• Covered California Health Insurance Enrollment Workshops at LAHC

    You can receive help with Covered California enrollment by attending workshops from 2 to 6 p.m. Feb. 24 through 27, at the Northeast Academic Hall, Room 126, at Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington

    What You Will Need to Enroll:

    1.     Current Income of all family members on the application (Tax Return, W2, recent pay stubs, etc)

    2.     Copy of US Citizenship and residency status

    3.     Legal resident card or Certificate of Naturalized Citizenship

    4.     Copy of Social Security Number and Date of Birth for each family member in the household

    5.     Applicant’s California ID or Driver’s License

    Details: (310) 233-4651; www.lahc.edu 
    Venue: LAHC
    Location: 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington

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  • LBPD Seeks Help in Finding Fraud Suspect

    Long Beach fraud detectives are seeking the public’s help with identifying a suspect who is responsible for fraudulently withdrawing about $47,000 in cash since September 2011 from various automated teller machines throughout the city.  The suspect may be involved in an ATM scam, depositing fraudulent checks into unsuspecting victim’s accounts then utilizing a stolen ATM card to withdraw the funds before the check is cleared and found to be fictitious.

    Anyone who recognizes the subject in this photograph or has information regarding this crime is urged to call (562) 570-5562 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

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  • LB Harbor Commission Hires Search Firm for Executive Director

    LONG BEACH — On Feb. 14, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a contract with Baltimore-based Boyden Global Executive Search to find candidates for the executive director position left vacant after Christopher Lytle resigned to take a similar position in Oakland.

    Al Moro, the department’s former chief harbor engineer, has served as the acting executive director since July 2013, when Lytle departed.

    The executive director represents the port to a variety of national and international constituencies in the maritime industry as well as to elected and appointed officials. The executive director works closely under the Board of Harbor Commissioners to put forward policies, rules, ordinances or measures for the port.

    The commission selected Boyden in a special meeting Feb. 11. On Feb. 14, the board approved a contract not to exceed $127,000.

    The commission will work with the firm to set the schedule to be considered by the board.

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  • January Cargo Flat in LB Port

    LONG BEACH — On Feb. 18, the Port of Long Beach announced that its cargo volume for January got off to a flat start.

    There was an overall traffic dipping of 1.4 percent to 528,884 container units in January compared to the same month this past year. Imports rose 2 percent.

    Cargo volume got off to a flat start in the New Year at the Port of Long Beach, with overall traffic dipping 1.4 percent to 528,884 container units in January compared to the same month last year, while imports rose 2 percent.

    In January, imports were up to 279,415 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), exports fell 3.4 percent to 122,411 TEUs, and empties dropped 6.3 percent to 127,058 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods. Exports and empties typically slow ahead of the Lunar New Year, which this year was Jan. 31, because much of China and other countries in East Asia shut down for two weeks for the holiday.

    For the latest monthly cargo numbers, click here.

    For more details on the cargo numbers visit www.polb.com/stats.

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  • LB Harbor Department Moves to Interim Offices

    LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Harbor Department announced, Feb. 18, that it will soon move to its interim administrative offices at 4801 Airport Plaza, near the airport.

    The department’s old administration building, which was opened in 1960, was found to be seismically unsafe.

    The move to the Airport Plaza location, adjacent to the Marriot Hotel, began Feb.14 and will continue through March. The department eventually will move to a permanent headquarters in downtown Long Beach.

    Beginning March 10, mail should be sent to:

    4801 Airport Plaza Drive

    Long Beach, CA 90815

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  • Journalist Manifest their Indignation about Violence in Mexico

    Los Angeles — Board members of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a statement expressing outrage over the increased violence faced by journalists in Mexico.

    On Feb. 11, the dead body of journalist Gregorio Jiménez was found in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. A group of armed men had kidnapped Jiménez from his home six days earlier. His murder caused great indignation among journalists and society, as a whole.

