Saturday, June 28, 2008

SP Gives Earful of Ponte Vista Testimony

Every seat was filled in the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium auditorium ...

... and in the overflow area, too.

Supporters of R-1 zoning (single-family homes) lined up to sign in.

Union members and other Ponte Vista advocates sported bright yellow and orange materials.

A capacity crowd attended Thursday’s public hearing on the proposed Ponte Vista housing development.

Filling every seat in the room plus the overflow section, community members came out by the hundreds to deliver a message to city government.

More than 80 individuals spoke over the course of the five-hour hearing, held at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Testimony was about evenly split between supporters of the proposed 1,950-unit development on Western Avenue and those who favor a smaller development equivalent to R-1 (single-family) zoning.

The purpose of the forum was to gather information that will factor into a staff report the L.A. City Planning Department will prepare in the coming months. Staff’s recommendations will go before the appointed city planning commission in the fall. The city council will ultimately decide the project’s fate late this year.

Ponte Vista is a project of Century City-based Bisno Development Corporation.

The majority of hearing attendees illustrated their stance on their shirts, wearing buttons and stickers signaling support or opposition.

Activists first expressed their positions outside the auditorium, displaying posters of support and a huge banner of opposition on a van parked right in front of the aquarium.

Given the first opportunity to testify, Councilwoman Janice Hahn told the hearing officer, “this project is too big for North San Pedro.

“I ask the department to recommend a denial and to tell the developer to rework the project,” Hahn emphasized.

Officials from Rancho Palos Verdes and Lomita also voiced their cities’ objections to Ponte Vista as proposed.

Representatives of San Pedro homeowners, businesses, unions, environmentalists, social-service agencies, non-profit groups, neighborhood councils and youth sports organizations were among those who testified.

Opponents stressed concerns about traffic, emergency preparedness, public safety and other effects on community infrastructure and quality of life.

Supporters testified about the expectations of union jobs, housing for senior citizens, Little League fields, the “American dream” of homeownership and an overall boost to the San Pedro economy.

ABC TV Channel 7 covered the story on the evening news and posted the report online.

“San Pedro forum more heat than light” is the headline of today’s Daily Breeze story.

The city has extended the deadline for written public comment until July 11. Follow these instructions to submit written comment.

Hot Dogs Beg for Relief at Animal Shelter Opening

Two- and four-legged species celebrated the opening of San Pedro’s glistening new animal shelter on June 21, but the dogs learned the hard way that their new digs aren’t so cool.

The facility was built on the assumption that cooling misters were unnecessary in San Pedro’s mild coastal climate. The weather proved otherwise on grand-opening day, when a heat wave brought temperatures over 100 degrees.

As officials scramble to fast-track installation of misters, the dogs, cats and would-be adoptive families are getting acquainted with the new, larger shelter.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Animal Services officials break a ceremonial bottle at the shelter gate.

Staff and visitors are greeted by a work of art in the office lobby, designed by artist Nancy Webber and described in the Daily Breeze story, “SP art work truly a pet project.”

The Daily Breeze report on opening day contains additional information, including a link to South Bay Pets, a blog co-authored by long-time San Pedro reporter Donna Littlejohn.

Find the shelter’s hours and other basic information on its website.

Running for Safety

Supporters of the Harbor Division police station organized a fun run/walk along Paseo Del Mar Sunday.

Sponsored by the Harbor Area Boosters Association, the event included a kids’ run and a 5K and 5M run/walk from Point Fermin Park to the western end of Paseo del Mar.

Proceeds benefited the boosters’ youth programs and community events.

Youngsters ages 6-10 ran in the 500-yard kids’ run. Photo by Carl Tank.

Independence Day, San Pedro-style

Music and fireworks will fill the air at Cabrillo Beach on July 4. The Golden State Pops Orchestra will perform at 8 p.m., providing musical accompaniment to the 9 p.m. fireworks display.

The free concert is presented by the Cabrillo Beach Boosters and the City of Los Angeles.

Elsewhere, the San Pedro Bay Historical Society is holding an ice cream social at the Muller House beginning at 7 p.m. A military historian will speak at 8 p.m. and guests will watch the Cabrillo Beach fireworks at 9 p.m. from the front lawn.

