Senate Favors LWSC Privatization

first_imgThe Senate yesterday voted 10 for, four against, and one abstention in favor of carrying on stringent reforms in the water supply and sanitation services sector controlled by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC). The vote taken during that body’s 36th day sitting specifically called for the creation of an enabling environment through, inter alia, making of policies and enactment of legislations to attract private investment to the sector. The Senate’s decision was prompted by a report prepared by the Committees on Lands, Mines Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, and Public Corporations, in which they recommended to plenary requesting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to consider fast tracking the privatization of key operational areas, such as the commercialization of the LWSC. The Chairmen of the two Committees, Senators Albert Chie and J. Gbleh-bo Brown, informed their colleagues that during the performance of their oversight responsibilities, they held meetings with the management of LWSC at the Capitol Building on May 9, and observed that the corporation needed serious attention. In their conclusion, the Committees reported that “the LWSC has been run inefficiently for many years and is in bad financial state; that it is unable to deliver about 60 percent of the bills to customers it claims to serve, while full collection of debt from bills is far-fetched.” The seven-page report also discussed that the LWSC has been operating mainly on bilateral and multilateral grants, and that even so, it has been able to meet only 25 percent of the water demands of the Monrovia area, let alone the other counties. “The LWSC spoke about plans for the government to obtain a loan of US$10 million to support the work of the corporation; with an inefficiently-run corporation, this loan and future loans and grants may be wasted efforts.”In the debate that followed the vote, four Senators voted against privatization, among them Cllrs. Varney Sherman and Joseph Nagbe. The two Senators, who are also lawyers, argued that communities like West Point and New Kru Town and other less fortunate communities will be victims of such a decision. But pro-privatization Senators, such as Bomi County Senator Morris G. Saytumah, opted for a quasi privatization of the corporation, and admonished his colleagues not to look at privatization as a monster, saying privatization comes with efficiency. For his part, Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay was critical of the lack of attention paid to counties outside Monrovia such as his county, which he boasted is one of the original three counties. The Sinoe lawmaker warned that he will adopt the method to filibuster whenever a loan for ratification lands at the Senate, which limits benefit to only Monrovia. Meanwhile, Senator Nagbe yesterday informed his colleagues that he was going to make use of the rules of the Senate that allow him to file a motion for reconsideration if so desired, not later than three sitting days.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Staff accuses convener of unprofessionalism, throwing insults

first_imgGFC’s restructuringFollowing an announcement earlier this month that the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) needs to be restructured in order to uphold the national objective of moving towards a “green” economy and the consequent realignment of critical agencies of State, a meeting was held with some 230 employees on Friday. However, as the meeting got underway, things went south as staff of the GFC felt disrespected by what they described as arrogant and unprofessional behaviour of the Restructuring Task Force’s convener, Clayton Hall. The staff are now calling for the Government to either halt the restructuring or replace the convener.Clayton HallSpeaking with this publication, several employees said that the meeting was convened to “put the minds of staff members at ease” as they were uneasy as to what the Government restructuring had meant. One employee said that several questions were posed concerning issues such as the merging of the Monitoring Division and Resources Management Division as well as the dismissal of staff members.In a letter to the editor, a staff stated that questions were also asked pertaining to whether the restructuring process was a “witch-hunting exercise” aimed at removing specific individuals from the GFC and if the task force, which Hall heads, is experienced in Human Resources Management to undertake a task such as this, among other questions.However, according to a staff member, Hall was “unprepared for those questions” and responded instinctively, which was deemed as the “most striking degree of unprofessional conduct”.“He was condescending, offensive and outright shameful. In his worst moment, he referred to the GFC staff as ignorant, incompetent and in his words, ‘not bright’”.Staff members of the GFC are now contending that if the Natural Resources Ministry is well-intended on this restructuring process, they will consider forthwith, “a more logical and transparent route to the restructuring, in resting this important activity to the GFC Board as the main body that oversees the Commission”.According to a senior source at the GFC, several phone calls were made to members of the Board between Friday and Saturday by various staff members, who voiced their complaints about the conduct of the meeting.In light of this, the Board is expected to convene a special meeting soon to address these issues and pronounce on the way forward.Several calls by this publication to Hall went unanswered.The Task Force was established jointly between the Natural Resources Ministry and the Board of Directors of the GFC to address the reorganising and restructuring of the Commission.According to the Ministry earlier this month, the Task Force will include the technical and administrative talent and personnel of the Natural Resources Ministry, the Board, and the Commission, who will examine the structure and functioning of the GFC to make recommendations to Minister Trotman. He, in turn, is mandated to present a report to Cabinet.The establishment of the Task Force comes at a time when the GFC is lacking adequate financing to sustain itself. Only recently, reports surfaced that several employees were not paid and a number of financial difficulties are being experienced at the once striving entity.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo recently called out the coalition Government for the “bankrupting of institutions”.“This Government has been bankrupting institutions. At the Guyana Forestry Commission, they are unable to pay staff due to lack of funds. Now they want to restructure it and they are putting a senior AFC official [Clayton Hall] to lead the restructuring process at a technical agency,” the Opposition Leader said.He noted that he suspected there are other motives behind the restructuring but added that the “staff needs to be paid and they have to stop bleeding the GFC. This Government is totally hopeless. Not only this is going to happen but almost everything is going to be bankrupt. They just need a little more time”.last_img read more

