• Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project Work: RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS Nov. 20, 2015

    Nov. 20

    Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project Work

    The lane westbound on Ocean Boulevard will closed from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Nov. 20 through 24. There will be an alternating lane closure of the westbound Ocean Boulevard off-ramp to State Route 47.

    Nov. 21

    Thanksgiving Turkeys, Pies

    The Long Beach Ministers Alliance will partner with Long Beach Basket Brigade to provide Turkeys, Thanksgiving baskets and Pies to the community.
    Time: 8 to 10 a.m. Nov. 21
    Details: (562) 597-7481; info@lbmalliance.org
    Venue: Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1910 Lemon Ave., Long Beach

    Nov. 22

    Performance Plus Food Drive, Hot Rod Happening

    Help families in need by bringing non-perishable food items for a food drive and hot rod.
    The event is open to all modified cars.
    Time: 8 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 22
    Cost: $20
    Details: (562) 988-0211
    Venue: Performance Plus Tire and Auto Superstore, 3910 Cherry Ave., Long Beach
     
    Nov. 23

    Serving With a Thankful Heart 

    District 6 Councilman Dee Andrews is pleased to announce his 8th Annual “Serving With A Thankful Heart” Thanksgiving Banquet. Reservations are required.
    Time: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23
    Details: (562) 570-6816
    Venue: Ernest S. McBride Park, 1550 Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., Long Beach

    Nov. 24

    Minimum Wage Study Released

    Long Beach recently released the Minimum Wage Study from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. on the potential benefits and impacts of implementing a citywide minimum wage. As part of the continuing community review process, the community is encouraged to provide public comment at the Economic Development Commission.
    The Minimum Wage Study is expected to return to the City Council in mid to late January 2016.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24
    Details: www.longbeach.gov
    Venue: Long Beach City Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Nov. 30

    Nightly Road Closures Postponed

    The temporary nightly road closures necessary in the vicinity of Pico Avenue and Ocean Boulevard to facilitate installation of falsework over Pico Avenue and the on-ramp to westbound Ocean have been postponed.
    The Pico on-ramp to westbound Ocean will now be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.
    The Pico underpass at Ocean and the westbound Ocean off-ramp to Pico will now be closed nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Dec. 4 through 9.
    These closures will affect Port traffic headed to Terminal Island (Piers S-T) and San Pedro, and Port traffic that uses Pico Avenue to travel between Piers A-D and Piers E-J. For more information and detour routes refer to the “GDB Replacement Project Work” section below.
    Details: www.newgdbridge.com/updates/default.asp
     
     
    Dec. 3

    New Civic Center Hispanic Town Hall

    District 6 Councilman Dee Andrews will host a Hispanic Town Hall meeting, at 6 p.m. Dec. 3, at MacArthur Park’ Gamboa Theater in Long Beach.
    The Town Hall meeting will focus on the new Civic Center that City Council approved in 2014. The public portions of the Long Beach Civic Center Project include a new seismically safe Long Beach City Hall, Port of Long Beach Headquarters and Main Library, along with a redesigned park. The private portions of the project include transit-oriented mixed-used developments, high-rise condominiums and retail.
    Time: 6 p.m. Dec. 3
    Details: (562) 570-6816
    Venue: Gamboa Theater, 1321 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 6

    West Side Story Audition

    Musical Theatre West will have open auditions for equity and non-equity roles, Dec. 6 through 8, for its upcoming production of West Side Story.
    Performers will be asked to audition with a song in the style of the show or a piece from West Side Story.  An accompanist will be provided (each performer should bring their own sheet music in their own key).
    Time: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6 through 8
    Details: www.musical.org/MusicalTheatreWest/auditions.html
    Venue: Musical Theatre West, 4350 E. 7th St., Long Beach

    Dec. 9

    Coastal SPNC Communications Meeting

    The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council Communications Committee meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at the San Pedro High School Olguin Auditorium.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/CoastalSPNCHomelessMeeting
    Venue: San Pedro High School Olguin Campus Auditorium, 3210 S. Alma St., San Pedro
     
    Dec. 9

    Construction Job Fair

    This is a free event for residents seeking work in the construction sector, hosted by Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners. This is the first major event hiring event for the new Civic Center
    Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Dec. 9
    Details: (562) 239-2220
    Venue: Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
     
    Dec. 11

    Spay/Neuter Clinics

    The Peter Zippi Fund for Animals is once again sponsoring a cat-only mobile spay/neuter clinics for Harbor Area residents in the 90731 and 90744 zip codes.
    The service includes vet exam, surgery, and pain injection and rabies.
    Time: Dec. 11
    Cost: $10
    Details: (310)379-1264; www.lucypetfoundation.org
    Venue: Los Angeles Harbor College, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington

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  • LAPD Harbor Area Unveiled Little Free Library: RL NEWS Briefs Nov. 19, 2015

    LAPD Harbor Area Unveiled Little Free Library

    SAN PEDRO — On Nov. 19, the Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Area Division hosted Harry Bridges Kindergarten students for an unveiling of their Little Free Library

    LAPD Harbor Area, in conjunction with The Literacy Group, partnered to establish a Little Free Library inside the Harbor Area Station lobby.

    In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a freestanding bookcase where anyone may stop by and pick up a book and bring back another book to share. Harbor Area’s Little Free Library is registered in a National Registry where community members can locate the library online.

    The Harbor Area Community Police Advisory Board along with the Harbor Cadets will serve as stewards of the library teaching them important life skills, ownership of a project, and the importance of community. Additionally, police officers will be involved in providing book reading programs at the station with local schools.

    POLGCelebrates Women Working in International Trade

    Event spotlights career paths to maritime industry jobs

    LONG BEACH — A heavy equipment operator, port construction manager, shoe company executive and maritime university student encouraged Long Beach young women to explore careers in shipping industry at this week’s fifth annual Celebrating Women in Trade luncheon, Nov. 17, at the Long Beach Convention Center.
    More than 300 people attended the event, including 160 local female high school students. The educational outreach event was first created during the Port of Long Beach’s 100th anniversary.
    During the event, officials awarded the second annual Advancing Women in International Trade Award to Carolyn Martin, a goods movement industry legend. She retired in 2014 following a 42-year career with International Transportation Service, which operates the oldest container terminal at the Port of Long Beach.
    Martin rose from an executive secretary to ITS’ assistant vice president of customer service. She was a pioneer in terminal operations design, including entry and exit gates, worked with programmers to computerize import operations and helped set up ITS’ facilities in Oakland, New Jersey and Tacoma.
    In a panel discussion during the event, women who work in the industry talked about their inspiration, education, and career paths and described their job duties and typical workdays. Participants in the panel were Elena Armas, a cargo-handling heavy equipment operator and member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU); Port of Long Beach Director of Construction Management Suzanne Plezia; Karla Strasser, Vice President of Import Allocation and Planning at Skechers; and Halley Hogan, a Cal State Maritime Academy student. Students and teachers from all Long Beach Unified School District high schools and St. Anthony High School also participated in table discussions facilitated by industry professionals.

    Knabe Endorses Trustee Irma Archuleta

    LONG BEACH – On Nov. 19, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe announced his endorsement of Irma Archuleta’s campaign for a full term on the Long Beach Community College District Board.

    Archuleta, whose career in post-secondary education has spanned more than 30 years, was appointed to the board this past year to fill the unexpired term of former trustee and current Long Beach City Councilman Roberto Uranga.

    “I’m supporting Trustee Irma Archuleta because she knows how to bring diverse groups of people together to get things done for Long Beach City College,” Knabe said. “During her time on the Board, she has worked hard to improve job-training programs, increase transfer rates, and responsibly manage the district’s budget.”

    Knabe, whose district includes Long Beach, joins Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis in endorsing Archuleta.

    Archuleta’s campaign previously announced a list of early endorsements, including:

    State Sen. Isadore Hall

    State Sen. Ricardo Lara

    Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis

    Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia

    Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez

    Former Long Beach Councilman Steve Neal

    Former Long Beach Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga

    Long Beach Councilman Roberto Uranga

    Long Beach Community College District Trustee Jeff Kellogg

    Long Beach Community College District Trustee Patricia Lofland (Ret.)

    Long Beach Community College District Trustee Doug Otto

    Long Beach Unified School District Board member Megan Kerr

    Long Beach Unified School District Board member Bobbie Smith (Ret.)

    Cerritos Community College District Trustee Ruth Banda-Ralph (Ret.)

