• Recapping Carson’s 2014 Reality Show

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    When it comes to news, Carson is its own reality show with backstories and plot lines that extend from season to season. Almost all major Carson stories this year were continuations of threads from previous seasons and almost all will continue into 2015 and beyond. There were political scandals, changes in community leadership and outrage about fracking and toxic contamination. Below, find some of Carson’s most epic moments of 2014:

    Wright’s Conviction
    Carson’s representation at the state level changed sooner than normal. On Jan. 28, a Los Angeles jury found Ron Wright, who represented Senate District 35, guilty of eight felony charges related to residency requirements for his office, including voter fraud. Isadore Hall III, who was termed out in Assembly District 64, had already announced plans to run for the SD 35 in 2016. He was elected to replace Wright in a special election that took place on Dec. 9, 2014.

    Gipson to Assembly  
    Beginning in the spring, four candidates sought to succeed Hall in the assembly: Carson Councilman Mike Gipson, Compton School Board Member Micah Ali, then-Long Beach Councilman Steve Neal, and Prophet Walker, who had no experience in elected office. When the June primary came, Gipson and Walker were advanced to a run-off in November. Gipson won and resigned his council seat, moving up to the assembly.

    Opposition to Fracking  
    In March, Councilman Albert Robles asked the city to consider a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). It was partly in response to the passage of Senate Bill 4, which directs the state to establish new oil industry regulations related to fracking. On March 18, the city council, reacting to concerns about effects of fracking on public health and safety, voted unanimously to establish a 45-day moratorium on not only fracking but “the drilling, redrilling, or deepening of any new or existing wells” within city jurisdiction.

    “We need to evaluate legal options,” said Mayor Jim Dear, at the time.

    The action was also related to a proposal from Oxy to reopen oil wells under the Dominguez Technology Center. Oxy has often assured Carson that fracking would not be appropriate for the proposed development. In a March 10 letter to the city, Oxy committed to not use any “well stimulation methods” covered by the state’s new regulations under Senate Bill 4.

    On April 29, the council declined to extend its moratorium on “drilling, redrilling, or deepening” of wells. The Carson Chamber of Commerce, Watson Land and other business representatives spoke against continuing it. Gipson abstained from the controversial vote. His abstention was used (unsuccessfully) against him by his opponents in the assembly race. The city then moved to update its oil code and include a ban on fracking, which is due this January 2015.

    In the aftermath of the vote, the district attorney investigated whether Robles had a conflict of interest, sitting on Carson’s city council, while also having office with the Water Replenishment District of Southern California. The investigation may have perhaps been triggered when the council looked into fracking’s possible effect on local water quality. The DA has not taken any further action.

    Toxic Carousel Keeps Spinning  
    During Thanksgiving week Carson and Shell signed off on a personal injury settlement affecting 1,491 current and former residents of the Carousel housing tract north of Lomita Boulevard. The settlement was negotiated after the neighborhood was found to be sitting on toxic soil in 2008. Reportedly, Shell has since asked the court to negate the settlement on grounds that confidentiality was violated when some details were leaked to media (not this outlet).

    Body Cams and New Leadership for LASD
    Changes in leadership happened at the top and community level in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which has jurisdiction in Carson. At the top a new sheriff was elected—Jim McDonnell, the former chief of the Long Beach Police Department. Given the issues that plagued McDonnell’s former department and the sheriff’s department, it remains to be seen how effective a leader McDonnell will be.

    The Carson station got a new captain twice. In June Reginald Gautt assumed command. One of his first duties was to oversee a six-month pilot program on body-worn cameras, a possible tool to curb issues of police brutality and charges of excessive force. Seventeen deputies and two supervisors are participating at the Carson station, where such complaints are fortunately rare. In December, Capt. Chris Marcs took command.

    Water Board Shake-up  
    Ron Smith, who formerly represented District 1 (including Carson) for the West Basin Municipal Water District, was convicted of a conflict-of-interest charge in September. Leading up to the November election to replace him, one candidate, former Carson Mayor Mike Mitoma, questioned the board members’ salaries. Former Carson Councilman Harold Williams won the seat, while concerns about board members’ salaries remain unsettled.