Trackers offering school hockey program for players who make it through tryouts

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The NEBC and Yukon District Trackers are offering a school hockey program for players who make it through the Tracker’s tryout camp which runs from August 24th-26th.The tryout camp is for residents born between 2001 and 2003 and takes place at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. Residents must register for the camp by the deadline of August 10th to be eligible to participate.During the camp, players will be evaluated on their skill, ability, work ethic and commitment to hockey and education. The Trackers will be looking for not only the most skilled players but players who show exceptional character as well.- Advertisement -The school hockey program is in conjunction with School District #60 as well as the Energetic Learning Centre and will give the players increased chances to train during the school year. Players who make it through the camp will be given the choice on whether they would like to enroll in the program.For more scholastic info about the program contact ssteele@prn.bc.ca or gdicaire82@gmail.com. If you are interested in attending the tryout camp click here.last_img read more

Silica Sands Golf Tourney set for this Saturday

first_imgSilica Sands, a long-time supporter of the Lusignan Golf Club (LGC), will host its second annual golf tournament in celebration of the remarkable academic achievements of Kayshav Tiwari, son of Pandit Haresh Tiwari.With the Guyana Cup Open teeing off in a little over a month, the LGC has set out to host some 12 tourneys prior to its November Open. Saturday’s tourney will tee off at 12:30h and will feature Best Gross and Best Net in Categories A, B and C. The tournament usually attracts a full field, and this is anticipated especially this year, as this weekend will feature a double-header as players warm up for the Suriname Open, set for October 5-7. Young Tiwari, son of the ‘Pandit,’ has been among the country’s top performers at the 2018 CXC exams, and the club will honour his success with this tourney. Defending Guyana Open 8-time ChampionThe LGC continues its weekend action with the Silica Sands tourneyAvinash Persaud will demonstrate his skills, along with top contenders Guillermo Escarraga, Mahesh Shivraj, Clifford Reis, Patrick Prasad, Mike Mangal, William Walker, Pur Persaud, Richard Hanif, Max Persaud and Aleem Hussain. Female champions Joann Deo and Shanella Webster will tune up for the Guyana Open scheduled for November 3-4.Silica Sands is a local company created fifteen years ago by Pandit Haresh Tiwari, who rose from simple Lusignan roots to become one of the largest exporters of sand to the Caribbean and other countries. The company has a private wharf, mining areas, and the complete logistic facilities to export sand from Guyana to the world market.Its monthly operational capacity is over 100,000 metric tons of the finest quality sand for the manufacture of glass, for construction purposes, and for the top golf courses in any port the customer desires.last_img read more

