Friday, October 31, 2008

A Very Personal Remembrance. A Post Contribution

Mary Decker Calisti was one of Michele Burk's oldest and closest friends.

Mary has lived in Anchorage Alaska for over 18 years but that is no distance when friendships are kept.

Mary wanted to share her experiences when she traveled to be part of the memorial service for Michele and the special time when Michele's ashes were given up to the Pacific Ocean not far from where Michele grew up in the South Shores area of San Pedro.

As long as Mary lives, she will hear Michele's voice and know what Michele would have talked to her about, when things come up in Mary's future.

True friendships are so rare for too many of us these days, but the friendship Mary and Michele share will carry on, and on, and on.

Mary wants to share some experiences she was part of, during her visit to San Pedro where she participated in warm, caring, and thoughtful events surrounding how and where Michele was laid to rest.

So here below, is Mary's account of the weekend we all said farewell to Michele's physical presence.

Dear friends,

I need to share with you some special events of my “Michele/San Pedro” trip. When people have asked me how the trip was, I have only been able to respond that it was amazing and in some ways miraculous. They’ve seemed pretty surprised by that response, knowing the purpose of my travels, and many of them having experienced how very broken up I have been the last few weeks. I also know how many emails we all get, and how time consuming they can be, so I tried to keep this missive brief……

As most of you know, I was apprehensive about staying at a hotel by myself. Plus, I was just a tiny bit concerned about the trip and my safety in general since it was going to be so emotionally draining for me – losing my best friend, Michele, and all.

Well, when I went to get my rental car at the Long Beach airport, staring at the door as I was walking in was a co-worker from my company’s Seattle office, PJ!!!! He and his girlfriend were going to take a few days and do some fun stuff around So Cal, it sounded like. It was pretty amazing to me that there I was, travelling from Anchorage, and there was PJ, travelling from Seattle, and meeting up at little old Long Beach airport.

So then I get my car which was a lot like Michele’s (a Toyota Avalon – and Michele’s was a Toyota Camry – and they were the exact same color!). After getting over THAT surprise, I got out the directions that Michele had sent me last year for our 35-year reunion to get from the LB Airport to Pedro without going on the freeways. (After driving on the Alaska roads for 18 years, I just don’t ever want to deal with the California freeways and all of their related craziness!!)

I ended up staying at the Crowne Plaza – San Pedro after calling them three times to check out their accommodations. However, I didn’t actually make the reservation until I talked with Nancy. Nancy was a grandmotherly sounding woman who, after hearing my safety concerns and about the purpose of my trip, put me on the secured 10th floor because a special key was needed to just get on the floor. When I checked into the hotel, I had another pleasant and re-assuring “sign” in that my room number was 1008 (my birthday!!!, October 8).

I had asked Nancy if there was anyway I could meet her when I got to Pedro because she had been so very helpful and kind, but she responded, “No, honey, I won’t be here.” So I asked if she worked some kind of special schedule and, again, if there was anyway I could at least greet her briefly – and she again said, “No, I won’t be here.” I’m thinking at that point (being the spiritual creature that I am), that perhaps I am talking to an angel (yeah, right….like God would care enough about me to send an angel to take care of my hotel reservations!)

As I was standing at the front desk, checking in, I decided that I had nothing to lose, so I asked the front desk person if I could speak with Nancy in reservations. She told me that there has never been a Nancy in reservations at the hotel as far as she knew, nor did she know of any Nancy on the 800 reservation line (she even searched on the employee list on the computer). The next morning, I chatted with the lady in the gift shop and after determining that she knew just about everything and everyone in the hotel, I asked her about Nancy too. She said there was no employee anywhere in the hotel named Nancy, nor could she remember a Nancy from the past either.

It seemed I finally had my very own “angel story” which made me VERY happy because I have yearned to have my own, and very obvious (at least to me), angelic event my whole life!

There were other things that happened during the trip that were rather transformational, such as my thoughts about cremation versus burial. Per Michele’s request, her ashes were scattered in the ocean right between South Shores (which is the neighborhood Michele grew up in) and Pt. Fermin where Michele spent many hours for her Girl Scout activities and for other numerous parties and picnics throughout her 54 years. The day was PERFECT, the ocean was calm, the cabin-cruiser boat was gorgeous, and Captain Art was an older gentleman who did a very respectful and lovely service. The whole event was much more beautiful and moving than many of the funerals I had attended in churches throughout past years. And now whenever I go home to Pedro, I can just park my car at Pt. Fermin and gaze at the Pacific Ocean (perhaps during a lovely sunset) and remember my beloved friend, “Michele, my Belle.”

With fondest regards, Mary

For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are – high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean – nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us. Romans 8: 38 & 39, the Living Bible.

(October 28, 2008)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pondering Another Blog's Most Recent Post

click over image to enlarge.

Part of my 'work' is to look at other blogs dealing with issues, events, and comments concerning OUR community.

I often visit Mr. Jeromy Rogan's Rogue's Yarn blog at:

Mr. Rogan published a post today with the flier shown above.

Jeromy's blog is a very good example of another blog everyone can read and share thoughts on.

I hope folks will visit his blog and share their thoughts about what Mr. Rogan posts there.

Knoll Hill is owned by the Port of Los Angeles.

San Pedro Issues to Ponder welcomes comments and post contributions. This blog encourages discussion and debate and welcomes differing views and I try my best not to slam anyone for their thoughts.

I hope though, folks will visit Rougue's Yarn and let Mr. Rogan know you are visiting his blog.

I have pondered some concerning the future of Knoll Hill, but I still have no clue on what should be placed there.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pondering a Benefit for Port of Los Angeles High School

Click over image to enlarge

POLAHS Presents 'Opera at the Grand' VIP Dinner and Fundraiser.

The 8:00 PM 'Opera at the Grand' performance will be held at the historic Warner Grand Theatre and will highlight the vocal artistry of the San Diego Opera Ensemble, accompanied by the Warner Grand's own orchestra-in-residence, the Golden State Pops Orchestra.

Tickets are available at, Williams Bookstore in San Pedro and at the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce ($25 General Admission and $15 seniors, students and military).

A VIP Dinner will precede the event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Pedro ($150 ticket includes premier, reserved seating at the Opera).

I think what we have hear is a touch-them-all, out of the ballpark home run!

First Base-It is a benefit to support education in OUR area by supporting the High School.

Second Base-It may be the first really enjoyable event we can all share after the election season, which seems overly long is OVER.

Third Base-It is another cultural and artistic event in downtown San Pedro and it benefits a school located in downtown San Pedro.

Home Plate-It is simply a wonderful evening of classic, well-known, and enjoyable music for the entire family and a great way to come together and be entertained without spending a whole lot of money.

With this year's opening concert of the Golden State Pops Orchestra held just last night, many of us 'regular' concert goers were delighted to see so many new people coming to see great music in San Pedro.

The concert, which included members of the Orchestra, some of whom will be playing during the Benefit, drew the largest crowd that we probably have ever seen during the tenure of the Orchestra at the Warner Grand.

Last night's concert also featured a Halloween costume competition. Terri and I were thrilled to have won last year's first prize. This year we clapped very loudly for the first prize winner, a pacifier-sucking 'Yoda' very proudly being lovingly held by his daddy.

During the concert we all heard eerie and frighteningly loud music that was geared towards horror and other scary movies.

It was a little funny to hear such powerful and frightening sounds coming from, among other, a pink-haired clown, a giant banana wearing a tie, Fred Flintstone appropriately playing percussion, one of the Super Mario brothers, eight Frankensteins playing french horns, and one member of the orchestra dressed up like someone who actually plays in an orchestra.

We may be seeing a self-determined revitalization of the downtown San Pedro area with many of the arts being represented in that area.

We have galleries, theater groups, music events and ongoing entertainment as several places, and live music can be heard around downtown San Pedro every night of the week.

With our support of the " Opera at the Grand" we can provide for our own Port of Los Angeles High School and we can demonstrate our eagerness to encourage more events to benefit other groups.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pondering (More) About the Clearwater Program

Click over image to make it larger and easier to read.

