Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pondering 2009

The first thing we need to know about 2009 is that the public meetings that will be held on all the issues we may want to deal with, will be free to attend. Some may offer refreshments!

It looks like for many of us, attending free gatherings, meetings and doing other things that don't cost much will be the primary way to become more informed about issues. Attending free things may also help deal with keeping busy and not spending money, our own out of pocket money that is.

How can we accomplish much with no money, may be the primary focus of all upcoming meetings and gatherings in 2009.

Acknowledging that life goes on whether we can afford it or not is a step we all will be taking in 2009.

As 2009 begins to unfold, you should read: http://www.pedrocalendar.com/ to get information about upcoming meetings and events.

If you want to read something a bit refreshing, please go to: www.yourpontevista.blogspot.com and read that the Outreach Team has finally begun to sing a different tune.

We don't know what 2009 will bring for South Region High School No.15 because of some latest information that even schools currently under construction may be halted for a period of time until the economic woes within L.A.U.S.D. begin clearing up.

What will happen in the Ports in 2009? We have read that traffic will be down, tonnage will go down, workers are already losing days, and gloom overshadows brightness.

Now about the Waterfront Redevelopment Project. Are we going to go back to a standstill?

I hope the Clearwater Program is not affected by what will happen in 2009 and we can all receive more information that the Terminal Island site will move forward as the proposed site for the placement of the Outfall System, ground level and below construction location.

I guess talks can continue, without much spending, on the redevelopment of the Cabrillo Beach area. Plans may have to be drawn out until more money is found, but talking and continuing to plan can't hurt, I imagine.

I feel very bad that 2009 will probably bring much more sadness to downtown San Pedro. I am not seeing any positive movement in these tough financial times and I hope we don't lose that many businesses in our downtown area.

If you didn't shop downtown San Pedro during the pre-Christmas period, please head to downtown San Pedro soon and look for something you want and purchase it there.

This might be a good time for the Chamber of Commerce to really think about ways to have a new Supermarket built in the downtown San Pedro area.

The condos and future apartments will eventually be occupied and those residents and other residents of the downtown area will need to buy food. Perhaps land values will come down enough so that a larger area of downtown San Pedro may become available for a Supermarket chain to come in and find a way to supply that area with a new store.

We may need to think of new ways to help support public schools in San Pedro using wider means of support. Maybe something like a combined day of garage sales at school sites, with funds going to support all the 12 elementary, two middle, and three high schools in San Pedro, plus the Harlan Shoemaker and Wallenberg Education Center, might be something we can get our entire community to support.

(The high schools I am considering are S.P.H.S., P.O.L.A.H.S., and Angel's Gate Continuation H.S.)

Our public school students are going to have a very hard 2009 and if we can help them out by helping them with daily classroom items, then I feel we as a community can ease some of the pain.

Our three Neighborhood Councils will continue to work for residents in their areas and the meetings are free to attend and learn how you can help, too.

You can also find ways to fill idle hours, without spending money, and helping to make OUR community a better place to live.

Donating time is valuable. Some of us no longer have the means to provide funds and donating to causes. If you think you might feel bad not being able to financially support groups you have supported in the past, the time you take doing for others is at least as valuable as the dollars you might not now be able to donate.

2009 may be a year that you will become more involved with a religious institution you belong to or learn about. Your support of them and their support for others will become more important as more people find themselves in trouble, economically speaking.

There are organizations throughout San Pedro that will need your help in 2009 like in no other recent years. Whether you can support them directly with funds, or help them with muscle and brain power, this coming year will be a much more challenging year than so many other years that we can remember.

2009 will also be a year you should get out more and see the spectacular area where you live. You can do all of that without much money, if any at all.

You live in an area that is so naturally abundant in remarkable sights, sites, sounds, views, and characteristics and you can enjoy all of them for just the cost of a good pair of walking shoes.

You have the opportunity to view the fastest moving roadway in probably the entire country.

You can walk alongside some of the most beautiful scenery around.

We have parks galore and all types of terrain for you to explore.

There are a great many opportunities in 2009 to help preserve all of our recreational areas and help protect them for the future.

We may not be able to do the things we used to do by spending money we may now find harder to come by. But we can become more active in helping ourselves and others get through 2009 without spending much of our own cash and still keep busy and working for the best San Pedro possible.

Think about spending less and serving more.

Have the happiest of New Year's possible.

Pondering the Need and Greed Over Solar Power in Los Angeles

The March primary election will include Proposition B which is a measure ostensibly to add solar panels to public buildings in Los Angeles so more Green power can be produced.

If that thought seems far to easy and simple to imagine, the long held concept of if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, applies.

You can find great information about Mayor V.'s and others plans for the solar energy measure on the upcoming ballot by reading the following blog: http://ronkayela.com/

Mr. Ron Kaye is a former newspaper editor and a true hero to many of us in the area.

He and seven others have now been given the opportunity to answer a lawsuit concerning the opposition statements to Proposition B, the ballot measure supported by the Mayor of Los Angeles and extremely hastily brought forward by the L.A. City Council.

One other defendant in the lawsuit is none other than Ms. Soledad Garcia, a Board member of our own Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Ms. Garcia has long been a watcher of the DWP and she has worked tirelessly to fight unnecessary rate increases. Ms. Garcia is also an instrumental part of oversight of the DWP.

DWP and Mayor V. are also threatening to bring transmission lines into the city over pristine land and over property taken by condemnation if their solar energy plan is not voted for.

The legislation also indicates that jobs will be created as one way to find favorable votes within the Los Angeles voting area.

Unfortunately, the majority of jobs that could be created will be in China because that is where the solar panels are scheduled to be provided from.

I would hope that Angelenos would rather use domestically produced solar panels that provide jobs and spending in this country over adding more profits to the government of China.

This post is the first post for a string of posts that I hope will also include much more information that is primarily focused on San Pedro and the surrounding areas. I also hope to be able to provide an address and more dealing with a defense fund for the "Solar 8" who make up the respondents in the lawsuit filed by supporters of Mayor V. and his gang at City Hall.

I will also try and get a take on the situations from Councilwoman Janice Hahn. She is up for reelection and she should publicize her stance on the situations, the lawsuit, and how much of a fraud Proposition B actually is.

We need solar power! We need more 'green' alternatives to producing power! We need to lower our use of fossil fuels! But we must do these things without fraud, corruption, lies, intimidation, lawsuits, and other negative measures being used.

We also must make sure that these things are carried out using the best technology and resources within our own country. We already have staggering unemployment and an economy that looks to be more like being in a Depression rather than being is a deep Recession.

If we have the will, the ways will also come to us.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where Will the Money Come From

I will begin this post from an item of information on a blog created by The Daily Breeze and written by one of its education editors, Ms. Melisa Pamer:

LAUSD to take $833 million hit
By Melissa Pamer
on December 18, 2008 5:34 PM

Los Angeles Unified expects to lose $833 million in state matching funds for construction and modernization projects, following a Wednesday decision by a state panel to halt infrastructure financing, a district spokeswoman said today.

Thirty-five new schools in various stages of construction, as well as hundreds of upgrades for existing campuses, would take a hit, said LAUSD's Shannon Haber.

