• Artists React to Charlie Hebdo Massacre

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer
    In order for art to be worthwhile, it must have something to say. And, when you have something to say, you risk infuriating extremists or even the occasional thin-skinned observer.
    As the world reflects on the attack on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, Harbor Area artists responded to the mass shootings in France. Here’s what they had to say:
    AnnCleavesAnn Cleaves, Random Lengths News Cartoonist
    What happened at Charlie Hebdo was horrendous. The shooters were fanatic murderers.  However, it bothers me that we Americans are so quick to say that we, of course, are for free speech and freedom of expression.
    Words and images can be very powerful. Words can also be taunts, slurs, degrading stereotypes and [they can be] powerfully intimidating. We should stand up against and resist malicious words. In the U.S. there are laws against hate speech.
    The history of newspaper cartooning is full of images that were stereotypes that viciously condemned various groups of people.  Look at California cartoons of the Japanese during WWII and before.  Asians, blacks, Mexicans have all been stereotyped in an often degrading manner.  Jews and Catholics have also been singled out, as have women. Today’s news editors and many newspaper readers would definitely question these often degrading stereotypical images.

    El ImageneroThe artist who goes by the name “El Imagenero”: Photographer, Creator of “What We Censor, What We Don’t”

    Artists, at least those who have something to say, face all sorts of attempts to silence them.  Often, those start in the artist’s own head, which … (began) by something in the artist’s rearing or schooling.
    In my experience, many artists, as well as philosophers, scientists and others, risk emotional or physical injury when, like Saul of Tarsus on his way to Damascus, they find themselves “kicking against the pricks” of convention and the standards of others in service of their own sensibilities and moral imperatives.
    These restrictions on art and other expression are not relics of history or limited to Muslim extremists, although the summary execution of persons based on their expression seems to be limited to religious extremists.
    At bottom, everyone says they support artistic freedom and free speech. But most of us have an unspoken limit to what range of freedoms we will extend to others.  So, it’s nothing new. It’s nothing artists throughout history haven’t faced. But, like any other crime, it is still wrong, whether done by self-styled terrorists or government and church authorized bureaucrats.

     

    Mat GleasonMat Gleason, Curator of Coagula Gallery in Los Angeles

    I’m reading many reactions to this tragedy. Most of them are not talking about it. They are using the tragedy as a pivot to talk about other things. Nobody wants to acknowledge that we will be murdered for expressing ourselves. We will. We are. There will be more deaths and next time you pivot away from seeing this, you lurch toward culpability.

     

     


    Ellwood T. Risk, San Pedro Artist

    There’s a quote by Plato that reads, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
    It’s a sad thing indeed that as we move through the first quarter of the 21st century, men still find it necessary to kill those who don’t share their view of the world. Though a terrible day for France and artists everywhere, the horror of the massacre at Charlie Hebdo is but the latest mark on the wall of sorrow that is human history.
    Ron Lindenv2Ron Linden, Artist, Curator at TransVagrant/Warschaw Gallery in San Pedro
    Of course, I’m extremely saddened by the Charlie Hebdo killings and realize the complexity of response. Sunday, the streets of Paris were lined with as many despots as patriots — leaders of repressive governments currently incarcerating journalists and engaging in censorship locked arm-in-arm with upright citizens. Thinking of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. I find it ironic that many of those most vocal and visible in support of “freedom of expression” are themselves comfortable living under such censorship and repression.

     

    Michael StearnsMichael Stearns, Artist, Curator at Gallery 347 in San Pedro
    As a person who has not been radicalized, I find it abhorrent that someone could kill another person over a cartoon, even a cartoon that was in very bad taste, totally insensitive, racist perhaps, and overtly offensive to almost everyone. I would defend the creators right to make such a cartoon or any other form of creative endeavor. I also understand that censorship exists and that it can be a very fine line, provoking discussions that will never end.
    What I do know is that we are all targets. All societies have members among them who have been radicalized and feel that extreme measures are needed. From artists who feel they have a message to pass on, a wrong to be righted, an opinion to be shared, to doctors performing an abortion, students protesting in Mexico, to kids going to school in Connecticut, people going to work in Oklahoma City, and John Lennon going for a walk in Central Park, we are all targets. But in order to live we cannot hide inside locked boxes. We must all be Charlie.


