Beach October 2016


October 13, 2016

Volume 47, Issue 10

Motorcycle maverick

Michael Schreiber

Town to table | Lifeguard family | Call of the sea

Beach Dining and Attorney Guides

Considering a Major Remodeling Project?

Architectural Design &

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6 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016

Volume 47, Issue 10


South Bay Customs’

Michael Schreiber

Photo by Paul Roustan

Michael Burstein is a probate and estate planning

attorney. A graduate of the University of California,

Hastings College of the Law in 1987, he is admitted

to the California, Kansas and Oklahoma Bars and

is a member of the Order of Distinguished Attorneys

of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.

As an estate and probate lawyer, Michael has prepared

approximately 3,000 living trusts and more

than 4,000 wills.

An Estate Planning,

Estate Administration,

and Probate Attorney

l Living Trusts

l Wills

l Powers of Attorney

l Asset Protection

l Veterans Benefits

l Pet Trusts

l Advance Health

Care Directives

l Insurance Trusts

l Probate

l Conservatorships

l And Much More!

Call us to schedule an appointment or for our

FREE Guide:

Selecting the Best Estate Planning Strategies

111 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 250

Manhattan Beach, California 90266



22 by Ryan McDonald

After founding a road rally that winds across Europe and Africa, Hungarian-born,

Andrew Szabo sets out on a more tranquil adventure, paddling

from his adopted hometown of Manhattan Beach to Tijuana.

26 by Mark McDermott

Michael Schreiber creates an alternate universe built around motors,

music, and art, helping to spur a creative movement in El Segundo's

Smoky Hollow warehouse district.

32 by Richard Foss

Manhattan House chef Diana Stavaridis isn’t content with farm to table

produce. She’s growing her produce in town, with help from local school

kids and Deep Roots Nursery.

54 by Mark McDermott

Sanam Madhav and Neil Chhabria, of Hermosa Beach, wed in a three day

ceremony informed by four centuries of Indian tradition.

58 by Randy Angel

Lifeguard Mel Solberg has competed on 18 Taplin Bell championship

teams and shared his love of the ocean and competition with his daughter


12 Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair

16 Beach calendar

20 Manhattan Beach 10K

34 Beach Dining Guide


PUBLISHER Kevin Cody, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Richard Budman, EDITORS Mark McDermott, Randy Angel, David Mendez


Ray Vidal and Brad Jacobson, CALENDAR Judy Rae, DISPLAY SALES Adrienne Slaughter, Tamar Gillotti, Amy Berg and



EASY READER (ISSN 0194-6412) is published weekly by EASY READER, 2200 Pacific Cst. Hwy., #101, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254-0427. Yearly domestic

mail subscription $100.00; foreign, $200.00 payable in advance. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to EASY READER, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. The

entire contents of the EASY READER newspaper is Copyright 2016 by EASY READER, Inc. The Easy Reader/Redondo Beach Hometown News

is a legally adjudicated newspaper and the official newspaper for the cities of Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. Easy Reader / Redondo Beach Hometown News is also

distributed to homes and on newsstands in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Torrance, and Palos Verdes.



48 RB Shade opens with LA Rams

50 Switzer Center celebrates 5-0!

61 South Bay Attorney Guide

67 Beach Home Services

n Mailing Address P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 Phone (310) 372-4611 Fax (424) 212-6780

n Website Email

n Classified Advertising see the Classified Ad Section. Phone 310.372.4611 x102. Email

n Fictitious Name Statements (DBA's) can be filed at the office during regular business hours. Phone 310.372.4611 x101.

8 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

each people



Hometown Fair


ach year the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair improves

the arts and crafts offered for sale, as well as

the food, drink, music and kids play areas. The one

constant that can’t be improved on is the now four decades

old tradition of catching up with friends and neighbors.


Photos by Brad Jacobson

1. The Friendship Circle.

2. Ready to ride.

3. No fear.

4. The Hometown Fair Committee, the people who

make it happen.

5. Manhattan Beach Mayor Tony D’Errico and wife


6. Static Flow competes in the Battle of the Bands.

7. The Mira Costa High Marching Band.

8. Manhattan Beach Girl Scouts.

9. Fair committee president Anne Kelly with the

participating Command Center crew.

10. Manhattan Beach Motorcycle Police prepare to

lead the Hometown Fair Parade.


4 5





9 10

12 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

“Home is everything.”

It’s where you come back to after a long day and

can finally relax and be with your family.

Your home is that place you’ve dreamed of ever

since you were a child.

It’s not easy to find that perfect home.

We are here to help make that dream a reality.

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Real Estate & Construction

Rolling Hills Estates

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Former NBA star Steve Nash meets with young, American Martyr School

basketball players prior to the parish fair on Saturday and Sunday, October

15 and 16. A clinic for 20 kids, led by Nash will be auctioned at the Parish

Fair dinner on Saturday, October 15. For more information visit American- Photo by Brad Jacobson

Friday, October 14

Fashions for seniors

The Peninsula Seniors 9th Annual

Fall Fashion Show Fundraiser begins at

11 a.m. with a fashion boutique and is

followed by lunch and a fashion show.

Doubletree by Hilton, 21333

Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance. For tickets

call (310) 377-3003.

Good dog

An Advanced Rally AKC Competition

class is offered through the Lomita

Obedience Training Club, a non-profit

organization. The class is designed for

people and their dogs who already

know the rally novice stations and are

ready to learn and/or practice the advance

and excellent stations. To learn

more please call (310) 530-4814 or visit

Saturday, October 15

Am Martyrs fair

The 46th Annual American Martyrs

Parish Fair takes place Sautrday and

Sunday and will feature a raffle in

which the grand prize is a 2017 Lexus

CT 200h hybrid. A maximum of 2,500

tickets will be sold at $60 each ($50

each if two or more are purchased).

Tickets may be purchased after all the

Masses, at the fair or online at Another

highlight of the fair weekend is

the annual parish dinner, which will be

held Saturday at 6 p.m. Tickets are

$20. Silent auction items include a basketball

clinic for 20 by former Laker

star Steve Nash, as well as Rams tickets,

and trips to Paris and Las Vegas

(aboard a private plane). American

Martyrs is located at 624 15th Street,

Manhattan Beach. For more information


Pumpkins in the Park

The Hermosa Beach Friends of the

Parks hosts the 10th Annual Pumpkins

in the Park day, featuring free mini

pumpkins, games, crafts, popcorn, hot

dogs and a puppet show. Come in costume.

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Edith Rodaway

Friendship Park, Prospect Ave. & Hollowell,

Hermosa Beach. For more information

call the Chamber at (310)


Flying Wings

Northrop Grumman historian Tony

Chong discusses “Flying Wings and

radical things,” including Northrop’s

secret aerospace projects and concepts

from 1939 through 1994. $5. 11 a.m.

Western Museum of Flight, 3315 Airport

Drive, Torrance. For questions

email Tom Lasser at or visit

Sunday, October 16

JMMF Surf Fiesta

“The Jimmy” matches entrants on

handicapped teams and is open to all

levels of surfers. Proceeds benefit the

Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation,

which offers ocean therapy for mentally

troubled and physically injured

vets and kids. 42nd Street, Manhattan

Beach. Sign up at jimmfsurf or

Cabrillo Aquarium

Autumn Sea Fair

Celebrate the bounty of the sea with

fun-in-the-sun games and hometown

spirit. Children of all ages will enjoy

ocean related activities throughout the

day, including face painting, origami

lessons and gyotaku, the Japanese art

of fish printing. Join in the search for

buried treasure, learn how to cast a

fishing rod, and use recycled materials

to compete in the Ocean Monster costume

contest. Free. 3720 Stephen M.

White Drive, San Pedro. For information

call (310) 548-7562 or visit

Ghostly good cause

The 21st annual Halloween Ball

fundraiser to support Pediatric Therapy

Network includes dinner, cocktails,

live music, costume contests, live

and silent auctions and raffle prizes. 4

- 9 p.m. Under a white tent on Cabrillo

Avenue, Torrance. To donate an auction

item email.

For tickets visit


Thursday, October 20

BOMB Awards

The annual Best of Manhattan Beach

dinner brings together business and

community leaders to honor the best

and brightest of MB business. 6 - 9

p.m. Manhattan Marriott, 1400

Parkview Ave, Manhattan Beach.

Hear HER pitch

Join the South Bay Entrepreneurial

Center for a fun, educational event utilizing

the popular “Shark Tank” format.

Women entrepreneurs representing a

variety of industries will pitch to a

panel of angel, investors and the audience.

7:45 - 10 a.m. Toyota Auto Museum,

19600 S. Van Ness, Torrance.

Saturday, October 22

Redondo Ballet presents

“Through the pages”

Pack your toothbrush and join the

Redondo Ballet at Grandma's house.

See your favorite bedtime stories dance

to life. This fairy tale of fairy tales, features

the stories of the Wizard of Oz,

Cinderella, Peter Pan, the Three Little

Pigs and more. 3 to 6 p.m. Redondo

Union High School, One Sea Hawk

Way, Redondo Beach. For tickets visit 20822.

Chuck Johnson and the

CJS Quintet

Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation

Department Cultural Arts Division

invites the public to an evening

concert featuring Chuck Johnson and

the CJS Quintet. 5 - 7 p.m. Joslyn Community

Center, 1601 North Valley

Drive, Manhattan Beach. Free. For

more information call (310) 802-5448.

Calendar cont. on page 18

Team Donald Trumpkin promises to Make Halloween Great Again this year

during the 26th annual World Famous Pumpkin Race on Sunday, October

23. Hoping to improve on their humiliating fourth place finish in last year’s

race are LA Car Guy’s Mike Sullivan, Manhattan Beach Parks and Rec

Department’s Idris Al-Oboudi and Trumpkin’s campaign managers Jeff Gill

and Kristen Carter. For race questions contact the Manhattan Chamber at

(310) 802-5000 or visit Photo by Caroline Anderson

16 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

Buying or Selling

“Since 1992”

Don Ruane

Serving the South Bay Beach Cities and beyond

Office: 310.546.3441

Cell: 310.643.6363



October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 17

Calendar cont. from page 16

Run for Refugees

The 4th Annual Hungry Hearts 5k

Fun Run for Refugees, scavenger hunt

and harvest festival is geared towards

having fun while raising money to help

with the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Regis

tration 7:30 - 8:15 a.m. Race at 8:30

a.m. South Coast Botanical Gardens,

26300 Crenshaw Blvd, Palos Verdes

Peninsula. To register visit


Sunday, October 23

Friendship Walk

The Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship

Walk is expected to attract 12,000 walkers

and raise $1.5 million for local

schools and charities, including The

Friendship Foundation, which provides

peer mentoring for special needs kids.

Singer and dancer Asia Monet Ray,

the New District band and dancer

Aidan Prince will join boxing legend

Sugar Ray Leonard, the Dodger’s

Tommy Lasorda and South Bay fitness

guru Denise Austin in entertaining the

walkers. 9 a.m. at the Manhattan

Beach pier. To register visit Skechers-


Manhattan Beach

Pumpkin Race

The Mallet-O-Justice will be smashing

race pumpkins found to be cheating.

But otherwise, pumpkins andbe

their pit crews will be treated like the

world class competitors that they are

at the 26th Annual World Famous

Pumpkin Race. Races start at 12 p.m.

Pumpkin race kits may be purchased

at the Live Oak Tennis office 1901 Valley

Drive, Manhattan Beach for $25.

Manhattan Beach Pier. For race questions

contact the Manhattan Beach

Chamber at (310) 802-5000 or visit

Vintage celebration

The Torrance Antique Street Faire

18th Anniversary will feature over

200 vendors with vintage treasures,

DJ Ozzie and live music. Raffle. Halloween

costume contest and Trick or

treat for the kids. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Downtown Old Torrance, Sartori Avenue. B

18 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

Simply Tiles Design Center

Fine Ceramics, Natural Stone, Hardwoods, Cabinetry, Faucetry.

Kitchen & Bathrooms Specialist.

3968 Pacific Coast Hwy., Torrance • (310) 373-7781 •

License #904876

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 19

each sports


Manhattan Beach 10K


ormer Redondo Union High School

distance runner Simon Schmidt raced

to the championship of the 39th annual

Manhattan Beach 10K, outpacing David

Cardona and last year’s winner Teddy Kassa,

both of Torrance.