"The list is enormous," Haber said.

The district is still figuring out the effects of the plans. More detail on the effected projects should be forthcoming from the district, she added.

The Pooled Money Investment Board in Sacramento voted Wednesday to halt nearly $4 billion in funding for infrastructure projects across the state, affecting many school districts.

The next pieces of information can be found at Ms. Diana Chapman's blog; The Underdog for Kids at: http://www.theunderdogforkids.blogspot.com/

Ms. Chapman receives and posts creations by local area students who come from immigrant families.

Whether the students included in the posts were born in this country or immigrated with their parents from somewhere else, I have been having a dilly of a time trying to consider responding to the post Ms. Chapman places on her blog.

Our U.S. Constitution and laws coming from that document guarantee and education for school-age children in this country no matter whether the posses the documents to legally live in this country or not. It is one of the strongest and most defended parts of our laws and I do not believe those laws should be changed.

Every school-age student has the right to a free public school education in this country, no matter whether they are here legally or illegally. Nobody is going to change that.

But who has to pay to educate every child and where will the money come from to provide all students with an education?

The Los Angeles Unified School District no longer receives a portion of property taxes paid for education to support the District. Simply put, there is more going out than is coming in and, in these times, there is no certainty that this problem will ever change for the better.

Enrollment throughout the District continues to decline but that decline also means fewer dollars coming into the system.

L.A.U.S.D. strongly suggests that enrollment will begin to go up again as early as 2013, but with the current economic conditions, that date may be premature by several years.

If the enrollment does begin to increase again for an extended period of time, what socio-economic conditions might come with that increase in population and student enrollment?

It is certainly understandable that students are writing about the experiences their parents faced in getting their children to a place where others must pay for the education of the students.

In most of the posts provided by Ms. Chapman, we are given to believe that the parents of many of the writers do not have the income necessary to pay property taxes anywhere sufficient to cover even a partial cost of their children's' education.

I want each and every school-age student to be given the best opportunities for the best education.........the best education POSSIBLE.

Unfortunately, I and so many others can no longer afford to provide all students with an education I wish they could have.

I pay the property taxes and my education portion goes to L.A.U.S.D. I would like to have my dollars go to the District 80% of the school-age students living in my area attend school in, but we don't have that right at this time.

I think it is time that we the taxpayers, demand that L.A.U.S.D. be broken apart in such a way that allows the taxpayers in specific areas to support more local schools to those specific areas.

Too much of our money is going away from our areas and our children are suffering for something they and their parents did not create.

It can not be a matter of ethnicity because 73.7% of the L.A.U.S.D. student population is made up of one particular ethnic group and that means the District is pretty much back to being segregated, unfortunately.

I don't believe in a backlash. I do believe that it is time to focus on ways of helping all students as best as we can.

In this time of the Districts it is not about the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. It is all about every student being part of the 'have nots' and that must be unacceptable for all of us.

Coastal Commission Meeting Announcement

Please click over images to enlarge.
So now you can read the what, when, why, and most importantly, where L.A.U.S.D. is going to find approval for South Region High School No. 15, with the California Coastal Commission.
I hope you take the time to look at page 2 and write your comments to the Commission members concerning whether you support or oppose constructing a new campus within the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission.
Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Larry Clark is our local representative on the Commission. You can also send him your comments directly to him.
I will probably take the trek to Oceanside unless L.A.U.S.D. and the Coastal Commission actually do something for the folks who pay their bills and move the agenda item out just one month so deliberations concerning a new campus in Los Angeles can be made in............Los Angeles.
What a concept!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

L.A.U.S.D., Will They Waste Your Money Going to Oceanside?

A group from L.A.U.S.D. will indubitably be traveling down to Oceanside on January 7, 2009 to witness the California Coastal Commission deal with the approval of South Region High School No. 15 (SRHS 15), during the Commission's first meeting of the year.

Now if I were to inform you that the second meeting by the California Coastal Commission of 2009 will be held in Los Angeles, just one month later, do you think that L.A.U.S.D. would try to get the SRHS 15 issue on the February agenda?

If your answer is no, then I guess you understand how wasteful L.A.U.S.D. can be because it wants to move its project forward, no matter what.

Here are some particulars:

January 2009
City of Oceanside
City Council Chambers
300 North Coast Hwy.
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 801-0366 Phone number on meeting day only!

The California Coastal Commission January meeting agenda, staff reports (PDF links) and other information are available at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/mtgcurr.html in real-time. You may also view and listen to the Coastal Commission meeting live on the web.

For more information on the California Coastal Commission, please visit our Web site at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/.


19. DEPUTY DIRECTOR'S REPORT. Report by Deputy Director on permit waivers, emergency permits, immaterial amendments & extensions, LCP matters not requiring public hearings, and on comments from the public. For specific information contact the Commission's Long Beach office at (562) 590-5071.

20. CONSENT CALENDAR (removed from Regular Calendar). See AGENDA CATEGORIES.

a. Appeal No. A-5-MNB-08-306 (City of Manhattan Beach, Manhattan Beach)Appeal by William Victor of City of Manhattan Beach decision granting permit for citywide modifications to the public parking meter rates, including raising fee for public parking meters by $0.25 cents per hour resulting in $1.25 per hour for streets, and by $0.50 cents per hour resulting in $1.50 per hour for pier and beach parking lots within the appeal able area of the coastal zone, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County. (CP-LB)

22. COASTAL PERMIT APPLICATIONS. See AGENDA CATEGORIES. Attention: Items appearing in this section of the agenda may be moved to the Consent Calendar for this area by the Executive Director when, prior to taking up the Consent Calendar, staff and the applicant are in agreement on the staff recommendation. If an item is moved to the Consent Calendar it will be processed in the same manner as other Consent Calendar items (See AGENDA CATEGORIES) except that if that item is subsequently removed from the Consent Calendar by a vote of three or more commissioners, the item will be acted upon at the meeting in the order in which it originally appears on this Meeting Notice and in the manner Coastal Permit Applications are processed. The purpose of this procedural change is to expedite the Commission's coastal development permit process.

a. Application No. 5-07-375 (T-Mobile, USA, Venice, Los Angeles) Application of T-Mobile, USA to install 47.5-ft. tall wood utility pole to support cell phone equipment and antennas, at Eastern edge of Pacific Avenue right-of-way (4100 block - at Jib Avenue), Venice, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County. (CP-LB)

b. Application No. 5-08-187 (City of Long Beach Maintenance and Development Bureau, Long Beach) Application of City of Long Beach to establish a city tree trimming and tree removal policy, at Downtown Shoreline, Alamitos Bay Marina, and other state tidelands and beaches within City of Long Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles County. (CP-LB)

c. Application No. 5-08-251 (Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles) Application of Los Angeles Unified School District to construct 810 seat high school with 30 classrooms, administrative offices, gymnasium, amphitheater, sports fields, wind turbines, and 193 on-site parking spaces, at 3210 South Alma, San Pedro, Los
Angeles County. (AP-LB)

It seems taxpayers will probably foot the bill for transportation costs to and from Oceanside for representatives of L.A.U.S.D. to attend the meeting.

I would imagine that those representatives may get hungry. Looks like we will foot their meals, too.

