• Joshua Fischel, Music Tastes Good

    Diversity in Music Tastes Good

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    Music Tastes Good is a music and foodie festival representative of Long Beach’s diversity.

    In 2014, Joshua Fischel, the promoter and local musician who is curating the festival, began to assemble the team of passionate locals. They partnered with KCRW and will present Music Tastes Good in downtown Long Beach from Sept. 23 through 25.

    Part of the musical concept in curating this festival is to say “Here’s Long Beach,” said Fischel, who took a break from ongoing preparations to talk with me about his vision for the festival

    “We’re trying to represent every Long Beach community, from Cambodian to Latino to African American to LGBTQ,” he said. “That’s what Long Beach looks like and that’s what our fest looks like.”

    Meagan Blome, who became Fischel’s assistant in February of 2015, joined our conversation and immediately seconded the mission.

    “The diversity in our lineup was definitely intentional,” she said. “We wanted that melting pot. In festival culture, you’re seeing more and more festivals each year but you’re seeing a lot of these niche fests that cater to a specific demographic and we knew that that wouldn’t make sense for Long Beach. It’s really about community and about Long Beach.”

    As an example of the planning that’s gone into Music Tastes Good, Fischel contrasted the festival’s inclusion of women with “lots of fests [that] are notorious for not having a lot of women artists — especially headliners.”

    ‘It’s usually something like 10 percent,’ he said. “About 40 percent of our bands have at least a woman in it. In no way did we say, ‘We’re going to book this band because there’s a woman or because there’s a minority or a gay man,’ but we we’re very conscious of it.”

    With everything from rock, to punk, to jazz and hip hop on the lineup, Music Tastes Good may well be a music fest vanguard.

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  • Blues Legends Rod Piazza and James Harmon to Headline Benefit for Youth and Sports Services

    By B. Noel Barr, Music Writer Dude

    Blues harmonica titans Rod Piazza and The Mighty Flyers, along with James Harmon are headlining the Blues Benefit Concert at Warner Grand July 9. Expect to hear classics from the two harmonica giants vast catalogs.

    Rod Piazza is an over the top performer who plays every note with intensity. The man is a musical force with albums dating back to 1967. Piazza continues to thrill music fans with his stage show and recordings.

    Beginning his career in 1962, James Harmon has released albums for decades and continues touring the world. Harmon’s latest CD released last fall. The disc which is called Bonetime, is a tremendous album of blues originals. In the last few months, I have been to three different performances by Harmon. I consider Harmon’s performances so special because the love he shares for his music and his love the community that supports his music.

    There is 90 years of blues history between these two artists who are supporting a benefit for youth sports and services for the San Pedro Community.

    The indoor music festival brings together some of the best artists playing the blues in California. Opening the event is Big Jon Atkinson from San Francisco Bay area. Atkinson has a critically acclaimed CD out presently with Phoenix harmonica player Bob Corritore, House Party. Playing guitar, drums, harmonica, and vocals with a tremendous ability to channel the sound of Chess records to his music.

    2000 lbs of Blues makes a weekly stand at The Gaslamp for a Sunday Brunch. The group has played venues around the world at some the major festivals and clubs on the blues circuit. Fronted by Mike “Pink” Arguello on vocals, and the internationally known Junior Watson is on lead guitar. Bill Stuve is the bass with drummer Ron Felton and Harmonica player Tex Nakumura (War-The 44’s) filling out the band.

    The Mighty Mojo Prophets whose latest CD Record Shop is the quintessential ”West Coast Blues” CD. This band practices a straight ahead blues sound that is really unique to them. You can bet after this show you will be a lifetime fan of The Mighty Mojo Prophets.

    Barry G’s Grease Fire band is one the better groups working the blues circuit. Who will have Jimmy Zolo (Red Lotus Revue) on guitar on this date. Barry G. who will be master of ceremonies of the event fronts his band as vocalist and harmonica player.

    I asked Barry G about the event he said. “This is an historic venue which began when it opened in 1931 as a movie palace. If you have never been to Radio City Music Hall or large theater before where the room has been designed for the best quality sound, you will feel every note played from every musician on this date.”

