• Immigration Attorney Answers ‘What the Hell is Going On?’

    • 02/16/2017
    • Kym Cunningham
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Sanctuary Cities, the Cost of ICE and Trump’s Immigration Policies

    By Kym Cunningham, Contributing Writer

    Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, on Jan. 25. This order cuts funds for so-called “sanctuary cities” and gives immigration officers unlimited discretion in instituting deportation proceedings. The order belies the Trump administration’s lack of knowledge concerning the realities of immigration law.

    “‘Sanctuary cities’ is a misnomer,” Ally Bolour explained. “The cities don’t enforce immigration law. That’s a good thing because immigration law is the most complicated area of law next to tax law.”

    Bolour has worked as an immigration attorney in downtown Los Angeles for almost 20 years.

    The Los Angeles Police Department is, and should be, in support of sanctuary cities, he said.

    “They don’t want to be the ones to enforce immigration law,” Bolour said. “They don’t know the law … and … if people stop trusting your police force, then crime will go up. Then you and I, as citizens, are less safe because no one’s reporting.”

    Bolour argues that local police forces are not meant to enforce immigration law because they lack the technical know-how and the manpower.  This  is why an entire department,  Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, exists.

    “I would think that the federal government would actually support the concept of sanctuary cities,” Bolour said. “They’re the ones that are supposed to enforce it, not local offices, not local police forces.”

    The Trump administration does not seem to understand the nature of “sanctuary cities,” just as it does not understand the reasons behind the alleged 11 million undocumented workers or, as Trump refers to them, “criminal aliens.”

    “There’s no reason to have 11 million undocumented individuals,”  Bolour said. “We’ve never had this. Migration between Mexico and the United States … has been going on since the birth of both countries. This particular problem can really be pinpointed to the present law [the Illegal Immigration and Immigration Responsibility Act].”

    This act, also known as IRAIRA, came into effect in April of 1997 under Bill Clinton. The law tightens immigration controls, making it incredibly difficult for people who come to the United States without authorization to obtain legal status.

    Essentially, if an immigrant comes to the United States without being inspected, it is incredibly unlikely that she or he will be able to adjust status and obtain a green card.

    “People come here, perhaps, to work the farm, not knowing what the full consequences are,” Bolour said.

    Unless the undocumented immigrant can prove “Extreme Hardship” and is willing to travel back to his or her home country to be processed, she or he is not eligible for a green card and cannot be legalized, even if she or he marries a U.S. citizen. Many immigrants opt instead to remain undocumented in order to avoid separation from their loved ones for prolonged periods of time. Bolour gave a hypothetical example of a common scenario in which an immigrant can easily fall into this “undocumented trap.”

    “[Let’s] say a female Mexican national comes here to work [on a] farm,” said Bolour. She meets a U.S. citizen farmworker. They fall in love. They have babies. The babies are U.S. citizens. That woman is unlikely to be able to get a green card — even though she has U.S. citizen kids, a U.S. citizen husband, for all practical purposes is an American — she is unable to legalize. She is one of … the 11 million.”

    Before IRAIRA, an undocumented person could have paid the federal government a $1,000 penalty for crossing over without documentation and then adjusted status. Although the process takes time, the undocumented individual could have eventually applied for citizenship. As the law stands now, undocumented individuals who keep under ICE’s radar cannot obtain green cards. Therefore, they cannot become U.S. citizens.

    “When you’re not a citizen, you don’t fully participate in society,” Bolour said. “You can’t, perhaps, go to your kids’ PTA meetings because you’re scared…. You don’t feel like a full member of society. Perhaps you don’t learn English. You certainly don’t vote; you don’t serve on a jury. That’s a loss to American society in general.”

    IRAIRA Costs Taxpayers

    But the loss to American society due to IRAIRA is not merely general, it is specifically fiscal as well. As it stands, Bolour explained that the law costs the government and, by extension, the taxpayers who foot ICE’s bill.  The government could stand to make $11 billion in potential profit if it legalized these immigrants.

    “That a $1,000 penalty,” Bolour said. “Multiply it by 11 million [people]. Just do the math.”

    Alternately, Bolour proposes another solution termed, “paroled-in-place.”

    Currently, this relief is only offered to the spouses of military veterans. If an undocumented immigrant marries a veteran, his or her attorney can ask the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, to issue him or her a parole-in-place. This essentially produces a document which states that she or he was “paroled-in,” allowing the person to retroactively gain legal documents. After this process, the person is eligible to adjust status, becoming legalized by obtaining a green card or visa.

    Although less lucrative for the federal government than the $1,000 penalty, this system of parole-in-place would save American taxpayers millions, if not billions, of dollars in immigration enforcement.

    In 2013, the estimated budget for immigration enforcement was more than $5 million per day. In 2016, the budget proposed an increase of 2,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP,  officers — to include their salaries, benefits and future pensions. Alongside this increase in personnel, the ICE fiscal year budget included $373.5 million to “maintain the necessary infrastructure and technology along the Nation’s borders.”

    Bolour’s paroled-in-place solution for these 11 million undocumented workers would allow the federal government to divert these funds, channeling a deficit funded by citizens into benefits for American citizens via universal healthcare or better public education.

    Bolour maintains that by legalizing these immigrants, the government will be able to weed out what he called “the low-hanging fruit.”

    “As it is, it’s a wide net and it’s not effective,” Bolour said. “We need a system to sift through everybody [who] can be legalized … then we spend money to deport criminals.”

    It is important to note that the Trump administration is not the first to target undocumented workers. Rather, Trump’s attack on the working class builds on policies set forth by Presidents Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton (the progenitor of IRAIRA).

    In fact, Obama has been labeled the “deporter-in-chief” by many immigration groups, as his administration was responsible for the physical removal of more than 2.5 million people — a figure that does not include those individuals who were turned away at the border or who left of their own volition. The Obama administration was responsible for more deportations than any other administration in U.S. history.

    And yet, there was not the same fear felt by the immigrant community under the Obama administration.

    Recently, reports of ICE raids have put whole communities on edge. Although ICE has issued statements claiming that these raids are business-as-usual, this cavalier bureaucratic attitude only seems to create more fear and confusion.

    On Feb. 9, University of California Undocumented Legal Services Center sent out the following message:

    ICE agents are targeting individuals with prior removal, or deportation, orders. We have also gotten reports that even individuals without prior orders of removal are being targeted. This includes people who do not have any criminal records. The reports describe that unmarked white vans are going through neighborhood, with agents targeting specific individuals for enforcement.

    The message then urges affected students or their family members to contact their respective campus center attorneys.

    Bolour said this fear is the true difference between the Obama and the Trump administration in regards to undocumented workers.

    “Tyrants rule by creating this set of circumstances that create confusion, uncertainty and just panic,” Bolour said.

    Trump Targets Muslims

    In a different part of the immigrant community, this same panic spread on Jan. 28, when Trump announced yet another Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. Now infamously labeled  the “Muslim Ban,” this order refused entry to immigrants traveling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

    However, the true terms of the executive order remained murky even to those enforcing it.

    In conjunction with the executive order, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement, saying that it would immediately stop processing the benefits for immigrants from the aforementioned seven countries. These benefits included work permits, green cards and citizenship.

    Shortly thereafter, Secretary John Kelly declared that green card holders were exempt from these restrictions and were going to be allowed back into the country.

    “Well, I have a bunch of green card holders who are just confused whether to board a plane,” Bolour said. “They’re being refused boarding a plane wherever they are worldwide. So this element of confusion … was the immediate aftermath.”

    While many have argued the inherent discrimination that belies this executive order, to Bolour, the legal issue of discrimination lies not with the executive order itself, but with the intent behind the executive order.

    “I would say yes [it is discrimination], but it’s not because he’s attempting to deny a class of individuals from entering the country—that’s within his authority,” Bolour said. “The intent is there. The intent is: Muslim ban. But [Jan. 7] in court, the government attorney was going up and down swearing that ‘hey it’s not Muslim ban.’ But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

    Bolour argued that at the most fundamental level, this executive order challenges the separation of church and state as laid out in the Constitution. Similarly, he argued that the order discriminates against individuals based upon their religion, which is prohibited in the Bill of Rights.

