Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

We’ll return to political news next week. Right now, the most important government agency is NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and its critical Santa-tracking mission. 

From the Washington Post:

According to the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site, radar gives NORAD the first indication that Santa has taken off from the North Pole. NORAD uses, in addition to Santa cams and a fighter jet escort, geosynchronous satellites equipped with infrared sensors that can zero in on — “Amazingly, Rudolph’s bright red nose gives off an infrared signature, which allows our satellites to detect Rudolph and Santa,” the site says.

Have yourself a merry little holiday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hahn Happenings

Upon return from the Thanksgiving recess, the House resumed debate over the payroll tax cut. In floor remarks on Nov. 30, Hahn said, “Americans need jobs and businesses need customers. A payroll tax cut helps accomplish both.”

House Republicans released a payroll tax cut proposal Friday and it is expected to be voted on this week.

From the Washington Post: “At a Capitol news conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned that congressional Democrats would reject the latest GOP offering as an effort to ‘hold hostage’ the payroll benefit for middle-class workers.”

Because the legislative package includes provisions related to a controversial oil pipeline project, Senate Democrats have pledged to vote down the Republican proposal.


Joined by nine Congressional colleagues, Hahn continued to push for additional customs agents at LAX. In a letter to the administrator of the Customs and Border Protection agency, the lawmakers emphasized, “LAX simply does not have an adequate number of inspectors to accommodate current and future passenger traffic.” Daily Breeze. Hahn press release.


With support from Hahn, the Grand Vision Foundation in downtown San Pedro received a $10,00 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Daily Breeze. Hahn press release.


Los Angeles Times sports columnist Chris Erskine speculated tongue-in-cheek about public ownership of the LA Dodgers, mentioning a bill Hahn co-authored to permit such arrangements.

San Pedro District Office Opening

Hahn is opening a district office at 140 W. Sixth St. in downtown San Pedro on Jan. 5. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place during the First Thursday event. View the announcement for details and to RSVP.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Talk to the White House

On Dec. 2, the White House is hosting a public conference call. This is not to say President Obama is coming on the line to chat, but it is a chance to dialog with the administration.

From the White House:

On Friday, December 2nd at 1:00 p.m. ET, please join us for a conference call with Mark Zuckerman, Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, to discuss this week’s We Can’t Wait Executive Actions. These announcements build on our ongoing effort to take action and help middle class families. These steps aren’t a substitute for the bold action we need to create jobs and grow the economy, but they’ll make a difference.

WHAT: We Can’t Wait Update Call
WHEN: Friday, December 2nd
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Dial In:  (877) 941-6029
Passcode Title: White House Update Call

If it goes like a previous call did, the officials will speak semi-formally but casually and then there is time for callers’ questions.

The call is hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Here is the sign-up form for White House newsletters, including notices of other such conference calls.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hahn Happenings

Noting that 28,000 veterans live in the district, Rep. Hahn voted for legislation that gives businesses incentives to hire veterans. The legislation is part of President Obama’s jobs bill and was signed into law this month. Hahn’s press release. White House fact sheet.

With economics and national security at play, “Hahn asks for review of Customs and Border Protection staffing issues.” LAX officials have urged the federal government to increase staffing and this month Hahn called on Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin to  review the personnel situation.

Voting with Dollars to Support Small Businesses

Rep. Hahn marks nationwide Small Business Saturday with shopping tour of local communities

Hahn makes a point of signaling her support for small business.
Newsradio interview at Village Garden in Redondo Beach, as the owner toils in the background at left.
Fringe Home Furnishings and Boutique in Redondo Beach.
Hahn votes with her consumer dollars at Grand Emporium in San Pedro. 

The second annual Small Business Saturday was held on Nov. 26. Created by American Express, the day encourages shoppers to patronize local small businesses in their communities.

In endorsing the effort, President Obama called small business the “backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our nation’s promise.” For their part, the president and his daughters shopped at an independent bookstore in Washington.