    The man behind the music is Juanito Ibarra who is producing this blues spectacular.In Ibarra’s youth he bought his 1st B.B. King record. His love blues music was only superseded by his love of sports. Once part of Oscar De La Hoya’s championship team, Ibarra is currently on The Olympic team heading to Rio De Janeiro this summer.

    Ibarra has a dream of a youth center for sports and other services to enhance the lives of the youth in the harbor. This show as well as others are being planned to help develop a youth center here in San Pedro. Scholarships are part of the program for kids, along with a world class sports center. The idea of helping youth to live live’s of substance developing future leaders.

    Outside of the festivals around California you are not going to see a lineup like this again in San Pedro. Tickets will be available till 3:00 pm Saturday, tickets will be sold at the door thereafter.

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  • Flaw in Homeless Count:

    Increase in Homeless Count Less Than First Reported

    The rise in homelessness across the County and City of Los Angeles isn’t quite as dramatic as first reported this past May by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. A recalculation of the data — after eliminating a flaw in the counting system discovered by the Los Angeles Times and the LAHSA — reveals that the increase in homeless people between 2015 and 2016 is smaller than initially announced.
    That was truer for Los Angeles County, where the number of homeless people increased less than one-half percent, than it was for the City of Los Angeles, where the number of homeless people grew by 5 percent.
    Though the Daily Breeze has hailed the revised numbers as “slow but steady” progress toward reducing the still-expanding number of homeless people, eradicating the chief cause of Los Angeles’ growing homeless population— not enough affordable housing—may take longer. Below are visual representations of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority counts for 2015 and 2016.

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  • LA Neighborhood Council System’s Future

    Open Letter to LA City Council President Herb Wesson

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    As the outgoing president of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, which you and the Los Angeles City Council may have heard about over the past few months in connection with the homeless crisis and related matters, I would urge you to believe little of what you hear and only half of what you read about this.

    In our district, there are many good people with a social conscience who believe in the humane and compassionate treatment of this city’s dispossessed.

    The Power of the Neighborhood Council

    I am here today, in part, to pay my respect to you. It has been my honor to serve this city during your leadership. Outside of the neighborhood council system, there are few places to learn and develop leadership skills and political courage in the civic arena. Your leadership has served as an instruction manual for many such as myself, in regards to conducting council meetings and doing it with dignity and resolve.

    In my position, I’ve also been subjected to slander and even profane bigotry in both public comments and social media. I have taken certain solace and awkward comfort knowing that even the leader of this council has to endure harsh public criticism. You have taught me a great deal by your example and I wish to thank you. You are a scholar of the civic enterprise.

    I do not come bearing any fancy certificates, but I do bring my heartfelt thanks. I and many others stand with you in your defiance of the hate speech that was recently directed towards you and others on this council.

    While I am a longtime advocate and defender of free speech, I have found that there is a rising need for a new civility in conducting our common affairs and that hate speech and threats do nothing to further the common good. Yet it must be remembered that civility is a two-way street, and that the city with all of its powers, needs to show respect to its citizens, in order to receive it in return. This need for civility, however, should not exclude the necessity of speaking truth to power. For “power,” as Frederick Douglass once wrote, “concedes nothing without a demand.” And neighborhood councils, when empowered, should demand much of this city.

    So, I am here today to thank you for your guidance and leadership, but to also fulfill what the neighborhood councils are chartered to do—advise the city.

    I tend to adhere to the Jeffersonian theory that, “the cure for bad government is not more laws but more democracy.”

    And to that precept, this city must in the end recognize its place in the history of this nation.

    It is long past time that a city of this size in geography and population can be adequately represented by just 15 council members who serve a growing constituency of more than 250,000 souls in each district.

    The time is fast approaching that the neighborhood council structure should evolve into a kind of bicameral governance system. This is not an uncommon solution in democracies that attain significant size and budget. Surely, this will not happen because a few wish it to be done, but will become a political necessity to avoid another attempt at secession, a rebellion, or in the aftermath of yet another riot.

    My advice to the city is that the incivilities and obstructions to new developments that could ease the housing crisis are due to a sense of disempowerment among our citizens and neighborhood councils in the outreaches of our great city.