    “So you have several issues,” Bolour said. “You have the religious ban issue [and] you have due process issues. If somebody is doing everything that they are supposed to do and suddenly they are prevented from getting a benefit, that’s a due process issue.”

    Executive Orders Damage Society

    As a result of the confusion generated by the implementation (or not) of the “Muslim ban,” Bolour shared some advice he gave to his clients.

    “If someone’s going to come in, I’m advising them to come in as soon as they can,” Bolour said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what Trump’s going to do. If somebody wants to travel abroad, I still tell them only travel if you have to. Don’t travel for pleasure.”

    Bolour was angry that he even had to suggest this advice.

    “People should not feel fearful,” Bolour said. “People should be celebrating that they’re becoming U.S. citizens.”

    “I have clients, business clients, that routinely travel overseas because they have meetings,” Bolour added. “Even if they’re not one of the seven stated countries — that’s the thing the element of fear — they’re still asking me, ‘Should I go? What if he adds more countries and what if I’m affected?’ That affects business life.”

    Bolour recounted the chilling effect of  Trump’s “Muslim ban” on one of his clients, a student from Iran who applied for and was granted asylum and a green card. This student planned to celebrate his birthday in Puerto Vallarta later this month but canceled, even after everything had been paid for, because he was worried he was not going to be allowed back into the country.

    “It may sound trivial to people but in America…we’re supposed to be certain,” said Bolour. “We’re supposed to know what’s going on. This is the only place in the world where political uncertainty has no basis, right? Because we’re supposed to have a stable set of institutions.”

    However, there is a glimmer of hope on an otherwise bleak horizon.

    In the Los Angeles field office of USCIS, paperwork from the seven “banned” countries is being processed normally. Applications for citizenship from countries such as Iran are being accepted, processed and approved. Other applications are being scheduled and processed normally. All the visas that had been canceled by the State Department were reinstated.

    “But again, the element of uncertainty is at the whim of a circle of people,” Bolour said.

    Lastly, Bolour suggested that Trump’s executive orders were not only problematic for immigrants, but also for the community as a whole.

    “You don’t even have to be an immigrant or a green card holder, you can be born here and you are affected,” Bolour said. “He’s attacking the very fabric of American consciousness and society … where people don’t trust one another … That’s extremely destructive beyond the four years or the eight years or even 20 years…. It has created this atmosphere of paranoia, of fear.

    “Trump’s regime will end. But the damage that it is doing to our society is going to prevail for many, many years.”

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  • Buscaino’s War on Homeless

    • 02/16/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Most of you have been distracted by the Tweeter-in-Chief’s misdeeds in office during his first weeks playing in the Oval Office. But you should realize that his antics are a lot like using a feather toy to distract a cat. The real threat to our democracy seems to be going on down the street in the U.S. Congress with the Republicans noodling with Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.

    Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles—the capital of the Sanctuary Cities and where city leaders have vowed to stand against No. 45’s bullying and unconstitutional executive orders—there’s something more going on.  The city is about to hold its off-season municipal elections and voters have just received their sample ballot pamphlets. But is anyone paying attention?

    There are two on my ballot that need no endorsement since they are running unopposed: City Attorney Mike Feuer and City Controller Ron Galperin. Both have done superb jobs. Feuer for suing Wells Fargo and winning, and Galperin for giving the citizens access to the city’s database with his control panel. Even though they don’t need your vote, vote for them anyway.

    What you won’t see on this ballot is the simmering discontent with the Los Angeles City Council that is bubbling up from the ground like tar at the La Brea Tar Pits.  Pay-to-play development zoning, lack of leadership on the homeless crisis and lack of affordable housing are covered up with a blanket of hypocrisy.

    This is best exemplified in District 15 Councilman Joe Buscaino’s  attempt to show that he has compassion for the homeless by reporting via his weekly political e-newsletter and his campaign mailer about his ride on the bus that transports our San Pedro neighbors without homes to the winter shelter in Long Beach.

    He does not explain why Los Angeles doesn’t have a winter shelter anywhere in Council District 15, nor does he address the illegal stepped-up enforcement actions and continued criminalization of the people camping within a stone’s throw of his office on 7th and Beacon streets. This is the urban encampment that Bob Nizich, the lawyer who has an office on the third floor of the San Pedro Post Office building, has been documenting for months — most recently with a 2017 calendar that he has printed with a picture of San Pedro’s City Hall on the cover.

    “The view from the third floor overlooking 8th Street indicates a clean street free of debris and tents,” Nizich complained recently. “The view from the fifth floor at 7th Street (if one bothered to look) would indicate a street full of debris and trash. Hard to believe you could go to work for the last week… and not see it.” The debris he is referring to are the belongings of people who are chased around, harassed and often arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department for the crime of being without shelter.

    It has been reported to me from more than one source that the current police tactic is to issue tickets for minor infractions like smoking in the park or obstructing the sidewalk at places where people are camped out. It is when those tickets go to warrant, that the ticketed are caught in catch-22.

    On the one hand, if a ticket is allowed to go to warrant, the ticketed are liable to get arrested and their belongings “confiscated” if not left abandoned for city-hired contractors to pick up and dispose.

    If they trek over the bridges separating San Pedro from the Long Beach court to satisfy orders to appear, they are likely to find that their cases are not even on the docket for the day they were ordered to appear, wasting precious resources while still running the risk of their tickets going to warrant.

    This is the current game that is being played with the councilman’s approval. Remember, he is a former cop and Captain Oreb is his hand picked successor at Harbor Division. This tactic is easily implemented since the 72-hour clean-up notification rule was reduced to 24-hours  in Los Angeles municipal ordinance 56.11.  The council office uses this tactic without even offering the ticketed individuals the benefits of the contentious Navigation Center they were pushing back in September 2016. Remember the Barton Hill uprising? The city’s ordinance can’t be legally enforced without this option, yet it is.

    This is all complicated more by the  accusation by Mayor Eric Garcetti and a couple of the city’s power centers, the Los Angeles Times and most of the City Council, that Measure S will stop in its tracks construction that would address the affordable housing and homeless crisis in this city.

    Garcetti was quoted as saying that Measure S, “will cause major job loss, will cost taxpayers millions and make our housing and homelessness crisis even worse.”

    Yet Measure S specifically carves out exceptions in the two-year moratorium for the building of affordable and homeless housing.  It does put a hold on the gentrification of and the rezoning of properties for the expressed purpose of oversized developments that are negotiated in the back rooms of city hall.  Buscaino is among the 11 city council members endorsing the “No On Measure S” campaign. All of these council members have taken campaign money from developers and have not come up with a right now solution for sheltering the homeless this winter.

    This is just one more reason not to vote for Joe Buscaino. But there are few more reasons:

    • Not one of the three housing developments that have been approved have even broken ground to date in San Pedro,
    • His grand vision of the Ports O’ Call waterfront is stalled and may be in jeopardy of not even being built,
    • The Harbor Division jail is still closed. Even though if it were opened, it would provide more patrol hours for our limited number of police officers
    • And nothing has been done to provide any temporary emergency shelter for the homeless after three years of posturing on the issue.

    You’ve seen the sign in my window — Joe Must Go!

    Vote yes on Measure S.  Vote for Caney Arnold or Noel Gould for city council. Either would be better than Buscaino for Council District 15.

    Vote Yes on County Measure H. It will actually address the core issues of homelessness that the city is incapable of solving.

    And on the Community College District seat 6, vote for Nancy Pearlman, the only independent progressive.

    Regardless of what your perspective is on the homeless crisis, you have to admit that after three years of debate in city council, the problem has only gotten worse and the only cure the citizens have is to vote those out who have been an obstruction to curing the problem. Let’s start with Buscaino and his reckless disregard for the desperately poor.

