• The Long Beach Grand Cru: Judge For a Day

    Judge For a Day

    By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine Writer

    If you are a wine aficionado, you might be a little jealous after reading this article.

    On July 19, I had the pleasure of attending the Long Beach Grand Cru wine tasting competition, the country’s only nonprofit wine sip-off.

    GrandCruCompetition2015-9960

    Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Tasting Competition judges vote on their favorites July 19. The competition is the the country’s only nonprofit wine competition. Courtesy photo.

    The Long Beach Grand Cru celebrates its 21st anniversary this year. Each year the Grand Cru raises funds through its public tasting festival to benefit the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles’ Greater Long Beach Community Medical Legal Partnership. Proceeds from the fundraiser help provide legal support to low-income people in the community.

    In preparation for that event, there is an international wine competition that precedes the public tasting and wine festival. The two-day competition boasts a prestigious panel of judges, including winemakers, winery owners, wine writers, industry professionals, educators — and of course, yours truly.

    Structured as a double-blind judging process, each judge samples about 120 wines per day — and believe me when I say, it’s a long and arduous process. Judges are set up at round tables and served flights of wine, both white and red so as not to exhaust the palate. Judges are then asked to award medals based on several characteristics: subtlety, varietal character, terroir (the combo of factors including soil, climate and sunlight that give grapes their character). Discussion is encouraged. At the end, a vote is taken to determine if the wine is worthy of a bronze, silver or gold medal.

    I had no idea what to expect that day—I assumed I would be stuck at a table with wine elitists who would be less than welcoming, but that was hardly the case. Everyone at my table, from enologists (people who study the science of wine), to vintners, were incredibly friendly, helpful, and engaging. They took time to explain how the judging process works. One person at my table broke it down in layman’s terms:

    “Would you serve this wine at a dinner party? If you would, then it should be awarded a medal.” Next question: “How much would you pay for the bottle? Ten dollars should be awarded a bronze medal, $20 should be awarded a silver medal, and $30 dollars should be awarded a gold Medal.”

     

    Gina Ruccione

    Gina Ruccione was a judge for a day, July 19, at the 2015 Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Tasting Competition. Courtesy photo

    I enjoy wine and consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about it, but wine jargon can be stuffy at times, and tasting 25 different white wines in one flight proved to be more challenging that I expected. By the end of the day, everything started to taste the same. It was hard to discern what was good, what was bad, and/or if my taste buds were still functioning properly. To my surprise, my palate is more sophisticated than I thought. Most of the judges at my table and I had similar taste in wine.

    To say I felt a little dehydrated after the competition would be a severe understatement. I found myself snacking on the palate cleansers in the middle of the table (cheese, roast beef, olives, crackers) to avoid an accidental buzz. Apparently, I’ve been doing this wrong for years. I’ve been eating a box of crackers and having a glass of wine, when it should be a bottle of wine and a couple of crackers. Or—wait. No, that can’t be right.

    The Long Beach Grand Cru Public Tasting will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 8, at the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes.

    Entertainment, delicious food from local restaurants, and of course, the opportunity to try plenty of wine is all on the agenda.

    Details: http://longbeachgrandcru.com

    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.

     

    Read More
  • In Memoriam: William Crutchfield

    Master of Satire and Irony

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    When sculptor, artist and printmaker William “Bill” Crutchfield died April 20, the San Pedro art community lost a brilliant member.

    Bill is survived by his wife Barbara, with whom he shared his life for more than 50 years. As a career partner, she assisted him with the construction of his sculptures and documented his profession. As his wife, she provided sustenance.

    “I made the spaghetti that kept him going,” Barbara said.

    Bill was born in rural Indiana. His childhood was spent immersed in nature. He grew up on a farm where a favorite pastime was lying on the ground observing the light passing through the negative space between the leaves of the trees. As a young boy Bill became interested in art through a life drawing course in Indiana. The process of discovering the skill and technique of drawing bone and muscle sparked an interest in anatomy.

    “The best book I ever read was an anatomy book” Bill once said.

    Through this practice he experienced a kind of enlightenment.

    “I can’t bring myself to kill a spider,” he once said during an interview with Random Lengths News. “I know they have legs and a body just like me.”

    The artist was in love with drawing, which he said he did every day.

    In 1956, he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Herron School of Art at Indiana University in Indianapolis. In 1960, he earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Tulane University in New Orleans. From 1960 to 1962, he studied at the Hochschule fuer bildende Kuenste in Hamburg, Germany. He taught foundation studies and advanced drawing at the Herron School of Art, in Indianapolis, from 1962 to 1965. From 1965 to 1967, he was chairman of Foundation Studies at the Minneapolis College of Art.

    His works are in collections nationally from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and internationally from the Tate Modern, London, to the National Gallery of Australia and the Singapore Art Museum.

    Bill’s interest in the relationship between man and machine was particularly suited to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s significant but controversial Art and Technology exhibition in 1971. Crutchfield produced its screen-printed poster and several illustrations for the catalog.

    In spite of the finely detailed precision of his drawings, it was his sculptures that displayed his talent for engineering. The artist spent many years of his career working for NASA. One piece, titled “Countdown,” is a homage to the space program that occupied his life during this period. Bronze numbers literally countdown to “blast off” in this piece, in a reflection of a rocket’s preparation to send man towards the exploration of space.