Tickets are $7. For more information, call Joe McKinzie at (310) 832-5234. The Muller House is located at 1542 S. Beacon St.

Earlier in the day, Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Korean community leaders will lead a bell-ringing ceremony at the Korean Friendship Bell at 10:30 a.m.

During this ceremony, San Pedro “Citizen of the Millennium” John Olguin will lead the audience in reciting the names of the 13 original states and the South Bay Young Marines will demonstrate how to properly fold a flag.

Illegal Fireworks in the Neighborhood? With Specific Address, Police will Respond

Police will be going the extra mile to respond to tips about illegal fireworks this year.

To confront the longstanding problem in San Pedro, the Harbor Division pledges to follow up on calls regarding illegal fireworks.

The catch is, an exact address must be provided.

“If we get a specific address – not an intersection but an actual address – undercover officers will pay a visit,” said Ofcr. Joe Buscaino, senior lead officer for the LAPD Harbor Division.

Fireworks are illegal in the city of L.A. Call (310) 513-7017 to make a report.

First Thursday Coming Up

San Pedro’s monthly First Thursday artwalk is this week in downtown San Pedro.

The July schedule of special events was not available at presstime. Check First Thursday for the monthly map and highlights.

‘Habitat’ Homeowners Hold Block Party

Families and friends gathered to celebrate the completion of 16 Habitat for Humanity homes built last year in partnership with former President Jimmy Carter.

The June 21 block party was held at the new Harborside Terrace community in eastern San Pedro.

During the Jimmy Carter Work Project last fall, volunteers began to transform the blighted vacant lot at Third and O’Farrell Streets into a residential neighborhood.

The crime and trash is now gone, replaced by two-story townhomes with picturesque views of the harbor and Vincent Thomas Bridge.

Building her home alongside hundreds of volunteers, homeowner Mar’Lyn Bland said the experience “let me see people at their best.

“People worked on my house and didn’t ask for anything in return. Throughout the experience, I learned how beautiful it is to help others,” said Bland.

Mar'Lyn Bland (right), Aaron Atlas and their children are Harborside Terrace homeowners.

The homes are the first ones built through the Carter project to be “green” certified, earning the LEED seal of approval for their use of solar panels, low-flush toilets, native plants, recycled carpet and several other environmentally sustainable features.

Marine Magnet School Projected at Angels Gate

The Los Angeles Unified School District is going forward with plans for a marine science magnet school at Angels Gate Cultural Center.

Following a board vote this week, the district will conduct environmental studies for a possible 810-student school, down from the 1,200-student campus originally proposed.

Plans call for the campus to house San Pedro High School’s marine science program. Earlier plans for an entirely separate high school have been scrapped.

Residents of surrounding neighborhoods vocally objected to the possibility of a new high school, citing traffic and noise among their concerns.

Some neighbors remain opposed to any additional school construction at Angels Gate.

A handful of San Pedro residents went to downtown L.A. to testify at the LAUSD meeting, according to the Daily Breeze.

It’s Official: McCowan’s Development Limited

The L.A. city ordinance restricting development at the former McCowan’s market site went into effect Monday.

Neighbors and Councilwoman Janice Hahn successfully pushed for the measure to limit construction to three single-family homes, far fewer than the 18 condominiums the developer initially proposed.

Hahn praised the neighborhood activists who quickly mounted a grassroots campaign against the condo proposal.

“Your efforts were well organized and extremely effective and it was an honor to work in partnership with you to restrict high-density development in a single-family neighborhood,” Hahn wrote in a letter to the Vista Del Oro Neighbors Against Condos.

News from Aloft

Today is the grand opening of the Bank Lofts, a two-building development in downtown San Pedro.

Loft condos are for sale in the smaller Mint building, while the larger Vault building will lease the units once they are completed in the fall.

This week, the Daily Breeze reported that the nearby La Salle Lofts are going on the market through the federal FHA program, a government-backed funding system that is less demanding than a traditional bank loan.