    Mt San Antonio Community College District Trustee Manuel Baca

    Rancho Santiago Community College Trustee Lawrence Labrado

    Long Beach Port Commissioner Carmen Perez (Ret.)

    Long Beach Planning Commissioner Erick Verduszco

    Long Beach City College Academic Senate President Phyllis Arias (Ret.)

    Long Beach Community Leader Sharon Wiseman

    *organization names listed for identification purposes only

    Irma Archuleta was appointed to the Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees in September 2014 by a unanimous vote.

    Throughout her career, she has served in various administrative roles within both the California Community College and California State University systems. She has worked at Compton College, El Camino College, Cal State Long Beach, and Evergreen Valley College. In addition to serving as an administrator, Archuleta has taught courses in both Political Science and Ethnic Studies.

    Archuleta has a bachelor’s degree in human studies with an emphasis in bilingual education, and she has a master’s degree in public administration.

    Read More
  • Letters to the Editor

    Editor’s note: In the past week, Random Lengths News received a slew of letters to the editor from San Pedro High School students on stories published this past Summer—stories ranging from RLn’s coverage over the community debate on homelessness, the potential dangers of Rancho LPG in the wake of the Tianjin explosion in China, to the piece regarding the 50th anniversary of the Watts Rebellion.

    Reading through the letters, the students did an admirable job following their teacher’s instruction to read and critique stories in RLn that piqued their interest. The end result was more than 10,000 words from high school students engaging the most topical issues being discussed in the today. In the interest of space, we organized the letters thematically and chose to run the letters commenting on stories related RLn’s coverage of homelessness in the Harbor Area first.

    RE: Do not Feed the Pigeons

    I appreciate Mr. Allen’s OpEd “Do not Feed the Pigeons” in the Oct 29 issue of Random Lengths. I especially like that he did not hesitate to name names and to state that “clearly, these people have lost their minds.” As you may have noticed, we have quite a cadre of older beige RV’s in varying states of dilapidation parked near the Lummis House and sometimes along Figueroa near Sagamore Park at Avenue 46. They are periodically run off and I was dismayed to learn in James article that this parking is now illegal. We first learned about the legion of camper dwellers from a Harper’s article from August 2014 “The End of Retirement.” Many of these citizens lost their support system and used the last of their savings to purchase a home on wheels. Amazon employs hundreds of them for the Christmas rush providing RV parking complete with hookups. Quartzite, Arizona is another haven. They are making the best of a difficult situation.

    Charles Hanne
    Mt. Washington

    Re: Locals vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC meeting

    The article “Locals vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC meeting” had a civil and humanitarian tone. The purpose of the article was to explain the meeting. The SPNC had to hear the public’s opinions regarding homelessness in San Pedro. The article contained many good ideas and purposes but I think the best one is the idea that bussing them elsewhere won’t solve their problems. It really highlighted which parts of the debate were controversial. It did not any unsupported or weak claims. I also did not notice any counter arguments that the author did not deal with.

    It is a highly controversial topic that Ivan Adame supported well. The author’s style and language tell me that he is trying to convey the information of the issue to the public. I trust the author because he seems like he does not make biased or unsupported claims. This piece does affect me emotionally. The part where they say that the homeless people are being bused around really affects me because it shows that people treat them inhumanely and just send them somewhere else so somebody else can take care of them. I think I still have a good interpretation of the argument even though I have strong emotions about the argument.

    Julian Johnson
    San Pedro High School

    Re: Here Comes Rolling Thunder

    I am a resident of San Pedro, and I am concerned about the recent controversy concerning the homeless. I am disturbed by the perpetual apathy the government of San Pedro has shown towards homelessness.

    As the recent article by Nora Vela points out, the homeless “are exposed to many dangers including: illness, theft, and assault,” and face dehumanizing conditions. By treating the homeless with apathy, we are willingly letting people suffer, despite the fact that we can help them. This is why it is crucial that we help the homeless, such as with Nora Vela’s suggestion of “6-month shelter[s] with running water and toilets.”

    Now, there are those who believe that the homeless do not deserve help, because the homeless got themselves into trouble, so it should be their responsibility to help themselves. However, this obstinately ignores the fact that many people are homeless because of powers that were out of their control, and this also ignores the fact that many homeless people are incapable of helping themselves.

    There are also financial benefits to helping the homeless. As Nora Vela points out, by building “shelters where proper services can administered, will be able to avoid expenses such as unnecessary ambulatory calls, visits to emergency rooms, hazmat clean ups, storage facilities for personal belongings and police trips to downtown Los Angeles jails.” In addition to avoiding these expenses, through helping the homeless we can also increase the number of employed in San Pedro.

    Homelessness has become too big of an issue to ignore, and it is crucial that we deal with the problem now. After all, we have the responsibility to help the homeless not only for their sake, but for the entire community’s sake as well.

    Franc Guzman
    San Pedro High School

    RE: Locals Vent about Homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting

    As a San Pedro Resident I always see homeless people walking the streets begging for money, food and searching for shelter. As time passes I find it hard to believe that locals have barely made an effort to help the homeless. They see the same faces every day, each day they deny giving them some change, and yet they do nothing to help. Instead we call the cops on them for loitering, even though they will always return because it is their form of shelter. The reality is that they have nowhere else to go. If we were to create villages for the homeless we would be providing for those in need. It not only benefits the homeless, but the community as well. First of all it provides shelter for the homeless. They will no longer have to worry about not having a place to sleep, especially when there is bad weather, and they will always have a place to go. The community will also see a decrease in panhandling and cleaner streets, which will improve our image as a city. It is said that many homeless people are being bused to San Pedro because other cities don’t want to deal with them. If this were true we would be confronting the problem instead of running from it like other cities. It is a large cost, but it would be worth it. A couple cities like Olympia, WA and Ithaca, NY have already gone through with a similar action and are making an impact on those who live in the villages. Even if our gesture isn’t as big as making these villages, we could do something to start this action. This would keep the topic open instead of it being ignored. All in all, I believe that we should at least support the idea because they are humans just like you and I, so we should acknowledge them.

    Crystal Cruz
    San Pedro High School

    Re: Neighbors without Shelter

    In the article, ”Our Neighbors without Shelter,” James Preston Allen explains the issue in the perpetually increasing amount of the homeless in San Pedro. Us people generally do not care about the homeless as long as we aren’t “negatively” affected by it but helping them is the only humane option. As soon as we stop using their mistakes as a pretext, we can really help and solve this issue. Not only will this shrewd decision be greatly helping the community but this could also help us all economically and environmentally. Economically, POLA can build a property near the docks providing jobs for the homeless. Environmentally, this change could reduce pollution and get homeless off public spaces making the environment more “safe”. Making this change would really be a preeminent achievement and it would be very ignominious if not done.

    Marina Isaac
    San Pedro High School

    On Tiny Homes and Transitional Housing

    Homelessness may seem irrepressible, but crucial steps are being taken towards solving this problem in our city. Countless efforts have failed to fix the problem, but tiny houses may be just what we need to fix this major problem.

    Tiny houses on wheels; a feasible way to get people off the streets. They are not permanent shelter, they need to be moved around but are still a creative way to get people away from sleeping on park benches or the sidewalk. If the organizations can follow through with these projects they could be beneficial, to the homeless and non-homeless of San Pedro.

    On the other hand, these will have to be parked on the street, which will not help the parking situation within the city.

    And just because they have worked in other cities, who knows if they will work here in Pedro. People have had rocks thrown at them while building these houses, will it be worth the abuse, only time will tell.

    These controversial houses have stirred up numerous arguments. I am personally on the fence about these houses. Maybe if they make parking lots for these houses I would be completely for them but we’ll see what happens next.

    Peter Page
    San Pedro High School

    Re: Here Comes Rolling Thunder

    Dear, Nora Vela, I read your article about the homeless problem in San Pedro and want to say that it was good and credible. More people need to know about this and realize that it’s a big problem.

    Miguel Gumulak
    San Pedro High School

    Re:Locals Vent about Homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting

    In the article, “Locals Vent about Homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting” by Ivan Adame, the reader is informed about the issue of homelessness.

    The topic of the article is a crucial issue that I can relate to. I’ve seen homeless people out on the streets. All day they walk around with their bag or cart of belongings, or they hold cardboard signs, asking for money or food. They looked down upon, judged, and often called hobos. Some people think that they only ask for money to buy drugs, others think they’re lying about being homeless. Whether a homeless person has friends or family to help them or not is irrepressible.

