• 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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  • Balam Mexican Kitchen Brings Gourmet Tacos to Lynwood

    By Gina Ruccione Cuisine and Restaurant Writer

    Taco shops are ubiquitous in the Harbor Area. Anyone could pick up a rock, throw it, and it would hit a Mexican restaurant, but Balam Mexican Kitchen in Lynwood is unlike anything around for miles.

    Balam Origins

    In Mayan, “balam” means “jaguar” and at Balam Mexican Kitchen, Chef Manuel “Kornie” Bañuelos is the bearded beast of a chef responsible for cranking out tacos that are basically to die for.

    Bañuelos moved to Lywood from Guadalajara in October, just three weeks before opening Balam in a former fast-food stand. Originally, he was set to open a fine dining restaurant in Laguna Beach, but as it is with so many restaurants that are set to open on schedule, plans change. For my own selfish reasons, I’m glad he rooted in Lynwood. Chefs flock to affluent areas on the regular, thinking they’re going to be the next best thing. It’s nice to see a young, well-rounded, creative type nesting in our neck of the woods.

    The menu is simple—only 10 signature dishes, each served with custom garnishes and sauces. But any of them can be prepared and then plated as tacos, burritos, torta ahogada or quesadillas.

    June 11 was Tacolandia, the 4th annual taco festival in Los Angeles. There were more than 140 vendors from Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Baja California and about 9,000 attendees. Bañuelos took home the award for Best in Taco Innovation.

    How innovative could tacos possibly be? They’re just meat and tortillas, right? Wrong. The Tropical T taco is coconut shrimp, mango pico de gallo, toasted pumpkin seeds on a “tortilla” made from a carefully sliced, hibiscus infused Jicama root.  It was out of this world: fresh, crisp and clever.

    Of course, there are the options that veer towards the classic—like pork carnitas or braised pulled pork shoulder—but it’s fun to play around with familiar flavors in a way one would least expect. The chicken tinga masala, a traditional Indian dish, but served up on a tortilla, fuses two wonderful, albeit similar cuisines in spice and garnish. That was unexpected but wonderful.

    Korean barbeque has been popularized by foodies and food truck followers for years, so the Korean asada with bulgogi beef is a perfect addition to an out-of-the-box taco menu.

    Don’t worry vegetarians, Balam  also accommodates your kind also. The kuuxum (mushroom in Mayan) and rajas feature mushrooms and peppers, respectively. Both pack plenty of flavor and are  unique, as opposed to the old potato tacos I see everywhere else.

    I ordered all 10 options (no surprise there) and I ate all of them (again no surprise at all)! There wasn’t one taco that I didn’t enjoy and at $2.74 a taco, the price is right too.

    Want some more good news? Their beer and wine license was approved, so they’ll be pouring craft brews from our very own Phantom Carriage Brewery in Carson. Tacos and beer just in time for summer. Looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time in Lynwood.

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

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: June 28, 2016

    June 29
    NWSPNC Community Vision Committee  
    The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council Community Vision Committee will meet June 29.
    Time: 6 p.m. June 29
    Details:  Agenda
    Venue: City Hall Building, 638 Beacon St., Room 452, San Pedro


    June 30
    NWSPNC Special Executive Committee Meeting 
    The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council is hosting a special executive committee meeting.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. June 30
    Details: Agenda
    Venue: City Hall Building, 638 Beacon St., Room 452, San Pedro


    July 1
    F&M Care Packages for Troops
    Now until July 1st, all F&M offices will be collecting unopened travel size personal hygiene items and non-perishable snack for our troops. All donations go to Homefront America Inc., who package iCare Kits for deploying and returning service-members, as well as wounded warriors at military hospitals. The two Fourth District F&M offices are at 3140 E. Anaheim St. and 2302 Bellflower Blvd. in Long Beach.


    July 4
    Foster Volunteers Urgently Needed
    LA Animal Services is gearing up for the busiest time of the year and we need your help to create life-saving space in our City shelters.
    The July 4th Holiday and fireworks will cause an influx of lost and frightened dogs and cats. You can foster a shelter animal for just four days (or more) and create life-saving space for orphan and abandoned shelter pets.
    The shelters are open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to  5 p.m. They are closed on the Fourth of July.  To find the shelter closest to you, visit: LAAnimalServices.com/shelters or call (888) 452-7381.


    July 8
    Measure A Citizen Oversight Committee Applications Now Available 
    Applications for the five-member Measure A Citizen Oversight Committee have been made available by the office of Mayor Robert Garcia. The mayor’s office will accept applications until July 8, after which Garcia will submit his five choices to the Long Beach City Council for approval.  The committee will begin meeting in August. Members must be Long Beach residents.
    Garcia and the council committed to only spending new revenue on infrastructure and public safety. The Citizen Oversight Committee will be charged with ensuring the revenue is spent on those items.  Applications are available at http://longbeach.gov/mayor/action/commissions.


