• Dine With a Queen in Long Beach

    By Lyn Jensen

    Beachfront dining is an everyday sport here in the South Bay, and 2014 has brought a remarkably summery winter and spring, even by California standards. That means we can enjoy Long Beach’s waterfront before tourist season hits. If you’re visiting the city harbor and looking to get away from chain restaurant menus, you’ll find Parkers’ Lighthouse offers a variety of unique dining experiences.

    Having recently added Queensview Steakhouse on its top floor, Parkers’ Lighthouse now offers two restaurants in a single location. The building itself is one of Long Beach’s landmarks, with architecture that slightly resembles San Diego’s world-famous Hotel Coronado. It’s the place across the channel from the Queen Mary, dominating the Shoreline Village complex against a backdrop of the Long Beach downtown skyline. (more…)

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  • Getting Older, Not Always Gracefully

    By Lionel Rolfe

    Getting older was supposed to be easier than this–more like a wonderful long vacation. But of course, it hasn’t been that way. My wife left me just before I turned 70 and I’m still not getting along with it too well a couple of years later. I don’t have enough on Social Security to survive, so I’m still working part time at my old high-stress journalism job. And becoming something of a lonely and grumpy old man in the process.

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  • Environment Advocate Seeks LB Council District 7 Seat

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Joan GreenwoodFor more than 25 years Joan Greenwood and her late husband, John Gailey, have embraced the Long Beach community as their own.

    Now, Greenwood is looking to leave her mark by running to represent the city’s Council District 7.

    “I have been inspired to run for the 7th District council office based on my 20 years of commitment to improving the quality of life and the environment in District 7,” Greenwood, 65, said. “All initiatives start at the neighborhood level. So, I have focused on the air quality impacts and opportunities within the neighborhood to provide activities for younger children.”

    Environment

    Greenwood, a project manager and environmental consultant for CSC Targee Inc., is best known for her work on the board of the Friends of the Los Angeles River. She became concerned with air quality issues in 2000. She was the president of the Wrigley Association from 2004 to 2007 and a founding board member of the Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance. As resident of Wrigley, a neighborhood that is directly adjacent to the Interstate 710 Freeway, she lives in a high-risk zone for pollution impacts. (more…)

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  • Homeboy Industries Honored at Noche de Estrellas

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Aquarium of the Pacific Trustee, Dr. Martha Molina-Bernadett, presented Homeboy Industries with an award on March 14. Jose Osuna is the director of employment services at Homeboy Industries and a Long Beach resident. He accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

    Aquarium of the Pacific Trustee, Dr. Martha Molina-Bernadett, presented Homeboy Industries with an award on March 14. Jose Osuna is the director of employment services at Homeboy Industries and a Long Beach resident. He accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

    Aztec dancers greeted an audience of about 200 people — mostly Latino families — March 14, at the annual Noche de Estrellas (Night of Stars inSpanish) that the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach organizes.

    Noche de Estrellas is a bilingual (English and Spanish) evening filled with environmental educational opportunities for all ages, Latino music bands, disc jockeys, arts and crafts, food and drinks, and the experience of visiting the Aquarium and its animals at night. This event began in 2010. Its first award recipient was actor and activist Edward James Olmos.

    This year the aquarium honored Homeboy Industries, an organization serving high-risk, recently incarcerated and former gang members, who are trying to change their lives in Los Angeles. Rev. Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in 1988, using as its slogan, “Jobs Not Jails.” The nonprofit offers tattoo removal, job training, employment, legal services, case management, and mental health and substance abuse services.

    “Homeboys Industries does so much for so many and they’ve done it for so long that I believe it’s always a good time to honor them,” said Dr. Martha Molina Bernadett, an Aquarium of the Pacific trustee. “This is an especially important time as Latinos are such an important fabric of Southern California and Father Boyle’s work is so lasting.” (more…)

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  • NEWS OF THE WEEK

    LONG BEACH

    Charges Filed for Suspect in February Murder

    LONG BEACH — On March 14, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed murder and weapons charges along with gang enhancements against 24-year-old Joseph Avila.

    Avila was arrested March 12, at his Long Beach residence for the murder of Robert Anthony Proano. Proano was shot and killed Feb. 10, near Myrtle Avenue and Artesia Boulevard in Long Beach. The motive of the murder is believed to be gang-related.

