• RL NEWS: March 31, 2015

    District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Against Los Angeles Seafood Co.

    WASHINGTON — On March 30, The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against L.A. Star Seafood Company Inc. and its corporate officers Sima Goldring and Sam Goldring.

    The consent decree of permanent injunction was entered to prevent the distribution of adulterated seafood products.

    The Department of Justice filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Jan. 5, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, alleging that the company’s seafood products are produced under conditions that are inadequate to ensure the safety of its products. The complaint alleges that L.A. Star Seafood imports, receives, prepares, processes, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat smoked and salt-cured seafood, including cold-smoked mackerel and steelhead trout, and pickled herring and sprats. The complaint also alleges that Sima Goldring and Sam Goldring are L.A. Star Seafood’s corporate officers with the authority and responsibility for preventing and correcting violations of federal law at the company.

    In conjunction with the filing of the complaint, the defendants agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction that prohibits them from committing violations of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The consent decree requires L.A. Star Seafood to cease all manufacturing operations and requires that, in order for the defendants to resume distributing seafood products, the FDA first must determine that its manufacturing practices have come into compliance with the law.

    According to the complaint, FDA inspections in 2013 and 2014 documented a pattern of insanitary conditions resulting in the presence of Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono).  These insanitary conditions were the result of deviations from current good manufacturing practices, such as not adequately cleaning surfaces and utensils used for cutting fish.  Further, the FDA’s most recent inspection in February and March of 2014 documented the defendants’ failure to have and implement adequate Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans that control Clostridium botulinum (C. bot) and L. mono hazards.  L. mono is the bacterium that causes listeriosis, a serious and sometimes fatal infection for vulnerable groups such as newborns, the elderly and those with an impaired immune system.  Ingestion of the neurotoxin C. bot can cause botulism.  Though the incidence of botulism is rare, its effect is severe.  The disease can cause paralysis or death if not promptly treated.

    According to the complaint, the FDA documented numerous seafood HACCP and current good manufacturing practice violations when it inspected L.A. Star Seafood’s facility.  The complaint alleges that the company’s products are therefore adulterated within the meaning of the FDCA.  As further alleged, the company was told to take certain precautions while brining fish to control potential C. bot hazards but failed to take appropriate corrective action.  According to the complaint, L.A. Star Seafood failed to adequately clean food-contact surfaces and food manufacturing equipment, utensils and containers to protect against contamination of food, and failed to protect in-process fish products from contamination.  The complaint alleges that the company’s insanitary practices resulted in widespread L. mono contamination and that FDA environmental samples from critical areas of L.A. Star Seafood’s facility, such as the processing-room floor and on food-contact surfaces, tested positive for L. mono.

     

    Daily Vessel Report Now on Port Website

    LONG BEACH — As part of efforts to alleviate congestion, increase transparency and improve supply chain efficiency, the Port of Long Beach has added a “Vessels at a Glance” page to the Port’s website at www.polb.com/vesselsataglance.

    The section features a daily update showing all vessels at berth and anchor within the port, as well as their arrival and departure dates and length of stay in Long Beach.

    Also on the new page are charts updated weekly showing the number of vessels at anchor at both Los Angeles and Long Beach, which illustrate trends within the past six months.

    As of March 30, the number of container ships at anchor for the two ports has dropped dramatically to 11, showing that the San Pedro Bay ports are catching up on the backlog of cargo. Just two weeks ago, on March 14, the ships at anchor peaked at 28.

    “Vessels at a Glance” may also be reached directly through a button on the left side of the polb.com homepage or under the Trade section of the site.

     

    2015 Early Bird 1 Desert Dream House Winners
    The Early Bird 2 purchase deadline for the Palos Verdes Art Center’s 2015 Mid-Century Desert Dream House Raffle is April 10.
    Early Bird 1 drawings for Palos Verdes Art Center’s 2015 Mid-Century Desert Dream House Raffle took place March 27. The winners are:

    First Prize: 2015 Mini Cooper or $25,000

    Sylvia McKechnie, Brenda Chalmers, Gilbert Diaz and Kathy Rudon of Torrance

    Multi-Ticket Winner: $25,000
    Peter Jack of Diamond Bar

    Second Prize: $5,000
    Wendy Emeny, Connie Spencer of Rancho Palos Verdes

    Third Prize: $2,500
    Ted and Rosemarie Taylor of Rancho Palos Verdes

    Fourth Prize: $1,500
    Daniela Saxo-Kaneko of Rancho Palos Verdes

    iPad Air 2 or $500
    Jacquie Starodub, Chris Todosiev, Alisa Olate, Janice Nacca, Hali Hertzman, Sharon Palmer, Sue Song, Ku Yu Song and Bob Kohler of Rancho Palos Verdes, Robert Joseph O’Connor of Las Vegas, Mike Persichina of Redondo Beach, Kathryn Ettinger of Palos Verdes Estates, Cindy Holdorff of Los Angeles, Eddy Nelson of San Pedro, Alex Torres of Hawthorne, Dianne Bohnsack of Rancho Palos Verdes, Devin Griffin of Redondo Beach, Robert Johnson of Los Angeles, Robert N. and Sanaye Kumagai of Torrance, Dale Swortz of Houston, Jean Pinto of Encino, Jeremy Freiund of Irvine, Florence Madiani of Rolling Hills Estates, Lynne Griffin of Lomita, Minda Baluyut of Lawndale, Sandra Clarke of San Pedro, Daniel Vaughn of Torrance, and Bruce Bond of Seattle.

