• The Carrillo Brothers Welcome New Addition Happy Diner Family

    By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine and Restaurant WriterCa

    Three months ago, the Carrillo brothers added a new member to their Happy Diner Family on Gaffey Street. But it’s not another diner—this time, it’s a deli. By following a familiar recipe— everything made in-house, made to order and, like the rest of their establishments, made with bread and meat from local San Pedro purveyors — the Carrillo brothers have done it again.

    The menu ranges from breakfast to fresh wraps and salads, but the mainstays are sandwiches and burgers, all of them accompanied by a side of french fries or even homemade potato or macaroni salad.

    Popular dishes include the San Pedro Philly, which is not to be confused with a traditional Philly cheese steak. Instead, this sandwich boasts machaca beef, or spiced, slow-cooked and then shredded beef. The Borracho Burger, which sounds like it would probably cure a nasty hangover, features three different cheeses, bacon, spicy mayo and freshly grilled jalapeños. In all honesty,  it was the Beer Can Burger that took some some serious explaining. Imagine ground beef stuffed to the brim with grilled onions, bell peppers, bacon and Italian sausage that actually takes the shape of a beer can, and then is pressed down into a patty — that, my friends, is the Beer Can Burger.

    If that all sounds too intimidating there are those fresh wraps and salads. The grilled chicken fruit salad and chicken cranberry almond salad have been well received by many. There is one menu item that everyone seems to be obsessed with: the Buffalo Chicken Fries with cheese and ranch dressing.

    There’s more good news: Happy Deli caters and it delivers.

    Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

    Happy Deli | 530 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro | (424) 364-0319

    Gina Ruccione is a Southern California Restaurant Writers Association member. Visit her website at www.foodfashionfoolishfornication.com. Got a food tip? Email her at gina.rooch@gmail.com. Follow her food adventures Instagram @foodfashionfoolishfornication. 

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: July 26, 2016

    July 27
    Coastal Communications Committee Meeting
    The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s Communications Committee meeting is scheduled to take place July 27 at the Corner Store.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. July 27
    Details: View agenda here
    Venue: Corner Store, 1118 W. 37th St., San Pedro

    July 27
    Central Committee on Homelessness
    The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s Committee on Homelessness is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. July 27 at the San Pedro Regional Library.
    Time: 6 to 7:15 p.m.
    Details: Agenda
    Venue: San Pedro Regional Library, 931 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    July 28
    Domestic Violence Town Hall Meeting
    The Los Angeles Police Department Operations-South Bureau is hosting a series of Town Hall Meeting to address incidents of violent crime in our community. The goal of the Town Hall Series is to educate the community on alternatives to violence and to glean advice, concerns and recommendations on deterring crime, public safety and community policing.
    Time: 6 to 8:30 p.m. July 28
    Details: (323) 786-5580
    Venue: Peck Par, 560 N. Western Ave., San Pedro

    July 28
    NWSPNC Budget and Finance Committee
    The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s Budget and Finance Committee Board Meeting is scheduled to take place.
    Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 28
    Details: View agenda
    Venue: Taxco Restaurant, 29050 S. Western Ave., San Pedro

    July 28
    Providence SP OB-GYN Open House
    Providence San Pedro is hosting an OB-GYN open house. Meet the team and learn about how they can care for you.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. July 28
    Details: More Info >
    Venue: Providence San Pedro, 621 Butte St., San Pedro

    Aug. 3
    Notice of Preparation for Marine Oil Terminal Improvements
    An Initial Study/Notice of Preparation — the first step in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process — has been released for a Marine Oil Terminal Wharf Improvements Project at the Valero Terminal on Mormon Island in Los Angeles Harbor.
    The primary goal of the proposed project is to comply with the Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards to protect public health, safety, and the environment, which involves demolition of the existing 19,000-square-foot timber wharf at Berth 164 and construction and operation of a new, Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards-compliant wharf, with minor infrastructure improvements to connect the new loading platform to the existing landside pipelines and utilities. The proposed project would also include a new, 30-year lease through 2047.
    The Initial Study/Notice of Preparation is available for review at www.portoflosangeles.org. The Initial Study/Notice of Preparation is released for public review to solicit feedback, which helps to identify any potential environmental impacts and suggest possible alternatives for the project that can be incorporated into the EIR.
    The Port of Los Angeles will host a public meeting to receive comments on at 6 p.m. Aug. 3, at 6 p.m., at the Port of Los Angeles Administration Building.
    Written comments on the Initial Study/Notice of Preparation may be submitted via email to ceqacomments@portla.org or to the following address through the public comment period from July 21 to August 19, 2016:
    Christopher Cannon, Director of Environmental Management
    Los Angeles Harbor Department
    425 South Palos Verdes Street
    San Pedro, CA 90731
    Comment letters sent via email should include the Project title “Berth 164 [Valero] Marine Oil Terminal Wharf Improvements Project” in the email subject line and the commenter’s physical mailing address in the body of the email.
    Time: 6 p.m. Aug. 3
    Details: (310) 732-3675; www.portoflosangeles.org
    Venue: Port of Los Angeles Administration Building, 425 S. Palos Verdes St, San Pedro.

    Aug. 13
    Back to School Supplies Giveaway
    Bring your child to the upcoming annual school supplies giveaway at Toberman Neighborhood Center.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 13
    Details: www.toberman.org
    Venue: Toberman, 131 N. Grand Ave., San Pedro

    Protect your Pets in Extreme Heat
    When it is hot for you, it is even hotter for your furry friend. Dogs and cats do not sweat through their skin. They cool themselves by panting or rapid breathing, which means animals must work extra hard to stay cool.
    The best plan is to keep your dog and cat protected from the hot weather. Here are some pet safety reminders:

    • Give your pet extra water
    • Offer your dog a wading pool
    • Never leave your pet alone inside a car
    • Walk your dog in the morning or evening
    • Avoid hot ground surfaces
      Don’t leave your pet outdoors for a long time
    • Care for your pet’s coat

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  • News

    RLn BRIEFS: July 26, 2016

    Voluntary Port Mitigation Fund Approved

    LONG BEACH — On July 25, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners authorized a $46.4 million program to lessen the impacts of port-related pollution on the community.

