News of the Week: Ponte Vista, Murders, More

  • 03/12/2014
  • Reporters Desk

LA City Council Approves Ponte Vista
LOS ANGELES — On March 4, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the Ponte Vista development in San Pedro.

This project has an almost decade-long history. It began in the early years of the 2000s as a 2,300-unit mixed-use urban village on a hill and through the recession has become the master-planned residential suburban neighborhood that is embodied in the plan that was approved.  At 676 – 700 units, it is a fraction of the size that was originally proposed.  It will have publicly-accessible walking and jogging paths, recreation centers and a variety of for-sale housing type that speak to the current generation of homebuyers.

In addition to the critical mitigation measures for traffic and other impacts  that will be imposed as a result of the environmental review process, the project applicant has agreed to a number of additional community benefits;

  • a permanent access road from Western Avenue to the Mary Star High School property which abuts the property
  • a Project Labor Agreement with the Building Trades Council
  • a Local Hire program facilitated through the City’s Worksource Center and PV Jobs
  • Streetscape Improvements to Western Avenue
  • Two-and-a-half acre park along Western Avenue, designed, constructed and operated by the developer and the subsequent homeowner association, but fully accessible to the public.

Iowa Awarded $250,000 for Family Program
SAN PEDRO – On March 9, the Pacific Battleship Center was awarded a grant of $250,000 from the Crail-Johnson Foundation help prepare the ship for hosting youth groups and families for overnight stays.

The Crail-Johnson Foundation is based in San Pedro.

The USS Iowa was commissioned in 1943 as the lead ship of her class, and quickly joined America’s all-out struggle for total victory over the global Axis forces.  Her teak decks, staterooms and steel bulkheads echo the words and deeds of those who made history: three U.S. Presidents, six of the nine American five-star military officers, countless foreign leaders, and most importantly, generations of her own sailors.  Since July 2012 IOWA has welcomed nearly 400,000 visitors to the Los Angeles Waterfront, generating awareness and appreciation of the region’s colorful history and its many contributions to the America’s economic and military strength.

The Crail-Johnson Foundation promotes the well-being of children in need, through the effective application of human and financial resources.  The foundation is a committed advocate for children and acts as an agent for positive change.

IOWA plans to invest a portion of the fees generated by the overnight program to develop STEM Aboard IOWA and other youth programming.  These services will eventually be offered to low-income, underserved students in the Los Angeles Waterfront community at subsidized/sliding fee rates.

The youth/family overnight stay is designed primarily as a fun, historically accurate “day in the life” of a Navy seaman, and will feature informal “stealthy” learning objectives.  The STEM Aboard IOWA will be designed to generate more robust intellectual curiosity in maritime and naval history, as well as in science and technology applications.

Battleship IOWA is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

LONG BEACH — Two people died in an apparent murder-suicide March 6, in the 5800 block of Rose Avenue in Long Beach.

Forty-seven-year-old Javier Perez appeared to have sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the upper torso. Forty-three-year-old Kristie Michelle Perez appeared to have sustained two gunshot wounds to the torso. The two Long Beach residents were married.

Police discovered the two after responding to an unknown trouble call at about 3:30 p.m. that day.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call (562) 570-7244 or visit

Traffic Fatality
LONG BEACH — On March 6, 2014, Long Beach Police received notification from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office that a pedestrian, identified as Harold Simmons, 79, died as a result of injuries he sustained in a Feb. 24 traffic collision.

The collision took place at about 9:20 a.m. on the 1100 block of New York Street in Long Beach, involving a vehicle and the pedestrian. Arriving officers discovered Simmons lying beneath the tire of a large International Work truck.  The driver remained at the scene.

The preliminary investigation revealed that after the collision, the male 31-year-old driver, a resident of Winchester, Calif, immediately stopped and called emergency personnel for assistance.  It appears the pedestrian was attempting to cross New York Street mid-block, outside of a crosswalk, when he was struck. Long Beach Fire Department paramedics transported the pedestrian to a local hospital in stable condition.  The driver was interviewed at the scene and found to have a valid driver’s license and insurance.  The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call (562) 570-7355or visit

First West Nile Virus Positive Dead Birds Confirmed for 2014
LONG BEACH — On March 6, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed its first West Nile virus positive dead birds for 2014.

The dead birds were reported in Long Beach (zip code 90808). Statewide, there have been three additional positive dead birds reported in Santa Clara County this year.

To view West Nile virus data for 2014 and past years, click HERE.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District will continue to monitor and control the area and throughout the district for increased mosquito activity. However, residents are urged to report any dead birds to Reporting dead birds help with West Nile virus surveillance and control efforts because birds play an important role in maintaining and spreading the virus.

Additionally, residents can do the following to protect themselves:

  • Report mosquito problems and sources at (562) 944-9656 or online at
  • Remove all dirty water sources around their homes.
  • If residents must be outdoors during dusk and dawn – when mosquitoes are most active – they should use insect repellent that contain Environmental Protection Agency-registered active ingredients such as DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus or picaridin. Read more tips.

West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  There is no cure for West Nile virus.  One in five persons infected with West Nile virus will exhibit symptoms.  Symptoms usually occur between five and 15 days and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash.  These symptoms can last for several weeks to months. One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis, and possibly death.

Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District recommends that individuals exhibiting these symptoms following a mosquito bite consult a physician as soon as possible.  Those at highest risk for severe cases of West Nile virus are the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Learn more about West Nile virus.