Wintry, wet weather expected to linger

first_imgAbout 2:26 a.m., several vehicles, including two big rigs, were involved in a crash along the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway transition in Pasadena, causing 100 gallons of diesel fuel to leak into the roadway, said CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos. Crews spent several hours cleaning up debris and the fuel spill before the road could be reopened around 9 a.m. There were no reports of injuries in the crash, he said. The CHP tallied 133 accidents between 5 and 9 a.m. Monday, compared with 57 accidents during the same time period Feb. 12, Villalobos said. All the accidents occurred in the CHP’s coverage area, which includes Los Angeles freeways, unincorporated areas of the county, and state routes in the county, he said. No fatalities have been reported so far, he said. “There’s minor complaints of pain, minor injuries, but a lot of crashes,” Villalobos said. “People are just driving too fast for the wet weather,” he said, noting many of the accidents are solo spinouts and cars hitting guardrails. City News Service contributed to this story. Monday patricia.ho@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It is expected to be partly cloudy today. The change in weather is due to a fairly strong low-pressure system moving a ridge of high pressure out of the area, Meier said. Saturday’s temperatures did not break any records. However, in downtown Los Angeles, a reading of 89 degrees tied a record set in 1890. The days are expected to get warmer after Thursday, with another slightly windy, but not quite as hot, weekend ahead, Meier said. Meantime, drivers traveling at unsafe speeds along slippery roads caused dozens of accidents on area freeways , according to the California Highway Patrol. • Photo Gallery: After the stormPASADENA – The weather made an abrupt turn over the weekend, with sunshine and 80-degree temperatures Saturday giving way to cold and rain overnight Sunday. Weather forecasters say the rainy weather will continue this week, with a chance of scattered showers Wednesday night through Thursday. “It will be more of the same compared with what we saw \[Monday,” said Jamie Meier, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. last_img read more

Counting the vote

first_imgThe new council majority, however, appeared to fragment over the firing of former City Manager Chuck Fuentes, who Beilke supported but Armenta later voted to oust. Gallegos-Smith said her election did not mean she will back Beilke in voting on issues. “I’ll make my own decisions. My family started the tradition of community service years ago, so that has brought me here,” she said. “I’m happy to work with anyone on City Council, but my family has been around long before any of them were there,” she said. Gallegos-Smith said her first priority as a councilwoman will be to help bring in a city manager. Other goals are “easy fixes,” she added, such as parking issues in the city. • Photo Galleries: Election day around the Valley | Pasadena and WhittierPICO RIVERA – Culminating a contentious race for control of the City Council, voters Tuesday favored newcomers Gracie Gallegos-Smith and Bob Archuleta, as well as incumbent Gregory Salcido. In semi-official voting results, Gallegos-Smith, Archuleta and Salcido were leading. They were followed by Carlos Garcia and Pete Ramirez. Candidate Martin Morones, 59, a transportation security officer, was running sixth, ahead of county investigator Armijo, 56, early results showed. Gallegos-Smith, 41, and Archuleta, 60, had received heavy support from Councilman Ron Beilke, 47, during their campaign. Beilke’s election in 2005 created a voting bloc on the council that included Ramirez and Councilman David Armenta, 56. “These are things that are minor, but nobody’s listened to these people,” said Gallegos- Smith. “I’m going to make sure those get taken care of.” During the campaign, a top concern among all the candidates was the hiring of a new city manager, which Pico Rivera has been without since the council fired Fuentes in September. “We’ve got to go out and find the best person that knows the community, knows how to deal with federal and state officials and someone that could communicate with citizens of Pico Rivera,” said Archuleta, a county commissioner of veterans affairs. “We’re looking for someone with a lot of vision, a lot of insight to lead the city,” he added. Salcido, 38, who has been in office since 1999, said his focus is on hiring a city manager who is “qualified, experienced and independent.” “That is very beginning of what we do as council members – apart from that we have no greater obligation,” he said. “We have to hire the right people to run the organization. For the last year, we’ve had no one.” Gallegos-Smith has previous experience in public service, having served on the city’s Community Resource Advisory Commission. She also currently was a planning commissioner for Pico Rivera. A vice president of the Franco Entertainment recreation group, Gallegos-Smith has said she wants to provide new recreational venues for local residents. She also favors a plan by Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk, to transform the Pico Rivera Sports Arena into a series of public athletic fields and picnic areas. Archuleta has also expressed support for Napolitano’s proposed recreation project. araceli.esparza@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024 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