    Dear Seeks Job Change
            As 2014 concluded, candidates emerged for the next General Municipal Election. Four offices—two on the council, plus clerk and treasurer—will be on the ballot in March. Jim Dear announced he’s challenging Donesia Gause for city clerk.


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  • American Justice on Trial

    When the War Comes Home
    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    On Sept.11, 2001, America reacted to the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. with swift action and arguably justified vengeance for the loss of life on our home turf––the first such attack since Pearl Harbor.

    Then-President George W. Bush called for a “War on Terrorism” and the country righteously sent our troops off to fight in Afghanistan, the nation harboring the terrorist group, Al Qaeda, responsible for the attacks.   (more…)

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  • Students Unite to Recognize SPHS Teacher

    San Pedro High School teacher, Karin Bruhnke, was honored by the Carlston Family Foundation with the 2014 Outstanding Teacher of America award recently. Her former student, Deshawn Sambrano (right), was one of five students who nominated her for the award. Photo Courtesy of Karin Bruhnke

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Isabela Mejia decided to take her mother’s advice and follow her sister’s footsteps when it was time to take advanced placement classes at San Pedro High School: Take Ms. Bruhnke’s AP Psychology class so she can do well in school.

    “I enjoyed the way she taught,” said Isabel Mejia,16. “She bases it on how a real college class functions…. She is one of the teachers who really cares about her students and wants to make a difference in their [lives].”

    It’s no surprise that her reputation follows her. Mrs. Karin Bruhnke has worked at the high school for almost 20 years, teaching advanced placement psychology, advanced placement world history, government, economics and honors world history courses. (more…)

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  • RLn ARTS Calendar: Jan. 7, 2015

    The Museum of Latin American Art presents Transformations, through May 17. Transformations is an exhibition that visually depicts how everyday people deal with, and are transformed by, life altering challenges. Utilizing art from MOLAA’s collection, participants will select works that reflect their emotional state before and after their transformative experience. Five local community members will share inspiring stories ranging in topics from cancer to gang violence.
    Details: (562) 437-1689
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art
    Location: 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

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  • Winter Reflects the Season of Cool at Warshaw

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    Maybe it’s just me, but the quality of exhibitions at Warschaw/Transvagrant Gallery seems to improve with each new opening.

    Warschaw/Winter is an eclectic group exhibition featuring artist works previously featured at Warschaw/TransVagrant Gallery. Painting in its various guises, from geometric patterns to biomorphic abstraction to solar-burned works, play alongside large scale photographs, sculptures made largely of pigmented rubber, Sumi ink drawing and ironic 3-D assemblage. The common denominator is quality.

    Ron Linden is unfailing in his ability to curate artists with national and international reputations. This latest show includes emerging artists as well as the solidly established and mid-career artists that San Pedro is known for. Craig Antrim, Merwin Belin. Arnée Carofano, Katy Crowe, Nate Jones, Hyung Mo Lee, Ron Linden, William Mahan, Jay McCafferty, Elizabeth Medina, Heidi Pollard, Yong Sin, Gary Szymanski, Marie Thibeault, Ted Twine, and HK Zamani are artists in the exhibit.

    Warschaw Gallery is as unconventional as the artist who manages the exhibit space. Hidden in a breezeway in the Pacific Warner Building, with entrances on Pacific Avenue and on 6th Street. The gallery receives foot traffic primarily from people visiting Off the Vine wine bar, or the local pot shop. It is doubtful that most of the people passing through the gallery realize the significance of the art hanging on the wall. Happily, local artists and art enthusiasts follow his exhibitions devotedly.

    Linden is an art professor at Los Angeles Harbor College and curator of the Harbor College art gallery. He kicked off his career with a masters in fine arts from the University of Illinois and left a tenured position in the Midwest to move to California. His resume contains positions at the some of the most prestigious art institutions in Los Angeles, but he supported himself for many years as a set builder and artist in the film industry. He has been instrumental in the development of the San Pedro arts district.

    Lindens understated restrained work is included in the exhibit.