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  • Rose’s Pawn Shop

    • 02/16/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Feb. 18
    Rose’s Pawn Shop
    This Grammy-nominated band has a veritable musical arsenal: guitars, banjo, thumping upright bass, fiddle and drums. The group delivers a rootsy, driving sound that reflects its musical lineage, which includes Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, The Band and Old Crow Medicine Show.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 18
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 436 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 18
    Tommy Peltier
    Enjoy the musical talents of Tommy Peltier as he releases his new extended play Tommy Peltier and the Heat. The event will include a surprise guest.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 18
    Cost: $10
    Details: www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 19
    Fat Brando at Alvas
    Fat Brando is as big as four people. That’s because Fat Brando is a quartet that comes from a diverse set of musical experiences and interests. Fat Brando also comes from Long Beach. Fat Brando’s original compositions draw from jazz, rock and chamber music.
    Time: 4 p.m. Feb. 19
    Cost: $10
    Details: www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    The Breaking, Jason Paul
    Porch Party Records produces a regular show at Que Sera called Dank Steak, conceived for up-and-coming artists who are pushing the musical envelope. This week featuring a band from Portland called The Breaking, and a Long Beach-based rebel named Jason Paul.
    Time: 9 p.m. Feb. 19
    Cost: $3
    Details: www.facebook.com/Thequesera
    Venue: Que Sera,  1923 E. 7th St., Long Beach

    Feb. 24
    Radio-Active at Alpine Village
    Radio-Active is a 70s and 80s new wave-rock cover band based in the South Bay.
    Time: 9 p.m. Feb. 24
    Cost: $5
    Details: www.alpinevillagecenter.com
    Venue: Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance

    Feb. 25
    Tributo a Mexico
    Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Co., led by Artistic Director Jose Vences, showcases the splendor of Mexican folk dance from various regions.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Honey County
    Rooted in three-part vocal harmonies, southern twang, and pop hooks, Honey County tis an alt-country trio led by singer-songwriter and Virginia native, Dani Rose.  The trio creates its own story-driven country, melodic pop and punchy, guitar-fueled rock.
    Time: 8 p.m.Feb. 25
    Cost: $20 to $120
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 436 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Bunny Brunel & Kaylene Peoples
    The well-regarded Bunny Brunel & Kaylene Peoples is presenting acoustic jazz and electric fusion.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 25
    Cost: $30
    Details: www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    March 4
    Lucia Micarelli
    Lucia Micarelli performs classical, jazz, traditional fiddle music and Americana for a high energy, eclectic stage performance, all bound together by her impeccable emotional vulnerability and technical wizardry.
    Time: 8 p.m. March 4
    Cost: $20 to $120
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex,  436 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    THEATER

    Feb. 17
    Forever Plaid

    Once upon a time, there were four guys who discovered that they shared a love for music and then got together to become their idols:  The Four Freshmen, The Hi-Lo’s and The Crew Cuts. Rehearsing in the basement of a family plumbing supply company, they became “Forever Plaid.”
    Time: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 17 through March 5
    Cost: $35 to $55
    Details: (562) 436-4610; www.InternationalCityTheatre.org,
    Venue: International City Theatre, 330 E. Seaside Way, Long Beach

    Feb. 17
    Evita
    Musical Theatre West presents Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical masterpiece Evita.  The seven-time Tony Award-winning musical captivated audiences with Eva Peron’s passionate and unforgettable true story of her meteoric rise to become Argentina’s champion of the poor and most influential first lady.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 17 and 18, and 23 through 25, 1 p.m. Feb. 19 and 26, 2 p.m. Feb. 18 and 25, and 6 p.m. Feb. 19
    Cost: $20
    Details: (562) 856-1999, ext. 4; www.musical.org
    Venue: Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton St., Long Beach,

    Feb. 26
    Question 27, Question 28
    Artists at Play and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 are presenting Chay Yew’s frank drama, Question 27, Question 28. In 1942, 10 weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The order authorized the removal and internment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II. Yew’s play traces this moment in history, serving not only as a reminder of the past, but as a cautionary tale for the present.
    Time: 3 p.m. Feb. 26
    Cost: Free
    Details:  http://bit.ly/2k4KJku.
    Venue: Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles

    Monster Nite at the Puppet Asylum
    Monster Nite at the Puppet Asylum explores the outer edges of puppetry with inventive, absurdly funny and wicked acts of puppetry independently produced for an adult only audience. Due to adult subject material, no one under the age of 18 will be admitted.
    Time: 4 p.m. Feb. 26
    Cost: $12
    Details: www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    March 31
    Romeo and Juliet Rehearsals
    You are invited to Elysium for each and every Romeo and Juliet rehearsal.
    Time:  6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, until March 31
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.fearlessartists.org/box-office-1
    Venue: Elysium, 729 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    FILM

    Feb. 18
    SPIFF Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts
    For the second consecutive year, the San Pedro International Film Festival is presenting Oscar-nominated short films.
    Time: 5 p.m. Feb. 18 and 7 p.m. Feb. 24
    Cost: $14
    Details: www.SPIFFest.org
    Venue: The Space on Pacific, 624 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    March 3
    Singin’ In the Rain – 65th Anniversary
    SPIFFest is celebrating the 65th Anniversary of Singin’ In the Rain.
    Time: 7:30 p.m.
    Cost: $10
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    ARTS

    Feb. 18
    Open Studio Art Party
    Come out to support local Long Beach artist as they display their creations from a range of disciplines at this open studio art party.
    Time: 2 to 8 p.m. Feb. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://aiaart.net/
    Venue: Luna Rising Art Studio, 2102 Clark Ave., Long Beach

    Feb. 20
    Creative Expressions, featuring glass artist Howard Schneider, local painter Kathie Reis and abstract artist Lois Olsen opens at the Artists’ Studio Gallery at the Promenade on the Peninsula. An opening reception is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. March 4.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 20 through April 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 265-2592; www.artists-studio-pvac.com
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center/Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education, at 5400 Crestridge Road,  Rancho Palos Verdes

    Feb. 25
    Significant Otherness
    Significant Otherness is a benefit exhibition for the Spay and Neuter Project of Los Angeles. It explores the unique bond between animals and humans through artworks of eight contemporary artists.  A benefit event is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 25.
    Time: 10 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday, through March 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://angelsgateart.org/gallery-receptions-on-january-21-2017
    Venue: Angels Gate Cultural Center, Building A, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    April 9
    Frank Brothers: The Store That Modernized Modern
    The exhibition relates the story of Southern California’s largest and most prominent mid-century retailer of modern furniture and design. Based in Long Beach from 1938–1982, Frank Bros. embodied the optimistic post-war ethos of the American consumer.
    Date: 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, through April 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: csulb.edu/org/uam
    Venue: California State University Long Beach, University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach

    April 16
    Wearable Expressions
    Wearable Expressions explores the unbreakable bond between Art and Fashion portraying boundary-pushing works in fiber, jewelry and accessories by creative minds from around the globe.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through April 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: wearableexpressions.com
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 W. Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    April 30
    Ann Weber, Sculpture
    TransVagrant and Gallery 478 present Ann Weber, Sculpture. Ann Weber’s organic sculpture is abstract, formally elegant and composed of inelegant salvaged cardboard. There are abundant hints of figuration and recognizable objects: think chess pieces, balloons, human torsos, plant forms, and graphic ciphers.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, through April 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 600-4873; www.transvagrant.com
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 4th St., San Pedro

    May 21
    Dreamland
    The Museum of Latin American Art presents a retrospective of the work of one of the original Los Four founders, Frank Romero in the exhibition entitled Dreamland. Romero’s most iconic works, including his mural work, such as Driving to the Olympics on the Hollywood Freeway, address life in the barrios of Los Angeles.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, through May 21.
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: (562) 437-1689; molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    Feb. 19
    Cullah Mi Gullah: A Look at the Carolina Low Country
    Join with the members of Mt. Sinai Baptist as they celebrate black history with a presentation that traces the history and culture of the Gullah people, descendants of enslaved people who escaped during the 18th through 19th centuries.
    Time: 3 p.m. Feb. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 533-3223
    Venue: Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, 225 S. Mesa St., San Pedro

    Feb. 22
    Elaine Brown
    Within the past four decades, American prison activist, writer and former Black Panther Party leader Elaine Brown has been involved with effecting progressive change in the United States. She served the Black Panther Party in numerous capacities including as Chairperson (from 1974 to 1977), ran for public office in Oakland (1973 and 1975), and continues to work for social change. Much of her recent work focuses on the radical reform of the criminal justice system.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 22
    Cost: Free
    Details: (213) 744-2024; rsvp@caamuseum.org
    Venue: California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Los Angeles