Details: (562) 944-9656;

Two Murder Suspects Arrested in Connection With February Shooting
LONG BEACH — On March 10, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed murder, assault with a deadly weapon and gang enhancement charges against David Smith, 25, and James Smith, 21, in connection with a Feb. 21 shooting in Long Beach.

Long Beach detectives arrested the two Long Beach men on March 7, in the 400 block of West Century Boulevard in Los Angeles.On Feb. 21, 24 year-old Christopher Lane was shot and killed at 59th Street and Linden Avenue in Long Beach.

James and David Smith are each being held on $1 million bail at the Long Beach Jail.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit

One Dead and another Injured in the Harbor Area
HARBOR CITY — Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Homicide detectives are asking for the public’s help in providing any information that would lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) who killed 21-year-old Shailo Leafa

On March 5, 2014, around 9:40 p.m., three men were sitting near the parking lot at 259th Street and Western Avenue in Harbor City, when unknown suspects approached them and fired several rounds striking two of the men.

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded to the scene and transported two of the men to a local hospital for medical treatment.  A short time later a 21-year-old Shailo Leafa died as a result of his wounds. The second shooting victim is in critical condition.

There are no descriptions of the suspects and the motive for the shooting not known.

Anyone with information is urged to call (310) 726-7882 or visit

Garcetti  Appointed Chairman of U.S. Mayors’ Trade Task Force
LOS ANGELES – On March 10, the President of the United States Conference of Mayors in Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith, appointed Mayor Eric Garcetti as chairman of a new “Trade in the Americas Task Force” within the Conference.

In his appointment letter, Mayor Smith said, “To be most effective, this task force needs a leader with your qualities from a city like Los Angeles. Combined with the global profile and diversity of Los Angeles, your early commitment to international economic engagement — starting in Mexico — and efforts to collaborate with regional leaders on trade and foreign investment, you will make an excellent leader and spokesperson on this issue for all mayors.”

As chairman, Mayor Garcetti will decide the scope and direction of the task force, attended by mayors from around the country, and become the primary way that U.S. mayors can advance action on programs, regulations, and investments needed in the areas of trade and global economic development.

Garcetti recently returned from Mexico where he led a delegation of Los Angeles business leaders and officials with the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, and the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board to encourage Mexican business to locate and invest in Los Angeles and to promote tourism. This was his first international trade mission as mayor.
The trip included:

  • Meetings with President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, Governor of the State of Mexico Eruviel Ávila, and Mexico City’s Head of Government Miguel Angel Mancera.
  • Meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne.
  • Meeting with Under-Secretary of Foreign Ministry Sergio Alcocer.
  • Commitment of Pro Mexico, the Mexican trade and tourism arm, to establish an implementation plan to identify the top 20 areas that L.A and Mexico should collaborate on to increase trade, tourism, and economic development.
  • Agreement with Mexico City to establish the Los Angeles – Mexico City International Cities Economic Alliance to develop and implement joint or coordinated initiatives in the areas of Clean Technology, Information Technology, Sustainability, Bio-Medical and Infrastructure Development.
  • Discussion of economic issues with 300 Mexican business leaders at the Club de Industriales.
  • Announcement of Panda Restaurant Group’s plan to open a total of 266 locations across Mexico.
  • Announcement of partnership between California State University, Northridge and the National Autonomous University of Mexico to establish a Center for Mexico and Latin American Studies at CSUN.
  • Hosting of event to promote L.A. as a tourist destination to Mexican tourism leaders.
  • Announcement of new scholarship for Mexican students to study law, engineering, communications, business, and architecture at USC in partnership with Bank of Mexico.
  • Meeting with Andres Conesa, CEO of Aeromexico.
  • Meeting with Vice Minister of Tourism Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez and commitment of Pro Mexico to work with the Port of Los Angeles and the cruise industry to develop a strategic plan to increase the number of cruises between L.A. and the northern region of the west coast of Mexico.
  • Meeting with Ricardo Salinas, CEO of Grupo Salinas.
  • Announcement of partnership between Esperanza Azteca and the LAUSD after-school program Beyond the Bell to establish the first U.S. location for the Mexican youth orchestra program at a LAUSD middle school.
  • Meeting with Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Volaris, and commitment of Volaris to increase their previously announced route between Guadalajara and Ontario from two to three flights per week beginning April 2014.
  • Meeting with Undersecretary of Transportation and Communication Carlos Almada.
  • Announcement of new scholarship for a Mexican student to study at UCLA.
  • Announcement of partnership between Loyola Marymount University and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México to launch the Formando Líderes Binacionales/Developing Binational Leaders program.
  • Meeting with Carlos Slim, Honorary Chairman, América Móvil.
  • Agreement between Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and Green Momentum to establish a Global Innovation Network program.
  • Meeting with Emilio Azcarraga Jean, President and CEO of Grupo Televisa.
  • Meeting with Miguel Aleman Magnani, CEO of Interjet.

Mexico is the Los Angeles area’s second largest export market and one of Los Angeles County’s largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment.  According to the 2013 Metro North America report by Brookings, total trade between the Los Angeles Metro Region and Mexico was $14.91 billion in 2010.  Between L.A. and Mexico City alone, total trade amounted to $2.18 billion.  And more tourists visit Los Angeles from Mexico than any other country.


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