Aquarium of Pacific Expansion Breaks Ground

  • 02/07/2017
  • Terelle Jerricks

LONG BEACH — On Feb. 2, the Aquarium of the Pacific hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for its Pacific Visions wing. The new wing of the aquarium is expected to be a 29,000-square-foot, biomorphic sustainable structure designed that the San Francisco-based architectural firm EHDD.

The aquarium announced Clark Construction as the project contractor for the new wing, which will feature a glass panel façade that responds to changing light and climatic conditions with varying colors that mirror the effect of sunlight rippling on the ocean’s surface. The new wing will also house an immersive theater, expanded special exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits slated to open to the public in late 2018. Cortina Productions is working with the aquarium to develop the technological components and storytelling. The estimated $38 million project is supported by donations.

LA Council Decriminalizes Street Vending

LOS ANGELES — On Jan. 31, the Los Angeles City Council voted to legalize street vending.

Los Angeles is the only major city that prohibits vending of every type, 24 hours a day, throughout the entire city, for about 11,000 miles of sidewalks. This presents a huge enforcement problem because with thousands of vendors spread throughout 469 square-miles, it is impossible for enforcement to be consistent and effective.

Selling food or goods on the sidewalk has lead to misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles. The new rules would do away with criminal penalties and allow the city to issue vending permits. However, this could take months to get in place.

The vote came in response to Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the country. Trump had promised an anti-immigrant crackdown. Los Angeles City Council members Joe Buscaino and Curren Price moved for the proposal.

Meanwhile, street vendors could still be cited and fined for violating the municipal code, but they would not face criminal convictions.

Lawyers are also supposed to report back on whether the city can offer amnesty to vendors already facing criminal charges. Such charges could jeopardize immigrants in the country illegally. Additionally, commercial corridors will have the opportunity to customize vending to fit their area.

POLB Announces New FMC Chairman

LONG BEACH — On Jan. 30, Michael A. Khouri was appointed to lead the five-member Federal Maritime.

The commission is charged with regulating the nation’s maritime industry.

The appointment came as a result of Donald Trump’s election as president.

Khouri, a Republican, has served on the commission since 2009.  He is replacing Mario Cordero, a former Port of Long Beach harbor commissioner, who was forced out a week prior. Cordero plans to continue being part of the federal commission.

­Teenager Killed on Wilmore Neighborhood

LONG BEACH — On Jan. 28, 17-year-old Jose De Jesus Flores was shot in the 900 block of Maine Avenue.

When officers arrived, they found the Long Beach resident with multiple gunshot wounds, in the alley. Long Beach Fire Department personnel took him to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

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

NALEO Mourns Former Rep. Robert Garcia

WASHINGTON, D.C. Former U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia, died Jan. 26.

Garcia was a trailblazer for the Latino community, and a transformational leader who worked with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ first president and founder Edward R. Roybal to help set the organization on the course it is on today.

Born in New York, Garcia began his career in public service early in life, joining the Army’s Third Infantry Division after graduating from high school.  Elected to the New York State Assembly in 1966, Garcia went on to represent parts of the Bronx and Harlem in New York state government for 12 years.  He prevailed against six competitors to win a seat in Congress in a 1978 special election

“Garcia created a lasting legacy in Congress, taking on challenging causes including establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national holiday, and opposition to federal aid to guerrilla fighters in Nicaragua whose methods he felt were inconsistent with American values,” said NALEO Executive Director Arturo Vargas in a released statement. “He became one of the longest-serving chairmen of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, helping to pave the way for the men and women who followed in his footsteps.

“NALEO will always be incredibly grateful for the pivotal role U.S. Rep. Garcia played in the development of the organization in its formative years.  Our hearts and thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of U.S. Rep. Garcia at this difficult time.”

No International Flights in Long Beach

LONG BEACH — On Jan. 24, after years of discussions, a $350,000 feasibility study and more than three hours of public comment, the Long Beach City Council voted 8-1, Councilman Dee Andrews in favor, to reject a proposal to allow international flights at the Long Beach Airport. Andrew said the benefits and potential job creation of an international airport could help curb crime in the city.

New York-based airline, Jet Blue, tried to create a 15,000-square-foot Customs and Border Protection station that would have processed no more than two international flights at a time during a shift. The airline had expressed a need to tap into a growing international travel market with possible flights to Mexico and South America. Now, company officials are reconsidering how to move forward in the city.

Long Beach’s noise ordinance limits flight at its airport to operate between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. at a maximum of 50 daily, except when they are due to mechanical or weather issues. Fines are imposed on airlines with arrivals from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

While a study commissioned to Jacobs Engineering released this past October did not reveal significant impacts to quality of life through the introduction of international flights, hundreds of residents concerned with noise pollution begged to differ.

The financial impact to the decision is about $3 million for the Customs facility out of an estimated $10 million because the airport collects $4.50 on each ticket for construction.


POLB Offers Parking Lot for Sale

LONG BEACH — On Jan. 18, the Port of Long Beach announce the sale of the 5.6-acre parking lot behind One World Trade Center and the Hilton Hotel in downtown Long Beach.

The parcel was acquired by the port in 2011 during discussions to buy One World Trade Center for use as a headquarters. Because the property is owned by a government agency, there is no assessed value. However, the last sale before the port bought the property was $18 million in 2005.

With the next port headquarters being built at the new Long Beach Civic Center, Commissioners determined it was the right time to test the market for a sale of the World Trade Center lot.

Proceeds from a sale would go into the port’s general fund.

Development of the property is governed by the Downtown Plan and allowable uses include residential, office and retail. Under an existing easement, any parking spaces displaced by development are required to be replaced by a parking structure.

View the listing at

POLB Trade Dips to 6.8 Million TEUs in 2016

LONG BEACH — On Jan. 11, the Port of Long Beach announced that overall cargo declined 5.8 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, as the port was impacted by new ocean carrier alliances and the August bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean company and former majority stakeholder at the 381-acre Pier T container terminal — Long Beach’s largest.

By year’s end, the Harbor Commission had approved an agreement for a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Co., one of the world’s largest container ship operators, to take sole control of the long-term lease at Pier T.

Cargo was 8 percent lower in December compared to the same month in 2015. Imports decreased 8.2 percent to 271,599 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. Exports fell 2.5 percent to 122,933 TEUs, while empties declined 11.4 percent to 154,397 TEUs.

A total of 6,775,171 TEUs moved through docks in 2016. Imports totaled 3,442,575 TEUs, down 5 percent, and exports were up 0.3 percent to 1,529,497. Empty containers were down 11.7 percent to 1,803,098.


Garcia Joined Metro Board

LONG BEACH — On Jan. 6, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia joined the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors.

Garcia’s membership on the Metro board provides Long Beach a seat at the table regarding decisions of rider safety, infrastructure and police patrolling on Metro rail routes.

The board is comprised of 13 elected and appointed officials from throughout the county, including all five Los Angeles County supervisors and the mayor of Los Angeles. Garcia was elected to serve a four-year term, replacing Lakewood Vice Mayor Diane DuBois.

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