• Rescuing St. Patrick’s Day from Myths and Legends

    By Richard Foss, Cuisine and Culture Writer

         Much has been said about the decline of manufacturing in America. Yet, we still lead the  world in at least one category of manufacturing. I refer, of course, to manufacturing excuses to drink and party, particularly when it comes to celebrating other people’s cultural heritage.

    As an example, let us consider St. Patrick’s Day, which is usually commemorated with corned beef and cabbage, green beer, parades and wearing anything green — especially funny hats.

    With the exception of verdant derbies, there is at least some historical element to all of these. But it’s probably not what you’d think. This includes the career of the person who is actually being commemorated. To start with, there is no Saint Patrick — at least one canonized by the Catholic Church. He did exist, but is regarded as a holy individual, which is just short of sainthood.

    Patrick was born in England and his first encounter with the country that he now personifies was not spiritually uplifting. As a teenager, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken there to be sold as a slave. He learned the language during his six years of bondage, but eventually escaped and returned later in life as a missionary. He didn’t drive snakes from Ireland because there weren’t any. It’s at least plausible that he might have used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the concept of the holy trinity. He did bring Christianity to the Emerald Isle, and for at least 500 years that achievement was honored through special church services.

    That’s it. No green beer, no parades, just a church service. Things were different elsewhere, where Irish emigrants used the day to commemorate their homeland. At first they did so while wearing the traditional color associated with St. Patrick — blue. It wasn’t until 1798, when Irish soldiers fought the British while wearing green uniforms, that the color became the symbol of Irish nationalism. When we wear green for St. Patrick’s Day now, we are  dressing as a soldier for a war that most of us have never heard of.

    All celebrations of the day outside Ireland have been more focused on the culture rather than solemn festivities to commemorate a Christian missionary. The first actual St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in St. Augustine, Florida in 1601, and others followed in New York in 1766 and Philadelphia in 1771. They did finally get around to having St. Patrick’s Day parades in Ireland, the first one was in 1903.

    As for food and drink, the association of corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick’s Day has a rather surprising genesis: the mixed Irish and Jewish neighborhoods in New York. The Irish were not historically big eaters of beef, but enjoyed cabbage with a salted and cured pork called bacon loin. It so happens that traditional Jewish corned beef was similar to bacon loin and very inexpensive, so thrifty Irish families adopted it as their celebration meal.

    The two immigrant communities had much in common, including being the target of prejudice by the Protestant majority, and many people commented on the solidarity between them. As the 1912 hit,  If It Wasn’t For The Irish and the Jews,  commented,

    Talk about a combination, hear my words and make a note

    On St. Patrick’s day Rosinsky pins a shamrock on his coat…

    Corned beef and cabbage are available for sale in Ireland now, but mainly for tourists. As for green beer, it was invented in the United States in 1914, and it only works with German-style pale beers, not the traditional drinks of Ireland. Most traditional Irish beers were red in color, and if you add green dye it turns dark brown.

    As for the most popular Irish beer, you can’t dye a Guinness green because it’s already black, and if you add dye it will still be black. But your lips will be green after you drink it; that will make “kiss me I’m Irish” more or less likely to work depending on who you ask.

    So, what might you decide to eat if you’d actually like to enjoy a taste of Ireland? Soda bread goes back to the 1840s when bicarbonate of soda was first sold in Ireland, and it is still popular there. It’s probably the easiest bread for amateurs to make. It is delicious when served with real Irish butter. That variety along with New Zealand butters are vastly more rich and flavorful than the American counterpart, called Plugra.

    If you want to make soda bread part of a meal, beef stew with a healthy amount of Guinness is a good idea, and you might make boxty as a side dish. This is the Irish equivalent of latkes, but isn’t a New World idea — it’s how the Irish ate potatoes in the 1700s. Cook them crisp and serve alongside that stew. Then open a room-temperature Guinness and play some music that is heavy on the harp and fiddle while you dine.

    There are plenty of recipes online for the items I suggested and if I printed mine here you’d probably still go to the internet because that’s what everybody does these days. I’ll mention that I make soda bread with spelt flour for a healthier whole-wheat loaf that is actually more like the brown breads I had in Ireland. But if you prefer a white loaf, I won’t judge you. For that matter, if you decide to eat corned beef and cabbage while drinking green lager and wearing a plastic derby, I won’t judge you on that either.

    Choose your own way to commemorate the culture of that green isle of poets, scholars, sages, musicians and some of the most epic partiers and hospitable hosts to ever walk the Earth.

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  • Robles Wins Delay of Final Order

    • 03/12/2018
    • Lyn Jensen
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    Albert Robles, the mayor of Carson and a director of the Water Replenishment District, was in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 27 attempting to mount legal justification for holding both those elected offices at the same time, despite state law prohibiting it.

    Judge James C. Chalfant tentatively found that under California Government Code 1099, the offices are incompatible. “What’s in front of me is potential conflict,” he said. “Inherent conflict.”

    The judge explained that Carson has an interest in keeping water rates down, but the water board doesn’t.

    Robles, representing himself, succeeded in arguing enough points that the judge delayed issuing a final order. Instead, Robles and Deputy District Attorney Marian Thompson were instructed to submit to the court eight-page supplemental arguments on five specific points of law–then return to court April 17 for a final decision.

    But the judge could instead issue a final order based on the supplemental arguments without a return to court.    

    The Los Angeles District Attorney began investigating whether Robles’ two elected offices represented incompatible conflict of interest shortly after Robles was first elected to the Carson city council in 2013 but did not resign from the water board, to which he was first elected in 1992.

    Under California Government Code 1099, “A public officer … shall not simultaneously hold two offices that are incompatible.” If the two offices are found to be incompatible, the officer is “deemed to have forfeited the first office upon acceding to the second.”

    Robles’ argument relied largely on the law’s allowance for carving out exceptions. Carson in December 2017 passed an ordinance to allow council members to simultaneously serve as “elected or appointed officers” on several other specific governing bodies, including the Water Replenishment District. Around the same time the district adopted a resolution to allow its directors to sit on city councils.

