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Regenerative Design Studios aims to bring aesthetic beauty back to Los Angeles, starting with San Pedro.


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What do you think about the new exit park, now officially called the Los Angeles Sister Cities Plaza, as you enter the 110 freeway from Gaffey St.? When I posted the Daily Breeze’s story on the park’s renaming and late February opening on the magazine’s Facebook page, these were some of the unenthused comments: “Yay, another useless park by the freeway. I'm sure this will be a homeless spot for sure.” “Total waste of time, space, and funds.” “A nice, new, free campground for the meth-heads to commandeer.” “Who in the world voted for another freeway park? Do people expect kids running around in walking distance to the freeway? What about the local schools in need?” These comments capture a particular, if not majority, viewpoint on this project, as evidenced by the response on social media. The same issues were voiced when the Welcome Park, across the street from the new Sister Cities Plaza, was built in 2007. This sentiment, however, completely misses the mark on why parks such as these exist. It’s all about aesthetics. In other words, it’s about looking good. It’s about finally taking ownership of our town away from the vagrants and vandals and giving the community something it can be proud to look at. These entrance/exit parks aren’t meant to be primary playgrounds for children, nor are they meant to be destination parks like Peck or Bogdanovich. They’re purpose, as I see it, is to be the anti-eyesore. It’s supposed to give an individual a sense of pride, hope and ownership of our town. And it’s something we, as San Pedrans, need now more than ever. We can argue all day long if the allocated funds for such projects are worth it. (The Welcome Park cost $1 million and was paid for by the Port of Los Angeles, the new Sister Cities Plaza cost $500,000 and was paid for by the City of L.A.). But in the end, what POLA and the City of L.A. did was take beat up, ugly, unloved slices of San Pedro real estate and make it beautiful again. Commercial property owners should take note. This town is in dire need of a makeover. We all know it’s going to happen on the waterfront, but we need to start focusing on the rest of San Pedro. Anyone who’s driven on Gaffey Street the past couple of years has noticed the blight and degradation of our busiest thoroughfare. In the morning, the street is ravaged by our continuing homeless problem, which brings with it discarded trash that spills onto the sidewalks and street. And at night, it becomes a congregation of people suffering from mental illness and vagrants and addicts looking for their next fix. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti picked Gaffey St. as part of his Great Streets Initiative, a citywide program focused on beautifying major thoroughfares throughout Los Angeles. Unfortunately, this program is still trying to find funding, but small improvements like the entrance and exit parks and the refurbishment/lighting of the pedestrian bridge, are steps in the right direction; but we need more beautification projects in San Pedro. Commercial property owners, of which there are many in town, need to step up and do their part, as well. There are too many unpleasant commercial properties lining our streets, many haven’t been upgraded in years, if not decades. The city can only do so much; it’s time we as a community start holding these property owners accountable for their contribution to the blight in our community. That said, this is exactly the motive behind Regenerative Design Studios' #LeafYourMark campaign, the subject of our cover story this month. Owner and landscape architect, Robin Lynch, is launching the campaign in an effort to bring more aesthetic beauty to public use facilities across Los Angeles, utilizing California native plants and exciting design elements. Being a local business owner and San Pedro resident, Lynch decided that the best place to start the campaign is right here in town. Find out more about it in this month’s cover story. spt Joshua Stecker is publisher/editor-in-chief of San Pedro Today. Letters to the Editor can be emailed to



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1418 West 25th St., San Pedro, CA 90732 • (310) 547-4413 •



EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joshua J. Stecker

ADVERTISING: General Inquiries:


Patricia Roberts - San Pedro (562) 964-8166 |

AT-LARGE CONTRIBUTORS Jack Baric, Nathan Hoff, Rachel Kaplan, Brooke Karli, Mike Lansing, Ricky Magana, Steve Marconi, Angela Romero, Jamaal K. Street

Shana Ghekiere - San Pedro (and outer regions) (310) 753-5176 |

PHOTOGRAPHER John Mattera Photography


CONTACT INFO: PHONE: (424) 224-9063 EMAIL: San Pedro Today P.O. Box 1168, San Pedro, CA 90733

San Pedro Today publishes the last Thursday of every month and is produced monthly by Empire22 Media LLC. No portion of this publication can be reproduced without written permission by Empire22 Media. 25,000 copies are delivered to San Pedro and portions of Rancho Palos Verdes. San Pedro Today is a product of Empire22 Media LLC. Empire22 Media LLC, their subsidiaries and affiliates are released from all liability that may involve the publication of San Pedro Today. Copyright 2009-2017, Empire22 Media LLC.


Empire22 Media LLC

ON THE COVER: The Regenerative Design Studios team (l to r): Karen Steffani, Adam Sapin, Robin Lynch, Josette Hogler, Milan (seated) (photo: John Mattera)

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FEBRUARY Tour the historic PT. FERMIN LIGHTHOUSE, built in 1874 to light the entrance to the Los Angeles Harbor, located in the Pt. Fermin Park (807 Paseo del Mar). Guided tours offered 1-3p Tues thru Sun. Closed Mon and major holidays. Admission is free; donations accepted.

throughout Southern California, enjoy a speaking event For ticket information and more, email Niledy Casiano at featuring Rabbi Ed Feinstein. Advance tickets $18. For more, or visit school. information, visit or call (310) 833-2467.

