Tag Archives: Long Beach

Dept of Good News: LB Port Installs World’s First Shoreside Power System & High Speed Rail

During this whole budget crisis, a lot of friends have told me that Calitics is a big downer.  So, in an effort to highlight some of the good stuff going around California, I’ve decided to introduce something I hope to do regularly with this Dept. of Good News.  If you have some good news that will fit this space, shoot me an email.

First, the Long Beach Port has installed the worlds’ first shore-side power system for oil tankers that will drastically decrease pollution in the area.  It will allow tankers in one of the busiest ports on the West Coast to connect to the power grid rather than sit in the port idling, burning dirty fuel.

At a ceremony formally unveiling the port’s dockside power system, port Executive Director Dick Steinke described it as “another giant step” toward cleaning up the air. The project cost $23.7 million and took three years to complete, port officials said. The port contributed about $17.5 million to the project and BP paid the rest.

Roger Brown, regional vice president of BP, said the emissions reductions amounted to 50% even when factoring in pollution created by power plants in generating the electricity. (LAT 6/4/09)

Speaking of reducing emissions, you know what else would do that? Why, high speed rail, of course.  After passing our high speed rail bond package (2008’s Prop 1A), we are now sitting pretty for the federal government’s $8 B of stimulus money tagged for high speed rail.

“The reason why California is looked at so closely — it’s been a priority of your governor, it’s been a priority of your Legislature, they’ve talked about it, a lot of planning has been done,” Biden said in a conference call with reporters.

The vice president said the administration wants “to get shovel-ready projects out the door as quickly as we can. . . . So California is in the game.” (LAT 6/4/09)

HSR has been in the works for a loooong time, and had we just put this on the ballot 6 years ago or whenever it was originally scheduled we would now be in full construction mode.  Despite that, after all the land is purchased and a bit more planning is done, we should be digging for what could be our next great infrastructure project sooner rather than later.

So, are you cheered up yet?

CA-46: Long Beach City Councilman Puts His Thumbs On The Scale

Gary DeLong represents the 3rd District of the Long Beach City Council, and he holds a monthly meeting – at taxpayer expense – with constituents.  This month he abruptly decided to invite Dana Rohrabacher – his preferred candidate for Congress – to the meeting.

Walking a legal, ethical and political tightrope just before Election Day, Long Beach City Councilmember Gary DeLong has suddenly invited the candidate he supports for congress-conservative incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher-to speak Thursday at DeLong’s monthly lunchtime meeting with his Third District constituents.

Debbie Cook, the Huntington Beach mayor who is presenting Rohrabacher with his strongest challenge in his 20 years in the House of Representatives, had not heard about the event when contacted by The District Weekly late Monday night. “I was not invited,” she said.

Long Beach Police Chief Anthony Batts had been scheduled for more than a month to address the Third District Neighborhoods meeting, but DeLong abruptly disinvited Batts so that Rohrabacher could appear.

DeLong has made three financial contributions to Rohrabacher’s re-election campaign in the last 16 months. He donated $200 on June 27, $250 on Feb. 14 and $200 on June 16, 2007. Additionally, DeLong wrote a $1,000 check to the National Republican Congressional Committee on October 1.

But juggling the guest list at the Third District Neighborhoods meeting may constitute DeLong’s most-valuable gift to Rohrabacher, providing the congressman with a late-in-the-campaign appearance before some of Long Beach’s most-affluent and influential residents.

Hilariously, A DeLong spinner explains that the city staffers for the event are going on their lunch hour and the invites weren’t sent on city time, so everything’s above board.  Oh, and where’s it being held?

THE LONG BEACH YACHT CLUB.  Perfect setting for a Yacht Party get-together.

What’s most notable about this is that Rohrabacher is showing up in Long Beach at all.  I’d be surprised if he knows where it is.  Rohrabacher usually runs up the score in the Orange County strongholds.  This year, he has to search for votes everywhere.

Support Calitics Match candidate Debbie Cook.

…oh yeah, if you want more of an incentive, Dana strongly supports Prop. 8.  He says that we do not need to change the definition of marriage in order to “make a small number of people comfortable with themselves”.  

I think that says it all.

