Friday, January 29, 2010

So Says the Chief

Police Chief Charlie Beck, center, is surrounded by community groups supporting the Harbor Division station.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck outlined his priorities before an audience of civic leaders at a San Pedro luncheon Thursday.

Beck identified Constitutional policing – that is, following the law to enforce the law – plus crime reduction and terrorism prevention as some of his goals for the department. He also expressed deep concern for the wellbeing of officers, a number of whom are facing a “perfect storm” of reduced overtime pay and difficulties paying their mortgages and keeping their homes.

Beck said he comes to San Pedro at least once a week to visit his parents, George and Elma, longtime San Pedro residents.

Sponsored by the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, the luncheon recognized nine volunteer organizations supporting the LAPD Harbor Division. The Harbor Area Boosters Assn., Harbor Area Cadets, Harbor LITES, the Harbor Area Community Police Advisory Board, the Teen Community Police Advisory Board, the Harbor Area Volunteer Corps, the Harbor Area Reserve Corps, the Weed and Seed Project, and the Harbor Area Crisis Response Team received certificates of appreciation for their service.

Week in Review

Today’s Daily Breeze reports at length on the San Pedro High School reform meeting Thursday, attended by an estimated 1,300 people.

The February issue of San Pedro Today has a cover story on The Corner Store, plus commentaries by eight community leaders.

On the heels of the movement to bring the USS Iowa to San Pedro comes the idea to do likewise for the newly decommissioned nuclear submarine USS Los Angeles.

LA school board member Dick Vladovic penned a letter to the editor sharply critical of the cell phone towers near Taper Avenue Elementary School.

This news was kept on the down-low until it was too late: Canetti’s Seafood Grotto has closed.

On a related note, the Los Angeles Times published a Papadakis retrospective as the restaurant serves its final dinner on Jan. 31.

First Thursday This Week

The monthly First Thursday artwalk is Feb. 4 in downtown San Pedro. Highlights include:

  • An exhibit at the Croatian Cultural Center, 510 W. 7th St., by a 12-year-old photographer.

  • The unveiling of a labor mural by Slobodan Dimitrov at La Salle Lofts, 200 block of West Seventh Street, at 4:30 p.m.

  • A free guided tour of select galleries, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Off the Vine Wines, 491 W. Sixth St. Participants are invited to join in a $5 wine tasting before the hour-long tour.

Under a grant from the LA Community Redevelopment Agency, fINdings Art Center is now coordinating First Thursday. For more information, call Annette Ciketic at (310) 489-1362.

OPINION: Neighborhood Council Funding Threatened; Budget of $0 Proposed

By Doug Epperhart

The city’s chief administrative officer has issued a report recommending that neighborhood councils not be funded for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Instead of the $45,000 allocated to each council in 2009, they’d get zero. And any money left over from this fiscal year would also be taken.

What would that mean for San Pedro?

  • No more money for beautification along North Gaffey.
  • No more money for trees in Central San Pedro.

  • No more money for programs and projects at Point Fermin, 15th Street, Taper Avenue, San Pedro High, and other schools.

  • No more money for Shakespeare by the Sea, Little Fish Theatre, Warner Grand movies, Music by the Sea, or any other community events and groups.

  • No more Coastal Currents or Northwest Advocate newsletters.

But, it also means those of us who have given years of volunteer time to neighborhood councils will not just fade from the scene or go away. We will still be here, fighting for our families and our neighbors and our community.

It’s true the city of Los Angeles is on the verge of bankruptcy. Revenues continue to decline faster than the city can cut its expenses. This is why the mayor proposes selling off parking meters and structures to a private operator, something many of us neighborhood council activists oppose. One likened the short-term gain to selling off grandma’s good silver to buy a bottle of scotch.

If you want to get a handle on what will happen at City Hall next week, go to, a website created by L.A.’s neighborhood councils.

Meanwhile, call Councilwoman Janice Hahn, (310) 732-4515, and Mayor Villaraigosa’s Harbor Area representative, Ricardo Hong, (310) 732-4632, and let them know how you feel about this attempt to kill neighborhood councils. Or email and

By the way, the report doesn’t recommend touching the councilmembers’ $179,000 salaries or their office budgets or slush funds. You might want to offer an opinion about that, too.
Doug Epperhart is a San Pedro business owner, community leader and member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Friday, January 22, 2010


It’s a matter of fact: according to the data, the South Bay was hardest hit by this week’s rain storms. Storm drains were overwhelmed, homes were flooded and reporters and photographers documented the story over three days.

Wednesday headlines: “Storms wreak havoc in South Bay”

Thursday headlines: “Second storm pelts South Bay”

Friday headlines: “San Pedro residents now coping with flood aftermath” and “Sandbags, sand were scarce commodities in San Pedro during storm”

Plus, “San Pedro beach parking area remains closed due to mudslides”

Sea creatures also soaked: “Dozens of disoriented pelicans recovering from storm’s effects” and “Dolphin is latest marine mammal to wash up on Cabrillo Beach”

Photo gallery

Video of damage at Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue

Getting help: phone list of government agencies, fire stations and other resources from Councilwoman Janice Hahn. (San Pedro Today provides a printer-friendly version here.)