    City council members have often viewed neighborhood councils in their districts, in one of two ways: as a nuisance that should be ignored when they can’t be placated with soft platitudes—or as a respected partner at the grassroots level with which to engage in thoughtful dialog about the quality of life in this city.

    The current neighborhood council system is just one step in the evolutionary process of civic engagement that needs to be nourished, not poisoned at its root. But I have been a witness to another development within the neighborhood council structure: the subversion of the neighborhood councils at the hands of city council members for political gain.

    This has been my experience in Council District 15 where community surrogates, through subterfuge and connivance, have gained control of key council boards to dampen criticism of the council member as a means to maintain control before a coming election. This is a dangerous tactic as many of these “surrogates” are so ill prepared for public service and antagonistic to the goal of attaining any civil discourse. Their tactics alone provide evidence enough of this.

    I fear that the populist, nativist fires raging in other parts of the country are rising up here in Los Angeles amongst some neighborhood councils and are being supported by some council members and their staffs. This is going to do great harm to this city. There are better individuals of higher integrity who have been driven from public service by those who spread fear and slander to gain position.

    What I ask of you, President Wesson, are these:

    1. To empanel a commission of 15 former neighborhood council presidents based upon their seniority and experience, chosen by you and not the local council office, to review and reform the DONE election manual.
    2. To empanel a commission formed at the next Congress of Neighborhood Empowerment to draft a Citizen’s Bill of Rights for the City of Los Angeles.
    3. To provide enough resources so that each city council district has its own DONE lawyer who will actually attend meetings so as to provide timely legal advice and represent them as their client rather than protecting the department and the city first.

    Lastly, to Mr. Joe Buscaino—it has been more than 10 months since the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council brought an awareness citywide that links the growth of homelessness and this city’s affordable housing deficit in your district. Since then, you have ignored the advice of and disempowered that council on the issue. Only recently have you come to realize that 88 percent of the homeless in your district are indeed longtime constituents — not people bussed in from neighboring cities. By law and your position, you must represent them too. Until now, you have not done an adequate job.

    It is also true that by your direction some $800,000 of public monies have been expended on enforcement of city ordinances against the homeless. This effort has done little to reduce the size of the population in distress or alleviate their suffering. When you are ready to start solving this problem rather than blaming either the victims or the messengers, you should call me. There are immediate solutions that could be implemented that would better use those public monies you’re doling out on the issue.

    In the meantime, President Wesson, I call on you to request the controller’s office to execute an audit of the costs related to encampment sweeps and other enforcement measures related to criminalizing the homeless rather than solving the problem. And, Councilman Harris-Dawson, I am available at your invitation to testify in detail on the matters addressed herein.

    As you will see, a more enlightened approach will—by necessity and by the courage of people of goodwill and conscience in the City of Los Angeles—triumphs in the end.

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  • Sit-Ins Confront Gun Violence

    DC to San Pedro

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    Just before noon on June 22, legendary civil rights leader John Lewis, a congressman from Georgia, went to the well of the House of Representatives and did something never done before: He began a sit-in on the House floor, calling for a vote on gun safety legislation.

    Fed up by years of inaction, obstruction and hollow “moments of silence” instead of life-saving action, Lewis decided that doing something more radical was the only way to get something sensible done.

    “Those who work on bipartisan solutions are pushed aside,” Lewis noted. “Those who pursue common-sense improvement are beaten down…. Reason is criticized. Obstruction is praised. Newtown, Aurora, Charleston, Orlando — what is the tipping point? Are we blind? Can we see? How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something? We were elected to lead, Mr. Speaker. We must be headlights and not taillights.”

    An Act of Civil Disobedience

    Lewis went on to directly invoke his own personal language of civil disobedience.

    “Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary,” Lewis said. ‘Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way…. We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something, we have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over.”

    The sit-in drew worldwide attention, thanks to streaming via social media, after the House cameras were turned off. It lasted only 26 hours, as House Speaker Paul Ryan hurried the session into a premature adjournment, days ahead of schedule. But Democratic House members vowed to take their sit-in back to their districts over the July 4th break.

    On June 27, Rep. Janice Hahn made good on that promise with a community sit-in at Port of Los Angeles High School.

