Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pondering the Pandemic

Please don't panic!

Scientists are already revealing that the H1N1 virus causes a milder flu than many previous flu strains.

The Marine that was first diagnosed in California is already recovering well.

Wash you hands.
Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Don't panic!
Remain aware and keep learning.

This may be  a world wide pandemic, but it won't be anything like the 1918 pandemic.

If you do catch the H1N1 virus, you'll have something to write about, remember, and tell your grandchildren.

Take all the normal precautions you would if you know there may be ill folks around you.

Don't stop living your life or enjoying it!

This flu strain appears to be relatively mild compared to other flu strains. It just spreading like wildfire all over the globe.

You may feel that you can help others in poorer nations by making donations. That is a wonderful thing to do. Everyone on this planet appears to be in the path of the virus.

Maybe the crew of the International Space Station might want to stick it our up there a little longer than normal. They would all probably recover from an H1N1 virus attack because human space travelers are usually in pretty good physical condition to begin with.

Pigs can't give you the H1N1 "Swine Flu" or "Avian/Swine Flu" virus.

Most of the masks you have seen being warn do absolutely nothing to stop the spread of the virus. They may just help in the minds of those wearing them.

If you feel you may have the H1N1 virus, study it online before you race off to the emergency room for a dose of Tamaflu.

There are going to be lots and lots of folks who will get sicker than you that will need the services more than you might need them. They will probably need them sooner than you.

I expect to catch the strain. I have plenty of "Smart Water" and "Gatorade" on hand. My Britta pitcher is always refilled.

I have my soup and comfort food and plenty of facial tissue at home.

Please  be prepared and knowledgeable. Please don't panic.

If you do get sick, please stay home and try not to spread your illness to others.

Please look out more for your elderly parents, friends, and neighbors. They will probably get his harder because they don't take in as much liquids as they should.

If you catch it and when you feel well enough, you may want to inform others about your experiences.

The news media seems to be already overcrowding the airwaves with too many reports. They may be the ones that could instill needless panic on folks.

Rumors have already flown all over San Pedro. 

Worry if you must. Just don't panic!

We've got enough on all of our plates to over concern ourselves about a relatively weak strain of a common illness.

It's a somewhat milder flu. It's just that we will probably all catch it whether we live in OUR community or anywhere else on this planet.

Immediate Update!!

Less than one minute after I published the original post my phone rang.

On the other end of the line was our baby Dan.

Dan is 29 and a paramedic in Hesperia, Ca.

Dan probably has the H1N1 virus. His temp is 102 and he is a first responder.

Neither of us are anywhere near panicing. He is going to call into the nurses station that the hospital he normally delivers patients to and provide information to them.

As a first responder I hope he get the Tamaflu swab up his nostrils and his information passed along to the San Bernarding County Health Department sooner rather than later.

He left work after 5 hours yesterday with flu-like symptoms.

I'll report back on this blog if and when his strain of virus is confirmed. It surely looks, feels, and seems like the H1N1 strain though.

Dan informed us that we are now 'grandparents' of two-ten week old puppies.

Our granddogs are going to grow into big dogs but now are just playful handfuls that know to use the paper but haven't learned that the best place to 'go' is outside.

Dan feels ill but he certainly has felt worse in his life. He doesn't sound all that ill. I hope he recovers quickly so he can get back into his ambulance and help others calling 911 while feeling sick.

Now Dan will have first-hand knowledge of this latest flu it seems so he can help other from panicing.

It looks like he may get lots of overtime replacing ill paramedics and going on a whole lot more runs.

It's just wierd that Dan called so soon after I published the post.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pondering the Name for SRHS 15

I got flooded today with information that seems to be coming from one John Mavar about the possible name of the new high school under construction on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

While I did have a giggle or two about Mr. Mavar's announcement, I am glad he is FINALLY on board with something that began four years ago with another proposed high school in San Pedro.

Here is Mr. Mavar's 'for immediate release' press release:
Below is the start of the process that I would like to see become a great community participation. I would like to see us discuss and put a plan together for this naming processes. LAUSD has giving us/me the "ok" to move forward with this processes. 
Please let me know your thoughts. 