    Chalfant stated bluntly that the state legislature’s intent was not for local officials to “wiggle out” of compliance by passing local laws. He determined that although Carson’s ordinance may have the force of law, the water board’s resolution does not.

    Pumping taxes that Carson pays the district make a major part of the District Attorney’s case. Robles said the potential for increased pumping taxes were not “significant” and therefore could not be considered to cause “significant” conflict of interest. He said even a “fifty percent increase” would only amount to three cents for every Carson resident.

    Using Robles’ own words from a water board presentation he made to Carson in 2013, both Thompson and the judge hammered Robles on that point. Additionally, the figures Robles presented in his defense did not add up with the figures he provided in that presentation.

    “By his own words before the council, legal fees would go directly into the pockets of the attorneys, and water rates would be quadrupled,” said Thompson.

    “Three cents here and three cents there and soon you add up to real money,” the judge said, paraphrasing the late Senator Everett Dirksen’s “a billion here and a billion there” speech.

    Thompson presented evidence that the Water Replenishment District has a history of lobbying for its directors to hold city council seats. For a brief time in the early 90s, the legislature carved out an exception for the Water Replenishment District, only to hastily repeal the carve-out in 1991.

    Based on Robles’ reliance on the statue’s allowance to carve out an exception and Thompson’s submitting an incomplete legislative history for 1099, the judge agreed to continue the carve-out issue.

    Robles also tried to argue the case was moot because the complaint dated to his previous terms on both bodies. The judge continued that argument “as a jurisdictional matter” only. The judge also asked for a supplemental argument on “a home rule issue.”

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  • Local Bans on Cannabis Undermine Proposition 64

    • 03/12/2018
    • Reporters Desk
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Matt Garland, RLn Contributor

    Proposition 64 made it legal for individuals at least 21 years old to possess and grow cannabis for personal use as of Nov. 9, 2016. The law also allows cities to regulate or prohibit marijuana businesses altogether within their city limits.

    That’s what the City of Compton did, banning commercial marijuana activities within its borders. Voters preserved that status in a January special election, emphatically rejecting two proposals — one by the city council, one by a citizens group — that would have allowed regulated (read: taxed) sales.

    With national support for marijuana legalization polling close to 90 percent for medical use and 60 percent for adult use, the lopsided results of Compton’s special election explain why so many politicians and bureaucrats are so wary of leading on the issue. Instead, they opt for a wait-and-see approach, a lack of action that can sound like a policy, is more a calculation. They are more comfortable watching legalization play out elsewhere than taking political risks and enacting smart and sensible regulations.

    As a result, Compton is actually among a slight majority of California municipalities that have chosen to ban commercial marijuana activities. In Los Angeles County, around 65 of 88 currently ban cannabis businesses. It’s probably not how most people imagined life in a world of legal marijuana.

    A citizen majority agrees that the war on drugs is a failure. Marijuana commerce and profits need to be shifted from the illicit market to a regulated marketplace and treated like any other business. Marijuana consumers deserve safe access. Marijuana entrepreneurs deserve a pathway to licensing and legitimate businesses. Our communities deserve living wage job opportunities.

    The details of regulating are overwhelming. This is not an exercise in creating a new industry, starting slow and creating regulations alongside growth as needed. The cannabis industry already exists in California.

    It is estimated that there are currently around 70,000 growers operating in our state who produce around 15 million pounds of marijuana. Most distributors, vendors, brokers, processors and manufacturers have gone almost entirely unregulated until January 2018.

    Every other industry in our nation operates under a regulatory framework that has evolved slowly since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Our legislators are trying to impose almost 200 years of comprehensive regulations on an existing industry all at once.

    Of course it’s easier for local governments to ban commercial cannabis. But what about the children? What about social and economic justice? What happens to community safety?

    The unintended consequence of banning marijuana commerce in our local communities is that all of this economic activity does not go away. It just goes underground. Street dealers do not check ID, pay taxes, employ fair labor practices, offer safe products or resolve their business disputes in courtrooms. Rogue operators are not motivated by community stewardship. They have no stake in building lasting and positive relationships with our communities.

    Prohibition is one of the biggest public policy failures of modern history. Nearly 100 years of prohibition in our country and not a single drug- free high school in America today. Prisons are full of drug offenders. Families, communities and entire countries in Central America have been decimated by the war on drugs.

    The few municipalities that elected to regulate and license the industry are displaying good leadership, but it’s not enough. The few compliant locations available to operate a licensed cannabis business are being snapped up by wealthy investors who can afford the green rush.

    As of Feb. 7, only 0.78 percent of the growers in our state have acquired licensing. The majority of these growers are single family farms that spend their income in the local economy. The most common issue with obtaining licensing is the cost of compliance and strict local zoning restrictions.

    The California cannabis industry is projected to be worth $7 billion by 2020, but local bans are undermining the intentions of legalization. Marijuana businesses are being licensed in exclusive pockets of our state. This is mostly done by wealthy investors who likely do not spend their incomes in the local grocery store. The people who have grown this industry in the grey market are being forced to concede their businesses or operate illegally.

    The promises of legalization are being ignored by our local bans. Safe consumer access, youth exposure safeguards, drug education reforms, community stewardship, local job and ownership opportunities are among the casualties of a wait-and-see approach to local cannabis regulations. Our communities deserve leadership that will deliver on the promises of a post prohibition society.


    Matt Garland is an advocate of legalized cannabis.

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  • Don Arbor Carries on the Tradition of Protest Music

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

      Turbulent times inspire powerful music. We are in those times. Artists of every kind can make powerful protest music. Yet, often because of the immeasurable and varied ways we now consume music, coupled with our demanding lifestyles, protest music is not always front and center.

    I happened upon one such video by Bay Area singer songwriter, Don Arbor. His song, Everyone Comes From Somewhere is a striking message to counter anti-immigrant sentiment. Arbor’s voice is mellow and inflected with  folk stylings, but the power is in the message.

    Everyone Comes From Somewhere, is a welcome song for immigrants that is extremely relevant today. Donald Trump announced he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on March 5 unless the U.S. Congress found a solution for about 800,000 dreamers brought here as small children by their parents. The Dreamers still await a congressional decision on their fate to remain living and working in the only country they have known.

