Tag Archives: Haley Kramer

California Dreaming: Affordable Rent

It is becoming even more expensive to rent in Los Angeles, according to the new 2016 Affordability Report by the California Housing Partnership.

With over 4 million residents,  Los Angeles has more people living in it than ever before, and experts say there is just not enough room. It is no longer economically feasible for most to live in LA County.

On average, residents pay over $2,000 dollars a month in rent. The area has a high number of low-income tenants, and many are rent burdened.

“The common thinking is that you shouldn’t pay more than 30 percent of your income in rent,”said Elizabeth Blaney, the Co-Executive Director of the Boyle Heights community organization Union de Vecinos. “I think that should be a little bit lower, because 30 percent still is a lot for a lot of low income and extremely low income families,”

New data shows that on average, those who are considered low income are spending 71 percent of their paychecks on rent. They are left with only 29 percent to spend on food, transportation, health care, and other needs.

“What you have is an increase in demand, which means the economy is doing really well,”said CSUN Economics Professor Shirley Svorney, “so it’s kind of like when we have congestion on the freeways. It’s because people are buying houses; that’s what pushes up the prices. On the supply side, there’s a lot of restrictions on building, regulations, zoning, and other types of government requirements that make it more costly to build.”

Svorney said another factor driving up housing costs is that Los Angeles is an agglomeration economy. This means that more jobs are located closely within the area, making the real estate even more valuable.

“A lot of middle class people are leaving,” said CSUN Political Science Professor Tom Hogen-esch. “Teachers and firefighters, even people in the traditional professions, are facing this. They’re sort of middle class, housing poor, and so almost everybody is under at least some pressure in terms of the cost of housing here.”

The Ellis Act is a state law that says landlords can rightfully evict tenants in order to “go out of business.” The entire building can be cleared out. This is one of many tactics used by landlords to tear down affordable housing and turn it into high priced housing.

California is the number one state in poverty rates when housing is taken into accounted. The 2016 homeless count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority found that 46,874 homeless people are living in LA County. Experts say there are many reasons for homelessness, but lack of affordable housing is certainly one.

In order to rent “burden free” in this city, a household would need to make more than $40 an hour, four times the current minimum wage.


Moderator: Haley Kramer

Anchor: Ajo Adelaja

Producer: Valerie Hernandez

Social Media Editors: Ajo Adelaja and Valerie Hernandez

Reporters: Ajo Adelaja, Harry Bennett III, Jarvis Haren, Valerie Hernandez, Haley Kramer, Sofia Levin and Mariah Robinson

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Online Privacy: Terms and Conditions May Apply

Passwords, code combinations, and security questions – there are multiple ways in which we try to protect our information online and on our devices today. Yet the reality is that there aren’t any constitutional laws that protect our online privacy.

In this digital age we perform numerous actions on the Internet everyday that require us to share our personal information. It has become such a habit for us to do so that many of us no longer think twice of who this data can be accessed by, and for how long it will be accessible.

“In reality what we’re doing is that we’re all surrendering information, we’re not sharing it,” said CSUN Marketing Professor Kristen Walker. “All we have is faith in our interactions and exchange of information, in particular on our mobile devices.”

The question of who has the right to the information we surrender gained attention this spring as tech company Apple and the FBI got involved in an encryption case. In the aftermath of the fatal terrorist attack in San Bernardino in December 2015, the FBI wanted the iPhone belonging to one of the suspects unlocked. Apple refused to help the FBI in their encryption request, saying it would endanger both personal privacy and national security.

“This is really just two villains facing off each other,” said CSUN Communication Studies Professor Gina Giotta. “Nobody wins, because our rights are being trampled in both cases: on the one hand in the corporate sector, on the other hand in the government sector.”

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by our government, and is seen by many legal scholars as also central to all forms of surveillance and privacy. In today’s era of technology, the Fourth Amendment has also been interpreted by some as a broad protection of our privacy on digital platforms as well.

“Our technology is advancing in an unprecedented pace, and our legal system is not keeping up,” said Guardian reporter Nellie Bowles. “You have these two really separate cultures, moving in two different paces, and we’re starting to see a lot of situations where that is becoming a major problem.”

This tech privacy zeitgeist may be more noticeable for some than for others. Older generations were used to having only their name and contact information in the white pages accessible to others. The amount of personal information that we’re forced to surrender today can be difficult for these generations to accept.

“Technology might be going too fast, according to our mentality,” said Pierce College Computer Science Professor Luis Celada. “If you ask a person born in the last 15 years, there’s no such thing as being careful with their privacy, because they have always been exposed to it. Prior generations see that difference.”

Giotta said the so-called Millennials should be careful with how and what they share about themselves online. This care should also go for popular social networks, where information usually is shared only with users known and trusted.

“To suggest that the mutual or peers surveillance that we do on social networks isn’t a big deal is kind of dangerous,” Giotta said. “When we feel the constant gaze of our friends, co-workers, and parents upon us, we’re much less likely to be concerned when one of those gazes becomes that of the government.”


Moderator: Sofia Levin

Anchor: Mariah Robinson

Producer: Harry Bennett III

Social Media Editors: Harry Bennett III and Mariah Robinson

Reporters: Ajo Adelaja, Harry Bennett III, Jarvis Haren, Valerie Hernandez, Haley Kramer, Sofia Levin and Mariah Robinson


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Moving Forward

Los Angeles is the most congested city in the nation, according to INRIX, a transportation and traffic data analysis company.

That’s one reason L.A. is pushing for improved public transportation options to encourage more residents to get out of their cars and use public transportation.

After voters approved Measure R in 2008, L.A. made some steps to improve its public transportation options. But one key part of town was left out of those measures: the San Fernando Valley.

