• Judge’s “Fluid” Ruling Against POC Restaurant will Destroy Jobs and Landmark

    By Lou Caravella

    On May 21, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Douglas Stern issued his ruling against Ports O’ Call Restaurant and its bid to remain open during construction of the San Pedro Public Market.

    Stern’s ruling in favor of the Port of Los Angeles effectively means that, barring a successful appeal, the 57-year-old waterfront landmark and local gathering place will be demolished in a matter of weeks. Stern’s ruling, however, is deeply flawed and comes at a steep price to the local community.

    First, the judge’s contention that “the far greater harm is that which may be suffered by the city” if it doesn’t secure its 30-day eviction is nonsensical. Ports O’ Call Restaurant’s closure would constitute absolute harm. With no remaining guarantees that the restaurant will ever again reopen and a financially devastating three-year closure, the restaurant would close permanently. The harm suffered by the city, on the other hand, is negligible to nonexistent, as phased development can continue much as it has through the present with minor adjustments to development plans (See Carlos M. Garcia’s suggestions in Big Reveal Threatens Ports O’ Call Restaurant, published in the May 3 edition of Random Lengths News.

    On the contrary, leaving a beloved local landmark and cash cow open for business is a far greater benefit to the city than shuttering it. In fact, at a public presentation on March 20, that was the port’s own argument for keeping the Fish Market open for business during development. (Why the port doesn’t extend the same favorable logic toward POC Restaurant is a point of discussion in San Pedro.)

    Regarding the eviction process, Stern writes, “All parties understood that the process was fluid.”

    This claim is demonstrably untrue. It ignores a number of specific guarantees made in writing and publicly. Just because an eviction process doesn’t go as planned doesn’t mean the process was fluid by design. Just because an agreement is retroactively labeled “fluid” doesn’t mean the agreement was, in fact, fluid and/or understood to be such by all parties involved.

    One example of a very concrete, non-fluid promise by POLA to the POC Restaurant was made in the 2009 Final Proposed Project Summary when the port promised a replacement site. Certainly, this agreement allowed for some flexibility of site location, but there was nothing flexible or fluid about the fact that a promise had been made and, later, broken. It is that broken promise that will destroy a local landmark and local jobs.

    But Stern may have also inadvertently undermined the port — and cautioned its potential partners — by ruling that the “process” of developing the San Pedro Public Market is “fluid.” After all, why would potential lessees trust the port’s processes now that they have a reputation for fluidity — a reputation officially assigned by a judge, no less? For a development that hasn’t even confirmed an anchor tenant yet, that’s not a reputation that inspires confidence,. Meanwhile, booting out a popular, high-earning tenant at such a vulnerable phase of the development process shows more hubris than wisdom. It even makes a martyr out of the already popular owner of POC Restaurant.

    It didn’t have to be this way. All three San Pedro Neighborhood Councils passed resolutions calling on the port to allow POC Restaurant to remain open at least through 2018. The port not only ignored these resolutions, but sued the restaurant instead. So, here we are.

    Ultimately, Stern’s ill-conceived ruling reinforces and rewards the disconnect in communication that has existed among the port, POC Village tenants and the public since the inception of the project. The irony is that by winning its case in court, the port insists on losing — for no known or good reason — a  far more valuable long-term asset: Ports O’ Call Restaurant.


    Louis Caravella is a web developer living in San Pedro and a member of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

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  • SPHS’ Brightest Look Beyond the 2018 Horizon

    • 05/31/2018
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Though at 18 it’s not legal to rent a car, purchase alcohol, enter 21-and-over clubs and events, adopt a child, buy marijuana, gamble at casinos or obtain a concealed weapons permit, there’s hardly any rite of passage more significant than a high school commencement ceremony. Graduating teenagers can get drafted and pressed into war, vote, obtain credit cards and enter into some contracts.

    This past month, I reached out to the principals and key staff in schools in the circulation areas served by Random Lengths News to identify graduating students who have been stellar in the classroom, on their athletic teams and in their communities.

    San Pedro High School submitted 12 names. All of them are student athletes. Some are involved in the arts; most are involved in serving their community, and all of them have been accepted by community colleges and four-year universities.

    Five students participated in “Signing Day” — a practice in which student athletes, after a period of intense preening and wooing by college athletic programs,  announce publicly and bindingly which college or university they will be attending. These students included Sebastian Wagoner, Perla Aguilar, Audrey Steen, Carlene Luna and Seth Turner.

    Perla Aguilar is a standout student and cross country athlete. While I wasn’t able to speak to her coach or teacher who knows her best, I was able to speak to a Lorena Calderon, close friend of Aguilar who was able to reflect on the light Aguilar shines.

    Calderon was present during the photo shoot, keeping Aguilar company. Unbeknownst to me and my photographer, Aguilar had a track meet to attend almost immediately afterward. Calderon brought food for Aguilar and made sure she kept aware of the time so she wouldn’t miss the bus.

    “When I got on the team, I was still pretty socially awkward,” Calderon said. “I didn’t like talking to people but she would always help me get into activities,” Calderon said. “On a summer trip she was help me get involved with everybody.”

    Calderon describes her best friend as determined, headstrong and goofy. She’s always putting in work to improve. Even when she has knots and pains, she’s working. She’s feels like she’s going to drop, she still keeps on going.

    Aguilar helps Calderon with running and homework; they are almost always together.

    Aguilar is a part of Link Crew, a San Pedro High School class designed to foster mentors to help guide incoming students towards becoming a contributing member of the Police Academy/ Marine Science Magnet community. Aguilar also volunteers at the College Bound Program at the Boys and Girls Club, and helps kids with their homework. She also has been phone banking on behalf of the Rep. Nanette Barragan reelection campaign. She has been on the honor roll all four years of school. She’ll be attending the University of California Irvine.

    Coach Jean Wagoner had much to say about how the unique pressures of being a student athlete can  propel them into excellence, particularly in regards to her son Sebastian Wagoner, dual-sport athlete Carlene Luna (soccer, swimming), and Audrey Steen.

    Sebastian Wagoner is another honor roll student who has also been excelling at his particular sport. Wagoner’s accolades include his being a 12-time Marine League Conference champion; 12-time CIF Los Angeles City Section championship finalist; 4-time CIF State qualifier; 5th place (15-19 year olds) at the 2016 Dwight Crum Pier to Pier, 29th overall; 2016 Daily Breeze All South Bay 1st Team selection. Wagoner will be attending Lake Forest College next fall.

    Coach Wagoner noted that the very act having to balance the time commitments of their sport and their academics causes the student to have master the art of time management, but it also trains the student in focusing the attention and focus on the what’s important.

    “When they’re tired after school, they don’t stay home. They go to practice,” Coach Wagoner explained. “They fight through [their fatigue] on a very consistent basis.”

    Coach Jean Wagoner couldn’t say enough about Luna.

