• Carson, Tesoro Enter Agreement

    • 07/20/2017
    • Lyn Jensen
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    After recently declaring a fiscal emergency, the City of Carson announced July 6 its commitment to a 15-year “Community Benefits Agreement” — essentially, a peace treaty — with the oil company Tesoro.

    City officials believe the arrangement will provide Carson with a projected total of $45 million for what the city calls “community mitigation projects.”

    “The city and Tesoro have entered into separate agreements resolving all outstanding disputes,” a press release from the city stated. “The value of these other agreements to the city is $36 million.” The latter accounts for most of the money.

    As for the remaining $9 million, the agreement describes it as tied to milestones surrounding a Tesoro project to integrate the Carson and Wilmington refineries to form a Tesoro Los Angeles Refinery. The project’s environmental impact report, or EIR, was disputed by the city earlier this year.

    “The [Community Benefits Agreement] is designed to provide a stable source of funding over a 15-year period,” states a July 5 staff report to council.  “It is not uncommon for refineries to make … payments to their host communities.”

    The staff report cited El Segundo as an example.

    The agreement follows the council declaring a fiscal emergency at its June 20 meeting. At that time, staff suggested the council generate an additional $350,000 of revenue, including lifting the cap on the Utility Users Tax, reducing service levels and adding or increasing revenue sources.

    Carson has been experiencing financial difficulties since the Great Recession of 2008. In 2011 redevelopment agencies were dissolved statewide when the state transferred redevelopment funds to the public schools to close the state budget deficit (partly due to the Great Recession).

    According to city documents, that action cost Carson $30 million in redevelopment funds annually. Since 2011 the city has deferred street maintenance  and reduced its workforce by 20 percent, firing 60 employees.

    The fiscal emergency is not simply due to lack of redevelopment money. Revenue exceeded expenditures between the fiscal year 2010-11 and fiscal year 2012-13. Since then, the city’s expenditures have exceeded revenue and the city’s reserves are rapidly dwindling.

    In 2009, the council granted a franchise to Tesoro for three non-public utility pipelines. A dispute over the pipelines arose after Tesoro purchased the refinery in 2013. A fourth pipeline was discovered that had not been properly documented.

    “The parties hereby agree that, for the calendar years 2017 to 2031, Tesoro shall pay to Carson the full amount of electricity users tax [and] gas users tax,” the Community Benefits Agreement states, waiving the requirement that the council would need to declare a fiscal emergency to get such payments.

    The Community Benefits Agreement would also amend the oil pipeline franchises to increase the franchise fees, subject to an annual Consumer Price Index adjustment within the 15-year term.

    “The City and Tesoro have been involved since 2013 in discussions over a series of issues and disputes,” the July 5 staff report states. “The major disputes involve the environmental impacts of the integration of the Carson and Wilmington Refineries, the use of a 60-acre parcel for a trucking and container storage yard and the transfer of oil pipeline franchise agreements.”

    It further states South Coast Air Quality Management District prepared an EIR for the refinery integration project, but Carson, concerned over the lack of community benefits, threatened to sue, claiming the EIR was deficient. Tesoro disputed the claimed deficiencies in the EIR and has since agreed to mitigate the city’s concerns.

    The Carson City Council on July 5 voted unanimously to approve the community benefits agreement and transfer the pipeline franchises to Tesoro.

    A separate resolution, passed at the same meeting, resolved a years-long zoning and permit dispute over Shippers Transit Express on Sepulveda, concerning a lease on Tesoro property. It involves a retroactive payment of $900,000 to the city for development impact fees and $250,000 annually for the next two years. The agreement calls for closing the truck yard in 2018 and putting in four petroleum storage tanks.

    For Tesoro’s Los Angeles Refinery Integration and Compliance Project, the company plans to invest $460 million in facility improvements to upgrade its Wilmington and Carson refineries. The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in what the South Coast Air Quality Management District estimates is equivalent to removing 13,500 daily passenger vehicles from local roads.

    Construction is expected to begin later this year, with an anticipated completion date of March 2021.

    The project would connect the refineries by pipelines, according to a city document, to allow the closure of the older gasoline production facility in Wilmington, switching production to the newer and more efficient gasoline production facility in Carson.