    Numbers and letters were also a theme. In an irrational, illogical formation the letter M is transformed into W in Man, Woman. In his sculpture “Fly,” the bronze sculpture presents the observer with a puzzle. “Fly” is read front and back as the letters morph in opposition.

    He and his wife, Barbara, settled in their studio in San Pedro in 1974, producing drawings, paintings, hand lithography prints, screenprints, digital prints and sculpture.

    A satirical commentary on humanity often resided beneath Bill’s whimsical subject matter and exquisite draftsmanship. The artist used a variety of media, sculpture, painting and prints to harness his imagination.

    “In a painting you are looking at layers and layers of paint and varnish, drawing is the hand moving,” artist Ron Linden described. “I believe Bill thought with a pencil.”

    During his interview with Random Lengths Bill also said he frequently places pen on paper and allows it to move, as he watches images emerge.

    The action was fascinating to him. After laying down the detailed lines, he highlighted with fine touches of color to pull out the images he found on the page. The result is a cross between M.C. Escher and Google Doodles.

    “Every line is meant to be there,” Bill told Random Lengths News. “Each component in the drawing is important.”

    But there was much more to his imagination. Bill never lost his boyhood fascinations with things mechanical. Trains, planes and ships serve as vessels of transport for his imagination. Trains also took on a fantasy aspect for him. Locomotives chug across the page; wheels churn at a fantastic pace; steam engines spew massive chunky smoke as it goes.

    One of Crutchfield’s last exhibitions was at Ray Carofano’s Gallery 478 in his hometown of San Pedro.

    “He is one of the most literate artists that I have come across,” Carofano said. “He was a student of all of his subjects.”

    Crutchfield was a master of lithography. As a professor, one of Bill’s star students was Los Angeles lithographer Kenneth Tyler, who went on to found the influential print house Gemini G.E.L.

    “The emphasis on drawing was a natural fit for printmaking,” Ron said.

    William worked both at Gemini and Tamarind, beginning in 1960 where he completed his series Air Land and Sea, a suite of 13 lithographs.

    “Crutchfield’s real merit is his being a social artist who is genuinely visually inventive, and a visual artist whose comments have quite a bit to say­—sneakily, quietly, (humorously), profoundly –about the errors of our ways,” art critic Peter Plagens wrote.

    His wife said the loss of his presence in the art community is profoundly felt. His reaction to his own loss might be reflective of his art and impact.

    “Bill would laugh,” Barbara said. “He would say, ‘It doesn’t matter because it’s all a myth anyway.’”

     

    Read More
  • Kamasi Washington’s Release is EPIC

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    Epic, the title of tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s latest album, is just that.

    The three-volume album, which Washington composed and arranged, is a journey through his musical life. Each disc with its own title describes a place in time on his journey.

    A musician on the rise, Washington has contributed to two acclaimed albums over the past year, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead!

    Washington was asked by Flying Lotus to record on his label, Brainfeeder. So he called members of his band, The West Coast Get Down, to make the album. The band features two drummers: Ronald Bruner Jr. and Tony Austin. It also has two bass players: Thundercat and Miles Mosley, and it has pianist Cameron Graves, keyboardist Brandon Coleman and three horn players, including trombonist Ryan Porter. There are two lead vocalists: Dwight Trible and Patrice Quinn. The album also includes a 20-piece choir and a 32-piece string section.

    Washington recently spoke about Epic in an interview with Random Lengths News.

     

    Kamasi Washington and friends. Courtesy photo of Janice Wang of Atom Factory.

    Melina Paris: What was the inspiration for this album?

    Kamasi Washington: Half of the band (on Epic) and I grew up and played together since we were very little, but we never actually recorded that whole band together. So I wanted that band for the record. They each had stuff to record too. So we decided to record all of each other’s music during the month we were in the studio. For me, I was trying to capture a good quality studio recording of our sound and style when we play together at gigs around LA.

    I also like writing for large ensembles and choirs and always wanted to add those two elements to what I was doing. It was hard. I wanted to record how the band moves very organically. Then, bringing the choir in around it brought those two worlds together.

     

    MP: Why did you name each disc, “The Plan,” “The Glorious Tale” and “The Historic Repetition”?

    KW: I had a dream I came up with when I was working on the album but there is also a more literal meaning.

    I wrote a lot of these songs when I was younger. The songs on The Plan came from a time in my life when I was cultivating myself as a musician and pushing towards a place. It also links to a part of my life when I was in high school and my studies were all in jazz. But, when I came out of high school my first gig wasn’t a jazz gig, it was with Snoop (Dogg). It was kind of a curveball for me. I love Snoop and was happy to get the gig but it just wasn’t what I expected.

    I went on the road with Snoop and it was interesting. It was mostly a jazz band but it was led by these producers who all came with this West Coast hip-hop producer perspective. They never asked us to play anything that was technically difficult. It was all pretty simple chords and like three or four notes, but the way they wanted us to play, it was so particular. They heard every nuance of exactly what they wanted us to play. We had to really listen to the music, and the more I listened to it, the more I had a detailed ear. Like listening to music through a microscope. So then I had that mentality and brought it to my band (who got it) and when we started playing jazz together that didn’t turn off. All of a sudden, we’re playing music where there’s hundreds of notes but I was still listening with these super detailed ears. I’m hearing every nuance of how someone is playing as well as focusing on my playing so it added a third dimension. It was a blessing in disguise.