This paid announcement was scanned from the October 23rd edition of The Daily Breeze.

It is going to become more important to ponder about this issue as time goes by and we all have opportunities to gather together and ponder out loud with others that do seem to listen---how refreshing.

According to an individual who works with the Sanitation Districts and has gathered information about where folks want to see the major construction at ground level, approximately 99% of the people who have shared their opinions have indicated that Terminal Island is the preferred site for the ground-level site and the giant hole in the ground for access to the tunnel area.


The first comment to this blog comes from Mr. Russell Jeans. Mr. Jeans is NOT the source of any of the information I have written on this post.

As I have written in previous posts about this issue, I think a new Outfall System is needed and I would support one being accessed at ground level on Terminal Island where one of the proposed sites is located.

I will Email Mr. Jeans with my source's name. is the URL for the Clearwater Program.

For an organization that truly deals with sewage in the area, it is the one organization I have found to be the best by far, in informing the public, being really willing to work with OUR community and all other impacted communities, and ready to demonstrate real responsibility, reasonableness, and everyone seems responsible in their jobs and their willingness to include everyone in all the processes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pondering What I Can Afford With the Ballot Measures

Mr. Jeromy Rogan, the Blogmaster of made a comment on this blog that got me to really ponder about what measures on this election's ballot, Terri and I could afford.

Mr. Rogan was very thoughtful with his question and I attempted to answer his question with a comment of my own.

Mr. Rogan got me pondering about all ballot measures that might impact my future income, my taxes, and how much voting for measures may cost Terri and me.

There are measures that won't necessarily cost me money like Proposition 8 or perhaps Proposition 11.

I think it might be a good idea for all of us to ponder what we are willing to charge ourselves when we vote for measures that will eventually cause us to provide funds to, from our own wallets and purses.

I wrote about three measures on the earlier post, and dealt with only those three.

Now I am pondering all the Propositions and considering what I am willing to pay for and what I do not wish to pay for.

What we all will be willing to help pay for is reflected in what we vote support for, via each Proposition or Measure.

I must ponder these Propositions and Measures based on my particular circumstances as all other voters should ponder them using their own personal circumstances.

We should also understand that we all are members of different types of communities. We should respect that all voters are members of many different types of communities in their living situation, working situation, social situation, and all aspects of life.

In my pondering, I have selected to vote for Propositions and Measures that I feel would be ones that I can afford and the ones that benefit the many communities I belong to.

Here is my personal take on what I am willing to pay for and how it may benefit some of the communities Terri and I belong to.

Proposition 3, "Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute."

I am very willing to be taxed to help ensure better conditions for children who have to use eligible hospitals. It is good for my social community, and it helps children.

Proposition 6, "Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statute."

This increase in taxes for me is more necessary than I would like, but I am willing to help pay for what is called for.

Proposition 12, "Veterans' Bond Act of 2008." I don't ever remember voting against bond acts that go to support veterans.

Simply put, "I are one" and veterans deserve my dollars, whether it hurts my wallet or not.

These three Propositions are the only ones I am basing my vote on due to what I am willing to be taxed further for.

I am not going to vote on other measures based on whether I can afford them, but I will vote on the measures because of what their merits may be.

Most of the other Propositions and Measures, I will be voting NO on.

I do not get to vote on Los Angeles City Measure A, the initiative that would call for a $36.00 annual "tax" on parcel owners in the city of Los Angeles to deal with keeping kids out of going into gangs and getting current gang members out of gang activities.

If I did have the chance to vote on that Measure, I would also accept the annual fee or tax by voting YES on that measure.

There are two Measures that I have great concern about that I want to mention and urge your pondering on.

Measure J, "Local Community College Classroom Repair, Public Safety, Nursing and Job Training Measure."

If I could afford this Measure, I would vote YES on it, in a heartbeat.

I think the expenditure of $3.5 Billion Dollars may very well be necessary at this time, but it is a Measure that I cannot afford to add to what I am willing to spend during this election cycle.

Great things may be happening at L.A. Harbor College, but my budget this election, doesn't allow for voting Yes on this measure.

I hope it may come up again during and election cycle where I can afford to increase my tax burden and where there may be fewer ballot measures asking for my taxes.

Measure Q, "Safe, Healthy, Neighborhood, Schools Measure."

I am not going to spend any real time and effort other than stating that if anyone in the Harbor Area votes YES on this measure, they are doing more disservice to the kids attending LAUSD schools than they are benefiting them.

I want this measure to go down in flames and tell LAUSD that, "Enough is enough!"


O.K., I'm much calmer now.

I don't know of any other election where I have considered my wallet more.

Maybe it is because for the first time since about 1971, my situation is so dramatically changed.

It is perfectly reasonable and realistic to ponder that others in the communities I belong to have very different views than I have and I really respect that.

There are many folks who can afford to support more Propositions and Measures and many folks who can afford fewer Propositions and Measures.

I hope you all ponder what you are willing to be taxed more for and how your wallet might impact your votes.

Measure R, "Traffic Relief, Rail Extensions, Reduce Foreign Oil Dependence."

This is an admirable Measure, but unfortunately, one that I don't feel I can afford right now.

I have traveled on light rail lines in the area and I think that they are needed and should grow in length of journeys, number of trains, and ridership.

But I don't think our area cannot afford an increase of 1/2 cent per dollar. The current economic conditions may warrant the desperate need for inexpensive and reliable public transportation, but it may be too late in this current state we all are in, to try and build more onto what we may simply need to do our best to protect.

I hope you all ponder all the Propositions and Measures, along with the candidates.

Please 'vote down the ballot' and look at all races and issues and make your own personal determinations as to what is best for you and your communities.

Just please, vote NO on Measure Q!

When In The Course............

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to rest control from a huge bureaucracy that continues to provide examples of their basic inability to deal successfully with the most fundamental issues they are charged with, then it is time to provide drastic action to change the behaviour of that bureaucracy.

Such is the case with the Los Angeles Unified School District, and now is the time to deal with the issues, once and for all.

For too many years, bond measures have been passed by voters who are then 'entertained' with the results of their votes, with items like the Belmont Learning Center, the new High School for the Arts, near the Catherdral, and so many other items that I do not need mentioning, unless it becomes necessary.

Since Proposition BB, the approximately two billion dollar measure that preceded at least three other bond measures being passed by voters, what do we really have to show for all that money?

Do we have more students passing courses with better grades and better test scores? How is the dropout rate compared to times before Proposition BB was passed?

How do schools within LAUSD compare to schools in San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego?

How do standardized test scores and dropout rates compare to schools in New York City?

When do we stand up and state clearly, enough is enough?

We have the opportunity beginning Monday October 20 and ending on November 4 to state loud and clear that OUR community is no longer willing to fund what we can no longer afford.

We can no longer afford to build new schools in a failing school system. We can no longer provide the funds the LAUSD may want, but does not necessarily need.

Remember please, that the first look at the bond measure was for only 3.5 billion dollars, before the dollar value doubled, with very little consideration as to the need for the doubling.

Measure Q, the "Safe, Healthy, Neighborhood Schools Measure" is on the ballot with a request for voters to approve a bond measure that would supply at least $7,000,000,000.00 to a school system that cannot adequately prove that it needs that much money or that its bureaucracy deserves SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS.

In reading information supplied by LAUSD concerning the measure, there are many references to items that may come up, perhaps sometime in the future.

There are statements about school projects that have been 'mothballed' not necessarily for economic reasons and that may never be brought back for further discussion.

With the history of lack of real oversight in the school district, what might happen to too much money if voters approve the doubling of the funds originally asked for by the school district?

Now LAUSD has provided assurances that IF South Region High School #15 is approved for construction on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, it would be built using funds from previous bond measures and the district has basically guaranteed that the money is already allocated for the construction and finishing of that school.

Does anybody honestly believe these claims made by LAUSD? If anyone does, I hope they are proved to be correct in their belief.

