Friday, December 26, 2008

Downtown News

New Security Officers on Patrol; First Thursday Jan. 1

Private security officers are now patrolling downtown San Pedro. They hit the pavement at the beginning of the month, under contract with the newly implemented Business Improvement District. The officers will patrol the downtown area daily and on weekend nights. The firm, Andrews International, is credited with helping revitalize Hollywood. Its office is in the Cabrillo Hotel, 615 S Centre St., (310) 519-7329. For more information, see the San Pedro Business Journal.

First Thursday is taking place on New Year’s Day beginning at 5 p.m. Take a “STARTwalk” through downtown to start the year on Jan. 1. Select galleries and shops will be open, along with downtown restaurants. Check the First Thursday website next week for the schedule of events.

New Year’s Eve

From long-standing favorites to intriguing newcomers, San Pedro restaurants are ringing in the new year with dinners and parties. Here are a few of the many options:

The new and not-yet-opened 7th Street Chophouse will preview its menu at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, featuring prime rib on your plate and R&B, jazz and Old School music on stage. $75. 465 W Seventh St., (310) 684-1753.

The Whale & Ale is serving up dinner and the Beatles tribute band the Backbeats. $57.50. 327 W. Seventh St., (310) 832-0363. Reservations required.

A saxophone player will add to the energy at Papadakis Taverna, where the regular menu will be served. 301 W Sixth St., (310) 548-1186.

It’s a 1980s flashback theme at the San Pedro Brewing Company, which is serving a buffet dinner, followed by a DJ, dancing and a champagne toast. Suggested attire is ’80s garb: “spandex, Miami Vice, etc.” $50. 331 W. Sixth St., (310) 831-5663.

Korean Bell ringing – Brave the elements for the New Year’s Eve bell ringing, one of only four annual occasions when the bell is rung. Gather any time after 9:30 p.m. at 3601 S. Gaffey St., (310) 548-7705.

Play on (or in!) the Water

Polar bear swim – The hearty and brave will go for the annual New Year’s Day polar bear swim at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 1 at Cabrillo Beach. Learn all the chilly details at the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears website.

Whalewatching – It’s whalewatching season. Hop aboard a cruise from 22nd Street Landing or Spirit Cruises in Ports O’ Call.

Cabrillo Beach tidepool walks – See what’s stirring in the sea on a tidepool walk, taking place Dec. 27 and 28 at 2:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Tall ships – Two tall ships are visiting through early January. See the schedule of sails and dockside tours at

‘Meat’ up at the New Steakhouse(s)

Think Prime: the dining room.

The bar.

Crab cake appetizer with lemon marmalade mango cream.

Filet mignon in the nude, served without sauce.

Think Prime is now open on Western Avenue.

The steakhouse features prime rib, filet mignon, porterhouse and other classic cuts. House specials include a chicken and crab cake dish, osso bucco, traditional surf and turf and a variation with steak and shrimp scampi.

Live entertainment takes center stage in the cocktail lounge, nestled in a cozy corner away from the bar and dining room. The bar offers a menu of gourmet nibbles, plus drinks with a view of the adjacent dining room.

In a few weeks, another new steakhouse will open in downtown San Pedro. 7th Street Chophouse is scheduled to open its doors on Jan. 13 for a soft opening. It plans to hold a formal grand opening on First Thursday in February.

The chophouse bar is open Thursday through Saturday nights and a DJ hosts a dance party on Friday nights.

Think Prime, 29601 S Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes, (310) 221-0415. Open for dinner from 5-10 p.m. daily, bar open until 12 midnight.

7th Street Chophouse, 465 W Seventh St., (310) 684-1753.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Outta Here: Bisno off Ponte Vista Project

Developer Bob Bisno is no longer in the driver’s seat at Ponte Vista, following the move by creditors last week to seize control of the project.

Credit Suisse was a leading investor and is now in charge of the development.

That’s about the only certainty at this point, as the bank’s DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners regroups and plans the project’s next steps. No public announcements have been made as to the direction the new developers may take.

See last Saturday’s Daily Breeze story for community reaction to the big news.

Your New Public Servants

State Assembly

Something is fishy: Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, left, receives a commendation from a constituent, Councilwoman Janice Hahn. Those wiggly blue glowing things in the background are fish residing at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

New state Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal held a community swearing-in ceremony in Long Beach this week.

Lowenthal was elected in November to the 54th Assembly District, which includes San Pedro and other Harbor Area communities.

The ceremony was held at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Lowenthal’s son, Judge Daniel Lowenthal, administered the oath of office before an audience of human and aquatic constituents.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn praised Lowenthal for her “passion, integrity and unique way of looking at things and solving problems.”

Declaring “I love Pedro,” Lowenthal said, “I feel so comfortable and welcomed there. I’ve always had a strong connection to the people, the neighborhood councils and the longshore workers.

“That’s a tremendous concern of mine right now – the casuals who have no work. We have to find ways to maintain international trade, cleanly and responsibly.

“I want my San Pedro constituents to know that I’ll continue fighting for clean air, a strong economy, full employment and a high quality of life.”

The news page of Lowenthal’s website includes a video interview with her on the Assembly floor.

Neighborhood Councils

Dawn Turner and former San Pedro Magazine columnist Jennifer Marquez were elected to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council in November.

There is one vacancy on the Coastal board, created when newly elected boardmember Rosalie Perazzola resigned before taking office.

The board will make an appointment to fill the vacancy. For more information or to apply, contact the council at (310) 290-0049 or

The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council elected Caroline Brady-Sinco and Carlos Perez to its board on Dec. 9.

Brady-Sinco is development director at Harbor Interfaith Services and Perez owns Best Tire and Automotive at Third Street and Pacific Avenue.

San Pedro News will profile these new councilmembers next month.

Port News

Here are the week’s press clips about the port.

“L.A., Long Beach ports push projects despite rocky economy,” a Los Angeles Times business story, drew criticism from two neighborhood councilmembers. (See commentaries below).

“Port terminal expansion OK’d” is a Daily Breeze story on the forthcoming growth of the China Shipping terminal.

“Container fee reduced” is a Daily Breeze report on the price cut and time delay in implementing a fee on incoming goods to fund infrastructure improvements.

If you breathe, you may be heartened by this news from the Daily Breeze: “Port of L.A. emissions drop sharply in 2007”

2 Qualify for City Council Race

Two candidates have qualified for the March election to represent San Pedro on the Los Angeles City Council.

Incumbent Janice Hahn and educator Chris Salabaj will compete for the 15th District seat.

Hahn is running for a third and final term, under the city term-limit laws.

Salabaj of Harbor City is campaigning for “change, loyalty and progress.”

He teaches at Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School, an LAUSD school in downtown L.A., and has a Realtor’s license.

Salabaj’s platform appears on his website,

Hahn has not launched a campaign website, but her campaign office can be reached at (213) 452-6565.

The election is March 3. See the city clerk election page for more information.

San Pedro Magazine Folds, San Pedro Today Launches

The corporate owner of San Pedro Magazine has stopped the presses and the former editor is launching a new publication next month.

“We’ll have the same great circulation, free home delivery, and the beautiful glossy cover and include all the great columnists and contributors who have helped make the former publication popular and profitable,” said editor Joshua Stecker.

