By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    There is a glaring lack of African Americans nominated for the Academy Awards this year.

    That fact, coupled with the Academy overlooking Ava DuVernay’s film Selma. came as a surprising disappointment to many people. Nominations for Selma were anticipated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor or Best Cinematography.

    The overall absence of recognition for African Americans makes it appear as if the community was not present in motion pictures this year.

    Despite this lack of recognition, more than 100 notable films made and performed by African Americans were present and celebrated at the 2015 Pan African Film Festival. The festival took place Feb. 5–16 in Los Angeles. All films screened at RAVE Cinemas 15, within the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The Pan African Film Festival, established in 1992, is dedicated to the promotion of cultural understanding among people of African descent. (more…)

    Read More

    By Eric Fujimori, Editorial Intern

    Surviving in the restaurant industry is no easy task. It requires careful management from both business and culinary standpoints, while providing excellent customer service. For a restaurant to make it in a close-knit area, support from the community can make all the difference.

    Such is the case for Happy Diner, Zina Pizza and Filippo’s Pizza, which are each looking to seal their spot in San Pedro’s growing fleet of eateries.

    Happy Diner Spreads the Joy

    Happy Diner has quickly become the kind of warm and cozy family diner that usually only exists in sitcoms or movies. Now,  it’s extending its welcoming reach even further.

    On Nov. 21 of this past year, Happy Diner opened up its second location, just a few miles away from the original. Owner Roman Carrillo said that he decided to branch out in order to accommodate more customers and become familiar with a new part of the community.

    “The goal was to meet new customers and bring home cooking to a different side of town,” said Carrillo.

    Since first opening its doors in July of 2011, Happy Diner has always encouraged its customers to feel at home. They, in turn, have become very loyal. That same comforting feeling applies to the new location, even though its customer base is a little different.

    Situated in a more industrial part of town, the new location serves many people looking to grab a quick bite during their lunch breaks. However, Carrillo and his staff, which includes his brothers Omar and José, still treat their customers with the same degree of excellent hospitality.

    “Always have a good attitude, no matter who comes in,” Carrillo said. “I treat customers the way I want to be treated.”

    Aside from a different customer base, the new Happy Diner also features a more modern interior, including tile floor and a granite countertop. The restaurant is also more spacious than the original, without sacrificing that homey diner feel.

    As far as the menu goes, Carrillo wanted to stay true to Happy Diner’s homestyle cooking. While it is for the most part an exact replica of the original, the new menu has been slightly altered to feature some healthier options, such as the cranberry chicken almond salad and the salmon burger. In addition, the new location offers half portions of almost everything on the menu to accommodate those looking for a lighter meal.

    It’s this constant pursuit of improving the dining experience of its customers that really makes Happy Diner stand out amongst other restaurants. Just ask San Pedro resident and loyal customer Steve Palumbo, who was the first guest at the new location.

    “These are three of the hardest working guys I’ve ever seen,” Palumbo said, referring to the Carrillo brothers. “It’s amazing to see the amount of pride they put into their food. Whether it’s packed or there’s one person, they take the same approach in serving their guests.”

    Palumbo’s support for Happy Diner stretches even further than eating there as many as three times a day. Acting as a sort of unofficial ambassador, he is always bringing in new guests and promoting the restaurant in any way he can.

    Palumbo, a classic car and truck specialist, loves the diner so much that he had a large Happy Diner graphic painted on the side of his 1949 Chevy Thriftmaster. The graphic includes phone number and address in order to help spread the word about Palumbo’s favorite dining establishment.

    “I believe in them,” said Palumbo. “This is family to me.”

    With a strong mutual appreciation between Happy Diner and its customers, it’s easy to see how the new location is well on its way to becoming as successful as the original.

    “When the food is good, the price is right and the service is excellent, success will come,” Carrillo said. “I’m really proud and happy for all the business over the years. All the support from the community has been great and I appreciate it.”

    And though it does have a big reputation to live up to, Happy Diner’s new location is doing so with the same passion and charm as the original.

    “We want customers to have the same experience they did at the old place,” Carrillo said. “It’s the same Happy Diner, happy as always.”


    Zina Pizza Provides a Taste of Sicily

    Since opening Dec. 13 of this past year, Zina Pizza has been serving up authentic Sicilian-style fare to many hungry customers. But owners John and Deborah D’Orio hope their food will also serve as a vessel of culture and history.

    The menu is provided, in part, by John’s family recipes, which have been passed down to him from generation to generation. However, John has slightly altered some of these recipes to coincide with his own style of cooking.

    For example, on his Sfincione, he deviates from past generations by adding sauces to it. Sfincione is a traditional Sicilian-style deep pan pizza that John tops with chunks of Romano cheese, onions, green olives and anchovies.

    When you walk through the door, you’ll notice the restaurant is very narrow and long, which makes it seem like a boat. This is only fitting, considering John comes from a long line of fisherman. He even runs his kitchen like a captain. For instance, he calls out orders to his young and lively crew, while he bustles about rolling pizza dough and sprinkling on toppings.

    Just as much as they want their food to be delicious, the D’Orios want their restaurant to be a friendly and comfortable environment for customers.

    “You can go anywhere and get food, but can you go somewhere and talk with people and feel comfortable?” said Deborah.

    But what is it that really makes Zina Pizza stand out?

