• Tim Weisberg

    • 03/09/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
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    ENTERTAINMENT

    March 11
    Tim Weisberg
    Tim Weisberg has long been regarded as one of the most original rock, blues and jazz-fusion flutists. In 1970, fresh out of grad school and virtually unknown, Tim Weisberg exploded on to the scene with his opening performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where he firmly established himself as a unique musical talent.
    Time: 8 p.m. March 11
    Cost: $25
    Details: http://alvasshowroom.com/event/tim-weisberg
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    March 12
    Trio Ondine
    Formed in 2005 as Duo Ondine by flutist Boglarka Kiss and harpist Alison Bjorkedal, the duo invited their good friend and violist Alma Fernandez to join them in an exploration of the unique repertoire for flute, viola, and harp that Debussy first used in his great impressionistic masterpiece.
    Time: 2 p.m. March 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 316-5574
    Venue: Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, 26438 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates

    The Steppes
    This tribute band performs music from the first five solo albums by Genesis Alumni and Steve Hackett.
    Time: 4 p.m. March 12
    Cost: $25
    Details: www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    March 17
    Broadway in Concert
    Musical Theatre West presents Susan Egan with special guest Deedee Lyn Mango Hall. Egan’s Tony-nominated Belle takes the stage in a one-night-only concert event.
    Time: 8 p.m. March 17
    Cost: $40 to $60
    Details: (562) 856-1999 ext. 4; www.musical.org
    Venue: Beverly O’Neill Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    THEATER

    March 12
    The Perfect American
    Long Beach Opera will present the U.S. premiere of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American, a fictionalized version of the final days of Walt Disney. The opera will be directed by Kevin Newbury, conducted by Andreas Mitisek, and the role of Walt Disney will be sung by baritone Justin Ryan.
    Time: 2:30 p.m. March 12 and 8 p.m. March 18
    Cost: $49 to $150
    Details: www.longbeachopera.org/tickets
    Venue: Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    March 25
    Rumors
    In a large, tastefully appointed townhouse, the Deputy Mayor of New York has shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe farce attack. Despite being his tenth wedding anniversary party, the host lies bleeding in the other room and his wife is nowhere in sight. The lawyer and his wife must get “the story” straight before the other guests arrive.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through March 25
    Cost: $14 to $20
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse , 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    March 31
    Romeo and Juliet Rehearsals
    You are invited to Elysium for each and every Romeo and Juliet rehearsal.
    Time:  6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, until March 31
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.fearlessartists.org/box-office-1
    Venue: Elysium, 729 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    ARTS

    March 12
    Significant Otherness
    Significant Otherness is a benefit exhibition for the Spay and Neuter Project of Los Angeles. It explores the unique bond between animals and humans through artworks of eight contemporary artists.  A benefit event is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 25.
    Time: 10 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday, through March 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://angelsgateart.org/gallery-receptions-on-january-21-2017
    Venue: Angels Gate Cultural Center, Building A, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    April 9
    Frank Brothers: The Store That Modernized Modern
    The exhibition relates the story of Southern California’s largest and most prominent mid-century retailer of modern furniture and design. Based in Long Beach from 1938–1982, Frank Bros. embodied the optimistic postwar ethos of the American consumer.
    Date: 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, through April 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: csulb.edu/org/uam
    Venue: California State University Long Beach, University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach

    April 16
    Wearable Expressions
    Wearable Expressions explores the unbreakable bond between Art and Fashion portraying boundary-pushing works in fiber, jewelry and accessories by creative minds from around the globe.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through April 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: wearableexpressions.com
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 W. Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    April 26
    Creative Expressions
    Creative Expressions, featuring glass artist Howard Schneider, local painter Kathie Reis and abstract artist Lois Olsen opens at the Artists’ Studio Gallery at the Promenade on the Peninsula. An opening reception is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. March 4.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through April 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 265-2592; www.artists-studio-pvac.com
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center/Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education, at 5400 Crestridge Road,  Rancho Palos Verdes

    April 30
    Ann Weber, Sculpture
    TransVagrant and Gallery 478 present Ann Weber, Sculpture. Ann Weber’s organic sculpture is abstract, formally elegant and composed of inelegant salvaged cardboard. There are abundant hints of figuration and recognizable objects: think chess pieces, balloons, human torsos, plant forms, and graphic ciphers.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, through April 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 600-4873; www.transvagrant.com
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 4th St., San Pedro

    May 21
    Dreamland
    The Museum of Latin American Art presents a retrospective of the work of one of the original Los Four founders, Frank Romero in the exhibition entitled Dreamland. Romero’s most iconic works, including his mural work, such as Driving to the Olympics on the Hollywood Freeway, address life in the barrios of Los Angeles.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, through May 21.
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: (562) 437-1689; molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    March 12
    South Coast Cactus & Succulent Society
    “Under the Spell of Succulents,” deals with how we engage with succulents — growers, collectors, landscaping, container gardens, and niches such as bonsai, crests, and variegation — and is aimed at both the novice and the long-time enthusiast.
    Time: 1 p.m. March 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: southcoastcss.org
    Venue: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula

    March 11
    Bixby A’Bloom Fashion Show
    Nine local boutiques and retail businesses will come together at the Virginia Country Club to promote the Bixby Business Corridor and Los Cerritos area.
    Time: 12 to 4 p.m. March 11
    Cost: $40
    Details: www.loscerritosna.org/events
    Venue: Virginia Country Club, 4602 N. Virginia Road, Long Beach

    March 19
    We Can Swing
    Arts Alive in partnership with People’s Place and Palace, will be hosting the “We Can Swing” Spring Fundraiser.  Celebrate Arts Alive’s 17th birthday.
    Time: 3 to 7 p.m. March 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: kingsandclowns.com
    Venue: People’s Place San Pedro, 365 W. 6th St., San Pedro

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  • Brathwaite’s Spiritrials: Breaking the Bondage of Incarceration

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist  

    Spiritrials, Dahlak Brathwaite’s one-man show is an awakening. It is also a timely exploration of the criminal justice system that dispels myths and false narratives about felons. Brathwaite, accompanied by DJ Din Decibels kept the  Los Angeles’ REDCAT Theater audience spellbound for 90 minutes on Feb. 11.

    Brathwaite, a spoken word artist, gained prominence after he won the international Brave New Voices poetry slam. He has performed on the Tavis Smiley Radio show and Russell Simmons rebooted Def Poetry Jam on HBO for two seasons.

    As a member of the groups, iLL-Literacy and Youth Speaks, Brathwaite has performed parts of this performance that merges hip-hop, theater and spoken word on stages throughout the world. He has released five musical projects including his full-length albums, Dual Consciousness and Spiritrials.

    Brathwaite captured the undivided attention of a notably diverse crowd and held it up to the last moment of his show.

    Spiritrials chronicles the encounters of a young African American man who is stopped by the police repeatedly with no clear cause. It’s on the tenth stop that the young man is arrested and gets entangled with the court system, jail, attorneys and probation officer with potentially transformative results. Through creative prose, drama and insightful humor, Brathwaite narrates his criminalization and his struggles within that, to rise above in both the laws and society’s eyes.

    “I’m not an addict,” Brathwaite said shortly into his performance. “I’m pushed down this assembly line, cookie cutter justice, sent to a government sponsored, spiritually centered recovery program. I’m not an addict.

    I could be down, without the man holding me here.”

    Brathwaite’s performance was impeccable. In addition to providing his own narration, Brathwaite portrayed different characters in the protagonist’s recovery program, including an old man who walks with a limp and his right hand shakes uncontrollably, called Pastor. Brathwaite calls Pastor a cautionary tale, “that he doesn’t want to be, living a life being fucked up and now he’s been forgiven.” Brathwaite seems to channel the late comedian, Bernie Mac with Pastor’s characterization. But there are others, including Mary, a Puerto Rican girl, Brathwaite plays with a spot on dialect.

    Another character, Steve, is a white guy who has a fetish for white powder in bags and speaks with the Brooklynese of an Al Pacino character.

    Then there’s Sanford, a talkative guy with one eye who incessantly uses the term “nigger.” Sanford sounds like comedian, Katt Williams.

    Brathwaite and these characters evolve throughout the play. The characters are over the top with  their absurdity and troublesome quirks. Progressing through the performance, Brathwaite lays bare these characters’ emotional life by illuminating their pain and confusion. These characters are a reflection of the very real issues that the “addicted” and afflicted felons face. Brathwaite portrays them with affecting clarity.

    Beyond being a musician, an actor and a poet, Brathwaite is an educator.

    In an interview days before his show, he discussed his role as an educator in his poetry.

    “In this play there is both information and opportunity to learn, maybe beyond a personal story or an experience,” Brathwaite said. “There are also facts, new ways of thinking and perspectives and an argument that’s being offered here. So I consider myself an educator as I’m performing as well.”

    Being labelled as a criminal intended him to be shamed into silence. This is what led him to create this work and tell his story.

    He came up with the name, “Spiritrials,” while working on this project in fall of 2010 as student at Ithaca College.

    “It was an experiment, the trial of spirituals and what they can do for me in terms of helping me break a bondage, get me over the hump of incarceration and criminalization,” Brathwaite said.

    The music aspect plus the religious and legal intersections of this work made him feel like Spiritrials was the only title that would work.

    “What could it do for me as it has done so much for many others in the past?” He asked.

