Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Harbor-UCLA Hospital Assessing Environmental Impacts of Multi-Million Dollar Renovation Plan

After several community meetings designed to better inform the public of these renovation and expansion plans the hospital is getting closer to an approval of the proposed master plan.
 
Their next step is to assess an Environmental Impact Report to pre-determine any potential environmental impacts this project may create. Project organizers are inviting the public for input on this assessment. (Below is the flyer with meeting details)
 

For more than two years Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance has been working on a multi-million dollar overhaul plan to improve the medical facility. 
 
Back in February 2012 the Wilmington Wire reported on the expansion of the facility. Click here for full story.

 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nationwide Coast-to-Coast Climate March: Why Launch from Wilmington?


The 3,000-mile Great March for Climate Action will launch March 1st from the Los Angeles Harbor Area. Sherry Lear, San Pedro soccer mom, writes on the history of the community that has experienced debilitating effects from fossil fuel development, explaining why it’s a perfect place to march en masse for clean energy solutions. More Information: http://xmw.r.mailjet.com/redirect/d4cchq3hlsggt89n37ng00/j.mp/GreatMarchWU
Wilmington Waterfront Park, Conoco Phillips Refinery
Wilmington/Carson have the highest concentration of oil refineries in the state – a perfect place to march for clean energy and healthy communities. Photo: World Architecture

Why March in Wilmington?

By Sherry Anne Lear
On March 1, 2014, the Port of Los Angeles will be home to the Kickoff and Rally for the Great March for Climate Action, the largest coast to coast environmental march in US history. Originally, March organizers wanted to start their march in the iconic beach town of Santa Monica, CA. Local environmental activists convinced the organizers they should instead start the march in the Port of Los Angeles, home to a number of major oil refineries where over 650,000 barrels of crude are refined every day. The Port of Los Angeles is the major economic generator for Southern California and is also a major source of pollution, not just because of the business of refining itself but due to the numbers of vehicles coming in and out of the Port every day to keep it operating.
To their credit and to the gratitude of those of us who live in the Port area, the organizers of the Great March for Climate Action (GMCA) agreed to change their opening day plans and this historic event has now been moved to the Wilmington Waterfront Park. After a press briefing and rally starting at 8:30 a.m., marchers will head out at10:00 a.m. for a 17.5 mile trek to USC/Exposition Park Area. This change is not without downside for the GMCA. Many Los Angelenos don’t even know where Wilmington is located. This port community has no major public transportation outlet, leaving those who want to avoid traveling by car with the prospect of getting to Wilmington by bus, which can be a two-plus hour trip. Although very historically significant to the development of Los Angeles, Wilmington has no major tourist attractions and no shopping malls.

Why begin the Great March for Climate Action in the Port of LA? Wilmington has the largest concentration of refineries in the state, where over 650,000 barrels of crude are refined every day. Pollution also comes from oil drilling, ports, and diesel trucking.

All of these are only part of the reason those who care about climate change, environmental justice and the future of our planet should make the effort and undergo the inconvenience of joining the GMCA, So Cal Climate Action Coalition 350 and its regional partners, and the residents of the Los Angeles Harbor to change the hearts and minds of America and its elected leaders to act NOW to address the climate crisis.

History of Wilmington

Phineas Banning, Founder of Wilmington
Phineas Banning, Father of the Harbor
Wilmington, which is part of the City of Los Angeles, is a port community known as the “Heart of the Harbor.” Wilmington dates its history back to a 1784 Spanish land grant. In 1843, at the age of 13, Phineas Banningwent to work in his father’s Philadelphia law office. By 21, Banning left his East Coast home, sailed to Panama, crossed the jungles by mule and canoe, and then sailed 3,000 miles north and ended up landing at the shallow San Pedro Bay.
Soon after his arrival, Banning got into the business of staging and freighting, often driving six-horse stages over twenty miles. At this time, Los Angeles had no large river or deep water harbor. Banning had the vision to foresee a future in an area of mud fields and ultimately obtained the approval and funding to create the Port of Los Angeles, constructing the first breakwater and dredging the harbor.
LA Harbor in 1913, from Water and Power
LA Harbor in 1913, from Water and Power
Without Banning’s foresight and perseverance, the City of Los Angeles as we know it today, would not exist. Originally known as “New San Pedro,” Banning named the town “Wilmington” in 1863 after his Delaware birth place. Banning is rightly known as the “Father of the Harbor.”
The City of Los Angeles, in recognition of the economic potential of the Port, annexed Wilmington and San Pedro in 1909, promising residents millions in investments in the Port and public improvements in their city. To this day, there are those in the Harbor who wish the vote had gone the other way.

