Friday, March 28, 2008

Angels Gate HS Opponents Escalate Campaign

Residents opposed to a public high school at Angels Gate Cultural Center have formed a new organization to wage a grassroots campaign against the school.

By its very name, Neighbors Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) signals the group’s vocal intentions.

Still in its formative stages, NOISE is developing its platform and alternative options to counter the Los Angeles Unified School District’s draft plans for a high school serving as many as 1,200 students on Angels Gate land it now owns.

NOISE is printing lawn signs to illustrate its position on the proposed school.

Angels Gate is located in the Palisades area of San Pedro and many NOISE activists are members of the Palisades Residents Association (PRA).

At PRA meetings and other occasions, residents have raised concerns about traffic, noise, the environment and other quality-of-life issues they feel will be negatively impacted by the school.

The proposed high school promises to be a hot topic at the PRA’s annual meeting and election on May 13.

As for the bureaucratic review process, the school district has released its initial study of the proposed school. The district held a public meeting earlier this month to hear input as to the environmental issues that should be studied in considering the project.

The public may submit written comments until May 7.

Neighborhood Councils Have Big Money to Spend

San Pedro neighborhood councils have approximately $175,000 to spend or lose by the end of the fiscal year, according to an analysis by a member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Writing for the public-interest journal CityWatch, Coastal’s Doug Epperhart found that San Pedro’s three councils have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.

These funds have been accumulating through the years as the councils haven’t fully spent the $50,000 each receives annually from the City of Los Angeles.

Facing a mounting budget deficit, the city intends to take the councils’ roll-over funds back after June 30.

Epperhart’s message to councils is, “use it or lose it.”

Non-profit, artistic, cultural and community-service groups are among the possible beneficiaries of council support and funding. Groups must present specific and tangible funding requests. The councils are not permitted to make generic donations.

Councils have sponsored Shakespeare by the Sea and have pooled funds to buy all-terrain vehicles for the police, among other projects.

The councils’ April and May meetings are effectively the last opportunities to request funding.

Allocating the funds is a multi-step process that can take up to two months, so the clock is ticking for organizations interested in submitting a request.

As a general rule, proposals are first heard in a council’s budget committee. The committee decides whether to support the proposal and recommend it to the full council board. The request will then appear on the agenda of a council’s regular monthly meeting, at which time the full board will vote it up or down.

More information on the councils’ meeting schedules can be found in this overview of San Pedro councils.

The Downtowner: Shuffling the Shops

A stretch of Sixth Street in downtown San Pedro has seen a number of comings and goings in recent weeks.

Downtown Subs and More has closed its doors at the northeast corner of Nelson Street, in the 300 block of Sixth Street. The owner is maintaining the family’s next-door shop, Boca Wear.

One door down, Under the Bridge Bookstore and Gallery has just moved up and over to 411 Sixth Street, in the space that Born to Party previously occupied.

Under the Bridge is holding several housewarming events in its new location.

An open mic night is set for 7:30 p.m. on March 29 and the bookstore will be open until 9 p.m. on April 3 for First Thursday. Its month-long sale in April will offer discounts on the entire inventory of new and used books.

Goodfellas Bar, formerly the Porthole, will expand into the space Under the Bridge has vacated.

Neighboring Sixth Street Bistro has gotten a full makeover, with a new look, menu, chef/manager and owners.

First Thursday Artwalk This Week

The First Thursday monthly artwalk will include a mural unveiling at the Warner Grand Theatre and a Baroque tea party at Behind the Scenes costume shop.

The artwalk takes places from 5 p.m.-?? on April 3 in downtown San Pedro. Visual and performing arts will be featured in the familiar settings plus new venues, combining to bring the downtown vibe alive in the New San Pedro.

View the full schedule of special events and zoom in on your destinations using the new interactive maps of galleries, restaurants and shops.

Something’s Fishy

Work and play are anchored around the seashore for Larry Fukahara, program director at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and avid fisherman in his spare time.