    This work helped me overcome embarrassment and enabled me to speak when this (issue) became a national discourse,” he said in reference to the deaths of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

    “To (offer) this when it has been part of my story could aid humanity.”

    Details: www.thisisdahlak.com; www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nL2HGUoF1c

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  • QM’s Local Band Hangout Makes Waves

    • 03/08/2017
    • Melina Paris
    • Music
    • Comments are off

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    The Queen Mary, an attraction in Long Beach since 1967, is making things new again with a breakout live music series, Local Band Hangout. The event happening every third Thursday of the month in the ships art deco style Observation Bar has attracted a full house since it’s start at the beginning of this year.

    On its second event Feb. 16, just as it was getting dark, the room already had a full crowd

    Neo-soul vocalist, Karina Nistal and guitarist, Shingo Yugi began the evening. Nistal’s voice was velvety and Yugi accompanied perfectly while still featuring his skilled playing. The duo performed a blend of covers and original tunes including Rock With You, My Cherie Amour and a Spanish rendition of Fever. These performers engaged the crowd and provided a cool start to the evening.

    By the second set with Hellhounds of London the Observation Bar had a full house. Three  members out of the four piece band started their set with all guitars, bass and a cajon. When they began playing it was clear why. They play strong guitar harmonies together, mostly featuring rock driven. soulful ballads. They performed a solid cover of D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar and moved into some bluesy numbers, incorporating the keys and bringing some extra rhythms and soul.

    The last set featured the hip-hop influenced Olivia and Aragon. Olivia has a gift of allowing her voices range to unfold in softer but soulful expressions of hip-hop songs. Aragon, agile on guitar, brings a nuance to the hits they perform, which pull mostly from 1990’s artists including T.L.C., R. Kelly and Ice Cube. They also tossed in some original songs.

    One song to note was their version of, It Was a Good Day, by Ice Cube. Yes, they performed it and it worked well. Olivia spoke about being influenced by hip-hop. She and Aragon adapt their own interpretation of the era of urban music which brought us Ice Cube and the heyday of the VIP Record store.

    The lineup for March’s Local Band Hangout has just been released. It features, the folk and jazz sounds of Long Beach’s own Queen Califia and from the legendary reggae band, The Wailers, Elan Atias.

    Local Band Hangout offers a congenial ambiance along with food and drink and happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. The $10 cover can includes access to the Queen Mary restaurants during the concerts.

    Details: www.queenmary.com

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  • Junot Diaz Spotlights His Audience at REDCAT

    • 03/07/2017
    • Melina Paris
    • Feature
    • Comments are off

    By Melina Paris, Contributing Writer

    It was with good reason that author, Junot Diaz canceled his original speaking date in January at REDCAT. The Pulitzer Prize winner received an invitation from the White House to attend a private event during the last week of President Barack Obama’s administration.

    Instead Diaz appeared on Feb.17, a night of heavy rains in Los Angeles. But showers and freeway closures didn’t stop this audience, which overflowed the theater’s capacity, from attending.

    “There’s plenty of reason to keep your ass at home,” said Diaz congenially, opening the discussion. “Thank you for coming.”

    The author wrote the critically acclaimed Drown, Pulitzer Prize-winning, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which also garnered the National Book Critics Circle Award and This Is How You Lose Her. Immigrant experiences and identity are at the heart of his work.

    Diaz, a writer in residence at California Institute of the Arts Writing Program, was recognized in his introduction for his continuous demonstration in writing, thinking and activism.

    He mentioned that he always checks in when speaking, to see if any of the communities that he is part of are present. The Dominican-born author first asked if immigrants were in the audience. About a third responded. He also asked if Latinos, Caribbean’s, Dominicans and folks of African descent were present. All were in attendance.

    He did two readings from his books but Diaz made the evening mostly about his audience, which included his students. He opened the night with a Q-and-A, noting he would answer anything we wanted to ask him.

    The author demonstrated a skill in responding quickly, but in depth to questions. A student asked if Diaz could talk about his concept of turning away from a dystopian future, which he previously spoke about at the California Institute of the Arts.

    “We should be able to think of it that way, but also be able to switch and imagine better futures,” Diaz explained. “We have to fight to protect today.”

    Diaz believes that our imaginations within society are not articulate or fluent in the understanding that we actually can overcome this “B.S” of a dystopian future. We haven’t imagined the overcoming of this future instead we tend to succumb to it, he said.

    In interviews Diaz has previously spoken about growing up during the 80s, a time ripe with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narrative. Films such as Terminator and Blade Runner had come out. While teaching a class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on post-apocalyptic literature, he realized that many young people were equally possessed and fascinated by this dread. He pointed out that bearing witness to what’s happening is perhaps the most important step for us to overcoming it.