    “I think it’s just good old-fashioned homemade food,” Deborah explained.

    From the kitchen, John added, “And lots of love!”


    Filippo’s Pizza Plans to Branch Out

    After more than 30 years of satisfying San Pedro’s pizza fix Filippo’s Pizza is looking to branch out and open new shops throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

    Filippo’s son, Jerry Ciaramitaro, runs the restaurant. He hopes to have a new shop up and running by 2016. After the first shop opens, Ciaramitaro plans to open up two more shops each year for as long as he can.

    “The sky is the limit,” Ciaramitaro said of his future business endeavors.

    Eventually, Ciaramitaro would like to open a full-service, fine dining Italian restaurant, still named after his father.

    “That would make my dad happy,” Ciaramitaro said. “It’s always about giving back to my parents. They’ve given so much.”

    Filippo’s first opened on April 1, 1984, as one of the first pizza shops in San Pedro. Although there are now about 20 pizza places in the community, something about Filippo’s still keeps bringing customers back.

    Much of the credit goes to the authentic cooking that Ciaramitaro learned from watching his grandmother make classic Italian food when he was younger.

    “She was by far the best cook that I’ve ever experienced,” said Ciaramitaro.

    He also takes trips to Italy every few years not only to visit with family and friends, but also to study how a proper pizzeria is run.

    Over the years, Ciaramitaro has taken all the knowledge he’s gained about making delicious food and running a restaurant, and gradually implemented it into Filippo’s. It seems to be working.

    Read More
  • Oil Workers Strike Heads into Third Week

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Workers at 11 oil refineries in Texas, Kentucky, California, Washington, Ohio and Indiana walked out of their jobs demanding safer staffing and better health benefits.

    On Feb. 7, the oil workers organized a solidarity rally at the Tesoro refinery in Carson. Hundreds turned out in support. However, the biggest challenge for United Steelworkers union is explaining the work of the oil workers and the dangers that are involved when equipment or untrained, nonunion workers fail.

    United Steelworkers local presidents, organizers and spokespersons have been launching rallies and speaking on the radio to explain the issues.

    In a radio interview with NPR, USW President of Local 12-591 Steve Garry explained that the bargaining goals are focused on safety.

    “If you know a little bit about the history of [National] Oil Bargaining, you would know that safety has been a primary focus for quite some time,” Garry said. “We’ve experienced far too many tragic accidents, serious injuries and fires.”

    National Oil Bargaining is an industry-wide bargaining program that sets the standards for improvements in pay, key benefits, and health and safety standards across the oil industry.

    Garry noted that bargaining goals are focused on safety and worker fatigue—fatigue that is a result of low staff levels.

    The majority of workers are operations workers. They use the equipment, monitor the plants, open and shut valves, make adjustments and do troubleshooting. Other workers are maintenance workers who troubleshoot and repair the machinery, and test and monitor equipment.

    “Inspection and maintenance planning, and procedure planning are things companies need to be responsible for,” Garry said. “Corporations don’t like to discuss those details. The fact is these changes are expensive, especially for corporations aiming to maximize their bottom line.  These are some of the wealthiest corporations in the world.”

    Garry noted that oil companies use contract workers to make up for the shortfall in staffing. The union noted that these workers aren’t as well-trained or well-versed in the safety protocols required to work in the refineries.

    Garry also noted that fires and leaks are regular occurrences at many of the refineries, while explosions, though rare, are deadly when they occur.

    One of the USW’s more urgent demands is to give workers the authority to stop working because of unsafe conditions. The California Nurses Association joined the picket line in solidarity with the union on Feb. 12.

    In a statement, National Nurses United said it is “especially alarmed at the serious threat for workers and residents of local communities near the refineries posed by unsafe staffing levels, excessive worker overtime demands, and the reports of daily occurrences of fires, emissions, leaks and explosions that put tens of thousands of people in danger.”

    “Nurses are on the front lines in the fight against asthma and these other chronic diseases that can be triggered by these toxic emissions at refineries,” said the association’s board member Katy Roemer, an Oakland registered nurse. “We think it’s important to picket in solidarity with the refinery workers not just to show our support for them, but also to expand the reach of our work as patient advocates.

    “Protecting public safety as well as that of the workers is why it is so vital for workers to have a strong voice on the job through collective bargaining. Democracy shouldn’t end at the front door to your workplace.”

    There have been several reports of injuries at the Martinez refinery, including two within a month in 2014. On Feb. 12, also in 2014, an alkylation unit involved in gasoline production was shut at the 166,000 barrel-per-day plant after it spewed sulfuric acid, injuring two workers. Three weeks later, the same unit spewed acid again, injuring two more workers.

    The plant’s 400 striking workers—machinists, mechanics, maintenance workers, pipe fitters and refinery operators—are represented by the United Steelworkers Union.

    National Nurses United also supports the USW fight against subcontracting of union jobs and other contract standards that are a part of this dispute.


    Read More
  • Bias in the Corporate Media: What goes unreported when discussing labor on the waterfront

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    After nine months of negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association (the shipping and terminal operators), the crisis of congestion at West Coast ports has finally come to the attention of President Barack Obama. He has dispatched his labor secretary Tom Perez to San Francisco to intercede and possibly break the impasse in the final details of the talks, which may come down to a disagreement over just one man-the Southern California arbitrator, Dave Miller.

