Saturday, January 31, 2009

Week in Review

The director of Angels Gate Cultural Center is leaving for a job in Santa Monica, the Daily Breeze reported Tuesday.

The premier issue of San Pedro Today was released Thursday. The magazine, published by the editor of the former San Pedro Magazine, features high school football and includes a number of columnists.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn opined about the port in a Daily Breeze letter and about city services in San Pedro Today.

The latest issue of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council newsletter includes stories on the forthcoming park at 22nd Street, waterfront redevelopment and the controversial Measure B on the March L.A. city ballot.

Knoll Hill Meeting Tuesday

A public meeting is taking place Feb. 3 to review proposed uses for Knoll Hill.

Officials will release the design ideas that came out of a community meeting last year to brainstorm uses for the hilltop land.

The meeting will be held at the Crowne Plaza hotel (601 S. Palos Verdes St.) at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Norma Fernandez at Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, (213) 627-1822 x13 or

First Thursday: New Shops, Eateries to Debut; Closings, Moves and Other Downtown News

The monthly First Thursday artwalk is Feb. 5 from 5-9 p.m. in downtown San Pedro.

Several shops and restaurants are debuting.

7th Street Chophouse

Downtown’s new steakhouse is celebrating its grand opening with a 6:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting at 465 W. Seventh Street.

The steakhouse serves rib eye, New York strip steak, filet mignon and other classics from land and sea.

Chef Gabriel Contreras’ creations include globally-inspired appetizers and lamb, chicken, veal, seafood and vegetarian paella entrees as alternatives to steak.

Filet mignon with chimmichurri sauce.

American Kobe beef and Porcini mushroom ravioli appetizer.

Short rib sliders appetizer.

Chimmichurri is one of Contreras’ five homemade steak sauces. The chef calls it an “herb salsa” made with parsley, cilantro, olive oil and powerful doses of garlic, citrus and pepper.

“We’re delighted to be part of the San Pedro community,” said Judy Garcia of Long Beach, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Ron, and business partners Stephanie and J.R. Perez.

“Our goal is to serve exceptional food with excellent service and to help bring new energy to downtown San Pedro.”

The bar opens at 4 p.m. and dinner is served from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

465 W. Seventh St., San Pedro, (310) 684-1753.

Dance and Shoppe

Dance and Shoppe is opening its doors at 377 W. Seventh St. The dance studio and clothing boutique is owned by Lorena Gomez-Maese, a longtime San Pedro dancer, teacher and businesswoman.

Gomez-Maese and her daughters, Raquel and Catalina, are teaching ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, ballet folklorico and other dances to students from 18 months old through adult. A demonstration of the different types of dance will take place on First Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Gomez-Maese produces Clarita’s Vogue Nutcracker at the Warner Grand Theatre in December and previously owned Chips and Salsa studio and A Place to Dream antique shop in downtown San Pedro.

In Other Downtown News

The Whale & Ale
has added a Tuesday wine tasting called Tasty Tuesdays. Sample four wines for $8-10.

Nosh Cafe is now open until 5 p.m. The cafe is participating in First Thursday this month, hosting a children’s clothing trunk show by Kelley Hart Creations, a San Pedro-based designer.

Glamour Puss Beauty Boutique is going out of business at 317 W. Sixth St., (310) 831-0332. All stock is half-off through Jan. 31.

Infected Clothing is moving from its location near the Whale and Ale up the street to 361 W. Seventh St.

Many stores are having sales and Valentine’s Day specials. Bring your list and shop local!

Coming soon: Two establishments are hoping to open this week or soon afterwards. A sleek new bar and lounge is coming online in the Crowne Plaza hotel on the Sixth Street side. Also, Michel’s Unique Cafe expects to open this week in the 8th Street Lofts building at 8th Street and Pacific Avenue. The cafe will initially serve coffee, pastries and chocolate, later adding crepes, pizza and ice cream. (Full disclosure: your San Pedro News editor is a paid consultant for the 8th Street Lofts.)

Watch for reports on downtown entertainment and housing in February issues.

Charitable Fun

A Pair to Admire

A fundraiser for breast cancer treatment is asking for donations of creativity as well as money.

For a $200 entry fee, donors are invited to decorate a bra in creative and/or sentimental ways. The bras will be sold in a silent auction benefitting breast cancer diagnosis and treatment for low-income Harbor Area women.

The entry deadline is Feb. 15 and the auction is Feb. 27.

The fundraiser is sponsored by Soroptimist International of Los Angeles Harbor. For more information, entry forms or event tickets, contact Marta Valladolid at (310) 832-5482 or

Merlot for Mammals

Drink wine, munch on hummus, sip soda and save the mammals.