    Anyone with information regarding this murder is urged to contact Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives at (562) 570-7244 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

    POLB Cargo Dips in February

    LONG BEACH — On March 18, the Port of Long Beach announced that import volume was down 2.7 percent, while exports were up 2.1 percent at the POLB in February, compared to the same month in 2013.

    Overall cargo volume dipped 2.6 percent due to an 8.3 percent decline in empty containers. (more…)

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  • Buscaino Advocates for Harbor Area in D.C.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 14, District 15 Councilman Joe Buscaino discussed his recent travel to Washington, D.C. in his e-newsletter.

    Buscaino traveled with seven colleagues for the annual National League of Cities conference and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s Access DC program.

    Their presence in D.C. is critical because Californians get back only 76 cents of services for every dollar of federal taxes paid, Buscaino wrote.

    He said that he advocated three things:

    1)    Councilman Mitchell Englander and his “Save Our Streets” initiative, a multi-billion dollar project to fix Los Angeles’s failed streets and sidewalks, while creating 40,000 jobs.

    2)    The revitalization of the Jordan Downs Housing development in Watts, which could potentially receive a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative planning grant. That, will be leverage into a billion dollar investment.

    3)    The Port of Los Angeles, one of the most important economic engines of the region. (more…)

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  • UC Patient Care Workers Authorize and Announce Five Day Strike

    OAKLAND — On March 14, the University of California’s 13,000 Patient Care Technical Workers, represented by AFSCME 3299, announced that they voted 97 percent in support of authorizing an Unfair Labor Practice Strike and informed the University of their intent to strike March 24 through 28.

    The strike stems from growing incidents of illegal, bad faith bargaining by university administrators. This includes unilateral implementation of contract terms and benefit cuts, and the university’s 11th hour demands for sweeping new layoff powers, which could leave UC Health facilities short-staffed and patients vulnerable in the event of medical emergencies.

    AFSCME 3299 has filed unfair labor practice charges detailing each of the violations with the Public Employment Relations Board.

    Read the charges herehere and here, and the strike notice letter here.

    Though UC has repeatedly suggested that financial constraints are contributing to its collective bargaining practices [1], UC Hospitals netted more than $632 million in operating profit this past year. [2] Since 2009, annual hospital administration payroll costs at UC have swelled by more than $100 million, equivalent to an increase of 38 percent. [3]

    Two UC Hospital CEOs (Mark Laret of UCSF, and Ann Madden Rice of UC Davis) just made the Becker’s Hospital Review list of CEOs of the top 25 highest grossing “non-profit” Hospitals [4], each receiving more than a million dollars in compensation. Laret’s arrangement, in particular, includes six figure cash bonuses tied to profit goals. [5] (more…)

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  • Garcetti Launches Interactive Budget Website

    LOS ANGELES — On March 19, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a new website that makes it easier for people to review the city’s finances by offering interactive graphs of the current and past budget, including multi-year trends and departmental revenue and expenditure details.

    Garcetti’s budget website is at www.lamayor.org/openbudget and uses the cloud-based OpenGov platform. It is being launched as Garcetti prepares to release his first budget as mayor, which will be available in April.

    Garcetti’s back to basics agenda is focused on making city government more efficient, responsive, transparent and accountable, and he has used technology as a key way to achieve this. The new budget information site compliments ControlPanelLA, the web tool launched late this past year by Controller Ron Galperin.  ControlPanelLA is a searchable database of actual expenses and revenues going back to July 2011, when the city installed its current financial software system. Open Budget is a searchable database of budgeted expenses and revenues going back five years to July 1, 2009.

    ControlPanel LA is best for looking for specific financial information — Open Budget is best for analyzing budgeting information and trends. Together, they provide an unprecedented interactive window into the details of the budget and finances of Los Angeles for citizens and researchers. (more…)

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  • Much Ado

    By John Farrell

    It’s a triumph, a superb, over-the-top, triumph.

    Much Ado About Nothing, at the Long Beach Playhouse’s Mainstage Theater, deserves every critical accolade it gets, and more. It is lively from start to finish, lovely to look at, with superb costumes and a great design, and the fun of its characters’ over-the-top, coruscating wit is enhanced with more laugh-out-loud moments than you can count. Director Sean F. Gray has imagined a brilliant and hilarious production and has all of his large cast on his side. From the stars to the minor roles everyone comes together to make this the best play by Shakespeare you are likely to see for some time, and a play by Shakespeare you will want to see more than once.

