• Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Sixty-two-year-old Gerald Robinson was sweeping up litter and dirt around his possessions at about 7:30 a.m. April 27.  All of his possessions were folded and packaged neatly inside five shopping carts—not including the one he uses to collect recyclable bottles and cans.

    “I don’t want to depend on handouts,” he said 24 hours before he was to leave or be evicted from the block between Beacon and Ante Perkov Way on 8th Street—the northern side of the Beacon Street Post Office.

    For Robinson and his encampment neighbors, James, Tim, Neecee and her two brothers and son, the countdown had been ticking since April 24, when the city posted notices on trees and utility poles near the encampments that had sprung up around the vicinity in the past three weeks.

    Sixty-two-year-old Gerald Robinson was sweeping up litter and dirt around his possessions at about 7:30 a.m. April 27. All of his possessions were folded and packaged neatly inside five shopping carts—not including the one he uses to collect recyclable bottles and cans.

    “I don’t want to depend on handouts,” he said 24 hours before he was to leave or be evicted from the block between Beacon and Ante Perkov Way on 8th Street—the northern side of the Beacon Street Post Office.

    For Robinson and his encampment neighbors, James, Tim, Neecee and her two brothers and son, the countdown had been ticking since April 24, when the city posted notices on trees and utility poles near the encampments that had sprung up around the vicinity in the past three weeks.

    He didn’t seem to know where he was going to move next. He just said he’ll move.

    “As long as my mother is still buried in Green Hills Cemetery, I’ll still be in Pedro,” he said.

    But he was conscious of his schedule. At noon, he had an appointment he had to keep, perhaps more important than moving his belongings, with his case manager.

    The notices gave the homeless until 7:30 a.m. on April 28 to move their belongings. It didn’t matter where they went as long as they weren’t in front of the iconic Ante’s restaurant that morning. Ante’s has been closed for the past three years

    Most of the encampment’s residents belong to the Plaza Park encampment that was vacated in December. Random Lengths reported on the complaints generated by their presence. They were evicted then, too. Neecee and her family were among those who were evicted.

    The encampment’s residents said they didn’t think it would be a problem this time around and that up until recently, the police didn’t think so either.

    At least that was the case before the city was spurred into action when a Facebook post drawing attention to the issue went viral—eliciting hundreds of comments.

    Neecee and her family share space on the sidewalk next to Ante’s restaurant along with several shopping carts and several bikes — a couple of them in various stages of repair. On the Friday before the April 28 deadline, Neecee said she had a Section 8 voucher and was set to acquire housing in a day or two. If successful, she and her family would be able to make this the last time she’d have to move her home a few blocks whenever the city comes knocking.

    Any belongings left behind would be collected by contractors hired by the city’s Bureau of Street Services and kept in a secure location for pickup for up to three months. After those three months unclaimed belongings are discarded. When asked about what they would do if their belongings were taken, James said they will just find more stuff.

    But their belongings aren’t easily replaceable when it comes to relatively clean blankets, clothes, bicycles, important documents and other personal effects.

    The never-ending cycle of forced evictions from public spaces echoes the Los Angeles City Administrative Office’s assessment of enforcement-only measures in its April 16 report.

    The report estimated that the city spends $100 million annually in addressing homelessness, with little to show for it.

    Among the recommendations proposed was better coordination of existing city and nonprofit services on both the city and county levels.

    Alex Devin is Harbor Interfaith Services’ outreach and housing navigator and, in this encampment, the most recognizable representative of Los Angeles County’s Coordinated Entry System.

    The Coordinated Entry System is a collaboration of public and private partners throughout the county that assess people who are homeless and adds them to a shared database. With this database, the most vulnerable are prioritized for permanent supportive housing and other services. It also helps ensure those in the system are not forgotten.

    Devin was hired in September 2014. He’s created more than 300 case files and found permanent housing for 31 of them since he’s been hired.

    “We’re chipping away at it,” Devin said.

    He noted that from the time a case file is opened to when a client is placed in permanent housing could take four to nine months.

    At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Robinson’s belongings were still there, but he hadn’t been seen by his encampment mates since the day before. His belongings, including a cart filled with what remains of his record and cassette tape collection topped with neatly folded blankets, were taken away.

    Neecee was packing the remainder of her belongings into her shopping carts. She said it would be another month before she’ll be able to move into her Section 8 housing.

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  • The Great Homeless Debate

    Whack-a-mole enforcement in a city spending $87 million on policing the homeless, and no solution in sight
    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Los Angeles Police Department Officer Maligi Nua Jr. greets me with a smile as he and two other LAPD officers watch a crew of yellow-shirted men from Beacon House and a team of white Tyvek-suited workers clean out the homeless encampment in front of the former Ante’s Restaurant in San Pedro. The workers are from Clean Harbors, a company that cleans up hazardous waste sites.

    Nua is the 6-foot something, Samoan, senior lead officer for Central San Pedro who has an affable “aw shucks” humility and a dedication to community service. I can see he really doesn’t like evicting these homeless folks, as he has seen this happen all before. They get chased out of one location and they just move a few blocks and set up camp again. In fact, several of the homeless have already moved back to Anderson Park just up the street where they or others were evicted a few weeks ago.

    This whack-a-mole type of enforcement has been consistently used by the city as a response to neighborhood complaints stemming from the city’s other actions, such as the renovation of Ken Malloy Park, made famous by Reggie the Alligator. There, some 161 homeless people were secretly encamped—out of sight and out of mind.