    Now in its 13th year, the Dream House Raffle at Palos Verdes Art Center is the first and oldest house raffle in California. It has awarded more than $13 million in cash and prizes in the past twelve years.
    An elegant mid-century vacation home by the master of Hollywood Regency style is just a $150 raffle ticket away for the lucky winner of Palos Verdes Art Center’s 2015 Mid-Century Desert Dream House Raffle. This year, only 25,000 tickets will be sold.
    Nestled in the Marrakesh Country Club (Palm Desert), this completely furnished home was designed by the legendary architect, John Elgin Woolf. Dubbed “The Architect to the Stars,” Woolf’s 1960’s luxury style blends classic French and Greek Revival design with Modernist touches, celebrated in this two bedroom, two bath desert retreat.
    Also included in the grand prize house package are a 2015 Jaguar F-Type V8 S Convertible, a 2015 Jaguar XK Coupe, a fantasy trip for two to Morocco, two Garia golf cars, two Louis Vuitton golf bags, a five-year golf membership in the Marrakesh Country Club-and $675,000 in cash.

    For Raffle Rules and Regulations as well as purchasing options, please visit:  www.CADreamRaffle.com

    The Palos Verdes Art Center, a non-profit community visual arts gallery and school, inspires individuals to create, appreciate and celebrate art. Since 1931, when it was founded as a cultural arm of the planned community of Palos Verdes Estates, the Art Center’s exhibition, education and outreach programs have made the visual arts available, accessible and affordable.

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  • The Persistent Dreams of the Tunnel Builders

    By Lionel Rolfe

    Some of the people seated around the long table in the elegant dark wooded South Pasadena home have been fighting the idea of a five-mile long tunnel nearly 200 feet beneath their feet for decades. To them, that tunnel is the hydra-headed monster that they beat down, but only for a while, and then it pops up again. It’s like a cancerous tumor that can never be removed.

    About the time Caltrans and Metro recently released a new Draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement which once again advanced the notion of building the tunnel, this group of veteran tunnel fighters were meeting to take stock. The report also suggested alternatives to the tunnel, ranging from realignment of existing streets, or putting in a lot of light rail or doing nothing.

     

    As far back as the ‘70s and some say even back to 1939, Caltrans’ intention to complete the Long Beach (710) Freeway’s from Long Beach to Pasadena was always part of the plan. But for years, the plan has been foiled in court by the No 710 Action Committee, acting in alliance with cities like South Pasadena and the Sierra Club, in other words, the people here in the room.

    It has proven terribly galling to the freeway builders that they have not been able to complete that last leg to Pasadena in all these years. The freeways were pretty much built in the ‘50s, during America’s flirtations with fascism in the form of McCarthyism. Freeways came out of that era, when Ronald Reagan declared that those who opposed building the Dodger Stadium in old Chavez Ravine were communists—because they were against baseball. It was a period that allowed little dissent.

    Yet activists fought Caltrans to a standstill.  The freeway system that came in the aftermath of World War II was not without its doubters.

    The Arroyo parkway built to link downtown Los Angeles and the Pasadena area opened in 1940 and was L.A.’s prototype freeway, inspired by Hitler’s famed Autobahn. It was also about the same time that General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone tires acquired the rights of way to the old Red Car lines, tore the tracks out, and opened up the way for the freeway builders. The effort to remold the Los Angeles basin with freeways after World War II held sway for years.

    W hen efforts to extend the 710 on a surface route through South Pasadena were abandoned, Caltrans’ engineers seized on the idea of a tunnel—it would be the longest traffic tunnel ever built in the United States.

    To the opponents, the idea of such a long tunnel was a worse nightmare—a financial nightmare and a dangerous misadventure of the grandest proportions. The fact that there would be no egress once you entered the tunnel from either its southern or northern entrances, provokes images of many potential tunnel catastrophes for these activists.  One even suggested the tunnel would prove to be an irresistible target for terrorists.

    The men and women gathered around that South Pasadena table also seriously dispute the estimate of $5 billion for the tunnel as well—pointing out that similar projects in Seattle and Boston for tunnels not as long had similar estimates, but by the time cost overruns were figured in, $5 billion tunnels had morphed into $20 billion tunnels.

    No doubt the people at the table all shared a belief that freeways have been a disaster from the beginning—slicing and dicing communities and creating miles and miles of wide swaths of concrete ghettoes.

    In all the years that the freeway builders have determined the shape of the Los Angeles basin since World War II, there have been only two successful efforts to stop them. One was the opposition that arose to the 710 extension, and the other was the effort to stop the Beverly Hills Freeway, which would have wreaked terrible havoc on Los Angeles if it had been built from downtown Los Angeles through Hollywood and into Beverly Hills.