    Arbor is an award-winning video artist. He has a particular talent for protest music, although his repertoire encompasses much more. His music has been compared to such varied performers as Glenn Frey, George Harrison, Steely Dan, and Green Day.

    In his video, with assistance from Bay Area filmmakers Charles Koppelman and Irene Young, Arbor weaves images that portray our immigrant past and present. In his words, he came of age at a time when music with a message was very popular.

    “Like Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall and Masters of War,” Arbor said. “Those Dylan songs that had a message.”

    Arbor’s initial thought to write the song struck from a conversation with his mother’s caregiver, Karen, an immigrant from the Caribbean.

    “We talked about how badly she felt, given what she was hearing, so hostile toward immigrants,” Arbor said. “When she said that, I agreed and I just blurted out, ‘Everyone comes from somewhere.’ As if to say, ‘What makes you think you’re better because of where you come from?’ Her response to that was, “Yeah, everyone comes from somewhere. You should write a song about that.”

    He started writing that afternoon. It took more than a year and a half to make it into the song that it became.

    “I wound up with a file of so many ideas that it would almost have been a book or a short story,” Arbor said.

    Arbor has two other poignant videos. One is called, If I Had a Son, He’d Look Like Trayvon, after the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February 2012. The other is Salam Pax, a peace anthem written in the words of an Iraqi blogger who wrote during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Arbor discussed his motivation to keep speaking out, if he becomes discouraged and his remedy for discouragement. He called himself hopeful but he always pays attention to what’s going on around him.

    Arbor’s Trayvon Martin song was triggered by hearing President Barack Obama observe, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

    “That just struck me as such a human empathic thing for our leader to say,” Arbor said. “And you could see the emotion in his face. You could hear it in his voice.”

    The video makes a statement about the stand-your-ground laws in Florida, both in imagery (a car trunk full of guns for sale for $2) and words. It shows how the law allowed a neighborhood watch volunteer to disregard directions by the police to do nothing and wait for them to arrive and then persuade  a jury to acquit him of the second-degree murder and manslaughter of an unarmed teenager.

    “I would hope that we’ve turned a corner and that the activism coming from Florida catches on like a wildfire that can’t be stopped,”Arbor said.

    Do I ever get discouraged? Yeah. There’s a song I wrote on that very subject called Hope Is Hard to Kill. The idea behind that is we’ve been through a lot of rough times in the past and that we managed to get through them. We get through them by fighting back, by maintaining our hope and our activism.”

    Arbor is also open to the wounds that our present and our history have inflicted. It’s a constant tension between being a feeling person and resisting the urge to be defeatist. Song writing is a big help to him.

    “One of the reasons I do it is, there’s strength and power in communication and songs communicate,” Arbor said.

    Speaking to current protest music, Arbor mentions his two sons who are 21 and 18 years old and big fans of Kendrick Lamar. Through their influence he’s also become a big fan.

    “My first impression of Kendrick Lamar was his … incendiary performance at the 2016 Grammys, when he did Blacker the Berry and Alright, with cuffs and band members behind bars, followed by a bonfire,” Arbor said. “That took a lot of courage, not to mention a great performance. More recently — like most everybody else — I think Humble is a great track, with a surprising message. He’s really got a great boldness and vision about political and social issues that I appreciate. It’s refreshing to hear somebody have that courage to speak out.”

    Songs with  messages were powerful to Arbor as a teenager, and inspired him. “I feel like I’m trying to carry on a tradition, where you can have a message in a song, speak your truth and people get some support for their own views. Music can build community that way.”

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  • BNSF Railyard Project Appealed to State Supreme Court

    • 03/09/2018
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Major Breaks With Established Law Alleged

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    On Feb. 21, petitioners challenging BNSF’s railyard project in West Long Beach filed an appeal to the California State Supreme Court charging that an appeals court ruling represented a “subversive approach to CEQA,” the California Environmental Quality Act, by failing to assess the true impacts of growth on the project. Two other significant breaks from established CEQA law could set troubling precedents for future projects.

    The environmental impact report (EIR) for the Southern California Intermodal Gateway, or SCIG, was approved by the Port of Los Angeles on March 7, 2013, and by the City Council on May 8, 2013. But it was challenged by an unprecedented alliance of plaintiffs—including the California Attorney General, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the City of Long Beach and its school district, and nearby residents and environmental justice organizations—who successfully sued to have the EIR redone in a 200 page ruling handed down on March 30, 2016. AQMD has never been involved in such a suit before. Long Beach City Attorney Michael Mais told Random Lengths it was unusual, if not unprecedented, for Long Beach as well.

    That ruling was partially reversed by an appeals court on Jan. 12, but the parties who brought the suit claimed that the ruling raised alarms that went far beyond just this specific case.

    “The court’s Opinion not only creates a split in long-settled CEQA law, but also raises fundamental legal questions about public agencies’ duty to fully inform the public about a project’s environmental impacts,” the appeal said, adding elsewhere that the appeal court’s analysis represented a “subversive approach to CEQA.”

    “We were pleased that the appellate court ruled in our favor regarding air quality impacts,” said Chris Eftychiou, spokesman for the Long Beach Unified School District, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “That aspect of the ruling alone was enough to prevent the project moving forward, so the appellate ruling was a victory for our school children,” he said. “The school district operates numerous schools adjacent to the proposed project site and its transportation corridor.”

    But deeper problems remained, according to Ramya Sivasubramanian, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    “On three issues, we felt that the Court of Appeals got wrong what the trial court had actually gotten right,” Sivasubramanian told Random Lengths. The issues involved traffic, noise levels, and the overall growth impacts. But each issue also involves a bizarre twisting, if not break, with existing law that would set troubling precedents for future projects and litigation.

    On the traffic issues, she said “The EIR had what the other side also admits was missing data,” which was unheard of in itself. Yet, “Somehow, this missing data notwithstanding, they found that adding thousands of container trucks to a city street would not significantly impact the traffic on that street.”

    The street, San Gabriel Avenue, has just two lanes. Daily truck traffic would reach approximately 2,771 trucks a day by 2035, so there was good reason to question the EIR’s missing data, but, “The Court of Appeals affirmed their conclusion by assuming that that missing data exists,” Sivasubramanian said, “and that the missing data actually supports this conclusion that thousands of trucks added to a small city street would have no significant impact on traffic there.”