A handful of adults and children accepted the invitation to go fishing with “Uncle Larry,” as Fukahara is affectionately known. Gathering his students on the Cabrillo Beach pier on March 22, Fukahara taught participants about the basics of fishing.

The bait was hooked, the lines went down and the waiting game began.

Hermosa Beach resident Kathy Cohen caught the first smelt, which five-year-old Efrain Marquez felt compelled to investigate. Cohen and her husband, Paul, spend a lot of leisure time in San Pedro. “We love San Pedro,” said Paul Cohen.

The little ones were fascinated by the first marine visitor.

Emerson Marquez, 2, angles for a better view.

Brother Efrain Marquez displays his catch.

Sebastian Palermo, 9, reels one in.

The smelt were promptly thrown back to sea, but students carried the experience and certificates of participation home with them.

Fukahara’s fishing lessons are free of charge and taught periodically. Contact the aquarium for more information.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Panel Votes to Restrict Housing on McCowan’s Property

Community residents packed the Port of Los Angeles hearing room to express opposition to a condo development on the McCowan’s Market property. Photo by John R. Stinson.

A city panel has recommended a zoning change to restrict residential development on the property that once housed the McCowan’s market at 20th Street and Walker Avenue.

Sending cheers through the audience of neighborhood residents, the Harbor Area Planning Commission voted unanimously to impose a “Q” (“qualified”) condition on the property.

If approved by the Los Angeles City Council, the Q classification would cap development at three residential units on the McCowan’s property.

Testifying at the standing-room-only hearing on March 18, Councilwoman Janice Hahn emphasized that the neighborhood had expressed vocal and unified opposition to the developer’s initial plans to build 18 condominiums.

Lawn signs sprang up and phone calls and emails flooded Hahn’s office. “There was not one request for high-density condos at this location,” said Hahn.

Opponents formed Vista Del Oro Neighbors Against Condos (VDONAC), which organized the grassroots lobbying campaign that effectively influenced Hahn and the planning commissioners.

Their message was to preserve the single-family residential character of the blocks immediately surrounding the property.

Dozens of signs dot the neighborhood around 20th Street and Walker Avenue, including ...

... near the vacant land where the market once stood.

“This is a great example of a neighborhood that came together to save its quality of life as it pertains to the character of the neighborhood,” said Hahn.

“I’m proud of how the community organized so quickly,” said Hahn. “It made a difference. The signs, buttons, calls and emails were very impressive and people’s voices were heard.”

Councilwoman Hahn and condo opponents celebrate the unanimous vote for a “Q” (“qualified”) condition. Photo by John R. Stinson.

The property is owned by Michael Rosenthal, who did not attend the hearing or send a representative. In an interview with San Pedro News, Rosenthal said he filed an objection with the city planning commission, challenging the Q condition.

Rosenthal’s objection is on file, but the planning commission is proceeding with its recommendation. The city council will ultimately rule on the zoning and, in the process, will consider any appeals filed by Rosenthal.

The city council vote is expected within six weeks.

“They’re putting a Q condition on something they don’t know yet because I haven’t proposed anything,” said Rosenthal, who is no longer intending to construct an 18-unit complex.

“I heard the community and people don’t want condos,” said Rosenthal. “I want to make peace with the neighborhood and Councilwoman Hahn’s office.”

Rosenthal said he is now planning to build two detached, single-family homes on each of the three lots. Each home would have a two-car garage.

Rosenthal argues that the current zoning allows such construction to proceed, but city officials contend that public hearings are required.

When Rosenthal first discussed his two-home-per-lot plan, VDONAC leaders and Hahn aides asked to see drawings, which Rosenthal has yet to release.

Meanwhile, opponents are continuing to rally around the Q condition.

It may boil down to a bureaucratic race, in which the developer chases building permits and Q advocates make a run for city council approval.

Angry Neighbors Turn Out in Force to Oppose Angels Gate School

“SRHS #15” is bureaucratic shorthand for South Region High School #15, otherwise known as “the Angels Gate high school.”

Responding to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s proposal to build the 800-seat campus off Alma Street below 30th Street, about 120 area residents enlivened an otherwise routine neighborhood council committee meeting on March 19.