    Pat Woolley, Artist at Studio 345 in San Pedro

    PatYes, I am an artist in San Pedro and yes, I am French-born. The horrible tragedy in Paris has been on my mind since it happened.
    I come from the south. There are many Arabs living in the there, mostly Algerians. France is one of the most tolerant countries as to race and religion, but there is a strong division between church and state. There has been a grumble lately from the Muslims that schools would not tolerate girls wearing headscarves, while Christians and Jews were not allowed to wear crosses, etc.
    Like all big cities, Paris has its public housing on the outskirts, many are Arab families, poor, uneducated even if they are French citizens. Many young men, in particular, are unemployed, who may come from dysfunctional families, little education and no future. They become isolated from the rest of the society they see around them and look for excitement and purpose. Unfortunately, they get attached to the wrong elements. They see the radical Muslims in Iran as powerful, and they join them. The two that attacked Charlie Hebdo were a good example.
    This magazine is known for political cartoons, certainly not only Muslims. They ridicule the French president and all kinds of political and religious figures. I certainly cannot condone the horrible act of violence against the artists and applaud their courage, but I wonder, if knowing how edgy the subject was, it was wise for them to print this. I certainly believe in liberty and free speech but I also believe — nowadays — it might be better to back down a little. Let’s face it: several innocent people died (who) had nothing to do with Charlie Hebdo

    Peggy ZaskPeggy Zask, Artist, Curator at South Bay Contemporary Gallery
    The terrorists are people from a culture without freedom. They do not understand or respect freedom as do people in developed countries.
    If artists want to express their ideas and responses in this global culture, they must embrace the reaction that may ensue.  France has a toxic mix of democratic and non-democratic populations, and the massacre that happened was tragic.
    We, as an art community, should do everything we can to preserve freedom in the world.  Can the artists of the world be censored?  I think now is a time to focus on worldwide issues of censorship and make art that addresses every challenge to our freedom on all fronts.
    I think there is an intense energy rising in our art community that will fill the world
    with expressions of freedom.  As a curator, I would like to put together a show that captures and shares today’s feelings — and do whatever we can to preserve creative freedom.

     

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  • The Law of Unintended Consequences

    When the Ports Impacts of Operations Become Community Problems

    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Someone much wiser than I once said, “every time you solve one problem you create two.” I didn’t believe him then, but have come to appreciate that perspective the more I’ve watched government and big businesses solve problems.

    The issue of what one doesn’t know is what one just doesn’t know is scaled up in size depending on the size of the organization and its from those affected by the policy that’s enacted. The U.S. Congress or AT&T immediately comes to mind, but this problem of not knowing is rampant in most, if not all, bureaucratic structures. What are the consequences? (more…)

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  • Avilla Out: Throws Support Behind Duque

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    Karen Avilla, the incumbent treasurer for the City of Carson, abruptly announced Jan. 5 that she was retiring. She was certified to run in the March 3 election but changed her mind. She said she did so at the urging of her family.

    “I believe I have done everything possible to improve the Treasurer’s office and keep the City’s funds safe,” she said in a prepared statement.

    She threw her support to Eddie Duque who, according to his Linkedin profile, works as a senior analyst in Finance and Management Services for the City of Santa Ana.

    “He is uniquely qualified,” Avilla stated.

    She added he has more than 16 years of municipal finance management experience, along with degrees from Berkeley and Harvard.

    With Avilla out, the race is now between Duque and three other candidates.The candidates provided the following information about themselves and their campaigns:

     

    Eddie Duque

    “I am running for City Treasurer of Carson because I believe I can make a difference,” Duque stated in an email. “I am a Certified Public Funds Investment Manager… I have more than 20 years of honorable and verified professional public service.”

    Duque has lived in Carson for seven years.

    “I am honored to receive her confidence and that she considers me the only qualified candidate,” commented Duque, about Avilla’s endorsement. “I want to continue the good work she has done to bring stability to Carson.”

    He promises, if elected, to safeguard the city’s funds, improve operations and create avenues for greater transparency.  His campaign may be contacted at  eddie@voteduque2015.com for details.

     

    Joe Merton

    “I want to develop the transparency of the office to the public, to protect financial stability,” Merton said.

    He asserted that being a businessman for 20 years provides him with the experience to serve as treasurer.

    “I want proper financial management for the city, to look at the city’s portfolio,” he added. “I want to see the best return on investments.”