    In another twist, “The court further authorized the agency to correct their analysis, but affirmed the conclusion. So there’s actually no preceding in which the agency can later correct that.”

    The handling of the noise issues was equally bizarre. The EIR adopted a specific standard from the Long Beach Noise Ordinance, known as Lmax, as its key threshold of significance. Anything over that would have to be mitigated. As the appeal notes, Lmax “is the most rigorous methodology for analyzing noise impacts because it assesses a project’s loudest sounds—day or night—rather than simply considering ‘average’ noise.”

    “But, somehow, despite adopting that threshold, it later used a different … methodology for assessing the noise impacts,” Sivasubramanian explained. “So they’re really not doing what they said they were going to do.”

    The appeal says, “clear guidance is needed from this Court that an EIR must apply its adopted thresholds and disclose and mitigate the significant impacts its analysis reveals.”

    It seems surprising that this isn’t already settled law, but perhaps no one’s ever tried such a blatant bait-and-switch. “It’s certainly not something that I have ever seen,” Sivasubramanian said. “They selected the threshold and then didn’t really use it.”

    But the issue of growth got even more bizarre, with an expansion of capacity presented as neutral, if not a reduction—since trucks will be driving fewer miles per container, by diverting them from BNSF’s existing Hobart railyard near Commerce.

    “The EIR refuses to analyze any increase in capacity resulting from SCIG by playing a shell game with growth,” the appeal says. “It concedes that SCIG will create the capacity to handle 1.5 million cargo containers each year. But it defines this capacity as cargo already going to Hobart.”

    While it’s arguable on a trip-by-truck trip basis, this ignores the fact that Hobart will still be there (and the 710 Freeway expansion is still being pursued, which will facilitate it). The appeal continues: “The EIR then dismisses the projected growth in cargo at Hobart (which will immediately refill) as caused by ‘market demand’—not SCIG—and thus exempt from CEQA review.”

    However, Sivasubramanian explained, the opinion’s endorsement of the EIR’s ‘market demand’ excuse conflicts with CEQA’s most fundamental principles. All growth results from market forces, but it’s only when projects are approved through CEQA review that their impacts can be assessed and mitigated.

    “You cannot get around analyzing the project just by claiming that the impacts are attributable to market demand or market forces,” Sivasubramanian said. SCIG doubles BNSF’s capacity, she pointed out,  “which obviously has an impact on market demand. That doubling of capacity means it needs to be analyzed.”

    As explained in the appeal, “Even where it is unclear whether the approved level of development will actually materialize, CEQA requires lead agencies to analyze the full magnitude of potential development allowed by the approval.” It went on to cite court decisions including city annexations, general plan amendments, and rezones.

    While the Port won’t admit it, the impacts of the Southern California Intermodal Gateway will be significant, as would the impacts of the appeals court ruling, if left to stand. Whatever decision eventually comes down, it could be the most significant case the harbor area has seen since the China Shipping Settlement was signed in 2003.

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  • State Lands Commission Hearing on PV Artificial Reef Proposal

    • 03/08/2018
    • Mark Friedman
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Mark Friedman, RLn Contributor

    Although a Feb. 27 hearing of the California State Lands Commission was conducted in Sacramento, it was accessible locally via a video hookup at the Point Vicente interpretive center in Palos Verdes.  There were issues related to the extraction and refining of fossil fuels, but the artificial reef project drew the most attention.

    The Trump administration’s proposal to expand oil and gas drilling off the Northern, Central and Southern coasts of California drew public opposition, including San Pedro community activist, Peter Warren, representing seven environmental and religious organizations, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Coalition for a Safe Environment, and the Sierra Club.

    On another issue, the commission waived attorney client privilege and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s legal advice about the butane and propane storage tank facility that Rancho LPG operates near the Port of Los Angeles, and a nearby rail spur located on property that the port owns. The commission acted in response to requests by the Sierra Club and local homeowners who’ve long advocated the removal of the tanks for safety reasons.

    The  Southern California Marine Institute’s proposed construction of an artificial reef off the coast of  the Palos Verdes Peninsula became the focus.

    With support from the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Montrose Settlements Restoration Project, the project intends to rebuild the biological resources decimated by the dumping of waste product from the old Montrose chemical plant, which produced the pesticide, DDT (dichlorodiphenltrichloroethane), from the 1940s through 70s.

    The project would place 70,000 tons of clean rock from an existing quarry on Catalina Island to create 38 reef sites. The reef sites would provide essential fish habitat and substrate for kelp, marine algae and marine invertebrates.

    One of the objectives is to increase kelp habitat which decreased 50 percent during the past 100 years, in part due to sea urchin population expansion after sea otters and urchin consumers were nearly hunted to extinction in California. With overpopulation, urchins eat down the kelp beds, causing a barren, virtually lifeless bottom. Efforts to restore the habitat have included the establishment of the Marine Protected Areas and urchin removal.

    Southern California Marine Institute director, Daniel  Pondella presented the proposal through a slideshow and noted that the proposed artificial reef is intended to restore habitat rather than mitigate human activities like the Montrose Settlements Restoration Project.

    The reef modules will mimic natural design of reefs in 45 to 60 feet of water so they will not alter wave action, small craft traffic or surfing. Pondella also noted that the sediment at the proposed site is virtually the same as others, so the issue of stirring up toxic polychlorinated biphenyl is moot.

    “This is a unique opportunity by the state to restore this habit. We don’t see any negative impacts on fish, surfing or MPA (Marine Protected Areas),” Pondella said.

    A number of Palos Verdes homeowners were critical of the reef project, expressing skepticism given the Environmental Protection Agency’s inaction in regards to leaks of the Torrance PBF owned refinery through the past 20 years.

    “We are opposed to this project,” Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor, Susan Brooks declared, echoing the sentiments of many homeowners and other critics. “Rancho Palos Verdes is one of nine entities that need to approve this project. Propose something more realistic. Increase the area of the MPA’s and stop illegal fishing.”

    Environmental organizations such as Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation didn’t take a position until more information was available.