    Wagoner noted that in the last two years, Luna has finished in the top three in the Marine League in 50 yard  freestyle, and that she’s been good at the breast stroke. But more than anything, Coach Wagoner likes the energy Luna brings to the locker room and the pool.

    “She comes in with a good attitude and good work ethic and is positive influence on the younger kids on the team. She’s a wonderful teammate to have.” Coach Wagoner said.

    And Coach Wagoner is not the only coach to say that about Luna.

    This past March, Luna was named a Triple-Impact Competitor finalist by the Positive Coaching Alliance Triple-Impact Competitors were selected based on their essays explaining how they meet three criteria: personal mastery (making oneself better), leadership (making one’s teammates better), and honoring the game (making the game better).
    “Carlene’s story of battling adversity from not only her peers but from her coaches as well allowed us to see how much strength she really holds and the fact that she continues to flourish as an student and athlete, while giving back to her teammates is extremely admirable,” said Alan Berkes, Executive Director of PCA’s Los Angeles chapter.
    Audrey Steen

    If not for her earnest humility, you would almost think she was humblebragging when she reflects on what she’s accomplished during high school. Steen has broken and set five different record categories in high school city section swimming and other records in club competitions.

    “We don’t get a whole of coverage in our CIF [Los Angeles city section] just because we aren’t as competitive as Southern Section,” Steen explained.

    “I haven’t broken any city records since 2016, just because in my first two years in high school I was really focused on high school swimming and doing the best I could in high school swimming because my coach Ivan Perhat was the high school coach.”

    When Perhat resigned from coaching high school, she refocused her attention on club swimming. As a result, high school competition took a backseat to club competition under the guidance of Julio Zarate.

    Steen exudes a great deal of humility and quiet confidence, giving her an air of maturity beyond her years.

    “Considering that my main seasons are not my high school seasons, I’m extremely proud of my times and even this year I was really close to the City Section CIF record in the 100 Fly,” Steen said.

    Because she had a transition in events, she’s bit backstroking anymore. She broke the CIF record in the South Bay invitational and swam faster in 100 Fly than the best time in CIF. She knows she had the juice to pull off victories in the CIF competition.

    Then she shift attention away from herself to team like Sebastian Wagoner who started winning events last year and this year. She noted they have similar experiences given that they both started in club swimming at the same time. He swam really amazing this season.

    “I’m really proud of him,” Steen said. “He had city records this year.”

    The most interesting thing about Steen is how it seems each year she has been at San Pedro, she’s such a versatile swimmer, each year she seems to have an expertise … as freshman as a backstroker, as a sophomore she set relay records.

    She set the 100 breast stroke and she set the 100 butterfly record and broke it as junior. This year, she’s being considered for All American status as a senior. That’s a big deal in the swim community.

    It’s very difficult to attain that status.

    Coach Jean Wagoner, who has worked with Audrey for the past three years noted that Steen will be graduating near the top of her class. Steen noted that most of her classes were advanced placement courses.

    “I do alright. I took four AP last year and took four AP’s this year. I get Bs here and there, but mostly A’s. I’m not a perfect student but I really do try my best,” Steen said.

    “The schedules for swim are in the morning before school, then we go to school, then we swim after school and then we do it all again the next day. This past year I did a lot better with time management.”

    Steen’s goal is to make the cut at Division 1 level, which is one of the fastest meets in the world.

    Steen noted that the Olympians and those on the national teams are breaking world records and meddling are doing it at the collegiate level. Steen notes that to even make the cut at the Division I level is difficult and see it as an honor. She would like to be a conference champion. She’s not picky about the event in which she’s a champion. If you ask, Steen will tell you that Olympic team is outreach. But that isn’t stopping her from strategizing to get there. She says she and her swim club coach have been strategizing to come home to train over the summer after her first year in college to see if could even make the cut for the Olympic trials.

    Associated Student Body Leadership

    Associated Student Body, or ASB,  is in charge of organizing all school events such as prep rallies, homecoming and prom. They are in charge of activities that promote school unity and pride. They also work with staff and work to over the division having two campuses creates. The ASB board meets with staff on testing and bell schedules. They also work on resolving disputes utilizing a restorative justice model.

    Students, Seth Turner, Corey Fausto and Rhiannon Patapoff serve on the leadership board.

    Patapoff  says she feels like this past year, ASB’s efforts are starting to bear fruit, particularly in the building of school unity between the dual San Pedro High campuses separated by 15 blocks.

    “I’ve been a part of the ASB leadership board for years and we’ve been trying to accomplish this sense of unity,” Patapoff said. “It’s finally starting to come together, which is amazing

    These students are standing out for a different reason. They excel in the classroom and their respective fields. Corey Fausto, particularly during his junior and senior playing on the San Pedro High varsity football team has been making waves on both sides of the ball while maintaining a 3.5 GPA.

    Turner, who has been playing club soccer for 11 years and played with the highly-touted club team, Fram Lawson for the past four years, and his recruitment by Division I schools such as Rutgers University.

    Tony Lawson, the Fram Lawson soccer club coach, described Seth as an introvert off the field. Not that Seth was the sort to stick to himself. He just isn’t the type to generally draw attention to himself. But on the soccer field, Lawson described Seth as a real competitor, particularly if Turner felt he was on the wrong end of a bad referee call or his team is down his desire to win gets raised a few notches.

    When Turner first started playing with Fram Lawson, the team was already solid and had been playing together for a few years. Turner didn’t immediately start first string.

    Lawson noted Turner’s strengths as a player. “He immediately impressed the coaching staff with his speed and overall athleticism, as well as his understanding of how to defend, Lawson said. Primarily a wide player, Turner will be effective in a fullback or wide midfield role at the Division I level.”

    Lawson remembers an early conversation he had with Turner’s father.

    That conversation was about ensuring that Turner got to play Division 1 soccer. To see  that goal accomplished is a point of pride for the South Bay soccer club coach.

    Patapoff comes from a rigorous arts background under the guidance of the San Pedro Ballet Company and had been dancing since she was a toddler.

    San Pedro Ballet founder and teacher Cindy Bradley noted that she and other instructors there get to see these kids in every phase of their life until they graduate from high school. The typical schedule is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and all day on Saturdays. Patapoff was no different, said Bradley, except she never seemed to give in to angst or frustration.

    “She is the best example of a role model that we ever had.” Bradley said. “She seemed like an old soul from the moment she started.”

    While maintaining her heavy schedule practicing and performing, Patapoff was carrying a significant academic load, taking honors and advanced placement classes and participating in student government as this year’s president of the Associated Student Body leadership.

    Bradley identified discipline and maturity as the character traits that’s allowed Patapoff to persevere and succeed.

    “She had the discipline to do the program, which is very vigorous, and she was in advanced placement classes and I didn’t even know she was a part of ASB,” Bradley explained. “She is so humble she never told me. She probably thought I would worry, that I would talk her out of it or something. She had the starring role of Clara in the Nutcracker. She would probably be starring in the San Pedro Ballet’s current show, but she is injured and has to wear a boot.”