    As the press blackout and closed-door negotiations continue, speculation abounds as to the cause and the consequences of the continued slowdown at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with the added refrain, “Longshoremen are the highest paid blue collar workers in the nation.”

    The corporate-owned media historically uses wage disparity as a wedge to divide workers, but they have short memories when reporting on the much greater income disparity between the middle class and the increasingly wealthy 1 percent. In these reports on the pay scale of dockworkers, they accurately report a wage between $26 and $41 per hour, which when compared to the pay of a Walmart greeter, the difference is huge. However, if you simply look at the Port of Los Angeles Police Department ad on page 3 of this edition, you will find that they are hiring new officers with only basic education and an ability to swim for something close to $40 per hour.

    Similarly, if we look at the pay scale of other unionized workers in Los Angeles County or else- where on the West Coast-be they firefighters, police, Teamsters (although not the local troqueros) or those in the movie and entertainment industries-$40 per hour might just be the average.  Even the Silicon Beach techies who have less time on the job than most dockworkers, get starting salaries equal to or greater.  Sure, one can argue about value of training or physical risk on the job, but what compensation really gets down to is a percentage of the cost of the value being delivered by the work provided.  In the specific case of the shipping industry that brings an estimated $2 billion a day in trade to our ports, the cost of labor is somewhere around 3 percent of the PMA’s cost of doing business.

    However, these comparisons never seem to make it into the corporate media’s business reporting that again blames workers for the woes of the economy.  Have you heard about the compensation levels of the CEOs of the great shipping companies, who are paid enormous salaries even when their corporate balance sheets show a loss for the year?  Never!  So clearly this issue of how much the ILWU workers are paid is not the real issue here, nor is the issue of their health care benefits, which was settled months ago.

    The key stumbling block to settling this contract at this point comes down to the local arbitrator, who as it turns out, is a retired ILWU man receiving a union pension, but who is now so distrusted by the union that they want him out.  And, the PMA is willing to risk continued congestion, lost profits and interruption of the national supply chain over retaining one pro-management, union turncoat? This would seem like an easy fix if not for the perpetual finger pointing of the PMA-enhanced by the other media.  It’s not always easy to discern the bias in their reporting.

    Yesterday, as I was reviewing various business news reports on the global handwringing over rotting farm exports and the stalled supply chain, I realized that some in the corporate media don’t have the faintest idea about the difference between a “strike” and a “lockout.”  What the PMA has executed over the last few weeks is, by definition, a “lockout”-meaning they did not call the workers to the job.  A “strike” or “job action” is when the workers refuse to go to work. The PMA perpetrated the former, while the latter hasn’t happened during these protracted negotiations, which shows significant restraint on the part of the ILWU.

    The Los Angeles Times recently called the ILWU a “militant union.” If this isn’t bald-faced bias masquerading as journalism, then I don’t know what is.  Sure, one might see facing down McCarthyism in the 1950s as a militant act, indeed, one that took great courage considering the political ramifications. But sitting at the negotiation table for nine long months without a contract and not calling for a strike is hardly the militancy of the 1934 general strike. Different times call for new strategies, perhaps.

    So what is this editorial about then? My critics are sure to point out that I am just as biased toward the union as the others are against.  All I can say is that this is an opinion column clearly defined as such and I don’t pawn it off as unbiased journalism. I make no bones about my own and this newspaper’s longstanding support for the workers in the Harbor Area and their humble protest against corporate greed and the exploitation of the American worker.

    You can disagree with me, as some of you do, and I will even print your rebuttals when others will not. But when you look at the growing monopoly of corporate-owned media on all levels in America today, it’s hard to believe that they could be called “liberal” or “fair and balanced.”  Clearly they are not.

    Read More
  • Living History: Stories of Service at Angels Gate

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    Angels Gate Cultural Center is presenting Service and Other Stories: A Living History Project, a yearlong exhibition that plans to engage U.S. military veterans from all 20th and 21st century conflicts.

    The project, led by Los Angeles artist Farrah Karapetian, involved veterans Joe Debble, Mike Felch, John Warhank, Justin Wilson and local ROTC cadets. The installation shares their stories as veterans. Their experiences are just a sample of the multitude of voices that belong to veterans in the Los Angeles region.

    Service and Other Stories attempts to reveal the real people behind America’s wars. In a nation battered by a period of continuous war, conducted by a professional military, the humanization of these warriors is deeply needed. (more…)

    Read More
  • POLAHS Board of Trustees Investigates Cross

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    The embattled Port of Los Angeles High School Executive Director Jim Cross was placed on paid leave again following a closed meeting on Feb. 11, after renewed allegations of financial impropriety.

    A few months ago, the highly touted charter school was in turmoil following the popular Principal Tom Scotti’s resignation. At the time, students and parents believed he was forced out by Cross and that the board of trustees did little to keep him.

    Lack of financial transparency, teacher input on school site spending and the appearance of cronyism were the dominant issues. Four months later, it appeared that the board had begun rectifying some of those issues. (more…)

    Read More
  • Tuskeegee Airman Visits USS Iowa, Gets Congressional Award

    Photo and article by Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

    Lt. Col. Robert Friend, retired pilot of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, received a congressional recognition for his service Feb. 8, at the Battleship Iowa, during a celebration of Black History Month.