    In the article, there are nice, caring people who take action and try to improve the issue to make sure that everyone in their city is happy. These honest people go to meetings to find a solution by debating about the issue. These meetings are held often by Council President James Dimon. A solution to the issue was sending the homeless to other cities to receive help. This action got heavily criticized.

    Richard Hildebrandt, the director of Christian Care at Mary Star, was one out of the many who strongly disagreed with the action. There are controversies on what cities should do to improve the issue. Yes, money must be considered, but it’s more important to find a solution. Some cities want to work together as a community. “We’re willing to take care of our own, but shouldn’t have to take the burden of neighboring communities”, other cities don’t want to deal with the issue of it’s out of their territory. We cannot perpetually ignore this issue, but many don’t want to help improve it. Will homelessness be ignored just because most people don’t want to help?

    Aleina Louriano
    San Pedro High School

    Re: Locals Vent about Homeless at Local SPNC Meeting

    I can relate to the article “Locals Vent about Homeless at Local SPNC Meeting” where Ivan Adame successfully shows the audience how the homeless problem needs to be solved. I agree with the article because this irrepressible problem is getting out of hand. As a San Pedro resident homeless people are everywhere from Pacific to Western.

    Although I mostly agree with his article, I can tell that it does not have solid evidence because he even says how “There’s no substantial evidence to support claims that homeless people are being bused to San Pedro”. Other than this, everything else seems pretty trustworthy. These people are taking over San Pedro because of the struggles they have gone through that put them in that situation.

    This makes me extremely emotional when I see the homeless women with kids and pets because I can only imagine how hard that must be. With so many homeless on the streets it makes people feel less safe to go outside with this problem that is perpetually going on.

    Local businesses and restaurants are also suffering from the amount of people that choose not to shop at places because of the amount of homeless people there are. Who wants to enjoy their lunch sitting outside with a hobo?

    Not only that, but the amount of homeless people in an area is crucial of what it makes the values of homes near these people. The homeless cause many controversies over what to do with them, and I believe that they should be sent back to wherever they came from. This would at least get rid of most of them, and then each city could decide what to do with them however they want to handle it. It is almost ignominious that there are so many people who need help and are down on their luck in my town, while most of them don’t come from here.

    Kaya Milos
    San Pedro High School

    Homelessness

    There are millions of people who are homeless. Mr. Peter M. Warren has done an excellent job explaining homelessness in our city. He has explained all the efforts to stop homelessness and all the benefits of it. Housing property values will go up and San Pedro will look cleaner overall. Mr. Warren did leave a few things out though. Such as what we will do to house all the homeless people and how expensive it will be to eliminate homelessness. He discussed problems specifically but only generalizing ideas. This homelessness problem is important to many people. One, on Gaffey, many homeless people jaywalk on the entrance to the freeway and some drivers may crash into one. Also many homeless people go somewhere and they leave trash behind for someone to pick it up for them. Overall, the article is very good, but it doesn’t really get to your emotions as other articles do.

    Cristian Cardona
    San Pedro High School

    RE: Locals Vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting

    Our homeless community in San Pedro is a problem, but there are many ways to fix it. According to “Locals Vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting” by Ivan Adame, San Pedro has an overload of homeless people. My name is Chris Carey, I currently live in the San Pedro area, and I go to the local San Pedro High School. I responded to this article because I can relate to it by seeing how many homeless people there actually are. Two ways we can help the homeless community are by giving them a place to stay, and giving them a job. Because this is our community we should gather all or our friends and local government and help the cause.

    Some of the people from the homeless community are shrewd people, they just need a little kick start to help them get back on the right track. That is why we need to give them a place to stay. These poor homeless people need help to get their head on straight and live their life successfully. We can’t just tell them to “get back on the bus and go back to where you came from.” If we give them a roof over their head then they don’t have to keep worrying about trying to stay alive by getting food, water, and shelter. If you believe that we should make the homeless people, who have settled down in San Pedro, get back on the bus then you are ignominious to San Pedro and you are majorly wrong. The people without homes are not irrepressible and if you make them feel like it is the right thing to do and if they actually want the help then they will willingly join the shelters and put in the effort to restarting their lives.

    Homeless people need a job to survive, just like people with houses need jobs to survive. If we give the homeless a place to stay then we could have volunteer workers help the homeless people stay on the right track. In San Pedro High we need to have 10 service hours, many other schools are the same. Many different kids from schools like Mary Star, San Pedro High, Rolling Hills Prep, and even schools in Palos Verdes will come to help at the homeless shelters. The reason we need service workers are to help the homeless stay on the right track, help them find a job, and help in the kitchen to make food.

    Finally the homeless community is in need of help and it’s our job to help them. Some of the homeless peoples lives are in crucial danger and it is also our job to protect them. Homeless people are still people and we need to treat them well and help them to the best of our ability. These two claims that I have stated are the best because we are helping them, but they are still doing some work to show they want to succeed. This will clean our town and attract more people to come and visit the lovely San Pedro.

    Chris Carey
    San Pedro High School

    Re: Our Neighbors without Shelter

    There has been a recent increase in homelessness in the city of San Pedro. Growing up in San Pedro I have seen homelessness all throughout the years, but recently there has been a significant increase. Even James Preston Allen from Random Lengths News agrees. In his article “Our Neighbors without Shelter” Allen writes about this issue of homelessness in our community. After reading his article I now agree that something should be done to provide shelter for the homeless. Although things have perpetually been done impromptu in the past by some people, not everyone has helped which is ignominious because if everyone is doing something to help so should you.

    If something is not done to help the homeless off the streets and into a shelter then the city of San Pedro will not look like a good and welcoming city to newcomers. As Allen wrote in his article, “For so many reasons, a shelter-first philosophy is better for our neighborhoods, our business districts and our common safety and public health.” Some people may not agree that helping the homeless have a shelter and getting a job is not the best idea. This is because some people believe that the homeless are just druggies and crack heads asking for money. As Allen wrote, “ Once we stop blaming these people for their own circumstances (for which there is plenty of blame to around), perhaps that we’ll be able to cozy up to the idea that this is a human problem completely within our collective ability to solve.”This shows that people do not want to help due to what society wants them to believe. This is just a pretext so that people won’t feel bad for not contributing or helping out.

    Therefore, it is up to all of us in the San Pedro community to help the homeless into a shelter. With this we will be helping the homeless and our community as well. Helping will make you a better person and you may even be called a hero.

    Valeria Lopez,
    San Pedro High School

    RE: Facing San Pedro Homeless Crisis

    I live in an area where homelessness is crucial. I feel like more people should get involved to better our community. When I was younger homeless people used to scare me and now they do sometimes, but most of the time they don’t. Now I just feel bad for them. For the past couple of years my church and I have helped the homeless in various ways and it really changed my perspective. Like you said in your article “Facing San Pedro Homeless Crisis”, that homeless people are exposed to many dangers such as illness, theft, and assault that is an even bigger reason why we should not be apathetic about this. Many of us refer to the homeless people as hobos or bums, treating them in an obstinate way. However, we should realize that they are people too. If our community could build more shelters, hand out more food, and perpetually help the community everything would be so much better. Because sometimes they can be irrepressible it can be hard to help them out, but we need to continue and help.

    Ericka Hinojos
    San Pedro High School

    Homeless Crisis in Los Angeles

    In the Random Length News article “Facing San Pedro’s Homeless Crisis”, Nora Vela attempts to persuade the audience to see that there is a huge homeless crisis going on in San Pedro. She doesn’t need to try hard to prove that this is a problem because it is. She states some things that make her organization seem unreliable and fake but, makes up for it in the end by giving information on what she is going to do to help.

    Nora does address the problem well though. Homelessness isn’t just a problem in San Pedro but in Los Angeles in general. Near my house there are many homeless people in need. How do we solve it? We cannot get rid of the problem as fast as we would like because that would be almost impossible. But, we can help lower the numbers.

    There are many solutions, even though we cannot get rid of the problem this fast. Homeless shelters are one of the huge solutions to the problem. The more homeless shelters there are, the less people out on the street prone to crime and disease. Also, we could help out by building small houses for the homeless. These houses will provide temporary shelters for them. These solutions will help the crisis a lot in the Los Angeles County.