    “Although Linden’s abstract painting utilizes, in unexpected and subtle ways, techniques acquired in his three decades working in the scenic industry, its deeper base is his ongoing interest in the philosophical conundrums of modern art,” wrote art critic Peter Plagens of Lindens work in the online website CUE Art Foundation . “Working with mixed materials, Linden’s layered compositions strike an odd but convincing sense of balance and solidity.”

    Jay McCafferty’s delicate solar burned, process driven work is included in this show. As well as the whimsical paintings of Ted Twine.Emerging artist Elizabeth Medina has contributed an abstract impressionist piece reflecting her interest in the work of Richard Diebenkorn. Medina is a masters in fine arts student at Otis College of the Arts.

    Angels Gate artist Hyong Mo Lee is another emerging artist, whose work on paper exhibits a rigorously detailed hand-penciled drawing. His education includes attendance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

    “My drawing strategy is similar to the slow growing process of stones, trees and mountains,” Lee said. “It is an incremental process — laborious and time consuming — whereby a single cellular unit or mark is repeated until all surface is filled.”

    Stand outs in this show are photographer Ray Carafano and his wife, photographer Arnée Carafano. The two photographers reside and work at Gallery 478 on 7th St. Their studio is a popular stop on the San Pedro art walk night.

    Ray has worked in black and white abstract landscapes for much of his 50-year career. Recently, his composition has moved further away from representational references and muted color has lent a haunting impression to his photos.

    His wife Arnée, also an accomplished artist, has developed her own distinctive style. Two pieces focusing on the Pacific Ocean, confirms her shared interest in the abstract perspective.

    Many more works stand out in this exhibition. The exhibition will be displayed in the hallways of the old building at the corner of 6th Street and Pacific Avenue. If you are stopping by the dispensary, or heading for a glass of wine, your visit will be enhanced by a few minutes spent viewing the art at Warschaw Gallery.
    Winter runs through Jan. 16, 2015.
    Details: (310) 600-4873
    Venue: Warschaw/Transvagrant Gallery
    Location: 600 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

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  • RLn COMMUNITY, THEATER Calendars: Jan. 2, 2015

    Jan. 11
    South Coast Cactus & Succulent Society
    Gregg DeChirico, president of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America, is presenting a program on the plants and wildlife of Madagascar, starting at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 11, at the South Coast Botanic Garden, in the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
    Learn how the most diverse flora and fauna imaginable are caught in a complicated and anxious struggle for survival.
    Details:  southcoastcss.org
    Venue: South Coast Botanic Garden
    Location: 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula

    Jan. 17
    The Bombs that Saved China
    Learn about how the fight against Japan in the China-Burma-India campaign required rugged machines, at 11 a.m. Jan. 17, at the Western Museum of Flight in Torrance.
    Lt. David K. Hayward will talk about his experience with the B-25.
    Details: (310) 326-9544
    Venue: Western Museum of Flight
    Location: 3315 Airport Drive, Torrance

    Jan. 17
    Tidepool Wonders
    Explore one of the lowest tides of the year on the rocky shore with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 17, and from 12:30p to 2 p.m. Jan. 18.
    Bring family and friends to the aquarium’s John M. Olguin Auditorium for an informative slide show, followed by a walk led by Cabrillo Marine Aquarium education staff to the nearby Point Fermin tidepools.
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
    Location: 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Jan. 17
    Underwater Parks Day
    Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.Jan. 17, for Underwater Parks Day.
    By attending this free event, you can learn about marine protected areas in Southern California that went into effect on January 1, 2012.
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
    Location: 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Jan. 17
    27th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace & Unity Parade Celebration
    The 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade Celebration will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 17, in Long Beach.
    This year’s theme is “From Poverty to Prosperity.”
    The parade will begin on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue intersecting Anaheim Street, and is followed by a multi-cultural celebration at King Park, 1950 Lemon Avenue.
    Details:(562) 570-6816
    Venue: King Park
    Location: 1950 Lemon Ave., Long Beach
    Jan. 9
    Shadows-A Play
    Experience Shadows-A Play, at7 p.m. Jan. 9, at the Grand Annex in San Pedro.
    Playwright and San Pedro native, Linda Dunton Delmar presents the 15th anniversary of her off-Broadway play based on her own childhood experience.
    Tickets range from $15 to $35.
    Details: (310) 833-4813; www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex
    Location: 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 17
    Murder on the Nile
    Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile opens, Jan. 17, on the Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage.
    Murder on the Nile promises a host of colorful characters and all the twists and turns of a classic Christie to keep you guessing to the final shattering climax.
    Tickets are $24 for adults, $21 for seniors and $14 for students.
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage
    Location: 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