3 (Fri) – NATALIE BASZILE at Marymount California University in The Commons (30800 Palos Verdes Dr. East) EVERY WEEK – STRONG PEDRO PROJECT at Plaza 12:30 – 1:45p. The acclaimed author of Queen Sugar will Park (10th St. & Beacon St.) See story on page 22. be speaking about her book, which has been adapted for television by Oprah Winfrey. Event is FREE. For more Every Wed – CHILDREN’S WRITING CLASSES at information, call (310) 303-7223. the Corner Store (1118 37th St). Seven Golden Secrets of Writing with Diana Chapman, Wed 4:30-5:45p. For info, 4 (Sat) – BOOK SALE at the San Pedro Library, Phil Scott call (310) 626-7906. Meeting Room (931 S. Gaffey St.) 11a – 4p. The Friends of San Pedro Library hosts its monthly book sale, with tons Every Fri – SAN PEDRO FARMERS MARKET (6th St. of bargains on great reads! All proceeds benefit the library. between Pacific and Mesa Streets) 9a-2p. 9 (Thurs) – SAN PEDRO HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1945 Every Sat – LAFD HARBOR MUSEUM (639 Harbor Blvd.) REUNION BREAKFAST at The Grinder (511 S. Harbor 10a-3p. Experience San Pedro and Wilmington's Fire Blvd.) 9:30a. Attention Pirates! It’s time to reminisce on Protection and Rescue service history with vintage fire the good ‘ol days with your fellow SPHS alumni. Join your apparatus and various displays. The museum is located in friends and former classmates for breakfast! RSVP to Alice Old Fire Station 36 in the San Pedro City Hall. Admission is Jacobson at (310) 832-1807 or Grace Woodman (310) 833FREE, donations are accepted. 8321.

13 (Mon) – VOLUNTEER TRAINING at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (3720 Stephen M. White Dr.) 9a-12:30p. Do you love marine life? Become a CMA volunteer! Train to become a docent for the museum’s spring outdoor program, which welcomes 4,000 school children a week, and helps provide educative information about the ocean environment. Applications are available by contacting Floyd Anderson at (310) 548-7562 ext. 229 or

Do you love taking pictures? Participate in a PHOTO CONTEST, hosted by the Point Fermin Lighthouse. Grab your camera and capture the beautiful and historic lighthouse (fresh with a new coat of paint!), and you may win one of several categories! All winners will be announced in April, and winning photographs will be displayed at the San Pedro landmark. For more information, please call the lighthouse for an entry form (310) 241-0684.

18 (Sat) – 2017 OSCAR NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMS at The Space (624 S. Pacific Ave.) 7p. Presented by the San Pedro International Film Festival, 10 (Fri) – MOMS CLUB OF SAN PEDRO MEETING at enjoy viewing all of the Oscar nominated documentary Bogdanovich Park (1920 Cumbre Dr.) 3:30 – 5p. MOMS short films before the 29th Academy Awards. Tickets are Club of San Pedro is a nonprofit organization that focuses $10. For information and tickets, visit on supporting other local moms. Monthly Social General and Meeting will include crafts, snacks, and park play for the kids. For more info, contact sanpedromomsclub@yahoo. 24 (Fri) – 2017 OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORT com. FILMS at The Space (624. S. Pacific Ave.) 7p. Presented by the San Pedro International Film Festival, enjoy viewing all 11 (Sat) – FOUNDERS DAY at Point Fermin Lighthouse (807 of the Oscar nominated animated short films before the 29th W Paseo Del Mar) 1 – 4p. During the month of February, the Academy Awards. Tickets are $10. For information and lighthouse is celebrating Heritage Month, celebrating Bill tickets, visit and Olesen, John Olguin and Julian Jimenez, as well as the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Keeper Austin and his family 25 (Sat) – ALINA KIRYAYEVA at the Redondo Union who were the last lighthouse keepers at Point Fermin. Join Auditorium (1 Sea Hawk Wy.) 7:30p. The South Bay in the historic celebration and enjoy their yummy cocoa bar! Community Concert Association will present an outstanding concert of popular and classical music featuring professional 11 (Sat) – FIREBIRD BALALAIKA QUINTET at the San concert pianist and chamber musician, Alina Kiryayeva. Pedro Library, Phil Scott Meeting Room (931 S. Gaffey St.) Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and students. For 2p. Presented by Friends of the San Pedro Library, Musical information and tickets, visit or call group Firebird performs traditional Russian, Ukrainian, and Paul Bellia at (310) 326-8184. Eastern European songs and original composition using traditional instruments. Event is FREE.

2 (Thurs) – YOUR JEWISH SOUL: AN OWNER’S MANUAL at Temple Beth El (1435 W. 7th St.) 7:30p. As part of the Taus Lecture Series, providing provocative and stimulating presentations on subjects of general and Jewish interest by distinguished scholars from colleges and universities

11 (Sat) – 3rd ANNUAL HOLY TRINITY GALA at DoubleTree Hotel, Madeo Ballroom (2800 Via CabrilloMarina) 6p. This evening of dining and dancing will be celebrating former pastor Reverend Thomas J. Glynn, as well as fundraising for Holy Trinity School and Preschool.

Every first and second Sunday – Tour the MULLER HOUSE MUSEUM (1542 Beacon St.) 1-4p. Last tour starts at 3:15p. Built in 1899, the Muller House is the headquarters of the San Pedro Bay Historical Society. Admission is free, but a donation of $3 is encouraged. ENJOY WHALE WATCHING through the Cabrillo Whalewatch Program. Since 1972, this program has brought children and adults alike up close with the majestic marine creatures, as well as provided informative, expert naturalists to guide tours, as well as speak to classrooms or private groups. Rates start at just $10 per person. For more information, call (310) 548-7770 or visit


11 (Sat) - 2017 OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORTS at the Warner Grand (478 W. 6th St.) 7p. If you’re a movie-lover, you’ll really love this event! Presented by the San Pedro International Film Festival, enjoy viewing all of the Oscar nominated live action short films before the 29th Academy Awards. Tickets are $10. For information and tickets, visit and

Email event info to Deadline for the March issue is Friday, February 10. All locations in San Pedro unless otherwise noted.

