Volume XXI, Issue 4 November 2016
November 2016 • Peninsula 3
Volume XXI, Issue 4
P A L O S V E R D E S P E N I N S U L A M O N T H L Y
ON THE COVER
Photo courtesy of the Bisignano family
36 Love and loss by Mark McDermott
The Bisignano family lost their 22 year old son Jonathan in
April. In the six months since, his life, their faith, and the
community's embrace have given the family lessons in the
persistence of love.
50 Young and fast by David Mendez
Henry Morse began racing trikes, then bikes, then go karts.
Now, at 15, he’s racing cars on the professional Pirelli World
54 Graceful Gale by Bondo Wyszpolski
Graceful Gale was an alluring, first-class passenger who
boarded the Queen Mary in May of 1939 and disappeared.
Her ghost reappears each year about this time in Dark
60 Zen Modern by Stephanie Cartozian
Architect Luis de Moraes designs a Visa Del Mar home to
parallel the natural terrain, with an ocean view from every
70 Il canto Italiani by Richard Foss
Chef Michaelangelo Aliaga’s pastas and sausages and coowner
Lou Giovanetti’s voice make Primo Italia worthy of its
12 Portuguese Bend Horse Show
16 Honda Evening Under the Stars
44 Encore Circle
64 Lundquist named Champion of Business
72 Chamber bids farewell to Supervisor Knabe
22 Peninsula calendar
68 Around & About
73 Peninsula Dining Guide
80 Senior Care Guide
82 Peninsula Attorney Guide
85 Home services
Mary Jane Schoenheider
Tamar Gillotti, Amy Berg,
Daniel Sofer (Hermosawave.net)
P.O. Box 745
Hermosa Beach, CA
Please see the Classified Ad
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office during regular
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#101., PO Box 745, Hermosa Beach,
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are copyrighted 2016 by
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6 Peninsula • November 2016
November 2016 • Peninsula 7
S P O T L I G H T O N T H E H I L L
Portuguese Bend Charity
Providing Hope for Childhood Cancers
The Portuguese Bend National Horse Show held at
Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates, has been
providing hometown fun and friendly competition for 59
years. The show is a benefit for Children’s Hospital Los
Angeles (CHLA), and this year’s proceeds benefited the
CHLA Associates Sarcoma Program Chair. The Sarcoma
Program within the Children’s Center for Cancer and
Blood Diseases is working to improve the outcome for
children battling this aggressive form of childhood cancer.
This year’s show theme “Taking the Reins of Hope,” honored
the incredible staff of CHLA who give hope every
day. The doctors, nurses, and support staff work tirelessly
to help and heal all who come to them and give the gift
of hope of a better life for their patients and families.
Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital members are
honored to support the amazing accomplishments of the
hospital through their donations. In addition to the three
day horse show, there was a colorful children’s carnival,
food booths, haybale boutique, a Saturday Night BBQ dinner
and special events including a visit from miniature
therapy horses, Parade of Trophies, and the Long Beach
NOELLE GIULIANO AND MIKE SHIELDS
1. Marine Langer accepting
the Julie Martin Memorial Trophy.
Presenters Ed Kelly, Jeff
Earle, Antonio Camacho Jr.
2. A child carnival-goer.
3. Katie Brown.
4. Gemma and Celine
Claessens (second and third
from left), Clea Caddell (on her
horse), Quaya Plaisir.
5. The Long Beach Mounted
Police performed a 9/11 tribute.
6. Karl Graeber, Ken and Marilyn
Prindle, Michele Romer,
Toni Graeber and Carey
7. Patty and Steve Lantz.
8. Jim Beck, Mary DiMatteo,
Angela and Frank Conterno,
9. Steve Lopes, Christine and
Joe Rich, Suzanne and John
Durnell, Helen Hitzel, Helaine
10. Steve and Alyson McFerson,
11. Cindy Choate, JoAnn Giuliano,
Bonnie Upp, Barbara
12. Kelly Walsh, Susan Gray,
Cathy Villicich, Jacquie Leimbach.
13. Dave Farrell, Jim Cook,
Chris Consani, Kirk Johnson,
Doug Van Riper.
14. Anthony Xepolis, Margaret
Gibbs, Tom Light, Mark
Costa, Ken Ochi, Vall Light,
15. Peninsula Committee
Children’s Hospital members
celebrate a successful event.
16. Dawn Knickerbocker,
Karen Miller, Pat Lucy, Jody
17. Jeff Renzi, Patty Ochi
with grandson/PCCH Featured
Child, Jackson Renzi, Val Kelly,
Danielle Renzi, Kate Cocke.
12 Peninsula • November 2016
11 12 13
November 2016 • Peninsula 13
Brides and Grooms
Newly Engaged Couples
Provide your photos and we will
write your love story
To be shared in the
Great gift idea from parents
and in-laws to share your family’s
Also available for wedding venues
photo by Amy Theilig Photography
Call 310-372-4611 for rates and sizes
November 2016 • Peninsula 15
S P O T L I G H T O N T H E H I L L
Kenny G performs at
Honda Evening Under the Stars
Saxophonist and Grammy Awardwinning
star Kenny G performed
for guests at the 30th Annual
“Honda Evening Under the Stars Children’s
Healthcare Gourmet Food and
Wine Tasting Festival.” The August 27
event was sold out soon after its announcement
and many of the South
Bay’s finest eateries were present supporting
Event proceeds will benefit Torrance
Memorial Pediatrics, Providence TrinityKids
Care, a program of Providence
TrinityCare, and Vistas for Children.
PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE CARTOZIAN
AND DEIDRE DAVIDSON
1. Jim Sala, Craig
Leach, Sharon Martinez,
Kenny G., Steve
Baker and Kacey
2. Terri Warren,
Linda Perry, (Back)
Jim Sala, Craig Leach
and Steve Morikawa.