    Carson states it will deposit the payments from Tesoro into the general fund to provide a series of existing and future community benefit programs, including a green streets program for compliance with the Dominguez Watershed Plan.

    The city sought a stable funding source for its stroke center, emergency response center, bike paths, street resurfacing, and an environmental capital improvement program to renovate street landscaping medians.

    As part of the Community Benefits Agreement, Tesoro also agreed not to build or operate a hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit at the integrated refinery.

    Concerns about hydrofluoric acid may be traced to an explosion at the Torrance refinery in 2015, when debris narrowly missed a tank. If the tank had ruptured and the acid it contained had been released, a toxic cloud could have killed as many as 330,000 area residents, including many in southern and western Carson.

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  • Neighborhood Council Follies

    • 07/20/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    Going Coastal, Using the Pledging Allegiance as a Wedge

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s July 10 agenda-setting meeting turned out to be a rowdy affair. Some 20 stakeholders got riled up over the proposed standing rules change that removed the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the meetings and voted against every item proposed until a resolution keeping the Pledge was placed on the agenda for the next meeting. This rule was passed by the previous council and, as it turns out, was not always adhered to.

    Yet now, after the former council members are no long serving, they are insistent that the pledge be retained.

    The opposition, led by George Palaziol and Brian Vassallo with Bob Milling — all former Coastal board members, including former council President James Baeza, who resigned while under pressure from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, joined in to stop the newly elected council from taking any substantive actions. They claimed the new council was acting illegally.

    The agenda setting meeting ended leaving board members with the dilemma of how to run the next board meeting without being able to elect officers. This was their first after the June election.

    After consulting with the DONE General Manager Grayce Liu and a lawyer, it was decided that Liu would convene the board meeting and conduct the election as per their bylaws. But first there was the Pledge of Allegiance which the opposition boisterously shouted out as both a challenge and a protest to the coming action by the board.

    Doug Epperhart was unanimously elected to be president and Dean Pentcheff as vice president by the same vote. The meeting then proceeded to public comments. The only caveat was that the new leadership was not going to stand for mob rule and was going to enforce the California Code 403, which makes disrupting a public meeting without authority illegal. Three Los Angeles Police Department officers and two Los Angeles Port Police officers were on hand.

    With this admonishment announced, Palaziol shouted something out and was warned. Others chimed in to protest the proceeding, claiming it “illegal” and two or three from the Saving San Pedro faction were dutifully ousted from the meeting with the help of the officers.

    This did not end the grousing, yet the board did get to business and passed several of the agenda items with complete unanimity, unlike the previous council.

    Bob Milling afterwards wrote in a Facebook post he was “So profoundly disappointed in a number of people I had a great deal of respect for just this time last month.”

    He was one of those evicted from the meeting.

    It was at the point of being forcibly removed from the meeting that one of the opposition came to me asking why “I wasn’t going to defend their free speech” This seemed quite odd since these were the very same people who came to the meetings at Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council two years ago and disrupted meetings I presided over, claiming I was acting illegally. They also said I should be removed without cause and did everything in their power to intimidate, slander and cyberbully my board.

    To this point specifically, I say there is some speech that is not defendable!  And boisterously disrupting a public meeting in an uncivil manner, unless there is some overriding moral issue at stake, I will not defend.

    Of the many issues that confront this community, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before the start of a neighborhood council meeting as a standing rule is by all accounts a divisive distraction.

    One female veteran attending the meeting noted that service men and women don’t usually find themselves reciting the Pledge of Allegiance when they are on active duty. This assessment was confirmed to me by another veteran and said that the oath all military and other federal officers recite is similar to the following:

    I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

    It might help those who, as Council President Epperhart says, “are using the pledge as a wedge,” to remember that veterans served to defend the U.S. Constitution — not the flag.

    In the end, it was apparent that the Saving San Pedro faction, who rose up against the homeless, was incapable of governing after having only lasted a year in power on the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

    “I can’t account for their behavior,” Epperhart concluded.  Is their aim “to tear down government or just cyberbully? I don’t know. Perhaps they just need peer recognition?”