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Honoring our former pastor of 25 years

Reverend Thomas J. Glynn


Supporting Holy Trinity School and Preschool

Saturday, February 11, 2017 Six O’ Clock in the evening For ticket info, to become an event sponsor or to place an ad in the program contact Niledy Casiano 310-833-0703 x200


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Pirate Football Makes Its National TV Debut by Steve Marconi Narbonne may have supplanted San Pedro High as the dominant football power in Los Angeles, but when it comes to location, there is no competition. At least that’s the way the NFL felt when it came to filming a TV promo for its new youth program aimed at getting kids away from video games and back outdoors. I, along with millions of others across the nation, was watching a recent playoff game when a commercial came on with a bunch of high school-age kids getting ready for a football game. I had already hit the mute button, as a I do for all ads, when I glanced up and saw the main entrance to San Pedro High School and a huge “Pedro Pride” banner, and later, a closing shot of the Pirates’ field and the victory arch as the backdrop for the www. plug. It turns out the ad has been running all season in 30-, 60- and 90-second versions. If you’ve missed it, the entire two-minute video is available on YouTube (search “Let’s Play Football”). The production company came to Principal Jeanette Stevens last June on the recommendation of City athletic officials. They also had recommended Narbonne, but the scout had done previous work at SPHS and, as Stevens noted, “We’re really friendly for filming. I took them for a walk and talk tour, and they liked the facilities. We’re pretty flexible about how to make things work, and they saw that right away. They had a big list of requirements, and we got all our teams on board. The band and cheerleaders and the coaches, all were in.” The actual filming took place after school was out, so while there are a lot of Pedro students involved, including members of the football team, actors and stunt people are involved in the key scenes. “They used as much of us as they could for the commercial,” Stevens said. And the house used in the ad is on 16th Street, near the campus, and is the home of one of the school’s band members. Also on hand were NFL players, such as the Rams’ Robert Quinn and the Cardinals’ David Johnson. “There were a couple of walkthroughs during the week,” Pirates’ head coach Corey Miller said. “They filmed it on Friday. We had to be there at 1 p.m., the kids came at 2 p.m., and we didn’t leave until 1 a.m.” “Our kids were so excited,” Stevens said. “One of the kids, it was his birthday, was there all day and night. He left at midnight and went to Arizona to play in a baseball tournament.” As for the victory arch scene, Stevens said, “That was an afterthought; it wasn’t planned. The film crew saw Derrick (Moore) putting the flags away and said, hold on, can you do that again? That’s how that got filmed.” The climactic scene, a game simulation (Carson High provided the opposition players, and that’s John Bobich and Dom Costa playing referees), involved a long pass and catch. “That pass, my gosh, watching that pass, we were like fans,” Stevens, sitting in the stands with parents and students, said. “When it connected, we were all jumping up and down.” It turns out that San Pedro’s starting quarterback was out of town, and the “quarterback” selected by the film crew couldn’t do the job, so another San Pedro student filled in. “The highlight was when they caught the ball,” Stevens said. “To see the film crew jumping up and down – ‘Yes, victory, we won.’ But it was just a movie.” The money was real, however. For its participation, the school received $15,000 from the NFL. All for a good cause. The ad is part of the NFL’s new “Play 60” policy, “trying to get kids more active, outside for at least 60 minutes a day,” Miller said. I mentioned that in my day, parents had a hard time getting kids to stay inside for 60 minutes a day, and Miller, a generation younger, noted, “I wasn’t allowed in the house until dark. These kids today, they’re hooked on electronics. It’s a good push (by the NFL). If other organizations can jump on board and get kids active, it’s a good thing.” So is the fame that comes with such national exposure, although I can’t help but wonder how many people are wondering where in the heck is San “Paydro” High School. One hint: It’s not in Harbor City. spt Steve Marconi can be reached at

Thank you San Pedro for 30 Years of Support!


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It seems like a hundred years, but it was only two months ago that I used this space to urge my fellow San Pedrans to take a day off from our caustic social media debates. I’m as guilty as anyone about this and so I was happy when people embraced the challenge. Together we created a day on Facebook that was dubbed #PedroCivility. It was so much fun that I’m thinking, let’s try it again – and with February being the month of love, how does #PedroLove sound to everyone? I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of love lately. Over the holidays, my father-in-law, Anthony Viducich, passed away from cancer, a disease that evokes many emotions that are the opposite of love. It is a terrible disease that is painful to watch, but the silver lining in our long goodbye to “Poppi” was the opportunity for all of us to say how much we loved each other. I was especially gratified to see my kids give their grandfather big doses of love in their numerous visits to his bedside. As people who have faith in a higher power, my family believes that the love Poppi is now experiencing is with family and friends that have greeted him in a place that is more peaceful and perfect than our home here on earth. I’m a pretty low key Catholic, but I start almost every morning by reading a couple quotes from great leaders of my church – everyone from Pope Francis to Mother Teresa. One of my personal favorites is Father Greg Boyle, whose ministry to gang members in East L.A. is both awe inspiring and humbling. My favorite Father G quote: “Sometimes resilience arrives in the moment you discover your own unshakeable goodness.” Many of the quotes I read are about love and kindness. Here are a few: “A single act of pure love pleases me more than a thousand imperfect prayers.” “I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.” “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” We San Pedrans seem to never want to back down from a good fight, so these quotes are a nice reminder to try and mix in more kind words than pugnacious ones, especially in our daily social media conversations. We shouldn’t let our fights and nasty words mask how much we love our town. Even though the L.A. Weekly branded us the “surliest” bunch in all of L.A., that love is the one overriding thing that makes our hometown so endearing. Wouldn’t it be great for the L.A. Weekly to follow up their surly poll with a study on which Southern California community has the largest per capita exhibition of their town name on the backs of t-shirts or car bumper stickers? San Pedro would win hands down, no contest. On February 14, the more romantically inclined among us will use social media to proclaim their eternal love for their spouse, partner, and soulmate. It wouldn’t be proper to interrupt the Valentine’s Day flow of roses, champagne and chocolate, so how about we take the day before for San Pedrans to state everything it is that they love about our town? On December 1, we kicked off the holidays with #PedroCivility. Let’s start Valentine’s Day a day early on February 13, by urging all San Pedrans to post the things they love the most about our hometown. #PedroLove. spt Jack Baric can be reached at