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s planning and transportation committee was the setting for an educational workshop on grassroots politics. Chair Linda Marinkovich oversaw the meeting, held to teach concerned residents how to effectively voice their opinions about the school.

A show of hands indicated that the residents were unanimously opposed to the school.

Some specific objections raised at the meeting included traffic on the narrow and winding Alma Street, LAUSD’s failure to provide parking for students, noise generated by outdoor activities at the school and the potential for increases in crimes such as break-ins and vandalism.

Sierra Club leader Tom Politeo explained the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and how to influence the outcome.

Coastal councilmember Doug Epperhart discussed the politics of the situation and ways to apply pressure.

Mark Wells, RNeighborhoodsAre1 activist and blogger, detailed key points in the bureaucratic documentation and discussed technical aspects of the project.

Neighbors in the area have formed Neighbors Opposed and Incorporated to Stop Encroachment (NOISE) to fight the Angels Gate school plan.

The Coastal council will likely consider a resolution at its April 21 meeting to offer comments on the proposed campus.

Keeping Art in the New San Pedro as Condos (and Rents) Rise

San Pedro’s picturesque vistas and low-key lifestyle have held magnetic appeal for artists. Combine the social and geographic traits with affordable rent and the result is apparent.

Through the decades, an active artist community has taken root and established a visible studio presence, concentrated in downtown San Pedro. Countless more San Pedro-based artists operate behind the scenes, maintaining private studios and/or commuting to work in other cities.

As San Pedro evolves and construction cranes fill the downtown skyline, rents are rising and artists are sounding the alarm.

A year-old committee of arts organizations, business owners and working artists has been grappling with this question and others as it develops a plan for the San Pedro Arts, Culture and Entertainment District (SPACE).

The committee was formed under the auspices of the San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency. Its mission is to “create a downtown arts district that will sustain and promote the cultural and economic vitality of the community.”

The SPACE committee held a public meeting on March 15 to release its draft plan, a five-year blueprint to boost the arts with $500,000 in city funds.

The committee is co-chaired by civic leader Noramae Munster and newspaper publisher James P. Allen.

In an interview with San Pedro News, artist and committee member Ray Carofano summarized the key issue. “It’s called the arts, culture and entertainment district. We have to keep the artists in town or where’s the art going to come from?”

Artist and committee member Lauren Kilgore has worked out of a Seventh Street studio for more than 20 years. She has witnessed a changing landscape that’s now being built into contemporary condominiums for urban professionals.

“Calling condos ‘lofts’ is a co-opting of the artistic culture everyone in San Pedro recognizes as a positive,” said Kilgore.

“If we price out the creative artists as a result [of new developments with higher rents], San Pedro will change from a vibrant, actively artistic community into a merely ‘arty’ one,” said Kilgore. “The ACE committee is working hard to avert that fate and we’re hoping for everyone’s support.”

Artist live/work housing is a main area the committee is studying.

Artist and committee member Ron Linden also emphasized the need for a gallery and performance space that artists could share, creating a central point that could be known and identified as the artists’ hub.

Visit for more information about the project and notification of upcoming public meetings

Coastal Council Action

At its March 17 meeting, the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council took action on a number of measures. The council voted to:

  • Propose that a “Q” condition similar to the McCowan’s development be implemented at projects planned for 33rd Street and Peck Avenue and in the 2300 block of Gaffey Street;
  • Recommend that the city’s Board of Public Works deny permits legalizing structures built by the school district at Point Fermin Elementary School;
  • Urge the city council to outlaw plastic bags used by retail outlets such as grocery stores;
  • Sponsor the 2008 season of Shakespeare by the Sea for $2,500;
  • Spend $3,000 to sponsor this year’s Fourth of July fireworks show at Cabrillo Beach;
  • Ask the Board of Harbor Commissioners to move forward on proposed improvements at Ports O’ Call Village;
  • Request that the city’s Department of Transportation study the possibility of restriping Paseo del Mar between Gaffey and Roxbury Streets to improve pedestrian safety and provide additional parking;
  • Seek Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s help to get other cities in our area to make it tougher for vandals to purchase spray paint.
  • Submit the nominations of Linda Marinkovich and Robert Farrell for appointment to the Pacific Corridor Community Advisory Committee of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.