    At the very end of a very long meeting, the motion over the Pledge of Allegiance was taken up as a separate item and discussed exhaustively and passionately. And when the vote was tallied the pledge was retained with a divided vote of 8 to 6 showing that our nation, if not our community, is very “divisible” if not over liberty and justice, but over the symbolism of patriotism.

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  • Summer Fun Guide: Sean Lane

    • 07/20/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    July 22
    Sean Lane
    Join the band on a journey through time and hear everything from the foundational raw Delta style that started it all to the electrified blues-rock that it has become.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 22
    Cost: $15
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    July 23
    Caress of Steel
    Rock to this Rush tribute band.
    Time: 4 p.m. July 23
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    Mark Mackay Band
    Get a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll at Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach.
    Time: July 23
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach
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    July 25
    iPalpiti Orchestra
    The iPalpiti Orchestra performs selections from the 20th iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates.iPalpiti (ee-PAHL-pit-ee, Italian for “heartbeats”) is unique in that it draws its members from top prize-winning laureates of international competitions.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. July 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 316-5574
    Venue: Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, 26438 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates

    July 27
    Sean Watkins
    American tunes feature a celebration of Paul Simon with a great lineup of musicians.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/Sean-Watkins-Friends
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    July 28
    La Charanga Cubana
    Enjoy traditional Cuban dance music, then stuff your face with food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. July 28
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    July 29
    Mothership Landing
    Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Parliament-Funkadelic’s groundbreaking release.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 29
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    July 30
    Hard Day’s Night
    You’ll swear The Beatles are in the South Bay.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. July 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach

    July 30
    Rob Garland’s Eclectic Trio
    Rob Garland’s Eclectic Trio plays original high energy instrumental and vocal music with funk, blues, jazz, fusion and rock.
    Time: 4 p.m. July 30
    Cost: $10
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    Aug. 3
    Ibibio Sound Machine
    Experience African and electronic jams inspired by the golden era of West African funk, disco and post-punk.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 3
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.skirball.org/programs/sunset-concerts/ibibio-sound-machine
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    THEATER

    July 21
    Annie
    Join the irrepressible comic strip heroine as she takes center stage in one of the world’s best-loved musicals. Annie’s escape from an orphanage and the clutches of the wicked Miss Hannigan leads to new life and home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. July 21, 22 and 29, and 2 p.m. July 23, 29 and 30
    Cost: $39 to $60
    Details: www.grandvision.org/warner-grand/events.asp
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    July 21
    The Taming of the Shrew
    For Shakespeare by the Sea’s 20th anniversary season, community members will be able to enjoy William Shakespeare’s famous comedy The Taming of the Shrew. The professionally-crafted productions are presented free.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. July 21
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.shakespearebythesea.org/wp/calendar
    Venue: Marine Mammal Care Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St., #8, San Pedro

    July 21
    Mary Poppins
    Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins brings the practically perfect nanny to life on stage. Based on the Disney movie, with the Sherman Brothers songs that you love and some new additions by the Olivier winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, Mary Poppins is nothing short of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 21 and 22, 2 p.m. July 22, and 1 and 6 p.m. July 23
    Cost: $67 to $137
    Details: musical.org
    Venue: Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton St., Long Beach

    July 28
    La Linea
    A multimedia story of everyday life on the Mexico-U.S. border with music by Panoptica.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 28
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org

    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    July 29
    Dark Moon
    Elysium Conservatory Theatre roars into the summer with an epic re-imagining of The Ballad of Barbara Allen. Set in the Appalachian Mountains near Ol’ Baldy, Dark of the Moon is an immersive thriller that follows John the Witch Boy and Barbara, a human, as they fight for love among the terrifying worlds of witches and equally colorful residents of Buck Creek.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays July 29 through Aug. 27
    Cost: $10 to $25
    Details: www.fearlessartists.org/box-office-1
    Venue: Elysium Conservatory Theatre, 729 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    July 30
    Peter & The Wolf
    The childhood classic told with live music.
    Time: 3 to 4:30 p.m. July 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 5
    Guys and Dolls
    Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, Guys and Dolls is an oddball romantic comedy. Gambler Nathan Detroit tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, nightclub performer Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for 14 years.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through Aug. 5
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Aug. 13
    Peter y La Loba
    Enjoy another telling of Peter and the Wolf, this time with Latin Grammy Award winners Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam.
    Time: 3 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    ARTS