    Bradley hopes Patapoff continues to dance because she is so good. She doesn’t believe Patapoff wants to make dance a career.

    “I can see her doing anything in life she wants,” Bradley said. “Right now, Patapoff will be entering UC Berkeley without declaring major. She expressed an interest in filmmaking and history but she’s leaving her options wide open.”

    Marching Band

    Of all the programs, sports or others at San Pedro High School, the Golden Pirate Regiment marching band headed by Darnella Davidson has probably seen the most dramatic turnaround ever. Davidson was honored in Nashville this past month with a Music Teachers of Excellence Awards after her winning back-to-back championship titles in 2016 and 2017, and receiving top honors among 92 marching bands in the Southern California Winter Guard Association tournament. For the past three years, color guard captains Samantha Duran and Emily Pinto, drum major Manuel Fragoso, section leaders Rene Rosales and Jacob Reynoso have been a part of Davidson’s band.

    Davidson beams with pride when talking about the graduating seniors she selected for this profile.

    She describes Samantha Duran as one who uplifts everyone, organized and a role model.

    “She’s the kind of person you can’t help but do what she wants you to do,” Davidson explained. “She’s just very sweet and kind.”

    Duran is going to El Camino College, which has one of the best music programs in Southern California. Duran said she aims to continue dancing in the future and perhaps even teach dance.

    Outside of band, Duran is the president of the Kings and Queens Club, which is a kind of fraternity/sorority at San Pedro High School. The Kings and Queens club gives high school student a taste of Greek fraternity/sorority life emphasizing community service and academic excellence. Duran has been in the club for four years. Though the club emulates Pan-Hellenic councils in terms of service, the club is not connected to a specific Greek organization.

    The last big project the Kings and Queens club participated in was the Whale of a Day at Point Vicente at in Rancho Palos Verdes. Whale of a Day was an educational event celebrating the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale from its summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chuchki Seas in Alaska to the winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja California. Duran and fellow club members manned educational game station teaching youth about the whales. Duran also filled a cabinet position her first two years, then vice president as a junior. Academically she’s ranked in the top 100 of her class.

    Davidson described Emily Pinto as bit more serious.

    “I call her Santana, kind of like the television show Glee,” Davidson said. “She kind of ha[s] that personality. But underneath all of that gruff she’s a very kind sweet person and very artistic.”

    Pinto recounted her experience in Davidson’s band as challenging and rewarding. She will be going the Long Beach City College and wants to continue color guard and art. She’s also a part of the Blue Devils color guard. She does graphic design specializing in digital studio art. She’s looking to transfer to Cal State Long Beach or even the University of Southern California.

    Davidson said the two of them were chosen to help each other to be able manage the color guard. “Their leadership became quite apparent,” Davidson said. “For them to be able to manage people and how to rehearse a group when the instructors are not there… just how to coordinate all the things that go into being a color guard… both of them were able to do it.”

    In fact, their work has become so noted that this past semester, they’ve been going over to Dana Middle and grooming those teenagers and taking charge of the program over there as well.

    “So, when those [teenagers] come over here, they will be better trained,” Davidson said.

    Each of the band members wore with medals they won over the past three years, consistently topping more than 90 schools from 2016 to 2018.

    Of all the graduating band students, the drum major, Manuel Fragoso probably experienced the greatest growth.

    “This is the first time he ever had this type of leadership role but when we choose drum majors and captains you have to look at what the band make up will be in the fall and all of the seniors are involved in the selection of the drum majors and captains,” Davidson explained. “Their input is invaluable. They get to see the things that I don’t necessarily get to see because they know the kids in a different way.

    Fragoso hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed and it’s why he was made drum major for the All City Honor Marching Band.

    “It was tough being drum major at first because I didn’t know what to do, but I figured it out and things ran smoothly,” Fragoso said.

    He had to learn the baton and calling commands. He admits he wasn’t as confident before he became drum major but credits his elevation for giving him the confidence to step up and exercise leadership skills he had acquired.

    He’s also a part of the Los Angeles Music Art School Orchestra band since the eighth grade.

    Section leader and soloist trumpet player Renee Rosales and Jacob Reynoso, a saxophone soloist. So they both are really fine players and Renee also is a really sweet young man.

    Davidson pays attention how students address their elders and the ways students comport themselves in the public eye. When she takes note of how a student greets her, it is a mark good home training that could possibly open doors,

    “‘Hello, Ms. Davidson …. Goodbye, Ms. Davidson,” the band director said, mimicking the characteristics of polite and respectful interaction between elder and junior. “You don’t get that kind of response from every kid and that just sticks in my mind as being well trained. His mother did a great job with him in teaching him how to be polite. He has his mischievous moments but overall he’s a very kind person and a person that cares about the program. He’s now going into drum corp. He marched last year, but this year he’s marching with one of our most favorite groups, the Blue Devils. So, he’s going to learn a lot from that experience. So, I congratulate him on that.

    Renee has been a trumpet section leader for the past two years and soloist for the past three years. He will be attending Riverside City College. He really wants to be in college band. He’s already done two years of Drum Corps, one with Drum Bugle Corp. and one with Blue Devils Bugle Corps.”

    Renee said when he’s not practicing with Ms. Davidson or the Blue Devils, he’s putting in time on his instrument on his own. Renee points to Pauley Raphael Mendez as a musician he tries to emulate. The state in Mexico my family is from, listen to him a lot. Renee said he spends about 30 hours a week practicing on his instrument a week. And it’s paying off.

    “Jacob Reynoso is a fantastic alto saxophone player. He’s one of my favorite all time alto saxophone players,” Davidson said?. “He just has a beautiful tone, he’s great with improvisation.

    Davidson noted that Reynoso struggled academically as a freshman. She suggested a bit of discipline was all it took to get him in the right direction.

    “Now he’s setting the tone for the kids who are following him. He could say to them, ‘I made these mistakes, don’t make them.,’” Davidson said.

    Reynoso will be going to El Camino College and plans to continue with music by joining El Camino’s symphonic band.

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  • LASD Carson Detectives Seek Public’s Help in Locating Child Abducted by Mother, 18924 Towne Ave., Carson 

    June 4- LASD Carson Sheriff’s Station Update in Child Abduction

    Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested the suspect who abducted 8-year-old Dylan Kostenko on May 29 from Towne Elementary School.

    On May 31, about 11:30 a.m. the suspect’s boyfriend walked into Inglewood Police Department to return the child safely. The suspect was located a short distance from Inglewood Police Department and was arrested without incident.

    The suspect and her boyfriend were arrested and transported to Carson Sheriff’s Station where they were booked.
    Suspect Dariia Kostenko female White, 29 years old was booked for Kidnapping.
    Suspect Antione Deshon Eldridge, male Black, 48 years old, was booked for Accessory After the Fact.
    Both suspects were also charged with Child Abduction.