    The investment is expected to be disbursed within 12 to 15 years.

    The previous funding from the Community Mitigation Grants Program helped pay for projects, which included air-filtration systems at schools, renewable energy projects, energy efficiency upgrades and asthma outreach health programs.

    Before the port could consider establishing a new mitigation-related program, state law required the completion of a study identifying the port’s cumulative impacts to air, traffic, noise and water. The study, released in April, valued the impacts at $46.4 million.

    In early fall, the port will host a public workshop to help develop grant guidelines for allocating funds to the variety of community health, facility improvement and community infrastructure projects identified in the study.

    Funding is expected to be awarded beginning in 2017.

    Long Beach Lobbyist Pleads Guilty to Tax Offense

    LONG BEACH — Long Beach-based lobbyist Carl A. Kemp was charged June 7 with subscribing to a false tax return for the year 2012.

    Kemp is 43, of Long Beach and is the owner of the public relations firm The Kemp Group. He entered the plea before United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez.

    “For years, Mr. Kemp failed to accurately report his income to the [Internal Revenue Service] going so far as reporting zero taxable income for 2012 when his business brought in more than $200,000,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Everyone, no matter what business they are engaged in, has a responsibility to fully report their income on their income tax returns.”
    He admits failing to report receiving an income of $754,783 from illegal marijuana stores and failed to report on his taxes for the years 2007 to 2012. Kemp admits that he owes the IRS $210,661 to cover the back taxes due for those six years, as well as a civil fraud penalty.

    “As admitted by Kemp in documents filed with the court today, all forms of income are taxable, including cash payments received from illegal marijuana dispensaries and fees paid for lobbying services,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando.

    The charge of subscribing to a false tax return includes a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. Kemp will be sentenced on Nov. 7, when he will face a statutory maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.

    LA Homeless Services Authority Expands Shelter Hours

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority announced that nine crisis housing facilities are now open 24 hours per day. The shelters were previously open for 14 hours per day.

    Eight-hundred-twenty beds make up 93 percent of the crisis housing beds funded by the Los Angeles through LAHSA.”

    Los Angeles provided $1.5 million to convert the facilities from 14 hours to 24 hours.

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  • REASONS TO BE PRETTY @ Long Beach Playhouse

    I don’t know anything Neil LaBute has done since 2000’s Nurse Betty, but reasons to be pretty is exactly what you would expect if the only data you had was that the author of In the Company of Men and Your Friends & Neighbors had tried his hand at romantic comedy without edulcorating the ethos of those works.

    reasons to be pretty (why lowercase I have no idea) opens on a knock-down, drag-out argument between Greg (Johnny Martin) and Steph (Ali Kendall). Steph’s friend Carly (Courtney Chudleigh) overheard Greg tell co-worker Kent (Robert Adams), Carly’s husband, something to the effect that Steph’s face is plain in comparison the new girl’s, and Steph has gone ballistic, a situation made worse by Greg’s reluctance to own up.

    The central conflict of reasons to be pretty is what in more patriarchal days was called “man against himself.” In terms of honesty, Greg is a man without a country, loyal neither to honesty nor dishonesty. He won’t tell Steph that he’s in love with her and madly attracted to her despite the fact that that’s probably what she needs to hear for them to salvage their four-year relationship, yet he’s willing to cover for Kent, a far less ambivalent character who loves to brag about the many ways in which he’s banging the new girl.

    Despite the usual connotations of the word “pretty,” reasons to be pretty is Greg’s play, his journey. He’s never offstage, and he’s not an especially sympathetic character for most of the play, so if the character isn’t sufficiently humanized by the performance, the play is fucked. (A crude way to put it, I know, but considering LaBute’s love of expletives, I’m setting the mood.) Fortunately, Martin is equal to the task. He may be a bit stiff at times, but all in all he feels real. This could be said of the whole cast, in fact: stiff in places, but real enough. If the cast can loosen up as the run progresses and let LaBute’s quasi-realistic dialog become more sloppily conversational—and there’s no reason to think any of the four actors isn’t up to the task—we might get some real magic in places.

    One curious aspect of the casting is Ali Kendall. It’s pretty clear from the script that Steph should be fairly average-looking—not especially hard on the eyes, but not notably pretty. Yet by most any measure Kendall is gorgeous, an incongruity so obvious that I felt compelled to ask director Gregory Cohen about what he had in mind. Sure enough, he confirmed that he went out of his way to play against the text and make Steph someone the audience would almost have think of as beautiful, thus pointing up the question of image, self- and otherwise. I’m not sure it works, but it does make you think.

    That extra level of rumination probably adds to the overall experience, because ultimately there’s all that much to reasons to be pretty. LaBute is handy with dialog and not just skin-deep, but LaBute seems like a poor man’s David Mamet. reasons to be pretty is often funny, but it’s probably less affecting than he hoped, even with a final scene that pays off just right.

    Nonetheless, there are reasons to see reasons to be pretty (for one, it brings the funny despite not really being a comedy)and if the cast can fully capitalize on what LaBute has given them to work with, those reasons are pretty good.


    (Photo credit: Michael Hardy Photography)

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  • Why Bernie Needs To Take Satan’s Advice

    And Create An Un-Christian Coalition

    By Greg Palast with Dennis J. Bernstein for Nation of Change

    Bernie Sanders may have conceded the nomination, but he can still win control of the Democratic Party. By harnessing the power of his people, Bernie could ensure Hillary keeps the promises she made to him in exchange for his endorsement. And with 13 million supporters in his pocket, Bernie has the chance to create something far stronger than the Christian Coalition, which has shaped GOP policy for over two decades. He could lead a mighty Un-Christian Coalition, if you will, that moving forward could force Hillary’s hand so she has little choice but to serve the people as opposed to her corporate paymasters. In this week’s Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Election Crimes Bulletin, Dennis J. Bernstein and Greg Palast explain how Bernie can take a tip from Satan’s playbook and seize this moment to create one hell of a powerful a movement!

