Bargain Hunter: General Mills is holding a Lucky Charms Marshmallow Only contest

General Mills has launched a Lucky Charms Marshmallow Only promotion and will be giving away 15,000 boxes of Lucky Charms filled with rainbow and unicorn marshmallows. You can win one by purchasing a specially marked box of Lucky Charms, then entering the code from its inside panel at www.marshmallowonly.com. Winners will be shipped one of the limited-edition boxes and receive membership in the Lucky Charms Marshmallow Only Club. You must be 18 or older to participate. Contest ends this summer. For more information and alternate entry methods, go to www.marshmallowonly.com.

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Poll: California voters offer mixed views on death penalty, sanctuary laws, horse racing

Californians’ opinions are sharply divided about the death penalty and sanctuary-city policies, but they’re in broad agreement that climate change is a problem and President Trump’s threat to close the border with Mexico is a bad idea, according to a poll released Thursday, April 11.

The Quinnipiac University Poll asked 1,005 California voters April 3-8 about several familiar issues and a few new ones, including views of horse racing in the wake of 23 horses’ deaths in three months at Santa Anita.

The poll found that 48% of Californians prefer that people convicted of murder receive life in prison with no chance for parole, while 41% prefer that they get the death penalty. But in what seems like a contradiction, 46% oppose Gov. Gavin Newsom’s suspension of the death penalty, while 44% support Newsom’s policy.

Newsom’s mid-March order suspending executions in California has been controversial in part because critics say it defied the will of voters expressed in recent ballot initiatives regarding capital punishment.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, found state residents also are divided about so-called sanctuary cities, with 46% saying cities “should be able to deal with immigrants as they see fit,” and 47% saying cities should be “forced to comply with federal immigration efforts.”

By an overwhelming margin of 70% to 23%, Californians said they oppose closing the southern border, something Trump has threatened to do if Mexico doesn’t halt illegal immigration to the United States, the poll found.

Also by a solid margin, 63% to 33%, state voters told the pollsters that climate change is “an emergency.” But few were getting behind the Green New Deal, with 16% stating support, 27% opposition and 56% no opinion yet about the environmental and economic policy package proposals sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

When asked by pollsters about major statewide officials, voters expressed more approval than disapproval — but hardly majority support — for Newsom (40%-33%), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (47%-37%) and Sen. Kamala Harris (47%-30%), who is running for president.

Democrats and Republicans differed dramatically on most questions. Among GOP voters only, 68% support the death penalty over life in prison, 88% oppose sanctuary cities, 59% favor closing the border, 75% say climate change is not an emergency, and 75% disapprove of Newsom’s job performance three months into his term.

It was “no surprise” that members of the two major parties were so polarized, said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll.

The poll was the first to ask Californians for their opinions about horse racing since an unusually high number of fatal injuries to horses in races and workouts prompted Santa Anita Park in Arcadia to interrupt racing for most of March. The deaths have drawn state and county investigations, and brought calls from Feinstein and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, for Santa Anita to halt racing pending those findings.

Asked if Newsom should create an independent panel to investigate the deaths of racehorses, 55% said yes and 35% said no, according to the poll.

Asked about their general views on horse racing, 19% said they were favorable and 20% unfavorable, while 59% expressed no opinion.

Reacting to the high percentage with no opinion, advocates on both sides saw an opportunity to sway the public.

“It’s no surprise to us that only 19% of California voters have a favorable view of racing,” said Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which favors banning horse racing. “More have an unfavorable view, and the majority don’t even care enough to have an opinion about it.”

Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the poll shows “we have work to do to educate the public concerning our commitment to the safety of the horse.”

The poll focusing on California was the second this week by Quinnipiac, which is in Connecticut.

A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday asked California Democrats about the 2020 presidential race, finding Joe Biden is the choice of 26%, Bernie Sanders 18% and Harris 17%.

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Senior Living: 10 steps to turn around unhealthy habits

By Bruce Horovitz

Contributing writer, Kaiser Health News

It takes moxie to flip an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one — particularly for folks over 60.