    Carson Station detectives are seeking the public’s help in locating a foster child, who was abducted by their biological mother on May 29 from Towne Elementary School. At about 2:40 p.m., the foster mother of 8-year-old Dylan Kostenko showed up to Towne Elementary, located at 18924 Towne Avenue in the city of Carson, to pick up Dylan.  She was informed by school personnel, the child had been picked up by his biological mother, 29-year-old Dariia Kostenko.

    Dylan and his biological mother, Dariia, were last seen walking northbound from school in a residential area and out of view.  Dylan was last seen the morning of May 29 wearing a black t-shirt with a picture of a dog and the phrase “Dab All Day” and blue jean shorts.  Dariia was last seen wearing a red hooded sweatshirt.

    It is unknown at this time where Suspect Kostenko might be heading; however, she does have family in New York State.  She is known to frequent the West Los Angeles area.
    Dylan, was taken away from Suspect Kostenko May 2017. He was placed under the care of Department of Children and Family Services.  According to a court order Suspect Kostenko is not allowed to pick up the child from school and has monitored visitations with the child.

    Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Carson Sheriff’s Station at (310) 830-1123. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google play or the App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

    ****Note to the media: All media inquiries should be directed to Carson Sheriff’s Station at (310) 830-1123.*

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  • Superintendent of Public Instruction: Non-partisan Race Could be Over in June

    • 05/25/2018
    • Lyn Jensen
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

     Tom Torlakson, California’s elected superintendent of public instruction, is facing term limits,  meaning that, on June 5, voters across the state will be choosing among four candidates for an open seat. Four years ago supporters of public schools — and public employee labor unions — battled charter school advocates for control of the state’s schools. That, again, appears to be the central issue.

    Being a non-partisan office, the superintendent of public instruction is not subject to California’s top-two primary rule. That means the June 5 primary may be the only opportunity for voters to decide the course of public instruction within the next four years. If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary, that person is declared the winner. If none of the candidates receive more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two are advanced to a run-off on Nov. 6.

    In an election season when a “blue” Democratic wave is predicted to affect even non-partisan races, Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond are both Democrats but their agendas for education are completely different.

    Tuck lost a close and expensive race to Torlakson in 2014, when Tuck was perceived as the candidate of charter school supporters while teachers’ unions (and other labor groups) backed Torlakson. Tuck is a former charter school executive and CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a nonprofit that operates 16 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He previously served as education adviser to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He’s also a former Wall Street banker.

    His campaign site takes pains to emphasize what “our public school system needs to prioritize over the next decade” but a major portion of it discusses, “supporting high-quality, non-profit charter schools.”

    Like former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, Tuck favors a longer period of professional probation for teachers before they may receive tenure and wants to make it easier for schools to fire teachers.

    In contrast, Thurmond’s campaign site includes a plan for public schools that declares: “But … fighting for education starts with opposing President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s agenda, which threaten to defund our public schools.” DeVos is a major advocate for charter schools.

    Since 2014, Thurmond has represented the 15th Assembly District around eastern San Francisco Bay. He has been endorsed for superintendent by dozens of Democratic office-holders and by more than a dozen labor organizations. He also vows to ensure “accountability for charter schools” and to resist “efforts by the Trump administration to bring guns into our schools.”

    According to the California Secretary of State website, at press time Thurmond has raised over $1.15 million, mostly from a combination of individuals and labor organizations. Tuck has raised more than $1.71 million, but nothing from labor organizations.

    In a season when voters may be open to diversity, Lily Espinoza Ploski could draw enough votes to be a factor. She is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and she professes no party affiliation. She also possesses what may be the most extensive and relevant experience for the job of any of the candidates. She has a doctorate in education leadership from Cal State University Fullerton and she has spent the past 15 years in various college administrative positions.

    A fourth candidate, Steven Ireland, appears on the ballot but identifies himself only as “parent.” He has a campaign site but he does not have a statement in the Official Voter Information Guide.

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  • Three-and-a-Half Percent

    • 05/25/2018
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    A look behind the shockingly low estimate of how few local residents are employed in port, port-related jobs

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    According to Raimi + Associates’ analysis of US Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2014, only 3.5 percent of the residents of a Port of Los Angeles adjacent study area have jobs related to the port. There  are 61,315 employed residents and 32,708 jobs in the study area, of which 12,372 are “port or port-related” (37.8 percent, more than one in three jobs). If every one of those jobs was held by someone living in the study area, that would be about 20 percent of the workforce. But only 5,691 people live and work in the study area (17.4 percent of all study area jobs). Assuming that same rate for port-related jobs, there would be 2,153 of them (12,372 times 17.4 percent) held by study area residents, which is 3.5 percent.

    There could be more.

    “Even if you’re working in the Wilmington area, their job, their paycheck might be coming from San Bernardino,” Raimi project director Beth Altshuler explained.

    So, they would not be classified as working within the study area, making the 3.5 percent figure too low.

    “A lot of them [in these jobs] are coming from close by, like in Long Beach or Rancho Palos Verdes, or Carson [adjacent to the study area], but that’s not Wilmington or San Pedro, which are the neighborhoods experiencing the brunt of the impacts,” she said. “So some of them do live within a 20-minute drive, a lot of them probably do, but they’re not the ones who were listening to trains go by 24-7, seeing the lights from the cranes 24-7, in the water, having the beautiful ocean views ruined by ships.”

    Even that 3.5 percent may be too high for the communities and neighborhoods being impacted most.

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  • Random Happening: POW! WOW! Long Beach 2018

    • 05/24/2018
    • Reporters Desk
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    Now in its fourth year, POW! WOW! Long Beach is centered around a week-long event in Hawaii. The event has grown into a global network of artists. POW! WOW! organizes gallery shows, lecture series, schools for art and music, creative community spaces, concerts, and live art installations across the globe.

    For one week at the end of June POW! WOW! Long Beach will become a live canvas for  murals painted by two dozen different artists throughout the downtown corridor and beyond.

    As RLn reported in 2017, business owners were reluctant to allow their walls to be sprayed over with paint when POW! WOW! first came to town. But since that time property owners have come around and donated wall space. Hundreds of local volunteers have  followed  in support as well.

    Long Beach Museum of Art executive director Ronald Nelson is credited with changing Long Beach’s attitude towards street art after spearheading the 2015 show Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape. The show brought world-renowned artists to paint temporary murals in LBMA galleries.

    This Long Beach event is part of other similar events which take place around the world. The festival is expanding to cities and countries such as Taiwan, Israel, Singapore, Jamaica, Washington, D.C., Guam, New Zealand and Germany. The central POW! WOW! event happens on Valentine’s Day week in February in the Kaka’ako district of Honolulu. The occasion brings more than a hundred international and local artists together to create murals and other forms of art.

    There is also a POW! WOW! School of Music. It is dedicated to enriching the lives of aspiring musicians through mentorship, community involvement, and providing a creative, comfortable, safe space for artistic expression. Its purpose is to offer an educational platform, granting young local musicians the opportunity to meet and connect with music professionals, but also exposure to unfamiliar musical territories that expand their horizons.

