St Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach is Pretty in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. Starting at 7:30 p.m. every evening until 6 a.m., the hospital will be lit up in pink. The hospital will feature pink filters on the footlights giving the soft glow of pink to the hospital campus. In addition to a hologram of the iconic pink ribbon projected onto the hospital exterior. Also in the foreground, you can see pink ribbon poles. This will occur through the end of the month. Photo courtesy of German Martinez.
One Man Killed, Five Injured in Collision
SAN PEDRO — One man was killed and five others were injured Oct. 17 in San Pedro.
Alcohol and/or drugs may have been a factor in the crash, officials said.
The multi-vehicle crash was reported at about 2:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of South Gaffey Street, ] Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.
The driver of a Toyota Scion — a man in his 40s — was going southbound on Gaffey Street when he began making an eastbound turn onto 16th Street. The car was struck on the passenger side by a northbound BMW, which sideswiped two other vehicles. The driver of the Toyota was killed instantly, LAPD officials said.
Buscaino’s Homelessness Task Force Meets
SAN PEDRO — Joe Buscaino’s committee on the “homelessness problem” met Oct. 15 for the first time.
The meeting, which was closed to a Random Lengths News reporter, included law enforcement members and county homelessness officials. The group plans to meet monthly for the first six months. The upcoming meeting is Nov. 19.
The coordination of food banks and feeding programs, panhandling, providing housing are among the topics the group must tackle.
POLA Advances Clean-Energy Solar Power Projects
SAN PEDRO — On Oct. 15, the Port of Los Angeles entered a long-term agreement with Hecate Energy Harborside LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hecate Energy LLC, to build, operate, and maintain photovoltaic solar power systems that will generate electricity at multiple site locations within the Port. The photovoltaic solar power systems will feed clean energy to the utility grid operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The agreement supports the Port’s larger goals under the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan to expand the use of clean energy and related infrastructure while continuing to improve air quality throughout Southern California. Key initiatives to date include a 1 megawatt photovoltaic solar power systems atop the port’s World Cruise Center.
Hecate was selected as the operator following a competitive bidding process. Specializing in developing and operating alternative energy generation plants, Hecate will build and operate photovoltaic solar power systems at up to 12 different site locations on Port property with a total capacity of approximately 10 megawatts. The locations are a mix of rooftop, parking lot and underutilized ground mount site locations.
The 10 megawatts of solar energy is enough electricity to power about 2500 homes. It also represents about one-sixth of the port’s power demand.
Under the agreement with the port, Hecate will operate its photovoltaic solar power systems for 20 years, starting when each site becomes operational. Subject to final approval by the Los Angeles City Council, the photovoltaic solar power systems are expected to begin generating electricity in mid-2016.
The port will receive about 7 percent of Hecate’s gross annual revenue from the sale of its electricity to the LADWP. The port’s income is projected to total more than $2.8 million over the life of the operating agreement. No costs to the port are anticipated outside of expedited roofing maintenance.
The solar power generation projects will serve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help the LADWP supply clean energy to its customers.
Overall, the increased use of electricity to run ship-to-shore cranes, ships at berth, and terminal equipment has contributed to a dramatic reduction in harmful pollution from port-related operations. Newly release data from the port’s 2014 Inventory of Air Emissions show emissions of diesel particulate matter down 85 percent, sulfur oxides down 97 percent, and nitrogen oxides down 52 percent since 2005.
The port committed to installing 10 megawatts of photovoltaic solar power on its property under an umbrella agreement with the California Office of the Attorney General. The operating agreement with Hecate will help the Port both meet and exceed its commitment.
LA Harbor Commissioners Approve Grant Recipient Agreements
SAN PEDRO — On Oct. 15, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved agreements between the Port of Los Angeles and its two largest Community Investment Grant Program recipients, International Trade Education Programs Inc. of Carson and the Los Angeles Maritime Institute of San Pedro.
The two recipients were among 32 organizations selected this past June to receive funding under the Port’s grant program. ITEP and LAMI received grants of $340,000 and $255,000 respectively.
