• 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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  • TPP and TTIP Will Give Power to Multinational Corporations

    By Peter Mathews

     

    Free Trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement worked very well for the top 1 percent, mostly super rich corporate owners.

    For the bottom 99 percent of Americans, mostly workers, Free Trade and NAFTA are a disaster, as we’ve seen. And yet, American corporate elites and their sponsored politicians are not content with the enormous riches they have gained from Free Trade and Globalization. They are pushing hard to pass a Free Trade agreement among the United States and eleven Pacific Rim nations. This so-called Trans Pacific Partnership is led by President Barack Obama, almost all Republicans in Congress, and a large number of Democrats in Congress. What do they have in common? The bulk of their campaign contributions have come from corporate and big business interests. They’ve also been heavily influenced by lobbying from big business and multi-national corporations.

    There are a few stalwart leaders in Congress, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen.  Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CONN), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MINN), and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) who vehemently oppose the TPP.

    “Over the past 25 years, our country has signed trade deal after trade deal after trade deal, and each time, each and every time, we have been promised more jobs, increased wages, but the reality has been very different,” DeLauro put it bluntly. “What is insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. We are headed to the madhouse with this agreement.”

    Since it has not been finalized, we can look at some of its proposals. The TPP will “allow foreign corporations to sue the United States Government for actions that undermine their ‘expectations’ and hurt their business, …” (Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.”, by Jonathan Weisman, New York Times, March 25, 2015). Corporations and private investors would be allowed to challenge local, state, or federal government rules, regulations, actions, and court rulings before tribunals, established by the World Bank or the United Nations, made up of unelected judges, many of whom were corporate lawyers. Now corporations, not government, would be allowed to rule the people.

    Because of NAFTA and other Free Trade agreements, the United States has lost millions of high paying jobs, and is running a $500 billion annual trade deficit. TPP, “NAFTA on Steroids”, will cause us to lose even more jobs, run bigger trade deficits, and lose much of America ’s sovereignty.

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is just as nefarious as the TPP, only larger. While the 12 TPP nations compose 40% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the 29 TTIP nations compose 45% of global GDP. The TTIP consists of the United States and the 28 European Union (EU) countries. So, 40 out of 195 nations in the world make up over half of Global GDP, and multi-national corporations will be able to block the democratic decisions of the people of these countries.

    A recently leaked chapter from the secretive TTIP agreement, which is currently being negotiated between the United States and European Union, shows that the “Free Trade deal is even a greater threat to environmental, labor, health, and human rights protections – including democracy – than we previously knew.” (“Newly Leaked TTIP Draft Reveals Far-Reaching Assault on US/EU Democracy”, by Common Dreams, April 20, 2015). Just as the TPP does, the TTIP also establishes international tribunals composed of unelected “judges”, many of them corporate lawyers and pro-corporate bureaucrats. These tribunals can rule against national governments (representing the people) when multi-national corporations sue them for making and implementing safety regulations regarding food, labor rights, industrial chemicals, pesticides, and other environmental regulations that may interfere with maximizing corporate profits.

    The TTIP has been criticized by its opponents in the United States and the European Union, who claim that “TTIP may give too much power to corporations, especially foreign investors, and that it could undermine food safety and environmental standards, lowering U.S. chemical regulations and forcing Europeans to consume genetically-modified (GMO) American foods and chlorinated chickens.” (“Is Europe on board for a new trade deal with the U.S. ?”, by Bruce Stokes, Pew Research Center ).

    The EU admits that TTIP will cause European job loss to the U.S. since American wages and union rights are less. The proof for this is that one million U.S. jobs were lost in 12 years due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S. , Mexico , and Canada . (“What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you.”, by Lee Williams, The Independent, October 7, 2014).

     

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Peter Mathews is a Professor of Political Science at Cypress College and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Long Beach City College. He is a Guest Host on KPFK radio 90.7 FM and a Political Analyst on BBC 5 Live Breakfast and KFI AM 640 Morning News. He has served as a Political Analyst on KNBC-TV, KCAL-TV, KCBS-TV and other stations. He is has been a Guest Columnist in the online Orange County Register and the Long Beach Press Telegram. Peter Mathews is the author of his new book on money and politics, DOLLAR DEMOCRACY: WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR SOME; HOW TO RECLAIM THE AMERICAN DREAM FOR ALL, which can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and neighborhood bookstores. Peter Mathews’ website is www.epetermathews.com and his cell is 562-234-3319  http://www.epetermathews.com

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: April 22, 2015

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

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

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: April 21, 2015

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

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

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

    Daily, excluding holidays

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

    Daily, including holidays

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

    Monday through Saturday, excludes Sunday and holidays

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

    Daily, including holidays

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

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

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

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

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: April 20, 2015

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

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

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  • Leland Street Elementary Celebrates Military Families

    Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

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

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

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

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

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

     

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  • Long Beach to Hire Locally First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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