    He credits author, Ray Bradbury with giving him a way of bearing witness to his own experience as an immigrant going through a lot of the nonsense young immigrants put up with when in a very hostile society and climate,  It is something he never forgot.

    Volunteering is a priority to him. One of his main messages was about giving of your time and working with people, especially so for artists. The idea that an artist’s work is their civic contribution is an idea he does not buy. He believes giving back to the civic is to manage the interest on our civic debt.

    His keen perception of this audience’s concerns opened this forum to safely tackling deeper issues and fears. One person asked how to filter what is happening in Washington D.C. Diaz continued with the idea of volunteering.

    “Filter through exposure,” he said. “First get over your panic, then get to it. I just keep volunteering. Help others with less agency. As soon as you’re doing this, [Donald] Trump won’t piss you off so much.”

    Book Reading

    Diaz read from his multi-faceted novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which takes place in both America and the Dominican Republic. The story includes Oscars love trials, his love of comics and sci-fi, emigration, familial history and the supernatural. But one of its main themes explores the complexities of living in two cultures at once. It is the idea that one can carry inside them both the country of their origin and the country that received them.

    But the overarching motif is the curse called “fukú” that has plagued Oscar’s family for generations.

    Diaz read about fukú. His passage foretold of what could befall the Dominican Republic’s dictator, Rafael Trujillo. It also described, with supernatural quality, the essence of this curse in the protagonist’s life and its effect on his family. Through the stories narrator, Yunior, Diaz’s descriptions were vivid explorations of oppression and violence.

    “Fukú is generally a curse or a doom of some kind; specifically the curse and the doom of the new world.” Diaz has explained. “It is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fukú on the world.”

    Diaz’s family moved from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to New Jersey when seven. His father came to the United States to work, then later sent for his family.

    Díaz attended Rutgers University and earned his bachelor’s degree in history and literature. After graduating from Rutgers, Díaz earned a master’s degree of fine arts in creative writing at Cornell. While attending Cornell he began to write the short stories that eventually formed his first published collection, Drown.

    Diaz said that the popularized  notion that a person must choose between your home place and the new place is cruel and absurd. You can be two things simultaneously.

    Diaz’s engaging speaking elicited a wide range of questions. Subjects from politics, to writing, to having immigrant parents, to dealing with people in your own family who voted for Trump came up.

    He had a remarkable response to one of his last questions.

    The audience member asked Diaz, regarding fear and identity, as a person with a high profile how does he think of his identity in situations such as his visit with Obama and in volunteering.

    “What a marvelous thing it is to help somebody,” Diaz said. “To be human is to be in pain.”

    Nothing diminishes his pain like helping another person.

    “That’s how I balance it, Diaz said. “I try to keep people and different selves I’ve been front and center,” he said.

    Diaz shared that he was slapped by his father. This is the self he brings to the White House with him, so that he can feel that love and excitement rather than locking that self up and forgetting him.

    “Keep those lost selves around,” Diaz said.  It takes more energy to forget than to remember.”

    Diaz is the fiction editor at Boston Review. He also is the Rudge and Nancy Allen professor of writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Diaz also co-found the Voices of Our Nation Workshop. Its mission is to develop emerging writers of color through programs and workshops taught by established writers of color.

    Details: www.junotdiaz.com

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  • Course through Civic Center City

    • 03/06/2017
    • Zamná Ávila
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    These days, driving along Ocean Boulevard in downtown Long Beach is quite a distracting adventure.

    Head west toward San Pedro and your eyes will unavoidably wander toward a wall of blue-covered fences surrounding City Hall and the Main Library. Turn right on Magnolia, heading north and you might catch a glimpse of a gigantic hole where the Superior Court once stood. Park and walk to either of the government buildings and you might experience a bit of claustrophobia as you pedal through the maze of fences.

    This traffic trek — in the middle of the rush hour — is an expected facelift to the center of Long Beach civic engagement buildings and recreation areas. The Civic Center will be transformed into a state-of-the-art work, live, and play facility in the coming years. It will house a new city hall, Port of Long Beach headquarters, a new Main Library, a reconfigured Lincoln Park and retail and residential units.

    Breaking Ground

    Since July 2016, the city has been demolishing the old to make way for the new—the new Long Beach Civic Center, that is.

    The $525 million project, scheduled to be completed by 2019, encompasses the area where Broadway, Chestnut and Pacific avenues broadside Ocean Avenue. City Hall and the POLB headquarters are planned to be 11 stories high, with a plaza in between them for public events. The Main Library will be on Broadway and will include an underground level for its archives.

    With construction ahead of schedule, occupancy is expected by June 2019 with the Lincoln Park build out to be complete by the summer of 2020. A residential-commercial tower expected to rise about 432 feet may be in the works and completed by spring of 2020. The tower may have a 200-room hotel as part of the project, but that is not guaranteed.