    That there were homeless people lined up on this one block outside the former restaurant run by Ante Perkov Sr. and later his son by the same name—who had done so much charity in this community—is at least ironic.

    That a large residential project is being planned for development on this property, now owned by one of San Pedro’s largest landlords—Jerico Development—is perhaps poetic justice. That they are in plain sight of San Pedro’s City Hall and the Los Angeles County Mental Health Clinic is just absurd. But absurdity, justice and irony are not easily discussed in this context, if at all. Nor are there any permanent solutions in a city where it was recently reported that the LAPD alone is spending up to $87 million per year policing the homeless.

    The principals of Jerico Development, through their charitable Crail-Johnson Foundation donate anywhere between $1 million and $2 million to area nonprofits annually. And yet, with all of their charity and all of their work with groups like Harbor Interfaith Services and others, this homeless problem is far from solved. If we added up all of the charitable giving directed at solving this problem, it still wouldn’t come close to the $100 million that Los Angeles spends and what the county has yet totaled up in related annual costs. This is a problem bigger than any charitable solution.

    What is even more curiously frustrating is that directly across the street from this recent encampment is the Los Angeles County Health Services offices, with an auditorium I’ve never seen used. They just spent a bucket of money placing a 12-foot- high steel fence around its parking lot.

    That the homeless issue is being kicked around much like the homeless people themselves are being kicked out of every place they land is symbolic of the dysfunction of the civic debate on the issue. The response from Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office is reminiscent of his predecessor’s response to traffic problems: every complaint gets a stop sign.

    How we fix this problem directly relates to the waterfront development issues we currently face, whether it’s the revitalization of Ports O’Call, the revitalization of San Pedro’s downtown core, or the eventual redevelopment of Rancho San Pedro public housing. All of these cry out for a coordinated plan in absence of a Community Redevelopment Agency or some holistic approach that includes the construction of more moderate-income residential units and housing for the homeless.

    This, my friends and neighbors, is the big picture not taken into account when we talk about ridding San Pedro of homelessness from one street or park or another. This, my friends, is what’s not taken into account when we only incrementally address the aforementioned challenges in isolation.

    When people ask, “Why hasn’t San Pedro realized its full potential?” or, “Why do we have the lowest cost housing closest to the water in all of Southern California?” The answer is that we keep solving a complex problem with singular “stop sign” fixes in lieu of comprehensive planning, which includes coordinated development and intelligent urban design.

    You can see the basis for this critique in what has happened in the port city of Baltimore. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over decades to redevelop their waterfront. But just blocks away in the shadow of their grand development stands an entrenched poverty- stricken community, with an unemployment rate twice that of the rest of that city.

    The economic injustice of Baltimore should stand out as a major red flag to all of us with intentions to redevelop this Los Angeles Harbor Area waterfront. The homeless encampments are not just a public nuisance, they are the canaries in the coal mine and a warning of greater undercurrents. One can only assume that the cause of homelessness and poverty in Baltimore and their failure to cure it is at the root of the current uprising against the police.

    Not far from Baltimore, where the flames of injustice rose last week, stands in our nation’s capital the Franklin Delano Roosevelt monument, of men waiting in a soup line cast in bronze. The inscription is a quote from Roosevelt:

    The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

    That says more on this subject than all of the arguing on Facebook over the homeless or has been printed to date in the Daily Breeze about the encampments.

     

     

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  • The Dalmatian-American Club of San Pedro: A New Mother’s Day Brunch

    By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine Writer
    If you really want to impress mom this Mother’s Day, try something you haven’t done before.
    The Dalmatian-American Club recently aquired the highly–decorated chef from the Elks Lodge, Tony Pielin. They now offer monthly bottomless mimosa brunches at a fraction of the price that most other venues charge in the Harbor Area.
    Since 1935, the Dalmatian-American Club has hosted more weddings, anniversaries, retirement parties and other special events than any other venue in the South Bay. In fact, for the past 80 years it has served as San Pedro’s center of hospitality — famously known for its monthly community fish luncheon, attracting everyone from longshoremen to members of Congress.
    The word ‘‘club’’ connotes exclusivity, but the Dalmatian-American Club is anything but. Its members are more than welcoming. Don’t let the stoic outer appearance of the building fool you either; the inside is friendly and inviting. There is an incredible air of nostalgia that resonates throughout and the view from the bar of San Pedro’s great harbor is truly breathtaking.
    The Dalmatian-American is historically known for superb food and quality service and the new brunch service is meant to be, “an exclamation to a fact already well known,” explained Rudy Svorinich Jr., president of the club.
    Of course, its buffet brunch offers the ubiquitous staples: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, eggs Benedict, and the highly popular omelet and waffle station. All of it is delicious, fresh and made from scratch. The eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce is one of my favorites. I am particularly impressed with the buffet choices that aren’t typically present at brunch. The poached salmon with pineapple and mango salsa is good, and the classic chicken salad is perfect. The bread pudding is so enjoyable that I’m surprised no one stole the sheet pan from the display table. As a special treat this Mother’s Day, expect a ham carving station to accompany the rest of the feast.
    Brunch specials vary from $18 for regular brunch to $22 for holiday brunches. Service will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 10.
    Dalmatian-American Club, 1639 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro, (310) 223-6970.

    Mother’s Day Brunch:
    The Old, The New, Some Tried and True
    Still haven’t made reservations for Mother’s Day brunch? Well, not to worry—Random Lengths News has a handful of other options in the Harbor Area that won’t disappoint.

