- Reporters Desk
June Container Volumes Increase at POLA
SAN PEDRO — The Port of Los Angeles released its June 2014 containerized cargo volumes.
In June 2014, overall volumes increased 13.89 percent compared to June 2013. Total cargo for June was 736,438 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, the largest volume in monthly containers since September 2012.
Container imports rose 16.55 percent, from 328,324 TEUs in June 2013 to 382,666 TEUs in June 2014. Exports rose 8.51 percent, from 148,203 TEUs in June 2013 to 160,823 TEUs in June 2014.
Combined, total loaded imports and exports increased 14.05 percent, from 476,528 TEUs in June 2013 to 543,489 TEUs in June 2014. Factoring in empties, which increased 13.4 percent year over year, overall June 2014 volumes (736,438 TEUs) rose 13.89 percent compared to June 2013 (646,650 TEUs).
For the first six months of calendar year 2014, overall volumes (4,052,227 TEUs) have increased 9.2 percent compared to the same period in 2013. June closed out the port’s 2013-2014 fiscal year with a total increase of 5.55 percent compared to the previous fiscal year.
Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at:
Harbor Commission Approves Port Budget
LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday, July 14, approved an $858 million budget for the Port of Long Beach in the upcoming fiscal year, with two-thirds of the spending set aside for a robust building and modernization program.
For the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2014, the Harbor Department plans to spend $579 million on capital projects ― part of a decade-long, $4 billion investment in Port upgrades and efficiency improvements. The ongoing Desmond Bridge Replacement Project and Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment will continue to be the Port’s largest construction projects.
The budget was unanimously approved by the commission and will be presented to the Long Beach City Council for approval. With ports throughout North America working to increase their market share, Port of Long Beach revenues are projected to remain level with the current fiscal year. The spending plan reflects the port’s commitment to boosting its competitiveness in the long term by rebuilding and replacing outdated facilities and infrastructure.
The Harbor Department receives no taxpayer revenue to operate. Port operations are supported by income from terminal leases and fees charged to terminal companies and shipping lines for moving cargo through the Port. The budget projects operating revenue of $346.8 million. The approved budget adds 28 new full-time positions, which include 20 in engineering to support ongoing capital improvements, and six to enhance port security operations. The budget also includes funding of more than $30 million for environmental programs and projects such as technology-advancement demonstrations of a barge-based pollution-control system for ships at berth and an electric truck overhead “catenary” system.
Hahn Sends Letter to State Fire Marshal about Phillips 66 Violations
WILMINGTON — On July 8, Rep. Janice Hahn sent a letter to California Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover with regards to the Phillips 66 violations in a recent oil spill.
In the letter, Hahn follows up with phone conversation with the fire marshal, requesting an update on the office’s progress in citing Phillips 66 for federal law violations.
“The 1,200 gallon oil spill in Wilmington placed the health of hundreds in danger due to a failure to follow federal law regarding pipeline safety,” Hahn wrote. “The families of Wilmington remain uncompensated for the destruction of their property, and the federal government is unable to act until your office cites the company for wrongdoing.”
In a recent conversation with Hoover, Hahn expressed her disappointment that Phillips 66 had not yet been cited. She also had several questions for the fire marshal and her staff that had gone unanswered.
The information requested included:
1. As federal law only allows for active or abandoned pipelines, did the office incorrectly follow the law and allow “idle” pipelines to go unchecked for 18 years?
2. As four months have now passed since the spill took place, why has a citation not yet been issued?
3. Is the office, which handles pipeline enforcement, fully staffed? If not, is this a product of a lack of state funding, or an inability to fill open positions?
Hahn still is awaiting an answer.
Garcetti Appoints LAFD Chief
LOS ANGELES — On July 15, Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas to be the next chief of the department. Terrazas has served 30 years with LAFD, including 21 years as a fire officer and 14 years of major command experience as a chief officer.