    The award was delivered on behalf of Rep. Janice Hahn by district staff assistant German Castilla. Castilla then read aloud Hahn’s message to Friend:

    “… in honor of his courageous, loyal and dedicated service to our nation. It gives me great pleasure to salute a veteran of the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group. Your valiant fight against fascism in Europe helped secure the world from tyranny and your fight against racism at home helped pave the way for desegregation of the United States Armed Forces and civil right movements.”

    Friend’s appearance preceded a screening of the 1995 film Tuskegee Airmen. He was open for questions from the public.

    “I always enjoy these things because I like to talk to people on this subject because I know what happened,” Friend asserted. “I know what happened.”

    The 94-year-old, who once successfully escorted a wounded bomber from German jets, was fascinated by the planes that flew over his home in South Carolina, and later, in New York.

    He sought out pulp magazines with accounts of World War I fighter pilots, which inspired him to take flying courses during high school. This had made him not only knowledgeable about operating an aircraft, it also counted towards the college requirement necessary to join the Tuskegee force.

    However, racial barriers had blocked him from moving forward. While he was allowed to enroll in a civilian pilot training program, the African American pilots were not trusted by a racist military staff.

    “This civilian pilot training came about because we thought we needed to keep up with the rest of the world,” Friend said. “As for finishing this requirement I found out, lo and behold, that there were racial issues and because of the racial issues, they wouldn’t accept me at that time. But later, they initiated the program down at Tuskegee and I was lucky enough to be accepted again and made part of that program.”

    Best known for their escorting of the 15th Air Force bombers in the European theater, the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group had the distinction of losing few fighter planes and even fewer of their escorts, while fending off and destroying technically superior Jagdgeschwader 7 fighter jets.

    Read More
  • RLn ENTERTAINMENT Calendar: Feb. 13, 2015

    Feb. 14
    Rose’s Pawn Shop
    Rose’s Pawn Shop will perform, at 8 p.m. Feb. 14, at the Grand Annex in San Pedro.
    Details: Tickets & Info
    Venue: Grand Annex
    Location: 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 14
    Swing San Pedro
    Experience the Esquires Big Band, starting at 8 p.m. Feb. 14, at People’s Palace in San Pedro.
    Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the door.
    Details: (310) 547-2348; www.PeoplesPalaceSP.com
    Venue: People’s Palace
    Location:  365 W. 6th St., San Pedro
    Feb. 15
    Nathan King Quartet
    The Nathan King Quartet will perform, at 4 p.m. Feb. 15, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Nathan King is a saxophone player in the Orange County and Los Angeles area. He has been a teacher of woodwinds, music theory and jazz improvisation for a number of years in the Southern California area both privately and through local schools including the Orange County High School of the Arts.
    Cost is $20.
    Details: WEBSITE
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro
    Feb. 21
    The Interludes
    The Interludes will perform, at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 21, at First Lutheran Church and School in Torrance.
    Admission is free.
    Details: (310) 316-5574; www.haykarsenyan.com
    Venue: First Lutheran Church and School
    Location: 2900 W. Carson St., Torrance
    Feb. 21
    Jim “Kimo” West: Aloha Night
    Jim “Kimo” West will perform, at 8 p.m. Feb. 21, at the Grand Annex in San Pedro.
    Details: Tickets and Info
    Venue: Grand Annex
    Location: 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 28
    Dave Widow, The Line Up
    Dave Widow and the Line Up will perform, at 8 p.m. Feb. 28, at the Grand Annex in San Pedro.
    Dave Widow brings a rock, and rhythm and blues-flavored show featuring songs from his Waiting for The World to End CD. Special guests guitarist Bernie Pearl and bassist Mike Barry will add to the show.
    Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
    Details: (310) 833-4813; www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex
    Location: 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 28
    Komedy Slam
    Enjoy Komedy Slam with host Monty B. Sharpton, starting at 6 p.m. Feb. 28, at the Alpine Village Center in Torrance.
    General admission is $25 in advance and $35 at the door.
    Details: (714) 622-4977; www.SpectacularEventZ.com
    Venue: Alpine Village Center
    Location: 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance

    Read More
  • RLn NEWS Briefs: Feb. 12, 2015

    PMA Decides to Lockout of ILWU Workers
    SAN PEDRO — On Feb. 11, the Pacific Maritime Association cited alleged slowdowns by the ILWU as their rationale for locking down the port Feb. 12 and 14 through 16.
    PMA spokesman Wade Gates claimed that the PMA made a comprehensive contract offer designed to bring these talks to conclusion and the union made a request they knew the PMA couldn’t meet.
    The PMA attack on the union leadership’s integrity to the rank and file forced ILWU president Bob McEllrath to set the record straight in a letter released to the membership and pensioners, noting that a100 local resolutions were submitted to the contract caucus this past year and that those resolutions became the mandate for the current negotiating committee.
    In a letter, McEllrath’s called the PMA’s assertion that the union is holding up negotiations on non-essential matters as false.
    The issue that’s supposedly holding up negotiations was the union’s request to end the virtual life-time terms of the contract arbitrators–people that the PMA and the ILWU agree on to become referees in individual labor disputes between the union and the association. The union requested that the arbitrators change when the contract ends.
    McEllrath noted that the request was made in light of cases where the impartiality of arbitrators was questioned.
    The PMA in its announcement said the union simply wanted to fire arbitrators that disagree with the union.
    An agreement is said to be near, but workers and containers ships continue to wait.
    NWSPNC Takes Stance on Waterfront Projects
    SAN PEDRO — On Feb. 9, the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council announced that it supported seven specific projects:
    Wilmington Waterfront
    o       Catalina Freight Site Re-Purpose
    o       Wilmington Waterfront Promenade (Avalon Blvd. Corridor Phase IA South
    o       Harry Bridges & Fries Ave. Park, Street Improvements, and Landscaping (Avalon Blvd. Corridor Phase I North)
    o       Wilmington Waterfront Pedestrian Bridge
    San Pedro Waterfront
    o       Sampson Way & 7th Street Intersection Improvements
    o       Town Square at 6th Street
    o       Ports O’ Call Promenade
    However, it reiterated its existing resolution, adopted Jan. 12, 2015, that the funding for these projects should be done without applying the limitations contained in the proposed policy, and with the understanding that any grant funds for the projects will be additive and not applied to the $50 million commitment in each community.
    The neighborhood council requests that the Port of Los Angeles include funding to expedite completion of these seven projects in its 2015-2016 budget, have specific project schedules developed, and include them as part of the Capital Improvement Program project list.
    The council also thanked the port for modifying its proposed policy by eliminating the deductions from capital funding for litigation and environmental expenses.
    Garcia Appoints Members to Economic Development Commission
    LONG BEACH — On Feb. 10, Mayor Robert Garcia announced the appointment of all 11 commissioners to serve on the Economic Development Commission.
    The commission, charged with generating ideas and advising the council in support of economic growth and prosperity for Long Beach, had been inactive for several years.
    The mayor will ask the commission to first take on the city’s permitting and business licensing process.  He will ask the commission to undertake an independent review of the permitting, licensing and planning process that businesses have to go through when opening a new business or expanding. The commission’s findings would then be presented to the Long Beach City Council for review.
    In addition to reviewing the permitting and license process, the commission will also work towards presenting ideas and recommendations to spur economic growth in Long Beach.
    The appointees bring a wide variety of professional and personal backgrounds and skillsets, creating a diverse slate of commissioners representing the business community, the arts, hospitality and tourism, education, real estate, the labor workforce, and small businesses.
    The 11 appointees, who will be up for confirmation from the City Council on Feb.17, are:
    Kristi Allen  
    Allen is vice president of Hotel Operations at Ensemble Hotel Partners in Long Beach, Calif., overseeing two hotel properties including the Hotel Maya, a DoubleTree by Hilton in Long Beach where she is also acting General Manager.  Allen is a director and chair-elect of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, and a board member of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is a former board member and served as chair of the Downtown Long Beach Associates and also served on the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board.
    Becky Blair  
    Blair has been a commercial real estate broker in Long Beach for more than 30 years, representing hundreds of buyers and sellers in sales and leases. She is active in local and state commercial real estate groups. Blair has served on the board of directors for Los Angeles County Workforce Investment, the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Long Beach Associates and the Long Beach Symphony, and she has been a city planning commissioner for 6 years.
    Blair Cohn  
    Cohn is the executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Association, which has helped to revitalize business corridors and neighborhoods.  Cohn also chairs the Council of Business Associations and is the event director for the annual Tour of Long Beach that benefits Miller Children’s Hospital. He serves on the advisory board for the ArtXchange, and will be the cycling competition manager for the Special Olympics World Games that will be in Long Beach July 2015.
    Frank Colonna 
    Colonna was the District 3 councilman for Long Beach for 8 years, including 2 years as vice mayor. As councilman he was chairman of the Federal Legislation Committee and served on the Alameda Corridor Board, where he was also chair for three terms. He is past president of the Belmont Shore Business Association and a gubernatorial appointee to the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. He was president of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments from 1996 to1998. Colonna is a long time real estate broker and former National Guard officer.
    Randal Hernandez  
    Hernandez serves as managing director of government relations for Union Bank, where he is responsible for building relationships with civic and business leaders.  Hernandez served as chief-of-staff to former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill in her first term in office (1994 to 1999). On behalf of the mayor, Hernandez focused on economic development, international trade, city budget and intergovernmental relations activities.  Hernandez served on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and served on the California Green Jobs Council.  He is a former member of the Long Beach Planning Commission.
    Ralph Holguin 
    Holguin is the chief executive officer of RMD Group, Inc., a North Long Beach small business with more than 150 employees, specializing in experiential marketing campaigns, data capture and analysis, display design and fabrication, social media and Web Integration, event and promotional staffing, and large format printing sublimation. He also sits on the board of directors for Westerly Schools in Long Beach.
    Walter Larkins  
    Larkins has founded a number of companies, including Endosurgical Development Corp., which developed devices and strategies for minimally invasive heart surgery, and CDR Financial Services, LLC.  He is president of CDR Benefits LLC, offering life and health insurance for businesses, non-profits and governmental agencies.  He serves as a commissioner on the Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board, chairing the Business Services Committee, and participates on a number of nonprofit boards and organizations including Long Beach Rotary, California Council of Equality & Justice, Long Beach Community Foundation, LA Job Corps and the E=O2™ Foundation.
    Michelle Molina  
    Molina is managing partner of Millworks, which creates socially-responsible investment, development and property management, and is located in downtown Long Beach.  She serves on the Downtown Long Beach Associates, a nonprofit organization operating on behalf of the tenants and commercial and residential property owners of the Business Improvement District, as the chairwoman-elect. Molina is a founding member of the Historic Pine Association, and organizes and sponsors many North Pine charitable and arts projects.  In 2014, she helped create The Friends of Lincoln Park, a support and advocacy group for Downtown Long Beach’s largest public park.
    Robert (Bobby) Olvera, Jr.  
    Olvera is the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 and represents more than 20,000 part-time and full-time longshore workers who discharge cargo at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In his 25-year history with the ILWU, he has served on the executive board and as a caucus delegate on the local level. His career as an officer included terms as a chief dispatcher, business agent, and four years as vice-president, ultimately leading to his election as president in 2013. Bobby serves on the board of directors for the Miguel Contreras Advocacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization promoting social and labor justice, and on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Labor Community Services. 
    Cyrus Parker-Jeannette 
    Parker-Jeannette is dean of the College of the Arts at California State University Long Beach. In that capacity, she oversees the largest arts program on the West Coast. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Long Beach, and Wooden Floor, an arts and social services non-profit for youth. She was the recipient of the 2006 New Leaders in Arts award from the Los Angeles Music Center.
    Paul Romero 
    Romero is the senior national sales director with the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, which he joined in 2005. Romero is responsible for bringing conventions, meetings and special events to the City of Long Beach. His geographic sales territory is the association rich market of Washington, D.C., where many national organizations are based.  Prior to joining the convention and visitors bureau, Paul was with Hilton Hotels, bringing with him nine years of hotel sales experience working at properties in Anaheim and Long Beach.
    Medical Marijuana Ordinance Discussed
    LONG BEACH — On Feb. 10, the Long Beach City Council hosted a study session to discuss the history, current status and proposed draft ordinance related to medical marijuana.
    On Oct. 16, 2014, the Planning Commission voted to forward its recommendations to the city council on adopting an ordinance to establish restrictions and prohibitions on the establishment and operation of medical marijuana businesses.
    The recommendations include:
    1) All locations would require a conditional use permit and development standards would be established for consideration of all CUP applications;
    2) Performance standards, which include a security plan;
    3) Location restrictions within certain zones;
    4) A cap of two locations per council district and no more than 18 locations citywide; and
    5) Consideration of “buffers” between dispensaries and schools.
    A citywide ban on medical marijuana dispensaries has been in effect since 2012, after a state appeals court ruled that the City’s previous ordinance was preempted by federal law.
    Buscaino Announces District 15 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Closures
    LOS ANGELES — On Feb. 6, Councilman Joe Buscaino announced that he has been working with the Los Angeles Police Department and the city attorney to close down illegal medical marijuana dispensaries in his district.
    Under Measure D there are 134 legal dispensaries in Los Angeles. The City Attorney’s Office has closed down more than 400 illegal dispensaries citywide.
    Garcetti’s Economic Development Agenda Moves Forward
    LOS ANGELES – On Feb. 11, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed his business tax cut plan into law and received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Business Council for his plan to increase Los Angeles’ minimum wage.
    Garcetti has made job creation and support for businesses a cornerstone of his back to basics agenda. Los Angeles’ business tax is the highest in the county, making the city more expensive and less attractive to do business in, while the current minimum wage leaves even full-time working people below the poverty line, which is a drag on the overall economic recovery.
    The business tax cut represents a 16 percent overall reduction within three years, saving Los Angeles businesses a total of $90 million. The cut takes the top tax rate from $5.07 per $1,000 in gross receipts to $4.75 in Fiscal Year 2016, $4.50 in Fiscal Year 2017 and to $4.25 in Fiscal Year 2018.
    Garcetti’s minimum wage plan would responsibly and gradually raise the wage to $13.25 through 2017. After that, the wage will rise responsibly and gradually each year, through 2017. After that, this common sense measure pegs the minimum wage to the