Most baby boomers approach retirement age unwilling to follow basic healthy lifestyle goals established by the American Heart Association, said Dr. Dana King, professor and chairman of the department of family medicine at West Virginia University, referencing his university’s 2017 study comparing the healthy lifestyle rates of retired late-middle-aged adults with rates among those still working.

Kaiser Health News interviewed three other prominent experts on aging and health about how seniors can find the will to adopt healthier habits.

“People do financial planning for retirement, but what about retirement health planning?” King said.

Motivated seniors can begin by following KHN’s 10-step program:

  1. Buy great sneakers. Purchase a pair of top-quality sneakers specifically designed for walking, said Carolyn Rosenblatt, founder of AgingParents.com, who started participating in triathlons at age 63 and continues to do them at age 70. Start by walking around the block. Expand that to 30-minute walks at least three times weekly — or set a goal to increase your walking distance 10 percent each week. And leave your sneakers by the front door.
  2. Practice your balance. The best way to avoid falls is to retain a good sense of balance, said Rosenblatt. Practice standing on one leg with your eyes closed for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Improve your breakfast. Stop eating the sweet roll with coffee. Consider substituting a home-blended smoothie with a banana, seasonal fruits, almond milk and protein powder or a protein patty without sugar. And cut out excess sugar in all your meals, said Rosenblatt. Replace soda with seltzer water.
  4. De-stress wisely. Find ways to manage your stress that don’t involve food, alcohol or smoking. There are lots of meditation programs you can download on your phone and listen to for even 10 minutes, said Rosenblatt.
  5. Practice resistance training. To keep your muscle mass from disappearing, do resistance training by lifting dumbbells or barbells or using weight machines, said Kay Van Norman, owner of Brilliant Aging, a consulting firm for healthier aging. “Your muscles are amazing, but if you don’t use them, you lose them,” she said.
  6. Hit the floor. Aging adults need to regularly practice getting down on the floor and standing back up again. “If you don’t get down on the floor and back up, you won’t be able to do it after a while,” said Van Norman.
  7. Challenge your speed. While it might not seem as if folks over 60 need to worry about exercise that involves speed and intensity, they do, said Van Norman. “Most people don’t even think about speed in order to stay healthy. But tennis players are doing that all the time. You need to do something to challenge your speed, not just your power.” That’s why sports like tennis can be terrific as you age, she said.
  8. Believe in yourself. Faced with self-doubt and depression after several tragic, challenging events, Sharon Sultan Cutler, 71, turned to therapy to help her feel better about herself. “The first person you have to believe in is yourself,” said Sultan Cutler, an author. “People like to be around other people who believe in themselves.”
  9. Tackle a project. Pick a project that has meaning to you. Sultan Cutler opted to co-author (with two other writers) her first book, “Bandstand Diaries: The Philadelphia Years, 1956-1963,” an inside look at her once favorite TV show, Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” Never mind that she’d never written a book before. Now she’s on her third book, “Your New You After 65: Valuable Advice to Inspire Your Awesome Aging.” “It’s like having a daydream that you can actually make happen,” she said.
  10. Embrace self-improvement. Some call this lifelong learning. Living a healthier lifestyle requires constant learning and self-improvement, said Sultan Cutler. Seek out local learning resources like community colleges, where classes are often steeply discounted for seniors, she said. “Self-improvement isn’t just physical. It’s mental, too.”

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Live coverage of the 2019 LA Marathon

Live updates from the 2019 L.A. Marathon.

RELATED: LA Marathon freeway and street closures

Starting times: Wheelchair participants at 6:30 a.m.; handcyclers at 6:42 a.m., elite women runners at 6:45 a.m.; and elite men and the full field at 6:55 a.m.