    TRANSCRIPT (Originally broadcast on July 13, 2016)

    Dennis J. Bernstein: Today we’ve seen Bernie came out strong in support of Hillary Clinton. Many people are troubled, some are supporting it, some aren’t. Let’s talk a little bit about what this moment means. Is this the end of a moment or the beginning of a movement?

    Greg Palast: Well, that’s up to the people, and Senator Sanders. When you saw him on stage, he looked like those guys who are reading those confessions from a North Korean prison: “I am sorry… I have disgraced the party… and I will atone for my sins.” I know a lot of people in the Sanders crowd, and the Bernie or Bust people, good friends of mine, are crying about Bernie drinking the Kool-Aid for the Democratic Party, but that was foreordained, they weren’t going to let him win.

    Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton, but he had something else on his side, which is not the people — remember he actually lost to Hillary Clinton in the primary by total number of votes — but he had the votes that counted. That is, he had the support of Robert Rubin, City Bank, Jamie Diamond…

    DB: Don’t forget my friend Penny Pritzker…

    Palast: Penny Pritzker, who is currently our unindicted Secretary of Commerce and billionaire banker of the Pritzker family. Obama had those three votes — and they’re the ones that counted! So it’s interesting, even though Hillary says, “Well, I deserve it because I have the most votes.” She deserved it in ’08 but she didn’t have the bankers’ vote. This time she does. But that’s not the issue, I want to talk to you about something that I think should comfort people…

    I want to tell you about advice I got in a very similar situation from just about the most brilliant man I’ve ever met. Many of you know of him as Satan, and some of you know him as the Reverend Pat Robertson. I was investigating Pat Robertson for The Guardian newspaper, so I went in to meet him secretly wired. Robertson had run, just like Sanders, for president. And just like Sanders, did not get the nomination of his party, the Republican Party. That went to George Bush. So I asked the Reverend Pat Robertson, because he had said that God had told him to run for president, I said, “With a campaign manager like that, how could you have lost?” And Robertson said to me, “The Lord did not tell me to win the presidency. He told me to run.”

    Now what that cryptic message meant (and it’s worth Bernie taking notes), as Robertson told me, he may have lost the presidency but his list of followers, 3 million people, became the Christian Coalition. So now is Bernie’s moment. I’m completely non-partisan, but when you change from partisan activity to a movement, then I can say something. This is Bernie’s chance to turn his political moment into a political movement, to create the un-Christian Coalition.

    As Pat Robertson told me, nothing moves in the Republican party, you can’t get a nomination for dog catcher anywhere in America without the approval of the Christian Coalition. That later morphed into the other evangelical crew. And we know that you can’t win without them. Trump had to win them over… The Republican Party has now been seized by the Evangelical Christian Right.

    So they have shown us, through satanic means, what we can do to create a movement to scare the hell out of the Democratic Party. Bernie has a lot more than 3 million followers. He’s bigger than the Christian Coalition. His Un-Christian coalition could shake up American politics, if he doesn’t do a Ralph Nader and run off… When Nader ran in 2000, I wasn’t disturbed that he may have taken enough votes to have elected George Bush. What disturbed me is that he didn’t fight for the black people whose votes weren’t counted. He ran away from creating a permanent movement…

    Dennis, here’s a pop-quiz: What was the Democratic Party’s position in 2012 on the minimum wage?

    DB: Uh, I don’t know.

    Palast: Well, no one knows…

    DB: And, no one really cared, right?

    Palast: Nobody cared what the party platform is. So if you want the movement to die, spend all your bullets on changing the party platform. If you want your movement to thrive, it’s more than handing the activists over to Hillary to avoid a Trump presidency, it’s about keeping America sane.

    For example, instead of arguing over whether there ought to be a vote on the TPP, Bernie’s Un-Christian coalition, 2 years from now, can tell President Clinton, “I hear you are now saying that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal meets your standards and so you’re going to sign it. But it doesn’t meet our standards, so we’re going to take our 7 million members and we’re all going to de-register from the Democratic Party.” Now do you think that Hillary Clinton would continue on such a course? Basically, the Sanders’ people have the ability to veto all the major policies of the Democratic Party, to seize control and have ultimate power within the Democratic Party.
    Read the rest of the interview at http://www.gregpalast.com/Sen. Bernie Sanders at LA Maritime Museum, May 27, 2016

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  • RLn BRIEFS July 25, 2016

    Initial Marine Oil Terminal Improvements Study Released

    SAN PEDRO — An Initial Study/Notice of Preparation for the Marine Oil Terminal Wharf Improvements Project was released on July 21.

    This is the first step in the environmental impact report process, and would involve demolishing the 19,000-square-foot timber wharf at Berth 164. The proposed project would also include construction of a new wharf that complies with the Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards to protect the environment, public health and safety. The project would include a new 30-year lease through 2047.

    The proposal is available for review online at www.portoflosangeles.org.

    A meeting is scheduled Aug. 3 at 6 p.m., at the POLA Administration Building on 425 S. Palos Verdes St. For more information call the POLA Environmental Management Division at (310) 732-3675 or visit the POLA website.

    Harbor Community Benefit Foundation Awarded Four Grants

    SAN PEDRO — The Harbor Community Benefit Foundation was awarded $300,000 in grant awards on July 21, as part of its Healthy Harbor Grant Program.

    The Board of Harbor Commissioners of the Port of Los Angeles unanimously approved the grants. The money will go towards programs and services addressing respiratory disease in the community.

    The Harbor Community Benefit Foundation has awarded 99 grants to 55 organizations throughout San Pedro and Wilmington to mitigate the effects of air quality from the Port of Los Angeles.