3. Dr. John Stecker,
Bob Tarnofsky, Ros
Stecker, Ian Kramer
M.D. and Sherry
4. Ann and David
5. Steve Morikawa,
Jacqueline Glass, Tara
Gregerson and Glen
6. David and Barbara
Bentley, Sally and
7. Barbara Demming
Lurie, Mark Lurie,
M.D., Terry and Joe
8. Jeff Krebs,
Priscilla Hunt, Cynthia
Soma, Fritz Friedman,
Susan and Ralph
9. (Front) Sara
Moore, Trip and
(back) Wes Kauble,
10. Rev. Jonathan
Chute and Thyra Endicott
11. Marc Schenasi,
Harv and Ruth
Daniels, Song and
Pavlova and Riad
13. Mark Kroeger,
Colleen Farrell and
14. Sara and Dale
15. Debbi Gelbart,
Moe Gelbart Ph.D.,
M.D., Jackelyn Lee
M.D. and George So
16 Peninsula • November 2016
November 2016 • Peninsula People 17
Fine Homes and Luxury Properties
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RANCHO PALOS VERDES
6 Bedrooms Suites, 10 Bathrooms, 12,841 sq ft Home, 65,413 sq ft Lot
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RANCHO PALOS VERDES
4 Bedrooms + Office, 4.25 Bathrooms, 4,578 sq ft Home, 11,866 sq ft Lot
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Fine Homes and Luxury Properties
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
4 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, 2,192 sq ft Home, 9,968 sq ft Lot
Nicely Remodeled in 2013, Open Floor Plan, High Ceilings
Large Master Suite, Central Location
OFFERED AT $1,250,000 $1,235,000
PALOS VERDES estates
Spectacular Coastline and Queen’s Necklace View in Malaga Cove
Bring your Architect/Contractor. Need Major Remodeling or Rebuild
Currently 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, 2,365 sq ft Home on 8,102 sq ft Lot
OFFERED AT $1,795,000
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
5 Bedrooms, 6.5 Bathrooms, 8,533 sq ft Home, Guest House
PANORAMIC VIEW of Queen’s Necklace & Downtown LA
Architectural Masterpiece, Luxury Features, Beautiful Landscape
OFFERED AT $3,995,000
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Bathrooms, 3,643 sq ft Home, 16,487 sq ft Lot
1-Story Updated Mansion with New Wood Floor & Paint.
Large Master Suite, Gourmet Kitchen, Garden Backyard
OFFERED AT $2,188,000
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
1.21 Acre Gated Vacant Lot has Large, Flat Building Pad
Panoramic Catalina, Ocean & Endless Sunset Views!
Private & Secluded Location in Lunada Pointe. Rare Find Opportunity
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20 Peninsula • November 2016
November 2016 • Peninsula 21
Simply Tiles Design Center
CALENDAR OF COMMUNITY EVENTS
Compiled by Mary Jane Schoenheider
You can email your event to our address: email@example.com
All submissions must be sent by the 10th of each month prior to event taking place.
Fine Ceramics, Natural Stone, Hardwoods, Cabinetry, Faucetry.
Kitchen & Bathrooms Specialist.
3968 Pacific Coast Hwy., Torrance • (310) 373-7781 • www.simplytiles.com
and old a safe
and fun Halloween.
free and safe
for children and
Saturday, October 29
Peninsula Center hosts a family-friendly Halloween Spooktacular, featuring
face painting, games, costume contests and trick or treating. Next to The Habit
and Chipotle. Free. noon to 3 p.m. PeninsulaShoppingCenter.com.
Monday, October 31
Riviera Village in Redondo Beach closes the streets for its annual Halloween
Stroll, from 4 to 6 p.m. Enjoy safe trick-or-treating through the shops in the Village,
Catalina from Avenue I to Palos Verdes Boulevard. Jim Gamble and his
puppets will perform. If you plan on staying for dinner afterwards, reservations
are recommended. For more information, visit rivieravillageredondo.org.
Sunday, November 13
Dinner with David
The Asia America Symphony hosts an intimate dinner concert with conductor
and pianist David Benoit, a Peninsula resident, at the Palos Verdes Country
4325 VIA FRASCATI, RANCHO PALOS VERDES
Located in the "Red Tile Roof District" of Rancho Palos Verdes!
Fabulous Spanish Style 3 bedroom, 2 bath,
2100+ SQ FT, home is an entertainer's dream!
Gourmet Chef's kitchen with premium
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views, multiple fireplaces, vaulted ceilings,
just to name a few! Must See!!
Offered at $ 1,400,000
(310) 339-5301 | Keller Williams Realty | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | CalBRE#01800973
22 Peninsula • November 2016
Club. Cocktails 5 p.m. Dinner and performance 6 p.m. $125. For tickets
and more about the Asia America Symphony visit AAAsymphony.org or call
Concert with Robert
Peninsula pianist Robert Thies and mezzo soprano Iris Malkin perform for
the Second Sundays at Two series at Rolling Hills United Methodist. Free.
26438 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates. For more information call (310)
377-6771 or visit rhumc.org.
Tuesday, November 15
The Assistance League of San Pedro-South Bay’s annual Holiday Boutique
features food, stocking stuffers, children’s gifts, holiday decorations and
many more wonderful gift selections. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekdays), and
11a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays through January 4. Proceeds benefit local charities.
At the Assistance League of San Pedro-South Bay Chapter House,1441
W. 8th Street. 310- 832-8355 ext. 221.
Friday, November 18
A boutique to remember
The Special Children’s League hosts “An Affair to Remember,” featuring a
luncheon and holiday boutique at the Palos Verdes Country Club. 1 to 4
p.m. For tickets call (310) 378-1888 or email tickets
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November 2016 • Peninsula 23
13 MELA LANE, RANCHO PALOS VERDES
3 Bedrooms | 2.5 Baths | 3,024 Sq. Ft. (approx.)
2 Car Attached Garage | Gated Villa Verde Complex
Charming, traditional 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath 3000 plus square foot home in the secluded,
private gated community of Villa Verde. Abundant light, open floor plan with soaring
ceilings and skylights; split level design with Living Room, Dining Room, (both with
fireplaces) Kitchen and Family Room on the main floor; French doors from Family Room
to Patio Garden; kitchen with cooktop island and double oven; split level design perfect
for entertaining, Master Suite with luxurious Victorian footed tub. Two bedrooms and a
bath on the second story and a bonus room and laundry down a few steps from main
floor near entry to attached two car garage. Gorgeous patio with secret garden feel,
fountain and lush landscaping. Complex includes two tennis
courts and a pool and well maintained greenbelts; HOA $450/mo;
within the highly coveted Palos Verdes Unified.
