Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 21, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page A-5



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 21, 2012 

“What’s Going On?” 

News and Views from Joan Schmidt

Makes A Difference”


The saga of 
Reyna Diaz begins 
in El Salvador 
some 50+ years 
ago, when our 
amazing Reyna 
was born. El 
Salvador was a 
dangerous war 
torn country. 
missionary nuns were killed there as 
was Archbishop Oscar Romero when 
he was celebrating Mass. When Reyna 
was only seventeen years old, she 
decided to leave El Salvador. She had to 
find a safer place-somewhere she could 
raise her baby, Violet. Reyna ventured 
to the United States on a journey that 
lasted FIVE months and it was difficult 
leaving Violet behind. But after arriving 
in America, Reyna worked, learned English, and 
met the love of her life- Ruben Diaz. (They’ve 
been married almost 36 years!) Reyna was now 
able to bring Violet over and she had Ruben also 
have two sons and many grandchildren.

 I met Reyna in 1992 when deputies 
were being shot at. Captain Bob Mirabella, 
then Commander of Temple Station, called a 
community meeting. I attended the meeting 
and sat in awe as I listened to Duarte County 
residents and their many problems. Reyna 
became their official spokesperson and 
translator. For the months from March-June, 
1993, the Town Council Formation Committee 
met EVERY Tuesday. Reyna was always there, 
working hard, translating and encouraging 
people to become involved. Although Reyna was 
not elected in the first election, she joined the 
Temple Station Civilian Advisory Committee 
and kept involved. Within a year, someone 
stepped down and Reyna then became an 
integral part of the Monrovia-Arcadia-Duarte 
Town Council. This AWESOME woman did 
the work of FIVE people. When I met her, she 
was a cake decorator, wedding coordinator and 
lay Eucharist Minister at San Gabriel Mission 
Church, volunteer for her children’s schools, 
and coordinator of MANY FUNDARAISERS. 
She had these special brunches when there was 
any kind of a natural disaster. Whether it was 
an earthquake or flooding, all the money raised 
went to that country. 

The Christmas season saw Reyna plan two 
special events. There were the Posadas for her 
area. One year over 300 attended-even State 
Senator Bob Margett. There also was the annual 
Toy Drive. She purchased 1000 toys and she and 
Ruben brought them down to San Salvador or 
Mexico. Vicki Gutierrez found out and secured 
many Dodger bats and balls which also were 
donated. This was in addition to any shoes, 
clothing and books Reyna could acquire. Reyna 
also encouraged residents to vote. Both she and 
Phil Reyes walked the area, and held workshops 
to encourage voter registration. 

 One of the happiest days of my life was 
when I attended the swearing in of Reyna Diaz 
to the Duarte School Board. What an honor to 
be first Latina and first from the unincorporated 
area to be elected to the School Board! Both she 
and I had tears in our eyes as she was sworn in. 
Afterwards I asked her, “Is this the happiest day 
of your life?” She replied, “No, the day I was 
sworn in as an American citizen was.”

 Reyna and I stepped down from the 
Town Council about ten years ago. Did she slow 
down? No, she dropped the Town Council, but 
took up TWO more projects. What she has done 
on the Kiwanis is unbelievable. They are donating 
a Medical ambulance and all sorts of supplies. 
Reyna not only teaches English and writing skills 
at Maxwell but also cake decorating and etiquette! 
In between she finds time to deliver Meals on 
Wheels. Reyna brings her grandchildren with 
her when she delivers meals. She wants them to 
learn the importance of helping others.

 As a human being, no one can hold a 
candle to Reyna. About twelve years ago, one 
of my students lost his two year old sister in a 
drowning accident. I have a pool and became 
paranoid. It took one call to Reyna and her 
husband Ruben contacted me about installing a 
fence around my pool. He said, “Reyna called me. 
She said I needed to call Joan because Joan was 
upset about the pool.” At that time, my finances 
were tight. I did pay for the fence- but only the 
cost of the labor done by Ruben’s workers. He 
paid for all the metal fencing and a side gate.

 At the Career Day at Santa Teresita, I was 
given an extra blue ribbon to pin on someone. 
Who made a difference in my life? That was easy. 
REYNA DIAZ: A woman who came to America 
in search of a better life. She got her better life, 
but didn’t stop there. Her life’s mission is to go 
out and help EVERYONE she meets so that they 
can have a better life. Thank you, Reyna. You are 
an INSPRIATION to everyone whose life you 

Sissy Campos, Dr. Buckley, Maxwell Prinicpal, and 
Reyna Diaz

LA County Parks Director Russ Guiney and Department staff pose with Supervisor Antonovich 
Back Row: Robert Ettleman, Lorrie Bradley, Russ Guiney, Supervisor Antonovich, 
Stephen Copley, Francis Yee Front Row: Jeremy Bok, Frank Moreno and Olga Ruano

This week at the California Trails & Greenways Conference in Woodland Hills, the California Recreational 
Trails Committee (a seven-member committee appointed by the Governor to provide guidance 
to local, regional, statewide and national trails programs) awarded Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich 
with the California Recreational Trails Award for his efforts supporting the preservation and 
management of the Los Angeles County trail system for hikers and equestrians. 

