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Safety, Not Timelines, Drives San Onofre

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The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente, Calif., has been providing safe, clean and reliable electricity for so long you may no longer notice its two domes sitting between the I-5 Freeway and the ocean. For more than 40 years, Southern California Edison (SCE), the majority owner of San Onofre, has been operating this plant, providing clean, emission-free energy to 1.4 million homes and businesses in our region.

Earlier this year, SCE safely shut down Units 2 and 3. Unit 2 was due for planned maintenance and Unit 3 was safely taken offline when the station operators detected a small leak in one of that unit’s almost 20,000 steam generator tubes. Both units at the plant remain safely shut down while we perform thorough inspections, evaluations and corrective actions.

What does all this mean to you, the customers? Without the availability of San Onofre’s power, it has meant some sacrifice during the hot summer months. SCE customers have done a tremendous job in conserving energy this summer by cutting back on air conditioning and the use of other appliances.

SCE employees and independent third-party experts continue to evaluate repair and operation plans, all with the same goal in mind: to ensure that the plant will be able to safely operate under the high standards required by us and the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The safe operation of the plant is our number one priority, and we take this responsibility seriously.

There is a cost associated with all of this. We will first look to steam generator manufacturer warranties and insurance to recover costs associated with the current outages. The California Public Utilities Commission will also review and determine if the costs are reasonable.

We take seriously the responsibility of running the plant safely. Our employees and their families live and work in this community. We are proud of our safety record. We are in the business of safely providing clean and reliable electricity to our customers.

Sponsored by Southern California Edison, an Edison International company ###

Robin McKay Co-Founder McKay’s Family Mortuary, LLC

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Robin McKay, has worked most of her life serving others. She began an early career as a LVN specializing in Geriatrics. After several years of service at St. Francis Medical Center, she went on to expand her skills, accepting a position with Los Angeles Unified School District as a Special Education Teacher. Robin's work involved teaching life skills and academics to children who were restricted to respirators. During her tenure as a Special Ed teacher Robin committed to welcoming special needs student into her home and at times accompanying her family on trips to Disneyland and other special places.

Robin has always had a special place in her heart for teaching and mentoring the younger generation. At times she would host Cookout Bible studies on Saturdays for 20 troubled teens to ensure a safe arena while teaching God’s word.

Robin joined her husband, Mark managing a successful janitorial business while still allowing her to maintain her commitment to raising their 5 beautiful children while helping other young people enhance their skills. She has hired and mentored several young people and taught them secretarial/office etiquette; bookkeeping and managerial skills. Many of her trainees subsequently have been able to successfully open businesses of their own and have returned to thank Robin for sharing her wisdom.

In 2003 Robin again decided to join Mark on their missionary crusade to provide affordable After Care service to all in need. She remains committed to guiding and preparing young professionals for a successful career in the Mortuary business by hiring and training them to be entrepreneurs.  PAGE 2 

The Black Press Endorses President Obama

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By Cloves C. Campbell, Jr.

A few years ago NNPA was holding its annual board meetings in March in Washington, D. C., then, Senator Barack Obama walked in the room in the room to welcome the Publishers to Washington. He also indicated he wanted to share some news with us. The news was that he was planning on seeking the office of the President of the United States of America. There were some young and many older Publishers in the meeting. He said if any of us would like to talk with him in the lobby, he would be happy to share his thoughts. I remember many of the Publishers being very excited. Francis Page and I were especially interested in talking with Senator Obama. (During our Black Press Week events that week, then NNPA Foundation President, Brian Townsend was honoring the Senator as well.) As we listened, we too saw what many people already knew and millions more would eventually learn about this very charismatic man. There was something special about him. Something that would change the history of Black Folks in politics forever. It was then that I and the other members of NNPA voiced our support first for the 44th President of the United States of America. The Black Press was there FIRST.