    The only other place where the freeway builders were also decisively defeated was when San Francisco residents successfully fought to stop the any further construction on the Embarcadero Freeway, which would have destroyed the city’s fabled waterfront.

    The world views of the proponents of freeways and the opponents are like parallel universes. It makes perfect sense that opposition to more freeway building would have come from those cities like Pasadena and South Pasadena created in the craftsman era, which with their emphasis on light and air and wood, proudly standing on the human side of the equation. To this group at the table it’s a constant theme that the purveyors of the notion that the Los Angeles basin should be a concrete megapolis are propelled by hubris, money and power.

    Each of the activists at the table had their own reasons for opposing the freeway. Take Jane Soo Hoo, who left an academic career in biology to raise a family. She credits a lot of her perspective to the work of Bent Flyvbjerg, whose Harvard lecture,”Follies of Infrastructure: Why the Worst Projects Get Built, and How to Avoid It” says it all.  The founding chair of Major Programme Management at Oxford University, Flyvbjerg also wrote an article in The New Scientist, “Mega delusional: The Curse of the Megaproject.” He was one of the experts hired to untangle Caltrans’ mishandling of the recent upgrading of the Bay Bridge.

    Hoo believes that the engineers and road builders obsessed with paving over the Los Angele basin is more than just an obsession, it’s a pathological psychosis.

    To my left sits Jan Ervin, the one who brought me here. Ervin retired from many years as a top administrator at Los Angeles City Hall (she is the one who presided over President Clinton’s bailout to the city after the 1994 earthquake). She happened to read a piece I wrote some years ago in the Pasadena Weekly about the insanity of freeways as a means of transportation and also remembered me as a classmate from the first grade at Westwood Elementary School.

    She took me to dinner with an earlier set of anti-710ers. I was impressed by the folks who attended—I particularly remember a couple who were professors of engineering at CalTech and had lots of trenchant observations.

    But I didn’t write anything at that point. The 710 extension was dead, seemingly abandoned even by Caltrans. But as Ervin pointed out, that was only a false lull. Here we are, back again, fighting the freeway builders with their obscene dreams of a concrete future, she seemed to be saying.

    I was moved to ask the group, “Do any of you think we are dealing with a conspiracy here?”

    “Follow the money, yes it’s a conspiracy,” adamantly pipes in Mary Ann Prada.

    “Nah,” said Rick Helgeson, a former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power counsel, who has done lots of free legal work for the anti-710 effort over the years. “Bureaucrats just do what they’re trained to do. They’re not doing anything illegal” But he said he was also mindful of the words of the great Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, who rhetorically asked, “Why do we always build freeways through poor people’s areas.”

    Prada likes to say she’s “only a housewife” (nine children), nonetheless she has served has served as the anti-710s archivist for years. She began collecting material in the ‘60s, although some of it dates from way before then.

    Playing the rube works well for Prada. With considerable relish she tells of the time she sat in a meeting with the “project manager” of the 405 Armageddon project.

    She engaged in a surrealistic conversation with the gentleman who didn’t know who she was—since she was merely a housewife in the crowd.  “You know this isn’t going to solve any traffic problems,” she said. “This won’t end traffic on the 405.”

    She said he said, “I know.”

    “You know,” she replied incredulously.

    It was this same meeting at which some of the freeway types were talking, with great excitement, about a plan that would dwarf the 710 extension—they were talking about putting more traffic in tunnels underneath the existing Carmageddon lanes.

    “Build it and they will come,” Prada quoted him as saying.

    Clara Bagaard, the wife of the current mayor of Pasadena, contemplates her own opposition to the 710 extension. She thinks the question comes down to health—is it better to live in a Los Angeles basin that is mostly concrete because that’s what big money dictates? Especially if you realize that living in a concrete jungle is both dangerous and unhealthy. “We’re doing everything for the automobile by making the basin uninhabitable for humans. That’s what bothers me—it’s as if human lives don’t matter, just the dollar—and the egos of the engineers.”

    So what will happen? Diana Mahmud, Helgeson’s attorney companion and mayor pro team of South Pasadena, who worked with him for the Department of Water and Power, says she thinks there’s a shift coming in public thinking.

    Mahmud believes that the upcoming generation is more inclined to get on a swift train rather than own a car and drive on the freeways. The newest generations are less enthralled by cars than older ones, she says. They don’t want to commute—they value highly the notion of living close to where they work.

    “They don’t want to just keep adding lanes to the freeways, which never solves the problem anyway,” she added.

    She also predicts that the tunnel will fail because of the financing. The tunnel builders need private money because they know there is no public money for the project. So the idea is to make the freeway a toll road. The tolls would service the investor’s stake.

    Mahmud describes how she was recently at a meeting where the tunnel builders met with the high-rollers. Authorities tried to keep her from coming in, but as an attorney with knowledge of the Brown Act, they had to let her in. From what she heard, the big boys weren’t that turned on. “It was clear to me they had no appetite for the project. They are concerned about litigation,” she said, noting that well they should be—because the anti-710 forces have fought them successfully at every step in the courts.

