• RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: April 22, 2015

    May 2
    Public Meeting Notice
    A public meeting has been set to discuss the upcoming rebuild of the Belmont Pool Facilities. Please plan to attend this meeting to hear and comment on the most current information regarding the conceptual design of the project, including:
    . Review of City Council approved programmatic requirements
    . Updated site and facility layout plans
    . Overview of the design philosophy, guiding principles and project constraints and opportunities
    . Review of architecture of similar facilities
    . Public Input on design strategies
    . Anticipated schedule for the draft environmental impact report, and future public meetings
    This meeting will be held as follows:
    Time: 9 a.m. May 2
    Details: Rachael.Tanner@longbeach.gov
    Venue: Seaport Marina Hotel, Empire Room, 6400 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    May 4
    Wings of Freedom
    The Western Museum of Flight, a sponsor of the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour, needs volunteers to support the event.
    Time: 11:30 p.m. May 4 through 6
    Details: (310) 326-9544
    Venue: Western Museum of Flight, 3315 Airport Drive, Torrance.

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: April 21, 2015

    Suspects for Numerous Commercial Burglary Caught
    LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Police Department arrested two suspects responsible for several commercial burglaries, officials said.
    On April 15, officers arrested Nathan Favela, 19, of Covina near the Anaheim Street and St. Louis Avenue. Favela was connected through evidence to a commercial burglary at a bank on the 3100 block of Anaheim Street.
    On April 1, police took Norman Mainville, 52, of Buena Park after finding him near 10th Street and Coronado Avenue. Police connected Mainville to nine commercial burglaries that took place in 2014 and 2015.
    Through their follow-up investigation, detectives connected him to nine commercial burglaries that occurred in 2014 and 2015. Mainville was later given an eight-year sentence.
    Officials suspect that both suspects may also be involved in other burglaries.

    Smart Parking Meters Provide Added Convenience in Long Beach
    LONG BEACH — On April 21, Long Beach installed more than 1,600 smart meters.
    This past December, The Long Beach City Council approved the replacement with new, smart meters that accept credit/debit cards in addition to coins.
    The smart meters will replace coin-only on-street meters in Downtown, Belmont Shore and The Pike. As installations occur over a four-week period, new rates will take effect immediately, including the city’s “First Five Free” program which will allow drivers to park free for five minutes, to conduct quick errands. New rates are posted below.
    These new smart meters have a host of features, including large, backlit screens that can inform motorists when a meter is not enforced for a holiday or special event. Users can also pre-pay up time at a meter, up to two hours before enforcement begins. Users will also eventually be able to locate parking on a smart phone app that identifies open spaces.
    Sensors will also be installed. Data collected from these smart meters will help determine whether the enforcement hours reflect the actual use of the space and if a meter’s placement or hours should be reassessed. These new meters can determine the availability of a space, the occupancy rate of the space, the length of time per occupant, and the turnover rate.
    To learn how to use the meters, you can watch this video here:
    English: http://www.longbeach.gov/https://vimeo.com/65824595
    Spanish: http://www.longbeach.gov/https://vimeo.com/78631983
    New smart meters will not accept Cash Keys. Smart meters will accept credit cards at no extra fee. Customers with remaining time on their Cash Keys may use it in city lots that have older, coin-only model meters. However, these lots will be also be upgraded to multi-space meters that accept credit cards in the near future.

      NEW RATES ENFORCEMENT HOURS
    BELMONT SHORE (2ND STREET) $0.75/hour 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Daily, excluding holidays

    DOWNTOWN CORE $1.50/hour 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Daily, including holidays

    DOWNTOWN $1.00/hour 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Monday through Saturday, excludes Sunday and holidays

    THE PIKE $2.00/hour 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Daily, including holidays

