T R I B U N E S erving B ixBy K nollS , C alifornia H eigHtS , l oS C erritoS , W rigley VOl. 32 NO. 45 and tHe C ity of S ignal H ill Your Weekly Community Newspaper April 15, 2011 Stars, professional racers geared up for Grand Prix’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Signal Hill City Council will soon decide future of marijuana dispensaries A star-studded cast of some of America’s favorite celebrities from film, television, sports and music will take to the streets of Long Beach this weekend to challenge a group of professional race-car drivers in the 35th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, one of six main-event attractions taking place during the 37th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Hollywood stars are prepared to meet the high-speed challenge to support Racing for Kids, a national nonprofit program benefiting children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County. As the world’s longest-running and most prestigious celebrity racing event, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has introduced more than 540 celebrities to the sport of race-car competition. Pitting popular personalities against professional racers, the 10-lap sprint around the 1.97-mile downtown Long Beach street circuit begins as an even field, as drivers get behind the wheel of identical race- Staff Writer Courtesy Grand Prix Actor Keanu Reeves at last year’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, one of six main-event attractions of the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. ready Scion tCs. The lineup of 18 drivers includes celebrities, proven professionals and a charity auction winner. The 2011 field will include: Good Day LA anchor Jillian Barberie Reynolds; CSI:NY’s AJ see race page 12 Long Beach proving to be premium hub for film industry CJ Dablo see FILMING page 5 Right now, marijuana dispensaries can’t legally operate in Signal Hill, and the City took one additional step at last Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting to keep it that way. On April 12, the Commission voted to recommend to the City Council a zoning ordinance amendment that would prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries. Now, the City Council will be considering the new zoning ordinance amendment at its next meeting on April 19. A moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries that had been issued in 2009 and extended up until this year was set to expire on June 28. In 2009, medical marijuana dispensaries had not been approved for any zoning districts, and they had been “considered a prohibited use,” however the new amendment will help establish that the record is clear on Signal Hill’s stance on dispensaries, according to a city report. The City wanted to have an ordinance in place before the moratorium expired this summer, according to Scott Charney, Community Devel- opment director. Two years ago, two dispensaries opened for business in Signal Hill without city approval and had been shut down, forcing the City to consider its stance on medical marijuana dispensaries. The issue has been debated and discussed in a public workshop last month and in prior City Council meetings. “I want to make it clear to anybody in the public and the Commissioners, that when the Council did conduct hearings on the moratorium, that they acknowledged that the use was potentially beneficial. . .[and] it was important to certain populations in our community and the community at large,” Charney said. “But the concern was what strategy were we going to implement here in Signal Hill. And again, I think the pool is kind of poisoned by the operators choosing to open in advance of securing approvals.” Charney cited studies from the City of Rocklin and the California Police Chiefs Association that noted negative see dIspeNsarIes page 13 Project kicks off improvements to Long Beach homeless facility Staff Writer Long Beach has accommodated some unusual requests when filmmakers approach the team from the Office of Special Events and Filming. At the monthly “Chat with Pat” community meeting hosted by Fourth District Councilmember Patrick O’Donnell on April 6 at the Los Altos Library, two members of the department that handles these requests in the name of show business named a few memorable items from production company wish lists: planes have “crashed” in Marina Vista Park, a grizzly bear flew in a helicopter, air cannons have flipped busses on Shoreline Drive. It’s all in a day’s work for the team who handles the logistics of getting special events and film and television projects in the city of Long Beach. It usually begins when the team hears a pitch from the folks responsible for making television and movie CJ Dablo Stephanie Raygoza Editorial Intern Courtesy Office of Special Events and Filming A car explosion staged for a recent episode of CSI: Miami, on the beach near downtown Long Beach The economic downturn has impacted thousands of families as they deal with ongoing job terminations, home foreclosures and in worst cases– the loss of hope altogether. Established to break the cycle of homelessness in Long Beach and to provide support services for homeless families, nonprofit community Century Villages at Cabrillo (CVC) and Catholic Charities of Los Angeles teamed up last Wednesday for a project kick-off to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new emergency shelter complex. Family Shelters I and II will be see hoMeLess page 13 Stpehanie Raygoza/Signal Tribune Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe addresses the crowd at the project kick-off of Family Shelters I and II at the Century Villages at Cabrillo.