    22nd Street Landing
    Known for it’s beautiful view of the marina and its Zagat-rated food, the 22nd Street Landing has been a San Pedro favorite for more than 25 years. It will be serving its ever-popular champagne brunch this Mother’s Day with many favorites including the blue crab Benedict, the lobster fritters Benedict, and the Hawaiian-style French toast. Brunch service: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Price: $17 (additional $9-$10 for free-flowing champagne or mimosas).
    22nd Street Landing, 141 W. 22nd St., San Pedro, (310) 548-4400.

    The Queen Mary Champagne Brunch
    The legendary, retired ocean liner will be hosting its version of a champagne Mother’s Day brunch with what looks to be the most extensive menu in Long Beach. Featuring a carving station with turkey, ham and ribs, a “rise and shine” menu with classic breakfast options, Asian-inspired options, and an “eggs your way” feature that includes omelets and egg specialties made to order, and several Italian specialties, there is truly something for everyone. For those wanting something on the lighter side, there will be a market salad station featuring fresh salads, cheeses and fruits, a bountiful seafood medley display, and of course, desert — and plenty of it. Brunch service: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Price: $59.95 per adult; $19.95 for children 12 and under (tax and gratuity is additional). Parking is $7 with validation (up to 6 hours). It includes valet parking.
    The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 499-1606.

    The Aquarium of the Pacific
    Enjoy a unique dining experience this Mother’s Day at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Feel free to explore the wonders of the ocean as you enjoy a wonderful brunch featuring assorted pastries with fresh marmalades, creams and jams, seasonal fruits, stuffed croissants with farm fresh eggs, bacon and potato hash, wild salmon and herb-roasted pork loin. Brunch service: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Price: $59 per adult; $25 per child (3-11). Includes general admission. $49 for aquarium members; $15 for member children.
    The Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, (562) 590-3100.

    Gina Ruccione has traveled all over Europe and Asia, and lived in almost every nook of Los Angeles County. When she’s not rummaging through recipes, she spends her days working as an account manager. You can visit her blog at http://foodfashionfoolishfornication.blogspot.com.

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  • Photographer Exposes a Watershed with ‘RiverRun’ Exhibit

    By Andrea Serna, arts and culture writer

    Photographer Ray Carofano has fallen into the Los Angeles River. Well, not literally. Known for his black and white photography of the California Mojave Desert, he now has had an encounter with the Los Angeles River that has elevated his color palette and subject matter with a dramatic look at the 51-mile concrete corridor.

    The result is riverrun at Transvagrant/Warschaw Gallery, on exhibit through June 13.

    “Taking ‘less-picturesque’ portions of the river as his subject, Carofano’s carefully framed images reveal the not-so-hidden majesty of the concrete, the smooth lines of the river’s channel and its functionality,” stated curator Ron Linden, in a press release. “Sophisticated geometry, atmospheric light and color, and rightness of scale lend these images a painterly quality that requires close observation to determine that they are indeed photographs. Conditions considered appalling appear alluring, serene—each image paying homage to the intersection between nature and the designed environment.”

    Painterly indeed.

    Carofano is known for presenting the melancholy dystopian landscape of the desert in his series Land of Broken Dreams. With riverrun, he has deconstructed the landscape by tightening his lens to discover the abstract beauty within the concrete ribbon of the river. Carofano does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors and textures.

    “These are probably the most geometric compositions I have done in a single body of work,” Carofano said. “I have been thinking about doing a body of work in color for many years, but this work sort of found me.”

    An avid bicyclist, Carofano has been riding the river bike path for many years. During a long ride this past year, he took a break to fix a flat tire and the river caught his creative gaze.

    “It was just a perfect day when the light was right,” he said. “There was just the right reflection [of light] on the water and I went, ‘Wow!’ The very next day I was back with my camera and started the project. I don’t think I have ever completed a series in such a short period of time.”

    The ever-changing waterline and skyline reflected on the river created material for the photographer. The reflections in his photos become abstractions. Many of the images in this series are not recognizable as landscape, and it doesn’t matter.

    “Carofano turns his subject into narrator,” Linden said. “The river narrates itself. It makes you want to look and, more importantly, look again.”

    Ghost-like reflections of a towering electrical transformer, big rig trucks running their loads down the 710 Freeway, and migrating waterfowl stopping for a rest along their north-south route are all reflected in the water’s many hues.

    Many of the geometric images reflect how the concrete banks control the flow in the channel, engineers intervened to prevent the river from its natural tendency to meander. Nevertheless, the river just keeps on rolling, and repairs to the embankment contribute to the artistic ethos.

    A particularly striking image of tar repairs to the cracking concrete embankment is reminiscent of California painter Richard Diebenkorn’s residual landscape work. Diebenkorn’s images depict perspectives of suburban views criss-crossed with roadways found on the West Coast, where the artist lived for many years.

    In the fourth year of the worst California drought in modern history, some may think that this series is a commentary on water conservation, but Carofano claims no desire to make a political statement with his art.

    Instead, he has experienced his own personal revolution with his move into color, away from representational photography and toward contemporary abstraction. It seems much of this collection could have been created with a paint brush, rather than a camera.

