If Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss has his way, Los Angeles soon will join a growing list of American communities divesting from companies that do business in Iran.
"We are referring to it as a terror-free investment policy," said Weiss, who last week introduced a measure focusing on the city's public employees' pension. "We are focusing on the threat to the world from Iranian nuclear terror. Make no mistake: That is what they are up to."
Weiss' measure would end investments by the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System in foreign companies involved in Iran's energy, defense or nuclear sectors. It is unclear how much would be divested.
Last week, the California Assembly passed a similar bill that will require divestment by the public employees' and teachers' funds, which combined invest an estimated $3.4 billion in companies doing business in Iran. AB 221, introduced by Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon), has been sent to the state Senate for approval.
Also last week, Florida became the first state to sign divestment into law. Several other states, including Illinois and New York, are considering similar legislation.
"This is a movement, and we are bringing the message that Iran is a potential nuclear threat to the United States and its interest and allies," Weiss said. "Israel is one of many reasons to be concerned about a nuclear Iran. Frankly, it is in the interest of almost any country you can think of to see that Iran is not successful in developing a nuclear weapon. Yet, many overseas companies are still doing business with Iran. This measure will disincentivize that."
- Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer
D.A. Rejects Marijuana Raid Case
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has rejected a case against the operator of a Van Nuys medical marijuana pharmacy that was raided in April by police who allegedly desecrated a mezuzah at the shop.
After responding to a burglary at Karma Collective and finding cannabis-containing baked goods, Los Angeles police arrested 23-year-old Diana Hahn, one of several operators of the collective, which under state law sells marijuana to patients with doctor recommendations. Police had maintained that pot in edible forms was not protected by Proposition 215 - the Compassionate Use Act - or subsequent legislation.
The district attorney had until last Tuesday to file charges against Hahn, who was out on $100,000 bond. Her attorney, David Kestenbaum, said he would still pursue a grievance filed with LAPD regarding alleged ill behavior against Karma operators. They claim police treated them like criminals and not burglary victims and that officers lowered a mezuzah and removed its sacred parchment; police have denied this.