“I’m taking the best parts of what made San Pedro Magazine the successful and popular magazine it was and enhancing it with all the features I wanted to do but could never get done” in the corporate setting, he said.

Read all about it at and watch for the premier issue during the week of Jan. 5.

1 Month to the Presidential Inauguration

The inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama is Jan. 20, exactly one month from today.

Do you know someone who’s going to Washington for the big event? Please send their contact information to so we can interview them before they head east.

Let it Snow

News flash – snow fell in the Palisades Friday.

It may have felt cold enough to be nature-made, but this white stuff had a little machine-powered boost.

Hundreds of community members lined up for pictures with Santa, eggnog, cider and other warm drinks during The Corner Store’s “Miracle on 37th Street” party.

Guests then hit the streets for old-time caroling outside houses near the store at 37th and Barbara Streets in coastal San Pedro.

OPINION: Community Response to the Times’ Port Story

Two community leaders penned strong responses to Monday’s Los Angeles Times story on port development. Their yet unpublished letters to the editor are below.


I am wondering what prompted you to write such a disparaging article about our cruise ship terminal here in San Pedro. Many of us Pedrans would like to see a greatly renovated terminal and would like it to be incorporated into the downtown San Pedro area even more than it is currently (think Vancouver).

What we certainly do not want is to create a new tourist destination farther to the south at Kaiser Point.

Traffic would need to access the suggested new cruise terminal from our town’s freeway entrance, at the North end (110 Freeway/Gaffey Street interchange).

All traffic then would need to travel south, either via Gaffey Street, Pacific Avenue or Harbor Boulevard.

Many of us believe that the north/south divisions are what hold our waterfront back from being a local and regional destination.

Increasing bus, car, luggage and supply truck deliveries along any north/south divider would be disastrous to our attempts to flow visits in an easterly direction from the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula.

The port has a long history of disregarding the communities which both border it and supply its manpower.

In recent years we have had several false impressions that this attitude is changing.

Los Angeles’ most recent three mayors (at least) claim to have instructed their appointed harbor commissioners to interface better with the communities of San Pedro, Wilmington and Harbor Gateway.

For the most part these instructions were either:

a) not made clear,
b) not passed down to port management,
c) carried no consequences if ignored (such as removal from the commission), or
d) never given, i.e. we were lied to by those mayors

We see the consequences of such breakdown in accountability on a daily basis. The underlying problem is one of scale/size and spread of the city, to the present situation whereby the outlying areas, like ours, receive no governance. That is why I continue to be a fervent secessionist and will continue to be so until I am no longer able to campaign.

Andrew Silber

Editor’s note: Silber is owner of the Whale and Ale restaurant, vice president of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council and a boardmember of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce.


On December 15, 2008, the Los Angeles Times ran an article by Ron White extolling the virtues of a plan to construct a major cruise terminal at Kaiser Point in our Cabrillo Beach area.

Quotes from the article include:

“... [the port’s] cruise facilities are considered to have a high ‘ick’ factor among the passengers who embark and debark there.

The early 1960s-era facility sits by a narrow channel ‘in an area filled with cranes and tankers and oily discharge. Passengers have nothing but a long wait of ugliness while they are there, breathing in continuous diesel fumes,’ said Judy Parker, vice president of sales and marketing for Worldview Travel…. Parker is convinced that the cramped, unfriendly surroundings are part of why Los Angeles has lost cruise business….

‘People have this image of how their ship will arrive in port, the wind in your hair, streamers flying, maybe a bottle of champagne, and here in Los Angeles you arrive creeping along in reverse. It’s pretty hard to put your best face forward that way,’ Parker said.”

This article overlooked significant community considerations, starting with the fact that the entire Main Channel fronting San Pedro is an industrialized waterfront, which is not a criticism but simply an accurate description.

Many find our waterfront interesting and authentic. Some may find it unappealing, but the shipping activity mainly concentrated on Terminal Island is here to stay.

(The port should be given some credit for their extensive efforts to clean up their air quality problem).

As we all know, the port is engaged in a redesign of the entire seven-mile-long waterfront and an investigation into what California environmental law will allow them to do.

One of the most controversial concepts in the port’s redevelopment proposal is to construct 200,000 square feet of cruise ship terminal facilities off of the Main Channel, within the area they call the Outer Harbor.

This area, also known as Cabrillo Cove or Cabrillo Bay, is considered by most to be a local gem devoted to community-scaled recreation such as swimming, windsurfing and small boating. Most of the local community organizations are on record as opposed to placing a major passenger terminal in this bay and feel that this would ruin the character, aesthetics and community-scaled usage of one of the most unique and loved spaces along our waterfront.

Most of us are also concerned that the port intends to simply abandon the downtown cruise terminal in favor of a new facility at the south edge of San Pedro in spite of a considerable community consensus that it should be improved, not abandoned.

The downtown cruise terminal is the entry to our downtown and deserves to be a flagship facility that celebrates our authentic and historic waterfront. It certainly needs remodeling and landscape renovation, but its setting is not irredeemable. In all respects, the port is responsible for what we have now and should be held accountable for recreating it in a manner that suits the times.

Although I serve as the Land Use and Planning Committee chairperson for the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, I must speak as an individual in this immediate reaction to a one-sided and inadequate interpretation of the port’s plans for the cruise industry. I ask that we all consider whether it makes sense to place a major passenger terminal anywhere other than along the redesigned and deindustrialized San Pedro waterfront.

Sue Castillo

Editor’s note: Castillo is secretary of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Friday, December 12, 2008

School Notes

The L.A. school board on Tuesday approved plans for a campus at Angels Gate. Read the story in the Daily Breeze.

San Pedro High School cheered its new gym in a ceremony Thursday night. The Daily Breeze headline “Pirates treasure new gym” expresses the school’s enthusiasm for the new facility. View the photo album here.

Big game today – The San Pedro and Narbonne high school football teams are competing for the L.A. City Section Championship at 1 p.m. at the Coliseum today. The Pirate Booster Club is offering free bus rides from San Pedro High School at 11 a.m. The game will be rebroadcast Sunday at 8 a.m. on KLCS (the school district station) and at 2:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday on LA36 (the L.A. city station), according to the Daily Breeze Pure Preps blog.

Park Construction Underway at 22nd Street Tank Farm

Bulldozers have been spotted for months and last week ground was officially broken on the forthcoming 22nd Street Park on port land near Cabrillo Marina.

When completed next December, the park will include “walking trails, restrooms, new crosswalks, 12 acres of open green space and four acres for youths to play sports on,” according to the Daily Breeze.

Free Parking Downtown

It may be the olive branch before the ax falls.

And/or, it’s a benevolent gesture from the politician to constituents.

Either way, it translates to free parking at downtown San Pedro meters through the holiday season.

Beginning Monday, meters will be bagged and posted time restrictions will be lifted. Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s self-proclaimed “gift” will keep on giving through the end of December.

“Allowing for free parking will give a boost to local shops and restaurants in San Pedro and Wilmington during the holidays and I hope it will become a tradition,” said Councilwoman Hahn.

“Particularly during these tough economic times, businesses need all the help they can get to increase sales, and holiday shoppers definitely deserve that extra break.”

