• RLn ENTERTAINMENT: April 25, 2013

    April 27
    Caress of Steel
    Caress of Steel will perform, at 4 p.m. April 27, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Caress of Steel is a true 3 piece tribute band that performs an exact re-creation of a 1976-81 live era RUSH show. Complete with all of the “hits” such as Tom Sawyer, Limelight and Closer to the Heart, as well as rare gems that RUSH doesn’t even attempt anymore like Xanadu, Jacob’s ladder and Anthem.
    Formed in 1993 by lead guitarist Brian Montrey aka Almost Lifeson the band has been through various line-up changes throughout its 20 year career with the current MACH 4 version, the best in the history of the bands existence. Cost is $20.
    Details: (310) 833-3281; http://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W 8th St, San Pedro

    April 27
    Ambrosia will perform, at 6 p.m. April 27, at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro.
    Tickets start at $28.
    Details: (310) 548-2493
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre
    Location: 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro (more…)

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: April 25, 2014

    April 26
    LBPD Collects Prescription Drugs for Safe Disposal
    The Long Beach Police Department will join forces with Long Beach Memorial to collect prescription drugs for safe disposal, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26, at Long Beach Memorial.
    This initiative seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft through the collection of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
    The event will offer a drive-thru service that is free and anonymous. The driver of the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 100th participating vehicle will be awarded a pair of Aquarium of the Pacific tickets.
    Details: (562) 570-7221
    Venue: Long Beach Memorial 
    Location: 2801 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach
    April 28
    ECC Presents STEM Week Celebration
    El Camino College will present its first Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Week April 28 through May 2.
    Students and guest speakers will demonstrate and communicate the opportunities and innovations found in these fields of study.
    The weeklong celebration is organized in conjunction with the opening of the college’s new STEM Center, scheduled for May 8. (more…)

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  • RL NEWS Updates

    Port Launches Emergency Landing Craft
    Long Beach — Port of Long Beach officials announced, April 24, the delivery of a refurbished and retrofitted landing craft to strengthen their emergency recovery capabilities.
    The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency donated the Landing Craft Mechanized Mark 8, or LCM-8 after it underwent 12 months of renovations to add cleaner engines, a salvage crane and a galley.
    The renovations cost $1.5 million and were primarily funded by the California Port and Maritime Security Grant Program.
    This craft will mainly be used by the port’s Security Division in support of disaster recovery operations and as the primary launch platform for the division’s dive team and multi-agency dive training.
    A hydraulic system with an 8-ton crane is mounted to the side of the vessel. The crane can be used to pluck vehicles out of the water and lower them into the well deck.
    A hallmark features of the LCM-8 is the “drop-down ramp.” This ramp can be lowered to allow emergency vehicles to drive from land directly onto the boat and back out again in case of a natural disaster that makes roads and bridges impassable.
    POLB is the West Coast with this kind of vessel, the POLB.

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  • LBPD: No Public Records Exist Pertaining to Medpot Raids

    In response to a series of Public Records Act Requests, the Long Beach Police Department claims no public records exist pertaining to the nearly 100 raids of medical-marijuana dispensaries it has conducted over the last four years.

    In response to allegations by several dispensaries that the LBPD has conducted numerous “warrantless raids,” Random Lengths News began filing Public Records Act Requests (PRARs) in an attempt to investigate. In response, as of November 2013 the LBPD stated that “approximately 88 search warrants [had been] served at marijuana dispensaries and related locations, of which about 76 of them came after the City placed a complete ban on marijuana dispensaries.”

    In response to RLn‘s follow-up clarification that the request was for the total number of enforcement actions and not merely those for which there were warrants, Records Coordinator Theressa Graham confirmed that “88 is the total number based upon available records.”

    So as to crosscheck whether the number of raids exceeds the number of warrants, RLn submitted a PRAR seeking a list of all enforcement actions taken by the LBPD between September 2009 and September 2013 as well as the pretext for each enforcement action (for example, “violation of LBMC 5.89,” Long Beach’s ban on dispensaries). But according to the LBPD, there is no public record containing such information.

    “There is no such public record documenting ‘enforcement actions’ taken against illegal ‘medical’ marijuana dispensaries,” the LBPD stated. “Enforcement action comes in a variety of forms, including by both patrol officers and detectives. Any police action related to a medical marijuana clinic may come in the form of a call for service at a neighboring location and, therefore, not attributable to the marijuana store on its face.”