    Long Beach Unemployment Rate Hits Seven-Year Low
    The unemployment rate in Long Beach has reached a seven-year low, dropping to 7.9 percent as of March 2015.
    The unemployment rate is now at the same level that it was in June 2008, at the onset of the global financial crisis. The unemployment rate in Long Beach reached a peak of 14.6 percent in July 2010, and has dropped steadily since that time.
    Total employment in Long Beach has grown by 19,000 new payroll jobs since July 2010 and now stands at 222,600, as of March 2015.
    Economic development in Long Beach is getting a significant boost, with the recent approval of the city’s Long Range Property Management Plan. The disposition and use of real property of the former Long Beach Redevelopment Agency will help power our economy forward by enabling future investment and development opportunities.
    The California Department of Finance approved the city’s plan, which was developed after the State of California dissolved Redevelopment Agencies four years ago. The Plan encompasses 259 parcels at 71 sites.
    The city will begin to implement the plan by selling 31 parcels, and receiving a portion of the proceeds from the sale. The remaining properties include 61 parcels that will be transferred to the city at no cost for governmental use, and 161 parcels that will be retained for development and transferred to the City for disposition.
    Economic activity in Long Beach continues to grow along with the number of jobs in recent years, especially at Douglas Park, a highly-successful mixed-use business district that was formerly the site of aircraft manufacturing. Recent activity includes:
    • Virgin Galactic announced in February that it will manufacture its satellite launch vehicle LauncherOne in Long Beach.
    • Mercedes-Benz is opening a 1-million-square-foot facility in Long Beach, which is believed to be the largest industrial lease in the Los Angeles area in the last 25 years.
    • Universal Technical Institute is expanding into Long Beach, where it is building a new campus.
    Other significant economic activity in Long Beach includes a $53-million, seven-story residential-retail complex coming to Broadway and Pacific Avenue; a $70 million, 17-story apartment tower under construction on Ocean Boulevard near Lime Avenue; and the ongoing transformation of Pike at Rainbow Harbor into The Pike Outlets, with Nike, H&M, Forever 21 outlet stores, going in near an enlarged Restoration Hardware outlet.
    Further economic development initiatives include, Mayor Garcia’s recent appointment, with city council confirmation, of 11 commissioners to serve on the Economic Development Commission. Also, in December 2014, Long Beach was selected to receive up to $3 million over three years as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams program to create an “i-team,” which will initially focus on economic development, advising the City on how best to stimulate growth, create jobs, and leverage city resources particularly through online delivery of city services.

    POLB Receives “AA” Bong Ratings
    LONG BEACH — Long Beach’s Harbor Departments received “AA” ratings from two of the top three U.S. credit analysis agencies this month for an upcoming bond issuance and outstanding debt.
    Standard and Poor’s Rating Services and Fitch Ratings reports stated that the Port of Long Beach’s strong market position, debt service coverage and guaranteed minimum payments by port tenants warranted the AA rating.
    The rating agency reports stated that the Port’s efforts to repay debt from the ongoing capital improvement projects should remain stable due to its strong financial metrics and “considerable liquidity.”
    The agencies assigned the AA rating to $194 million in bonds to be issued this year, and affirmed the AA rating to $860 million in senior lien harbor revenue bonds. Also, both agencies affirmed their “AA-” long-term ratings on the $325 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan.
    Port of Long Beach continues to undergo a $4 billion capital improvement program this decade. The improvements include the Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment Program and the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project.

    Immigration Heritage Week Focuses on Obama’s Executive Action
    LOS ANGELES — Immigration Heritage Week took off on April 17 with a focus on a lawsuit temporarily delaying President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
    A New Orleans court heard arguments of whether to lift a judge’s restrictions of on Obama’s actions. Earlier this month, as part of Cities United for Immigration Action, 73 cities and counties filed a friend-of-the-court brief that urged immediate implementation of Obama’s actions.
    On that same day, Mayor Eric Garcetti highlighted the city’s work in preparation of the implementation of the president’s executive actions on immigration. These actions include sessions on Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals eligibility, citizenship workshops, roundtable events, voter registration drives and English as a second Language lessons.
    Immigration Heritage Week, lasting until April 24, honors the millions of immigrants that have contributed to the city for generations. Other cities, including New York, Houston Boston and San Francisco, also began their Immigration Heritage Week.
    April 17 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act, which eliminated race-based quotas in the country’s immigration laws. The act is viewed as a major victory for civil rights.
    Details: http://www.lamayor.org/moia_events