LAUSD claims that the new bond measure would allow for many issues to be dealt with at San Pedro High School. How can or why should we believe that?

We have seen a long history of San Pedro schools being ignored by LAUSD and it is proved time after time that San Pedro area schools have been left out of much of the real improvement dollars.

Yes, we can be pleased with the additions to 15th Street School, but LAUSD is a long way off in providing necessary fixes and other schools in our area.

It is long past overdue that residents living within areas where LAUSD schools are located stand up and join together in demanding better quality education for all kids, in all areas.

The only way we can speak with one voice is at the ballot box.

The only thing that LAUSD's bureaucracy seems to understand is dollars, or the lack thereof.

We need to clearly demonstrate to all the 'suits' within LAUSD that they can not take their bureaucracy for granted any longer and that the people who actually fund their paychecks demand major changes.

We should expect to see higher test scores and lower dropout rates before voters approve any new bond measures.

We must receive the most benefits for our dollars spent and that is demonstrated when the students succeed in greater numbers than we have been seeing lately.

Since 1999, we have witnessed what LAUSD has done since we have repeatedly thrown money at them.

All students deserve the best education we can afford to give them. LAUSD has demonstrated that they have not provided the education so many students deserve, even with bond measures being passed over the last several years.

Before giving LAUSD any more bond money, we must demand that they recreate themselves from the top down.

It may mean that LAUSD can no longer afford both Superintendent Brewer AND Mr. Cortinez, someone who does much of the work that the Superintendent used to do.

It means that senior staff membership must be cut down more effective streamlining must be done, even though no new funds are provided to accomplish the streamlining.

It means that there is still quite a long way to go to pare down the number of 'bureaucrats', administrators, and staff members to a point where everyone is more accountable for more actions.

It means that when a document is produced, it can be tracked, traced, and dealt with at the lowest points on the pyramid of the bureaucracy.

It means that there must be fewer 'policy' makers and more teachers, coaches, teaching assistants and student-facing staff.

It means that more parents must become more involved with their children's education, whether they want to or not.

It means we provides the best opportunities at the lowest levels and not the best opportunities to those who are already in higher positions.

It may mean breaking up the entire Los Angeles Unified School District if is comes to pass that LAUSD cannot handle the loss of the bond measure now being debated.

It means that LAUSD must pass tests it does not wish to take but must take and pass for there to be more money provided, sometime in the future.

It means that as everyone else is now required to tighten their belts in tough economic times, so must LAUSD. Perhaps they need to come back with their original request for 3.5 Billion Dollars, at the next election cycle in 2009.

As LAUSD tests its students and hopes for higher grades and better test scores, it means that the administration within LAUSD must take and pass new tests and achieve higher grades and better test scores to be allowed to go forward if they want their same bureaucracy.

Especially in the Harbor Area, I hope Measure Q receives more NO votes than YES votes.

It may pass because other areas for YES for it, but if the Harbor Area stands together and holds LAUSD to higher standards than they have been preforming at, it will provide a swift kick with a boot in demonstrating that we are not going stand any longer for the continuing ways found within LAUSD.

Please vote NO on Q.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lydia, Oh Lydia and Then Some Other Political Stuff

Lydia Gutierrez is the Republican candidate for the office of State Senator for the 25th District.

Her Democratic opponent is Mr. Rod Wright.

Lydia and a few other candidates spoke at a forum sponsored by the three San Pedro Neighborhood Councils, on Tuesday evening.

Ms. Gutierrez introduced herself individually to everyone that came early to the forum and she spoke about her candidacy with my wife, Terri.

Ms. Gutierrez and Terri have very different views on a whole host of topics.

Ms. Gutierrez was provided the chance to address the forum as a candidate and she spoke about her upbringing, her family, and some other things, but there was little in her comments that dealt with what she would do, if elected.

Ms. Gutierrez also spoke fairly quickly because she reminded everyone that she had another appointment to get to.

When the time came to ask questions to Ms. Gutierrez, my wife Terri asked about what propositions were important to her.

Terri already know which one proposition Ms. Gutierrez was passionate about and they both knew they disagreed with each other view.

Ms. Gutierrez began her response to the question by stating to the audience, "Thank you Ms. Wells for that set-up question. She said it in a sarcastic tone that we frequently hear from Republican candidates far too much in this election.

Ms. Gutierrez went on to state her strong support for Proposition eight. Ms Gutierrez stated, "I support Proposition eight because I am a Christian."

Lydia, oh Lydia, are you stating that there can be no Christians that oppose Proposition eight?

Ms. Gutierrez, is it your true belief that you cannot be a Christian and still differ from your views concerning Proposition eight?

Who on this planet provided you the right to claim who is a Christian and who is not and why might opposition to one Proposition cause those to be cast out by you from the Christian religion.

I think my wife has strong beliefs and I don't think you can decide for her whether she is a Christian or not.

As Ms. Gutierrez finished her comments and walks towards the exit, she again thanked Terri for the 'set-up' question.

Was it a fair question Terri asked? Terri wanted to make sure the whole audience learned what Ms. Gutierrez's thoughts were about the major issues that Ms. Gutierrez is interested in.

Terri's question did not mention any particular Proposition, by number or title.

But Ms. Gutierrez provided a sarcastic response directly to Terri and then seemed to state that Christians support Proposition eight and opponents apparently do not qualify as Christians, if we listened to Ms. Gutierrez correctly.

Let me repeat what Ms. Gutierrez stated; "I support Proposition eight because I am a Christian."

Now let me provide you with a wonderful account of a member of the Republican Party that spoke during the forum.

Mr. Brian Gibson, (No relation to John Gibson) is the Republican candidate attempting to unseat Congresswoman Jane Harman in the 36th District.

Mr. Gibson also introduced himself to everyone individually and spoke a little about his ideas.

When it was time for Mr. Gibson to get up and speak, told us about his life, his education, his career, his family, and his thoughts on major issues we are all interested in.

Mr. Gibson was a perfect gentleman during the entire time and I was very refreshing to find a person from that political party that was open, honest, and willing to share ideas about issues.

Of course I don't necessarily agree with many of Mr. Gibson's positions, but it sure was good listening to them anyway.

Mr. Gibson talked about drilling in the ANWAR area and how folks in the U.S.A. might be able to use the oil extracted from there.

That point is something I differ from Mr. Gibson for two reasons; there is really not much oil there and the oil under the ground is not of the quality of oil that can be refined for use in the U.S.A. All oil extracted from ANWAR would have to be sold to foreign countries and none of it can be used by motorists in the U.S.A.

Mr. Gibson favors more Nuclear power plants as a way to help with dependency on foreign oil for the U.S.

I could agree with having many more Nuclear reactors being built and fired up if our country had a better safety record with Nuclear reactors.

Everyone knows about Chernobyl and that was, by far, the deadliest calamity relating to Nuclear reactor power.

Back in the 1950's an experimental Nuclear reactor blew up in the United States and one of the three victims was impaled through part of the concrete shell around the reactor.

It was in the early days of Nuclear power production, but it still marked the first deaths associated with the production of Nuclear power for generating electricity.

And then there was Three-Mile Island. Unfortunately our country's history with Nuclear reactor power production does not meet standards met by many other countries.

I do not live in the 36th Congressional District but I thank Mr. Gibson for providing a good face to a political party that seems to be running on hate, fear, and distrust.

Now getting back to the meanness of some Republicans, Mr. John Stammeranch (sp? sorry John), the leader of the Central Committee of the Republican Party in our area got into it a bit with the President of the San Pedro Democratic Club.

John stated that Senator Obama continues to state he "WANTS" a tax cut for folks making less than $250,000 per year. John claims that Senator Obama is unwilling to promise the tax cut and that his unwillingness to promise the tax cut is somehow bad and should create mistrust in the candidate.

Well John, I would rather have a candidate be honest with his "wants" than dishonest with his promises and guarantees.

John certainly knows that Senator Obama cannot promise something he cannot personally deliver.

John, Senator Obama will need the Congress of the United States of America to adopt laws to create new tax codes and provide tax relief that Senator Obama cannot force onto the population after he is elected President.

