Friday, October 30, 2009

Civic Notes

Meeting Tuesday on Possible Light Rail Service for Harbor Area

The county transportation agency will hold a public meeting Tuesday on improving transit routes in the Harbor Area, including possibly bringing light rail service to the region.

The meeting takes place on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. at the port administration building, 425 S. Palos Verdes St. Officials will report on the “alternatives analysis study” that was prepared following community meetings this spring.

View the flyer for meeting details and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority web page for background information.

Coastal Council Honored for Arts Involvement

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council received a citywide award this week for its support of the arts. LA Commons, a nonprofit organization, recognized the Coastal council and five other groups for their “effective efforts to use art and culture as a community building tool.”

Doug Epperhart, who served as founding president of the council, is pictured above accepting the “Uncommon Angels” award from Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons, against a backdrop of a Day of the Dead display.

“It is rare and impressive for a neighborhood council to dig so deeply into the cultural arena,” said Mack. “We commend the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council for making cultural planning a centerpiece of their activities.”

The awards were given out at a luncheon at Mama’s Hot Tamales restaurant in MacArthur Park, west of downtown Los Angeles, which was vividly decorated for the season.

Coastal and the Downtown L.A. neighborhood council tied for the award in the neighborhood councils category. Coastal has supported Shakespeare by the Sea, Little Fish Theatre Company, Warner Grand Theatre programs, Angels Gate Cultural Center and Harbor Interfaith arts programs, among other initiatives.

Website for Angels Gate HS Development Info

Construction news and other documents can be found on a relatively new website about Angels Gate High School.

Pedro’s Image (Problem?)

City Attorney Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich is making waves at City Hall, prompting the uptown set to theorize about his tough-guy San Pedro ways. It must be an exotic place to the cityfolk because they are busy writing a new mythology about San Pedro.

To wit:

Nuch “bellows in a San Pedro accent” in the LA Downtown News’ Halloween spoof on City Hall.

As for his approach to the city attorney’s job, Trutanich is “playing by San Pedro rules,” according to a Daily News commentary.

So, what does a San Pedro accent sound like?

First Thursday This Week

The monthly artwalk is Nov. 5 in downtown San Pedro. People’s Yoga is having a grand opening at 365 W. Sixth St. (310) 625-0633. Visit for a map and updates on other special events.

Artists Wanted: Photo Contest for All Ages and Talent Show for Seniors

The Maritime Research Center in downtown San Pedro is holding a photo contest. Winning images of San Pedro will be printed on postcards and the winners will each get a $50 gift certificate to spend at participating Seventh Street businesses. The deadline is Dec. 1. View the contest rules for details.

Harbor Area residents ages 60+ are invited to apply for a talent show taking place in early December at the Warner Grand Theatre. The show will be held in conjunction with a free screening of the film “Young@Heart,” featuring a chorus of seniors.

Local seniors with a flair for singing, dancing, acting or another skill can apply for the talent show by emailing with your name, contact info and a description of your talent by Nov. 16.

The talent show will precede the Dec. 2 film screening. The event is sponsored by the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the office of Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs and Community Cinema.

Preview of Next Weekend

There may be no free lunch in this world, but there’s free breakfast next Sunday, thanks to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council. Enjoy your fill of free pancakes, sausage and beverages on Nov. 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at Angels Gate Cultural Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St. Give your elected representatives an earful of your concerns. Get a tote bag and partake in a free raffle. Read the details and print a flyer for your neighbors at

Boo! Halloween Events

Visit last week’s calendar of events for today’s Halloween celebrations.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Port News

The upstart San Pedro Bay Port Technologies Development Center is getting an executive director.

Controversial port executive Wally Knox is leaving the harbor for the Department of Water and Power.

The new issue of Random Lengths News includes a cover story on “the port’s love affair with the cruise industry,” plus other port and community news.

Wilmington activists are mounting a legal battle against construction of a truck expressway.

Final Knoll Hill Meeting Tuesday

View and comment on the “preferred design” at this week’s Knoll Hill community meeting, taking place on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza hotel, 601 S. Palos Verdes St.

The meeting begins with a display of the “conceptual design” from 6 to 6:30 p.m., followed by official remarks and public comment. See the flyer for further details.

