Posted by: mbhcity | April 23, 2009

Valley View News

I anchored and produced this particular newscast. A lot of work, but nonetheless, a huge accomplishment.

Posted by: mbhcity | December 16, 2008

The Arts

Sameerah Siddiqui has been at the forefront of workers rights. She is a community organizer with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, or CLUE, in Los Angeles.

“I wanted to actually be a part of people lives and see them through change rather than be at the end of the process.” Siddiqui said. “It was my faith that called to do justice in the world.”

Sameerah grew up in Southern California, raised by a family who supported many environmental and social justice efforts.

She originally planned to study biology at U.C. Davis but later found another calling. This calling led her to graduate in 2003 with a degree in International Relations and compelled her to find a way to help others.

“It was at U.C. Davis that I became involved in social justice issues and politics,” said Siddiqui. “I was raised in a family that was pro-labor. My father was involved in community organizing, and when I left home, I took it on myself to get involved in the community.”

Siddiqui’s roots trace back to an internship with a law firm in London where she learned about international. Soon after, she decided that community activism was a better lifestyle.

She began her career speaking on behalf of hotel and service workers who fought for better wages and working conditions.

“I started by working in the hotel and hospitality industry,” said Siddiqui. “I started with an internship with CLUE-LA and worked with hotel workers and started to talk to them about their experiences.”

Siddiqui is campaigning on behalf of the Clean Trucks Program, an effort to improve working condition for the many truck drivers in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

There are two plans, one by Long Beach and one by Los Angeles. Siddiqui favors the Los Angeles plan by allowing corporations to employ work rather than work individually.

“The Port of Los Angeles took a bold step, by having companies with enough capital and resources to purchase the cleanest trucks and pay their employees a living wage, and by law they organize for a union,” said Siddiqui.

Candice Kim, a campaign associate with the Coalition for Clean Air, relates to Siddiqui’s efforts, not only in the fight for cleaner air.

“Sameerah is very effective in the work she does,” Kim said. “She, like I came out of the labor industry. It is the clergy and laity of our communities that have taken action in the community”

A study by the Port of Los Angeles found that independent truckers earn up to $29,000 a year, or $12 an hour, after paying operation costs.

Among those who have helped with Sameerah in the efforts in Jon Zerolnick, a research analyst with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.

“Truck drivers cannot afford their trucks,” he added. “They make about $24,000 a year. Most of them are immigrants and have families and are forced to go on welfare because of what they earn. I challenge anyone to live on $24,000 a year with a family and I bet they won’t make it.”

Sejal Patel, a researcher with LAANE, has worked with Siddiqui and calls her efforts fearless.

“Sameerah is fearless and this what has helped in bringing justice to the less fortunate,” said Patel.

As the quest to bring about continues so will Siddiqui’s efforts to help bring about change. The debate continues as to which plan help workers and the communities it surrounds and people that will live there.

“What really compels me is talking to workers,” said Siddiqui. “So many people just don’t talk to others, for example shoppers talking to cashiers. My ability to talk to workers and listen to their stories is what compels me and reenergizes me to get out there everyday.”

Founded in 1996, CLUE-LA is an interfaith community organization with more than 600 religious groups working to speak on behalf of the poor and less fortunate in the Los Angeles area.



The Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice Los Angeles


Los Angeles Alliance for a new Economy


Coalition for Clean Air


Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports


Port of Los Angeles


Port of Long Beach,

Posted by: mbhcity | November 21, 2008

A vigil for a CSUN Student

A Vigil for a freed CSUN grad student.
-By Medhanie Habte
11/13/2008 01:14am

It was to be a day of prayer, hope and protest at the campus
of Cal State Northridge, but with good news coming a few days before, a cautious sigh of relief was the order.

Nevertheless, chants from students and faculty, and shirts
with the words “Free Esha” bellowed in front of the university’s Oviatt

“A lot has been said about Esha’s virtues and her great
qualities which we all know that’s why we love her and everybody’s proud of
her,” said CSUN Professor David Blumenkrantz. “It’s safe to say that if Esha
were here tonight, we would not be here.”

An ample group of students, faculty and friends gathered in
front of the library Tuesday as the sun set to celebrate and pray for the
release of CSUN graduate student Esha Momeni.

Momeni, 28, was released on bail from Teheran’s Evin prison
25 days after being arrested during a traffic stop. She had been working on a
master’s thesis about the women’s political movement in that country. Born in
the United States,she has dual citizenship in both nations.

Little is known about the conditions Momeni endured in one
of the world’s notorious prisons, but her colleagues said they are relieved and
hopeful for her to return to the States.

“She’s been released on bail but we want to call for her
release and return to Los Angeles,” said graduate student Anasa Sinegal. “It is a celebration, because we’re veryhappy she’s out, but we want her to return to the United States.”

Esha was working on a thesis on the women’s rights movement “One
Million Signatures,” a campaign dedicated to promoting social justice and
equality to women in the dominantly Islamic nation. During the arrest
photographs, film and a computer were seized by Iranian police.