International Trade Education Programs Inc. began as a pilot program in 1999 at Banning High School in Wilmington. Since then, International Trade Education Programs Inc. has developed four model academies on the campus, including the International Trade Academy; Global Safety and Security Academy; Global Environmental Sciences Academy; and the Maritime Agriculture, Tourism, Cuisine and Hospitality Academy. Eight additional academies are also running in San Pedro, Gardena, Barstow, Harbor City and Carson. In addition, each year International Trade Education Programs Inc. places about 100 of its students in maritime industry-related internships, including placements at the Port of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Maritime Institute is a local nonprofit organization and creator of the TopSail experiential education program for at-risk youth. In operation since 1992, the program consists of three to five one-day sails in and around San Pedro Bay, and an optional multi-day voyage to Catalina Island. The program promotes teamwork, teaches responsibility and encourages leadership and self-esteem through character-building experiences aboard the twin brigantines, Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson, the Official Tall Ships of Los Angeles. Youth also receive educational information about the Port and maritime industry, as well as the local coastal ecosystem. For some participants, TopSail voyages provide a first-ever introduction to the port and its operations.
The port awarded a total of $1 million in grants for fiscal year 2015 and 2016. In approving the year International Trade Education Programs Inc. and Los Angeles Maritime Institute agreements, Harbor Commissioners also authorized similar grant amounts for ITEP and Los Angeles Maritime Institute for the fiscal 2016-17 grant cycle to assure program continuity.
Port of Los Angeles Moves 730,306 TEUs in September
SAN PEDRO — The Port of Los Angeles handled a total of 730,306 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in September 2015. While volumes were robust, they did not match the past September, which was among the strongest in port history. September 2015 volumes showed a decrease of 5.8 percent compared to the same period in 2014. Current and historical data is available here.
“While we fell short of last September’s exceptional volume of 775,000 TEUs, I’m encouraged by the productivity our terminals and supply chain partners have demonstrated over the past six months,” said Port of Los Angeles Director Gene Seroka. “We are experiencing a consistent pattern of larger ships and more efficient cargo conveyance at volumes that are market leading.”
Imports decreased 9.4 percent to 383,963 TEUs in September 2015. Exports declined 17.5 percent to 124,286 TEUs in September 2015. Factoring in empties, which increased 9.4 percent, overall September 2015 volumes of 730,306 decreased 5.8 percent.
For the first nine months of 2015, overall volumes (6,119,623 TEUs) are down 2.9 percent compared to the same period in 2014.
Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp
Record September Delivers Best Quarter in Port’s History
LONG BEACH — With the best September in its 104-year history, the Port of Long Beach moved enough cargo volume to also achieve its busiest quarter, signaling a return to pre-recession trade levels in September.
Many of the popular Halloween and holiday items on U.S. store shelves today were brought through the harbor in recent months. Retailers are stocking costumes, decorations and other goods in order to meet consumer demand.
Measured by individual containers of freight, cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach climbed 4.1 percent in September compared to the same period in 2014, to 655,624 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of boxed cargo. The year’s third quarter — July through September — topped 2 million TEUs in a first for the port, and improved 14.8 percent over the third quarter of 2014.
Through the first nine months of 2015 the port has seen a 5.2 percent increase in cargo volume compared to the same period last year. At this rate, the port would finish the year with more than 7 million TEUs for only the third time in its history..
This year’s third quarter saw 10.6 percent more imports and 10.5 percent more exports, compared to the third quarter of 2014.
For September alone, imports dipped 1.9 percent compared to the same month last year, to 332,909 TEUs. Exports grew 6.1 percent to 125,639 TEUs. Empty containers rose 14.6 percent to 197,076 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.
For all the latest monthly cargo numbers, click here.
For more details on the cargo numbers, please visit www.polb.com/stats.
Murder in Long Beach
LONG BEACH — On Oct. 19, 25-year-old William Tyshoen Davis was shot and killed at about 12:30 a.m. in 2000 block of Magnolia Avenue in Long Beach.
When officers arrived, they discovered Davis had been struck in the torso. Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded and transported the victim, in critical condition, to a local hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
A motive for the shooting is unknown and is being investigated as possibly gang-related.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.
Workers Declare Boycott of Long Beach Westin Hotel
LONG BEACH — On Oct. 13, employees of the Long Beach Westin Hotel declared an official consumer boycott of the hotel in support of their demand for a fair organizing process to decide on unionization.
