Published on May 16th, 2014 | by Reporters Desk0
RL NEWS of the Week: May 16, 2014
Coastal Neighborhood Council Presents Results
SAN PEDRO — Two-hundred-twenty-three voters submitted ballots for the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council election.
The 17 candidates with the highest number of votes are shown and have been selected for the Board.
95 VOTES » Dave Behar
104 VOTES » Gary Bettis
83 VOTES » Cari Burich
66 VOTES » Mike Cammareri
67 VOTES » Slobodan Dimitrov
93 VOTES » James Dimon
98 VOTES » Louis Dominguez
60 VOTES » Bob Gelfand
87 VOTES » Chuck Hawley
33 VOTES » David Adam Holop
61 VOTES » Dan Malstrom
66 VOTES » Pat Means
100 VOTES » Matt Matich
97 VOTES » Chris Nagle
131 VOTES » Ana Ortiz
115 VOTES » Denise Marovich-Sampson
86 VOTES » Ted Shirley
106 VOTES » June Burlingame Smith
90 VOTES » Sonya Tsujimura
102 VOTES » John Vidovich
117 VOTES » Peter Warren
93 VOTES » Rachel Waugh
Note: Prior to (or at) the June Board meeting of CSPNC, each selection winner will need to demonstrate to the Selection Committee that he or she:
1) is a stakeholder in the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council district; and
2) is at least 18 years old on or before 10 May 2014.
Any selection winner who fails to qualify on both requirements will be disqualified. The losing candidate(s) with the largest number of votes will join the Board in the place of disqualified candidates (and must also qualify on both requirements to join the Board).
POLB Imports, Exports Surge
Long Beach — Cargo numbers for containers at the Port of Long Beach were up in April by 9.7 percent overall, compared to the same month one year ago, according to numbers that the port released May 15.
Following a slow March due to the harsh winter in other parts of the country, April container volumes rebounded as weather patterns and shopping patterns returned to normal.
A total of 569,843 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) moved through the Port of Long Beach during April. Imports numbered 295,712 TEUs, up 11.9 percent from 2013. Exports jumped 6.3 percent to 146,498 TEUs. Empty containers were up 8.8 percent to 127,633 TEUs. Following a weak first quarter here, overall volume for the first four months of 2014 is up just 1 percent compared to the same period last year.
This past year, against which 2014 is being compared, was the third-busiest year in port history with a total of 6.73 million TEUs.
Return of the “Dolly Varden Hotel” Sign
LONG BEACH — At about 10 a.m. May 19, the fully restored 1930s neon, Dolly Varden Hotel, sign will be “hoisted” by a large crane back to its former position on the rooftop of The Varden Hotel.
The sign will include its “Bath in Every Room” tagline to its rooftop perch overlooking downtown Long Beach. The sign is a reminder of an earlier era when hotels without amenities were common in downtown Long Beach.
Thanks to its 1930s period design and lettering style, it was recognized as a vintage historical object. In 1995, Long Beach granted it a “landmark” status. Over the past decades, the sign had badly deteriorated and its neon tubes no longer functioned. Facing north and south above Pacific Avenue, the sign actually consists of four separately restored panels, two “Dolly Varden Hotel” panels and two “Bath in Every Room” panels.
Venue: The Varden Hotel
Location: 335 Pacific Ave., Long Beach
Vessel Operators Honored for Environmental Achievement
LONG BEACH — On May 14, the Port of Long Beach honored 22 shipping lines for their efforts to improve air quality by slowing down or deploying cleaner vessels – or both – at the port’s first Environmental Achievement Awards.
Formerly the Green Flag and Green Ship Awards, the annual event has been re-introduced as the Environmental Achievement Awards to reflect the participation of vessel operators in both Green Ship and Green Flag programs.
At the event, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award for his leadership and dedication to environmental stewardship.
The Port’s Green Flag Program was created in 2005. In 2013, the most recent eligibility period for the awards, 98.9 percent of all ships calling at Long Beach slowed to 12 knots within 20 nautical miles of the port. In 2009, the port added the 40-nautical-mile option. This past year, more than 87.9 percent of vessels slowed within 40 nautical miles.