The Corner Store is hosting another tasting fundraiser on Feb. 7, this one benefitting the veterinary program at the Marine Mammal Care Center.

Tastings will be held at 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m. for a $15 donation.

Space is limited and reservations are advised. To sign up, visit The Corner Store at 1118 W 37th St. or call Jill Romano at (310) 548-5677.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Celebration Time

New President

Locals gathered at Ports O’ Call restaurant to celebrate President Obama’s inauguration. Harbor Area bloggers documented their stories and photos in Random Lengths News’ Inauguration Notebook.

New Century for Bookstore

Councilwoman Janice Hahn was among many to congratulate Williams’ Book Store for its centennial anniversary. Owners Anne and Jerry Gusha, pictured with Hahn, also received commendations from Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the San Pedro Bay Historical Society.

Author Angi Ma Wong signed Reggie: My Story on Friday night, a children’s book – and stuffed animal – about the infamous Harbor City alligator.

Williams’ 1-0-0 was covered in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze and Random Lengths. See the store’s website for this weekend’s schedule of readings and events.

Governing, Local Edition

Coastal Council Meets Monday with New Boardmembers in Office, 1 Vacancy to Fill

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building.

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

Two new governing board members were appointed to vacant seats in November. One more vacancy remains to be filled on Monday or thereafter. (Visit the website or call the council for more information about serving on the board.)

Here are profiles of the recently appointed board members.

Jennifer Marquez is a Pt. Fermin mother of two and magazine columnist with 15 years of experience at non-profit organizations. She wrote about issues concerning children for the former San Pedro Magazine and will continue in the forthcoming San Pedro Today.

“I ran for the board because I want to have more representation for families with children,” said Marquez. “This is a great community and I enjoy living here, however, it could be more family friendly.

“I am concerned that with all the new housing, the impact on the local schools is not being addressed. I hope to achieve a safer, healthier community that is committed to the future generations of San Pedro.”

Dawn Turner is a mother of three who works in the medical industry. Through her children’s sports teams and recreational activities, Turner is actively involved in many youth and community organizations.

“It is very important for me to be involved in the community in which I live,” said Turner. “As a private citizen, I have tried to affect things that will help my local community, but found it fraught with challenges and many times with minimal results.

“As I live in and engage the community, I’ve had many conversations with many people with very good ideas, comments, suggestions and complaints. I felt that I needed to act on my strong sense of civic responsibility, not only my behalf, but [for] all of those [people] that … feel like they don’t have a voice or don’t know how to have their voice heard.

“The board should be representative of the diversity of San Pedro. I think I can contribute to that tenet.”

Friday, January 16, 2009

Presidential in Pedro

This handwritten lawnsign was displayed in the 2100 block of Paseo del Mar last November.

Inauguration Party

Harbor Area politicos will celebrate the presidential inauguration Tuesday at Ports O’ Call restaurant.

The Jan. 20 party is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. and will include a replay of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, a no-host bar, appetizers and music.

The free event is sponsored by Random Lengths News, with, the San Pedro Democratic Club and the Progressive Democratic Club. Ek & Ek Public Advocacy and Spirit Cruises are hosting the party.

Ports O’ Call is located at Berth 76 in Ports Call O’ Village. Call (310) 833-3553 for more information.

Here are a few of the other inauguration events happening throughout Los Angeles.

Play by Play

Two Harbor Area residents have gone East for the inauguration and are blogging about their experiences for Random Lengths News. Visit the RLN Inauguration Notebook for their field reports.

Election Analysis

Following is an excerpt of Random Lengths’ analysis of the Harbor Area vote. It assessed the vote by neighborhood council district, finding that 74.1 percent of Central San Pedro voters, 64.7 percent of Coastal San Pedro voters and 65.2 percent of Northwest San Pedro voters cast ballots for Obama.

How the Harbor Area Voted
In the Harbor Area, Barack Obama won a majority in every city or district except for the Republican strongholds on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, ranging from a high of over 80 percent in two districts, 86.0 percent in Harbor Gateway North and 81.3 percent in Long Beach Council District 1 to a low of 33.6 percent in small enclave of Rolling Hills. Obama’s share in San Pedro ranged from 64.7 in the Coastal Neighborhood Council District to 74.1 percent in Central San Pedro. His margin in Wilmington was 76.9 percent. The overall totals for the area covered were 146,240 votes for Obama (68.6 percent) compared to 62,877 votes for McCain (29.5 percent). This compares to a statewide margin of 8,063,473 votes for Obama (61.1 percent) compared to 4,902,278 votes for McCain (37.1 percent). Local results are final. Statewide results will not be final until Dec. 13. The Harbor Area was 7.5 percent more supportive of Barack Obama than the state as a whole.