All stories from the Daily Breeze unless otherwise attributed.

Big Ships Make Big News

Today, the USS Los Angeles is being decommissioned in a private ceremony in San Pedro. The Navy vessel, nuclear warheads and all, patrolled during the Cold War and is now destined to become scrap metal in Washington state. View the photo gallery here.

Last Sunday’s Daily Breeze reported on the twists and turns in efforts to bring the USS Iowa to San Pedro.

Civic News

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is coming to San Pedro to keynote a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday.

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meets Monday, Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building, Cabrillo Plaza, Berth 28. For more information, view the agenda or call (310) 290-0049.

“Port of LA High School looking to buy its building from port,” says today’s Daily Breeze.

A new issue of Random Lengths News has been published, with a cover story on the 22nd Street Park. (Extra credit if the name Bea Atwood Hunt means anything to you).

Pin-Up Fashion

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles is staging a fashion show Sunday at the Warner Grand Theatre, featuring pin-up looks of the 1920s to 50s. Half of proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the theatre. Details in the Daily Breeze story and at the Grand Vision Foundation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week in Review

Local law enforcement got a little stronger with the addition of 17 new officers to the LAPD Harbor Division.

In port news, the Los Angeles Times ran a story on the Clean Trucks program and both the LAT and Daily Breeze reported that cargo traffic is up.

The Fresno Bee covers the possibility that state Sen. Dean Florez may withdraw from the lieutenant governor race, effectively clearing the Democratic field for Councilwoman Janice Hahn. Said Florez: “Janice Hahn is formidable, no doubt.”

One last opa – Papadakis Taverna will close at the end of this month.

Short story and pictures from the opening of the 22nd Street Park last Saturday.

Civic Calendar

Only one entity submitted a proposal to operate San Pedro High School under the Public School Choice system, instituted for low-performing schools. That entity is an alliance of teachers and parents of the school itself. Attend a public meeting Wednesday to hear a presentation on the proposal. The meeting takes place on Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. at the school auditorium, 1001 W. 15th St. The 128-page proposal can be viewed here.

The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting is a week later due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. It will be held on Jan. 25.

Arts News

Little Fish Theatre Co. is staging Pick of the Vine, nine short plays that earned four stars in the Daily Breeze review.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Speed Reading

Quick news for your Saturday morning.

Tie your shoes and scoot out of the house for today’s opening of the 22nd Street Park. Speechifying with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council and others is at 11 a.m., followed by free lunch. Find more background information in this week’s Daily Breeze story.

And/or, take your precinct-walking shoes over to the Stammreich for State Senate kickoff today in Torrance.

The Arcade Building in downtown San Pedro celebrated its 85th birthday this week.

In case you were wondering how business is doing at the twin ports, the Los Angeles Times reports they are “fight[ing] to stay dominant,” noting “the port complex has been handling less cargo as competitors in Mexico, Canada and other parts of the U.S. draw more traffic.”

The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council will hear a presentation on the USS Iowa at its Tuesday meeting. The Jan. 12 meeting takes place at the Croatian Cultural Center, 510 W. Seventh Street, beginning with refreshments at 6 p.m. and the meeting at 6:30 p.m.

The regular monthly meeting of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council is Monday, Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave.

A new issue of Random Lengths News is circulating in print and online, with a cover story on the top local stories of 2009.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Civic Notes

Councilwoman Janice Hahn has officially entered this year’s Lt. Gov. race. Read the press release at

Local Republican Party leader and former Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council board member John Stammreich is running for state Senate, 28th District. Stammreich is challenging incumbent Jenny Oropeza (D-Redondo Beach) for the seat, which represents portions of San Pedro and other South Bay communities. (Click here to find out your state legislative districts). A kickoff rally is taking place in Torrance next Saturday, Jan. 9. Details at

A new issue of San Pedro Today is circulating in print and online, with a cover story on businesswoman Rae Gates.

Arcade Building Birthday Party at First Thursday

The monthly downtown San Pedro artwalk is this Thursday, Jan. 7.

The Arcade Building on Sixth Street is marking 85 years with a daylong celebration that includes seminars, birthday cake and a mixer. Details at

Check the First Thursday website early next week for additional highlights.

22nd Street Park Opens Next Saturday

The long-awaited grand opening of the 22nd Street Park is next Saturday, Jan. 9. The dedication ceremony takes place at 11 a.m., followed by a free picnic from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Located between Miner Street and Via Cabrillo Marina, the park includes a 4.5-acre field, walking paths, bocce ball courts, bike paths, benches, restrooms and plenty of free parking.

Host a Foreign Student

Looking for something unusual to do in the new year? Consider hosting an international student attending Marymount College in Palos Verdes. The Foreign Language School is seeking host families, who get a $500 monthly stipend and priceless cultural enrichment.

So It’s a New Year. Whaddya Think?

The Daily Breeze published New Year’s remarks by a bunch of South Bay political leaders. Read their musings here ... or not. What do you think? What’s your vision for San Pedro this year? Chime in with your comments.