    July 9
    Awakening the Dreamer Symposium
    Community members are invited to a free event that connects environmental, social justice, and spiritual groups in a discussion about climate change, in a way that looks at what individuals and organizations can do locally.  This event is co-sponsored by the South Coast Interfaith Council and Green Long Beach.
    The event will be followed up two to three weeks later with an action day centered on improving corners of the city that are important to each individual or group.
    Time: 2 to 6 p.m. July 9
    Venue: Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach


    July 20
    LGBTQ Seniors Loving Relationships Workshop
    LGBTQ Seniors of Long Beach is inviting community members to participate in a workshop in which they can explore how self-esteem, past hurt and self-doubt affect relationships. Participants will explore concepts on how to practice self-care and the connection between self-love and loving relationships. Food and beverages will be provided
    Time: 2 to 3:30  p.m.
    Details: (562) 434-4455
    Venue: The Center Long Beach, 2017 E. 4th St., Long Beach


    July 27
    North Division Commander’s Community Meeting
    Residents and business owners are invited to join Long Beach Police North Division Commander Rudy Komisza for a community meeting.
    Topics of discussion will include:

    • Crime trends in your neighborhood
    • Learn how to stay safe and not become a victim of crime

    Time: 6 p.m. July 27
    Details: lbpdnorth@longbeach.gov
    Venue: Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach

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  • News

    RL NEWS Briefs/Updates: June 28, 2016

    Man Killed in Drive-By Shooting

    SAN PEDRO — A man, believed to be in his 20s, was killed on June 23 at 2 a.m., while walking near the intersection of Palos Verdes Street and 9th Street in San Pedro. The man’s name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.
    Los Angeles Police Department officials said that a maroon vehicle drove up to the man and someone opened fire. The man tried running but collapsed and died, officials said.
    Investigators do not believe the shooting was gang related.


    Best Western Plus Comes to San Pedro

    SAN PEDRO — San Diego-based hotel management and consulting company, RAR Hospitality, recently announced the addition of Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites to the Harbor Area.
    The boutique 60-room Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites is a Victorian-style hotel attracting both business and leisure guests, accommodating from one-night to extended stays.
    San Pedro provides complimentary shuttle service to cruise terminals at San Pedro World Cruise Terminal and is near Long Beach Convention Center, Catalina Island, and Port of Los Angeles. The hotel features a renovated 2,000 square-foot meeting and conference space, exercise facility with panoramic bay views, outdoor pool and jacuzzi, 24-hour business center and multilingual staff fluent in English, Spanish and French.
    Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites is at 111 S Gaffey Street in San Pedro, 90731. Details: (858) 239-1800; www.RARHospitality.com


    Homeless Update

    SAN PEDRO — In April, the Emergency Response Team met with 145 homeless people, 85 percent of whom are from the Harbor Area. A common narrative is that many people lost their homes during the recession and have been homeless since. In April, six shelter placements were made including one family (three of the placements were from Wilmington and three from San Pedro).
    In May, the Emergency Response Team participated in a four day consecutive joint outreach with Harbor Interfaith, Veteran Resources and the County Department of Mental Health SB-82 team. The ERT met with 61 people and took them to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Social Security offices. For the entire month of May the team met with 170 people, 88 percent of whom were from the Harbor area. The team also made seven housing placements including three permanent housing and four shelter placements.


    Three People Charged with the Murder of Teenager

    LONG BEACH — On June 27, the Long Beach Police Department announced it has arrested three people in connection with the murder of 16-year-old Geron Lacy of Long Beach.
    Police arrested Maria Martha Macias, Tryone Devonte and Marvin Tyree Lard in connection to a May 3 shooting that resulted in Geron’s death.
    The incident took place at about 7 p.m. in the 3300 block of 65th Street in Long Beach. Officers found Geron with a gunshot to the upper torso. Geron was declared dead at the scene. Investigators determined that Geron was involved in a physical fight with the suspects. The incident is being investigated as gang related and the investigation remains ongoing.
    Macias, 23, is a resident of Long Beach. She was arrested on June 17, arraigned on June 20 and charged with murder. She is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail with a bail set at $3 million.
    Devonte, 19, is a resident of Los Angeles. He was arrested June 22, arraigned June 24 and charged with murder as an ex-felon with a gun. He is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail with bail set at $3.035 million.
    Lard, 19, is a resident of Bellflower. He was arrested June 25, arraigned June 27 and was charged with murder. He is being held at Los Angeles County Jail with bail set at $3 million.
    Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.


    Two Cars Hit Woman

    LONG BEACH — On June 26, a woman died after crossing the street near the intersection of Anaheim Street and Ohio Avenue.
    Police officials said that a white or beige Ford Expedition was traveling west on Anaheim Street, and hit her while she walked through an unmarked crosswalk. The vehicle then reversed and made a right turn on Ohio Avenue, hitting the woman again before leaving the scene. A second car, a 2006 Cadillac, later hit the woman, but the driver remained.
    Long Beach Fire Department personnel pronounced the woman dead at the scene. The woman’s name is being withheld next of kin notification.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call (562) 570-7355 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.


    Pearce Names Chief of Staff

    LONG BEACH — Councilwoman-elect Jeannine Pearce announced Devin Cotter as her choice for chief of staff. Pearce is preparing to take office in the second district on the Long Beach City Council.
    Cotter has worked in Mayor Robert Garcia’s office since 2014, and served as campaign manager for both Garcia and Measure A and B. Prior to working in Long Beach, Cotter worked in public policy on the local and state level. He also consulted on numerous political campaigns.
    As chief of staff, Cotter will be responsible for advising Pearce on district staff selection and implementing policy agendas. He will also oversee the district’s budget and manage community engagement initiatives.


    Man Dies After Apartment Fire in Long Beach

    LONG BEACH — On June 22, a man was killed in a residential structure fire in the 500 block of West 7th Street.
    The man was pronounced deceased at the hospital. He had suspicious injuries. The Long Beach Homicide Detective is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire as well as the man’s death.
    The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office will identify the victim and the cause of death pending next of kin notification.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.