    The Plan was what I did in preparation for my life, then The Glorious Tale was my actual life. I was playing the music that I was taught in high school, then you have your life go on and it becomes something different. It’s actually beautiful if you look at it that way. The culmination of my sound comes from all these gigs that I got to do and that’s what my sound is about.

    The other part is half the guys in my band’s parents are musicians. So there’s a certain cycle, a loop that I didn’t want to have happen. I felt like if I knew what happened I could keep myself from getting caught in this loop or The Historic Repetition.

     

    Kamasi Washington. Courtesy photo of  Janice Wang of Atom Factory.

    Kamasi Washington and friends. Courtesy photo of Janice Wang of Atom Factory.

    MP: What you see in that cycle?

    KW: My dad was really deep into jazz in high school and when he came out, the opportunities weren’t there in jazz. That’s probably an LA thing. I think LA jazz just got overlooked. They were in the cycle of playing for different artists. They didn’t really push their own music outside of that, at least not when they were young. That’s where we changed the cycle a little bit.

    It’s a form of self expression. While it’s great to play with other people and help them and realize their musical vision, if you’re going to be a musician, you need to also work on your own vision and make it a priority. That was part of the repetition we are trying to change. The record has a lot of references to that past and for me it was like inhabiting that. History is going to repeat itself but in what way is it going to repeat itself? It depends on how knowledgeable we are.

     

    MP: LA jazz, where do you see it right now?

    KW: LA jazz has always been only in LA. The boom hasn’t really stepped far out of LA. If you talk to people from South Central, they’re very connected to the LA jazz scene. Even Kendrick (Lamar) has been connected to the LA jazz scene for years. So it’s all been musically very rich, very full but it’s a big city, so it can feel a little diluted. LA is bigger than New York but if you take it all and condense it you realize there’s a lot of musicians and a lot going on here. The cool thing now is because of artists like Kendrick and Flying Lotus, everyone is looking at LA and giving it a fair amount of attention. The world is open for young players now. The scene is going to grow actually.

     

    MP: Anything you would like to add?

    KW: If people keep their minds open, they can discover some cool things. I hope that continues. It’s pretty cool to meet lot of people that don’t normally listen to jazz who gave my album a chance and just listened to it. That’s a cool place for the world to be in, where we’re not so stuck on what we’re told. Music is already blended, it exists on its own. We just add words to it. If you call it James Brown jazz it wouldn’t change how funky it is, or if you call it John Coltrane funk it wouldn’t diminish how intense or how harmonically dense it is. Music lives outside of those terms, I think people are coming to that realization.

    You can see Washington on July 25, for his show “65-92: The Rhythm Changes but the Struggle Remains” at Grand Performances, before he embarks on a world tour. He plans to come back to Los Angeles with another show around the holidays.

    Read More
  • IT’S BACK!

    THE NEW TASTE OF SAN PEDRO

    By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine and Restaurant Writer

    After a several-year hiatus, the highly anticipated Taste of San Pedro will be returning Aug. 1 for a special one-day event.

    The culinary festival, which will take place at the courtyard of Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, will host purveyors of the very best cuisine from 20 of the best restaurants in the Harbor Area. Live music, performers and an extensive list of craft beers, wine and craft spirits will also be featured.

    The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, which has been sponsoring the event since its inception in 1989, has been working hard to rebuild the festival for quite some time. Many are eager to see the Taste of San Pedro return to its roots and bring in the crowds that once used to flock to the harbor each year. This year, the festival has been redesigned with more of an emphasis on the great food and beverages and less about making it a spectacle with carnival rides and outside vendors.

    While there have been some general mixed feelings about the event, much of that stems from the nostalgia and history surrounding the Taste of San Pedro. Naturally, everyone has expectations.

    Andrew Silber, owner of The Whale & Ale, has been participating since the beginning. He is thrilled to see the Taste of San Pedro return. He has been pushing for years to see the event upgraded to a level that really showcases San Pedro’s restaurants at their best. The Whale & Ale will be serving it’s famous fresh, blue lump crab cakes with a light mayonnaise drizzle and two different ales: Guinness draft and Boddingtons’s Pub Cream Ale, which was originally sold in North America exclusively at his restaurant.

    Frank Buono of Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria has also been involved in the Taste of San Pedro since the beginning and shared some of his favorite memories about the festival from previous years. Buono’s will be serving many items, but the crowd pleaser will definitely be the battered eggplant rolls stuffed with goat cheese and spicy marinara.

    Dustin Trani from J. Trani’s Ristorante reminisced about attending the event when he was a child. “It’s about the bigger picture,” he said. “ It’s about supporting the community.”

    Eager to showcase some fan favorites alongside some of their more creative, dishes, J. Trani’s Ristorante will be serving two plates: a Hamachi Tartar with green apple and soy consommé, and an oak-grilled chicken sausage with charred lemon.

    “We wanted to serve something with global flavors that incorporates intricate plating techniques, but we also want to serve a classic dish that everyone enjoys,” he said. The chicken sausages are a huge hit at J. Trani’s and are all made in-house.