    She said the big boys also don’t want to deal with controversy, and “we’re good at creating controversy.” She said they want to be handed projects where all the arguing and litigation is over and that’s never going to be the case here.

    I ask who best represents the freeway builders. They all quickly agree this would be Barbara Messina, the five-time mayor and council member of Alhambra. She has led the fight for the 710 extension as vigorously as they have opposed it. Over the years, they have learned to regard Messina as a formidable opponent. But Diana Mahmud shocks the group by dismissing Messina as “small potatoes.”

    The others in the room are less sanguine about Messina. They note that she has a husband and son who worked for Caltrans. Messina is one of the cabal of tunnel builders. So was Roger Snoble, once chief of Los Angeles’ Metro, which got a lot of money for transit because of Measure R. His was the last great voice for the tunnel. Messina suggests Measure R provided some money for the tunnel, but the anti-710 activists say the tunnel was never mentioned on the ballot box. They say the measure was sold with the promise of more rails.

    Everyone at the table proclaimed that more and more people are swinging to their side. The data base has grown from a 100 or so to thousands.  But still, they worry about Messina.

    I chat with Messina. Yes, she admits, she favors the tunnel because it is the only plan that provides “air quality, mobility and ending congestion.” She said it still had not been decided if trucks would be allowed in the toll tunnels.

    And she is convinced that after a 120 or days of comments, hearings and the like, of the three scenarios proposed in the report, only the tunnel will make sense. The alternatives are more light-rail and another to streamline traffic flow. Messina dismisses light rail as “ridiculous” and says traffic mitigation techniques have all been implemented. In the end, she’s convinced, the tunnel will be “the only logical choice.”

    Years ago, Messina served on the Alhambra school board, and says twice she buried students she knew who were killed by traffic, caused by the fact that the 710 extension was never built.

    Messina says she can understand why people hate freeways, but says they are an “indispensable part” of existence in the Los Angeles basin. “It’s not the same as back east or in Northern California. We are built totally different. It’s a necessity of our way of life. They have to drive the same freeways they are opposing.”

    To Messina, the only reason people would oppose freeways is that they don’t care about people who live in place like Alhambra, where there are many poor people who the opponents of freeways regard as so much garbage.

    She’s as absolutely convinced the freeway will be built as the opponents are who say it never should be and never will be built.

    *

    LIONEL ROLFE is the author of a number of books, including “Literary L.A.,” “Fat Man on the Left,” “The Menuhins: A Family Odyssey” and “The Uncommon Friendship of Yaltah Menuhin and Willa Cather,” all available in Amazon’s Kindlestore.

     

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: March 26, 2015

    March 27
    UTI Career Fair
    Universal Technical Institute will host a career fair to fill more than 80 positions at its new Long Beach campus opening in August. The event will take place on March 27 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and March 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UTI temporary offices and Demonstration Center.
    Details: (623) 445-0930
    Venue: UTI temporary offices and Demonstration Center
    Location: 5000 E. Spring St., Suite 300, Long Beach
     
    March 28
    Share Your Heart … Share Your Home
    Learn about becoming a foster or adoptive parent or weekend host, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 28, in Nordic Lounge within Building E of Long Beach City College.
    The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and a number of local agencies, present this workshop designed to provide interested people with information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent. There will also be information about how to become a weekend host for an older foster child.
    Details: (888) 811-1121
    Venue: Long Beach City College
    Location: 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach
     
    March 30
    New North Division Patrol Commander
    The Long Beach Police Department will have an opportunity for the community to meet its new North Division Patrol Commander, Rudy Komisza, at 6 p.m. March 30 at Carmelitos Community Center.
    Details: (562) 570-9827
    Venue: Carmelitos Community Center
    Location: 851 Via Carmelitos, Long Beach

    April 4
    Map Your Neighborhood Workshop
    COPE Preparedness is offering a free workshop that explains “Map Your Neighborhood,” from 9 to 11 a.m. April 4 at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center. “Map Your Neighborhood” is a FEMA endorsed nine-step program that teaches communities how to work together and be self sufficient for the first 72 hours following a disaster.
    Details: (310) 982-1180
    Venue: Providence Little Company of Mary San Pedro
    Location: 1300 W. 7th St., San Pedro

     
    April 11
    Jane Addams Neighborhood Tree Planting
    Join a team of neighbors, city staff and volunteers to plant trees, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 11, at Jane Addams Elementary School in Long Beach. Trees reduce greenhouse gases, provide habitat, reduce cooling costs, and increase property values.
    Details: (562) 570-6866
    Venue: Jane Addams Elementary School
    Location: 5320 Pine Ave., Long Beach

    April 14
    Special Election
    The Long Beach Special Election to fill the vacant 4th District Council seat will be on April 14. The qualified candidates are Herlinda Chico, Daryl Supernaw and Richard Lindemann.
    Details: (562) 570-7479

    April 25
    e-Waste and Shred Event
    There will be an e-waste and shred event starting at 9 a.m. April 25 at the Long Beach North Station Police Department.
    Venue: Long Beach North Station Police Department
    Location: 4891 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach

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  • Hahn Calls for Budget that Returns Harbor Maintenance Tax to Ports

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 24, Rep. Janice Hahn continued her efforts to have Congress increase the amount of Harbor Maintenance Tax revenue returned to the nation’s ports during the debate on the Republican budget resolution and earlier during time set aside for one-minute speeches.