Wilmington Today

Like neighboring San Pedro, Wilmington is a close-knit community where families have resided for many generations and Wilmington residents have a great sense of pride for their home town. Wilmington covers 9.14 square miles, features a heavy concentration of industry, and is home to over 54,000 people. Latinos made up 86.6% of Wilmington’s population, while 44.5% of its residents were born abroad. Approximately 5.1% of Wilmington residents aged 25 or older had a four-year degree in 2000 (a low figure when compared with the city and the county at large) and the percentage of those residents with less than a high school diploma is also higher than the rest of Los Angeles. Wilmington is home to 12 elementary schools, seven middle schools, four high schools (including Banning High School), 11 preschools and two community colleges (both public and private).
Wilmington, California, oil industry
Residential housing next to oil refinery at Wilmington. Wilmington has one the highest risks of cancer due to it’s proximity to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the several oil refineries in the vicinity. Los Angeles, California, USA (Photo by Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Wilmington is adjacent to the Wilmington Oil Field, discovered in 1932, the third largest oil field in the continental United States. Oil pumps dot the city, found in playgrounds, parking lots and church grounds. Wilmington is the home to four major oil refineries with two additional refineries bordering Wilmington to the north in the City of Carson and six petroleum industry bulk loading terminal facilities in the local area. Many of these facilities date back to the original oil strike. Refineries in Wilmington process close to 250,000 barrels of crude every day. As expected, many Wilmington residents work in the Port of Los Angeles. It is, in every sense of the word, a blue collar community.
Wilmington, California aerial
Before and After the development of the park, which served as mitigation for a recent port expansion.

The Waterfront Park – An Exercise in Persistence

The Wilmington Waterfront Park is literally “across the street” (i.e. Harry Bridges Blvd.) from the bustling activity and multi-story cranes that operate 24 hours a day in the Port of Los Angeles. The park serves as a “buffer” area between Port operations and residential communities which dot “C” Street. It will be the gathering site of the LA Launch and Rally of the Great March for Climate Action on Saturday, March 1.
The original plan for the site was to put up a large wall on vacant land owned by the Port of Los Angeles. After years of activism, the people of Wilmington were able to convince the Port with the help of environmental groups like NRDC and Communities for a Better Environment, to construct a 30-acre park, which includes green space, picnic areas, a playground, water play spaces and fountains, restrooms, bike racks, pedestrian bridges, event plazas, viewpoints and trails for walking and biking. The before and after are pictured here. The Wilmington Waterfront Park is part of a series of improvements which have been made in the Los Angeles Harbor area, including the Fanfare fountains at San Pedro, a process which will continue for many years.

Wilmington: a Model for Environmental Injustice

The port community of Wilmington, along with nearby San Pedro and the Cities of Carson and Long Beach face very real issues with air quality and other pollutants due to Harbor activities. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are sources of diesel and fugitive emissions from bulk transport activities by trucks, rail and ship.
Wilmington and nearby communities are known as “cancer alley” because of the high concentration of cancer, heart disease and asthma. Local teachers report that up to 25% of students suffer from asthma (compared to 9.5% nationally per the CDC). Wilmington residents suffer in disproportionate amounts from health issues, including asthma attacks and breathing problems, caused by toxic releases from refineries in their communities, some of which are located less than one mile from public schools and public housing. Because Wilmington is a lower-income community, these problems are often ignored or go unreported in main stream media. Yet, they persist.