Halloween Events

Seasonal Identity Crisis?

Rene and Mary Sanchez have gotten into the seasonal spirit, decorating their home in the 2800 block of South Pacific Avenue. If it could talk, Mary’s hybrid Santa-scarecrow would be wishing everyone a Merry Halloween.

Dozens of Halloween events this Saturday and next. If there’s only a little information here, please click on the event for further details.

Oct. 24

“Twisted, Spooky, Creepy” at Little Fish Theatre Co. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 or two for $20.

Day of the Dead Open Studio Project at San Pedro Arts Association. 1-5 p.m. Tickets: $10 ($5 for members).

“Halloween Fright Night 7” by the Golden State Pops Orchestra. 8 p.m. Tickets: $25 ($15 for students and seniors).

Sea Scare at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. 6-9 p.m. Tickets: $5 for adults, $1 for children and seniors.

“Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Warner Grand Theatre. Midnight. Tickets: $9.

Oct. 25

YWCA Harvest Festival
at Ports O’ Call Village, Berth 76. 1-5 p.m. Free.

Oct. 29

“Scary Stories” by local actors at the Angels Gate Cultural Center amphitheater, 3601 S Gaffey St. Gather around the campfire at 6:30 p.m. for family-appropriate stories. Bring a sweater, a picnic dinner and chairs. Tickets: $5 for adults, children under 6 free. Call (310) 387-0908.

Oct. 30 and 31

Smilin’ Jack at ConocoPhillips. 6-9 p.m. both days. For the 57th year, the giant pumpkin is smiling for the community and his helpers are distributing free caramel corn. Call (310) 952-6156.

Oct. 31

Big Dia de Los Muertos celebration in downtown San Pedro from 3 to 10 p.m. Free. Folks in Long Beach can even hop aboard a free shuttle bus to attend.

Happy Harbor Halloween on the waterfront from noon to 3 p.m. Free.

Haunted House and “Nightmare on Beacon Street” sponsored by Beacon House. 6 p.m.-midnight. Donation: $5.

Costume party at Ma Griffe Galerie. 5-9 p.m. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Vicars and Tarts Costume Party at the Whale and Ale. 6 p.m. No cover.

“Jaws” at the Warner Grand Theatre. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10 ($5 if dressed in costume).

Howl-O-Ween Adoption/Fundraiser at the Harbor Animal Shelter, 957 N. Gaffey St. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

OPINION: Wanted: 80,000 Committee Members

By Doug Epperhart

Enough with the committees already.

We have three neighborhood councils, a Port Community Advisory Committee, a Community Redevelopment Agency citizens advisory committee, chamber of commerce, business improvement district board, and Arts Culture Entertainment district board, all of which have had some interest and input to the San Pedro waterfront master plan recently approved by the Harbor Commission.

And now various bureaucrats and activists are grappling with creating a committee to work with the port to flesh out the specifics of the master plan. Do we really need another group, likely staffed with the usual suspects, to advocate for the handful of San Pedrans who have somehow managed to avoid representation by one of the aforementioned bodies?

In fact, all of these entities – and many others – were able to get information about the waterfront plan, digest it, make their opinions known, and influence the outcome. There’s no reason to believe that won’t continue now that the plan has been adopted.

Here’s a suggestion for the port and community: instead of a committee of a dozen or two dozen of the chosen few, how about a committee of 80,000? Or at least as many of us San Pedrans who are willing to pay attention to what’s going on and offer our input.

The port has a high-powered publicity machine capable of telling everybody everything. Let them use it to provide regular reports on the waterfront, say once or twice a month. Those interested in getting these reports can sign up for emails, tweets, or snail mail. And everything would be posted on the web.

These communications should include a brief summary of what’s happened in the recent past, what’s expected to happen in the near future, and, most importantly, the opportunity for individuals to give feedback on proposed specifics. This could be done via email, online, telephone, or even at “listening sessions” where staff would be available for face-to-face discussion.

Along with regular updates, there should be public meetings at key points to gather a crowd to provide comment. Workshops should also be part of the mix.

The port has done all of these things in the past as a means to gauge public opinion. I’m sure they’ll keep doing them. Frankly, I don’t need another committee to get between me and the decisionmakers. And neither, I think, do most San Pedrans.