John M. Mavar
Hon Mayor San Pedro 01-03
Vice President, Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council

###For Immediate Release###

April 24, 2009

Former Honorary Mayor of San Pedro and Vice President of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council, John M. Mavar is gathering support for naming the new San Pedro High School Annex on the Angles Gate site, the John Olguin Annex to San Pedro High School.

As the founder of the Cabrillo Whale-Watch program in San Pedro, John Olguin has been instrumental in developing ways for children and their families to learn not only about the whales, but all marine life.  He has touched the lives of thousands of children and adults over the years and provided them with life long memories and many have gone on to pursue careers in the marine sciences."

As this new annex is to house a marine science magnet, the naming of this school after Mr. Olguin is appropriate.   

John Olguin was born in San Pedro, CA on February 18, 1921.
( Actually Mr. Mavar, John was born in East San Pedro where he grew up. When you were born the area was part of Terminal Island.)He was employed by the City of Los Angeles, Dept. of recreation and Parks for 50 years. He was a lifeguard captain and in 1949, he accepted the position of Director for the Cabrillo Marine Museum in San Pedro, CA., and is currently the Director Emeritus of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.  Mr. Olguin is also a charter member of the American Cetacean Society and the founder of the Cabrillo "Whale watch" program.

John Olguin has a way with the education children from all over Los Angeles about marine life and he is famous for his, "DO IT-DO IT", way of teaching.""He is one of those people that we are so lucky to be living with in our community, said John Mavar, Vice President of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

The new high school will be built environmentally friendly with state of the art learning and environmental technology.

John Olguin has been recognized by the community as Man of the Century by the San Pedro Rotary Club and has had numerous other recognitions after his lifetime of work on behalf of the children and community of San Pedro.

With conversation throughout the community a meeting is planned for April 28, 2009 at San Pedro City Hall, 6pm. The NWSPNC, Issue committee. will be taking the lead on the naming process by asking the community to be involved. The community is invited to submit suggestions. More details of the process will come out of Tuesdays meeting. 

John M. Mavar
Vice President, Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council

Thanks John for taking the bull by the horns! You are somewhat late in coming on board with the idea but at least you are now on board.

One of the Emails I got today reminded me that I called for naming SRHS 15 after John Olguin. I also included the idea of naming the site the John and Muriel Olguin High School because John's wife has also done a great many good deeds in OUR community.

Muriel is a proud Pilot. (Banning High School, Wilmington). She is a wonderful local artist who has been recognized many times for her accomplishments and fantastic giving to OUR community.

The Port of Los Angeles and just about everyone else did a very bad thing by not naming Port of Los Angeles High School for John Olguin. The port contains water. John has always been synonymous with water. No Marine Magnet school was planned when POLAHS was named. Shame on all those who supported naming that Charter School what they did. It was the most recent public school built in San Pedro and it should have carried the Olguin name.

Now then, let's get back to more of the past.

Once upon a time, LAUSD came up with a ridiculous idea for a new high school in San Pedro.

They wanted to build a 2,025-seat Senior High School to have students who normally would have attended Narbonne and San Pedro High Schools attend that monster. Go ahead, count the possible fights, riots, and other disturbances that would have been created.

That Scoping of those plans was conducted in 2005. That was the same year many of us stated to whoever would listen that if that high school would have been built, it must carry the Olguin name.

We aren't getting that horrible high. We are getting a new campus on a site I feel strongly it should not be built at.

Whether I want a new campus on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur is not any point.

Whatever new public LAUSD campus is next built and no matter where it is built at, it MUST carry the Olguin name.

It will not be a proud moment for any of us except John and his family to have the banner removed from the name of the school because we are all very late in having that happen.

But it will be justice for us to do what has been right since the last new regular public school was built in San Pedro.

Taper Avenue School was built in the early 1960's. It only has taken us a little less than 50 years or so to finally provide John and his family what is correct, just, and worthy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Say It Ain't So, Al!

Here is an artical from The Daily Breeze that has been coming for some time now.