Under a citywide ordinance, parking meter fees are going up to $1 an hour and $4 a day at the 10-hour meters. The increase was to be implemented this fall, but the rates have yet to change in San Pedro.

Coastal Council Meeting Monday

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building.

The agenda was not posted online at presstime. Check the meetings page or call (310) 290-0049 for information.

Nautical Notes

Tall Ships in Town

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain engage in a mock sea battle. Photo by Tom Hyde.

The tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are visiting San Pedro for the next few weeks.

The ships are berthed near the Maritime Museum, where they will offer dockside tours, adventure sails and battle sails through early January.

The ships make educational calls at West Coast ports, but the Lady has also appeared on screen in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

For more information, visit the Historical Seaport website.

New Nautical Store

A new educational and retail center is opening in downtown San Pedro to showcase the British maritime industry.

The Maritime Research Center and shop is holding a grand opening on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 301 W. Seventh St. (at Centre Street). Tea will be served during the 1-5 p.m. celebration.

For more information, visit

Holiday Events

The full moon gets into the fountain’s act, with the blue bridge lights in the background.

The waterfront Fanfare fountain is presenting the last of its holiday performances on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

The Corner Store presents “Miracle on 37th Street” on Dec. 19. Santa will visit at 6 p.m., followed by caroling and egg nog at 7 p.m. Is that snow in coastal San Pedro? Find out for yourself at the miraculous celebration, taking place at 1118 W. 37th St. Guests are advised to bring flashlights and bells. Call (310) 832-2424 for more information.

The Warner Grand Theatre is staging more holiday-themed shows this month. See the schedule for details.

Friday, December 5, 2008

School Board to Vote Tuesday on Angels Gate Campus

The L.A. school board is set to vote Tuesday on the environmental impact report for Angels Gate High School. If approved, the vote would pave the way to open construction bids for the 810-student school.

Harbor Area school board member Richard Vladovic favors a magnet school for specialized studies at San Pedro High School.

Through lawn signs, email blasts and letter-writing campaigns, the community group N.O.I.S.E. has visibly and vocally expressed its opposition to the school.

Group members are planning to attend the downtown L.A. school board meeting to testify against the school, as they did at Thursday’s LAUSD committee meeting where the proposal was approved.

See “Panel OKs vote on SP school” for a preview of the debate likely to unfold at the Tuesday meeting, taking place on Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. at district headquarters, 333 S. Beaudry Ave., Los Angeles.

All About Parks

The Daily Breeze summarized the comments from Wednesday’s meeting about parks. See “Harbor Area residents voice parks concerns” for a report on the issues discussed with the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Western Avenue Business News

Steak Out

Think Prime, the steakhouse and piano bar from the owner of Think Café and Think Bistro, is opening … any day now. Look for open doors some time this month, possibly within days.

The upscale restaurant and bar will offer fine dining and live entertainment nightly at 29601 S. Western Ave., (310) 221-0415.

Direct from the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’

A temporary warehouse of Disney goods has opened in the Terraces.

The store sells discontinued merchandise from Disneyland at up to 80% off. Selections include a wide range of clothing, accessories, toys and collectibles.

The warehouse is located at 28901 S. Western Ave., Suite 137. It is on the lower level at the northern end near the Good Night mattress store.

Hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. It accepts cash, Visa and Mastercard. All sales are final.

The store will be open through early January. Call (310) 514-0042 for more information.

Women’s ‘Shooz’ Marching On

Shooz, Etc. is moving from Western Avenue to central Los Angeles.

To prepare for its relocation, the store is offering 45% off its stock of women’s shoes, handbags and gift items.

Shooz, Etc. is located at 28719 S. Western Ave. in the center with the Eastview post office and Carl’s Jr. It is across the parking lot from the closed liquor store that was most recently a Halloween shop.

Hours are Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Dec. 31. Call (310) 519-3851 for more information.

Seasonal Merriment

Fiery Holiday Spirit

Firefighters, schoolchildren and community leaders decorated the tree next to the San Pedro municipal building Monday.

Tuba Christmas
Musicians will stage their annual free Tuba Christmas performance today (Saturday, Dec. 6) at 3 p.m. at Berth 94 near the S.S. Lane Victory. Catch the show before you stake out your place to view the holiday boat parade, also today at 6 p.m. in the Main Channel.

One Sweet Street Corner
Savvy sweettooths have undoubtedly discovered the goodies at the southwest corner of 7th and Centre Streets in downtown San Pedro. Between Port Gelato Creamery and Mishi’s Strudel, you can get your fill of hot, cold, frosty, crispy, chocolatey, fruity, baked, frozen and generally tasty treats.

Now there’s a new partner in crime around the corner at Nosh Café. In addition to its own home-made sweets, Nosh has just introduced cupcakes by a San Pedro baker.

Cuppacakes by Rose Cigliano debuted on First Thursday to an enthusiastic group of taste testers. A limited selection will initially be sold at Nosh. Special orders of at least one dozen can be placed online at

Rose Cigliano with her cupcakes at Nosh

Neighborhood Council Meetings Next Week

The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave. View the agenda, visit or call (310) 732-4522 for more information.

The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the Port of Los Angeles High School, 250 W. Fifth St. Refreshments are served at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. View the agenda, visit or call (310) 918-8650 for more information.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ponte Vista Meetings: 1 Down, 1 Delayed

Sending a strong message to policymakers, opponents of Ponte Vista dominated Tuesday’s Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting on the controversial housing development.

Approximately 75 people supporting the R Neighborhoods Are 1 campaign attended the meeting, many wearing red shirts to illustrate their desire to stop the proposal for 1,950 Western Avenue homes at the former Navy housing site.

Project proponents did not turn out their supporters for the meeting.

The Ponte Vista developer distributed a message over the weekend stating Bisno Development officials would not be attending and asking supporters not to attend.

The same message announced that Bisno was requesting that the City Planning Commission hearing be postponed.

The hearing was set for Dec. 11 and is now tentatively rescheduled for Feb. 12, according to the Daily Breeze story, “L.A. delays Ponte Vista hearing.”

Only one of five harbor area commissioners attended Tuesday’s meeting, which was held to take public comment but no official action on the development plan.

Two of the other commissioners recused themselves over conflicts of interest, one commissioner recently resigned and one was out of town.

Commission president Michael Ponce listened to comments from more than 20 project opponents.

The proponents’ lone voice was Bisno attorney Allan Abshez, who did not make a presentation in favor of the project but said he was available to answer questions.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn urged the developer to consult with the planning department for input on Plan B.

Public Meeting on San Pedro Parks Wednesday

The Department of Recreation and Parks is holding a public meeting Wednesday to hear community concerns about San Pedro parks.

A high-ranking official will give a report on the status of parks, answer questions and listen to ideas about needed improvements.

The meeting takes place on Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N Western Ave.

Read more in the Daily Breeze story, “Turnout urged at parks meeting.”

Friday, November 28, 2008

1st of 2 Ponte Vista Meetings Tuesday

Supporters and opponents of the Ponte Vista housing development are preparing for two upcoming meetings.

On Tuesday, the Harbor Area Planning Commission will take public comment on Ponte Vista. The commission has no formal authority over the issue but may “review and comment.”