The boycott call comes after workers filed a class action lawsuit in August alleging that the Long Beach Westin violated state wage and hour law concerning legally-mandated breaks and overtime pay. The hotel is operated by Noble Interstate Management Group and majority-owned by Utah Retirement Systems.
Since February 2015, Long Beach Westin workers have been urging their management to accept a fair process by which workers can decide whether to unionize without the intimidation and pressure-tactics that frequently accompany unionization efforts. Hotel management has refused. On August 17, three Long Beach Westin employees filed a class action on behalf of housekeepers, restaurant workers and banquet servers, alleging that the hotel has violated wage and hour law related to rest breaks and meal periods, overtime, off-the-clock work and reimbursement to workers who purchased their own work supplies. The lawsuit is pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.
This boycott is the latest step taken by workers at the Long Beach Westin hotel who have been organizing to address working conditions they consider intolerable since February.
State Agency OKs New Pollution-Scrubbing Technology
LONG BEACH — On Oct. 20, the California Air Resources Board approved a new technology that uses specialized barges, which connect to the exhaust ports of container ships, to scrub pollution.
In 2013, the Port of Long Beach provided about $2 million in seed money to help test the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System. Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc., a Carson-based company, can now market the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System to vessel operators as an alternative to container ships plugging into the electrical grid to reduce emissions while at berth.
Container and cruise ships must significantly reduce at-berth emissions to meet state regulations, but the existing “shore power” option requires retrofits to each vessel. According to Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc., the Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System barge system can meet the state standards by removing 90 to 99 percent of harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter without requiring vessel retrofits.
With an emissions inventory released this month showing already record-low pollution levels at the Port of Long Beach, officials hailed the regulatory approval as another option to advance the port’s environmental goals to near-zero and zero emission levels.
“The California Air Resources Board’s approval of ACTI’s project as an alternative to the at-berth emissions reductions rule provides the flexibility our shipping lines need while protecting our environment and creating new jobs for our communities,” Commissioner Rich Dines said.
The California Air Resources Board’s approval of Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System on container ships will allow Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc. to begin the process of testing the system on other vessel types.
Boeing Pays $18 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations
LONG BEACH – On Oct. 14, the Boeing Co. paid the United States $18 million to settle allegations that the company submitted false claims for labor charges on maintenance contracts with the Air Force for the C-17 Globemaster aircraft.
“Defense contractors are required to obey the rules when billing for work performed on government contracts,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s settlement demonstrates that the Justice Department will ensure that government contractors meet their obligations and charge the government appropriately.”
The government alleged that Boeing improperly charged labor costs under contracts with the Air Force for the maintenance and repair of C-17 Globemaster aircraft at Boeing’s Long Beach Depot Center in Long Beach. The C-17 Globemaster aircraft, which is both manufactured and maintained by Boeing, is one of the military’s major systems for transporting troops and cargo throughout the world. The government alleged that the company knowingly charged the United States for time its mechanics spent on extended breaks and lunch hours, and not on maintenance and repair work properly chargeable to the contracts.
The allegations resolved by the settlement were originally brought by former Boeing employee James Thomas Webb under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. The act permits private individuals to sue on behalf of the government those who falsely claim federal funds, and to share in the recovery. Webb’s share of the settlement has not yet been determined.
The case was handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Defense Contract Audit Agency and the Defense Contract Management Agency.
The False Claims Act lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Webb v. The Boeing Company, CV13-000694 (C.D. Cal.). The claims resolved the civil settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.
Operators Of Medical Equipment Supply Company Convicted
LONG BEACH – On Oct. 15, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted the former owner and the former operator of a durable medical equipment supply company of health care fraud charges in connection with a $1.5 million Medicare fraud scheme.
Amalya Cherniavsky, 41, and her husband, Vladislav Tcherniavsky, 46, of Long Beach, were both convicted late Oct. 15, of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five counts of health care fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.
The evidence at trial demonstrated that Cherniavsky owned JC Medical Supply, a purported durable medical equipment supply company, and that she co-operated the company with her husband, Tcherniavsky.