Sarah Palin Demands Arnold Veto Port Clean Air Bill

The day before she was announced as John McCain’s vice presidential pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called on Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto a landmark bill that would levy fees on cargo containers at state ports to raise money for pollution mitigation standards. The air around California ports, especially LA-Long Beach, is among the worst in the nation with major negative health impacts on nearby residents. But Palin doesn’t care:

“Enactment of Senate Bill 974 will have negative impacts on both Alaska and California,” Palin wrote. “For Alaskans, a very large percentage of goods [90% or more] shipped to Alaska arrive as marine cargo in a container.”

Palin said many Alaskan communities lack road access and depend entirely on goods shipped by container, something that has significantly increased in cost in recent years. Many of those containers pass through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports before arriving in Alaska, and Palin argues that the fee will add even more to the cost of goods shipped to her state.

“This tax makes the situation worse,” Palin wrote. “Similarly, the tax may harm California by driving port business away from its ports.”

The letter concludes by requesting that “due consideration be given to our state and that you not sign Senate Bill 974.”

State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, author of SB 974, had a devastating response to Palin’s interference:

On Thursday, with the Palin letter hitting the Internet, Lowenthal invited the Alaskan governor to travel to the Southern California ports to see first-hand why the fee is needed.

“We are losing about 3,400 Californians each year because of pollution,” Lowenthal said. “No matter what Gov. Palin would like to see happen, the impact is killing Californians. I don’t think Gov. Palin truly understands the impacts going on here.”

Two mothers who live near the port of LA-Long Beach would probably like Palin to understand what some of those impacts are:

Oti Nungaray

RUMBLE, RUMBLE. That’s the hum of my community, so close to the nation’s largest port complex. The air tickles your throat, but my daughter and I are not laughing. We’ve been living in Long Beach for ten years. The doctor first diagnosed her with asthma when she was six. It’s been traumatizing to watch my child suffer. Through my involvement with the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, I’ve learned about managing my child’s asthma, including controlling triggers inside the home. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to control the environment outside, when you live next to the largest fixed source of air pollution in greater Los Angeles. I believe there are solutions to these problems. I don’t believe industry’s claim that reducing pollution will hurt our economy. These companies make a lot of money while I spend money on medicine and miss work and my daughter misses school.

Adriana Hernandez

I LIVE NEAR I-710: a parking lot of nearly 50,000 cargo trucks daily. Next door is Wilmington, an area pockmarked with refineries. We get hit with pollution from all sides. My youngest son was born with a closed trachea and his left vocal cord paralyzed; he still takes speech classes. He also suffered from severe asthma attacks. I had to medicate him and connect him to a breathing machine, feeling desperate that my child couldn’t breathe.

This is what Palin, for whom motherhood is such a central part of her message and appeal, is enabling with her effort to squelch California’s clean air laws – Palin is supporting pollution that is hurting working families.

Her interference in California’s lawmaking process is bad enough, but it’s a harbinger of what we can expect from a McCain-Palin Administration. As we saw with the EPA waiver the federal government has the power to preempt California clean air rules, and Palin is signaling that if she and McCain win they will likely use that power to undermine our efforts to provide healthy lives for our families.

California may not have the same role to play in the election that swing states like Nevada and Ohio do, but we can help Americans understand exactly what they’ll be getting from McCain-Palin – more of the same attacks on our health, our environmental laws, and our states rights.

CD-37 Rep. Laura Richardson facing 3 foreclosures

It appears that Long Beach Congresswoman Laura Richardson is facing foreclosures on 3 houses.


I noticed that when she won election last year, it was surmised on this site that she would hold the seat for 20 years.  Perhaps that prediction was premature.

It doesn’t seem as if she has been doing anything much different from a lot of real estate speculators in California, and it looks as if she is about to suffer some of the same consequences.  I do have to say that I am kind of curious as to how she was able to get all those loans, based on her explanation that she got into trouble after changing jobs four times.

“In her first interview since the news broke Tuesday that her Sacramento home had been foreclosed, Richardson blamed the foreclosure on a miscommunication by her lender. She offered no apologies for failing to make payments on three separate homes and expressed no regret for failing to pay nearly $9,000 in property taxes.”

As I understand it, she took about $40,000 in campaign contributions from realtors, and now she’s blaming the lenders.