Union War Surplus store may be marching into retirement
By Donna Littlejohn Staff Writer
Posted: 04/22/2009 08:04:46 PM PDT

An employee and a customer complete a transaction at San Pedro s quirky surplus store, Union War, which is likely putting a period to decades of selling oddball items from woolen boot socks to personal urinals. Stocked with thousands of oddball items - World War II mess kits, water pumps, camouflage underwear, woolen boot socks and fire-resistant overalls, to name a few - San Pedro's Union War Surplus store has been a quirky staple of the downtown shopping district for 63 years.

But Union War's owner, "Cheerful" Al Kaye, whose familiar, bearded visage has been synonymous with the business for decades, is now 84 and has decided to retire.

Beginning May 1, Union War will launch a 40-percent-off liquidation sale while transferring much of its name-brand work clothing to Urban Feet, a neighboring business.

"It's an icon in San Pedro," Kaye's former business partner, Tom Thomas, said of Union War, housed in an old Woolworth's store at 355 W. Sixth St. "There are three generations of people who will tell you their father brought them into this store when they were kids."

Whether the store will go away for good, however, remains unclear. Thomas, 45, and others are hoping to find a way to revive Union War.

Kaye was not available for an interview this week and no final closure date has been determined, Thomas said.

But for now, items are being cleared out and everything is 20 percent off leading up to the May 1 liquidation sale.

"It's kind of like a museum," said Jeff Daquila, the store manager who has worked at Union War for 19 years. "If you walk into Target, everything is sterile. This is organic. We have kids who came in here with their fathers and now they're coming in here with their sons."

Many locals have done stints at Union War's cash register during summer vacations.

Thomas began working in the store in 1976 and became a business partner of Kaye's in 1989.

They separated in 1991 when Thomas went on to run a prison-supply warehouse.

Walking into Union War can be a jolt to the senses.

With its creaky wooden floors, the store features aisles that are packed floor to ceiling with stacks of work and camping clothes, gear, and the more than occasional oddity such as a porcelain-plated personal urinal or a Czechoslovakian dental kit from the 1960s.

There are old military duffel bags, thermal underwear, jackets, canteens, helmets and new ice chests. Mosquito netting is going for $3.99 and tents are marked now at 40 percent off.

"There's some military surplus that's obviously been around for years," said Thomas of Rolling Hills. "We have wool pants on sale for $2 each. We have lots of knives, camping equipment, backpacks, duffel bags, we have a tremendous amount of sweats."

There are reading glasses, shot glasses, bandannas and car decals.

The 5,000-square-foot basement also is filled with merchandise, including old parachutes, emergency 55-gallon water drums, waterproof flashlights and earthquake preparedness kits.

The store opened after World War II when San Pedro had a strong military presence. Kaye's brothers, Ira and Dick, and cousin Robbie were the first owners, with Kaye taking over when the others moved away. All were World War II veterans.

The store has moved three times since it opened, but has always been on lower Sixth Street.

The sign hanging over the front door brags that customers can buy anything from a "battleship" to camping knives.

Years ago, the store sold old military barges and also bunk beds and military clothing. Union War supplied many of the local ships when the shipping industry thrived.

"The only time Cheerful ever got mad at me was when I had my restaurant and I wanted to put up a sign that said people could buy a submarine there," said neighboring business owner Mike Caccavalla. "I thought it was funny. But he didn't like it."

Cannery workers and other locals often cashed their checks at Union War.

"We'd cash paychecks at no charge, making four to six bank runs a day," Thomas said.

Thomas won't rule out somehow keeping the store afloat down the road. The building for now remains in the Kaye family.

"I've been sick to my stomach over it," Thomas said of the closure. "I was raised in that store, I worked there for many, many years."

Many of us attended San Pedro High with many of the cousins that made up the Kaye and Robinson family.

If you are or every aspire to be a Real San Pedran then you have spent countless hours shopping at Union War Surplus during your lifetime.

If you couldn't find what you wanted at Perry's on 8th Street, you could find it at Union War Surplus.

I visited Union War Surplus just after the Hahn Parking Meter Fee Increase went into effect.

The store was already holding a 25% or so off everything just to try and attract more business along 6th. Street where we had to feed, feed, and feed, the meters.