Nayereh Tohidi, a professor of gender and women’s studies at
CSUN, reflected on the campaign and referred to journalist and movement founder Parvin Ardalan who was to have received the Olof Palme award in 2007 for her work, only to have been arrested.

“So I appreciate as another Iranian-American, the college and all the support this has been receiving because of all the solidarity we
have,” said Tohidi.

Faculty, student and staff gathered to listen to a concert by bands Fort King and Karabal Nightlife, and a spoken word session.

“She has shown in trying to deliver a simple message and that is that Iranian women are much more complex and a whole lot tougher than the typical media images of them that we usually see,” CSUN Professor Melissa
Wall told gatherers.

Professors, colleagues and friends later stood at the steps
of the Oviatt library to share their stories of Esha and hope of her safe
return home. As the sun set and darkness loomed, those who gathered, lit
up their candles and chanted “Free Esha.”

Students have described Esha as one of a kind, a student who
has taught people more about the world than imagined. Some have described her as a non-violent revolutionary, believing in a better place for all.

“It’s a great thing that she was released,” said CSUN journalism major Krystina Gillenwater “I’m very proud of her work and am glad to see her free. It’s nice to see the student’s here showing their support.”

Posted by: mbhcity | October 23, 2008

Liz Ohanesian, LA Weekly Music Reporter.

Posted by: mbhcity | October 17, 2008

How to get priority registration? A CSUN Issue.

Many students at California State University, Northridge complain about the difficulty of getting the classes they need. Often times, students receive registration dates that are not ideal, usually during the last few days of priority registration period.

By then classes fill up and students are left out, having either to add the class or wait another semester.

Consequently this leads many students to graduate, if achieved, later than the ideal four years a typical college student would take.

So the question is: How does a student get priority registration and, as such, the classes needed to graduate on time?

Here are a few tips and techniques that might help.

1) Be sure to plan out your schedule early!

-While you may not necessarily get an ideal registration, there are several ways to make the most of your semester plans. Schedules are available on the PORTAL months before the registration period begins. Be sure to check periodically for schedules and plan out your semester schedule as early as possible. You might want to consider courses at other times, such as mornings, nights, and even weekends if you cannot get priority registration. Online courses are also available for some courses.

2) If at first you don’t succeed, try again… in the summer.

-The biggest benefit of summer session is that students can get an early priority registration date and get the classes they need to graduate or meet a degree requirement. The university notifies students to check PORTAL and click on the summer enrollment section two months before summer session begins when the school gives out registration dates. Students get registration dates on a first come, first serve basis. The only disadvantage is that not all courses are available during the summer semester. More information is available through the University’s admission and records website.

3) Make sure you get advisement as soon as possible; some classes require it.

-Some courses such as tutorial and practicum courses in the journalism department require a permission number in order to be registered. Enrollment in practicum and tutorial courses are on a first come first serve basis and fill up quickly.

You can achieve this by meeting with your advisor during the advisement period. In the journalism department, for examples, advisement for returning students during the fall begins in September and for the Spring in April. It helps to meet with your advisor to plan out course and in some cases register for courses which require permission numbers.

4) Take up a sport.

Did you know that most students not only receive scholarships to play a sport at Cal State Northridge? They also register for classes before most students do.

Like many other colleges and universities, student athletes must meet certain academic requirements such as being a full-time student with a 12 credit or more course load and a 2.0 grade point average.

Officials with the CSUN athletics department said it is their goal to assure that students focus not only on sports but on their studies. They said students cannot achieve enrolling in the classes needed to graduate without proper advisement and early registration.

A 2002 NCAA study found that 35 percent of CSUN student athletes, taking an average of four courses a semester, graduate compared to 30 percent of all students. Nationwide, 63 percent of Division I student athletes graduate compared to 61 percent of students.

5) Get involved on campus.

Various campus organizations such as Associated Students, University Ambassadors, Matador New Student Orientation Mentor Program and The Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) encourage students to get involved on campus and to increase awareness about issues and opportunities facing students and the campus community.

Many organizations award students with priority registration for their support. In addition, it will look good on a resume.

6) Thinking about graduating, file the application early, get priority registration as a graduating senior.

The Office of Admissions recommends students apply early, during the application filing period, In order to secure priority registration for the semester of graduation. The period generally begins in April for students seeking to graduate the following spring or summer semester, and November for the following fall semester. Students can only receive senior priority registration once should they choose to delay their graduation. After that, a student will receive their usual registration date.

Getting the classes needed to graduate can be challenging and at times confusing, but with the right plan, proper advisement and a little effort, success can be achieved.

Happy Learning!

If this doesn’t help…try this video.

Posted by: mbhcity | October 9, 2008

8 Simples Rules….for a better interview.

In journalism, the source is what matters most, often journalist’s will look to statistics and reports for the sources, but communication with another human, perhaps an expert, is the on to go with. The human source is the eyes and ears, the wizard of their respective craft and will create the perfect story…the one people can trust.

But it’s not an easy task conducting an interview, let alone getting one.