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For the Important Stuff, Less is Not More


by Mike Lansing An often-overused axiom is that “less is more.” I must admit that I do agree with that saying when it comes to a church sermon, broccoli, Kanye and any of the Kardashians, my singing, root canals, waiting in line, political ads and speeches, selfies, and grandma’s fruitcake, just to name a few. But for truly important items and issues - less is LESS! Just a few examples of when less is NOT more: PUBLIC EDUCATION: While Governor Brown recently stated that he was raising public education funding by $2.1 billion for the coming year, in reality, it will be $500 million less than current-year spending as reported by the L.A. Times on January 15. This is because Prop 98 mandates a “minimum” amount of the budget that can be spent on education and his proposed total is still $500 million short of current education spending, which already is not meeting the education resources needed by our students. After a couple of years of building up a more than respectable reserve it would seem reasonable that at least the $500 million of it could be added to the education budget. Less public education support is not more – use a small part of the reserve, Mr. Brown! MINIMUM WAGE: No matter the arguments to the contrary, raising minimum wage is a good thing because earning less is not more, especially when trying to survive in Los Angeles. At the same time, let’s get smart and raise the total income level for working parents to continue to be eligible to receive subsidized child care or we will force them to choose between making even less or going on welfare to take care of their children. Less hourly wage and less affordable childcare is not more – let’s use some common sense and strategize the two together. TAXES: Let’s face it, no one likes to pay taxes, but this is obviously the mechanism by which we fund our local, state and federal systems, infrastructure needs, police and fire services, Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, public education, our military and social services, just to name a few. Less taxes means less government revenue, which equates to less of each of these. We get what we pay for and Trickle-Down Economics has proven itself a hoax. Not so long ago, we implemented less taxes and went to war in the Middle East at the same time to eliminate weapons of mass destruction – how did that work out for us in terms of our national debt, not to mention a less stable world? While we would all like to pay less, less taxes only indentures our children and our children’s children. OBAMACARE: If we can improve upon Obamacare and provide even better medical coverage for all Americans than currently, then by all means! However, providing less coverage for our neighbors and putting thousands of lives in jeopardy, because you don’t have a better plan and solely because Obamacare wasn’t your plan, is downright immoral. Less medical coverage is obviously not more! Stop playing politics with the health of Americans and improve the plan if you can or shut up and get out of the way. (Pardon me for my lack of tolerance.) COMPASSION & TOLERANCE: A growing intolerance of those different than us and less caring for those who need us most has resulted in the sad fallout we view in our communities and on the news every day. America and Americans can be tremendously prosperous and safe, and we can still care for our poor, but all this cannot happen with less of a commitment to either of these traits. Less compassion and less tolerance is not more! Time to stop the tweeting and find positive discourse and solutions to the great need and differences in this country and beyond. spt Mike Lansing is Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor.

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#LeafYourMark Regenerative Design Studios aims to bring aesthetic beauty back to Los Angeles, starting with San Pedro by Joshua Stecker

The Regenerative Design Studios team (l to r): Karen Steffani, Adam Sapin, Robin Lynch, Josette Hogler, Milan


(photo: John Mattera)

January will prove to be an incredibly wet month for Southern California, the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time. While the rain is sorely needed for our drought plagued state, the aftermath will leave parking lots swamped, storm drains clogged and our local streets flooded. Not to mention, as the days and weeks go by, plenty of still water will be lying dormant, waiting for bacteria and mosquitos. San Pedro is an old town, and we’re beginning to show our age. Poorly designed parking lots, buckling sidewalks, dated architecture, and non-native plants have infected our town’s infrastructure, causing expensive problems that rarely, if ever, get fixed. According to Robin Lynch, principal owner of Regenerative Design Studios, a landscape architectural firm in San Pedro, many of the problems we see in public spaces, like flooded parking lots, vegetation overgrowth, and damaged walkways, can be mitigated through better landscape design and the proper use of California native plants. Lynch, 40, a third-generation landscape designer and horticulturalist, has been spreading the gospel of good landscape design most of her life. Her father, Richard Lynch, is one of the original founding presidents of the Palos Verdes Rhododendron Society, and her grandfather, Robert Jack Lynch, for whom she is named, was the author of The Encyclopedia of Gardening. As she notes in our conversation, she “bleeds green.” “I have dreams of plants,” laughs Lynch, but she’s being serious. She speaks of plants and landscape design like car enthusiasts talk about tires and engines. Her passion, mixed with her genes and years of education (she holds a Bachelors from Cal Poly Pomona, is a full member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and is, of course, a licensed landscape contractor), has afforded her with a rich tapestry of knowledge and experience that she hopes to turn into positive environmental results across Los Angeles through her #LeafYourMark campaign. “#LeafYourMark is about collaboration through the community to inspire people to take notice of their surroundings in terms of good examples of landscape architectural design,” explains Lynch, “and to point out areas that could be improved through better

design. “It’s a way to get people to actively participate in making their surroundings better.” Lynch is a firm believer in the theory that good design leads to better communities. Her firm, Regenerative Design Studios, founded in 2009 and based in downtown San Pedro, has worked on numerous large-scale infrastructural improvement projects in and around Los Angeles. Their focus is utilizing California native plants in all their design efforts, which sets them apart from many other in-demand firms that focus more on the aesthetic quality than the impact their work will have on the environment. Most recently, they were the Lead Consultant for the landscape architectural components of the Expo Light Rail Phase II Project, which runs nearly 7 miles from Culver City to Santa Monica. Regenerative Design Studios worked closely with city officials and the lead design firm to keep the Metro board’s mandate of using 90% California native plants intact. “The designer of record was experiencing challenges on how to go California native,” explains Lynch. “We provided them with critical consultancy to redesign their whole pallet and meet the Metro board’s mandate. I’m incredibly proud with how everything turned out.” #LEAFYOURMARK IN SAN PEDRO Being a San Pedro resident, Lynch is constantly noticing examples of poor design and landscape architecture around town. Since coming off her successful run with the Expo Light Rail project, the Peninsula High grad has now turned her focus locally for the launch of #LeafYourMark. “We need to look more aesthetically pleasing and more attractive,” says Lynch about the current state of San Pedro. “I see parking lots and other public spaces that can be shaded and cooled, areas that need better filtration mechanisms in place, all of which can be done through better landscape design and architecture.”