    RLn then requested “any and all documentation of any sort pertaining to any and all enforcement actions or operations taken against medical-marijuana dispensaries” during the same time period. In response, the LBPD claimed that all pertinent documents are “investigative records [and therefore] exempt from disclosure under Government Code section 6254(f).”

    The LBPD also says it has not kept track of the number of man-hours its officers have spent conducting such enforcement operations.

    Government Code Section 6254(f) exempts from disclosure investigatory records, although among the disclosures required by Subsection 1 of the same chapter are “[t]he full name and occupation of every individual arrested by the agency, the individual’s physical description […], the time and date of arrest, the time and date of booking, the location of the arrest, the factual circumstances surrounding the arrest, [and] the amount of bail set […] except to the extent that disclosure of a particular item of information would endanger the safety of a person involved in an investigation or would endanger the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation.”

    Numerous arrests were made during many of the at least 88 enforcement actions against dispensaries; however, the LBPD disclosed no arrest information.

    Subsection 2 of GC Sec. 6254(f) requires the disclosure of “the time, substance, and location of all complaints […] received by the agency and the time and nature of the response thereto, including, to the extent the information regarding crimes alleged or committed or any other incident investigated is recorded.” Nonetheless, the LBPD disclosed no information regarding complaints against dispensaries, although Chief Jim McDonnell, among other LBPD officers, have stated publicly on numerous occasions that some dispensaries have generated complaints.

    Although he says he supports the Compassionate Use Act, LBPD Chief Jim McDonnell has been an outspoken opponent of dispensaries in Long Beach, consistently pushing the city council to prohibit their operation. In December 2013 he attempted to dissuade the city council from its apparent movement toward passing an ordinance that will once again allow dispensaries to operate, claiming that doing so will “severely limit” his police force’s ability to combat crime.

    “We have been asked to devote more resources in the gang detail and the enforcement of realignment, prohibited possessors, property crime, and human trafficking,” he told the council. “Opening the door to marijuana dispensaries will severely limit our ability to respond to these and other items requested by the Council.”

    Chief McDonnell did not respond to RLn‘s query about how allowing dispensaries to operate would limit LBPD’s ability to combat these crimes.

    In an unrelated interview, RLn recently asked McDonnell about his philosophy in terms of the police department’s providing information to the press and public. “To be as transparent as we possibly can,” he replied. “I think the community has a right to know a lot of things, as much as we can share. [… W]ithin the bounds of what we’re allowed to, we try to be as open as we can be, because I believe that the more the public knows about the challenges we face and what we need from the community as far as them working with us, the more help there will likely to be.”

    *Note: According to Matthew Pappas, lead attorney in a lawsuit filed by multiple medpot collectives against the City of Long Beach alleging warrantless raids, prior to March 2012 the LBPD conducted “approximately 32 warrantless raids,” and that the City has in effect acknowledged that these were conducted sans warrants by failing to produce the pertinent warrants during the discovery process.

    “In discovery, the City has produced no warrants, zero, concerning those raids,” Pappas says.

    But Deputy City Attorney Howard Russell says this is untrue.

    “We typically don’t try cases in the press,” Russell told RLn, “but [Pappas’s] allegation is not accurate.”

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  • Bernie Pearl’s Latest CD–Take Your Time

    By B. Noel Barr, Music Writer Dude

    The blues as a genre at best tells a good story with an instrument or voice responding to a call from the singer or storyteller.

    It is very rare that you have a blues record these days that is as intimate and vital as Bernie Pearl’s Take Your Time. From the opening notes “Worried Life Blues” the timbre and pluck of the strings sets you up mentally for something special to come. Then Bernie’s baritone voice comes through exact and true. This is followed by Miss Barbara Morrison’s vocal on the track, which adds to the music — something that is sublime. (more…)

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  • Next to Normal Reprise

    By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer

    Rock operas frequently have heart, but it is unusual for one to have heart and speak literal truth as well — the genre is usually too high-strung for that.

    Cal Rep’s Next to Normal, playing at the Royal Theater aboard RMS Queen Mary, is the refreshing exception to that rule. True, it is chock-full of plangent and often appealing songs, but it is also a rock-ribbed look at a reality that many other plays about similar subjects don’t take seriously enough. (more…)

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  • Pedro Resident Arrested on Suspicion of Elks Arson

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    City officials announced the arrest of suspect Nick Pecarich in connection with string of vandalism act that culminated in the arson of the San Pedro Elks Lodge #966 in early hours of April 15.