Slower ships burn less fuel, producing less pollution. This program offers financial incentives for participation as well as a green flag. Green Flag participants were awarded $2.9 million in dockage incentives in 2013. Seven of the largest vessel operators were honored as top performers, earning special Green Flags this year for the impact of their air quality efforts.
Meanwhile, eight shipping lines received a Green Ship award, a program that since July 2012 has encouraged vessel operators to assign the cleanest, lowest-emission ships to Long Beach. Green Ship participants were presented $460,000 in incentives.
The newest award, Environmental Excellence, was awarded to seven vessel operators for participation in both the Green Flag and Green Ship programs: Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd., Matson Navigation, “K” Line, Mitsui OSK, Mediterranean Shipping Co., Orient Overseas Container Line and Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
The Green Flag winners in the 20-nautical-mile category were Carnival Cruise Lines and CMA CGM, and in the 40-nautical-mile category: Alaska Tanker, COSCO, NYK, Pacific International Lines and Zim.
Green Ship award winners were Tesoro Maritime, Unisea Shipping, Wan Hai Lines, Pacific Basin Chartering, ConocoPhillips, Navig8 Group, Chembulk Trading and Oxbow Carbon & Minerals.
In all, more than 200 vessel operators were awarded Green Flags for participation in 2013, and qualified for reductions on dockage fees. The Green Flag and Green Ship programs are just two of the many Green Port initiatives that have helped the Port to dramatically decrease air pollution from port-related operations. Since 2005, nitrogen oxides are down 54 percent, diesel exhaust is down 81 percent, and sulfur oxides – which mainly comes from ships – is down 88 percent.
Morrison Named Assistant Managing Director
LONG BEACH — Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners promoted Neil D. Morrison, who joined the Long Beach Harbor Department in August 2009 as director of engineering design, April 12, to assistant managing director to oversee Harbor’s Engineering Design and Maintenance divisions.
Morrison’s new post was created as part of the ongoing reorganization of the Engineering Bureau, to better guide the construction and maintenance of the Port of Long Beach’s terminals, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
In addition to his duties as director of the Engineering Design Division, Morrison since March has also served as Acting Director of Maintenance for the Port.
Morrison has 35 years of experience as a civil engineer and executive overseeing and guiding design and construction projects for both the private and public sectors.
The Engineering Design Division is critical to the development and renovation of the Port and the maintenance of roads, wharfs, utilities, storm drains and other port-owned improvements. The Maintenance Division is also responsible for upkeep of port-owned infrastructure including — but not limited to — buildings, roadways, utilities, landscaping and lighting; and runs the Port’s vehicle fleet.
Morrison is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, with a bachelor of science in civil engineering, and he earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Redlands. He is a licensed civil engineer in three states including California.
Community Organizes to Combat Wage Theft
LONG BEACH — About 150 people gathered, May 10, at First Congregational Church to launch a citywide campaign to organize low-wage workers and their families, community leaders, youth and students, and faith leaders to respond to the growing problem of wage theft in Long Beach.
The campaign to end wage theft is being led by a coalition of community groups whose members are directly affected by the issue like the Filipino Migrant Center, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and Centro Shalom.
Workers from the restaurant, trucking and healthcare industry provided testimony describing the particular trends and forms of wage theft in their respective workplaces and the negative impact this has on the health and economic livelihoods of their families.
A diverse panel of speakers enriched the dialogue around the issue and provided valuable insight about the various challenges presently facing workers in their attempts to recover stolen wages despite strong state labor laws and the opportunities to transform work environments when community members unite and organize around values of respect and justice.
Rosemarie Molina from the Los Angeles Wage Theft Coalition and the Clean Carwash Campaign placed the problem into perspective when she gave an alarming report revealing the depth of wage theft throughout Los Angeles County.
Alicia Morales, an undocumented young student from Cal State Long Beach shared her personal experience working as a janitor cleaning restaurants in order to help supplement her family’s income and the devastating impacts wage theft has had on her ability to finance her college education.