    Long Beach to Pay $3 Million to Family of Tyler Woods

    LONG BEACH — On June 22, a federal jury in Los Angeles awarded $1.05 million to the family of Tyler Woods.
    Woods, 19, was shot by Long Beach Police in 2013, after fleeing from officers at a traffic stop. Woods was wanted in connection to a carjacking in Los Angeles. Woods fled to the rooftop of an apartment building along the 500 block of Nebraska, where he was shot at least 19 times by police, despite being unarmed and holding up his hands to surrender.
    His parents, Trevor and Tyra Woods, filed a $10 million lawsuit alleging excessive force against the Long Beach Police Department.
    Long Beach also agreed to pay an additional $1.9 million to Woods’ son.


    Motorcyclist Killed in Traffic Collision

    LONG BEACH — On June 20, a motorcyclist was killed after a collision with a pick-up truck at 7th Street and Newport Avenue. Despite the attempts of officers, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
    The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2000 Toyota Tacoma, driven by a 70-year-old man, tried to turn left on Newport Avenue before hitting a 2008 Harley Davidson Sportster. A 33-year-old man who was a resident of the City of Commerce was driving the motorcycle.
    The motorcyclist’s identification is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
    Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is asked to call (562) 570-7355.


    LB Council Votes on Med-pot Alternative

    LONG BEACH — On June 22, the Long Beach City Council voted 7-1 to allow a petition-driven initiative for medical marijuana dispensaries to be on the November ballot.
    In early June, a group led by Bob Kelton, turned in about 35,000 signatures proposing an ordinance that would allow numerous medical marijuana dispensaries in Long Beach, with some operating restrictions and a 6 percent tax level.
    The city clerk is still verifying that enough of the signatures are from legally registered voters.
    Councilwoman Suzie Price offered a delivery-only proposal before expanding to storefronts. But, she wanted to postpone a vote until the July 5 meeting because Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilman Al Austin were absent. She asked the city manager and city attorney to start preparing an impact analysis if the ballot initiative were to pass.
    Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson said he couldn’t support Price’s alternative, but that a study might make sense. Then Uranga said that the council had turned down Price’s proposal once and didn’t need to address it again. He made a motion to receive and file Price’s request.
    Price’s motion failed 6-2, with Councilwoman Stacy Mungo voting in Price’s favor.


    St. Mary’s Foundation Raised $220,000

    LONG BEACH – St. Mary Medical Center announced June 27 that it has exceeded its goal to raise $175,000 through this year’s Hospital Family Campaign with a grand total of $220,680.
    About 664 St. Mary Medical Center employees donated money to support vital programs and services at the hospital, including the areas of greatest need at the Low Vision Center, the Bazzeni Wellness Center and the healthcare access program, Families in Good Health.
    The Hospital Family Campaign set a new record for St. Mary, both in revenue generated and employee participation with having exceeded 60 percent.
    The Campaign was comprised of 85 team captains representing various departments throughout St. Mary. About 160 employees joined the Foundation 21 Society (donors of $500 or more) and 49 Champion Leaders (donors of $1,000 or more.
    St. Mary relies on charitable donations from community friends, private foundations, grateful patients, physicians and other supporters.
    “Donations from employees directly impact patient care while demonstrating that charitable support of St. Mary starts with our own employees,” Foundation President Drew Gagner said.
    Details: dignityhealth.org/stmarymedical


    Trump Protest No. 3

    Photo courtesy of Rachel BruhnkeRancho Palos Verdes — On June 22, members of Berners Against Militarism and San Pedro Neighbors for Peace and Justice protested outside Trump “National” Golf Course.
    Participants called for an end to the U.S. promotion of violence at home and abroad, and a focus on human and planetary needs as the only means to peace, justice and sustainability.
    Trump private security was called on the participants. Later the local sheriff’s department also showed up. The demonstrators were told that the sheriff’s department said they were not allowed to take pictures of the “Trump National Golf Course” sign. The group replied that they were within their First Amendment rights, not only to protest on public property, but to take pictures of the Trump sign. The golf course, they said, was not-as of yet-a military installation, and that they therefore had a First Amendment Right to photograph it, and to promote their political opposition to Donald Trump and to U.S. militarism through the press, social media outlets and in peaceful assembly. The group freely left their demonstration as planned.


