Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Clearwater Program Is Back

This will be a post that will be published on several of my blogs because I feel it is important enough to share with everyone.

The Los Angeles County Sanitation District Number 5 is continuing necessary and recommended processes to create a third Joint Outfall System (JOS) from its Carson, CA treatment plant to the Pacific Ocean.

Two Joint Outfall Systems (JOS), one built in 1938 and the other one built in 1958 currently provide outfall capacity between the treatment plant and outflow facilities near the Palos Verdes Shelf, offshore from Royal Palms, in San Pedro, Ca.

The capacity of the two systems is nearing full capacity and they will not be able to handle future capacity.

I have written what I feel is a fair amount about the Clearwater Program in past posts, but new information, information I need to correct, and new opinions can now be shared. has been bookmarked on my computers for several years and it is the first and best source of information I urge everyone to go to.

Last Monday I met with Mr. Glenn Acosta, P.E. and Ms. Leslie Winner, both representing the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.

A new series of outreach meetings with individuals and groups is currently underway and I hope these two fine representatives meet with everyone who has any interest in the Clearwater Program and who are able to help with opinions and other observations concerning the new proposals for this very needed program.

Mr. Acosta's Email address is:

With a whole new set of proposals and a new brochure available to offer greater insight into the Clearwater Program, concerned residents and others now can view new facts and opportunities that are different than what I wrote about previously.

What is not offered in the new proposals is four 'Alignment' prospects instead of over 16 first illustrated in previous information and the 50 originally offered by the Sanitation Districts.

Living doors away from the surface of Western Avenue and its subsurface containing the two original Outfall Systems, I may have a somewhat different perspective about the Program and I certainly have opinions, lots of them.

One of the first things I must offer is some corrections to some of my earlier posts.

According to the new information, the Outfall System Shafts would be approximately 30 feet in diameter and not the 'up to 200 feet' I originally wrote about. I know I heard that figure somewhere in earlier talks, but 30 feet is quite different that 'up to 200 feet', isn't it.

When I wrote that the depths of a shaft could be up to '500 feet' deep, I only got that incorrect by about 100 feet. According to the newest information, a shaft could be up to 400 feet in depth, the depths of any shaft could be much less than that.

I am also very relieved to note that there are only four remaining shaft site prospects with the new information.

As originally conjectured, there will be one shaft sunk at the Carson treatment plant's property. This will allow for one tunneling machine being places and would be one access point for the removal of dirt and debris while the tunneling is being done and the casements are being placed.

Originally, the public was informed about 16 sites between Carson and the Pacific Ocean where a second shaft might be considered.

Thankfully, very thankfully, that number has dropped to just four.

Of course and naturally, the old LAXT site is part of 'Alignment 1' proposal for a shaft that could include worker access and debris removal, all the way up to the placement of a second tunneling machine.

'Alignment 1', as currently proposed, would be the longest and costliest (on paper now) of the four alignments now under preview and review. Using this alignment would provide the Diffuser site somewhat close to the San Pedro Shelf, which is not as deep as the depth of the Palos Verdes Shelf provides.

'Alignment 2' is quite new and it probably includes a shaft at LAXT's old site on Terminal Island, it also adds another shaft at the former Southwest Marine site on Terminal Island. This alignment would be the second longest and it would provide the outfall from the plant going close to the Palos Verdes Shelf.

'Alignment 3' is considered by me right now as a 'non starter' because even though it provides an outfall end close to where 'Alignment 2' would have for its outfall, it requires a shaft be placed at the parking lot below the Korean Bell, on the Angel's Gate site. I will have more about that in a future post.

'Alignment 4' is the shortest and illustrated as being the 'least costly'. It would have the tunnel travel under San Pedro, as 'Alignment 2' also includes, but it's outfall would be near where the two existing outfalls are, near the Palos Verdes Shelf.

This alignment requires an Outfall Shaft being sunk at Royal Palms, down near the water.
I will have more about that in a future post.

I fully support the Sanitation Districts' Clearwater Program as long as the old LAXT site is utilized, no matter that is would be the most or second most expensive alignments to build.

