Is Healthcare Good for Your Health

League Day
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Is Healthcare Good for Your Health?

Healthcare has been a topic of intense national interest for many years. Most of the focus has been on guaranteeing access to healthcare and how to pay for the costs. Much less attention has been paid to questions surrounding our return on investment for healthcare. What do we get for the enormous amounts of money we, as a nation, spend on healthcare? Is US healthcare the best healthcare in the world? How do we measure that? What factors influence the state of health of the American populace? Does some healthcare produce harm? What are the determinants of health that have the most influence over the largest number of people? How should the answers to these questions drive public policy?

Our speaker at the March 1 League Day will stimulate your critical thinking skills and offer answers to these questions. Dr. Margan Zajdowicz is a pediatric infectious disease physician who has experience in academic medicine, in the military healthcare system, and in public health. She received her B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and her M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health degree from Eastern Virginia School of Medicine/Old Dominion University. She has spoken to local, national, and international audiences during her long career, including multiple presentations on AIDS and HIV to thousands of young sailors and marines.

The members of the new Healthcare Committee decided that we should begin our healthcare advocacy efforts by educating ourselves. This presentation represents the inaugural effort in that regard. Please join us for a provocative talk on the many determinants of health!

Thursday March 1, 2018

8:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Women’s City Club
160 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena

Enter parking lot from Madison, second parking lot south of Walnut.

9:00-Breakfast (optional)
9:30to 11:00-Program

Reservations are required. No charge for program attendance. Served breakfast is optional at $25/person. Register at or phone 626.798.0965 by noon on Friday, February 23 (leave a message). Breakfasts reserved and not used must still be paid. If you must cancel, please call the League Office by noon on Monday, February 26. Breakfast menu: Quiche, fruit, pastry, coffee, orange juice. You are very welcome if you are not a breakfast eater, but please make a reservation nevertheless, so we can plan the event logistics. Join us for coffee or tea even if you don’t eat.

RSVP on our event page:

The Threat of ICE

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Women’s City Club
Photos are here

The 2017 reversal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA) and a change in deportation priorities is resulting in a significant backlog for the courts. That was one of the points local immigration attorney Romben Aquino made at the February League Day in a presentation on immigration issues. The attorney, a partner in the Pasadena law firm Fong & Aquino, spoke in front of a packed audience at the Women’s City Club of Pasadena.

Aquino explained that the previous administration prioritized deportation of undocumented immigrants posing a security threat as terrorists or members of street gangs but that the Department of Homeland Security now has a much broader focus.

A Catch-All Provision

The categories of people whom the new administration prioritizes for deportation include those charged with a criminal offense but not convicted and anyone who in the judgement of an immigration officer poses a risk to national security or public safety. “This is what lawyers call a catch-all provision,” Aquino said. He mentioned that approximately 10 million to 11 million people in the U.S. are currently without proper immigration status.

Noting that, in the U.S., everybody is entitled to due process, Aquino said that the new guidelines will create additional backlog for the approximately 300 immigration judges across the country. “It’s a little like the 210 Freeway at 5 o’clock,” he said. Some judges are already telling immigrants that they will hear their case again in 2021.

Asked what concerned citizens can do in the current situation, the attorney suggested they advise undocumented immigrants to talk to lawyers about routes to legalization and to steer clear from “notarios” and other non-lawyers giving out legal advice. He urged green card holders with minor children to apply for naturalization as soon as possible because the children then automatically become U.S. citizens.

Speaking for the Pasadena chapter of the League of Women Voters, Immigration Committee Chair Pat Coulter asked the audience to call, email, or send tweets to legislators right in the meeting, demanding the passage of a bipartisan immigration bill. LWV-PA President Dorothy Keane invited everyone to actively support the work of the League during this election year by volunteering to help with voter registration.

—Christina Schweighofer

Aquino earned a BA in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles, and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law. The son of immigrants, he has centered his work as an attorney for the past decade on helping immigrant families come together and stay together.

The League of Women Voters Pasadena Area opposes the deportation of noncriminal, undocumented immigrants. It supports immigration policies, including the Dream Act, that promote the reunification of immediate families.


LWV-PA Annual Meeting

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Women’s City Club

An enthusiastic group of sixty-six members filled the Women’s Club dining room on January 11, 2018, for a busy and important program. They came to participate in planning LWV-PA’s program and priorities for 2018–2019, to hear about the LWVUS recommended program for national League 2018–2020, to enjoy and learn from a presentation on “Fake News in Today’s Political Environment” from celebrated journalist George Lewis, and to share a delicious lunch with old and new League friends.

