Celebrate the new year safely T R I B U N S erving B ixBy K nollS , C alifornia H eigHtS , l oS C erritoS , W rigley VoL. 33 No. 30 E and tHe C ity of S ignal H ill Your Weekly Community Newspaper Port to eliminate last of its most polluting rigs December 30, 2011 Group that hoped to recall Councilmember James Johnson suspending its campaign CJ Dablo Staff Writer Courtesy PoLB Long Beach Port terminals will begin barring the last of the most polluting rigs from entering their gates on Jan. 1. Closing the final chapter in an unprecedented environmental program that successfully updated the drayage truck fleet at the largest port complex in the country, Port of Long Beach terminals will begin barring the last of the oldest, most polluting rigs from entering their gates on Jan. 1. The landmark Clean Trucks Program will hit its final milestone banning some 280 older container trucks and another 800 older non-container trucks from Port terminals. Although the final ban starts New Year’s Day, significant reduction in truck-related pollution was achieved long ago. By the end of 2011, almost all trucked container moves at the Port already were done by rigs with 2007 or newer engines. In the new year, all 11,000 drayage trucks servicing Port terminals will be 2007 or newer models. Due to overwhelming response from the trucking industry and financial incentives offered by the Port, the goal of reducing truck-related pollution by 80 percent was reached two years ahead of schedule. By early 2010, close to 90 percent of truck moves at the Port involved 2007 or newer trucks, including hundreds of low-emission liquefied natural gas rigs. Under the Clean Trucks Program, Port of Long Beach terminals began barring older rigs on October 1, 2008. The first ban included trucks with 1988 or older engines. On Jan. 1, 2010, the Port banned most 2003 and older trucks. Neighboring Port of Los Angeles had the same bans under its Clean Truck Program. All drayage trucks doing business at the Port must register under the Clean Trucks Program. Container trucks are inspected and equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Only trucks meeting the Port’s environmental, safety and security standards get a green light to enter shipping terminals. Non-container trucks receive stickers. ----------------------------------MORe INFORMATION polb.com/cleantrucks The seventh district councilmember had been the target of a campaign that aimed to remove him from office, but after citing lack of financial support, a community organization who asked to recall Long Beach Councilmember James Johnson has suspended its efforts…for now. On its website recalljohnson.com, The Citizens to Recall James Johnson continued to blast the seventh district councilmember at the same time they were also announcing that they were halting their campaign. Mike Kowal, a Long Beach resident who says he serves on the recall committee, said that key people had reneged on a pledge of money and resources. “We [the recall committee] were promised by an ‘entity’ that they would totally fund the petition-gathering process if we would get the petition filed with the City Clerk’s Office,” Kowal said, explaining that his group had fulfilled their end of the agreement and filed the initial paperwork. After that, they were waiting for the money to come and for professionals to collect the required signatures for the recall petition, Kowal confirmed. According to the Long Beach City Clerk’s Office, they needed 5,241 signatures for the petition. Kowal also said the committee declined to release the names of the people or organizations who had made promises to the recall committee. Johnson, the subject of the committee’s attacks, questioned whether there was any significant support behind the recall campaign. He said that when the group held a press conference, they would not reveal the identities of the recall committee members or the source of their funding. “It seems to me that for a group that’s supposedly concerned about transparency, it wasn’t very transparent who was part of this group,” Johnson said in a telephone interview Tuesday. see johnson page 11 Murder rate in LB down 36 percent from 2010 Cory Bilicko Managing Editor The murder rate in Long Beach dropped 35.7 percent and the number of rapes decreased by 23.8 percent this year compared to 2010 statistics, according to a memorandum sent by Police Chief Jim McDonnell to Mayor Bob Foster and the City Council on Dec. 9, 2011. The memo, shared with the Signal Tribune by 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske, also indicates slight increases in other violent crimes, with robbery up 1.1 percent from 2010 and aggravated assault higher than last year by 4.7 percent. The memorandum was created in response to a Public Safety Committee request to provide the Council with quarterly crime statistics that include domestic violence, and the information provided represents crimes through the third quarter of calendar year 2011, for the period of January through September. The information, which also compares crime statistics for those same nine-month periods of 2010 and see crime page 7 Julian Rothen/Signal Tribune Lt. Alex Avila, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Officer Chris Zamora, Police Chief Jim McDonnell, Seventh District Councilmember James Johnson, and City Prosecutor Doug Haubert at a November 2010 press conference detailing the North Side Longo and Sureño Gang Injunction, which is one of the efforts the City has made to reduce violent crime in the area.