Alberta finance minister says diversifying revenues is a long-term ‘luxury’

first_imgShe said the approach is not the way to get off the “royalty revenue roller coaster.”“You don’t diversify the economy by shutting the doors of our post-secondary institutions, making major cuts in the quality of the education people receive at the same time that you significantly increase the cost to students of walking through the doors of those post-secondary institutions,” she said in Calgary.“And of course, in addition to that, they’ve cut a number of programs that our government had in place that were focused on economic diversification.”Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO Sandip Lalli said she’s glad the provincial government has a plan to balance the budget, but she wants to know how it plans to diversify its mix of revenue with the help of innovation. “Within this plan that’s been tabled, they’re not ready to do that,” she said. “But I would really hope that they still continue to have conversations of ‘how do we move that forward.’”Advertisement Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press CALGARY — Alberta’s finance minister says the province will have the luxury of diversifying its revenues once its budget is balanced.Travis Toews told a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon that the government should look at ways to become less dependent on volatile oil and natural gas royalties in the long term.But he says the United Conservative government’s priority right now is to eliminate the deficit by cutting spending and not raising taxes.- Advertisement -Toews made his remarks a day after tabling a budget that aims to reduce overall program spending by 2.8 per cent over four years and other measures to balance the books by 2023. The Kenney government’s inaugural budget calls for scrapping tax incentives brought in by the NDP that were aimed at diversifying the economy toward tech and other sectors.Toews says the most effective way to get Alberta’s economic engine firing again is to make the overall business climate friendlier with lower corporate taxes.Advertisement This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2019. The provincial corporate tax rate is to fall from 12 per cent to eight per cent by 2022.“We’re taking the approach to broadly improve our competitiveness and business environment,” Toews said Friday.“We believe that is the most defensible approach to ensure that capital flows in the right places, that we diversify and grow our economy in a sustainable way, that government isn’t picking winners and losers.”NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley blasted the government for giving tax breaks to big corporations while squeezing post-secondary students and people living with disabilities.Advertisementlast_img read more

Crowds surge to welcome Bhutto

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“My return heralds for the people of Pakistan the turn of the wheel from dictatorship to democracy,” Bhutto said at a news conference in Dubai, flanked by her husband and two daughters. Bhutto recently courted controversy in Pakistan by saying that she would cooperate with the American military in targeting Osama bin Laden, and authorities here warned that militants could launch suicide attacks and roadside bombings against her. Asked about such threats, Bhutto said Islam forbids suicide bombings and attacks on her. “Muslims know if they attack a woman they will burn in hell,” she said. The government of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, appealed to Bhutto to abandon plans for a snail-paced 10-mile grand procession into Karachi, saying it would leave her vulnerable. It said the main threat was from Taliban and al-Qaida. With Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party already mobilizing rallies and convoys of supporters expected to arrive from its strongholds across Sindh by late Wednesday, many observers believe more than 100,000 will turn out. The PPP is predicting there will be more than 1 million. Thousands of her supporters had already arrived from the city of Multan in neighboring Punjab province and from Pakistan’s part of divided Kashmir, said Waqar Mehdi, a party spokesman. A shipping container fortified with bulletproof glass is being readied to convey Bhutto through Karachi, and some 3,500 police and paramilitary troops and 5,000 party volunteers will guard the streets, officials say.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! KARACHI, Pakistan – Thousands of Benazir Bhutto supporters surged toward Karachi on Wednesday, the eve of the former premier’s return from exile, as she declared any Islamic militant assassin targeting her would “burn in hell.” Meanwhile, Pakistan’s top court heard challenges to the legality of Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s re-election as president. Police were readying bomb disposal squads and sealing roads ahead of Bhutto’s planned return today to this chaotic city of 15 million people, where she hopes 1 million people will greet the end of her eight-year exile. Negotiations with Musharraf that could see the archrivals team up in a U.S.-friendly alliance to fight al-Qaida and the Taliban have already produced an amnesty covering the corruption cases that made her leave Pakistan in 1999. Bhutto hopes to secure a third term as prime minister after January elections. last_img read more