Now living in Los Angeles, Schmidt

crossed the finish line at the Manhattan

Beach Pier in 31 minutes, 35 seconds. Cardona

recorded a time of 31:53 while Kassa,

who won the 2015 race with at 31:41, posted

a time of 32:43.

After a third-place finish in 2015, Redondo

Beach running icon Nathalie Higley

improved her time by 36 seconds to win the

women’s division with a time of 37:55. Former

Mira Costa High School cross country

state champion Savannah Pio, of Hermosa

Beach, finished second at 38:02, just ahead

of last year’s runner-up Alison Kielty, of Torrance,

who recorded a time of 38:22. -Randy



2 3


1. Former Redondo Union High School

and UC Berkeley distance runner Simon

Schmidt sprints to at the finish to win the

39th Annual Manhattan Beach 10K.

2. Redondo Beach running legend

Nathalie Higley won her 13th Manhattan

Beach 10K Women’s Division Championship

in 18 attempts.

3. Club Ed runners Tim Burdiak,

Nicholas Burdiak, Ed Avol and Alison


4. Nearly 3,500 runners competed on

the streets of Manhattan Beach.

5. Hermosa Beach’s Savannah Pio was

the second female to cross the finish line.

6. Spectators knew why 65-year-old

Richard Bard, of Hermosa Beach, was on

the course.

7. Alison Kielty, of Torrance, captured the

female 24-29 division while finishing as

the third-fastest woman.

8. Manhattan Beach resident and former

Mira Costa distance runner Shadeh

Tabatabai placed fifth in the women’s division.

9. The Gregg Young band lays down the


10. Torrance runner David Cardona

placed second, after winning the 2014

Manhattan Beach 10K.

11. Emily Mitchell, of Manhattan Beach,

won the female 35-39 age division.



6 7

9 10



20 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

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October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 21



of the

Szabo lands on the rocky beach of Bluff Cove in Palos Verdes during a practice run. Photo by Kevin Gilligan

by Ryan McDonald

Andrew Szabo kayaks from Manhattan Beach to Tijuana,

another step in his paced walk on the wild side

The dunes are covered in concrete, the vacant lots swallowed by suburbia,

and the alleys are prowled by police. Even the Pacific Ocean

seems pacified: Surfing, once the pastime of drop-outs and derelicts,

now comfortably draws hedge-funders to the lineup. Can the South Bay

still howl with the call of the wild?

Andrew Szabo thinks so. The Manhattan Beach resident came here from

New York with his family in 2008. After some discussion with his wife

about where in Southern California to live, they settled on the South Bay in

order to be close to the coast.

“We were supposed to live in Silver Lake. I said ‘Come on,’” Szabo recalled

with get-over-yourself tilt of the head.

Living here, he now thinks constantly of how easy it is to stumble into


“It’s just so unbelievably convenient to take my kayak out of my house,

walk two or three blocks and be in the ocean,” Szabo said. “Not a lot of people

can say that.”

One Sunday last month, Szabo hauled his kayak down to the beach at

29th Street and pushed it into the ocean. Unlike a typical jaunt, however,

he would not return later that afternoon. He would be gone almost two

weeks, kayaking from Manhattan Beach to Tijuana.

Szabo, a Hungarian Internet entrepreneur, is a refreshing contrast to the

modern adventure-lete, polished in a sterile gym and clad in fashionable

activewear. He has wild hair and thick glasses, and when we met his casual

ensemble betrayed no trace of sponsorship. His powerful upper body

teeters over an injured knee, and is marked by the distinct appearance of

muscle added later in life — an unchiseled burliness that suggests he could

survive for a while if truly stranded.

Szabo was an avid kayaker when he was younger, but abandoned the

sport some 20 years ago after nearly drowning when his kayak capsized

while going down the Danube River in Budapest. But he picked it up again

last year, reinvigorated by the treasures lurking just offshore.

He enrolled in a sea kayaking class at UCLA and, not much after that,

22 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

announced his intentions to trek to Tijuana.

Szabo’s wife Erica Lefkowits was hardly surprised.

“Quite honestly I wasn’t really shocked. It goes

along with his personality. He said he wanted to

learn how to sea kayak. Then, ‘Oh yeah, I’m

kayaking to Tijuana,’” his wife said.

Having realized how easy it was to get in the

water, Szabo quickly found he did not have to go

far to find himself immersed in a new world.

“People fly to the end of the earth, they fly to

Antarctica to ‘go on adventures,’” Szabo said. “but

they really haven’t seen all the coastline in a 200-

mile radius, which is just as fascinating.”

Of course, when Szabo says “people,” he means

people like himself.

On the road

Szabo is the founder of the Budapest-Bamako,

an annual event in which 400 to 500 participants

drive from the capital of Hungary to the capital

of Mali. On their way, they pass through everything

from glitzy Monte Carlo to the harsh Mauritanian

desert. Dubbed the world’s largest

amateur rally, it is a road race in which contestants

spend little time on actual roads.

But what makes Szabo’s more passive vision of

adventuring cohere is that for the most part they

are not actually racing either. There are no stopwatches

or checkered flags in the Budapest-Bamako.

Contestants have designated start and

finish points each day, while nights are often

spent communally, sharing stories — how a river

was forded, or how a car was flooded — over

food, fire and drink. The rally, while taxing, is

more about finding yourself in a new place and

enjoying your surroundings.

“It doesn’t matter how fast your car is, as long

as you know how to drive, and you know how to

take care of your car, and you know how to navigate,”

Szabo said. “And how well you can get

along with your partners for two weeks.”

The inspiration for the rally came by accident.

In 2004, while working for a mining company,

Szabo travelled to Conakry, the capital of Guinea,

on a business trip. He was scheduled to travel on

to Bamako, but his plans fell apart.

“I had a plane to catch on Saturday, and then

on Thursday the airline’s only plane crashed. It

fell into a swamp,” he said.

He began looking into other options, and found

few. There are no trains or car rental companies

in the area, and bus service was limited. So he

and a business companion spoke to a “local fixer,”

hired a car, and drove across 36 hours of savanna,

sahel and jungle. The experience was life changing,

and he wanted to repeat it.

“At first I wanted to enter the Dakar Rally. Until

I realized it was not only way out of my league,

but that it was organized in an old-fashioned,

colonial, ‘We’re going to drive through your villages,

we don’t get out of the car, we drive as fast

as we can,’ style,” he said. “So I wanted to come

up with a kinder and gentler rally.”

For many of the participants, the Budapest-Bamako

marks their first time in the backcountry.

One such newbie was Sean Flynn, a North Carolina

resident who met Szabo during the 2012

running of the Budapest-Bamako.

“It was my friend Dan, his buddy Art, Dan’s

son Connor, and me,” Flynn recalled. “I think Art

might have been the only one who had driven

anything offroad before.”

Caught in the net

A longtime Greenpeace supporter, Szabo made

the trek from Manhattan to Tijuana last month

to raise awareness of unsustainable fishing practices

among major canned tuna companies.

“He doesn’t like to do anything for no reason,”

his wife said. “He always likes to have some kind

Mali is still emerging from a civil war that plagued the country, with periodic attacks still occurring. Soldiers in the Malian army offered protection for the

rally’s participants. Photo courtesy

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 23

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310.530.4888 310.534.0220







310.326.8530 310.530.3268









310.325.2960 310.891.2237


Northwest Corner of

Crenshaw Blvd. & Pacific Coast Hwy. in Torrance

~ For Information, Call 310.534.0411



New Smiles Dentistry

Stephen P. Tassone, DDS


Damir Filipovic of Croatia celebrating his successful finish of last year’s Budapest-Bamako

rally with Malian villagers. Photo courtesy

of a purpose or a cause.”

Canned tuna processors have

been under scrutiny for years. A sixpart

New York Times series last year

documenting slave labor practices

and illegal fish poaching prompted

Congressional inquiries into Thai

Union, the world’s largest canned

tuna company. (Following the

Time’s revelations, Thai Union issued

a new “Code of Conduct” in

November 2015, and said in a statement

they plan to increase the

share of their tuna coming from the

Proactive Vessel Register, an industry-sponsored

initiative to promote

sustainable tuna fishing.)

The solution, Szabo said, is to rely

more on line-and-pole-caught tuna.

Although he admits this would

drive up the price for consumers,

and probably force a significant reduction

in overall consumption,

Szabo believes that the current

model is not sustainable.

“It’s just like cigarettes: Years ago,

everyone smoked, people thought it

was fine,” he said.

The journey and the cause

quickly began to intertwine. His

route would take him through San

Diego, where many of the U.S.

headquarters for tuna companies

are located.

But it was not exactly an operation

of military precision. Szabo

charted out an 11-day course to

tackle the roughly 130-mile distance

— or about 150 miles with

“zigzagging,” he estimated. He

would camp at night along various

portions of the California coast,

hoping to avoid state park rangers

for fear of being mistaken for a vagrant.

The middle of the day was

set aside for rest and granola bars.

He paddled a pre-owned Current

Design Storm GT kayak, a 17-foot

long model no longer in production.

He recorded his observations in a

bound journal with laminated


Among the obstacles he encountered

were rapidly rising swells between

San Onofre State Beach and

Oceanside Harbor, which nearly

tossed him into the ocean. He also

had to be on the lookout for military

ships, and used his most advanced

piece of technology — a marine

radio — to inform the Navy that he

came in peace.

Navigation was done mostly by

“keeping the coast on my left.” He

stayed less than a mile from shore,

and came even closer to Palos

Verdes to take in the wildlife.

“There’re just so many undiscovered

places along the coast that you

can only see from a boat — that you

can only see if you stay close to the

beach,” Szabo said.

Racing for the future

Szabo was greeted in Tijuana by

friends waiting on the beach with a

bottle of tequila. He took some time

to decompress, and then drove

home with his wife. Journey completed,

the focus shifted back to the


There was no Kickstarter, no Go-

FundMe, no social media linking

his quest to the pocketbooks of

strangers. Szabo wanted to focus on

changing people’s hearts, minds

and habits. He is working on a documentary

about his trip and the

tuna industry that he plans to show

to schoolchildren, in hopes that

they will ask their parents to pack

something different for lunch.

24 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

Shopping, dining and entertainment, we’ve got it all!


Friar Tux Shop . . . . . . . . . . (310) 534-4700

Styles of Hawaii . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-2151

Tilly’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 534-1642


European Wax Center . . . . (310) 325-2929

Fancy Nails . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-7980

Pia Hair Salon . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-0815

Rolling Hills Beauty Bar. . . (310) 530-3844

Victor Anthony’s

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Vogue Beauty Studio . . . . . (310) 530-5900

Waterside Beauty. . . . . . . . (310) 534-4242



The Gift Korner . . . . . . . . . (310) 539-5011

The Tutoring Center . . . . . . (310) 530-5377


Budding Artists. . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-9764

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Modern Jewelry Mart. . . . . . (310) 517-0308


Dr. Mylena Jl, D.D.S, Inc. . . (310) 326-4691

Dr. M.G. Monzon, D.D.S. . . (310) 891-3303

Dr. Nolan Ng, Optometrist . (310) 326-2881

Olive Chiropractic. . . . . . . . (310) 539-2285

South Bay Pain Docs . . . . . . (310) 626-8037

Torrance Family Urgent

Care Center of South Bay . . (310) 997-1796

Szabo gets a musical accompaniment to celebrate the completion of his

journey on a Tijuana beach. Photo by

“It’s so easy to say, ‘Ah, climate

change is out of my hands,’ or ‘Arctic

oil drilling, the politicians really

need to do something.’ This is small,

you can do something about it,” he


Szabo is also working on organizing

the Baja 4000, a rally slated for

the coming January that will propel

contestants from Los Angeles,

down the Baja peninsula along the

Sea of Cortez, and then back up

along the Pacific Ocean. A portion

of the race’s proceeds will go to

Corazón de Vida, an organization

dedicated to improving the lives of

orphans in the area.

“With the rallies, there is always

some kind of charitable component.

He wants to make it about more

than just him,” his wife said.

Szabo’s philanthropic impulse is

matched by a kind of social engineering

streak, in which the race

becomes a tool to jostle the outlook

of its participants. Every running of

the Budapest-Bamako, for example,

features a stage in which contestants

are not given GPS coordinates.

In villages whose names appear on

no map, drivers and passengers get

out of their cars, and talk to the people

who live in the places they are

passing through.