What is most important right now, I feel, is community members for every community possible and reasonable, coming forward to offer facts, comments and opinions about this program that is truly needed for every one's future.

Please learn all you can about the Clearwater Program so you will have the best knowledge possible when dealing with a process that has already taken years and will probably take another 8-10 years to build out.

With all the opportunities, there are genuine concerns about the environment, both ecologically and when dealing with persons' environments.

The Clearwater Program: What I Like and What I Don't Like

So, the Clearwater Program is back and going forward. I think it is better than good for all of us, but there are some significant issues I have that I'd like to address.

In my almost one hour meeting with Mr. Acosta and Ms. Winner I told them that I was very supportive of the program as long as 'Alignment 1' and possibly 'Alignment 2' becomes the recommended alignments, but that they really shouldn't bother with Alignments 3 and 4.

Yes, it is written now that 'Alignment 4', with its shaft being sunk at Royal Palms is the shortest and 'least costly' in the $500 Million Dollar or possibly less range.

Yes, there is also 'Alignment 3' with its second 'least costly' aspect and its equal distance of 9 miles as compared to 'Alignment 2'. But it requires a shaft sunk at Angel's Gate. That would be at the newer parking lot, which is used by so many visitors and local residents attending gatherings at Point Fermin Park.

Yes, 'Alignment 1' is currently written up as the most expensive and longest alignment proposed at 14 miles long and $1.4 Billion Dollars.

And yes, of the four alignments now under consideration, 'Alignment 4' might have the 'least impact' on the environment, but everyone needs to take some issues under more careful consideration, such as:

Having the second shaft at LAXT means that should a second tunneling machine be placed, debris excavated would be able to be transported by rail and truck travel and there would be the least impact on residents, residences, traffic, and access.

I offered to Mr. Acosta and Ms. Winner that there is absolutely no way I would support the placement of shafts at Angels' Gate or Royal Palms and they really need to understand how there are more environments to consider other than what happens to the ground, sea, air, animal life and plant life.

The second shaft, no matter if it was sunk at Royal Palms or Angel's Gate would require up to or more than nine months of time for 'between 10 to 40' hauling trips, per day, to occur while debris is being trucked away.

What about the environment of San Pedrans who, when they flush, shower, bathe, or drain their sinks, never use the facilities that would be furnished because of all the digging done at Royal Palms or Angel's Gate?

There are lots of good San Pedrans who have some valid feelings that those of us who 'live on The Hill' send our 'trash' to San Pedro, rather than dealing with it ourselves.

Since we who benefit from Sanitation District 5 may want to call for the placement of a shaft at Royal Palms or Angel's Gate, I think we need to understand better how those who would have to deal with the all the requirements placed on the good folks in San Pedro as far as traffic inconvenience, added noise, and other types of impacts might want to rethink that is may not be the least costly to have shafts at Royal Palms or Angel's Gate.

I would imagine that the 25,000 household Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council may wish to be one of the first to head to court to stop any incursion into their neighborhoods by the Sanitation Districts.

I also think that the city of Los Angeles might wish to impose restrictions and/or obligations on our Districts should the Districts ultimately receive approval for 'Alignment 3 or 4'.

I remember when it was said that 'over 99%' of those asked or offering opinion about the placement of any second shaft clearly stated that the LAXT site was preferred over all others.

I do think we need a new Outfall System and I support the concept and many of the options. I do not however, feel any of this needs to be placed on the backs or in other ways interfere with anyone living in San Pedro or commuting around using the major access routes around that community.

It is still understood that there are those who support an outer harbor cruise ship terminal, even with the added transit troubles between any freeway access and outer harbor cruise ship terminal.

It should be considered that should that terminal be built and become operational about the same time either the Angel's Gate or Royal Palms shaft also find approval and construction begins, San Pedrans and others could see the following:

10-40 double dirt haulers per day, traveling along at least one major route though San Pedro and then when the biggest cruise ships call on San Pedro, all that trafficking of passengers and materials associated with huge cruise ship journeys also needing crosstown transport, together require great problems with all those wishing to travel around or through San Pedro while having nothing to do with ships or shafts.

Sometimes the 'least costly' is not really the 'least costly' when compared with all factors.

I do understand that the Environmental studies require the examination of more than two 'Alternatives' and that 'Alignments 3 and 4 must be studied. But that does not mean either of them should be taken very seriously, especially when so many people have already told representatives that any second or third shaft needs to be sunk on Terminal Island.

There are many good, true, real, and necessary reasons to support the construction of a new Joint Outfall System. But none of those reasons should overcome what could happen to San Pedro and San Pedrans and others in that area, who would be impacted by a process they never fully utilize and do not pay for.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gathering Honoring John

Angela 'Romee' Romero was thinking about a way to honor John Olguin other than a formal event.

She created "San Pedro Stands Up For John Olguin" facebook page and then facilitated the creation for a gathering on January 9, 2011.

The idea Romee shared was to have folks come down to Point Fermin Park and have momement of silence while gathered around and near the plaque honoring John as the person of the 20th Century for San Pedro. Then after the silence, folks would stand in a line as an honor to John's memory as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

While the intent might have been to have everyone standing along Paseo Del Mar to watch the sunset, we all seem to want to head towards the edge of the park, facing the sun and the Pacific, to watch the setting sun, marvel at the ocean and some marine life, and share whatever we wished to share, including the sunset.

Along the rocks below folks was one of our nesting falcons perched overlooking resting sea lions. Not far out from the rocks a dolphin was doing what a dolphin does, I suppose on 'porpoise'.

I found the gathering to be more of a celebration of life and fond memories as friends who hadn't seen other friends for some time greeted each other almost as if they just talked to them yesterday.

The sun set. We departed knowing we would probably see everyone again on June 22 at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for the 'official' public memorial beginning at 1:00 PM. Fireworks at 5.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pondering On How To Honor John Olguin

How do we honor John Olguin?

This is a very simple question that will take great lengths of writing to ponder.

I don't want to ponder this alone and I want any and all comments on the very simple question that I will repeat throughout this post.

How do we honor John Olguin?

Some have been doing it for decades. All one needs to do is talk to Tom and Nancy Budar as just two examples of wonderful individuals who are both more like John than just about everyone else, including me.

Tom is just one of hundreds of men who could write an entire volume of incidents, activities, encounters, teachings, learning, and experiences with John.

Nancy has accumulated the most volunteer hours of anyone supporting both the Cabrillo Marine Museum and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

*Editor's Note: I've known Tom since high school, we carpooled together to and from C.S.U.L.B. he was best man at my sister's wedding to Phil, and he likes to blow things up while on a barge. I've known Nancy for almost 50 years with countless connections.

How do we honor John Olguin?

It sure looks like the love and interest in memories of John are flooding the local newspaper and on cards at the Aquarium. Reading facebook comments on any number of pages as well as reading Emails and hearing stories are other ways we are currently honoring John.

How do we honor John Olguin?

One way to to ask yourself: "How do I honor John?"

This is a personal question you need to answer for yourself by thinking withing yourself or communicating with others to find answers.

I am currently content to 'honor' John by keeping my memories of our times together held close in my vision and memory and not needing to reveal them to others. I feel I can best offer my honor of John not by posting my personal memories I have had with him, but by encouraging others to either share their memories or honor those memories with deeds and actions that will help others honor John in their own way.

Look, we all have so many personal and communal memories we can share about John and there should be places, perhaps like this comments-in-post to share.

I also keep mine close because I am someone that can easily call up both the visualization of those memories and also the emotions and thoughts I had when those memories were created and I don't need to share them to keep them close.

How do we honor John Olguin?

He was a humane human who lived a life that was shared by a few and by so many. Was he perfect? I don't remember him being perfect but then again I have never met a 'perfect' human except for the first moments of my sons' lives.

I also feel strongly that he was the very best gift any community could have and that I hope we all can learn to share him and his legacy with others who may not have been provided with the OUTSTANDING opportunity to have even a tiny association with John's personhood. We were and are so blessed to have lived during times when John was among us in body and activity.

He lived to be older than most of us will be and we know in our hearts that he didn't mind we called our elder, "John".

How do we honor John Olguin?

We need to cherish and protect those things he loved, cherished, and protected.

Growing up they were for me, not grunions, but John's grunions. All whales were John's whales. All sea life and other animal life were part of John's life and they must also be someplace within our lives, I feel.

We need to be better to ourselves and each other because John was so very good to and for all of us and none of us have the right demean that in any way. He taught us to be better and that is something we need to follow, every day.

He wasn't a saint and he never expected any of us to be, either. He was a people person and we are people who had chances to be among this wonderful person and we must honor that connection.

How do we honor John Olguin?

O.K., I'm taking the privilege of being the publisher of this post to make some personal history comments about my past and connections and where I hold John in my mind.

I worked for Pacific Telephone, Pacific Bell, SBC, and then AT&T for almost 28 years. From 1984 until about 2006 I was among a very small group of technicians that had access to places most people never get to see.

Yes, this part is blowing my horn but I hope you all finally realize that above everyone else, I am most proud and honored to have had experiences with John than for all the others I mention in this post.

As one of those few technicians, I was part of a group known as 'The Beverly Hills phonemen'. I also received specialized training and security clearances to have access to some of the most well known people in all types of industry, politics, government, and I got to go places and do things that, well.......

Of all the people, movie stars, Presidents, Vice Presidents, foreign leaders, clergy, corporate leaders, "V.I.P.s" entertainment industry people, and other people some claim to be 'important' NONE of them have impressed me and impacted my life more than John. Only my parents, wives, sons and their loves hold such high regard in me as John does.

Muriel is also very important in my life. She and my mother joined Terri and others in an investment club some years ago and both John and Muriel remembered my mother, Nancy, when John and Muriel attended "And To All A Good Night" just a few weeks ago.

We now have one of Muriel's paintings in our home that used to hang at my mother's house.

How do we honor John Olguin?

I imagine that he would not want us to grieve but instead celebrate life and demonstrate what we learned from him and with him as we progress from today onward.

I think he would be smiling at Romee for her consideration that we stand up for San Pedro and John in some fashion that is still being planned.

I feel he would appreciate it if we honor him with a memorial that contains providing goods and services, like he did for so many years to so many people, so we can 'pay it forward' what he gave us and give it to to others who might need it now, more than ever before.

I don't know when the public memorial will take place or where it will be. I do hope there is space where I can put whatever I can collect so that I can provide those things to others for no better reason than it is what I feel John would appreciate me and others doing.

For those with lots, provide lots. For those with little, provide what can be provided. For those with nothing to give by your thoughts and memories, share them generously so that those who did not know John as well as they did, can learn.

How do we honor John Olguin?

Holding our own memories of his smile, his zest for teaching, his passion for just about everything, his love of the sea and everything in it, and using what he gave us to better ourselves and others, all without strings attached.

Boy, did I get lucky or just was fortunate enough to have a mom who decided I was to grow up attending the First Presbyterian Church in San Pedro.

All us 'kids' growing up attending that church during the 50's, 60's and even later got many more opportunities to have John in our lives than most others. Wow!

Be thankful and grateful that you got chances to take and experiences to have, with John.

Be good to yourself and to others. Go out soon and look for whales. Don't get upset at all the seagulls wanting food at the picnic tables. Teach something good to somebody. Smile. Watch a tiny finger touch something from the sea for the first time. Then watch the reaction. John is here in these last words.

A Long Dry Spell Must End For Me

This post is written for several of my blogs because I have taken an extended absence from writing on any of my blogs for quite some time.

So much has happened in our extended communities since I stopped writing on the blogs and I want to get back to pondering, questioning, commenting, arguing, and dealing with many issues common to the communities I live in and events and conditions in and around the communities most of my readers live in.

Nothing is more common in all of the communities we all deal with than John and Muriel Olguin. Right now, nothing is more important for all of us in those communities.

Most of us know that a great gentleman, very long into life and even longer in adventures would pass from us, far too soon.

We all knew the day would come that we would make us sad and drive our memories into overdrive.

We all knew none of us can and could measure up to the personhood we all now honor with the passing of John Olguin.

Muriel was and always will be the 'winner' of my writings about our community members who were closer to being "more like John Olguin" than the rest of us. She is in our hearts as she and the rest of us remember John.

Starting 2011 with the new adventure of working on ways to honor John's memory and try to be more like him in the acts of kindness and teachings he showed us, is a task we need to do. It is the first task of what is going to be one heck of a year for all of us.

As we move forward, please include in your visions and dreams the smiles your remember beaming from John's face as he taught you something you didn't know or how he was so happy when you understood how he regaled in your learning.

Let's work towards a public memorial that includes contributions of whatever you can provide to those in need and a clear demonstration that we all 'got' the fascination, wonder, and joy John offered, all supported by Muriel, a true inspiration, artist, and gift to all of us as she was to John.

One way to honor John and all those who volunteered for us is to volunteer to work on issues and projects that interest you in ways that promote those things that benefit 'community'

Not only are your acts, deeds, thoughts, comments, and wishes important, your means of demonstrating those things are also important on many issues you might want to concern yourself with.

Here is just a partial list of things that I am pondering about and I hope your list is at least as long as mine:

John's public memorial, the U.S.S. Iowa, Charter City status and vote in Rancho Palos Verdes, Ponte Vista, SRHS #15, downtown San Pedro, protecting our environment, Western Avenue, community goals, park lands, politics, arts in communities, good citizenship, the local economy, working for those less fortunate, San Ramon Canyon, Marymount's Expansion Project, educating everyone, recession recovery, working for peace, celebrating, family, neighbors and friends, contentious issues, common goals, fun, faith, play, and experiencing a full and productive life. Grandchildren, perhaps someday.

I hope to get back to writing on a much more regular basis on several of these blogs.

I know Ponte Vista is important and should see posts and comments from others throughout the year.

I live on the eastern side of Rancho Palos Verdes. San Pedro in heart, Rancho Palos Verdes in thought. I feel strongly that residents of Rancho Palos Verdes need to be better informed and more able to deal with and comment on their government and city.

There are "Issues to Ponder" regarding San Pedro. It may have a continuing set of problems in its downtown area but it has a growing vibrant aspect in its arts and entertainment and there will be new things popping up in the future throughout the community.

I know that "R Neighborhoods Are 1" and there is more to be considered in our community, for our community, and with our community.

As I am still a caveman, my 'dairy' needs to be updated with stories and learning this caveman has encountered over the last couple of years.

Whether I can manage to work harder to be more like John is something that I don't yet know, but I really need to try.

I hope readers will learn or argue or agree or disagree or ponder or rant or rave or just read. But with all blogs, it is truly more for the writer to write than the reader to read. If that was not the case, there would be no blogs and just look how many there are now compared to when I first wrote, in September, 2006.

Thank you and please return from time to time.

Mark Wells
aka M Richards

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally, Lots To Write About!

Yes, I have been lagging with new posts on this blog. I can offer no good or reasonable excuse even after I claims I would post more.

The title of this post is misleading. There has been 'lots' to write about, but I just didn't write about the 'lots' of stuff.

So here goes.

I noticed that the construction traffic for the new high school has moved from the Gaffey at Barlow-Saxton gate to 36Th Street at Meyler or Cabrillo.

I thought it would move to Alma but I was dead correct when I claimed that Barlow-Saxton would not be used for the entire construction work for the high school and the Outdoor Education Center.
Everyone, please channel your mind and provide brilliant white light towards July 19, 2010.

I cannot confirm, and it probably won't happen that day unless miracles occur BUT, I heard on the wind that Amalfitano Bakery MAY open on or about that date.

The ceilings are up, the displays are lighted, the windows are etched, the outdoor signs are up, the kitchen area looks mostly complete, fresh paint is on the walls, and the lights are on.

There is nothing posted to suggest when the Bakery will actually open. Perhaps the smell of freshly baked bread will waft into my window early one morning similar to when I stood in right field at the old Eastview Little League diamond and smelled the bread from DiCarlo's.

Mr. Anthony Amalfitano if of the family that kept Ramona's open for so long and we all hope the he brings to the new location, all the great special treats we enjoyed from Ramona's for years and years.
There is a meeting on Tuesday about bring the U.S.S. Iowa to San Pedro.

I am the oddball that thinks that, while the U.S.S. Iowa would be good, a soon to be decommissioned amphibious assault carrier would be much better for San Pedro.

An attraction like the U.S.S. Tarawa would allow for a flight deck for static displays of aircraft from all branches of the Military. It has a hangar deck for displays of smaller things like tanks, trucks, artillery and things from the Army and Marines. It also has an amphibious deck for smaller boats and crafts used by the U.S. Marines.

A ship like the U.S.S. Tarawa would allow from more volunteers from all branches of the service to help restore and work on tours and attractions because of the expertise the volunteers have from their respective branches.

I think more tourists would visit a ship that had all branches represented and one that could have seen action in Desert Storm and other actions in the middle east and Viet Nam.

The U.S.S. Iowa was a big Navy vessel that was truthfully obsolete when is was first commissioned and had to undergo many modifications to see action after the Korean conflict.
I am amused by the recall effort against Janice Hahn.

I hope you all know that some of the leaders of the recall were also good supporters or consultants for one Robert H. (Bob) Bisno and his attempts to change the fabric of northwest San Pedro and OUR community.

I am sure you all know that Bob went bankrupt after he was shown the door of his own project by the financial backers who grew tired of his antics.

Whether you agree with Janice's positions on many of the issues, I have to commend her for her support of OUR community in standing up to Bob and his cronies and lobbyists and her work with the good folks for the Vista Del Oro area in their fight to keep condos or apartments out of the area of Walker Avenue and 20th Street.

I don't agree with all the positions Ms. Hahn supports and I think any L.A. City tax funds spent debating and voting on boycotting Arizona while continuing to deal with an Arizona company for electric truck was and is a mockery and should never have been done by a city.

Let the Federal Government handle a Federal Government issue and don't waste L.A. taxpayers time and money over a Federal Issue. That is why you have Harmon, Feinstein, and Boxer, and Lowenthal.
Averill Park is Averill Park again and that is simply nice!
The issues revolving around the ballot initiative that could allow Marymount College to have on-campus housing is getting nastier and more heated by each passing day.

It is fair to consider that folks living near the Pacific Heights off-campus building near 24th and Cabrillo might want all their R.P.V. friends to vote for the initiative, but there is still absolutely no mention in The Marymount Plan to close off and then sell the Pacific Heights building and although Marymount has repeatedly claimed they would close that facility, wait, wait, upper class students are entering Marymount now so more older students need housing.

Isn't that special?

For the northwest San Pedro residents, no plans exist to ever close the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing area, either.
What a summer? June gloom in July, at least up until today.

Shakespeare By The Sea has probably the two best casts for their two shows and if you missed the performances, check their Web site. They will end their 18-community tour back where it all began, in San Pedro.
"Forever Plaid" Opens on August 13 and will play during the weekend of the Pedro Reunion.
The Relevant Stage Theatre Company is producing the musical that is about four souls who were on their way to a gig then perished on the night The Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

At Little Fish Theatre, "Dixie Swim Club" also opens on August 13. It is a period piece that revolves around the lives of a small group of southern gentlewomen and their reuniting at a beach house.

Phil and I have the honor to build the set for "Dixie Swim Club" and look forward to it success and working with both TRS and Little Fish Theatre Company, perhaps in the future.
It looks like the Waterfront Project is a stop again, stop again project. So many meetings. So many comments. So many discussions. So much of very little.

Yes, the new marina is taking shape, but I don't remember it being a real part of the most recent foray of The Waterfront Plan.

My assertion continues to be that the only thing that will be undertaken is the new cruise ship terminal in the outer harbor at 'Kaiser Point'.

I still don't want a new terminal there, but unless Disney gets Mickey's hands tied, we may be seeing the new terminal by 2011.
Let's put the off-leash dog park at Joan Milke Flores Park, O.K.? It's already there by a de facto fault, isn't it?
Go visit Terranea. I finally did.

You can get a cup of house wine for as little as $8.00 and a burger is just $9.00, with fries at just $6.00.

I know it is out of my income league, but I bet the food and drink is more expensive at Trump National.
All the fal-der-all about the moving of electrical lines and circuits that cause a big fuss at Point Fermin Elementary School seems to have been settled.

And wouldn't you know it, those of us who objected to the way we thought would be less safe were eventually considered correct in that the new route for the added electric needs does not take the route originally supported by those who just wanted the job done quickly versus what many of us considered more safe.

At least the students at that fantastic educational facility will get to have a much better environment for their marine magnet program.

Great teachers. Great students. Caring parents. We are fortunate in our community to have so many fine schools.
Please shop in downtown San Pedro at least once a week.

George's at the 8th Street Lofts is now open for dinners.

There is a new thrift store on the corner of Pacific and 6th.

Numero Uno is a fine place for groceries.

There are still great restaurants, night spots, and stores left for you to visit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Our First Visit To Denny's

**Ed Note: Yes I know perfectly well that Denny's is now located in the city of R.P.V. For those who remember fondly the old Denny's on Western that was in San Pedro, it is reasonable and realistic to consider which community one's heart belongs to. Since the old Denny's was a San Pedro institution and som many of us Eastview residents have our hearts with San Pedro, I think it is good, fair, and appropriate to consider the new Denny's to be in the San Pedro community. I hope you do too.

Well, it took until the fifth morning for us to visit the new Denny's located on Western Avenue in Rancho Palos Verdes.

I don't feel it is fair to make a real review of the entire outing because today marked the first Friday the new Denny's has been in operation.

Some time ago, there was a Denny's restaurant on Western Avenue near the corner of Western and Park Western. When the Ralph's Shopping area was remodeled some years ago, the old Denny's closed.

That Denny's was thought of quite well by it customers and the opening of the new Denny's was highly anticipated for months now, even before most folks knew what was replacing the Planet Kids store.

As it happened, I talked to the assembled wait-staff and managers during a meeting a week ago on a Thursday evening. I wanted to know when the restaurant was opening so I could post that information on several of my blogs.

During a short conversation I had with the head manager and with many ears perked up because of the stranger attending the meeting, I told everyone in the room that their new work location was highly anticipated and they should expect to see large crowds from the opening of the doors.

The entire wait staff, cooks and managers seemed surprised and somewhat shocked when I told them the information. They were all also quite pleased smiles abounded all through the seating area.

As it came to pass, I was not wrong one bit. The Denny's has been packed.

By 8:45 this morning all the seats were filled and there were customers waiting for table openings.

The two sides of the restaurant have parking spaces. Naturally all the spaces were filled. I expect that when the Asaka Grill finally opens there will be an average of ZERO spaces for customers of that site, right next to Denny's.

It looks like the workers at both restaurants will have to park somewhere other than the parking lots for those two places. I hope they don't choose Trudie, Highmore, or Jaybrook, thank you very much.

As you may have expected, there were two cars in the Marie Callender's parking lot as we walked through it. You may want to enjoy Marie Callender's while it is still open because it certainly looks like their customer traffic has dropped off and will continue to drop off as Denny's becomes more well known (not like it really needs it).

Because I should not offer a real review of the place, I do want to share some impressions and comments with the opening week and I think it is going to take a couple of months before a true set of opinions can reveal what normal experiences at Denny's should be expected.

The restaurants hours are as follows;
From 6:00 AM on Friday and until 11:00 PM on Sunday, Denny's will remain open.
All other times Denny's hours are 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM.
It appears that the conditional use permit does not permit Denny's to post the "Always Open" sign found on just about every other Denny's.

Parking is bad and probably that won't go away in the forseeable future. I have seen times when there was parking along Western Avenue, even directly in front of Denny's.

The south parking lot is also going to be used by customers of Asaka Grill once it opens AND if Denny's customers don't take up all the parking. This lot also has some spaces it takes skill to get into and out of. They are the spaces sort of behind the restaurant and near the gate that we found closed preventing a throughway between the two parking areas. I hope Denny's management open the two sets of gates behind the restaurant and leave them open during business hours.

You will be greeted by friendly and I really mean friendly managers and those showing you to your seat. They are a bit rusty with their actions but since there is nothing "normal" about Denny's yet, that is quite fine with me.

I remember with other Denny's that once ordered, it sometimes takes an eternity for the food to arrive. Please be very patient during your visits to Denny's in the coming months. The food you get might be cooled off by the time it finally arrives, but I expect that when the Denny's finds its normality, food will arrive sooner.

We had to request from someone other than our wait staff for the bill. We ended up getting copies from two different employees and did I mention they were friendly?

There is absolutely no reason for Terri and I and whoever visits Denny's while with us, need to add another vehicle to the parking lots.

Since those of you who know what I look like know I still need to lose lots of weight, I was pleasently surprised by the make-your-own Grand Slam. That size of Grand Slam is not the size I remember and I never needed that amount of food I remember filled the plate.

My Grand Slam consited of two regular size eggs, amout the smallest portion of hash browns I have seen in any restaurant in R.P.V. and San Pedro, two sausage links and two pancakes, each about 1/4 to 1/5 the size of my beloved Fluffys enjoyed at Rex's Diner.

The price was $5.99 and other than the eggs being cool, somebody like me need to learn to live better with smaller portions and at a price I can live with.

It looks like tables and chairs could be added to the dining area if the C.U.P. allows for that. But with the parking lots full with the amount of tables and chairs there already, more tables might create problems.

I did write to officials and our city's Traffic Safety Commission about something I observed that I feel could be a safety hazard and a potential for liability with R.P.V.

We saw many Denny's customers heading north on Western making a U-turn from the left turn lane for the south entrance to The Terraces.

Normally, that turning lane is overflowing during commute times and the added number of customers choosing to not go into The Terraces but rather making U-turns will add to the congestion along northbound Western and probably more collisions.

I don't have a solution for my thoughts but I don't think drivers will heed NO U-TURN signs on the medians of Western.

Of course we saw a "true Pedro thing" when we visited Denny's. Even though the restaurant is physically located in Rancho Palos Verdes everybody knows everybody else who live in San Pedro so many of you will meet friends and/or family members when you go to Denny's.

It's just like the Target where many of us can't get through a visit where we don't greet somebody we know.

The consequences of having the new Denny's where it is makes me think that perhaps Marie Callender's will continue to be a very good restaurant for our elderly friends and neighbors.

Many folks who are up in their years find comfort when they take their meals at Marie's. I think it has been that way for years. Whether Marie Callender's can survive what I expect to be a big drop in business is something we won't know for some time.

As for Asaka Grill, I haven't found any notice of when it may open.

Denny's is now the new monster on the Avenue. Folks who eat there will hopefully do other shopping along Western in both San Pedro and R.P.V. I do hope they visit Marshalls' more than they visit Ross. I also hope they visit Trader Joe's more than they visit the store near Peck Park.

For dining pleasure similar to Denny's I hope they visit Coco's over Carrow's and Azteca over Taxco. I certainly don't folks visiting Domenick's and Niccolo's. Eating at Baja Fresh is a good thing. I hope you like the ice cream at 31 flavors more than Coldstone Creamery. All of the above eateries are wonderful, but some of them help our General Fund grow with portions of Sales Tax dollars that flow into R.P.V.

For the high school football and party crowds, having Denny's open all night on Fridays and Saturdays is a good thing. It allows revelers the chance to continue in a safe and comfortable environment and it also provides more food options to those who need to eat because they drank too much alcohol.

For me, sobering up at the IHOP many year ago when it was open late helped. I was all done with that by the time the old Denny's opened or I chose not to cross Western while drunk. It was easier staggering home from IHOP than just about anywhere else.

So please, ENJOY DENNY'S! When it becomes a normal "San Pedro" restaurant, then I think we can make fair reviews. I use "San Pedro" because that is where our hearts still side with.