    She noted that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund now has a surplus of about $9 billion because for years only about 50 percent of the tax on shippers collected at the nation’s ports was returned to the ports.

    Hahn gained bipartisan support this past year for her amendment to the Water Resources and Reform Development Act, which set targets for annual increases in the usage of the trust fund, leading to 100 percent use by 2025.  Since then she has worked to ensure Congress meets those targets.

    Hahn yesterday filed an amendment to the House Republican budget resolution to meet the Water Resources and Reform Development Act targets, but the Rules Committee did not allow it to be considered.

    Hahn stated the budget is a matter of priorities and choices, and she stressed the value and necessity of investing in ports.

    Recently, Hahn and Louisiana Republican Rep. Charles Boustany sent a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 86 Representatives calling on increased appropriations to meet the targets Congress passed into law last year.  Many of the signers are members of the Congressional PORTS Caucus, which Hahn co-chairs.

    The Congressional Progressive Caucus proposed an alternative budget that incorporates Hahn’s proposal to fully meet the targets for harbor maintenance funding established in the 2014 Water Resources and Reform Development Act bill.

     

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: March 24, 2014

    March 25
    Coastal SPNC Special Meeting
    Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council is hosting a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 25, at the San Pedro Elks Lodge Trailer.
    Details: website
    Venue: San Pedro Elks Lodge Trailer
    Location: 1748 Cumbre Drive, San Pedro

    March 25
    Joint San Pedro Committees to Talk about Anderson Senior Center’s Future
    The Committee on Homelessness and the Recreation and Parks Committee will host discussion on a possible future utilization of the Anderson Senior Center at 6:30 p.m. on March 25 at the Think Café in San Pedro.
    The meeting will discuss reports from LAPD, the Recreation and Park Department on current issues in and around the park, uses of the park’s facilities, homelessness in the park and other proposed uses for activating public access to the park and its facilities.
    Venue: Think Café (Patio)
    Location: 302 W. Fifth Street, San Pedro
     
    March 25
    Community Vision Committee Meeting
    The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council will have a meeting, at 6 p.m. March 25 at San Pedro City Hall, to discuss several topics, including minimum wage, mobile/portable showers for the homeless and the city establishment of sidewalk and curb repair fund.
    Details: (310) 732-4522
    Venue: San Pedro City Hall (Room 452)
    Location: 638 S. Beacon St., San Pedro
     
    March 28
    West East Side Community Association Neighborhood Cleanup
    Volunteers are need in cleaning up neighborhood trash from 8 a.m. to noon on March 28 in Central Long Beach. All cleaning materials will be provided.
    Details: (562) 570-2895; cleanlongbeach@longbeach.gov
    Location: 1758 Gladys Ave., Long Beach
     
    March 30
    Harbor Commissioners Discuss Contract Project Extensions
    The Port of Long Beach’s Board of Harbor Commissioners will cover a variety of new business at 6 p.m. on March 30 at their administrative offices in Long Beach.
    Some of the new business topics will include contract extensions for public ads and other port-related projects.
    Details: http://polb.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=18&event_id=1078
    Venue: Harbor Department Interim Administrative Offices
    Location:  4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach

     
    April 2
    Alcohol Awareness Month
    The South Bay Communities Creating Change is hosting a media event, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 2, to kick off this year’s observance of Alcohol Awareness month. The event will highlight the public health issue of underage drinking.
    Details: (323) 293-6284
    Venue: Gardena City Hall (Council Chambers)
    Location: 1700 W. 162nd St., Gardena

    April 4
    Map Your Neighborhood Workshop
    COPE Preparedness is offering a free workshop that explains “Map Your Neighborhood,” from 9 to 11 a.m. April 4 at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center. “Map Your Neighborhood” is a FEMA endorsed nine-step program that teaches communities how to work together and be self sufficient for the first 72 hours following a disaster.
    Details: (310) 982-1180
    Venue: Providence Little Company of Mary San Pedro
    Location: 1300 W. 7th St., San Pedro

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  • Random NEWS Briefs: March 24, 2015

    Long Beach Appoints New Planning Bureau Manager

    LONG BEACH – Former acting director of the Economic and Community Development Department for the City of Inglewood Linda F. Tatum was recently named planning bureau manager for Long Beach Development Services.

    Tatum’s appointment is effective immediately.
    Prior to this appointment, Tatum was responsible for overseeing the Inglewood’s planning, building and safety and code enforcement divisions; and managing developments, including the reopening of The Forum by Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project.

    She previously held the positions of planning manager for Culver City and senior planner for the City of Santa Ana.
    Tatum received her masters of science degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University Tallahassee. She has instructed at California State University, Fullerton, and is a member of the Site Visitor Pool for the Planning Accreditation Board for the American Institute of Certified Planners.  She also is a 2014 Planner Emeritus Network Award Honoree.