Valero Energy seeks permits for large-scale shipments of low-quality tar sands oil via rail into their Port of Los Angeles refinery [now on hold]. As part of a larger move to transport climate-disrupting unconventional crude to ports for refining and export to the world, it presents dangers given recent rail accidents, the corrosive nature of tar sands bitumen, and the significant pollution that surrounding communities already live with. Read More…

Of course, air quality and health issues are not just limited to Wilmington and the Harbor area. Numerous health studies, including a decade-long study by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, have shown that residents near major roadways and ports suffer more severe health problems than people who live elsewhere. Children have a greater risk of impaired lung function; babies are more likely to be born prematurely or with lower weights. Near major transportation routes, the risk of cancer is higher due to diesel exhaust and other air contaminants. Around the world, fine particles generated by vehicles and industry have been linked to increased deaths from heart attacks and lung diseases.
LA Harbor, industrial area of Wilmington
Living next to refineries and oil infrastructure makes expansion in shipping and refining corrosive sulfur-rich tar sands bitumen particularly more dangerous.
It is a reality that the poor and people of color find themselves living near these toxic areas. About 56% of the nine million Americans who live in neighborhoods within three kilometers of large commercial hazardous waste facilities are people of color, according to a 2007 environmental justice report by the United Church of Christ. In California, this number is 81%. Poverty rates in these neighborhoods are 1.5 times higher than elsewhere.
Of course, toxic pollution from oil refineries doesn’t stay outside; it seeps into homes, where people spend most of their time. Each year, pollution from ships, trucks and trains that move goods through the Port of Los Angeles region contributes to an estimated 2,100 early deaths, 190,000 sick days for workers, and 360,000 school absences, according to the California Air Resources Board. In other words, communities like Wilmington are literally paying – sometimes with their lives – for our fossil fuel addiction.
While California is moving toward more renewable energy, there is little chance that the refineries in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are going to close or slow down any time soon. Petroleum based fuels still account for over 90% of the State’s transportation needs. With the recent energy boom in North American brought on by fracking for natural gas and the processing of tar sands oil, California is now exporting dirty fuels overseas even as our state builds more and more solar and wind powered plants to fuel our own homes.
If we are really serious about our demands that we move away from fossil fuels and to clean energy, then we need to go directly to those communities most directly affected by our short-sighted energy policies and be willing to literally get “in the face” of those companies that are hurting the most vulnerable members of our community. That is why Wilmington is the perfect place to start the Great March for Climate Action. Standing in front of palm trees on beach full of tourists isn’t going to cut it. We must do more.

My Personal Plea

Many in the environmental community come from more affluent areas that don’t suffer from the air quality and health issues that those of us who live in the Harbor face every day. Some of my activist friends drive expensive hybrid or electric cars and enjoy expensive organic produce. In the meantime, my son has developed asthma since we moved to San Pedro. No one on either side of our family has a history of asthma. Climate change for my family is, indeed, personal.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my community. But we can’t keep fighting big oil and the energy industry alone. We need help. I have gone to many rallies all over Los Angeles and, finally, it is time for the environmental community to come en masse to the Harbor and stand up for Clean Energy and Against Dirty Fossil Fuels. So, please join the people of the Los Angeles at the March 1 Kickoff and Rally for the Great March for Climate Action. You won’t regret it. And the residents of Wilmington, San Pedro and surrounding communities will thank you.
Sherry Anne Lear, Sierra Club, SoCal Climate Action 350Sherry Lear is an attorney with a practice focusing on real estate matters in Torrance, CA. She is also a soccer mom to a 10-year-old boy and has rescued two senior dogs who are now spoiled rotten. In her free time, she works on environmental issues and is a member of So Cal Climate Action Coalition 350, Sierra Club, and Tar Sands Action Southern California.

Friday, October 25, 2013

For the fifth time Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is penalized for malpractice


(Photo Credit: Los Angeles Harbor College)
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center was fined $50,000 for failing to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures, stated the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

This was the fifth time the Torrance hospital was penalized for malpractice, said the press release sent yesterday. The LA county hospital serves as the Level I Trauma Center for the South Bay area.

Eight other hospitals were also fined totaling $775,000 after investigations found the facilities’ noncompliance with licensing requirements caused, or were likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.
  