Revisiting Planning Director’s SP Visit

Considering all the development-related stories in this week’s issue of San Pedro News, it is apropos to revisit City Planning Director Gail Goldberg’s remarks to San Pedro community members during a 2006 public forum on development. They include references to San Pedro’s community plan, a document that outlines land use for a given area. The community plan is currently being revised, through a public process conducted by the planning department. Under the current maps, Ponte Vista is not within the boundaries of the San Pedro community plan, though some community members are lobbying to change this. Goldberg’s quotes were originally published in More San Pedro on Nov. 25, 2006. – Editor.

On neighborhood councils, developers, and the politics of planning:

“I’ve asked myself the question, is real planning possible in LA? I think it is, if two constituent groups are behind it. We won’t be successful without both of them.

“Number one, the community and the neighborhood councils have to be supportive of real planning and I think they are. Communities want real planning because they need to know what is going to happen in their community and right now they don’t.

“People complain and say, ‘Oh, the neighborhood councils are against every project.’ Under the system we have here, I think a logical response by neighborhood councils is to be against every project because you have no idea what the next one is going to be.

“Number two, the plan needs to have the support of the development community, meaning it’s real. [Developers need to know that] when they look at a plan and they look at a zone, that’s what we want.

“In every other city in this country, the zone on the land establishes the value of the land. That’s the highest and best use.

“If it’s industrially zoned land, it’s worth $20 or $30 a square foot. In Los Angeles, that’s not true.

“The value of the land is not based on what the zone says or what the plan says. It’s based on what that developer believes he can change the zone to.

“That is disastrous for this city. Disastrous.

“I have to believe that the developers are getting sick of this. I have developers who come in to me and say, ‘I bought this industrial land. I paid conversion prices,’ -- meaning they didn’t pay $20 or $30; they paid $100 -- and I say to them, ‘Can you spell speculation?’

“And they say, ‘But, you’ve always done it. You’ve always converted.’

“I’m sorry, zoning has to mean something in this city.”

On preserving San Pedro’s character during the community planning process:

“A new plan has to have a good description – a good urban design section – that talks about the unique qualities of neighborhoods that are within the planning area and how it is that we are going to preserve and enhance those unique and distinctive qualities that make San Pedro very different from other communities.

“This is not a cookie-cutter approach. This is a way to create a plan that is tailored for your community.

“In order to do real planning with real plans and a real planning process, we’re going to be out talking to you about what you want to see in your plan and what your vision is for your community.”

On building community ownership of the plan:

“People ask about my vision for San Pedro. I can’t tell you what my vision is.

“My vision is to create a process where the goals of the city and the goals of the community come together to create a plan that you guys love and will fight for every day.

“I’m convinced that one of the huge problems in this city is that we plan project by project and that must stop. It won’t stop until you get a great plan and you will fight for it and I will fight for it every day.”

Goldberg’s opinion of San Pedro:

“We’re really excited at the prospect of working with folks in San Pedro . . . . I think something really wonderful can happen in San Pedro.

“You have beautiful residential neighborhoods. You have a downtown that just screams for revitalization.

“I can almost imagine it in the future as this fabulous place that people from all over this city want to come to. I’m really looking forward to working with you to create it.”

Regarding downtown San Pedro:

“The community plan has to deal very specifically with downtown. You’re right be concerned about the scale of redevelopment.

“Downtown is a wonderful pedestrian scale that, I think, clearly needs to be preserved. I think you can do that in the community plan by addressing a downtown district and talking about the unique characteristics that you want to preserve.”

OPINION: It’s STILL Too Damn Big!

By Doug Epperhart

Back in October 2005, I wrote a piece for More San Pedro commenting that the proposed 2,300-condo Ponte Vista project was too damn big. Trimmed by the developer to “only” 1,950 units, it’s still too big.

In the two-and-a-half years since I wrote that commentary, at least 16,000 area residents have signed petitions agreeing that adding 500-700 more homes on the site of the old Navy housing is enough.

The grassroots efforts of R Neighborhoods Are 1 were evident Thursday night, when a few hundred Harbor Area folks turned out to tell the Los Angeles City Planning Department they don’t want this massive development on our most crowded street.

To be fair, a few hundred Ponte Vista supporters, supporting yellow stickers, also showed up. I’m not sure the developer should get full credit, though, for the crew they bused in from a halfway house in Inglewood or the army of his lobbyists and employees adorning the auditorium.