    He’s run for treasurer twice before.

    He’s lived in Carson for almost 30 years. Contact joemerton9@gmail.com for details.

     

    Monica Cooper

    “I’m qualified with experience in the public and private sector,” Cooper said.  She recently ran for the West Basin Municipal Water District, but didn’t win.

    Cooper worked for 22 years with the Franchise Tax Board and has managed a real estate business. She says she’s had to manage a business where she ensured proper handling of public funds.

    “I’d like to bring the treasurer’s office forward, make it more visible,” she said when asked about her goals if elected. “Many people in the city don’t know what the treasurer does.  I’d like to be more present, have Webinars.”

    She also said she’d like to explore diversifying the city’s portfolio, possibly requesting that investment banks “do something for the community.”

    She also commented on Avilla’s sudden retirement.

    “Frankly I was very surprised,” she commented. “Maybe something drastic happened or is coming.”

    Cooper has lived in Carson since 2009. For details about Cooper and her campaign call (562) 440-8877.

     

    Emilio Ramos Loyola

    When asked about his qualifications, Loyola points to his years of public service with Carson’s Parks and Recreation Department. He recently resigned from the job he had for 15 years at the Veterans Sports Complex, so he may focus on his campaign. He’s lived in the neighborhood near Veterans Park since 1980.

    He’s also served on several city commissions—planning, environmental, fine arts and historical.  He’s retired from the Navy, where he served as a disbursing clerk.

    If elected, he says his priorities will be security first, reformation and modernization of the office’s operations second, and lastly, to apply a strict code of ethics. To volunteer on Loyola’s campaign or for details call (310) 328-1261.

     

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  • The Cartoonists vs. The Fundamentalists

    It Even Happened in America

    By Matt Wuerker, Cartoonist

    As we bury the brave, martyred cartoonists of Paris (yes, they’re the real martyrs), and as the debate rages about how best to respond to this savagery, it might be instructive to remember an earlier confrontation between fundamentalists and cartoonists in our own country.

    This one, which took place about 30 years ago, turned out to be another seminal test of free speech and the latitude given to cartoonists and satirists.

    The outcome was somewhat different from what happened in France — but no less important. (more…)

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  • Longshore Workers Have Answer For Clearing Ship Congestion

    Let Us Do Our Jobs

    By Robert (“Bobby”) Olvera Jr., President of ILWU Local 13

    The Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container Harbor facility and second-ranked Port of Long Beach, handle about 40 percent of America’s imports, with an estimated $1 billion in cargo moving through the ports every day.

    Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region are connected to the two ports.

    Terms and conditions of employment for longshore and marine clerk labor at the ports are governed by a contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) which is comprised of stevedoring, shipping, and marine terminal companies. The labor contract expired in July 2014. A new contract is under negotiation. (more…)

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  • RL NEWS of the Week: Jan. 21, 2015

    Garcetti Announces POLA Changes
    SAN PEDRO —On Jan. 21, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that his deputy mayor for City Services, Doane Liu, will become deputy executive director and chief of staff at the Port of Los Angeles.
    Liu will assume his new position on Feb. 1. He will continue to help oversee the Mayor’s Office of City Services until the transition to a new deputy mayor is complete. A search for his successor, coordinated by Garcetti’s Chief of Staff Ana Guerrero, is already underway. The Mayor’s Office of City Services advises the mayor on policy related to and oversees the:

    • Department of Water and Power
    • Department of Public Works:
      •  Bureau of Contract Administration
      •  Bureau of Engineering
      •  Bureau of Sanitation
      •  Bureau of Street Lighting
      •  Bureau of Street Services
    • Department of Transportation
    • Department of Recreation and Parks
    • Los Angeles Public Library
    • Los Angeles Zoo
    • Department of Animal Services
    • Department of Cultural Affairs
    • El Pueblo de Los Angeles
    • Department of Aging
    • Department of Disability

    Liu was appointed to be one of four deputy mayors by Garcetti in July 2013. His office is focused on the mayor’s goals of restoring the city services that make our neighborhoods livable and attractive while providing excellent customer service to our residents and businesses.
    Liu was previously chief of staff for Councilman Joe Buscaino and served as chief of staff for Councilwoman Janice Hahn, deputy mayor for Mayor James K. Hahn and district director for Rep. Jane Harman. He was also senior vice president of government banking at JP Morgan Chase and vice president in the real estate industries group at Security Pacific National Bank.
    Liu graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received a masters in business administration from the University of Southern California. He and his wife live in San Pedro and have four grown children.
    Mayor Garcetti appointed Seroka as the Port of Los Angeles’ new executive director after his unprecedented effort to assess all departments and require all department heads to reapply for their positions. In addition to Liu’s new chief of staff position, Seroka announced the following members of the port’s leadership team: Marla Bleavins, chief financial officer; Ron Boyd, chief of Port Police and Emergency Management; Mike DiBernardo, marketing and customer relations; and Tony Gioiello, development.
     