Somehow, I would think that these money troubles are going to be just the sort of fodder that an opponent will want to use in the next election.  If she can’t handle her own money, how can she be trusted to handle the public’s money?

In the meantime, I will sit here in my rented house, happy that I don’t have any unsecured consumer debt.

Happy Memorial Day.

They’re Fighting For Your Right To Ban Them For Saying “Stop The Fighting.”

Turning free speech and the notion of a military defending American Constitutional rights completely on its head, a Veteran’s Day parade in Long Beach banned antiwar veteran’s groups from appearing on Saturday.

A participation application filed by Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out was turned down because organizers want Saturday’s parade free from politics.

“They do not fit the spirit of the parade, the spirit being one of gratitude for what the veterans have done,” said Martha Thuente, coordinator for the nonprofit Veterans Day Parade Committee.

“We do not want groups of a political nature, advocating the troops’ withdrawal from Iraq,” she added.

Now, you don’t have an inalienable right to march in a parade.  But Veterans For Peace WAS allowed to march in the same parade last year.  Not to mention the fact that plenty of the groups marching on Saturday have advocated an explicit political agenda in the past.  The VFW and the American Legion have made plenty of public pro-war statements over the years, that would seemingly conflict with this expressed belief that only “nonpartisan” groups be allowed to show their pride in wearing the uniform.

Contact information for the Long Beach Veteran’s Day Parade is here.  It is impossible and even dangerous to sanitize democracy of any political thought because some arbitrary official deems it “inappropriate.”

CA-37 Election Results: Richardson Wins

The polls have closed, you can view results here.


UPDATE: Absentee Results (8:24 PM)

Richardson: 3,893 (33.07%)
Oropeza: 3,519 (29.89%)
McDonald: 1,252 (10.63%)

UPDATE II (by dday): 8% reporting
JENNY OROPEZA  DEM 3,842  29.61

That’s not a lot of VOTES separating Richardson and Oropeza, but so far the first Election Day voters have tracked with the absentee voters.  There’s really no substitute for boots on the ground in a race like this.  Richardson is looking good, and she ran a uniformly ugly race.

UPDATE III (blogswarm back): At 10:06 PM we have Richardson pulling away with 18.86% of precincts reporting (63 of 334)

Richardson 5,496 (36.79%)
Oropeza 4,410 (29.52%)
McDonald 1,550 (10.38%)

UPDATE IV: (blogswarm) Oropeza closed a little ground, but is still way back at the 10:35 mark (160 of 334 precincts reporting)

Richardson 7,174 (36.53%)
Oropeza 5,968 (30.39%)
McDonald 1,901 (9.68%)

UPDATE V: (blogswarm) As a blogger, I’m personally calling it for Assemblywoman Richardson. With 75.45% reporting at 11:00 PM (252 of 334 precincts)

Richardson 9,086 (36.71%)
Oropeza 7,777 (31.42%)
McDonald 2,371 (8.16%)

[UPDATE VI: (juls) That’s it.  With 100% reporting Richardson is the winner.  The early lead held through to the end.

LAURA RICHARDSON  11,027 (37.76 %) 
JENNY OROPEZA 9,144 (31.31 %)
Now who runs for Richardson’s Assembly seat?

CA-37: Today I’ll root for my old friend Jenny Oropeza

(It is Election Day! We’ll have result coverage tonight! And please note that my promoting this should not be seen as an endorsement, I’m just a junkie for great diaries and Election Days.-blogswarm; Also, don’t forget to check out Long Beach’s local blogs, LB Post and LB Report, for the latest on the special election today. Oh yes, and thanks, Major, for visiting our humble blog! : ) – promoted by atdleft)

X-post to Daily Kos, with scant revision.

I have a horse in the CA-37 race today.

In 1980, I became the editor of Cal State Long Beach’s alternative newspaper, then called the Union Daily.  The University President was then Steve Horn, a moderate Republican who later represented Long Beach in Congress.  The Student Body President was a young (though a little older than me) Latina woman named Jenny Oropeza.  She was planning an unprecedented (at The Beach) run for re-election.  A few weeks into my tenure, she sized me up, let me know her plans, and asked me if the paper would be endorsing and, if so, where she stood.

