parents.

In 2011, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie suggested that a teacher should be fired for criticizing LGBT History Month on her personal Facebook page.

PJI is urging parents to talk immediately to all of their children’s teachers and school administrators to find out whether any promotion of LGBT History Month will be taking place over the next few weeks, and to keep an eye out for posters promoting drag queens, radical activists, or “prison reformers” as historical figures.