    Born in Connecticut, Carofano drove to the West Coast in 1966 in an old Jaguar. A 50-year career in commercial photography has allowed him the freedom to pursue his artistic gift. Today, he and his photographer wife, Arneé, live and work at Studio 478 on 7th Street in San Pedro. During the First Thursdays Artwalk, you can drop in to mix with an eclectic group of artists, musicians and intellectuals to discuss art, politics and enjoy a glass of wine.

    Although Studio 478 has exhibited many high-profile artists, a decision was made this year to focus on the exhibition and development of the two artists’ own work. Both have shifted their aesthetic toward large-format color abstracts. Eliminating the time consuming distraction of curated exhibits has paid off for the husband and wife team, and it shows in their lush photography series.

    “About a year and a half ago my wife and I exchanged thoughts on what we wanted to accomplish in the years ahead,” Carofano said. “As we have been showing other artists’ work in our gallery for over 17 years, we both agreed that it is time to focus on our own projects and personal work and so that is just what we have been doing.”

    Ray Carofano’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad, including solo exhibitions at Fototeca de Cuba in Havana, the Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego and Galería de Arte Fotografo in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana, the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in Santa Barbara, among others.

    Organized by TransVagrant, riverrun runs through June 13.

    Time: Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment.

    Cost: Free

    Details: (310) 600-4873; Transvagrant.com

    Venue: Transvagrant/Warschaw Gallery, 600 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

     

     

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  • Ladies And Gentlemen, Please Drink Responsibly

    Photo courtesy of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine

    By Gina Ruccione, Food Writer
    You’ve had a month to recover from St. Patrick’s Day debauchery in March, and hopefully, no permanent damage was caused. For those of you ready for round two—the madness and mayhem that is Cinco de Mayo—we’ve scoped out local hot spots around Long Beach that will possibly leave you with even more muddled memories, random phone numbers and awkward selfies to post on Facebook.

    AGAVES KITCHEN & TEQUILA
    Known for Mexican specialties served alongside more than 250 fine tequilas and agave spirits, this is probably your most viable option for a true Cinco de Mayo party. Happy hour will start at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. There will be a DJ and, most importantly, no cover charge. The cocktails are made with fresh fruits and homemade, infused tequilas. I would recommend just about anything on the menu. Trust me, you’re going to want to eat something after downing several of their spicy mango margaritas.
    Agaves Kitchen & Tequila, 200 Pine Ave., Suite A, Long Beach, (562) 435-7700.

    ALEGRIA COCINA LATINA
    A colorful and comfortable spot in downtown Long Beach, Alegria provides a fusion of all the best that Latin American cuisine has to offer. The décor, including twinkling lights on the outdoor patio, is warm and inviting. Known for fruit-infused sangrias, unique signature appetizers and live entertainment, Alegria is one of the more popular spots on Pine Street.
    Alegria Cocina Latina, 115 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 436-3388.

    TEQUILA JACK’S
    In the heart of Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, Tequila Jacks provides the perfect indoor and outdoor ambience in the marina. The earth-toned dining area is relaxing and the patio overlooks the beautiful harbor. Service is typically quick and attentive. Lucky for you, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Tuesday; Tequila Jack’s Taco Tuesday specials are typically $1.20 for tacos including carne asada, carnitas, chicken, Baja fish, grilled vegetables and bean and cheese. House margaritas and well drinks are practically a steal.
    Tequila Jack’s, 407 Shoreline Village Dr., Long Beach, (562) 628-0454.

    TACO BEACH CANTINA
    A true Mexican cantina atmosphere, Taco Beach on Pine Street is the perfect place to eat authentic Mexican food and enjoy delicious margaritas. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat and they have an outdoor patio, so there will be plenty of people watching. Featuring many imported Mexican beers and tequilas, there will be countless potent potables to chose from. The DJ starts at 8 p.m. and you’ll most likely dance until you drop (or you’re carried out) at 2 a.m.
    Taco Beach Cantina, 211 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 983-1337.

    LOS COMPADRES
    Perhaps bar hopping is not your thing, and I don’t blame you. If you’d prefer to opt out of a night that includes stumbling from bar to bar, or one that leaves you at the dead end of a shame spiral the next morning, I’d head to Los Compadres — arguably the best Mexican restaurant in Long Beach. This place always has a line out the door. But, my god, it is worth it. There are no “special” Cinco de Mayo plans, but good luck trying to get a table. You might be able to snag one, if you skip going to the office altogether and just head there in the morning.
    Los Compadres, 1144 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 432-0061.

    LOLA’S MEXICAN CUISINE
    Lola’s is one of my favorite spots in Long Beach. It’s a quaint but festive place to grub, specializing in modern, contemporary Mexican cuisine. They use only the freshest ingredients and organic meats. Expect them to be crowded on Cinco de Mayo, as Taco Tuesdays are typically standing room only. I suspect their mesquite tacos and Pacifico pints will probably be the most popular menu items that evening, but don’t shy away from any of the moles or platillos especiales. They currently only serve beer and wine, but don’t worry, a little bird told me that they will soon be toting a full bar featuring signature craft cocktails. I’ll be waiting with bated breath.
    Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, 2030 E. 4th St., Long Beach, (562) 343-5506.

    A wise man once told me, “Never drink so much that you can’t remember.” Truer words have never been spoken. That being said, I want you to go out there this Cinco de Mayo, have some fun, make (somewhat) good decisions, and above all, call an Uber.

    Gina Ruccione has traveled all over Europe and Asia, and lived in almost every nook of Los Angeles County. You can visit her blog at http://foodfashionfoolishfornication.blogspot.com.