The meeting takes place on Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 100 W Fifth St. in downtown San Pedro.

The agenda is posted on the city planning department website.

Meanwhile, attention is focusing on the Dec. 11 public hearing at L.A. City Hall, when the city planning commission is expected to vote on Ponte Vista.

Visit and for the latest information from proponents and opponents.

“Bisno: Ponte Vista limits would cut amenities on San Pedro project” is the headline of a Tuesday Daily Breeze story on the developer’s response to the planning staff’s no-go report.

Holiday Happenings: Today and Next Week

The two-day sale downtown continues through today (Saturday, Nov. 29). Find details in the flyer.

A charity screening of “It’s A Wonderful Life” takes place on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Warner Grand Theatre. In lieu of admission, moviegoers should bring an unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item. The toys and food will be donated to Beacon House, Rainbow Services and Toberman Neighborhood Center for distribution to families in need.

A tree decorating ceremony will take place on Monday, Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. at Peppertree Park adjacent the San Pedro municipal building, 638 S. Beacon St. View the flyer for details.

Downtown businesses will decorate their windows for First Thursday on Dec. 4.

“A Christmas Carol” – the Charles Dickens classic – becomes “The Christmas Carol,” as interpreted by The Relevant Stage. Shows run Dec. 4-7 at the Warner Grand Theatre. Go deluxe with a wine tasting package in conjunction with Off the Vine Wines or go thrifty with discounted online tickets. Use promotion code “humbug” to save half off adult tickets at

Weymouth Corners hosts Candy Cane Lane on Dec. 5 from 5-9 p.m. Eighth Street between Weymouth Street and Averill Avenue will become a winter wonderland with Santa visits, carnival games, cookie decorating, music, dancers, food and more. See the flyer for details.

The new fountain at the waterfront will put on a holiday performance on Dec. 5 from 7-9 p.m. The show repeats on Dec. 12 and 19.

The annual Holiday Afloat boat parade is Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. along the Main Channel.

The 27th annual holiday street parade is on Dec. 7. It begins at 1 p.m. at 15th Street and Pacific Avenue. The route goes north along Pacific Avenue to Sixth Street, turning east to the ending point at Fifth and Palos Verdes Streets.

Thanksgiving Spirit in San Pedro

The longshore union distributed 1,500 food baskets to Harbor Area families on Tuesday. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, State Assemblywoman-elect Bonnie Lowenthal and San Pedro Honorary Mayor Joe Donato lent a hand. See the story and photos in the Daily Breeze.

San Pedro’s First Presbyterian Church received a record number of requests for food. Volunteers prepared 1,000 boxes of food on Wednesday, as reported in the Daily Breeze.

Beacon House fed hundreds of people on Thanksgiving Day. Councilwoman Hahn joined volunteers on the food line, dishing out the traditional meal to locals in need.

Karnette Reception at First Thursday Next Week

The monthly First Thursday downtown artwalk is Dec. 4 beginning at 6 p.m.

Highlights include a reception for outgoing State Assemblywoman Betty Karnette at 6 p.m. at the Grand Annex, 434 W. Sixth St.

The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event to honor the termed-out lawmaker for her years of service representing San Pedro in the state legislature. $10 suggested donation.

Shop Local and Save

Local newspapers have published deals for San Pedro bargain hunters.

Random Lengths’ supplement “How the Pinch Saved Christmas” has offers from local restaurants, shops and service providers. Look for it where the newspaper is distributed.

The December issue of San Pedro Magazine has a page of coupons from Sixth Street businesses, including buy-one-get-one-free dinners at Porky’s BBQ and Sixth Street Bistro.

Opining on the Waterfront

Last Sunday’s Daily Breeze published a long cover story on waterfront redevelopment.

“SP residents, leaders hopeful about waterfront plans” reports a mix of cautious optimism and unanswered questions surrounding the on again, off again move to redevelop.

The story also has details on how to submit comment on the waterfront redevelopment plans by the Dec. 8 deadline.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Planning Report Rejects Ponte Vista Development

The L.A. City Planning Department has effectively voted “no” on the Ponte Vista proposal.

The 37-page document released late Friday is the staff recommendation to the appointed city planning commission.

The report serves to advise the commission ahead of next month’s vote on the Bisno Development proposal to construct a 1,950-unit condominium complex on Western Avenue.

Staff concludes that the developer should go back to the drawing board and start over.

The report states the proposed plan is inconsistent with the community plans. Among the findings is that a large amount of senior housing is not appropriate at this site.

The report suggests the property be designated “Low Medium I Residential,” which would allow up to about 886 units. By providing affordable units for low-income families, that number could increase to 1,196.

The Ponte Vista blog posted a message expressing disappointment about the staff report.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn said, “I have always felt that the proposed project of 1,950 units was just too big for this location in San Pedro. I am still hopeful that we can see a smaller project that delivers good jobs, mixed-income housing and fits better with this part of San Pedro.”

Pat Nave, a proponent of keeping the project at its current R-1 (single-family) density, called the staff report “a mixed bag.

“While it says that Bisno’s plan meets none of the goals of the city’s general plan, it also says that a development twice as dense as the Gardens might be all right. It makes no sense,” Nave said.

Other recommendations are that Ponte Vista be public (not gated) and that only two access points to Western Avenue be allowed at Avenida Aprenda and Green Hills Drive.

The report was released in advance of the Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting set for Dec. 2. Although it has no jurisdiction over the issue, the local panel may “review and comment” on the plan.

The city planning commission is expected to vote on the matter on Dec. 11. The commission vote can be appealed to the city council.

For further reading, view the full report and the Daily Breeze story, “Ponte Vista project gets thumbs-down.”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Share Your 2 Cents about Knoll Hill

Neighborhood councils, baseball advocates and friends of the dog park were among the groups at this week’s brainstorming meeting about Knoll Hill.

The port-owned land is slated to become a public park after 2010, when a three-year contract with Eastview Little League will expire.

Backed by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, baseball supporters argued that the fields should stay as public facilities.

Meeting attendees were invited to submit written answers to four questions:

  • What do you value about Knoll Hill (i.e., that it’s a natural place? Its views? Its history?)
  • What is missing on Knoll Hill and in your community in terms of open space? What would be a draw to get people up to Knoll Hill?
  • What are you concerned about happening on Knoll Hill in the future?
  • Do you have any additional comments you’d like for us to hear?

Responses to these questions can be emailed to Norma Fernandez at Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative,

The Daily Breeze story has more information about issues raised at the meeting.

Downtown’s on Sale

Downtown San Pedro businesses are running special offers next weekend for Black Friday (and Saturday).

Those who do their after-Thanksgiving shopping downtown Nov. 28-29 can take advantage of discounts from at least 25 retailers and restaurants.

Some merchants are offering a percent off the entire store or selected merchandise.

Restaurants are offering a percent off the bill, creating added incentive to try new eateries such as George’s Café at 726 S. Pacific Ave. (10% off) or Port Gelato at 7th and Centre Streets (buy one of anything, get one free). posted the flyer.

Brewing Company in the News

The Daily Breeze wrote a story on the San Pedro Brewing Company this week.