A half-hour-long sales pitch by Bisno Development kicked off what turned out to be a five-hour-plus marathon of pro and con as rows of supporters and opponents took turns pleading for less cars or more condos.

The most important speech was given by Councilwoman Janice Hahn. Speaking immediately after the developer’s presentation, Hahn told the hearing officer that Ponte Vista was not the right project for the site across from Green Hills cemetery.

She said Bisno Development’s application to subdivide the property and amend the community plan should be rejected.

Hahn favors a “clean slate” approach in which the community and developer start from scratch and work to create consensus on what and how much should be built at Ponte Vista.

Unfortunately, Bisno Development has taken a different path, one that has been flawed from the beginning. Anointing people like Angie Papadakis and Louis Dominguez to represent the community was Bisno’s first mistake.

I think these folks are fine individuals, but I can speak for myself.

Private meetings with the chosen few does not constitute public process, nor does it engender trust within the broader community. The ongoing hard-sell tactics aren’t helping much, either.
Hahn’s community advisory committee met for most of a year trying to reach a compromise.

They learned two things: the city of L.A.’s Department of Transportation is unable to function in any meaningful way when it comes to serious traffic planning; and Bisno Development isn’t about to consider anything less than 1,950 units.

The hearing Thursday night proved one thing: there are a lot of people willing to turn out for something they believe in – or are paid to believe in.

Ultimately, I don’t think Ponte Vista will end up with a density equivalent to R-1 nor do I think 1,950 units will be allowed.

I agree with Hahn.

Let’s wipe the slate clean, start over and do it right. Let’s open up the process to the whole community.

People aren’t dumb. They know what they want and they know what’s needed. When asked, most of us are willing to give more and take less.

And we can buy our own lunch.
Doug Epperhart is a member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council governing board. He can be reached at

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Some Kinda Saturday

Last week, San Pedro News reported on the many events taking place today. More have been announced over the course of this week.

Here are some of the places a Pedran-about-town could go today:

The grand opening of the new animal shelter at 11 a.m. on North Gaffey Street. Details in the flyer.

Cultural celebrations of ocean-themed art, the Italian community and the African-American community.

A block party for the new homeowners at the site of the Jimmy Carter Work Project in central San Pedro. The celebration takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harborside Terrace, 308-338 N. Palos Verdes Street (at O’Farrell Street).

A post-election picnic with the San Pedro Democratic Club at noon at Pt. Fermin Park.

And, if that’s not enough action, you can always end the day at Shakespeare by the Sea.

New Twist in Angel’s Gate HS Story: Gaffey Street Pool may be Part of Deal

The Los Angeles Unified School District has shifted gears and no longer seeks to build a separate high school at Angel’s Gate Cultural Center, according to a report by education activist Diana Chapman.

The campus will be an expansion of San Pedro High School’s marine magnet program and will be constructed for 810 students, down from the initial proposal of a 1,200-seat school.

The school district has also raised the prospect of partnering with the City of L.A. to re-open Gaffey Street Pool, Chapman reports.

The 1940s-era pool, located at Ft. MacArthur, was closed and drained approximately 15 years ago.

See Chapman’s blog for the complete report.

Activists Harness People Power for Ponte Vista Hearing

Supporters and opponents of the controversial Ponte Vista housing complex on Western Avenue are ramping up their campaigns ahead of Thursday’s public hearing.

The Los Angeles City Planning Department is holding the hearing to take public testimony about the proposed 1950-unit condominium development. No decisions will be made at the hearing, but the testimony will inform the department’s subsequent recommendations about the project.

The hearing takes place Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Ponte Vista has been running a series of newspaper ads featuring community members praising the development.

Ponte Vista was also in the news this week regarding a new agreement between the developer and Eastview Little League.

Ponte Vista is giving six acres to the City of L.A. for Eastview’s use and paying to construct the ballfields, according to the Daily Breeze.

Opponents have sent a mailer to Northwest San Pedro residents and businesses.

Members of the R Neighborhoods Are 1 opposition group are gathering signatures on postcards which will be submitted as public comment at the hearing.

Instead of attending the hearing in person, the public can submit written testimony through Thursday.

