Published on June 16th, 2016 | by Reporters Desk3
Across the Great Divide
We are recognized as much by our friends as we are by our adversaries
By James Preston Allen, Publisher
This has been a raucous election season and with the results.
Sadly, Bernie Sanders garnered only 43.2 percent of the primary vote to Clinton’s 55.8 percent in California—nothing at all like what the pollsters were predicting at all. Does anyone perceive the undue influence of the Associated Press prematurely calling the delegate count the day before the election?
One can only presume that this depressed the Sanders vote, but by how much, we’ll never know.
Bernie’s parting words, “The struggle continues” was not an admission of defeat, but a pronouncement that the political revolution that started in Iowa has not ended with him bringing 1.5 million voters to the polls in California.
I have never been more honored than this past week when I learned I was named in Isaac Galvan’s hit piece targeting Warren Furutani—a rival for the 35th State Senate district. The mailer attempted to slander both of us over the homeless issue. This desperate attempt to use the homeless as a political football so late in the campaign, using the ranting language of the Saving San Pedro vigilantes, is such a crass subterfuge of the political debate as to appear comical.
In part, Galvan alleges that “Furutani and Allen are the biggest proponents of the ‘Tiny Homes on Wheels for the Homeless’ in San Pedro.”
It was a statement reminiscent of the Facebook rants of Saving San Pedro’s George Palaziol. Then Galvan exclaims that we are also behind the “busing-in of homeless from Long Beach and Santa Monica.”
Not only is Galvan delusional in his allegations but he also confers far too much power upon the lowly position of neighborhood councils in Los Angeles—a board with more little more than an advisory role.
Councilman Joe Buscaino hasn’t been paying too much attention to the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council except for our election rules, to which he then used to qualify a bus load of Los Angeles Police Department cadets to vote as stakeholders in the recent polling on June 7.
As insignificant as neighborhood council races are to the real politics of Los Angeles, this current race for Central (which extends voting on a second day—June 14) has taken on some symbolic significance, mainly because of Buscaino’s support for his surrogates in the Saving San Pedro uprising.
This is curious because of the 15 opposing candidates to the slate that I’m working with, five of them are known Republicans. In addition, Allyson Vought, threatened to sue the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council over a spurious copyright infraction of the San Pedro mascot of the famous Three-Eyed Fish logo and was paid a ridiculous settlement of $2,000.
The two who are also running on the this slate that announces “transparency” and “accountability” are the two incumbent council members responsible for the “copyright infraction” and who objected to my revealing Vought’s name to the full council when the settlement was announced. These are the reactionary people Buscaino is supporting. The only question that should be asked is why? Their full slate can be seen in the June 2016 edition of the conservative-leaning San Pedro Today magazine on page 19. It’s fairly easy to see the difference.
Symbolism is high up on Buscaino’s priority list these days as he is being honored by the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce on June 16 with its “Bold Vision” award. That may have something to do with finally getting the Port of Los Angeles to sign a lease for the Ports O’ Call waterfront after three years of closed door negotiations. This is political symbolism at its finest. The plan that was released was ultimately a significantly scaled back version than the one announced two years prior. This of course then brings up the not- so-subtle role that POLA plays in both politics and civic affairs in San Pedro and Wilmington.
Readers of this publication will notice the continued absence of any port sponsored ads for almost a year, while they continue to place ads in our boosterish competition. This can only be explained by the silent influence of Buscaino to dish out to anyone who even slightly criticizes him and his relationship to the Assistant Port Director Doane Liu, his former chief of staff.
This retribution was on display formally during a bizarre opposition vote at the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce recently over my reelection bid to the board.
According to one source, it was engineered by Arley Baker, the senior head of communications at POLA.
Baker showed up to vote at the Central San Pedro elections—something I’ve rarely seen in my years of covering neighborhood council elections. This, while Saving San Pedro continues its attempt at bullying this paper’s loyal advertisers.
What seems to be agitating their ire is that no matter how much pretty propaganda they put out (they now reach some 53,000 contacts on digital media. Whether they place ads or not in this publication, they just can’t seem to buy off or threaten our independent editorial coverage, especially when it comes to environmental issues. And that’s what you, our loyal readers respect, even if you don’t always agree. What the Port of Los Angeles doesn’t respect is that with far less budget, we still reach nearly 16,000 more readers who know the difference between propaganda and independent news reporting.
Why does this even matter? Because the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the $400 billion gorillas in the room and their influence both economically and politically extends far beyond their control of the Tideland Trusts they maintain for the people of California. And the unchallenged power that they wield is daunting to all those who don’t have the agility to push back or who are reliant upon their charity or largess. The real debate that we continue to carry is “what’s the highest and best use” of the State Tidelands?
Stay tuned. There’s more to come on accountability and transparency at POLA. Thanks for reading.