    Time: 7 a.m. June 24 through 12 a.m. June 30

    Cost: Free

    Details: www.powwowlongbeach.com

    Venue: Downtown Long Beach

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  • Rediscover Aztec Spirits Before Salt, Triple-Sec

    By Richard Foss, Culture and Cuisine Writer

    If you routinely check out the bar on your way into a restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that a new class of beverages has been crowding out the old favorites. Move over, whiskey, gin, and vodka, the Mexicans are taking your shelf space. A new generation of beverages has arrived and they’re different from the drinks that came before them.

    The best known, of course, is tequila, but we’re not drinking the stuff that college students swilled in bygone decades. And, this seems to be the best time to note that the gaily colored bottles with the worm in the bottom that were featured in dorm room dares did not contain tequila. Those were mezcal and the worm in the bottom of the bottle was a marketing gimmick to sell novelty bottles to tourists. To explain the difference between tequila and mezcal, a little history lesson is in order.

    The Aztecs fermented a mildly alcoholic beverage called pulque from the sap of the maguey cactus, and this thick, milky beverage was drunk both ritually and recreationally. At least some of the time they also roasted the heart of the maguey in order to extract more sugars and improve the flavor. Scholars have argued over whether they also distilled the result or whether that technology was brought by the Spanish. Archaeologists have recently found evidence that bolsters the case for the Aztecs. Regardless, distilled cactus juice caught on and was produced commercially by 1608.

    Over time the process was improved and several different drinks emerged. Tequila was made from one particular strain of cactus, the blue agave, while others were used to make mezcal. Besides the difference in plant species there is also a difference in production; for tequila the plants are roasted in an oven, while for mezcal an open fire is used. Predictably, mezcal has a more smoky flavor, while tequila is generally smoother. A trickle of tequila was exported to the United States early in the 1900s, but most was substandard. Americans hadn’t tried good tequila and wouldn’t pay for the privilege of doing so. Therefore, most of us first experienced cheap booze that was heavily adulterated with grain alcohol.

    To see how things have changed, I talked with an expert, bar manager Greg Goins of Panxa Cocina in Long Beach. He affirmed that if you tried tequila a decade or two and didn’t like it, a reevaluation is in order.

    “Tequila isn’t made the way it used to be, just to be thrown into a margarita. Modern tequilas have qualities that make them worthy for sipping. A couple of years ago any time someone ordered one, they wanted to shoot it with salt and a lime wedge…. I’m seeing that less and less. Now, more people understand that the good ones deserve some time and are worth appreciating just as much as a scotch or bourbon.”

    If you didn’t shoot the tequila, you probably had it in a margarita, a cocktail invented during prohibition when drinkers had to creatively use whatever they had. A popular drink of the era was the daisy, made with brandy, orange liqueur and lime juice. If you substitute tequila you have the margarita (whose name means “daisy”). Such a drink was reported in Tijuana in the 1930s. Goins said that bad bartending practices and cheap bottled mixers later made this drink a mockery of what it had been.

    “I think the ‘90s ruined margaritas for everyone — we’ve come a long way from putting sweet and sour mix and triple sec in everything. We sell a lot of margaritas, but instead of a bottled mix we use straight lime juice and agave.”

    The new appreciation for farm-to-bar cocktails have improved margaritas and many varieties have arisen, some well thought out and some very questionable. Still, all are variations on a recipe that is more than 80 years old. It seemed appropriate to ask why no new cocktail using tequila has made a big impression.

    “There are some other good tequila drinks, like the paloma with grapefruit juice, but it’s difficult to make a unique tequila cocktail because it always ends up tasting like a margarita. Tequila naturally goes with lime and once you put that together you’re three-fourths of the way to a margarita. A balanced cocktail needs the sweet and sour to make it complex and that’s how you get there.  I have a drink called the Blind Bandito, and it’s jalapeño, agave, Campari, ginger beer, and lime…. The Campari adds that dryness and bitterness, and that separates it from a margarita.”

    There have been many more new cocktails made with mezcal, a process Goins said is easier, because of the greater variety of flavors.

    “Tequila needs to be made with the blue weber agave plant, while mezcal can be made from 30 different species of agave,” Goins said. “I’ve had some that have a minty taste, others that are earthy or rocky and minerally. There’s a huge range of characteristics, and you can enjoy those straight or in cocktails. I happen to prefer it straight, as I don’t want to disrespect it when it’s already so complex by itself. My favorite is probably Del Maguey and they have a lot of varieties that are worth investigating.”

    At the time I talked to Goins, Panxa had just hosted a dinner featuring mezcals. He said that he used the different characteristics of the liquor in pairings with the cuisine of New Mexico.

    “New Mexico is known for their chillies, most famously the Hatch green and Chimayo chillies,” he said. “Mezcals that are a little lower in alcohol and have spice notes go better with the Hatch chillies, while the smokier mezcals enhance the Chimayo flavors. There are so many flavors in this cuisine and in those liquors and there are all kinds of ways they can work together.”

    Modern tequila and mezcal producers have their eye on the premium market and are producing aged versions that appeal to open-minded whiskey drinkers. These range from the briefly aged reposado (rested) varieties that have a gentle oak flavor to añejo (aged) or muy añejo (extra-old) varieties. The prices for the latter rival antique scotches, but partisans say the subtlety of flavor does too.

    There is a greater interest in all categories of Mexican agave liquors from the crisp unaged blancos to the ones that are hefty both in flavor and price tag, and it’s a great time to explore the powerful but subtle spirits from south of the border. Whether you do it at Panxa, which has more than 40 in stock, or at your favorite local place is up to you, but we suggest you bring an open mind and a designated driver, because one thing hasn’t changed from the early days – it can sneak up on you and if you overindulge you will not look forward to the next day.

    Panxa Cocina is at 3937 E. Broadway in Long Beach.
    Details: panxacocina.com

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  • Brian Baxter, soundpedro

    soundpedro: San Pedro’s New Annual Artistic Tradition

    • 05/23/2018
    • Greggory Moore
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    By Greggory Moore, Curtain Call Columnist


    There was nothing quite like SoundWalk in Southern California. For ten years running, the arts organization FLOOD curated as many as 50 site-specific works from an international array of sound artists for a one-night transformation of Long Beach’s East Village Arts District into an indoor/outdoor gallery of multisensory installations.

    So when FLOOD pulled the plug on its signature event in 2013, it was quite a loss for the city, the region, and the art form. Which is partly why soundpedro, last year’s reincarnation/reimagination of SoundWalk at Angels Gate Cultural Center, was such a success.

    “After the first soundpedro, it became apparent just what an important niche even this is for the sound-art community,” says FLOOD’s Marco Schindelmann. “In the four years between the last SoundWalk and the first soundpedro, a whole new generation of sound artists sprung up, many of whom never had the chance to participate in something like this.”