National League Program

President Dorothy Keane presented the national League’s recommendation to continue The Campaign for Making Democracy Work, which was approved by delegates to the 2016 convention, through the next two years. This prioritized work on Voting Rights, Improving Elections, Campaign Finance/Money in Politics, and Redistricting, supported by the League’s core positions in the areas of Voting Rights and Election Reform. She highlighted the League’s major accomplishments advocating for these positions, which included energizing our members and the public for lobbying, petitioning, and contacting Congress to protect voting rights, expand early voting and online registration, and restore the Voting Rights Act. She noted that state Leagues and LWVUS continue to mount legislative and judicial challenges to state laws restricting access to the vote and to redistricting schemes that distort equal representation. By voice consensus, the meeting agreed that the League should continue the Campaign for Making Democracy Work for two more years. Various members then proposed new specific priorities for education and advocacy within that campaign; these will be reviewed by the LWVPA Board and submitted to national League for consideration at the June national convention. The LWVUS 2016–2018 program is printed in our Members Yearbook. Members who want to recommend priorities for LWV-PA convention delegates are urged to email their thoughts to

Speaker Presentation

Our speaker, journalist George Lewis, winner of three Emmys, retired after a long career at CBS Nightly News. His lively slide and video presentation opened by pointing to the decline over recent years of public trust in the news media and the related fact that “fake news” has become part of our vocabulary. The real definition is not “something you disagree with” but deliberate misinformation intended to deceive. When a news source makes an honest error, then apologizes and issues a correction, that is not “fake news.” Lewis shared some tips on detecting fake news and not being misled. Check the name of the source for news items on the internet— you can probably rely on well-established sources like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times; watch out for fringe or unfamiliar sources and try to corroborate their stories in other sources. Refer to factcheckers like, Politifact, Snopes. Don’t “share” an interesting item until you have read past the headline and understand the whole story. Just because an item appears to support your opinions does not mean it is true. The obvious Russian meddling in our election via the internet shed a light on these practices and now Facebook is launching an effort to seek out, disclose, and shut down fake sites/accounts.

LWV Pasadena Area Program

After the presentation, we settled down to develop a program to guide the work of LWV-PA in the coming year. It will be reviewed by the Board and presented for member approval at our Annual Meeting in June. Dorothy Keane reminded everyone that our policy positions, arrived at after study and objective analysis and member consensus, are the basis for education and advocacy. At five separate tables, we reviewed and discussed our current positions (also printed in the Yearbook). Each table reported to the group as a whole on whether they recommended keeping the position as is, making minor updates and edits, or starting a new study to arrive at a new position, as well as new priorities for education and advocacy. Come to Annual Meeting to learn more and have your say!

—Katherine Gavzy, Events Committee Co-chair



Seeking Solutions to Climate Change

Nov. 2, 2017
Women’s City Club

Photos are here

Video is here

Hurricane Harvey illustrated what a serious threat global warming is to a developed nation. Much warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico, a result of the increasing greenhouse effect, strengthened Hurricane Harvey resulting in a tragedy in Texas. Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on Florida and Hurricane Maria decimated the US territory of Puerto Rico, producing a human catastrophe which will take months to resolve. The energy released by a hurricane is estimated at the equivalent of a million atomic bombs of the Hiroshima type – per day. Extreme weather will only worsen as the planet warms. Human civilization is dependent on energy sources. Can we mitigate global warming and if so, how can we do so without creating social and economic chaos?

We have two excellent climate change related presentations for the November 2 League Day. Dr. John Odell is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at USC and a Senior Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation. He received his B.A. from the University of Texas and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He will discuss Practical Remedies for Climate Change with an emphasis on economic implications.

Our second speaker is Bill Carnahan from the Los Angeles County Office of Sustainability. Mr. Carnahan is the interim Executive Director of Los Angeles County Community Choice Energy (LACCE). He will explain the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program. This program separates the purchase of energy sources from the transmission and billing functions administered by the utility company. Local jurisdictions will be able to control their energy sources by creating a local board which will choose the energy source and be able to move to renewable sources of energy more quickly. The CCA program will also have financial control of these purchases and with the profit will be able to invest in new renewable energy sources.

The Natural Resources Committee members believe that moving to renewable energy sources as soon as possible is a significant and necessary first step toward saving the environment in which we live. We look forward to an interesting and informative morning with great speakers. Please join us!

The Cost of Healthcare

PeterMendelHeaderOctober 5, 2017
Women’s City Club
Slideshow is here

Our morning speaker will be Peter Mendel, PhD, a Senior Sociologist at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research institute based in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Mendel is no stranger to healthcare topics. His research has focused on change and improvement in healthcare systems, from evaluations of national programs (such as the National ActionPlan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections) to local initiatives (such as engaging low-income communities in Los Angeles to improve access and quality of depression care). He has also conducted international research comparing the experiences of leading hospitals in the United States and Europe on sustaining efforts to improve quality and safety. A common interest throughout his work is to understand how local providers of healthcare and related services respond to broader changes in policy, industry, and social trends, and how those responses affect both the quality and value of health services on which we rely, as well as the health and well-being of communities.