Perhaps John believes that Presidents should be able to enact laws much like "W" has done so many times with his signing statements that actually change the enforceability of laws enacted by Congress, according to "W's" whims.

John McCain has repeatedly stated he "knows" how to get bin Ladin. If that is true, why is he currently protecting bin Ladin by not letting "W" know what he knows about getting the scumbag?

Is it that McCain will only get bin Ladin if McCain is elected President.

I would imagine that if someone isn't currently working hard at getting bin Ladin, even with the knowledge McCain claims he has, isn't that more like being a terrorist to protect the worst terrorist?

When John McCain guarantees something like he knows he will get bin Ladin, then he should have told "W" what to do when he (McCain) finally figured out how to get bin Ladin.

I didn't stick around long enough to ask John S. whether San Pedro was part of the "real America" because there are so many Democrats in the area compared to Republicans.

Janice Hahn spoke as a private citizen about Measure A on ballots of folks living in the city of L.A.

She spoke passionately and clearly about the need for passage on the measure that would charge parcel owners about three dollars a month for gang prevention and suppression measures.

I believe that she made everyone understand the issues, and the need for the 'tax' and I think she was speaking to a receptive audience.

I don't get to vote on that measure but that didn't stop me from asking a loaded and set up question that I wanted Ms. Hahn to respond to.

I stated to Ms Hahn that of the three ballot measures, Proposition R-sales tax increase for transit, Proposition Q-seven billion dollars in new school bonds, and Measure A-gang intervention tax, I could only vote for one new added "tax".

I asked her opinion on which one of the three I should vote for. Her answer was exactly what I was hoping for........Support Measure A, for gang intervention and not for the 1/2 cent sales tax increase for transportation or Prop Q, the seven billion dollar school bond measure.

I am glad that Ms. Hahn seems reluctant to support Proposition Q and I hope it fails, at least in the Harbor Area where we have not received our fair share of bond monies for too many years.

Thank you Ms. Hahn, for your take on the issues and I hope Measure A passes by a wide margin and both Props R and Q fail miserably.

Pondering on What I Learned From the Conference Call

San Pedro High School, South Region High School #15, and some problems currently found at Point Fermin Elementary school were three areas I participated in, in a conference call with representatives of LAUSD, earlier this morning.

The call was requested by Ms. Linda Del Cueto, the Superintendent of Local District Eight of the Los Angeles Unified School District to assist me in finding answers to questions and concerns I have.

Other participants in the conference call included Mr. Steve Walters, now apparently working in the Superintendent's office. Mr. Walters is a past Principal of San Pedro High School.

Also included in the conference call were two representatives of Dr. Richard Vladovic, the Local Area Number 7 member of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education.

A little background needs to be established before I write on.

Ms. Del Cueto came to her current position in July, 2007, after the South Region High School # 15 (SRHS 15) was approved for planning and studies by the LAUSD Board of Education, in May, 2007.

She also came to her current position before June 24, 2008 when the original size of the campus was scaled back from 1,215- students to 810-students.

Ms. Del Cueto admitted that she is not as informed about the areas covered in the conference call we had because she is in charge of over 100 schools, their programs, and the people who go to those schools every day.

It is not surprising to me that Ms. Del Cueto cannot know what many of us know about the three areas covered in the call as we may have more time to deal with them than she does.

Ms. Del Cueto also has a staff that does their work to help her learn what she needs to learn as situations arise.

The first set of issues we discussed revolved around the document that illustrated that 150-seats proposed to be built at SRHS 15 might go to students who would have normally attended Narbonne High School.

This is a contentious document and one I still do not have sufficient evidence to base many judgements about.

No one on the call claimed to have know much, if anything about the document.

We know it came from the Master Planning and Demographics portion of the LAUSD Facilities Services Division.

I have been promised that folks within LAUSD will find answers to the following questions that we could not have answers for during the call:

Where, exactly, did the document come from?
Who requested the information supplied on the document?
Why was the document created?
Where was the new boundary going to be created?

Now here is an absolute claim made by Ms. Del Cueto and supported by everyone else on the conference call and strongly supported by Dr. Richard Vladovic:

If SRHS 15 is built there will be NO SEATS going to relieve overcrowding at any other school other than San Pedro High School.

This belies what the document purports to suggest so that is why we need to find the answers to the questions so we can make sure that the claim is totally true and remains for all time.

I believe Dr. Vladovic and Ms. Del Cueto when they state that there will be NO seats at SRHS 15 assigned to students other than those that would help to releive overcrowding at San Pedro High School.

Even with my beliefs, I still do wonder about the document, its time of creation and discussion by someone at LAUSD and how come the issue came up in the first place.

The document states facts that could only have been retrieved during Ms. Del Cueto's time as Local Area Superintendent, but that does not mean she had anything to do with its creation and discussion.

It is still an area of consternation for me because it is yet another cloud hanging over issues that need a thorough vetting and complete openness from all representatives at LAUSD not just Ms. Del Cueto, Dr. Vladovic, and their representatives.

Ms. Del Cueto is now fully onboard with having SRHS 15 as an annex to San Pedro High School.

Many of us have very strong opinions about the proposed campus, with a number of residents wanting the new campus built as a school separate from San Pedro High School.

Ms. Del Cueto is not a 'decider' whether the new campus is built or not. Of course she supports its construction.

Another very important issue brought up dealt with the idea that San Pedro High School was what is called a "receiver school".

A receiver school is one that accepts students who would normally attend another school, but since their home school is overcrowded, the students go to a different school.

In Local District Eight, only Gardena High School is a 'receiver school' receiving students who would normally attend Banning High School.

This satisfies my answer to that question.

Mr. Steve Walters, during the call, went on to provide me with information about students who do and do not live in the San Pedro High School area who attend San Pedro High School or some other school, for various reasons.

I am now going to provide numbers supplied by Mr. Walters that I do not challenge. There may be others who may wish to challenge the information, but I don't have any problems with these numbers as supplied by Mr. Walters.

460-the number of students in Magnet programs currently at San Pedro High School from within San Pedro and other areas.

169-the number of San Pedro residents participating in Magnet programs at the high school.

291-the number of NON-San Pedro residents participating in Magnet programs at the high school.

200-the number of San Pedro residents bussed out of San Pedro to attend high schools in other areas, for varying reasons.

45-the number of students attending the high school via permits.

44-the number of San Pedro residents attending San Pedro High School via permits.

1-the number of students at the high school via permit who do NOT live in the San Pedro area.

I didn't know, until this call, that "200" residents of San Pedro are traveling OUT by bus, from the San Pedro High School area to attend other high schools.

Here is another number supplied to many of us NOT from Mr. Walters or Ms. Del Cueto.

292-the number of students bussed to San Pedro High School for any reason whether they are San Pedro residents or not.

I believe it is reasonable to supply the information supplied to me by Mr. Walters to the largest population possible.

I know that representatives of Dr. Vladovic read this blog, the posts, and the comments.

Anyone is welcome to supply not only an entire post on this blog, but also comments when they wish to, on any post on this blog.

After dealing with the document and the 'receiver school' issues, we moved on to the Point Fermin Elementary School issues.

Ms. Del Cueto, unfortunately, didn't seem to know about the current problems facing the school and while I regret that she was not more informed, I can rely on her statements dealing with the concept that being in charge of so many schools, she is not that connected with each individual school.

Ms. Del Cueto began the call with her concerns about Washington Prep, and I got the impression that the school is taking up too much of her time. It is in her Local District.

I am a concerned that the Harbor Area schools might not be receiving the attention they deserve from LAUSD and some of Ms. Del Cueto's statements at points throughout the call, very sadly, seemed to exemplify my concerns.

Ms. Del Cueto claimed to know almost nothing about the issues facing Point Fermin Elementary at this time.

One of the representatives from Dr. Vladovic's office quickly explained to her the situation.

One bright thing I felt that came from that representative of Dr. Vladovic stated some support for the 'WIN-WIN' petition that has been generated.