     

    Reward Offered for Henry Solis

    LOS ANGELES – A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered by the FBI for information leading to the arrest of Henry Solis.

    Solis is wanted for his alleged involvement in the murder of a man in the downtown district of Pomona, on March 13, 2015.

    In the early morning hours of March 13, Solis and the victim became involved in a physical altercation in downtown Pomona. Solis allegedly pursued the victim on foot and shot him multiple times, killing him.

    On March 17, the Los Angeles County Superior Court obtained a warrant for Solis’ arrest for murder. On March 19, a federal arrest warrant was issued by the U.S. District Court, after Solis was charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

    Solis is a 27-year-old Caucasian man. He is 5’9” to 5’10” and 185 to 190 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes and may be wearing a full beard. He has moles on his right cheek and on the top left of his nose. He should be considered armed and dangerous and a suicide risk.

    Anyone with information as to his whereabouts is urged to contact the Pomona Police Department tip line at (909) 620-2085.

    Details: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/murders/henry-solis/view

     

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  • POLB, POLA Cargo Count Slides in February

    Cargo terminals in February at the Port of Long Beach moved 20.1 percent fewer containers than the same month this past year due to congestion issues that all West Coast seaports face.
    A total of 413,114 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo were moved through the port in February. Imports were recorded at 204,462 TEUs, a 24.7 percent decrease. Exports fell 22.9 percent to 110,711 TEUs. Empty containers saw a decline of 3.9 percent to 97,941 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.
    The congestion issues that worsened in February played the biggest role in the cargo declines, just as they did in January, which had seen an 18.8 percent drop from the same month last year. However, the outlook is more promising. By the end of February, a tentative new contract for dockworkers was announced, federal regulators granted permission for Long Beach and its neighbor the Port of Los Angeles to collaborate on congestion relief, and private chassis fleets in the region agreed to pool their resources.
    This past year, against which 2015 is being compared, was the third-busiest year in port history with a total of 6.82 million TEUs.
    For all the latest monthly cargo numbers, click here.
    For more details on the cargo numbers, please visit www.polb.com/stats

    POLA Container Volumes Decrease in February

    February cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles decreased 10.2 percent compared to the same period this past year.

    The decline was due to terminal congestion and supply chain challenges during labor negotiations. A tentative agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union was reached on Feb. 20, 2015.  Current and historical data is available at www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

    Imports dropped 10.7 percent, from 284,812 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in February 2014 to 254,225 TEUs in February 2015. Exports declined 10.3 percent, from 146,925 TEUs in February 2014 to 131,806 TEUs in February 2015. Combined, total loaded imports and exports fell 10.6 percent, from 431,738 TEUs in February 2014 to 386,031 TEUs in February 2015. Factoring in empties, which fell 9 percent,  overall February 2015 volumes (502,663 TEUs) declined 10.2 percent.

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  • Beam Me Up, Wolfgang

    By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer

    Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio is a comic singspiel about Turks and Christians.

    Written more than two centuries ago, Abduction is about rescue and redemption and a Moslem leader who is more merciful than his Christian counterparts. This all is told in spoken word and delightful tunes, and in a fanciful setting that has been adapted to all kinds of productions.

    The Pacific Opera Project’s Abduction played for one weekend at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. While many would assume that it was the first time that the production was transformed into a Star Trek episode, they’d be wrong.

    Pacific Opera Project co-founder and artistic director, Josh Shaw, did it originally at the Southern Illinois Music Festival in 2014. He got the idea from the work’s slightly fantastic plot, renamed the characters (the Moslems became Klingons, the rescuers a starship crew) and shortened and changed the text to fit a 2-hour production.

    The result was a comic masterpiece, even if there wasn’t quite as much Mozartean music as there usually is. It wasn’t the full opera but we’d bet even Mozart, if he knew Star Trek, would have enjoyed it.

    The opera, on a set that mirrored the modest sets of the earliest Star Trek episodes, starred tenor Brian Cheney as Capt. James T. Belmonte, a swaggering and charming Star Fleet captain in the mold of Capt. James T. Kirk, beaming down to rescue his kidnapped beloved Lt. Constanza (the delightful Shawnette Sulker) on a planet inhabited by Klingons.

    Chief among them is Phil Meyer as Osmin, every bit as annoying and funny as a Klingon as he is in other versions as a noisome Turk. Meyer dominated every scene he was in, singing with real power and being both threatening and very funny. Osmin is a dark character, but you have to laugh at him.

    Belmonte is aided by Mr. Pedrillo, the bright Robert Norman, who sings his heart out in pursuit of Blondie (Claire Averill) who, dressed in harem clothes, is desired by Osmin but is feisty and independent and more than a match for her persecutor. Gregg Lawrence is Chancellor Belim, a speaking role invested with much dignity.

    Stephen Karr conducted the still-substantial score with skill, and managed to keep up with the stage antics. (Folks in the audience were surprised they recognized the opera, which is featured in the film Amadeus.) Still, the opera was much easier to understand if you were a Star Trek fan.