    Tanaka Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison

    LOS ANGELES – Paul Tanaka, who was the second in command of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, was sentenced June 27 to 60 months in federal prison for his conviction on obstruction of justice charges stemming from him leading the LASD’s efforts to derail a federal investigation into corruption and civil rights violations by sheriff’s deputies at two downtown jail complexes.
    Tanaka, 57, a resident of Gardena, left the LASD in 2013 when he was the undersheriff. In addition to the five-year prison term, which Tanaka was ordered to begin serving on Aug. 1, he was ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.
    A federal jury on April 6 found Tanaka guilty of two felony offenses – conspiring to obstruct justice and a substantive count of obstructing justice. After a 10-day trial, a federal jury deliberated for only a few hours before convicting Tanaka of being the head of a broad conspiracy to obstruct the federal investigation, a scheme that started when the LASD learned that an inmate at the Men’s Central Jail was an FBI informant. Tanaka directed a conspiracy that has resulted in the conviction of other former LASD officials who received sentences of up to 41 months in prison.
    Tanaka ran an unsuccessful campaign for sheriff in 2014. As he rose through ranks during a 31-year career with the LASD, Tanaka became well aware of problems with deputies at the jails, allegations of rampant abuse of inmates and insufficient internal investigations into deputy misconduct.
    “During his time as an executive, defendant threatened to discipline
    supervisors who frequently referred deputies to Internal Affairs, transferred captains who tried to reduce deputy abuse and break up cliques, instructed deputies to work in the ‘gray area’ of law enforcement, and expressed his desire to gut Internal Affairs,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
    The scheme to disrupt the federal investigation started in August 2011 when deputies recovered a mobile phone from an inmate in Men’s Central Jail, linked the phone to the FBI, and determined that the inmate was an informant in the FBI’s corruption and civil rights investigation. The phone was given to the inmate as part of an undercover investigation by a corrupt deputy, who subsequently pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge and was recently sentenced to federal prison.
    In response to the federal investigation, members of the Tanaka-led conspiracy took steps to hide the cooperator from the FBI and the United States Marshals Service, which was attempting to bring the inmate to testify before a federal grand jury. The evidence presented during Tanaka’s trial showed that the deputies altered records to make it appear that the cooperator had been released from jail, when in fact he had been re-booked into custody under a fake name and moved to an LASD patrol station. Members of the conspiracy prohibited FBI access to the informant, and then told the cooperator that he had been abandoned by the FBI.
    Over the course of several weeks, members of the conspiracy sought an order from a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to compel the FBI to turn over information about its investigation to the LASD. After the judge refused to issue the order because he had no jurisdiction over the federal law enforcement agency – and even though it was clear that the FBI was acting legally – two LASD sergeants confronted the lead FBI agent at her residence in an attempt to intimidate her. The sergeants threatened the agent with arrest and later reiterated this threat to her supervisor, stating that the agent’s arrest was imminent.
    Tanaka oversaw co-conspirators who told fellow deputies not to cooperate in the federal investigation. Members of the conspiracy engaged in witness tampering by ordering fellow deputies not to speak to the federal government and telling them that the FBI would lie, threaten, manipulate and blackmail them to obtain information about the Sheriff’s Department.
    Tanaka was indicted this past year along with William Thomas Carey, a former LASD Captain who headed the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau. Carey pleaded guilty last year and is pending sentencing. A total of 10 members of the department – including former Sheriff Leroy Baca – have been convicted in relation to the scheme to obstruct justice. Baca, who pleaded guilty in February pursuant to a plea agreement, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.
    Six other defendants, including former Sheriff Leroy Baca, are scheduled for sentencing later this year.


    Assembly Committee Passes Bill for Traffic Amnesty

    SACRAMENTO — On June 20, the Assembly Transportation Committee voted 8-4 in favor of legislation preventing automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for those who fail to appear in court or pay fines for minor traffic offenses. The legislation has already passed in the Senate, and will go on to the Assembly Public Safety Committee for consideration.
    Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said that the bill would end an overly harsh punishment.
    “The truth of the matter is we have created the modern equivalent of debtor’s prison by taking away people’s driver’s licenses or throwing them in jail simply because they are too poor to pay a fine,” Hertzberg said. “We must restore common sense to our justice system, treat the poor with decency and fairness and give working Californians a chance to make amends without jeopardizing their jobs or families.”
    The legislation does not apply to offenses involving reckless driving or driving under the influence.


    Congress Members Calls for Action on Gun Violence

    Washington, D.C. — On June 22, Georgia Rep. John Lewis and Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark led member of the House Democratic Caucus in sit-in protest.
    The representatives declared their intention to remain on the floor until Republican Speaker Paul Ryan allowed for votes on gun safety legislation.
    About 60 legislators, including Rep. Janice Hahn, joined the sit in, which came on the heels of the June 12, mass-shooting in Orlando, Fla.

    “The American people are sick of silence,” Hahn said. “They are demanding that Congress take action and protect their families. This nation has just witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in history and more people are dying every day. If we do not take action now, when will we? Inaction is tantamount to being complicit in the next attack. I cannot stand for that.
    “I am proud to join this sit-in with Congressman John Lewis (who knows a thing or two about sit-ins). We will not yield the floor until we get a vote on gun reform.”
    Two days prior to the sit in, on June 20, four gun control measures failed to pass in the Senate.
    Speaker pro tempore Dan Webster, ordered a recess in an attempt to circumvent media coverage. C-SPAN shut off. However, Democrats refused to leave the floor during this recess. Instead, they used their own cell phones to stream their speeches using Facebook and other social media tool.
    “No Bill, No Break!” legislators chanted.
    Ryan reconvened the House at about 10 p.m. June 22, and again at 2:30 am. June. He adjourned the House until July 5.
    Democrats remained on the floor. The sit-in ended at around noon on June 23.


    SCOTUS Deadlocks on Immigration Plan

    WASHINGTON D.C. — On June 23, the Supreme Court ruled 4-4 on the case United States v. Texas. The case is related to the Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents plan, which would give certain illegal immigrants an exemption from deportation, as well as a three-year, renewable work permit.
    The decision allows a lower court’s ruling against President Obama’s immigration policy to stand.
    The split decision is a consequence of Republican refusal to consider Judge Merrick B. Garland to fill the space left when Justice Antonin Scalia died earlier this year.
    The ruling also means a congressional compromise must take place to change immigration laws.

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  • THE CLEAN HOUSE @ Little Fish Theatre

    There are no rules in theatre. Sure, you can say there must be characters (although Samuel Beckett’s Breath, what?) or that there’s got to be some sort of stage/frame where the play takes place, but you’d be missing the point. In spirit, there may be conventions, but there are no rules.

    So why does Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House—a not especially unconventional play—feel like it’s breaking a rule it should have followed? That imaginary rule would be something about having an emotional center. The Clean House doesn’t have one, and as a result it elicits only traces of feelings, like a pulse so thready that we can’t trace it back to a beating heart.