    Originally green-lighted to happen biennially, Angels Gate was so chuffed with the inaugural event—which drew nearly 1,000 people, the biggest turnout at Angels Gate in 2017—the decision to completely pick up the SoundWalk baton and make it an annual happening was almost immediate. “For a first-year event at an out of-the-way place such as Angels Gate, [the turnout] really shows there are people who want to come out and see this kind of work,” says Angels Gate Executive Director Amy Eriksen.

    Situated on 36 arts-centered acres at San Pedro’s highest elevation, Angels Gate is an ideal location for a sound-art event. “We have vistas on all sides, and the combination of indoor and space allows for lots of nooks and crannies where people can discover [the installations],” Eriksen says. “[Plus,] so much area allows for [attendees] to hear the works [as they approach] before they see the visual component that [many installations] have.”

    A lifelong Long Beach resident, Eriksen originally approached FLOOD about reconstituting the event in San Pedro partly because she wanted to give others the opportunity to be impacted in the same way SoundWalk hit her in the mid 2000s. “[Such an event] allows for unexpected moments of sound around every corner,” she relates, “and I think those moments lead you to think about how sound works in your own life.”

    This year’s international crop of artists hail from away as Kazakhstan, who together will create a total of over 30 works, be they stationary or mobile, self-generating or interactive, performatory or participatory, analog or computerized, purely auditory or audaciously multisensory. Dillon Bastan promises “a kinetic interactive installation with swings.” Steven Speciale’s “Automaton Bricolage Cogitating” is the result of transforming the carcass of a free Craigslist piano into a dadaist sculpture that, through use solenoids, contact mics, and samples from the piano itself, will generate musique concrète to be piped into speakers strewn throughout the grounds. Brian and Ryan will roam Angels Gate with their “Sound Collection Helmets,” collecting “ambient sound and conversations from the show” and creating recordings for other soundpedro artists to customize on the fly to help shape the overall experience.

    Taken all together, soundpedro will provide an overall aesthetic experience that changes constantly depending on how you approach it. Walk the exact same route through Angels Gate twice during the evening, and you are bound to get two rather different experiences. You can never take it all in, because part of soundpedro is how it unfolds over time. The more open you are to the ever-changing variety of sensory elements around you—including the unplanned and seemingly random—the more you’ll discover.

    Unchanged from last year to this year (as in: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) are the fundamentals: soundpedro is “an ear-oriented multi-sensory event, presenting numerous artists whose work addresses sound and aural perception in combination with other senses.” What that means for you is partly how you approach this big audiovisual playground in which you have four hours to freely frolic. Is it simple novelty? Deep meditation on sound as a transformative environmental factor? A chance to get stoned and trip out on San Pedro’s closest approximation to Burning Man? It’s up to you. But no matter how you approach it, soundpedro is a feast for the senses and (in the words of FLOOD) a prime chance “to investigate the way we perceive and experience.”

    New this year is the hours. Whereas the inaugural soundpedro ran from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., this year it’s 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This preserves the opportunity for earlycomers to enjoy the transition from day to night (pretty spectacular, what with Angels Gate’s commanding 360-degree ocean view), yet allows a greater portion of the event unfold under cover of night, when the complete effect of the installations—many of which have a strong visual component—is on full display.

    Noting that in July 2017 San Pedro became one of 14 state-designated Cultural Districts, Eriksen feels that soundpedro helps the city deserve that cachet. “San Pedro has been growing an arts scene for 30 years, and Angels Gate has been a part of it,” she says. “But San Pedro is now a destination location for arts events, and I think soundpedro highlights that.”

    soundpedro, an evening of ear-oriented multisensory presentations
    Time: Saturday, June 2, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
    Cost: Free! (includes parking)
    Details: angelsgateart.org, soundpedro.org
    Venue: Angels Gate Cultural Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

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  • Rep. Alan Lowenthal at public meeting.

    Veteran Long Beach Lawmaker, Rep. Alan Lowenthal Says Changing Southern California Electorate Favors Democrats

    • 05/22/2018
    • Sara Corcoran
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Sara Corcoran, Washington D.C. Correspondent

    I recently had the opportunity for a sit down interview with Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who represents California 47th Congressional District. We discussed the demographic and cultural shifts in Southern California that could make many congressional seats solid blue for generations to come.

    Lowenthal, who has never lost an election during a political career that has featured multiple runs for the Long Beach City Council, the California Assembly, the state Senate and the House of Representatives, has been a beneficiary of these changes and appears likely to win re-election to his fourth congressional term with little resistance. However, the fates of the four open seats that surround his district are far more stochastic.

    If the Democrats wish to wrestle congressional control from the Republicans, they must start with the Southern California congressional seats. While the Democrats have the statistical advantage in the four open congressional seats, they could fail to clinch all four due to an oversaturated political marketplace. This predicament concerns Lowenthal.

    If Democrats want to take back the house, then they must refrain from cannibalizing relatively unknown talent, compel weak performers to self deport back to their professional careers and build up our bench. Lowenthal was quick to point out that our first and second string political talent is in need of reinforcement and prior elected office experience. Is this something the undisciplined Democrats can pull off? Can Reps.Tom Perez and Nancy Pelosi twist or cajole the arms of Democratic candidates who need to gracefully exit stage left?  If a House of Representatives majority is sacrosanct to the Democratic National Committee and leadership, then let’s hope Pelosi starts offering golden parachutes, drop out packages and early termination benefit packages. That’s an appropriation we can all agree on.

    Sara Corcoran: How did the midterm elections look in your district?

    Alan Lowenthal: Well, first let me explain to you what my district looks like. My district goes from the western boundary Port of Long Beach ― about 90 percent of Long Beach ― a little bit of Lakewood … [a] bit of all of Signal Hill — that is about 58 percent of my district —  and then 42 percent of my district is Orange County ― northern and western Orange County. If you’re asking about my re-election, I think I’ll do well. I normally do extremely well in Long Beach. When I first started to run for Congress in 2012, my Orange County part ― that 42 percent ― I lost that vote by 10 points and 55 to 45 [in 2012]. By 2014, I lost that by a few points. By 2016, I won it by 10 points. I unusually win Long Beach 65 to 70 percent. I am going to be spending more time in Orange County as it’s the most competitive part of my district and I’m surrounded by four congressional Republican seats that we want to win. I want to help those Democratic candidates and those districts so I’m going to be having a full-blown campaign, not only to help me, but all candidates in OC.

    One of our biggest problems now is the California open primary. Despite Ed Royce [39th district]and Darrell Issa [49th district] retiring, these seats are very competitive. In California’s jungle open primary, the top two vote-getters move on to the general. This could be very detrimental and damaging to Democrats. When we add up all the Democratic votes we should win those seats but we may not have anybody running in the Royce and the [Dana] Rohrabacher [48th district] seat in the general election because we have eight to 10 Democrats running in each of those. We’re going to split the votes. Remember that Orange County is different than L.A. County. L.A. County has lots of Democrats [who] are board of education members, state assembly members, who are city council members. So, we have a large bench.