    Pacific Opera Project is a young company, but they have found a way to make opera accessible. Their next production, Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, set for May 14 through 23 at the Ebell Club of Highland Park, should be another exciting event. They are also doing Verdi’s Falstaff in September and Donizetti’s Viva la Mamma in November.

    Details: (213) 739-6122; info@pacificoperaproject.com

     

     

     

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  • LB District 4 Voters Face Tough, Similar Choices

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    The special election to replace Patrick O’Donnell on the Long Beach City Council is just around the corner.

    Three District 4 candidates are vying to convince voters that they are the best choice for the job to replace O’Donnell, who assumed office in the California Assembly in December. Herlinda Chico, Daryl Supernaw and Richard Lindemann are in the winner-take-all race that culminates April 14.

    Chico and Supernaw ran for office in 2012, but O’Donnell, who was termed out, ran for reelection as a write-in candidate. Chico withdrew from the race and Supernaw stuck it out. Though Supernaw won the primary, O’Donnell won the write-in election.

    This time around he said he is tweaking his approach to his campaign.

    “In 2012, I did not mail out a single flier,” Supernaw said. “I just walked the district. This time I’m doing mailings. While walking is a good experience, you can’t get everybody.”

    Not having to run against an eight-year incumbent also makes a difference, he said. In 2012, O’Donnell also had the support of both political parties and labor unions.

    “I was based on keeping partisan politics out of this and still am,” he said. “I did not list any endorsements. I opted not to do that.”

    Lindemann, who described himself as a “dark horse” during a February forum, declined an interview with Random Lengths News, saying only, “I don’t think so.” The newcomer is running a self-funded campaign. He said he didn’t want to cater to self-interest groups such as unions.

    “I understand who I want to represent, not who I’ve been paid to represent,” said Lindemann, during the Feb. 24 forum that was hosted by the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance at the Long Beach Playhouse. “I’m not taking any donations for my campaign, because I don’t work for unions or PACs or any other groups.”

    The comment did not fall on deaf ears. Chico, who does list her endorsements and has a prominent endorsement from the Long Beach Police Officers Association, called it “union-bashing” in her closing remarks.

    Chico is cognizant that not everyone considers the police union endorsement positive support for her campaign, particularly in light of national demonstrations against brutality.

    “I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine who has issues with law enforcement and what I tried to explain to him [that it] was my experience,” said Chico, in a subsequent interview. “I have never had one negative encounter with law enforcement. It just hasn’t happened. I don’t know what it is like to be harassed the way he says that he’s been harassed or made to feel a certain way. But I can tell you that I listened to him. I need to hear his perspective and his experiences.”

    In terms of public safety, Chico said she believes community engagement can make a lasting impact.

    Chico said she would like to model the work of former District 9 Councilman Steve Neal. He identified leaders in his community and asked them to take charge of their blocks through neighborhood associations.

    But jobs and bringing in development are essential long-term fixes. No only are there vacant lots, but there are also vacant warehouses that could be developed. In her conversations with community leaders, Chico said she believes Bixby Knoll is an exemplary model.

    Supernaw also said he sees potential for economic development in District 4 and throughout the city. He believes Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s revitalized economic development department is a step forward. He would like to include corporate partnerships, such as naming rights, as a form of revenue stream.

    “It gets others involved and just a lot of name recognition,” Supernaw said. “Long Beach seems to have a lot of untapped potential.”

    Defining that potential must come with a clear understanding of district-specific issues.

     

    West Side Story

               While District 4 is a cornucopia of people, there is a clear social, economic and ethnic divide between the east side and the west side of the district. The east side (east of Redondo Avenue) is more affluent and predominantly more concerned with quality of life issues, such as increased street repair and noise pollution. The west side, which includes a large Cambodian and Latino community, also struggles with poverty, affordable housing and public safety.

    Supernaw, who boasts of being a lifelong District 4 resident, said he’s advocated for the west side over the years.

    “We need to put more resources into where the challenges are,” he said.

    Chico agreed. She said she’s been meeting with Cambodian leaders. She would like to seek funding for community centers and support a business improvement district in the area. She also would like to address the aging water infrastructure in the city.

    “I’d also look at possibly getting some interpretation devices to make it a little bit more welcoming,” Chico said. “We have Khmai speakers. We have Spanish speakers. Those are things we have to look into to attract and engage and make it welcoming to everybody on the west side.”

     

    Airport Noise Ordinance

    Recent news that JetBlue is seeking to provide international flights to and from Long Beach sparked concerns of new lawsuits and the reopening of an established ordinance that brought some measure of peace between the airport and the surrounding residents.

    JetBlue has stated it has no interest in changing the city’s strict noise ordinance, but other situations may arise. Other airlines may want to do the same and that may result in a very litigious battle.

    “We want to make sure that if JetBlue is the only one that is occupying those slots right now and they get to expand to international flights, that we are not going to have other airlines saying, ‘Hey, we want some of those flights, too,’” Chico said.

    “We just have to be careful. I am not saying an absolute ‘no’ but we have to be very careful and look to the people who have been dealing with this for a very long time. We have fantastic staff members who know the history of the airport. So, our city prosecutor Doug Haubert, Mike Mayes, they have done a fantastic job.”