    Lane (Amanda Karr) hasn’t seen much of her husband Charles (Stephen Alan Carver) lately. They’re both doctors, but it seems he’s had a sudden surge of surgeries. What she doesn’t know is that he’s found his soulmate in Ana (Susie McCarthy), on whom he’s just performed a double mastectomy. The person’s Lane is seeing the most of these days is Matilde (Lucia Estevao Lopes), the couple’s housecleaner who gets depressed by cleaning houses. Matilde wants to be a comedian, while Lane’s sister Virginia (Deb Snyder) just wants a purpose. She just so happens to love cleaning, so she secretly takes over Matilde’s workload, leaving the latter free to attempt to craft the perfect joke.

    Usually the term ensemble piece is reserved for big casts, but it fits here because not only doesn’t The Clean House center on any of these characters, it never zooms in for an emotional close-up on any of them. The only one who has any sort of character arc is Lane; the rest remain exactly the people we first meet (even if neat-freak Virginia does get angry and make a mess), people we never really get to know. Even as Lane comes to forgive and even love Ana, for example, we never really know why, because we don’t really know that much about either of them. One day on Ana’s balcony Lane just gushes about how Ana glows, as if a magic spell has been cast on her.

    Magic may really have something to do with it. The Clean House seems to at least make a head fake in the direction of magical realism, an angle that Little Fish’s production seems to play up (for example, when apples thrown off Ana and Charles’s balcony are seen by Lane as she lay on her sofa). But like the emotional substance of the play, this feels vague and ungrounded.

    There’s nothing wrong with the acting. Lopes is doing a Lucille Ball-meets-Yakov Smirnoff thing that seems about right for Matilde. The antagonism and eventual thawing between Lane and Virginia feels properly sororal. And although Charles and Ana aren’t speaking characters until after intermission, Carver and McCarthy immediately put as much flesh on their roles as Ruhl has written. But with so little happening at the subterranean level of the dramatis personae, a cast can go only so deep.

    If the script has a strength, it’s Ruhl’s take on living or not living fully, whether in the face of death or in the midst of health. “Life is about context,” says Lane, who on the surface seems to have everything going for her but has probably never faced how ill equipped she is to embrace life. Meanwhile, Virginia is brave enough to admit to herself that her life has gone downhill since she was 22 and is flailing away to find a purpose. There’s a desperation about her, but desperation is living, right? Then there’s Ana, who is at the peak of living even as her body is fatally betraying her. “Everyone’s always dying lying down,” she says. “I want to die standing up.”

    The Clean House was a Pulitzer finalist that the New York Times calls “[f]resh, funny [and] imbued with a melancholy but somehow comforting philosophy.” For me, there’s just not enough to these characters to feel their joy and pain. But hey, within the last month I’ve been less than thrilled with two Tony winners for Best Play, so what do I know?

    THE CLEAN HOUSE LITTLE FISH THEATRE • 777 CENTRE ST • SAN PEDRO 90731 • 310.512.6030 • LITTLEFISHTHEATRE.ORG • FRI-SAT 8PM; JULY 7 (THU) 8PM; JUL 10 + 17 (SUN) 2PM • $25-27; WITH DINNER $38-48 • THROUGH JULY 17

    (Photo credit: Mickey Elliott)

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  • South Side Slim Talks Old, New School Blues

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    Within the first three months of his online radio program, Let’s Talk Blues, Henry Harris, aka South Side Slim, brought not only an engaging personality, but also the chops to showcase the entire timeline of the Los Angeles blues scene. This musician from the south side of Los Angeles regularly describes the balancing act that his radio show requires with his catchphrase, “Sponsored by Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, Let’s Talk Blues is dedicated to old school blues and artists true to the blues with the inclination to play jazz and beyond.”

    It wasn’t long after the show’s inception, that Slim found its authentic voice. His goal is simple enough—he wants to create an open and diverse program to allow more people to participate.

    launched only one week after the owner of Roscoe’s Media Center recruited Slim as host. Slim had absolutely no previous experience in radio but by the time the show debuted he did have a co-host­: Carolyn Gaines, the daughter of the blues master Roy Gaines. “We pulled it together for that show,” he recalled. “Carolyn had one of B.B. King’s daughters call in. I had a blues singer and actor come in, Roy Jones Sr. The show was good.”

    Gaines did not continue with Let’s Talk Blues. But Slim carried on, learning to run a radio show from the same person who had taught him to play guitar—himself.

    Let’s Talk Blues with South Side Slim

    Slim covers all eras of the blues, pulling from the mid-1920s to the 1960s He’s showcased greats such as Furry Lewis and Billy Lyons, with their song Stackolee.

    “I’ve heard a lot about that song,” Slim said. “It’s like an old folk tale. Stackolee is the kind of guy you don’t want to mess with. If you’re playing dice with him, as the lyric said,

    When you lose your money, learn to lose (or you might get shot).

    “I also played Jimmy Jackson and Larry Core and females like Bertha Chippie Hill, with  Trouble on My Mind …. Of course, these artists are black, there weren’t many white blues men in 1927. Also Charlie Pickens, Lonnie Johnson and Petie Wheatstraw.”

    Covering records from 1940s to 1960s, Slim has played Big Joe Turner and his Fly Cats, Jay McShann, Walter Brown and Lewis Jordan and his Tympany Five. He also has played songs from the incomparable Dinah Washington, Muddy Waters and Larry Davis.

    Slim also tries to add a little of his own music into the mix.

    “It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about spreading the word, but of course, I have to give myself some props too.”

    With the online radio platform Slim is focused on representing not only the players he’s worked with in South Central, but elsewhere also.