    But a profound underlying question must be answered if the power of 1960s sit-ins is to be realized again today. Decades of deep, hard work had preceded the civil rights sit-ins, with groundwork being laid intellectually, in the courts, in the culture and in the streets. The Civil War amendments had ended slavery, given blacks the right to vote and ensured equal protection of the laws.

    That great leap forward was savagely reversed by the turn of the century. It culminated in Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” doctrine, enshrining a new official racist constitutional order. The eventual success of the Civil Rights Movement, two generations later, required decades of far-sighted strategic efforts to undermine this deceitful political consensus. Sit-ins bore fruit as one of the most powerful civil rights tools because they helped catalyze a moral, legal and political transformation 60 years in the making.

    With that in mind, before the sit-in Random Lengths asked Hahn what congressional Democrats were doing to lay groundwork that might help the sit-in evoke change. Her initial response was to highlight how successful the first sit-in had been, how quickly House Democrats had organized themselves.

    But when pressed, Hahn expanded her scope.

    “Social media really generated an enormous amount of support for this all over the world,” Hahn said. “We were hearing from people in Germany and France, so I feel like that…has already laid the groundwork for people…. People have been really frustrated. We’re going to hear tonight from people who had loved ones killed by guns many, many years ago, and were frustrated that no one ever did anything. So I think this is a chance to give hope to people that maybe, just maybe, we can get something done.”

    There’s no doubt the raw materials for action are there or that social media have empowered people in new ways. But the example of the Arab Spring — especially in Egypt — warns us that enduring progress cannot rely on social media and a sudden outpouring of activism alone, no matter how sweeping it may be. The nature of what more is needed must be grappled with deeply, in a manner similar to that of Thurgood Marshall’s mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston. He devised a multi-decade strategy for undermining the doctrine of “separate but equal.” Some glimpses of what this might mean eventually emerged in the course of the community sit-in.

    Hahn began that evening by playing a recording of Lewis’ remarks, which began the House sit-in.

    “When I got up to speak I spoke of one-year-old Autumn Johnson from Compton, who was killed in her crib,” Hahn said. “It was one of the most heartbreaking funerals I [have] ever gone to, seeing little Autumn in her little coffin, knowing that her life was over because of gun violence.”

    After Hahn, others spoke of their own personal tragedies.

    “Gun violence is an epidemic; it affects each and every one of us,” said LaWanda Hawkins, who founded Justice for Murdered Children in 1996, after her only son, Reggie was murdered.

    “Their lives affect our lives,” she said, speaking about the Sandy Hook victims. “We don’t know what they were going to contribute, and see we missed out because they ain’t here.”

    The Shoes of Murdered Children

    Photo by Phillip Cooke

    Photo by Phillip Cooke

    As a haunting reminder, Hawkins brought her memorial: the shoes of murdered children.

    “Unless you’ve had a murder in your family you just don’t know what it does to you,” said Amanda Rodriguez, from Parents of Murdered Children. “I do. I walk in those shoes every day of my life. My nephew Brendan Hansen was murdered on May 17, 2010, shot in the back several times.”

    Shannon Ross spoke briefly to honor her cousin Melanie.

    “I want you to see her face because I don’t want her to be forgotten,” Ross said. “So she died right here in San Pedro at the tender age of 17. She was a victim of gun violence … while I don’t know the stats, I did know my cousin and I love her very much.”

    “My story is a little different. Unfortunately, the results are the same,”  Lori Baker said.

    In February of 1977, Baker’s father had been extremely depressed under a doctor’s care, but he was able to go out and get a gun. The next day he shot himself. Thirty years later, Baker’s younger brother committed suicide as well.

    “I shouldn’t be the survivor of two suicides and I want to fight for the mentally ill to not have access to these things,” Baker said. “It’s just not right.”

    “I lost my first born Dec. 19, 1992,” Basil Kimbrew said. “I’m a grown-ass man, but I cry for my son every day like I cry for all these people. I’m a sniper. I’ve seen death, but when you see kids die, it makes you different.”

    Complementing the flood of personal testimony, Dr. Roger Lewis, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Harbor UCLA, was on hand to provide an overview of the terrible human cost.