“SP company in a league of its own”
is a business story about the bar’s success combining sports, “Cheers”-like camaraderie and hand-crafted, award-winning beers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ponte Vista Hearing Cancelled

The L.A. City Planning Department on Friday canceled a meeting next week centered around the contentious Ponte Vista housing proposal.

The Harbor Area Planning Commission was scheduled to meet Tuesday to review and comment on the development plan.

Dozens of supporters and opponents were gearing up to testify before the commission.

The planning department canceled the Harbor Area meeting because a key document was not finalized and there were “issues” with some commissioners, according to a department official.

The commission is composed of five appointed members. Its next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 2, but the agenda will not be announced until three days beforehand. If the meeting is held, it is likely to focus on the Ponte Vista issue.

The planning department was expected to release its analysis of the project Friday, including the number of homes it deems suitable on the property. The study is not finished, leading in part to the cancellation of Tuesday’s meeting.

The City Planning Commission will vote on Ponte Vista at its Dec. 11 meeting at 8:30 a.m. at downtown L.A. city hall.

Look for a Daily Breeze story on Saturday. (The story was not posted to the web at presstime).

Community Meeting Wednesday on Knoll Hill

A public meeting is set for Nov. 19 to hear ideas about future uses for Knoll Hill.

The meeting takes place Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 601 S. Palos Verdes St.

A community committee has been operating on the understanding that the hilltop property will become a public park.

The meeting Wednesday is to solicit ideas on the types of park-related uses and amenities that should be considered.

For more information, view the flyer or contact Vanessa Rodriguez at Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, (213) 627-1822 x16,

For a refresher on the committee’s history, view this Daily Breeze story.

New Boardmembers to be Seated at Coastal Council Monday

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building.

View the agenda or call (310) 290-0049 for more information.

This will be the first meeting for four new boardmembers, elected last month along with 11 incumbents.

Here’s a look at the new councilmembers.

Pam Meisel

Meisel brings a background in recreational boating to the council. Through her leadership roles at the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, Meisel gained experience with port and planning issues and is now looking to “have a voice in future development and not just sit back and let things happen.”

Meisel and her husband are new San Pedro residents, having moved into the Coastal area two years ago from Torrance. “Since I am retired and have extra time, I wanted to get involved with the issues that face our town,” Meisel said.

Rosalie Perazzola

Perazzola describes herself as a native San Pedran and granddaughter of one of the town’s founding fishing families. She and her husband own Pacific True Value Hardware on 11th Street and Pacific Avenue.

“I have a general concern for the future of San Pedro and would like to take a more active civic role,” said Perazzola, whose past community involvement includes service with the Pt. Fermin Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, the San Pedro High School Lady Boosters and the San Pedro Girls Softball Association.

Erin Strelich

Strelich is a lifelong San Pedro resident whose goals are to “help preserve the environmental, cultural and economic resources that help make San Pedro such a unique, high-quality community.” She’s equally concerned about promoting “smart growth and green infrastructure to improve our long-term sustainability.”

Strelich recently earned a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA. Combining her knowledge of the planning bureaucracy with her new position as a councilmember, Strelich hopes to “improve the conduits for communication between stakeholders and municipal agencies, ensuring timely information reaches the community on important local concerns and that those concerns, in turn, are heard and included in the planning process in an efficient manner.”

Van Alexis Ulrich

Ulrich is a retired teacher and artist who has volunteered with a number of religious, cultural and charitable organizations. She has served Little Sisters of the Poor, Mary Star of the Sea parish and the San Pedro Art Association.

As a retiree, “I have ample time to get involved with community affairs,” said Ulrich. “I care about our community and wish to get involved with the education issues as well as the arts and local cultural activities.”

Psst, Wanna be a Councilmember?

Choose your governing body, declare your candidacy and/or sign a nominating petition. Jump in and join the fray. Here’s how:

L.A. City Council

Candidates are now gathering signatures to qualify for the March 3 ballot. Councilwoman Janice Hahn and supporters collected signatures over coffee and breakfast at the Omelette and Waffle Shop Friday morning. Hahn faces two opponents, educator Chris Salabaj and graphic designer James P. Weston.

Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council
There are two vacancies on the governing board. Those who live, work, own property or have another connection to the Central region are eligible to serve. The council represents the area north of 18th Street and east of Leland Street.

For an application or more information, send a message here or call (310) 918-8650. The application deadline is Nov. 26.

Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council
The council will fill two board vacancies at its meeting Monday. (See meeting details in preceding story.)

Coastal represents the parts of San Pedro south of 18th Street. People wishing to serve will be invited to make statements, followed by a board vote to appoint the two new members. Review the council’s bylaws or email for more information.

In Related News
Mayoral candidate Walter Moore held a rally at the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro Wednesday. In addition to grassroots supporters, the audience included other candidates in the March election.

Angels Gate Story in L.A. Times

The Los Angeles Times did a story this week about Ft. MacArthur, the proposed Angels Gate High School and the San Pedro Skills Center.

“Defending San Pedro’s Ft. MacArthur” spotlights the efforts of military museum officials to preserve the old Army buildings in the face of forthcoming school district bulldozers.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The ‘Speak Up’ Issue

The soapbox is the common theme in this week’s news, as San Pedro speaks up about local and national issues. Here’s what members of the community are saying and doing.

Speaking Up: the Election

San Pedro Voters React to the Election

“I hope the economy gets better and the new president brings back jobs to the U.S. I’ve been laid off five times in eight years.”

— Andrew (no last name given), San Pedro resident and nursing student, at the Vons at 13th and Gaffey Streets

“I think Obama deserves every opportunity to take a run at a very desperate economic situation. He has all the qualities one needs for the task at hand. He presented himself beautifully and deserves a chance.”

Laura Barbato, owner of Laura Denise Salon in downtown San Pedro

“My job motivated me to vote. Business is down and the terrible economic situation is affecting me personally. I hope the new president will bring us out of this deficit and this war.”

— Miles Foxworthy, 21, a first-time voter and tattoo artist at Ship Shape Tattoo in downtown San Pedro

“In every election since I came of voting age, they always say it’s the most important election of our lifetime. This was really an historic moment. I’m a registered Republican but I felt really excited and inspired. I’m looking forward to the future. It was time for change.”

— Tom Meneshian, owner of The Copper Room restaurant and lounge in San Pedro. Meneshian partnered with Democratic activists to host an election night party and plans to invite the community to an inauguration party in January.

“I think the new president is brilliant and will do an excellent job. I hope he will give amnesty to illegal immigrants but make them pay a fine for coming in illegally. Every American should have health insurance. I hope he can do something about it.”

— Ronald Tracey, pastry chef, at Sacred Grounds Coffee House in downtown San Pedro

“We’re looking forward to positive change. Things had been getting worse for the past eight years. I hope people can get health insurance, mortgage help and work permits for seasonal immigrant workers who are helping the American economy.”

— Alma Vargas, owner of now closed soccer store on North Gaffey Street, at Dolci Mango frozen yogurt on Western Avenue.

Speaking Up: Shaping SP’s Future

City planners want to hear your vision for San Pedro’s future.

The community plan is being revised and public input is sought on land-use issues.