    “I’ve done so much extensive work with the blues and with my late friend Kari Fretham, including the documentary Hot Love On Me So Strong about the last few juke joints in South Central,” Slim said. “She did a great job chronicling the scene there. Many artists from South Central that are unknown played on the album. A few years back I did a CD called, South Side All Stars Doing Barnyard Hits, which has about 15 players from South Central on it. It’s all original and has players who should be known.”

    When his good friend, Fretham died this past December, she left so much documentation behind.

    “We were like a tag team,” Slim said. “After she left, everything was in my hands, the documentary, my biography, Sweetback Blues, The Twelve Bar Tale of South Side Slim and my CDs, including the ones I produced with Jerry Rosen. I was trying to figure out how to pull all of this together under one umbrella.”

    Out of nowhere, one day, Slim had a show at Roscoe’s Seabird Jazz Lounge in Long Beach and was talking to the owner of the club about how he worked with a lot of the artists that come through there to play.

    “So he told me he wanted me to do an interview on his radio show but when I got there, I was told, ‘No, he has different plans for you,’” Slim said. ‘He wants you to host an online blues radio show.’

    He was shocked but recognized an opportunity to pull all of his past work together.

    “It was a blessing and it’s nice to have a voice to speak on all my experiences over the last 25 years,” Slim said. “Los Angeles is a big county and a lot of people have the blues, Latinos, Asians, white people, we all have the blues. I want to diversify and respect the scene that I came up in.”

    Slim’s scene has been diverse. He started around 1990, through Babe’s and Ricki’s on 59th and Main streets. A lot of players of all ethnicities came through there. However, further on the south side, at the Pioneer Club and Pure Pleasure Lounge, for example, mostly black players performed. They mixed it up with rhythm and blues, and blues.

    “It wasn’t like Babe’s and Ricki’s, which was a melting pot,” Slim said. “That’s how I want my show to be, a melting pot, but I do want to dedicate it to old-school blues because there are just so many shows out there now that seem to have forgotten the traditional blues, in my opinion.”

    One of the goals for Roscoe’s is to eventually have monitors, broadcasting the radio station in all of its establishments as an entertainment feature.

    Never one for redundancy, Slim has presented an eclectic variety of guest artists on his show. Because he knows so many musicians, he was able to call friends such as Dr. Hank, a bluesman from the south side in his early shows. Recently, he had Mighty Mo Rodgers, a classic bluesman from Chicago, with his latest CD, Mud and Blood. He also hosted the local Lester Lands and Roy Goren, a 16-years-old, guitarist.

    On June 15, local legend Ray Brooks appeared. Brooks was nominated for the Blues Grammy in 1979 for his recording of Walk Out Like A Lady. Willie McNeil, a drummer and Hollywood legend who was the catalyst for South Side Slim’s contribution in the Paul McCartney, Early Days jam session video also showed up on June 21. Slim has an interview June 28, with a great guitar player from the east side of town, Joey Delgado with The Delgado Brothers.

    Slim didn’t initially know if he would have a guest each week but it became a regular thing he wanted to keep up. Now he pre-books his shows.

    Jazz and gospel singer and director of The World Stage in Leimert Park, Dwight Trible is coming on the show in July, as well as Alexander Gershman from the jazz band Sasha’s Block. Gershman just released a single called Runaway Blues billed as a jazz, gospel and blues crossover. It also features the a cappella band that sings everything from gospel, to R&B to jazz, Take 6.

    “I do a segment of old school blues from 1927 to 1940 on each show and I’ve also received CD’s from friends that I play, like Lucky Lloyd to Mike Wheeler and up and coming Chicago blues man,” Slim said. “I like to play some that are famous and some not so famous. So I play some up to date stuff from friends and I try to make it authentic. That is the basic goal. It’s only an hour show and there’s a lot of blues shows out there playing most of the stuff people hear all the time. Not too many radio stations are playing the old school blues anymore. Most play what is happening right now.”

    Check out Let’s Talk Blues at www.rmconair.com.

    To learn more about South Side Slim at www.southsideslim.com

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  • Primary Election Victors Look Toward November

    Congressional, State Senate Elections Could Get Nasty

    Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
     
    In the Los Angeles Harbor Area, Sen. Bernie Sanders found broad swaths of support, particularly in Wilmington and San Pedro, though not enough to turn them into “Bernie-towns.”

    More specifically, Sanders and Hillary Clinton finished in dead heats in precincts covered by the Central, Coastal and Wilmington neighborhood council districts, while Clinton had a commanding majority in the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council District.

    Los Angeles County Supervisors Race

    In the county supervisor’s race, Rep. Janice Hahn won the primaries by 27,000 votes.

    Wins in the Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbor Area, assured victory for the congresswoman. She also edged out her nearest rival, Steve Napolitano, in the beach cities but the margins were much narrower.

    Hahn garnered 55 percent of the vote in the neighborhood council districts of Wilmington and San Pedro, where she served three terms as Los Angeles City councilwoman.

    Hahn focused her campaign on Los Angeles County’s growing homeless and mentally ill populations, its transportation system and crime. She has frequently contended that with Congress locked in perpetual gridlock she believes she can get more done in local office.

    “My father, beloved County Supervisor Kenny Hahn, always stressed to me the importance of being a champion for the people,” said Hahn when she announced her candidacy in February 2015. “He instilled in me the values of courage, integrity and public service and, most importantly, the simple principle of always putting constituents and local neighborhoods first. With that philosophy in mind, I have decided not to run for re-election to Congress and instead enter the race for Los Angeles County Supervisor District 4.”