Bruins looking like champs

first_img How do you respond? That at UCLA you’d better be knocking at the Final Four door by your fourth season? “I don’t know who says we’re a year away,” he said. “Probably the same experts that didn’t think the Pac-10 had very good basketball teams.” But no one could have known this year’s freshman class would make such a significant impact. A year ago, Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar, Josh Shipp and Lorenzo Mata gave the Bruins one of the most highly regarded freshman classes in the country. The first three all became immediate starters. This year’s class was more of an unknown. Two players came via Cameroon, Luc Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya. Ryan Wright was from Canada. Darren Collison was a point guard who figured to get little time behind Farmar. Yet senior Cedric Bozeman, coming off knee surgery, sensed once he was cleared to practice and started playing with the freshmen and local pros during summer pickup games at UCLA, the Bruins were on to something. “I saw the talent that we had,” Bozeman said. “I started thinking about the players we had returning, and them mixing in with some veterans and thought once we had a chance to jell, we had a shot at something special.” Senior Ryan Hollins, the only other upperclassman who plays, saw it too. “We were three teams deep of guys that could play,” Hollins said. “That was something I’d never seen at UCLA. We were competitive and going at it. The freshmen were playing us neck-and-neck. There were no advantages in the battles. “A couple of pros came over to us and said, ‘You could have a Final Four team. With this talent, there’s no reason why you can’t go all the way.’ So I knew it was always possible.” They were on to it long before most of the college basketball world. The Bruins lost Shipp to hip surgery. Bozeman was moved from point guard to small forward. The 6-foot-7 Mbah a Moute, expected to be a small forward, moved to power forward when Aboya had knee surgery. It didn’t scream the makings of greatness, even after the Bruins started the season 20-6. “I really didn’t expect this was going to happen this year,” Collison said. “It surprised me a little bit. “But we worked so hard. When you are dedicated and sacrifice, things will surprise you. Everything is paying off now.” The lightning-quick Collison proved a spark plug, a dramatic change of pace off the bench. Mbah a Moute has started all but one game and been an inspiration. Aboya returned from knee surgery to provide depth in the frontcourt. Meanwhile, sophomores Afflalo and Farmar led the Bruins in scoring. The kids weren’t just all right, they were special. “We always thought it was a realistic possibility now,” Farmar said. “We weren’t saying we’re going to get better and play for the national championship next year. As long as we’re still in the fight, we had a chance to do it this year.” Florida coach Billy Donovan led the Gators to the championship game seven years ago at age 33, in which they lost to Michigan State. He longs to turn Florida into a national college basketball power, but few figured it would be this season when he returned only two starters. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Donovan said. But sophomores Joakim Noah and Taurean Green, and junior Lee Humphrey seamlessly joined returning starting sophomores Al Horford and Corey Brewer and the Gators jumped out to 17-0 start. They hit a 5-6 stretch in the middle of the season, but now have won their past 10. “The main piece has been their willingness to remain extremely unselfish, their ability not to embrace success,” Donovan said. “That’s the hardest thing that happens to a team when you get to 17-0. You can think it’s easy or that you have it all figured out. “They really remained very humble. They wanted to get better.” Two young teams battling for college basketball’s grand prize. And this might not be some one-time deal. With players jumping to the NBA early, college superstars seldom remain after their sophomore seasons. Donovan said he might avoid recruiting the top 25 national high school seniors in the future to concentrate on the next 75 who are more likely to stay with a program and graduate. “It’s been so long since we’ve had three or four guys in a junior or senior class,” he said. “We’ve always had young people.” Howland considers his current youth wave more a cycle. Anyway, that’s his hope. But for tonight, all is possible. Two teams arrive a year earlier than expected, raw no longer. And tonight youth will be served. “I know people say we’re a year away,” Bozeman said, “but we’re here now and enjoying the moment.” Steve Dilbeck’s column appears in the Daily News four times a week. He can be reached at stephen.dilbeck@dailynews.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! INDIANAPOLIS – It’s an early arrival. A rebirth for one and an ascent for another few saw coming. Not this year, anyway. Not right now. Not tonight. UCLA and Florida will meet for the NCAA men’s basketball championship tonight, and will play with rosters dominated by sophomores and freshmen, led by players still in their teens. They are basketball prodigies, pushed by strong-willed coaches, phenoms who have thrust themselves onto the national stage, ready or not. The Bruins start two sophomores and a freshman. Of the first four players off their bench, three are freshmen and one a sophomore. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event Florida lost its three leading scorers from last season. It starts four sophomores and three of its first four reserves are freshmen. If these teams were any younger, they’d have to be burped. They’d be at home watching Bert and Ernie, not absorbing game film in hotel rooms. This is Ben Howland’s third year at UCLA, his third season trying to return the storied Bruins to college basketball’s elite, though operating with only his second recruiting class. They have arrived a year earlier than expected, at least by most. “Did you think we’d make the Final Four in my fourth season?” asked Howland, making his razor-like eye contact. last_img read more