Do you feel the reps might wish to get a fresh start in the morning of January 7 and decide to spend the night of January 6 down closer to Oceanside, even at our expense?

If anyone from L.A.U.S.D. states that the District is in dire financial straights, I think if they pull of the Oceanside adventure that should pretty much offer to all of us that the 'suits' don't really care about the District's financial status.

Wouldn't it be a nice thing for L.A.U.S.D. to try and get agenda item 22 c. moved from the Commission's January meeting to the February meeting so money could be saved?

Let's just wait and see whether they really find that saving money by moving just one month out on the approval is worth it to the 'suits'.

Now there may be things that warrant having the issue brought up at the January meeting, but I don't think the giant organization, make that bureaucracy that is L.A.U.S.D. can't ask the good folks at the California Coastal Commission to push the item out by just one more month. After all, L.A.U.S.D. requested an earlier postponement of dealing with the issue.

I think that if the SRHS 15 issue remains on the agenda for the January meeting, the Freedom of Information Act would probably be brought into motion by N.O.I.S.E. to find out how much money was spent by L.A.U.S.D. officials and representatives during their trek down to Oceanside and back.

Let's watch the money flow and the oversight committee completely ignore just about everything.

Whether you support SRHS 15 or not, I think we could all agree that delaying the item by just one month will not hurt anything and will allow L.A.U.S.D. to demonstrate how they really are willing and able to economize for the benefit of the students and the taxpayers who pay their bills in the first place.

Monday, December 15, 2008

San Pedro Today is Coming

First I will start off with the informational Email from Mr. Joshua Stecker, the former publisher of San Pedro Magazine.

From: "San Pedro Today" <contact@sanpedrotoday.com>
To: <contact@sanpedrotoday.com>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 8:22 AM
Subject: San Pedro Today Premieres in January!
(Apologies if you receive this multiple times... because you probably will.)

Hi everyone, Well, the cat's out of the bag.

Yes, the Press-Telegram has quietly ceased publication of San Pedro Magazine, and in turn, I have been laid off.

Getting laid off is never fun or easy, but what's worse than me losing my job is watching the two newspapers that serve San Pedro officially abandoning our area. First it was MORE, now San Pedro Magazine.

Well, I wasn't going to sit idly by and let my hometown lose a magazine that was hugely popular, profitable, well-respected and incredibly fun to produce.

So, in good ole' San Pedro do-it-yourself fashion, I'm launching San Pedro Today, a new independently owned and operated monthly magazine serving my hometown of San Pedro.

Premiering the week of January 5, 2009, San Pedro Today will have the same great 30,000 copy circulation (still the largest circulated publication in San Pedro), free home delivery to homes and condos, the beautiful glossy cover and include all the great columnists and contributors who helped make the former publication the success it was.

I’m taking the best parts of what made San Pedro Magazine great and enhancing it with all the features I wanted to do but could never get done working for my former corporation.

Now that I independently own and operate San Pedro Today, I can finally give San Pedro the type of quality publication it has always deserved.

And talk about launching with a BANG! Our first issue will be a special commemorative issue featuring the San Pedro High School Football team celebrating their L.A. City Section (co-) Championship!

This premiere issue will feature a cover and story celebrating the exciting and historic 21-21 tie championship game between San Pedro and Narbonne High School. (I was there, it was an incredible game!)

It will also include a multiple-page photo spread chronicling the entire game, including photos of fans in the stands and candid on and off-the-field celebrations.

It will definitely be a highly sought after publication when it hits the streets. I'm excited to launch the new magazine leading with such an awesome hometown event.

In addition to our regular content, we're also accepting "SPHSFootball Pride" ads if anyone is interested in adding a personal ad congratulating our SPHS Pirates to our premiere issue. All the information is at www.sanpedrotoday.com.

On a personal note, I want to be very clear that my parting from the Press-Telegram was an amicable one. The situation that unfolded this past week was due to the incredible hardships facing the newspaper industry as a whole. I do not envy those in charge at the Press-Telegram, they have a huge mountain to climb and have to deal with a huge corporation that has completely lost focus of what it means to produce a quality local newspaper for the community.

It’s sad, really.

Newspapers are dying, but magazines are alive and kicking.

To all our current (and future) advertisers, thanks for shifting your support to San Pedro Today.

The transition will be painless. My former advertising representative from San Pedro Magazine, Patricia Roberts, has joined me on San Pedro Today and will be assisting you in the turnover process.

I’m also pleased to announce we’re LOWERING ADVERTISING RATES across the board for the new publication. Since we do not have to go through the corporate bureaucracy to get things done, our working experience should be much more fun and easy. We’re here to help you succeed.

Lastly, those who have worked with me and have known me through the former magazine know how much I love my hometown. I’m a fourth generation San Pedran and proud of it. When I got the news about the abrupt cancellation of San Pedro Magazine, without being able to produce one final issue to let everyone know, well... I wasn't going to let that happen.

So, San Pedro Today was born.

I hope you join me on what will be one incredible adventure!


P.S. Make sure when you visit www.sanpedrotoday.com that you subscribe to our email newsletter on the top right-side column. This way you won't miss out on all the new content we'll be producing. :)

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.?) Please forward this email to anyone you think would be interested. Thanks!

Joshua Stecker
Editor, San Pedro Today
San Pedro Today contact information:
Phone: (310) 923-4084

Story Ideas/General Inquiries: contact@sanpedrotoday.com
Advertising: ads@sanpedrotoday.com
Event Announcements: events@sanpedrotoday.com

San Pedro Today is joining San Pedro News (see links above) as the two news operations providing information and resources specifically to San Pedro and I think it is great that Josh is going to produce a magazine with both a physical appearance and including an online edition.

I hope both Andrea and Josh can work with Jeromy Rogan at Rogue's Yarn and Diana Chapman at The Underdog For Kids, and other bloggers to produce the best coverage of events and news worthy items from all over the area.

We all come from different prospectives and having the online and print possibilities is wonderful.

San Pedro Today will be joining Random Lengths News focusing more on San Pedro than The Daily Breeze seems willing to do, using print formats.

I wish nothing but good luck and good fortune to Joshua Stecker, his writers, editors, advertisers, and everyone who subscribes to the new publication and has the chance to have it delivered to their driveway or door.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pondering Yet Another Silly Issue.

An unknown writer apparently from America, put ink to pen using a much older tune to produce a song that can be viewed as being about a person.

Consider if you will, that the author of the lyrics had in their employ, someone named, Fa la la la la la la la la. The person, who I will occasionally refer to as "Fa" may have been a servant of the author of the lyrics.

The author may also have been alone most of the time and used "Fa" to help them deal with everyday matters and matters that came up during the Christmas Season.

One way of demonstrating my outrageous belief is to provide the lyrics as published in the early 1880's and the substitute a common name after the original lyrics are posted thereby allowing you readers a better chance at understanding my ridiculous point.

So here goes:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

Troll the ancient Yule tide carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the blazing Yule before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me in merry measure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

While I tell of Yule tide treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the old year passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Heedless of the wind and weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

The first publication date of Deck the Halls is 1881. The author is unknown but the words are said to originate in America.