    Feb. 23
    Robert Lee Johnson
    California State University Dominguez Hills is hosting a book signing for author Robert Lee Johnson’s newest book, Notable Southern Californians in Black History. Award winning radio personality, Pat Prescott of 94.7 The Wave will interview the author.
    Time: 6 p.m. Feb. 23
    Cost: Free
    Venue: CSUDH, 1000 Victoria Ave, Carson

    Feb. 24
    Whiskey Walk with Master Distiller
    Michael’s Restaurant Group — known for Chianina Steakhouse, Michael’s On Naples, Michael’s Pizzeria and Working Class Kitchen — is hosting an evening with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell of WhistlePig Whiskey. Dubbed the ultimate “whiskey walk,” guests will begin with a cocktail reception on the Rooftop Lounge at Michael’s On Naples from 6 to 8 p.m. and then walk two blocks to Chianina Steakhouse for a family-style steak dinner with Mr. Pickerell.
    Time: 4 p.m. Feb. 24
    Cost: $8 to $75
    Details: (562) 439-7080; www.MichaelsOnNaples.com
    Venue:  Michael’s on Naples, 5620 E. 2nd St., Long Beach

    Feb. 25
    The Great Los Angeles Air Raid
    Celebrate and recreate one of the most controversial events in Los Angeles history, a night when thousands of people were convinced the city was under an air attack during World War II in 1942. This year marks the 75th anniversary of that night. Many living historians will be in character. Classic cars and military equipment will be on hand.
    Time: 3 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25
    Cost: $25
    Details: www.FtMac.org
    Venue: Fort MacArthur Museum, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    March 4
    PVPLC First Saturday Family Hike at George F Canyon

    Bring your family and join our naturalist guide to discover habitat, wildlife and more on an easy hike up the canyon with amazing views of the city.
    Time: 9 a.m. March 4
    Cost: Free.
    Details: (310) 547-0862; www.pvplc.org,
    Venue: 27305 Palos Verdes Drive East, Rolling Hills Estates

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  • LB Supports ‘Sanctuary State’ Legislation

    • 02/09/2017
    • Zamná Ávila
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    On Feb. 7, the Long Beach City Council 7-0 voted, Councilwoman Stacy Mungo and Councilman Dee Andrew did not participate,  to support state bills that would essentially make California a “sanctuary state.”

    District 1 Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez moved for the proposal to support the bills. Prior to the city council meeting led a rally to the chambers. Long Beach limits immigration holds in jail as a way to foster trust between police and immigrant communities.

    Senate Bill 31 would prohibit state or local agencies from providing or disclosing identifiable information of a person’s beliefs, practices or affiliation to the federal government when it is sought for compiling a database on people based on religious belief, practice or affiliation, national origin, or ethnicity for law enforcement or immigration purposes.

    SB 54, the California Values Act, would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and school police and security departments from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest person for immigration purposes.

    The state Senate and Assembly must approve the bills by at least two-thirds approval before they could be sent out to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.

    Donald Trump has threatened to penalize “sanctuary cities” by stripping them of federal funding if they refuse to comply with his deportation boosting plans.

    One of his executive orders, which was neutralized for a second time by a three judge panel, was to institute a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, excluding the Christian minorities.

    Going against Trump carries a risk of more than $200 million in federal funding. However, taking a stance for the city is important officials said.

    “As the vice chair of the State Legislative Committee, I believe it is imperative that Long Beach shows the rest of the state and the nation that we stand with our immigrant community and that we stand for religious freedom,” Gonzalez said in a released statement.

    About 10 percent of the nation’s 11.1 million undocumented immigrants live in Orange or Los Angeles counties, a recent Pew Research Center analysis reported. According to the U.S. Census more than a 25 percent of the population in Long Beach is foreign-born, about 40 percent of them are Latino. The city also has the largest population of Cambodians outside of Cambodia.

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  • Valentine’s Day Concert

    • 02/09/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Feb. 10
    Adrian Marcel
    Adrian Marcel picks up the torch for Oakland and timeless rhythm and blues on his debut mixtape, 7 Days of Weak.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10
    Cost: $20 to $200
    Details: www.solvenue.com/event/1395582-adrian-marcel-carson
    Venue: SOL Venue, 313 E. Carson St., Carson

    Feb. 11
    A Special Evening of Music for Friends and Lovers

    Treat someone special to a truly memorable Valentine’s Day. Enjoy a delicious dinner followed by a seductive concert experience featuring the smooth stylings of some of today’s top contemporary musicians.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11
    Cost: $70 to $175
    Details: (562) 424-0013; www.rainbowpromotions.com
    Venue: Terrace Theater, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Feb. 11
    Willie Watson
    Watson, formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show is a leading pioneer in the renaissance of traditional and old-time music.
    Time:  8 p.m. Feb. 11
    Cost: $25 to $60
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 12
    Stars of Tomorrow
    This top international ensemble of advanced students from the renowned USC Thornton School of Music was selected by Director of Chamber Music Karen Dreyfus and coached by Professor of Violin and Chamber Music Lina Bahn.
    Time: 2 p.m. Feb. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 316-5574
    Venue: Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, 26438 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates

    Feb. 12
    Lockout Station
    Drawing upon flamenco and jazz-fusion influences as well as the avant-garde, Lockout Station uses complex harmonies, difficult grooves and winding melodies to evoke impressions of strange and other-worldliness.
    Time: 4 p.m. Feb. 12
    Cost: $20
    Details: http://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    THEATER

    Feb. 10
    Best of the Show
    The Best of the Best is an emotional journey through all production themes previously explored previously by Long Beach Community Theater. Themes included parenthood, childhood, the beauty of scars, love & heartbreak, motherhood, fatherhood and forgotten keepsakes and misplaced memories.
    Time:
    Cost: $20
    Details: longbeachcommunitytheater.com, lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Feb. 10
    Evita
    Musical Theatre West presents Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical masterpiece Evita.  The seven-time Tony Award-winning musical captivated audiences with Eva Peron’s passionate and unforgettable true story of her meteoric rise to become Argentina’s champion of the poor and most influential first lady.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 10 through 12, 17 and 18, and 23 through 25, 1 p.m. Feb. 12, 19 and 26, 2 p.m. Feb. 18 and 25, and 6 p.m. Feb. 19
    Cost: $20
    Details: (562) 856-1999, ext. 4; www.musical.org
    Venue: Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton St., Long Beach,

    Feb. 11
    A Murder is Announced
    The Long Beach Playhouse is pleased to present the Agatha Christie classic, A Murder is Announced in its Mainstage Theatre. In Christie style, the play takes place in a house with several occupants.
    Time: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 11
    Cost: $14 to $20
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Ongoing
    Romeo and Juliet Rehearsals
    You are invited to Elysium for each and every Romeo and Juliet rehearsal.
    Time:  6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, until March 31
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.fearlessartists.org/box-office-1
    Venue: Elysium, 729 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    FILM

    Feb. 11
    Oscar-Nominated Live Action Shorts
    Enjoy live action short films at your local theater.
    Time: 7 p.m. Feb. 11
    Cost: $10
    Details: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2714274
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 13
    Finding Joseph I

    Finding Joseph I is a feature documentary chronicling the eccentric life and struggles of punk rock reggae singer, Paul “HR” Hudson, a.k.a. Joseph I. The charismatic frontman’s energetic and explosive live performances helped pioneer hardcore punk rock with the Bad Brains, one of the most influential bands to rise out of the 1980’s.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 13
    Cost: $8.50 to $11.50
    Details: www.arttheatrelongbeach.org/our-films
    Venue:  Art Theatre Long Beach, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach

    ARTS

    Feb. 7
    Heated Exchange
    Heated Exchange, curated by artist Reni Gower, features the seductive surface, luminous color, and ethereal image layering unique to the encaustic medium. Each artist approaches the process from a distinct perspective that may incorporate scraping, burning, burnishing, incising, dipping, dyeing, or pouring, as well as painting, printmaking, drawing, collage, sculpture, or installation. The exhibit opens Feb. 7
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, through March 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 243-3334
    Venue: CSU Dominguez Hills University Art Gallery, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    Feb. 12
    Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective

    A comprehensive retrospective exhibition of work by legendary Los Angeles artist Frank Romero, encompassing more than 50 years of the artist’s career. Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective is the first solo exhibition of a Chicano artist at MOLAA.  It explores the confluence of American pop culture, Latin American heritage and the Chicano experience.
    Date: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, Feb. 12  through May 17
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    March 12
    Significant Otherness, Sea/Saw
    Experience Significant Otherness and Sea/Saw two interesting exhibits at Angels Gate Cultural Center.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through March 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 519-0936; www.angelsgateart.org
    Venue: Angels Gate Cultural Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    April 9
    Frank Brothers: The Store That Modernized Modern
    The exhibition relates the story of Southern California’s largest and most prominent mid-century retailer of modern furniture and design. Based in Long Beach from 1938–1982, Frank Bros. embodied the optimistic post-war ethos of the American consumer.
    Date: 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, through April 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: csulb.edu/org/uam
    Venue: California State University Long Beach, University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    Feb. 11
    Romantic Tours
    Since Rancho Los Cerritos was built in 1844, it has been the site of great love stories. Visitors will be able to hear these stories firsthand, as costumed interpreters portray former Rancho residents.
    Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 11
    Cost: $20
    Details: (562) 206-2053
    Venue: Rancho Los Cerritos, 4600 Virginia Road, Long Beach

    Feb. 12<
    Designing Gardens for Succulents

    Panayoti Kelaidis program is “Designing Gardens for Succulents.” As Head Curator of the Denver Botanical Garden, Kelaidis is considered one of the premier practitioners of the art and science of alpine rock gardening. In this program he will describe how to build and maintain these works of art, especially crevice garden designs using drought-tolerant succulents.
    Time: 1 p.m. Feb. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: southcoastcss.org
    Venue: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula

    Feb. 18
    Why Native Plants?
    Come learn how San Pedro’s native plants support local biodiversity and deal with drought. Attendees may purchase native plants and walk through a demonstration garden.
    Time: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details:  (310) 541-7613; www.pvplc.org/_events/WhitePointWorkshopRSVP.asp
    Venue: White Point Nature Preserve, 1600 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro

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  • Exploring Valentine’s Day Dining Traditions

    • 02/09/2017
    • Richard Foss
    • Features
    • Comments are off

    By Richard Foss, Cuisine and Restaurant Writer
     
    It’s that time of year when you look at the calendar and suddenly realize you don’t have a restaurant reservation for Valentine’s Day.

    But while frantically scolling through photos of restaurant interiors to see if they fit your idea of romance you might start to wonder: “Just when did this tradition of going out for dinner on Feb. 14 start and why do we associate some atmospheres as romantic?”

    The whole topic is murky, starting with why St. Valentine would be associated with romance in the first place. Valentine was a third century Roman of whom nothing whatsoever is known except that he was executed and regarded as a martyr. There was confusion about what he had done that was noteworthy as early as 496 Common Era.

    Nevertheless, a pope named Gelasius declared him a saint in that year, while admitting that he was so obscure that “his acts are known only to God.”

    The first detailed stories about him appeared over 700 years later and none of them are particularly romantic.

    Whatever he did to become noteworthy, Valentine would probably be horrified to hear that his feast day is now associated with Cupid, a pagan fertility god whose name means “desire” in Latin. That association of Cupid and Valentine may have come about from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a rite of spring that was celebrated on Feb. 15, the day after Valentine’s Day.

    Valentine’s Day was associated with romance as early as the 1300s, when Geoffrey Chaucer stated in a poem that birds choose their mates then.  This did not mean that people sought out candlelit restaurants on that particular day. First of all, restaurants as we know them wouldn’t be invented for another 300 years. Since candles were all they had back then, there was no particular appeal to soft mood lighting. Through the centuries the holiday came to be celebrated with the exchange of poetic cards and with small gifts that often included sweet candies and cakes.

    The tradition of dining out for Valentine’s Day seems to be quite modern, and the earliest menus and restaurant ads I have found that mention doing so are from the 1930s. For help pinning that down I contacted culinary historian Charles Perry, who confirmed my suspicions.

    “The tradition probably arose during the Depression, when any meal out was a special occasion. Popular restaurants like Sardi’s had some tables with curtains so that couples could choose to see and be seen or to have an intimate meal while still enjoying the sounds of the orchestra.”

    At some of these restaurants the server would knock or ring a bell a moment or two before entering, which suggests that something more than dining might have been going on inside. (Keep this in mind the next time you go to a restaurant that includes heavy draperies – they were once functional rather than ornamental.) Many elegant restaurants also had a rear entrance that was not visible from the main room, which was handy if your valentine was someone else’s wife, rather than your own.

    As to the style of dining at these restaurants, it was “continental,” in which dishes had French names despite being primarily based on a mix of English and American ideas. Though Italian cuisine is now one of the most popular at Valentine’s Day, it was a latecomer to the table. As documented in the magnificent book, How Italian Food Conquered The World, by John Mariani, authentic Italian dining was long regarded as simple peasant cooking by everybody, including Italians.

    The first high style Italian restaurants in America didn’t open until well after World War II.

    The Valentine’s Day dining out tradition is certainly well-established now. Even humble restaurants offer specials and dress the place up as much as possible. As we have become a multicultural society, the variety of experiences has broadened, so that just within our coverage area you might have a romantic dinner for two in a sleek modern room or a reasonable facsimile of a Moroccan palace, English pub, Indonesian mansion, or a ship at sea.

    All this effort at décor aside, the most romantic dinner for many people is a return to the place where they first met, kissed, or realized that they were having a meal with someone who they just might want to spend the rest of their life with.

    Blu Restaurant and Lounge

    Upscale yet casual Blu Restaurant and lounge at San Pedro’s Crowne Plaza Hotel is the spot for great food and live jazz.  Dress up or not, a romantic moment is impossible to miss.
    Details: (310) 521-8080
    Venue: Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel
    Location: 601 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    Baramee Thai Restaurant

    This quiet romantic gem of a restaurant in downtown San Pedro is warm cozy, and intimate, with great food at an affordable price. There are no special deals on this, just make sure you RSVP early. It’s a popular spot.
    Details: (310) 521-9400;www.barameethairestaurant.com
    Venue: Baramee Thai Restaurant
    Location: 354 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Ports O’ Call Restaurant

    Dining on waterfront at sunset is a special way to have a romantic meal. Their full bar and extensive wine list is a help too. Valentine’s Day specials will be served Feb. 10 through Feb. 14. Full bar and extensive wine list is available.
    Details: (310) 833-3553
    Venue: Ports O’ Call Restaurant
    Location: Berth 76 Nagoya way, San Pedro

    The Whale &  Ale

    You can’t miss in going to The Whale & Ale. On this evening, The Whale & Ale offers a choice of special entrees from sauteed Alaskan sand dabs to Chilean sea bass. There’s even live entertainment in this venerable pub.
    Details: (310) 832-0363
    Venue: The Whale & Ale
    Location: 327 W 7th St, San Pedro

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  • Aquarium of Pacific Expansion Breaks Ground

    • 02/07/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    LONG BEACH — On Feb. 2, the Aquarium of the Pacific hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for its Pacific Visions wing. The new wing of the aquarium is expected to be a 29,000-square-foot, biomorphic sustainable structure designed that the San Francisco-based architectural firm EHDD.

    The aquarium announced Clark Construction as the project contractor for the new wing, which will feature a glass panel façade that responds to changing light and climatic conditions with varying colors that mirror the effect of sunlight rippling on the ocean’s surface. The new wing will also house an immersive theater, expanded special exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits slated to open to the public in late 2018. Cortina Productions is working with the aquarium to develop the technological components and storytelling. The estimated $38 million project is supported by donations.

    LA Council Decriminalizes Street Vending

    LOS ANGELES — On Jan. 31, the Los Angeles City Council voted to legalize street vending.

    Los Angeles is the only major city that prohibits vending of every type, 24 hours a day, throughout the entire city, for about 11,000 miles of sidewalks. This presents a huge enforcement problem because with thousands of vendors spread throughout 469 square-miles, it is impossible for enforcement to be consistent and effective.

    Selling food or goods on the sidewalk has lead to misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles. The new rules would do away with criminal penalties and allow the city to issue vending permits. However, this could take months to get in place.

    The vote came in response to Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the country. Trump had promised an anti-immigrant crackdown. Los Angeles City Council members Joe Buscaino and Curren Price moved for the proposal.

    Meanwhile, street vendors could still be cited and fined for violating the municipal code, but they would not face criminal convictions.