    “It is with great pride that I announce the arrest of 78-year-old Nick Pecarich, of San Pedro, in connection with the April 15 greater alarm structure fire here at the San Pedro Elks Lodge,” said Councilman Joe Buscaino at an April 29 press conference. “The District Attorney’s Office has enough probable cause to make this arrest and it’s very case sensitive.  We need to respect the judicial process moving forward and know that as swiftly as the agencies move forward on this arrest, we expect the judicial system to do the same.”

    Arson investigators have remained tight lipped about the incident. Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief Donald Frazier said he was unable to confirm when or where he would be arraigned. The only information that was made public was that he was arrested somewhere within the City of Los Angeles.

    “Since there is additional casework to conduct, no comment will be made about the factors, which led to his arrest,” Frazier said.

    Arson investigators confirmed his arrest in the early afternoon of April 29. Pecarich was booked at the Los Angeles Police Department Metropolitan Detention Center for violation of Penal Code Section 451(c), Arson of a Structure. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. The case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office. A booking photo is not being released at this time.

    Community members believe Pecarich, who is suspected of being involved in the damaging of properties in the area on April 13, is being investigated in relation to was also responsible for the fire.

    Sources who talked on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing nature of the investigation described Pecarich as a strong, tall, mean-spirited, older man, in his late 70s, dealing with loss and health issues. In the past year, Pecarich had increasingly become inappropriate and verbally aggressive with acquaintances, some of whom have asked him to stay away.

    Surveillance cameras show a vehicle backing into a large, glass door fixture at the side of Via Dolce Café in Rancho Palos Verdes at about 3:53 a.m. April 13.

    “We can’t say what’s on the surveillance until the investigation is complete,” said Stephen Mollner, whose wife owns Via Dolce.

    By 4:45 a.m. a surveillance camera in at a San Pedro residence showed someone pulling a vehicle from the home out off the driveway and crashing onto it with his silver Honda Ridgeline.

    That morning, after the vehicle was moved off the street, Pecarich asked an occupant of the home what had happened.

    Around 8 a.m. the vehicle was recognized after the watching the surveillance.

    The occupants of the home contacted the police,who after seeing the surveillance video, which did not clearly show his face, went to speak to Pecarich. He denied the incident and they did not make an arrest.  Soon after the police left, Pecarich drove slowly through the street with the rope still dangling from the back of the car.

    Later that day, a woman, of San Pedro, discovered her vehicle also was damaged. The other woman’s husband discovered broken glass that did not belong to her vehicle on the pavement. The woman said it was consistent with the type of industrial glass and green paint stains from the coffee shop. The same evidence that  was also found evidence of that glass near the driveway of the other home.

    Also that morning, the Los Angeles Fire Department was called in to put out a small vegetation fire at the Elks Lodge, which lodge members believe was set on purpose.

    Sources believe that Pecarich may have gone to the woman’s home after the damaging of the property at the coffee shop and headed to the other home, where surveillance cameras identified the vehicle, then he set the small fire at the Elks, before coming back to that home.

    The sources said his vehicle was impounded once the reports were taken by the affected people. By that time everything in the back of Pecarich’s truck was gone.  On April 14, Pecarich was seen driving a similar black-colored vehicle. Sources said he told other people that his car was stolen and that the insurance had issued him that vehicle.

    The people whose property was damaged all knew Pecarich because he was a regular at the coffee shop.

    On April 21, the Daily Breeze reported that, on April 15, a man with a truck similar in description to the truck Pecarich was seen driving on April 14, appeared in the video footage of a nearby  24-hour Chevron gas station on Western Avenue. The man in the surveillance video bought a lighter and filled a 5-gallon can with gasoline at about 2:25 p.m.

    An attendant said that the owner of Chevron was told to no longer answer any questions and that he is no longer commenting on the matter.

    Soon after, the fire at Elks Lodge was ignited. Rumors mentioned that an Elks Lodge neighbor saw a black vehicle driving off in the middle of night from the scene of the fire.

    Sources believe Pecarich, who was a regular card player at the lodge, may have wanted to retaliate after being asked to leave the lodge and making threats.

    At first, arson investigators dismissed suspicions that Pecarich was involved in Elks arson because they had another suspect as a person of interest. That man, who was some describe as former disgruntled employee, did not own a car. The former employee was cleared of suspicions, sources said.

    On April 16, Pecarich was seen pacing up and down the street, lifting his shirt and putting his hands in his pants, as if he had a weapon. The police were called. After officers, who came that day, were shown the surveillance video, the watch commander came and told them the suspect would be arrested and advised all affected parties to place a  restraining order on the alleged suspect. He was charged with felony vandalism.