Now let's look at the lyrics if we change the name of the individual from "Fa" to another name that has recently been found in the local news:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,

Tis the season to be jolly,

Don we now our gay apparel,

Troll the ancient Yule tide carol,

See the blazing Yule before us,

Strike the harp and join the chorus,

Follow me in merry measure,

While I tell of Yule tide treasure,

Fast away the old year passes,

Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,

Sing we joyous, all together,

Heedless of the wind and weather,

As you should now be able to see, the author of the lyrics used, perhaps his servant, to do tasks and join in festivities around the Christmas Season and inside the author's home.

Whether Fa la la la la la la la la, Bob, or anyone else enjoyed or would enjoy the tasks is another story which need not be discussed within this post. Unless you wish to.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Holidays, Happy Festivus!

Ponder A Meeting Coming Early Next Year

Please click over image to enlarge.

To begin, when the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council lowered the number of members of the Traffic Safety Commission, I was not reappointed to a position I began in April, 2007.

The new 5-member Commission will obtain feedback from the public concerning the Marymount College Expansion Project.

The hearing is scheduled for January 5, 2009 and it can be regarded with some importance to those living near Western Avenue and to those living near 24Th and Cabrillo Avenue in San Pedro.

The College wishes to have dormitories built on its campus, something that isn't seen anywhere west of the Mississippi. The College also wishes to sell the apartment building it uses for off-campus housing near the corner of 24Th Street and Cabrillo Avenue, in San Pedro.

You may wish to simply address the Commission in writing prior to the hearing so you won't need to make the trek to Hesse Park. The Email address where to send your written comments is located on the flyer.

It is worth a chuckle to note that if you wish to write to Mr. Ara Mihranian AICP, Principal Planner you should address your comments to (310) 544-5288 but I should warn you that your letter may get sent back to you.

(Dialing a telephone is equivalent to addressing, but that is a whole post in and of itself)

Marymount College has faculty, staff, and management that have been attempting redevelopment for over two decades. This latest project is the largest so far and it seeks to do something that would make it unique, west of the Mississippi River.

Placing 18-20 year old college students living in dormitories which are shrouded in fog quite a bit of the time may also make for some fairly dangerous driving conditions during the school year.

If dorms are placed on campus, Marymount also has indicated they will have the dorms used during the summer, too.

Personally I am not pleased that the DEIR for the project indicates that 40% of the traffic the college generates, goes through my neighborhood. Mira Vista also houses an L.A.U.S.D. elementary school. Let's imagine a Marymount student attempting to get to off-campus work, after classes and driving through Mira Vista quickly because they are late for work.

It might not be even a high probability, but it is something I don't feel is necessary.

Nowadays, bus transportation is provided between the two-off campus housing sites in San Pedro. That shouldn't change with the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing site along P.V. Drive North. Hopefully it won't, anyway.

So the New Year brings new meetings, new hearings, and new things to consider. Oh boy!

Perhaps I am just exhausted from 2008, Bob, the Port, SRHS 15, and other things.

Did I mention that Bob is bye-bye?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Too Important Not to Mention

If you haven't recently done so, please click onto: www.pontevista.blogspot.com.
The information recently published there is too important to OUR community not to afford mention of it on this blog.

Bob Bisno has 'left the building' so to write. Actually, it was more like, "Bob has been thrown out of the building.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pondering an Assignment in a High School Government Class

My nephew's Government class at San Pedro High School was given an assignment to write about issues important to students. The letters were to be sent out to different branches and members of many government entities and also included letters to the editors of various newspapers.

To my sister's shock and surprise, her son's letter to the editor of The Daily Breeze was published in today's paper.

Here is that letter to the editor:

Give graffiti artists venue

There is a negative attitude against teens and young adults who use spray paint as their means of creative expression. Unfortunately, these artists tend to find illegal ways to express themselves by spraying where they're not supposed to, such as on other people's property. Buildings, walls and fences provide a blank canvas for the aerosol artist.

The community of Venice actually provides several walls for the exclusive use of spray-paint artists. Although their work is soon covered up by the next group of artists, the walls offer the painters a legitimate outlet for their craft. Paint sprayed on the Venice walls is paint that won't end up on someone else's property.

The Harbor Area should follow Venice's lead and consider providing a similar area for local artists. I would hope that some of the illegal graffiti would disappear if artists were given a place to pursue their art without the "vandal" label.

San Pedro

Most use of spray paint by younger members of the community is destructive to private and public properties. This is bad and we should find ways to do away with that particular method of expression.

However, there are new art forms that develop over the years and some very fine art comes out of spray paint cans that the artists who express themselves with that form of art.

Andrew has created art in different forms since he was a very young boy.

Andrew designed and built a customized bicycle for his own nephew, Adam when Adam was just four years old.

Andrew has been drawing things since he was about eight years old and he uses computers to create forms of art on that medium, too.

It might be a good idea that if and when a new skate park is provided in San Pedro, a wall might be constructed that would allow local artists who use spray paints, a space they can display their art.

As we respect those who use paint on canvas, sculpture, pottery forms of art, and many other methods of expression, we should begin to respect more artists who have chosen to use spray paint, non-destructively, as a means to express art using that form.

Pondering Your New Year's Resolutions

Each and every new year I make the same resolutions and I have been faithfully keeping all of them for decades.

My resolutions have always been offered to others so they can make resolutions and keep them all year long.

You may find some of my resolutions a bit hard to keep, as I have found with a few of them. But rest assured that if you wish to use some of the following resolutions as your own and practice great effort to keep them as yours throughout the year, you will find happiness on December 31, 2009 by the fact that you have kept your promises that were resolutions for 2009.

In 2009 I will:

Avoid buying and wearing mink socks.

Continue to keep from looking for and purchasing a new spring wardrobe made of chicken wire.

Not operate a leather-covered bulldozer.

This coming year I will keep from buying any recording of Gregorian Chants recorded by Metallica.

Continue to contribute funds to worthy organizations that help out members of OUR community.

Endeavor to make sure that no more than two roller-coasters are placed in any one park named after one of Mr. Peck's children.

Not eat broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cooked spinach during the same meal.

Try to edit some of my really long paragraphs and sentences better.

Not buy a used Bently or Masserati from Bob Bisno.

Continue to really believe that the Waterfront Redevelopment plan by the Port of Los Angeles will not be delayed longer than the next century.

Try to smile more even though I am not a natural smiler.

Frequently remind myself that human existence can be found to be quite absurd, very humorous at times, and filled with more questions than answers.

Not download selected Christmas Carols recorded by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

I will shop for more than just restaurant cuisine and event tickets in downtown San Pedro.

Continue in the knowledge that without amputation, I cannot scratch my right earlobe with my left elbow.

Not pierce my nose with a railroad spike.

Not buy a Yugo, Vespa, Trabant (even though there is a cute one in town), or grass-covered Pinto.


Continue to love OUR community and defend it when I feel it needs defending.

Not chew the paper stick of a Tootsie-Roll Pop until after I have swallowed the chocolate.

Not appear as a dancer in any upcoming ballet. (If you know what I look like, you should be happy about this one.)

Try to see if Caveman Dairy can be edited into a collection of short stories.

Hopefully, I will find a job.

Pondering Another Victory for L.A.U.S.D.