I have to stop again and provide more information about the petition.

Mr. James Campeau worked with at least one representative of LAUSD to provide the basis for the petition.

Mr. Campeau then sent his sample to me and asked me and others to 'wordsmith' it.

I did what Mr. Campeau requested that the current 'Win-Win' petition has my new wording on it.

But the petition has some problems that must be resolved, ASAP.

Mr. Campeau needs to provide how and why the petition was created, who produced it, and whether other parties were involved in its creation.

I also suggested to Mr. Campeau and others that this first petition should be recreated with inpur from parents, LAUSD, faculty, and the administration at Point Fermin Elementary School.

I am not going to publish the petition on this blog until it has more information provided.

Since I was the one to re-write it, I very much agree with the solutions section of the petition, but I would feel even better if it had more discussion and input from folks other than myself and Mr. Campeau.

Getting back to the call and the Point Fermin issues, I also chided everyone from LAUSD for not sending a representative from that organization to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting, held last evening.

Most of the participants on the call could have claimed ignorance about the meeting, except one person who was very involved in matters concerning Coastal.

There will be plenty of followup to Dr. Vladovic's office and Ms. Del Cueto's office about this matter.

All in all, I received pretty much what I expected during the call on the 150-student document issue. Everyone is claiming ignorance, they will attempt to get to the bottom line, and that all of us agreed that there would NOT be 150-seats allocated to Narbonne area students at SRHS 15 IF it is built.

I was pleased to learn about the purported facts and numbers dealing with whether San Pedro High School was a 'receiver school' and the accounting of where students come from and go to.

The matters concerning Point Fermin Elementary School should be elevated in the offices of the Local District Superintendent, in my opinion.

There will be two classrooms without proper heating this Winter unless the problems are resolved.

The school will not be able to fully implement its Marine Magnet program until the computers have power.

The current problems have gone on since 2006 and during the time the playgrounds were dug up to allow conduit to be placed, even though no conduit for new power to the cabinet was placed underground.

There is far too much frustration on the part of all parties that LAUSD is not responding as they probably should do to get the issues resolved.

If the problems are such that Ms. Janice Hahn thoughtfully got involved, then surely there should be more emphasis on finding solutions from the Local District offices and Superintendent.

I very much appreciate all participants' willingness to participate in the conference and I thank them very much.

I have found Dr. Vladovic's office willing to respond to me and it appears that Ms. Del Cueto's office offers communication and discussion.

As I wrote this post I continue to sit exactly where I sit on the three issues:

San Pedro High School MAY be overcrowded, but is has fewer students per square of foot of campus space than when I attended the high school and the 2,953 graduates of the classes of 1972, 1973, and 1974 shared the halls with an unknown number of students who didn't graduate in June of those years.

I am still concerned about the document that has not received full disclosure due to many reasons. I was sad to learn that not only Dr. Vladovic not know about the document, but Ms. Del Cueto claimed she didn't know about it either.

I was pleased to hear that all parties stated that IF SRHS 15 is built, all the seats would go to ease overcrowding on the existing San Pedro High School Campus.

This does NOT mean I am changing my opinion concerning SRHS 15. That opinion is spread all over this blog.

We should all challenge both Dr. Vladovic and Ms. Del Cueto to assist in finding solutions to the major problem at Point Fermin Elementary School.

It is bad enough that they are not as informed as many of us hoped they would be.

It is understandable that a newer Local District Superintendent would not know all that much about many of the school she supervises. It is remarkable that Ms. Del Cueto has been on the job for over a year and still has such little information about our Harbor Area schools.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Political Endorsement Specifically Relating to Ponte Vista

I try to keep matters revolving Ponte Vista at San Pedro out of this particular blog.

However, there is an election coming up and a race that has impacts not only concerning Ponte Vista, but also with the rest of OUR community.

On ballots within the specific area, there is a race for a member of Division 2 or the Water Replenishment District of Southern California.

The two candidates are Robert E. (Rob) Katherman, listed as "Director, Water Replenishment Dist. of Southern California" and Pete Manghera, listed as "Teacher/Athletic Director".

Water and the ability to supply water to more developments is of great concern. The ability to allow large developments to be constructed in our particular area when there is already not enough water to go around is of great concern to many people.

Pete Manghera opposes the construction of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, using Bob Bisno's current plans because he believes there is not enough evidence to suggest that a project of that size can be built and not have a detrimental effect on water resources for all of us.

There is some evidence to suggest that Robert Katherman worked as a lobbyist trying to get water to at least one project he supported, but it is not Ponte Vista.

Pete Manghera has been officially endorsed for a seat on the Board of Directors of Division 2 of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California by the Southern California Chapter of the Democratic Party.

Pete strongly believes we must protect our dwindling water resources by not allowing large developments being constructed in areas where water is becoming more precious.

Pete Manghera strongly opposes the placement of the Outfall System access for the Sanitation District's new tunnel in a residential area. He feels the access must be constructed on Terminal Island.

Pete considers saving water for current residents and businesses is more important than having Ponte Vista built as Bob Bisno wants it built.

To be honest, I have known Pete for over 35 years, have appeared on his television show, "Pete's Place" (Bob Bisno has been on it, too.), and talk with him from time to time at various events all around OUR community.

Pete is a Social Studies teacher at San Pedro High School, coaches the J.V. Football team there, and works with the recreation program at the high school on Sundays.

I endorse Pete Manghera for a seat on the Board of Directors, Division 2, of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California.

The office is non-partisan and I do not know or care about the political parties either of the candidates belong to because it should not matter in this particular race.

Pete is very dedicated to the causes and issues he supports and he has volunteered to help youth sports for over a generation.

Please vote for Mr. Pete Manghera and allow him to help deal with the water issues facing Southern California.

Pondering Some Stuff

There is quite a bit of things to ponder happening all around the area. We certainly do not live in a sleepy little fishing village any more.

OUR community has quite a number of projects and issues that are going on all at the same time and folks need to consider what it really important to them and what they are willing to spend time, energy, and money on.

Here are some reminders of issues to ponder:

  • We are just about the start dealing with the Notice of Preparation and Initial Study for the Clearwater Program for the Sanitation District. Over 90% of those people who have an opinion as to where the Outfall Tunnel should be accessed at, state that it should be located on Terminal Island.
  • There will be an election forum for the November 4 General Election that will be held on Tuesday October 21, beginning at 6:00 PM at the Cabrillo Marina Community Building.
  • The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Waterfront Redevelopment proposals is now under review by all of us and comments may be created by anyone to the more than 6,000 pages of documents.
  • How, if any, has our lives changed, even slightly, now that Target has opened in San Pedro?
  • The Application for the construction of 1,950 condominium units along Western Avenue is moving much closer to official consideration by the Los Angeles Planning Commission and the Los Angeles City Council. It appears that any recommendation, concerning the application at any hearing of the Harbor Area Planning Commission, if it does meet on the matter, will be highly contested because of conflicts of interest claims concerning three out of the five Commission members.
  • It appears that some unity in OUR community is forming to continue to find solutions to the major issues being dealt with at Point Fermin Elementary School. I think many parents of children attending that school have a clearer understanding of how OUR community can help them get the issues resolved and their fight with LAUSD.
  • Work continues with the Community Advisory Committee of the Community Redevelopment Agency's issues concerning downtown San Pedro. There needs to be lots of community input and consideration as to what the future will hold for the downtown area.
  • Many of us strongly feel that the new parking fees in downtown San Pedro suck! We need to all join together and work towards helping the downtown area and fight City Hall on this matter.
  • Redevelopment of the Cabrillo Beach area is also continuing to be discussed.
  • The idea of having an 810-seat senior high school campus on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur still looms heavily in OUR community and revelations that seem to leak out of LAUSD continue to muddy the discussions and create more problems with LAUSD.
  • OUR community's economy is having trouble just like in the rest of the nation. How might we as a community, deal with what has happened and will happen in the future?
  • I am sure you know of important issues that I have not covered in this post. There are quite a lot of smaller issues that I have left out that you may think should be larger issues.