The council also considered amendments to its bylaws to align them with election regulations required by the city.

The council meets on the third Monday of the month. For more information, visit

Setting the Grassroots on Fire

By Doug Epperhart

Confronted by the reality that their lives will be changed by politicians’ actions, most people merely shrug and say, “There’s nothing we can do about it.” Or, even worse, they buy the lies dropped in mailboxes by campaign consultants at election time and vote against their own interests.

These are the times I want to scream, “What’s wrong with you people?”

Lately, though, things have changed. It’s as if the civic Rip van Winkles awakened from their 20-year naps and realized the world is a different place.

Everywhere in Los Angeles, residents are seeing the heavy hand of developers pulling the strings in a city administration bent on “Manhattanizing” L.A.

A backlash is rising from the neighborhoods.

In San Pedro, our wakeup call was a developer’s desire to build 2,300 condos on Western Avenue.

Despite Ponte Vista’s ongoing campaign to divide and conquer our town, thousands have endorsed the RNeighborhoodsAre1 effort to prevent overdevelopment. Petitions, letters, calls, emails, yard signs and bumper stickers persuaded Councilwoman Janice Hahn to get on board and support her town’s call to keep the single-family zoning.

Faced with the prospect of condos at 20th Street and Walker Avenue, where McCowan’s once stood, neighbors rallied to tell Hahn that such a multi-unit building was out of character for the neighborhood. The councilwoman got the message and immediately set in motion the machinery to allow only single-family homes to be built.

What is happening in San Pedro echoes what is happening elsewhere. Sunland-Tujunga activists fought Home Depot and won before the city council.

(This one is a twisted political soap opera in which City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has pulled the rug out from under the community by cooking up a deal to placate Home Depot, which had sued in an attempt to get its way.)

Just this week, the city council voted 10-5 to stop construction of 5,500 homes along the 5 Freeway near Santa Clarita. The developer was demanding annexation to the city of Los Angeles and, of course, will likely sue the city.

On the west side, tempers are flaring and lawsuits are being filed over the city’s plan to ban parking and alter traffic patterns on Pico and Olympic Boulevards. Community groups are going to court to stop the city from implementing this plan.

If you think people are mad as hell and they’re not going to take this anymore, you’re right.

They’re mad because government pushes people out of the process and leaves them no choice but to oppose everything.

The latest example: LAUSD wants to build a high school at Angels Gate. The district does what is minimally necessary to comply with environmental law. Bureaucrats hold hearings to tell us what they intend to do. They take public comment and ignore it.

Meanwhile, a plan for Angels Gate Park has been developed with constant and extensive community input.

Upgrading the park would obviously affect the adjacent school district property. Accordingly, LAUSD was invited to be part of the process. They never showed up.

Maybe it’s because a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be negotiated between the Department of Recreation and Parks and LAUSD. The MOU will determine things like whether the district can have access to Gaffey Street and the public can use facilities at the school.

I’m urging that the community be part of the MOU negotiation process, but I bet it’s not going to happen. I’m guessing we’ll be left with government’s standard “take it or leave it” offer.

There’s a small window of opportunity for LAUSD to talk to the community about the high school, seriously. If district officials do the right thing, the neighbors will do the smart thing.

Doug Epperhart is a member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council governing board. He can be reached at

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Neighbors Question Proposed Angels Gate High School

The proposal to build a public high school at Angel’s Gate Cultural Center was the topic of two heated community meetings this week.

Opponents voiced concerns at a public meeting Thursday at Dana Middle School. Sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District, the forum was an opportunity for public input on the issues that should be considered in the draft environmental impact report.

Harbor Area board member Richard Vladovic was among the school district officials and bureaucrats who attended the meeting. Vladovic has not taken a position on the school proposal.