    Garcia Announces Citizen Oversight Committee Picks

    LONG BEACH — Mayor Robert Garcia announced his choices for the Measure A Citizens’ Oversight Committee on July 25.
    The committee will be comprised of five members and oversee the funds from the sales tax. Garcia’s choices for the committee are Jane Netherton, chairwoman emeritus of International City Bank; Joel Yuhas, the CEO and president of St. Mary Medical Center; Mary Stephens, the vice president of Administration and Finance at Cal State Long Beach; Steven Neal, the civic engagement advocate for Molina Healthcare and former councilman, and Judy Ross, the retired executive director of the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership.

    The appointees will come before the city council on Aug. 2 for approval.

    Long Beach K-9 Officer Credo Honored in Memorial Service<

    LONG BEACH — K-9 units from Corona to Downey came together to pay their respects K-9 Officer Credo on July 20.

    Credo, a four year-old Belgian malinois, was killed by friendly fire on June 28. Police were attempting to arrest, Barry Prak, a 27-year-old man suspected in a case involving an assault with a deadly weapon. Prak, who was carrying a knife, rushed towards the officers while the dog was hanging on his left arm. The suspect and Credo later died.

    The department’s K-9 unit is scheduled to receive eight new ballistic vests for the dogs. The new vests are lighter and not as hot as the old ones.

    The memorial included a flag ceremony and a procession to the K-9 Cemetery, where Credo’s headstone was placed.

    Richardson Voted Vice Mayor of Long Beach

    LONG BEACH — On July 19, Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson was voted vice mayor of Long Beach.

    The 5-4 vote made Richardson, 32, the youngest and first black male to be voted into the vice-mayoral seat in Long Beach. Richardson is replacing Suja Lowenthal, who retired this past week.

    Richardson was elected to the city council two years ago.

    Long Beach City Council Draft Marijuana Tax Initiative for November

    LONG BEACH — On July 19, the Long Beach City Council unanimously voted for a tax initiative on medical marijuana operations. The initiative would be included on the Nov. 8 ballot.

    Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, one of the of the initiative’s authors, said that they would aim to create a new tax schedule with flexible rates that the city council can increase by vote. The tax ranges include a 6 to 8 percent for dispensary sales, 8 to 12 percent for recreational sales and 6 to 8 percent for manufacturing and processing.

    The proposed model would run as a competing initiative to the Regulation of Medical Marijuana Businesses, which would remove the previously approved taxes levied in Long Beach. It would also set a 6 percent sales tax that would be charged to businesses then collected by the city.

    A draft of the proposal will be presented to the council on Aug. 2.

    Body That Washed Ashore in Long Beach Identified

    LONG BEACH — Officials identified the body of a man found on the beach on July 14 at 7 a.m. The body washed ashore near 62nd Place and Seaside Walk.

    The man was identified as Christopher Martin, 55, a resident of Long Beach. Officials are not releasing his cause of death due to pending investigation.

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  • Ashman

    Ashman Leaves MOLAA

    By Melina Paris, Contributing Writer

    The Museum of Latin American Art experienced substantial growth and connection to its local community under Director Stuart Ashman.  After five years he stepped down from his position in July.

    Ashman plans return to New Mexico in August, where he lived for many years. Ashman served as the secretary for Cultural Affairs for that state from 2003 to 2010.

    While at MOLAA, Ashman oversaw significant achievements. The most recent was the museum’s accreditation in 2015. Ashman called it a merit badge. The event also happened in conjunction with the museum’s 20th anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services  announced in 2014 that there are 35,144 museums in the United States, but less than 800 are accredited.

    Leaving a Legacy

    One of the first actions under Ashman was for the museum to buy a school bus. Schools lacked money for field trips. The cost to charter a bus to bring students to the museum, even from Long Beach, is $500. It goes even higher, from $700 up to $1,200 from Los Angeles or the Inland Empire, respectively.

    The bus served as a rolling billboard, while bringing about 5,000 children per year to the museum. MOLAA raised the initial money with a crowdfunding site, garnering $24,000 and then Hyundai matched that figure.

    Redefining Latin American art, particularly in an area like Los Angeles, was another important piece of his legacy. Ashman estimated that there are at least 5 million Latinos who are excluded from the programming directly, because they weren’t born in Latin America or they weren’t living in Latin America.

    “My sense, just personally and really from the guidance that I’ve taken from the American Alliance of Museums, is that for museums to be sustainable they have to serve their communities,” Ashman said. “The era of ivory tower museums is no longer relevant. You have to create programming and exhibitions that are available to a wide public.”

    In 2014, MOLAA resolved to expand the museum’s collection to include Chicano art.

    “We got the board to do a resolution, not changing the mission but saying that Latin America means anybody who self identifies as Latin American,” Ashman said. “That opened up the doors to the Chicano community, which was very important. They felt alienated.”

    Ashman finds it interesting that there is no place specifically for the Chicano community in Los Angeles. Chicano is also a political movement he noted. He imagines an entire museum could be dedicated to Chicano art, “but that’s not what we’re doing,” he said.

    “What we’re doing is, we are saying, it’s Latin America and Latin American and Latino American (Chicanos),” Ashman said.

    Part of Ashman’s legacy was to make MOLAA relevant and accessible to the community. Since his arrival, the museum also increased the size of the collection by 500 pieces, or 30 percent.

    “We have managed, by the skin of our teeth with the support we’ve garnered, to keep the expenditures from exceeding the budget,” Ashman said. “We’re fortunate that we have a founder that left an endowment which helps with about a third of the funding and his family foundation also chips in. Between those two things we have about 40 percent of our budget in place at the beginning of the year, which is pretty good for a nonprofit.”

    Ashman added that being in Long Beach is a little different than being in the center of Los Angeles, where there is a larger population center and lots of wealth. There is also a lot of competition with museums such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art and The Huntington Library.

    “There are some advantages obviously,” Ashman said. “Because there is a lot of interest in Latin America, not just from the Latino community but from everybody in general. In music, visual arts and film, anything that comes out of Latin America, we want to see.”

    Ashman on Stepping Down

    During his tenure as secretary for Cultural Affairs in New Mexico, Ashman helped create legislation promoting the Department of Cultural Affairs to a cabinet-level agency with Gov. Bill Richardson and the New Mexico legislature.

