Neighborhood Council Roundup — Central NC Regains Access to its Website

  • 09/27/2019
  • RL Intern

By Hunter Chase, Reporter

A curious thing happened at the Sept. 10 Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting. Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office presented Kristina Smith, owner of The Mailroom, with a plaque for her work assisting neighborhood councils in the past 10 years, even though she did not have access to the council’s website at the time, said Lou Caravella, secretary of the board. Smith regained control of the website on Sept. 16, Smith said.

Ryan Ferguson, Buscaino’s San Pedro field deputy, said neighborhood council president Maria Couch reached out to him months ago to request that smith be acknowledged. The Mailroom did not have access to the website since at least July 12, when Moore Business Results, which was hired to redesign the site, locked Smith and most of the board out of the site, Caravella said.

However, at the same meeting, the board unanimously voted to pay The Mailroom for 2019 to 2020 fiscal year.

This was the council’s first meeting in two months that had a quorum. Two meetings were scheduled in August. Both failed to reach quorum and Couch was not present at either.

At the September council meeting, Senior Lead Officer Dante Pagulayan of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Harbor Division reported that Central San Pedro saw a spike in several crime categories this past August, including six robberies and 30 cases of aggravated assault. There were no homicides or rapes, but 17 cases of grand theft auto and nine burglaries.

There were 22 cases of burglaries from motor vehicles during August 2019, even though there were only 10 in August 2018. This was mainly because the vehicles were unsecured, Pagulayan said.

The senior lead office also reported Sept. 10 a burglary in which a man tried to open the door to his home, but felt someone push the door back. Police officers were dispatched to the scene, but failed to catch the perpetrator. The burglar entered the home through an open window. This was the second time in three weeks the victim’s home was burgled, except the first time around the perpetrator used a key left under the mat to enter the home.

Northwest Neighborhood Council

At the Sept. 9 Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting, the board elected John Barbera as their new non-governmental organization representative. Barbera has been on the Youth and Outreach committee for three years and wants to get involved with helping the homeless.

At this meeting, Senior Lead Officer Dan Brown of the Los Angeles Police Department  Harbor Division, reported a 4 percent increase in overall crime in Northwest San Pedro in August 2019 compared to August 2018. There were 21 thefts from burglaries and motor vehicles, and 14 were from cars with doors unlocked. There were no homicides or rapes in August 2019, but there were three robberies, compared to the seven robberies in August 2018. There were 19 aggravated assaults in August, and there were only 13 in August 2018. There were 13 burglaries this August, compared to the 12 the previous year.

Several homes, apartment buildings and businesses between Grand and Pacific to 12th and 19th Street were vandalized with swastikas, Officer Brown said. Brown said the attacks did not seem to be targeting a specific Jewish member of the community. Council Vice President Laurie Jacobs suggested the vandalism was targeting Hispanics in the area, but the bottom line was the police had not found enough evidence to make a determination one way or the other.

The board unanimously approved sending a letter to Councilman Joe Buscaino about automation at the Port of Los Angeles, asking him and his colleagues to think outside the box in regards to automation. The port is an economic driver, and creates good jobs, said Dan Dixon, a member of the board.

“If you know what’s going on in Southern California, there’s such a huge infrastructure here, that no one’s going to race for the exits if automation is developed slowly or put off for a few years,” Dixon said. “We’re just asking the city council to defend us, to defend itself, to defend its city by being cautious about moving forward in automation.”

The California Coastal Commission wants to make Cabrillo Beach open 24 hours a day, Dixon said. It has been closing at night for several years. Some nights of the week it is patrolled by park rangers, and other nights it is patrolled by the LAPD. The California Coastal Commission wants to keep Cabrillo Beach open in exchange for closing Venice Beach at night.

The constituents interested in closing Venice Beach at night are more numerous, but the commission will only agree to it if Cabrillo Beach is open full time. The board voted 10-2 to oppose any change in the operating hours at Cabrillo Beach.

Coastal Neighborhood Council

At the Sept. 17, Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting, the board approved a measure 10-1 requesting changes to the Los Angeles City Council file 16-0243, which is a study by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to find out what is necessary to reach 100 percent renewable energy. However, the study allows fuels that are not 100 percent renewable, such as methane, biomass and biogas, and dangerous fuel sources, such as nuclear energy, said Richard Havenick, a member of the board.

The board’s resolution asks that said energy sources be removed from the study. The resolution also asks that the study establishes the goal of moving the city to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, as the current study includes no definite time frame. Finally, it asks that public input be considered through a series of public meetings.

The board voted unanimously to reject Assembly Bill 1197, or at the very least, request that it be amended. The bill will exempt certain public projects from the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970, including supportive housing for the homeless. The purpose of CEQA is to look at the environmental impact a project will have, and look for alternatives that minimize the impact, said Shannon Ross, a member of the board.

Ross said that the exemptions make sense for temporary housing, but she would not like to see said exemptions apply to long-term housing projects in the coastal zone. Without CEQA to look at alternatives, projects could take open space and turn them into housing.

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