    I do not live in San Pedro but, living in Wilmington I am exposed to seeing the homeless crisis. I want to help but just one person is not enough to put an end to this. We can do many things to help stop the problem. What could you do?

    I just feel this is a crisis that needs to be heard and I hope you don’t mind the heading. I really need this message out there. This city can be helpful and maybe the city will look nicer if we make the homeless homes and may attract larger crowds to Pedro. We can help Pedro be the new Beverly Hills and the homeless won’t be afraid of crime and illnesses coming there way. Thank you.

    Brian Cerda
    Wilmington

     

    About Feeding the Pigeons

    I really want to say that I just read your article[Don’t Feed the Pigeons (or the Homeless) Oct. 31,2015] and I found it to be fair, understanding, compassionate and in search of and discussing a solution(s).

    The people at the [Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council] meeting tonight were hostile and totally blind to the seriousness of their actions. There must have been 50 teenagers at the meeting and the example the audience set for them was just horrible.

    The idea of Neighborhood Council’s is not to be a vigilante committee, but to be a bridge to making choices in the best interest of ALL community members. Like it or not our neighborhoods are slowly –becoming places with more and more homeless. We can’t just go around screaming about it. You are so right! Your article outlines so perfectly what needs to be done.

    This is a national tragedy and a very deep wound in our nation’s side. Unfortunately, this problem needs to be faced head on and not shoved under the rug. We do need solutions that work. Your article was so gentle, thoughtful and resonated good will for all who come to San Pedro.

    The “haters” really don’t know what they are endorsing. The tide will turn as it always does and many in that room tonight will have to revisit their personal vendetta on poverty and homelessness.

    /
    Dorsay Dujon, Los Angeles

    Thank you,
    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Read More
  • CSU Faculty Demand Raise: RL NEWS Briefs Nov. 18, 2015

    CSU Faculty Demand Raise

    LONG BEACH — More than 1,000 California State University faculty, and their students, took to the streets, Nov. 17, outside the chancellor’s office in Long Beach.

    The group was demanding a 5 percent raise in the midst of negotiations between the CSU Board of Trustees and California Faculty Association representatives.

    The CSU Chancellor’s Office and the association are in mediation for 2015-2016 salaries. In October the chancellor’s office rejected a 5 percent general salary increase and the association rejected a 2 percent increase that the office offered instead. The association, which represents faculty in the 23 CSU campuses, voted ended up voting for a strike.

    According to the association, the average salary is about $45,000 a year. However, CSU officials say that is not exactly true. They contend that salaries for faculty range from $59,000 to $96,000.

    LA County Board of Supervisors Approve Wage Enforcement Bureau

    LOS ANGELES — On Nov. 17, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to establish a system of enforcement for the new minimum wage in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

    The policy includes a Wage Enforcement Bureau housed out of the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, and seed funding to hire staff and conduct outreach to stakeholders.

    Read More
  • Garcetti Announces Program to Assist Students in Military Families: RL NEWS Briefs for the week of Nov. 17, 2015

    Garcetti Announces Program to Assist Students in Military Families

    SAN PEDRO — On Nov. 12, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a new program that will help deliver essential resources to Los Angeles Unified School District students whose parents or guardians are either veterans or active-duty service members at Leland Elementary School in San Pedro.

    Through a new collaboration between the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, LAUSD, the University of Southern California’s Building Capacity Project and the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative, the school district will now immediately, upon enrollment, identify students from military families by adding a few simple questions to the district’s mandatory student emergency information forms.

    The data collected on the emergency forms will help district and school officials direct critical services and apply for new federal funding for campuses with high enrollment among military and veteran-connected families.

    Military and veteran-connected students can experience high levels of stress, and research shows that they are at an increased risk for substance abuse, weapon carrying, victimization by peers, and thoughts of suicide. While the new questions only take up a single line of space on the emergency form, they will help families quickly access critical services — including recreational opportunities, tutoring resources, and advocacy assistance.

    Authored by the Building Capacity and Welcoming Practices team at USC, 5,000 resource guides will be distributed throughout the district to assist schools in developing school-based interventions for children in military, Guard, Reserve and veteran families.

    LAUSD has already begun responding to this new information, with school-based social workers ready to deploy to campuses as needed.

    POLA Imports Drop

    SAN PEDRO — On Nov. 12, the Port of Los Angeles reported that imports decreased by 3.3 percent, compared to October 2014. POLA handled 358,602 containers loaded with imported goods in October.

    For January through October of this year, loaded imports to Los Angeles were down 3 percent over same period this past year. Loaded exports were down 15 percent.

    “The past few months of volumes around and above the 700,000 TEU range show that our terminals, labor and supply chain partners are adjusting to the cargo surges and other fluctuations that come with the larger vessels that are now calling in L.A. – and that’s a good sign,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

    Exports dropped 14.7 percent to 134,963 TEUs in October. Factoring in empties, which increased 13.1 percent, overall October volumes of 704,588 decreased 1.5 percent compared to October 2014.

    For the first 10 months of 2015, overall volumes (6,824,212 TEUs) are down 2.7 percent compared to the same period in 2014.

    Import volume also decreased at the Port of Long Beach, by 0.8 percent compared to the same month a year prior. The slow October numbers have been attributed in part to extreme congestion during labor negotiations. Many shippers found themselves with high inventories and less need to import goods to replenish supplies.

    Current and past data container counts for the POLA may be found at: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

     

    LA Harbor Commission Approves $1.8 Million FEMA Grants

    SAN PEDRO — Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved three grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency totaling $1.8 million. The grants will support Port Police security and operation integration initiatives, as well as cyber security infrastructure.

    As a condition of the FEMA Port Security Grant Program — a competitive grant program supporting security enhancements at ports nationwide — the port will contribute 25 percent in additional non-federal funds, or $625,000. The match brings total funding for the three port security initiatives to $2.5 million.

    The security projects to be undertaken include integration, maintenance and repair of port security systems; integration of external security video feeds from various government departments, terminals and mobile sources; improvements to the Port’s mass notification system; and infrastructure upgrades that address a variety of cyber risks associated with port complex security.

    Veterans Parade Long Beach 2015

     

    POLB Wins Awards at Trade Conference

    LONG BEACH — At the 2015 Annual American Association of Port Authorities Awards in Miami, the Port of Long Beach won 22 awards for outstanding security, communications and environmental programs.

    The association represents 160 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, and more than 300 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports.
    “Virtual Port,” a program that allows the port’s security team to monitor the harbor with surveillance tools and shipping and transit data, won the association’s Best Information Technology Award.
    The “West Anaheim Street Improvement Project” won the Best Environmental Improvement Award. The project, which beautified and modernized a heavily traveled corridor in the Harbor district, was recognized for its sustainable design and practices, which included drought-resistant landscaping and low-energy lighting. The project also featured public outreach to inform stakeholders during construction.
    The Port of Long Beach’s trade and summer community advertising campaigns won for best advertisements. Both campaigns incorporated the tagline “Better Together,” which referred to the collaboration between the Port and its stakeholders to improve the harbor by making it a safe and efficient place to do business.
    Marketing videos, educational programs, and a Wi-Fi/recharging station at the Breakbulk Americas 2014 conference each won praise. In all, the port won 20 communications awards.
     

    The LB LGBTQ Center Announces New Staff, Funding

    LONG BEACH — On Nov. 16, The Center Long Beach announced that it has been awarded more $35,000 in funding from four foundations within the past month. Additionally, the organization has filled two key staff positions with funding provided earlier in the year. Ellen Hartwick has been hired to serve as the agency’s clinical director and long-time local domestic violence advocate Giovanna Martinez has been recruited as The Center’s Domestic Violence Services manager.

    The Halo Award has granted the organization $25,000 through a competitive application process to expand The Center’s volunteer services and capacity. As part of the application, The Center nominated long-time volunteer Katherine Ford to receive recognition and she will be granted a $5,000 award by Halo for her service to the community. Additionally, The Center received $5,000 from the Pacific Life Foundation, $5,000 in support for their youth services from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and more than $2,000 from Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride to support their ongoing efforts to serve those most in need in Long Beach.