    Between that position and this one he worked for the Peace Corps in Latin America as an expert consultant for the director. Ashman assessed work that Peace Corps volunteers did with artisan communities in various countries in Latin America.

    “I wanted to work in Latin America,” he said. “Then I saw this job and I thought it would be an interesting deployment. When you talk about legacy, I need another 15 years to really create a legacy. But I don’t have it to give. We planted the seeds for something that hopefully will continue with the next leadership.”

    Now after five years, the opportunity came up with The Center for Contemporary Arts, where Ashman has longstanding connections. This change allows him and his wife to go back there, which was their plan all along.

    The Next Story

    The Armory for the Arts was created in 1977. It was given to a nonprofit arts organization called Armory for the Arts. Ashman was hired as the first employee to paint the walls and hang the art.

    “A couple who were interested in film and avant garde art worked in the basement for the Armory for the Arts,” Ashman said. “They called it the Center for Contemporary Arts and acquired a tank garage two years later. The Armory became a military museum. There is a Center for Contemporary Arts and a Children’s Museum all on seven-and-a-half acres.”

    Ashman said he invested in MOLAA and developed a community. With programs set to go through the beginning of 2018, he is going to make sure they happen.

    “I came at a time when the museum was ready for upward movement,” Ashman said. “My hope is that this upward movement can continue to grow in collections, attendance, members and service to the community, which is one of the most important things the museum can do.”

    The search for Ashman’s replacement continues.

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  • Muratsuchi Looks to Extend Advantage

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Candidate for the 66th District Assembly, Al Muratsuchi, came out on top in the June 7 primary, but turnout, as in the 2014 race, will decide whether or not he takes the seat back from incumbent Assemblyman David Hadley in November.

    Muratsuchi won the primary by 4 percentage points—4,540 votes—by carrying Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Gardena and West Carson  by healthy margins of 5 percent. He won  Lomita and Torrance by 2 and 3 percentage points respectively. Muratsuchi lost Manhattan Beach by a slim margin. He lost the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Hadley by wide margins.

    With the exception of Redondo Beach and Lomita, turnout in the areas Muratsuchi won was under 30 percent. Turnout in the places he lost by significant margins exceeded 35 percent.

    Muratsuchi’s campaign strategy is to paint Hadley as too conservative and to tie him to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

    This past May, however, Hadley told the Los Angeles Times that he would not be voting for Trump.

    In regards to access to firearms and ammunition, Hadley avoided voting on bills such as Senate Bill 707, a measure that prohibits concealed firearms on school grounds; Assembly Bill 1135, which prohibits firearms with bullet button; AB 1674, which limits the purchase of firearms; and AB 1695, which prohibits falsely reporting the loss or theft of a firearm.

    The one bill he did vote on, SB 1446, a measure that prohibits the possession of high-capacity gun magazines, Hadley voted against it.

    But the parts of his record that blunt accusations that he’s an extremist, or at least ideologically predictable had to do with the environment, homelessness and right to die measures.

    On July 19, Muratsuchi’s campaign filed an official complaint with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, alleging that Hadley’s strategists illegally coordinated with an independent expenditure committee and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to support him—a filing the commission confirmed it received July 20.

    The general election race between Muratsuchi and Hadley is expected to be a close and grueling contest.


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  • Green

    Green Port: A Dream Gets Closer to Reality

    Green Omni Terminal Could Radically Alter Port Operations

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor and James Preston Allen, Publisher
    Photo by Linnea Stephan

    Framed by the future of new technology and the backdrop of older gantry cranes, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stood at a July 12 press conference at the Pasha Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles.

    He was there to announce one of the boldest moves by the port in more than a decade: a game changing $24-million partnership that will build the first all-electric operated terminal at the port. It will almost eliminate all pollution from equipment used at this facility and will become the test model for future growth in the two harbor region, that is projected to double its traffic in the next decade

    At Berth 54, Garcetti had a chance to try out the newest  addition to TransPower’s line of ElecTrucks, an Electric Class 8 truck, during a demonstration of the company’s zero-emission vehicles. The battery-powered big rig weighs between 20,000 and 22,000 pounds excluding the  weight of a fully loaded 20-foot trailer. The truck’s 300-kilowatt engine (the equivalent of 400 horsepower) can pull up to 60,000 pounds of freight for distances between 70 and 150 miles on a single charge.

    Just minutes prior, with the cargo ship NC Soho being loaded with steel behind him, Garcetti highlighted dilemma that comes with business at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

    “All those ships, those trains, [the] cargo handling equipment [are] powered by diesel engines and as we all know, those diesel engines create air pollution in San Pedro and Wilmington and Long Beach and other communities along the 710 freeway,” Garcetti said. “It pushes that pollution all the way into the Inland Empire. It is the single largest source of particulate matter and it always has been in Southern California.”

    Garcetti said that was an unacceptable price to pay for a bustling port before segueing into the alternative possibilities.

    “We don’t have to choose between one or the other,” he said. “We can have healthy communities and we can have a healthy port.”

    The best feature of the electric class 8 truck is that the battery can be recharged in the time it would take an iPhone 6 to recharge from zero to 100 percent.

    The Electric Class 8 truck was the first of two electric vehicles that were showcased at Pasha Stevedoring terminal  as part of the announcement of phase one of the Green Omni-Terminal.

    Next was TransPower’s 4×2 electric yard tractor, which only transports cargo containers within a terminal.

    TransPower’s tractor is a little heavier, but  comparable in every way to the Ottawa 4×2 tractor trailer, except it has a couple of huge advantages: it’s electric and it has zero emissions, with  no carbon dioxide, and no particulate matter.

    The July 12 demonstration was just a glimpse of the future of goods movement. Garcetti was sitting in the driver’s seat of a tractor trailer that represented the leading edge of his 2015 Sustainability Plan — one that sets targets for greenhouse gas reduction, improved air quality, green jobs and the ability of terminals to operate in the event of a natural disaster or the aftermath of terrorist attack.