Doug Epperhart is a San Pedro resident, business owner and Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council board member.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Week in Review

Harbor Interfaith Services will be expanding, thanks to a $5-million grant from the county.

Rep. Jane Harman gave a State of the Region address, which ended up focusing on the situation in Afghanistan.

Story and photo gallery from Monday’s Sportswalk induction.

A little write-up and picture of last Saturday’s Citizen of the Century ceremony honoring John Olguin.

About a year after its formation, the downtown San Pedro Property Business Improvement District (P-BID) is hiring a manager. Better hurry and apply; the deadline is 5 p.m. Monday.

From the arts pages, coverage of “Hate Mail” and “Deathtrap,” both on stage now at the Little Fish Theatre Co.

Last but not least, don’t forget to visit and for other events happening around town.

Coastal Council Meeting Monday

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets on Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building, Cabrillo Plaza, Berth 28. View the agenda on the council’s newly redesigned website.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stop the Presses

This week’s San Pedro News will be a day late. It will publish on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 17) and reach your email box tomorrow, Sunday. One item it will contain is the Coastal neighborhood council meeting Monday. View the council’s new website for the agenda.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Here and There

Assorted tidbits for San Pedro newshounds this week.

Per our midweek update, the Olguin memorial unveiling is today, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m.

The new San Pedro High School principal, Jeanette Stevens, will speak at both of next week’s neighborhood council meetings. Hear her Monday (Oct. 12) at the Northwest meeting (6:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave.) and/or Tuesday (Oct. 13) at Central (6 p.m. refreshments, 6:30 p.m. meeting at the Croatian Cultural Center, 510 W. Seventh St.)

This year’s Sportswalk induction ceremony is Monday at 10 a.m. View the inductees and additional information at

If you see a lot of construction and moving trucks around the downtown Centre Street Lofts in the coming months, it’s because the longshore union is establishing its Local 13 offices on the ground floor.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Olguin Monument Unveiling Saturday

Community pillar John Olguin will be honored at a ceremony Saturday to unveil a monument naming him “Citizen of the Century.”

Sponsored by the San Pedro Rotary Club, the event takes place on Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. at the entrance to Pt. Fermin Park, 807 Paseo del Mar.

Here’s the background information from the press release:

Mr. John Olguin served the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department for 50 years in the Aquatics division. His many accomplishments include: Co-founder of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the establishment of the Point Fermin Marine Life Refuge, and past president and charter member of the Cetacean Society. He is considered the local “father of whale watching” and “Mr. San Pedro.” He was given a Lifetime Achievement award by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. For 55 years, he raised the funds and coordinated the Cabrillo Beach Fourth of July fireworks.

“It’s a great honor to be receiving this recognition from the San Pedro Rotary,” said Olguin. “The location of this monument means a lot to me. Many years ago I saw that this piece of land was collecting trash and needed attention. I got people involved to landscape and beautify it.”

The Rotary worked with local government for many years to find the right location for the monument. The small triangular median, noted for its large anchor, at the corner of Gaffey and Shepard Streets was selected. Considering the breadth and depth of Olguin’s community contribution, it’s no surprise that he was instrumental in improving this very spot.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Waterfront Reborn: They Did It

We bring you only one news story this week, but it’s important enough to fill this week’s virtual “paper.”

Photo by John Stinson.

At the end of their seven-hour meeting Tuesday, the Board of Harbor Commissioners voted to approve a sweeping plan to redevelop the San Pedro waterfront.

Commissioners made two amendments to the then working, now final, plan. On the controversial issue of new cruise ship terminal construction, they voted to build the first berth of the outer harbor cruise terminal on east side (away from Cabrillo Beach.)

Secondly, they instructed staff to write an implementation (read: funding) plan in 30 days.

As pictured above, hundreds of community members attended the late-night meeting. A handful of voices are quoted in the Daily Breeze stories “$1.2 billion waterfront redevelopment OK’d”
and “Restaurateur savors waterfront victory.”

It took a decade to approve a plan and will take another decade to build it. But, as the Daily Breeze editorialized, “If their predicted schedule is accurate, we’re more than halfway there.”

If you’re so inclined, you can view the entire meeting on the port’s video page. Lastly, here is the port’s press release on the subject.