    Jiménez’s case hardly is an exception in that country. According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission, there have been 88 journalist murdered and 16 others missing in that country since 2000.

    The international group Article 19 points out that in 40 percent of those cases, the government — be it at the federal, state or municipal level — had been identified as the perpetrator. Article 19 also has stated that in Veracruz, during the three-and-a-half years of the administration of Gov. Javier Duarte, 10 journalists have been murdered, four have gone missing and 132 against media outlets or representatives in that state have been logged.

    NAHJ-LA board members called on Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and those in charge of state and municipal government to issue a clear condemnation of the aggressions suffered by journalist in that country. The board members also are asking for immediate and effective protection to those working in that country’s media, especially working in areas where they are most vulnerable. (more…)

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  • 36 Cocaine Kilos Found in Long Beach

    LONG BEACH — On Feb. 17, the Long Beach Police Department confiscated about 36 kilos of cocaine — about $2.8 to $3.6 million — during a routine traffic stop in North Long Beach.

    LBPD stopped 28-year-old Hildefonso Angulo on the 6900 block of Atlantic Avenue for a traffic-related violation. Officers noted Angulo seemed unusually nervous and was found driving without a license.

    While conducting an inventory search of the vehicle incident to storage, officers located packaging material, which was consistent with packaging large quantities of narcotics. Officers found this to be highly suspicious and believed this may be related to drug sales.
    The investigation led officers to the Angulo’s home in the 1100 block of E. 72nd Street, Long Beach.  Officers and Drug Investigations Section detectives served a search warrant and seized the following items:

    • Approximately 36 Kilos (79.20 pounds) of cocaine
    • Over three pounds of methamphetamine
    • 1 handgun and ammunition
    • Over $3,000 cash
    • 1 stolen vehicle (more…)

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  • Is Long Beach Leaving Aesthetics Behind in Push Toward New, $5M Beach Path?

    In 2003, after a process the City of Long Beach labeled “a competitive selection to develop concepts for an integrated artwork program for city parks and the beach along the city’s shoreline,” based on the recommendations of the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Marine Advisory Commission, and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine, the City hired the artist team of Terry Braunstein and Craig Cree Stone “to prepare the detailed drawings necessary to construct the artwork […] as part of the ongoing bluff erosion mitigation project.”

    By mid 2004 Braunstein and Stone delivered a set of schematics for transforming the entire walk from Alamitos Ave. to 54th Place, both above and below the bluffs, into an integrated experience tracing the history of Long Beach from the Native Americans through the 1940s. The team’s concept also included a range of contemporary signage (directional, prohibited activity, etc.) incorporating both historical imagery and optical illusions, as well as suggestions for planting native vegetation and lighting installations.

    A decade later, on the eve of the city council’s being asked to approve a plan for a new, $5,000,000+ pedestrian path that incorporates none of Braunstein and Stone’s concepts—and little in the way of aesthetic considerations of any sort—some are wondering whether the City is about to take a developmental misstep.

    While the staff report attached to Tuesday’s agenda item stipulates that in 2003 Parks & Rec recommended that “the concepts created by Terry Braunstein and Craig Stone be incorporated into ongoing designs for some of the Bluff Erosion Control projects and in preparation of a beach master plan,” there is no mention of what transpired between 2003 and 2008, noting only that in 2008 Parks & Rec hired landscape architecture/planning firm Hirsch & Associates, Inc., “to assist with the development of a formal Beach Master Plan. Terr[y] Braunstein and Craig Stone were not hired as part of this effort[,] nor were their concepts used.”

    Why not? According to the report, Braunstein and Stone’s concept, entitled “Coastal Allusions.” “are problematic from a planning, regulatory and professional design standpoint. They would be costly to implement, difficult to maintain, and face difficulty obtaining Coastal Commission approval.”