    But a couple weeks prior to this press conference, Jeff Burgin and his team showed Random Lengths how broadly and deeply these new green technologies will impact this nation’s, and perhaps this planet’s, future.

    “The project was a concept three or four years ago,” Burgin explained at Pasha Terminal’s administrative office conference room. “The [Omni-Terminal] revolves around the [idea of] sustainability and being able to withstand a catastrophic event. It had nothing to do with cargo.”

    That, Burgin explained, was how the project was born. The Green Omni-Terminal is a three-phase project, but only the first phase has really been touted so far. It features zero emission terminal equipment that runs on renewable energy.

    “This is a Wright brothers’ moment We’re standing on the cliff with some wings strapped to our arms. We know we can fly, we’re just not sure how far.”
    — Jeff Burgin, senior vice president of Pasha Stevedoring Terminal

    The truly revolutionary possibilities of the Green Omni-Terminal are the second and third phases, which has national security implications in the event of natural disaster or terrorist attack.

    “Let’s say there was a military action that required a terminal that was sustainable and the grid was knocked out,” Burgin began. “We would have abilities to run the cranes and assist the Defense Department for whatever they needed to do.”

    Burgin said that the broad importance of making a terminal energy efficient, and perhaps energy independent, didn’t sink in until two years after Pasha and the port applied for the California Air Resource Board grant that ultimately helped finance this new technology. As the port and Pasha’s industry partners began to touch and look at this seed, the seed sprouted into “what-ifs.”

    What if we were able design a facility [where] we can actually put solar panels up? What if we take the cranes and create energy from them? What if we create energy storage and become the test model to see if we can make forklifts and top handlers that can work off batteries? What if we create a battery operated machine that would work?” Burgin asked excitedly.

    “Who is better suited to do this? Is it a law? Is it a mandate? Or is it business that should be doing this that understands the capacity of the equipment and brings people in that actually understood how this takes place?”

    Burgin said an effort has to be made to connect young workers with the education needed to make the energy calculations for a battery.

    The energetic face of Pasha Stevedoring noted that TransPower has been working on battery operated utility tractor rigs, top handlers and other transportation equipment.

    “They have proven technology in this area and are now moving towards phase two and three in testing this technology,” Burgin said. “These past two years, Pasha has been testing their battery operated semi-trucks and [utility tractor rigs].”

    Green Omni-Terminal: Phase II and III

    Phase II of the Green Omni-Terminal’s build-out is about achieving full resiliency.

    That is, if a catastrophic tsunami, a devastating terrorist attack or a huge magnitude earthquake take out Southern California’s electric grid, the terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach could immediately bounce back because of the renewable energy technology in place. The focal point of Phase II is on backup power sources and storage.

    “We’ll look at storage and how we store that energy,” Burgin explained. “With crane surges, whatever we’re picking up, the power amp goes sky high, but you create the energy when it comes down with the load. Imagine that on a scale or a graph. You need an o-meter to flat line that power, so we will have to come with the technology where we streamline that power so that there aren’t getting any spikes in the power. Not only that [we have to answer the question of] how do we store that power?”

    Phase III is about terminal-wide expansion to the warehouses and administration buildings and efficiency upgrades.

    “This is a Wright brothers’ moment,” said Burgin, using a line he has come to deploy quite frequently in recent months. “We’re standing on the cliff with some wings strapped to our arms. We know we can fly, we’re just not sure how far…. This project is going to change the way we operate the ports from a tactical point of view and from an operational point of view of machinery.”

    Burgin likened the leaps in technology to the iPhone 6, though he stops short of suggesting that the Green Omni-Terminal technology will be as quickly adopted as the cell phone. He did note that Pasha has been getting calls from throughout the world about the work they’re doing.

    The Green Omni-Terminal could begin to address more immediate issues such as the advent of automation from the grid and ships making port of call at the twin ports still have to shut down their engines and link up with an alternative maritime power system to comply with the Clean Air Action Plan.

    Burgin noted that as ships begin to connect their ship to the grid, regular energy consumers could experience rolling blackouts.

    “So we have to look at new technologies,” Burgin said.

    Though Pasha is a family-owned company operated by three generations of Pashas, Burgin is as much the face of the company as any in the family. When confronted with the question of what Pasha Stevedoring gets out of becoming the testing ground for these new technologies, Burgin says it’s being done as part of Pasha’s identity as a good neighbor and community member.

    “We are a privately held American company and we see things a little bit different than the International Carrier Group,” Burgin said. “This is our home and this is our community. We have an obligation to do certain things.

    “Now maybe our obligation is not to spend a gazillion dollars and make any money. But this project is not going to turn around and make us money. What it will do if we can continue getting the grants is that we can become the proving ground for proven technologies like Teledyne or Northrop. We can be that for the waterfront in the maritime industry.”

    Burgin said he didn’t buy into the Clean Truck Program when it first rolled out.

    “I didn’t think it had anything valuable,” he said. ‘But at the end of the day I admitted I was wrong. I bit the apple because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.’

    Transparency, the Future

    [portfolio_slideshow] At the press conference, Burgin stood next to George Pasha IV, Garcetti, POLA Executive Director Gene Seroka, and California Air Resources Board representative Judy Mitchell, as they announced plans to turn the terminal into the port’s electric operation in the port.

    Garcetti touted the plan as a forward-looking one that included the port having 15 percent of all goods movement trips being made with zero emission vehicles by 2025 and 25 percent by 2035.

    This press conference was intended to be a demonstration of new renewable technologies in action, but it also seemed to be a demonstration of a new era of port transparency—something that hasn’t really existed since the port-community advisory was shut down a few years ago.

    Garcetti also announced a 10-member advisory committee made up of representatives of CARB, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Organization, the San Pedro neighborhood councils and the ILWU, among unnamed others.

    Seroka called for an expansion of the pathways to commercialization of the new technology, an issue that has inhibited the rollout of the Clean Trucks Program.