I was a new kid in town, but I’d done my homework on her.  I knew that Jenny was considered bright, liberal, ambitious, organized, hardworking, and a real fighter.  Given political power, she had done what one has to do in office to earn further trust.  I /think/ I managed not to tip my hand that day, but I already had a good sense that I’d ultimately endorse her, even against what turned out to be an also-impressive opponent.

I do so today for the same reasons.  I don’t live in CA-37, but if I did I’d vote for Jenny.  If you live there, I hope you’ll support her.  My take on the race follows.

From what I can tell, the race for the seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald is generally considered to be a two-person race: between Jenny, a current state Senator and former state Assemblywoman, and Laura Richardson, a Black woman who was elected to Jenny’s former Assembly seat.  (See here for a piquant comparison of their official websites by the LA Times blog.)  Both also previously served on the Long Beach City Council.

Two other candidates appear to get some mention: Valerie Millender-McDonald, the former Rep’s daughter and a political neophyte, and Pete Mathews, an apparently Kucinichesque Poli Sci professor at Cal State Fullerton.  My understanding is that neither is considered to be in any danger of getting the most votes among Democrats.  (The runoff election will not include the top two vote-getters, but the top vote-getter in each party.  No Republican is seen as having a chance of winning in this district, so today’s race will decide the next Member.)  I’ll therefore restrict my comments to Oropeza and Richardson.  Both are anti-war-funding, both support impeachment (though from the newspaper account, a bit cautiously), and both reject Valerie Millender-McDonald’s “culturally conservative positions on gay marriage and immigration” — quite unlike her mother’s — which she’s using to try to take votes away from Richardson in the Black community.  The gay community seems largely behind Oropeza, partly due to her longstanding support (which was evident even in 1980) and partly due to longstanding anger against what some feel was an anti-gay Assembly campaign run by Richardson in 1996.

This is an unpleasant race in a lot of ways, and has received note for two major reasons: race and independent expenditures.  I’ll dip into (mostly) reporting mode here for a bit (while referring people to this Calitics diary by our own dday and to previous diaries here and here on this site, as well as stories from The Hill and other Googlicious sites.)

The role of race

California is growing increasingly Latino, and that trend is evident in CA-37.  What was once a majority-Black area is now plurality-Latino, by a 43-25 margin over Blacks, although Blacks retain a voter registration advantage of 25-23%, according to The Hill.  This is one of four House seats that until the incumbent’s death was held by Black representatives from California, the others being Barbara Lee and Southern Californians Maxine Waters (a Richardson supporter) and Diane Watson (at least initially a Millender-McDonald supporter.)  The Black Caucus is, understandably, loathe to give up one of its few California seats.  And yet the demographic trends clearly favor Latino representation for this area soon, even if not today.

Based on the reporting I’ve read (see, e.g., the comments in dday’s diary), Richardson has been appealing directly to racial solidarity, along the lines of “I’m one of you, a member of the community” if not explicitly “don’t vote for her, she’s Latina,” as one paraphrase goes.

As a Caucasian, I might be best off staying out of this discussion entirely, but (of course) as a Democrat I can’t.  (For what it’s worth, Oropeza and Richardson each have a Caucasian mother.  As did I.)  I can make a case that if would be good if a Latina took the seat (Latino representation in Congress overall lags far behind Black representation, proportionally, this district is going to be a Latino-majority one before long, and we need strong Latino advocates in Congress to fight immigrant-bashing), or that a Black woman should keep it.  (Blacks are understandably concerned about the shrinking of their proportion of the electorate, and the Congressional Black Caucus has been a source of some of the most dynamic progressive activity in Congress over the years, making its “holding the seat” sentimentally appealing.)  But I’d /like/ not to have to make either case; there are good arguments on both sides, but the better argument is for not even having the argument over what race “deserves” the seat.  The Black-Brown racial divide is going to loom increasingly large in the years to come and threatens Democratic unity; that inclines me towards whichever candidate is /not/ apparently trying to win by narrow appeals to racial solidarity.  While multiracial coalitions are dicey, California has had some success at maintaining them, and that cooperation is critical.  From what I’ve read, even if I were starting as neutral, Richardson’s racial appeals for votes would incline me towards Oropeza.