    The Center’s new Clinical Director Ellen Hartwick was hired as a result of increased capacity within the organization’s mental health counseling program made possible by more than $20,000 in funding awarded in early 2015 by the Johnson Family Foundation. Hartwick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with nearly 20 years’ experience working in the field of mental health, advocacy, and support to children, youth, and adult survivors of trauma. She was instrumental in the creation of The Center’s educator’s guidebook on transgender students currently used district-wide in the Long Beach Unified School District. In addition to her work with The Center, Hartwick also provides training and consultation on intimate partner violence at The Children’s Clinic of Long Beach. The Center’s longtime Clinical Supervisor Kerry Deeney will be working with Hartwick to ensure a smooth transition in leadership within the organization’s mental health services department.

    Giovanna Martinez brings more than a decade of experience in the field of intimate partner violence support, education, and prevention to The Center. She has been hired to manage the agency’s new domestic violence program developed with the support of partner agency Interval House and funded through a three-year grant awarded by the California Office of Emergency Services. Previously, Martinez served as the Children and Youth Services Coordinator at WomenShelter of Long Beach and she serves as the co-chairwoman of the LGBT Issues Domestic Violence Sub-Committee for the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council. She has been recognized for her advocacy on behalf of survivors by End Abuse Long Beach, Soroptimist of Long Beach, and numerous local, state, and national elected officials.

     

    Police Seek Public’s Help in Murder Investigation of LBPD Officer

    LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Police Department continues to ask for the public’s help with the murder investigation of Long Beach Police Officer Franke Lewis. Officer Lewis was murdered on December 13, 1975.
    On Nov. 10, 2015 the Long Beach City Council approved a $25,000 reward, which raises the total reward to $75,000. On Nov. 3, the Long Beach Police Department announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Lewis. At the news conference, police described two potential suspect vehicles as a mid 1970s, black top, blue body Fleetwood Cadillac and an early 1960s white Fleetwood Cadillac.
    On Nov. 4, 2015, in an effort to reach any residents who might still live in the area where Officer Lewis’ police badge and police identification were recovered in 1976, homicide detectives canvassed the neighborhood of 915 South Acacia Avenue, Compton. Detectives distributed flyers of the potential suspect vehicles and again urged anyone with information to come forward.
    Since the Nov. 3 news conference, detectives have received several tips regarding the vehicles, possible vehicle owners, and possible suspects.
    Detectives received information about an individual who spoke of killing a police officer in 1975 or 1976 but didn’t detail the time or place where it occurred. The suspect was described as:

    • African-American male
    • about 17 years old
    • medium build
    • black hair
    • first name of “Bobby”
    • living in the area of Central Long Beach during the time of the murder.

    It’s possible “Bobby” drove a black top over blue 1970’s Pontiac Bonneville or Fleetwood Cadillac. A composite sketch of what “Bobby” would have looked like around 1975 has been created and detectives are hopeful the sketch will prompt leads in this investigation.
    Detectives also learned that other African-American males and females were present with “Bobby” when the murder occurred. A person of interest is described as:

    • African-American female
    • between the ages of 18- and 20-years-old at the time
    • known by the nickname “Spider.”

    Long Beach Police urge anyone who recognizes “Bobby” or who knows the identity of “Spider” to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

    LB Releases LAEDC Minimum Wage Study

    LONG BEACH — On Nov. 13, the City of Long Beach today released the Minimum Wage Study from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) on the potential benefits and impacts of implementing a citywide minimum wage. The community is encouraged to provide comments at the following upcoming public meetings:

    Mayor’s Roundtable, 12 p.m. Nov. 17, Admiral Kidd Park, 2125 Santa Fe Ave.

    Long Beach City Council Economic Development and Finance Committee meeting, 4 p.m. Nov. 20, Bay Shore Library, 195 Bay Shore Ave.

    Economic Development Commission, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24, Long Beach City Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.

    Details: http://bit.ly/1HNNuY3

    Army Corps of Engineers Moves Forward with Breakwater Study

    LONG BEACH — On Nov. 12, Long Beach reached an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with a 3-year feasibility study to reconfigure or remove the breakwater in the city. The study begins in 2016.

    The purpose of the study is to examine the state of the ecosystem in San Pedro Bay and Long Beach Harbor and to determine what, if anything, can be done to improve it.

    The breakwater was built in the 40s in part to protect the Navy fleet stationed in Long Beach. The bay was transformed into a waveless body of water. Because the breakwater sits in federally-controlled waters, the city has little, if any, control over modifications made to it.

    The Army Corps will determine if ecosystem restoration is possible without damaging existing properties — including the port and coastal residences.

    Long Beach and the Army Corps will share the costs of the study. The cost of the study is estimated to be around $3 million. The study will involve more stakeholder input.

    Hotel Housekeepers Lead Candlelight March

    LONG BEACH — On Nov. 12, Community and clergy alongside Long Beach hotel workers led a candlelight vigil celebrating Housekeeper’s Global Week of Action in which hotel housekeepers across the United States and Canada protested in 13 cities across North America spotlighting safety concerns and poor wages faced by many women who clean hotel rooms.

    This action is being taken in conjunction with protests organized by housekeepers in more than 30 nations worldwide this week in a call for fairer treatment of hotel housekeepers across the global hotel industry.

    This is the latest step taken by Long Beach hotel workers, the majority of whom are women.

    Murder in Long Beach

    LONG BEACH — A 26-year-old man was shot at about 9 p.m. Nov. 10, near 14th Street and Gundry Avenue.

    Jeffrey Keo of Long Beach succumbed to his injuries a short time after the Long Beach Fire Department took him to a local hospital. He was not a gang member.

    While Long Beach Police Department officers were conducting their initial investigation, they found a possible suspect, who lead them on a foot pursuit. The fleeting suspect was not found.

    Several people, including one who later was identified as the suspect, were detained.

    At the end of the interviews, a 17-year-old resident of Long Beach was booked for murder and a gang enhancement. The suspect’s identity is not being released because he is a juvenile. Detectives are expected to present their case to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration, later this week.
    The preliminary investigation indicated a confrontation between the suspect and the victim occurred prior to the shooting.
    The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to (562) 570-7244 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

    Narcotics Investigation Leads to Discovery of Butane Hash Oil Lab

    LONG BEACH — Long Beach Police Drug Investigation Section detectives served a search warrant at a marijuana dispensary, at about 11 a.m. Nov. 10, in the 100 block of East Pacific Coast Highway.
    The investigation led to the discovery of materials consistent with the manufacturing of butane hash oil, which is made when tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is extracted from marijuana plants. Butane, which is extremely dangerous due to its flammability and is used during the extraction process, was also found. Butane hash oil can be consumed by smoking, ingestion, or vaporization. Users prefer butane hash oil due to the high concentration of THC.
    Jose De La Cruz, 31 years old and a resident of Long Beach, and Miguel Arturo Heredia, 31 years old and a resident of Bell Gardens, were arrested for manufacturing a controlled substance, illegal marijuana sales, and outstanding warrants. They are being held in Long Beach City Jail.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident should call (562) 570-7221 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

    Teamsters, Small Business Owners Endorse Jeannine Pearce for Long Beach City Council 

    LONG BEACH — On Nov. 10, The Jeannine Pearce for Long Beach City Council Campaign announced the endorsements of the Teamsters Local 396, Teamsters Local 848, and Stephanie Howard, owner of Art Du Vin.

    “We believe in Jeannine’s steadfast commitment to creating a better Long Beach for all families. Jeannine’s ability to forge coalitions and solve everyday problems through community engagement is what Long Beach needs to take the next step forward,” said Eric Tate, secretary and treasurer of Teamsters Local 848. She is clearly the best choice to lead Long Beach forward.”

    Jeannine Pearce is a longtime 2nd District resident and is running for the Long Beach City Council. Her priorities include supporting a thriving and growing local economy, building a clean and safe environment for residents to flourish and a commitment to collaboration with all stakeholders.

    Garcetti Announces New Coalition of Transportation Technology

    LOS ANGELES — On Nov. 17, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the formation of the Coalition for Transportation Technology, an alliance established by the City of Los Angeles, Metro, and Caltrans to help ensure that the Los Angeles region is among the first to benefit from the coming wave of connected and autonomous vehicles.
    “This coalition will ensure that the demands and challenges of this new technology are fully considered as we invest in our infrastructure and plan for L.A.’s transportation future,” said Mayor Garcetti.
    In the years ahead, connected and autonomous vehicles have the capacity to reinvent our relationship with the road by introducing new found convenience and safety for people inside and outside of cars. Experts say self-driving cars have the potential to significantly reduce traffic, free up passengers’ time during their commute, and make streets safer for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.
    The mayor was joined by Volvo Cars of North America President Lex Kerssemakers.