Fast forward, to August 2012. It was then that I asked the question about the President’s campaign spending. It was then, when several members of the campaign questioned my article. As I stated then and I will state again, THE NNPA, THE BLACK PRESS of AMERICA has always supported President Obama. We have encouraged Black Folks to get registered to vote. We encouraged Blacks to go to the polls and exercise their right to vote. We have published hundreds of articles about President Obama, his administration and his programs. We have also on numerous occasions championed his issues on our front pages.

There is no doubt, that when other media outlets brought unnecessary criticism on the President, it was the BLACK PRESS that was there to support him. As we prepare to go to the polls in November, I am here to say that the National News Paper Publishers Association endorses President Barack Obama once again. It is our belief that the United States of America can be best served with President Obama being re-elected. We at the NNPA look forward to working with the Presidents' administration in the formulation of strategies for the next four years. It is our hope that those plans include more opportunities for Blacks to procure Business with the Federal Government, greater employment opportunities for Blacks in America and enhanced opportunities for all students seeking higher education. We encourage our readers to register to vote, go out and vote and be sure to take the proper identification with them to the polls on election day, vote to re-elect President Barack Obama November 6th!


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-- Please provide a brief history of your business. I own and operate two newly built gas stations from the ground up in the City of Thousand Oaks, Town of Newbury Park, California. The two major brands are Chevron with Extramile Convenience Store with a touchless carwash; and Arco with Arco AmPm convenience store.

-- How did you get your start in the convenience/petroleum retailing industry? It was my dream to own the real estate of the business I establish. I researched for five years before deciding to purchase the gas station properties.

-- What was/were your previous job(s) before getting into this business? I work as a Statistician part time in the medical research industry and had helped my spouse with 7-11 convenience stores on a limited basis.

-- Describe the first c-store you opened (what did it look like, what did it stock, etc.)? The first C-store I personally opened was with the Chevron Extramile Store franchise. It is a 2,000 square foot facility offering hot foods, energy drinks, sodas, Icee, coffee, candies, newspapers, ice and so much more.

-- What was the greatest opportunity you found in operating a single store? Since I built the station from the ground up with my husband, the greatest opportunity was to establish from the beginning was convenience to include the floor plan, product placement and design of the circulation/flow of the store itself.

-- What was the greatest challenge you faced when operating a single store? The greatest challenge was to establish a business when the economy began to lag. When the recession hit, our projections were based on pre-recession numbers. It was a very tough ride. The property loans and financials were difficult to meet but we were able to keep afloat with hard work, great employees, marketing, and sacrifices.

-- Why did you decide to open a second store, third store, and so on? We decided to build the second gas station from the ground up, also in the tough economic times of 2010-11, to provide a name brand that is not available to our neighborhood for miles. In Newbury Park, there were no Arco AmPm’s within a 15-mile radius of our location, which brings a value brand of gasoline to our community at the lowest competitive price possible.

-- What’s been the most important lesson and/or best practice you have learned going from a single store to a multi-store operation? It is crucial to get financial projections that would work if the income reduced by up to 20%. If planned right, multi-store operations allows for diversification in a lagging economy providing a financial cushion and constant income base.

-- What’s been your best idea yet? The best part of our endeavor has been to seek SBA financing for both projects. Although with stringent qualifications and criteria for SBA loans, we found that it is the best financial product for new businesses with property.

What’s been your worst mistake yet? Undertaking large construction projects with basic financial cushion. When we projected to build our new station, we set a cushion of ten percent of the funds as extra. However, so many unknowns surfaced such as environmental fees, environmental requirements and upgrades, equipment upgrades, new equipment not in the original scope and contractor change orders. When one does a large project, a critical piece in the equation is the change order contractors elicit. They know you have to open and they will do everything that is not specifically mentioned in the contract to become a change order. We had to be so very diligent in this matter and even then we had issues. Furthermore, we didn’t project that the recession would hit while we were building the site. The projections of the income and sales were lower than anticipated due to the recession. It was a challenge for the first two years to make all the payments of all the obligations, but we did it with a lot of hard work.