The following California hospitals were also penalized by the CDPH.

Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, San Diego, San Diego County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures regarding fall prevention. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s first administrative penalty.

Antelope Valley Hospital, Lancaster , Los Angeles County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow surgical policies and procedures. This resulted in a patient having to undergo a second surgery to remove a retained foreign object. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s first administrative penalty.

Community Regional Medical Center, Fresno, Fresno County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to cardiovascular surgery services. The penalty is $75,000. This is the hospital’s second administrative penalty.

Community Regional Medical Center, Fresno, Fresno County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to medical staff rules and regulations. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s third administrative penalty.

Mercy Medical Center, Merced, Merced County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to patient care. The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital’s first administrative penalty.
Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, Mission Viejo, Orange County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures related to central line catheters. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s seventh administrative penalty.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, Santa Clara County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures for safe distribution and administration of medication. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s fourth administrative penalty.

Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego, San Diego County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow surgical policies and procedures. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s fourth administrative penalty.

St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton, Orange County: The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures regarding fall prevention. The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital’s sixth administrative penalty.

Administrative penalties are issued under authority granted by Health and Safety Code section 1280.1. Incidents that occurred prior to 2009 carry a fine of $25,000. On January 1, 2009, the fines increased for incidents that occurred in 2009 or later. Under this provision, an administrative penalty carries a fine of $50,000 for the first violation, $75,000 for the second, and $100,000 for the third or subsequent violation by the licensee. To date, the department has issued 295 administrative penalties including those issued today. The most common reason for an administrative penalty is a retained foreign object after surgery (25 percent), patient care issues (22 percent) and medication errors (20 percent).

When hospitals receive their survey findings, they are required to provide CDPH with a plan of correction to prevent future incidents. Hospitals can appeal an administrative penalty by requesting a hearing within ten calendar days of notification. If a hearing is requested and the penalty upheld following an appeal, the penalties must be paid.

All hospitals in California are required to be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, and special hospitals. The hospitals are required to comply with these standards to ensure quality of care.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wilmington celebrates renovation of Harbor Sports Complex field


Pop warner football players and cheerleaders celebrated the long needed renovation of the Harbor Sports Complex at Los Angeles Harbor College this Saturday.

Last year Councilman Joe Buscaino announced the $2.2 million makeover for the Harbor Park in Wilmington which is the home field for hundreds of youth athletes in the nearby communities.

"I made a promise to Wilmington Youth Football during my campaign last year. It took ten months, but we figured out how to fund the upgrade,” said Buscaino in a press release. “We owe it to these kids to keep them motivated and focused."
 

Here's a video of the ribbon cutting ceremony provided by the Councilman's office:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Throwback roller skates is the latest trend in the Harbor Area



(Photo provided by Beach Cities Roller Derby, Credit: Jay Mungia)
Soccer, baseball and even racket ball are all familiar sports commonly played in Wilmington, but roller derby?

Shayna Meikle, coach and founder of Beach Cities Roller Derby, is on a mission to change that by introducing the unconventional sport to inner cities. Originally from Harbor City and alumni of Narbonne High School 27-year-old Meikle discovered roller derby during her college years at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), but she never imagined it would become her full-time gig.

After receiving her bachelors from UCSC in 2010 she returned to Los Angeles where she taught 7th grade science, but on the side continued her derby hobby. Practice really did lead to perfection for Meikle, who goes by the derby nickname "Pigeon." After mastering the sport in a blink of an eye she was traveling the world to compete against the best derby athletes.

The sport is no longer her hobby it is her life, last year launching her own league, Beach Cities Roller Derby, which has four teams and about 100 skaters.

Now she’s hoping to introduce and recruit derby athletes from Wilmington.


1. When did you get your first pair of roller skates?

 My first pair of roller skates was just after I tried out for the Santa Cruz Roller Derby team in October 2007. I had used rental skates for the tryouts and fell in love instantly so I bought myself $300 skates as an early Christmas present...and 6 years later those top of the line skates are still working great!