We also need to find smiles on our faces and realize how good so many of us have it, living in OUR community.

We are fortunate at having an extremely high percentage of park lands compared to everywhere else in the Los Angeles area.

We have groups all over OUR community that strive to help others and work for the betterment of OUR community.

We have real histories in OUR community that is itself a very historical place.

We have greatness all over OUR community with people like John and Muriel Olguin, Art and Irene Almeida and all those who work to be more like those two great couples to improve the lives of everyone in OUR community.

We have common ties and common strengths that bind us into a stronger community that can deal with issues better than many other communities. We have many examples of this all over OUR community.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pondering Political Humor on My Ponte Vista Blog

On extremely rare occasions I post comments related to national politics on my blog.

I do it on that blog because it has a 25 month-long history of posts and is read by more folks than my other blogs.

I originally considered putting the humor on this blog, but until now, I was reluctant.

This blog is actually the better blog to put issues and comments about politics because this blog deals with many different issues surrounding OUR community, including national politics.

I am going to place the political humor I posted on my other blog along with the comments to that portion of that post.

I will then add some further comments that may or may not be funny to folks.

Anyone and everyone is always welcome to submit their own post to all of my other blogs except "Caveman Dairy" which is my own brand of writing.

So here goes:

Sometimes I need to write some humor that isn't really part of the issues dealt with on my blogs.

Since my employment with ATT has been "terminated" effective on October 9, 2008 and the economy the way it is, I find humor is needed during some tough times to help us all carry on.

It is for many reasons that I include, on this post, some things I find funny that have nothing directly related to Ponte Vista.

"Joe the Plumber"

The gentleman's name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, yet John McCain think his name is pronounced "Joe Wurzelburger".

'Plumbers do not need a State license to work in Ohio, but they do need one in cities like Toledo, where 'Joe' claims he has worked for fifteen years.

'Joe' doesn't have a plumber's license or even a contractor's license for cities he claims he works in.

'Joe' doesn't like Senator Obama's tax plan and he has a tax lien against him to prove he doesn't like taxes.

'Joe' has never been listed as a plumbers' Union member and there is no record that he ever served an apprenticeship.

'Joe' claims he wants to buy a business that makes "$250,000-$280,000" per year, yet his income for 2006 was recorded to be approximately $40,000 for the entire year.

The business 'Joe' claims he wants to buy isn't worth anywhere near the figures he gave to Senator Obama.

'Joe' would most certainly benefit from the tax plan proposed by Senator Obama.

'Joe' claimed to be an Independent, although he is registered as a Republican.

And now for some more humor.

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic,different.'

* Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.* Name your kids Bristol, Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community,then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

* If your husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

"I do wonder about Obama hanging around with his former bomber friend. I mean this guy bombed military installations. If civilians got hurt that was just "collateral damage." All of this to try to hasten the end of the Viet Nam war. Then he got caught and sent to prison for a few years. In spite of this bad beginning this fellow became a respectable citizen and even got involved in politics. Some say that this makes it OK for Obama to hang with him. By the way, his name is.................John McCain."
Here are the comments left (so far) on the Ponte Vista blog, to the post:

4 CommentsClose this window Jump to comment form

mellonhead said...
We have a great blog here. Let's try and keep the partisan politics out. I had an uncle who told me when I was young and growing up "Mellonhead,don't argue religion or politics with other people. All it does is cause trouble." Let's keep the focus on Mr. Bisno and his proposed folly.
2:43 PM

Anonymous said...
speaking of, he's got a new video with a bunch of local flacks talking it up. check it out:
4:56 PM

Anonymous said...
Good idea Mellonhead, no politics.But I can't help myself. All politicians suck. Their purpose in life it to distort truth and drive the public "perception" toward their side at ALL COST. Obama is one of them Mark. Don't fool yourself. His big ideas won't mean squat. He will get in and flounder like all the rest. Then the Republicans will be on the attack.And by the way, it doesn't matter who Joe the plummer is. The point is that Obama will take us ever so much closer to Socialism if he implements his plan. The prospect of working hard to become rich has driven innovation in this country from the beginning (Capitolism). Don't forget it. Name one Socialist society that even comes remotely close to the US in the area of innovation, technology and business development. It's okay to hate the rich, but let's face it, they are typically the ones who create job opportunities for the middle class(including union labor).P.S. - I hope your job situation gets better quick!
2:07 PM

M Richards said...
Thanks mellonhead and anonymous.I think I will continue my comments and move your comments to think I have kept my feeling about national politics out of this blog for the vast majority of posts.MW
6:01 PM
Now for some more comments from me:

'Joe' doesn't seem to like Social Security. If John likes Joe so much, perhaps he will try to work towards dismantling Social Security.

Democracy cannot truly be compared to Socialism because they are not that alike.

Capitalism can be compared to Socialism more effectively and their differences can be view against each other.

Democracy can be more effectively compared to dictatorship rule and their differences compared against each other.

Socialism and Capitalism are based on economic reasons and Democracy and dictatorship rule is more how people are governed.

Capitalism and Democracy do not necessarily work well together in the long run, as is being proved right now and back in the late 1920's and 1930's.

During both times, government has had to step in and attempt to fix misdeeds created by Capitalism.

The one major point controlling Capitalism is that capital must always continue to be created.

Democracy can be allowed to stand on its own without being spread to other countries for it to survive where it already works.

If for any reason, capital is being lowered or hindered in any way, the structure of Capitalism suffers.

Democracy seems to be able to stand up even when challenged by other types of governments.

As we can see all over the world Capitalism is being used to shore up dictatorships and especially in the Arab countries like Dubai, it seems to be working quite well.

When the Capitalism in a country attempting to use Democracy comes apart, it is not only the Capitalists that suffer, which they should, but also those who are in a Democracy.

I don't think it is fair or correct to try and compare Democracy to Socialism. They are too different to make fair differences.

The 'Democracy' practiced in the U.S.A. is certainly not pure Democracy in the first place and most of us know that.

It may be the very best way to govern citizens the world has ever seen, but when it comes under attack by Capitalism, it seems weak to try and help everyone recover.

I am not a "America, Love or Leave It" person. I am a "America, change it or lose it" person and I continue to fight for it so as to not lose it.

I think Capitalism had screwed Democracy-loving people far too much. I don't know how to fix it, it is above my pay grade.

I also think that someone who has stated on videotape that has been stored that he has voted 'with Bush over 90% of the time' certainly does not know what so many of us know about how life is really like in OUR community.

But I have an out! Since I am quite sure that Senator Obama will receive a landslide number of votes for President in the state I live in, I am free to cast my vote for someone else.

I support the idea that Senator Obama should garner the majority number of electoral college votes for President of the United States, that doesn't mean I need to vote for him.

There are other very important races to deal with in this upcoming election. Maybe we should deal more with them than the national races, other than with humor.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Relieving Overcrowding at San Pedro High School

If you support the construction of South Region High School #15 because the Los Angeles Unified School District told you that building it was necessary to relieve the overcrowding ONLY at San Pedro High School, this post has some information that you need to read.

If you believe folks at LAUSD are completely forthcoming with their propaganda concerning who would attend the new campus, please read the document prepared for LAUSD.

If you find yourself feeling cheated because you offered your trust in LAUSD, please don't feel so bad. It seems they are in the business of misinformation, double-speak, and deception by some in order to push forward schools that communities don't want.

If you feel that San Pedro is going to suffer because of a need to relieve suggested overcrowding at Narbonne High School, you are not alone. Oh, by the way, there is less overcrowding at Narbonne High School than there is at San Pedro High School.

If you click on the document it will get bigger and you should get madder!

"South Region High School #15 needs to be built to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High School."

How many times have you read or heard that, and really believed it?

"South Region High School #15 needs to be built to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High School."

The main reason to build SRHS 15 is to reduce the number of students at San Pedro High School.
"South Region High School #15 needs to be built to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High School."

Students will be allowed to go to a new campus from San Pedro High School because the current high school is too overcrowded and needs relief.