Bank Lofts Models Unveiled for Grand Opening

Models are open and a grand opening is coming up at the Bank Lofts in downtown San Pedro.

The development includes two residential/retail buildings along Mesa Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets.

The smaller residential building has been completed and models are now open. The 23-unit building is called the Mint.

A grand-opening party will take place at the Mint on June 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The party is free of charge and the public is invited. The Mint is located at 390 W. Eighth St.

The Vault is the larger building with the historic bank façade from the 1920s. Its units will become rental apartments when completed in the fall.

The Bank Lofts range from 974 to 2,400 square feet.

Neighborhood Councilmembers Receive Presidential Awards

Members of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council have received public-service awards from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

The federal organization recognizes civic-minded Americans with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The awards were presented at the council’s meeting Monday.

Chill Out

Peanut butter and strawberry milkshakes strike a cool pose.

While dashing about town on your busy Saturday (see above), beat the heat with a frosty milkshake or malt from one of San Pedro’s secret treasures, The Corner Store.

The Corner Store is a European market, coffeehouse and café located at 37th and Barbara Streets in coastal San Pedro, one block up from Paseo del Mar.

Though it’s well known to its immediate neighbors, it’s often a surprise discovery for some long-time San Pedrans and most newcomers.

Just in time for summer, milkshakes and malts have been added to the menu. Flavors include chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, peanut butter and Oreo cookie.

The Corner Store, 1118 W 37th St., (310) 832-2424. Open 6ish a.m. - 7 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. weekends.


In the email version of last Saturday’s edition, Ante Perkov was misidentified in a photo as Tony Perkov in the story, “LA City Council President Speaks to SP Business Leaders.”

Saturday, June 14, 2008

School District Proposes Revised Project for Angels Gate High School

A bureaucratic move by the Los Angeles Unified School District signals that the initial vision for a 1,215-seat high school at Angels Gate Cultural Center has been downgraded.

Officials are now conceptualizing a school of 810 students.

Though the district insisted from the start that it was proposing an 810-seat school, documents released to begin the environmental-study phase set the student number at 1,215. The higher number would have allowed the district to add more classrooms in the future.

The school board will vote on whether to accept the revised proposal at its June 24 meeting, taking place at 2 p.m. at LAUSD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. For more information about the board meeting, call (213) 241-7002.

TV News Listens to SP

Lining up to deliver the news.

ABC TV Channel 7 conducted a townhall meeting in San Pedro this week to hear about newsworthy local issues.

The “ABC7 Listens” meeting was a dialog between station executives and community members.

Senior station managers explained how the community can work with their departments to submit news, request sponsorship of nonprofit events and receive job announcements.

Most of the townhall was an “open mic” opportunity for residents to tell the station about local issues. Comments addressed public health, air pollution, jobs, the economy, crime, arts and cultural topics, development projects, waterfront revitalization, LA city politics and other subjects.

Click to view Channel 7’s report on the townhall.

LA City Council President Speaks to SP Business Leaders

Council president Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti spoke optimistically about the city’s social, cultural and economic strength in remarks to San Pedro business leaders Thursday.

Delivering the keynote address to the San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce awards luncheon, Garcetti pointed to tourism, trade and technology as Harbor-centric forces in the regional economy.

“We’re all linked together by more than a narrow strip,” said Garcetti, referring to the Harbor Gateway link between the port and the rest of L.A.

While acknowledging that Harbor Area residents are more impacted, Garcetti noted that port-related pollution also affects inland parts of L.A.

Directly and indirectly, the port is one of Southern California’s largest employers, Garcetti emphasized.

In introducing her colleague, Councilwoman Janice Hahn praised Garcetti for his leadership in revitalizing Hollywood and spearheading Proposition O, a 2004 city bond measure to improve the storm water draining system and reduce trash and toxic runoff at beaches.

A third-generation Angeleno, Garcetti said that his grandfather came to the Harbor to swim at Cabrillo Beach.

Speaking about present-day San Pedro, Garcetti said, “you’ve captured here what makes L.A. great: you have a great neighborhood.

“I’m always impressed when folks come from San Pedro to lobby for something to get what you deserve,” Garcetti added.

After Garcetti’s remarks, the Chamber presented awards to four San Pedro business leaders.