According to the trial evidence, the defendants paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals. The evidence further showed that the defendants paid kickbacks to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions – primarily for expensive, medically unnecessary power wheelchairs – which the defendants then used to support fraudulent bills to Medicare.
According to the evidence presented at trial, between 2006 and 2013, the defendants submitted $1,520,727 in fraudulent claims to Medicare and received $783,756 in reimbursement for those claims.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
Death of 15 Year-Old Male Juvenile in Carson is Being Investigated
CARSON — Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide detectives continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy.
The shooting took place Oct. 17, in the 23900 block of Avalon Boulevard in Carson.
Detectives have learned that the victim was walking on Sepulveda Boulevard from Avalon Boulevard, Carson, with a female companion when they were approached by a silver or white 4-door vehicle. Two male black suspects wearing hoodies exited the vehicle and shot the victim multiple times. They then re-entered their vehicle and fled eastbound on Sepulveda Boulevard out of view.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The female companion was unharmed during the incident.
At this time, it is unknown if this incident is gang-related, however, it appears that the victim was specifically targeted by the suspects.
The investigation is still on-going.
There is no further information available at this time.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call (323) 890-5500 or visit http://lacrimestoppers.org.
Homeless Vet’s Vermont Villas Officially Open
HARBOR GATEWAY — On Oct. 15, the Vermont Villas officially opened for homeless veterans.
The Vermont Villas, at 16304 S. Vermont Ave. at Harbor Gateway, will serve chronically homeless veterans.
Resident services will include health and social service resources. The four-story Vermont Villas features 79 studio and one-bedroom apartments, common gathering spaces for residents, and offices for staff. Common spaces include a teaching kitchen, a large courtyard with barbecues and resident vegetable gardens, a lounge, and meeting rooms. Other amenities include on-site property management, offices for five on-site staff, who will provide supportive services for the residents, secured access, and laundry rooms.
The apartments, which cost $22 million to build, are now being occupied by about 68 residents. It was a collaboration of Affirmed Housing and PATH Ventures that took more than two years to build. The apartments follow the model of permanently housing people who are homeless and then providing services such counseling and training.
Former LA Sheriff’s Deputy Indicted by Federal Grand Jury
LOS ANGELES – In a case stemming from the beating of a handcuffed man at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, a sixth member of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was indicted Oct. 16 on federal charges for allegedly participating in the cover-up of the violent incident.
Byron Dredd, 33, who is no longer with the LASD, was named in a three-count indictment that charges him with conspiracy to violate the victim’s civil rights and two counts of making false reports.
Five other former deputies have been convicted in relation to the 2011 attack and are pending sentencing (see: http://go.usa.gov/3Jypx).
Dredd, along with the other defendants previously convicted, was assigned to the Visiting Center at Men’s Central Jail. On Feb. 26, 2011, the victim and his girlfriend went to the jail to visit the victim’s incarcerated brother. Both visitors had cell phones in their possession, which is prohibited under jail rules. When the phones were discovered, the victim was handcuffed and brought into an employee break room, where he was beaten and sprayed with a burning agent similar to pepper spray. The victim was later transferred to the hospital by paramedics. As a result of false statements made by the previously convicted deputies and allegedly made by Dredd, the victim was charged with several crimes, including resisting an officer and battery.
The indictment against Dredd alleges that he wrote an incident report in which he falsely claimed that the victim attacked one of the deputies and then attempted to escape.
“The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable individuals who abuse their positions as law enforcement officers by committing crimes or by trying to cover them up,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “While this former deputy sheriff allegedly participated in a scheme to violate the civil rights of a man who had to be hospitalized after he was beaten by other deputies, his actions should not reflect on the good work performed by the overwhelming majority of Los Angeles deputy sheriffs.”
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
If convicted of the charges in the indictment, Dredd would face a statutory maximum penalty of 35 years in federal prison – up to 10 years for the civil rights conspiracy, up to 20 years for the falsification of records, and up to five years for making false statements to the FBI.
Dredd will be summonsed to appear for an arraigned in U.S. District Court in the coming weeks.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI, and is one in a series of cases resulting from an investigation into corruption and civil rights abuses at county jail facilities in downtown Los Angeles. As a result of the investigation, 15 current or former members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have now been convicted of federal charges.