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Santa Fe Springs wish list reviewed

first_imgSANTA FE SPRINGS – New asphalt for Alondra Boulevard, a new community center for Lakeview Park, and an expanded transportation center are among the big-ticket items on a long wish list of improvement projects City Council members will review tonight. In all, staffers will ask the council to approve more than $10 million to spur along or complete hundreds of projects detailed in a list of capital improvements to be tackled between now and 2012. Don Jensen, director of public works, called the capital improvement plan “a program guide to the improvements we need to make in all areas of our city facilities.” The 28-page plan includes about 400 different projects. The items “cover all areas of modifications to city buildings, utility system improvements and park facility improvements,” Jensen added. Officials are recommending, for example, that the city spend money to upgrade its Web site, modernize its computer systems, and replace air conditioning in some municipal buildings, Jensen said. McCormack called the overall improvement plan a “living document,” one that will change and be revised according to the city’s future needs. It includes additional funding for the ongoing Sister Cities Garden park project, which is slated to open in August, as well as money for a river nature park near the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway. Officials will present the comprehensive plan to the council tonight. Council members will review it and try to come up with a time line for which projects should be tackled first. “What are the priorities?” aske McCormack. “This is a culmination of … staff going out and identifying the needs of the city. And we’re getting direction as to what \ priorities might be.” The council last approved such a plan in 2003. The newest capital improvement plan should take care of most of the city’s needs for the next six years. “It’s a continuing effort to keep facilities in good condition and expand to accommodate existing programs and new programs in the city,” said Jensen. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024160Want 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 MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2It includes the construction of a $3.3 million community center at Lakeview Park that will have community meeting rooms and space for receational classes. The park also would get a new snack bar and storage building, at a cost of $800,000. Also included is a $2.2 million project to resurface Alondra Boulevard between Shoemaker and Valley View avenues; an expansion of the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Transportation Center at a cost of $2.7 million; and a new children’s water park, which will cost $683,000. But much of the $10 million would be spent on “things we won’t be able to see – infrastructural things,” said Assistant City Manger Thaddeus McCormack. last_img read more

Sunni Arabs campaigning for candidates this time

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake On Monday, al-Qaida in Iraq and four other Islamic extremist groups denounced the parliamentary elections as a “satanic project” that violated God’s law, but they stopped short of an explicit threat to attack polling stations. U.S. officials hope Sunni Arabs will vote in large numbers, a development that could produce a government capable of winning the trust of the Sunnis and defusing the insurgency. That would enable U.S. and other foreign troops to begin heading home next year. Despite the sound of detonations rumbling across the capital and at least 15 deaths in ongoing violence, early voting went ahead in hospitals, prisons and military bases, and President George W. Bush offered encouraging words from Washington to Iraqi voters. “Many Sunnis are campaigning vigorously for office this time around,” Bush told an audience Monday in Philadelphia. “Many Sunni parties that opposed the constitution have registered to compete in this week’s vote.” But Bush cautioned that the elections “won’t be perfect.” BAGHDAD, Iraq – Armed with assault rifles, a group of men in black hoods walked through parts of the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi plastering walls with election posters. The men, who claimed to be insurgents, then raised a large banner supporting a Sunni Arab candidate. Standing next to them was a man, wearing no mask and carrying no weapon, holding up a poster for other Sunni candidates. “Elect them for the sake of defending the rights of the Iraqi population,” the first banner said. “They have pure hands,” said the second. The disaffected Sunni Arab minority could be preparing to turn out in large numbers in Thursday’s general elections. Their participation offers hope that the elections could be less violent than last January’s, when the insurgency threatened to attack polling stations. “Iraqis still have more difficult work ahead, and our coalition and a new Iraqi government will face many challenges,” the president said. In a rare joint statement, the five militant groups denounced the election as a “satanic project” and said that “to engage in the so-called political process” violates “the legitimate policy approved by God.” The groups vowed to “continue our jihad (holy war) … to establish an Islamic state ruled by the book (the Quran) and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.” However, the statement contained no clear threat to disrupt voting as in the run-up to the Jan. 30 election and the Oct. 15 referendum on the constitution. The authenticity of the statement could not be verified, but it appeared on a Web site that often publishes extremist material. The absence of a clear-cut threat could reflect the growing interest among Sunni Arabs, the foundation of the insurgency, to take part in the election. The Sunni decision to boycott the January ballot left parliament in the hands of Shiites and Kurds – a move that increased communal friction and cost the Sunnis considerable influence in drafting the constitution. A leaflet that appeared Monday in the Baghdad Sunni stronghold of Azamiyah acknowledged that Sunni Arabs could make gains in the election but that “fighting will continue with the infidels and their followers.” The statement was unsigned but was written in a style favored by Islamic extremists. Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq’s future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll. More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44 percent, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners. Three-quarters say they are confident about the parliamentary elections. More than two-thirds expect things in their country to get better in the coming months. However, only one-third in the Sunni regions were optimistic about their country’s future. In the first day of early voting, about 250,000 Iraqis – soldiers, police, hospital patients and prisoners in jail – cast ballots, according to election official Abdul-Hussein Hendawi. Iraqi television aired footage showing inmates in orange jumpsuits depositing their ballots in jailhouse boxes. The U.S.-led multinational force said 90 percent of all eligible detainees held in facilities under its control participated in the vote. It did not release the number represented by that percentage. Suspected insurgents held in detention but not convicted were eligible to vote, officials said. Deposed leader Saddam Hussein, who is jailed and facing trial for the deaths of more than 140 Shiites in 1982, could also vote, but it was not known whether he did. Abroad, an estimated 1.5 million expatriate Iraqis will begin voting today over a two-day period in polling centers in 15 countries including the United States. Most of the 15 million registered voters will go to the polls Thursday. Sunni Arab politicians have promised an end to what they term abuse at the hands of the Shiite-dominated security services. As voting began, the Human Rights Ministry and the U.S. military said 13 prisoners were hospitalized after being found at an overcrowded prison run by the Shiite-led Interior Ministry. Later Monday, Al-Jazeera television aired a video allegedly showing abuse at another Interior Ministry facility in western Baghdad. The footage showed dozens of men, many with welts and bruises. The station did not say how it obtained the footage or when the alleged incidents took place. Bush said Iraqi prisoners held in secret detention centers apparently were beaten and tortured. “This conduct is unacceptable,” Bush said in the Philadelphia speech. “Those who committed these crimes must be held to account.” Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite, ordered an investigation into what he described as an “unhealthy phenomenon.” A similar case also surfaced last month. “I will not allow such treatment of any prisoner,” al-Jaafari said during a news conference. U.S. and Iraqi officials have expected an upsurge in insurgent violence as the election approaches. A U.S. soldier was killed Monday in a bombing in Baghdad, and another American soldier attached to the Marines died the day before in a suicide bombing west of the capital near the city of Ramadi, the U.S. command said. The deaths brought to at least 2,144 the number of U.S. military members killed in Iraq since the war began in 2003, according to an Associated Press count. 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