    July 24
    Disruptions


    The Art of Eliseo Art Silva features 20 works which embrace sparring ideas to intentionally disrupt the expected and bring attention to new ideas and conversations. As an artist of over 100 public works on the East and West Coasts and in his own studio practice, this Philippines-born artist strives to disrupt his audience, forcing them to rethink and energize. RSVP requested.
    Time: 5 to 8 p.m. July 24
    Details: (310) 514-9139; linda@sbcglobal.net
    Venue: The Arcade, 479 W. 6th St., Suite 107, San Pedro

    July 30
    From The Desert to The Sea: The Desolation Center Experience
    Before the era of Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella, Desolation Center drew punk and industrial music fans to the far reaches of the Mojave Desert for the first of five events, Mojave Exodus, in April of 1983. Cornelius Projects pays tribute to Desolation Center’s pioneering vision with an exhibition featuring painting, photography, sculpture, video and ephemera.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, through July 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 266-9216
    Venue: Cornelius Projects Gallery, 1417 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    Aug. 19
    Third Saturday Artwalk
    Explore San Pedro’s diverse art scene, featuring 30-plus open galleries, open studios, live music and eclectic dining.
    Free art walk tour starts at Siren’s coffee house.
    Time: 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.SanPedroBID.com
    Venue: Siren’s, 356 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 19
    PVAC Faculty Exhibition
    Showcasing the talent of the community of artists who teach at The Studio School and Youth Studio at Palos Verdes Art Center / Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education, the Faculty Exhibition presents new works in diverse media, including painting, drawing, ceramics, glass, textiles and design.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://pvartcenter.org/exhibitions/pvac-faculty-exhibition
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 West Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Aug. 25.
    Audrey Barrett: Available Light
    Gallery 478 and TransVagrant Projects are pleased to present Audrey Barrett: Available Light, an exhibition of photography and auction benefiting City of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Research.
    Audrey Barrett (1940-2017) was an extraordinary photographer and designer whose aesthetic encompassed a broad spectrum from surrealism in photography to Russian constructivism in design. This exhibition consists of black and white gelatin silver and platinum palladium prints from her archive including many of the artist’s proofs.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, through Aug. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 732-2150
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Sept. 3
    Cada Mente en Su Mundo
    The Museum of Latin American Art is proud to host a solo exhibition of new and recent works by Luis Tapia, a pioneering Chicano artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. For 45 years, Tapia has taken the art of polychrome wood sculpture to new levels of craftsmanship while utilizing it as a medium for social and political commentary.
    Time:  11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, through Sept. 3
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: molaa.org
    Venue: MOLAA, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    July 22
    Her Voice: Sultana, Meklit and Ulali
    Celebrating women’s voices from Indian, Pakistani, Ethiopian and Native American traditions.
    Time: 7 p.m. July 22
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    July 24
    Grunion Run Schedule
    Take Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Fish-tival and celebrate all things grunion. Grunion may be collected by people with a valid 2017 California Fishing licence and by hand only. No license is required for those younger than 16.
    Time: 10:30 p.m. July 24
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    July 29
    Sinister Circus
    The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor proudly presents Sinister Circus, the first-ever haunted summer costume ball aboard the Queen Mary. Following a day of macabre fun at Midsummer Scream 2017, join us at a spook-tacular costume party aboard where you can dress up to become one of the ringmaster’s minions for Dark Harbor’s Sinister Circus.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 29
    Cost: $29 to $34
    Details: http://bit.ly/DHSinisterCircus
    Venue: Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

    Aug. 12
    Iowa by the Sea Picnic
    All Iowans and people who love the great state of Iowa are invited to this year’s fun event. The picnic location provides excellent security, adequate space and a great view of the battleship.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: $12 to $35
    Details: (877) 446-9261; www.pacificbattleship.com
    Venue: Battleship Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, San Pedro