    In Orange County we don’t have any bench, so all the people running in the seats are relatively unknown to their district. All of the Republicans running in these districts are former state assembly members, senators, former Orange County supervisors. So I need to help, not only myself to win, which I will, but also will help the Democrats win state assembly seats, state senate seats, boards of education. We need to build a bench in Orange County so we don’t get into this mess in the future and to make sure we win their seats around me…. the midterm elections will reflect a tremendous turning away from President [Donald] Trump and moving towards Democratic values. I also think the battleground for the State of California will be Orange County. So I’m going to be working very hard. I’m going to help our candidates win the seats, help bring back the Democrat majority in congress and shore up our OC bench.


    SC: What about those candidates (for open congressional seats in Southern California) who aren’t performing well at the polls — shouldn’t they drop out so Democrats don’t cannibalize each other?  

    AL: Let’s remember that the night Donald Trump was elected many people in Southern California were in tremendous shock. Then came the Women’s March and people were overwhelmed about what to do. There was a tremendous outpouring of people who were so frightened about the direction the country was going. So when when I had a town hall meeting in Long Beach, 1,100 people showed up. Most were people who would never have been involved in politics. Many of them had never been to the Women’s March, the March for Gun Safety, [or] the March for Life. They just wanted to know what to do. I also ran a town hall meeting to get all of the OC congressional candidates, like Sam (Jammal), so we could get volunteers. Democrats are not good at being disciplined in Orange County.

    Many people in Orange Country wanted to change the country so large numbers of people who would never run for office all decided they were going to run for office. The positive thing is that that active participation is a  wonderful thing for democracy; we should encourage it. The negative thing is we have the jungle primary and we could eliminate Democrats getting into the general election. I don’t like to tell people they didn’t can’t do anything but I did speak to many of the candidates who were very low on the polling and said, ‘You know, you staying in these races could actually help to hurt everybody.’ They all said, ‘Well, that may be true, but I’m going to win. Nobody knows these other candidates, either, so I’m staying,’ and that’s what’s happened. So they’re all staying ― Sam Jammal is staying, Joe Cisneros is staying, Dr. [Mai Khanh] Tran is staying. All of the candidates in these races are great people, but it is creating a problem. We could lose the June primary. The three top Republicans who have all held office there — state assembly, state senator or OC supervisor — they are all ingrained in their community. People like Sam and Dr. Tran and Gil [Cisneros] are not as well known, so that’s the problem.

    SC: How have you seen the Democratic Party change in Orange County?

    AL: Orange County has a reputation as an affluent, white, wealthy coastal community. That’s what many think of what they think of Orange County, the home of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch. But over the last 20 years there’s been a huge ideological shift. The Latino community and Asian Pacific Islanders (first generation from 1975 after the fall of Saigon through 1990s) the Vietnamese diaspora in Westminster/Garden Grove they were quite conservative Republicans anti-communist and Vietnam. Vietnam had an oppressive regime and in many ways they were right to stand up against communism. But the next generation, native California born, had different experiences. Children of these diasporas who have grown up in America and are either college-age or millennials. Though they’re still strongly tied to their families, they are more like millennials across the country. They aren’t registering Republican and represent the new face of Orange County, including a larger [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning] community. So Orange County is similar to how  Los Angeles County used to be 25 years ago.

    When I first ran for state assembly in 1998, which is now 20 years ago, my district used to be a Republican district. San Pedro was represented by a Republican named Steve Kuykendal. Long Beach was a Republican district. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Long Beach were all Republican districts. I broke that chain and a republican is never going to win that seat again. San Pedro/Long Beach/Orange County is becoming more urban and more diverse. Young millennials are not satisfied with this super nationalistic, anti-immigrant [and] anti-healthcare environment.

    Healthcare is also very important to residents of Orange County. Twenty years ago, many of  these folks were anti-government; now Orange County would be devastated if they didn’t have the Affordable Care Act

    SC: What are your thoughts on the congressional midterm elections?

    AL: The Democrats will take back the House. The signs are there and so are the tailwinds. We just witnessed one of the most conservative districts in the country (in Arizona) become competitive. President Trump won this district by 21 percent in 2016 and it has  always been solid Republican. Congressman Frank ran and won by 25 percent in the past election.And look at how well our candidate performed. She came within 4.7 percent of winning. She actually won the vote the day of the election but lost on the early voting and absentee ballots.

    The political landscape is is changing. Many polls predicted we’d lose by 12 percent but they were wrong. This is yet another sign for Democrats ― that if you work hard, are relatable to your district and have a solid grasp of local issues you can make tremendous progress. If you are rational ― if you don’t engage in the fear-mongering the president does ― the American public  will elect you. For many Americans, it is a priority to keep the economy moving, fund education [and] have access to a robust employment market. Many also don’t want to live in a world where they are constantly berated by our president. They want a nation they can be proud of and people are not proud of the direction this president is taking this country

    SC: What are the three main issues that you will focus on if the Democrats take back the House?

    AL: I’m going to continue to work on things I do right now. In the past two years we haven’t had much traction because we can’t even get the bills up for vote. I’m the co-chair of the Climate Change Caucus (aka the Safe Climate Caucus) and the ranking member on the Natural Resources Committee, which deals with energy and minerals. I’m also the lead Democrat and ranking member around energy policies ― all policies on federal lands, all the offshore drilling. This includes all the oil and gas is produced in the United States on federal lands, either offshore or onshore.

    If we win and I’m the chair of the  Sub Committee on Energy, I will spend a lot more time focused on alternative energy. We need to transition off a carbon-based economy, nationwide. We need to have rational policies forcing the oil and gas companies to pay their fair share of corporate taxes. Right now, they (petroleum companies) get tremendous tax breaks. It’s so hard to change our policies as they are an entrenched special interest. This makes it hard for alternative energy to compete. We need to eliminate the tax breaks that let them drill on federal lands and offshore for next to nothing. All of that’s going to change. We’re going to have rational energy policy that reflects climate issues and we’re going to try to protect our oceans. So, that’s one of many priorities I’m going to continuing fighting for.

    I’m also co-chair of the Ports Caucus…. I’m very concerned about infrastructure and the ability to move freight nationwide. Currently, we don’t have a nationwide infrastructure deal. We simply don’t have an revenue stream to cover the expenditure. So, I’m going to keep championing transportation and identify how to allocate resources toward a national infrastructure bill. I also want our transportation providers to be emission neutral, so it’s clean. We’ve been able to make great progress in this industry in California but we want to do it nationwide.

    I also have the largest Cambodian community in the country, one of the largest Vietnamese American communities and a large LGBTQ community. I am going to keep championing the message and fighting for human rights.

    I recently co-sponsored legislation with Ed Markey in the Senate to ensure that the State Department deals with LGTBQ issues internationally. Right now, there are some 70 nations where it’s a crime to be gay and in four of those countries you can be put to death. We need to make sure U.S. policy is working with those countries to change oppressive gender and ethnic policies. We have leverage over many of these nations and should make trade policies contingent upon human rights protections for all.