    Several other restaurants that are participating this year want to shy away from serving items that people expect. It seems the focus has shifted to choosing dishes that remind us why we love these restaurants and will entice us to return, rather than opting for obvious choices.

    John Bagakis from Big Nick’s Pizza will be serving chicken marsala and caprese salad skewers.

    “I wanted to pick something off of our catering menu,” he said. “Something that is popular but not everyone thinks to order… People expect us to serve pizza. I thought we’d try something a little different.”

    New this year to the Taste of San Pedro is Primal Alchemy, a well-known catering company in Long Beach that will no doubt be serving some show-stopping cuisine. Known for catering many events at Crafted, as well as the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium gala, Chef Paul Buchanan wanted to make sure he provided something sensitive to vegetarians. He plans on serving a kale and quinoa salad with citrus segments and feta. Of course, there will be something for meat lovers too. A sweet corn pudding with barbecue chicken chili topped with corn salsa and crema fresca.

    At the end of the day it’s about being a part of a strong, supportive community to the local businesses that we already know and love. Let’s welcome the Taste of San Pedro back with open arms.

    For a full list of participating restaurants, bands, and to buy tickets, visit the www.sanpedrochamber.com.

    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.

     

    Read More
  • Board of Harbor Commissioners: RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS July 17, 2015

    July 27
    Board of Harbor Commissioners
    The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners will discuss transferring an estimated at $17.74 million to the Tidelands Operating Fund in Fiscal Year 2016.
    The board of harbor commissioners also will consider approving an amended fee schedule for the Port of Long Beach Foreign Trade Zone 50.
    Time: 6 p.m. July 27
    Details: (562) 283-7070; www.polb.com/webcast
    Venue: Harbor Department Interim Administrative Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach

    Aug. 1
    Native Garden Workday
    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium invites the public to participate in its monthly Beach Clean-Up and Native Garden Workday.
    Volunteers learn about shoreline habitats and the coastal sage scrub native plant community, while discovering the benefits of protecting these environments.
    Time: 8 to 10 a.m. Aug. 1
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro.

    Read More
  • POLB Cargo Numbers Decrease in June: RL NEWS Briefs July 17, 2015

    POLB Cargo Numbers Decrease in June

    LONG BEACH — Container cargo volume dipped in June at the Port of Long Beach, decreasing 4.4 percent compared to the same month this past year.
    A total of 583,621 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) were moved through POLB in June. Imports were recorded at 297,189 TEUs, a 6 percent decrease. Exports decreased 8.4 percent to 128,223 TEUs. Empty containers rose 2.4 percent with 158,209 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent back overseas to be refilled with consumer goods.
    June 2014, the month against which June 2015 is being compared, was particularly busy, as shippers prepared for the expiration of the longshore labor contract.
    Through the first six months of 2015, Long Beach cargo numbers are essentially flat compared to the same period last year, up 0.1 percent overall.
    For all the latest monthly cargo numbers, click here.
    For more details on the cargo numbers, please visit www.polb.com/stats.

    Garcetti, Army Corps Announce Milestone for LA River Restoration

    LOS ANGELES — On July 16, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kim Colloton announced that the plan to restore the Los Angeles River the Civil Works Review Board of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C. was unanimously approved.

    The Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration project proposes restoration measures in and along an 11-mile stretch of the river to reestablish scarce riparian strand, freshwater marsh, and aquatic habitat, while maintaining existing levels of flood risk management. Habitat connections will be reestablished at major tributaries within the river’s historic floodplain, and to regional habitat zones of the Santa Monica, San Gabriel and Verdugo mountains. The plan will restore about 719 acres by widening the river in key areas by terracing and restructuring channel banks to support vegetation, creating side channels and off-channel marsh, daylighting small streams, and removing invasive vegetation. Associated recreation features include trails, vista points, educational amenities, and pedestrian bridges.
    Garcetti, accompanied by a project team comprised of long-standing river stakeholders from Los Angeles, traveled to Washington to express support for the project to the Civil Works Review Board. After presentations by South Pacific Division Comdr. Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, Colloton, and Garcetti, the board approved the project which will now be released for state and agency review. Upon review from the agencies, Army Corps Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick will evaluate the study and forward his recommendation to the assistant secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy for administrative review and transmittal to Congress, expected in early 2016. Congress must authorize the project in a Water Resources Development Act and appropriate funds in order for the Corps and the city to begin construction.

    Brown Appoints Eight to Los Angeles County Superior Court

    SACRAMENTO – On July 16, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the appointment of Julian C. Recana, Songhai D. Miguda-Armstead, Timothy P. Dillon, Ronald F. Frank, Lawrence P. Riff, Laura A. Seigle, Natalie P. Stone and Lisa K. Sepe-Wiesenfeld to judgeships in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

    Recana, 45, of Signal Hill, has served as a deputy district attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 1999. He was a contract lawyer at Early, Maslach, Price and Baukol in 1999. Recana earned a juris doctor degree from Loyola Law School Los Angeles and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California Berkeley. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on July 1, 2014. Recana is a Democrat.

    Frank, 57, of Manhattan Beach, has been a partner at Burke, Williams and Sorensen since 2008. He was a partner at Bannan, Frank and Terzian LLP from 1995 to 2008 and an associate at Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft in 1989, at Adams, Duque and Hazeltine from 1983 to 1995 and at Geary, Stahl and Spencer in 1983. He earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and a bachelor of arts degree from Bucknell University. Frank fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on July 1, 2014. He is registered without party preference.