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  • RLn ENTERTAINMENT Calendar: Dec. 30, 2014

    Jan. 4
    The Jazzedelics are scheduled to perform, at 4 p.m. Jan. 4, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Jazzedelics is the brainchild of singer and percussionist Tony Jones and guitarist Doug Perkins. Their music is based on a simple premise: what if seminal rock giants of the 60s had written their songs in a jazz framework?
    Suggested donation is $20.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 6
    John Daversa Progressive Big Band
    The John Daversa Progressive Big Band performs, at 8 p.m. Jan. 6 and 7, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    The John Daversa Progressive Big Band is one of the leading forces of large ensemble jazz today.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 9
    Rob Klopfenstein
    Rob Klopfenstein performs at 7 p.m. Jan. 9, at The Whale & Ale in San Pedro.
    Rob Klopfenstein is an all-around entertainer on the piano along with special guest artists.
    No cover charge for bar or dinner guests.
    Details: (310) 832-0363; www.whaleandale.com
    Venue: The Whale & Ale British Restaurant
    Location: 327 W. 7th St., San Pedro
    Jan. 9
    Richard Sherman Trio
    The Richard Sherman Trio performs, at 8 p.m. Jan. 9, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 10
    Cole Marcus Trio
    The Cole Marcus Trioperforms, at 8 p.m. Jan. 10, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro
    Jan. 16
    Los Tribes
    Los Tribes performs, at 8 p.m. Jan. 16, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 17
    Robert Sarzo
    Robert Sarzo performs a tribute to Santana, starting at 8 pm. Jan. 17. at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro
    Jan. 18
    Frank Potenza
    Frank Potenza performs, at 4 p.m. Jan. 18, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 22
    Jeff Hamilton Trio
    The Jeff Hamilton Trio performs, at 8 p.m. Jan. 22, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

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  • RLn COMMUNITY Calendar: Dec. 23, 2014

    Dec. 27
    Cannon Battle Sails
    Get ready to rock the harbor aboard Los Angeles’ official tall ships, from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 27 and 28, in San Pedro.
    The cost is $60 for adults and $40 for children.
    Details: (310) 833-6055; online 
    Venue: Downtown San Pedro Harbor Cut
    Location: 6th Street at Harbor Boulevard, San Pedro
    Dec. 29
    The Nature Center is hosting fun workshops over winter break for children 5 to 8 years old, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Dec. 29 through 31, at the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. (more…)

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  • Listening in to LACO’s Baroque Conversations

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has a well-loved tradition of performing the five concert “Baroque Conversation” series.

    Now in its ninth year, music director Jeffrey Kahane leads the program. This year the program uniquely included four harpsichords with the chamber orchestra. There were two performances: Dec. 11 at Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles and on Dec. 13 at The Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge

    Former San Pedro resident and artist, Curtis Berak, is the builder and owner of the four harpsichords that were played. Two were modeled after Italian designs (Italians were the first to make harpsichords), the other two were French designs. The tops of the harpsichords also were on display at the back of the stage. Each was finely painted by San Pedro artist Timna Pilch, depicting country side scenes and painted marble. (more…)

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  • If Not Now When?

    How We Fail at Democracy, How It Fails Us

    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    We spend a lot of time in this country talking or posturing about defending democracy. How many times have we gone to war in the past 100 years on this very premise?

    Yet, I am constantly reminded of how often we don’t live up to those hallowed words, let alone the intent behind them.  The recent U.S. Senate report on the CIA’s use of torture, the egregious acts of brutality by various police agencies against people of color and the militarization of police forces nationwide all lead me to question once again, the “rule of law” and its service in protecting our liberties and freedom. (more…)

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