    EPA Awards $50,000 to LAUSD for Water Conservation Education

    SAN FRANCISCO – The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $50,000 to the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop and implement curriculum focused on water sustainability in a changing climate.

    Five middle schools and five high schools—a total of 20 classrooms—will learn about water conservation, recycled water, and storm water run-off management. The project will focus on classrooms with a higher percentage of female students and English Language Learners, and is expected to reach at least 520 teachers and students.

    Students will learn the science behind water sustainability–such as water chemistry, biology and the significance of water through critical thinking. On-site learning include tours to the local waste water treatment plant where the students will conduct water audits and develop plans of action to reduce water use at schools and at home. LAUSD has partnered with the Los Angeles Sanitation District, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the Metropolitan Water District on the project under the One Water LA educational initiative.

    For more information on Environmental Education Grants, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/education/environmental-education-ee-grants

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  • Buscaino’s School-Zone Drag Strip

    By David Weaver, Parent of a White Point Elementary School Student
    San Pedro streets are getting narrower—25th Street and Pacific Avenue, for example. The shift is part of a larger effort to slow us down. Speed bumps, narrow streets, zigzags, roundabouts have all been employed to create slower speeds and safer streets.

    City planner Jeff Speck put it this way: “When lanes are built too wide, people are forced to walk farther across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes do not fit—and bad things happen.” The ideal lane width is 10 feet.

    So why is Los Angeles’ 15th District Councilman Joe Buscaino leading the effort to widen safe, unique, historic, narrow, tree-lined Hamilton Street, just blocks from White Point Elementary School? Why has Buscaino’s office quietly approved a four-lane, 70-foot-wide, 1,000-foot-long drag strip through the heart of a residential neighborhood in a school zone? And why has Buscaino’s office fast-tracked this pet project, which greatly increases the likelihood that a child walking to school will be hit by a speeding car?

    By enlarging Hamilton Street, Buscaino will direct traffic around his own wealthy neighborhood.

    Upon inspection, you see that Hamilton Street runs parallel to Paseo Del Mar—the street that fell into the ocean a few years back. Strangely, the landslide that took out Paseo Del Mar has been an economic boon for those wealthy residents near the slide and in South Shores.  No longer can motorists take the coast down Paseo Del Mar and up Western—that route has been cut off, leaving a park-like enclave of traffic-less streets and soaring home values—where Buscaino lives.

    By widening Hamilton Street, Buscaino creates a viable route around South Shores.Traffic will be redirected south, through a poorer residential neighborhood…and right through White Point Elementary’s traffic circle. With traffic thus diverted, the new, much wider and unsafe Hamilton Street becomes the de facto reason to never repair Paseo Del Mar, thus keeping things quiet and private for Buscaino and his neighbors.

    Buscaino’s office denies the correlation, of course (though several staff members live in the South Shores enclave). James Dimon, president of Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, said, “I’m not going to lie to you…widening Hamilton Street has everything to do with Paseo Del Mar and redirecting traffic.”

    As for residents near Hamilton Street, few were ever told about the street-widening project, and to this day know nothing of its true scale. Ryan Ferguson, Buscaino’s field deputy responsible for notifying residents of the project (he lives near the slide), informed maybe six in the immediate area in early 2015. When asked why he notified so few, he replied, “I only told those people I felt would be affected by the project.”

    More disturbing yet, Buscaino’s office has given the project what can only be viewed as a fraudulently low budget of $1.2 to $1.6 million—a figure that was approved without a complete set of construction drawings. As a contractor I estimate that the project will cost $3 to $5 million—money that should be used to repair Paseo Del Mar. There’s no way to know what the true costs will be.

    But here is something we can know: One day a kid will have to cross Hamilton Street—a street too wide and too straight, a street where cars are driving too fast—and bad things will happen. And Councilman Buscaino, we will look back at your direct efforts to create this school-zone drag strip.

    Yes, Hamilton Street can use some improvement. It needs to be 2 to 4 feet wider, with a sidewalk on the north side. This can be done while keeping it the unique and lovely and safe residential thoroughfare it is. Then we recommend you take the millions saved and perhaps help the homeless being dropped off in the district, clean up and repair the dirt alleys in San Pedro and Wilmington, and attend to the trash and graffiti and lack of police presence on our streets. In other words, Councilman Buscaino, serve the entire 15th District, not just your own backyard.

    Fact: In 2012, more than one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.

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  • Contemporary Crafts Market Supports Local Artists

    Architectural designer and woodworker Michael Olshefski creates custom furniture and sculptures. Photo courtesy of Contemporary Crafts Market

    By Melina Paris, Contributor
    The Contemporary Crafts Market, which across three decades has become one of the traditional signals that the holiday season is upon us, will fill up the Pasadena Convention Center exhibit hall in Old Town Pasadena from Nov. 13 to 15.

    Attendees will discover American-made products not easily found anywhere else. Everything is hand-crafted by master artisans. The Contemporary Crafts Market features  more than 200 artists with works for everyone’s budget.

    Artistic, hand-crafted, American-made craft generates $30 billion a year in the United States. That is double the $14 billion first reported by Craft Organization Directors Association in 2001.

    When CEO Roy Helms started this show, there was no craft show in Los Angeles. The American Craft Council recruited Helms from Hawaii to manage their craft show in New York. Helms soon realized he could do the same on the West Coast and that it would be just as easy for him to start a new show in Los Angeles.

    Naysayers were the inspiration for Helms. People told him that it would never work and that Los Angeles people have no taste. Helms felt a responsibility to provide a new opportunity for the public to enjoy art they could understand.

    “Paintings on the wall in a museum can be so mystifying, crafts are understandable,” Helms said. “People collect what they enjoy and understand. People need to hold it, look at it and as an added bonus, (at Contemporary Crafts Market) they get to talk to the artist who made the piece.”

    Speaking of the artists, Contemporary Crafts Market boasts returning artists most every year since the show began. One of the original artists participating is South Bay’s local Marianne Hunter, who works with enamels, metals, stones and other materials. Hunter also happens to be on permanent exhibition at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as the Smithsonian.

    Hunter says she has spent her life creating, refining, expanding, studying and falling in love with the ideas and details of every piece she has made over her 48 years as an art-jeweler.

    “I draw on nature, archeology and human culture for the stories [that] I tell in enamel,” Hunter said. “I collect a wealth of materials including antiques, opals, and a hundred varieties of cut stones…. Each piece is like no other, comes from my heart and is engraved with its own poem. People wear my work because it reflects something essential of themselves.”

    The event fosters familial relationships among artists and attendees.

    “It’s been interesting growing up with some of the artists at the show and with some of the people who come to it,” Hunter said. “I’ve seen many artists not only grow into adulthood but also grow as an artist.”

    Hunter will show about 35 or 40 pieces this year. She makes no more than 20 pieces in a year because they are so intense. Hunter will also be showing collaborations with her husband, William Hunter. He works in wood sculpture.

    Then, there is  architectural designer and woodworker, Michael Olshefski, of Primal Modern. In a world of mass production and duplicate designs everywhere, there are still creations that strike our intuitive senses. Olshefski’s custom furniture and sculptures do just that, bringing us into nature with pieces that are simultaneously tranquil and sensual.

    With his deep consideration for earth’s ecosystem, all of Olshefski’s pieces are made from reclaimed wood. Handcrafted from salvaged trees, steel, glass and leather, every luxury design is one-of-a-kind. Olshefski also donates 5 percent of each sale to environmental causes.

    Although featured in design shows and multiple publications such as Dwell, Luxe and LA Weekly, Olshefski, is not after fame.

    “The environment is in a precarious state,” Olshefski said. “Yet, it is this very environment that gives us everything we need to live and to be inspired. We turn to nature to renew and reflect on our true purpose. Mine is to be an artist and woodworker. By creating furniture that celebrates and appreciates nature, our spaces look better and we feel better. Each piece is personal and infused with a grounding message of hope, beauty and awareness.”

    In June 2015, Olshefski won the People’s Choice Award at the 30th anniversary of the Contemporary Crafts Market.

    Lois Sattler has been with the show since it began. Working with clay for many years, her unique talents have elevated clay into a spectacular art form. Her well-collected handcrafted pieces are both decorative and functional. She has developed a unique way of hand building porcelain. Each piece is one of a kind and has been represented in museums and galleries across the globe.