Most community residents strongly criticized the plan, citing traffic and parking problems foreseen if a school of 800-1200 students is built.

Several San Pedro High School students spoke about overcrowding and the need for more classrooms.

Responding to residents’ concerns over an April 7 deadline to submit public comment, officials agreed to extend the comment period another 30 days, to May 7.

Earlier in the week, dozens of community members packed a meeting of the Palisades Residents Association. Spilling out into the hallway, Palisades residents expressed opposition in a long and spirited meeting.

Palisades Residents Assn. President Terry Miller, standing at right, leads an impassioned discussion of the proposed high school.

Related documents:

  • LAUSD Notice of Preparation and Initial Study: describes the proposed campus and contains information on how to submit public comment.

  • For more information about the LAUSD process, call Roberta Jones-Booker, LAUSD Community Outreach, (213) 893-6802 or (800) 704-1267.

McCowans on Agenda at Tuesday Hearing

At a public hearing Tuesday, a city panel will recommend what – more precisely, how much – can be built on the former McCowans Market property.

Controversy erupted earlier this year when plans were announced to build as many as 18 condominiums on the property at 20th and Walker Streets.

The Harbor Area Planning Commission will hear testimony and vote on Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s motion to develop the land in sync with the prevailing residential character of the neighborhood.

In effect, Hahn’s motion would allow a handful of detached, single-family homes. Whether it works out to three, six or as many as 10 homes is subject to debate.

Testimony will likely come from members of the community group Vista Del Oro Neighbors Against Condos and property owner Michael Rosenthal or his representatives.

At issue is the proposed “Q” condition, which would amend the current commercial zoning and permit limited residential development.

The project is located within the boundaries of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, which voted in February to support Hahn’s motion.

The commission will issue its recommendation to the Los Angeles City Council, which has final authority on the matter.

The hearing will take place on March 18 at 4:30 p.m. at the Port of Los Angeles Administration Building, 425 S Palos Verdes St., San Pedro. Photo ID is required to enter the building.

High Drama at Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council

There’s a saying about voting with your feet. President Joe Gatlin and his allies took the phrase literally at the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting Tuesday, walking out to prevent a vote on a controversial bylaws amendment.

Passions flared – and feet marched – over the proposal to revise the way the council elects its officers and formulates its meeting agendas.

Currently, the council president and four other officers are directly elected by the voters. The new bylaws shift that job to the full council board, so that voters go to the polls to elect all 17 board members to basic seats on the council. Then the board, in turn, elects its officers.

The second major amendment removes from the executive officers the sole power to create agendas. Instead, an agenda meeting would be held and all board members who attend would have a vote.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the bylaws decision was not just a matter for the board members.

There were dozens of people at the meeting to claim their stake in the debate and their vote counted, too. Every person represented by the council – that is, the council’s constituents or “stakeholders” – was eligible to vote.

As bylaws committee chair Ray Burch completed his report and the vote neared, board opponents figured that they were outnumbered and left the meeting in an attempt to thwart a lawful vote.

Six board members – Isaiah Alexander, Oliver Buie, Pam Foster, Larry Henderson, Benetta Johnson, and Myra Perez – walked out.

When the board vote was called, Gatlin was in the room in a side conversation with a city official, but quickly exited when he realized the vote was underway.

At least nine of 17 board members must be present for the board to conduct business. This threshold was satisfied when the discussion began, so the vote was allowed to proceed.

In order for the bylaws change to pass, two-thirds of constituents (“stakeholders”) present needed to vote in favor. After more than an hour of debate and testimony, those in attendance voted 52-4 to approve the amended bylaws.

The council’s next step is to submit its revised bylaws to the city for approval. Proponents are hoping to get a response before the council’s April 8 meeting.

Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council Meeting Monday

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s regularly scheduled board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17 at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building.

The agenda includes a motion urging the Harbor Department to move forward on improvements at Ports O’ Call Village. The Port has put the proposed “Paseo” walkway and landscaping project on hold for the time being and the council will discuss a resolution asking officials to get things moving again.