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: April 29, 2015

    Meta Housing Corporation Completes Its First Family Arts Colony
    SAN PEDRO – Meta Housing Corporation has completed its first “family arts colony” apartment project – a new, 49-unit arts-focused affordable apartment community that integrates artistic live-work space in the San Pedro.
    The community, the Pacific Avenue Arts Colony, is the fourth arts colony project developed by Meta Housing and the first that is open to non-senior residents.
    Constructed on a former automotive repair facility lot in the historic core of San Pedro, the 49-unit Pacific Avenue Arts Colony, or “Pac Arts,” offers six ground-floor live-work units for resident artists. It includes a full-scale professional level art gallery space that will encourage connection and collaboration with the nearby arts district.
    The Pacific Avenue Arts Colony development was financed with 9 percent tax credits, as well as funds from the California Community Reinvestment Corp. and the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles.
    Meta Housing also worked closely with long-time partner Bank of America, which provided construction financing and equity for the project.
    The Pacific Avenue Arts Colony was developed by Meta Housing in partnership with General Partner Western Community Housing, and was designed by Y&M Architects. Non-profit EngAGE will serve as arts and programming service coordinator for the project.
    The community offers a variety of art-focused amenities, including professional-grade art studios, a soundproof music room and a graphic media center, among others.
    Pacific Avenue Arts Colony, at 303 South Pacific Ave. in San Pedro, is comprised of affordable one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans. More information is available at www.pacificavenueartscolony.com.

    Murder Suspect Arrested After DNA Match
    LONG BEACH — After more than a decade, 39-year-old Stewart Teofilo of Patterson, Calif., will face a murder charge after he was connected to the 2002 crime through DNA.
    The was opened on June 24, 2002, when at about 3:24 p.m., Long Beach Police responded to 1200 Pier E in the Port of Long Beach regarding reports of a person who had been stabbed.
    When officers arrived, they discovered 33-year-old Maurice Howard of San Gabriel, inside his vehicle in a parking lot at the location. Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded and pronounced Howard deceased at the scene.
    Howard had sustained multiple stab wounds to his head, upper body and torso area. Detectives processing the scene collected a substantial amount of physical evidence the night of the murder. However, they were unable to identify a suspect and the case went cold. Several years later, cold case investigators submitted evidence collected from the scene to the Los Angeles County Crime Lab for DNA testing, hoping that advances in medical science would lead them to a suspect. In May of 2014, detectives received information that a DNA profile from an evidence sample submitted resulted in a match to Teofilo. Detectives determined that although Teofilo was living in Patterson, he had connections to Long Beach.
    On April 21, 2015, detectives arrested Stewart Teofilo in Modesto, California, as he appeared in court on unrelated charges and transported him back to Long Beach. On April 23, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of murder on Stewart Teofilo. He was arraigned on April 24, and is being held at the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail on $1 million bail. He is expected to appear in court on May 1, 2015. A motive for the murder is still under investigation.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

    Port to Consider Cement Import Facility Final EIR
    LONG BEACH —The Port of Long Beach has prepared the final environmental impact report for the Mitsubishi Cement Facility Modification Project.
    The port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners will consider the adequacy of the final EIR at its regular meeting May 11, and whether to approve the proposed project.
    Mitsubishi Cement is proposing modifications to its existing import cement facility on Pier F at 1150 Pier F Ave. The facility receives bulk cement and cement-like materials (including Portland cement, blast furnace slag, pozzolans, and fly ash) via bulk cargo vessels at Berth F208. The product is stored in a warehouse and loading silos. It is then loaded onto customer trucks via three truck loading racks and transported to local and regional concrete batch plants.
    The proposed project would consist of constructing 40,000 metric tons of additional storage capacity consisting of storage and loading silos on vacant port property adjacent to Mitsubishi’s existing facility. The existing site would increase in size from 4.21 acres to 5.92 acres. It would also include installing an emission control system (Dockside Catalytic Control System) to capture and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from ship auxiliary generators at berth, as well as upgrade ship unloading equipment and land side structures.
    The port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners is scheduled to act on the proposed project during a public hearing (Spanish and sign language translation services provided) on May 11 at 6 p.m., during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting, at the Harbor Department Interim Administration Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach.
    The final EIR, including comments and responses, is available at: http://www.polb.com/ceqa.
    The Board will consider any further comments regarding the proposed project at that time. Alternatively, comments may be sent electronically to Heather Tomley, Director of Environmental Planning at: heather.tomley@polb.com

    Long Beach Taps into Growing Brewery Industry
    LONG BEACH — The Long Beach City Council has initiated a zoning change that will make it easier for craft breweries, wineries and distilleries with tasting rooms to open shop throughout the city.
    On April 7, the City Council adopted a zoning code amendment permitting craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and accessory tasting rooms to operate within commercial, industrial, and certain planned development districts. The zoning change streamlines the application and permitting process, reducing the time and costs associated with starting this type of business. The ordinance also provides concise development standards designed to guide new projects and minimize impacts to commercial neighbors.
    The craft brewing industry has experienced tremendous growth within the past 30 years, both in volume of production and market share. Prior to the city’s zoning change, the Long Beach Municipal Code allowed for similar uses in specific zoning districts, such as the manufacturing of beverages in certain industrial zones, and brewpubs in the downtown plan area.
    City staff collaborated with the Long Beach Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office to establish development standards in relation to the zoning change, including facility size and volume of production capacities, hours of operations, and stipulations that an alcohol manufacturing business and accessory tasting room may not be located within 500 feet of a preschool or K-12 school.