    Though the county supervisor’s seat is nonpartisan, Hahn is a Democrat and has been endorsed by fellow Democrats on the board, including Mark Ridley-Thomas, Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl

    The members of the dynasty opposing Hahn aren’t related by family blood, but by political philosophy and orderly tradition. Steve Napolitano, the former mayor of Manhattan Beach, has served as chief deputy on outgoing Supervisor Don Knabe’s staff since 2005. By pursuing his boss’s job—with his boss’s endorsement—Napolitano is also following in Knabe’s footprints.

    Knabe, a former mayor of Cerritos, was first elected to represent District 4 on the Board of Supervisors in 1996, when he succeeded his boss, Deane Dana, for whom he had served as chief of staff. Dana, who was retiring after 16 years as a supervisor, endorsed Knabe for the job.

    All three men are Republicans.

    Napolitano describes himself as a fiscal conservative but a social progressive. He and his family reside in Manhattan Beach, where he has lived all his life. While serving on that city’s council, he worked as a part-time teacher and put himself through Loyola Law School. He passed the bar in 2000.

    Napolitano’s three top priorities are fighting crime, homelessness, and addressing crumbling infrastructure and transportation.

    State Senate Election — District 35

    Warren Furutani came in second overall, after decisively winning nearly half the precincts in the Los Angeles Harbor Area and finishing second in Carson. Steve Bradford won overwhelming majorities in Carson, Compton, Inglewood, Gardena and the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Athens. Compton City Councilman Isaac Galvan also made strong showings in Athens, Inglewood, Long Beach and Compton, placing second behind Bradford in those areas, but a close third overall. Galvan was a couple of percentage points away from beating Furutani to make the runoff with Bradford.

    The close race may have resulted from  the  Galvan campaign’s misleading mailer to San Pedro residents trying to link former Assemblyman Furutani and Random Lengths News Publisher James Preston Allen to the tiny houses controversy that erupted in 2015.

    Galvan, the first Latino member of the Compton City Council, and also the youngest council member at 26, was investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Office regarding his ties to Pyramid Printers and its owner Angel Gonzalez. Reportedly Galvan was employed by Pyramid but Gonzalez, who was convicted in 2002 of sending out misleading campaign mailers, was also recently hired as Galvan’s assistant.

    Galvan’s campaign site says he runs his own graphics and printing brokerage firm but nothing about Pyramid or Gonzalez.

    Bradford has been endorsed by Rep. Janice Hahn and Isadore Hall to fill the open Senate District 35 seat.

    He was the first African American elected to the Gardena City Council, where he served for 12 years. He was then elected to represent Assembly District 51 in a 2009 special election. That followed a fullterm beginning in 2010. After redistricting, he was elected in 2012 to the Assembly District 62.  He helped pass 42 bills during that time. He served as chairman of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color.

    In a Feb. 10 interview Bradford told Random Lengths he’s running because of his commitment to public service, especially in regards to unresolved issues and unfinished business he left in Sacramento.

    He said that the most important issues are employment—“making sure we go back to work”— quality of education, and reform of the criminal justice system.

    Charlotte Svolos, a Republican schoolteacher and former Torrance commissioner, polled strongly in the precincts covered by Northwest and Coastal neighborhood council districts and won Torrance.

    This past April, Svolos explained that although Senate District 35 isn’t a Republican district, she considers herself a moderate.

    “I don’t take a hard line on traditional values,” she said. “I’m more a fiscal conservative, more libertarian.”

    Furutani, who served on the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees and three terms in the state assembly, may be the best situated to pick up votes in the areas Galvan won.

    Congressional Race — District 44

    Isadore Hall III won the primary by a healthy margin—33 percent to Nanette Barragan’s 19 percent—but well short of the 51 percent needed to avoid the runoff in the general election in November.

    The time, effort and local endorsements paid off with a win in San Pedro for Hall. The state senator also won Compton, Carson, Long Beach and Lynwood.

    Barragan won Wilmington, Harbor Gateway, South Gate, and trailed Hall by only a few percentage points in San Pedro.

    The former Hermosa Beach Mayor Pro Tem garnered enough votes to compete in the general election, but probably has more than a fighting chance of winning the seat as a real estate brouhaha exploded at Hall’s victory party on election night.

    Hall was served a subpoena by tenants of the Alameda Court condominium in Compton who are involved in a legal fight with the building’s owners to stay in their homes. In court documents—made available by the Barragan campaign—the plaintiffs alleged that Hall, also a tenant in the building, received preferential treatment. This was allegedly because of his role in getting the project approved almost 10 years ago, while he was a Compton city councilman.

    Interestingly enough, Hall was served an eviction notice in 2015 for nonpayment of rent and utilities by the owners of Alameda Court—documents also publicly released by the Barragan campaign.

    The tenants’ case is scheduled to be in court in October, just before the general election Nov. 8.

     

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  • Project SEARCH Builds Job Bridges

    By Adriana Catanzarite, Editorial Intern

    Finding a job is challenging for most people. But people with intellectual developmental disabilities often have a harder time with their search than the average Joe.

    Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center’s Project SEARCH is helping people like 21-year-old Michelle Rojas circumvent those challenges.

    “My teachers helped with my interview portion,” said Rojas, who has a speech impairment.

    “They’re taking me to a job fair to help me find work. I want to work at Target or Walmart, because I think I’d really like it there, and I’d be good at it.”

    Her communication skills have greatly improved.

    On June 8, Rojas and six of her peers graduated from the Project SEARCH class of 2016. Three of those graduates have already found jobs. The program provides job training and education via strategically designed internships for people with intellectual developmental disabilities.

    About Project SEARCH

    Kaiser Permanente South Bay is in its fourth year of  Project SEARCH, which began in 1996. It’s the only site in the South Bay offering the program. Kaiser Permanente partnered with Best Buddies, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Harbor Regional Center to provide this internship. The program provides education and job training in three 10-week rotations. When students graduate, Best Buddies helps get them a job matching their skills and qualifications from participating employers like Trader Joe’s or Madame Tussauds.