    “I love the show because it’s been an opportunity to showcase what I do in a highly professional environment,” Sattler said.   “Because of it, I, along with other artisans, have met people who would never know our work existed without the show. It’s an intimate, personal experience to make craft that brings beauty into the lives of others. Artists mirror the soul.”

    For more than 20 years, Sattler has been teaching art to children. It’s her way of making sure art continues to the next generation. She says craft and art communicates in a language that is so important.

    “I notice that when kids have challenges and when they dive into art, their focus and their difficulties disappear,” Sattler said. “Art is transformative and it heals. It is a magical process. No one knows why art makes things better … but art always does whether you are a kid or an adult. Art enhances your life in every way, every day.”

    Other artworks you can discover at the Contemporary Craft Market include photography, jewelry, wind chimes, clothing, hand-loomed rugs, furniture, handmade shoes, scarves, hand-blown glass and decorative art.

    Photos of some of the crafted arts available this year can be found at
    https://instagram.com/contemporarycraftsmarket 

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  • Harbor Area Offers Alternatives to Slaving Over Thanksgiving Dinner

    By Gina Ruccione, Restaurant & Cuisine Writer
    Not interested in cooking this year? I get it. We all have moments where we would rather decompress and just let someone else take care  of dinner. For those of you who plan on heading out for Thanksgiving Dinner, here’s what’s going on in the Harbor Area.

    The Whale & AleWhale & Ale

    One of San Pedro’s favorites, The Whale & Ale, will be open Thanksgiving Day from 1p.m. to 7p.m. and will be serving quite an extensive array of menu choices.   Of course, there will be carved fresh roast turkey with veggies, mashed potatoes, house stuffing, country gravy and cranberry sauce, but for those of you who don’t like the traditional dinner, there is plenty to choose from. Expect to see beef Wellington, The Whale & Ale’s roast prime rib au jus, an 8 oz. choice filet mignon, roast rack of New Zealand lamb, shepherd’s pie, curry, glazed twice-roast quarter duckling in Cumberland sauce, baked Scottish salmon, and Chilean sea bass. They also have vegetarian options. Also featured that evening and [as well the Thursday before] a very special wine: Beaujolais Nouveau, which is released from France once a year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  The Whale & Ale does tend to get busy, so plan on making a reservation.

    Details: (310) 832-0363
    Venue: 327 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Ports O’ Call RestaurantPort O' Call Restaurant

    The Thanksgiving brunch and buffet dinner at Ports O’ Call Waterfront is another viable option for those of you who would like to keep the pots cold this year. A perennial winner of “South Bay’s Best” brunch, you can rest assured that the food and service are top notch. Expect to see roasted turkey, hand-carved to your liking, and dressed with all of the homespun trimmings. Additionally, the carvery will feature certified Angus prime rib and honey-baked ham.  As always, the brunch centerpiece is the cold seafood bar. The Thanksgiving Day brunch includes free-flowing champagne as well as all of the popular breakfast items. The brunch services will begin at 11a.m., and conclude at 3p.m., at which time the breakfast items will be replaced with dinner entrees such as swordfish, chicken artichoke, beef Bourguignon and more. This holiday brunch and dinner is priced at $38 for adults. Reservations are highly recommended.

    Details: (310) 833-3553
    Venue: 1200 Nagoya Way, San Pedro

    James RepublicJames Republic

    For those of you non-traditionalists, consider Thanksgiving reinvented at James Republic in downtown Long Beach. James Republic assimilates flavors and techniques from traditional American cooking with well-known foreign components, giving you the best of both worlds. This past year James Republic offered a three-course menu including a spicy pumpkin soup or spinach salad, Mary’s organic stuffed turkey roulade and pumpkin pie for $45 per person. Of course, there are plenty of a la carte menu items like veal crepinette, or smaller plates like persimmon carpaccio or oxtail poutine. This year expect similar options and more. James Republic will be open from 2p.m. to 8p.m. Thanksgiving Day. For reservations see www.jamesrepublic.com.

    Details: (562) 901 – 0235
    Venue: 500 E. 1st St., Long Beach

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  • Cooking Tips and Tricks:

    How to Not Completely Screw Up Thanksgiving Dinner

    By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine Writer

    The holiday season comes at the same time every year, but somehow it always seems to sneak up out of nowhere.

    Stress ensues and often continues all the way to New Year’s Day. And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s here again.

    This year Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 26, exactly two weeks from the morning this edition of Random Lengths hit the streets. That tends to set the tone for the rest of holiday parties leading up to the New Year, so let’s make sure we don’t get off to a rocky start.  I did you all a favor. I talked to some of the best chefs in the Harbor Area and had them share some cooking tips and tricks for making Thanksgiving dinner run as smoothly as possible. You can thank me later.
    Brine your turkey

    You need to brine your turkey. Period. End of story. Regardless of if you prefer a wet brine or a dry brine, it needs to happen. Dustin Trani, the executive chef of J. Trani’s in San Pedro, says the trick is to never let it brine for longer than 24 hours. The point of brining a turkey is to cure the outside so that you keep the moisture and juices in the bird. If you do it too long, it breaks down the bird. If you don’t do it long enough, it’s like dipping the turkey in salt water. That does nothing. At the very minimum, brine it for eight hours, but again NEVER longer than 24 hours.

    Let Your Bird Rest

    Do not skip this part. The bird must rest after it gets out of the oven. Every chef I spoke to could not emphasize this enough. If you cut into the bird and you see all of that “wonderful juice” on the cutting board, there is a problem. That juice is no longer in your bird. Now it’s too late. Cook the bird according to the instructions and weight for your turkey. Aim for a center temperature of 145 degrees and then pull it out and let it rest until it comes up to 165 degrees. This is anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.

    Don’t Overcomplicate Anything

    For some of you, this next tip might sound blasphemous, but bear with me. If you have a tendency to dry out your turkey every year, Frank DeLoach, executive chef of Padre in Long Beach, suggests butchering your turkey before you cook it. I know, I struggled with that concept too, but let’s talk this one out. Thanksgiving is supposed to be enjoyable, the turkey included, so I’m open to any suggestion that makes my life a little easier on that day. Deconstruct the bird as you would a chicken, as the dark meat and light meat cook best at varying lengths of time.

    “Too many people overthink Thanksgiving. Just enjoy it,” he says.

    Don’t Stuff Your Bird

    As one chef said, “Don’t stuff your turkey. That’s stupid—that’s how you kill people. It actually creates bad bacteria and doesn’t cook out properly.”

    Well, that’s enough to instill fear in the masses, but more importantly, every chef agreed unanimously. Other tips for making stuffing include cutting your bread the day before; it dries out the bread so the stuffing holds more flavors.  Also, make sure to cut the bread cubes into small pieces. Big chunks of bread are obviously not bite size and are harder to eat.

    Canned Cranberry Sauce. Please Don’t

    Cranberry sauce is not rocket science, folks. At the very least you can make this from scratch. Executive Chef David MacLennan from James Republic likes to take fresh cranberries and pulse them in a food processor. Then add sugar, orange juice, a little zest and some Grand Marnier. Do this a couple of days in advance to let everything sit and marinate together. Throw that in the fridge and you’re done.

    So, You Want to Make a Casserole?

    I like the idea of casseroles but I don’t do well with soggy anything. If your idea of casserole includes throwing green beans in a baking dish with a can of cream of mushroom soup, I worry—unless, of course, you’re into brown mush. Then be my guest. Here’s a better way to do a casserole. MacLennan suggests making all of the components in separate parts to ensure a better consistency. Blanch the green beans in salt water, shock them in ice water to stop them from cooking, drain and dry. Make a mushroom cream sauce separately. The crispy onion topping is also fairly easy to make. Cut up shallots, toss in buttermilk and then dredge them in flour. Fry them up in a little pan and you’re good to go. Just reheat all of the components, layer and serve.

    Gina Ruccione has traveled all over Europe and Asia and has lived in almost every nook of Los Angeles County. You can visit her website at
    www.foodfashionfoolishfornication.com.

     

    Turkey Gravy:gravy, turkey, mash potatoes

    Gleaned from the New Orleans

    Is there any part of the meal that strikes more terror into the heart of the cook than the all important gravy? Many folks just open a packet or a can and call it good. Most wonder, where does a gravy even come from?