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A view of the Expo Light Rail Phase II Project, which runs nearly 7 miles from Culver City to Santa Monica. Regenerative Design Studios worked closely with city officials and the lead design firm to keep the Metro board’s mandate of using 90% California native plants intact. (photos: Regenerative Design Studios)


During our hour-long conversation, Lynch cites two areas that could immediately benefit from the #LeafYourMark campaign: the parking lots of the World Cruise Center and at Crafted/Brouwerij West. “After the rains, these parking lots will be left with huge puddles of standing water, some deeper than your shoes,” she explains. “When you have impervious parking lots, it overwhelms our storm drains. The water grabs all the pollutants and goes directly into the ocean unfiltered. Soil and plants act as natural filters. Plants are awesome at sucking up pollutants. There are some plants that actually thrive on pollutants!” Lynch states that when you install parking islands with California native vegetation to provide shade, and install bioswales (landscape elements designed to remove pollution from runoff water) into the parking surface area, the planted areas act as both filtration and infiltration, essentially filtering out rain water while providing positive environmental impacts on the community. “Then the plants attract pollinators, which attract beneficial insects, which attract birds, etc.,” says Lynch. “It’s the circle of life. You’re putting the circle of life back into a dead, empty space.” So how is this #LeafYourMark campaign supposed to work? It’s easy to point out the problems, but a lot harder, and much more expensive, to put these ideas into action. “Ideally, our goal is the be the designer of record and to consult on projects that adhere to the #LeafYourMark campaign,” says Lynch. “In partnership with developers, we work together to bring projects to fruition.”

Lynch agrees that even though there are plenty of areas of San Pedro that can benefit from a #LeafYourMark campaign, only certain entities with enough funding can implement such improvements. She cites the Port of Los Angeles as one such entity that has already allocated funding for grant proposal projects to offset the environmental damage the port creates. “The Crafted/Brouwerij West parking lot is a perfect example of a site that the port should use that funding for,” says Lynch. “It would be the perfect pilot project to start the #LeafYourMark campaign.” At the end of the day, Lynch hopes the #LeafYourMark campaign starts a conversation in the community and gets people educated on the importance of proper landscape design and implementation. “Landscape architecture is a science, but it’s also an art,” explains Lynch. “If you want to boil landscape architecture down to a singular point, it’s psychology. It’s about how you feel in a space. That’s all it is. Good design, bad design, is about how you feel in a space. People feel differently in different spaces. People, subconsciously, respond to good design. “I want this campaign to educate people. I want this to illuminate something inside them. People want that good feeling. People like to be in well-designed spaces.” spt Post your photos, good and bad, with the hashtag #LeafYourMark to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. What green beauty do you want to see, San Pedro? For more info on Regenerative Design Studios, visit

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Last month, I proposed ways for San Pedrans to learn more about their history and culture by celebrating days of importance in San Pedro. Within days of the magazine’s release, I was hearing positive feedback on the story. By the time First Thursday came around, a week later, I started to see just how well my words were received. No one has to tell me how big of a San Pedro nerd I am, I am fully aware that my enthusiasm for learning and sharing local history is borderline fanatical. My wish would be that my hometown history bug rubs off a little and sparks an interest. So when I got the message from my friend Annette Ciketic to stop by her gallery on First Thursday to talk about how my article inspired her to put on a San Pedro-themed art show at fINdings Art Center, I was walking on air! The inspiration didn’t stop there. That night, I ran into Martha McKinzie, president of the Point Fermin Lighthouse Society, and she informed me that the society is planning on honoring John Olguin’s birthday with a day of service at the lighthouse. John Olguin and his friend Bob Olesen are considered the savior’s of the lighthouse, keeping it for generations of San Pedrans to cherish. Even people who hadn’t read my article were very complimentary about it. Alan Johnson (of Jerico Development) said he looked forward to reading it in hopes that it might inspire future programming at the San Pedro Public Market. Was it my birthday? The ultimate, for me, the Pedro nerd, was when I went to my first meeting of the San Pedro Bay Historical Society Board, of which I'm one of the newest members. Two of the founding members, Art and Irene Almeida, asked to address the board. They had a copy of my article in their hand. Next thing I know, I’m organizing a little birthday party for San Pedro at the Muller House. So far, we have John Olguin and San Pedro’s birthday celebrations covered in February and early March. I know we can really make “celebrating San Pedro” a thing this year. Let’s remember that it doesn’t have to be a big to do and if your group or organization would like to spearhead a little San Pedro holiday gathering, let me know and I will offer my help in any way I can. Now, who’s ready to party? Upcoming San Pedro Celebrations February 21 – John Olguin Service Day at the Point Fermin Lighthouse (807 Paseo del Mar). February is Heritage Month at the Point Fermin Lighthouse and the society will be honoring a special set of men who have left their mark on the lighthouse, including John Olguin, Bill Olesen and Julian Jimenez. February 21 will be the inaugural John Olguin Service Day and students and staff from Marymount California University will join lighthouse volunteers for a day of planting. For more info on how you can get involved, visit March 2 – Celebrate San Pedro Art Show at fINdings Art Center (470 W. 6th St.). Join fINdings Art Center for a very special art show dedicated to celebrating San Pedro artists and the town where they live, work or find inspiration. Discover the hidden gems in our community as seen through the eyes of an artist. Opening Reception: First Thursday Art Walk on March 2 from 5:30-9 p.m. For more info, visit March 5 – A San Pedro Birthday Party at the Muller House Museum (1542 S. Beacon St.). The San Pedro Bay Historical Society will be celebrating the 129th birthday of the city of San Pedro, established March 1, 1888, with a neighborhood birthday party. All are welcome to the Muller House on March 5 from 1-4 p.m. for special anniversarythemed exhibits, activities and even some birthday cupcakes and refreshments. spt