    North Hills Man Indicted for Possessing Child Porn
    LOS ANGELES — On April 14, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted a previously convicted sex offender for possessing child pornography, officials said.
    Warren Alec Johnson, 53, of North Hills was indicted on charges having a CD containing at least one image of child pornography of a minor under the age of 12. Johnson could face a maximum sentence of 20 year in federal prison, if convicted.
    In November, Los Angeles police found the CD during a state search of Johnson’s home. Upon finding the CD, police placed him in state custody on a misdemeanor charge of child annoyance related to photographs he took at an elementary school fundraiser in the North Hills Mall in Granada Hills. He was also charged by the city’s district attorney with felony weapons and explosives charges.
    In 2008, Johnson was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court for possessing child pornography.
    Authorities are seeking information from the public for their ongoing investigation and are requesting publication of Johnson’s photograph. If anyone has information about Johnson, contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: April 20, 2015

    April 22
    NWSPNC Bylaw/Elections Meeting
    The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council Bylaws/Elections Committee meets at 10 a.m. April 22.
    The committee will review the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s 2016 Procedures Stipulation Worksheet, and consider DONE stipulations to revise some of the NWSPNC’s bylaws and election procedures.
    Details: www.nwsanpedro.org
    Location: 1064 Via La Paz, San Pedro
     
    April 23
    Kidsave Weekend Host Event 
    Join Kidsave, the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell and Councilman Al Austin to learn how you can change the life of a foster youth.
    Kidsave’s Weekend Miracles Hosting Program is only a two day per month commitment.  Volunteer to mentor and advocate for youth ages 9 to 17, and help them find permanent families
    Time: 7 to 8 p.m. April 23
    Venue: The Center Long Beach, 2017 E. 4th St., Long Beach
    Details: (310) 642-7283
    April 25
    Annual Eighth District E-Waste and Shred Fest
    Properly dispose of old electronics, from 9 a.m. to noon April 25, at the North Station Police Department / Scherer Park in Long Beach.
    You can bring household electronic waste, including. computer monitors, televisions, computer CPUs, keyboards, printers, cellular phones, DVD players, etc.
    Don’t bring fluorescent tubes, batteries, refrigerators, stoves, washing machines or household hazardous waste.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 25
    Venue: Station Police Department / Scherer Park, corner of Atlantic Avenue and Del Amo Blvd.
    Details:  (562) 570-1326
    April 29
    11th Annual Pulse of the Ports
    With the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles digging out and getting back to normal, is the supply chain ready for this year’s peak shipping season? Hear industry experts with their forecasts.
    Time: 7 to 10 a.m. April 29
    Venue: Pacific Ballroom (Sports Arena), Long Beach Convention Center,
    300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
    Details: www.polb.com/pulsersvp
     
    May 2
    League of Women Voters Forum
    The League of Women Voters/Palos Verdes Peninsula/San Pedro invites the public to a free forum with the new superintendent of the Palos Verdes Unified School District Don Austin.
    Time: 10:30 a.m. May 2
    Venue: Palos Verdes Library District, Community Room, 701 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates
     
    May 6
    POLAHS State of the School
    Join the Port of Los Angeles High School 10th anniversary State of the School address, presented by Principal Tom Scotti.
    Time: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 6
    Venue: Crowne Plaza Hotel
    Details: 601 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro
    May 12
    Economic Policy Committee Meeting
    The next Economic Policy Committee meeting is at 8:30 p.m. May 12, at the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Board Room.
    Time: 8:30 p.m. May 12
    Venue: the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Board Room, 390 W. 7th St., San Pedro
    Details: (310) 832-7272
     
    May 15
    Dyke March
    Long Beach women will take to the streets in Long Beach’s 3rd Annual Rally and Dyke March.
    The goal of a Dyke March is to increase lesbian visibility and support the rights of all women regardless of labels, including bisexual and transgender women.  Disparities in heath care, equal pay and hiring opportunities are some of the issues highlighted.
    Time: 7 p.m. May 15
    Venue: Bixby Park, 130 Cherry Ave., Long Beach
    Details: denisepenn@aol.com