    Performance spaces, a dog park and children’s play area are expected to be part of the new Lincoln Park.

     Out with the Old

    Discussions about a new Long Beach Civic Center began as early as 2008, when then-Mayor Bob Foster was told that the Main Library roof was in danger of collapse. Around that time, a public-private partnership had been initiated to construct the George Deukmejian Court on Magnolia Avenue, near Broadway. A 2013 study, following a federal investigation that surfaced from Hurricane Katrina, found that Long Beach City Hall’s stairs could break and the structure could collapse during a large earthquake. The construction of a new city hall is said to withstand a 7.5 earthquake with a low probability of injuries and zero deaths.

    But not everyone believes the project was necessary.

    “I have lots of reservation as the city has obligated taxpayers to a … project that was not needed and is being done to help other developers in the area,” former Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske said. “If the building were so unsafe, why are employees still there and will be there until late 2019?”

     Deal or No Deal

    In late 2015, the Long Beach City Council approved a deal to enter a public-private partnership with the Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners. The partnership works by having the company pay for the construction of the Civic Center, with the city being its tenant for the first 40 years. This comes out to about $14.5 million annually. Repairing the civic center might cost about $19 million.

    Long Beach Civic Center rendering. Photo courtesy of the City of Long Beach Public Works Department.

    The property will then be returned to the city after the 40-year lease is over. The first payment of about $16.7 million would be due by fiscal year 2020. That cost will gradually increase partially at a fixed 2.18 percent with a 2.4 percent cost of living increase.

    Schipske said this price is not as fixed as it seems. The cost may end up being higher when considering the underground infrastructure of oil pipes that may be found in the process.

    “There will be massive overruns and the cost to the city will escalate,” she said.

    But Jennifer Carey, an executive assistant with the Public Works Department, said the construction risk is primarily on the developer.

    “The city has an agreement that makes the developer contractually obligated to deliver the building for the price agreed upon,” Carey said.

    Plenary-Edgemoor will get two parcels out of the deal, one on Ocean Boulevard and the other at Pacific Avenue and 3rd Street. Those parcels will be used for private development after the Civic Center is complete.

    And, that’s the crux of the project, Schipske said.

    “This project wasn’t done because we need a civic center, it was done to connect with a larger development that starts at Magnolia and goes to Pacific,” she said. “Few people realize the city gave [the] Lincoln parking [garage] to developers. That, was a source of revenue for the city that defrayed the costs of city hall.

    “Sadly, once the costs hit, people will complain, but not before.”

    However, Carey said the deal is optimal.

    “This project is unique and groundbreaking, both parties are satisfied with the parameters.” she said.

    The project is expected to generate about 3,700 jobs within its three years of construction. Whether issues arise in the future remains to be seen.

     

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  • Ballot Endorsements

    • 03/03/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • Editorials
    • Comments are off

    After coming off a very depressing national election, where America has just elected its first fascist head of state, a local election would not seem very interesting. But the March 7 ballot has important issues that requires voter attention.

    As usual, I consulted with friends who are expert in the relevant  areas, read as much as possible and tried to weigh all sides of the issues.

    Here are Random Length News’ endorsements:

    City Attorney Mike Feuer: Yes

    Controller Ron Galperin: Yes

    Council District 15 Councilman Joe Buscaino: No

    Noel Gould and Caney Arnold are better choices. Vote for either of them.

    The Los Angeles Times stated that Buscaino’s performance was “adequate.” I would call him below average and unacceptable. Council District 15 has EVERY oil refinery in the City of Los Angeles.  Wilmington has the highest rate of childhood asthma in the state.  Energy production is going to be the No. 1 issue in this district for the foreseeable future.

    Yet, despite the persistent attempts of environmental groups to educate Buscaino and his staff, his “State of the District” luncheon was still FUNDED by TESORO, an energy company seeking to expand its already gigantic capacity to pollute — some would say poison — our council district. Our district must have a council representative who understands and advocates for environmental justice and doesn’t approach homelessness as a problem best addressed through law enforcement.

    Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees:

    Seat 2 – Steven Veres

    Seat 4 – Ernest Moreno

    Seat 6 – Nancy Pearlman- The only progressive candidate on the College Board.

    County Measure H: Yes

    Maybe the most important issue on the ballot is the one-fourth cent sales tax for the 10 years that follow. The tax would fund a variety of significant services to “prevent and combat homelessness.” This measure provides citizen oversight and an annual audit.

    Los Angeles Measure M: Yes

    It’s time to end the drug war and to regulate cannabis.

    Los Angeles Measure N: No

    Of the two cannabis measures, this is the one least favored. Recreational use of marijuana has already been approved by the voters of the state. The question now is reasonable regulation.