    He then announced that the port is kicking off quarterly open house meetings for interested stakeholders to reflect a more transparency about the port’s latest environmental initiatives. He also noted that stakeholders would get to talk directly to Seroka and his staff about concerns.

    Starting in August, the port is initiating monthly open door meetings for port community partners chaired by port staff.

    Seroka also announced a new website to communicate what the port is doing on environmental efforts.

    Civic and business leaders have been touting Green Omni-Terminal since CARB awarded a green technology grant to the POLA a couple of months ago. Even environmental justice activists have been saying, “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Omni-Terminal is great thing.”

    But during the question-and-answer period, James Preston Allen, Random Lengths News publisher, asked about one lingering issue left out of the conference.

    “Why would the port risk an ethics violation by hiring a contractor that was a former harbor commissioner?”  Allen asked Garcetti.

    Allen was referring to former Harbor Commissioner Nicholas Tonsich, who is the principal of Clean Air Engineering-Maritime and who has close ties to Tri-Mer Corp. — two of Pasha Stevedoring Terminal’s vendors for Green Omni-Terminal. This question has been a refrain from various community activists in a number of Harbor Commission meetings and has still not been addressed directly.

    “It is my understanding that each individual technology is procured directly by private terminals, not by the port,” the mayor replied. “That’s the critical distinction to make. If there is an accusation of anything that’s improper, whether it’s a former city commissioner or city employee, that complaint is handled by the city ethics commission but the compliance of that is usually when a government official makes a decision on procurement directly.”

    The problem with the mayor’s reply is that all the documents this newspaper has obtained either directly or indirectly via public records act requests show that Chris Cannon the chief sustainability officer for POLA named Tonsich’s Clean Air Engineering-Maritime as one of several vendors in the port’s application for the CARB grant, even stating so in the cover letter to CARB on Sept. 24, 2015, which read:  “The Harbor Department has assembled a team of industry experts, technology providers and technical advisors to successfully develop and implement this project.”

    Tonsich was the president of the Harbor Commission during the time the No Net Increase pledge was made under Mayor James Hahn—a pledge that laid the groundwork for the Clean Air Action Plan. Tonsich had been advised by the city attorney at the time that he had a “lifetime ban” from working in that industry at POLA.

    The mayor’s response was the same as the Harbor Commission’s when it has been bought up during meetings these past few months. Until the city ethics commission answers the Tonsich question, the possibilities of the Green Omni-Terminal will be dimmed by the appearance of impropriety.

    “We have convening powers to bring together people from various industries, to put together projects but we don’t necessarily “choose” the subcontractors the terminals do business with,” Seroka said.

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  • Donald Trump

    The Truth About Trump

    Paleoconservative Aspires to be Fire-Starter-in-Chief

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    Yusef Salaam was a frightened 15-year-old when Donald Trump first entered his life. Trump ran full-page ads demanding his execution for a crime he didn’t commit. “He was the fire starter,” Salaam said.

    But Trump, despite being born with big money, has always seen himself as the little guy fighting the odds. It’s a preposterous narrative he’s hoping to ride all the way to the White House, just like the original “I am not a crook” president, Richard M. Nixon, who also dreamed of remaking the Republican Party in his own image.

    This week, with the GOP convention in Cleveland, Trump takes a giant step forward on that trail. But Trump’s scale and scope of lying would even put poor old Tricky Dick to shame.

    Trump’s Core Lie

    Consider, Trump’s core public identity — that of a fabulously successful businessman. How much of it is real? How much of it is sheer, multi-faceted illusion?

    “It has not been easy for me,” Trump said in a New Hampshire town hall meeting this past year. “I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.”

    Trump, who also inherited $40 million or more, may be so spoiled he regards a million dollar loan as “small,” but he’s not a billionaire, he just plays one on TV. In 2005, Tim O’Brien published TrumpNation, in which three confidential sources estimated Trump’s net worth as “between $150 million and $250 million.” Trump sued for actual malice. He lost, unable to prove he was worth anywhere close to what he claimed.

    Trump’s financial disclosure from this past year, again claiming billionaire status, was both hopelessly muddled and disingenuous. Pulitzer Prize-winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston recently pointed out that Trump claimed his Westchester golf course and clubhouse were worth more than $50 million, compared to just $1.35 million in state tax documents.

    “That is a 97 percent variance, an irreconcilable difference that raises yet again questions about Trump’s integrity, not to mention the size of his fortune, which he has testified he values differently as his emotional state shifts, regardless of objective facts,” he added.

    Countless Lies

    Trump wants to brand himself as a world-class billionaire, but his real brand is that of a world-class liar. Trump lies so profusely he has overloaded the media’s ability to deal with his lying. The Guardian has a regular feature, “The Lies Trump Told This Week,” but it makes no pretense of being complete.

    This past December, as Politifact considered its annual “Lie of the Year” award, “We found our only real contenders were Trump’s,” they noted. “But it was hard to single one out from the others. So we have rolled them into one big trophy.” Collectively, 76 percent of the 77 statements checked registered as “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire,” far surpassing any other candidate. So they combined all Trump’s false claims for their “Lie of the Year.”

    Among the specific lies Politifact mentioned were Trump’s claim that “thousands of people cheered” in Jersey City as the Twin Towers came down; that “The Mexican government … they send the bad ones over;” that 81 percent of whites are killed by blacks; and that the federal government is sending Syrian refugees to states with governors who are “Republicans, not to the Democrats.”

    These lies formed a cluster, promoting a paranoid world view filled with threatening “others,” which is a core belief Trump shares with a significant contingent of conservatives. Another cluster of lies emerged around the economy, starting with two intended to falsely portray President Barack Obama as ridiculously bad for the economy.

    This past June, Trump claimed that the gross domestic product was below zero, “It’s never below zero,” he said. Actually the figure Trump referenced was GDP growth, and it’s been below zero 42 times within 68 years. Then, in September, Trump said the unemployment rate may be as high as “42 percent,” which was four times higher than the broadest unemployment-rate measure (including part-time workers) of 10.3 percent.