    May 20
    Emergency Preparedness/Awareness Presentation
    Disaster preparedness not only consists of have a survival kit in you home, your place of business and you car, but it is also knowledge that can travel with you wherever you go.
    The Los Angeles Fire Department will give a presentation that will help you prepare for different kinds of disasters.
    Representatives from COPE Preparedness (Community Outreach Promoting Emergency Preparedness) will also give a short presentation on how to build a kit of tools and supplies for what you may need at home.
    Time: 6 p.m. May 20
    Venue: Peck Park Community Center, 560 N. Western Ave., San Pedro
    Details: http://readyla.org, http:/emergency.lacity.org, http:/cope-preparedness.org

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  • Leland Street Elementary Celebrates Military Families

    Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

    On April 15, students, parents and teachers gathered to honor members of all branches of the military and the coast guard at Leland Street Elementary School’s military assembly.

    The school observed April as the month of the military child. The month of the military child was declared by the Department of Defense in 1986 to recognize the lives of children of military families.  There are about 2 million such children in the United States.

    “These children make sacrifices and are courageous as their parents serve our country,” said Shauna Brodsky, psychiatric social worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District. “They face frequent moves, significant life changes, and separations from a military parent when he or she is deployed to war or goes away to work to train for weeks, months, or even years… to date we have approximately 70 students that come from military families here at Leland.”

    During the event, students spoke about their experiences as a military child and explained the functions of each branch of the military. Afterwards, students lined up with their parents, who were dressed in uniform.

    “My dad fixes army trucks and is a commanding officer,” said Jaylon Davis, a student who has lived in three other states and attended six other schools. “He is a good officer and he has gone away for weeks— sometimes months at a time.”

     

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  • Long Beach to Hire Locally First

    City Council Adopts a Five-Year Plan to Prioritize Local Hiring
    By Crystal Niebla, Editorial Intern

    Long Beach construction workers might find it easier to find work in the next few years.

    Earlier in April, the Long Beach City Council approved a five-year Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council that would prioritize employment for Long Beach residents in construction projects costing more than $500,000.

    The agreement will work in three tiers that would prioritize Long Beach first in tier one, and then draw workers from the Los Angeles and Orange Counties in the following tiers, if necessary.

    Gregory Sanders, pastor of The ROCK Christian Fellowship and president of the Long Beach Minister’s Alliance, an entity that advocates for local jobs, said that the point of it is to “exhaust” the first tier before moving on to the other two.

    Under the details of tier one, the agreement will require that at least 40 percent of work hours will belong to Long Beach residents. The agreement also guarantees that 10 percent of jobs will go to the “economically distressed,” Sanders said.

    The agreement, through a course of five years, will cover about $28 million annually in construction activity. These construction projects do not include the Civic Center or the Belmont Beach and Aquatics Center, which will be covered under separate agreements. In the case of the Civic Center, Long Beach leased the land to an outside developer.  Therefore, Project Labor Agreement’s rules cannot affect the Civic Center construction nor it’s local hiring policies.

    Before, Long Beach would establish labor agreements for each individual project. Once the project was completed, the agreement ended.

    Susanne Browne, senior lawyer at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, said a successful local hire requires the Project Labor Agreement and a policy that would lay out the specific details of the hiring process. Browne, who is in the foundation’s Long Beach office, works with Long Beach Local Hire Coalition to “fine tune” policy themes.  An example of these themes may include providing formatted steps as to how contractors can hire locally.

    “Every project labor agreement with local hire that’s been done by a municipality or a large entity typically has one of these local hire policies,” Browne said.

    Like entities such as the Port of Long Beach or Metro, Browne said Long Beach’s construction industry needs the agreement and a local hire policy to “overlap” their themes.  She said following these guidelines will help project contractors meet and then surpass the first tier’s percentage quotas.

    Local hire coalitions say that Long Beach’s new five-year agreement extends opportunities for workers.