    Los Angeles Measure P: No

    Provides for longer terms for Harbor Department leases. This basically impacts the Los Angeles Waterfront Alliance Ports O’ Call waterfront development. In the County of Los Angeles developers often get only 39-year leases for a $100 million investment.

    Los Angeles Measure S: Yes

    We have been flooded with information about this measure.  The Los Angeles Times states that  “much of the YES on S literature is so much misinformation.”  And yet, every argument against this measure ends with the same conclusion as the Yes side — that the Los Angeles General Plan is outdated and that the 35 community plans should be passed. Measure S forces the city to do just that within a two-year moratorium on spot zoning and would only stop 5 percent of the existing projects within Los Angeles. This is a battle between the 35 communities of the city and City Hall. Vote Yes on S

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  • Re-Elect Pearlman: An Experienced Trustee

    • 03/03/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Nancy Pearlman, LACCD Seat 6 Trustee

    On March 7, voters have a chance to re-elect me to the Los Angeles Community College District’s Board of Trustees Seat 6. The district’s nine colleges deserve to have my committed and knowledgeable leadership.

    With more than 25 years of experience serving the LACCD, first as an anthropology and communications instructor and now as a trustee, I am the most qualified candidate for this seat.

    As an advocate for students, I have expanded the colleges’ support services in order to aid students in achieving their goals. Student success must be the board of trustees’ highest priority, which includes working to realize free two-year education through the College Promise, guaranteeing that students are able to transfer to the University of California system or the California State University system, and providing joint high school and college classes. Students must also be afforded the resources they need to succeed, including mentoring and tutoring services.

    As an educator, I have worked within our shared governance system to get all nine colleges to be accredited without warnings. I also recognize that each campus is unique, reflecting the differences in the communities they serve; each campus must be treated as such. I regularly visit the colleges in order to understand their needs and to be sure that the board establishes the necessary policies to make them the best. These colleges include: Harbor, Southwest, West, Trade-Technical, East, City, Valley, Mission and Pierce. I am also an advocate for expanding satellite facilities into other communities.

    I have dedicated my life to public service. The LACCD deserves to have a trustee who is seeking office because of a commitment to the district. Unlike my opponent, I am not using this as a stepping stone to higher office. I have successfully won my past elections to the board whereas my opponent has lost his bids for the California State Assembly and Los Angeles Unified School District. His vote will be a rubber stamp on the corporate agenda, whereas I challenge the status quo and work for positive change.

    Voters deserve an experienced, responsible representative who will advocate for their values on the LACCD Board of Trustees. During my tenure I was able to get the nation’s largest academic public building program to meet LEED green building standards. I continue to oversee the maintenance and operations of the district’s facilities in order to ensure that they continue to meet sustainability standards and are not wasting taxpayer dollars.

    I understand that education is the key to success for the district’s 250,000 students. Whether it is training the next generation of solar panel installers or providing the lower-division classes necessary for students to transfer to a four-year university, the Los Angeles Community College District provides an invaluable resource to the greater Los Angeles area. Our award-winning workforce training programs include culinary arts, mechanics, dental hygiene, construction and fashion design. The excellent academic curriculum provides students with the resources they need to achieve their goals. I am committed to ensuring that the district continues to provide quality resources to students while simultaneously supporting the teachers and staff of the colleges.

     

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  • Gould Discusses Issues Vital to CD 15

    By Noel Gould, Candidate for Council District 15

    I’m Noel Gould and I’m running for Council District 15. Our district is terminally ignored and our council office is totally ineffective. Enough! It’s time for a CHANGE! I, with my staff, will host town hall meetings every two weeks in order to listen to you. Then we’ll work together to find creative solutions.

    San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway and Watts voters have been tricked for the past five years by incumbent Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who has not only deliberately failed to respond to community concerns about the homeless issue and inconsistent over-development of our communities, but has also completely failed to provide the necessary police support and crime suppression. These failures, according to Los Angeles Police Department’s COMPSTAT Harbor Area and Southeast area reports, have increased total violent crimes by 45 percent in the past two years: a 400 percent increase in rapes in the last month of 2016 alone, a 200 percent increase in shooting victims, and a 100 percent increase in murders this past year. But arrests are down 190 percent. So Joe just doesn’t care.

    That’s why I decided to run for council: because Joe is killing our community with bad decisions, or indecisiveness. He is a also perfect example for why Measure S should pass to help slow the out-of-control and inconsistent development in our region.

    Buscaino, a former LAPD senior lead officer, has the know-how to address safety and police-related issues. But he’s failed to deliver and he must be defeated!  Joe no longer has a “cop mentality” about service; he’s now a full-fledged “developer pimp,” who receives large contributions from developers and gives them whatever they want, even if, it means ignoring zoning laws, and the health and safety of his constituents.