In pondering how opponents of South Region High School No. 15 (SRHS 15) will continue to fight against having the annex to San Pedro High School built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, a new disturbing development also surfaced this week.

The Rite Site Coalition which had been conducting a years long fight against having an elementary school built on an acknowledged poor site in the Echo Park are of L.A. has not run out of money to continue their fight.

L.A.U.S.D. has teams of lawyers, now gobs and gobs of construction dollars approved recently by voters and they use bulldozer tactics to simply crush all opposition.

The site of the proposed school is often referred as "9A" and contained about 50 residential units that L.A.U.S.D. used its right of eminent domain to condemn and force out residents, several years ago.

A court order stopped the demolition of the units and determined that the Draft Environmental Impact Report for that project was deficient enough to cause it to be thrown out.

Now that the Rite Site Coalition will not continue to oppose construction of 9A, some curious developments have also come up.

L.A.U.S.D. now has the right and opportunity to demolish and cart away the remaining dwellings on the site.

However, there is still no word yet that L.A.U.S.D. will still go ahead and build the new campus on the site it has fought for, for years.

L.A.U.S.D displaced lower income families from that site on a scale not seen since Chavez Ravine was given to the owners of The Dodgers.

If L.A.U.S.D. abandons plans to eventually build a new campus on that site, they might look at condemning other residential and business properties to build the school somewhere else.

Having hands on Seven Billion Dollars now makes it seem that L.A.U.S.D. doesn't need to bother with the public, residents, and what is best for communities. The voters approved the recent bond that seems to have told L.A.U.S.D. to "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" in any and all directions they want.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pondering the Famliy Christmas Letter

Today's mail contained Christmas cards and our first family letter of the season.

I have created a family letter that you are free to print up and send out to whomever you wish to.

Don't you just 'love' receiving all those notes and letters from 'friends' and relatives that are designed to demonstrate how successful they were during the year?

There is really no reason why fiction cannot be used instead of facts in those letters and humor during these tough economic times might be better spread that ego trips through the mail.
Please click over illustration to enlarge.

I bet you already know that Terri, Cookie and I do not really look like what is viewed in the photo. If you already know what we look like, why do you need reminding with another photo?

We have received Christmas Cards that simply contain a greeting and provide a more current photo of the kids or the family. Kids do tend to look different as they grow older and so do some adults, too.

I don't have the guts to shoe Cookie my representation of her as "Tully". She is 14 years old now and she finds discomfort in anything shocking or scary.

In truth, families have good time, great times, bad times, hard times, and sad times all throughout the year. You never get a family letter at Christmastime dealing only with sad or bad things that have happened.

When families inform others about only the good and happy times, it shows that they aren't willing to share some tough times that true friends and relatives may really be concerned about.

Reality it seems, is checked at the mailbox too many times.

So here for all of us to use is a ficticious letter that should only spread concern about the sender's mental condition along with some chuckles, I hope.

The blue car was actually a converted craft that some immigrants attempted to use to flee Cuba and get to the U.S.A. The vehicle really floated and was intercepted before the craft's passengers made it to the good old U.S.A. I have to give them great credit for trying and I do hope that someday we will all be able to go between the U.S. and Cuba freely and with much happiness and wonder.

Give the Gift of Helping Downtown San Pedro Businesses

This post contains a post originally written for "Rogue's Yarn" at www.roguesyarn.wordpress.com.

I would also encourage all of you to read the December 4 edition of Random Lengths News look at the ad and the article from Mr. James Preston Allen about shopping in Downtown San Pedro.
A Holiday Challenge to San Pedro
Posted by: Jeromy December 8, 2008

It is a busy week this week in San Pedro, but with this chaotic time of year, it was nice on Sunday afternoon to spend time with my family and walk in the 2008 edition of the Holiday Spirit of San Pedro Parade.

So as I was walking yesterday and freezing my butt off (a warmer jacket would have been nice), I spent a lot of time looking at all the retailers and restaurants along the Parade Route and I got to thinking about a challenge to our community…

Even in this difficult economy, you are a good American and you are probably going to spend a few hundred bucks on presents no matter how much your 401K has dropped and no matter how busy your company’s human resources department has been writing pink slips. So would you rather spend your last couple hundred bucks buying cheap plastic crap at Target or would you rather spend your last couple hundred bucks buying thoughtful gifts from local San Pedro merchants?

Here is the challenge: I challenge all readers of the Yarn to buy just one gift from an independent merchant in San Pedro this Holiday Season.

And when you do purchase that gift, drop me a line and tell me about it and where you went shopping and let’s help spread the word about the great independent businesses in our community.

Now I love and shop at Target (just to let everyone know that I am not completely self-righteous) but I also love this community and I don’t want to lose anymore of our great independent and family run businesses. It is disappointing to see Ramona’s with paper covering up the windows. We need to spend in our community in order to build it and keep it strong and most business groups will tell you that dollars spent at local community merchants stay in the community.

And for the local businesses out there who read the Yarn, what are your visions for the future and what would more support from the community and an increase in sales mean for you in terms of reinvesting in your business and growing your business? At what percentage increase would you be able to hire more workers and provide a greater variety of merchandise?
In closing…A few thoughts from AMIBA (American Independent Business Alliance):

Economic Value of Independent Businesses

It’s time to consider the real costs to a community that loses its locally-owned business base. Independent local businesses employ an array of supporting services. They hire architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and contractors for construction. Local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, advertising agencies help run it.
Local retailers and distributors also carry a higher percentage of locally-produced goods than chains, meaning more jobs for local producers. In contrast, a new chain store typically is a clone of other units, eliminates the need for local planning, and uses a minimum of local goods and services.

A company-owned store’s profits promptly are exported to corporate headquarters.
Dollars spent at community-based merchants create a multiplier effect in the local economy that, by most findings, typically amounts to three times that of a chain. This is well-evidenced by a 2003 economic impact study by our IBA in Austin, Texas that concluded for every $100 spent at a chain, $13 remained in the community while $45 remained when spent with home town businesses.

Ensuring Choice and Diversity

Retailers sift through competing goods and services to find those appealing to their customers. Though a single local shop may carry a smaller selection than a big chain, a multiplicity of independent retailers creates great diversity. When thousands of independent book and music shops serve their local tastes and each owner’s preferences, the result is demand for a wide variety of ideas and music. This makes accessible controversial books or music from new artists with the expectation that a market exists somewhere within a variety of stores.

As fewer giant corporations dominate production and sales, our options — determined by a powerful few — dwindle. Our freedom of choice is imperiled when a few buyers from national chains choose what reaches customers — perhaps moderately disturbing for most goods, but truly frightening when you consider the impact on our choice of news sources, books, music and other expression modes. Maintaining Community Character When asked to name our favorite restaurant, cafe, or shop, it’s typically a unique local business. Just look at the results in any community’s “Best of” polls as proof. Those businesses define our sense of place, but we often forget their survival depends on our patronage.

Local owners, typically having invested much of their life savings in their businesses, have a natural interest in the community’s long-term health.

