Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally, Lots To Write About!

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

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

So here goes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn't that special?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numero Uno is a fine place for groceries.

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

Friday, April 9, 2010

Our First Visit To Denny's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 5, 2010

Would San Pedro and San Pedrans Be Negatively Impacted If Dorms Are Built At Marymount?

The title is the question and the basic answer is yes!

According to the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project, there are a number of issues that have been documented that would negatively impact parts of San Pedro and many residents of San Pedro.

First and foremost is the additional traffic created by the Expansion Project, even taking into account on-campus housing at the college.

According to the FEIR, there would be an addition of 1,536 vehicle trips generated by the completed Project.

40% of that additional traffic would be along Western Avenue between Trudie Drive/Capitol Drive and Palos Verdes Drive North.

Another 25% of the additional traffic, would utilize the intersection of 9th Street and Western Avenue.

There is a lesser percentage of additional traffic that will go through San Pedro via 25Th Street.

The vast majority of traffic currently generated associated with Marymount College travels at least in part, through sections of San Pedro and that will only increase should their Expansion Project be completed, especially with on-campus housing.

This is in addition to the existing college traffic now encountered by residents.

The intersection of Palos Verdes Drive East and Palos Verdes Drive South is used by many residents of San Pedro on a regular basis.

According to the FEIR, the completed project would create an intersection that cannot be fully mitigated to create anything other than having unacceptable and unavoidable impacts.

That intersection would still have some mitigation provided.

The FEIR also states that a traffic signal system will be placed at the intersection of Miraleste Drive and Palos Verdes Drive East.

This intersection operates now at a Level of Service (LOS) with a grade of 'F'. This intersection has met the warrants established to be signalized for some time.

There are many San Pedrans who utilize this intersection on a regular basis also.

Even though signals are warranted, there is a continuing debate regarding the concept that regular users of that intersection do not want it to have signals installed.

There are two periods of time during most weekdays, when traffic at that intersection is very congested.

Before school and after school periods of time find the intersection particularly congested as would be expected due to the proximity of Miralest Intermediate School and a few elementary schools in the area, added to the traffic generated by Marymount's students, faculty, and staff.

While the following is not directly connected to the FEIR, it should be mentioned.

Marymount has a student body where approximately 90% attend the campus on a full time basis.

That is a remarkable percentage in terms of a Junior College or Community College. Statistically, most two-year colleges have only part time students as seen at colleges like Harbor College or Los Angeles Valley College.

With the prospect that has recently been confirmed that Marymount will become a four-year institution, employment impacts not need to be considered.

Because Marymount College sits in a residential area, there are very few jobs that could be offered to students locally. There are many more opportunities for employment in San Pedro.

If more Marymount students seek employment while attend that school, they will most likely look at businesses in San Pedro for jobs.

When there are more Marymount students working in San Pedro, there are fewer San Pedrans that can be offered employment.

Sure it is a slight number, probably around 300 job seekers from Marymount that has 793 students with 250 of them Bachelor's candidates. But 300 jobs in this current economy can be seen as a big deal.

I don't want to see qualified San Pedrans get crowded out of employment opportunities by Marymount students seeking employment.

Having the Pacific Heights and Palos Verdes North off-campus housing sites in San Pedro, may not sit well with some residents living near those two facilities.

Students living at those facilities spend money. The Pacific Heights building is located near Cabrillo Avenue and 24Th Street. So, many students living there spend money buying food, goods, and services more in San Pedro than perhaps, the students living at the Palos Verdes North site.

The Marymount Administration has stated a number of times that they would close the Pacific Heights facility. Of course their word has proven to not be their bond and the site remains open and populated by approximately 116 students and staff members.

Marymount seeks to have on-campus housing for up to 250 students and five staff members.

Residents of those facilities would find a cafeteria built on the campus to accomodate their needs.

Should Pacific Heights close and on-campus housing be populated, there would be at least a small revenue loss to businesses in San Pedro.

Sales tax revenue now collected from residents living in the two off-campus housing sites would likely decrease because of fewer folks living in San Pedro. Again this may only be a small number, but it is a recognizable number.

There would be property tax revenue created in San Pedro if Marymount finally sells its Pacific Heights building and the new owners are not affiliated with a tax-exempt organization.