Voice your ideas about downtown business revitalization, parks, open space, neighborhood conservation and other growth and development issues.

The L.A. City Planning Department is holding the meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 5-8 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave.

Visit the San Pedro Community Plan website for more information. (Click on the meeting flyer to enlarge it).

Speaking Up: Ponte Vista

City planners have turned down the tract map for Ponte Vista, a document outlining the way the Western Avenue property would be divided for condominiums.

Proponents of the development downplayed the rejection, while opponents see it as a hopeful sign in their campaign to maintain the current zoning (single-family homes).

The L.A. City Planning Department will issue its recommendations on the project itself this month.

The housing proposal is on the agenda of the Harbor Area Planning Commission this month. The appointed panel will take public comment, but not a position to support or oppose the project, on Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. at the Port of Los Angeles administration building, 425 S. Palos Verdes St.

The Daily Breeze fleshed out the story in Wednesday’s paper.

Speaking Up: Angels Gate High School

Last Sunday’s Daily Breeze ran a front-page story exploring whether an annex of San Pedro High School at Angels Gate would create a “two-campus divide.”

The lengthy story quotes school district officials, grassroots opponents from the N.O.I.S.E group and community leaders. Dozens of public comments have been posted.

Speaking Up: the Harbor Freeway

Transportation officials are developing plans to turn the carpool lanes of the 110 Harbor Freeway into toll lanes for single-occupant vehicles as part of a test project to reduce traffic congestion.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is holding a public meeting in San Pedro on Thursday, Nov. 13 to listen to commuters’ ideas to improve the journey from points A to B.

The meeting takes place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave.

When implemented in December 2010, the FastLanes program will give more options to single drivers, carpoolers, vanpoolers and transit riders along the 110 and 10 freeways.

“Congestion pricing” will be implemented in the carpool lanes, opening them to single drivers for a sliding-scale fee.

For more information, visit the MTA’s FastLanes page.

Speaking Up: the Next City Election

Today (Nov. 8) is the candidate filing deadline for the March L.A. city election.

Incumbent Janice Hahn and educator Chris Salabaj have filed for the 15th District city council seat.

The city clerk has the full list of candidates seeking office in the March 3 municipal election.

The ballot will include contests for mayor, city controller, city attorney and half of the city council, L.A. school board and community college board.

Watch for more information in next week’s issue of San Pedro News.

Speaking Up: Neighborhood Council Meetings Next Week

The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, Nov. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave. View the agenda, visit or call (310) 732-4522 for more information.

The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Tuesday, Nov. 11 at the Port of Los Angeles High School, 250 W. Fifth St. Refreshments are served at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. View the agenda, visit or call (310) 918-8650 for more information.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Voting and Meetings and Culture (Oh My!)

Here’s a day-by-day preview of the week ahead, bringing a mix of civic and social events (and something about an election, too).

Saturday: Meet ‘Multicultural Man’

A statue depicting multiculturalism will be unveiled today (Saturday, Nov. 1) at 3 p.m. at Swinford Street and Harbor Boulevard, adjacent to the cruise ship terminal. The unveiling is part of the anniversary celebration of the sister cities relationship between San Pedro and Ischia, Italy.

The statue by Francesco Perilli has several counterparts around the world, including this one in Toronto, Canada.

The statue’s true-to-life anatomy has led some to question whether and where the artwork should be permanently displayed. The Daily Breeze has the story about today’s “revealing event.”

Saturday: Day of the Dead

As reported last week, today is the second annual Day of the Dead celebration in downtown San Pedro. It runs from 3-10 p.m. and includes a variety of activities listed in the flyer.

Saturday: Fall Back for Daylight Savings

Change those clocks before you go to bed Saturday night. Standard time returns at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Tuesday: Election Day

Polls are open 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

If you still haven’t mailed your absentee ballot, it may be best to hand-deliver it to any L.A. County polling place on Election Day. Mail-in ballots must be received – not postmarked – by 8 p.m. on Nov. 4 to count.

The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder website provides everything a voter needs to know (except who to vote for).

On that note, here are some sources of nonpartisan information about the national and local elections:, the Annenberg Foundation’s “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters”, by the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly

The Sprint, UCLA professors’ blog about the presidential election

League of Women Voters California Easy Voter Guide and L.A. County voter information page

L.A. County Bar Association
judicial candidate ratings

Los Angeles Times election page, with stories on the state propositions and analysis and “backstory” of local propositions

Development Issue Elevates Water Board Election

An obscure water board election is drawing a bit more attention, thanks to a candidate who entered the race because of the proposed Ponte Vista housing development.

San Pedro teacher and football coach Pete Manghera is running against incumbent Rob Katherman for Division 2 of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California.

Rob Katherman

Pete Manghera

The agency manages groundwater basins that provide more than one-third of the water supply for the district, which extends from the South Bay coast through the greater Harbor Area to southeastern L.A. County.

The five-member elected board of directors develops policies to ensure adequate supplies of clean, safe groundwater.

Katherman is a Torrance lobbyist who has represented local developers.

First elected in 2004, Katherman said he is seeking another term to continue towards the goals the board is pursuing, especially to make the Southern California groundwater supply fully independent from “imported” Northern California water.

“We’ve gotten part way there,” said Katherman. “We can see the goal line and I want to finish the job.”

Manghera is a lifelong San Pedro resident who has taught in L.A. public schools for 28 years. He is currently a history and government teacher at San Pedro High School and an assistant coach of the junior varsity football team.

Since 1994, Manghera and his brother have been producing “Pete’s Place,” a current-events program on public-access cable TV. San Pedro viewers can see the show on Cox Cable Channel 33 Saturdays at 6:30 p.m.

Manghera believes that the proposed 1950-unit Ponte Vista development on Western Avenue will put too much stress on area infrastructure, including the water and sewer lines.

Though the Water Replenishment District does not have jurisdiction over water usage in the cities it serves, Manghera said the office could be used as a “bully pulpit” to influence development.

“Cities are responsible for issuing building and construction permits,” said Manghera. “Water agencies need to talk to cities to urge them to develop in ways that coincide with the available water supply.”

Acknowledging that Ponte Vista was his primary motive for entering the race, Manghera said he is opposed to the development at the proposed size of 1950 homes.

“Even 500 homes at R-1 zoning will have an impact,” said Manghera. “Imagine what 1900 will do.”

Citing jurisdictional boundaries, Katherman said, “We don’t provide water to Ponte Vista. The [Los Angeles Department of Water and Power] does. We don’t have authority over how water is distributed. We’d be meddling in L.A. public policy that we have no right to do.”

For his part, Katherman has not taken a public position on Ponte Vista. He said the development should be the “appropriate number of units based on scientific evaluation” of factors such as traffic and energy, water and sewer capacity.

Manghera is backed by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, while Katherman has endorsements from the Daily Breeze and the L.A. County AFL-CIO labor federation.

Thursday: Public Meeting on Sanitation Wastewater Tunnel Project

Government agencies involved in planning a new wastewater tunnel for the South Bay/Harbor Area are holding a public meeting Thursday.

The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County is taking public comment on the Clearwater program at the meeting, set for Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza hotel, 601 S. Palos Verdes St.