‘Bad’ women real target of abortion law

first_imgWhen legislators way up there in the wilds of South Dakota passed a ban on abortion in February, it was easy to write it off as winter dementia. Obviously those snow-bound South Dakotans were desperate to get some attention by passing a law in direct opposition to the U.S. Constitution. (Hey, Supreme Court, look at me!!) What’s going on in Louisiana isn’t so easy to disregard, however, and not just because Hurricane Katrina’s still so fresh in the mind. The Legislature down in the Bayou State is following South Dakota’s lead and working on an even stricter ban on all abortions. The South Dakota version at least has some leniency built in for saving the life of the mother, but some Louisiana legislators oppose even that. And neither state’s abortion ban would make an exception for the 14-year-old girl raped by her uncle or the neighborhood pedophile. Perhaps the naive reasoning goes that since rape and incest are against the law, it will never happen. Aren’t laws great? Those border-enforcement ones have been working out so well. It won’t be long before other conservative-leaning states start getting the hint and outlawing abortion, too. They can’t actually enforce their impotent anti-abortion laws, but what a great way to provoke a reopening of the landmark Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade. For the anti-abortion faction, the new conservative-leaning court is crying out for a revisiting of the 33-year-old ruling that did something no other single act ever did give American women the right to control their own bodies. Therein lies the real point of the debate. It isn’t really about abortion. Legal or not, desperate pregnant women will find a way to end their pregnancies, as they have through thousands of years of human history. No, this is really a smackdown of modern women who have gotten uppity in the past three decades once they were allowed to decide when and if to bear children, and with whom. Now, many are deciding not to marry at all. Clearly, something had to be done. Behind all the rhetoric about “baby killing” and “protecting the unborn,” there’s a deeper, angrier thread about the changing role of women and how it has disrupted those traditional, if mythical “family values.” Still, the strident will yell, “The babies must not die!” OK, OK. I think everybody agrees that the killing of babies, even teeny weeny cell-cluster ones, is definitely not cool. Abortions are terrible, horrible and painful things no more so than for the woman who goes through them. This message has gotten through. Fewer women and teenage girls are having abortions these days. Meanwhile, more women are choosing to have babies. Anyone with eyes or a subscription to People magazine has noticed there’s a baby boomlet on. And not just among celebrities like Britney and Angelina, who are making their “bumps” the red carpet accessory this year. (Celebrities would adopt full body veils if fashion dictated. “Next on ‘ET,’ Paris on burkas: “They’re hot!”‘) Official statistics bear out this trend among real people. Birth rates increased nationwide in 2004 over the previous year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. What’s no doubt chilling to traditionalists is that of the 4.1 million births in 2004, the last year for which the NCHS has reported, a record number, or 1.5 million babies, were born to unmarried women. Considering that’s part of an upward trend, bet on the 2005 figures and 2006 increasing. Meanwhile, single women are now the largest segment of the home-buying population. Double yikes. Thus the backlash. And since it’s unseemly to come across as sexist, the “bad woman” debate has been sublimated into the “bad abortion” debate. After all, it was Roe v. Wade that started it all. It’s all so sadly predictable. Each period of women’s rights making strides was followed by a backlash. In the post-Civil War days, for example, when the women’s suffrage movement started gaining real ground and legitimacy, the growing self-determination of women was soon quashed. Men like Anthony Comstock, a crusader against “immorality,” which extended to condoms and medical anatomy textbooks, led the crackdown. It took another half-century of struggle before women finally got the right to vote. It appears inevitable that we’re headed to some sort of forced national debate on abortion. But we’d better be clear what it is we’re debating, and it’s not the children. Mariel Garza is a columnist and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News. Write to her by e-mail at mariel.garza@dailynews.com AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want 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