Source: Random Lengths News, Dec. 12, 2008. A table of data accompanied the story and can be viewed on page 5 of the back issue.

Shaping Ponte Vista Anew

The new Ponte Vista management is pledging to work with the community to revise plans for the Western Avenue property.

“There is a spirit of cooperation. We are moving forward with community outreach,” a spokeswoman told the Daily Breeze in a story published Wednesday.

Williams’ Book Store, Centenarian

Williams’ Book Store is celebrating its 100th birthday Jan. 23-25 with readings, discounts and more.

Author Ray Bradbury of “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles” is scheduled to visit on Jan. 24. Local history will be told through stories of Reggie the Alligator, San Pedro Faces and Places and a series of readings on the event’s closing day.

See the Williams’ website for full details.

Coastal Council Meeting 1 Week Later

This month’s Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting is one week later than usual.

The meeting will be on Jan. 26 due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday. The agenda is already posted.

The February meeting is also a week later due to Presidents Day.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Coastal Panel OKs Angels Gate School

The state coastal commission voted Wednesday to approve construction of a public high school at Angels Gate.

San Pedro community activists opposed to the school trekked to Oceanside to testify at the meeting.

The Daily Breeze did pre- and post-meeting stories on Wednesday and Thursday.

Hear Hahn at Northwest Council Meeting Monday

Councilwoman Janice Hahn will attend Monday’s Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting to update the community on local issues.

The meeting takes place on Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N Western Ave. As noted on the agenda, Hahn will speak at the beginning of the meeting.

New Board Members Join Central Council Tuesday

Two new board members will take office at Tuesday’s Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting.

Caroline Brady-Sinco is development director at Harbor Interfaith Services. She previously worked at the old News-Pilot, Habitat for Humanity and Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office. “In these tough economic times, I think it’s more important than ever to represent the homeless and working poor families who live in our community,” said Brady-Sinco. “I hope to build awareness and new friendships that will help serve the Harbor Interfaith constituency.”

Carlos Perez owns Best Tire on South Pacific Avenue and Third Street. Perez did not respond to San Pedro News’ request for comment.

The meeting takes place on Jan. 13 at 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. Check to see if the agenda is posted.

Perspectives on Parks

On the subject of parks and recreational facilities, Harbor Area residents want hiking trails and bike paths, according to the results of a city survey.

The Daily Breeze story gives an overview of the city report, which found that area residents also favored neighborhood “pocket” parks, nature trails and swimming pools.

On a related note, Recreation and Parks official Mark Mariscal will speak at Tuesday’s meeting of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, where he will give a report on the Harbor Area parks budget.

Inauguration Party at Ports O’ Call

An inauguration party is set for Jan. 20 at Ports O’ Call restaurant. The party will feature a replay of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, a no-host bar, appetizers and music.

The free event is from 5-9 p.m. It is sponsored by Random Lengths News, with, the San Pedro Democratic Club and the Progressive Democratic Club. Ek & Ek Public Advocacy and Spirit Cruises are hosting the party.

Ports O’ Call is located at Berth 76 in Ports Call O’ Village. Call (310) 833-3553 for more information.

Resolving to Change

Expert Advice to Eat Healthy and Get Organized

Local experts are leading workshops to help organize your life and improve your health, two New Year’s resolutions you can keep with effort and determination.

Get Healthy

A professional nutritionist will give a free health lecture at Henry’s Market on Wednesday.

Nutritionist Janet Little will introduce “Whole Body Rehab,” a six-week program to naturally cleanse the body and teach participants about healthy eating habits that can be followed for life.

The lecture takes place on Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. at Henry’s Market, 820 N. Western Ave. See the web page for more information.

Get Organized

Consultant Nancy Miller recently taught a workshop on eliminating clutter and organizing your home and office.

Miller’s workshop, held at the Palos Verdes main library, was geared to helping people simplify, clean, neaten and organize the stuff in their lives.

Miller defines clutter as “anything that is excess for you.”

Here are some of the tips and insights Miller shared to eliminate clutter:

Clutter is a byproduct of stored fear and postponed decisions. People are so busy doing things, buzzing from one multitasking moment to the next, that they don’t have time to catch up. One solution is to create deadlines for yourself that once came naturally. For example, think back to the days when most people worked in an office. People would clear their desks before going on vacation. Nowadays, for purposes of the self-employed, retired people and home organization, the goal is to schedule a day of the week to simulate the pre-vacation ritual.

