Consumer Action Anniversary and Awards

Contact: Linda Sherry, 202-544-3088

Consumer Action celebrates its 39th anniversary today with a gathering in San Francisco at the Parc 55 Hotel. Consumer Action will present its 2010 Consumer Excellence Awards at the event. This year's honorees are:
  • Public Justice, the public interest legal organization,
  • Senator Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro), and
  • KTSF 26 Chinese News.
"It is an important tradition at Consumer Action to honor organizations and individuals who have made significant achievements on behalf of consumer rights and protections," said Consumer Action Executive Director Ken McEldowney. "Each year we honor someone from the non-profit community; a media organization, and a lawmaker."

Public Justice

Arthur Bryant, Executive Director of Public Justice will accept the award on behalf of his organization, which has offices in Washington, DC and Oakland, CA. The award will be presented by Joe Orozco, Development and Fundraising Coordinator. Public Justice (www.publicjustice.net) is the only public interest organization in the country that both aggressively prosecutes a wide range of class actions and works to preserve class actions and prevent their abuse. In this regard, Public Justice is truly “America’s public interest law firm.” Using creative litigation, public education and innovative work with the broader public interest community, Public Justice protects people and the environment; holds the powerful accountable; challenges government, corporate, and individual wrongdoing; increases access to justice; combats threats to the U.S. justice system, and inspires lawyers and others to serve the public interest. Public Justice offers effective programs focusing on key areas of the justice system. In addition to its Class Action Preservation Project, Public Justice has prevailed in seminal legal cases. It was instrumental in persuading the Supreme Court to reject a dangerous challenge to legal services for the poor. For two decades, it has exposed and prevented excessive secrecy in the courts. Project ACCESS, its special project against unnecessary court secrecy, has unsealed key evidence of the dangers to the public health and safety, helped injury victims and others oppose overbroad protective orders, and educated the public about the dangers of litigation conducted behind closed doors. Its Mandatory Arbitration Abuse Prevention Project is a leader in the battle against corporate efforts to use arbitration to eliminate court access. Public Justice also works to preserve the rights of the states to protect their citizens by helping to defeat federal preemption in cases involving unsafe cars and boats, pesticides, drugs and medical devices, HMOs, banks, mortgage brokers, phone companies, and more.

California Senator Ellen Corbett

McEldowney will present the award to Senator Ellen Corbett, a native Californian who represents the San Leandro area, and one of the strongest defenders of the rights of California’s consumers in the California Legislature. A Democrat, she has protected the rights of consumers, assured access to education and preserved our environment, and has consistently fought for civil rights and to protect consumer privacy. In just six years in the Assembly, Senator Corbett has enacted landmark consumer-protection legislation. This includes a requirement to refund cash for gift cards with balances of less than $10 and giving consumers more information about the source of bottled water. Last year, Corbett was instrumental in passage of the Car Buyers Protection Act, which provides additional protections for people who purchase or trade in vehicles. As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has worked to give additional protections for homeowners caught in the foreclosure crisis. The Senator authored a bill to inform renters of their rights during foreclosure, and to close a loophole that damaged tenants’ rental histories when they fought back against illegal eviction. Corbett, who authored legislation requiring the California Board of Pharmacy to adopt standards for consumer-friendly prescription drug labels, is also working to protect the privacy and safety of minors on social networking sites and to improve enforcement of toy safety laws.

KTSF—Chinese News in the Bay Area

The KTSF award will be presented by Jamie Woo, Community Outreach Manager to Rose Shirinian, KTSF News Director. KTSF—The Face of the Bay Area—was founded by Lillian Lincoln Howell in 1976 with the mission of “serving the underserved.” To meet this goal, KTSF hired some of the most experienced Chinese broadcast journalists to bring the news to Chinese speakers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today the station continues to broadcast its nightly live news programming in Cantonese and Mandarin. In 2008, KTSF was included in the permanent collection of the Paley Center for Media in New York City (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio). Citing its social and historical importance, the museum has added KTSF’s 1989 premiere newscast to its collection. The KTSF Chinese News team offers in-depth coverage on topics that directly impact its immigrant and limited-English speaking viewers throughout the Bay Area. The station often focuses on consumer protection stories and over the years its reporters have sought input from Consumer Action’s Chinese speaking representatives on a variety of topics and issues. Some recent consumer stories that KTSF produced with the help of Consumer Action include “Cash for Gold: Tips on selling personal jewelry,” “New Credit Card Laws” and “Internet Safety.” We applaud KTSF for its role in bringing these and other important topics to the attention of viewers in the Bay Area Chinese speaking community.
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