    Sepe-Wiesenfeld, 59, of Santa Monica, has been a managing lawyer at Farmers Insurance Group since 2015, where she has worked in several positions since 2008. Sepe-Wiesenfeld was national managing attorney at Coast National Insurance Company-Bristol West from 1997 to 2008 and a senior associate at Haight, Brown and Bonesteel from 1986 to 1997. She earned a juris doctor degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California Los Angeles. Sepe-Wiesenfeld fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on July 1, 2014. She is a Democrat.

    Riff, 59, of Glendale, has been a partner at Steptoe and Johnson LLP since 1997. He was a partner at Lane Powell PC from 1989 to 1997, where he was an associate from 1986 to 1989, and a trial attorney at the Southern Pacific Transportation Company from 1982 to 1985. Riff earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Oregon School of Law and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on July 1, 2014. Riff is a Democrat.

    Seigle, 48, of Los Angeles, has been a partner at Irell and Manella LLP since 2001, where she was an associate from 1994 to 2000. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Diarmuid O’Scannlain at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1993 to 1994. Seigle earned a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School and a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University. She fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on July 1, 2014. Seigle is a Democrat.

    Stone, 44, of Los Angeles, has served as an appellate judicial attorney at the California Court of Appeal, Second District since 2010. She was an associate at Munger, Tolles and Olson LLP from 1999 to 2010. Stone served as a law clerk for the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1998 to 1999. She earned a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a bachelor of arts degree from Duke University. Stone fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Brian M. Hoffstadt to the Court of Appeal. Stone is a Democrat.

    Miguda-Armstead, 39, of View Park-Windsor Hills, has been a supervising deputy city attorney at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office since 2008, where she has served in several positions since 2003. She earned a juris doctor degree from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Nevada Reno. Miguda-Armstead fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on July 1, 2014. She is a Democrat.

    Dillon, 59, of Los Angeles, has been an attorney in private practice since 2000. He was a partner at Shernoff, Bidart, Echeverria and Bentley from 1993 to 2000 and at Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard, Avchen and Shapiro LLP from 1988 to 1993. Dillon was an associate at Wyman, Bautzer, Kuchel and Silbert from 1986 to 1988 and at Golenbock and Barell in New York City, NY from 1981 to 1986. He earned a juris doctor degree from the College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law and a bachelor of science degree from the State University of New York at Albany. Dillon fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on July 1, 2014. He is registered without party preference.

    The compensation for each of these positions is $184,610

     

    Read More
  • BOE Will Accepts Cash Payments from Medical Marijuana Businesses : RL NEWS Briefs July 16, 2015

    BOE Will Accepts Cash Payments from Medical Marijuana Businesses

    LOS ANGELES — On July 15, the California State Board of Equalization decided to begin accepting tax liabilities in cash from medical marijuana distributors, whether they are legitimate or wishing to become legitimate.

    Medical marijuana business owners will simply secure seller’s permit from the Board of Equalization and submit a written request.

    The BOE will help medical marijuana businesses pay their tax liability by helping them register their fictitious name and accepting personal checks as payment for their tax liability. Sellers, and others with permits, can contact their nearest field office to make arrangements.

    There will be two events hosted in Los Angeles by Chairman Jerome Horton to promote compliance with this new decision: the Medical Cannabis Telephone Town Hall and a Medical Cannabis Business Seminar. The Medical Cannabis Telephone Town Hall will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. Aug. 18. The event will provide a brief overview of state and federal requirements and links to government agencies frequently asked questions. The Medical Cannabis Business seminar will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 9. It will explain how to complete the registration with various government agencies.
    Details (888) 847-9652; www.boe.ca.gov/horton

    LB Mayor Garcia Marks One-Year Anniversary

    LONG BEACH — Mayor Robert Garcia celebrated his first year as mayor of Long Beach on July 15.

    During a press conference the mayor released several figures focusing on his accomplishments of the past year.

    Garcia pointed to the lowest unemployment rate since before the 2008 recession; a balanced budget; hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment, including new manufacturing, market rate residential units, and nationally known retail brands; the renaissance of downtown; an improved, more collaborative relationship with the Port of Long Beach; vigorous attention to public works issues like potholes and graffiti; the creation of 400 new preschool spots; more than $8 million invested in new park projects; a brand new city website; successful water conservation efforts; reduced homelessness; and 116 new city commissioners.

    Garcia touted increasing employment, the arrival of Virgin Galactic and Shimadzu at Douglas Park, the investment of more than $65 million at the Pike and the entry of Nike, the Gap, Forever 21 and H&M into that location. He also pointed to the increased volume at the port, which is approaching pre-recession levels; record tourist visits creating more than $300 million in economic activity; and Long Beach’s Innovation Team, which is funded by a $3 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

    “When we needed a new home for our LauncherOne small satellite launch vehicle program, we went looking for somewhere with a great pool of local talent and an excellent history of aerospace innovation,” said Steve Isakowitz, the president of Virgin Galactic. “Since moving in to our new facility in Douglas Park a few months ago, we’ve been incredibly pleased with the warm welcome we’ve received from the mayor’s office, from other community leaders, and from the local workforce. Our building is quickly filling up with talented and experienced workers who are happy to call Long Beach home.”