    Lawyers are also supposed to report back on whether the city can offer amnesty to vendors already facing criminal charges. Such charges could jeopardize immigrants in the country illegally. Additionally, commercial corridors will have the opportunity to customize vending to fit their area.

    POLB Announces New FMC Chairman

    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 30, Michael A. Khouri was appointed to lead the five-member Federal Maritime.

    The commission is charged with regulating the nation’s maritime industry.

    The appointment came as a result of Donald Trump’s election as president.

    Khouri, a Republican, has served on the commission since 2009.  He is replacing Mario Cordero, a former Port of Long Beach harbor commissioner, who was forced out a week prior. Cordero plans to continue being part of the federal commission.

    ­Teenager Killed on Wilmore Neighborhood

    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 28, 17-year-old Jose De Jesus Flores was shot in the 900 block of Maine Avenue.

    When officers arrived, they found the Long Beach resident with multiple gunshot wounds, in the alley. Long Beach Fire Department personnel took him to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

    Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or anonymously visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

    NALEO Mourns Former Rep. Robert Garcia

    WASHINGTON, D.C. Former U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia, died Jan. 26.

    Garcia was a trailblazer for the Latino community, and a transformational leader who worked with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ first president and founder Edward R. Roybal to help set the organization on the course it is on today.

    Born in New York, Garcia began his career in public service early in life, joining the Army’s Third Infantry Division after graduating from high school.  Elected to the New York State Assembly in 1966, Garcia went on to represent parts of the Bronx and Harlem in New York state government for 12 years.  He prevailed against six competitors to win a seat in Congress in a 1978 special election

    “Garcia created a lasting legacy in Congress, taking on challenging causes including establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national holiday, and opposition to federal aid to guerrilla fighters in Nicaragua whose methods he felt were inconsistent with American values,” said NALEO Executive Director Arturo Vargas in a released statement. “He became one of the longest-serving chairmen of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, helping to pave the way for the men and women who followed in his footsteps.

    “NALEO will always be incredibly grateful for the pivotal role U.S. Rep. Garcia played in the development of the organization in its formative years.  Our hearts and thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of U.S. Rep. Garcia at this difficult time.”

    No International Flights in Long Beach

    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 24, after years of discussions, a $350,000 feasibility study and more than three hours of public comment, the Long Beach City Council voted 8-1, Councilman Dee Andrews in favor, to reject a proposal to allow international flights at the Long Beach Airport. Andrew said the benefits and potential job creation of an international airport could help curb crime in the city.

    New York-based airline, Jet Blue, tried to create a 15,000-square-foot Customs and Border Protection station that would have processed no more than two international flights at a time during a shift. The airline had expressed a need to tap into a growing international travel market with possible flights to Mexico and South America. Now, company officials are reconsidering how to move forward in the city.

    Long Beach’s noise ordinance limits flight at its airport to operate between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. at a maximum of 50 daily, except when they are due to mechanical or weather issues. Fines are imposed on airlines with arrivals from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

    While a study commissioned to Jacobs Engineering released this past October did not reveal significant impacts to quality of life through the introduction of international flights, hundreds of residents concerned with noise pollution begged to differ.

    The financial impact to the decision is about $3 million for the Customs facility out of an estimated $10 million because the airport collects $4.50 on each ticket for construction.

     

    POLB Offers Parking Lot for Sale

    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 18, the Port of Long Beach announce the sale of the 5.6-acre parking lot behind One World Trade Center and the Hilton Hotel in downtown Long Beach.

    The parcel was acquired by the port in 2011 during discussions to buy One World Trade Center for use as a headquarters. Because the property is owned by a government agency, there is no assessed value. However, the last sale before the port bought the property was $18 million in 2005.

    With the next port headquarters being built at the new Long Beach Civic Center, Commissioners determined it was the right time to test the market for a sale of the World Trade Center lot.

    Proceeds from a sale would go into the port’s general fund.

    Development of the property is governed by the Downtown Plan and allowable uses include residential, office and retail. Under an existing easement, any parking spaces displaced by development are required to be replaced by a parking structure.

    View the listing at www.loopnet.com/lid/20048549.

    POLB Trade Dips to 6.8 Million TEUs in 2016

    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 11, the Port of Long Beach announced that overall cargo declined 5.8 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, as the port was impacted by new ocean carrier alliances and the August bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean company and former majority stakeholder at the 381-acre Pier T container terminal — Long Beach’s largest.

    By year’s end, the Harbor Commission had approved an agreement for a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Co., one of the world’s largest container ship operators, to take sole control of the long-term lease at Pier T.

    Cargo was 8 percent lower in December compared to the same month in 2015. Imports decreased 8.2 percent to 271,599 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. Exports fell 2.5 percent to 122,933 TEUs, while empties declined 11.4 percent to 154,397 TEUs.

    A total of 6,775,171 TEUs moved through docks in 2016. Imports totaled 3,442,575 TEUs, down 5 percent, and exports were up 0.3 percent to 1,529,497. Empty containers were down 11.7 percent to 1,803,098.

    Details: www.polb.com/stats.

    Garcia Joined Metro Board

    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 6, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia joined the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors.

    Garcia’s membership on the Metro board provides Long Beach a seat at the table regarding decisions of rider safety, infrastructure and police patrolling on Metro rail routes.

    The board is comprised of 13 elected and appointed officials from throughout the county, including all five Los Angeles County supervisors and the mayor of Los Angeles. Garcia was elected to serve a four-year term, replacing Lakewood Vice Mayor Diane DuBois.

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  • MOBY DICK @ South Coast Repertory

    Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel everyone knows and almost no-one you know has read. But that doesn’t stop us from thinking we know what it’s about: obsession. Captain Ahab wants to get that big white whale to whom he lost a leg; but literature’s most famous albino cetacean stands in for pretty much whatever you want too much and how such desire can be your undoing. It’s a powerful theme, but for many Herman Melville’s extensive anatomical discourses and sundry other digressions do not help that theme strike home.

    Enter Lookingglass Theatre Company, who distill Moby Dick to its dramatic and thematic essence, delivering the goods with about as much minimalist splendor as you’ll find anywhere in this watery world.

    Call him Ishmael (Jamie Abelson), a malcontented, penniless young man who signs on for a three-year whaling expedition aboard the Pequod with his new friend Queequeg (Anthony Fleming III). They are long at sea before they actually meet Ahab (Christopher Donahue) and come to know of their captain’s single-minded purpose.

    Just as the action of Moby-Dick is but the skeleton of the fleshy leviathan that is Melville’s magnum opus, director David Catlin adapts its text as framework for erecting a gentle spectacle of mood and movement. Bathed in William C. Kirkham’s impressive lighting, his nimble cast glides not only all over the stage but also above it, taking full advantage of the Isaac Schoepp’s rigging and Courtney O’Neill’s high-curving spars that suggest ribs of the biggest beasts of the deep. As with all of the best movement elements found in plays, none of Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi’s beautiful aerial and acrobatic choreography is self-serving; rather, it always augments the textual action and emotion, functioning as an organic part of theatrical whole.

    The cast is fine from top to bottom. The closest thing to a complaint I can come up with is that perhaps Abelson sounds like he’s at the final stage of a table-reading, nailing his lines perfectly but leaving a little room to loosen up onstage. Fleming’s Queequeg is always dignified and funny (his entrance scene is the play’s one bit of hilarity); Donahue conjures Ahab with the proper proportions of callous, oblivious obsession and buried humanity; and with only a few lines to do the job, Walter Owen Briggs effectively communicates Starbuck’s pragmatism and compassion.

    Perhaps the production’s most beguiling element is the trio of Kelley Abell, Cordelia Dewdney, and Kasey Foster, who by turns embody (in addition to a few minor characters) fate, lightning, and the sea itself. Their moody vocal intonations—and even a bit of foley—provide the show’s most arresting audio, while the only reason their hoop-skirted gliding at the beginning of Act Two is not clearly the most beautiful onstage image is because Catlin and company give us so many other worthy candidates, including a parachute dress of an ocean so gorgeous that we’re delighted to see it twice.