“Working with our partners in the community, we are successfully improving and expanding the 
County trail system to preserve the equestrian lifestyle and ensure this vital resource for current and 
future generations,” said Antonovich.

PET OF THE WEEK: GARY - Animal ID #A4411496

Meet an incredibly cute canine citizen, Gary (A4411496). 
Gary is an endearing two-year-old tan male shorthaired 
Chihuahua who was forsaken at the Baldwin Park Animal 
Care Center on March 31st because his former owner 
claimed he had no time for his dog. Weighing just five 
pounds, little Gary is underweight and needs some good 
food and TLC. He walks well on the leash and is probably 
housebroken. Fine with other dogs, what Gary really wants 
is a lap or purse to call his own. Gary will be the perfect 
pet for an individual or family living in an apartment or 
condo, and would be a fantastic companion for a senior. To 
watch a video of Gary please click visit:

To meet Gary, please visit him at the Baldwin Park Shelter, 
located at 4275 N. Elton, Baldwin Park, CA 91706 (Phone: 
626-430-2378). For any inquiries about Gary, please 
reference his animal ID number: A4317725. The shelter is 
open seven days a week, 12 pm-7 pm Monday-Thursday 
and 10am-5pm Friday-Sunday. This is a high-intake shelter with a great need for adoptions. For 
more information about Gary or the adoption process, contact United Hope for Animals Volunteer 
Adoption Coordinator Samantha at or 661-309-2674. To learn more 
about United Hope for Animals’ partnership with the Baldwin Park Shelter through its Shelter 
Support Program, as well as the many dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes available for adoption in 
local shelters, visit

2012 SUMMER 

 The Pasadena Educational Foundation is still 
taking registrations for its ninth-annual Summer 
Enrichment Program that’s open to all students in 
the San Gabriel Valley. The popular program for 
kindergarten through 6th-grade students takes place 
from June 18 to July 19, 2012, at PUSD’s Franklin, 
Hamilton, and Norma Coombs elementary schools. 

A Middle and High School Summer Program 
(grades 6 - 12) takes place from June 13 - July 17 
at Marshall Fundamental School. High school 
students can earn five to ten units of high school 
credits in classes with fewer students. Students can 
take SAT Prep, Math, Science, and English classes, as 
well as Scriptwriting, Letterpress Printing, and even 
Beginning Bridge taught by a certified American 
Contract League Teacher.

The wide range of enrichment opportunities for 
elementary studenets include Intro to Kindergarten 
and First Grade, a variety of Math, Science, and 
English classes as well as Music, Art, Chess, 
Cooking, Robotics; Writing, Spanish, Engineering, 
Fitness, and many more.

All classes are taught by credentialed teachers. 
Full brochure and online registration at www. For more information call 

WHAT: Pasadena Educational Foundation 9th 
Annual Summer Enrichment Program for K-6 and 
Middle and High School Summer Program.

WHEN: June 18 to July. 19, 2012, Monday through 
Thursday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. for grades K - 6 and June 
13 - July 17, Monday through Friday, 7:50 a.m. to 
1:10 p.m. for grades 6 - 12.

WHERE: Franklin Elementary (K-6) 527 W. 
Ventura St., Altadena; Hamilton Elementary (K - 
6) 2089 Rose Villa St., Pasadena, 91107; Marshall 
Fundamental School, 990 N. Allen Ave., Pasadena 
91104; Norma Coombs Alternative School (K-6) 
2600 Paloma St., Pasadena 91107 

TUITION: PUSD Students: $375 first enrollment; 
$350 per each sibling. Non-PUSD Students: $450 
first enrollment; $425 per sibling. High School 
classes costs $225 - $425, depending on number of 

REGISTRATION: Full brochure and online 
registration at For more 
information call PEF at 626-396-3625.


A Free Public Conference

Practically everyone has an opinion about 
Obama’s health care, but few understand it, 
according to the latest Associated Press poll. 
The future of the president’s Affordable 
Care Act lies in the hands of the Supreme 
Court, which is expected to make a decision 
on the Act’s constitutionality in June. 
Meanwhile 40 million people are without 
health insurance. 

A free public conference – Health Care: 
Where Are We Now? -- will address the 
health-care debate Saturday, May 12, from 
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Pasadena City College, 
Harbeson Hall, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 
CA. A coalition of community based 

organizations in Southern California led by 
the League of Women Voters Pasadena and 
Health Care for All – San Gabriel Valley is 
sponsoring the conference. 

