Random Letters — Open Letter Regarding Reopening of the San Pedro Navy Fuel Depot; You Can’t Fight City Hall


Open Letter Regarding the Reopening of the San Pedro Navy Fuel Depot

Dear Gregg Smith:

My husband’s name was Greg Smith, but he only spelled it with one “g.”  Maybe that’s the difference between what he would have thought about the proposition of using the Navy storage tanks on Gaffey Street in San Pedro and yours: he was practical, a trained geographer and rational.

But, rational arguments don’t seem to matter to the bureaucracies, whether it’s local or state or federal; all of them seem to think that they have a “larger interest” than the people who have to live with that “larger interest.”  Power is just that: power.  JUST power, no.  Just POWER.  So, when I learned of the proposal to once again use the Gaffey Street in San Pedro/Rancho Palos Verdes site for Naval fuel storage I just about threw up…it’s SO power oriented and SO irrational and SO “in your face.”

Is this the federal administration in Washington, D.C. “sticking it to California”? Telling the community to go “suck its thumb”? That’s about the only “rational” explanation I can think of.  Will you and your family be moving closer to these wonderful storage facilities so that you can personally “protect the nation”?  Or, will you continue to live far away from any potential hazard that they might create.  Do you have children?  Have you ever lost one?  Do you know anyone who has?

I’m an “old lady.” About to be older.  So I can speak my mind (and yes, I still have one).  Your agency is showing its utter contempt for the safety of our community and our families.  Your agency is power hungry.  Your agency is imposing its will where it doesn’t have to, not in order to be respected and honored, but to assert its authority.  In fact, your agency is operating in a manner that brings a JUST reaction from this community…opposition and disbelief in such inanity (yes, without an “s”).

I guess “two g’s” means that you are better than a person with “one g.”  Chant that when we all go to “smitherings” into the “clouds of glory” on the fuel you will be supplying us.

June Burlingame Smith, San Pedro

You Can’t Fight City Hall

In regards to Rachael Bruhnke’s May 2 article, Green City, (In Pursuit of an Agro-Industrial Model City),  I share her “frustration” and (I’m sure others do too), with councilmember Joe Buscaino of CD 15. The hypocrisy and may I add, cowardice all over CD 15, which includes Jacob Halk, his deputy chief of staff and their staff itself, is not just to include “exposure” or “hearing about all of San Pedro’s, etc. issues – it’s that they just don’t care” – period. That includes our Janice Hahn – Supervisors office and all the numerous government managers and officials plus offices also who support them too! Does the citizen constituent have a voice?? The answer is no! Though, you can write RLN.

Greening their brains with organic seeds won’t help. They know we have and I have no clout. Speaking for myself, after wasting 18 years of my life involved with this community- doing a “Lifetime Achievement award for Muriel Olguin,” involved with the neighborhood council, San Pedro’s artist groups and First Thursday, working on numerous campaigns for Democratic and progressives, etc. — as an activist and an artist- I’ve given up fighting by expecting “understanding and appreciation” and okay, “exposure.” No amount of written letters, emails, phone calls, public speaking or petitions will count. They will continue to speak out the side of their mouths and nose(s) and handshakes, even with hugs and photo ops because they know I and we and you – the people can’t do anything about it. “The quickest way to kill a constituent is to ignore them!”

For numerous years I’ve fought (for) and requested a veterans resource center in and for San Pedro (and other issues too) in the now empty city owned antique 1930s bank building at 510 W. 7th St. and Pacific Ave. Everyone in relation to San Pedro real estate — paid for with taxpayer dollars ­— has been notified. For years I’ve requested councilmember Joe Buscaino and all the others to do one thing. Write me a letter that says yes or no. Do they want a veteran’s center here or not, or do they want a Consulate General from a foreign country there for office space instead in the city building? They won’t put it in writing, at all, ever!

They won’t put it in writing because it would show the truth and they won’t put it in writing as they don’t want a public record in print to say yes or no! They won’t put it in writing because they can and know we have no recourse to defend our voices or human rights as a single person — so exposure isn’t enough and they know it.  They know that tomorrow’s news is waiting for their next photo op and smiles (and dimples help a lot too)!

Dorota Star, San Pedro


I have to disagree with your pessimistic view about fighting city hall. The problem is that people give up to easily and don’t organize their neighbors to make a concerted effort around a common effort. The Croatian Cultural Center building is a central issue that has been covered up and ignored. That building has now been closed for more than a year with little or no explanation to the public for the eviction of the former tenants nor any plans or discussion with the Central Neighborhood Council or the Arts District as to its future use and repurposing. For all we know Councilman Joe Buscaino might turn it into the capital of his Little Italy district.

My vote is for ditching the nationalist designation and embracing the multi-ethnic diversity of San Pedro and rebrand it as the International Cultural Center of San Pedro and give the veterans and the Arts District an office in that building. And give San Pedro a significant gallery that can show work that reflects the cultural heritage of all the people who live here.

Thanks for writing.

James Preston Allen, Publisher