- Reporters Desk
POLA ‘Trade Connect’ Website Offers Online Training
SAN PEDRO — Trade Connect, the Port of Los Angeles’ export education outreach program, formally debuted its new website, LATradeConnect.org on June 18.
Visitors to the website will find detailed information about Trade Connect curriculum, services, data and industry partners in a user-friendly format. The video content includes a summary of Trade Connect’s 101 introductory export course and its entire 301 Export University advanced training series The 301 training series is free, and viewers need only register online to access it. For those who can attend in person, the new website has a calendar of upcoming programs. The next event, June 25, is the Export University Session: “Logistics and Shipping Documents.” July 9 is the “Export Plan & Panel” during which companies pitch their export business plans to a panel of experts.
Established in 2007, Trade Connect is a one-stop resource for small and midsize U.S. businesses looking to learn the nuts and bolts of exporting their made-in-America goods and services. The program offers a wide variety of beginning, intermediate and advanced export workshops, as well as regional trade forums focused on import/export opportunities with key international markets.
Visitors to the website will find detailed information about Trade Connect curriculum, services, data and industry partners in a user-friendly format. The video content includes a summary of Trade Connect’s 101 introductory export course and its entire 301 Export University advanced training series. The latter is a package of seminars — each approximately 30 minutes in length — on topics such as how to develop an export business plan, international logistics, documentation requirements, Internet export marketing, legal and regulatory compliance, and cultural business practices. The 301 training series is free, and viewers need only register online to access it.
Current international trade statistics, information on existing and pending free trade agreements, the Los Angeles Regional Export Plan and the International Trade Compliance Institute’s extensive database are also available on the new website. It also links visitors to the Inland SoCal Link iHub, a multiagency partnership established to promote manufacturing and logistics innovation and job creation in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and encourage foreign investment to further economic development in the Inland Empire trade corridor that connects the Port to the rest of the nation.
Trade Connect partners with other agencies, institutions and professional associations to offer most of its programs at little or no cost. Speakers include government, international trade, legal and financial experts, and successful Trade Connect graduates and entrepreneurs. To date, Trade Connect workshops and seminars have drawn more than 32,500 attendees.
Marymount Announces Interim Leadership
RANCHO PALOS VERDES — On June 17, Marymount University trustees announced the appointment of two interim co-presidents.
The board of trustees unanimously selected provost and dean of faculty, Ariane Schauer, and senior vice president of finance, Jim Reeves.
Schauer and Reeves are collaborating with current president, Michael Brophy to ensure the university’s progress toward its 2015-2016 priorities. Brophy leaves the university in August to serve as president of Benedictine University in Illinois.
The trustees will select a consultant to guide a national search for the next university president.
Schauer joined the Marymount faculty in 1998. She has served as Marymount’s chief academic officer for the past six years, leading the institution’s academic transformation from a two-year college to a university with bachelor’s degrees, and the addition of master of business administration and master of science degrees. Schauer serves as a peer evaluator for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Senior College and University Commission and regularly presents to higher education peers. Schauer earned a philosophy doctorate in economics from the University of California Los Angeles.
Reeves joined Marymount in 1978 as a member of the faculty and quickly moved into a leadership role. Serving three university presidents, Reeves was appointed dean of Student Affairs in 1982, and since 1994 has served in the senior leadership role of vice president. He was promoted to senior vice president in 2013. Reeves’ oversight of the institution’s finances and operations has helped grow the student body and expand to sites in San Pedro and Lake County, California. His work in managing the institution’s real estate assets, including playing a key role in the acquisition of Marymount’s two student residential sites, is viewed as a milestone in advancing the student experience at Marymount. Reeves earned a master’s degree in education from California State University Dominguez Hills.
POLB Sees Strongest May in Nine Years
LONG BEACH — On June 17, the Port of Long Beach announced Cargo rose at the Port of Long Beach by 6 percent in May.
A total of 635,250 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo were moved through the Port in May. Imports numbered 327,317 TEUs, a 4.8 percent increase from the same month last year. Exports decreased 7.4 percent to 135,855 TEUs. Empty containers rose 22.6 percent to 172,078 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.
Cargo volume is up partly due to a stronger retail market. The port is also attracting new services in order to boost cargo growth.
Through the first five months of 2015, cargo is up 1.1 percent overal
For all the latest monthly cargo numbers, click here.
For more details on the cargo numbers, please visit www.polb.com/stats.
Building Records Now Accessible Online
LOS ANGELES — On June 13, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new customer service tool from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, the LADBS Online Building Records system.
The system will offer users a quick and easy way to research building records and obtain digital images of original documents online.
The Online Building Records system allows 24-hour access to key records such as building permits and certificates of occupancy without requiring customers to make a trip downtown and wait in line at the records counter.
The system contains more than 13 million records dating from 1905 to the present, including building permits, building modifications, grading information, and commission files. Since the system’s soft launch in May, it has been accessed more than 27,600 times by nearly 3,700 unique users.
Access to Online Building Records is from LADBS.org under the “Online Services” tab, or directly at http://ladbsdoc.lacity.org/idispublic. Records can be retrieved by address, legal description, County Assessor Parcel Number, or document number.
Permits and certificates of occupancy, the most requested and used documents, were converted to digital image first, and more than 4.7 million of them are now available. Conversion of historic microfilm and paper documents is in progress, and those images will be placed online as they are converted.