“Special interests”

The issue driving contributions in the race is, perhaps oddly, Indian gaming.  And the best reporting came from our own dday.  He’ll have to elaborate if and when he sees this, but the issue is Oropeza’s support in the State Senate fora bill approving

gaming compacts that would triple the number of slot machines at the Morongo casino, without allowing casino workers full ability to organize and collectively bargain.  The compacts would also not offer much in the way of oversight into casino finances, which in a way is the whole point, since the state is supposed to receive 15-25% of the proceeds from the new slot machines, but may not be able to determine what those proceeds are.

As a result of this, and apparently of hostility towards the Assembly for not approving these compacts, the Morongo Tribe (which runs an out-of-district casino with really irritating TV commercials) has poured $270,000 in independent expenditures into the race on Oropeza’s behalf.  I have no reason to believe that there was improper coordination between the Oropeza campaign and the tribe, let alone a quid pro quo regarding the vote; rather, it looks like the Morongo Tribe is sending a high-profile message to other politicians about the benefits of supporting and detriments of opposing their interests.  I don’t blame Oropeza for what her independent supports are doing, and for all I know the influx of tribal money may backfire.

The legitimate basis for concern here would be that Labor opposes these compacts, which is why Labor supports Richardson.  I find this a complex issue.  States need money, voters hate taxes, and that means politicians look for novel sources of income.  These gaming compacts seem like an unpleasant option at best, especially given that they don’t provide an appropriate boost for Labor, but for all I know all of the other options for raising revenue were worse.  Without more knowledge of what the tradeoffs, promises, and alternatives facing Senators were, this doesn’t weigh heavily against Oropeza in my book.  I expect that, in any event, she’ll be a strong advocate for Labor in Congress.

Why I’d vote for Jenny

1) I really dislike ham-handed campaigning

One thing I’d like to see in a new member of Congress is the ability to do thorough research in running a campaign and to operate with some finesse.  That’s why this story drove me up a tree.  A mailer from Richardson’s campaign attacks Oropeza because she “was absent for 137 days and missed many critical votes on issues affecting the health and safety of California’s children.”

What the mailer doesn’t note is that the six-year period in question includes a period in late 2004/early 2005 during which Jenny was battling liver cancer.

In fall 2004, then-Assemblywoman Oropeza underwent seven hours of surgery to remove an inch-thick malignant tumor on her liver, followed by week-long chemotherapy sessions with a final treatment in mid-March 2005, her office said at the time. In mid-April 2005, her office said Assemblywoman Oropeza was declared free of any traces of cancer.

Richardson’s mailer is beyond bad taste.  Jenny’s fight against cancer was consuming and her victory against it is inspiring.  To turn it into this sort of cheap trick — well, it’s beneath contempt, and if Richardson personally directed or knew about it, to me that’s decisive.

There are two possibilities here: someone was stupid or evil.  Either the people behind the mailer didn’t know that Jenny was missing work because of cancer treatment — highly unlikely — or they are trying to take advantage of voter ignorance.  Imagine a campaign ad attacking Sen. Tim Johnson for his absenteeism, which doesn’t mention his brain surgery.  That’s how I feel about this campaign mailer.  I looked for any indication of an apology or disavowal of the mailer; I didn’t find any.

2) Based on my personal knowledge of her, I trust her

It is possible that had I attended college with Laura Richardson rather than Jenny Oropeza, I’d be supporting the former.  But, frankly, the odds are against it.  Few people in my college’s student government had the earmarks of someone who would continue on to success in politics; most of them are not people I’d endorse.  Yet Jenny was always clearly on a track towards high public service, and despite that she somehow failed to disgust me.  Her motives towards public service were good — constituency-serving rather than self-serving.  While Jenny and I disagreed at times about various policies, she was someone I’d trust to represent my interests, and someone whose heart was in the right place.  Beyond that, she’ll be a real battler in Congress — and we all know that we need that.

That’s more than enough for me to endorse her in this race, without serious reservation.  However you decide to vote, I hope you’ll come out and vote if you can: the larger the turnout, the more authority the winning candidate will have to speak out in Congress.  And that’s something we can all agree is all to the good.

CA-37 Special Election Tomorrow

Voters go to the polls tomorrow to elect the successor to Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald.  The story line coming out of the election seems to be labor v. tribes.  They are both spending more money than the candidates have raised themselves.