Priced at $1,100,000
JANET EARL, MBA 310.344.9230
email@example.com | www.janetearl.net
CAL BRE# 01056351
The Norris Theater’s 28th Annual performance “The Nutcracker,” will
be performed by the Peninsula School of Performing Arts at 2 and 7
p.m on Saturday, November 19 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, November
20. Tickets are available at the Norris box office or by phone at (310)
544-0403. Photo by Chelsea Schreiber
Saturday, November 19
A run to remember
The LaceUp Palos Verdes Half Marathon (and 5K and 10K) starts at Terranea
(Pelican Park) and winds south to Abalone Cove and north to Torrance Beach
before returning to Terranea. Views
of spectacular homes and the even
more spectacular Pacific Ocean and
Catalina Island make this one of the
most scenic and memorable runs in
the country. Limited to 1,000 registrants.
For more information visit
The Palos Verdes Library District
hosts a presentation, “Planet Moon,”
by Madhu Thangavelu, an instructor
at the USC Department of Astronautical
Engineering. 2 to 4 p.m. at the
Peninsula Center Library.
Thangavelu will discuss extraterrestrial
bases, space tourism and colonization.
A fun and educational
experience for all ages. For more information
call (310) 377-9584
x601 or visit www.pvld.org.
Native plants workshop
The White Point Nature Education
Center presents Craig Torres, discussing
how local plants are used in
traditional and modern cultures. 10
a.m. to noon. $20 per person.
Space is limited. 1600 W Paseo Del
Mar, San Pedro, RSVP required:
Part of the PV Land Conservancy’s
Beauty in Nature series, “Un-
24 Peninsula • November 2016
branded” is a film about 16 mustangs and four men riding border to border,
Mexico to Canada. The documentary tracks the fresh-out-of-college buddies
as they set out on the adventure of a lifetime. 4 p.m. $10. 18 and under free.
Tickets at pvplc.org or (310) 541-7613. Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W 6th
St, San Pedro.
Saturday, November 19
Sunday, November 20
Nutcracker at the Norris Theatre
The Peninsula School of Performing Arts presents the Norris Theatre’s 28th
annual holiday season “The Nutcracker” at 2 and 7 p.m on Saturday, and 2
p.m. on Sunday. Professionals and pre-professionals, adults and young
dancers, perform. Music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Tita Boulger,
Vera Ninkovic, Marina Kalinina and Alexander Kalinin. $32 for adults, $22
for children. Tickets are available at the Norris box office or by phone at
Saturday, November 26
Microplants on the Peninsula
Naturalist Neil Uelman will discuss his recent research on biological soil crust
and how it applies to the Peninsula’s smallest plants. 11 a.m. ‘til noon. White
Point Nature Preserve. RSVP: pvplc.org. 1600 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro,
Tuesday, November 29
ACT II Back to Broadway auditions
Act II, a support group for Palos Verdes Performing Arts, is looking for talented
performers to sing and dance to favorites from Broadway musicals at its 31st
annual variety show. Auditions for “Back To Broadway” will be held at the
Harlyne J. Norris Pavilion. Appointments for both solos and groups are being
taken for times between 5:30 to 10 p.m. Participants should choose music
from a popular Broadway musical to tie in with this year’s theme, and come
prepared with a three minute act of dancing, singing or a combination of a
special talent. An accompanist will be available. This season’s show is set for
March 3-5, 2017 at the Norris Theatre. This year’s production will be in a
different format, with audience members invited to participate in some of the
numbers. For more information call
co-producer Maureen Brugh at
(310) 375-3328. 501 Indian Peak
Road in Rolling Hills.
Annual Holiday Festival
TMMC begins its 33rd annual Holiday
Festival fundraiser today. The
festival features more than 36
themed, decorated trees, live entertainment,
the South Bay’s largest holiday
boutique, an opportunity
drawing, children's activities and a
food court. Tree themes include “The
Wizarding World of Harry Potter,”
“The Magic of Oz,” and “Floating
Through the Decades,” featuring
award-winning floats by the Torrance
Rose Float Association. $5.
Hours: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 1:30 to
3:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 30,
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 1,
Saturday, Dec. 3, Sunday, Dec. 4,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Senior Days: (free
for seniors and those with limited mo-
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November 2016 • Peninsula People 25
bility) Wednesday, Nov. 30 and Thursday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Community
Service Group Night: ($2 admission for nonprofit and community service
group members) Thursday, Dec. 1, 4 to 9 p.m. Torrance Memorial
Medical Center, 3330 Lomita Blvd., Torrance. For more information, call
(310) 517-4606 or visit TorranceMemorial.org/holidayfestival.
Torrance Memorial’s Festival Fashion Show
Cocktail and evening dresses by Kevan Hall Designs, as well as rare and
original fur fashions and designs by Edwards-Lowell Furs Beverly Hills will be
shown. 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., $125 per person. For tickets call 310- 517-
4606 or visit TorranceMemorial.org/holidayfestival.
Friday, December 2
Torrance Memorial Festival Night Dinner Gala
The Festival Night Dinner Gala, will include silent and live auctions. 5:30 to
10 p.m. $300 per person/$550 per couple. Bid online from November 9
through 22 by visiting biddingforgood.com/holidayfestival. To make reservations
to attend any of the events or for Opportunity Drawing tickets, call the
Torrance Memorial Foundation at (310) 517-4703. For recorded general
event information, call (310) 517-4606 or visit TorranceMemorial.org/holidayfestival.