    Police also found a stolen boat in his driveway. He was bailed out  on $20,000 bail, but sources were told he was taken in on a 5150 to a psychiatric ward for observation on April 17.

    “I look out every night terrified that that guy is going catch us on fire,” one of the affected persons said. “We are all terrified.”

    While they are not allowed to say where Pecarich is at this time, investigators have assured the affected parties that they are safe from him.

    Sources said that Pecarich admitted to the vandalism on both vehicles late that week.

    “We want to make sure that our customers are safe and that we are safe,” said Mollner, about the sensitivity of the case. “And that he gets help.”

    Some sources cautioned that this all is circumstantial evidence at this time and that suspicions that taken as fact may result litigation issues.

    The damage to the 33,744-square-foot building was devastating.

    “Here in San Pedro our heart have been charred, but our spirits remain strong,” said Councilman Buscaino, an Elks member. “We will rebuild this lodge. This lodge will be bigger and better.”

    In the meanwhile, the Dalmatian American Club has open their doors to Elks members for their meetings and activities.


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  • Cats

    By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer

    Cats is a Broadway staple.

    More than 30 years after it opened in London, in 1981, and on the Great White Way, in 1982, millions have seen it and heard it songs, — particularly the standard Memories.

    In most performances it is huge in style and in substance. It can fill the biggest theaters. So, why doesn’t it?

    It’s still big in the production that opened recently at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, but with a bit of a difference: The La Mirada stage is, simply, not as big as others. And, that makes a difference.

    Because the stage isn’t quite as big as that at the Pantages, for instance, and because it isn’t anywhere as deep as that at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach (where Musical Theatre West did their production a year and more ago) Cats is forced to be more intimate, more in your face.

    From the beginning, when the cast came on through the audience, to the end, when they came into the audience again this was a production that involved the audience and took the stage right up to the orchestra pit (where one cat nearly tumbled, intentionally, into the audience). (more…)

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  • Nobody Likes Taxes

     They say it’s the price we pay for living in a civil society

    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    April seems to be the month in which we are besieged by a perfect storm tax paying. This year, property taxes… income taxes, and then monthly payroll taxes were all due in that one five day period that included both Passover and that rare lunar eclipse referred to as the “Blood Moon” – a name that references the eclipse’s slight rusty hue and in ancient times signified a harbinger of impending doom.

    Keeping religion and ancient omens aside, I sometimes wondered who thought up the idea of levying taxes in the first place? I am sure that taxes have been with mankind, in one form or another, since before recorded history and probably were conceived with the formation of the first city states. As in how do we pay for the roads, water system and defenses of our city?

    Of course, the bigger the city-state, and now nation-state, the bigger the government expense. I have some great sympathy for all of those tax resisters and conservatives who protest too loudly about paying too much in taxes. I also question some of the useless wars on which we squandered national treasure fighting over the past fifty years. (more…)

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  • Goodwill SOLAC Launches Annual Earth Day Awareness Campaign

    Goodwill Does Good by Keeping Electronic Waste Out of Landfills

    Goodwill, Serving the People of Southern Los Angeles County (Goodwill SOLAC) announced its 2014 Earth Day awareness campaign aimed at local businesses and residents with electronic waste items that are in need of safe, certified disposal. Goodwill does good for the environment by reducing e-waste in landfills and ultimately improving the quality of life for the communities it serves. Surrounding Earth Day, Goodwill reaches out to both large and small businesses to increase e-waste awareness and encourage them to enlist Goodwill as their go-to source for e-waste recycling.

    “We are proud of our leadership in sustainability practices to help facilitate corporate citizenship and environmental responsibility,” said Julie Dover, Chief Operating Officer for Goodwill SOLAC.

    In recognition of Earth Day, Goodwill SOLAC’s emphasis on e-waste recycling places its long history of green stewardship front and center, underscoring its founding principle:  A commitment to transforming lives through the power of work. In just the last year, Goodwill processed an impressive 14.5 million pounds of textiles and household goods for sale. In addition, more than 805,000 pounds of e-waste was recycled, generating in excess of $1.4 million that was used to fund its job training and employment programs for underserved individuals who have a desire to work, offering them a hand up rather than a hand out.

    Goodwill SOLAC partners with local businesses, such as Toyota and Kaiser Permanente, to collect e-waste items through employee donation drives. Not only does Goodwill provide on-site bins for corporate donation drives, it also deploys an expert team to collect the donations and issue tax-deductible receipts. (more…)

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