Most certainly Mr. Al Kaye has more than earned his retirement. But would he have considered staying around a bit longer had the meter increases not happened?

This 'change' to the business community in downtown San Pedro is not the type of 'change' too many people in OUR community are crying for.

We will barely nod or notice the loss of Starbuck's at the Centre Street Lofts.

But if and when Union War Surplus finally locks its doors for the last time, it will be widely noted and be very sad.

Perhaps all the "newbies" (folks who weren't born here or can't trace their roots to Komiza or Ischia) may be happy.

It's just one more sign that the "newbies" want San Pedro to become more like Marina Del Rey or Santa Monica.

As the months and years pass, there will be more "newbies" than us.

Maybe it is time for many Real San Pedrans to gracefully exit OUR beloved town and look for more comfortable places.

In the end we all should rejoice that we had Union War Surplus in our lives.

For little San Pedro Boys, we were all G.I.Joes in that store.

For the workers throughout OUR community, it is and was a place to buy essentials for work.

For campers and outdoors men and women, it is and was the store to visit.

Cramped and crammed isles. The sound of our shoes on that hardwood floor. All the stuff we needed help in lowering down from it high storage spots.

Most importantly it has always been the place where great and friendly people worked.

For so many members of OUR community, it was so much like home. Familiar. Warm. Entertaining. Imagination. Growing up as the store grew more stocked. Peace among chaos of all that stuff for sale.

Gosh! Wasn't it the best?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pondering "What Part Of No..."

What part of "NO" don't they understand?

At last Tuesday's Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission meeting, Commissioners voted against allowing on-campus housing at Marymount College in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Whether supporters of the College's plan to build on-campus residences halls on the Junior College campus will live with that part of no is yet to be seen.

But according to at least one Commissioner and the main opposition group to having on-campus housing, proposing that all student housing be along Palos Verdes Drive North in San Pedro is something too many folks don't seem to understand that "NO" means NO!

Commissioner Lewis and members of the Concerned Citizens Coalition/Marymount Expansion continue to claim that the superior environmental Alternative on on-campus student housing is redeveloping the Colleges site in northwest San Pedro to house all student housing AND the athletic facilities for a College campus at least five miles away.

What part of NO don't they understand?

Currently there are about 300 students and staff members living in 86 units owned by Marymount College along Palos Verdes Drive North between Western Avenue and Five-Points.

The College was given the land by the Federal Government for use as housing. The 86 units on the site are actually four units more than current L.A. zoning codes would allow for.

A variance was granted to allow housing on the four units exceeding the zoning.

The current housing site in northwest San Pedro is fenced in and across a major six-lane street from a residential neighborhood in Harbor City.

There is also an Apartment building the College owns and operates as student housing near the corner of 24th Street and Cabrillo Avenue in the southern part of San Pedro.

The College has stated on several occasions they want to close the 'Pacific Heights' building, but they have haven't done that and they probably won't no matter what they continue to claim.

So, the Planning Commission voted against on-campus housing as part of the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project. There will be votes coming to formally accept and reject specific portions of the College's plans before those plans move to the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council for final votes.

Currently the College's Preferred Project consists of ADDING and additional 624.4 vehicle trips per day along Western Avenue north of Trudie Drive.

That may not seem much right now, but since the Planning Commission may make the Palos Verdes North site the primary place for more student housing, we really don't know who many more vehicles may travel along Western Avenue for the College's purposes.

Oh and please remember, there is that 61.53-acre project site along Western Avenue that really is the elephant in the living room.

Until now there really hasn't been a strong need for folks living in San Pedro, eastern R.P.V., Harbor City, Lomita, and other areas on The Hill to get bothered by the Marymount Expansion Project.

But between now and June I hope more folks inform the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission and the members of the R.P.V. City Council that they are not going to be able to pawn off more student housing onto San Pedro no matter what the neighbors of the College want.

Marymount College was established as a private Junior College for day use. Even though folks at the College may have always wanted on-campus housing, their demands should fall on deaf ears because like Bob Bisno, they should have know what could occur.

Buying something with the intent to change it in the future doesn't mean you will be granted the right to change it.