"South Region High School #15 needs to be built to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High School."

Due to a recent request utilizing the Freedom of Information Act, internal documents reveal that if SRHS 15 is built, 150 of the 800 students' seats proposed to be at the new campus will go to students who would have normally attended Narbonne High School.

It is believed that a "boundary change" will be inacted moving areas that would normally have sent high school students to Narbonne High School, to the San Pedro area high school(s).

So it seems 150 slots that could go to students attending the "overcrowded" San Pedro High School campus, would be eliminated because those seats would go to students who would normally attend Narbonne High School.

I think I have written a thing or two about the deception practiced regularly by some at LAUSD.
I think this latest information demonstrates clearly that LAUSD can not be trusted.

"South Region High School #15 needs to be built to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High School."

I guess now the quote needs to be changed to something like; South Region High School #15 needs to be built to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High School and Narbonne High School, or something to that effect.

Please continue to visit the following Web site for great information:
Let's analysis what was produced in May, 2008 and around the time the plans for SRHS 15 were changed.
San Pedro High School is 15.7 acres SMALLER in size than Narbonne High School.
S.P.H.S. has had, currently has, and will ultimately have, more students attending it than at Narbonne High School.
Statements made by LAUSD personnell and by a member of the Board of Education since May, 2008 stating that the new campus would be used to relieve overcrowding specifically at San Pedro High School are FALSE and UNTRUE.
Even after the construction of the proposed new campus, Narbonne High School would be further away from its capacity than San Pedro High School will be.
There are more 'portable classrooms' at the smaller (San Pedro High School) campus.
I think you get the picture.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Important Time Change for Service for Ms. Michele Burk

The memorial service for Ms. Michele Burk has had its time changed, but kept scheduled for the same day, Saturday October 25, 2008.

The memorial service for Michele has been scheduled.

Saturday October 25, 2008


Forest Lawn Memorial Chapel

1500 E. San AntonioLong Beach, CA 90807

Phone: 1-800-204-3131


There is a tentative plan to have a late-lunch/reception at Ante's Restaurant in San Pedro, following the service.

More information about that will be forthcoming.

Please look for the post that was created just after Michele's passing and read the comments from her friends.

You can find the post by clicking over:

Pondering on More Items Regarding Point Fermin Elementary School

I attended the Parent Teacher Organization at Point Fermin Elementary School today and came away with some information that I feel needs to be pondered further, by all of us.

First I must repeat that I DO NOT wish to see the lunch shelter removed at anytime in the near or far future of the school.

I have posted things about the plight found at Point Fermin Elementary School and I strongly feel that the Facilities Division of the Los Angeles Unified School District started all the problems, continue to resist fixing the problems, and is pitting the students, teachers, parents, and others, against members of the community and keeping everyone misinformed and defiant.

On these issues, folks who want to see the new power grid start working at Point Fermin Elementary School have some very good reasons for having it start working.

On the other hand, LAUSD has acknowledged that is has broken rules, codes, and other things, yet it is holding all of us hostage, especially the students and faculty of the school.

One bright moment came during the meeting when the President of the PTO and the Principal of the school apologized to Mr. James Campeau for their incorrect statements and views that Mr. Campeau began the opposition to getting the new power working because of his views of the area.

Mr. Campeau stated factually that out of the front of his home he has a good clear view of the stucco walls of a condominium building and cannot even see the school unless he stands on his roof.

It is now strongly believed that LAUSD, and their Facilities Division came up with the misinformation about Mr. Campeau's view because he complained about the issues brought before him as a member of the Planning and Land Use Committee of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

It is true that "SOME" residents in the area complained about the new poles placed to supply power to the new power cabinet on Carolina. But residents also complained about the potential safety aspects of having a 4.8 kilo-volt set of power cables too close to the metal cover of the lunch shelter.

Mr. Campeau has been attempting to have LAUSD fix the problems they originally created when they first built the shelter on easement land along Carolina Street.

But Mr. Campeau started working on the issue years after the shelter was built and he and so many of us DO NOT WANT the shelter removed.

Mr. Campeau's observations and work towards finding solutions to the problems came about with the placement of new power poles, a new power cabinet, and wiring were done by DWP.

DWP worked on the project because LAUSD told them that it was correct to work on the poles, even though LAUSD knew that there were already easement issues on the site.

DWP correctly placed poles on the site according to LAUSD wishes which were wrong in the first place.

Everything DWP has done so far has been legally correct for the placement of poles on the easement and even placing the new cables where they placed them.

But DWP did not know that they should have not placed them where they did because LAUSD did not tell them that the shelter was incorrectly placed, back in 1999/2000.

Now some folks will state that the situation doesn't need correcting because the new power grid, cables, cabinet, and infrastructure will be used only for air conditioning and it is becoming cooler these days.

They are wrong! The school needs more power for several reasons.

The school is becoming a Marine Sciences Magnet and there are new power requirements for new technologies that are coming to that school.

There is one classroom that has only one working A.C. outlet.

One very important issue is that because of some new technology infrastructure equipment, two classrooms have now lost their radiators/heaters. The students and teachers in those classrooms will need the new power to have electrically-generated heaters.

The simplest "fix" for the problems facing Point Fermin Elementary School, right now, is to place the new power cables underground.

LAUSD doesn't want to pay for that. But they made the mistakes beginning in 1999 and still do not want to provide any real mitigation to solve the problems they created.

One great thing that came from the PTO meeting today is that I feel the parents and teachers who attended the meeting have a better understanding of how we all need to come together and work on how to fix the problems as soon as possible.

All the teachers, parents, and staff at Point Fermin Elementary School are stakeholders in the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

They are encouraged to bring their issues to Council Board meetings so their concerns can be heard and understood by the members of the Board.

The PTO can also work with Coastal Board members and Committee members to draft motions to be voted on that support their cause. I have the belief that their issues will be properly addressed and the outcome favorable to everyone.

It is time to stop pointing fingers at everybody else, other than Mr. Gamble and the Facilities Division of LAUSD. They are the 'bad guys' pitting us against each other so they won't have to deal with fixing the problems they created in the first place.

Until the issues are resolved to best protect the students, faculty, staff, and parents at Point Fermin Elementary School, only the Facilities Division must be known as the culprits.

They are holding our the school's community and the rest of the local area hostage and it appears they really don't care.

You can also read about the discussion concerning Point Fermin Elementary School on a blog more involved with education than this blog is.

That blog can be found by clicking on:

Trying to Set the Records Straight

Some of the real problems that need to be dealt with in the issues at Point Fermin Elementary School involve misstatements, errors, and untruths.

The great bulk of the errors, misstatements and untruths come from the Facilities Division of LAUSD and have been used as propaganda on those less informed about the situations.

A derogatory letter, filled with misinformation was sent to Congresswoman Jane Harmon by someone at Point Fermin Elementary School and I am going to use parts of it to illustrate the misinformation given to that person by a person or persons representing LAUSD.

I am also then going to include factual comments, now known to be true by the letter writer, once they were finally presented the real facts.

"Last Week a meeting was held with L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, District 15, other stakeholders, and 2 parents of children who attend Point Fermin Elementary. The meeting was in regards to the removal of a power pole that is supporting the transformer which powers the air conditioning unit for the school. The removal request was brought to the Councilwoman's attention by Mr. Campeau, a citizen from San Pedro who lives directly behind the school and also a member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council. The request is stating the transformer and pole is obstructing his view. The meeting was called because Mr. Campeau stated it was a safety issue. But during the meeting both Councilwoman Hahn and Mr. Campeau stated it was a view issue and there was no mention of a safety issue concerning the pole. A stipulation of the meeting was only two parents from Point Fermin were to attend. But when the meeting commenced, Mr. Campeau was allowed twelve of his supporters to attend and many concerned parents were not there to support our representatives."

Now here are some true facts:

Mr. Campeau's view is of the stucco wall of a condominium building and he has no real view of the school site.

Mr. Campeau brought the issues forward on behalf of other stakeholders and not on his own behalf.