    One classic example of Joe’s “dirty deeds” is now under investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney. It involves the “Sea Breeze” housing project he and Mayor Eric Garcetti jammed into the middle of an industrial zone near Harbor UCLA Medical Center. According to the Los Angeles Times, Joe took almost $95,000 from the developer, Garcetti took $60,000, and former Councilwoman (and now County Supervisor) Janice Hahn took more than $200,000 then changed the zoning laws so that the project could go forward.  The city’s Planning Commission even opposed the project 100 percent, but Buscaino and Garcetti, as Hahn before them, caved in to the developer.

    “The Times reports that a spokesperson for DA Jackie Lacey confirms the office is reviewing the donations.”

    “After the Planning Commission voted unanimously not to recommend the project, the council approved it anyway, with crucial support from Garcetti and Buscaino,” the article read. “Both Garcetti and Buscaino … received sizable contributions from associates of the project’s developer.”

    Another example of Harbor Area residents suffering from Joe’s inaction: Harbor Division lost 30 officers to other parts of Los Angeles and Joe has refused to fight to get them back.  Six years ago, when the new Harbor Division station was built, it came with a state-of-the-art jail that’s NEVER BEEN OPENED.  Even the LAPD officer’s union has supported protests by port area locals demanding staffing for the jail.

    Your safety is at stake because when local officers arrest a suspect, they have to drive to 77th Street Station at Florence and Broadway to book the arrestee.  They have to do their paperwork there as well, which means they’re out of service here at home for 4 to 5 hours!  If you call for help and our cops are in Los Angeles booking suspects, you are at great risk of harm or death.

    Buscaino could have fought to get the jail staffed, but he’s too busy trying to cram high-end condo high-rises onto San Pedro lots that have always housed single-family residences.  And, by the way Wilmington, Watts and Harbor City — YOU’RE NEXT!

    Joe’s cozy relationship with billionaire developers and the District Attorney’s investigation are now on full display. That’s one big reason why Measure S on the March 7 ballot is so important.

    For 20 years, the Los Angeles City Council has refused to update the Los Angeles General Plan that determines zoning in our neighborhoods.  As a result, these billionaire developers from New York, Miami, Canada and Australia are opposing Measure S. They want to turn all of Los Angeles into a skyscraper skyline, right here, in earthquake country; and, here in the Harbor Area from Wilmington to Cabrillo Beach.

    Measure S simply tells the city it has two years to finally update that 20-year-old general plan or it can’t give special zoning favors to billionaires like Buscaino has been doing.

    Measure S does not affect the building of affordable housing or housing for the homeless. And if you build on a lot and comply with current zoning, Measure S doesn’t affect you either.

    However, if you want to slam a 14-story luxury condo project like Joe wants to squeeze in between the Beach City Grill at 6th and Nelson, and Neil’s Pasta & Seafood at 5th and Nelson, in downtown San Pedro making NO street parking available, Measure S says:

    “No, you’re in violation of San Pedro’s local community plan.”

    Measure S stops Joe from these kinds of “political favors” in exchange for money from his out-of-state and foreign billionaire-developer sugar daddies.

    I support Measure S and I oppose everything Buscaino stands for because he is more committed to special interests and his dream of becoming Los Angeles’ next Mayor than taking care of crime and unacceptable developer- raping of our communities by his billionaire pals.

    “And why hasn’t Joe Buscaino done something about the homeless problem?”

    That’s an easy answer:  The more homeless on the street, the faster property values drop and the cheaper the property deals his developer pimps can receive.

    I’m Noel Gould and I will open new communication channels with every community in the 15th Council District every two weeks during my term.  My staff and I will make sure we hear YOUR concerns, and you will be able to hold us accountable on a constant basis for our promises.

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  • Galaz Joins CD 15 Race

    • 03/03/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing  Editor

    Donald Galaz, Vice President of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council and longtime proponent for a sanctioned racetrack for street racing, announced his write-in bid for the Los Angeles City Council District 15 seat, Feb. 24, on Youtube.

    Galaz is a protegé of Big Willie Robinson, a widely respected founder of the International Brotherhood of StreetRacers. Robinson got wayward youths involved with cars as an alternative to causing trouble in the streets.

    Galaz, a San Pedro native, followed in Robinson’s footsteps when he founded Project Street Legal, an organization that  similarly reaches local youths through cars. He’s lobbied City Hall to open a dragstrip in an effort to cut down on illegal street racing and the deaths that result from it.

    It was that activism to open a dragstrip that led him to join the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

    In his campaign announcement, Galaz said he wants focus his attention on public safety, the environment, port issues and vocational education.

    He argued that CD15 isn’t getting its fair share of resources, particularly in regards to street services and police officers.