“You had to go out into Senegalese

bush and make nice with natives.

That was a great day,” said

Flynn, the former Budapest-Bamako


The link between cultural exposure

and international empathy is

not as clear as it might seem. Contestants

likely do not sign up for the

Budapest-Bamako intending to save

the world. (In Flynn’s year, money

from the rally built a school in

Guinea-Bissau.) But whether they

plan to or not, participants are

forced to slow down and get involved.

“That, I think, is Andrew’s humanitarian

genius. He figured a

way to leverage other people’s adventurism

and innate decency into

providing real, tangible aid — and a

lot of it — to people who desperately

need it,” Flynn said. B


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South Bay Credit Union. . . (310) 374-3436


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Nijiya Japanese Market . . . (310) 534-3000

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Northeast Corner of Crenshaw & Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance

For Information Call (310) 534-0411


October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 25

Michael Schreiber of

South Bay Customs.

Photo by

Paul Roustan

Motors + music + art

by Mark McDermott

How South Bay Customs became the coolest place in the coolest town in the South Bay

Every night during the dog days of the summer of 2007, a gunmetal

grey 1950 Chevrolet pickup truck roamed slowly through the streets

of Smoky Hollow. A long, tall, razor thin dark-haired man sat behind

the wheel, surveying the buildings in El Segundo’s rundown warehouse


Michael Schreiber was looking for a home. He sought a place where he

could not only build motorcycles, but assemble something else, something

he’d never seen before except in his mind’s eye — a pirate’s ship of a building,

a skull and bones kingdom where he could make his own rules. He

was prepared to make a stand.

Schreiber had reached a make it or break it point in his life. He was 36

years old and been building cars and bikes since before he was old enough

to drive. He’d spent 10 years working as a mechanic for Harley Davidson

shops but had constantly run afoul of his bosses. It wasn’t an issue of work

ethic, or ability. Schreiber was a hard worker and a meticulous craftsman.

In fact it was his commitment to his meticulousness that was the problem.

“I was always having difficulties working with other people, because I

thought I knew a better way,” Schreiber said. “But not out of arrogance. I

would see something I saw as an efficiency, and I wanted to make it better….I

would go outside the lines of convention. I was told, ‘Just show up

and do what you are told — it doesn’t matter if it’s right, wrong, or indifferent,

just one and done, let’s do it.’ And I couldn’t. So I ended up in a lot

of trouble.”

Being a mechanic was more than a vocation for Schreiber, but almost a

spiritual endeavor. He was the son of a mechanic who’d grown up bouncing

back and forth between Redondo and Lomita, and from the age of six would

find machines and appliances in other people’s trash and start taking them

apart and putting them back together.

“I just look at something, and all I can do in my head, it’s like extra vision

— I look into it and start thinking about how it works and take it apart,

piece by piece,” he said.

He quit his job with Harley Davidson before he could be fired, again. He

knew he had to strike out on his own. His passion was to build motorcycles

from the ground up, his own way, less overtly stylized than typical custom


Schreiber had a partner in crime. His girlfriend Robbin Holden was an

artist and a classic car enthusiast. Together they felt the stirrings of a different

kind of vision for how they could build a life. He sold his beloved ‘69

Chevelle, which he’d completely restored and owned for 15 years, and

Holden sold her ‘62 Falcon. They took the money, paid off some debt,

bought some equipment and moved into a little 250 sq. ft. section of a warehouse

in South Redondo Beach. Thus was South Bay Customs born. The

space, which was part of a strip mall, wasn’t big enough. Ten months later,

a larger space opened at a friend’s warehouse in El Segundo, and they

moved. This only lasted a year — the building sold, and they had 30 days

to move. They found a temporary location on Franklin Street in El Segundo,

but time was running out for South Bay Customs.

Hence Schreiber’s nightly hunts. “I would just drive around every night,

so miserable,” he recalled. “I knew I had to get out of it.”

One night that September, he finally spied a “For Lease” sign outside a

low slung warehouse on Penn Street. He called from his truck, made an

appointment to see the place the next morning, and signed a lease three

days later.

He knew he had his work cut out for him. The first time he walked in,

the word that came to mind was “dump.” The 3,000 sq. ft. warehouse had

been occupied by an auto mechanic for several years, and then for the previous

year it had been a bread bakery.

“So it was a combination of the guy who didn’t clean up very well, the

auto mechanic, and then the baker...he made a mess” he said. “You know,

a little flour slurry everywhere. It was disgusting. I couldn’t sleep the night

after seeing it. I knew.”

But he also saw something else. The scale and feel of the warehouse was

expansive enough to contain more than a custom motorcycle shop. He’d

found his pirate ship.

“I started seeing what it is now, just instantly,” Schreiber said. “It all


What South Bay Customs is now defies easy description. It’s a motorcycle

shop, art gallery, music venue, and event space, but it’s also something

more. SBC is an alternative universe, the distillation and perhaps evolution

of some of the South Bay’s and particularly El Segundo’s proudest traditions

— precision mechanics and a defiant but pronouncedly unbothered inclination

to go one’s own damned way. Rock ‘n’ roll not as a musical genre

but a way of life.

Schreiber, to whom the idea of art was anathema prior to meeting Holden

10 years ago, has been described in the custom motorcycle press both as a

master of his craft and an artist. His reason for founding South Bay Customs

sounds a lot like what many artists say about their calling to create art.

“I couldn’t not,” he said.

Writer Jack Kerouac famously wrote, “The only people for me are the

mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous

of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a

commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn…”

Schreiber is more of a slow burn. And South Bay Customs is his flame.

“For some people, it’s going to to burn a way out of them if they don’t let

it out. Michael is that guy,” said his friend Tony Goodreau, an El Segundo

native and a musical mainstay at South Bay Customs. “If he didn’t do this

he would wind up in a padded cell. And that’s an artist to me. You watch

Schreiber cont. on page 28

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 27

Schreiber cont. from page 27

true artists, like a great guitar player, and you

think, ‘Man, if he wasn’t doing this, he’d catch

fire.’ It’s like an exorcism. Michael does that with

everything, whether he’s working, shaping metal,

or putting on a show, putting together flyers…

He’s intense that way. It’s definitely art to me,


South Bay love

It began at Pat’s Cocktails II.

Schreiber was having a drink with

friends at the quintessential dive bar

in South Redondo. Holden was likewise

there with friends. She noticed

a tall man at the bar.

“I first thought he was cute, then I

was like, ‘I don’t know,’” she recalled.

“He kind of just didn’t seem interested...He

was single, so he was

probably scanning the floor.”

Schreiber is, if not taciturn, selfcontained.

He’s deliberate in most

things, including whom he lets in his

life. He was more interested in

Holden than he let on. Within a couple

weeks, they went out on a date.

“So we met at another bar, and had

the world's worst, most awkward

first date ever,” Schreiber said. “I really

couldn't wait for it to be over. We

are not clicking, it was uncomfortable,

and we ended up going our

seperate ways that night. I was like,

'Well, that is that, right?'”

He didn’t hear from her until

about a week later, on his birthday,

when she called and left a message

wishing him a happy birthday. The

cool simplicity of it got his attention.

He told his sister about the call. She

told him he should give Holden another


“Who knows?” Schreiber thought. So he asked

her out again.

“That date went way better than the first one,”

Schreiber said. “And now it’s been 10 years.”

A photographer who shot Robbin Holden once

described her as “the calmest person I ever met.”

She’s a self-taught artist with a bent towards assemblage,

steampunk and darkly Victorian art

who knows every good swap meet and antique

store in a 100 mile radius and pores over art and

design magazines for ideas or art she can clip out.

She knew she had her work cut out for her

when she met Michael.

“He and I are so opposite,” Holden said. “He

hates art. I mean, he likes it now, but he hated it

then. He thought we were a bunch of stuck up

assholes who sit on our pedestals and judge people.

All he wants to do is work on bikes and listen

to rock 'n' roll, that was his thing. So it's been ongoing,

but spending time and realizing that lowbrow

artists are not the same's just a different

type of person. I don't have a degree and I'm not


“I have to give Robbin credit for her influence.

I was super naive to what art really even meant

28 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

or could be before I met her,” Schreiber said. “I

kind of had this opinion that everyone who is into

art is an arty kind of person. I thought they were

sort of like snobs and they walked around with

their pinkies in the air. It really quickly dawned

on me when I met Robbin and saw the art that

she does, and the art she appreciates, the way she

decorates things -- I was completely wrong. She

really opened up my eyes to what art is and can

Robbin Holden of South Bay Customs, with Hank, chairman of the SBC

Board. Photo by Michael Schreiber

be, and even sort of taught me that I had a little

bit of artist in me, even though I'd never recognized

it, or even wanted to admit that what I was

doing was artistic.”

Holden’s idea of art wasn’t overwrought. She’d

grown up poor in San Pedro and came to art more

from necessity than some need to make a conceptual


“I hung out with poor kids,” she said. “So my

view was just like, ‘Okay, this is what I do, how

I express myself. I can't go to the mall and buy a

shirt, so I'll just paint my own.’”

Something Holden and Schreiber had in common

from the beginning was a work ethic somewhere

between relentless and outright insane.

When Schreiber is on task, for example, sleep becomes

inessential. He possesses an outsized capacity

for single-minded focus.

When the couple took over the warehouse and

began its transformation into South Bay Customs,

they dug deep. They scrubbed and scraped and

painted and fabricated and assembled. Holden

went into overdrive, scouring swap meets and antique

stores, paging through her vast collection of

art books and magazines, clipping and framing

and hanging art.

“For like a month, the doors were closed,”

Schreiber said. “We decorated it, and started

building it out. It resembled very much what it

is now.”

If you build it

The building at 115 Penn Street calls little attention

to itself. It’s a tan, single story brick warehouse

adorned with two slanted metal awnings

and a sign that says, “South Bay Customs”

in large ornate lettering and, in

a simple bold font beneath, “American

Motorcycles.” There are two

hints something unusual might be

going on behind the glass front door:

the 1950 Chevy pickup always

parked out front, and a small rocket

painted with the words “Motors”

“Art” “Music” hanging on chains

from the far right roof ledge.

The experience of walking inside

for the first time is something nearly

every visitor remembers long after.

The artist Holly Socrates moved to El

Segundo three years ago to open her

own gallery on Main Street, and people

kept telling her she needed to go

check out SBC. She was in the neighborhood

one day and decided to finally

visit. To this day, she can’t find

the words to describe the experience

of that first visit — the long hallway,

thick with art, ranging from vintage

horror movie posters to collections of

old magazines (“The Radio Times,”

“Woman’s Own,” “Punch”) to a

photo assemblage featuring dozens of

photos of midgets from the first half

of the last century (one is stamped

“Photo Roto Co of N.Y.” and shows

two midgets boxing, with the caption,

“Mike and Ike, twin midgets

measuring 24 inches at 20 years

old”). A bright red, old school popcorn

machine a little further in has a sign that

reads, “Please don’t feed the...” above a photo of

Michael and Robbin’s dog, a very mixed breed

named Hank (“pure bred awesome,” as Schreiber

describes him), looking sadly popcornless. And

then you step inside the shop itself, which feels

like stepping back into some century that could

have existed a hundred years ago but never did.

Hundreds of photos, assemblages, posters (a

bright colored Carter the Great magician poster

exclaims, “Carter Beats the Devil!”), and motorcycle

parts framing artworks (one Victorian Age

man looks solemnly at you from one angle, then

becomes a skull from another). A stage is at the

front of the room, with a backline of amplifiers

and a drum kit and dozens of professional-grade

show lights above. The building further opens up

into another, larger room, with a hoist and and a

lot of other mechanical gear and a rugged looking

but sleek, stripped-down motorcycle on display

at the back of the room. (Dubbed “Death or

Glory,” the bike is Schreiber’s masterwork, which

Schreiber cont. on page 30





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Schreiber cont. from page 28

he raced on the Bonneville Flats, a

“bucket list” goal achieved). The

room opens to a sloping back deck,

where there are picnic tables and a

smoker (Schreiber has taught himself,

with characteristic avidness, the

fine art of BBQ).

There are a hundred captivating

details, it seems, per square foot. But

as Socrates noted, the main feeling

you come away with is warmth, because

every guest somehow is invited

to be complicit with this secret

world Schreiber and Holden have


“They are just good people,”

Socrates said. “I just love that if you

do what you love, good things will

come — Michael is living it. It’s such

a cool inspiration as a small business

owner seeing that.”