    Hahn Advocates for Truck Drivers
    Washington, D.C. — On April 29, Rep. Janice Hahn advocated for striking truck drivers at a hearing on commercial motor vehicle safety. She also inquired into federal avenues to promote their fair treatment.
    Truck drivers who serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been striking since April 27, in protest of wage-theft and unfair employment practices. These drivers have long been trapped in a system in which many are misclassified as “independent contractors” by their employers, who can then deduct business expenses from their employees’ checks.
    In addition to low wages, truck drivers are often pressured to work long hours contributing to exhaustion and safety concerns for themselves and other drivers on the roads.
    “Recently they have won victories in the courts, but these unfair practices persist,” Hahn said. “These trucking jobs ought to be good careers You should be able to earn a good living moving this country’s goods.”
    Hahn asked Teamsters Director of Safety and Health LaMonte Byrd, one of the witnesses testifying at the hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, whether truckers are often pressured to work unreasonable hours and how the federal government should address these unfair employment practices. The Teamsters have backed the striking port truckers.
    Watch Congresswoman Hahn’s questioning during today’s hearing here.

    Hahn Calls for Immediate Debt Relief for Corinthian College Students
    Washington, D.C. — On April 28, Rep. Janice Hahn (CA-44) called on U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to make sure all students who took out federal loans to attend Corinthian Colleges have those loans discharged. Corinthian Colleges Inc., a for-profit company, abruptly closed all of its remaining campuses and ended its college programs this week following financial troubles and numerous government investigations of its practices. The most recent closures displace 16,000 students across the country, including more than 10,000 in California.
    Hahn has previously intervened to help students of a failed for-profit college, Career Colleges of America, following its closure of its campus in South Gate in her district in 2014.

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  • Justice for Freddie Gray: A Timeline

    Originally published in the Baltimore City Paper at 6:09 a.m. EDT, April 28, 2015

    The city erupted in fire Monday.

    On Monday morning, police announced a “credible threat” posed by members of the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods, and Crips joining together to “take-out” law enforcement officers. Other sources claiming gang ties have told City Paper they are aware of a truce to protest the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died from a severed spine in police custody, but knew of no plans for violence.

    But the police request for national media to make the information known seemed like it was trying to start something. There were reports of an Instagram post that read “All High Schools Monday @3 We Going To Purge From Mondawmin To The Ave, Back To Downtown,” referring to the film series where there is a single night a year in which there is no law.

    Around 3 p.m. police and several large groups of kids were locked in battle in the area surrounding Mondawmin Mall. But if the police were the highly militarized victors at the Battle of Sandtown Saturday night, the kids seemed to be beating them here, throwing a large number of rocks that actually had the police retreating. When they fought back, the police used rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear-gas canisters. Once, when they seemed to directly hit a protester with a gas canister, all the police began cheering and running until a lieutenant ran and got them to stop. But they seemed horribly disorganized and ill-equipped against the young kids, who had control of the streets. They were a guerrilla band, able to disperse quickly. The police couldn’t, or didn’t, use the kind of pincer tactics that would block the kids in.  I only saw two people arrested—a guy who was taking pictures and one kid, lying sadly on the ground, his face smashed against the pavement. “I ain’t even a protester,” he said.

    No one, it seemed, was a protester and everyone was a combatant.

    More at: http://tinyurl.com/jwl9qle

     

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: April 27, 2015

    Teamsters Picket the Harbor
    LONG BEACH — On April 27, the Teamsters union started informational picketing at the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles.
    The Teamsters are targeting four non-union trucking companies: Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport. The companies transport cargo to and from four of the port’s 22 terminal operations. The drivers argue that they are improperly classified as independent contractors. The classification makes the drivers vulnerable, with less protections and lower pay.
    Dockworkers have reported to work and truckers were able to enter and exit the affected terminals without delay.
    The Port of Long Beach does not employ or contract with the drivers involved in this informational action. Harbor Patrol officers and Long Beach Police Department officers are monitoring the situation and are keeping the roadways accessible.

    Murder in Long Beach
    LONG BEACH — Thirty-four-year-old Donald Parks of Long Beach was shot and killed April 24, on the 100 block of Platt Street in Long Beach.
    Long Beach Police Department officials said they responded to reports of shots fired about 11:42 p.m.
    When officers arrived, they found Parks on the street having sustained injury from a gunshot wound. The Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene.
    A preliminary investigation found that Parks was outside in front of a residence with a group of individuals when a suspect approached on foot and fired several rounds towards the group. There were no other reports of injury related to this incident. The suspect is not in custody at this time. The shooting is being investigated as possibly gang related.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