    Two particularly affecting moments come when the trio go to work as whales. Catlin (with a major assist from costume designer Sully Ratke) has come up with clever ways to both humanize the Pequod‘s more mundane prey (the slaughter and subsequent rendering of a non-eponymous whale is especially poignant, playing upon how today’s Westerners generally regard whales as too close to human to be hunted) and present the fearsomeness of Ahab’s ultimate target.

    The show’s only real misfires come in regard to the trio. While most of their vocalizing is live, during a couple of scenes Catlin has opted for piping in pre-recorded tracks, which both breaks with the methodology of the rest of the show and compromises the atmosphere, as the pre-recorded tracks are louder than the trio’s live vocals. The other misfires come during the climactic confrontation with the big Dick himself. The orchestration of this scene, including its choreography and lighting, are so breathtaking that a couple of short stretches that just lie there may have simply been missed lighting cues at this particular performance, standing out all the more because the show in general—and the majority of this scene in particular—is so technically spot-on.

    Deserving of special mention is the production’s pacing. Moby Dick has not a few lyrical and poetic passages, with transitions that instantaneously shift gears from meditative to high action. Catlin conceives the show’s macro-movement to perfection, and his cast seems to enact the microcosmic angular changes of speed and direction as if it’s the most natural flow in the world.

    Many novels readily offer themselves up for visual adaptation; Moby-Dick isn’t one of them. Nonetheless, Lookingglass Theatre Company manages to deliver the broad strokes of the plot and spirit of Melville’s masterpiece while translating many of its most evocative moments into visual language that communicates with articulateness worthy of the finest prose. It was a perilous quest they undertook, but with this crew the audience is in safe, beautiful waters.

    MOBY DICK THE LOOKINGGLASS THEATRE COMPANY @ SOUTH COAST REPERTORY • SEGERSTROM STAGE: 655 TOWN CENTER DR • COSTA MESA 92626 • 714.708.5555 SCR.ORG • SUN/TUES/WED 7:30PM, THURS-SAT 8PM + SAT-SUN 2:30PM • $10-$79 • THROUGH FEBRUARY 19

    (Photo credit: Liz Lauren)

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  • The Real Scandal

    • 02/03/2017
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Trump- Russia  Scandal is  a Smoking Gun in a Smoke-Filled Room

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    On Jan. 10, Buzzfeed published an explosive series of memos (misleadingly called a “dossier”) from a former British spy, later revealed to be Christopher Steele, former head of MI6’s Russia desk, with a network of sources there.

    The first memo, dated June 2015, alleged the “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least 5 years… to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance … [and that Russian intelligence] has compromised Trump through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him.”

    “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” BuzzFeed warned. “CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President [Barack] Obama and [president-elect Donald] Trump.

    “Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the U.S. government.”

    From other reports, it immediately became obvious that the memos had circulated widely for months. The author had repeatedly updated the FBI, hoping to spur an investigation, which seems to have languished, for reasons unknown, even as FBI Director James Comey sparked a last-minute public wild-goose chase after Clinton emails in the last two weeks of the campaign.  In late October, while the phony Clinton email scandal again dominated the news, Mother Jones correspondent David Corn published a story based on the FBI information, but no one had published any of the actual content before. At the same time,  the story was consistent with recent Russian political activity working to undermine other western democracies—with Trump’s Russian ties (praising Putin at least since 2007), and with Trump’s long, sordid personal history. All three actions were severely under-reported during the campaign.

    The Real Scandal

    Maybe there wasn’t a smoking gun in the memos, but there was a smoke-filled room full of unanswered, even unasked questions.

    “Maybe we ought instead to abandon our obsession with ‘secrets’ and ‘spies’ and look at what is sitting in front of us,” Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum wrote on Jan. 13.

    She went on to cite Trump’s reliance on Russian money (the exact quantity is unknown), his political ties to Russia through former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his altering the Republican Platform by softening language on Ukraine, his repetition of “slogans and conspiracy theories — ‘Obama invented ISIS,’ ‘Hillary will start World War III’ — lifted from Sputnik, the Russian propaganda website,” and his dogged fealty to Putin, never speaking ill of him, no matter what.

    The most telling of the sources Applebaum links to is a Dec. 19, 2016 story in the American Interest, by investigative economist and journalist Jim Henry.

    “A few of Donald Trump’s connections to oligarchs and assorted thugs have already received sporadic press attention,” Henry writes. “But no one has pulled the connections together, used them to identify still more relationships and developed an image of the overall patterns.”

    “Nor has anyone related these cases to one of the most central facts about modern Russia: its emergence since the 1990s as a world-class kleptocracy, second only to China as a source of illicit capital and criminal loot, with more than $1.3 trillion of net offshore ‘flight wealth’ as of 2016,” said Henry, which is important for understanding the political big picture.

    That kleptocracy was created by the way Russia reorganized after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. American neoliberals played a central role in that process.

    “From 1992 to the Russian debt crisis of August 1998, the West in general — and the U.S. Treasury, USAID, the State Department, the International Monetary Fund/World Bank, the EBRD and many leading economists in particular—actively promoted and, indeed, helped to finance one of the most massive transfers of public wealth into private hands that the world has ever seen,” he wrote. “For example, Russia’s 1992 ‘voucher privatization’ program permitted a tiny elite of former state-owned company managers and party apparatchiks to acquire control over a vast number of public enterprises, often with the help of outright mobsters.”

    This program turned out to be enormously unpopular.

    Boris Yelstin began his 1996 re-election campaign with just 8 percent support. But, with help from U.S. political consultants, massive new IMF loans worth $10.1 billion, and campaign cash from newly-wealthy oligarchs, Yeltsin managed to get re-elected over the Communist Party candidate. From then on, the kleptocrats were fully in charge, it was only a question of which ones landed on top. But the cash they looted had to go somewhere. Trump was a prime beneficiary. Henry quotes Donald Trump Jr. from a 2008 conference presentation:

    [I]n terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.

    The big picture bottom line Henry points to is this:

    [N]either Trump nor Putin is an “uncaused cause.” They are not evil twins, exactly, but they are both byproducts of the same neoliberal policy scams that were peddled to Russia’s struggling new democracy.

    This is precisely the essence of what Trump pretended to run against: the neoliberal global elites running the whole world. Far from fighting against it, he and Putin are its most outrageous examples.  This is the big-picture crime scene. This is what’s in the smoke-filled room. It’s a story that some in the media have told — pieces of it, at least — but that the media as a whole has proven incapable of grasping as a whole, much less communicating to the public.

    Distraction Central

    Telling big, complicated stories is hard, a lot harder than having scoops handed to you, or covering hot he said/she said controversies. And no one knows this better than Trump.

    So, naturally, when BuzzFeed published the memos, Trump hit back hard, in his usual scatter-shot, wild way.

    “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public,” he tweeted. “One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

    But BuzzFeed didn’t get the documents from the intelligence agencies, they’d been circulating among journalists for months, journalists who also didn’t leak what was in the documents to the public. It was Trump’s version of events in his tweet that was actually fake news, underscored by his ludicrous invocation of Nazi Germany. In the real world, it’s Trump’s own repeated attacks on the press that have experts worried about totalitarian rule. “Lying press” was a Nazi epithet used to delegitimate the German mainstream media that opposed Hitler’s rise and accurately reported on his movement’s bigotry, paranoia and violent tendencies.

    At his first press conference in six months, Trump repeatedly refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, specifically calling CNN “fake news,” an obvious lie on Trump’s part. The memos surely contain errors, but CNN merely reported on the synopsis being presented to the president and president-elect, a straightforward matter of fact.

    “CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than BuzzFeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos,” CNN wrote the next day. “The Trump team knows this. They are using BuzzFeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations.”

    But even the memos themselves weren’t fake news. They were presented as intelligence, in need of further investigation.  Fake news stories are objectively false, while purporting to be true.

    Still, there was widespread press reaction against what BuzzFeed did. Columbia Journalism Review took a dim view of complaints. While the most typical style of investigative reporting involves months of gathering documents and cultivating sources, Managing Editor Vanessa M. Gezari observed,

    BuzzFeed took a different but still well-established approach: release what you can when you have it and see what new leads it generates,” Gezari said.

    There’s nothing unethical in the approach — provided you don’t misrepresent raw information as confirmed fact. Sometimes it may be the only way to get the information you need.