    Sanders said the local hire community wants to start reaching out to people in Long Beach City College and trade school, The group is also targeting people who don’t want to go to college. He said wants to “infuse” unions with “apprentice-qualified candidates,” where the candidates will receive training in fields such as construction and plumbing.

    “The goal is that they get picked up by the union, once they go through the apprenticeship program, and then they’re in the union,” Browne said. “Then, they’re going to get dispatched to other jobs …. The goal is to create a pathway for a construction career.”

    After the Project Labor Agreement was approved by the city council, a local hire policy was introduced by local hire agencies that wish to refine the effectiveness of the agreement.

    Jerry  Rueb,  lead pastor at Cornerstone Church, who works closely with local hire coalitions, said that the agreement can address the long-term joblessness in Long Beach, especially for those who are disadvantaged.

    “Long Beach’s unemployment numbers are well over the national average,” he said. “When you include the minorities, and when you include just the economics … there [are] many, many people that need jobs and careers, and this seems to be a logical place for people to get started.”

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  • Candidates Line Up for Honorary Mayor Campaign

    By Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

    For almost half a century, the San Pedro Honorary Mayor’s campaign has been a tradition. Business owners and distinguished community members compete to raise funds for local charities and the candidate who raises the most money wins the honors.

    The honorary mayor is a ceremonial position. The winner will represent the community and the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce at a variety of events for two years, including flag salutes, the holiday parade and 4th of July celebrations at the Korean Bell.

    The honorary race dates back to 1966, when it was sponsored by the San Pedro Junior Chamber of Commerce—known then as the Jaycees—a leadership training and civic organization for people between the ages of 18 and 40. (more…)

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  • Rebuilding the SP Elks Lodge Begins

    By Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

    Almost a year after an arsonist burned down the Elks Lodge in San Pedro, community leaders hosted a groundbreaking ceremony, April 11. However, the costs and timing of rebuilding the lodge remain undetermined.

    A former Elks member Nick Pecarich, a 79-year-old retired longshoreman, was arrested and charged with burning the original building down.

    The original 34,000 square-foot lodge was built in 1968 at a cost of $1.5 million. Rebuilding the lodge nowadays will cost “far in excess of that,” said former exalted ruler Eugene DeAngelis.

    Tentative plans for the new building designed by the architectural firm SRK were on display.

    “One of the things we realized is that the Elks Lodge is not the building, it’s the people,” said Rep. Janice Hahn. “It’s every single one of you who holds the value of the Elk’s and the community in your heart and it’s very heartwarming today to see people walking here.”

    During the ceremony, the city Fire Department Station #101 was commended for their efforts in fighting the blaze.

    In commemoration of the groundbreaking, city leaders presented the Elks Lodge with certificates of special recognition.

     

    [portfolio_slideshow]

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  • LB District 4 Elects Supernaw as its New Councilman

    Photos and brief by Diana Lejins
    LONG BEACH — Lifelong District 4 resident Daryl Supernaw will soon join the Long Beach City Council.

    Supernaw beat Herlinda Chico and Richard Lindemann in a winner-take-all special election April 14. He took 52 percent of the vote. Chico got 42.4 percent of the district vote and Lindemann only took 4.8 percent of the vote.

    The election ushered him into the seat that now-Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell vacated.

    The new councilman-elect said the election sent a message to constituents.

    “It shows that a truly independent candidate can win,” he said. “I hope to continue serving the 4th District and the city for many years.”

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  • Mark Twain is Alive, Shakespeare is the Question

    By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer

    Everybody knows Sam Clemens.

    Sure, he has been dead for more than 100 years, but Hal Holbrook brought him back to life 60 years ago. His linen suit and bushy eyebrows, his wry humor and slick way around a sentence are still a part of everyday American life.

    Will Shakespeare, on the other hand, well, we know he wrote all those great plays (or do we?) but as for his appearance, his habits, his way of speaking – well, he was an actor and probably a bit of a chameleon. So, except for his plays, he’s pretty much forgotten by the time he died in Stratford upon Avon, (perhaps from partying too hearty with Ben Jonson). (more…)

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  • The NFL to Carson:

    How a Big Deal was Kept Secret

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor, and Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    When Carson’s political leaders announced that an 80,000-seat football stadium was going to be built on the San Diego and Harbor freeway juncture a month ago, no one knew a deal was brewing—not members of Carson’s city council and not the city’s planning commission.