2. Is roller derby your full-time job?

I was a 7th grade Science teacher in South East LA. I do not teach anymore.  I would still be teaching if my side gig (roller derby) didn’t have so many great opportunities for me and for my community. I loved my students and 11-14 year olds are fun and interesting, but I saw that my influence can be much greater than the four walls of the classroom. I saw that through roller derby I can influence the lives of so many adults as well as kids (we have a junior derby program as well). It seems that influencing adults is something that drives me, partly because I am an adult myself, but also because there are very little opportunities for adults to be inspired, be active, have fun, compared to our younger counterparts. 


3. What made you decide to take this new adventure of roller derby?

I don’t really feel like it was a decision, I feel like it was just the natural path for me. I knew that if anyone could run an effective, sustainable and influential league it was me. 

4. Roller derby seems pretty aggressive, can you talk about the technicalities of the sport for people who don't know what roller derby is?

Roller derby has two types of players, Blockers and Jammers. One Jammer on the track for each team and she is the only skater for her team who can score points. There are 4 blockers on the track who are trying to stop the other teams Jammer because every time Jammer passes a player from the opposing team she scores one point. Blockers can attempt to deter or stop the Jammers by using legal blocks. Legal blocks consist of booty bumps, hip checks and multiple player wall formations. There is no grabbing, hitting, pushing, it’s all with the booty!

There are two minute rounds called jams where each jam has a different line up from each team. After two 30 minute halves the team with the highest points wins!

(Photo provided by Beach Cities Roller Derby)
5. What makes roller derby so unique than other sport?

Well first, it is the only female dominated sport in the world. Yay!

You also play on roller skates and have skate names. Roller derby is a very mental game and strategies are a big thing, but the cool thing about roller derby is that it’s in the only sport in the world where you can play offense and defense at the same time.   

6. Where did the nickname "Pigeon" come from?

 I chose Pigeon for a few reasons. It’s a cute word (cute is more my style) and also Pigeons are very intelligent and underestimated. They used to be one of the main sources of communication before modern technology (Carrier Pigeons). Also Pigeons are actually Doves (Rock Doves to be precise) which means so much in itself. Pigeons are special and beautiful but people think they are nasty because they live in cities. People think pigeons live in cities because they are scavengers like rats and raccoons, but the honest truth is that pigeons are in cities because the houses and buildings humans erect mimic their natural habitat, almost perfectly.

On top of all that, you see pigeons all the time. It might be one of the few things that you see every single day of your life. I think that is pretty cool. 


7. This is definitely not a sport seen in inner cities like Wilmington, why do you want to recruit from the Harbor Area?

The Harbor Area is my home. I was raised in Harbor City, what more can I say!?

Like I mentioned earlier, roller derby influences the lives of adults. It brings the community together and forms another community all in its own. One of my main goals here with Beach Cities Roller Derby is to bring the South Bay together as a whole community rather than a large area with small communities scattered about that don’t really interact with each other.  The Harbor City/Wilmington/Carson area are largely underrepresented in our league as of now (besides myself and our Carson native skater, SweetPea Felony) so I decided to branch out first by finding a location in the area to hold one of our practices and then by reaching out to the community itself to get more Harbor Area folks involved. I am lucky to be living with two Wilmington natives to make this task much more accessible and hopefully successful.


8. What's you're ultimate goal in the roller derby world? 
You will hear often that "roller derby saved my life" or "I don’t know what dark place I would be in if I hadn’t found roller derby," and to be honest it is quite true. Not of me but many people have a huge need for something in their lives, to fill in the void or to give them something that is just for them.

 A place where they can be creative, where they can push themselves to be better, mentally and physically, and where they can have fun. Roller Derby does just that. We have a large community of all types of people, all ages, all genders, all ethnicity, and all economic backgrounds. It is very unique and I can’t help but want to share it with all of the South Bay and make it one big bad ass group of folks who continue to positively influence each others life for the better.


If you’re interested in learning more about Beach Cities Roller Derby and possibly join their league contact them at beachcitiesrollerderby@gmail.com

“Like” them on Facebook and follow on Twitter @BCRDsouthbay to receive the latest updates.