    “One in 16 people that we see in trauma centers has been shot,” said Lewis, who has 29 years of experience. “So, one in 16 who need trauma care didn’t fall at home, they didn’t fall in a bathtub, they didn’t fall from a ladder, they didn’t get into a fight, they got shot. In fact, we see as many people shot in the trauma system as we see involved in fights of any sort, except that the people who are shot, one in 14 die…. We see almost exactly one gunshot wound victim a day…. This is an everyday occurrence in our community.”

    An Ill-Conceived Perception of Gun Violence

    In the midst of this entire testimony Torrance resident, Arthur Schaper, spoke up, using the National Rifle Association’s most clichéd talking points: “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” Arthur Schaper, of Torrance, said.

    Just before sitting down, Schaper went even further, repeating a pro-NRA myth that even the NRA’s own history refutes.

    “The first members of the NRA were African-Americans because they wanted to shoot the Ku Klux Klan,” Schaper said. “I’m not going to take their guns away.”

    In June 2013, Politifact rated this claim, “not only inaccurate but ridiculous — Pants on Fire.” This, after first noting that “the NRA itself says the group was formed by Union Civil War veterans to improve soldiers’ marksmanship.” The NRA was formed in New York, in 1871, hundreds of miles from the nearest KKK chapter. It also favored gun control measures for more than a century, before a right-wing faction took over the organization in the late 1970s.

    Schaper also tossed out that Martin Luther King owned a gun—but that was in 1956, when his house was bombed, before he became deeply immersed in the philosophy of nonviolent struggle. By the 1960s, King abandoned the idea of weapons for self-defense.

    “When you do a sit-in, you do it to get rights, not take rights away,” Schaper claimed.

    But in 1960, Southern racists argued the exact opposite: Sit-ins were aimed at taking away white people’s right to discriminate — a right that Rand Paul defended on the Rachel Maddow Show when he first ran for Senate. In a sense, a central purpose of the sit-in movement was to alter the public’s perception of whose right to do what was truly fundamental, and central to what America was meant to be.

    The same is true with the gun violence sit-ins today. Even before Schaper spoke, Laurie Saffian, co-chairwoman of Women Against Gun Violence, spoke to this point.

    “We hear a lot about the Second Amendment,” Saffian said. “How about the right to life? How about the right to go to the hair salon? Or, the movie theater? Or, your church? Or, your school? Or, your neighborhood and your shopping mall without fear of being shot and killed? How about that right?”

    After Schaper spoke, Random Lengths publisher James Preston Allen added, “In the Constitution there’s also the right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness. And that right actually precedes the Second Amendment.”

    In fact, as recently as 1990, former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by Richard Nixon, called the notion of individual right to own guns, “A fraud on the American public.”

    What’s changed since then is not the Constitution, but how right-wing activists have profoundly mislead the American public, the same way that they did after the Civil War, establishing segregation in spite of the egalitarian language in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

    What San Pedrans saw illustrated at the community sit-in was microcosm of the larger struggle that needs to be engaged. One aspect of that struggle is simply shifting from rhetoric to common sense specifics, as illustrated by a Quinnipiac University poll released June 30. The poll found 92 percent of voters, including 92 percent of gun-owners and 86 percent of Republicans, support universal background checks on all firearms sales — a dramatic disconnect between congressional Republicans and even their own base.

    What saves Republican lawmakers from having to do anything is political rhetoric—aka “propaganda”—nothing more, nothing less. Quinnipiac also found that only 50 percent of the same respondents support “stricter gun control laws,” while 47 percent are opposed.

    “In short, many voters simply don’t equate mandatory background checks with ‘gun control,’” Quinnipiac Poll Assistant Director Tim Malloy said in a statement published by the Associated Press.

    This is only one piece of a much larger puzzle, but it’s a starkly illuminating one: there’s actually an enormous bipartisan consensus out there, if only we can talk about concrete reality, which is why the sit-in format holds so much promise. But the deeper problem will take a lot longer. Why are so many people persuaded by the rhetoric in the first place? Why do so many believe in a fraudulent version of what the Second Amendment even means?