    Aug. 13
    Cyclavia SanPedro/Wilmington
    CicLAvia ,which  produces temporary car-free days that transform streets into safe spaces for thousands of people to explore the city by foot, bike and other forms of non-motorized transport, will take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 13 in Wilmington and San Pedro.
    No parking will be allowed on the CicLAvia Route from 1 a.m.  to 6 p.m. Aug. 13. Parking restrictions will be enforced and vehicles will be towed beginning at 1 a.m.
    Details: www.ciclavia.org/ciclavia_sanpedro17

    Aug. 18
    Movie Under the Guns
    Battleship Iowa invites you to a free screening of Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie will be shown on board the fantail of Battleship Iowa as you sit under the stars, overlooking the beautiful Los Angeles Waterfront.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: (877) 446-9261; www.pacificbattleship.com
    Venue: Battleship Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro
    Sept. 2
    Swing Pedro Fleet Week 2017
    Come dance, listen to great music and meet great people from San Pedro. This event is free to all Navy and military on active duty so make sure to mingle with our fine servicemen. Spaces fill up quickly so be sure to get your tickets early.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2
    Cost: $25
    Details: (310) 547-2348
    Venue: People’s Yoga, Health & Dance, 365 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    13th Annual Light at the Lighthouse Music Festival
    There will be four stages, including a main stage with some of the best headlining Christian rock bands like The Edge and a worship stage featuring talent from local churches.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.lightatthelighthouse.org
    Venue: Point Fermin, 807 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro

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  • Police Body Cam Video Reveals Details about Inauguration Day ‘Kettling’ of Protesters

    By Baynard Woods, Democracy in Crisis

    In police body-camera footage obtained by Democracy in Crisis, the scene in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 2017 shows the war zone our nation really is right now. The balance of power in the battle—both on the streets then and in the courts today—is deeply asymmetrical, with the police and the government struggling to maintain control of all information related to the case.

    This video is part of the vast digital archive of possible evidence in the case against more than 200 people facing decades in jail for charges of felony rioting, conspiracy to riot, inciting riot, and property damage.

    In the footage, which you can see at democracyincrisis.com, we see a crowd come around the corner carrying a large banner and many smaller signs and flags, wearing black jackets, hoodies, and masks over their faces.

    Click here to read more.

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  • The Further and Continuing Evolution of Government Under Science

    • 07/14/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Letters
    • Comments are off

    Where does science fit within the evolution of government? Rather than trying to engage the common man into thinking more about science, we should address the absence of science within government. Under the direction of science, human deliberative capability can alter the nature and course of human evolution, as well as our impact on our environment. We have institutionalized the pecking-order in which we operate, and we view our relationship with the resource/environment and conceive our economic policy through this lens. Our concern for genetic imperative and our progeny should instead lead us to reevaluate and rewrite government and economic policy with an eye on ensuring the fulfillment of the genetic imperative, which commits us to do whatever necessary to ensure the continuation of human existence.

    Many of our policies today promote overpopulation and corruption of the environment; such policies are harmful and run counter to fulfillment of the genetic imperative and sustainability of human civilization. Rather than approaching this problem politically, we should use scientific analysis and principles to identify beneficial policies that will ensure the continuation of humanity. Such scientific analysis should form the basis of governmental policy, which must inevitably evolve to conform to this need to prescribe whatever will ensure the survival and well-being of humanity. Instead, modern policies and governance support destructive tendencies. Scientists should create a venue now to underwrite this process and move it forward.

    Perry Bezanis
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    San Pedro

    They Told Me to Be Courteous

    During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing earlier this week, I asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to assure the American people that special counsel Bob Mueller has the independence and ability to investigate Donald Trump and his campaign’s ties to the Russian government.

    Rosenstein dodged my question again and again — and as I pressed him to assure the American people, the Republicans tried to shut me down, saying I needed to be more “courteous.”

    This is hardly the first time the GOP has done this — let us not forget when they silenced my friend and colleague Elizabeth Warren for trying to read a letter from Coretta Scott King about Jeff Sessions.

    Here is the truth: I will not be silenced. We will not be silenced. The American people, who deserve the truth, will not be silenced, not when the faith and integrity of our democracy is at stake.