The Clearwater program will study and develop the facilities needed to carry treated wastewater out to the ocean. It is anticipated that a new tunnel will be built from an existing treatment plant in Carson to Terminal Island, San Pedro or Wilmington.

Technically speaking, Thursday’s hearing is a “scoping meeting” to take public comment on the factors that should be studied for the project’s environmental impact report.

For more information, visit or call (877) 300-WATER.

Thursday: First Thursday Artwalk

The monthly First Thursday artwalk is Nov. 6 in downtown San Pedro.

Relatively new attractions include:

Porky’s BBQ, the new Sixth Street eatery that opened in the former Downtown Subs ’N’ More location. The restaurant is running a special offer: buy two dinners or a la carte selections and get the third free. 362 W. Sixth St., (310) 521-9999.

The Crowne Plaza hotel, which has been participating in First Thursday for several months now. This month, the works of four local jewelry designers will be displayed and musician Karie Hillery will perform in the lounge from 6-9 p.m. 601 S Palos Verdes St., (310) 521-8080.

Port Gelato Creamery has a growing menu of sandwiches and café fare, in addition to cool treats. 305 W 7th St., (310) 514-9922

Coming soon: As you visit your favorite galleries and watering holes, you may notice a sign on the Levels nightclub that says, “7th Street Chophouse coming soon.” And Tobacco Leaf smoke shop is opening in the Brown Brothers Building on Sixth Street.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Public Hearing Monday on Waterfront Redevelopment

The Port of L.A. is hosting a community meeting Monday on waterfront redevelopment.

Official public testimony will be taken at the meeting, set for Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza hotel, 601 S Palos Verdes St.

The meeting will include a presentation on the draft environmental impact report (DEIR), a voluminous study of ways to improve the waterfront.

The report outlines proposals to create a pedestrian promenade, build water cuts along the Main Channel, add two cruise ship terminals, build parks and open space, create opportunities for new businesses and cultural attractions, redevelop Ports O’ Call Village, realign streets, de-industrialize some areas and extend the Red Car route to Cabrillo Beach.

The public can provide verbal comment at the hearing and/or submit written comment through Dec. 8, 2008.

Staff will then incorporate the public comment into a final environmental impact report, which then must be approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners.

The press release contains an overview of the project and the 41-page readers guide is the “Cliff’s Notes” version of the EIR.

View the documents and instructions for public comment on the port’s waterfront page.

Coastal Council Election Today

Voters are going to the polls this morning to elect leaders of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

The election takes place at the Cetacean Society building in Pt. Fermin Park today (Oct. 25) from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

There are more open seats than candidates, so the uncontested election will put 11 incumbents and four first-term board members into office.

Candidates’ photos and statements are published in a special issue of the council newsletter.

The board will make appointments to fill the two vacant seats. Visit for more information.

Group Explains Opposition to Angels Gate High School

Community members opposed to construction of a public high school at Angels Gate have outlined their case in the press.

The group has written a commentary for the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council newsletter, Coastal Currents.

Instead of building the Angels Gate campus, the allocated funding “should stay at San Pedro High School to convert the 49 temporary bungalows into ‘green’ state-of-the-art buildings for future generations to carry on the 100-year tradition of San Pedro High,” N.O.I.S.E. opponents argue.

The commentary is the second in a pro-con series. The L.A. school district wrote in favor of the campus in the previous issue of Coastal Currents.

San Pedro Voters: Global Issues, Local Faces

Bringing state and national issues home to San Pedro, dozens of community members attended a voter forum this week to assert their voice in the political arena.

The forum brought civic-minded San Pedrans together to delve into the local, state and national issues dominating public debate in the weeks before next month’s pivotal election.

San Pedro’s three neighborhood councils co-sponsored the forum, illustrating the point that “all politics is local.”

Community activists made statements with their comments, clothing and accessories. Political t-shirts and buttons dotted the room of approximately 50 activists.

Speakers included:

  • David Greene, president of the San Pedro Democratic Club
  • John Stammreich, local Republican Party leader and former Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council board member
  • Lydia Gutierrez, candidate for the 25th State Senate District and Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council board member
  • Brian Gibson, candidate for the 36th Congressional District
  • Steven Simons, candidate for Superior Court Judge Office No. 72
  • Councilwoman Janice Hahn, campaigning for L.A. city Measure A

Neighborhood council board members spoke to encourage participation in community issues year-around through neighborhood councils. More than a dozen board members attended the forum, including:

  • Linda Alexander, Central
  • Sue Castillo, Central
  • Doug Epperhart, Coastal
  • Robert Farrell, Coastal
  • Soledad Garcia, Coastal
  • Robert Gelfand, Coastal
  • Bruce Horton, Coastal
  • Linda Marinkovich, Coastal
  • Andrew Silber, Central
  • Kristina Smith, aide to Northwest
  • John Stinson, Coastal
  • Erin Strelich, Coastal-elect
  • Phill Trigas, Central
  • Peter Warren, Coastal

Participants enjoyed fresh fruit, vegetables and hummus donated by Melissa’s, a leading produce company. Melissa’s public relations director is a San Pedro resident who attended the forum.

San Pedro News has invited the local Democratic and Republican parties to write commentaries for next week’s issue.

Stay tuned for the election countdown and tune in to the Central, Coastal and Northwest councils for ongoing community politics.

View Assembly, Senate Debate on Cable

Cox Cable will rebroadcast a debate between candidates seeking to represent San Pedro in the state Senate and state Assembly.

The debate took place in Rancho Palos Verdes this week between hopefuls for the 54th Assembly District and 25th Senate District. It was sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

The debate will air on Channel 35 on Oct. 25 at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 29 at 5 p.m., Nov. 1 at 6:30 a.m. and Nov. 2 at 6:30 a.m.

Halloween and Day of the Dead in San Pedro

In scary times, why not go undercover in an outrageous costume, eat too much candy and get silly for a few hours?

Welcome to Halloween in San Pedro.

Here are some options for spooky fun, beginning tonight (Oct. 25) and running through next Saturday’s Day of the Dead celebration.

Sea Scare

Saturday, Oct. 25
6-9 p.m.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Dr.
Tickets: $5 for adults, $1 for children
Trick or treating, haunted house, children’s crafts, carnival games and costume contest. See costume guidelines on event page.

Golden State Pops Presents “Halloween Fright Night 6”
Saturday, Oct. 25
8 p.m. (pre-show “stageside chat” with conductors at 7:30 p.m.)
Warner Grand Theatre
478 W. 6th St.
Tickets: $25 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors
The Golden State Pops Orchestra will perform music from “horror classics to modern thrillers,” including tunes from “King Kong,” “Mysterious Island,” “Nightmare Before Christmas,” the “Twilight Zone” and more. Costume contest. (Costumes are optional.)

Haunted House
Saturday, Oct. 25
6:30-9 p.m.
Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse
3800 Stephen M. White Dr.
Tickets: $5 for adults, $4 for children under 48 inches
Dare to journey through the “House of Tortured Tales” and see the scary side of Little Miss Muffet, Snow White and other erstwhile innocent characters. The haunted house is a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts. Parking validated. Call (310) 548-7554 for more information.