-- How is your company/business/stores unique compared to your competitors? We operate two name brands across from each other and are able to offer customers both a value brand and a premium brand at an every day fair price possible. We operate the stations in a small community known as the town of Newbury Park in the City of Thousand Oaks. We are a family owned business and we strive to give excellent customer service, excellent state of the art stations, clean and well stocked stores, tremendous variety of products, strategic location with easy access off the 101 freeway and best prices possible. We have achieved 100% scores with Chevron Customer first program and 100% score for the Top Performing Extramile store in the network. Each year we have grown our business since we opened, thanks to the support of our customers and the community.

-- What advice can you offer a single-store owner today who’s considering expanding? Expansion from single store to multi-store is successful with good financial planning, experience with all facets of daily store operation, ability to recognize when change is needed in any aspect of operation, marketing skills and organized infrastructure for management of employees.

-- What are the growth goals for your current operation? If opportunity arises we would expand with additional locations.

National Urban League to Nike: Just Don’t Do It

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By Marc H. Morial

NNPA Columnist

“The economy continues to fall apart, unemployment rates are through the roof and Nike knows that the kids are strung out. So they just keep mass marketing high-priced cool to those who can’t afford it.”

-- Stephen A. Crockett, Jr., Washington Post

In recent weeks, on behalf of the National Urban League, I have been urging Nike to reconsider its plans to market a new basketball shoe targeted to urban youth that will be priced in the neighborhood of $300.  We understand that adolescence is a time dominated by peer pressure, the emulation of celebrities and the need to fit.  This often leads to equating self-esteem with material status symbols, including high-priced sneakers.   Aside from the misplaced values this represents, it can have devastating consequences for low income urban families.  All of us – from parents and children to corporations –have a responsibility to recognize this problem and do something about it.  On August 24th, I sent a letter to Nike company officials outlining our opposition to the upcoming release of their latest overpriced basketball shoe.  Our objections include the economic exploitation of low-income youth and their families, the promotion of misdirected priorities to our children, and the potential and sometimes real violence associated with this type of marketing campaign.  Following is a copy of that letter.

August 24, 2012

Mark Parker President & Chief Executive Officer Philip H. Knight Chairman of the Board of Directors Nike, lnc. One Bowerman Drive Beaverton, OR 97005-6453

Mr. Parker and Mr. Knight:

In light of the recent news that Nike plans to release a $315 basketball shoe, I ask that you pause to reflect on the implications of your decision during this fragile economic recovery. It’s no accident that Nike is a coveted brand among the nation’s urban youth.  It’s no secret that the frenzy surrounding Nike product launches repeatedly results in eruptions of violence.  Obsession with the Nike brand in poverty-stricken communities, according to published reports has led to muggings, beatings, and worse. With unemployment and its attendant hopelessness and desperation at historic highs in the very communities targeted by Nike’s aggressive marketing, now is the time to step back and consider the true impact of this kind of campaign.  To release such an outrageously overpriced product, designed to appeal to a young, urban demographic, while the nation is struggling to overcome an unemployment crisis is insensitive at best. Nike may well assure itself that it is not responsible for the priorities and values of its customers, but it can choose to address the negative consequences of its own marketing.  In recent years, Nike’s award-winning advertising has promoted a message of personal achievement and self-esteem.  That message is undermined by Nike’s appeal to shallow materialism.

As you are aware, in our public statement earlier this week, we called upon parents to resist the pressure to purchase expensive sneakers when those dollars would best be spent on school supplies, books or computers.  They ultimately are responsible for the choices they make for their children, and for the values they instill in them.  But good corporate citizens and responsible community members should help, not hinder parents in their efforts.

Please reconsider your plans for the LeBron X Nike Plus, and join the National Urban League in our efforts to empower young people to value their own talents – athletic and otherwise – above empty status symbols, and work together for broader access to the economic mainstream.

Sincerely yours,

Marc H. Morial President and Chief Executive Officer National Urban League

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