Harbor Currents: NEWS Feb. 6, 2013

  • 02/06/2013
  • Terelle Jerricks

PortTechLA Executive Director Accepts New Position
SAN PEDRO – PortTech Los Angeles announced, Feb. 6, that Executive Director Jeffrey Milanette is leaving the organization to launch an innovation center in Africa. Milanette’s resignation is effective Feb. 15.
Under Milanette’s leadership PortTechLA grew from non-profit with one client to an organization capable of supporting more than 20 clean technology companies with a combination of onsite and virtual services. He recently secured a $1 million contract in Community Development Block Grant funds that enables PortTechLA to continue to provide services to local clean technology entrepreneurs for the three years that follows.
PortTechLA’s reach is extensive. Shortly after taking charge Milanette established the PortTechForum, a monthly program specially designed for entrepreneurs and members of the clean technology business community to come together to exchange ideas, business tips, marketing advice and benefit from networking opportunities.
Milanette also launched the annual PortTechEXPO, a venture conference and technology exposition designed to introduce the business community to the products and services being developed by PortTechLA clients and other technology entrepreneurs.
PortTechLA has begun implementation of an international program as well. From organizing the first-ever Swiss Emissions Control Forum, to establishing a partnership program with Italian entrepreneurs, to hosting numerous delegations of researchers and entrepreneurs worldwide, PortTechLA is attracting international technology companies to Southern California.
Stan Tomsic, PortTechLA’s entrepreneur-in-residence, will serve as PortTechLA’s interim executive director. Tomsic is well known in Los Angeles as a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, venture adviser and former administrator of Los Angeles County’s Business Technology Center. PortTechLA’s board of directors is initiating the search for a new executive director.

WiFi in LB Public Parks, Libraries
LONG BEACH — On Feb. 5, The Long Beach City Council voted to support a proposal to begin a process of installing free WiFi in city parks.
The city is installing free WiFi in our all of our city Libraries by the end of 2013. This will expand WiFi service already at the Long Beach Airport and City Hall.
The proposal, which was co-sponsored by council members Suja Lowenthal, Gerrie Schipske and Steven Neal, directs the city manager to produce a report on integrating WiFi into new public parks, and to look for private-public partnerships.

Promenade Transformation Complete
LONG BEACH — The public is invited to celebrate the newly completed Promenade during a free community mixer, from 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 7. The event coincides with the Downtown Long Beach Associates’ (DLBA) annual Celebrate Downtown event, which features the Spirit of Downtown Award; live entertainment; tastings from Promenade restaurants; a pet-friendly environment and free two-hour parking at the CityPlace parking structure.
On Feb. 6, Mayor Bob Foster and District 2 Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal celebrated the completion of The Promenade, whose pedestrian-oriented transformation connects the Downtown waterfront to three blocks of vastly improved residential, commercial, retail and restaurant venues.
The Promenade features a landscaped walkway linking retail centers, the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, the Pine Avenue dining and entertainment district and the East Village Arts District. It now features three mixed-use developments, landscape and streetscape improvements, seating, public art plazas, Promenade Square, and a new and expanded bike station.
The third and final phase of The Promenade transformation, which was recently completed, includes upgraded storm drains, new hardscape, landscape, pedestrian and special lighting, new traffic signals, gateway signage, community chess tables, a dog rest area and site furnishings.  Eight additional bike racks have been added to the nine originally planned for a total of 17 bike racks.
Details:  (562) 436-4259; www.downtownlongbeach.org

Lieu Urges FTC to Order Tanning Group to Stop Misleading Public
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Ted W. Lieu released a letter, Feb. 6, to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to order a ‘shell’ group to halt its false statements on the dangers of indoor tanning.
“In May 2010 the FTC ordered the Indoor Tanning Association to stop making false and misleading statements about the alleged safety of indoor tanning,” Lieu said. “Now a purportedly ‘new’ industry group called the American Suntanning Association, which is actually composed of many of the same members as the ITA, is making the same, exact false and misleading statements originally barred by the FTC.
“The indoor tanning industry should not be able to escape the FTC’s order simply by changing names.”
Groups agreeing with Lieu were two longtime advocates for increased prevention of skin cancer, especially among youths, who are the most vulnerable to skin cancer: AIM at Melanoma, a cancer-research organization committed to increasing support for melanoma research; and the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, or CalDerm, comprising board-certified dermatologists. Both groups co-sponsored Lieu’s first-in-the-nation law banning youths under age 18 from using indoor tanning beds.

USPS Plans to End Saturday Mail Delivery
Washington D.C. — The U.S. Postal Service announced Feb. 6 that it plans to stop delivering mail on Saturday starting on the week of Aug. 5.
However, it plans to continue delivering packages on Saturdays, which remains profitable for the entity. Post offices would be open for customers to drop off mail or packages, buy postage, or access their boxes. However, some offices might have reduced hours of operation.
The five-day schedule would save the postal service about $2 billion per year. USPS officials say the postal service lost about $15.9 billion in the 2012 fiscal year that ended in September.
Congress may have the power to prohibit the Monday through Friday-only delivery schedule. Yet, postal officials are expected to argue to the contrary. The USPS is a quasi-governmental entity that is self-funding, and has worker compensation and retirement plans tied to the federal budget.
Some lawmakers believe that the change might impact elderly customers in rural communities who depend on the low-cost delivery of medicines and medical supplies.

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