What started a few years ago as a culmination of the West- chester/Playa del Rey Historical Society’s “Gatherings” event to celebrate the new millennium has blossomed into an annual event.

The Westchester Fourth of July Parade drew thousands of people last year and is expected to be even bigger this Sunday.

The parade — sponsored by the Westchester/LAXnMarina del Rey Chamber of Commerce and corporate sponsors Decron Properties, Playa Vista and Cripps/ Crockett Connection — will begin at noon Sunday, July 4th, at Manchester Avenue and Loyola Boulevard and proceed north on Loyola Boulevard to Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

This will be a true community Fourth of July parade and entries will range from the local PT Cruiser Club to Great Pyrenees dogs and even an elephant.

There will also be entries from numerous local organizations, including the Rotary Club of Westchester and the Kentwood Players.

Of course, no community parade would be complete without children, and this year’s parade will feature children dancing, singing, cheering and playing music.

Uncle Sam will be certain to make an appearance.

This year’s parade will also feature a very special tribute to “American Heroes.”

There will be pre-parade activities along the parade route, so make sure to come early.

Parade entries will be available for review after the parade in the LMU parking lot.

The parade will be filled with plenty of surprises for old and young alike. So, start off the Fourth of July right and make plans to join your friends and neighbors along the parade route.

“This promises to be a wonderful family event to celebrate our nation’s birthday,” said outgoing chamber of commerce president David Voss. “I encourage everyone in Westchester and all over the Westside to join us on the Fourth.”

Information, (310) 306-8525 or by e-mail to

Parade4th@aol.com

BOWEN BILLS KILLED — Two measures by State Sen. Debra Bowen — one aimed at closing a loophole in the state security breach law, the other aimed at banning the use of radio frequency identification technology to track people as they shop — were killed Tuesday, June 22nd, in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

“Businesses that store your personal information ought to have a responsibility to tell you when someone outside of their shop has gotten access to it, either through a break-in or when it’s released accidentally,” said Bowen.

“Companies already have to tell you when a thief hacks into their computer system and gets access to your personal account information or Social Security number, but they don’t have to say word one when hard-copy paper records are stolen or inadvertently handed to a perfect stranger and that loophole needs to be closed,” Bowen added.

SB 1279 sought to expand current law — which requires businesses to tell people when their personal information is exposed to a hacker breaking into the company’s computer system — to require government agencies and businesses to notify people anytime their personal information is exposed.

It was defeated on a 4-6 vote. The bill needed seven votes to get out of committee.

SB 1279 stemmed in part from two different January incidents involving Bank of America (B of A) and the state Employment Development Department (EDD).

In the B of A case, the bank inadvertently mailed 3,800 tax forms containing people’s financial information and their Social Security numbers to the wrong recipients.

In the second case, the EDD computer system containing the personal information of about 90,000 people was hacked into, though it’s not clear whether any personal information was taken.

“My goal is to put ID thieves out of business by making it harder for them to rip off a person’s identity.

“This is definitely a crime that’s cheaper to prevent up front than it is to clean up afterwards, especially considering how hard it is to track down an identity thief,” said Bowen.

California has the third-highest per capita rate of identity theft in the nation, according to a January Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report that ranked identity theft as the number one consumer complaint for the fourth consecutive year.

The second measure, SB 1834, sought to set privacy standards for the use of radio frequency identification technology in stores and libraries.

It was defeated on a 0-8 vote. The bill needed seven votes to get out of committee.

“When people go through the checkout line, the store can already collect information on what they buy and tie it to their name, but without radio frequency identification (RFID), the store can’t easily collect information on what products a person picks up in the store but doesn’t buy, what people are wearing or what’s in their wallet or purse,” said Bowen.

“RFID technology gives the store — and anyone else with an RFID reader — the ability to collect that type of information, assuming a person’s clothing and items in their wallet or purse have RFID chips embedded in them, tie it to their name, and build personal profiles on just about anyone,” the state senator said.

Retailers and manufacturers hope to save millions of dollars by automating the retail supply chain with RFID tracking systems, but privacy advocates fear RFID will become as omnipresent as video surveillance and give marketers an even more sophisticated way to track people’s whereabouts, interests, and habits.

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