    California Labor Federation Gets New President
    SACRAMENTO – On Feb. 10, the Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation, Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski announced the election of American Federation of State County and Municipal Local 3299 leader Kathryn Lybarger to president of the California Labor Federation.
    Lybarger succeeds Connie Leyva, who left her post with the Labor Federation following her election to the State Senate. Lybarger was elected by the Federation’s Executive Council this morning.
    A Lead Gardener at UC Berkeley, Lybarger was elected President of AFSCME Local 3299 in 2011, and re-elected in 2014. As Local 3299’s President, she’s grown the union’s membership by 45 percent, secured historic new contracts for the University of California’s 22,000 Service and Patient Care workers and helped lead the effort to secure additional state funds for higher education through 2012’s Proposition 30. She also serves as an international vice president for the 1.6 million-member AFSCME, and was elected to the California Labor Federation’s Executive Council in 2012.
    As president of the California Labor Federation, Lybarger will preside at meetings of the federation’s executive council and conventions and joins Pulaski on the leadership team. Lybarger will continue to serve as president of AFSCME 3299.
    POLAHS Student Named #ShareAwesome Contest Grand Prize Winner
    SAN PEDRO — Port of Los Angeles High School student Mika Verner, was awarded the grand prize for the #ShareAwesome contest.
    The #ShareAwesome contest is a social media challenge that urged students ages 13 to 17 to capture and share photos of awesome people, moments and decisions. #ShareAwesome is designed to spotlight and address important issues of online safety and digital citizenship in a fun, positive way while helping families create an open,
    The National Parents Teachers Association, a child advocacy association, awarded the prize. The contest was part of National PTA’s #ShareAwesome public awareness campaign, which launched in September 2014 and is supported by LifeLock, Inc. (NYSE: LOCK), the industry leader in proactive identity theft protection.
    Verner was selected as the winner of the contest among hundreds of entrants from across the country for her photo captioned “My Sport is Sailing” and her finalist video. Verner was recognized, Feb. 10, at the Facebook headquarters during ConnectSafely’s Safer Internet Day celebration. He was honored with a $2,500 scholarship, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and technology for her school.
    Details: ShareAwesomeNow.org, PTA.org.