The shop has flourished and has

done so in ways even Schreiber did

not envision.

His primary business in the beginning

was, of course, building motorcycles.

Early on, he started hosting

music shows -- both because of his lifelong passion for music, and in the

hopes that people visiting for shows might become motorcycle customers,

given the crossover between music and motorcycles. His first show was

the locally based Irish punk band, Hoist the Colors. Word immediately

spread throughout the South Bay music community that a new, legit musical

venue had arrived.

Elvis Cortez, the lead singer and guitarist of the Wilmington-based band

Left Alone and the punk supergroup Transplants, remembers hearing

about SBC and investigating.

“I googled it, and was like, ‘Huh, it’s kind like a bike shop, but they do

shows?’” he said. “I’m from the South Bay and I’ve been booking shows a

long time and I’d never heard of this place...I showed up and was blown

away just walking in. ‘Okay, it’s a museum, but also an awesome bike

shop. And eventually I started playing there, and it’s hands down my favorite

place I’ve ever played — and I’ve played a lot of places, from the

House of Blues to Conan O’Brien to a hundred other clubs.”

“I compare it to those little backyard places. The vibe is undeniable. And

people you take there feel at home. No one disrespects you, everyone is

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“That makes everything worth it to

me,” Schreiber said. “The biggest

constant I want to keep for this place

is that no matter who walks through

the door, they feel welcome, comfortable,

like they can just come and

focus on what's going on. They don't

have to worry, 'Oh, am I dressed

right? Is that dude going to give me

the hairy eyeball? Am I cool enough

to be here? Is this my demographic?'

There is no demographic for this

place. You'll have people who bring

their kids, and you'll have middle

aged kids, you have adults, you have

senior citizens, long-haired, shorthaired,

bikes, no bikes, tattoos, no tattoos,

it doesn't matter. The only thing

we insist on is you show up with a

good attitude. Don't be a dick.”

Schreiber, once he delved into putting

on shows, did extensive research

and obtained state-of-the art everything.

The lighting and sound systems

are as good if not better than

South Bay Customs, an American motorcycle shop, music and art venue,

event space, and alternate universe. Photo by Brad Jacobson

any full time music venue in Southern


“There's probably more lighting up in those rafters in this motorcycle

shop then there is in 90 percent of the venues in the South Bay, maybe Los

Angeles,” Schreiber said. “That just goes back to my personality. I don't

know how to leave things alone. Good enough is never good enough for


Cortez said SBC has established itself firmly on musicians’ maps throughout

the country. Tim Armstrong, the lead singer of Rancid, has filmed

videos there, and both local and nationally touring bands regularly grace

its stage. Goodreau and his musical partner Neil Van Flue started playing

there in SBC’s early days with their band Hangdog Expression. Their duo,

Sanguine and Shiny, have become a house band in recent years.

“It’s the best music venue in the South Bay,” he said. “We rarely play

anywhere else, and it feels kind of weird when we do — like I almost want

Michael’s blessing, ‘Shit, dude, I’m cheating on you.’ It’s just home for us.”

An unexpected aspect of the business began about five years ago when

a woman attending a concert was having the typical “Holy hell, what is

the place?” first time experience at SBC. She asked Schreiber if he ever

rented it out for private birthday or holiday parties. The thought had never

crossed his mind.

“I gave her the most confident look and I go, ‘Yeah, all the time,’” he recalled,

laughing. “Because I instantly realized, ‘Great idea.’ In the 10 seconds

it took to answer her question, I realized, ‘I need to do that.’”

He gave her his card, hosted her event like it was routine business, and

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30 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

was off and running in the event


“Word started spreading and now

it's more than 50 percent of my

business,” Schreiber said. “Birthday

parties, wedding receptions, record

releases for bands, corporate holiday

parties, bar mitzvahs — I'm not

kidding, we do bar mitzvahs. So one

day we have Tim Armstrong from

Rancid and Hellcat records and

then 24 hours later we've got little

Billy celebrating his 15th birthday.

That's how we roll here at South

Bay Customs.”

Socrates had a vision the first

time she visited, as well. She instantly

thought that El Segundo

should host an Art Walk. Two years

ago, she asked Schreiber if he

would help. His answer, in her

mind, would determine if such an

event was feasible. He emphatically

said yes. The El Segundo Art Walk

just completed its second summer

and has widely been lauded as the

best event of its kind in the region,

with over 30 businesses hosting a

wide range of art, putting the little

town on the map as an emerging

artistic haven.

Mayor pro tem Drew Boyles said

SBC is emblematic of El Segundo,


“What is cool is what he’s doing

— he’s actually building things in

there, but he’s also got all this beautiful

art all around, and music, this

really cool combination of creativity

and machines,” Boyles said. “It’s

like El Segundo, and further to that

point, what Smoky Hollow is becoming,

reinventing spaces into

something cool, fun, and creative.”

Socrates still can’t quite describe

it. She has one word of advice for

anyone who wants to know what

this curious motorcycle shop in

Smoky Hollow is about.

“Go,” she said. “Just go. You have

to experience South Bay Customs.

You can’t explain it to somebody.

You just need to go and see for


See a photo gallery and video at South Bay

Customs is at 115 Penn Street in El

Segundo. For more information, see Sanguine

and Shiny play SBC on Oct. 15 with

touring act DB Rouse and local musician

Aaron Jones for a “Rad Swampy

Americana Night.” The annual Halloween

Bash takes place Oct. 31 with

music by a surprise, secret guest. See for more info. B

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October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 31


Chef Diana Stavaridis works with Deep Roots owner Jon Bell on raising produce for Stavaridis’ Manhattan House restaurant. Photos by Brad Jacobson


Richard Foss

Farm-to-Table is used frequently in the local restaurant community,

though many who toss it around find it difficult to say exactly what

it means. Manhattan House chef Diana Stavaridis’ understanding is

practical rather than vague and mystical.

“I interpret that as a direct channel from the grower to the chef, working

closely with the farmer, or even being the farmer yourself. That’s what

I’m trying to do. I work with Deep Roots Garden Center. Right now we

have a garden growing tomatoes, squash, radishes, cucumbers, carrots,

chili peppers, chives, and Italian parsley. It really means something when

the chef gets their hands in the earth, nurturing and developing varieties

of fruit and vegetables that will be on the plate the day they’re picked.”

Much of her produce is grown by the community, specifically district

school children through a program she created with local nonprofit Growing


“At the moment I get about 10 percent of our produce from the garden

at Deep Roots and some of the rest from the five elementary schools that

Chef Diana Stavaridis plants

seeds and ideas at local schools

for the produce she serves

at her restaurant

have gardens. I’m going to be starting at Meadows this month, where

I’ll work with a group of fifth graders for five weeks. We plan

the menu with the students over a month before, because

you can grow radishes and some other items in three to

five weeks. Every month I run focus groups at a school

and teach the kids what they’re growing in their garden.

“I start with two sessions about what foods get

them excited, what they like to eat, and then I engineer

a program for them to put a dish on our menu.

Last time we made Swiss chard agnolotti, and we brought

30 kids here on a field trip and taught them to make the dish.

For a whole month the kids are allowed to bring their families and

come into the kitchen to make that dish with me. They love it. They get

their name on the menu and they have the experience of being in a restaurant

eating a dish they designed and cooked, made with herbs and vegetables

that they grew.”

The program teaches the children about nutrition, about ordering and

dining in restaurants, and other elements of food security and economics.

Many students have come up with suggestions to expand the program.

“They’re interested in making sausages, cheese, smoking bacon… some

stuff would take at least a half day and I’d like to arrange a field trip so

that would be possible. They always want to learn more, they’re so excited.

Some of them email me even a long time later and ask questions, so I know

they’re still learning on their own. Many are now at Manhattan Beach Middle

School and have asked me about doing classes there.”

This program that connects children with ancient food skills came about

in a modern way.

“When I moved here I googled ‘elementary school gardens’ because I

wanted to find out if there were any around here. The first thing that

32 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

popped up was Growing Great. As

soon as I saw what they were doing

I knew I had to contact them. Jill

Coons and Jennifer Jovanovic developed

this program and we have

quite a partnership going. They put

the gardens in these schools, funded

the seeds and maintenance and

work to integrate the gardening and

cooking into lessons about nutrition

and food security. I love being involved

in it. I love teaching and I

love kids. I can sit and talk with

them longer than I can talk with


So she’s a hit with children, but

that demographic doesn’t go out to

fine restaurants often. Are their parents

also fans? Happily for Diana,

even though she didn’t grow up in

the South Bay, her background has

served her well. She is the daughter

of a Greek immigrant who taught

her about Mediterranean flavors

and subsequently served under several

great chefs.

“I cooked for Neal Fraser at Grace

in the mid-Wilshire area, then ran

his BLD restaurant for about five

years. Then I studied in Paris and

London. My partners found me

when I came back. They saw this

space and knew they wanted to

open here, but they needed a chef

and a concept. My partners were

passionate about what I wanted to

cook: scratch-made, super seasonal,

fun and playful on both small and

big plates. I was an artist when I

was a kid and almost went to art

school and I’m very particular about

how things look. You start to eat

with your eyes, as the saying goes,

and I want you to see each vegetable,

see how it’s cooked instead

of being hidden and buried. I have

been drawn organically and naturally

to creating a landscape look

where you can see what you’re eating.

That hyper-seasonal, hyper-fresh

agenda means that Manhattan

House makes things that most

restaurants buy.

“We pickle our chillies, cucumbers,

and radishes, infuse our own

oils, and make all of our ice creams

and sorbets. Same with gluten-free

crackers, made with flax, pumpkin,

and chia seeds, mushroom stock,

and tomatoes. We cook down 20

pounds of mushrooms to make two

cups of stock - that’s enough for two

or three days. And of course we

cure our own meats and smoke our

own bacon.

We make 12 loaves of sourdough

each day, 24 on weekends, six loaves

of brioche every other day. We’ve

been using the same sourdough

starter for a year and a half and we

feed it every day. The dough sits

overnight to develop a great flavor

and texture, which is the French

style of baking. We cook it in cast

iron pots to recreate the steam that

you get from the traditional technique.

We’ve had people from the

community who have come to our

back door trying to buy a loaf, and

we have just started selling it to go.”

After just over a year in business,

Manhattan House is doing very well

and Diana is full of ideas for new

projects. There are plans to sell their

pickles, condiments, and other

items and she hinted that in time

she and her partners might seek a

second location in the area. She also

has been asked to give classes for a

new demographic: students who are

a lot older and taller than her fifth


“We have a lot of adults who want

classes in bread, brioche, ice cream.

A lot of locals in the community are

interested in classes, but I really do

have to run a restaurant. I have 10

students in that kitchen who are my

most important people because they

keep the place going. I have a great

team here that is dedicated and

great at what they do. Though I

practically have to force myself to

leave any time we’re open because

I’m attached to this place, I know

they can step in when I’m gone and

could keep things going if I spend

part of my time elsewhere.”

In time, Stavaridis may open other

restaurants and she wistfully mentioned

her dream of someday cooking

at a restaurant on a farm. For

now she is focused on Manhattan

House, her education programs, and

the passion for surfing that brought

her to Manhattan Beach long before

she ever touched a stove here. Her

uncompromising dedication to reducing

the distance between farm

and table is changing the way two

generations think about food. B



“A Taste of Brooklyn” in Manhattan Beach and El Segundo

Family owned and operated, serving Brooklyn – style pizza. Everything is made

fresh daily including homemade bread, meatballs, eggplant, subs & sauce.









October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 33

34 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 35




El Segundo

Deluca Trattoria

225 Richmond St.

(310) 640-7600





Rock & Brews

143 Main St.

(310) 615-9890

Valentino’s Pizza

150 S. Sepulveda Blvd.

(310) 426-9494


Continental Gourmet


12921 S. Prairie Ave.

(310) 676-5444

Hermosa Beach

The Bottle Inn Ristorante

26 22nd Street

(310) 376-9595

Dining Directory cont. on page 38




36 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

Traditional Italian Charm Since 1977

Catering Private Parties Patio Seating

Your Gourmet Neighborhood

Restaurant for 39 Years!