There’s also a motion to request that the city work with other governments to implement rules that would make it harder for graffiti vandals to buy spray paint.

For more information, visit or call (310) 249-0049.

All Eyes on the Big Screen: First Look at Film Festival’s Schedule, Artwork

Organizers of the LA Harbor International Film Festival unveiled the schedule and artwork for this year’s event, taking place April 24-27 at the Warner Grand Theatre.

Film topics include maritime themes, immigrant experiences, workers’ rights and other subjects familiar to Harbor Area residents.

“There is a movie that appeals to every sector of society,” said festival director and founder Stephanie Mardesich. “Enjoying and celebrating the art of cinema in the atmosphere of one of the treasures of San Pedro, the Warner Grand Theatre, is part of our goal to educate, enlighten and entertain audiences of all ages and backgrounds.”

A “Hollywood nostalgia tribute” will feature a screening of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” for which guests are encouraged to dress in vintage or cocktail attire.

A “red carpet gala reception” will precede the screening on April 26 at the Arcade Building. The Swiss Family Robinson is the selection for “Read the book, see the movie,” an educational outreach program for high-school students.

Local artist Tony Podue designed the poster for this year’s festival.

For more information, including ticket prices and volunteer opportunities, visit

Artist Tony Podue with his interpretation of this year’s film festival.

The Downtowner: Meet Born to Party

One year after opening on Sixth Street, a floral design shop has gone south, literally but not figuratively.

Born to Party is settling into its new store at 381 W Seventh St.

Owner Susanne Barber is a floral designer who caters to weddings, corporate events and smaller private parties in need of centerpieces for special occasions. Berber does most of her business online through

At the shop, she sells tasteful gifts and collectibles, plus a selection of vintage and everyday candy. For the time being, the shop is open on First Thursdays and by appointment.

Barber, her husband and two-year-old daughter are new San Pedro residents who bought a South Shores home in 2004.

Friends were initially skeptical when Barber told them she was going to open a store in downtown San Pedro, encouraging her to consider the South Bay.

“Among beach cities, San Pedro is a gem of a town,” said Barber. “It’s a jewel of the sea that hasn’t been discovered the way the other places have.

“I wanted to invest in the community. I live here. I work here. My daughter will go to school here,” said Barber.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Play ball!

It’s opening day for Eastview Little League on the Knoll Hill fields today. If you attend the star-studded festivities, we invite you to submit a report and/or pictures as a grassroots citizen-reporter. Please send material to

Breaking news: 8th Street Lofts and Caffé Port Town on the rebound

Developers Dean and Jan Thomas are laying the groundwork to re-open the café and coffeehouse at the 8th Street Lofts complex.

The facility was closed in late January for lack of the proper Health Department permits. It is expected to re-open in 30-45 days.

The building will be re-named Port Town Plaza. The coffee bar will again serve espresso and other beverages and an Italian café and deli will serve light meals. Free wireless internet access will resume as well.

The retail shops and hair salon have remained open during the food-service closure.

Port Town Hall, adjacent to the shops, is now available for private parties. Loft apartments are available for lease on the second floor.

The complex has just launched new websites in preparation for a grand re-opening this spring.

Dean and Jan Thomas with their 19-year-old son Dylan

New president of San Pedro Art Association

Newly elected San Pedro Art Association President Roxanne Lawrence has ambitious plans for the local arts organization.

Among her immediate projects is to open the group’s Ports O’ Call gallery three days a week.

Lawrence, a jewelry designer and teacher from San Pedro’s South Shores, has begun by staffing the gallery with her husband, Bob.

Hours are Fridays 12 noon-5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The gallery is located at Berth 77.

It features local artwork for sale, plus notecards and the beginnings of a gift collection.

Contact the association at (310) 831-2928 or

Marshalls marches in

Designer discounter Marshalls opened in The Terraces shopping center on March 6. An orderly line of earlybirds gathered for the 8 a.m. opening of the store, which features an expansive shoe department. (Photos courtesy of Mark Wells).

Meet a new neighbor

First Thursday is an ideal time to get out and meet a new downtown neighbor.