Scary Stories
Thursday, Oct. 30
6:30 p.m.
Angels Gate Cultural Center
3601 S Gaffey St.
Tickets: $5 for adults, children 6 and under free
Performing artists will read scary stories in a scary place, atop the hill at Angels Gate in the amphitheatre where the old gun emplacement once stood. Bring your own seating and picnic and dress warmly.

Haunted House

Thursday, Oct. 30
6:30-9 p.m.
Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse
3800 Stephen M. White Dr.
Tickets: $5 for adults, $4 for children under 48 inches
Dare to journey through the “House of Tortured Tales” and see the scary side of Little Miss Muffet, Snow White and other erstwhile innocent characters. The haunted house is a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts. Parking validated. Call (310) 548-7554 for more information.

Trick or Treating

Friday, Oct. 31
6-8:30 p.m.
The Corner Store
1118 W 37th St.
The annual gathering of tricky treats and friendly neighbors. Call (310) 832-2424 for more information.

Haunted House and Street Faire
Friday, Oct. 31
6 p.m.-12 midnight
Beacon House
1003 S. Beacon St.
Tickets: $5 suggested donation
Visit the “Lost Island of Doom” and celebrate with games, food, a costume contest, live music, dancing and karaoke.

Vicars & Tarts
Friday, Oct. 31
6 p.m.-whenever
The Whale & Ale Restaurant and Pub
327 W. 7th St.
Tickets: No cover charge, no drink minimum
Returning after a six-year hiatus, this wacky event features guests dressed as vicars (men of the cloth; clergymen) and tarts (ladies of the night; women of loose morals). Other costumes are also welcome to come to the wild party.

Day of the Dead
Saturday, Nov. 1
3-10 p.m.
Downtown San Pedro
6th-8th Streets below Pacific Avenue
“Jurassic Lot” will become a graveyard and processions will march through the streets, plus food, art, Aztec dancers, Mariachi music, children’s crafts, face painting and more. Call (310) 832-0028 for more information.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Election Results! (for the Neighborhood Council)

If you watched this week’s presidential debate, you know that there’s a new everyman celebrity named “Joe the Plumber.”

Closer to home, another new set of names has emerged to represent “real people” served by the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Board members elected five new officers at Tuesday’s council meeting. The new leaders are:

President John Delgado, head of the San Pedro Youth Sports Association;

Vice President Andrew Silber, owner of the Whale and Ale Restaurant and a San Pedro Chamber of Commerce board member;

Secretary Sue Castillo, an incumbent board member, committee chair and former Communications Officer;

Treasurer Linda Alexander, a consultant and newly elected board member; and

Communications Officer Phill Trigas, an architect, downtown loft resident and first-term board member.

The council will hold a retreat this fall to develop its projects and goals.

Board members praised immediate past president Joe Gatlin, who received a certificate of appreciation from Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office. Gatlin is now coaching the San Pedro High School girls basketball team.

New Stars on the Sportswalk

Seven athletes were inducted on the downtown Sportswalk to the Waterfront Monday.

Football player and late former President Gerald Ford, Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers, basketball sisters Heidi Burge Horton and Heather Burge Quella, baseball player and local coach John “Red” Zar, USC basketball player Bob Benedetti and Navy football player Eddy Mascitto were inducted in a morning ceremony, followed by a luncheon.

The Daily Breeze has the story and a photo album.

Coastal Council Meeting Monday, Election Next Saturday

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building.

View the agenda for further details.

Uncontested election: Only 15 candidates have filed for 17 seats in next Saturday’s council election.

The candidates include 11 incumbents and four first-time candidates: Pam Meisel, Rosalie Perazzola, Erin Strelich and Alexis Ulrich.

The election takes place on Oct. 25 from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Cetacean Society Building in Pt. Fermin Park.

The candidates’ statements and pictures are published in a special issue of the council newsletter.

The council will appoint two members to the vacant board seats.

Homeownership and Credit Counseling Workshop

Congresswoman Jane Harman’s office is holding a workshop Wednesday to provide information for homeowners facing financial challenges.

The homeownership and credit counseling workshop takes place on Oct. 22 at the San Pedro library, 931 S. Gaffey St. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. and the workshop is from 6-7:30 p.m.

Space is limited and reservations are encouraged. RSVP to Mary Bautista at (310) 549-8282 or Patricia Broughton at (310) 643-3636.

Political Calendar

The Palos Verdes/San Pedro League of Women Voters is having a forum on the ballot propositions at Miraleste Library (29089 Palos Verdes Drive East, Rancho Palos Verdes) today, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 20 is the voter registration deadline. The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder supplies instructions and much more voter information.

Tuesday, Oct. 21 is the voter forum sponsored by San Pedro News and the neighborhood councils. Educate yourself about the November election and learn how to make a difference in community issues year-around. 6 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building. Info:

Wednesday, Oct. 22 is a League of Women Voters candidates’ debate at 7 p.m. in Hesse Park, 29301 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes.

Thursday, Oct. 23 brings a Republican Women’s lunch with L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley (10:45 a.m. at Ports O Call Restaurant. Call Alice at 310-832-3711 to make reservations by Oct. 20) and a San Pedro Democratic Club meeting (7 p.m. at the Harry Bridges Institute; info at

Food Network Seeks Extras for Sushi Shoot at Korean Bell

Here’s a different option for your lunch hour.

The Food Network is filming in San Pedro Thursday for a new series on sushi.

Adults and children are invited to be extras on the set of “Raw Talent,” a new series about the techniques and traditions of sushi making.

Extras will be treated to free sushi.

The filming takes place on Oct. 23 at 12:45 p.m. at the Korean Friendship Bell in Angels Gate Park.

RSVP to Jessica Pantzer at

New Mediterranean Café Opens on Pacific Avenue

Nazelie’s Lebanese Café opened this week at 19th Street and Pacific Avenue.

The café serves healthy, savory chicken, beef, falafel and vegetarian dishes homemade by the multigenerational Kassabian family.

Matriarch Nazelie Kassabian cooks twice a day, using lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs to create savory dishes from scratch.

Entrees – such as rotisserie chicken, kabobs and tri-tip shawerma – come with an array of sides, including hummus, green salad, rice, white or wheat pita bread and/or a parsley and onion salad called piaz.

Most plates are in the $8 range and sandwiches are $4.95.

Garlic lovers will likely ask for seconds of the homemade garlic spread, a potent concoction sure to ward off Halloween vampires.

Jack, the family patriarch, brings 30 years of restaurant experience to the café, headed by his daughter, owner/manager Loutchia Torres.

The café’s location in Chin’s Plaza brings back memories for Torres, a graduate of San Pedro public schools. As a child, she went to the dentist in the very same location that now houses the restaurant. She remembers buying candy from the liquor store on the corner.

In those days, her father was a local jeweler who owned La Vogue Jewelers in Weymouth Corners and Kassabian Jewelers on Pacific Avenue in the 1980s and 90s.

“We’re here to serve our families and community,” said Torres. “We used to have Sunday family dinners at Mom’s house and now we have them here. We cook for the café like we cook for our family. It’s the same homemade food and family atmosphere.

“We’re happy to bring something special to the community.”

1919 S Pacific Ave., (310) 519-1919. Open daily 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Dine in, take out and free local delivery.