Fine Cuisine Fine Spirits

2423 Artesia Blvd. Redondo Beach (310) 370-4827

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 37




Buona Vita Trattoria

439 Pier Ave.

(310) 379-7626



The Comedy & Magic


1018 Hermosa Ave.

(310) 372-1193


36 Pier Ave.

(310) 798-6585





9 Pier Ave.

(310) 372-5759


Hermosa Mexican


824 Hermosa Ave.

(310) 937-5606

6 7



Hook & Plow

425 Pier Ave.

(310) 937-5909


Hooked Poke’ Market

25 Pier Ave.

(424) 383-1783



73 Pier Ave.

(310) 318-2666




Paisano’s Pizza

1132 Hermosa Ave.

(310) 376-9883




Round Table Pizza

2701 Pacific Coast Hwy.

(310) 379-9277

The Source Cafe

509 Pier Ave.

(310) 318-1600


Continental Gourmet


25600 Narbonne Ave.

(310) 530-3213

11 12


Dining Directory cont. on page 42

14 15 16

38 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016


Cioppino, Kabocha Squash,

Churrasco Steak, Homemade Pasta,

Roasted Organic Mary’s Chicken & more!



“Bold and contemporary, the ingredients top shelf”

HAPPY HOUR Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm

bites $5

chicken wings, kale caesar (add chicken $2), meatball

marinara sliders, mushroom flatbread,

margherita flatbread, truffle fries, hummus

drinks 1/2 off

draughts and bottled beer, select wines

by the glass, mango bellini & sangria

16 Craft Beers Homemade Sangria Peach & Pomegranate Bellinis

Farmer’s Market Vegetables Catering Grass-fed Beef Outdoor Dining

Open 7 Days A Week Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat-Sun 10am-11pm (Brunch)

36 Pier Avenue Hermosa Beach (310)798-6585

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 39


See you soon in the Lunada Bay Plaza!

P.V.E.’s own “Hidden Gem”

Upscale Dining in a Casual Setting

New Happy Hour & Early Bird Menus


• New Menu with Burrata

(molten mozzarella)

• Happy Hour Everyday 4-6pm

• Outdoor Heated Patio & Ocean View

Join Us for

“Tipsy Tuesdays”


“Wednesday Gigs”


1700 S. Catalina Ave. Redondo Beach (310) 543-6800

Huge Selection of Fresh Fish, Handmade Pastas &

Prime Cut Steaks

Private Room for Holiday & Corporate Parties!

Open Tues-Sun at 4pm

Live Music on Weekends & Craft Beer on Tap

(310) 750-6877

Salsa Verdes

Authentic Fine Mexican Cuisine

Ask About Our Fresh Daily Specials!

Let Us Cater Mexican Flavor To Your

Home & Office!

Open Tues-Sun at 4pm

(424) 206-9456

2325 Palos Verdes Drive West

Palos Verdes Estates, CA

40 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

Green Bay






The Bull Pen - Steaks, Prime Rib and

FAMOUS Bull Pen Burgers

Family-owned & operated since 1948

LIVE Entertainment Wed-Sat

Open 7 Days A Week

Lunch & Dinner Mon-Sun

Breakfast Sat-Sun

314 Avenue I Redondo Beach

(310) 375-7797

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 41




Long Beach

Cafe Sevilla

140 Pine Ave

(562) 495-1111


Manhattan Beach


124 Manhattan Beach Blvd.

(310) 798-2744





313 Manhattan Beach Blvd.

(310) 546-4813










Old Venice

1001 Manhattan Ave.

(310) 376-0242

Rock’N Fish

120 Manhattan Beach Blvd.

(310) 379-9900

The Strand House

117 Manhattan Beach Blvd.

(310) 545-7470

Valentino’s Pizza

975 Aviation Blvd.

(310) 318-5959

Zinc at Shade Hotel

1221 N. Valley Dr.

(310) 546-4995

Palos Verdes Estates

PV Grill

2325 PV Drive West

(310) 750-6877

Salsa Verdes

2325 PV Drive West

(424) 206-9456

Redondo Beach

Barney’s Beanery

100 Fisherman’s Wharf,

Redondo Beach Pier

(424) 275-4820

The Bottle Inn Riviera

1700 S. Catalina Ave.

(310) 543-6800

19 20




24 25


Dining Directory cont. on page 46

27 28 29

42 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

Hermosa Mexican Cuisine

Family owned and operated, Hermosa Mexican Cuisine serves

“real” Mexican food! With a menu full of delicious choices, including

delicious Breakfast Bowls, this restaurant also caters and offers pickup.

Serving the BEST Breakfast Burritos all day! Open 7 days. Open

Sun-Mon 9am-2pm, Tues-Sat 9am-9pm.

Located just north of 8th Street.

We’re waiting for you to visit us – Come on by!

824 Hermosa Ave Hermosa Beach (310) 937-5606

Barney’s Beanery

Here at Barney’s we've got our full newspaper-sized menu available as well as 40 beers

on draft. Daily and weekend specials and a great Happy Hour Mon - Fri, 4pm to 7pm.

ALL DAY Happy Hour on Monday! We offer free wifi and always have the TV's tuned

to numerous sporting events, in case you want to settle in for a long lunch or dinner.

Either way, we are here for you so come on in and enjoy!

100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Suite H, on the Redondo Beach Pier.

(424) 275-4820

1001 Manhattan Ave. • Downtown Manhattan Beach

Reservations Recommended • (310) 376-0242

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 43

Catch the World Series

at our place or


Large Arcade

with Tickest & Prizes


Delicious Pizzas

Tasty Beer & Wine

We Cater!

Family Owned & Operated Since 1993

2701 PCH

Hermosa Beach


44 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

From Our Family to Yours…

Family Owned and Operated…

Over 60 Years of the

Largest Finest Seafood

Selection on the West Coast

Live Crab, Lobster, Shellfish, Urchin - Fresh Fish - Poke’ - Ceviche

Smoked Fish - Cajun Shrimp - Oyster Bar with over 20 Varieties - Craft Beer on Tap

Steamed - Grilled - Fried

Dine in at our Casual Outdoor Ocean-View Patio or Take Out


100-130 International Boardwalk Redondo Beach (310) 374-2382

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 45












2423 Artesia Blvd.

(310) 370-4827

The Bull Pen

314 Ave. I

(310) 375-7797


1712 S. Catalina Ave.

(310) 316-0262

H.T. Grill

1701 S. Catalina Ave.

(310) 791-4849

Kirari West Bake Shop

707 N. PCH

(310) 376-5313

Quality Seafood

130 International Boardwalk

(310) 374-2382

R10 Social House

179 N. Harbor Dr.

(310) 798-2500


Ragin’ Cajun Cafe

525 S. PCH

(310) 540-7403







Rebel Republic

Social House

1710 S. Catalina Ave.

(424) 352-2600

Sea Level


655 N. Harbor Drive

(310) 921-8950

Ws China Bistro

1410 S. PCH

(310) 792-1600


Frida Mexican Cuisine at

Del Amo Fashion Center

21438 Hawthorne Blvd.

(310) 371-0666

Ise-Shima at the Miyako

Hybrid Hotel

21381 South Western Avenue

(310) 320-6700

Steinhaus Restaurant &

Beerhall at Alpine Village

833 West Torrance Blvd.









37 38 39

40 41 42 43

46 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 47

each business


At Shade Redondo opening


os Angeles Rams legends Isiah Robertson,

Ron Brown, LeRoy Irvin and Mike Kisslan

were the guests of honor at a VIP Watch

Party for the Sunday, Oct. 2 Rams versus the Arizona

Cardinals game in Glendale, Arizona. The occasion

was a grand opening fundraiser for the

Shade Hotel Redondo Beach. The party was held

in the hotel’s 9,034 square foot event center overlooking

King Harbor. Proceeds benefited the Los

Angeles Rams Foundation. “We always opens a

business with a charity event,” said hotel owner

Mike Zislis. “I think this might be my best work

yet,” the hotel and restaurant owner said.


Photos by David Mendez 2

1. Redondo Beach Councilman Bill Brand

and Shade Hotel Redondo Beach owner

Mike Zislis.

2. Natalie Stanisich, Andrew “Stan”

Stanisich, Megan Haldeman and Kristen


3. Kim Allen with a T-shirt signed by L.A.

Rams legends in attendance.

4. Mickey Marraffino, Arnette Travis and

LaDonna Barrett.

5. Tara and John Bucci.

6. Real estate agents Enrique Coello and Lisa


7. Jeff Ginsburg and Craig Funabashi.

8. Retired LA Rams greats Isiah Robertson,

Ron Brown and LeRoy Irvin with Mike Kisslan.

9. Skye Taten, Christine Lowry, Joan Irvine,

Kim Allen and Melissa Ginsburg.








48 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 49

each charity


50th anniversary


or half a century, Switzer Learning Center has offered

schooling for approximately 100 students annually

with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Last month, the South Bay Community expressed its appreciation

for the center with a fundraiser featuring food

and wine tastings and ballroom dancing. Outdoors on the

center’s Torrance campus. Switzer multidisciplinary staff

offers instruction to children with dyslexia, attention

deficit, hyperactivity and autism. For more information





1. Assemblyman David Hadley and wife Suzanne.

2. Liz Harsch and husband Lee Hudspeth.

3. Dan Ogi and wife Michele Bischoff DDS.

4. Susie and Mike McKinney.

5. Rick Dickert, Ronnie and Tracey Meistrell, Christy

Darling and Jamie Meistrell.

6. Switzer director Rebecca Foo and Congressman

Ted Lieu.

7. Sherry Kramer, Soni Beutler, Ian Kramer and

Jonathan Beutler.

8. Switzer Center principal Len Hernandez.

3 4





50 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 51

Simply the Best


Hermosa Beach, CA

52 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 53


by Mark McDermott

Sanam amd Neil’s parents praying for the couple’s matrimony. From left to right, Sanam, Malvika, Atul, Philomina, Raju, and Neil. Photo by Lin & Jirsa

Neil and Sanam Chhabria begin a new life toget her by following four centuries of

tradition wit h a t hree day celebration

Sanam and Neil Chhabria were married August

20 in a traditional Hindu wedding, or

Vivaha, that was the culmination of three

days of elaborate rituals. Festivities began Thursday

with an eight-hour ceremony in which the

bride was painted with intricate henna designs at

the groom’s family home in Palos Verdes Estates

and ended Saturday with an exuberantly colorful

wedding at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Huntington


But the newlywed’s love story began, with considerably

less grandeur, on December 18, 2010,

at Big Mike’s Philly Steaks & Subs sandwich shop

in Hermosa Beach.

Neil, the son of local real estate icon Raju

Chhabria and his wife Philomina, had invited his

UC San Diego college friend, Diva, to a hip hop

show he was promoting at a nearby Hermosa

nightclub. His brother, Anand, was performing.

His friend brought a few cousins, including

Sanam, the daughter of Atul and Malvika Madhav

of El Segundo. Diva called to meet before the

show, and Neil asked the girls to join him at Big

Mike’s, famed for its massive Philly cheesesteak


Neil was in mid-cheesesteak when they arrived.

He was immediately struck by Sanam.

“I wasn’t expecting to really meet anyone, but

Diva was bringing these two cousins and she

called me. ‘Okay, cool, whatever — meet me at

Big Mike’s so I can walk you into the show and

you don’t have to pay cover,’” he recalled. “They

show up at Big Mike’s and I’m chowing down on

a sandwich. Then I saw Sanam, and got a chance

to take in her beauty….It’s really corny and I feel

weird saying it...They say the eyes are the windows

to the soul, and I looked at her eyes and I

could tell she’s a really good person. I don’t know

how else to explain it other than I liked what I

saw, and not just physically.”

Sanam, a lifelong vegetarian, was less impressed.

“I’m like, ‘Ew, what are you eating?’” Sanam remembered.

“I remember him just going at it, and

the sandwich was just so much meat. I was thinking,

‘Oh god, this guy is like a serious carnivore.’”

“She was repulsed,” Neil remembered.

At the show, Neil kept his distance. “I think he

wanted to see what kind of girl I was, what I was

about,” Sanam said.

But he couldn’t help but watch Sanam, who

was 20 at the time, a student in radiologic science

at Cal State Northridge. He liked everything

about the way she carried herself.

“I pretty much fell in love that night,” he said.