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Quest for Fitness at Plaza Park The Strong Pedro Project Health & Fitness Initiative gets people moving in the new year by Rachel Kaplan


Raise your hand if getting fit, losing weight, or starting an exercise program is part of your New Year’s Resolutions. Now raise your hand if you are like most people whose new running shoes are gathering dust come February? Don’t worry. You are not alone – and you’re in luck. A new health and fitness initiative, the Strong Pedro Project, is proving a unique approach to fitness succeeds where conventional gym memberships and personal promises don’t. Not only does the Strong Pedro Project provide a fitness program that gets people moving regularly, but also uses a unique outdoor environment and enjoyable classes that shake things up enough to ensure members stick with a program. Heyday Elite Fitness, a popular CrossFit gym in San Pedro, spearheaded the Strong Pedro Project to help the San Pedro community beyond the four walls of their successful fitness center. The initiative makes use of Plaza Park, with its constant flow of fresh air and fully upgraded outdoor fitness equipment. A diverse set of classes from Heyday Fitness instructors and other notable trainers in the community are held at the park and make getting healthy seem like a fun activity and less like a chore. The Strong Pedro Project’s New Year’s program, which started on January 16 and runs through February, is offering Bootcamp by Heyday Elite Fitness, “Glutecamp” by San Pedro Fit, and yoga by People’s Yoga of San Pedro, on separate days every week. Classes and programs will also run throughout the year with class information and schedules regularly updated through the project’s Facebook page. Heyday Fitness co-owners Ricky Magana and Eddie Mckenna have consistently focused on strength and conditioning programs for busy people since they opened seven years ago. Novice exercisers who struggle to find the time to get to the gym and seasoned athletes who quickly get bored with conventional gym programs flock to Heyday Elite Fitness because of their approach that works well and is fun for everyone. It is this original approach that caught the eye of Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who sought to partner with owners Ricky Magana and Eddie Mckenna to create a fitness program that used the untapped potential of local Plaza Park, located on Beacon Street across from the U.S. Post Office. When Magana was looking for the perfect location for the Strong Pedro Project, he noticed Plaza Park was an underutilized diamond in the rough. He knew with a little polish and a few upgrades it could become the perfect spot

Strong Pedro Project ribbon-cutting ceremony (photo: Heyday Elite Fitness)

for his health initiative and improve the community. They, along with Carla Baccio of San Pedro Fit Bootcamp, took on the task of bringing in new exercise equipment to the park as an incentive for the program. This proactive effort gave the park an overall safety upgrade and the polish it needed. After gathering some other area fitness trainers and teachers, the Strong Pedro Project was born. In addition to their New Year’s Class Details Bootcamp, the Strong Pedro Project Classes for the New Year run from will have fitness programs and classes January 16 - February 25, 2017. throughout the year. Just last summer, they launched a highly successful kids’ fitness The class schedule is as follows: program in the park that is likely to be Saturday 9 a.m.: GLUTECAMP provided even more popular when school breaks by Heyday Fitness this year. “A lot of kids don’t even workout Friday 7 a.m.: TRX BOOTCAMP provided nowadays,” notes Mckenna. by San Pedro Fit “By turning it into a game and bringing Wednesday 12 p.m.: YOGA provided by it outdoors, we teach them that working People’s Place and Palace Yoga, San Pedro. out can be fun.” Hitting the gym or working towards Make sure to follow the Strong Pedro new fitness goals can be intimidating but Project on Facebook for information, class the Strong Pedro Project’s welcoming and updates, and any schedule changes comprehensive programs offer something ( for everyone. Utilizing Plaza Park for a diverse series of classes provided by some of the community’s best fitness centers and instructors will also keep things interesting. There is no doubt the Strong Pedro Project will keep its momentum and popularity long after the New Year’s rush fades into the spring. spt

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2016-17 Prep Soccer Preview Boys and Girls teams for all three high schools look to repeat success story & photos by Jamaal K. Street Not only has basketball season already begun, another big sport around town in the winter sports scene is soccer, and there’s plenty of talent to behold at San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles and Mary Star for their boys’ and girls’ programs. San Pedro’s boys will once again challenge for a Marine League championship, while Mary Star of the Sea & Port of Los Angeles both look improved and primed for league title hopes. All 3 girls’ soccer teams won a league title for the second straight year in 2015-16, with San Pedro claiming an 11th straight Marine crown, and POLA making it all the way to the CIF State Division V regional playoffs after falling short in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division IV finals. Here’s a look at all six teams:


BOYS SAN PEDRO (13-6-1 overall in 2015-16) – The Pirates and fourth-year coach Peter Hazdovac, due to the new competitive equity in the CIF-LACS, are now looking to make a mark in the Division 2 playoffs after so many years competing in Division 1, suffering a 1-0 overtime loss to Bell in the first round last year. Top returners includes seniors Jerry Solares and Johnny Cervantes, along with juniors Jorge Alvarenga, Seth Turner and Andries Rodriguez. Sophomore Juan Retana has been impressive thus far, and junior Francisco Ojeda is a deep threat on free kicks. San Pedro will once again challenge Banning and Narbonne for Marine League supremacy, as the Pirates finished 6-3-1 in league, runner-up to the defending champion Pilots. MARY STAR (17-4-1 in 2015-16) – Third-year coach Chris Guastella boasts another solid squad. The Stars won the Santa Fe League last year title with a 9-1 mark, and advanced to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division V playoffs.Sophomore forward Victor Garnier will look to duplicate last year’s success, as he scored a phenomenal 45 of Mary Star’s 74 goals last season. A lot of senior leadership returns for Mary Star in the likes of Ervin Rodas-Lima, Michael Sharma, Xavier Martinez and Fernando Franco, and add athleticism from their football team with seniors Robert Enciso, Izzy Amalfitano and Jaime Casiano. Junior Jesus Aguilera is another returner for the Stars. POLA (9-7-4 in 2015-16) – Even though the Polar Bears and coach Vic Lopez went 7-3-2 in the Crosstown League, good for second place, they missed the CIF-LACS Division 4 playoffs due to serving a one-year ban for forfeiting their 2014-15 first round game due to ten players being academically ineligible. Now POLA is in Division 5 and is regarded as