    Port of Los Angeles Container Volumes Up 6 Percent
    SAN PEDRO — Container volumes at the Port of Los Angeles increased 6 percent in 2014 compared to 2013.
    Total volumes reached 8,340,065 Twenty-Foot-Equivalent Units (TEU). It was the third busiest year in the port’s history, just behind 8.4 million TEUs in 2007 and 8.5 million TEUs in 2006. Current and historical data is available here.
    In December 2014, overall volumes increased 1 percent compared to December 2013. Total cargo for December 2014 was 658,567 TEUs compared to 653,358 TEUs in December 2013.
    Container imports in December increased 4.4 percent, from 322,500 TEUs in December 2013 to 336,674 TEUs in December 2014. Exports declined 12 percent, from 172,261 TEUs in December 2013 to 152,112 TEUs in December 2014. U.S. exports have been declining in recent months due to weaker demand abroad and a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive.
    Combined, total loaded imports and exports fell 1.2 percent, from 494,761 TEUs in December  2013 to 488,786 TEUs in December 2014. Factoring in empties, which increased 7 percent year over year, overall December 2014 volumes (658,567 TEUs) edged up 1 percent compared to December 2013 (653,358 TEUs).
    Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at:
    http://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

    POLB Sees Third-Busiest Year Ever
    LONG BEACH — Cargo container trade climbed 1.3 percent in 2014, bringing the Port of Long Beach its third-busiest year ever behind the peak years of 2006 and 2007.
    This past year’s overall volume rose to 6,820,806 TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent units. Imports increased 1.8 percent to 3,517,514 TEUs, exports declined 5.9 percent to 1,604,394 TEUs, while empties rose 8.2 percent to 1,698,898 TEUs. Empty containers are sent overseas to be loaded with cargo.
    For December 2014 alone, the port moved 567,237 TEUs through the Harbor, a 2.6 percent decrease compared to December 2013. Imports dropped 5.1 percent to 276,516 TEUs. Exports fell 11.2 percent to 131,496 TEUs. Empties rose to 159,225 TEUs, an increase of 11.5 percent.
    Port officials attributed the growth in 2014 overall to strong relationships with the shipping industry.
    For the latest monthly cargo numbers, click here.
    For more details on the cargo numbers visit www.polb.com/stats.

    Long Beach City Council
    Officeholder Expense Funds
    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 20, The Long Beach City Council voted 5-3, with District 3 Councilwoman Suzie Price, District 5 Councilwoman Stacy Mungo and District 7 Councilman Al Austin opposed, to make amendments to this ordinance that governs officeholder expense funds.
    The will set the officeholder expense account limits for city council members at $30,000 per year and $75,000 for citywide officeholders (mayor, city attorney, city prosecutor and city auditor).
    These are not city funds but money that elected officials can raise from private contributions that may be used to offset the costs of being in office, such as: providing refreshments and supplies for community meetings, advertising or contributing to community organizations.
    Civic Center
    The Long Beach council voted 7-0, with Councilwoman Suzie Price absent, to authorize the city manager to execute a contract with HOK Inc. for professional design review and entitlement consulting services related to the Civic Center master plan development.
    HOK Inc. is a subconsultant to ARUP North America Limited, the firm that the city hired to help with civic center bid proposals.
    The contract would not exceed $216,676 for one year and the city manager would have the option to renew it for an additional one year period.
    Ed “Pops” Davenport Park
    The city council voted 8-0, to approve an application to the Department of the Resources Recycling and Recovery for a grant that would help pay for the installment of a landfill cover system and landfill gas collection on the 55th Way Landfill, a former waste landfill that operated between 1945 and 1948.
    The land was purchased by the former Redevelopment Agency as replacement parkland on which the North Police Substation was built. It is scheduled to become Phase II of Davenport Park but must first undergo abatement due to its former landfill function.
    If the grant is received, it will offset the cost of landfill abatement, allowing more of the $1 million budgeted for Phase II of the park to be used for its design and construction.