LADBS serves about 65,000 records customers annually. Primary users include homeowners, contractors, architects, engineers, escrow agencies, banks, and permit expediters. Real estate industry users may use records to validate use and occupancy for a building being sold or purchased. Development industry users might use records to review permits and certificates of occupancy, address code enforcement issues, or bid on jobs. Homeowners preparing to obtain new permits, sell their homes, or wanting to satisfy curiosity and concerns may also seek records.
Board of Supervisors Approve County Assessor Systems Modernization
LOS ANGELES — On June 16, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved more than $12.7 million as the first installment to replace the Los Angeles County Assessor’s antiquated technology systems.
This technology upgrade guides the creation and management of Los Angeles County’s $1.2 trillion assessment roll, which includes the assessment of each of the County’s 2.6 million properties. The assessment roll results in the accurate assessment of billions of dollars of revenue which funds social services and programs such as schools, public safety, hospitals and countless quality of life services in local communities.
The current technology systems used by the Office of the Assessor includes more than 120 aging applications that are not well integrated, relying on outdated green-screen technology that is substantially paper-based, inflexible, and inefficient for staff. The current system also makes it difficult for the Office of the Assessor and other county departments to respond to taxpayer inquiries efficiently.
The new technology replacement project will construct a modern assessment roll database, rewrite the interface for both computers and mobile devices, build data storage and Proposition 13 functionality that will increase staff productivity, and contribute to the Assessor’s Open Data initiative. The project will also consolidate existing databases into a single, easily-accessible system. All Assessor employees will have complete access to all data, thus eliminating lengthy delays required to research paper records or access different systems.
Once completed, the new technology system will be much more user-focused and user-friendly. The public will have direct access to information and benefit from faster responses to their questions. Furthermore, the assessor’s modernization project will set new standards for transparency and accuracy, while supporting modern and future business and compliance requirements. Finally, the project will implement advanced security features will protect sensitive county and public information.
Unsung Heroes of World War II Storm Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 17, a delegation of World War II Merchant Marine veterans stormed the Hill, visiting with members of Congress in the Capitol as they seek to raise awareness and gain greater recognition of their important service as part of the “the fourth arm of defense.”
Now in their 80s and 90s, the men might not move as quickly or have the strength they did more than 70 years ago during their wartime service, but they remain just as patriotic and are fiercely determined in advocating on behalf of the surviving Merchant Marine veterans.
Military and political leaders including Eisenhower, Churchill, and MacArthur praised their service and credited the Merchant Marine for their important role in the Allied victory.
They risked their lives, facing attacks by U-boats and enemy planes and traveling through mined waters. As many as 9,000 mariners were killed – and thousands more maimed and injured – during the war. In fact, the casualty rate among the Merchant Marine was higher than for any branch of our armed forces in World War II.
However, despite their dedicated wartime service to the nation, Merchant Marine veterans were not eligible for the benefits others received under the G.I. bill. This means they never received the college tuition subsidies, the home loan guarantees or other provisions of the G.I. Bill that helped millions of veterans transition seamlessly into civilian life and lifted many of their families into the middle class.
Merchant Mariners were even excluded from Veterans Day and Memorial Day events. Only in 1988, following a class-action lawsuit, were they recognized as veterans, entitling them to care at Veterans Affairs hospitals.
The group met with Rep. Janice Hahn (CA-44), who has introduced the Honoring Our World War II Merchant Mariners Act of 2015 (H.R. 563) and has been a leading advocate for them in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The men shared stories of how they and their colleagues transported vital supplies and equipment to troops overseas, of their ships being sunk by torpedoes and their fellow Mariners who never made it home. They also talked about the indignity and injustice they experienced over the many years after their service, not being credited for their work and the risks they endured and not being recognized as veterans, unlike those whom they served alongside and supported.
Clint Quirk, 91, from Arizona, said, “Like many, I couldn’t pass the physical, but I wanted to help with the war effort.”
He dropped out of college and joined the Merchant Marine. At one point, he wound up manning the gun on his ship and serving as the shooter, despite not being enlisted in the military or having combat training.
Charles Mills, from Texas, who will celebrate his 95th birthday while in Washington, DC, explained that the Navy assigned 16 gunners per ship, not enough to man all the guns, so commanders assigned mariners to those duties.
Eugene Barner, 89, from Kansas, recalled being anchored at Okinawa preparing invasion forces when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan and later sailing into Tokyo harbor and going ashore seeing the devastation. (His mother was like Rosie the Riveter, working in a Kansas plant where B-25 bombers were produced.) He is proud of his service and the role he and other Merchant Mariners played during the war and hopes H.R. 563 will pass into law.
Charles Mills agrees, adding, “Merchant Mariners were promised to be part of the G.I. bill. I expected to be able to rely on the G.I. bill to go to college. But we weren’t included.” Decades after this disappointment, he explains that by supporting H.R. 563, “We are trying to get benefits we feel entitled to from the government in lieu of what we lost. And we also welcome the respect this would bring us.”
He notes that unlike the U.S., our allies including Great Britain, France and Canada compensated maritime veterans or gave them pensions.
Gabriel Frank, 87, from New York grew up in group homes after his mother died when he was 6. While in high school, he shined shoes and worked in factories. Virtually penniless, hungry and without a home, he got permission to join the Merchant Marine when he was 16 and served a total of 23 years including during both World War II and the Korean War.
The group attended an event on Capitol Hill that a veterans organization hosted. A Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee hearing and
were introduced and acknowledged warmly at both events.
A film crew accompanied the group during their Capitol Hill visit for a forthcoming documentary called The Sea is My Brother. (The trailer for that film can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/117332721 )