    The only clue to this secret was a lawsuit filed against Carson the day after it was announced that a stadium would be built.

    Until recently, 157 acres of this former landfill produced so much methane gas that anything built on top could have spontaneously combusted, like it almost did in the early 1980s when there was a drive-in theater. This and other hazardous waste at the site made it too toxic to build on, thwarting Carson’s chances of landing a professional football team at least two times in the past 20 years.

    But after the announcement, the Department of Toxic Substance Control deemed the land ready for construction once all the extraction wells—built to safely release the methane gas—are installed within the next six months.

    Construction on the Boulevards at South Bay projects was to begin in 2012. But when former Mayor Jim Dear was asked about the project’s progress in 2014, he blamed the economy for the delay and the “thousands of [polyethylene] piles” that still needed to be driven before construction could begin.

    Before the Feb. 20 announcement, council members Lula Davis-Holmes and Elito Santarina appeared unaware of any stadium plan. Santarina talked about how the Boulevards at South Bay was going to open in 2016 and Davis-Holmes complained about the lack of progress on the project.

    Grassroots Solutions, an out-of-state public relations firm, hit the ground running building community support. With a client list that includes major labor and environmental groups—an apt choice given the leftward political leanings of the city—the firm formed Carson2gether.

    With major backing from the Oakland Raiders and [San Diego] Chargers Football LLC, paid circulators swarmed Carson for several weeks, aggressively soliciting signatures on a 309-page spiral-bound initiative—a document based on the Boulevards at South Bay plan with the addition of a stadium overlay zone and the removal of residential housing. Applicable laws regarding site remediation is not as strict for commercial development.

    The group delivered the completed petitions containing almost 14,000 signatures to the Carson City Clerk on March 21.

    The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder has 30 days (until April 20) to verify that the petitions contain at least 8,041 valid signatures. If so, the initiative may end up on the November ballot, unless the city council acts to change the zoning before then.

    While there’s widespread support for a team in Carson, there are still voices of trepidation in the city on building anything on the former landfill.

    When the city was last in consideration for an NFL team in the early 2000s, several Carson residents, including former Mayor Vera Robles DeWitt, Robert Lesley and Pat Seals raised serious concerns about the remediation of the toxic soil on the property.

    Lesley recently expressed concern about “horrendous” traffic around an 80,000-seat stadium and whether an adequate traffic study was ever completed.

    “They [stadium supporters] don’t understand an 80,000-seat stadium is different from a 30,000-seat stadium,” he said, comparing the proposal to the StubHub Center.

    Carson2gether spokesman Fred MacFarlene said that the stadium project will rely on the traffic studies of previous environmental impact reports such as the one for Boulevards at South Bay and the L.A. Metromall. Random Lengths News was not able to find a traffic study that takes traffic considerations of a stadium in the Boulevards at South Bay plan.

    MacFarlene also told Random Lengths News that the Oakland Raiders and Chargers Football Co. were in the final stages of purchasing the property from Starwood Capital, the latest entity to hold title to the 168-acre piece of land.That information was confirmed by the San Diego Chargers special counsel Mark Fabriani on April 8.

    After all is said and done, this is a big deal. For the city, it has been a 30-year wait for the land to become rehabilitated enough to build on.

    Twenty-four of the 32 NFL team owners have to approve any deal that relocates a team in the Los Angeles market. How this Carson deal came to be is still a billion dollar question.

    NFL in Carson in Context

    NFL team owners have teased Angelino football fans with the prospect of a franchise in Los Angeles since the late 1990s. Each of those times, Carson was a part of the conversation.

    In the late 1990s, the site attracted the attention of Hollywood deal-maker Michael Ovitz, who, along with a few partners including Glimcher Realty Trust, sought to develop the property into a stadium.