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  • Charmaine Clamor Lives Through Her Voice

    By Melina Paris Music Columnist

    On Jan. 16 and 17, the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation presented a show with gifted vocalist Charmaine Clamor. She performed in the intimate dinner setting of the George Nakano Theater.

    Clamor appeared at this theater six years ago, so her performance was awaited with great anticipation. The speakeasy setting offered the perfect ambiance in which to enjoy Clamors rich vocal style. She has been compared to exceptional vocalists such as Nina Simone, Julie London and Cassandra Wilson.

    Clamor, who was born in the Philippines, is the originator of Jazzipino. She describes Jazzipino as the new musical genre that results from melding traditional Filipino melodies, languages and instruments with the soul and swing of American jazz. (more…)

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  • Garcia Delivers His First State of Long Beach Speech

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    In his first State of the City address, Jan. 13, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia touched upon the city’s achievements, challenges and plans for the future.

    The 28th mayor of the city touted the Long Beach’s drop in violent crimes. On Jan. 7, a preliminary report was released showing that Long Beach ended 2014 with the lowest number of violent crimes in 42 years. Compared to 2013, violent crime decreased 3.2 percent, with a 17.8 percent decrease compared to the city’s 5-year average. Murders dropped more than 30 percent. Property crime dropped 4.8 percent. The total Part 1 crime reduction was 4.6 percent compared to 2013 and 6.3 percent less than the 5-year average.

    Garcia also celebrated development of an Economic and Property Development Department, the creation of a Technology and Innovation Department and commission, and commercial growth.

    “Work has begun on an expansion at the Pike that will mean $68 million of new private investment,” Garcia said. “This project includes opening a new H&M store, the expansion of Restoration Hardware and other high profile retail outlets that we will be announcing in the coming weeks…. In 2014 alone, we made incredible progress Long Beach won awards in technology, equality and transportation.”

    But there are also challenges as the escalating tension between the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU.

    “I am confident the management team and the Harbor Commission are addressing the systematic challenges that contributed to congestion,” he said. “I urge both sides to work with the federal mediator to reach an agreement that protects the jobs and goods that flow through our port.”

    He said the recent drop in oil prices also challenge improvement and operating revenues. Garcia recognized that some parts of the city, specifically, central Long Beach, are still dealing with high poverty and unemployment rates, as well as crime.

    “This is unacceptable,” Garcia said. “The residents of central Long Beach need access to health care, education and good jobs.”

    Garcia said he wants to meet challenges throughout the city with innovation, educational opportunities, and sustainability, technology and civic engagement.

    He announced plans to build at least 4,000 new residential units in downtown Long Beach within the 10 years that follow. He highlighted the council’s recent approval of a new civic center with an expanded Lincoln Park, city hall, port headquarters, a hotel and residences. He believes the project will generate $2 million a year in new revenue.

    Garcia called on the council to review the progress of the Sustainable City Plan. He also promised to continue advocating for the reconfiguration of the breakwater at a national level.

    There are also plans in the horizon to have a new city website with an only city hall component, as well as open data.

    “The world is rapidly changing and the Long Beach must adapt, quickly,” he said. “I know we are up to the task because we are not afraid to dream.”

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: Jan. 15, 2015

    Jan. 17
    Coastal SPNC Port, Environment Committee Meeting
    The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s Port & Environment Committee Meeting takes place, at 9 a.m. Jan. 17, at The Corner Store in San Pedro
    Venue: The Corner Store
    Location: 1118 W. 37th St., San Pedro
    (more…)

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: Jan. 13, 2015

    Suspect Fires at LBPD Officers; Leads Police on Pursuit
    LONG BEACH — On Jan. 10, 22-year-old Joseph Gonzales was booked for attempted murder, evading police, child cruelty that could result in possible injury or death, assault with a firearm on a police officer, felon in possession of a firearm and parole violation.
    The incident that led to his arrest started at about 2 a.m. that day, when Long Beach Police Department officers responded to a residence on the 6500 block of East Rosebay Street to investigate a shooting involving a domestic dispute. The incident resulted in two officer involved shootings and injury to one officer. (more…)

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