    Garcia also announced that the city had seen more than 5,600 new jobs and more than 2,200 new businesses open, as well as more than 2,500 residential units completed or under construction.

    He said that more than 400 new preschool slots have been created, with another 400 expected in the coming months. He also pointed to more than $5.5 million raised to support internships, a critical piece of the Long Beach College Promise. The city became a full partner in the Promise this past year and preschool was added to the work of the program.

    Garcia also pointed to a soon-to-be launched Open Data initiative, the appointment of 116 commissioners, and the creation of two new commissions and the new Technology and Innovation Department.

    Garcia announced that 301 previously homeless veterans had been provided permanent housing, and pointed to the 16 percent drop in water use, the new pedestrian beach path and the use of the Go Long Beach smart phone application.

    New Economic Development Progress for LB District 8

    Twelve “for sale” properties in District 8 that were owned by the city’s former Redevelopment Agency have received offers from prospective buyers that will be considered by the Long Beach Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency at its July 21 meeting.

    Among the pending transactions, Lab Holding LLC has made offers for all nine properties that are for sale in the 5500 block and the 5600-5700 block of Atlantic Avenue, known as the North Village.

    If these sales are approved by the Successor Agency, which consists of the nine council members, the transactions must then be approved by the Oversight Board to the Successor Agency and reviewed by the California Department of Finance before entering escrow.

    The properties on Atlantic Avenue include the current location of the Eighth District Field Office at 5641 Atlantic Avenue.  The Eighth District will be moving its field office to the Expo Arts Center at 4321 Atlantic Avenue in the coming months.

    A complete list of the Eighth District “for sale” properties includes:

    306 E. Home Street – This is a vacant parcel at Locust St. that is zoned for residential.  The prospective buyers are Cherry South, LLC and MYK Properties, LLC for $198,500.

    5365 and 5371 Long Beach Blvd. – These are empty storefronts in the Virginia Village commercial corridor.  The prospective buyers are Brett and Mary Walker for $225,000 for 5365 Long Beach Blvd. and $175,000 for 5371 Long Beach Blvd.

    5368-5372 Long Beach Blvd. – This property includes the commercial building and adjacent paseo in the Virginia Village commercial corridor.  The prospective buyer is Robert J. Younger dba The Younger Law Firm for $280,000.

    The Lab Holdings, LLC is proposing to purchase the following properties: 5564 Atlantic, 5616-5618 Atlantic, 5640-5648 Atlantic, 5641-5643 Atlantic, 5645 Atlantic, 5647-5649 Atlantic, 5661 Atlantic, 5701 Atlantic and 5708-5710 Atlantic.

    Upon completion of the sales, the escrow and closing fees, commission and administrative costs will be deducted.  The county will then distribute the net proceeds to the affected taxing agencies, with the City receiving approximately a 21 percent share.

    To view the entire agenda for the Successor Agency meeting, click here.

    Port of Los Angeles Container Volumes Slip in June

    SAN PEDRO — June 2015 containerized cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles decreased 2 percent compared to the same period this past year.

    The port handled a total of 721,802 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in June 2015. Current and historical data is available here.

    Imports decreased 3.65 percent, from 382,666 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in June 2014 to 368,708 TEUs in June 2015. Exports declined 10.7 percent, from 160,823 TEUs in June 2014 to 143,549 TEUs in June 2015. Combined, total loaded imports and exports decreased 5.75 percent, from 543,489 TEUs in June 2014 to 512,257 TEUs in June 2015. Factoring in empties, which increased 8.6 percent, overall June 2015 volumes (721,802 TEUs) decreased 1.99 percent.

    For the first six months of 2015, overall volumes (3,903,521 TEUs) are down 3.67 percent compared to the same period in 2014.

    Data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at:http://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

    Read More
  • Honda Lending Discrimination Case Settled: RL NEWS Briefs July 15, 2015