    Read More
  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: Feb. 11, 2015

    Feb. 13
    Bixby Knolls Post Office to Close  
    The Bixby Knolls Post Office, at 4580 Atlantic Ave., will be closing on Feb. 13.
    The Post Office’s lease was up for renewal in mid-2013. The USPS opted not to sign a long term lease at that time and has been on a month-to-month lease ever since. It appears that the owner of the property has now asked the US Postal Service (USPS) to vacate the building.
    For the time being, retail customers, as well as customers with post office boxes, will be served out of the post office at 101 E. Market St. The postal carriers who are currently based out of the Bixby Knolls Post Office will relocate permanently to the Postal Service’s distribution facility on Long Beach Boulevard at 51st Street.
    The USPS, the agency is actively looking for a suitable location for a post office to replace the one that is closing. The facility is likely to be smaller than the existing Bixby Knolls Post Office because of the permanent relocation of the postal carriers to the Long Beach Boulevard facility.
    Feb. 14 
    Long Beach’s First-Ever Mothers’ Milk Donor Event
    “Share the Love” donor milk drive and celebration, an event to raise awareness of the need for donor breast milk will take place, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Feb. 14, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach. Milk reserves are critically low, with ever-increasing demands.
    Venue: Johnson Room in the Parr Health Enhancement at St. Mary Medical Center
    Location: 1050 Linden Ave., Long Beach
    Feb. 14
    Free Income Tax Preparation and Family Resource Fairs
    Take advantage of a free income tax preparation and family resource fair, Feb. 14, at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
    Details: (866) 910-9559
    Venue: CSUDH
    Location: 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    Feb. 16
    Wilmington Pipeline Maintenance Project
    Phillips 66 Pipeline is conduction a multiyear maintenance project to excavate pipelines and install test wires on the pipelines. These wires will allow Phillips 66 to monitor the conditions of the pipelines. These new test wire locations will supplement the existing test sites already on the pipelines.

    • Each location is expected to be completed in five to 10 working days.
    • Expect the work in Wilmington to last two months
      • There are five to six excavations shown near or on Figueroa in Wilmington; the remainder of the work will be in Lomita, Carson, Hawthorne and Torrance.
    • Scheduled to start at the south end of Figueroa at E Street and work north
    • Work is being done in commercial zoned areas
    • All work is permitted through the City of Los Angeles
    • Company safety plans are developed for each site prior to commencing work; these plans are developed in addition to the required excavation permit.

    Stakeholder considerations:

    • All work is conducted within the time limits listed
    • Where sidewalks are closed, alternate routes are provided and on-site personnel assist residents in crossing the street
    • Spanish-speaking representative onsite to answer any questions or concerns

    Wilmington Schedule:
    Week of          Location
    Feb. 16            Figueroa at L Street
    March 2           Figueroa at Interstate 110 northbound on ramp
    March 16         Figueroa at Pacific Coast Highway
    March 30         Figueroa at Lomita Boulevard

    Feb. 17
    Port Communities Oil Spill Preparedness Classes
    Take the Port Communities Oil Spill Preparedness classes, from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 17 and 25, and March 4 and 11, at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro.
    Three weekend day for field trips also will take place at a to-be-announced time.
    Details: www.LAWaterkeeper.org
    Venue: Marine Mammal Care Center
    Location: 3601 S. Gaffey, San Pedro  

    Feb. 17
    Airport Noise Ordinance Study Session
    An airport noise ordinance study is scheduled, at 4 p.m. Feb. 17, at the Long Beach City Council chambers.
    The study session will provide information to the city council on the history and structure of the Airport Noise Ordinance. Long Beach is one of only a few select airports in the nation that is allowed to limit the flights and noise impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods.
    Venue: Long Beach City Hall
    Location: 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Feb. 18
    Civic Center Outreach Meetings Scheduled Throughout Long Beach
    The City of Long Beach is hosting community meetings in each council district to inform the public, and solicit feedback, about the Long Beach Civic Center Project (Project).
    The Project is designed to redevelop the Civic Center into a vibrant mix of land uses, public open space and public/private development, with retail, hotel and residential elements designed to activate the area with quality development and more jobs. Revitalization of park space with a mix of recreational amenities, designed to complement the entire Project, will help to enhance connectivity with the surrounding area.
    The Civic Center has seismic deficiencies, and the project involves the financing, design, construction, operations and maintenance of a new City Hall and Main Library. A specific goal of the project is to ensure that the city’s cost to operate, occupy and maintain any new City Hall and Main Library is no greater than its current costs, adjusted with CPI increases. The project will also incorporate a permanent headquarters building for the Port of Long Beach.
    Join your neighbors and the larger community in helping to refine the proposed plan by sharing your voice at one of the following meetings:
    Feb. 18, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    McBride Park, 1550 Martin Luther King
    Council District 6