Saturday, December 3
Sunday, December 4
Annual Victorian Christmas Celebration
The Banning Museum and grounds are transformed into a Christmas festival
featuring Victorian period entertainment, self-guided tours of the museum, re-
LA’s DIY Brewing
Schedule Brew Session by November 18th
Prepare to have the Best Holiday Gifts & Party Favors Ever!
Tasting Room Hours
22755 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance, CA 90505
November 2016 • Peninsula 29
Southern California’s Newest Marina
Guest slips available for the
Happy Harbor Halloween, Sat. Oct 29
Dia De Los Muertos, Sun. Oct. 30
• SLIPS from 28’ to 130’
• Dry Storage w/Crane Launching
• New Restrooms w/Showers
• Ice Machines & Laundry
• Pumpout - Public & In-Slip
• Ample FREE Parking
A highlight of Torrance
Memorial’s Holiday Festival
is the elaborately decorated
trees. This year’s tree themes
include “The Wizarding
World of Harry Potter,” “The
Magic of Oz,” and “Floating
Through the Decades,”
floats by the Torrance
Rose Float Association. This
year’s festival is Nov. 29,
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.;
Nov. 30, Dec. 1 & Dec. 3,
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.;
Sunday, Dec. 4,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $5. Torrance
Center, 3330 Lomita Blvd.,
Torrance. For more information,
call (310) 517-4606
Marina (310) 514-4985 • Dry Storage (310) 521-0200
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2293 Miner St., San Pedro, CA 90731
freshments, children's crafts, and a visit from jolly St. Nick. One of the highlights
of the festivities is a horse-drawn trolley ride between the Banning Museum
and Drum Barracks Civil War Museum. Visitors will enjoy blacksmith
demonstrations, a wreath making lecture, a visit from Queen Victoria and
30 Peninsula • November 2016
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November 2016 • Peninsula 31
LILY LIANG PRESENTS:
PALOS VERDES’ FINEST HOMES & ESTATES FOR OVER 30 YEARS!
550 Silver Spur Rd. Suite 240, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90275
local food and craft vendors. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. 401 East “M” Street,
Wilmington. For more information call (310) 548-7777 or visit Thebanningmuseum.org.
Sundays, December 4, 11
Lunch with Santa
Torrance Memorial’s Lunch with Santa will include face painting, crafts, clowns
and photos with Santa (bring your camera). Price includes a ticket to Torrance
Memorial’s 33rd annual Holiday Festival, which features 36 custom-decorated
holiday trees. Shop in the South Bay’s largest holiday boutique or in the Children’s
Marketplace or Senior’s Marketplace for one-of-a-kind stocking stuffer
items under $5. Sunday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. $15 per person (minors
must be supervised by a paid adult). Torrance Memorial Medical Center,
Richard B. Hoffman, M.D., Health Conference Center, 3330 Lomita Blvd.,
Torrance. Call 310-517-4606 or visit www.TorranceMemorial.org/holidayfestival
to purchase tickets or for more information. PEN
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34 Peninsula People • November 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.
Real Estate & Construction
Rolling Hills Estates
• Resort-style Retreat • 4,885 sf
• 6 Bedrooms & 5 Baths
• Dual Solar Paneling & Water Filtration System
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• 6 Bedrooms & 8 Bathrooms
Rolling Hills Estates
• Zen Paradise • 5,840 sf
• Main House with 4 Bedrooms & 4.5 Baths
• 2 Bedroom & 1 Bath Guest House • Feng Shui Floor Plan
CSLB License # B985034 | BRE License # 01928630
JJonathan Bisignano during his days at Palos Verdes High School. Photo courtesy the Bisignano family
onathan Bisignano was two years old and ready to see the world.
His family was living in South Redondo at the time, and
Jonathan was playing by himself in the backyard. Then he wasn’t.
His mother Angela Bisignano looked outside and her son was
nowhere to be found. Panic set in. He’d found a way to climb the
“He decided he was going to go someplace, exploring,” Angela
recalled. “I could not find that boy.”
He figured out how to climb through a neighbor’s gate, as well.
Nearly an hour later, his mother found Jonathan calmly playing
on a backyard swingset a half block away.
In coming years, Gerard and Angela Bisignano would come to
admire, occasionally fear, and generally expect the unending surprises
that came with their first child’s blithely bold disposition.
“My wife was concerned he had a bone problem because he
kept breaking bones,” Gerard said. “It was skateboarding, soccer,
snowboarding...jumping off a slide when he was three. When he
was four he broke a collarbone.”
“By the time he was 16, he’d broken seven or eight bones. Because
he was charging.”
Even as a fourth grade Boy Scout, or Webelo, he managed to
push to the very edge.
“We were in the Santa Monica Mountains, and there was this
How faith and community helped the Bisignano family survive the loss of their son Jonathan,
and the lessons in love his life imparted
one huge mountain,” Angela said. “He ran to the top of it, and
there was a 500-foot drop. He runs to it; he's the first one up there.
I'm shaking down below. ‘What are you doing? Stop!’ That is what
he would do.”
Jonathan charged through his childhood, an electric presence
wherever he went. Hunter Riley, who would become one of his
closest friends, remembers when Jonathan arrived at Palos Verdes
Intermediate School. They were both in eighth grade. The Bisignanos
had just moved from Redondo to Palos Verdes and nobody
at school knew the new kid. But few failed to notice him. He was
almost impossible to miss, with his long black skater boy hair,
wolf-like, piercing blue eyes and buoyant, mischievous presence.
“The first thing me and my buddies, we didn’t like this good
looking guy getting all the attention from the girls,” Riley said,
laughing. “Our first reaction was to punk him a little bit. We tried
to hate him, but we couldn’t. He became a part of our friends circle.”
Another member of that circle, Arian Savar, recalled how the
girls were curious about Jonathan while the guys kept a cool distance.
“I’ve always been a direct, straightforward person, so I just
walked right over to him and introduced myself,” Savar said. “I
wanted to know, ‘Is he one of us?’ To be honest, it turned out he
36 Peninsula • November 2016
The Bisignano family, from left, Jonathan, Angela, Gerard, and David.