The next morning, Sanam checked her Facebook

to find a friend request from Neil. She accepted,

and they chatted online; he asked for her

phone number and she gave it to him. She realized

from the outset his interest was romantic.

“When someone sends you a smiley face, you

know what it’s about,” she said.

She thought Neil was a nice guy, but Sanam

was so focused on school that she wasn’t even

considering dating. In fact, she’d never dated; her

priority was education and she didn’t want distractions.

But Neil sweetly persisted, gently asking

her out again and again over the next few


The couple’s mutual love for the Los Angeles

Lakers helped pave the way. He’d asked her out

for Valentine’s Day, but she told him she thought

it was a silly holiday. Instead, a few days later that

February, Sanam agreed to go with Neil and a

group of friends to festivities surrounding the

NBA All Star Game, which was at the Staples

Center that year. Over the course of the evening,

she realized how much she really liked Neil.

“I think he’s a very confident person, which I

think is a really attractive trait,” she said. “He’s

like that just generally in life, very confident, and

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 55

that’s actually one of my faults. I’m not always

confident in myself, and Neil is, always, and very

positive. That’s why so many of his friends love

him so much — he’s a very hard worker, always

working, so he doesn’t have a lot of free time, so

when he does come around his friends get very

excited. That’s how you can tell he’s a good person.”

After that night, the couple never looked back.

They dated for the next five years, and it became

increasingly clear they’d spend their lives together.

Neil is a self-declared non-romantic.

Sanam accepted this, but had one condition.

“I am notorious for not being romantic,” he

said. “Her one request was, ‘I know you are not

romantic, but when you propose to me, you better

be romantic.’ I was like, ‘Oh, man, I thought I

was off the hook with her.’”

Neil’s family goes to Hawaii every other year

for his mother’s birthday. Sanam had never been

able to go, because her parents, being very traditional,

were not comfortable with her staying

overnight. But last year, Neil had already asked

Sanam’s father for his daughter’s hand and won

approval. Her father also agreed to allow her to

go to Hawaii, where Neil intended to propose.

But as the trip approached, he realized he wanted

to do it locally, so both families could be near. So

Neil planned a pre-trip dinner out on August 16.

His mother had designed a new fire pit at their

home in PVE, and Neil had it fully decked out —

everything was covered in rose petals and candlelit

and a photographer was hidden nearby. He

said he wanted to drop by his parents’ home before

dinner. They arrived, and nobody was home;

pretending to look for his family, Neil led Sanam

to the back yard. As she approached the fire pit,

he dropped to one knee.

“I was so blown away about the way he did it,”

she said. “The amount of flowers...I mean, I was

just very stunned. I think the first thing I said

was, ‘Oh my God, you are romantic.’ He’s like,

‘Thank you!’”

A year of planning led up to one of the grandest

weddings the Peninsula has witnessed. Festivities

began two weeks before the date with a dance

party at A Spice Affair in Beverly Hills for Neil

and Sanam and their friends.

“It was an opportunity for Sanam and I to let

loose and have a good time before we had to

smarten up and host 600 people,” Neil said.

Official festivities began the Thursday morning

before the wedding, with special prayer ceremonies

hosted seperately by each family. That

night, the Chhabrias hosted a traditional gathering,

called a Mehndi, in which an artist draws designs

on the bride-to-be’s skin. Sanam thought

this would take a few hours. As it turned out, it

began at 1:30 p.m. and wasn’t completed until

after 8 p.m. But as she sat, at first impatiently,

she began to see the beauty of the occasion, and

its purpose. She couldn’t move her arms, so

everybody, including her groom, had to wait on

her hand and foot the entire time.

“It was cool to be queen for a day,” she said.

“She looked like Jasmine from Aladdin that

night,” Neil said. “It was one of the most incredible

things you’ve ever seen.”

Friday night a traditional Hindu dance was

held at the Norris Pavilion in Rolling Hills Estates.

“That was a traditional Indian folk dance, and

since I’m Gujarati — It’s called a Garba, from

Sanam prepares for her wedding.

56 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

Gujarat state, where my people are from,” Sanam said. “It was really fun.

A lot of people had a good time.”

Sanam and her mother and cousins, in fact, went back to Gujarat last

year on a shopping trip for wedding clothes for themselves and other members

of the wedding party. “We went with four empty suitcases and came

back with them all full,” she said.

The wedding occurred Saturday at 10 a.m. and the reception was at 6

p.m. in the ballroom of the Huntington Beach Hyatt. The wedding was

performed in Sanskrit by Mahesh Bhatt, a renowned Hindu wedding

priest, who took care to explain much of the ritual in a way that made it

understandable to everyone present.

“Our priest was a hit,” Sanam said. “He was so refreshing. He had so

much wisdom.”

The ceremony included 15 stages, beginning with Barat Swagat, in which

Neil and his family were welcomed to the ceremony site by Sanam’s family,

and ending hours later with Kanya Viday, when the bride and groom

left their “Mandap,” the four pillar canopy at center stage (the pillars represent

the four parents). There were nine bridesmaids and nine groomsmen.

The bride’s brothers, Sahaj and Shakeel, gave her away.

Neil, months later, is still dazzled by the experience, and by his new wife.

“Number one, she is smart,” Neil said. “She’s got a good head on her

shoulders and works hard. She handles her business and she’s somebody

I can have an intelligent conversation with. I just enjoy being around her.

And besides being smart and capable, she is the most loyal person in my


The future is bright for the young couple. Neil, 29, works with his father

at their newly established Chhabria Real Estate Group, which was founded

this year after the family spent the last two decades with Shorewood Realty.

Sanam, 26, works for UCLA Health as a radiologic technologist. She’s also

obtaining her real estate licence and helps with the family business on


“I like my career but we can’t predict the future. I’m a part of Neil’s family

now,” she said. “Of course we’ll do what’s best for the family.”

In fact, an essential underlying theme the couple’s wedding rituals emphasized

that the marriage was about more than the union of Neil and

Sanam, but also between their families for generations to come.

Sanam said one day recently her parents, who have felt somewhat bittersweet

emotions since the wedding, stopped by her and her husband’s

home in Hermosa Beach.

“They were very happy, of course, but a bit sad,” Sanam said. “I’m leaving

home, of course. When they came over the other day, they told me,

‘When you have kids, you’ll understand.’ This is a big accomplishment, as

a parent — to have your kid finish education, earn a degree, get a good career,

then get married. You’ve accomplished your job as a parent.” B

Sanam’s bridal Mehndi. Photo by Peter Nguyen

Wedding planner: Ajita Chopra

Floral & decor: Sadhna’s floral studio

Bridal makeup & hair:

Drea V. Makeup and Roseanna Ortega

Proposal photographer: Dearly Beloved Photography

Pre-wedding event photographer:

Peter Nyguyen Photography

Wedding & reception photographer

and videographer: Lin & Jirsa Photography

DJ and lighting: 3D Sounds

A decorative rickshaw was present at Friday night’s Garba Sangeet, a

Gujarati wedding dance. Guests were photographed in the rickshaw to make

them feel like they were in India, in keeping with the traditional theme.

Photo by Peter Nguyen

A lifesaving family tradition

Mel Solberg rings the Taplin Bell a record 18 times after his LA County-Southern team captured the title in 2015. Photo by Ray Vidal

Father and daughter lifeguards Mel and Jenna Solberg

celebrate championships in 2016

by Randy Angel

Standing in the tower on the Manhattan Beach Pier, lifeguard Mel Solberg

watched as a winter storm created waves so large that even

surfers stayed out of the water.

The date was Feb, 18, 1996 -- a day the 52-year-old Solberg recalls as the

most memorable in his career as a lifeguard.

“It was the biggest surf I have ever seen in Manhattan Beach,” Solberg

said. “Waves were breaking past the end of the pier, reforming and breaking


Although no one had been in the water that morning, in the afternoon

Solberg noticed two girls standing on a sand bar not far from shore. Suddenly,

a wave knocked them off and out to sea.

Without a wetsuit, Solberg sprinted into the 56-degree water while partner

Phil Topar called for a rescue boat from the King Harbor.

“I thought both had drowned,” Solberg said of the Vietnamese sisters ages

13 and 16. “I grabbed one of the girls and gave her my float but the other

was submerged. I saw strands of hair floating on the water so I pulled her


She was unconscious and not breathing. His CPR brought her back to life

and she made a full recovery after spending two weeks in the hospital.

“The following day Phil and I met at the pool to swim.” Solberg said. “Recalling

the rescue from the previous day, I said ‘That is why we workout

and train.”

Solberg’s heroics earned him the Medal of Valor in 1996. But the story

with the happy ending does not end there. Fifteen years to the day, Solberg

received a Facebook message from the girl he brought back from the dead.

“She had been trying to locate me and was living in Southern California,”

Solberg said. “We became friends and I even spoke at her wedding.”

The story is one of many told and retold within the lifeguard community,

which considers itself a family and includes many blood relatives.

Along with Solberg, O’Donnell, Murphy, Fink, Makuta, Inscore and Gallas

are just a few of the names of South Bay families not only in the lifesaving

profession, but have enjoyed success in lifeguard competitions.

The Solbergs, of Torrance, celebrated championships in 2016 beginning

at the International Surf Festival in Hermosa Beach when Mel improved

on his record number of Taplin Bell victories with number 18, as a member

of the LA County-Southern team. One week later, Jenna was the overall

point champion for women at the United States Lifesaving Association

(USLA) National Championships held in Manhattan Beach.

58 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

“The Taplin is such a team sport.

You can have the best swimmer in

the world but if the rest of the

team members don’t pull their

weight, it doesn’t matter,” Mel said

of the competition that ends with

each member of the winning team

ringing the bell once for each year

they have won. “I’ve been blessed

to be a member of some great

teams. It took me four years to

make the team at Zuma, which

was a dynasty in the 1980s. I won

my first six Taplin Bell victories at

Zuma. I really enjoy hearing athletes

ring the bell for the first time

because I remember what that

meant to me.”

Mel has also competed in the

Nationals for close to 30 years.

Rowing is his strongest event. He

also represented the USA at the

1990 Lifesaving World Championships

in Hamburg, Germany

with fellow South Bay lifeguard

Tom Fink.

“Legendary lifeguard John Baker

was very instrumental in my becoming

a competitor,” Mel said.

“He was 50 years old when, needing

someone to row with, I asked

him to be my partner. Baker was

tied with another guard at 12 Taplin

wins. We won it all giving him

a record at the time of 13 victories.

I was so excited to get my name on

the bell with John Baker.”

While Mel has enjoyed years of

success in competition, a moment

dear to his heart came at the 2015

Surf Festival when he and Jenna

became the first father and daughter

to be on the winning Bud

Stevenson Intracrew Relay team.

Jenna’s first competition as a lifeguard

came during the 2013 USLA

National Championship in Manhattan

Beach and she admitted

winning the 2016 women’s title

came as a surprise.

“It just seemed to happen and I

was taken back by the outcome,

doing much better than I expected,”

the 21-year old said.

“When I realized I was close to the

top in points, I tried hard to stay at

that level for the remainder of the

events. Every second and every

point counted so it was a new motivation

for me.”

Jenna’s favorite event is the twoperson

board rescue. The swimmer

goes out to the flagline and

waves to the paddler on shore,

who takes off for the rescue. Then

both teammates paddle in together,

on the same board.

Her victory in the American Iron

Woman competition – deemed her

toughest event – sealed her victory

Jenna Solberg and father Mel continue the tradition of lifeguard families, while making their marks in national and

international competition. Photo by Ray Vidal

for most points.

Her accomplishment earned her

one of 18 spots on the USLA National

team that competed at the

Lifesaving World Championships in

The Netherlands in September.

The USA finished 11th with New

Zealand, Australia and France taking

the top three spots.

“We finished 5th in ocean events

which was one of our better finishes,”

Solberg said. “We had so

many different personalities but our

team meshed well. The pool competition

was new to me but it was a

great learning experience. In beach

events, there was one day when I

didn’t do so well, yet another day I

met all my goals. I left learning new

things while experiencing the ups

and downs of elite competition.”

Jenna said she always knew she

wanted to become a lifeguard. She

and her younger sisters Jillian, 19, a

sophomore at UCLA and Anneliese,

17, a senior at Chadwick High

School, spent much of their youth

on the beach hanging out at lifeguard

towers and watching their

father compete.