What you own owns you. “Whatever you bring home, you have to babysit for the rest of your life,” said Miller, using the theatre program as an example. Miller’s solution is to be brazen and shameless in pitching clutter. Efforts to be environmentally sensitive and recycle are admirable and should be made, said Miller, but sometimes “good intentions become junk. Throwing stuff away is wonderful. You have to get your head above the clutter before you can save the world.”

Most people wear the same 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. To clean your closet almost effortlessly, turn all the hangers around so they’re facing backwards, towards the inside of your closet. When you take something out to wear or wash it, face its hanger normally when you return it to the closet. The clothes that are still backwards after six months are evidently not being worn. Bid them farewell and get rid of them!

When filing something, ask five questions: why do I want it; is it in another file; is this material timely; how long should this be kept; and what would happen if it were lost? Miller’s premise here is that most things are kept on a discretionary basis. If it’s not critical to your basic livelihood and lifestyle – that is, if it won’t get you fired or divorced – then keeping it is a choice.

Miller suggested several exercises to help change habits. Pretend to go paperless. Pay all your bills online, for example. Also, don’t replace your printer’s ink cartridge right away; pretend you don’t have another cartridge on hand. Pretend you have to move tomorrow. Pretend you’re moving into a dorm room or nursing home. Pretend you have five minutes to evacuate your house.

Miller advises an annual ritual to go through the house and toss, relocate, give way or repair things that are out of place, out of use or just plain clutter. For this annual event and all other organizational efforts, though, Miller cautions not to devise a system that’s more complicated than the original problem.

A self-declared “clutterologist,” Miller has authored a book, CD and DVD on “clutterology” and makes house calls to “defeat clutter where it lives.”

Visit for more information.

Be Further Resolved

See this recent Daily Breeze write-up for more ideas on “making – and keeping – your resolutions.”

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ponte Vista News

‘Arrested development’

The Western Avenue housing proposal was among the Daily Breeze’s top 10 stories of 2008. Under the headline “Arrested development,” the Breeze wrote:

The end of 2008 saw a flurry of news surrounding San Pedro’s controversial Ponte Vista housing development.

In November, city planning officials issued a long-awaited ruling saying that the 1,950-home project for Western Avenue was too big and did not conform to the community plan.

It was a blow for developer Bob Bisno, who had been trying since October 2005 to win approval for the 61.5-acre project.

Then, another surprise: Bisno, a polarizing figure who had become a lightning rod for community critics of the project, was booted from his role as head of the development team.

A division of Credit Suisse bank, Bisno’s top investor, assumed control of Ponte Vista on Dec. 12, the day after a Planning Commission hearing was planned on the development. That hearing has been pushed back to Feb. 12.

What happens next is still unclear.

Credit Suisse officials are expected to meet with community members after the first of the year to discuss what, if any, changes might be made to the existing plan.

According to Ponte Vista ...

There are reports that the official Ponte Vista blog has been updated with a message regarding some of the changes noted above. However, the website was having technical difficulties at presstime. Visit to see if anything materializes.

Coastal Panel to Vote on Angels Gate School Wednesday

The California Coastal Commission will vote this week on a coastal development permit for the proposed Angels Gate high school.

The L.A. school district must get the state commission’s approval as the final step towards constructing the 810-seat hilltop school.

Some community opponents are planning to attend the Jan. 7 meeting in Oceanside to testify against the permit.

The public can also submit written testimony and view real-time audio or video of the meeting. Links and instructions are posted on the meeting agenda page.

Open House on Harbor Freeway Ramp Widening

An open house is taking place Wednesday regarding the proposed widening of the Harbor Freeway ramps most often used by truckers leaving the port.

The public meeting takes place on Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Bannings Landing, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington. It is co-sponsored by the port of L.A. and CalTrans.

The open house will cover plans to improve and/or widen the C Street and John S. Gibson Boulevard ramps and the Vincent Thomas Bridge transition road to the northbound Harbor Freeway.

For more information, call (310) 732-3362 or view the meeting agenda.

New Laws

Here’s an overview of the new laws that took effect on Jan. 1, with links to state laws, DMV laws and business laws.

More on Downtown Security Officers

The Daily Breeze published a story and photos of the new downtown security officers, as reported in last week’s San Pedro News.

On the Horizon

San Pedro Today is expected to debut this month; watch for it around town ... More homeowners will be moving into the Vue; watch for a new wave of downtown residents ... By mid-month, the downtown steakhouse will open as a promising new place to ‘meat’ up ... 100-year-old Williams Bookstore is having a grand three-day party in late January to mark a century in business.