    I am particularly concerned about recent developments in Cambodia. They just eliminated democracy and the head of the government. This is concerning to members of the Cambodian and Vietnamese diaspora in my district and to me personally. We need to identify the current Cambodian regime as illegitimate and work to restore democracy.

    Having a sound immigration policy is also important to me personally and to many who reside in my district. I have a lot of  DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students in my district, which includes the Dream Center at Cal State Long Beach. The Dream Center is one of the largest Center of DACA students — over 1000. So, it’s important that we pass comprehensive immigration reform to protect them. We need to provide a path to citizenship, which includes more humane policies for DACA and Dreamers. We need to eliminate many of  these horrendous ICE policies, especially in terms of deportations and rounding up people. ICE frequently rounds up people in my district. That has to change. I also see healthcare as a legislative priority.

    It is vital to protect healthcare for all Californians. I want to see everybody included and ultimately would like to see Medicare for all. As soon as we gain the majority we must take legislative steps to protect and provide subsidies for healthcare. If you are a member in my district that can’t afford healthcare, I want it to be subsidized for you. Is that the ultimate answer? No, but immediately we have to protect people. This year the Republican-led Congress and president did a tax reform bill, which cut revenues by almost a trillion and a half dollars and gave those revenues to the wealthiest people in this country, while cutting healthcare subsidies. How can we possibly balance our budget it with that type of revenue shortfall? The promise that trickle-down economics will bring prosperity for all is false. We know from past experience that it never does.  If we don’t deal with the “tax reform giveaway” issue when the Democrats come back into power we are going to eviscerate Medicare and Social Security. We can’t let that happen.

    SC: So what about the Senate?

    AL: We have a great shot. Remember there are so many more senators up for reelection that are Democrats than Republicans but we have a great chance to pick up a senate seat. We could potentially pick up Nevada, where Jacky Rosen can beat [Dean] Heller. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema will hopefully take Jeff Flake’s open seat. Congressman Beto O’Rourke has a great chance to beat Ted Cruz. Beto is running a grassroots face-to-face campaign and is one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met; a person [with] great integrity. Nobody gave Beto O’Rourke a chance at first but I think he’s a contender now. It’s going to be a lot of work because people like Beto are key to flipping leadership. We have great candidates and am bullish on our bench.

    SC: It often seems like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton are still top targets of Republican ire. Are they doing more harm than good for the party at this point?

    AL: If the question is, ‘Would you change supporting policy for leadership?’ the answer is, ‘It doesn’t really make a difference.’ The reason I’m saying that is that a key tenet of the Republican playbook is to attack Hillary and Nancy. Even if we announced that she wasn’t going to seek the speaker after the midterms the Republicans would still run a campaign against Nancy Pelosi. They’ll I try to destroy her just as they did against Hillary Clinton, but this tactic may soon be obsolete.

    The Republicans tried anti-Nancy tactics in Pennsylvania and Virginia and it didn’t work. If the Democrats take back the House, it will be up to Nancy to see whether she wants to stay or go. At some point we need to think about the next generation of leadership, but I don’t think that’s some sort of main issue right now. The most important thing how we are going to win back the House in 2018 and support those candidates I mentioned. Those candidates will win because they relate to their communities better than the Republicans who were just into “no” and cutting everything. The Republicans are complicit and never stand up or challenge the president.

    The biggest problem is not so much the Republicans and Democrats differ. Having differences is good. The problem is that the Republicans are complicit. They refuse to deal with the real problems in Trump. They just go silent at some point; they are going to be held accountable

    SC: James Comey recently made a similar prediction about this concept of politicians being complicit with a president who thinks he is above the law. What are your thoughts about Comey’s statement that those who are complicit will have a lot of explaining to the next generation in their own families?

    AL: Interesting. I believe we will win or lose these midterm elections because we offer an alternative. Being accountable to the next generation is more important than who the next Democratic House leader is. We will win or lose this not because of Nancy. We will win or lose because we have good candidates, because we offer an alternative and people do not want to keep going down this route of fear and excessive nationalism. Not since the second world war have we failed to play a major role and human rights and promoting democracy throughout the rest of the world.The president would be perfectly content to walk away from this legacy and the Democrats in Congress we’re not going to do [so]. It was really nice to have the French leader [Emmanuel] Macron here because he says and thinks the kinds of things that we wish our president would.

    SC: Have you read the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation Report?

    AL: I have read the executive summary and  know the key takeaways well. It’s a 200-page document and  I have read that the three or four page summary. I understand what they want to do and how they want to continue to study this and the critical importance of the impacts on our community not just in the port area, but [also] in Wilmington and other communities. The report contemplated the whole issue of environmental justice ― which has been raised but they continue to focus on that and there’s still a lot of issues that have not been addressed. That was very good of them.

    RLn: Are you aware of the Chinese Conglomerate COSCO group?

    AL: Yes I am. The proposed merger doesn’t bother me that much because we are talking about Cosco Chinese shipping line which has their administrative offices in Beijing and OOCL which is another Chinese company whose offices are in Hong Kong but controlled by Beijing. In essence it’s not going to disrupt the marketplace. The combined entity will have a larger influence with our ports though.

    With the exception of Matson Shipping, which just travels between Hawaii and the United States and some of the territories, there are no us shipping lines so we are just talking about foreign countries who are already. What i take issue with is to the extent that the shipping lines are carbon neutral.

    We have problems with Japanese, and South Korean carriers. They all do not abide by all environmental laws. I’m more concerned that we keep our foot to the pedal and like that Harbor Community Benefit Foundation report stipulates, we continue to protect our community. How do we balance and protect communities while also having economic development? I’m most concerned with this. The fact that one Chinese company bought another Chinese company doesn’t bother me as much.

    RLn: So you don’t anticipate this being an issue with the Committee on Foreign Investment?

    AL: I don’t think so because it’s a Chinese company buying another Chinese company. I went with leader Pelosi to Hong Kong to meet with the activists about a year-and-a-half ago. After the British had left was Hong Kong was supposed to be a  protectorate and have a separate government from China. In practice, it was something very different. Folks in Hong Kong and have an election but Beijing will dictate which candidates can run. I view human rights and environmental justice as more paramount.

    If it was an American company, then it should be something we should be figuring out how we are going to support our own but I don’t see any problem with a Chinese company buying another Chinese company.

    More from Sara Corcoran:

    Ted Lieu Rising

    Putin’s Killing Fields

    Say It Loud, Trumpism Is Not Welcome Here

    Read More
  • Free Document Shredding Event

    Long Beach residents are invited to participate in a free document shredding event at Veterans Memorial Stadium. A mobile shredding truck will provide residents with the opportunity to securely dispose of confidential documents, white or colored paper, manila file folders and envelopes. There is a limit of three boxes per car.

    Time: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. June 2

    Cost: Free

    Details: (562) 570-2856; www.longbeach-recycles.org

    Venue: Veterans Memorial Stadium, 5000 E. Lew Davis St., Long Beach

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