Mel grew up with an aquatics

background, swimming and playing

water polo for Thousand Oak

High School. He swam at Ventura

College and the University of


“I majored in Criminal Law and

received my pre-law degree but

my friends who were the happiest

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 59

Jenna Solberg won the women’s overall point title at the 2016 USLA National Championships in Manhattan Beach. Photo by Desiree Solberg

were pilots, lifeguards or firefighters,” Solberg said. “I knew I’d come back

to California. I applied for State and was in the top two percent of candidates

but didn’t get hired. I took the LA County test and was hired. The

minimum wage was $1.95 at the time and I could make $8.77 being a lifeguard

so I told myself I’m going to work on the beach.”

Solberg stressed the importance of water safety to his daughters at an

early age, enrolling them in the Junior Lifeguard program.

“The program has grown expedentially the last few years but only a small

percentage actually become good enough to pass the lifeguard test,” Solberg

stated. “When my girls were young, I told them they could not go to the

beach by themselves until they had a minimum of two years in the Junior


Solberg feels the best part of being a lifeguard is making rescues, knowing

that person would not make it home without his assistance.

“There’s no way to realize how many times we rescue people each year,”

Solberg added. “The worst part of the job is that you can’t prevent everything

from happening. It’s a terrible feeling when CPR doesn’t work.”

Solberg credits lifeguards such as Baker, Topar, Gary Crum, Jake Jacobsen

and water polo coach Craig Rond with being major influences in his career.

He also feels his involvement in competition has made him a better lifeguard.

“Like fire service, lifeguards never know, or feel they know, everything,”

Solberg said. “You can learn something everyday. I’ve learned a lot during

domestic and international competition. Lifeguards in each area have different

perspectives, rescue tools used and conditions.”

Solberg said he is unsure about the impact of Global Warming. Jenna

feels there have been more rescues in the last few years due to warmer

water temperatures bringing more people into the water.

“The last couple of years it seems we’ve had more riptides and we see

more sea life coming back,” said Mel, who said Torrance Beach is his favorite

location. “Santa Monica Bay is cleaner than it’s been in years. There

are more sting rays, which are food for white sharks. Sharks have always

been there. It’s just that more are being sighted, thanks to better visibility

in the water, more standup paddleboarders and waterproof cameras.

“The beach, ocean and marine environment is like no other. It’s a great

job to have,” Mel said. “I can retire in three years but will probably work

longer. If I stay healthy, I can compete in Nationals for the next 20-30 years.

It keeps me inspired to stay fit.”

Jenna has a ways to go to match her father’s longevity as a lifeguard. Her

focus now is on finishing her senior year at UC Santa Barbara, where she

is majoring in Sociology and is a member of the Gaucho’s water polo team.

Jenna had a stellar water polo career at Chadwick High School, where

she was twice named All-CIF and Prep League MVP. Named the school’s

Female Athlete of the Year in 2013, Jenna set school records for most goals

scored in one game and most career goals.

She helped Huntington Beach Water Polo Club win a silver medal at the

2012 USA Water Polo Junior Olympics, earning second team All-American


“The school itself was a perfect fit,” Jenna said of her decision to attend

UCSB. “When I was in high school, one of my water polo coaches told me

not to pick a school based on water polo because there was no way to predict

things like an injury or coaching changes. UCSB provides an opportunity

for me to do everything I want to do.”

Jenna began her athletic as a soccer player but when she was 13, after attending

a charity event held by Chance for Children, she decided to make

the full-time switch to water polo.

“My dad was urging me to become more involved with water sports if I

wanted to be a lifeguard,” Solberg recalled. “Water polo was the best way

for me to play in college.”

Although Jenna said this will be her final year playing water polo, she is

excited about her team’s chances of winning back-to-back Big West Conference


“We are coming off a big season, becoming the first UCSB team to win a

conference title in women’s water polo,” Jenna said. “My first day back to

60 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

school after returning from Holland, I was

asked to give a speech at a pep rally. It was

so impromptu and I was really on the spot.”

Jenna said it was a dream come true

when she passed the lifeguard test.

“The toughest part of being a lifeguard is

knowing there is a good chance that a rescue

or situation won’t go your way,” said

Jenna, who has spent the last two summer

at Manhattan Beach and El Porto. “The

ocean is a beast. You can’t control it. You

can only anticipate what to do in certain situations.”

“My favorite part is closing up the tower

each evening, walking down the ramp and

looking at the ocean knowing everyone

went home that day.”

Her most memorable day came over

Labor Day weekend in 2014 when she and

another female lifeguard were working at

Dockweiler State Beach.

“It was constant lifeguarding all day

long,” Solberg recalled. “We were so busy

that when I got home, I sat on the couch

and told my dad about my day. He asked if

I was tired and I said, ‘Yes.’ He replied, ‘But

it’s a good kind of tired.’ I couldn’t stop

smiling the rest of the night knowing I did

my best and that a lifeguard can learn something

from every rescue.”

Jenna said her biggest lifeguarding influence

has been her dad, who taught her from

day one. She also has received inspiration

from watching Tandis Morgan compete and

close family friend Mike O’Donnell.

An accomplished lifeguard and competitor,

O’Donnell is the father of three daughters

Kelsey, Erin and Colleen who have all

followed in his footsteps as lifeguards.

A few years older than the Solberg girls,

the three O’Donnell sisters would watch the

Solberg siblings when they were young.

“Our families are so close. Kelsey and I

are best of friends now,” Jenna said. “She

was on the 2014 USLA team that competed

in the World Championships in France. She

told me what to expect and how to handle

the competition and the total experience of

my trip this summer.”

After graduation, Jenna plans to move to

Australia to train in lifesaving for one school

year before returning to pursue a career in

Environmental Humanities.

“Growing up at the ocean, how can you

not be concerned about the environment?”

Jenna remarked “The Refugio oil spill (in

May 2015) had such an impact on me.”

Although Jenna has no plans to coach

water polo or Junior Guards in the future,

she does have some advice for kids who

want to become lifeguards.

“Just go to the beach as often as you can,”

Solberg said. “Not just to train or workout

but to appreciate all you can find and the

adventures it holds. The more you love the

beach, the more you’ll find joy in competing

and working as a lifeguard.” B

Mel Solberg and daughter Jenna at their place of work.

Photo by Ray Vidal

Law Offices of McGaughey & Spirito

Know Your Divorce Options:

Mediation • Collaboration • Litigation

Our family lawyers strive to minimize conflict and

possess the skills necessary to resolve any family

law situation, including child and spousal

support, complex property division, and parental rights.

Whether you are in the midst of a family law dispute or

facing post-divorce issues, M&S can guide you toward

a consensual resolution or help achieve your goals

through litigation.

McGaughey & Spirito understands the benefits of mediation

or collaborative divorce as a cost-effective and

cooperative alternative to litigation. Founding partner

Joe Spirito helped introduce collaborative divorce to

Southern California and remains committed to resolving

family law disputes amicably. Our

attorneys, including partner Erin McGaughey, are skilled

litigators, but also have extensive experience helping

couples reach mutually-beneficial resolutions.

McGaughey & Spirito, a preeminent Tier 1 Family Law

firm in Los Angeles as rated by U.S. News and World Report

- Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in 2016, is one of

the largest family law firms in the South Bay, located in

the Riviera Village of Redondo Beach. McGaughey &

Spirito offers a range of legal services backed by

substantial resources, professional affiliations, and a century

of combined family law experience. Our divorce

lawyers can help you make informed decisions that

meet your goals and align with your family’s

long-term interests. M&S is dedicated to providing practical

legal advice and effective solutions.


Law Offices of McGaughey & Spirito | 116 Avenue I, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 | (310) 465-1000 |

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 61


he prestigious International Academy of Trial

Lawyers limits itself to only 500 active members

worldwide. AgnewBrusavich, a South

Bay law firm widely acknowledged for excellence

in catastrophic injury and wrongful death

cases, now boasts two of those 500.

Candidates are nominated for the Academy

without their knowledge, by existing members,

and subjected to a year-long vetting process

with judges and attorneys, including those they

have been against in court. The process is focused

on ethics, civility and excellence in jury trials.

A candidate is admitted only on a vote of the

full active membership, which is limited to 500.

Members reaching age 70 become emeritus


AgnewBrusavich partner Bruce Brusavich was

recently admitted into the Academy, joining his

partner Gerry Agnew, who was admitted several

years ago.

"Bruce and I are extremely proud - as members

of the same small firm - to be fellows in this

prestigious organization,” said Agnew.

The partners’ list of honors – by peers, prestigious

publications and rating services – are too

extensive to list in this space. But that’s not

enough for Agnew and Brusavich, who continue

to vigorously pursue justice for injured victims,

and to force businesses and government agencies

to make changes that protect public safety.


Small firm adds to its worldwide prestige

At the time of this interview, Brusavich was reviewing

a traffic engineer's report in a case that

will force officials to redesign a major highspeed

intersection in Newport Beach, where bicyclist

Debra Deem died in a traffic accident.

Brusavich said the poorly designed intersection

forced Deem, who was riding northbound

on PCH, to cross what amounts to a freeway onramp

to continue onto Newport Coast Drive.

“Debra was an accomplished bicycle rider,

who had recently retired early as a successful litigator

with a large Orange County law firm to

take a job as executive director of a battered

women's shelter,” Brusavich said.

He negotiated a large monetary settlement

and, in a result important to Deem’s husband

Paul, a commitment by officials to work with

traffic engineers to make the intersection safer

for cyclists.

Advocacy for victims and families who have

been injured in bicycle accidents has become

a noted niche for the firm and its platform, Cal- Agnew is a competitive velodrome

cyclist and has won a number of state

and national championships. Several successfully

concluded cases for cyclists have also

ended with much needed repairs and safety

improvements on public roads.

“We are very proud of those accomplishments,”

Agnew said.

The firm also represents victims of injury and

wrongful death in all other types of vehicular accidents,

medical malpractice, elder abuse and

defective products.

Agnew recently concluded a serious injury

case for a cyclist injured in Palos Verdes, and is

preparing for trial on a wrongful death elder

abuse case.

The attorneys were waiting to conclude settlement

proceedings in the case of a teenage

girl who they said was badly injured when she

stepped into an unguarded elevator shaft and

fell three stories at a defunct construction site.

Brusavich said the site had become an attractive

nuisance that drew visitors into danger.

The attorneys also represent several patients

of a now-closed Long Beach hospital that was

caught in a large billing fraud scheme involving

unnecessary spinal surgeries.

New additions to the firm are two talented

women attorneys, Puneet K. Toor and veteran

litigator Terry Schneier.

AgnewBrusavich’s extensive community involvement

includes a 23-year old scholarship

program that has helped more than 540 students

with college expenses. Recent recipients

included members of cycling clubs sponsored

by AgnewBrusavich.


AGNEWBRUSAVICH | 20355 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90503 | (310) 793-1400 |

62 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016


Baker, Burton & Lundy, P.C.

Hermosa’s giant-killing law firm had its roots in friendship and the European mumps

Kent Burton, Clint Wilson, Christine Daniels, Evan Koch, Teresa Klinkner, Brad Baker, Albro Lundy

aker, Burton & Lundy, the small law firm with a big reputation and

billions of dollars won for its clients, is celebrating its 40th birthday

by expanding its storefront along Hermosa’s iconic Pier Avenue,

where they are the oldest owner-occupied business.

“We are so blessed with this location and this business,” partner Albro

Lundy said. “There’s some magic going on, how it has all worked out.”

The decorated law firm is preparing for its third expansion along the

avenue, adding offices and a roof deck with a “lifeguard tower-esque”

design. And the attorneys are continuing to vigorously protect their

clients’ assets and security, and to fight for people unjustly harmed.

A Partnership Begins

The whole operation had its beginnings in a law school friendship and

a truly evil case of the European mumps.

The law school friends were Brad Baker and Kent Burton, who saw

more of each other on the UCLA sports fields than in its law library. They

each passed the bar, and Baker took off traveling to celebrate, while

Burton started looking for a job.

“While Brad was in Europe he got a really bad case of the mumps,

and he thought he might die. He made a deal with some higher force

that if he lived” he would be sure to work at a virtuous job, Burton said.

“An elderly European woman nursed him back to health, and he

came back and volunteered for Venice Legal Aid,” Burton said.

Burton went to work for a large firm in Century City, where he was immediately

sent to work major cases in the looming courthouses of downtown


“I was getting my ass kicked. I didn’t know where to park. I didn’t

know how to address the judge,” he said.