    Feb.  24, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
    Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St.
    Council District 7

    Feb. 26, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
    Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd
    Council District 2

    Feb. 28, 10 to 12p.m.
    Rogers Middle School, 365 Monrovia Ave.
    Council District 3

    March 7, 10 to 12p.m.
    Cesar Chavez Park, 401 Golden Ave.
    Council District 1

    March 14, 10 to 12p.m.
    Houghton Park, 6301 Atlantic Ave.
    Council District 9

    The Long Beach City Council has selected the PlenaryEdgemoor Civic Partners team to develop the project.
    Details: (562) 570-3800; www.LBCivicCenter.com 

    Feb. 19
    Diabetes Screening, Lectures
    Participate in free diabetes-related screenings and lectures, from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 19, at the John Edward Parr Health Center on the St. Mary’s Medical Center campus in Long Beach.
    Screenings include blood pressure, glucose and body mass composition.
    Lectures include:
    –          Cardiologist Nik Kapoor, MD, speaking on “Diabetes and Heart Disease”;
    –          Sapna Singh Patel, MD, speaking on “Diabetes and Kidney Disease”; and
    –          Christine Young, RD, speaking on “The Importance of Nutrition and Exercise.”
    Details: (888) 4ST-MARY; www.stmarymedicalcenter.org
    Venue: St. Mary’s Medical Center
    Location: 1050 Linden Ave., Long Beach
    Feb. 21
    Neighborhood Tree Planting, Clothing Drive
    Please join a team of neighbors, city staff and volunteers to plant trees, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Feb. 21, at the Teachers Association of Long Beach.
    Details: (562) 570-6866
    Venue: Teachers Association of Long Beach
    Location: 4362 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach

    Feb. 21
    Young Women’s Empowerment Conference
    Rep. Alan Lowenthal is presenting a Young Women’s Empowerment Conference for ninth- through 12th-grade students who live in the 47th Congressional District.
    The theme of the event is “Linking Learning to Life.” The breakout sessions offered are on education, careers, self-esteem, civic engagement and personal growth and well-being.
    Details: (562)436-3828; Helene.Ansel@mail.house.gov.
    Venue: CSULB Student Union Building
    Location: 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach
    Feb. 23
    Proposed Artificial Turf Soccer Field
    A regional community meeting is scheduled, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 23, at El Dorado West Community Center to discuss a proposed artificial turf soccer field installation at the El Dorado Park.
    Venue: El Dorado Park West Community Center
    Location: 2800 N. Studebaker Road, Long Beach
    Feb. 24
    Fourth District Candidate Forum

    The East Anaheim Business Alliance is hosting a candidate forum for the District 4 candidates, at 12 p.m. Feb. 24.
    Location:5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach
    Feb. 26
    Gaffey Street Conceptual Plan
    A community workshop for the Gaffey Street Conceptual Plan is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 26, at the Grand Annex in San Pedro.
    This is the last of three community workshops to share project information and gather input for streetscape improvements along Gaffey Street.
    Venue:The Grand Annex
    Location: 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 26
    State of the District
    District 15 Councilman Joe Buscaino will host his State of the District address, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 26, at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel in San Pedro.
    Tickets are $50 for San Pedro Chamber of Commerce members and $55 for non-members.
    Details: (310) 832-7272; mvasquez@sanpedrochamber.com
    Venue: Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel
    Location: 601 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro
    Feb. 28
    Community Day at White Point Preserve
    AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy will host a community service day to remove tumbleweeds and invasive species, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Feb. 28, at the White Point Nature Preserve.
    Volunteers will be provided with training and tools, but should bring water, closed-toe shoes, and sunscreen.
    Details: (310)541-7613
    Venue: White Point Education Center
    Location: 1600 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro
    March 2
    FEMA’S Youth Preparedness Council
    FEMA is looking for youth leaders who are dedicated to public service, who are making a difference in their communities and who want to expand their impact as national advocates for youth disaster preparedness.
    Any individual between the ages of 13 and 17 who is engaged in individual and community preparedness, or who has experienced a disaster that has motivated him or her to make a positive difference in his or her community, may apply to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council. Applications must be received by March 2, 2015, 11:59 p.m.
    Details: http://1.usa.gov/KReVZz
    March 23
    Call for Artists
    The San Pedro Chamber and the San Pedro ACE District Committee are seeking artists who wish to participate in the Public Art Program in the San Pedro ACE District, Spring 2015.
    The Chamber and ACE District Committee have selected five DOT Utility Boxes for custom painting by artists.
    Submissions are due March 23. Five submissions will be selected by the District Design Advisory Panel. Boxes will be painted the week of April 27.
    Details: (310)832-7272

    Honorary Mayor Guidelines Available Now
    If you ready to support a cause you believe in and become the next honorary mayor of San Pedro. Campaigning for San Pedro Honorary Mayor is an opportunity to raise both awareness and funds for local nonprofits, and to help support San Pedro Chamber sponsored events such as the Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade and the Taste of San Pedro.
    Details: Introduction Letter; Application and Guidelines  

    Read More
  • 1 117 118 119 256