    Like Senator Warren — and so many others — we will continue to persist and never give an inch when it comes to truth and accountability in our government.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Kamala Harris
    U.S. Senator

     

    Fred Warmbier Addresses the Press

    Fred’s remarks stated that Obama administration didn’t try hard enough to get their son out of North Korea. That’s not true: the Obama administration worked very hard on this issue and the great Trump administration succeeded. The Trump administration did nothing different than the Obama administration.

    North Korea had a vegetable on their hands and unloaded it. Fred doesn’t understand that and attacked Obama, then praised Trump.

    I just want to know, WHAT WAS OTTO DOING IN NORTH KOREA? I don’t believe that he was just a tourist.

    The U. S. government informed him not to go and yet he went. WHY?

    Fred and his wife, along with the parishioners of Ascension & Holy Trinity Church prayed every day while Otto was a prisoner, for Otto’s safe return. When it did happen, “Otto” was a vegetable. God didn’t live up to his reputation of being GREAT & ALL POWERFUL. Fred didn’t blame God, yet they blamed Obama.

    Fred, get your act together! If my God did that to me, I WOULD THROW HIM INTO A TRASH CAN!

    Damian Walters
    San Pedro

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  • SP Waterfront Arts District Selected as One of 14 State Designated Cultural Districts

    SAN PEDRO — On July 13, the California Arts Council announced that the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District will be among 14 districts serving as the state’s premier designated cultural arts districts. This is the first year that the council has voted to designate cultural arts districts. These districts will highlight thriving cultural diversity and unique artistic identities within local communities across the state.

    “We think it’s a natural progression from where we started in 2009 to grow into a state designated cultural district,” said Linda Grimes, managing director of the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District. “This has been a fabulous collaboration. I am grateful to all the partners involved, as well as all of the galleries and artists.”

    The San Pedro Arts, Culture and Entertainment district which was the precursor to the current non-profit arts district was originally funded with a $500,000 grant from the City of Los Angeles and was formed in 2003 with the vision and leadership of James Preston Allen, the publisher of Random Lengths News in collaboration with the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and the cooperation of the arts community. Allen, who is no longer with the Arts District, congratulated the current leadership on this milestone accomplishment.

    “It is a move in the right direction to attain the kind of recognition the artists in this community surely deserve,” Allen said.

    This designation also comes at a time that is pivotal for the downtown San Pedro historic arts district that has struggled for years to retain its historic and cultural assets against increasing pressure to gentrify and balance new development while retaining its core cultural assets and maintain a vibrant arts community.

    The districts were selected with variety in mind, to help tailor the program. Districts range developmentally from emerging to established; include an emphasis on cultural consumption, production and heritage. They are in urban, suburban and rural areas.

    The selection for the California Cultural Districts was conducted through open call for initial letters of intent, a peer panel review, site visits for semi-finalists and an invited finalist application.

    “Our goal with the pilot launch of this new program was to support a group of districts that met high but broad standards of coherence — ones that could set an example for districts that will follow as the program develops and grows.”

    Each of the districts will receive the designation for five years, per state legislation. Designation includes benefits such as technical assistance, peer-to-pee exchanges, and branding materials and promotional strategy. The council has partnered with Visit California and Caltrans for strategic statewide marketing and resource support.

    Districts will unify under an umbrella of shared values:  helping to grow and sustain authentic grassroots arts and cultural opportunities, increasing the visibility of local artists and community participation in local arts and culture, and promoting socioeconomic and ethnic diversity. Districts also will play a conscious role in tackling issues of artist displacement.

    Pilot cohort districts will offer feedback to the council to ensure the subsequent launch of the full program in 2019 will be supportive and accessible for all types of cultural centers.

    Learn more about the program at www.caculturaldistricts.org.

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  • Always Read the Walls Before Ordering

    By Richard Foss, Cuisine and Restaurant Writer

    If you ask someone what to order at Slavko’s Harbor Poultry, they might think it’s the setup for a joke. We are talking about a restaurant with a giant chicken on the roof and a smaller one on the weather vane, either of which might be presumed to answer all questions regarding the specialty of the house.