    While Tidelands Capital Improvement Project Officer Eric Lopez, the city manager’s point person for the path project, says comments in the staff report regarding “Coastal Allusions” should be taken in context of the entire scope of the pair’s proposal, which includes (as Lopez puts it) “develop[ing] grassy islands in the beach area,” adding “not just a few lights here and there, but a significant amount of lighting from start to finish,” and shaping the path so that it mimics the shape of the California coast. And he says the pair was insistent that their concept needed to be implemented in its entirety.

    “They have not advocated this as, ‘You know, [incorporating] certain pieces would make sense,'” Lopez says. “It has been, ‘No, you really need to do [all] this per this plan.'”

    Braunstein says this is simply untrue. She calls the “Coast Allusions” proposal “suggestions or art possibilities” and says City staff is mischaracterizing cost considerations.

    “First of all, the idea was to take this plan and [implement it] as each section of the bluffs was worked on,” she says. “[… Aspects of the plan] were never priced out because [at the time] there was no money. So to say that it’s too expensive, none of that is factual because it never went that far.”

    While Braunstein admits that incorporating elements of “Coastal Allusions” would cost “marginally more” than the proposal being floated at Tuesday’s council meeting, she feels there is a more important issue in play.

    “This is far larger than a straight cost comparison for simply putting in the pedestrian path and building the restrooms,” she says. “This is about the use of a master plan for the beach that includes artistic and landscaping elements, in order to move the city to a greater vision of its potential. This is about creating an attractive, unique, interesting beach that people will come from afar to see and experience.”

    As an example, she touches on one of the cost issues raised by Lopez: lighting.

    “Let’s say we’re going to have lighting on this path eventually,” she says. “How can we make it more interesting? The lighting we were proposing is [having] solar lights, but that they would be different colors. That’s all. We were not saying [of our own accord], ‘Let’s put lights on the beach’; we were told when we were given the parameters for our plan to work on lighting, to work on a pedestrian path, to work on all these things—we were told [to include] that as part of the plan. So it isn’t like these were things that came from us: they came from Parks & Rec.”

    Lopez says that, because he was not around at the time “Coastal Allusions” was recommended, he cannot comment on why the City did not see the plan as cost-prohibitive at the time.

    Braunstein makes it clear that hers is not a personal issue with the City, as she and Stone were paid in full—slightly over $50,000—for their services.

    “This is really about our vision of Long Beach and how things should be done in the City,” she says. “You don’t have a car that’s designed by an engineer: you have a car that’s designed by a car designer. [Similarly,] you shouldn’t have a bike/pedestrian path that’s designed by an engineer: it should be designed by someone who’s thinking, ‘How can this be a better bike/pedestrian path?’ What we’re trying to get them to say is, ‘Yes, let’s approve the bike/pedestrian path, but let’s approve it with modification that will make it a more attractive path.’ [At this point] we’re not talking about any artwork at all; we’re just talking about the path.”

    Braunstein says she and Stone decided to re-engage with the issue when she learned that, contrary to what the City had led her to believe, the planning for the path was not finalized.

    “We talked to Eric Lopez in July of 2012 and had a conversation about making a more interesting path, and we were told then that [the planning] was all done—’Don’t even bother, it’s finished,'” she says. “Then we tried again six months later […] and we were told the same thing: ‘It’s done, it’s finished, don’t even talk about it. Nothing’s going to change on the path. Maybe we’ll look at some of your ideas later, but it’s not going to happen relative to the path at all.’ But [when] we saw the articles coming out [saying] that the Coastal Commission were not approving the original design, we thought, ‘Wait a minute. This couldn’t be done if the Coastal Commission is turning it down.’ That’s when we started getting involved.”

    Lopez did not respond regarding Braunstein’s characterization of her conversations with him.

    Because the final plan has yet to be approved, Arts Council for Long Beach President Marco Schindelmann holds out hope that ultimately the path will be developed with aesthetics in mind.