    In August, Trump told another lie, intended to impugn Democrats’ economic policies more broadly. “We’re the most highly taxed nation in the world,” he said. But the United States is actually either average or low-tax, depending on different methods of comparison.

    Although Trump told many more lies than these, two clusters of lies are particularly significant, giving us a handle on what Trump’s candidacy is all about, even as the GOP convention does its best to distract and dissemble.

    Trump’s economic lies are what make him a good Republican. Republicans are the party of business. They know how economics work. That’s their mantra. But it’s a lie. In reality, the economy routinely does better under Democrats than it does under Republicans, as documented by historian Eric Zuesse in They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010. The data is overwhelming, which is why Trump and other Republicans so readily resort to lies.

    The record is especially clear if you only consider how the bottom 99 percent of Americans have fared. From 1947 to 1973, a 26-year period when New Deal economics dominated, the average income of the bottom 99 percent increased 103 percent. From 1973 to 2007 — the year before the great financial crises — the average income increased just 10.6 percent, even though it was a longer period, of 34 years. Indeed, if you eliminated the growth of the Clinton years, incomes would have fallen by 5.7 percent.

    What sets Trump apart from the GOP establishment is his attempt to capture the justified anger that people feel as a result of such a long period of almost no growth, except for the 1 percent. And, this is where his first set of lies comes in, those directed at demonizing others, exemplified by his racism.  Although establishment figures of all stripes have claimed that Trump is “not a conservative,” he’s actually well in tune with the older school of paleoconservative thinking. This is where the real battle seems to be shaping up between different conceptions of what makes a true conservative.

    Trump: A Paleoconservative Who Is

    Paul Weyrich was one of the chief architects of the New Right, and the last book he wrote, The Next Conservatism, coauthored with William Lind, illustrates the connection, researcher Bruce Wilson explained.

    “Trump advances core paleoconservative positions laid out in The Next Conservatism — rebuilding infrastructure, protective tariffs, securing borders and stopping immigration, neutralizing designated internal enemies and isolationism,” Wilson said.

    Wilson pointed out that Lind was a driving force in developing and promoting the idea of “political correctness” as a kind of conspiracy, the same way that Trump uses it, which he also refers to as “cultural Marxism.”

    “Lind’s narrative goes like this: after the initial success of the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks got bogged down and failed to take other countries, such as Germany,” Wilson said. “So a small school of Jewish Marxist intellectuals, the Frankfurt School, came up with a neat answer: The revolution hadn’t spread because the culture wasn’t receptive enough. First, you had to change the culture. You had to destroy conventional morality and religion, especially Christianity, and undermine other existing cultural institutions…. You had to promote ‘political correctness,’  the slavish privileging of the feelings of just about any identity group except white European-American Christians (especially male) and you had to push multiculturalism, the notion that all cultures are all equally valid. Both of those serve to demolish existing standards.”

    This notion of “political correctness” as a vast conspiracy echoes how earlier paleoconservatives saw a “Communist conspiracy” behind everything they didn’t like, from civil rights to women working outside the home.  Trump himself was profoundly influenced by one of the key figures from the McCarthy era: McCarthy’s one-time top aide, Roy Cohn.

    “Next to Fred Trump, Roy Cohn was the single greatest influence in Donald’s life,” said Trump’s first biographer, former Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett in a recent Democracy Now! interview. “Roy himself told me they talked 15 times a day…. [Cohn also] represented all five of the organized crime families in the City of New York. He was the middle man between Donald and all these mob guys.” Barrett named two dozen mob associates of Trump in his book.

    Mob connections were crucial to Trump’s life story as his own family and government connections, Barrett explained. Trump’s most important deals were based on his father’s connections, opening doors to get him started, and co-signing loans to get his projects built, including the Grand Hyatt and Trump Towers in New York, and Trump Plaza, his first Atlantic City casino.

    But, like his father, Trump was also “a classic state capitalist,” whose wealth was built largely on the basis of public subsidies and political favors.

    “Everything that came to Donald came through political connections,” Barrett said. “And, they were political connections forged by his father over decades.”

    But when it came to the low-income housing commitments Trump made in return for millions in Atlantic City subsidies, “he failed on all of them,” Barrett said.

    All this deal making with shadowy figures was routinely protected by confidentiality agreements, lawsuits and legal threats. Trump’s been involved in thousands of lawsuits over the years, and Cohn was the mastermind who taught Trump how to use the law this way, as an instrument for bullying people. In fighting the Department of Justice’s discrimination lawsuit (See sidebar, “Trump’s Long History of Racism,” p 6.), Cohn first filed a $100 million counter-suit, that was quickly tossed out. He then tried to have the DOJ’s lead attorney held in contempt of court, claiming she had turned the case “into a Gestapo-like investigation.” That, too, was quickly dismissed as baseless. But it shows how Cohn’s over-the-top style, pushing wild accusations through normal legal means, had a lasting influence on Trump.

    Hunting Their Own Demons

    There’s something even deeper going on, however. Cohn was both Jewish and gay, while McCarthy was vehemently anti-both. Cohn repeatedly denied he was gay, but he died of AIDS in 1986, and was a main character in Tony Kushner’s 1993 play, Angels in America. The kind of other-hatred that drove Cohn and McCarthy often involved repression of the fact that something demonized in others was actually shared with them.

    We see this vividly in Trump when he projects his chaos and divisiveness onto others—mobbed up Donald calling out “crooked Hillary.” Then promises that he is the answer to the very problems that he helps inflame. There’s also a more subtle counterpoint worth noting.

    Blaming “cultural Marxism” for the erosion of “traditional culture,” as paleoconservatives like Lind do allows them to pretend that there’s nothing in the tradition they supposedly defend that would support what they find offensive. That requires ignoring centuries — if not millennia — of earlier cultural and political thought, much of which was foundational to American political thought. “All men are created equal,” was already a subversive notion, from the very beginning.

    The “good old days” that paleoconservatives long for are simply a myth, an escapist fantasy. And, that is where Trump wants to take us, with his vague, sweeping promise to “Make America great again.”

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