Photo courtesy the Bisignano family
was something quite more. He looked me in the
eye and shook my hand.”
Thus began a friendship that would have all the
usual “shenanigans,” as Savar said, that teenage
boys get up to together — the sports, misadventures,
girl chasing, and epic hangouts of the
bumpy, exuberant years of high school.
But comradery with Jonathan had another
level. He was somebody who found deeper ways
to connect, both with friends and family and the
world at large.
“We would talk about God, family, our community,
our country, what it all means, and what our
place is in it,” Savar said.
“We’d have conversations about metaphysics
and the newest information on consciousness research
all the way, basically, to what happens
after you die,” Riley said. “That was something
he researched, especially after high school. He
was always exploring.”
He played some football early in high school,
but then grabbed hold of the idea that the school
needed a rugby team. So he put one together with
“He didn't just play football, he had to play
rugby, with no pads,” his mother, Angela, said.
“He couldn't just run and do hurdles, no, he had
to be the pole vaulter — like he would always be
going for the thing that would make me be on my
knees praying, ‘Oh Lord what is he doing now?’”
Jonathan also had an ability to learn on the fly,
and to do so with an almost maddening ease.
“He picked up rugby really quickly,” Riley said.
“He was a smaller guy, but he was tough. He really
got into rugby. He was 5’7’’, a buck thirty,
maybe forty. But he was an animal.”
“He was very hands on,” Riley said. “Back
when we met, it was skateboarding, then he got
into the surfing thing, playing piano, playing guitar.
He didn’t even let a lot of people know he
played piano, I think he was a little embarrassed...And
he was weirdly good at everything
Jonathan was an exceptional student. He
dreamt of going to USC, and lived that dream. In
college, he met the girl of his dreams, a beautiful
doe-eyed journalism student named Casey
Tamkin, with whom he began to plan a life beyond
college. Last spring, he was preparing to
graduate with a degree in international relations
and economics and pursue a career in investment
banking. With typical, methodical avidness, he’d
applied with 100 firms, and was advancing in the
multilevel hiring process that the highest level financial
firms require. Instead of doing the usual
fraternity brother spring break to Cabo, he flew
with a friend to Japan simply to better know how
that corner of the world worked.
His parents noticed that after his return he was
experiencing unusual weariness, beyond normal
jet lag. But he kept charging: a weekend in Vegas
with his fraternity brothers, then a weekend in
the desert with his girlfriend at the Coachella
music festival. The couple drove back together
Monday morning, April 18, and made plans to
meet for dinner that night.
He then went to his apartment and took a nap
from which he never woke up.
At the time of his passing, at the age of 22, the
circumstances — a college kid who’d been at a
music festival — led to a widespread assumption
he’d experienced an overdose. The USC Daily
Trojan reported “accidental overdose” as the likely
cause of death. Initially, due to the news report,
his father accepted the assumption, despite the
fact it seemed entirely out of character for
Jonathan and no drugs were found near his son.
“He went to Coachella, it ended on Sunday and
he partied all night long like kids do, into the next
days, probably took something somewhere along
the way he shouldn't have, he wasn't sure how
powerful it was, whatever, and then finally made
it home after maybe 48 hours up and just faded,”
Gerard said. “That was the assumption.”
But the truth was he'd done nothing of the
kind. He and Casey left the festival’s final show
and grabbed some food. Far from partying, he’d
dutifully waited an hour-and-a-half in line with
her just so she could have the noodles she
wanted. Afterwards, they went back to their
condo rental for a good night's sleep.
The next night, his heart simply gave out.
“There is just a moment,” his father said later,
“where the number of beats that God has allowed
to you comes to an end.”
His family had a history of congenital heart failure.
Angela’s father experienced four heart attacks
and died of the final one, at the age of 54.
But those who knew Jonathan best saw something
beyond a genetic condition. They saw a
young man who lived as if each day could be his
last, a friend, son, and brother gone far too soon,
but one who left behind lessons in love and living
for those left in the wake of the startlingly beautiful
and bold swath he cut on his way through
“Jon, you were taken from us far too soon,” his
girlfriend, Casey, said at his memorial, standing
near his casket. “But you taught me that life isn’t
measured by the the breaths we take. It is measured
by what we do with the moments we are
given. In just 22 years, you lived a fuller life than
someone who could have lived to be 100.”
Jonathan Chase Bisignano was born May 24,
“Twenty-five hours of labor,” Angela said.
“Jonathan took his sweet time coming out the
birth canal. In hindsight, it was probably a prelude
for coming attractions. Jonathan was deter-
Jon cont. on page 38
November 2016 • Peninsula 37
“There are literally no photos of
my brother where he doesn’t have
his arm around me,” said David. “I
look at those photos and I realize
how much he loved me. So that’s
“I don’t recall Jonathan ever saying
anything mean spirited about
his brother, he loved him so much,”
Angela said. “I was really proud
that I raised a son who cared so
much about his brother; that really
warmed my heart.”
Growing up, David said, his
brother was larger than life. Everyone
seemed to know him.
“It was strange for me,” David
said. “I don’t know why, but it’s like
my brother was famous. I felt like I
was the brother of a celebrity. He
just had a huge impact.”
“I was always the kid who had
the coolest big bro,” he said. “Everything
my brother did was the
coolest, that’s just how it was, and
school, David got a call from
Jonathan. He was coming to pick
him up from school.
“Man,” David said. “It’s 10:30.”
“He said, ‘I’m coming to pick you
up.’ I just left class, and that was it.”
Jonathan had a gift for brotherhood
beyond his family. Throughout
his life, other boys congregated
“He was a gatherer,” Gerard said.
“We would wake up on Saturday
mornings and there would be five
or six kids here sleeping on the
Savar was one of those kids. He
recalled “a rough patch” when he
stayed for a while at the Bisignano
“Jon provided a safe haven in so
many ways, not just words, wisdom,
camaraderie, and hugs, but he
sheltered me at times when I
needed it,” he said. “The family was
amazing. They’d see me on the
Jonathan and his girlfriend, Casey Tamkins, whom he met at USC in 2014.