    Supernaw, whose wife was on the original HUSH (Homes Under Stress and Hazard) group that got the noise ordinance in the first place, agrees.

    “I would like to defer to our experts,” he said. “What I am hearing now is that there are some issues. There are some inherent threats with bringing the international flights forward.”

    Other questions constituents are asking the candidates include their positions on the utility user’s tax, living wages ordinances, arts as a means to economic development, medical marijuana regulation, community meeting schedules and affordable housing ordinances.

    “It’s important that we select someone who is a good reflection of the entire community,” Chico said.

    “I have a strong business background,” Supernaw said. “I have presented … on three occasions to the city on new ideas for revenue streams.

    Click hereto read a highlighted transcript of the Feb. 24 forum.

    Click hereto read a highlighted transcript of an interview with Herlinda Chico.

    Click here  and flip to page 17 to read an article profiling Daryl Supernaw in March 2012.

     

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  • Klaus Center Opens With Anticipation, Controversy

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    In 2008, a group of creative visionaries gathered informally and discovered that they shared a vision for the arts and economy in San Pedro. Recently, their vision came to fruition with the opening of the Marylyn and Chuck Klaus Center for the Arts in San Pedro.

    The 4,000-square-foot, two-story center opened March 5, during the First Thursday Art Walk in downtown San Pedro with its façade flooded with neon blue light. The space will provide a permanent home for the Marymount College fine arts program.

    The new center complements the existing Marymount 6th Street facilities, which include the waterfront campus on the first floor of the Park Place building at 222 W. Sixth St., and the Arcade Gallery in the Arcade Building up the street. Also part of the Marymount campus is a music program housed at San Pedro High School’s Olguin campus.
    The combined facilities located in the historic district of San Pedro provide undergraduate and graduate students with instruction, internships and a cultural connection to the already existing creative corridor downtown. The hope is to enable students to connect with the deeply rooted arts community while interacting with galleries and artists during First Thursday Art Walk events.

    The seven-year journey began with the vision of having an art college in the heart of San Pedro. Developer and property owner Gary Larson found early inspiration on a visit to Savannah, Ga.

    “I had been very interested in the preservation and restoration of downtown San Pedro” Larson said.

    Larson visited many local sites in his search of a city that had successfully integrated arts and education with economic revitalization. None of them seemed to fit the existing climate in San Pedro, until he came upon the model of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Savannah, an Atlantic fishing community, has much in common with San Pedro.

    “The thing that immediately caught my attention was the private effort between the school and the local businesses,” Larson said. “They started with one building and grew from there. It is a decentralized campus that is integrated with the community.”

    Larson met local arts educators and it became apparent that they had found a formula that was working for them. He saw potential for translating that vision to San Pedro.

    At the time, Marymount was still a two-year school. But they were already in the process of upgrading to a four-year college.

    “The university in 2008 was busy becoming a four-year school” said Michael Brophy, Marymount California University president. “By 2010, the college had grown so quickly it was clear that [it] needed to establish itself on 6th Street, particularly for the graduate programs.”

    Initial planners included Gary Larson and Marylyn Ginsberg, founder of the Grand House restaurant, The Whale & Ale and Grand Emporium. Ginsberg is a local arts patron. Also included were:
    Peter Roth, president of the board of directors at Angels Gate Cultural Center; Beate Kirmse, gallery owner; Alan Johnson, president of Jerico Development; and Linda Grimes, arts manager of the Waterfront Arts District, among others.

    “The really exciting thing about having Marymount on 6th Street is that it is much like having Alta Sea (the marine research center) on the waterfront,” said Johnson, who is also a university board trustee. “Gary Larson and I used to say that San Pedro feels like a college town… too bad we don’t have a college.”

    Brophy and Marymount University have arguably transformed downtown San Pedro into a college town. On any given day there are about 600 students in the four-block downtown area. The hopes are for the creative and economic impact to be felt in the near future.

    Last week Otis College for the Arts released its 2015 Report on the Creative Economy. It states that the creative industry is responsible for one in seven jobs in the Los Angeles area. Many examples of economic revitalization can be found in formerly distressed local regions. The Santa Ana Art Walk is a glimpse of what is possible in San Pedro. The placement of the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art is an impressive addition to that arts district.

    But in the midst of the excitement, there is controversy. Cultural arts philanthropists Chuck and Marylyn Klaus generously provided the funds that made it possible to acquire the property. Initial plans include classrooms and offices for professors, with donors’ names on the building. But at the opening ceremonies, Chuck Klaus released a strongly worded statement of concern, that these contractual obligations have not been met. His statement makes it clear that he expects a timeline for the fulfillment of these promises.

    “I have known Marylyn for years,” developer Alan Johnson said. “She has been behind the scenes doing a lot of heavy lifting for our town. Downtown San Pedro owes a debt to her.”
    Hopes are that this controversy will be resolved soon.

    In the meantime, expect to see the Marymount shuttle running through the streets of San Pedro. The shuttle clocks 1,800 miles a month moving 600 students around downtown, and they will be here for a long time, helping to transform the San Pedro arts district.

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