Spirit Cruises and Ports O’ Call were named “business of the year.” Owner Jayme Wilson accepted the award.

Ante Perkov accepted the “restaurant of the year” award for Ante’s Restaurant. Perkov, the founder’s grandson, is pictured at right, with Councilmembers Garcetti and Hahn.

Mike Lansing received the “bold vision” award for his leadership at the Boys and Girls Club.

L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe received the “leadership” award for his decades of public service. To his right are Chamber leaders Camilla Townsend, CEO, and John Ek, board chair.

Neighborhood Council News

New Boardmembers Join Northwest Council

Voters elected five incumbents and three first-time boardmembers to the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council Thursday.

John Greenwood, Mary Hamlin, Diana Nave, Barbara Schach and George Thompson won re-election. They will serve along with newcomers David Arvonio, Gabriel Rivas and Laureen Vivian.

For more information about the new and veteran boardmembers, view their candidate statements.

To see them in action, attend the council’s monthly meetings on the second Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park.

Coastal Meeting Monday

The monthly meeting of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council is Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building.

The agenda and the council’s newsletter outline the issues on the council’s front burner these days.

Comment in Writing about Ponte Vista

Supporters and opponents of the proposed 1950-unit Ponte Vista housing development on Western Avenue are gearing up for a public hearing at the end of this month.

The Los Angeles City Planning Department is holding the hearing to take public testimony about the controversial project. No decisions will be made at the hearing, but the testimony will inform the department’s subsequent recommendations about the project.

The hearing takes place on June 26 at 5 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

The public can also mail or e-mail written comments to the city. The address for submissions is listed in the official hearing notice.

The Ponte Vista website and the community organization R Neighborhoods Are 1 present the pro and con viewpoints, respectively.

The project is in the area of the Northwest neighborhood council, which commissioned its own studies of traffic and related issues. These reports can be found on the council’s Ponte Vista page.

Something to Bark About: Animal Shelter Set to Open

Political and community leaders are set to celebrate the opening of the new Harbor Animal Care Center on June 21.

The shelter is located at 957 N. Gaffey St. The opening events begin at 11 a.m. with remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

The open house continues until 5 p.m. Visit the center’s web page for more information.

Events Showcase SP History, Culture

June 21 will be a busy day in San Pedro’s cultural life.

These three events will showcase aspects of the community’s history and culture.

Seaside Art Exhibit

Artwork of coastal scenes will be on display at Royal Palms beach from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The show is part of a local family’s yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of Royal Palms and White Point beaches.

For more information, call (310) 831-6397.

Celebrating SP’s African-American History

Community members will observe Juneteenth at a picnic in Peck Park from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The 28th annual event pays tribute to the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865.

In additional to the special historical program about Juneteenth, speakers will give updates about community issues and current events in San Pedro.

The picnic also celebrates the long history of African-American contributions to San Pedro.

For more information, call (310) 701-6470 or (310) 631-5644.

Celebrating SP’s Italian History

San Pedrans of Italian heritage are celebrating their history and culture at the fourth “Italian feast” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ports O’ Call Restaurant.

The daylong event is designed to educate younger generations about their ancestors’ pioneering role in early 20th-Century San Pedro.

Ship manifests listing Ellis Island immigrants, historic photos and other documents will offer a look at the lives and accomplishments of San Pedro’s first Italians.

A 1921 photo of the L.A. group Sons of Italy, including many who made their home in San Pedro.

“We do this to educate young people about the sacrifices that were made,” said organizer Rebecca Trani, whose cousins run J. Trani Ristorante on Ninth Street. “We hope to keep the young people in touch with their Italian culture and instill pride in San Pedro.”

Restaurants and individual families are preparing the “feast” for hundreds of people expected to attend the open house-style gathering.

“We hope to pass on the traditional recipes that we were raised on,” said Trani. “These are recipes that you don’t really find being served any more these days.”

The event is free and open to general public. For more information, call (310) 971-7957.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

We Have Issues

Ponte Vista Hearing Announced for Late June
TV Townhall, Council Election This Week

Civic-minded San Pedrans are booked for nightly meetings Monday through Thursday of this week.

And, now, there’s another date to calendar.