    And indeed, Slavko’s is best known for chicken, either rotisserie or fried. Order chicken and potatoes along with some macaroni salad and you’ve probably duplicated the order of the last five people who came in and the next five who are in line behind you. I tend to get the fried rather than rotisserie unless I’m in a hurry. They fry to order and it can take 15 to 20 minutes to be served during busy hours. I prefer to dine in because I want to enjoy that seasoned crust at the peak of freshness. While waiting, I’ll spend a few minutes looking at their old pictures of San Pedro before settling in at one of the worn but clean booths. Once the chicken arrives I am faced with a situation that tries my patience: I’ll burn my fingers and tongue if I try to dig in too soon. I could start by eating the coleslaw that I get on the side, but I’ll need that to cool things down when I succumb to impatience, which I always do.

    For those who tire of chicken (hey, it could happen), or crave other experiences, there are other options. The braised pork ribs are very tender, but rather mildly seasoned. If you like peppery spices and hanker for a culinary connection to local culture, you should try the cevapcici.

    There are endless varieties of this casing-free sausage across the Balkan region. The version here is made with a mixture of beef and pork as well as a healthy shot of garlic, pepper and herbs. Think of gyros or an exuberantly spiced meatloaf that is pan-fried and you’re in the ballpark. They serve the meat on top of a substantial heap of breaded and deep-fried potatoes with raw onions, pieces of thick flatbread and a spicy red pepper sauce. The portion is so sufficiently filling that even people who don’t usually hibernate after meals may feel inclined to do so.

    The cevapcici is available with no notice, but the most interesting items Slavko’s serves require you to order as much as a day in advance. They offer duck, goose and quail, but another item grabbed my attention: whole rabbit that is first marinated, then pan-browned, coated in seasoned breadcrumbs, moist braised and then baked. It’s a lot of trouble to go through but it’s necessary because rabbit is an extremely lean meat, and low-fat meats get tough when cooked quickly. The moist braising infuses the meat so it’s extremely tender and flavorful, and the final bake toasts the breadcrumb crust to perfection.

    Rabbit meat is often compared to chicken breast, which is inevitable because every unusual pale meat, including rattlesnake and iguana, gets that comparison. There is a difference that you can see when you have both at the same meal: the rabbit has a finer grain and is as moist but less greasy. One thing to note is that Slavko’s includes some of the organ meats, like the heart and the liver. Depending on your preference, you can fight over these or avoid them. My wife and I like the richer-flavored dark meats and split these, while others at the table are happy that there’s more of the white meat for them. A note for those with children or childlike adults: there are four drumsticks, so you don’t have to race for those.

    A whole bunny runs $34.50 and feeds  four to six people, and it’s a remarkable deal for an unusual meal. It pairs well with merlots and other medium-body, low-tannin red wines, and Slavko’s sells some Croatian reds that would probably do the job nicely.

    The all-American fried chicken is what made them famous. But the more arcane items on Slavko’s menu are a link to another era when many restaurants in town featured food from coastal Croatia. If you have a large group you could order a picnic that offers the best of both worlds and celebrate cultural diversity through finger foods, but be sure to have lots of napkins handy.

    Slavko’s is at 1224 S. Pacific Ave. in San Pedro. It is open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sundays, closed on Mondays. Wine and beer are served; dine-in or take out.

    Details: (310) 832-5723

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  • Clear Water Tunnel Project Public Workshop

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  • 2017–2018 Arts Council for Long Beach’s Annual Grant Applications

    The Arts Council for Long Beach is excited to announce that the 2017–2018 Annual Grant Cycle Applications and Guidelines are now available.

    Time: 5 p.m. July 31

    Details: http://www.artslb.org/grants

    Venue: Arts Council for Long Beach, 350 Elm Ave., Long Beach

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  • POLB: Best Seaport in North America

    • 07/11/2017
    • RL Intern
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    LONG BEACH — The Port of Long Beach has been bestowed the title of “Best Seaport in North America” at the 2017 Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards, June 29, at the Singapore Marina Bay Cruise Center.

    The POLB has been awarded this title for the third consecutive year, and for the 19th time in the past 22 years. The award is bestowed by importers, exporters and logistic and supply chain professionals. Factors involved in the judging included quality of service, innovation, customer relations and reliability.

    More than 15,000 professionals within the industry who read Asia Cargo News were invited to participate in the nomination and selection process for the awards.

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