    Officer Involved Shooting
    LONG BEACH — Nineteen-year-old Hector Morejon was shot and killed, and four other suspects were taken into custody, April 23, after unlawfully entering a vacant residence and vandalizing it, officials said.
    The incident took place at about 2:45 p.m. at the 1100 block of Hoffman Avenue in Long Beach. Long Beach Police Department officers responded to a report that several people were trespassing and vandalizing a unit in a multi-unit complex.
    The preliminary report states that when the officers arrived at the scene they discovered an open window with no screen in the rear of the residence. The officers found a second window that was broken with the screen removed. An officer looked through the opening to the broken window and saw Morejon standing next to a wall. The officer saw Morejon turn towards him, while bending his knees, and extending his arm out as if pointing an object, which the officer perceived was a gun.
    At this point, the officer shot the Morejon. The Long Beach resident was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and was later pronounced dead.
    The interior of the residence was covered with gang-related graffiti, officials said. No officers were injured during this incident. A weapon was not recovered from the scene.
    In a statement, Morejon’s family asked for an independent investigation and the release of the name and badge number of the officer who shot the 19-year-old, “who was unarmed.” The family also is demanding that the “City of Long Beach and its police department suspend the shooting officer.”
    All officer-involved shootings where a death takes place are investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
    Twenty-year-old Edgar Rodarte was charged with trespassing; 21-year-old German Rodarte of Long Beach was charged with trespassing and a gang injunction violation; 22-year-old Yesenia Pineda was charged with trespassing; and 22-year-old Celia Cox was charged with trespassing. The four people — all from Long Beach — were arrested on the scene in relation to the incident.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

    HCBF Contributes to $1 Million Healthcare Investment in Wilmington, San Pedro
    WILMINGTON — On April 24, Harbor Community Benefit Foundation announced that it has awarded $518,000 in Healthy Harbor grants to organizations that will address port-related health impacts in the Harbor communities of Wilmington and San Pedro.
    The awards include close to $500,000 in matched funding from other sources, which brings a combined $1 million investment in port-related health to Wilmington and San Pedro residents in 2015.
    The goal of the foundation’s Healthy Harbor program is to identify, fund, and strengthen organizations that are actively tackling port-related health issues in Wilmington and San Pedro, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other complications from port environmental impacts. Programs include home visits for children with asthma, full-time asthma nursing at public schools, air quality education, noise and hearing screening, mobile asthma clinics and chronic disease self-management.
    Once awarded, each grantee will actively work with the foundation on documenting its efforts and impact through progress reports and site visits. Findings and data are shared publicly through the foundation’s annual reports and website for the benefit of the community and the development of future programs.
    The Healthy Harbor Grant program is funded by the Port of Los Angeles through the Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund, which is administered exclusively by the foundation.
    2015 Healthy Harbor Grant Recipients:
    Coalition for Clean Air
    Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma
    Providence Little Company of Mary
    St. Mary Medical Center Foundation
    The Children’s Clinic
    The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health
    Tzu Chi Community Clinic of Wilmington

    LAPD Horse “Tagged”
    VENICE BEACH — The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect who vandalized a police horse while working at the Venice Beach.
    On April 21, while working a crime suppression detail at Venice Beach, an unknown suspect marked the hind-quarters of a horse named “Charly” from
    LAPD Metropolitan Division’s Mounted Platoon.
    The silver colored graffiti was removed from “Charly” later that evening.
    Anyone with information about the vandalism incident is asked to call (310) 482-6313 or visit LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: April 24, 2015

    AltaSea Selects Designer
    SAN PEDRO — Gensler, a Los Angeles-based architectural firm, will design three buildings for the 28-acre AltaSea marine research and interpretive center in San Pedro.
    The firm will design a 20,000-square-foot visitors’ center, a 60,000-square-foot retrofit of the Berth 37 warehouse into classrooms for oceanic science and research, and a 5,000 square-feet office space for the center’s headquarters.
    Site will focus on commercializing concepts that the center’s scientists will develop, for example, ocean sustainability. Additional space will be developed when the market conditions permit it. Phase I will be completed in 2023 and the other phases will continue for about 15 to 20 years. The cost of the project will be about $500 million.

    Suspect Arrested After Drug Lab Causes Explosion
    LONG BEACH — Two cats are dead and one man has been arrested as a result of an explosion, April 22, on the 200 block of Belmont Avenue in Long Beach.
    Mitchell Maclean, 57, was booked for manufacturing a controlled substance and animal cruelty.
    The Long Beach Police Department responded to the residence at about 3 p.m. to assist the Long Beach Fire Department and arson investigators, who discovered a drug lab.
    Neighbors had reported hearing a loud explosion, followed by fire and smoke. Long Beach firefighters arrived at the location and extinguished the fire. When arson investigators arrived, they discovered the resident was attempting to make butane honey oil, which is made when tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is extracted from marijuana plants, and requested the assistance of the LBPD’s Drug Investigations Section. The Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Apprehension Crime Taskforce’s lab team also responded to the location to assist.
    Investigators found items consistent with the manufacturing of butane honey oil, which is consumed by methods such as smoking, ingestion or vaporization. Users prefer BHO due to the high concentration of THC that it contains. Butane, which is extremely dangerous due to its flammability, and used during the extraction process, was also found.
    Maclean is being held at the Long Beach City Jail on $75,000 bail pending arraignment.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident should call (562) 570-7221 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