Other panel speakers included: Pastor Shelton Ervin from Church One in North Long Beach and Attorney Jay Shin from Wage Justice Center in Los Angeles.
District 7 Councilman-elect Roberto Uranga was present at the launching to express his strong support for the campaign and said he stands on the side of hard-working families in the city.
Young students and members of the Filipino Sama Sama Club at Cabrillo High School surprised the attendees with a large mural they painted as an act of solidarity, showing a community united against wage theft. All of the community members in attendance showed this very unity when they stood together to pin their bright-colored signed pledge cards onto the wall to demonstrate the commitment they are making to ending wage theft.
The coalition is exploring on working with city council members to develop a city ordinance as one strategy to actively address wage theft at the local level and learning from other similar successful measures in other cities across California.
West Coast BBQ Classic Sizzled
LONG BEACH — On May 10, the West Coast BBQ Classic returned to The Queen Mary for the third consecutive year.
Teams fired up their grills to compete for the coveted title of “West Coast’s Best BBQ.” The waterfront event featured sweet and savory BBQ tastings, live music, contests, and games that created an afternoon of finger lickin’ fun for all ages.
The competition was an official California-State-Certified, KCBS-Sanctioned BBQ Championship that honored BBQ styles and flavors from all regions of the U.S. Judges critiqued portions of chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket to determine the winners of each corresponding category. Event-goers cheered on their favorites during the awards ceremony, with first place winners in each category taking home a $500 cash prize. The prestigious title of The Grand Champion went to Jet Coatings-Monkey Style BBQ of Los Angeles, which took home the $2,500 grand prize and invitations to future cook offs.
In addition to presenting a variety of succulent BBQ samplings, this year’s West Coast BBQ Classic shattered multiple event records. Numbers excelled in the areas of attendance, team entries, and people’s choice tickets, resulting in the most successful WCBC to date. Bigmista’s BBQ, When Pigs Fly BBQ & Catering, and Bad Boy Barrel BBQ were only a handful of teams to sample their cuts. Teams distributed multiple tasting portions that included pulled pork, pork tacos, ribs, beans, chicken, and “moink” balls –bacon wrapped meatballs that combine “moo” and “oink” into one delectable bite.
The West Coast BBQ Classic generated a family-friendly atmosphere not only for attendees, but for participants as well.
Live music from Sawtooth and Robert John & The Wreck emanated from the main event stage, which stood before the picturesque Long Beach skyline and harbor area. Specialty vendors and niche food stands offered everything from desserts to one-of-a-kind clothing, and Jack Daniels and Heineken were on hand to cater to the 21-plus crowd. The event also featured backyard games, watermelon and cobbler eating contests and jumbo connect four game.
Top winners in each category of the WCBBC include:
1st Place Grand Champion – Jet Coatings-Monkey Style BBQ
2nd Place Reserve Grand Champion – Zzyzx BBQ
Chicken – Toot and Stinky’s BBQ
Pork Ribs – All Hogs Sauces Up BBQ
Pork – Porterhouse BBQ
Brisket – Left Coast Q
People’s Choice – Twisted Brisket
LAPD Commission Begins Considering Beck’s Second Term
LOS ANGELES — On May 15, the Board of Police Commissioners received a letter from Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck requesting appointment to a second five-year term.
The letter was then transmitted to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Per the city charter, the chief of police is required to apply to the commission for reappointment at least 180 days prior to the expiration of his or her first term. The commission must respond affirmatively or negatively to that application no later than 90 days before the expiration of that first term, in this case, Aug. 20. The commission will host community meetings as part of the reappointment process.
15 Charged in ‘Bustout’ Scheme
LOS ANGELES – On May 14, authorities this arrested 12 people and are seeking the whereabouts of three others who are charged in a large-scale, bank account “bustout” scheme that victimized major financial institutions across Southern California, costing banks at least $15 million.