    San Pedro resident Tyler Zuieback recently graduated from Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center's Project SEARCH, an internship program for people with intellectual developmental disabilities.

    San Pedro resident Tyler Zuieback recently graduated from Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center’s Project SEARCH, an internship program for people with intellectual developmental disabilities.

    Each week, students are given onsite job training in various departments throughout Kaiser. They try to find a match for each student. If the student has an interest in medical health or pharmaceuticals, the program gives them the opportunity to work in that department. One of the graduates dreamt of being a chef, for example. Now, he works as a cook at Kaiser Permanente’s food services division.

    Kaiser Chief Administrative Officer Ozzie Martinez said it’s exciting to be a part of something that has such a huge impact on the community.

    “When we started this program we thought we were going to come out with this internship and provide an opportunity for young adults so they can be successful,” Martinez said. “Very quickly we learned we were receiving a bigger gift. The impact our interns have on our culture is incredible. They bring an incredible energy and dedication to the job.”

    Living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, an intellectual disability affects intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior. Basically a person with an intellectual disability learns at a slower rate. The Special Olympics estimates that about 6.5 million people in the United States are living with an intellectual disability.

    Though employers are not allowed to discriminate against applicants with disabilities, the unemployment rate for people with intellectual disabilities is 85 percent, according to National Core Indicators. But programs such as Project SEARCH may steadily change that statistic.

    Unemployment among those with intellectual disability is so high because society is largely misinformed about what they think people with an intellectual disability can accomplish, Martinez said. He’s also noticed that many incoming interns also lacked confidence in their abilities. By providing a support system, the majority of students were able to become more independent and follow their passions.

    “The level of professionalism in our interns is incredible,” Martinez said. “They show up, they are present; they’re dedicated and they have ownership and responsibility. They really become examples of the type of employees that we want to see.”

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  • Buscaino Discovers the Homeless are his Own

    Emergency Response Team meets with 145 homeless people, 85% call the Harbor Area home

    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    It has been more than 10 months since Councilman Joe Buscaino held his San Pedro Forum on Homelessness at the Warner Grand Theatre, where  he reiterated the commonly held belief that neighboring cities were busing their homeless to the San Pedro area.

    He vowed he would stop this practice and called for greater cooperation amongst local cities to curb the importation of homeless people. Then he appointed a special task force to deal with the issue. The San Pedro Homeless Taskforce still hasn’t reported its findings. The homeless problem persists. Only it’s not what Buscaino expected.

    In Buscaino’s weekly e-news bulletin, he reports that, “In April, the Emergency Response Team met with 145 homeless individuals, 85 percent of whom are from the Harbor Area.”

    The report continues on about the reported results in the month of May that, “the team met with 170 individuals, 88 percent of whom were from the Harbor Area.”

    These reports from his trusted sources are similar to, but higher than national statistics, that show that most people who are homeless live in places in which they were reared and lived in a home.

    The reality is that the people whom we have come to call “homeless” in our neighborhoods (at least some 85 to 88 percent) are in fact right at home because this is where they came from. They just don’t have a roof over their heads with a permanent address.

    This fact flies in the face of tightly held prejudices that perceive the homeless in our communities as outsiders. The councilman now must recognize them as his constituents.

    The Cost of Sweeping Homeless

    This is a hard fact to swallow for the indignant Saving San Pedro crowd after shaming the homeless on social media and having consistently called for more encampment sweeps to the tune of $30,000 per action.

    It was reported at one of the recent Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meetings that there have been 27 such sweeps in the Harbor Area since the end of last summer, possibly more by now. By my estimation, the sweeps have cost the taxpayers of Los Angeles somewhere around $810,000.

    In addition to this expense, the police routinely issue tickets for infractions for any of the 24 municipal codes of which the homeless could be in violation, just by existing in a public space. Most of these tickets go to warrant for failure to appear. This only adds to the public expense and burden to the superior courts­, not to mention the cost to the homeless themselves. This criminalization of the poor has become a revolving door with a downward spiral. It’s part of what keeps the homeless, homeless. None other than the U.S. Department of Justice has recognized this vicious cycle for what it is: a civil rights violation that jeopardizes federal housing grants to our city. Enforcement actions such as the ones this city has used do nothing but make city officials look responsive.

    In response to the Los Angeles Police Department’s growing awareness that we can’t arrest our way out of homelessness. Los Angeles Police commission and the Los Angeles police chief, Charlie Beck, issued new policy guidelines this week that change  how officers approach the mentally ill and homeless populations. This policy change comes after two officer involved shootings of homeless people in the past few years. One of those shootings was judged “out of policy” and the officer is being criminally prosecuted.

    Clearly there must be more creative and effective ways to spend $810,000 in Council District 15 and the rest of Los Angeles. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the estimated $80 million spent on police and fire department to react to the homeless crisis isn’t working either.

    Homelessness itself is not a crime. We as neighbors and as citizens of this city and nation must not continue down this misconceived path. The homeless are our neighbors without shelter.  If this were any other kind of crisis that left 46,000 residents countywide without shelter for even a day, someone would call for the Red Cross and the National Guard to step in.

    In Los Angeles, we talk the issue to death at city council meetings. Then propose three different bond or tax measures, one of which will be voted on in November. Yet, not one new emergency shelter or new low-income housing unit will be opened or built before then.

    If this is how Los Angeles handles a crisis, I’d hate to see how the city would respond to the next major earthquake.

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