    “It is no exaggeration to say that our nation’s gun policy is paralyzed by a series of fallacies — arguments that appear sound on first hearing, but crumble when subject to careful thought and analysis,” wrote Dennis A. Henigan, former vice president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in a forthcoming book,  Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People : And Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control.

    Careful thought, by itself, is not enough to free us, Henigan notes.

    “I am not arguing that destroying the NRA’s mythology will be sufficient to overcome the NRA’s political influence,” he wrote. “I believe, however, that the gun lobby’s political power will never be overcome until these myths are destroyed. Political power is not unconnected to ideas.”

    This is similar to what the founders of the NAACP realized at its founding in 1909, along with many others who struggled for decades in the shadows to prepare a way for civil rights struggle to finally blossom in the sun.

    Our fundamental way of thinking about rights — who has them and what they are — needs to be reconceived. “I have rights too, okay? As do we all,” said long-time neighborhood council activist Doug Epperhart, who survived a shooting at the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council two years ago. “I think the most important right is that we shouldn’t have to fear terrorists, but we really shouldn’t have to fear our fellow citizens. Because this isn’t radical Islam; it’s not some overseas group.  This is Americans, killing innocents,” Epperhart said.

    Freedom from fear was one of Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms,” articulated in 1941. It is, at bottom, what everyone is seeking: powerful reference point in moving our way forward.

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  • The Road to San Pedro Summertime Fun

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Summertime in the Los Angeles Harbor Area is like an endless parade of classic Chevys, Fords, roaring bobbers, choppers and Harleys trekking their way to the coastal areas.

    This is especially true on weekends. Caravans with hundreds of cars make their way to Paseo del Mar to see and be seen as everyone takes in the sunshine and ocean views from Point Fermin Park and get a bite to eat at Walker’s Cafe.

    Retro in the Rearview

    You can’t blame people for wanting to retreat into that nostalgia. We’ve encountered more change than some of us can stand. The specter of terrorism arriving on every doorstep by a multi-generational American is as great as the possibility of it being delivered by a naturalized citizen. Workers are working harder, longer and at more jobs but for less pay, and more of us are spending more of our income on housing—if we are so fortunate to have housing at all. Add to that an election cycle more caustic than the last, what we’re left with is a body politic that is either on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion or a people on the verge of coming apart at the seams.

    In times such as these, a vacation by the waterfront is in order. An essay was recently published in the Smithsonian magazine on the relatively short history of how the beach became a vacation destination.

    Writer Daniela Blei noted that before the industrial revolution in Europe, the beach and by extension, the ocean, was a fearsome place in the popular imagination.

    “The coastal landscape was synonymous with dangerous wilderness,” Blei wrote. “It was where shipwrecks and natural disasters occurred, where a biblical flood engulfed the world.”

    Industrialization brought greater and more real horrors, and the seashore became a place where people of means could escape inner city air and water pollution, class strife and even racial and ethnic tensions. In this regard, there’s little distinction between that century and this one.

    How great it is that there’s still the weather and fun times. Music festivals fill the summer calendar from beginning to end. And, there are food and beer festivals bookending every month of the season.

    In the interest of preserving our collective sanity and setting aside, at least for a moment, weighty matters, Random Lengths collaborated with Whitewalls Nationals for this photo shoot featuring classic cars and pin-up models who are a part of that event’s beauty contest. We believe everybody needs a holiday by connecting more, enjoying life more and smiling more during this event-filled season.

    Whitewall Nationals:

    Kustom Kulture Lifestyle

    Classic cars and trucks, tricked out custom cars, lowriders, hot rods, bobbers, choppers and pin-up models, inspired by the same eras as the cars, will be on display July 16 at Outer Harbor. There will be 13 live bands and a killer DJ, a pin-up beauty contest, pedal cars, bicycles, dance floor and a tiki village.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 16
    Cost: $20
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/whitewalls-nationals
    Venue: Outer Harbor, Berth 54 and 55, San Pedro

    Lobster Festival

    The annual Lobster Festival comes earlier this year. Take advantage of the more moderate temperatures. This year’s lobster festival offers something to look forward to.
    Family entertainment, live music and fresh Maine lobster are the main attractions at this festival. Another change is that the festival grounds are located near Battleship IOWA as Ports O’Call prepares its renovation to become the San Pedro Public Market.
    Time: 5 to 11 p.m. July 22, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 23, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 24
    Cost: $12
    Details: https://lobsterfest.com
    Venue: USS Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