    “After I’m elected, my plan is [to] give my constituents back the power and champion them in City Hall, not taking “no” for an answer,” Galaz said.

    “All too often, the politicians say one thing and do another, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of those that elected them,” said Galaz, reflecting on his disappointment Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city council incumbent.

    Galaz has less than two weeks to make his case.

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  • Arnold Gives His Reasons to Represent

    By Caney Arnold, Candidate for the Council District 15

    When I started this campaign I was determined to provide voters with a better option.  The more I campaigned, the more I realized voters need a better option. On the campaign trail, I heard voters complain about pay-to-play politics, bribery, intimidation, lack of caring about people’s health, and just plain poor judgment on the part of Buscaino.  With my Air Force program management experience, my ethics and my sense of empathy and caring, I can bring a much needed change to District 15.

    As a child,  my mother (a native of Burlington, Vt.) and my father (a native of a Mississippi delta town called Itta Bena) stressed that we could do or be anything that we wanted if we worked hard enough.

    Despite the fact that economically, the whole town was in the same boat, Itta Bena was a place where a racial hierarchy was so deeply embedded and encoded that there were parts of the town in which I couldn’t play.

    When he was a child, my father’s family lived in an old shack, and my dad picked cotton and other crops. At the time, it was an exciting novelty to think that my dad had picked cotton when he was a kid. It didn’t occur to me at the time how hard his life had been.

    My dad was able to escape on the G.I. Bill. He majored in mathematics, became an engineer, and moved to San Diego for another job where he met my mom. When I was five years old, we moved to Woodland Hills. It is on this foundation, set in an era of 1960s movement politics, anti-war activism and assassinations of our nation’s brightest that shaped my values.

    I graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics and went to work as a civilian at the Department of Defense. I settled, with my family in Harbor City. After 32 years, I retired in 2011.

    Following our councilman’s Homeless Forum in September 2015, I became energized and connected to the issues affecting the Los Angeles Harbor when I assisted a local homeless advocate and her team of volunteers.

    After six long months, they got a mom and her two children into Harbor Interfaith Services shelter program. The family was unable to get into permanent housing until after more than a year.

    As one of my fellow Berners likes to say, “There’s got to be a better way.”

    But that way is not Councilman Joe Buscaino’s way.  He is on record as saying he supports the housing-first approach in transitioning our neighbors without homes off the streets. Yet, his policies say he favors transitioning them off the streets into jail.

    Buscaino led the charge in rewriting Los Angeles City Ordinance 56.11, which authorizes more aggressive encampment sweeps and increased criminal penalties.

    Despite the fact that Los Angeles gets sued every year and loses in federal district court, Buscaino continues to push for even tighter restrictions, wanting to limit people to only be able to carry what can fit into a backpack.

    The housing-first ap- proach gets people off the street as soon as possible and places them into shelters where they can escape the trauma of the streets and receive any mental health or substance abuse treatment they might need, along with job training. Cities that practice the housing-first approach reported 80 percent success rates and was no more expensive than the “move along” approach.

    Seeing how ineffective and uncaring our city is to our homeless neighbors, I decided someone needed to run against Buscaino because his policies just didn’t make sense.

    I watched the short videos produced by his office making it appear that he was actually working on behalf of all of his constituents.

    What I found instead was a string of broken promises and ethics violations. Then I researched those subjects and found promises being broken by Buscaino, the rest of the city council and the mayor. I decided I needed to run for Buscaino’s seat on the city council so I could bring the ethics, constituent-based dedication and the project management discipline to help turn around the management and direction of our district.

    As I campaigned I found more abuses and failures:

    • The SeaBreeze money laundering scandal — where Buscaino accepted $90,000—was written up in the Los Angeles Times.
    • The Exxon pipeline leak in Watts that leaked into the Jordan Downs water system so people were drinking polluted water — similar to what happened in Flint, Mich., but it wasn’t a big story like Flint’s was. I learned about contaminated soil at Jordan Downs.
    • The pay-to-play politics going on at the Port of Los Angeles, where requests for proposals, known as RFPs, are tailored for a campaign contributor to win the award.
    • The broken promise of the Bridge to Breakwater revitalization, a $1.5 billion project promised by then-Mayor Antonio Villaragosa and Buscaino among others.
    • The Ezell Ford settlement that Buscaino voted against, which sparked outrage when he stated in a radio interview that the police officers who killed Ezell Ford acted “righteously.”

    Many people from many different corners have asked me why I chose to go on this quixotic quest to represent Los Angeles’ Council District 15.

    I am a Sandernista and from the very start, I’ve been encouraged by people in our district who supported Bernie Sanders. His  message of change did not begin and end with his presidential campaign. It was a call to action to protect the bedrock American values of hard work and equal opportunity.

    I would be honored to have your vote and to serve you as our next council member.

     

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