Now, city and transit officials are trying to change that. The Metropolitan Transit Authority has proposed a new $120 billion plan that would include funding for a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass, toll roads on the 105 and 405 freeways, and extensions to other light rail routes in the city.

At Cal State Northridge, some 59 percent of students drive alone to school and 73 percent of the faculty and staff drive to school, according to a recent study done by CSUN’s Institute for Sustainability. Some 200,000 vehicles come to campus in an average week.

“In the Valley, public transportation has been overlooked for years,” said Ken Premo, the manager of Support Services for Associated Students at CSUN. “There is limited service, and any student who comes to the university knows that they can’t easily get from place to place. There’s not a lot of stops and there’s not a lot of options.”

It can take some students up to two hours one way to get to campus via public transportation, Premo said. The students also have to make transfers on and off buses multiple times in order to get to campus.

“A robust transit system that serves the needs of our students means a student would be able to better balance a very busy class schedule and a part time job,” CSUN’s President Dr. Dianne Harrison said at the Valley Transportation Summit in March.

But not everyone thinks adding more public transit options is the solution. The Metropolitan Transit Authority reported in January that it lost more than 10 percent of its boardings from 2006 to 2015. The Times also said Metro has fewer boardings than it did three decades ago.

Larry Isrow, CSUN’s Parking and Transportation Services Manager, said ridership has declined across the region because transit routes aren’t convenient.

“We did a study on campus that showed that 57 percent of people would be inclined to take the bus if they only had to take one bus,” Isrow said. “Once you have to start making transfers, it becomes inconvenient and too time consuming, and people won’t do that.”

According to CSUN data, half of the university’s population lives within a ten mile radius from campus. That’s why Isrow believes CSUN should be a transportation hub.

“We would like to see the transit center connect with the proposed East Valley Transit Corridor via Nordhoff Street,” Isrow said. “We’d also like to see the [CSUN] transit center have improvements made to it, so we could increase the volume and number of lines that are coming into there.”

State Senator Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat representing the 18th District in the San Fernando Valley, agreed that CSUN should be a transportation hub.

“If you go and show a big picture map of the Valley, and you include a bus rapid transit coming down Nordhoff and one coming up Reseda, it sends a message that the Northwest Valley is included as part of this larger transportation plan,” Hertzberg said. “The Northeast Valley benefits because so many students from CSUN come from the Northeast Valley. It fundamentally completes the picture of the San Fernando Valley.”

While cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C. may have been built for public transportation use, L.A. has more suburban ground to cover and may seem better suited for the car. But CSUN Urban Studies and Planning Professor Craig Olwert said it is not too late for L.A. to get into the public transportation game.

“The subway system has been fairly successful and the Orange Line has been very successful,” Olwert said. “There is a demand for [public transit] and as we keep allowing more high density to be built around those stations, eventually you’ll start seeing an increase in ridership.”

Ultimately, the decision to bring more transit options to the Valley may be be left in the hands of voters. If the new plan is approved by the Metro Board of Directors in June, it will go on the November ballot, where it will need two-thirds approval to pass.


Moderator: Jarvis Haren

Anchor: Mariah Robinson

Producer: Jarvis Haren

Social Media Editors: Ayo Adelaja and Haley Kramer

Reporters: Ayo Adelaja, Harry Bennett III, Jarvis Haren, Valerie Hernandez, Sofia Levin and Mariah Robinson

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Redshirting: Changing the Game

The growing trend of parents redshirting their children prior to high school athletic competition leaves youth sports torn between ethical values and winning.  

The phenomenon, traditionally used by athletes competing in the NCAA, is now shifting towards kids as early as kindergarten.  This parentinitiated process is a way for a child to gain physical advantages compared to his or her peers, as well as attract the attention of college coaches and recruiters.    

Most organizations and sports programs do not see the practice as enough of a threat to enforce regulations against it. Yet other entities, such as the New Jersey state legislature, are pushing to end redshirting.

“Right now, it’s not [considered] cheating,” New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey (D-Essex) said, “but we know it is. It’s trying to game the system.”  

Despite several gray areas in the bill, many do believe parents should take into consideration all the ramifications of such actions.

“We really need to think about kids’ rights to an open future,” CSUN Kinesiology Professor Doug McLaughlin said. “Some people in our society value sports too much, which causes people to do things that are problematic.” McLaughlin said if parents decide to redshirt their children for sports, they have only a 50-50 chance at best of seeing success after high school.

A Notre Dame University study found that kids who repeat a year of school between kindergarten and sixth grade, are 60 percent less likely to finish high school.

“It’s tough enough to be a teenage boy and have your parents tell you you’re not good enough so we are going to hold you back,” said President of William S. Hart Baseball, Michael Eberle. “The kids are [the] victims at stake.  I’m just not sure that is a positive message.”

Former college football player and current high school football coach Trajuan Briggs said his perspective on the trend has changed through the years.

“As a player on the high school level, I thought it was a bit unfair.  Since this kid is now in my recruiting class, what if he gets the scholarship I was suppose to get?” Briggs said.  “Once I got to college, my outlook on those types of players changed.  It didn’t bother me at all.  I knew I was going to have to compete with 23-year-old juniors as a freshman and rely on my skills.”

As a coach, Briggs has seen the trend occur several times.  

“It goes back to Pop Warner, where kids are being held back by the parents,” Briggs said. “And believe it or not, a lot of high school coaches look for that.  They feel like it is an on field advantage.” 


Moderator: Harry Bennett III

Anchor: Ayo Adelaja

Producer: Haley Kramer

Social Media Editors: Valerie Hernandez and Sofia Levin

Reporters: Harry Bennett III, Jarvis Haren, Valerie Hernandez, Haley Kramer, Sofia Levin and Mariah Robinson

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