There are still lots of hoops for the College to jump through and they have lawyers and some money to spend on them.

Dr. Michael Brophy the President of Marymount College and the supporters of the Expansion Project do not want the Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative suggested by Commissioner Lewis and CCC/ME. I can't imagine anyone at the College wanting to deal with the Los Angeles City Planning Department, especially with the elephant in the living room so close to the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing site.

The part of "NO" that Commissioner Lewis and members of the opposition group need to learn is that there are many more of us living close to Palos Verdes Drive North that do not want any expansion of the College's off-campus site than there are members of CCC/ME.

We happen to have just worked through a major victory against the same elephant in the living room and the Marymount Project would be no sweat for us and R Neighborhoods Are 1.

We have the bureaucracy of the city of Los Angeles at our side and we have the fact that there seems to be some residents of Rancho Palos Verdes who want to dump their troubles onto us.

That simply is not going to happen.

If Marymount College wants to buy up houses near the campus for student housing, that may be a good idea.

If Marymount College wishes to buy the remaining structures now owned by the Volunteers of America along Palos Verdes Drive North, then that is something that could and should be pondered.

If anyone really thinks or feels that Marymount College should expand their current Palos Verdes North facility to allow more student housing and/or the athletic fields, then I think they need to learn more about the part of "NO" they are having trouble with.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pondering the 2010 Census

The first one was in 1790.

The U.S. Census is mandated by the United States Constitution.

The published results of the 2010 U.S. Census MUST be on the desk of the President of the United States by the close of business on December 31, 2010.

The 2010 U.S. Census is unlike any previous Census.

It is one part of our participation in our Federal Government that is very important for many reasons.

The primary reason a Federal Census is conducted is for the apportionment of the population to the 435 members of the House of Representatives.

While each individual member of the House of Representatives may end up having fairly equal numbers of the population to represent, where that represented population may change as the result of the 2010 Census.

Another major reason to know where everyone lives is to determine where Federal Government spending is done. The areas where the population is the highest may receive more Federal Spending than other areas for social programs and other things.

Being counted in the U.S. Census is one of the best ways OUR community members can learn more about OUR community and help it in the future.

The U.S. Census Bureau is part of the Department of Commerce and the Federal Census is taken every 10 years on years ending in zero.

This year there is a new program with the U.S. Census that has been established and already has begun.

The first phase which has been underway for about three weeks is to find where everyone in the United States lives or could live.

The U.S. Census doesn't want to know who lives where yet. It wants to know where folks live or can live on properties all over the country.

You may have already seem employees of the U.S. Census Bureau in your neighborhood.

'Production Enumerators' or 'Listers' are canvasing the entire United States of America to determine where we all live or could live.

These individuals are walking individual neighborhoods all over the country wearing their identification badges, holding Hand Held Computers and gathering information dealing with locations of housing units and other places where we live or could live.

These workers will not need to enter private residences so if anyone claiming to represent the U.S. Census wants to enter you private home, DON'T LET THEM IN!

Several days to a week or so after the 'Production Listers' have finished a particular area, you may see another person carrying a similar Hand Held Commuter knock on your door or walk the streets of your neighborhood.

These folks are 'Quality Control Enumerators' or 'Listers' who are using a sample of the Production Lister's findings to verify the accuracy of the Address Lists compiled during the first canvasing of the area.

These folks also DO NOT need to enter your private residence, so don't let them in, either.

If you see a Production Lister or Quality Control Enumerator standing in your front yard holding their Hand Held Computer facing north, please do not worry. They are simply using G.P.S. to identify the location of your home on the maps being created by the Census Bureau.

In about April, 2010 your mailbox will contain a short form from the U.S. Census asking you specific questions about who you are and the identities of everyone living in your housing unit.

The U.S. Census Bureau encourages you to fill out the form as completely and as accurately as possible so we all can have a count on who lives in the United States and where our taxes should be spent.

As part of the following and to provide you with some information, I have been hired as a Quality Control Enumerator of the 2010 Census.

This phase of gathering addresses all across the United States should end on or about June 19, 2009 when a second phase is planned to gather information about group housing types.