    Survey Finds Fewer Homeless in Long Beach
    LONG BEACH — Fewer homeless people on the streets of Long Beach, according to a biennial survey conducted by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.
    The survey found that from 2013 to 2015, there was:
    • 18 percent overall reduction in the total number of persons experiencing homelessness, 2,847 to 2,345.
    • 13 percent reduction in chronically homeless persons, from 1,061 to 927.
    • 24 percent reduction in the number of children experiencing homelessness, from 334 to 255.
    • 42 percent increase in permanent housing beds, from 854 to 1,214.
    Since 2011 there has been:
    • 26 percent reduction in the total number of persons experiencing homelessness, 3,164 to 2,345.
    • 18 percent reduction in chronically homeless persons, from 1,127 to 927.
    • 32 percent reduction in the number of children experiencing homelessness, from 371 to 255.
    • 177 percent increase in Permanent Housing beds, from 438 to 1,214.
    The increase in permanent housing resources is due to new programs funded and developed for specialized subpopulations, and expansion of rapid rehousing units.
    The biennial survey, which is a requirement to receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding to provide services to the homeless, involved more than 300 community volunteers deployed citywide earlier this year to conduct a “street count” of unsheltered homeless persons.
    To better align the count data collection with other Continuum of Care jurisdictions and the HUD requirements, the 2015 count focused only on homeless-designated beds for the shelter count. The 2015 results are comparative to 2011 and 2013 results reflected in the HUD Homeless Data Exchange submissions.
    The Homeless Services Division of the Department of Health and Human Services works in connection with every city department to align efforts, maximizing the effectiveness of citywide resources.
    The Long Beach Continuum of Care collaborates with every known partner in the city, from business and neighborhood associations, nonprofit and faith-based agencies to medical and educational institutions to proactively address homelessness.
    To ensure the greatest impact, a street outreach network has been conducting very organized and targeted outreach, reaching out to faith-based and food distribution sites to ensure connectivity to resources that end homelessness.
    The central hub for intake and assessment for the Long Beach Continuum of Care is the Multi-Service Center, which averages 26,000 client visits annually, making it the primary point of entry for persons seeking homeless services assistance in Long Beach. The center houses staff from the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services and 11 other public and private partner organizations that work together to promote self-sufficiency and rebuild the lives of those experiencing homelessness.
    The center has been a critical resource in facilitating opportunities for homeless men, women, and children to achieve housing stability and empower clients by actively engaging them in service planning, building on their strengths, and helping them to achieve their goals. This focus on the goals of economic stability, employment, stable housing, and reintegration has had positive impacts for those served and the broader community.
    Additional data from the Biennial Homeless Count is available at http://bit.ly/1HxICZF.

    Newsom Endorses Bradford for Senate
    GARDENA — On April 23, Steven Bradford received the endorsement of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
    Bradford is running to represent State Senate District 35, which includes the cities and communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.
    “As a lawmaker, he’s been an outspoken champion for working people, civil rights, clean energy and our underserved communities – and, as a Senator, he’ll fight to ensure that every Californian has the opportunity to succeed,” Newsom said.
    Current 35th District Senator Isadore Hall has announced his bid for U.S. House of Representatives and has endorsed Bradford’s candidacy.
    Bradford represented parts of the 35th Senate District for 18 years as a member of the California Assembly and the Gardena City Council.
    The California primary election will be, June 7, 2016 with a runoff election, if needed, on Nov. 8, 2016.
    Learn more about Steven Bradford’s campaign at: http://stevenbradfordforsenate.com/

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: April 23, 2015

    Mayor Garcetti Breaks Ground on Water Recycling Project
    TERMINAL ISLAND –
    On April 22, Mayor Garcetti broke ground on the Terminal Island Advanced Water Purification Facility Expansion project.

    Once completed in 2017, the expanded plant will produce 12 million gallons of purified recycled water daily, more than doubling the current production. Twelve million gallons is equivalent to the amount used by 67,000 Angelenos every day.
    The expansion will provide the Dominguez Gap Barrier with 100 percent of its total needs and will provide various Harbor Area industrial users with recycled water.
    This past fall, Mayor Garcetti issued an executive directive calling for a 20 percent reduction in water use by 2017. Among its actions was an increase in the lawn replacement rebate to $3.75 per square foot and eliminating the need for permits to replace grass on parkways. Fifty percent of Los Angeles’ fresh water is used outdoors, which is why these actions are especially significant. Los Angeles imports more than 80 percent of its water, making recycling and protecting local groundwater, as this project does, especially important.
    Details: SaveTheDropLA.org

     

    New Comprehensive Child Development Executive Director Named

    SAN PEDRO — On April 22, Comprehensive Child Development board of directors announced that Peter Bostic will become the next executive director to lead the organization.

    The nonprofit provides child care and supports parental growth to homeless, unemployed, low-income and student families.

    Bostic is a human rights nonprofit advocate. He brings more than 30 years of nonprofit management experience, having spent 20 years with the YMCA, a decade of raising charitable gifts for higher education and years as the executive director of both Leadership Long Beach and the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.

    Bostic attended UC Santa Barbara where he earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in physical education.

    Peter and his wife Hiedy reside in Long Beach with their daughter Ashleigh, a recent graduate of CSU Long Beach.

     

    Hahn Testifies on Veteran Homelessness, Domestic Violence

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On April 23, Rep. Janice Hahn (CA-44) testified in front of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health at a legislative hearing on House Resolution 627, her bill to make services available to homeless veterans fleeing domestic violence.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a number of programs to assist homeless veterans. However, the outdated definition of “homelessness” can cause problems for victims of domestic violence.  H.R. 627 would correct and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ definition of “homeless veteran” to include veterans fleeing domestic violence and other life threatening situations.  Expanding the definition brings it to the same standard as the rest of the law and will allow those veterans to access the benefits available to all other homeless veterans.

    Hahn was successful in establishing a temporary fix to help veterans displaced by domestic violence through the House Appropriations process this past year. Her legislation aims to permanently fix this tragic oversight in federal law.

    This legislation has already garnered the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the Service Women’s Action Network, the Association of the U.S. Navy, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, Veterans for Common Sense, Blinded Veterans Association, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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