(clockwise l to r) Mary Star’s Victor Garnier, San Pedro’s Maddie Villela, POLA’s Briana Mancilla, and Mary Star duo Rose Amalfitano & Kaylee Rucker

one of the favorites in the division. Senior forward Adolfo “Fifo” Mora is one incredible talent, and he is one of many returners for POLA who will aim to dethrone Foshay Learning Center for the Crosstown League championship. GIRLS SAN PEDRO (20-3-2 overall in 2015-16) – The Pirates and second-year motherdaughter coaches Crystal Valdes and Chatelaine Ansaldi will be gunning for an unprecedented 12th straight Marine League championship and are eager to build on last year’s CIF-LACS Division 1 semifinal run. In fact, on December 9, San Pedro had already posted a 2-0 victory over defending Division 1 champion Taft of Woodland Hills, the team that ousted the Pirates in the semifinals. San Pedro also repeated as Lady Pirate Cup champions on December 23. Senior midfielders Maddie Villela, a Marymount California commit, and Sydney Engel (18 goals last season) are returning All-City and All-Marine League selections, while junior goalie Carlene Luna also returns. The defense appears to still be solid with senior Maddy Luna (Carlene’s sister) and junior Angelina Camello returning, plus sophomore midfielder Samantha Martinez is a proven clutch player. Freshman Renee Ketner is a star on the rise for the Pirates. MARY STAR (10-8 in 2015-16) – Taidigh Simpson is the new coach for the Stars, who are coming off two straight Santa Fe League championships. Mary Star returns a bevy of talent as well, paced by quadruple captains and returning All-Santa Fe League sophomore midfielder Rose Amalfitano, senior midfielder Kaylee Rucker, senior defender Shawnie Carolla and goalie/midfielder Taylor Garcia, the reigning Santa Fe League Goalkeeper of the Year. POLA (22-4-4 in 2015-16) – Could this finally be their year? That’s the question likely floating in the head of fifth-year coach Javier Torres as Polar Bears return all but five players from their back-to-back CIF-LACS Division 4 runner-up showings, which both ended in overtime, or a penalty kick shootout like last year’s (0-0 tie, 2-1 on PK’s) loss to Northridge Academy. Star junior forward Briana Mancilla already has the school record of 74 career goals (11 so far in 2016-2017 at press time) and is a two-time All-City selection who produced 30 goals and 26 assists last season. spt

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The Couple That Works Together, Stays Together Arthur & Claudia (Canizalez) Mendez September 3, 2016


story by Brooke Karli photo by John Mattera Photography

For most, having a relationship with a co-worker never seems to pan out right. But for Arthur and Claudia (Canizalez) Mendez, working together is the very thing that brought them together. “We met at work in 2010; we both work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” explains Claudia. “In the beginning, we hung out with other people and went on group dates. Then as time went on, we began to go out, just the two of us.” Fast forward five years later to Arthur’s birthday, July 8, 2015. The couple was having dinner and drinks with friends in Redondo Beach, and out of nowhere, Arthur asks Claudia to take a walk with him on the pier. “I was completely oblivious to what was happening,” she recalls. “I didn’t see it coming because it was HIS birthday and it was all about HIM. So when he proposed, I was shocked!” Little did Claudia know, Arthur had set up the whole event ahead of time, even getting their group of friends in on it. Just more than a year later, the two became husband and wife on September 3, 2016 in front of 250 guests at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. It was a traditional Catholic ceremony complete with live music performed in English, Spanish, and Latin. Arthur’s parents, Arturo and Celina Mendez, walked Arthur to the altar, while Claudia’s parents, Abel and Dolores Canizalez, both walked her down the aisle.

Standing next to the couple were Best Man Eric Mendez; groomsmen Andrew Mendez, Thomas Gonzales, Eric Gonzalez, Carlos Salazar, Abel Canizalez Jr., and Rene Gonzalez; Maid of Honor Araceli Canizalez; bridesmaids Victoria Mendez, Mayra Stubbs, Yadira Gutierrez, Emily Mina, Antonia Valenzuela, and Cynthia Mendez; and flower girls Daniella Canizalez and Valerie Mendez. All members of the wedding party participated in various traditions throughout the ceremony, including the placement of the unity rope, lighting of the candles, reciting special readings, dispersing the communion, and more. The reception followed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Pedro, where the newlyweds shared their first dance to Shania Twain’s “From This Moment,” which led to a surprise remix with Next’s “Wifey.” Claudia and her father danced to Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses” and her father’s favorite - “Danzones Mexicanos – Almendra.” Arthur and his mother danced to Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.” One of their favorite things about their reception was their cake topper - a bride and groom standing back-to-back holding guns – fitting for customs and borders officers. Following their special day, the couple honeymooned in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for seven days. They currently reside in Harbor City, and are still working as officers for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Los Angeles-Long Beach Seaport. They are looking forward to starting a family in the future. spt