    Mark Friedman is a 15-year veteran Marine biology teacher, trade unionist and environmental activist.

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  • An Arresting Situation

    LAPD claims that they can’t arrest their way out of the homeless crisis, but apparently they’re trying

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Dominic H. Choi appeared at the Los Angeles Police Commission this week and explained that LAPD officers had arrested 14,500 homeless people in 2017 as part of his year-end homelessness report. This is a 10 percent increase from the year before for an agency that claims that — this is a problem that we can’t arrest our way out of. But apparently, they’re trying.

    In a report on the issue, the Los Angeles Times found that homeless arrests climbed 31 percent in recent years, and that outside of the 6,400 felony arrests reported by Choi, the majority were for minor offenses, including failure to appear in court on quality-of-life citations. This is curious legal hypocrisy in that police are knowingly citing people who are incapable of paying for a ticket in the first place and then arresting them later for not showing up when a bench warrant is issued.

    Cmdr. Choi is in charge of the Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement or HOPE teams that were created by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council. The HOPE teams were supposed to be a means to offer a more compassionate response to citizen complaints by offering services and referrals to people living on the streets. The teams are comprised of Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority case workers, specially trained police officers and Sanitation Dept. workers. I have seen them in action and I’ve come to the conclusion that HOPE is definitely a misnomer.

    We frequently receive desperate calls from the residents in the local urban encampment down at the U.S. Post Office on Beacon Street about LAPD “raids” during which police arrest people and “steal” their property.  It has been explained to me that since these “enforcements are in response to complaints” about illegal activities, they don’t have to adhere to a rule enshrined in the Los Angeles Municipal Code 56.11 that require a 24-hour notice for “clean ups.”

    The City Council approved a revised version of LA Municipal Code 56.11, which was originally revised nearly three years ago to strictly criminalize storing attended property in public spaces, which impacted homeless residents and street vendors the most. Concerned that the new version would be cause for litigation for violations of the constitution, the mayor halted further enforcement of the law until the city council revised it again. The city council, however, did not substantially change the ordinance during the second revision process. Myrna Bohan, the development director for the affordable housing advocacy group, Venice Community Housing noted that the ordinance that was passed still has criminal penalties for possessing property that is not causing any other hazard except for blocking the sidewalk or causing a health and safety concern. Bohan noted that it also limits total property in personal possession to the amount that can fit in a standard city trash bin, determined by the police officer or sanitation representative enforcing the law.

    “The council, despite many promises, did not create any additional voluntary storage facilities or allocate any additional funding to permanent supportive housing during the 8 months it had to reconsider this law,” Bohan said in a blog post on the subject recently.

    The real problem is that, as Councilman Mike Bonin points out in his Community Voices column, “In 2006, a federal court told the City of Los Angeles it was ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ to forbid people from sleeping on sidewalks unless the City offered sufficient housing and shelter as an alternative.” Yet, Councilman Joe Buscaino continues to place the LAPD in the untenable situation of pursuing enforcement rather than solving the immediate problem of providing emergency shelter.

    The city is a long way away from offering sufficient housing or shelter and the amount of people actually taken off the streets doesn’t even keep up with the growing number who are being forced out by gentrification, the housing shortage and low wages. This while Buscaino has supported more market-rate housing in San Pedro where about 420 new units are slated for construction in the next year and only three of those units will be targeted as “low income.”

    Speaking of failure to provide affordable housing, Buscaino is also implicated in the Sea Breeze $72 million apartment scandal. This bit of news isn’t particularly news anymore except that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office recently indicted the Torrance-based developer Samuel Leung, for making illegal campaign contributions while seeking a change to the zoning for his 352-unit apartment complex in Harbor Gateway.

    Buscaino and four LA City Council reps plus Mayor Garcetti all received tainted campaign contributions and then approved the re-zoning over the objections of both the Zoning Commission and the local neighborhood council. For some unknown reason, Leung even made large donations to then-Congresswoman Janice Hahn even though she could not vote nor influence the decision to change the zoning.

    In a more perfect world, if Leung is convicted in the Sea Breeze case, the 352 units would be converted into housing for the homeless and he would be sentenced to house arrest in one of those apartments. If the illegal campaign contributions are to be forfeited, they should all be donated to LAHSA or some other non-profit for supportive services for the homeless. That would be justice, but don’t hold your breath.

    The city council members will continue to accept campaign contributions from developers who are eager to build with little incentive to include affordable housing units. The council will continue to approve them while wringing their hands publicly about the homeless crisis.

    The day the City of Los Angeles offers real HOPE to the homeless, rather than arresting them for quality-of-life offenses, will be the day the homeless crisis is treated as a real crisis.  Emergency shelters, authorized parking areas and sanctioned encampments need to be put in place now, while the slow-boating of permanent housing grinds its way through the city’s political process.

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  • The Everly Brothers Experience Comes to San Pedro

    • 03/08/2018
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Culture, Music
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Zachary and Dylan Zmed are bringing the Everly Brothers Experience to the Grand Annex on March 10.  The siblings can flat-out sing and play the dickens out of their steel-string acoustic guitars. In fact, they play Everly Brothers hit songs looking and sounding very nearly like the Everly Brothers — right down to their Ivy League suits and their country-harmonizing ways. Just don’t call them a cover band. Even “tribute band” does not do justice to what they aim to do in every performance.

    Think you’re unfamiliar with the music of  the Everly Brothers? Stop thinking.  Just listen. The Everly Brothers gave us hits like Wake Up Little Susie,  All I Have to Do Is Dream  and Cathy’s Clown.

    The Everly Brothers emerged at a time when it seemed everyone was stretching the status quo. The civil rights movement was challenging this country’s racial caste system; the visceral, on-the-ground reporting of the Vietnam War galvanized the American public to form an anti-war movement. And rock ‘n’ roll and the rapid expansion then restriction of work opportunities for women spurred on the sexual revolution.

    Through it all, the Everly Brothers remained noncontroversial, even nostalgic of a more peaceful and more innocent America. Even if it never really existed. That’s not a knock against the brothers.  It’s just to say that in a social moment fraught with tension and unease, there’s a place for good music that shifts attention away from the things that are pulling us apart.