    At the time, a union pension plan acquired the property from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in an auction for $10.8 million. They planned to build the L.A. Metromall, but ultimately ended up selling the land to the Carson Marketplace LLC, a shell company for the LNR Property Corp. The sale was made for $30 million in 2004.

    In 2005, Carson officials including Dear, Jerry Groomes and Ron Winkler met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about developing a stadium at the former Cal Compact Landfill. Dear said at the time, there was no NFL team committed to playing in Los Angeles but, “if you build it, they will come.”

    A month later, Carson abandoned the stadium plan. Instead they pursued the Boulevards at South Bay project, a retail and residential space with no stadium.

    The developer of the Boulevards project was LNR Property Corp.’s Commercial Property Group and Hopkins Real Estate Group.

    In 2012, Starwood Capital acquired the property after purchasing LNR Property for $1 billion.

    In 2013, representatives from Starwood Capital submitted a development plan that identified a 43-acre outlet mall to be built along the San Diego Freeway, accompanied by two parking garages. Their plan saw the future buildout of a warehouse discount store along with more than 800,000 square feet of retail space, 209 hotel room, as well as 850 residential units, and 1,150 rental units, all in conformance with the Carson Marketplace plans.

    Rand Properties Jilted Before the Dance

    Now that the former Cal Compact Landfill is just about ready for construction, bit players in Carson’s decade’s-long saga of getting a football team to Los Angeles feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under them.

    This past February, Beverly Hills developer Richard Rand filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the city and Leonard Bloom of U.S. Capital LLC.

    Rand claimed in the lawsuit that he began working through his companies Rand Resources LLC and Carson El Camino LLC to bring one or more NFL franchises to the city and play in a “state of the art” stadium within the city.

    This is not the first time the city and Rand have tangled in the courtroom. In 2003, in a suit against the city and its redevelopment agency, Rand accused then Mayor Darryl Sweeney of soliciting a bribe in exchange for various entitlements in connection with a “$100 million mixed-use development” he had planned for the 91-acre property. Rand said he refused to pay the bribe and as a result, the city denied the entitlement, despite earlier assurances.

    In 2006, a jury sided with Rand, finding that his civil rights had been violated. The city appealed the civil verdict and Rand filed a cross-appeal seeking $20 million in damages.

    In 2008, while the appeal was still ongoing, Rand and Carson’s redevelopment agency entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement. The agreement was contingent upon Rand halting his cross appeal and not enforcing the judgement.

    The agreement was first extended for three years, then extended a second time in 2011 to end in 2012. Rand and the redevelopment agency entered a new two-year agreement similar to the first one.

    Gov. Jerry Brown’s dismantling of the state’s redevelopment agencies caused Rand to question his rights. In September 2012, Rand proposed entering into an exclusive agency agreement with the city in exchange for staying his $20 million cross-appeal of the 2003 lawsuit. This agreement allowed Rand to operate as the city’s exclusive agent in talks with the NFL about bringing a team to Carson.

    Under the agreement, no one other than Rand Resources was permitted to represent the city in negotiations with the NFL, and Rand was to shoulder all the cost of meeting with NFL executives and hiring architectural firms to draft proposed stadium designs, among other costs. The agreement was to end in 2014.

    Rand accuses the city of double dealing while the contract was enforced—starting at least in the summer of 2013. He accuses the city specifically of meeting with Leonard Broom of U.S. Capital while his exclusive agreement with the city was in force.

    For perspective, Rand owns 12 acres of a 91-acre piece of land adjacent to the 157-acre brown field. The remaining 79 acres are owned by at least two other parties. Before California’s redevelopment agencies were dismantled, Rand hoped the Carson Redevelopment Agency would use its powers of eminent domain to enlarge the 91-acre property to help entice the NFL. A substantial portion of the 91 acres has the same issues with hazardous waste as the 157-acre field.

    Rand Resources lawyer Joseph Ybarra said he’s confident the courts will find that the city violated the Exclusive Agent Agreement. Councilman Albert Robles said the council was asked not to speak on the NFL stadium just yet.

     

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