    “I hope that all parties involved can, at the very least, reach a creative compromise,” says Schindelmann. “Our beach is a city resource whose value should not be diminished by expediency when such can be increased by choices that bring added value. The more attractive our beach is, the more it will attract attention, people, and money. It’s worth the investment of everyone’s extra time and consideration.”

    Braunstein says that’s all this is about: spending just a little extra time, effort, and cash as a way to shift the paradigm for how the City of Long Beach grows itself.

    “The City gets money from wherever, and the council rushes in and says ‘Let’s get this and this and this,’ and it’s never enough to add the aesthetic considerations,” she says. “[…] At what point do we say, ‘Yes, it’s going to cost a little more, but isn’t this how the city moves to the next level?’ […] Do we capitalize on our greatest asset, or do we say, ‘Let’s get the cheapest thing down, and let’s get it down fast’? Too often that’s how decisions are made.”

    The Long Beach City Council will consider the Pedestrian Path Project during its regular meeting Tuesday, February 18. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.

    (Photo courtesy of Terry Braunstein from “Coastal Allusions” Conceptual Master Plan)

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  • Charges Filed On Carjacking Suspect

    LONG BEACH — On Feb. 11, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of attempted felony carjacking on 30-year-old Long Beach resident Raymond Moreno, a convicted felon on the Post Release Community Supervision, PRCS, program.

    In 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill 109 and AB 117, legislation to enable California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons.  The realignment included the PRCS program, a county-level supervision for current non-violent and non-serious offenders, upon release from prison.

    Under AB 109, Moreno was placed on PRCS in 2011, after being convicted on charges of an ex-felon carrying a firearm with a gang enhancement, which was considered to be non-violent or non-serious in nature.  On Jan. 2, Moreno was arrested in Long Beach, and later convicted on charges including violation of a gang injunction, ex-felon with possession of a loaded firearm, burglary tools, and drug paraphernalia.  Moreno was sentenced to 180 days in Jail and was released on Feb. 8, 2014, after serving 37 days.

    On Feb. 9, the day after Moreno was released, he approached an unsuspecting victim sitting in their vehicle at 15th Street and Chestnut Avenue in Long Beach.  Moreno attempted to take the vehicle by force, inciting intimidation and fear in the victim.  The victim retreated from Moreno, with his vehicle, and called police. Officers swiftly located Moreno at the 1600 block of Cedar Avenue and arrested him.  If Moreno is convicted, it will be his second strike as a violent offender. Moreno is being held at Los Angeles County Jail on $160,000 Bail. (more…)

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  • Port to Test New Clean-air System for Ships

    The Port of Long Beach will fund testing of a new air pollution-control technology for docked cargo ships, thanks to an agreement approved Feb. 12, by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

    Under the pact, the Port would rely upon regional air quality authorities to oversee a demonstration project to thoroughly assess both the safety and the pollution-reducing effectiveness of a mobile, barge-mounted emissions control system to capture and treat ships’ smokestack emissions.

    California recently began requiring container, refrigerated-cargo and cruise ships to plug in to “shore power” while at berth in order to reduce air pollution by using clean, landside electricity. However, the shore power regulations only apply to about 100 of the port’s 300 vessel calls a month.

    The new system could provide an alternative to shore power, allowing ships to run their engines to produce the power they need for lighting, communications, pumps, refrigeration, etc. The “Alternative Maritime Emission Control System” or “AMECS,” diverts a docked ship’s emissions into an air-pollution filter-and-treatment device.

    A Rancho Dominguez-based company, Advanced Cleanup Technology Inc. or ACTI, developed the AMECS technology. Under the agreement, the South Coast Air Quality Management District will supervise the testing on behalf of the Port, with Harbor Department staff oversight.

    The Clean Air Action Plan approved by the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles set a goal to find alternative technology to reduce air pollution from ships at berth, for ships not covered by the state’s shore power regulation. (more…)

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