The #LAMarathon route runs directly outside my apartment. Every year for 15 years, I’ve slept through it. But THIS TIME, yeah, I will continue to do that.The #LAMarathon Street closures have taken effect around the city. Here’s what you need to know to get around the road closures. loom.ly/mQ1AX9Q

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Bargain Hunter: Hotel Irvine has a family spring escape package

Hotel Irvine is offering the Family Fun Spring Escape package on select dates through April 30. Pricing starts at $139 per night and includes $50 food and beverage credit at the pool, complimentary bike rentals, Irvine Spectrum Center complimentary valet parking and Giant Wheel passes, 50 percent off daily hotel self-parking and more. The hotel is at 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine. Call 877-614-2137 or go to www.hotelirvine.com.

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Bargain Hunter: Aldi has Irish cheese on sale

Aldi has a selection of Happy Farms Preferred Irish and speciality cheese truckles for $3.99. Add to your St. Patrick’s Day spread with Irish cheddar with beer, Irish cheddar with whiskey, aged Irish cheddar, pesto gouda and English sage derby. Available while supplies last. To find a market near you, go to www.aldi.us.en.

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Ask the Lawyer: Can I sue a robot that harms me?

Q: Are robots subject to laws?

-A.S., Hawthorne


Ron Sokol

A: The well-known author Isaac Asimov created the fictional “Three Laws of Robotics.”    The first rule is that a robot may not injure a human being, the second that the robot must obey orders (so long as doing so does not conflict with the first rule), and then that a robot can protect itself so long as there is no conflict with the first and second rules.

All kidding aside, robotics law is evolving. If a robot is considered a product, the law of products liability may well come into focus (which can mean strict liability).

Another avenue of recourse is agency law. For example, a surgery is carried out in large part by a robotic device. If something is done (or not done) that rises to the level of medical malpractice, the hospital and/or the supervising doctor may be liable because the robotic device is deemed their agent. If a drone causes injury, liability traces back most likely to the owner. In sum, robots are indeed subject to laws, but just who is liable and on what basis will turn on the circumstances.

Q: In just a matter of years, marijuana has become legal in some states; there are cars that drive themselves; and artificial intelligence is real. I presume there are laws for all of this?

-F.D., El Segundo

A: An attorney has to keep up with the laws as they evolve. New or further interpretations of rules are needed since we do not have a static society. The guidelines that affect our behavior – including what is permissible and what is outlawed – have to be updated in part for our own protection.

The notion of an intersection without a red light, yellow light, and green light, means accidents are not just likely but inevitable. Yes, with advances in technology there will be a need for laws that keep up with the times, and that seek to maintain order without unduly impacting our rights.

Facebook is an example: A fun social media site, but with it has come concern about privacy issues, exploitation by those with nefarious objectives, and problems with data breaches. Yet, there are complaints we already have too many laws, and far too many regulations.

Ron Sokol is a Manhattan Beach attorney with more than 35 years of experience. His column, which appears on in print on Wednesdays, presents a summary of the law and should not be construed as legal advice. Email questions and comments to him at RonSEsq@aol.com.

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Bargain Hunter: Planet Fitness is offering a membership deal

The new Planet Fitness in Buena Park is offering memberships for $1 down and $10 per month through March 13. Members enjoy a range of benefits, including free small group fitness instruction, free pizza on the first Monday of the month and free bagels on the second Tuesday of the month. The gym is open 24/7 at 8381 La Palma Ave. Call 714-676-0944 or go to www.planetfitness.com.

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Bargain Hunter: Get free food on T-Mobile Tuesdays

If you have T-Mobile as your cell phone provider you can get free and discounted products and services by signing up for the T-Mobile Tuesdays app. Past offers have included free Domino’s pizza, free movie tickets and $10 off of Lyft rides. Right now you can get a free taco from Taco Bell every week for a limited time. For more information, go to www.t-mobile.com/offers/t-mobile-tuesdays.

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Disney donates $5 million to help fund housing for Orange County’s homeless

The Disney Resort donated $5 million to a revitalized housing trust fund, kickstarting a business-backed campaign to raise cash for housing the homeless, Orange County business leaders said Monday, March 4.