During this first phase of the U.S. Census there are some important things you should know:

We could not care less whether the housing unit on a property is built using zoning codes or is even a legal residence. Don't worry, we won't tell anyone if you have converted a garage or shed into living quarters you are renting out.

We could not care less who you or anyone else is, in terms of personal identification.

We do not need or want to know if the residents of any living quarters is a citizen or not. We will not share information with I.C.E. because we don't care!

In this phase we won't ask you about names of folks who live in dwellings.

We just are trying our best to determine the addresses of where folks live or could live.

If we knock on your door, we should hand you a privacy notice. If we don't, ask for one.

We will ask you if there are any other places where humans live or could live on the property you reside at.

If you have converted your basement and it has a separate door so your renter can go and come without bothering you, we will need to go to that door and take a 'Map Spot' just like we take at your front door. This helps locate where folks live.

Please don't feel you can't or shouldn't ask us any question you may have. We should be mindful that we are coming into your neighborhood doing something that has never happened before like this. We all should provide neighbors with answers to any questions you have.

Our Hand Held Computers do not and will not contain names of persons living anywhere. They are not designed to use information like that and we have no use for that at this time.

The Hand Held Computers used to gather location and address information are going to be used ONLY to identify location of living quarters and nothing after that.

The U.S. Federal Census that will be conducted to take the actual count of the population requires paper responses and a paper trail must be created with those processes.

So, in further pondering about being part of the count of the population, you may want to ponder about what it might mean for OUR community.

The most accurate count of who lives where will mean where tax dollars can be spent and who may end up representing us in the House of Representatives.

It could mean OUR community receives more consideration about all of our issues because there are more of us here than previously considered.

It might mean OUR community may have growth statistics recalibrated to find out how many more housing projects we need or can have.

We may actually learn how many senior citizens live in OUR community compared to other age groups.

We will eventually learn some more economic statistics after the 2010 Census is published to determine whether our income levels compare to other areas.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts studies throughout the ten-year period between the official U.S. Federal Census. But the 2010 Census is the big one I hope we all participate to the fullest in.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pondering and A Relevation

Click over image to enlarge.

I have accepted the roles of The Dominie and The Bailiff in the upcoming production illustrated above.

The production is loosely based on a real event that happened on San Pedro's Liberty Hill in 1923.

The charge of criminal syndicalism was thrown onto strikers who were attending a function in a private yard and were welcomed by the homeowner.

Approximately 600 citizens were thrown into the San Pedro jail for using their constitutional rights during a time when the Los Angeles Police Department didn't consider that citizens had those rights.

I have posted information about the most recent hearing by the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission regarding the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project.

It can be found at:

I wish more San Pedrans and eastern R.P.V. residents were more interested in the issues because the outcome could effect portions of San Pedro and R.P.V.

If you notice the cruise ship terminal lately, you may see a 'new' cruise ship calling the Port of L.A. Home.

The Mariner of the Seas has replaced the Monarch of the Seas in our harbor.

The Monarch of the Seas carries 2,744 passengers and a crew of 858.

The Mariner of the Seas carries 3,114 passengers and a crew of 1,185.

Along with the Disney Wonder coming to our port in 2011 with its passenger capacity of either 2,400 or 2,700 depending on what you read, these two ships and the other ships will be adding more vehicle trips, supply journeys, and other things to our port.

It would be so great if San Pedro could become more of a destination that just a hub.

We still may see the Freedom of the Seas with its 3,760 or so passengers visit us again.

Further into the future we will probably welcome the Oasis of the Seas and/or the Allure of the Seas. The big thing about these ships is they will carry 5,400 passengers each.

The cruise ships aren't getting any smaller and we still have a long way to go to get voyagers to stop off in San Pedro and enjoy our town.

Later this month I will feature a post dealing with much of what we can look forward to this summer.

Whether it is two comedies from Shakespeare by the Sea, Little Fish, Taste in San Pedro, The Relevant Stage, Golden State Pops Orchestra, the TriArts Festival, Music by the Sea, and many other upcoming activities, San Pedro will be alive and kicking this summer for everyone on a real budget.