    There are three simple components to a gravy: a thickening agent, the “drippings” or at least a stock, and the seasonings. My tip focuses on the third, assuming the first two are under control.

    What makes a gravy memorable is its consistency. For Thanksgiving turkey gravy, I have found two ways.

    First, if you do not put your dressing inside the turkey, stuff the cavity of the bird with celery, onion, red and green bell peppers and carrots. When the bird is done, fetch the vegetables and add them to the start of your gravy. Using an immersion blender will render the gravy into smooth, velvety deliciousness, with a lovely sheen across the surface. The abundant flavor comes from the fact the vegetables have cooked inside of the turkey for hours.

    If you do stuff the turkey, roast in a pan that has enough space to place the vegetables around the turkey, to take in some of the flavor from the bird. The seasoning will take less time than the turkey, so either start with the vegetables in the pan and take them out after a couple of hours, or put them on the pan when the turkey is within two hours of being done. They will blend in just as easily as when they are inside the turkey. However, do make sure they are entirely cooked. They should be complete mush.

    For the full recipe, email nmunster@portsocalldining.com

     — Noramae Munster,  Culinary Director at Ports O’ Call Waterfront Dining.

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  • 1,000 Strikes:

    Picketers form the Port Truckers Strike press conference in October. Photo by Slobodan Dimitrov

    Port Trucker Says They’re Not About to Stop

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor
     
    From Oct. 26 through 30, port truckers engaged in their eighth unfair labor practices strike in the past two years. But on the last day, José Portillo, who works for Intermodal Bridge Transport, told the Los Angeles City Council, “If it takes 1,000 strikes, that’s what we’re going to do, because we’ve got to change this industry and we’ve got to stop wage theft.”

    Portillo was testifying for a resolution of support, co-authored by Councilman Joe Buscaino, which was subsequently passed 11-0.

    That same day, 14 new drivers filed “wage and hour” claims valued at $3.5 million with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and an additional 19 DLSE claims were in the process of being completed and filed, according to a Teamster press release—a clear signal that the strike’s end did not signal any letup in the struggle. So far, 705 claims have been filed, with 155 orders, decisions or awards. These totaled $12 million in back wages and penalties, with estimated liability for the remaining claims totaling more than $60 million.

    It was the first strike joined by drivers from Gold Point Transportation. It expanded to include warehouse workers from Cal Cartage, who suffer from similar sorts of unfair labor practices. Drivers from Pacific 9 Transportation remain out on strike.

    “It’s pretty incredible that these drivers have struck eight times in the last two years, and that the Pac 9 drivers remain on strike and it’s become very clear that this isn’t going away anytime soon,” Teamsters spokeswoman Barbara Maynard said. “José Portillo said ‘I will strike 1,000 times if that’s what it takes.’ That takes incredible bravery and strength to say that…. So the LA City Council heard that, loud and clear. They were very, very supportive and pledged to help, and meetings are being set up, and those things are moving forward.”

    Other drivers spoke out forcefully as well, before the council voted.

    “There have been weeks when I worked and made $2,200 gross and, after all the deductions, all I made to take home was $200 for the week,” said Humberto Canales, a striking XPO driver. “We’ve got to stop what’s going on.”

    His testimony was supported by payment records from different companies submitted to the council, showing that such treatment is common. One weekly statement showed a net loss of $617.06 for a week in July 2014.

    “They are stealing money from us,” said Isabel Samayola, another IBT striker. “We really, really need your help.”

    “I would like to thank the city council for [its] support,” Pac 9 striker Amador Rojas said. “This gives us strength to continue fighting so we get a better future.”

    “Thank you for helping expose the abuse that these workers have to endure each and every day in the Port of LA,” Teamsters Vice President Ron Herrera said.

    “The workers [who] came before us today are responsible for moving our goods,” Buscaino said, urging support for the resolution. “They make up the economic engine that has made our port complex what it is.”

    The resolution stated that the council, “reiterates its support for all the workers at the Port of Los Angeles, and calls on all companies who conduct business at the Port of Los Angeles to comply with federal and state employment and labor laws and provide them with the same wage and benefits protections afforded to all employees in our city.”

    The resolution was co-authored by Councilman Bob Blumenfield and Council President Herb Wesson, with Councilwoman Nury Martinez seconding. But two other council members delivered perhaps the most moving council testimony of the day.

    “I rise as the son of a Teamster and as the brother of a Teamster,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, triggering a round of spontaneous applause. “I want to reiterate my support. This is a basic request that all companies at the Port of Los Angeles comply with state and federal labor laws. It’s that simple. Our workers, our men and women in the Teamsters, and our workers at the Port of Los Angeles deserve that basic right, and their families need these benefits that they fight so hard for every day and that they work for every day. I personally know what that is like, growing up, as I said, as the son of a Teamster, so I urge a unanimous ‘aye’ vote on this important resolution. Let’s support our workers at the port.”

    Councilman Paul Koretz recalled perhaps the earliest hearing on the issue, which he convened a decade ago as chairman of the Labor and Employment Committee in the state Assembly. Among those in attendance was Rep. Janice Hahn, then a member of the LA City Council.

    “We were talking about wage theft, and we were talking about misclassification; we were talking about working conditions,” Koretz recalled. “The amazing thing is that this is still an issue, and we still haven’t found a way to resolve it…. I want to let you know that I, for one, am 100 percent behind you, as I always have been and I will be until we find a way to get this done. I believe I am speaking for most, if not all, of my colleagues in saying that as well. We are behind you. We want to get the word out. And we want to solve this problem.”

    And the message is getting through to the industry as well.

    “We’re hearing rumblings out there on the grapevine that people recognize clearly that change is coming—and, by ‘people,’ I mean the industry recognizes changes coming,” spokeswoman Barbara Maynard said. “It’s very, very clear that the fight really is on, and it’s not just on at of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but it’s on across America. These strikes are not going to stop. The number of wage and hour claims filed with the California division of labor standards enforcement is growing every single week.”

    And it’s not just a matter of port truckers and warehouse workers, she said.

    “On Tuesday [Nov. 10], there’s a national day of action for low-wage workers, there’s going to be activities in cities across America including here in Los Angeles, port truck drivers are participating with that, and as a part of that, they are filing claims on Tuesday at the Long Beach office of the DLS. They will also be out protesting with other low-wage workers demanding change.”

    Maynard cited a wide range of deceptive labor practices in different industries that are increasingly recognized as illegal—misclassification of independent contractors, using staffing agencies to employ workers as “permatemps” with low wages, no benefits or worker protections, or using franchising, as with McDonald’s, to avoid dealing with workers altogether.

    “What we’re finally starting to see,” Maynard said, is “workers across America have peeled the curtain back on the root causes of income inequality and the party’s on. The party’s on not just at their individual workplace, in the industries that they work in, but it’s also on because these workers are really demanding that the presidential candidates take ownership and demand change and offer solutions when they get elected to the White House.

    “We’ve certainly seen that with the popularity of Bernie Sanders’ candidacy, with Hillary Clinton’s candidacy taking on some of these really big issues, that otherwise would have been the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the room that nobody mentioned,” Maynard said.

    Locally, new action by Los Angeles County is expected soon. “On Nov. 17, the County of Los Angeles, the Board of Supervisors is going to have a hearing on wage theft, and port drivers will be central to that hearing, and to that discussion, and the ultimate policies that come out of it,” Maynard said. “There are many port trucking companies that are in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles and those companies are misclassifying workers and stealing the workers wages. Having the County of Los Angeles weighing in on this is very, very important.”

    In July, the supervisors—approving a measure drafted by Supervisor Hilda Solis, former Secretary of Labor in Obama’s first term—requested two reports dealing with the issue of wage theft to inform their actions.

    The first report, was to be “an analysis of the county’s legal authority to regulate wage theft… and its authority to enforce municipal, state, and federal wage theft laws,” while the second called for a “recommendation for the most effective and efficient model by which the county can enforce wage theft regulations.”

    “It’s important to provide enforcement tools against those [who] would take advantage of our employees,” said Solis, shortly before the vote.

    “Wage theft is 20 percent higher in Los Angeles County than the national average,” Victor Narro, a project director of UCLA Davis Center, told the supervisors.

    Port truckers, forced to shoulder the burden of paying for the ports’ clean truck revolution are even more hard-hit than most of Los Angeles’ wage theft victims and are clearly looking forward to the county taking action.

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