Terrazas established the Professional Standards Division and was responsible for all aspects of the LAFD disciplinary system. He was also instrumental in the passage of Proposition F, a $532 million bond for 19 new fire stations and has a U.S. patent.
He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public administration.
Terrazas’ nomination is subject to confirmation by the Los Angeles City Council. His salary will be $292,424.40.
Measure to Combat Corporate Election Influence in November Ballot
SACRAMENTO – On July 16, State Sen. Ted Lieu praised California Gov. Jerry Brown for allowing Lieu’s measure to be placed on the November 2014 ballot.
Senate Bill 1272 will add an advisory question to the Nov. 4 General Election ballot asking voters whether Congress should propose an amendment to the Constitution overturning a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United.
Brown, who allowed Lieu’s bill to take effect without his signature, said he was not inclined to repeat his support of advisory opinions.
The issue stems from a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave a green light to unlimited corporate spending in elections in the case of Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission.
In addition to the case of Citizens United, another recent case known as McCutcheon v. FEC allows individuals to contribute an aggregate of $3.5 million per election cycle, up from $123,000.
The rulings have since been decried by many for unleashing a torrent of spending and enabling the wealthy to wield outsized influence in politics. A 2010 Washington Post-ABC poll found that 80 percent of Americans oppose the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. To date, more than 55 cities, towns and counties in California have worked with their city councils and boards of supervisors to pass resolutions calling on the US Congress to draft, pass and return to the states, an amendment that reasserts the rights of citizens to set limits on political spending and address the Supreme Court’s assertion that corporations should benefit from constitutional protections and privileges intended for human beings.
In a show of support for SB 1272, more than 50,000 people have signed petitions in support of Lieu’s measure. Among those are Michele Sutter of the non-partisan organization Money Out, Voters In, sponsors of SB 1272; and Trent Lange, president of the California Clean Money Campaign.
SB 1272 is supported by the American Sustainable Business Council; the Beach Cities Democratic Club; the California Public Interest Research Group; the California Clean Money Campaign; California School Employees Association; Common Cause; Democracy for America; Free Speech for People; the Friends Committee on Legislation of California; the LAX Area Democratic Club; the Miracle Mile Democratic Club; the Sierra County Central Committee; the West LA Democratic Club; and the Robert F. Kennedy Democratic Club.
Americans Bombard the FCC with Demands for Real Net Neutrality
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On July 15, Grassroots organizations applauded the American public for its passionate support of real net neutrality protections.
In an unprecedented outpouring of concern, millions of Americans have submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission rejecting Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to allow priority Internet access for a few rich companies.
The agency’s docket for public input reached its halfway point as the initial comment period drew to a close. The influx of public comments was so heavy on Tuesday that the FCC’s site sputtered off and on, prompting many in the D.C. area to deliver comments by hand. The public may continue to submit comments through Sept. 10.
This is the greatest public response to any rulemaking in the FCC’s history. More than 1 million people had petitioned the agency for strong net neutrality protections within weeks of a January 2014 court decision that overturned the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order. During the agency’s May 15 meeting, more than a million people submitted additional petitions.
That number has grown significantly since then. On July 11, the FCC said an additional 647,000 comments had been entered into the docket. Hundreds of thousands of comments are expected in the weeks to come. The vast majority of the comments submitted so far urge the agency to scrap its pay-for-prioritization proposal and implement real net neutrality rules.
“In close to a decade of fighting for the open Internet, I’ve never seen more awareness and enthusiasm about this issue,” said Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron. “Millions of Internet users have flooded the agency with support for real Net Neutrality. And almost no one outside FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s office is advocating for his pay-to-play proposal. Wheeler claims he supports the open Internet, but the rules he’s proposing would allow rampant discrimination and fast lanes for the fortunate few. That’s totally unacceptable, and it’s why so many everyday Internet users are so upset. The best and only path forward for Wheeler is to reclassify Internet providers as common carriers.”