His family believe he’d found the love of his life. Photo courtesy Casey
Jon cont. from page 37
mined to do things his way.”
“The first time I saw him I fell in
love, deep, deep love,” she said. “He
became in that moment my beautiful
boy. Honestly, the most beautiful
baby I had ever seen. It wasn’t
for another four years that I would
know my second beautiful boy.”
Angela, a clinical psychologist,
put her career on hold to give as
much attention as possible to her
two boys. This was indicative of the
approach the Bisignanos took with
their family. They lived deliberately.
Gerard, a successful real estate
agent, was elected to the Redondo
Beach City Council when Jonathan
“I thought, I want to show my
family that being involved, getting
out there, is an important part of
life,” he said. “If we didn’t have children
at the time, I never would
Pastor Dan Bradford of Kings
Harbor Church, who baptized
Jonathan at Seaside Lagoon and officiated
at his funeral at Green Hills
Memorial Park, said he admired the
intentionality with which the Bisignanos
conducted their lives.
“I can tell you, both are movers
and shakers, but not for sake of
being movers and shakers,” Bradford
said. “They are genuinely invested
in everything they put their
hands and hearts to.”
The fact the boys were given Old
Testament names, the youngest as
the man who would be king and
the oldest as his deepest friend and
protector, was likewise a considered
“Jonathan's name means gift
from God,” Angela said. “When we
were trying to figure out a second
name for our youngest, there is a
story in the Bible that talks about
how the souls of Jonathan and
David were knit together. We loved
the idea that the souls of our boys
would be knit together. And they
were so close. It was precious.”
As the family looked through
photographs after Jonathan’s passing,
they noticed something striking
about the photos that contained
Jonathan and David Bisignano. Photo courtesy the Bisignano family
every story I told was about my
brother. ‘Well, my brother…’ Now
it’s awkward. I can’t use those stories.”
Early on, their age difference
meant that Jonathan rarely hung
out with David. But David, who is
now 18, remembers the exact moment
that changed. He was 11 or
12. He and his brother were supposed
to be going to church.
“You know what? Let’s go do
something fun,” he told his little
They went and got burritos at
Phanny’s in Redondo Beach.
“In my mind, I’m 11, doing something
against the rules — it’s not really
what I did yet,” David recalled.
“That was kind of the breaking of
After Jonathan went away to college,
he didn’t come home often.
But once, when he was in high
couch, ‘Okay, good morning.’ Three
days go by, the weekend passes, I
wake up on the couch and they
never gave me a hard time. They
just made sure my head was in the
right place, that I knew hard times
come and go.”
Once when he was staying with
the Bisignanos, the family had plans
to go to Palm Springs to celebrate
Jonathan’s and his grandfather
Flavio’s birthdays. Jonathan asked
Savar to come along; Savar declined,
telling his friend he didn’t
want his heavy mood to dampen
“No,” Jonathan said. “You are
going with me.”
The Bisignanos, realizing their
son needed a vehicle large enough
to haul his constant crew, had purchased
a GMC Denali. It would become
an iconic car among his high
school friends. Jonathan and Savar
drove to Palm Springs in the Denali.
38 Peninsula • November 2016
“Jon was one of those people you
could be in a car with for hours and
you are constantly entertained,
never a moment of boredom,” Savar
said. “If there is a quiet point, it’s
because you are contemplating
something you just talked about.
Car rides always went fast.”
Savar didn’t want to talk about
what was bothering him.
“After we get back, dude,” he
said. “Not now.”
“We are not going anywhere with
something weighing on your mind,”
Jonathan replied. “Dude, you know
me. You better tell me.”
And so they talked. And laughed.
And sat and thought, staring out at
the stark landscape, Savar’s troubles
dissipating with each passing
“We pull into Palm Springs, get
out of the car smiling and laughing,”
Savar said. “All worries were
completely wiped out, gone — not
dormant, but resolved.”
They arrived to Flavio Bisignano
holding court over drinks at the
pool patio, regaling the boys with
tales from his 90 years of living.
Hours later, as they made their way
to their hotel room, Savar paused
and nearly broke down.
“There’s so much suffering and
conflict in my life,” he told
Jonathan. “I just can’t see going on
90 years, another 70 years of life.
It’s just too much.”
Jonathan looked his friend in the
eye. “You have to, man,” he said. “If
we are old men, telling stories to
our kids and grandkids, we are
going to look back and be grateful
we got to live this long life. You
aren’t going anywhere without me.”
Riley said there was a dark time
during his high school years that
he’s not sure he would have made
it through had it not been for
Jonathan’s relentlessly caring presence.
Unlike most of his other
friends, Riley wasn’t a partier.
Jonathan, with his ebullient conviviality,
was extremely social. Yet
he would make sure he and Riley
also had quiet time together.
“He was the only person I could
talk to about some things,” Riley
said. “At that age, most people, even
friends, are very surface level. We’d
have these strong, deep, meaningful
conversations….No matter what his
situation was, he was always able to
be positive, always able to give you
his full attention.”
As Jonathan once told Riley, if
one of his buddies was going
through a hard time, then he was,
too. He also had an extremely unusual
characteristic for a teenager:
he didn’t particularly care what
anyone thought of him.
“It’s hard to explain, but there
was no problem with him,” Savar
said. “He never let anything stick to
him, or define him, or ruin his day.
That was something that left a mark
on me, in so many ways. He was
like a pillar. If somebody was angry,
he’d be like, ‘Screw it. Let that guy
be angry. You can be better than
that. Let’s skate, go bomb the hill,
go get a milkshake.’ Always that
“He was just such a good guy, no
bullshit, so straightforward. If you
didn’t like Jon, there was probably
something wrong with you.”
He had a perpetual smile on his
face, a distinctive high-pitched
laugh that his friends loved to
mimic, and an ability to never take
himself too seriously.