    The Everly Brothers had cross genre appeal that may have had a great deal to do with the moment in which they emerged. This moment was created because of Elvis Presley and other white artists who ensured that black music would no longer be easily segregated in the race music aisle of the record store.  The line between country music and rock ‘n’ roll was blurred by artists like Buddy Holly and Ray Charles.

    In a 1986 Rolling Stone interview, Don Everly noted that when they first came out in the late 1950s, the record companies didn’t like rock ‘n’ roll and interviewers from the press, were always old curmudgeons compared to the artists they were covering. Then the world changed when the Sixties came along, and everyone suddenly got real young, and if you were more that 30, they didn’t trust you. Don was comfortable with the change that was happening during that time and wanted to be a part of it. Phil Everly — not so much.

    During that same interview, Phil admitted that the Sixties weren’t his cup of tea.

    “I never bought that philosophy that, you know, we’re all brothers and that’ll solve everything. And I never believed that music dictated the times. I always thought it reflected them. We were against the grain in that period, and there was a lot of confusion about our direction. Maybe we were just losing the freshness of it all, losing interest.”

    The Everly Brothers didn’t always get along with each other, and their music  didn’t necessarily keep up with the times. In a way, their music remained timeless.

    On The Everly Brothers Experience website, Zachary and Dylan say they are not impersonators, but aim to honor the aesthetics of the Everly Brothers’ sounds and honor their place in music history, all the while having a little fun telling their personal story.

    Zachary and Dylan began developing The Everly Brothers Experience show in 2016 along with their partner and drummer, Burleigh Drummond. Since then, the trio has traveled the world sharing the Everly Brothers’ sound and music in iconic clubs, theaters, performing arts centers, casinos, ballrooms and coliseums.

    A part of that experience is their accounts of meeting people connected to the Everly Brothers. One day they met and spent time with Del Bryant, son of one of the most significant and prolific songwriting teams in the 20th century, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. Del became a significant songwriter in his own right, and also spent time as CEO and president of BMI records.

    The Zmeds also relate the experience of becoming friends with great 1960s pop singer Julie Grant, who toured the United Kingdom with the Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and the Rolling Stones in 1963.

    The bottom line is that The Everly Brothers Experience promises more than a simple tribute band can offer. The Everly Brothers Experience promises respite from tension-ridden angst of this moment.


    March 10

    Time: 8 pm

    Cost: $25

    Details: www.grandvision.org

    Venue: The Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

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  • Changing of the Guard

    • 03/08/2018
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Kids Step Up to Protect America

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    This time, it’s different. You wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media, but year after year, decade after decade, the facts have always been against the National Rifle Association’s extremist positions on guns: The facts about guns making us less safe. The facts about guns and the Constitution. The facts about guns and public opinion—even of NRA members.

    The facts haven’t mattered in the paranoid, lie-littered landscape of national gun politics constructed by the NRA during the past 40 years — until the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. What’s changed — thanks to the student survivors who formed Never Again MSD — is the landscape, not the facts. And in that landscape, hundreds of other teenagers, like Trevor Schnack, of Long Beach, have stepped forward to organize local marches in support of the national March For Our Lives the Parkland students are planning for March 24 in Washington, DC.

    The landscape has changed because they’ve refused to play by the NRA’s pre-scripted rules — starting with denouncing do-nothing “thoughts and prayers” rhetoric intended to silence them before they could say a word.

    “If all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see,” Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez said in her viral, “We call BS” speech. And they were well-prepared. “The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives,” she explained. “AP [Advanced Placement] Government had about three debates this year.” Congress, meanwhile, has been silent.

    But the most powerful part of Gonzalez’s speech zeroed in on the lies:

    Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this.  We call BS!

    Two decades have passed since Congress prohibited federally funded research into gun policy impacts, a ban that began when research in the early 1990s started to show the wrongheadedness of the NRA agenda. Still, enough other research has been done to support the rest of what she had to say:

    They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.

    A New Movement Forms

    A whole cadre of articulate Parkland classmates had already emerged to back her up. Student journalist David Hogg began documenting events in real time from a room 200 feet from the shooter, and was interviewed by Fox News later that night.

    “I don’t want this to be another mass shooting,” he said. “I don’t want this to be something that people forget.”

    It was Cameron Kasky who came up with the idea of starting a movement with a small group of people to “create a march and get in the media and pull the focus onto the politicians who are performing poorly in their jobs,” as his friend, junior-class president Jaclyn Corin, told  New York magazine.

    They’ve called for a March for Our Lives in Washington on March 24, and hundreds of local marches have sprung up since. Kasky also came up with the #neveragain hashtag, encouraging everyone following him to repost and retweet at 3 p.m. on  Friday, March 16.

    “To those following our message, please remember the difference between the NRA as an organization and the members of the NRA,” Kasky tweeted recently. “The vast majority of NRA members are decent people. Patriots. Our issue is not with them individually.”

    The movement was already well underway when Gonzalez supercharged it with her Feb. 17 speech. Since then, politicians’ reactions have been all over the map, while the students have gained enormous cultural momentum with their unflagging outrage and practical demands — getting companies to cut ties with the NRA, and even stop selling assault weapons—as Dick’s Sporting Goods, the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, announced two weeks after the massacre.

    “Our view was if the kids can be brave enough to organize like this, we can be brave enough to take these [guns] out of there,” Dick’s chief executive, Edward Stack, said on Good Morning America.

    Increasingly, it looks like politicians will only start to catch up after the 2018 midterms, when a good number of them are replaced, difficult though that can be, especially in gerrymandered states like Florida.

    “The @FLSenate has rejected the ban of AR-15’s, the weapon of choice used at my school to kill 17 souls,” Corin tweeted on March 3, after several measures the students wanted were voted down. “This breaks my heart, but we will NOT let this ruin our movement.”

    “Florida is not disheartened by the pathetic choices made by our lawmakers,” Kasky tweeted. “We’re simply excited to kick them out and save our own lives …  We have a very clear understanding of who’s with us and who’s against us.”