    “Some critics seem to be saying that unless the information in an intelligence briefing or other leaked document can be independently verified by reporters, it shouldn’t be published,” Gezari continued. “But did reporters independently verify all the allegations against Hillary Clinton and her allies contained in the emails released by WikiLeaks?”

    Obviously, they didn’t. Clinton has been the subject of similar recklessness for a quarter century now. After the election, voters were even quoted citing Clinton’s supposed involvement in the “murder of Vincent Foster” as a reason she’s more untrustworthy than Trump. Foster committed suicide in 1993, but anti-Clinton conspiracists have insisted he was murdered for decades. Fake news stories have kept such claims alive and Trump revived the charges during his campaign, falsely describing theories of possible foul play in his death is “very serious” in a May 2016 interview with the Washington Post. He falsely claimed that the circumstances of his death were “very fishy.”

    But in reality, as Vox reported at the time, “few if any suicides have been investigated as thoroughly—or repeatedly—as Foster’s, and it’s very clear what happened to him. It was a tragic suicide, not a murder to further a cover-up.”

    While it was almost trivial compared to Trump’s lengthy involvement in promoting birtherism, it reflected the same basic mindset and modus operandi on Trump’s part: a habitual reliance on discredited make-believe, gossip and fake news to attack whomever stands in his way, matched with an instant reflex to play the victim whenever anything critical is said about him, as a way to preemptively shut down further inquiries.

    A Roadmap from the Past

    All this is a highly amplified echo of what happened in the 2004 campaign. On the one hand, John Kerry, a decorated war hero, was savagely and effectively attacked with a fake news operation decades in the making — the so-called “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” — based on the absurd notion that Kerry had not really earned a Purple Heart, but had somehow conned the Navy into giving it to him — or perhaps, he simply pinned the medal on himself? On the other hand, there was an extensive, highly detailed record showing that George W. Bush had not fulfilled his military obligation, and had been flat-out absent without official leave for a period of months. Evidence of Bush’s dereliction of duty had been uncovered by the Boston Globe during the 2000 campaign, but Bush’s full military records were successfully blocked from public view, until 2004, when two separate researchers, Paul Lukasiak and Col. Gerald Lechliter, put together detailed analysis proving that Bush had failed to fulfill his requirements and that he had benefited from some sort of coverup. But their work, which Random Lengths explored at length in October 2004, was dense and complicated. It was not made for sensationalist TV.

    What would make a sensationalist scoop would be one single “smoking gun” document that could prove the existence of a conspiracy and cover up, rather than patiently putting all the pieces together, so that a clear, undeniable picture emerged. That picture was one of the smoke-filled backroom, from which Bush was protected by his father’s friends. That smoking gun is what Dan Rather and 60 Minutes went after, shortly before we ran our story. The result was a disaster. By all appearances, the memos in question — from Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, Bush’s superior at one point — were apparently accurate, Killian’s secretary, Marian Carr Knox, said.

    “I know that I didn’t type them,” she said in a followup broadcast interview, “However, the information in those is correct.”

    An accurate forged document is consistent with “Bush’s Brain,” Karl Rove’s modus operandi, and suggests it was intentional disinformation designed to discredit any and all questioning of Bush’s record — whether it was or not, it worked.

    The Steele memos are similar smoking gun material, and the fact they can’t — or at least haven’t been — confirmed is now being used to discourage further questioning, just as happened with Bush military service. But as much as the core dynamic is similar, the surrounding political environment is radically different today. There are not just two dedicated researchers who’ve put together a big-picture view of the smoke-filled room, there are scores of them. And the focus is not on a tightly circumscribed military/bureaucratic cover up of an AWOL junior officer decades in the past. The focus is on the global financial and political forces that are reshaping our world and  have been doing so in their current form, at least since the fall of the Soviet Union.  It’s a very big smoke-filled room, indeed.  And we’re going to stumble around in it for a good long time — at least if we keep getting distracted by looking for smoking guns, rather than simply examining what’s right in front of our eyes.

     

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  • Zero-Emission Cargo Truck Technology Tested in Carson

    • 02/03/2017
    • Christian Guzman
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Christian L. Guzman, Community Reporter

    Electric trolleys are icons in San Francisco. Although they are viewed by some as a quaint relics, the basic technology behind them is not. If you’ve been to Frisco recently, you’ve probably seen modern buses that are propelled by electricity from a maze of overhead electric lines.

    The same technology, called an overhead catenary system, is going to be tested on full-size cargo trucks in Carson. If the experiment goes well, it could lead to a notable decrease in the emissions of local cargo transport.

    Field tests will be conducted this winter and spring. Siemens, an international research and development company, is running the tests, but the project was initiated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

    “With goods movement contributing to local air pollution, we thought a catenary system was a good option to test out,” said Naveen Berry, planning and rules manager at the SCAQMD.

    The district funds projects through its Advanced Technology Goods Movement and Clean Fuels funds.

    For this project, the SCAQMD allocated $4 million; an additional $12 million was provided by the California Energy Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Los Angeles Metropolitan Authority and the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Four million dollars came from the China Shipping Settlement in 2003. The settlement between the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Port of Los Angeles allowed the China Shipping port terminal to expand but required environmental mitigations, including funding of projects like the one in Carson.

    Three different types of cargo trucks are being tested on the catenary: a battery-powered electric, a compressed natural gas hybrid and a diesel hybrid. The battery-powered truck has a range of 20 miles and was designed by local technology company, Transpower. Two distinct natural gas hybrids are being tested, one from TransPower and the other from a partnership between BAE Systems and Kenworth. The diesel hybrid was designed by Volvo.

    “We’ve had previous experience working with these companies, so we were able to leverage that for this project,” Berry said. “These trucks can match the horsepower and torque of a Class 8 diesel with [a] full[y] load[ed cargo].”

    Now Siemens and the SCAQMD will be investigating how these trucks interact with the catenary system Siemens built. The pantographs were designed to connect and disconnect from the truck’s overhead wires automatically or manually. Once connected, a truck’s battery or engine will turn off, and the electrical current from the wire will power the truck’s motor.

    Current, voltage and other data will be monitored in real-time via Wi-Fi. Data will be collected for six to 12 months.

    Berry already expects the catenary to provide at least enough power to enable trucks to haul a full load of cargo. He is excited to discover how much extra power the wire can deliver to the trucks.

    “Excess power means that the system could recharge a truck’s batteries,” Berry said. “This could extend a truck’s zero emission range.”

    As it stands, the battery truck has a relatively short range. It will be used to make short-haul trips between the ports, rail yards and container yards. If it can connect to the catenary system during a particular trip, and receive excess power, it won’t have to charge as long at a charging station.

    The trucks are being tested on a one-mile long stretch of wires along Alameda Street. (Sepulveda Boulevard passes over the track at about the midpoint.) There are two sets of wires, one for northbound travel and the other for southbound travel. The current for the wires comes from a substation Siemens built and manages.

    The experiment should have been underway this past year, but engineers had to redesign some of the project’s infrastructure. They initially planned the poles to support the catenary wires be anchored underground.

    “We had maps of gas and utility lines and we thought we addressed everything,”  Berry said. “Then after we started digging we found an unidentified pipe.”

    Carson, which owns the land, provided the maps to the district. City permits were already completed, so the project continued at that site. Engineers eventually brought in and anchored the support poles on 5- by 5- by 6-feet concrete blocks.

    Although the redesign caused a yearlong delay, none of the funders backed out. In that time, the California Department of Transportation, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison—which provides electricity for the project’s substation—expressed interest in the project. Berry said that these organizations want to know how this technology can be adapted for their own needs.

    Edison is particularly interested in the results of the project.

    “Edison recognizes that in order to meet state goals for greenhouse gas and air quality, electrification of all transportation sectors is needed,” said Paul Griffo, corporate communications officer at Southern California Edison.

    To help analyze the catenary experiment’s data, Edison provided resources from its Advanced Technology Laboratory in Pomona.

    “[We] helped assess their grid impact … [future] catenaries could be constructed in a way that would not affect Edison’s existing infrastructure,” Griffo said.

    This is good news because for a catenary system to make a significant impact on reducing local emissions, hundreds of trucks will have to use it daily.

    “I’m optimistic about the technology,” Berry said. “It looks good from a review and design perspective. Now we’ve got to document it in reality.”

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