    The Taste of San Pedro

    Eat, drink and celebrate. The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of San Pedro is an annual culinary festival featuring cuisine from 20 San Pedro and Peninsula area restaurants. Enjoy craft beers at the new Brouwerij West. The event will take place at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles’ open air courtyard.
    Time: 5 to 10 p.m. Aug. 6
    Cost: $45 to $85
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/Taste-SP
    Venue: Crafted, 112 E. 22nd St., San Pedro

    El Segundo Car Show

    Here’s another car show that features vintage cars, live music, great food and beer.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 20
    Cost: $25 to $35
    Details: (310) 322-1220
    Venue: Downtown El Segundo, Main St., El Segundo

    Taste of Brews

    Taste of Brews celebrates its sixth anniversary as Long Beach’s original and authentic craft beer festival on Aug. 20 at Lighthouse Park.
    The event infuses more than 100 styles of microbrews and hard ciders and SoCal’s premier mobile restaurants with an amazing ocean-front venue.  (Alcohol service ends at 4 p.m.)
    Time:  12 to 5 p.m. Aug. 20
    Cost: $30 to $40
    Details:  www.tasteofbrews.com
    Venue: Shoreline Aquatic Park, 200 Aquarium Way, Long Beach

    San Pedro Craft Draft Festival:

    A Tribute to All Things Bacon

    This is a unique event celebrating craft beer, bacon fusions and live music. The event is a collaborative effort of  many breweries combining to raise money for an organization project in Long Beach to support the local community. The event will showcase multiple
    local and regional breweries as well as local bands, DJs and local chefs competing for your catering business.
    Time: 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 27
    Cost: $35 to $79
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/bacon-beer-uss-iowa
    Venue: USS Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd. San Pedro

    FYF Fest 2016

    FYF Fest is an annual two-day music festival at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Exposition Park. Founded in 2004 by Sean Carlson, a Torrance native, the festival features artists representing rock, hip-hop, electronic dance and alternative music. This year’s lineup includes: DJ Kendrick Lamar Moby, Vince Staples and Grace Jones Young Thug.
    Time:  Aug. 27 and 28
    Cost: $125 to $199
    Details: http://fyffest.com
    Venue: Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles

    Oktoberfest 2016

    Home of the oldest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California, Alpine Village will feature  traditional Bavarian fun. There will be  Oom Pah Pah party bands, while your belly is sated by traditional German fare, and your thirst is quenched by German beers brewed by Warsteiner. It delivers an authentic-yet-modern Oktoberfest to you each and every year … and all within 10 miles of Southern California’s beautiful beaches.
    Time:  6 p.m. to 12 am. Friday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 9 through Oct. 29.
    Cost: TBD
    Details: www.alpinevillagecenter.com
    Venue: 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance

    Shoreline Jam: Reggae Festival

    Don’t miss the 6th annual Shoreline Jam at the Queen Mary Waterfront Events Park on Labor Day weekend. The event includes food, lawn games, two stages and vendors. Entry for children 4 years and younger is free. Parking is $20
    Time:  2 to 11 p.m. Sept. 10
    Cost: $45 to $200
    Details: (877) 342-0738; www.queenmary.com
    Venue:  Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

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  • Cars & Stripes Forever: RLn COMMUNITY Calendar July 1, 2016

    8th Annual Cars & Stripes Forever

    This car show includes fireworks. This family friendly event features dozens of classic cars on display, live music, gourmet food trucks, a beer garden, and a musically choreographed fireworks display at 9:20 p.m.
    Time: 5 p.m. July 1
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.PortOfLosAngeles.org
    Venue: LA Waterfront, Harbor Boulevard at the Vincent Thomas Bridge, San Pedro

    Check out more Random Lengths News Community events on the Calendar page.