With two TV cameras rolling, Rep. Hahn shopped at several stores in San Pedro and Redondo Beach.

“These are the businesses that are hiring people. These are the businesses that are really helping our economy,” Hahn told Channel 7.

Shopping small and local is “friendlier and more convenient and it helps the local community,” Hahn said.

Between buying gifts for her grandchildren and browsing jewelry collections, Hahn talked shop with the business owners to get a sense of how they’ve weathered the current economic climate. By and large, the shopkeepers reported steady business from a local customer base.

After browsing and buying in the Riviera Village area of Redondo Beach, Hahn bought Christmas decorations from the Grand Emporium in downtown San Pedro.

As member of the House Small Business Committee, Hahn is pushing to streamline the loan process and otherwise increase small business’ access to capital.

Easterly Snapshot

Only in Washington might you find the Capitol all buttered up on the banquet table.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In Brief

Not much to report about Congresswoman Janice Hahn this issue.

Hahn and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer introduced a bill to allow fans to own sports teams, but it wouldn’t become law in time for public ownership of the Dodgers. Hahn’s press release. Daily Breeze.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach), who is running against Hahn next year in the newly redrawn 44th Congressional District. Richardson faces charges of requiring aides to work on her 2010 re-election campaign. Daily Breeze.

Harbor Area residents were among the “Japanese-American World War II veterans awarded Congressional Gold Medal” at the Capitol on Nov. 2.

Needless to say, Rep. Hahn and San Pedro News readers had some voting to do this past week. Following Tuesday’s primary election for the LA City Council seat Hahn vacated, state Assemblyman Warren Furutani and police officer Joe Buscaino are headed for a January runoff.

Easterly Snapshot

You know it’s a company town when … Politico newspaper held a half-day conference on Nov. 1 approximately a year before the 2012 election. Or, precisely 371 days, 8 hours, 49 minutes and 23 seconds before the last polling place will close on Nov. 6, 2012. The ticker counted down at center stage through four panels of politicians, journalists, consultants, academics and other analysts. Background information and reports, minus the hypnotic ticker, can be found in Politico’s One-Year Countdown section.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hahn Happenings

Second from left, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) cheers Rep. Hahn’s message. Standing to Hahn’s right are Reps. John Olver (D-Mass.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)

Rep. Janice Hahn defended Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in light of recent proposals to cut the programs. Hahn joined fellow congressmembers and activists at an Oct. 26 press conference to denounce proposals coming out of the so-called Supercommittee. At the Capitol Hill press conference led by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), speakers urged the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to protect medical and retirement benefits. “Let’s remember these aren’t giveaways,” said Hahn. “Social Security and Medicare benefits have been earned by people who have worked decades paying into the system.”

In partnership with Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tx.), Hahn formed the bipartisan Ports Opportunity, Renewal, Trade and Security (PORTS) Caucus to promote port-related economic and national security issues. Shortly after announcing the caucus’ formation, congressmembers from Washington state, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Illinois and Missouri joined the caucus, according to Hahn.

Hahn criticized the Transportation Security Administration for its handling of the recent incident at LAX involving a loaded gun in checked luggage.  In a letter to the TSA administrator, Hahn wrote, “I was especially disturbed to hear the spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration tell the Los Angeles Times that it is not the TSA’s responsibility to screen checked baggage for guns.  As reported on October 23, TSA spokeswoman Laurie Dankers said, ‘It’s the airline and passenger’s responsibility to ensure that firearms are transported correctly.’” Claiming the TSA has “abdicated responsibility,” Hahn wrote, “I would like to know, if the TSA is not enforcing its own regulations about loaded firearms in luggage, who is?”

On matters of foreign policy, Hahn issued brief statements about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

District Business

In speeches to area Chambers of Commerce, Hahn updated local business leaders on her efforts to harness federal resources for the district.

Hahn singled out infrastructure, education and business reforms as the three catalysts to a stronger economy.

“I’m particularly eager to give small businesses the tools they need to succeed,” said Hahn, who serves on the House Small Business Committee.

“I want to keep in place tax credits that make it easier for small businesses to hire new employees, especially veterans. I want to cut the red tape small businesses must contend with and am working to create person-to-person contacts within the government to help you.

“I’ve been meeting with the Small Business Administration to free up capital for the small businesses in our region,” Hahn said at a San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Oct. 28.

Hahn addressed similar issues in her State of the Region speech to the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 19.

Electronic Democracy

New forms of online communication to send a message to Washington

Engage with the White House

The White House this week launched a one-stop website of opportunities to express opinions and access information about federal policy. Among the most hands-on aspects of is Open for Questions, White House Office Hours and Advise the Advisor – all vehicles for direct and/or real-time communication with senior officials.

These initiatives and others are detailed on the Get Involved page. We the People is where the public can create and sign petitions. The Latest News page includes a calendar of live phone calls, video conferences and other ways to tune in and speak up.

Vote Nov. 8

The special election for the 15th District Los Angeles City Council seat vacated by Rep. Hahn is Tuesday, Nov. 8. At presstime, the latest Daily Breeze headline indicates “Furutani has largest war chest in 15th District race.” 

Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm. The deadline to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot is Nov. 1. Additional election information can be found on the LA City Clerk website.

Easterly Snapshot

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was dedicated on Oct. 16, with remarks by President Obama (text/video) and a star-studded assembly of speakers and entertainers. San Pedro News took these pictures on the fateful morning of Aug. 23. At the time, commemorative events were underway ahead of the original dedication set for Aug. 28. DC Mayor Vince Gray held an Aug. 23 press conference to designate DC Day, envisioned as a special day for DC residents to preview the memorial. Hurricane Irene forced the Aug. 28 dedication to be rescheduled. And Aug. 23 is when the historic earthquake sent monumental shock waves through the Eastern Seaboard. (Right now, as San Pedro News is typing at midday on Sat., Oct. 29, freezing rain is falling outside our Capitol Hill newsroom. It’s a windy 36° and snowing elsewhere. Hurricanes, earthquakes and now a rare pre-Halloween snowfall – evidently, Mother Nature is in quite the mood).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hahn Happenings

Rep. Janice Hahn took positions on abortion rights, labor policy, free trade agreements and other legislation in recent weeks.

In a Small Business Committee hearing, Hahn energetically defended the generic workplace posters that advise employees of their National Labor Relations Act rights.

“While small businesses call out to Congress for the help they need to hire and grow, Republicans are wasting time with their anti-union obsession,” said Hahn. “With millions of unemployed Americans depending on the Small Business Committee to create jobs, Republicans thought it was more important to debate a poster.”

Following a meeting with more than 50 local businesses, Hahn also voiced their concerns to the Small Business Administration. Arguing that businesses are hindered by bureaucratic paperwork and cumbersome procedures to apply for loans, Hahn called for reforms to expedite the loan process and invited the SBA administrator to visit the district.

Saying “I will not vote to fill the coffers of foreign governments at the expense of hard-working Americans,” Hahn voted against free trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Columbia.

The legislation passed the House and Senate on Oct. 13. According to the Washington Post, “the South Korea deal is widely hailed as the most consequential trade pact since the North American Free Trade Agreement was ratified in 1994.”

Hahn introduced an amendment to a piece of Republican environmental legislation that lessened restrictions on industrial boiler emissions. Hahn’s amendment would have upheld hazardous emissions standards for industrial boilers in the most polluted regions of the US.

Hahn’s amendment was defeated and the main EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 (H.R. 2250) passed the House on Oct. 13. Authored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), the bill now goes to the Senate.

Images of ‘Occupy DC’

Two cooperating groups are occupying DC as part of the national protest running from Wall Street to San Pedro.

Under the rallying cry of “Stop the Machine! Create a New World,” a grassroots group called is occupying Freedom Plaza along Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from the White House. Occupy DC is camping in a park on K Street, a downtown thoroughfare synonymous with lobbyist power.

On Oct. 7, protesters staged a march to the White House and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, weaving past monuments and along busy K Street.

Marching towards the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the White House and Washington Monument in the background.

In the course of the following week, they’d intersect with the adjoining Taste of DC food festival, for which they posted a sign reading “Join Us – Democracy Tastes Good.” They’d protest at museums, a Senate office building, the main train station and other high-profile locations around DC, resulting in a pepper-spray incident and arrests at several sites.

In response to questions about the movement’s agenda, DC organizer Kevin Zeese said protesters’ goal is to “end corporate rule.”

Our new Facebook page features a photo gallery of the Oct. 7 march through downtown DC.

Like, Follow, Tweet, Repeat

Connect with San Pedro News on Facebook and Twitter for more tidbits of DC.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hahn Happenings

Rep. Janice Hahn was named to the Small Business Committee on Sept. 22. The committee oversees the Small Business Administration and its programs in addition to matters related to small business financial aid and assistance, regulatory flexibility, and paperwork reduction. This is Hahn’s second committee assignment, following her appointment to the Homeland Security Committee.

Hahn testified on the House floor about the long-term infrastructure bill.

“In my home city of Los Angeles, we’re already pursuing innovative measures like the 30/10, America Fast Forward initiative to get the infrastructure we need to stay competitive tomorrow built today,” Hahn said. “That initiative promises to create 160,000 jobs in my area alone. Just think of what that good program could do for our country as a whole.”

“Keeping our nation competitive in the future requires vision and boldness in the present, and I urge my colleagues to pass a long-term surface transportation bill equal to the opportunity before us.”

SP to DC

One in an occasional series on a San Pedran working the Washington political machine

Jim Thebaut, a downtown San Pedro resident, recently spearheaded a major environmental conference at the United Nations in New York.

Through his South Bay-based think tank, Thebaut produces documentary films on domestic and international water policy and other related issues.

Thebaut’s Chronicles Group partnered with the Energy and Water Institute of New York to organize the International Water Forum at the United Nations on Sept. 16.

“The overall objective of the forum is to establish water as a critical focus of the UN delegates’ attention while educating the general public about the severity of water shortages, climate change, drought and their connection to energy, public health, poverty, hunger, groundwater and aquifer depletion, agriculture, food supply, population growth and ultimately international security,” said Thebaut. “This is a global crisis that will require the attention of the world community if a solution is to be found.”

Attended by more than 600 water experts and stakeholders, the forum was convened as the first step in a global, grassroots public education and awareness campaign to spur citizen activism towards policy solutions.

In introducing Thebaut at a Los Angeles City Council meeting, then-Councilwoman Janice Hahn referred to Thebaut as the “Al Gore of water issues.”

David Nahai, former head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, was among the panelists at the UN forum. Nahai and Thebaut co-authored a LA Daily News commentary headlined, “Los Angeles has role to play in fixing global water crisis.”

David Nahai, left, and Jim Thebaut

Through his decades-long career as a political advocate, international humanitarian and documentary filmmaker, Thebaut has led and contributed to productions that have aired on CBS, ABC, HBO, the Arts & Entertainment Network and public television networks.

On Capitol Hill, he has collaborated with the late Sen. Paul Simon and other lawmakers to advance federal legislation on water issues. Last year, Thebaut held an invitation-only film screening and reception in the ornate Capitol Visitors Center, attended by members of Congress, private sector representatives and other leading figures.

Simon publicly praised Thebaut in a letter backing Thebaut’s films. “... I strongly favor creating a powerful documentary, under the experienced leadership of someone like Jim Thebaut, which can alert citizens in our nation and around the world to where we’re headed, and how relatively modest policy changes can avert disasters,” Simon wrote in 2001, while serving in academia following his Senate retirement.

This seven-minute video is a preview of Thebaut’s current film in progress.

All About Connections

San Pedro News will be establishing Facebook and Twitter accounts early next week and we look forward to connecting with you. Meanwhile, you may wish to friend and follow Hahn’s accounts, listed on the right-hand side here.

House committees have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts as well.

Stay tuned for a full article on Washington-style social media in an upcoming issue of San Pedro News.

Easterly Snapshot

In a New York state of mind – Last year, the New York Times published “The Waterfront, Covered,” a collection of annotated reader photos of the New York waterfront. Your San Pedro News editor just happened to be in Manhattan at the time and submitted some pictures of Roosevelt Island, two of which were included in the gallery – with a photo credit. Cool, eh? (If you’re so inspired, you can dig through the Manhattan gallery to see the captions and photo credit for yourself.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Announcing San Pedro News, Washington Edition

Welcome to the premier issue of San Pedro News, Washington Edition. From our new headquarters on Capitol Hill, the news department (of one) will be reporting on federal issues that impact San Pedro. Every other Saturday, we’ll bring you news from Rep. Janice Hahn’s office, plus other insights and perspective relevant to the hometown.

Hahn Speaks Up at First Homeland Security Committee Meeting

Rep. Janice Hahn was appointed to the Homeland Security Committee and actively participated in her first committee meeting on Sept. 8. The meeting focused on the state of national security 10 years after the 9/11 attacks.

“It was especially fitting that my first Homeland Security hearing would come as we near the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11,” said Hahn. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to strengthen the security of our communities and our critical infrastructure, especially the Port of Los Angeles and LAX.”

Hahn questions witnesses testifying before the committee.

Gov. Tom Ridge, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, responds to Hahn’s question on port security issues. Photos courtesy of Rep. Hahn’s office.

People who Work (or Want to)

Between Labor Day and President Obama’s jobs bill, labor issues have been headline news this month.

In a statement following Obama’s address to Congress, Rep. Janice Hahn outlined the local angle to the national jobs bill, referring to three political leaders and constituents to illustrate the stakes and far-reaching impact of the proposal. Said Hahn:

“Tonight, the President reminded Congress and all Americans that regardless of party, we need to work together so people can get back to work.  I strongly support his efforts to invest in infrastructure and to improve our bridges and roads because dollars spent on these initiatives mean that we will be able to hire Americans to rebuild our country.

Investing in infrastructure is something that both Republicans and Democrats can agree upon. Just last week, I met with the Republican Mayor of Torrance, Frank Scotto, who encouraged me to back this kind of targeted spending.

I was pleased to hear the President announce a plan that will ‘create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed.’

I was also delighted that First Lady Michelle Obama invited Tamara Washington, a resident of Torrance, to attend tonight’s speech. Ms. Washington’s dedication to finding work to help support her family is the kind of unsung bravery and courage that millions of Americans demonstrate each and every day.

Finally my guest at this evening’s event, Matt McKinnon, the Director of Legislative and Political Action at the Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), attended on my behalf as a reminder that whatever action we take in creating jobs, it must be directed at the hard-working men and women who have made this country strong in the past and are eager to get back to work.”

Speaking on the House floor on Sept. 14, Hahn called for passage of the jobs bill.

“The American people have waited too long for this Congress to put its focus where it belongs: on creating jobs and getting this nation back to work...,” Hahn said. “The American Jobs Act is good news for veterans, construction workers, teachers, firefighters, the long-term unemployed and … all Americans who can look forward to a stronger economy and a more competitive nation.”

Here’s a video of Hahn’s remarks.

(On a related note, here is a video of Hahn’s July swearing-in).

On the subject of working people, the Daily Breeze has posted a photo album from the annual Labor Day march and rally in Wilmington.

Easterly Snapshot

Maintaining a Nixon-era tradition, the White House gardens are open to the public in the spring and fall. Last October, there was a surprise celebrity appearance in the form of First Dog Bo. Being the gracious statesman, Bo indulged his admiring constituents and diplomatically posed for the citizen paparazzi.