State Senator Jenny Oropeza, as dday detailed on Saturday, has been the beneficiary of over $270,000 in independent spending from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.  The tribe has dropped mailers, door hangers, newspaper ads and called voters in a push to repay Oropeza for voting for the massive gaming expansion.  That vote was one factor for the LA County Labor Federation’s support of Assemblywoman Laura Richardson.  They are spending their money on member to member communication, urging the members of their local affiliated unions to vote for Richardson.  No specific total in terms of spending, but it is not an insignificant sum.

I would put my money on the Fed being much more effective with their communication rather than the blanketing of the district done by the tribe.  Turnout is going to be pretty small, less than 15% and those hard core voters are not easily swayed by mailers and door hangers.  This campaign really is all about identifying likely voters and making sure they get to the polls.  Who ever has a better turnout model and plan will win.

The amounts that the campaigns have raised are relatively modest.  Oropeza reported $219,000 on June 6, while Richardson listed $105,000 in contributions.  The tribes efforts have surpassed both of them easily.

If you are in the district make sure you vote and drag all of your friends and family around with you.  The winner will likely be in office for a few decades.

CA-37: Get Your Debate On! See the Candidates for Yourself!

Do you want to know what Jenny Oropeza thinks about health care? Do you want to know how Laura Richardson would work for civil rights for all? Do you want to know how Peter Mathews would end the occupation of Iraq? Well, you’ll have a chance to find out all of this and more on June 14!

LBPost.com, Charter Communications, and the Long Beach Democratic Club are co-sponsoring a debate among ALL THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES running to fill the vacated seat in the 37th Congressional District. If you live anywhere from Carson to Long Beach, then you’ll definitely want to come to this. Come, and see for yourself what the candidates have to say about the issues that you care about most.

Follow me after the flip for all the details on next week’s debate…

Please RSVP for the debate HERE!

Cabrillo High School
2001 Santa Fe Ave
Long Beach, CA 90810
(562) 951-7700

Here’s the map of the school.

This event is free and open to the public! All they ask is that you show up by 6:30 PM. There, isn’t that easy? And isn’t that worth making an informed decision for such an important election? : )

AD 54: Step Up for Jim Brandt!

OK, I just saw this on The Liberal OC, and I think I should share this with all the rest of you. Remember when I told you that Jim Brandt is running for the State Assembly in the 54th District, where Betty Karnette is termed out?

Well, Jim is looking for some help. He actually is looking forward to winning this race and serving the people of Long Beach, San Pedro, and Palos Verdes in Sacramento, but he can’t win this thing alone. If you’re in this area, then perhaps it’s time for YOU to step up and help Jim out!

Follow me after the flip to find out how YOU can help

Here’s the email that Jim recently sent to supporters:

We’re launching the ground campaign for Jim Brandt for Assembly! We’ve targeted precincts throughout the 54th Assembly district, and we need you to Step Up for Brandt and help get them covered.

At the core of Jim’s campaign is the need for healthcare for all and building a healthier California. Studies show that walking is the best way to get healthier. With our Step Up for Brandt campaign, you can get healthier and help Jim at the same time!

Next weekend, June 9-10, the Step Up for Brandt campaign will launch with a literature drop to Democrats in our targeted precincts.

Here’s where you come in: We need you to adopt the targeted precinct closest to you and reach out to Democrats to let them know about Jim Brandt for Assembly. Once we’ve matched you to a precinct, our Field Operations Coordinator, Marc Barron, will get you all the training and materials you’ll need.

To join the Step Up for Brandt Team, reply to this email or contact Marc directly at [email protected].

P.S. If you are unable to walk a precinct, we still need your help! Please contact Marc and let him know what you can do for Jim Brandt for Assembly (writing letters, making phone calls, tabling, etc.).

Jim has what it takes to win this slightly Democratic district. Remember his good fight against Crazy Dana Rohrabacher in the 46th Congressional Race last year? If he can take on Crazy Dana, then he can win this race! But again, not without your help!

If you want to help Jim win, please send an email to [email protected]. He’s counting on a few good people to help him get to Sacramento and fight the good fight for the people of South LA County! : )