Community-based businesses are essential to charitable endeavors, and their owners frequently serve on local boards and support numerous causes. Yes, some chains give back to towns in which they do business, and not all local businesses are exemplary models. However, the overall impacts are clear: locally-owned businesses play a vital role in our community that chains rarely do, while chains often even undermine community interests.

For long-term progress, a conceptual change also is necessary. We must consciously plan that future with rules that will encourage the values we want reflected in our communities. And each time we spend a dollar, we would do well to weigh the full value of our choices, not solely to ourselves immediately, but for the future we want for our home towns.

The American Independent Business Alliance: http://www.amiba.net/

I feel Mr. Rogan and Mr. Allen are hitting on a very important issue in OUR community. We are going to need to support downtown San Pedro businesses if we hope the area we love has any real chances to survive.

For my part so far, purchasing tickets to downtown San Pedro productions is what I have done so far this December.

The Relevant Stage, the upcoming production of "The Nutcracker", and the December 20 Golden State Pops Orchestra's Holiday Concert are December happenings that we are supporting downtown.

Both the Relevant Stage Theatre Company and the Little Fish Theatre Company are offering season tickets at reduced prices per performances, and purchasing season tickets to BOTH companies can make an excellent gift.

With attendance at theater productions at The Warner Grand, the Warner Grand Annex, Little Fish Theatre, art galleries, First Thursdays, and along with general shopping, there is always a wonderful opportunity to dine at a downtown San Pedro restaurant.

What can any Christmas Season be without the required visit to Union War Surplus? Even when I didn't live in the local area, we shopped at Union War for a variety of things.

Winter is here and all the clothing items you will need can most likely be found at Union War Surplus.

There are shoe stores, union clothing stores, several other variety stores left, Williams Book Store, and other shopping opportunities in Downtown San Pedro to peruse.

There is a shop downtown that sells lots of items I call "smellys" because the fragrances in that shop seem so strong to me. It has a garden-type atmosphere as far as I am concerned and it sells many different items.

There are thrift shops, used clothing and costume stores, antique shopping, and stores along Gaffey and Pacific you might want to peak into.

If you love OUR community and support San Pedro with all your heart, please shop downtown San Pedro all year long and especially for those thoughtful gifts you wish to give that show you care.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pondering the Approval

As expected and without objection by members of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education, South Region High School No. 15 (SRHS 15) was approved for construction on December 9, 2009.

There are still many issued that will need to be resolved before the specialized student population arrives for the first day of classes.

Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education will no doubt begin collecting funds for a defense fund and more information will be coming out about that.

My two concerns about having a new campus on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur have not gone away, but I do realize that the new campus has just received a major step forward towards construction.

I was also provided a sad, but necessary set of observations that I was not being true to myself about. I guess I was hoping for more from our elected representatives than they are capable of providing. It now makes it much more clearer to me that going for elective office means you sacrifice your integrity at the door, in far too many cases.

I am giving this round to Dr. Vladovic, but the bout is nowhere from being over. He fought that round with only a few low blows being thrown by him, so I thank him for that.

Important Tuesday Meetings????

If you have the channel capabilities and you have any interest, there are two meeting later today that you may want to catch.

At 7:00 PM, the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission will meet to discuss, debate, and probably vote on the latest Marymount College Expansion Program.

If you read the article in today's The Daily Breeze it may help you ponder the subject better.

What was not in the article that you may want to know is that about 65% of the traffic that will be generated will pass into San Pedro.

The neighborhood that will see the largest traffic impact is not directly connected to either Miraleste Drive or and of the Palos Verdes Drives.

You may also want to know that if you wish to visit another two-year college having on-campus dormitories, get into your car and drive a bit east............east of the Mississippi River that is.

When you have some of the least experienced drivers using P.V. Drive East and they have come to get educated at the campus from other areas, how do you mitigate fog?

If you also want to imagine a hall full of folks LOL, think about Marymount's Alternative plan to place more off-campus housing and major athletic facilities in the city of Los Angeles.

It should be a grand night up at Hesse Park. Unfortunately I will be at another meeting that is much more important to San Pedro and OUR community.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, you know, the one who's Superintendent just bailed because of a strong lack of confidence from everyone, is having its Board of Education members vote on South Region High School No. 15 formal approval and go-ahead with construction.

You should be able to catch the 'fun' on the District's T.V. station. Don't tune in prior to at least 4:30 PM because the item will not be discussed until after that time.

I haven't wavered one bit in my feelings about placing that campus on that spot. I know full well that it will get approval tonight, but at least we now have some written testimony and evidence to take into future court proceedings that will cost the District even more money.

If you oppose the campus being built on that particular site, please don't feel too discouraged after the vote is taken and the probability that the majority of the Board will vote for the Proposed Project on the Preferred Site.

There is still much more that can be done and there have been sites that have been found by the Court to be unable to have a campus built the way LAUSD wants it.

The most recent case took over two years of court wranglings, but the residents prevailed and the Court found that LAUSD erred in many ways and the proposed elementary school in Echo Park has been temporarily, at least, shelved.

San Pedro will probably see the best Outdoor Education Center in the entire nation in a few years, and having a new high school campus directly next to that facility would be a very bad thing, in my opinion.

Pondering Preparation

Here is an article about the possibility of some very cold weather coming our way.

Rare 50 year Arctic Blast Sets Sights On Southern California.
Joshua Young Monday, December 8, 2008

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - December 8, 2008 (OWSweather.com) Rare 50 year Arctic Blast Sets Sights On Southern California.

With a week away, and a sure sign of things to come, OWSweather.com is making preparations on the server to handle the traffic from this next event. UJEAS is in line with the majority if not all the other models in keeping a near historical arctic air mass into the Southern California region.

With a warm November, Southern California is finally ready for cold storms to make their way in. Resort level snow will be likely next week, and in pretty hefty amounts if things stay on track.
OWSweather.com Meteorologist Kevin Martin predicts a 50 year event. While Martin is usually conservative on these events, the pattern highly favors it. "We are in a pre-1950 type pattern" said Martin. "We know we are due for a winter storm sometime this year.

The type we may be dealing with will be ranked up there with the known years before 1950, which set record low daytime temperatures into the forecast region. With this, may come low elevation snow."

Forecaster Cameron Venable is seeing very cold temperatures in the Los Angeles areas as well. Torrance is not usually known for winter weather, thus making this an interesting event for Venable to track.

"Temperatures in Siberia, Russia will be -81 degrees this week, "said Martin. "With those type of temperatures the arctic air mass has to spill somewhere. Our answer of the exact track will become more clear this week. All residents in the mountain communities should prepare this week for very cold, winter weather, with snow."

Indications are a second, colder storm could hit near the 18th-22nd time-frame. The details on that will have to be sorted out.

OWSweather.com staff
More information: http://www.owsweather.com/
"Be prepared." is something being in the Scouts helped me learn.

Whether the weather forecasted actually comes or not I think being as well prepared as you can be, is better than having to deal with the weather after it begins to really bother folks.

If there really is going to be a very cold period we haven't seen around here in a very long time, it might be a good idea to consider if you know some folks you think might not be as prepared as they probably should be.

Please consider family members who are not as able to handle much colder weather than you are. If you feel older relatives or friends might have great difficulty living in cold housing, you might want to take a look at their wardrobe and amenities in their homes to see if you feel they can weather the storms that may be coming.