    From the very beginning, they set out to be inclusive, still—with very few exceptions—Republican politicians’ have chosen to re-up their loyalty to the NRA. It’s just one more way in which the GOP is losing touch with younger voters and voters-to-be: from gay marriage to global warming, immigration reform to legalizing pot, and raising the minimum wage. But in addition to a broader generational sea change, the gun control issue has its peculiar history, the last several decades of which can be seen in three movements—two towards an increased infatuation with guns, and one toward trying to control them.

    Reinventing the Second Amendment

    First, as explained by Michael Waldman, author of The Second Amendment: A Biography, there was the effort spearheaded by the NRA and its allies to transform the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment into a guarantee of individual gun rights. In fact, it was about arming militias—well-regulated militias.

    “Back in the time of the founding, there were gun laws,” Waldman explained in a recently-recorded video op-ed.

    “For example, in Boston, you were not allowed to have a loaded gun at home, because they tended to explode, and set fire to the houses. In 1824, the Board of Regents of the University of Virginia voted to ban guns on campus. Who were gun grabbers? Well, James Madison, who wrote the Second Amendment and Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence. The founders would think the idea that you should arm everybody and especially arm teachers was crazy.”

    As for why that understanding changed, he explained:

    The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule that the Second Amendment reflected an individual right to gun ownership until 2008. This was product of a concerted, very skilled, 30 year campaign by the National Rifle Association to change how we saw the Constitution. We changed our understanding as a country of what the Second Amendment meant, not because of some dry words scratched on parchment, but because the gun rights lobby poured its energy into changing our view of the Constitution. They want to pretend that it’s an unlimited right, that any smart, sane law is an infringement on sacred freedom. And that’s just nonsense. The Second Amendment does not prohibit, does not bar strong, sensible gun laws. Only political will and the broken political system stands in the way of that.

    The NRA, with their twisted view of the Second Amendment, is an integral part of that broken system. Fortunately, even that 2008 Supreme Court decision, D.C. v Heller allowed for plenty of regulation—even outright bans.

    “The Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” it read, citing “the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons,’” such as “weapons that are most useful in military service — M16 rifles and the like.” Assault weapons are precisely what’s meant by “the like,” and an appeals court last year upheld Maryland’s ban on them, based precisely on that language.

    Guns as a ‘Positive Good’

    The second movement was described by Josh Marshall, a trained historian who edits the Talking Points Memo blog. On Feb. 22 he wrote, “Gun Rights, ‘Positive Good’ and the Evolution of Mutually Assured Massacre,” in which he described Trump’s proposal to arm teachers as a logical manifestation of a widespread “gun rights” mindset.  It is supported by the now-debunked work of disgraced “gun rights” economist named John Lott, who purported to show that more guns produced less crime and less violence—the exact opposite of what virtually all other research has shown in multiple different forms.

    Marshall specifically drew a parallel to the “positive good” arguments for slavery, which emerged in 1830s and 40s precisely when the abolitionist movement began to seriously threaten its continued existence. Before that time, slave owners generally did not defend slavery as good, but rather as a temporary necessity, better than the available alternatives. Once it came under serious attack that they took up the notion it was a positive good.

    A more complex combination of events seems to have played a similar role regarding guns: the 1994 assault weapons ban made broader bans seem imaginable, the sharp drop in crime rates made guns-for-safety arguments less widely salient, and shocking shootings like Columbine made their deadly dangers more salient than ever. Whatever was most responsible, Lott’s research struck a chord, and the logic of his work spread in the NRA-nurtured gun culture, even though his work was discredited. Open carry laws, stand your ground laws and more are evidence of this same logic—a coherent narrative entirely at odds with the facts.

    A Missing Movement’s Emergence

    The third movement was described by Kristin Goss in a Twitter thread on Feb. 26—the under-appreciated growth of a gun control movement since the Columbine shooting, around the time she began work on Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America, published in 2006. In it she wrote that—contrary to popular perceptions—the Columbine massacre, together with other mass shootings around the same time, did change something that “countless other gun violence traumas failed to do.” She explained: “These shootings planted the seeds of a sustained, visible, grassroots, nation-spanning gun control effort. New leaders emerged, new tactics were pioneered, and new interest groups formed.” When the book was published it was still too early to say what the future held, but she aimed to answer the question, “If a gun control movement were to arise in America, why didn’t it happen before Columbine? Where was this missing movement?”

    In her thread, Goss first summarizing the main things she found missing:

    1) money;

    2) realistic policy goals;

    3) a message inspiring  to everyday sympathizers.”

    But now, she said, “Much has changed. The movement is no longer missing. Philanthropists have made big commitments. But more importantly, social media have drastically cut the costs of communication, coordination and mobilization. People who never would have met now ‘gather’ on Facebook to build solidarity and organize their offline work.”

    What’s more, Goss said, “The gun violence prevention movement is much more strategic, too. It’s working state by state to pass laws that empower local authorities to enforce the gun laws we already have, especially around domestic violence.” But, “Most important, there is a critical mass of survivors and family members — more than 1,000 of them, organized state-by-state — as well as tens of thousands of energized moms who are providing a moral vision: We don’t have to live like this.” And, she pointed out, “People say, ‘After Sandy Hook, nothing changed.’ That’s wrong. A lot changed. The movement got moving. But the groundwork had been laid by Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, and Aurora.”

    Goss highlighted that in her book, “I examined historical movements for social reform that faced big obstacles but mobilized masses of Americans. What was their secret? They framed their activity in terms of caring for children,” and thus, “@MomsDemand picks up a long tradition of women’s activism,” but “What I did not foresee when I wrote that book was that children would become a moral voice of the movement. The #MSDStrong kids shame us with #NeverAgain. They ask us, their civic parents, to take care of them.”

    It won’t be easy, she warns, “But this isn’t fundamentally a policy debate,” it’s about our capacity to act for the common good, and also about political power which “isn’t just about money, or even primarily so. It’s about creating a moral vision and organizing to attain it.”

    “That’s what the young people at #MSDStrong are doing,” she concluded. “They are developing a moral vision and asking us, their civic parents, to stop fighting and join them. Is this different? Yes, I think it is.”