    Much Ado About Nothing tells the story of Beatrice and Benedick, a man and a woman who have given up on marriage. The two, Kate Woodruff (Beatrice) and Nicholas Thurkettle, are just the right age for these two: not too young to have no experience of love, not so old that love has passed them by. They have known each other for years and engage in witty banter, not realizing how they feel about each other. Woodruff is lovely, alluring and adult, with marcelled blonde hair and enough changes of clothes to make her a clothes horse. Thurkettle is dashing in his naval uniform and able to handle every remark she makes with a witty report.

    That is, until their friends arrange for each to overhear how much in love the other is. Then they change from opponents to a love-struck couple. (more…)

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  • A Call to Connect from the Truncated Life of Markus Manley

    This is not a story about Markus Manley, not really. I didn’t know him well enough for that, and other publications will document the facts, WE Labs founder dead at 39 following surgery for esophageal varices, that sort of thing. This is not a story about his death, but about a lesson that might be gleaned from even the tiniest portion of his life.

    I met Markus only once. It was March 9, nine days before his unbelievably untimely death, at a birthday party in the big backyard of a house off Drake Park. Markus showed up late, but you knew right away he had arrived: that physical presence, that voice, that smile. Even his glasses were huge. Before too long he came up in the conversation I was having with a friend, and she was surprised to learn that Markus and I had never met. She dragged him over and left us alone to chat.

    I had never been to WE Labs, but as someone who keep as eye on my community I certainly knew about it, and he knew of me from my writing, so we didn’t have much trouble starting a conversation (not that I imagine anyone had much trouble starting a conversation with Markus). As luck would have it, just days earlier I had been tipped off to inside information about WE Labs’ expansion. Markus was bemused to hear what I knew and confirmed that it was true: good things were coming.

    Not surprisingly, most of our conversation was about Long Beach, which we both loved and found frustrating. We riffed on a mutual friend’s formulation of a Long Beach problem: that city government often tries to dictate what good things will happen, rather than finding what good things are happening organically and helping them to grow. Markus floated the idea of the City having “social ambassadors” (I think that’s the term he used), people whose job it would be to basically hang out where good stuff was going on so as to better keep City officials in the loop of the great things at the grass roots. Connectivity. You didn’t have to know Markus long to see that the idea of connectivity was close to the man’s big heart.

    We must have talked for a half-hour straight, until it was time for Markus and his close friend DW Ferrell to present birthday boy Evan Kelly with a very thoughtful gift (see accompanying picture). We drifted off into other conversations, and eventually, as must always be the case, the party began to break up. Markus made the rounds to say goodbye. We hugged, and as he drifted off across that big backyard on that winter evening that felt more like summertime, he encouraged me to come by WE Labs. “Encouraged” is not the right word: this was the hard sell, even though all he was selling was my dropping in, one more link in making Long Beach a more connected place. “You should come by tomorrow,” he called from across the yard.

    “I don’t think it’s going to happen tomorrow,” I answered.

    “You should come by,” he rejoined.

    “I may,” I said.

    “You should come by.”

    “I may.”

    “You should come by.”

    “I may.”

    “No, really, you should come by.”

    There was no denying the man’s charm. “I don’t know about tomorrow,” I smiled, “but I’ll definitely come by at some point. Soon. I promise.”

    ***

    The very next evening I walked right by the building at Broadway and Long Beach Blvd. that houses WE Labs on my way to the East Village for coffee. I thought about popping my head in to say hello, but it was after 8, and I didn’t know whether WE Labs was open that late, and I was already later getting out for the evening than I’d intended, so I passed on by.

    And now Markus is gone. I’m glad I finally met him, but I’m always going to be a little bit haunted by that last exchange, which now seems like a preternatural call to capitalize on the chance to connect while you have it—which, after all, may not be for long.

    I didn’t really know Markus Manley, but I suspect that if I take away from my limited experience of him a heightened appreciation for making connections with people while we have the chance, that would suit him just fine.

    (Photo by Alison Kermode. From left: DW Ferrell, Evan Kelly, Markus Manley. March 9, 2014.)

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