It should not cost all that much to make sure someone has the opportunity to wear a warm coat. I bet there are some opportunities out there at thrift stores or even in your closets for warm wear for others.

Maybe if you feel the temps are too cold for someone you know to live with and you have an extra bed in your warm home, you might want to invite someone to stay warm in your home until the coldest parts of the storm passes.

If you have your winter wear stored someplace, maybe today or tonight is the best time to break out those items so they will be ready to wear if and when the cold creeps in.

It would also be a good idea to have your heating system checked out before the Gas Company or the Electric Company get overbooked with calls.

This also may be a good time to stock up on food items you enjoy during cold weather spells. The Supermarkets haven't had a run on those items yet and getting your warm and comforting foods and drink before the cold actually hits allows you better opportunities to stay in warm environments rather that having to trudge to stores to buy items that may not be on the shelves during the coldest parts of the week.

Please think about your neighbors and if you feel they can only stay warm by doing something dangerous like using a bar-b-que- indoors or sitting around a large array of candles, you may want to help them out the best ways you can afford.

Get your cameras ready, too. If the cold snap is as cold as it was in 1948 and snow comes to OUR community, we can finally click more photos all around the area and replace that famous photo of The Hill when the snow stayed on the ground about 60 years ago.

I think if we get the same amount of snow as what fell back in '48 and folks can take photos from the same point that famous photo was taken, we can have a great set of contrasting photos of The Hill and all that has changed in the last 60 years up there.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"The Christmas Carol"

It is truly unfortunate that "The Christmas Carol" at the Warner Grand Theater has only two more performances scheduled this Christmas season.

"The Christmas Carol" is produced and performed by The Relevant Stage Theatre Company.

If you don't take in the performance on Saturday December 6, after the San Pedro Christmas Parade concludes or at 2:00 PM on Sunday December 7, you will have to wait until next December to see it. And see it you must!

The work is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and it was recreated to include some very remarkable carols and dance numbers by Mr. Ray Buffer.

Ray took the most important parts and characters from the classic Dickens piece and added a wonderful group of carolers and Christmas music to enhance the entire piece.

The music and carols included fit tightly into the work and it seemed like "The Christmas Carol" is the best reinterpretation of the story of Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and four ghosts.

The production of the piece allowed for complete use of the large stage at the Warner Grand and the simple set pieces added to providing what someone said was a "warm" setting.

The carolers were a collection of very good singers who were found to be completely entertaining as they were accompanied by pre-recorded music that was well produced.

The singers wore individual microphones and the problems at other shows where there were issues of being able to hear lyrics and words onstage, have all been fixed.

Mr. Rusty Vance played the part of Scrooge and he should be required to play the part again next December.

There were also some dance pieces in the performance. Terri enjoyed them as did the rest of the audience but since I am not one who should comment on dancing, I'll leave it with Terri who provided her comments to me that she found the dance numbers enjoyable.

I liked how the Christmas carols were selected to fit into the story at the correct places in the story. Ray's selection of the particular numbers made it feel like the music naturally blended into the story. Charles Dickens didn't write "A Christmas Carol" to contain musical numbers or hymns, but the ones Ray added were just the ones needed to make the whole piece appear as if it had been written as a musical piece originally.

Mr. Buffer needs to find a way to provide more performances of "The Christmas Carol" next December so more folks will be provided greater opportunity to see it.

As I walked into the lobby at intermission, the word 'towny' came to me to try and describe the particular piece at the particular theater in this particular town.

I found "The Christmas Carol" to be the perfect fit at the Warner Grand Theater, especially as it is in San Pedro.

Many of us still consider San Pedro to be a small community in many respects and this production of "The Christmas Carol" really fits into the community.

Mr. Buffer told me that over 500 students were brought to the Warner Grand on Thursday to watch a performance and he said that the audience for that performance enjoyed the production very much.

With the size of the cast and the set, I don't imagine "The Christmas Carol" could be produced at the Little Fish Theatre Company's stage. I continue to contend there is plenty of room in the community for two different theater companies and I hope The Relevant Stage Theatre Company and the Little Fish Theatre Company can work better together to make San Pedro much more theater friendly than it already is.

The next production by The Relevant Stage Theatre Company will be the off-Broadway classic, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change".

Performances are scheduled for February 13-15 and February 20-22, 2009.

Ray Buffer needs to find a way to add performances of "The Christmas Carol" to the December 2009 calendar. Having it performed only on December 5 and 6, 2009 will not afford enough folks the opportunity to see this wonderful production and that would be very sad for the community.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pondering the Averill Park Waterscape

The local Superintendent of Operations for the Department of Parks and Recreation came to speak to the public about issues concerning parks and open spaces in the area.

One major issue that we can all work together to help fix is the Averill Park Waterscape, its pools, creek bed, pumping and piping.

Last year, after the pumps failed, the workers at Averill Park began using hoses to fill pools and allow water to flow. They put in enough hoses that 30,000 gallons of water PER DAY flowed through the creek, kept some pools filled and then drained into the storm drains.

In this day and age of needed conservation, the use of that much water ultimately flowing into the storm drain system is a great waste of a resource that is becoming more precious all the time.

It is time to work to get the problems with the pumps, piping, creek bed, pools, and everything else around our true treasure at Averill Park, fixed.

What is interesting too, is the fact that the Department of Parks And Recreation seems to have enough funds to get the jobs done.

There are propositions that have been passed that allocate funds and there are Quimby funds generated in San Pedro for use to help fix and maintain parks specifically in San Pedro.

What is needed is another grass roots organization put together of concerned members of OUR community who would be willing to do whatever it takes to help the processes go forward in the best amount of time possible.

Unlike other grass roots organizations that either support or oppose things like massive residential developments, controversial schools, or proposed condo developments where a beloved market once stood, a grass roots organization supporting the resolution of issues at Averill Park would probably find no opposition at all.

At many parks throughout L.A. advisory boards have been created to provide aid to those specific parks. It is unfortunate these days that some of those boards have floundered, but I think an advisory board for Averill Park, if there isn't one already, or another type of organization founded to see that the issues at Averill Park are dealt with, would benefit everyone in OUR community and beyond.

During the meeting, an individual suggested that folks wanting group photographs taken at Averill Park pay a fee for using that park and its beautiful surroundings. That fee would help defray the maintenance costs of the park and its wonderful water scape.

I would support as much as I can a group that is founded to fix the problems now being dealt with at Averill Park. That park has always been a treasure for my family and I know so many others in OUR community find Averill Park to be one of the best parks around.

Whether I was catching crawdads or sliding down the grassy hill on a big block of ice, those were just two of the grand events I had at that special place.

If you haven't attended a wedding at the park, been photographed for any reason at the park, never walked along the pathways next to the waterscape or (especially) got yourself onto and off of one of the 'islands' along the creek, I don't know how you could consider yourself a 'Real San Pedran'.

But for you 'newcomers' out there that have enjoyed Averill Park in many ways, you are also welcome to help out with the restoration of the water scape at Averill Park.

Now that a meeting about a certain over development in northwest San Pedro has been 'continued' there is an opportunity for you to attend another meeting and voice your comments about Averill Park and having its problems fixed as soon as possible.