The City of L.A. has just announced a public hearing about the proposed Ponte Vista housing project on Western Avenue. The hearing will take place on Thursday, June 26 at 5 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

The L.A. City Planning Department is holding the hearing solely to take testimony. No decisions will made at the meeting.

People with strong opinions about Ponte Vista may be found at this week’s townhall meeting sponsored by ABC7 TV. The meeting is an opportunity for community leaders to tell station executives about newsworthy local issues.

The “ABC7 Listens” townhall is free and open to the public. It takes place at 6 p.m. at the Port of Los Angeles High School, 250 W. Fifth St.

Last week’s story contains additional information about the meeting, hosted by the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

In other council news, the Northwest council will be electing half of its 17-member board on Thursday.

All offices are uncontested, with only one candidate filing for each of the eight seats. Candidates include three San Pedrans making their first runs and five incumbents seeking another term.

The election is 1 to 7 p.m. at Peck Park.

As for determining who is eligible to vote, the city clerk has advised the council that “all that is required of voters is that they state affirmatively that they are stakeholders in the Northwest council area.”

Regarding the Ponte Vista hearing, Councilwoman Janice Hahn said it is “an important opportunity for the community to let the Planning Department know how they feel” about the proposed 1950-unit development.

“This is a blighted piece of property that is in desperate need of redevelopment,” said Hahn. “The question is, how big of a development do we want?”

The Planning Department will issue a recommendation at some point after the hearing, taking into account the public testimony it heard.

The staff’s recommendation will go before the appointed City Planning Commission, which will debate the issue and vote on a position. The commission’s opinion will be forwarded to the city council, which will ultimately decide the project’s fate.

For background information about the proposed development, visit the official Ponte Vista site and the grassroots opposition R Neighborhoods Are 1.

Saturday Events Trace Harbor History

This morning, the curious and adventurous are going off limits at Ft. MacArthur. The annual Upper Reservation walking tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the site’s coastal defense mission through most of the 20th Century.

In addition, the Port of Los Angeles is presenting a narrated bus tour of six historical Harbor Area sites from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The “Steppin’ Back in Time” tour is free and open to the public. Buses will make a continuous loop to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Point Fermin Lighthouse, Fort MacArthur Military Museum, Drum Barracks Civil War Museum and the Banning Residence Museum.

‘Shakespeare by the Sea’ Premiers Thursday

The 2008 season of “Shakespeare by the Sea” opens Thursday with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As always, performances are free and held in Pt. Fermin Park.

The following week, the non-profit theater troupe will present Antony and Cleopatra. In late June, it will perform The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Little Fish Theatre in downtown San Pedro.

“This is our first year opening three shows back to back to back,” said Lisa Coffi, producing artistic director. “We’ve got our bases covered offering something a little different in each show.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Antony and Cleopatra will run in repertory for five weeks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until July 12. They will return for grand-finale performances in early August after an 11-city tour through L.A. and Orange County.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) will run from June 27 to July 27 at the indoor venue. Tickets are $25. Proceeds help to fund the free performances in the park.

Downtown Buzz

Crimes on First Thursday? More than a dozen artists delivered a protest message on First Thursday, expressing their opinions about a proposed tax (assessment) by running yellow crime-scene tape across their walls. The assessment is part of the proposed downtown business improvement district initiative, which is being put to a vote among business and property owners. The artists say it would be a crime for landlords to pass the costs down to tenants, such as studios and galleries.

Open: Models are now open in the Bank Lofts development, which spans Mesa Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets.

Closed: Cutting-edge Catwalk Shoes has closed in the 300 block of Sixth Street.

Coming soon: Port Gelato lives again. The ice cream shop struggled for more than two years through the permitting process then the death of owner Jan Cooper. It is expected to open this month under a newfound manager who plans to serve breakfast items and other selections in addition to gelato.

Party time: Red-hot Crimsin bar and lounge continues to set the tone for classy nightlife in downtown San Pedro. Tonight it hosts a Tommy Bahama party. Whether it’s a tropical islands theme or any other night at Crimsin, the strict dress code and highly-trained doormen all but ensure an upscale experience. (Crimsin is located at 345 W. Sixth St., 310-833-8818).

San Pedro News will report further on these developments in upcoming issues.