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A client of mine was diagnosed with cancer this week. Here she was starting the year with steady momentum, exercising, eating right. It was going to be a good year. Then she felt the lumps. "Okay, it's probably nothing, but to be safe, lets get a biopsy." “Sorry ma'am, the lumps are cancerous. We must begin treatment immediately.” My guess is that beating cancer wasn't on her 2017 resolutions list. No, she started the year with the resolve to get herself in the best shape of her life. Now she must fight for her life. Recently, I asked a few people if they had any goals for the new year. The resounding answer? No. "Why bother? I just end up mad at myself for not sticking to it." This is the sentiment among many people. We've gotten so jaded about making big goals. We let ourselves down or have some outside force derail us, and eventually we figure it's not worth the hassle. I beg to differ. Yes, most of the goals we make are going to fail. In fact, I'd be embarrassed if you read my journal from five years ago. It's filled with unrealized, failed, and abandoned pursuits. I too used to think, "Wow I've made all these plans and I've attained almost none of them. Why bother?" Then I realized that hidden among the failures, were goals that actually happened. In fact, it was eerie how accurate much of my current reality matched what was only distant aspiration five years ago. I am much further today because I've swung so many times and missed than if I had done the rational thing and not tried at all. And with every failure came a lot of learning and experience that I'm grateful to have. Here's something to think about as we begin the New Year: just because your likelihood of failure is high, doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it anyway. But before you lace up again and go for whatever it is you hope to achieve, here's some unsolicited advice. Own your failures. Social media has taught us that we're supposed to look successful and unscathed at all times. We curate the highlight reel of our life and in turn, intensify our innate fear of failure or looking stupid. One of the most powerful weapons anyone can adopt is giving yourself the permission to epically fail. The ability to smile when there's mud on your face and people are laughing will make you a force to be reckoned with. Be clear on your objective but not attached to it. Did you know that John Wooden didn't give pep talks? He believed that trying to rouse emotions in the 4th quarter was a loser’s game. He taught his players to control their emotions in all situations, in victory and defeat. To him, if his players focused on what they could control without getting caught up in emotions, they'd never lose, even if occasionally they got outscored. Like Wooden, understand that there are only a couple things under your direct control and a myriad of things that aren't. You don't get to tell the scale what you weigh today, but if you let it tell you how you should feel about yourself, you are destined to fail. Be a dispassionate observer; stop attaching meaning to things that aren't under your control. Rather, look at everything as feedback to either stay the course or tweak your approach. When something isn't working, don't repeat the EXACT same course of action. I see people try the square-peg-round-hole plan all the time. Repeatedly doing what isn't working, hoping that just trying harder will fix it. If you keep failing, seek out advice by researching, reading and consulting with those who are where you want to be. Then listen and implement what you learn. Expect things to get FUBAR. Like my client, you can do everything right and still, something falls on your lap that frankly, you don't deserve. You have every right to be angry at these unfortunate events, but always try to find the silver lining. Scream into the pillow. Punch the heavy bag. Then focus on constructive action. Over time, your adversity will give you strength that most people only wish they could have. And the perspective that, while we fail and things get hard, life is a gift. And striving for better is absolutely worth the hassle. spt


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Jennifer Randolph, L.Ac




302 W. 5th Street #101 • San Pedro, CA 90731





Inconvenience and Saint Valentine's Day by Pastor Nathan Hoff “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” – G.K. Chesterton, “On Running After One’s Hat,” All Things Considered (1908) We are coming up on two important saints' days: Saint Valentine's Day on February 14 and Saint Patrick's Day on March 17. We commemorate the former with chocolates and roses and the latter with green beer and shamrock shakes. No wonder both saints are so popular! I suppose the longer gap we have between the real Valentine (2nd Century), who was inconveniently martyred for his faith, and the real Patrick (5th Century), who was inconveniently enslaved, allows for selective memory and observance. It would seem awkward to celebrate the recently canonized Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, who inconveniently ministered to the dying and went through a prolonged "dark night of the soul," with chocolates or green beer. I wonder what God thinks about our bias toward spiritual convenience? Or do we dare even ask that question anymore? Popular spirituality is convenient, and becoming more so. We are all about offering convenient times that fit our busy schedules, Instagramming convenient scriptural sound bites that uplift, and making classes and spiritual practices and service opportunities as safe, easy, and convenient as possible. 2016 marked the twelfth time I preached and presided at Trinity's 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service. When it was 10 p.m. at home in front of our cozy fire, in the middle of a "some-assembly-required" project for one of my four kids, I asked my wife, "Why do we keep up this late service?" Fewer than 100 people come. The kids fall asleep, not to mention the adults fighting to stay awake during my sermon. Worship that late is inconvenient. But what if convenience is shrinking our souls and our faith communities? Maybe everything wasn't meant to be convenient? No, I don't mean we should use archaic language, or enshrine a highbrow musical style, or create barriers for people to come and understand and participate. But those eras in redemptive history, and places around the world marked by challenge, persecution, and even martyrdom have seen the most expansive growth in the souls of believers and their communities. Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." But convenience becomes optional becomes irrelevant becomes discarded. Inconvenience could be the best friend of vibrant faith. I asked some local faith leaders to reflect on faith and inconvenience, and the issue of surrender came up consistently. Staffan Eklund, priest at the Swedish Church Abroad on Beacon Street, wrote, "to live as a Christian, is always an inconvenience in that sense that there is someone else who will be sitting at the throne in my heart, who wants to be 'number one' in my life, God himself." Jared Kilduff, pastor at Ocean View Baptist, wrote, "The cost of being a disciple, or the inconvenience of faith means that each day I pick up my cross and follow Christ." Maurice Harrigan, priest at Mary Star, wrote, "Remember what Our Blessed Lord said about giving up home and property and family... Christ always takes the little act of faith and love and makes it infinite." San Pedro has glorious examples of inconvenience, like having multiple services during the high holy days, or early morning seminary at the Mormon Stake, or fundraising for the Ocean View Baptist youth group, or three years of catechism, or bringing a casserole to a new mother or a grieving widower, or sticking with our spouse "for better or worse, in sickness and in health," or standing up for the underdog, the vulnerable, for justice; and forgiving those who trespass against us. All are inconvenient! None of us would advertise with the adjective "inconvenient" to adorn our bulletins, websites, or social media, but it is an important value to each of us. Our kids won't remember many of the convenient choices we made, but they will remember the inconvenient ones. Convenience consumes shamrock shakes. Inconvenience forms saints. spt Nathan Hoff is the Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in San Pedro ( He blogs at


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San Pedro Today - February 2017  

Regenerative Design Studios | Celebrate San Pedro Catches On | 2016-17 Prep Soccer Preview | Strong Pedro Project | Wedding: Arthur & Claudi...

San Pedro Today - February 2017  

Regenerative Design Studios | Celebrate San Pedro Catches On | 2016-17 Prep Soccer Preview | Strong Pedro Project | Wedding: Arthur & Claudi...