This could also apply if the college sells its Palos Verdes North site.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Marymount Attempting To Crowd OUR Community

With articles in two different newspapers this morning we learned;
Marymount College has received approval to become a four-year institution and,
Marymount College's administration and supporters want Rancho Palos Voters to vote to approve on-campus housing at the site.
These should be issues of great concern to members of OUR community.
OUR community consists of eastern Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Lomita, and parts of Harbor City and Wilmington.
A Marymount Expansion Project will impact traffic along Western Avenue and other streets in OUR community.
I have written a lengthy post which also contains the two articles on one of my other blogs:
We still don't have recent or decent information about what is happening with Ponte Vista at San Pedro.
Also we are learning that the Volunteers of America are moving forward with their plans to open up the 76 housing units it owns accessed by Palos Verdes Drive North.
I think it is reasonable and realistic to hope for a supportable project at Ponte Vista, opening up housing for homeless families by the Volunteers of America, expansion of the student bodies at Rolling Hills Prep and Mary Star of the Sea High School, and increasing the number of businesses along Western Avenue.
A College with on-campus housing in which traffic will be added to Western Avenue and commutes by students working somewhere along Western Avenue is asking too much of OUR community member.
I prefer to consider what Marymount's administration and supporters are doing are 'stunts' to keep the college open to accept more out of state and out of country students...and accept their parents' money, all at OUR expense.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy New Year! Now Let's Get Really Back To Work

Happy New Year!

Yes, it has been over two months since the last post. But now, only 13 days into the new year, there is some to ponder and much to consider pondering.

With a recent post on my Ponte Vista blog, I wrote about five new eateries being constructed along Western Avenue, mostly in eastern Rancho Palos Verdes.

As for Ponte Vista at San Pedro, look for more to ponder on that subject sometime in February, according to Ms. Elise Swanson, the Vice President in charge of the Outreach Team.

Very recent news around town is that both the incredible Canetti's and the world famous Papadakis Taverna have or will end their stay in our community. This is shocking, sad, and chock full of memories that go back generations.

Mike Caccavalla has closed his retail store called Boca Active Wear. He will still do online business and keep his business customers. He and his family are great people and I wish them all the best.

We got a new park! When I looked at the photos from various sites I couldn't make out where the restroom facilities are, if there are any. I haven't visited the park yet.

Required reading for everyone living or loving San Pedro is "San Pedro Block By Block" at Ms. Romee is doing something wonderful, fantastic, historic, and honorable with her treks throughout San Pedro. Her photos and comments are priceless and everyone will learn something new every day as she touches her feet on every street in San Pedro.

Work continues on the remodel of the Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center. It will eventually provide up to 13,000 LAUSD elementary school students the opportunity to learn about the environment in a residential setting where youngsters will 'camp' for either 3 or 4 nights and days, right next to a new high school campus.

Yes, work continues on South Region High School Number 15 where it is truly needed or not. There is no real factual knowledge to be certain that the new campus will be an annex to San Pedro High School because nobody is really all that sure San Pedro High School will remain under the complete control of LAUSD.

Oh well, we fight the good fight to find reason where there doesn't seem to be any and respect where none is offered.

I read a report that cargo movement in our ports was slightly up. That is basic good news. So much of San Pedro's economy depends on the economy of others and having folks buying things imported through our port helps our community.

There may be something really big to ponder though. Mr. Richard Pawlowski and his mentions the "ONE PORT" option that some folks are talking about.

The idea with this hot item is to build one GIANT wharf where just about all the container ships would berth and where new types of cranes and conveyors will store, on load, offload and move containers from ship to train or truck of back again.

I wrote to Dick and mentioned that if anything like that was truly contemplated for the Pier 400 and 300 areas, there simply were not enough lanes or tracks onto or off of Terminal Island to accommodate that. I mentioned that there would probably need to me a wide land area added between what would be a former island and what is now the mainland. I thought pumps moving seawater under the land bridge in the inner harbor could make that possible without killing the flow of water through the ports.

There is already much to ponder about Councilwoman Janice Hahn's attempts to become the Lt. Governor. One thing to ponder is why anyone in any type of correct mindedness would want to be involved in California's State government under the current and recent conditions.

The mid-term elections might also be something to ponder throughout San Pedro.

It also appears that parking rates in lots around San Pedro will be cut in half. That is something. But it is late, not enough, and probably won't attract customers to places that may not be around any longer or that much longer.

My wife was pondering why there isn't something like F.D.R.'s Works Progress Administration these days. The Federal Government is printing money so why can't they provide more jobs to work on improving infrastructure and environments for both businesses and residents.

Finally to begin the new year, please respond to the 2010 Census when the forms come in the mail or you get a knock on your door. The best way to try and secure more dollars to be counted and have our counts mean something.