“There’s this no man’s land between the attorneys’ table and the

bench, and I didn’t know that,” Burton said. “I had some papers I

wanted the judge to see and I started to just walk up to him, and the

bailiff jumped up with his hand on his weapon. I was like a deer in the


Back from Europe, Baker decided to open his own office, so Burton

eagerly signed on as a partner, and the two hung their shingle in a modest

office in Venice in 1976.

Hearing they could buy a building in Hermosa Beach cheaper than

renting in Venice, they moved into the 515 Pier Avenue storefront previously

occupied by Ray’s TV in 1980. Later in 1994, Lundy left a Beverly

Hills law firm to join BB&L and became the third partner.

Legal Victories

Among its highlights, BB&L won $4 billion for California consumers by

leading a high-powered legal assault on energy companies accused

of illegal actions, which artificially raised the price of natural gas, contributing

to the energy crisis of 2000 and 2001.

In addition to high-profile victories, the attorneys have at times spent

hundreds of thousands of dollars to battle cases that promised no profit,

prompted by compassion for harmed victims and the desire to see justice


Growing as a Firm

Meanwhile, the old Ray’s TV storefront has been gussied up, and the

BB&L offices continue to expand along Pier Avenue as more attorneys

join the firm, which has become a Hermosa Beach institution. Burton devotes

himself to real estate and business transaction law with attorneys

Clint Wilson and Teresa Klinkner.

Baker, along with bilingual attorney Christine Daniels, focuses on estate

planning, probate and trust litigation, and has argued twice before

the U.S. Supreme Court. Lundy is an expert personal injury attorney who

has won an affirmative verdict from the state Supreme Court and works

with Evan Koch, recognized as a Rising Star attorney by Superlawyers.

“Sometimes it seems like all of Hermosa is our client,” Lundy said. “We

are here. We’ve always been here. We always will be here.”

BAKER, BURTON & LUNDY | 515 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach | (310) 376-9893 |


October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 63

Lenze Kamerrer Moss, PLC

Tight-knit partnership protects the unjustly harmed

Jennifer Lenze and her partners of Lenze Kamerrer Moss, PLC have

created a firm over the last year that displays high-level litigation

skills and zealous dedication to their clients. LKM specializes in

complex pharmaceutical mass tort drug and device litigation, as well

as personal injury and employment law cases, striving to defend the

rights of injured individuals.

With three women at the helm including Laurie Kamerrer and

Jaime Moss, LKM has a passion for cases that impact women’s

health, such as a current case involving Essure, a permanent birth

control device inserted into the fallopian tubes of a woman. The

complaints filed by LKM on behalf of their injured clients include allegations

of migration of the device, which can lead to the perforation

of a woman’s uterus or fallopian tubes.

LKM is also involved in litigation of talcum powder, linked to ovarian

cancer in women, the blood thinner Xarelto, linked to internal bleeding,

the diabetes medication Invokana, linked to ketoacidosis, and

Bair Hugger, a warming blanket used during surgery, linked to surgical

site infections.

LKM aims to hold manufacturers accountable for the harms they

cause and at best, help bring about changes in labeling to provide

sufficient warning of associated risks. These cases can go on for years

and involve hundreds or even thousands of clients across the country.

Lenze said dedication, persistence, and a high level of organization

are important in

mass tort litigation.

The partners

at LKM have

learned first-hand

over the last two

years about persistence,


come together

through tragedy.

In 2014 Lenze’s

significant other, Paul Sizemore, was killed in a rafting accident on

their trip to Aspen, Colorado. Shortly thereafter she became practice

administrator of his firm, the Sizemore Law Firm, and with the help of

Paul’s lawyers, Laurie and Jaime, held the firm together and transitioned

to their new venture to continue the work Paul was so passionate


LKM’S personal injury practice includes slip and falls, car accident

and product liability cases. Employment cases include wage and

hour violations, harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination.

“We are definitely a team,” Lenze said. “That is really important to

us. We’ve all been through a lot together and it has created a firm of

people committed to each other and to the work we do for our



Lenze Kamerrer Moss, PLC | 1300 Highland Ave. Suite 207 Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 | (310) 322-8800 |




eti Tsai Bergman started Peninsula Law with the idea of creating a law

firm that does one thing and one thing well, and that is probate law.

Bergman believes that you can’t be good at any one thing if you try to

do a little of everything. With that vision and her laser focus on probate law,

Bergman built Peninsula Law into a probate powerhouse. Peninsula Law represents

fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and families who need help planning, administering

and settling estates. Peninsula Law embraces resolution of conflict

and embraces trial when necessary. Peninsula then wins because it firmly believes

in bringing out the truth. There are no smoke and mirrors. Peninsula Law

does not ignore or hide the facts. Peninsula Law builds winning cases based

on excellent legal analysis, strategic thinking, and masterful persuasion. Families

come first and Peninsula Law vigorously pursues the wishes left by testators

or trustors.

Peninsula Law also minimizes long and protracted litigation or administration

of an estate because it follows the same motto as Nike: “Just Do It.” The

drive and goal on each case is to reach a quick resolution. Of course there is

no controlling the court’s calendar, but anything that is within the control of

Peninsula Law is addressed and handled with speed. Putting a task on the

back burner is considered blasphemy within the firm.

Another key element that has factored into the success of Peninsula Law is

listening to clients and hearing what they have to say. Families are often perplexed

after the death of a loved one and do not know what should be done

or what needs to be done. If you add a contentious family member who

comes forward to contest a will or trust, or who distrusts the person in charge,

then you have an emotional struggle added to the confusion. Often the dissension

can be quelled by educating the family members

about how an estate

needs to be administered

after a death.

Clients have consistently

been satisfied

by Peninsula Law’s

approach to its

clients. The testimonials

posted on Peninsula

Law’s website

attest to this.

With such ethics,

Peninsula Law has

earned a reputation of

being one of the top-notch probate law firms in the South Bay.

Legal secretary Thomas Allard, attorney Joshua Watts,

attorney Beti Tsai Bergman, paralegal Hanbee Oh.

Beti Tsai Bergman is certified in estate planning, trust, and probate law by

the California Board of Legal Specialization and has earned an advocate

designation from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Before earning her

J.D. at UC Davis School of Law, Bergman earned a B.S. in applied mathematics

from UCLA and an M.S. in applied mathematics with concentrations in

partial differential equations and probability and statistics from CSULB.

Bergman sustains active involvement in the community. She is a Probate Co-

Chair of the Trust & Estates Section of the South Bay Bar Association, a past

president of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers’ Association, and is longstanding

board member and officer of the Asian Pacific American Women

Lawyers’ Alliance. You can contact Peninsula Law for a consultation by calling


Peninsula Law | 3655 Torrance Blvd., 3rd Flr., Torrance, CA 90503 | 424-247-1196 |


64 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016

*Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization **Certified Trusts & Estates Specialist by the State Bar of California

+Chosen 2016 Super Lawyer ++Chosen to 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of Best Lawyers in America©

he founding partners, Chris Moore, Sharon

Bryan and Becky Schroff, routinely earn

Trecognition by their peers and by high-profile

rating services and publications. But they practice

their specialties of family law and estate

planning as a people business, with sensitivity to

the uniqueness of each client’s case.

Moore, Bryan, Schroff & Inoue has been

named one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News &

World Report and by Best Lawyers continuously

since 2010, and received a Metropolitan Tier 1

ranking in Family Law by U.S. News & World Report.

The firm’s partners are certified specialists in

their practice areas, and Chris, Sharon and

Becky have been named Southern California

Super Lawyers for many years running. They

enjoy the highest rating for legal ability and ethical

standards by the peer-reviewed service Martindale-Hubbell.

Moore, Bryan, Schroff & Inoue

Combining accomplishment with sensitivity to clients

Bryan and Schroff have been selected by their

peers to The Best Lawyers in America since 2015,

and Moore since 2008. In 2015 Moore’s peers

dubbed him the Los Angeles Family Law Lawyer

of the Year. “To me that really is a significant

honor. I was flabbergasted to receive it, because

the lawyers who got it the year before

and the year after me are two of the very best

lawyers in Los Angeles County,” he said. “I’m

humbled to be included.” Moore is a certified

specialist in both family law and in trust and estate


Bryan uses her expertise and sensitivity to her

clients’ advantage, beginning with their initial

meeting, listening carefully to what they really

want regarding property, custody, the family

home and the legal process. “Because so many

clients ask about the process, I prepared a

process map, really a flow chart, showing the

various required and possible steps in the divorce

process from filing the petition to the final judgment,”

she said.

“People facing divorce are typically scared.

This is true whether or not they are the financially

advantaged spouse, whether or not they are the

custodial parent and whether or not they

wanted the divorce or were shocked when

being served with a petition,” she said.

“I tell them the waters are going to be choppy

at first...but the waters will calm down, and we

will address issues in a reasonable manner.”

Bryan said she is able to reach a settlement for

her clients, avoiding a trial, in 95 to 99 percent of

her cases.

“I am an experienced litigator, but I am also a

good negotiator,” she said. “My colleagues

know that I am going to be reasonable, but also

be tenacious in defending my client’s rights and


Moore credits Bryan with “great instincts” that

allow her to handle especially difficult and emotional

custody cases.

Both Bryan and Moore are trained in collaborative

divorce, which aims to reach a settlement

with the help of lawyers and neutral experts if

necessary, and Moore is trained in mediation,

and a founding member of the original collaborative

law group in the South Bay.

“Although parties are often deeply conflicted,”

says Bryan, it’s very important to hire well

established, well respected attorneys, because

two good attorneys can and will settle a family

law case.

Schroff, who specializes in trusts and estates,

uses her legal expertise to assist individuals and

families make a plan, so they are comfortable

“that things will be taken care of after they are

gone”. In addition to estate planning, she handles

trust administration, probates, conservatorships,

guardianships and trust litigation.

A lawyer must understand her client’s needs

and wishes, and understand the law to craft a

good estate plan. Clients who have lost a loved

one are often overwhelmed by the responsibilities

of being a trustee or an executor, “We can

guide them through the process, take care of

the legal requirements, and give them some relief

as they go through a very difficult time,”

Schroff said.


MOORE BRYAN SCHROFF & INOUE | 21515 Hawthorne Boulevard, Suite 490, Torrance | (310) 540-8855 |

October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 65

Rombro & Associates

Human touch on the scales of justice.

Attorney Roger Rombro holds the

highest possible rating from the

peer-reviewed Martindale-

Hubbell Law Directory for a 40-year

practice, which now focuses principally

upon family law.

Along the way, he retained a human

touch that makes him the best lawyer

he can be.

“Spouses tend to be hurt in the initial

stages of their separation. They tend to

feel that they have failed, irrespective

of whether they’re the spouse that initiates

the separation. Each spouse has

a huge sense of disappointment with

their partner which slowly evolves into

resentment and anger.

Not surprisingly, each of them goes

through a morning period recognizing

that they have suffered a death in

their family,”he said.

“And there can be lots of reactive

things going on. One side does something,

to which the other side wants to

react,” Rombro said.

“Part of my job is to help people to understand

their own feelings. I become

both their advocate and their counselor.

The counselor part of me wants

to help them to see that they are

going in a direction that is not in their

best interest,”he said.

“To a large extent, the lawyer must

often do what a therapist would be

doing,”Rombro said.

“I try to keep the conflicts down as

much as possible. Otherwise, people

tend to spend huge amounts of

money, draining themselves both financially

and emotionally; and this is

particularly true in custody disputes

where people become so angry, that

they fail to realize that they are hurting

their children, rather than just their

spouse,”he said.

Rombro is certified by the State Bar as

a specialist in family law, and he has

recently been

appointed to the State Bar Family Law

Executive Committee.

Before he went into civil practice, he

served in the Los Angeles County District

Attorney’s office, prosecuting

everything from DUI to homicide in

thousands of cases before state and

federal courts.

“I think our criminal justice system is the

fairest in the history of mankind,” he

said. “We go out of our way to protect

the rights of the accused, and we also

try prevent the suffering of victims, and

to protect society.”

Rombro and wife Joanna have three

children and two grandchildren.


ROMBRO & ASSOCIATES |3405 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach | (310) 545-1900 |

66 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • October 13, 2016


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October 13, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 67

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