    Honda Lending Discrimination Case Settled
    TORRANCE  On July 14, the Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced the settlement to resolve lending discrimination allegations against American Honda Finance.
    The allegations state that Honda, based in Torrance, engaged in discrimination against African American, Latino and Asian American borrowers in auto lending.
    Honda has agreed to change the way it prices its loans by limiting dealer markup to 125 basis points (or 1.25 percentage points) for loans of 60 months or less, and to 100 basis points (or 1 percentage point) for loans greater than 60 months. The settlement also provides $24 million in compensation for alleged victims of past discrimination.
    The coordinated investigations by the department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that preceded the settlement determined this system of subjective and unguided pricing discretion directly results in Honda’s qualified African-American, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander borrowers paying more than qualified non-Hispanic white borrowers. The department and the bureau anticipate that Honda’s new caps on discretionary markups will substantially reduce or eliminate these disparities.
    Honda is known as an “indirect” auto lender because, rather than taking applications directly from consumers, the company makes most of its loans through car dealers nationwide who help their customers pay for their new or used car by submitting their loan application to Honda. Honda’s business practice, like most other major auto lenders, allows car dealers discretion to vary a loan’s interest rate from the price Honda initially sets based on the borrower’s objective credit-related factors. Dealers receive greater payments from Honda on loans that include a higher interest rate markup.
    The settlement resolves claims by the department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Honda discriminated by charging thousands of African-American, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander borrowers higher interest rates than non-Hispanic white borrowers. The agencies claim that Honda charged borrowers higher interest rates because of their race or national origin and not because of the borrowers’ creditworthiness or other objective criteria related to borrower risk. The United States’ complaint alleges that the average African-American victim was obligated to pay more than $250 more during the term of the loan because of discrimination, the average Hispanic victim was obligated to pay more than $200 more during the term of the loan because of discrimination and the average Asian/Pacific Islander victim was obligated to pay more than $150 more during the term of the loan because of discrimination. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits such discrimination in all forms of lending, including auto lending. Honda resolved the bureau claims by entering into a public administrative settlement.
    In addition to the $24 million in payments for its past conduct, under the Justice Department consent order, Honda will also pay $1 million to fund a consumer financial education program focused on consumer auto finance that is designed to benefit African-American, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander populations.
    The settlement also requires Honda to improve its monitoring and compliance systems. The settlement allows the lender to experiment with different approaches toward lessening discrimination and requires it to regularly report to the department and the bureau on the results of its efforts as well as discuss potential ways to improve results.
    The settlement provides for an administrator to locate victims and distribute payments of compensation at no cost to borrowers whom the department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau identify as victims of Honda’s discrimination. The department and the bureau will make a public announcement and post information on their websites once more details about the compensation process become available. Borrowers who are eligible for compensation from the settlement will be contacted by the administrator, and do not need to contact the department or the bureau at this time.
    The settlements in these matters provide for a total of at least $1.2 billion in monetary relief for impacted communities.

    Man Suspected of Killing Roommate Arrested
    LONG BEACH — On July 10, Norman Mathew Perdon was arrested in connection with the stabbing and murder of his former roommate Allen Estes, 38.
    The incident took place July 4. Long Beach Police Department officers found Estes at about 5:30 a.m. near Anaheim and Dawson Avenue. Estes had sustained several stabbing injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
    A tip helped police find Perdon. He was arrested at the 1400 block of Walnut Avenue. Charges have been filed against him and detectives presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on July 14. He is being held at the Long Beach Jail where his bail has been set at $1.02 million.

    POLB Names Managing Director of Communications
    LONG BEACH — On July 14, former chief communications officer of Metro Los Angeles, Noelia Rodriguez, was selected by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners to be the new managing director of communications, government relations and marketing divisions.
    Rodriguez’s experience ranges from the White House and Los Angeles Mayor’s Office to Metro Los Angeles.
    As Metro’s chief communications officer, Rodriguez led 275 employees and managed a $50 million budget overseeing media relations, government relations, marketing, communications and community relations. She was also responsible for customer programs and services.
    She previously served as director of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University, vice president of corporate communications at Univision, director of communications and press secretary to First Lady Laura Bush from 2001 to 2003 and deputy mayor under former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. In 2000, Riordan appointed Rodriguez to serve as president and CEO of LA 2000, the host committee for the Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles’ first political convention since President Kennedy’s nomination in 1960.
    Rodriguez’s expertise is expected to further enhance the Harbor Department’s award-winning advocacy and communications efforts.
    Rodriguez earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University Los Angeles. She also completed one year of studies in the social ecology program at University of California Irvine.

    Read More
  • Garcetti Appoints New Press Secretary: RL NEWS Briefs July 14, 2015

    Garcetti Appoints New Press Secretary

    LOS ANGELES — On July 14, Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Connie Llanos as press secretary for his administration.

    Llanos serves as communications director and strategic advisor to Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. She began her career as a journalist for the Los Angeles Daily News where she covered mainly development, politics, and education. Llanos has also previously served in Congressman Tony Cardenas’ and Councilman Felipe Fuentes’ offices, and as a key advisor on several political campaigns.

    Now, she will be the primary liaison between the media and Mayor Garcetti. Llanos will assume her new position on July 22, 2015.

     

    Compton Community College District Establishes Partnership with Molina Medical

    COMPTON — On July 8, the Board of Trustees for Compton Community College District approved a memorandum of understanding with Molina Medical Management Inc. to establish of a health care clinic on Compton Community College District premises.

    The proposed clinic will be in space provided by Compton Community College and established and run by Molina Medical. It will provide services to Compton Community College students. The campus is located at 1111 E. Artesia Boulevard, Compton, CA 90221.

     

    Read More
  • Eighth District Youth Summit: RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS July 14, 2015

    July 18
    Eighth District Youth Summit
    Youths, ages 13 and up, and their parents and/or guardians to participate in “PD & Me,” a Youth Summit, featuring the “Why’d You Stop Me?” program. As some of the content may not be appropriate for all minors, written permission (click link to access form) from a parent or guardian is required for all attendees under 18. Adult family members are also encouraged to attend.
    The purpose of the summit is to bring teens together to promote stronger relationships with local law enforcement.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 18
    Details: (562) 570-6685.
    Venue: Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach
     
    July 18
    Green Terminal Island Plan
    The public is invited to attend the next community workshop for the Green Terminal Island Freeway Transition Plan and provide input on concepts to transform the freeway into an eco-friendly corridor that better serves the community.
    The event will build on earlier outreach efforts, focusing on the community’s vision for converting the Terminal Island Freeway into a local-serving road with an associated greenbelt.
    Time: 10 a.m. July 18
    Details: (562) 570-5972; www.lbds.info/green_ti.
    Venue: Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach
     