The meeting was called because LAUSD needs to have a revocable permit issues to allow DWP to energize the new cables, transformer, and power grid and it was the first meeting LAUSD was willing to sit down with others in the community regarding the issues.

Having climbed up and down hundreds if not thousands of utility poles during my work with ATT, I brought up the potential safety issues at Point Fermin Elementary School that are not found at any of the other 11 regular elementary schools in the San Pedro area.

I never heard of any stipulation as to who could attend the meeting which I and the letter writer attended. It would have been better if the interested parents had ignored the stipulation and attended the meeting which was really open to the public, as it turned out.

The power poles, transformer, and power cabinet were placed where they were because of errors made by the Facilities Division of LAUSD.

Many of us the letter writer claimed were "supporters" of Mr. Campeaus strongly support education and educational facilities within the community. To suggest we were all there to support Mr. Campeau, is an error.

Many stakeholders do believe however, that LAUSD must be held to standards which the rest of the community is held to. Many stakeholders believe that if an entity breaks the rules, continues to ignore their blunders, and attempts to circumvent the rules without regard to the entire community, they must be held accountable and their errors must be dealt with.

"The air conditioning unit was put in during 2006, but has yet to be run because of Mr. Campeau's complaint."

That was a misstatement of facts. The installation done in 2006 was to provide power to air conditioning units, bring more power for new technology applications and more power for general uses at the campus.

The grid has not be provided power because LAUSD must have a revocable permit issued and it has not fixed the problems it originally began creating in 1991 when it placed a covered lunch shelter in an area it was never supposed to be located.

Mr. Campeau is representing other stakeholders whose names have not been included because they feared becoming vilified by LAUSD and others, just like what has happened to Mr. Campeau.

"It is our understanding that if the Revocable Permit is not renewed, then the lunch shelter which is located beneath the pole will have to be relocate(d) somewhere else on the already limited school ground."

Here again we find that LAUSD has muddied the waters with misinformation and misunderstanding.

There is nobody I know that wants or insists that the shelter be removed; not Mr. Campeau, not others attending the recent PTO meeting, and not the vast majority of persons with any knowledge of the situation.

Currently Mr. Campeau's request involves undergrounding the cables that would provide power to the new cabinet and POSSIBLY having the city of Los Angeles finally provide a sidewalk along Carolina Street all the way to 32nd Street. That does NOT mean removing the shelter.

"The unit put into our school was exceptionally expensive due to the concern of preserving the historical character of our school."

It really doesn't matter why the units was put where it was put other than it was put in the wrong place in the first place, and LAUSD knew that when it did it.

Also, is the letter writer feeling that historical preservation is more important than providing for the students using proper guidelines without the potential for safety factors to come into play?

If historic preservation is more important than following modern rules and guidelines, perhaps the letter writer would prefer to have the school turned back to what it was like when it was first constructed.

"Councilwoman Hahn and Mr. Campeau suggested that the LAUSD spend $200- $400K to fix this view or Councilwoman Hahn would not approve the permit the school needs to keep the lunch shelter and air conditioning (which has been ready to go months ago and it has been hot!) electrical equipment. The school said they don't have the money and if they did, should they spend in on one person's view?"

Whatever the Facilities Division of LAUSD needs to come up with to fix the problem and allow the revocable permit to be granted is something they should do. They created the problems in the first place, they have been stonewalling every attempt to have them fix their problem, they have pitted sides against each other and are doing a great disservice to everyone involved, including holding children 'hostage'.

Without the new power grid coming online shortly, two classrooms will not have safe, reliable, and legal heating for students and teachers. Winter is coming.

The 'school' should not have to pay for the blunders done by the Facilities Division. There have already been four bond measures passed totaling billions of dollars going into the coffers of the Facilities Division.

If the Facilities Division continues to claim that there is not money, then they are indicating they have poor fiscal management, or probably worse.

The "unit" was "exceptionally expensive" yet the Facilities Division still put it in the wrong place.

It is already been acknowledged that "one person's view" is not being considered, especially by that person! This is another example of the management of the Facilities Division continuing to create misinformation so they won't be held responsible for their errors and intransigence.

"The parents of Point Fermin Elementary do not feel that our children should endure any hardship because Mr. Campeau lost his view from his house."

That statement is a perfect example of how the Facilities Division is manipulating individuals and groups with a clearly untrue statement that was made to incite too many people into misunderstanding the issues.

"The amount of money being requested for one man's luxury and the amount of money and time being requested to plan, remove, rebuild a new lunch shelter is preposterous."

This is another great example of LAUSD trying to escape really clearing their errors and using suffering parents and kids as bait in their fishing for the revocable permit.

The lunch shelter can stay for generations to come if the cables are placed underground AND even if a sidewalk were to be placed along the eastern side of Carolina Street.

LAUSD has some grounds to prevent a sidewalk from ever being placed all the way to 32nd Street because the city has not chosen to use its easement since before 1931.

There is precedent for the 'use it or lose it' rules in the city of L.A. and 78 years is a long time.

But that is another fight that isn't really involved in the issues currently being dealt with at the school and it is a matter for the future, anyway.

There MAY be a sidewalk continuing to 32nd Street, but the shelter need not be removed to provide a 3-foot sidewalk as it goes past the shelter.

" We understand Mr. Campeau's dilemma and agree everyone is afforded their right to express their opinion. We have heard his opinion, but think for the greater good not one person's gain that this issue needs to be resolved and Councilwoman Hahn should also support Point Fermin Elementary in this matter."

First and foremost concerning the statement above is that Councilwoman Hahn fully supports Point Fermin Elementary, it students, parents, faculty, staff, and others!!!!!

It was Councilwoman Hahn that brought the groups together representing all sides and concerns, for the FIRST TIME, even with LAUSD's reluctance to be involved with parents and others.

The letter writer not only did not understand Mr. Campeau's dilemma, they had never heard directly from Mr. Campeau about all of his issues regarding Point Fermin Elementary School.

Mr. Campeau can be recognized as an expert in the issues surrounding Point Fermin Elementary and he has vastly greater knowledge of the issues than any parent, PTO member, faculty member, or even the Principal at the school.

Again we find the Facilities Division and their propaganda has influenced too many people who either haven't been provided the true facts or are not willing to accept the facts as they are.

"Councilwoman Harmon (sic), I genuinely thank you for your time and consideration. Hopefully you understand that the only people that will really suffer are the children of Point Fermin Elementary."

Whenever LAUSD is allowed to circumvent rules and guidelines, everyone suffers, even the children.

How many of us have spent 13 years attending LAUSD schools that were never air conditioned?

Even the letter writer is attempting to use children as the particular 'victims' to the opposition to having the revocable permit granted.

We all should have a stake in demonstrating to everyone that LAUSD must be held accountable for their misdeeds. It provides a lesson to the entire community when we stand up against an uncaring bureaucracy that believes it can continue errors, ignore rules, and not be willing to fix the problems they created in the first place.

If the cables are placed underground, I strongly suggest the remaining problems will be fixed almost immediately after the undergrounding is complete, Point Fermin will grow even greater than it already is, and be a shining star in elementary education.


Now here is even more news about individuals within the Facilities that have an impact on continuing the problems faced at Point Fermin.

Mr. Gamble is paid $164,215.20 per year to get it right as Director of Maintenance & Operations, along with Mr.Finstad who is paid $128,980.00 as Local District Facilities Director. Perhaps their boss Mr.Guy Mehula who is paid $232,572.00 as Chief Facilities Executive might use a little from their paychecks to get some money for an easy solution to this problem.

Mr. James Campeau also wrote the following:

"Unhinged by what I read for the first time yesterday in the chain letter petition (as evidence of Mr. Gamble's doing) from the current PTO president to Congresswoman Harman, it would not be fair for me to single out the PTO president or the school Principal responsible for the wrong information to the Congresswoman.

I would hope as they understand all the information and what we are trying to accomplish for a WIN- WIN solution for all, that they would kindly take the time to write a letter and retract the original statements against me."