The low-key Orange County Housing Trust, incorporated in 2010 and operating on a small budget, will “rise as a Phoenix” under a partnership between the Orange County Business Council and NeighborWorks Orange County, a nonprofit housing assistance agency, said Lucy Dunn, business council chief executive.

The goal is to make “last-mile” loans available to affordable housing projects that already have secured most of their funding, providing enough capital to push proposed developments “across the finish line,” backers said.

“There has been a heightened focus on the critical issue of homelessness in Orange County,” said Steve Churm, past chairman of the Orange County Business Council board and a new board member of the O.C. Housing Trust. “We as a business community have a responsibility to address this.”

The announcement comes a year after the county’s homeless crisis came to a head, with cities and advocates squaring off in court over accusations of government inaction.

The trust has already committed to funding a four-story, 102-unit affordable housing development Jamboree Housing Corp. is planning at the corner of Manchester and Orangewood avenues, using money from Disney’s contribution.


Disney Resort President Josh D’Amaro hopes the company’s $5 million contribution to the housing trust will spur more companies to donate, saying when Disney acts, others take notice. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disney Resort President Josh D’Amaro hopes the company’s contribution will spur more companies to donate, saying when Disney acts, others take notice.

“I feel we do have a responsibility,” D’Amaro said. “I think about Anaheim not just as where we do business, but this is our home.”

Anaheim, the county’s most populous city, has a poverty rate of 16 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The county’s poverty rate stands at 11.5 percent.

The reinvigorated housing trust comes to life just as local governments are launching another trust fund to support new affordable housing construction. In September, the state Legislature approved the creation of the Orange County Housing Finance Trust, jointly run by the county and its 34 cities.

Like the housing trust, the finance trust seeks to finance construction of supportive housing for homeless people and affordable housing for low-income residents but with public dollars, said David Kiff, interim executive director of the Association of California Cities-Orange County.

Kiff said the county Board of Supervisors and local cities will be deciding whether to join the new “joint powers authority,” which likely will hold its first meeting in May or June.

Initial funding will come from Proposition 1, the $4 billion affordable housing bond package state voters approved in November, Kiff said. The ballot measure includes about $300 million to support local housing trusts. Additional funding sources include revenue from a newly created real estate document filing fee and matching funds from other sources.

The finance trust “is more about maximizing Orange County’s share of public dollars,” Kiff said. He and others said both trusts are needed because some businesses are reluctant to contribute to a fund run by elected officials.

Leaders of NeighborWorks long envisioned an Orange County trust fund patterned after the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which raises capital from the tech sector and other businesses to help fund affordable housing construction throughout the Bay Area.

Over the past five years, the O.C. Housing Trust leveraged about $1.5 million to finance numerous building projects providing permanent housing for the homeless – as opposed to temporary shelters, said NeighborWorks CEO Helen O’Sullivan, who also is the housing trust’s executive director. There’s no shortage of proposals on the drawing boards that could benefit from additional financing, she said.

The new partnership “will really expand our capacity to help local developers build affordable and permanent supportive housing, which is really much needed,” O’Sullivan said.

Asked why the business community didn’t invest sooner in the housing trust, Churm said, “We just reached an inflection point maybe we weren’t at 10 years ago.”

A UC Irvine study reported two years ago that homelessness costs local government, housing agencies, hospitals and other entities about $299 million a year. Orange County could save $42 million a year in health care, law enforcement and other expenses by placing the chronically homeless in permanent housing, the study concluded.

Local governments also cracked down on more than 700 people camping out along the Santa Ana River, sparking a legal battle before U.S. District Judge David Carter. The case resulted in court settlements to use public funds to create homeless shelters and expand the number of temporary beds while pursuing permanent solutions.

“As businesses, this was not a good economic indicator for Orange County,” Dunn said of publicity the homeless controversies drew.

The UCI study found the vast majority of Orange County’s homeless are longtime residents who ended up on the streets mainly due to evictions, foreclosures, insufficient income or lost employment.

“These are our workers. These are our families,” Dunn said. “Every little piece helps solve the problem.”

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