“That was one of the things I took
away from Jon the most: his ability
to not care about other people’s
judgement,” Riley said. “That was
the biggest thing. He was goofy,
such a dork, he could be so embarrassing,
but he just wouldn’t care.”
His penchant for helping those
around him rings a bell for friends
“She’s always lived with purpose
and intention, and she’s a great help
to other women, helping them discover
their gifts and live life to the
fullest,” said friend Carol Anderson
Junara. “She’s a great communicator
On Mother’s Day this year, three
weeks after Jonathan’s passing, another
of his friends left a note for
Angela. Handwritten, on pink stationery,
the writer shared with Angela
that his relationship with his
own mother had gotten better “just
by hearing Jon talk about your relationship
“It’s so rare for a mother to be so
close to their children, and the example
Jon’s shown has made me
strive to be a better son,” he wrote.
“You’ve raised him to be someone
I’ve trusted more than anyone else
in my life….Although you are not
my own mother, I appreciate you as
if you were because of the impact
you’ve had on my life through Jon.”
It was Tuesday night, March 12,
2014, in the dormitories at USC.
Freshman Casey Tamkin was
bored. She called her friend at the
Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity to see
if there was anything going on.
Jon cont. on page 40
November 2016 • Peninsula 39
CUT * COLOR * STYLE
Jonathan Bisignano abroad in the Greek Isles. An avid traveler, he traversed
Europe, much of Central America, and spent his last spring break in Japan.
Photo courtesy the Bisignano family
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Jon cont. from page 39
They were playing beer pong, he
said. Come on over.
She and another girl walked to
the fraternity. When she arrived
and found her friend, she saw a
blue-eyed boy sitting watchfully on
the steps of the house’s atrium.
“Eyes so blue they just stop you,”
Tamkin later recalled. “They are the
first thing you see when you walk
into a room.”
She asked her friend who the boy
was, and he told her Jonathan was
his big brother at the fraternity.
“You didn’t tell me you had a really
cute big brother,” she told him.
She and Jonathan ended up talking,
and then taking a walk together
to a campus bar to have a drink. He
told her she had the most beautiful
eyes. Though flattered, she scoffed
“Are you okay? My eyes are
brown,” she said.
He gave her his phone number
but she later realized it was missing
a digit. She assumed it was on purpose
and she’d never talk to him
again. But weeks later, in Cabo for
spring break, she ran into him on
the beach. They ended up hanging
out for the next four days. When
she got back to USC, she thought,
“You know what, I’m just going to
text him.” He came over that night
to do homework with her, and they
worked and talked, the beginning of
a conversation that would be ongoing
until the day he died a little
more than two years later. They fell
seamlessly and deeply into love.
Her first impression had been
that Jonathan, with his good looks
and cool swagger, puffed out chest
and perfect posture, was “such a
frat boy.” He turned out to be anything
but. He was broadly curious,
unconventional in how he thought
and the intensity with which he
lived. He was absolutely full of love,
both for the world and for the people
he shared his life with, and
completely unafraid to show it.
“Being in college, the guys are all,
‘Yeah, hook up with a hot girl,’”
Tamkin said. “Jon was so different,
so kind, so unlike anyone I ever
met. He just wanted to hang out
and talk and get to know you. We
just hit it off the moment we met.”
“What was so special is he really
lived every day like it was his last,”
she said. “That is something I take
away as a lesson from him. He was
so full of life. The last weekend we
spent together, he was dancing in
the desert, having the time of his
life, nonstop, go, go, go.”
Next month: love, loss, lessons, and
the embrace of community. PEN
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Palos Verdes Performing Arts
Encore Circle Season Opening Dinner
The Palos Verdes Performing Arts Center’s Encore Circle support
group celebrated the opening of the 34th season on September 23
with a production of Mel Brooks’ Broadway hit, “Young Frankenstein”
at the Norris Theatre. Before the show, members enjoyed an elegant dinner
at the Harlyne J. Norris Pavilion and a surprise visit from Frankenstein’s
monster during the cocktail hour. Maude Landon, who organized
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professional theatre alive in Palos Verdes. Encore Circle, which was
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1. Frankenstein’s Monster and Anita
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PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE CARTOZIAN
3. Max Grupenhagen, Sandra
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6. Charlotte Ginsburg, Young Frankenstein
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7. PVPA executive director John
Reynolds, Board CFO Julie Moe-
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8. Karen Marcus and Art Friedman.
9. Maude and Aaron Landon, Preston
Landon and Katie Tornstrom.
44 Peninsula • November 2016
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B R E L i c . # 0 0 8 7 4 0 7 2
Henry Morse holds the lead through a turn at the
Canadian Tire Motor Park in Ontario, Canada
during the Pirelli World Challenge Series.
Redondo Beach high schooler
Henry Morse, 15, races to the
podium in the professional Pirelli
Morse demonstrated his driving skills
early on in go kart racing at the
Cal Speed Karting Center at the
Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
50 Peninsula • November 2016
y David Mendez
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Henry Morse, a contender for
a series championship in the Pirelli World Challenge and multipletime
racing champion, is only 15 years old. Even he forgets, sometimes.
He was dissecting his comfort in front of crowds, how it’s so easy
for him to speak clearly and confidently despite being much younger
than most of his audience. “I took public speaking in middle school,”
he said, before pausing for a moment. “That was last year, I guess.”
Morse has been racing for nearly 90 percent of his life. He was “a
year and eight months,” said his father Ben Morse, when he participated
in his first sanctioned race, a bike race at the Chevron Manhattan
Beach Grand Prix. He’s been moving up the ranks ever since, from
bikes to motorcycles to go karts, where he won nine championships.
This year is the Redondo Beach resident’s first year racing in a professional
series. After ten races, he’s in second place in PWC’s Touring
Car B division, 13 points off of the leader, 38 year old PJ Groenke. It’s
not outside the realm of possibility for Henry to win the series, becoming
both the first to win a PWC series in their first year, and the
youngest person to do so.