This month brought the opening of Balance Lifestyles, a 7th Street shop selling polished and refined urban streetwear for men.

Take a look at these cutting-edge shoes then take yourself sightseeing in downtown San Pedro.

(Ladies, Balance Lifestyles sells women’s clothing online. Considering that a number of fashionable women’s boutiques have opened downtown in recent months, it’s only fair to add some hot stuff for the guys, too.)

Good and healthy

The San Pedro farmers market is held Fridays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Mesa Street between 6th and 7th Streets. Find locally grown, organic produce, gifts and crafts, hot food for lunch and plants and flowers, including beautiful orchids.

Mojo the narcissist

Mojo, the robotic sculpture at the Centre Street Lofts, appears to admire its own shadow as it cranes and swoops its neck.

The multitasking harbor

Learning, business and leisure take place all at once in the main channel on Friday afternoon. The educational Tall Ship the Irving Johnson returns to berth as container cargo is unloaded across the channel. In the background, people and products cross the Vincent Thomas Bridge while a cruise ship docks at far left. All in a day’s work for the multitasking port.

Daylight savings Sunday

Don’t forget to spring your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night. Daylight savings time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9. If you need to double check, visit for the exact time to a fraction of the second.

Neighborhood councils: Your voice in government

San Pedro is represented by three neighborhood councils, official City of Los Angeles government bodies that serve as the grassroots voice of the people. If you live, work or own property in San Pedro, you are a member of at least one council.

As a constituent (or “stakeholder”), you can attend the monthly meetings, express your opinion, bring your neighbors to testify on an issue that affects all of you, vote in the board elections or even run for office yourself.

Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council
Approximate boundaries: Along Western Ave. from Averill Park to Palos Verdes Drive North, and along North Gaffey Street down to Summerland Avenue.
Meetings: Second Monday of the month (Upcoming: May 12) at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park Recreation Center, 560 N Western Ave.
Contact: (310) 732-4522,

Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council
Approximate boundaries: From the Vincent Thomas Bridge south to 18th Street, including the areas east of Leland Street.
Meetings: Second Tuesday of the month (Upcoming: May 13) at 6:30 p.m. at Port of Los Angeles High School, 250 W 5th St. (Free refreshments served at 6 p.m.)
Contact: (310) 918-8650,

Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council
Approximate boundaries: South of 18th Street.
Meetings: Third Monday of the month (Upcoming: May 19) at 6:30 p.m. at Cabrillo Marina Community Building, Cabrillo Plaza, Berth 28.
Contact: (310) 290-0049,

Neighborhood council contrasts this week

By Doug Epperhart

The second week of the month brings the one-two punch of the Northwest and Central neighborhood council meetings.

It seems like there’s always plenty on the plate to fight over, except Northwest presents it more as a scholarly debate, whereas Central offers up a good old-fashioned rhubarb.

At Northwest, Dr. Richard Vladovic, LAUSD’s District 7 board member and Northwest resident, is the main attraction. He’ll be appearing to talk about school issues. Bring your questions. This is your chance to get them answered.

There will also be the usual plethora of committee reports and motions, including financial support for after-school programs at Dana Middle School, a homeless awareness concert, and the annual police youth conference.

Expect a dust-up at the Central council meeting on Tuesday.

Following last month’s questionable move by Central President Joe Gatlin to ignore the council’s bylaws and select a communications officer, about half the Central board members lodged protests with the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.

The department and city attorney have opined that Gatlin was wrong. What will be done about it is probably the focus of the first round of Tuesday’s bout.

The critical fight, though, will occur over the subject of bylaws. The group’s bylaws committee is bringing several recommendations to alter the rules. These include electing all board members to at-large positions and then having the board choose its officers.

There are also proposals to provide a more fair and open process for setting the council’s agenda. Any stakeholder (those who live, work, own property, or can show an affiliation with a group located in the Central area) may vote on the bylaws amendments.

For more information, go to or call (310) 732-4628.


Doug Epperhart is a member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council governing board. He can be reached at