This morning’s arrests are the result of “Operation Check Kkang,” a multi-agency investigation into a bustout scheme that victimized financial institutions such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. Check Kkang refers to a Korean term that describes check kiting.
The investigation was jointly conducted by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS – Criminal Investigation, and officers with the Pomona Police Department. Other law enforcement agencies provided substantial assistance.
Those arrested this morning are among 15 defendants named in a 26-count indictment that describes a bustout scheme in which the members of the conspiracy deposited bogus checks and immediately withdrew funds from the account. Once the financial institution realized that the check is fraudulent and dishonored the deposit, the account was “busted.”
The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on May 7 and unsealed this morning, describes a scheme that allegedly started in February 2010 and continued until last October 2013. Those named in the indictment are:
- Jae Ho Chung, 44, of Los Angeles (Westwood);
- Michael Yeon Cho, 30, of Pacific Palisades;
- Roger Lee, 48, of Cerritos;
- Kun Young Lee, 51, of Los Angeles (Koreatown);
- Jeong Gu Kim, 53, of Los Angeles;
- Hak Soo Shim, 40, of Newport Beach;
- Renling “Mark Ling” Chao, 50, of Los Angeles (Brentwood);
- Il Hwan Jae, 60, of Los Angeles (Koreatown);
- Erick Palafox, 28, of ; of Lynwood
- Jae Kwon An, 42, of Riverside;
- Joonie Yeon Cho, 42, of Los Angeles (Koreatown);
- Eun Ah Kim, aka Eun Ae Kim, 39, of Los Angeles;
- Hye Ran Lee, 30, of Irvine;
- Hee Jung Lee, 41, of Riverside; and
- Woo Chang Lim, 36, of Ventura.
Twelve of the defendants were arrested May 14. Jae Ho Chung, Roger Lee, and Hye Ran Lee are considered fugitives. Those taken into custody are expected to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon. The arraignments will take place in federal courthouses in Los Angeles, Riverside and Santa Ana, with locations for specific hearings to be determined by where an individual defendant was arrested.
According to the indictment, Chung and Cho were “processors” who fabricated or hired others to make fictitious checks for the purpose of conducting bustouts. The bogus checks ranged in amounts from $2,300 to more than $28,000.
Defendants R. Lee, K.Y. Lee, J.G. Kim, and Shim were “brokers,” according to the indictment that accuses them of soliciting people with legitimate bank accounts who would lend their accounts to be busted-out in exchange for a fee. The brokers allegedly found bank customers by placing advertisements in Korean-language newspapers,
Defendants Chao, Jae, Palafox, An, J.Y. Cho, E.A. Kim, H.R. Lee, H.J, Lee, and Lim were “runners” or “washers” who allegedly deposited fictitious checks into, and then withdraw funds from, the account to be busted-out. Runners and washers used funds from the bustouts to purchase goods, services and gift cards, according to the indictment.
All 15 defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud. The indictment also contains an asset forfeiture allegation in which the government will seek to forfeit any property derived from the proceeds of the scheme in the event of any defendant’s conviction. If convicted of the two counts in the indictment, each defendant would face a statutory maximum penalty of 60 years in federal prison.
36 Members of Congress Urge FCC Chairman Wheeler to Reclassify
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 14, 36 Democratic members of the House of Representatives sent a letter urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to use the agency’s clear authority under Title II of the Communications Act to protect the open Internet.
They told Chairman Wheeler to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers to restore Net Neutrality.
The letter was delivered in advance of May 15’s FCC meeting, during which Wheeler was expected to introduce a proposal that undermines the open Internet by allowing Internet service providers to prioritize certain websites and services over others.
“We urge you to adopt strong and enforceable open Internet rules that proactively protect Internet users from unfair practices, including the blockage of lawful traffic or discrimination among content providers,” the letter reads. “The FCC cannot protect the open Internet by allowing discrimination.”
Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:
“It’s great to see members of Congress standing up for Internet users and against intense industry pressure and propaganda. They’re leading the fight, and joining with the millions of people across the country who have called on Washington to safeguard the open Internet.”