    July 18
    Remove the Felony
    Change your life and take action. Participant will get free help filling out the reclassification application.
    Thanks to a new law called Proposition 47, you may be able to get non-violent felonies reclassified to misdemeanors. Qualifying felonies are:

    • Simple drug possession
    • shoplifting under $950
    • Petty theft under $950
    • Forgery or insufficient funds under $950
    • Receiving stolen property under $950

    BRING A COPY OF YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD, (Docket or Rap Sheet)
    To obtain your record: Visit any criminal court in every county where you have a conviction. Ask the clerk’s office for the complete print-out of your criminal docket. (Free in Long Beach, while you wait) or visit any local Live Scan office to obtain Rap sheet; $35-$60 (2-4 weeks)
    Time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. July 18
    Details: www.MyProp47.com
    Venue: Centro Cha Inc.Center for Working Families, 1900 Atlantic Ave, 2nd Floor, Long Beach
     
    July 21
    Long Beach City Council Meeting
    The Long Beach City Council will consider the preparation of an ordinance that would comply with state law to expedite the permitting process related to the installation of certain solar energy systems.
    The city council also will consider an ordinance that would lessen the amount of gas meter testing to save money for the city.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. July 21
    Details: http://longbeach.legistar.com
    Venue: Long Beach City Hall

    July 21
    Show Your Metamorphic Art
    How have you as an artist adapted to changes in your environment, your world? How have you interpreted changes in our ever evolving city, our ever changing world? How has our greater, shared metamorphosis influenced your art and/or how does your art represent adaptive change? WE Show III wants to know.
    WE Labs and the Arts Council for Long Beach are partnering on an exhibition series just for Long Beach artists.  Submission is open to all artists who are signed up on the Arts Council for Long Beach, Arts and Cultural Registry.
    The Arts and Culture Registry is a free service designed to be a comprehensive and inclusive list of artists and arts organizations serving Long Beach.Shows will exhibit on a quarterly basis and will be featured through regular We Labs Art Tours.
    Work Media: Most 2D media; limited space available for 3D work.
    Work Size: 6’X6’, 80 LB. max.
    Entry Requirements:
    ·                     Artist’s information on the Arts Council for Long Beach, Arts and Cultural Registry must be current and complete.

    ·                     Digital images (JPEG) of up to three works may be submitted either by email (using We Transfer) to iph@welabs.us or on CD/DVD, mailed or delivered to: WE Labs, 235 E. Broadway, 8th Floor, Long Beach, CA 90802

    ·                     Artist resume or biography & exhibition record, if any.
    ·                     Artist Statement (please address metamorphosis and/or adaptive change)

    ·                     Sales price (if applicable)

    Time: 12 p.m. July 21
    Details:iph@welabs.us
    Venue: WE Labs, 235 E. Broadway, 8th Floor, Long Beach
     
    July 28
    Back-to-Back Community District 4 Meetings
    Long Beach District 4 is hosting a community meeting at 6:30 July 28 at Los Altos Public Library and July 29 at Orizaba Park.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. July 28 and 29
    Venues: Los Altos Public Library, 5614 Britton Drive, Long Beach
    Orizaba Park, 1400 Orizaba Ave., Long Beach
     
    July 29
    POLA Releases Zero Emissions Plan
    The Port of Los Angeles will host a workshop at Banning’s Landing Community Center where people will be able to give input and comments an issued draft white paper on zero emission technology that details the port’s testing of zero emissions technology to date.
    The paper also details its proposed near-term plan for encouraging zero emission technology use in maritime goods movement, particularly as it relates to drayage trucks and yard tractors. By 2020, the port plans to facilitate testing and development of up to 200 zero emission vehicles.
    The draft white paper outlines next steps regarding current and planned zero emission demonstration projects. It also includes recommendations for zero emission-related infrastructure planning, as well as strategies for pursuing local, state and federal funding for near-term zero emission equipment testing and for long-term capital investments and operations.
    People may also submit comments to ZEwhitepaper@portla.org until 5 p.m. Aug. 7
    Time: 3 p.m. July 29
    Details: www.portoflosangeles.org
    Venue: Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington
     
    Aug. 1
    Schemes, Scams and Rip-Offs
    Participate in a fraud prevention forum for seniors. Learn how to stop and fight fraud and identity theft. Coffee and pastries will be served.
    Time: 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 1
    Details: (562) 570-6685
    Venue: Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach

    Aug. 1
    Emergency Preparedness Workshop
    Learn to map your neighborhood at an emergency preparedness workshop.
    This free workshop will:

    • Describe specific Harbor Area hazards such as the Palos Verdes and San Andreas Earthquake Faults, Tsunamis, Hazmat, Landslides, etc..
    • Teach the basics of personal and family preparedness.
    • Present the Map Your Neighborhood 9 Step Program. The program teaches communities how to work together and be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours following a disaster.
    • Provide attendees with information and materials needed to organize a MYN program in their neighborhood.

    Time: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 1
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/mapyourneighborhood
    Venue: Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, 1300 W. 7th St., San Pedro

     

    Read More
  • 1 65 66 67 224