Other organizations include Physicians for 
a National Health Program, California Alliance 
for Retired Americans, Ecumenical 
Council of Pasadena Area Congregations, 
NAACP, El Centro de Acci.ón Social, National 
Alliance on Mental Illness San Gabriel 
Valley, Pasadena Community Network, Pilgrim 
Place, Press for Democracy, San Gabriel 
Valley Pharmacists Association, and 

Leading health care authorities – Anthony 
Wright, executive director of Health Access 
California, and Dr. Don McCanne, senior 
health policy fellow for Physicians for a National 
Health Program -- will address the 
key components and pros and cons of the 

Affordable Care Act. 

In addition four 15-minute capsule sessions 
will be presented.

Not-So-Scary Truth about Medicare/Medicaid 
Funding, by Dr. Bruce Hector of Physicians 
for National Health Program

Review of federal bills, a California single 
payer plan and Vermont’s experience, by 
Doris Nelson, League of Women 

Voters and Health Care for All

Why we need single-payer insurance, by 
Sally Seven, Ph.D, League of Women Voters 
and Health Care for All

How do we get universal health care in 
California? Dr. King Reilly of Physicians for 
National Health Program

Wright will address the patient-protection 
and affordability components of the Affordable 
Care Act, in particular for middle- and 
working-class families. He also will discuss 
the mandate to purchase health insurance.

McCanne will cover the pluses and minuses 
of the act compared to Medicare for All. He 
and Wright will have a dialogue about 

benefits of the Affordable Care Act versus 
those of a single payer system. The conference 
will conclude with a short video: “Joining 
the Movement to Win Universal Health 
Care in California.”

Free refreshments will be served at 9 a.m. 
Parking is available in the PCC staff parking 
lot off Hill Avenue and on the street. Space is 
limited; reservations are recommended. For 
reservations, call 626-798-0965. 


[Nyerges is the author of the recent “Til Death Do Us Part?”, available on 
Kindle and from He also teaches outdoor 
classes, and shares a weekly podcast at Preparedness Radio Network. ]

“EUROPA” Death, and the nature of life

I had recently heard of the death of a friend. 
It made me feel loss, and sadness, and I spent 
some time in silence. 

Death is part of life, and still, I felt the loss, and 
the reality that -- for all practical purposes – I 
would never see this friend again. 

I thought of all the close people who had 
passed. It was like mentally watching a parade 
as they passed by and I smiled at each, and held 
back the tears.

 Gato Barbieri’s “Europa” was playing 
on the radio. That’s Ramah’s song. Ramah was 
our purebred pitbull who came on our outings. 
When she died over 10 years ago, I was holding 
her in my arms as she gave out her last goodbye 
cry, and Europa was playing on the radio. 
Since then, Europa has been “Ramah’s song,” 
her goodbye rite-of-passage song. I think of 
Ramah when I hear Europa, and I think of 
death and the seeming impermanence of life. 

 It is time for work so I drive away with 
the radio off. I want to listen to the silence. I 
arouse a cooper’s hawk as I go down the long 
driveway and he swoops away under the oaks 
with a pocket gopher in his claws. More death. 

 I think about the pocket gopher which 
devours my root crops, and I feel no sadness. 
Still, I only shudder to think that he’ll be 
ripped apart and eaten while still alive. Is that 
good? Is it bad?

 A local Sierra Club hiker 
wrote about his chancing upon a 
mountain lion killing a deer. He 
said he could have interrupted it, 
but he didn’t. He watched it. He 
said it was beautiful. He said it was 
part of the beauty of nature.

 Beauty? Certainly the 
kill is part of nature, part of The 
Way. Eat or be eaten. But “beautiful”? 
The deer would have had its 
throat slit from behind, and while 
it struggled, the lion would have 
ripped open his underside and 
begun eating the deer while it was 
still alive. Let’s not kid ourselves. 
There is much in “nature” that is 
not beautiful. It is part of The Way, but it’s not 
beautiful. Death is sobering. 

 Death is not beautiful. To the dead, I 
presume it is peaceful. To the living, painful, 
especially when a close one goes and you experience 
their absence, and the pain of separation. 
You’re forced to acknowledge the temporary 
nature of life. You’re forced to make each 
moment count, to make each moment matter.

 Off to work, I must think about the 
immediate now, the temporary world of timeclocks 
and responsibility and bills and rents 
and taxes. I am only mildly cheered up by telling 
myself this is only temporary.

 I sip my coffee at a downtown coffeehouse 
in the dense fog of the early morning before 
my work begins. The fog drifts and flows, 
like the drifting landscape of my thoughts of 
life and death and work and bills.

 Death is everywhere. It is inescapable. 
And yet it is perhaps our blessing. It is the sobering 
element that forces us to reconsider everything, 
and to strive to do the right thing in 
each moment. Death forces us to think larger 
than just our own interests, and forces us to 
think about what is best for the most people, 
and what is best for the next generation.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No.327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: