Friday, May 30, 2008

Pondering the Dust Up Over Councilwoman Hahn's Gang Support Issue

Here is a subject that will take lots of pondering by others because I know so very little about the issues.

Mr. Santich wrote a letter to the editor of San Pedro Magazine where he was very critical of Ms. Hahn's actions with regard to providing funds to known gang members.

Since the story was reported by Fox News, I personally have very little trust in whatever comes out of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and all of their underlings.

But I do think it is a relavent issue to ponder and try and discuss what really happened back then and what is happening now.

Mr. Santich had every right to write his letter and the editor had every right to print it.

I don't like the idea of taxpayers paying know gang members for anything. I don't live within the limits of Los Angeles, so none of my property tax dollars go into gang members' pockets.

I wonder if part of the sales taxes I pay when shopping in San Pedro go into gang members' pockets. I would hope not. That could be a reason to boycott San Pedro businesses, IF any sales tax revenues go into pockets where folks don't feel they belong.

This issues can be a real learning issue for me. It certainly has found many folks on one side of the issue or another.

We'll just have to see if anyone wishes to ponder on this subject on this blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pondering on What Next to Ponder

Two issues seem to have provided lives for themselves in the last several months and each one of them shows how San Pedrans can think so differently about things.

The two issues I am referring to is the proposed Kaiser Point outer harbor cruise ship terminal and the proposal to build a 1,215-seat senior high school on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

It would be incorrect for this blog to ponder either of these two issues before the issue of the China Shipping recirculation of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) along with its Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is mentioned.

The combined reports are being recirculated and a public hearing on the reports is scheduled for June 5, 2008 at the Banning Landing Community Center in Wilmington.

China Shipping want to complete a process that began several years ago to expand its operations and berths usage where the Standard Oil Marine Terminal and Todd Shipyard once stood.

You probably know the area very well, with the four A-frame cranes and the giant mound of dirt near the Harbor Freeway. China Shipping wants to have many more cranes added and more berths for even more ships to come from China to San Pedro and back again.

China Shipping does use "Cold Harboring" which allows the engines of the ships to be completely shut off during port stays, and the electricity needed for the ship comes from land-based commercial power sources. This is a great way to ease pollution at the port, but it still involves a great expansion of all operations at that facility, if the expansion is ultimately approved.

This expansion has some similarities to the TraPac expansion and the DEIS/DEIR should be looked at carefully to see what is stated about increased pollution in OUR community.

The Port of L.A. is sponsoring a research of having electric-powered tractor-trucks used in the port. There is apparently one such truck being studied, and if contracts and start-up funding is found, the port may see 25 such trucks scooting around the port, in several years.

So now that this blog has addressed the China Shipping DEIS/DEIR recirculation hearing, the pondering of the next two hot issues can begin.

South Region High School No. 15

There is a growing group of members of OUR community who have been brought together in a great organization to fight the placement of a new 1,215-seat senior high school on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

The group, Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) has established itself as a force to be reckoned with, even by employees and management of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

NOISE, which can be reached by using has been able to watch senior members from LAUSD seemingly attempting to jump through hoops to try their best to have an unwanted campus built so far out towards the ocean, in San Pedro.

I shouldn't go on without informing folks that I was a founding cor-committee member of this great group of residents, and I will defend them and their actions as best as I can.

Having this blog is one reason that I am no longer a member of the core-committee or the 'facilitator' for the group. The group has done so very well and is seeming to grow in membership daily, that they certainly don't need me to help them, much at all.

I do continue to vigorously oppose the construction of SRHS 15 at the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur because of two simple, but strongly overwhelming reasons.

When the Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center (PFOEC) has had its redevelopment completed, as early as Summer, 2009, it will usher in a dramatic change in its operation and campus that is has been providing outdoor experiences to upwards of 8,000 LAUSD students, each year, for about the last 20 years.

The PFOEC will grow in physical size and have many new outdoor landscaping changes done to provide great experiences for attendees.

It will also have a brand new dormitory structure that will allow 160 students and their teachers to arrive on Monday afternoon and stay until Friday Morning. Then, another 120 students and teachers will arrive Friday afternoon and stay until Monday morning.

The new facility will become year-round, instead of its past Summer-only schedule and it may become the gem of the crown of LAUSD.

The redeveloped site would overlap areas proposed to become part of SRHS 15 and there would be massive transit and parking problems if both facilities existed directly next to each other.

I believe NOISE and I share the same thoughts that the Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center will offer a genuine unforgettable set of educational experiences and just plain fun times for approximately 13,000 mostly fifth graders from throughout the LAUSD system.

I think the PFOED should be allowed to flourish without having a large high school placed, sharing a common fence. The other two LAUSD Outdoor Education Centers have any campus near them.

The second issue why SRHS 15 must not be built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, more lovingly called 'Angel's Gate' is that there is absolutely no possible way to provide even the chance of finding an acceptable ingress and egress pattern for both the school campus and the PFOEC.

The use of Alma Street in that particular area is completely out of the question, even though the preliminary illustrations for the new campus show Alma as the ONLY access road to and from the new campus, and the PFOEC is left completely out of the picture.

Many individuals claim that Gaffey Street must be used. That is a true statement. But how folks think the majority of traffic generated for the school and the PFOEC will use Gaffey, is another issue, all unto itself.

Some folks claim that the steep, narrow, L.A. Parks and Rec.-owned Barlow Saxton Road, that intersects Gaffey at 32nd Street, should be used.

Please come on! All one has to do is drive to that intersection and look at that road behind the locked gate to know that is must not be used.

Others believe, as I do, that the ONLY way to provide any sort of least unreasonable access to both a new campus and the PFOEC is to have LAUSD use their right of eminent domain to condemn and buy at least one house and lot on 30Th Street, to create an opening large enough for ingress and egress to both campuses.

LAUSD and one member of the Board of Education seemingly swear that they would not use their right, but then there is absolutely, positively, no way to adequately provide anything close to reasonable access to both facilities, and I surely bet that many folks in the Facilities Division of LAUSD know this, but are unwilling to state the obvious.

This blogger has only two reasons for opposing SRHS 15 at Angel's Gate, but NOISE and many others have more reasons that you may wish to communicate with them about.

There are those who believe that another large public senior high school campus is not needed in San Pedro at this time. Some folks will state the fact that enrollment is declining within LAUSD, so a new campus may not be needed.

Others feel strongly that the suggested over crowding at San Pedro High School can be mitigated in other ways, such as building a new large multi-use building in an area of the existing campus that has no buildings on it, what so ever.

Others claim that any high school with THREE operating gymnasiums (like San Pedro High School will have when the new gym is completed) cannot be "over crowded".

One thing is factual and has been confirmed by LAUSD officials and a member of the Board of Education; Building any new high school campus in San Pedro will NOT ease classroom over crowding at San Pedro High School. The high school has the majority of classrooms, not counting Physical Education classes, with a 40 to 1 student to teacher ratio, and that will NOT change if a new campus is built. has many posts with quite a bit of information about the proposed new campus and the existing campus and you are most welcome to view those posts, any time.

My current bottom line is that I believe there MAY be a need for a new senior high school campus in San Pedro. It must NOT be built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

Ponder a Part of the Port's Preferred Proposal

The Port of Los Angeles has a San Pedro Waterfront Expansion Project that it is looking towards the future with.

The Project has a "Preferred Proposal", five alternatives that share some of the concepts of the preferred proposal, and a sixth alternative to have "no project" at all.

The Preferred Proposal and three alternatives examine the possibility of having at least one new cruise ship terminal at "Kaiser Point" in the outer harbor of the Port of Los Angeles.

The new cruise ship terminal/Berths, is most surely the most contreversial aspect of the entire project discussions, debates, and ponderings.

The Port, and when I write that it means managers and employees of the Port of Los Angeles, feel that a new cruise ship terminal in the outer harbor would be very beneficial to the port. Whether it is beneficial to the residents of OUR community seems to be something the port doesn't really care about.

The Port and LAUSD are so powerful that they do pretty much whatever they wish, and mostly without much, if any, real oversight.

So the Port wants to place a cruise ship terminal in the outer harbor, within a city that is on a peninsula and have all the parking placed just a few miles away (except for one alternative) from where passengers will find their ship.

So, what about the ships?

The largest passenger ship currently plying the oceans is the Freedom of the Seas. it has a passenger capacity of 3,672, not counting Captain and crew members.

By the time 2012 rolls around, it will be only the fourth largest passenger ship. There are 33 ships being built or ordered, throughout the world that have a passenger capacity of greater than 2,000 each.

Here are some of the ships that are coming:

2-"Genesis Project" ships, each having the space for a three-acre park and 5,400 passengers.

2-next sized ships, each having a capacity of 4,200 passengers.

2- smaller ships, each having a capacity of 3,800 passengers

2-brand new Disney ships, in a class themselves, both having 1,250-staterooms. If each stateroom holds a family of three members, we find 3,750 passengers.

The list of 2,000+passengers ships not only includes the older Queen Mary II, which visited our port, it also shows the Queen Victoria, which has yet to find herself backing up the main channel.

These two ocean liners have around 2,100 passengers each, but what most folks don't know is that a third ocean liner bearing the name of the current Queen of England is being constructed. Thank goodness the new Queen Elizabeth only has a capacity of 2,092 passengers.

Of course most of the 33 ships will not use the Port of L.A. very much. But the Freedom of the Seas does visit us and she is having sister ships of her size being built, born, or whatever you want to call, taking shape.

The Kaiser Point cruise ship terminal is being considered for the largest cruise ships/ocean liners that sail the seas. Just think of when two Freedom of the Seas class of ships visits our port at the same time.

The Port claims that they will use natural gas-powered buses to go from a new parking structure to be built near the Vincent Thomas Bridge, to the new terminal. The Port figures about 150 or so bus trips to move passengers from the ship to structure and another 150 trips from the structure to the ships. That will be about 600 trips through San Pedro each day.

The Port was not willing to state what might happen if a new Kaiser Point terminal is built and many passengers depart and arrive via taxi, shuttle bus, or chartered bus. I bet those three classes of ground transportation get to drive through San Pedro to get to and from Kaiser Point.

Have you gathered yet that I think a new cruise ship terminal at Kaiser Point is not too smart.

There are also no provisions to create a more friendly environment, by the Port, to allow cruise ship passengers and tourists and folks dropping off or gathering passengers, to shop downtown San Pedro, which could really need the business.

My idea, if they HAVE to have the new outer harbor terminal is to build an above ground, free for everyone, monorail that makes stops in downtown San Pedro, Ports O' Call and the Parking structure and the new terminal. This is a way for folks to shop San Pedro, get a great view of OUR San Pedro, and get through the area without causing massive traffic jams.

The Port feels that by 2037, there will be 287 days that cruise ships call on the Port of L.A., especially with a new outer harbor terminal. The number is slightly higher than in 2012 when 276 days may have ships calling on our port. It's just that between 2012 and 2037, the ships calling on our port will be really larger, I mean really, really larger than they are now.

The days of having a 1,300-passenger cruise may be drawing to a close. These "little" ships may find homes on more local or shorter runs, but the cruise lines will get a much bigger bang for their buck if they can have ships 4.15 times the size going the same places the "little" ships go.

Useless trivia: What is the difference between a boat and a ship? The most common answer is that you can put a boat on a ship, but you cannot put a ship on a boat. has information about the proposed new outer harbor cruise ship terminal and I will be adding much more information in the future, on this blog, about the waterfront development.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some Issues to Ponder, With This First Post

This blog is intended to deal with issues other than Ponte Vista at San Pedro, the McCowan's Market redevelopment issue, and issues supported by the Rudderless Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1.

There are already at least two blogs dedicated to Ponte Vista at San Pedro and R Neighborhoods Are 1. R Neighborhoods Are 1 already has a great Web site at:

There are issues, both small and large that can stand a good amount of pondering by anyone who wishes to and just about all of them will change the landscape, lifestyle, character, and/or joy of living in the San Pedro, California area.

Whether it is wishing to create a more wonderful setting at Cabrillo Beach with a fully restored Bath House and renovated picnic areas, or dealing with the possibility that at least one neighborhood on the eastern side of San Pedro Hill will literally get shafted for eight or so years, there are issues running the full range of topics going on in an area where too many folks contend nothing ever happens.

Let's take a quick read at some of the things folks might need an want to ponder now and well into the future:

The "Bridge to Breakwater" development, redevelopment, redo, or whatever anyone wants to call it, and an issue that has generated a life and legend all its own.

The idea that putting a brand new cruise ship terminal, especially for the largest cruise ships and ocean liners in the world, about as far away from major transportation accesses, and almost completely at the very end of San Pedro is something this blog will certainly ponder and welcome others to ponder on, as well.

Does San Pedro need another large public high school built in an area where it has less than marginal access and built directly next to an educational facility which will provide great experiences to about 13,000 school children each year.....with either 3 or 4 night stays?

Where in the heck should a 500-foot deep shaft, with up to an 8-acre area at ground level dedicated to drilling a new tunnel and removing millions of tons of earth, be done?

Should either Pacific Avenue or 6Th Street in downtown San Pedro have portions of traffic detoured to provide a pedestrian walkway, complete with waterscapes, as part of the redevelopment of downtown San Pedro?

How are we all going to live in an area that is going to become even more polluted because of our gigantic need to feed the Port of Los Angeles' greed for growing shipping lines ever larger, all in such a limited area?

Can the infrastructure and businesses in the area support the ever growing 'suggested' need form more housing on a peninsula?

What do we do when the Vincent Thomas Bridge reaches over capacity trying to deal with the largest container ship ever to float on the seas, at the same time a 5,400-passenger cruise ship calls on the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro and Terminal Island?

What should the course for San Pedro's future be and who should have the authority to decide what happens?

San Pedro has a growing capacity for the arts. How should any discussion of recreating much of downtown San Pedro into a more art-friendly area go?

How might the San Pedro area hold on to its traditions, cultures, history and small-town atmosphere amid the demand for more housing and the ever changing members of OUR community?

There is a lot to ponder. One may wish to pick one area to ponder or take on more issues.

The rules are quite simple. Let's keep it clean and not be nasty to individuals or groups. Sarcasm is welcome. Biting wit would be great. Informed reasoning is always appreciated. Agreeing with this blogger is not important at all. Presenting facts, backed up with documentation is very important. Making guesses doesn't hurt. Stating honest opinion is a must!

Question authority. Please remember that Roderick Hamilton, from the Facilities Division of the Los Angeles Unified School District stood in front of residents of OUR community and stated, matter of factly, that a 2,025-seat senior high school was going to be built on acreage within the fencing of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Demand answers from elected persons and those selected to represent them. Demand answers from bureaucrats paid for by tax dollars.

Shout if necessary! Use your informed opinion to state your reasons concerning an issue and don't be afraid to speak out. Silence may be golden, but unfortunately, our combined silence will allow the TraPac and possibly the China Shipping expansions to most likely cost people in OUR community their lives.

If you have lived in OUR community a long time, if you are new to the area and came here because you love living here, if you have chosen this area to raise your family, or if you have invested part of your life to OUR community, you are the most important person to ponder issues and discuss, debate, and decide what you will live with and what you will not tolerate.

You are a 'Real San Pedran' if you keep San Pedro in your heart and the great people of OUR community in your thoughts.

Now, let's start pondering!