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  • Arts Microgrants

    RLn ANNOUNCEMENT: June 30, 2016

    Every month the Long Beach Arts Council funds community art projects and professional development opportunities at up to $1,000. Apply for a microgrant today! Applications are due the 15th of each month. The Arts Council revised microgrant guidelines this year to streamline the process and make it easier to receive funding.
    Details: www.artslb.org/services/grants


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  • News

    RLn Briefs: June 30, 2016

    Canine Killed by Friendly Fire

    LONG BEACH — A police dog was killed by friendly fire June 26, after pursuing a suspect in connection to a 2014 shooting.credo-k9-long-beach

    The suspect fled to the 2800 block of East 15th Street, where he hid in an apartment building. The suspect was considered armed and dangerous, causing Long Beach SWAT to respond with assistance. The man ignored the officers’ commands and aggressively charged towards them. Intermediate force was deployed, which included a 40mm rubber baton round as well as Credo, a 4-year-old police service dog, who tried to stop the suspect from advancing towards the officers. The man pulled a knife out while moving forward, and an officer discharged his weapon. Both the suspect and Credo where hit.

    The suspect was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Credo was transferred to a local veterinarian hospital and later died from his injuries.

    Credo was partnered with Officer Mike Parcells for the past two years. He worked primarily in patrol and narcotics.

    The suspect’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

    The Los Angeles County Coroner and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office are conducting independent investigations into the shooting. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Long Beach Police Department Homicide Detail at (562) 570-7244.

    Murdered Man Identified

    LONG BEACH — The Los Angeles County Coroner identified a man murdered on June 28 in the 1200 block of Loma Vista Drive in Long Beach.

    Long Beach Police Department officers found 27-year-old Jesus Fernandez shot multiple times in the upper torso. He was dead at the scene.

    No suspect information or motive is available. The motive for the shooting is unknown and the investigation remains ongoing.

    Anyone with any information or video related to this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

    LA Paid $54 Million in Unnecessary Interest

    LOS ANGELES – City Controller Ron Galperin found that Los Angeles is paying millions of dollars in unnecessary interest on its bond when he began an audit of Prop O — the 2004 measure that financed stormwater cleanup.

    Galperin and his auditors noticed large balances in the accounts associated with Prop O. The controller found out the city regularly issued bonds for Prop O’s long-term construction projects long before the bills came due. In many cases, bonds were issued long before contracts were even awarded.

    Even though the borrowed money was invested, those investments typically yielded rates of return 2  to 2.5 percent lower than the rates the city paid out to its bondholders.

    “No savvy investor would borrow money and then leave it sitting dormant in a bank account. And yet, that’s exactly what the City has been doing,” Galperin said.
    In the case of Prop O, auditors determined that the city spent $6.8 million on unnecessary interest payments over five years. Auditors estimated that city taxpayers may have paid as much as $47 million in excess interest on bond programs over an 11-year period.

    City policy has been to require that a department have all cash on hand to pay for the full amount of a multi-year construction contract at the time the contract is signed. In the report, Galperin recommended that the city change its procedures so it issues bonds closer to when the money is needed.

    “Changing our practices and becoming more efficient in how we finance construction projects will translate into savings for taxpayers,” Galperin said.

    Prop O authorized $500 million in bonds to bring Los Angeles into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act, and increase flood and habitat protections and recreational opportunities.

    While Prop O projects are taking longer to complete than planned and some administrative processes are in need of improvement, the city agencies with key roles—the Bureau of Engineering, the Bureau of Sanitation and the City Administrative Office—have done a commendable job.

    For example, using funds provided by the bond measure, the City outfitted stormwater catch basins throughout the city with screens to stop trash from flowing into waterways, rehabilitated Echo Park Lake, began to restore the ecosystem at Machado Lake, and created a wetlands park in South Los Angeles at a former bus and rail yard.

    To see pictures and videos of projects funded by Prop O visit  www.lacontroller.org/geopanel_la

    View the audit online: http://www.lacontroller.org/audit_of_prop_o

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  • El Dorado Nature Center Summer Concert

    June 30
    The El Dorado Nature Center Summer Concert will feature Sligo Rags. Bring low chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. June 30
    Cost: $3 donation
    Details: www.longbeach.gov
    Venue: 7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach

    Visit the Random Lengths News Calendar page for more Entertainment listings.

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