    The exact outlines of that moral vision are still being fleshed out. But at least three key themes are worth noting, for how they’ve begun to break the NRA’s spell:

    First, that preventing gun deaths should be the paramount concern, and that more guns are not the solution. Student after student from Parkland said the same thing, each in their own way. “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks,” is how Gonzalez put it. “We are going to be the last mass shooting.” And when Donald Trump proposed arming teachers as a way to protect schools, everyone from veterans groups and law enforcement to teachers and school administrators echoed the students rejection of it.

    Second, that there’s no conflict between the Second Amendment and banning assault weapons. Student after student said they had no problem with the Second Amendment, echoing what the courts have already said, but in common sense conversational terms.

    Third, that the NRA is a bad-faith actor, and doesn’t represent what millions of its members want — much less gun owners in general or the American people. There’s now a good deal of polling on this point, and it only becomes more obvious the more wildly the NRA attacks the students survivors of Parkland.

    A Changing Vision

    One week after the Parkland massacre, the NRA’s Executive Vice President, addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he claimed that the right to bear arms is “not bestowed by man but granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright.”

    That statement was called “patently heretical” by Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary and Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of Union’s Episcopal Divinity School. The statement “demonstrates the NRA intends to continue sacrificing children on our culture’s—not God’s—bloodied altar,” they said, adding:

    Contrary to Mr. LaPierre’s rhetoric, this ubiquity of weapons is not a holy, ordained right but rather induces divine lament. In Isaiah, the prophet foretells a world in which people, “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” The NRA’s dream of a gun for every person simply does not square with this biblical vision. Between Mr. LaPierre’s word and the Bible’s, it’s clear where we must place our trust. Similarly, the NRA’s claim that safety lies in guns directly contradicts Jesus’ own teaching. In the moment he was arrested to be crucified, Jesus commanded his followers to disavow violent response, promising “all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

    In fact, the pretence that gun rights come from God isn’t Biblical at all. It comes from severely misreading John Locke, whose Second Treatise on Civil Government helped inform our Founders’ political worldview. Locke did say that men had god-given rights in a pre-political “state of nature,” in which no one rules over them. But those rights in that state were so insecure, that it “makes him willing to quit a condition, which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers” Thus, according to Locke, it’s the very inability of weapons to provide individual security which is the foundation of legitimate government. I wrote about this at length for Al Jazeera English after Sandy Hook, in a piece titled “Locke and Unload.”

    The Parkland survivors aren’t talking about Locke or Jesus. They’re talking about their dead friends and classmates, and their fierce determination to see that carnage end. But eventually, over time, they will inevitably meet up with these older streams of philosophical argument, because that is where our true protection lies.

    Meanwhile, they’re reaching an entire generation that feels the same way, with 455 March for Our Lives events listed on Facebook by March 5.

    In Long Beach, Trevor Schnack took the lead. “I had to create this event using my father’s account because, while I’m old enough to buy a gun in some states, I’m not old enough to create a public Facebook event,” he explained. (See community events for details.) Schnack told Random Lengths he considered himself apolitical, though he had interned for Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and his father serves on the city’s Commission on Children and Youth. A planning meeting he organized drew students from five high schools and one middle school. Right now, they’ve just got their hands full planning for the march. But already there’s mention of California’s official High School Voter Education Weeks, April 15-28, in the events discussion thread. It only takes one student at a school to make it happen, with pre-registration starting at age 16. And there are hundreds of similar groups all across America.

    The future is being shaped right now.

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  • A Reprieve (of sorts) for POC Restaurant

    • 03/08/2018
    • James Preston Allen
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    On March 6, the management offices of Ports O’ Call Restaurant received a letter of intent—a reprieve of sorts from the LA Waterfront Alliance. This happened three days after Port of Los Angeles communications director, Arley Baker, announced that the city filed nine unlawful detainers against the remaining tenants at Ports O’ Call, including Ports O’ Call Restaurant, in a social media post. And six days after Ports O’ Call celebrated the passing of the deadline they were supposed to receive an eviction notice with an all-day-happy hour.

    A letter of intent doesn’t explicitly offer an interim lease, which the developers can’t actually offer at this point because they don’t have possession of the property. A letter of intent means little unless the port acts on the intent and offers one itself.

    It has been rumored for several months that the San Pedro Public Market LLC (aka, LA Waterfront Alliance) were working on a “deal” to keep Ports O’ Call restaurant in the mix for the new waterfront plans.

    But even as late as Jan. 11, when they gave a presentation to the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners in front of a vocally hostile crowd, the developers were mute on Ports O’ Call Restaurant. It took a public records act request of the port by this newspaper to even get the port to divulge the actual new plans.

    Even later it was confirmed by a source close to the commission that “no one at the Port was aware of or seen a LOI between the two parties.” Now, Wayne Ratkovich has expressed his interest in having Jayme Wilson, a principal in the restaurant and Spirit Cruises, as a tenant in one of the new spaces.

    However, the spaces to which they were referring in the letter of intent are only “scheduled for occupancy in 2021.”  What will happen to the restaurant and its employees in the interim?

    It now appears that the port is set to evict one of the key tenants in the future development of the LA Waterfront while at the same time the developer is throwing them a life-line on the exact day the Spirit Cruise boats were forcibly removed from the docks at berth 77. Clearly a lack of coordination, like ships passing in the night.

    Baker continued online by writing, “Some establishments will remain open. They have negotiated their deal with their future landlord.”

    This apparently is in reference to the San Pedro Fish Market, Crusty Crab and LA Waterfront Cruises, who were previously excluded from the initial demolition plans. The port commented that these businesses were responsible for some $20 million a year in gross sales and the Fish Market ranked in the top ten in the entire country by revenue.

    Still, it remains to be seen whether the latest correspondence between Milan Ratkovich of San Pedro Market Place LLC and Wilson will stay the wrecking ball from demolishing the iconic San Pedro waterfront edifice of Ports O’ Call Restaurant.

    The other former tenants of the Village are planning a press conference on their legal grievances against the port on March 12 at the south end of Ports O’ Call Village.  They are considering further legal action against the port, which seems to have anticipated potential litigation in its development time-line as the construction plan of the actual promenade isn’t scheduled until February 2019, according to Mike Galvin at Port of Los Angeles.

    It might be too much to expect the POLA to have a surprise announcement regarding any of this at their March 20 town hall meeting.

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