So here are eight simple rules for doing a better interview.

1) Do the research. Look up the source online, preferably Lexis-nexis or through newspaper articles, find out as much as you can about the source and what the source can provide you.

2) Ask Better Questions. Create questions, recreate and practice them. This way you can avoid asking open-ended or confusing questions. If you have a question the source might not understand try to rephrase.

3) Don’t just rely on one human source. Try to interview as many people connected to the issue/story at hand as possible. It’s best to have at least three human sources in most stories.

4) Good Body Language. During the interview, it’s always helpful to make the source comfortable. Having good eye contact and posture helps, not slouching, lying down, or standing while the source sits. Don’t be shy.

5) Don’t be Talkative and keep the conversation flowing. It’s helpful if you and the source talk in a balanced/conversational way. There’s no need to be talkative, let the source express his thoughts as thoroughly.

6) Talk to the source, the way you would to anyone else. Leave the jargon out, keep it simple and smart. Talk to the source the way you would anyone else.

7) Follow-up. After the interview, keep up to date with the source, you never know if the story has changed.

8) And most important…. Practice! Practice the questions, practice your speaking, and most importantly practice your posture. Good eye contact and solid handshake and good posture are always helpful.

Posted by: mbhcity | October 9, 2008

Farmer’s Market!

Posted by: mbhcity | September 21, 2008

Brand Park; A Jewel in the Jewel City.

The Brand Library, formerly known as the El Miradero, home to L.C. Brand.

The Brand Library, formerly known as the El Miradero, home to L.C. Brand.

It is a quiet Saturday Afternoon as Southern Californians seek respite from the weekday hustle and bustle of traffic jams and homework.

Many go in search of the Southern California lifestyle Charles Nordhoff often touted in his writings.

There are many parks in the many counties that make up the metropolis, but none perhaps tell a tale of Southern California quite like Brand Park in Glendale.

Situated in the picturesque Verdugo Mountains, just north of downtown Glendale, Brand Park encompasses 31 acres in the Jewel City perfected with a studio, Japanese garden, a museum and a library.

Much of the park’s attention is focused on the hillsides, where the library is situated aside with picnic grounds, lush green lawns, a baseball and soccer field, and a playground where on most weekends, families gather to enjoy the Southern California lifestyle.

But what sets this park apart from most is that it once all belonged to a local businessman.

Leslie Coombs Brand, regarded by historians as the father of Glendale, lived in a home there called “El Miradero.” Brand is best remembered for building the first electric railroad in the city.

Built by Brand’s nephew Nathaniel Dryden in 1893, “El Miradero” is a Mediterranean palace inspired by Rand McNally’s East Indian Pavilion at the 1893 Columbian World Exposition in Chicago.

The name “El Miradero” is Spanish for a high place overlooking a far view, a book on the Brand family revealed.

Brand died in the home in 1925 and was buried on a hill nearby. Fifty years ago, the home was converted into what is now a public arts library, serving as the centerpiece of the park.

“I’ve worked in the library for three years and I think the community is wonderful,” said art librarian Cathy Billings. “The city has maintained the park quite well over the years and with all the people who come here to play sports, take a tour, or escape, the beauty really shows.”

It is a mystery how what once was a mansion in the hills became a library and its surroundings became a park, yet the setting seems near perfect for a library, Billing said.

“He had nothing to do with the artistry of the library, but when he gave it to city after his wife died, he wanted it to become a library,” Billings said. “He did not specify what kind of library, but since the house is on a remote hill, the city decided to turn it into an art library, in a way adding to the natural aura of the park.”

Mrs. Brand passed away in 1945. It is believed that the ghost of Brand remains there, because he loved it too much to read, park information guides read.

Adjacent to the library is the Doctors House, built in 1888 and once home to three prominent physicians and a chemist. For a time famed silent actor Nell Shipman lived in that home.

In 1979, the Doctors House was moved to Brand Park brick by brick from its original location at 921 E. Wilson Ave.

There are $1 tours of the Doctors House held every Sunday afternoon, except on holidays and in July, by docents of Glendale’s Historic Society, where visitors can relive some of Glendale’s history.

The park also features a studio which holds various events ranging from art lessons to birthday parties.

There is also a Japanese tea garden, built in 1974 through Glendale’s sister-city partnership with Higashi-Osaka, Japan and powered by reclaimed water. The garden is open to the public Monday through Thursday and is available for various events such as weddings.

The park is open year round, closed on holidays, with various events and tours of several facilities throughout the year. More information on the park, the library and the city’s history can be found at

More information on Brand Park

Posted by: mbhcity | September 18, 2008

Yet another week of Monotonous cynicism.

In a week filled with bad news as reported by millions of bloggers, I think I will take this week off, unless Dr. Melissa Wall, my professor and hence editor, wants me to write another dang story. Nevertheless, here’s a movie I enjoyed…..

Planet of the Apes…Chrarlton Heston.

Tune in next week for a story I am doing on Brand Park; one of the jewel city’s (Glendale, California that is) finest jewels.

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