The Department of Parks and Recreation's Board of Supervisors is having its monthly meeting on December 11, 2008.

Beginning at 1:30 PM at the Expo Center in Exposition Park, you can attend the meeting and offer comments to the Supervisors about Averill Park or any other Parks and Rec. issue.

I hope that I will be able to create a post very soon about the formation of a group specifically intending on assisting with the issues at Averill Park.

One of the better things about trying to get all the fixes in at the park is that we have been told that there is money available to do the projects, even if there is a requirement for $500,000.

According to Mark Mariscal, the local Superintendent, Quimby funds amounting to between 5 Million Dollars and 6.5 Million Dollars exist to work on Department of Parks and Recreation projects and that a large amount of those funds can only be used for parks in the San Pedro area.

It really isn't about the money and that is a wonderful thing in this day and age. If a group of concerned members of OUR community can be formed to work on the issues, it also demonstrates to the Department of Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors that the issues are very important to OUR community and the issues should be dealt with.

I have been so very proud of members of OUR community who have come together when needed to help themselves and especially others. San Pedrans have shown when they are faced with problems others suggest they cannot fight, it only make them stronger and more resolved to get what they need done.

I think an organized group helping to get the waterscape at Averill Park restored would find great support from Councilwoman Janice Hahn's office.

Please visit this blog from time to time and see what happens in the future.

Restoring Averill Park to scenes like I remember so many years ago would be a wonderful thing for everyone. The old wooden gazebos are long gone, but there are areas where folks can sit that weren't around when I was younger.

The first time I brought my wife to Averill Park, only a few years ago, we watched a young fellow catch a big crawdad using the correct methods and equipment employed for generations upon generations.

You may still be able to buy a large block of ice from Party Time Ice Co and place a towel or cardboard over it and take it up the hill just to slide down on it, on your tummy, but I am way too old and fat to try that. It will always be a wonderful memory for me and all the others who did it.

But it was, is, and always will be the little creek, with the 'islands', the bridge, the plants, the walkways, the walls, and the laughter that makes Averill Park the remarkable place it is.

A gem. A treasure. A gift from Mr. Peck. Memories. Wonderful experiences. Pure joy and laughter.

Averill Park, our park in OUR community. We need to see it as it should be.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pondering Fact Versus Fiction Regarding A Popular Song and Santa Claus

This is a post dealing with one of my most absurd and ridiculous 'beefs' during this time of year.

It is too be taken very seriously by only those who find it a serious matter to ponder.

The song "Jingle Bells" has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, Santa Claus, elves, Christmas cheer, or any holiday during the month of December.

The song was written in 1857 and the Reverend who wrote it, wrote it for the Thanksgiving holiday and NOT Christmas.

Here are the lyrics:

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A sleighing song tonight

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh yeah

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Here are some particulars:

Believe it or not Jingle Bells, one of the most famous American Christmas songs, was originally written for Thanksgiving! The author and composer of Jingle Bells was a minister called James Pierpoint who composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating his Boston Sunday School Thanksgiving.

It is true that folks seemed to have glammed onto the concept that because bells are rung during the Christmas season and they have the misguided notion that Santa's reindeer wore bells, that the song could be considered fit for use when thinking about that 'right jolly old elf'.

Here's a bit of news though, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder, Blitzen, and Rudolf were never described to have worn or still wear bells of any kind.

There are no references to any wearing of bells by hoofed animals in "A Visit From Saint Nicholas" a poem written by Clement C. Moore in 1822.

If you look at the dates of the writing of the song and the writing of the poem, supposedly a first-person account of an actual witnessing of the activities of one Saint Nicholas, there is a separation of 35 years between the time the poem was written and the song was written.

Associating "Jingle Bells" with Santa Claus or anything else to do with Christmas or gift-giving is quite incorrect and should be banished forever, by everyone!

Please go back and read the lyrics of the song, especially the second verse that so few people ever sing.

The word "upsot" is not found in the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

With further investigation, the word has been used as a nautical term to refer to something that has capsized, like turning over.

"Upsot" has also been referred to as being more like the word, upset, which also can mean being turned over.

It appears that "Jingle Bells" is a rather sad jingle about a fellow who tries to take a wonderful ride with his girlfriend and the sleigh gets turned over because the one horse that is pulling the sleigh gets startled.

But wait! There is more!

Here are the remaining verses that are rarely, if ever sung:

A day or two ago
The story I must tell I
went out on the snow
And on my back I fell;
A gent was riding by
In a one-horse open sleigh
He laughed at me as I there sprawling laid
But quickly drove away.

Now the ground is white,
Go it while you're young,
Take the girls along
And sing this sleighing song.
Just bet a bob-tailed bay,
Two-forty as his speed,
Hitch him to an open sleigh
and crack! You'll take the lead.

With these last two verses we find that not only were there folks who laughed at others' misfortune, there were suggestions provided to enhance a gentleman's charm with the ladies by doing less than safe things with a horse and sleigh.

None of this could possibly be seen as appropriate for that 'right jolly old elf'.

We all know that Santa Claus would never be able to do his doings on Christmas Eve using just one horse and even if only one horse were available, it could not possibly pull a sleigh large enough to carry all those presents all around the World.

We also all know that there are many other songs that are more to the spirit of Christmas.

There was a Herald Angel named Hark who sung about glory towards a newborn King.

Then there is 'everybody knows a turkey' song. It provides wording that allow us to dream of good things at Christmas time.

When Bing dreamed of children listening for 'sleigh bells in the snow' there was no mention of any animals having those bells on them. It could be just wind blowing against the bells that are attached to the parked sleigh.

I also think that if folks are going to put up their Christmas tree and then call that particular season a 'holiday' season, then they should also be commanded to put up trees for Veterans' Day, Memorial Day, and other holidays throughout the year.

For folks who consider "Happy Holidays" as the only way to call the Christmas holiday season, they should state "Happy Holidays" on the first day of every year and then not again until the first day of the next year.

If folks want others to have 'happy holidays' then they should hope for that happiness on every holiday throughout the year, including New Year's Day!

Saying it only once as the beginning of each year should cover all the holidays and everyone, all at once, and not leaving any holiday out.

When we don't wish for people to have a happy holiday on Presidents' Day, are we suggesting we want them to have a bad day, that day?

I have no particular reason that I would not continue to wish anyone "Merry Christmas" unless I know that I should be wishing them 'happy something else'.

I don't think it is fun to fast during the days during Ramadan, so wishing folks "Happy Ramadan" might not be the best thing to do.

It is a very good idea to wish that folks who cherish the festival of lights and the miracle of the lamp staying lit for eight nights, a happy time.

I'm still working on finding out how tiny Santa's sleigh pulling team is, how small his "miniature sleigh" really is, and how small Santa Claus is compared to other elves.

You all must know by now that the Santa Claus portrayed at shopping malls and originally illustrated by the Coca-Cola company is NOT the size of the real Santa Claus.

It must have been out of necessity that folks enlarged Santa's size to allow children to sit on his lap. Most kids nowadays would crush Santa's thigh or knee if they sat on him.

To all of you who believe, Merry Christmas!

Happy Festivus to the rest of us!