“He absolutely has the talent to be a successful race car driver, but
he doesn’t have $7 million to $8 million dollars a year,” said his father.
Racing isn’t cheap. It’s said that if a driver wants to make $10 million
a year, they need to spend $50 million. Everything about owning and
operating a race car is expensive, from cars to parts to transporting vehicles
from track to track.
“There’s another 15-year-old on a few series, and conservatively, he’s
spending $8 to $12 million a year,” Morse said. “The only people who
can make it like Henry are the incredibly lucky.”
Both his father and grandfather raced cars, passing down a need for
speed and deep-seated confidence.
“There’s a certain mindset that someone needs to live in, in order to
maximize their opportunities…I have an incredible opportunity to
achieve greatness with the position I’m in,” Henry said. “There really
isn’t any choice other than to devote myself entirely — it wouldn’t
make sense not to.”
He learned early on, he said, from watching his parents “making
something out of nothing, or very little,” that trying his hardest can
lead to success.
“I’m really putting that to the test,” Henry said. “I think there are
more people who have visited the International Space Station than have
been pro race car drivers.”
Much of his time is spent either on the track or in a racing simulator.
But fundraising and finding partnerships are also a huge part of the
Henry Morse earned motorsport media attention after his youthful
success in the Pirelli World Challenge Series.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, we’re looking for partners who
want to participate in this exceptional journey we’re on — people
who have money, passion, and an interest in racing,” Ben Morse
said. “The trick is hearing ‘no’ 10,000 times and still getting up in
the morning with the understanding that the next person you talk
to may be the one who makes your career possible.”
Henry has the interview patter down. He rattles off his list of
sponsors and partners — Pirelli, Freem, MorseGPS, among others
— and tells how each has contributed to his career. He also gives
credit to the teachers and staff at Rolling Hills Prep.
He recognizes that his status as a 15-year-old racing with pros is
a marketer’s dream. “They understand that I’m getting a lot of attention,”
he said. He was given seven minutes of uninterrupted
airtime on CBS Sports following a race this season. “It’s a good
marketing move to partner with me.”
He’s not concerned about burning out.
“We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs…so much time and
focus and energy has been devoted to this that, if burning out was
possible, it would have happened already,” he said. “But if I end
up not making it as a pro racer, I’ll still be racing something.”
“I think it’s absolutely absurd,” his dad said. “I give him every
opportunity to gracefully back away from it,” he said. “But you’re
doing this because you enjoy it, not necessarily because you have
to — it’s not a required career path, we just love it.”
The two are constantly working together at the track. Ben races
in many of the same series as Henry, and coaches him, discussing
tracks and working out potential problems.
Ben believes Henry’s biggest limitation is financial, not age.
At the 2014 Grand Nationals a field of 100 drivers was pared
down to six over the course of three days. Henry was among the
finalists. All of the drivers took one lap, driving identical race cars.
“The car is the same, the track, the time of day, tires, gas…all
the same. There weren’t any excuses, just the person who was unquestionably
the fastest driver.”
That day, Henry came out on top — the fastest by seven thousandths
of a second.
“What happened in that moment is it defined him. It wasn’t any
more about his dad telling him how good he was,” Ben said. PEN
Ben Morse with son Henry at five months.
November 2016 • Peninsula 51
y Bondo Wyszpolski
Jennifer Hills is Graceful Gale at Queen Mary's "Dark Harbor." All photos by Bondo Wyszpolski
Queen Mary’s Graceful Gale is enchanting… and deadly
If you push your way through the brambles on a moonlit night and climb
towards the summit of Palos Verdes, which faces the Port of Los Angeles,
there’s a magnificent view of the “Queen Mary.” But how to explain that
eerie glow that lately has enveloped it? Easy. From late September through
Halloween, parts of the ship and its surroundings (including the dome that
formerly housed the Spruce Goose) are transformed into the mazes that
comprise “Dark Harbor.”
The six mazes and assorted, or sordid, attractions employ over 200 zombies,
ghouls, ghosts, and other apparitions. If one of them doesn’t jump out
and scare the bejeezus out of you then rest assured that a dozen others will.
Either way, people, mostly the fearless among us, keep returning for more,
year after year.
Night of the living dead
Among the nameless hordes are several prominent characters, from
Samuel the Savage to Scary Mary and Half-Hatch Henry. But the one who
caught my attention was Graceful Gale. These characters have backstories.
Henry was bisected and Mary drowned. Gale was an alluring, first-class
passenger who boarded the Queen Mary in May of 1939. When the ship
docked at its final destination she had vanished, never to be seen again.
The story may have some basis in fact. And besides, the ship is rumored
to be the home of numerous ghosts. One of them, the so-called “woman in
white,” is a partial inspiration for Graceful Gale.
Now, the majority of the monsters, or talent, as talent director David
Wally refers to them, pretty much resemble your average 20-something
who’s landed a cool job for a few weeks. They grovel and slither and leap
about, the normal thing that scary creatures do. But Graceful Gale, and I’m
referring to the principal Graceful Gale (there are others), bears herself elegantly,
with dignity, moves slowly, languidly (like Paul Delvaux’s nocturnal
women, if you know the painter), and envelops herself in an aura or shroud
of absolute stillness.
The effect is enhanced by her silence. Graceful Gale doesn’t utter a
sound, or rather she speaks volumes by not speaking at all. She is aloof,
but she is sad. Mascara runs down her face, and her eyes are dark, fathomless
pools of sorrow. Her lips are bright red, yet her pallor is a deathly white.
The bottom of her ballgown is blood-soaked. Did she murder someone, or
was she herself the victim of a violent crime?
I am, of course, reading too much into this. Or am I? Under the makeup
and the blonde wig one detects an attractive woman. The eyes, as dark as
the eyes of a seal on account of the special contacts she’s wearing, are
spooky, but what I’m reminded of is the story of Pygmalion and Galatea,
in which the sculptor falls in love with his ivory creation, and Aphrodite
turns her into a living woman. In Ovid’s version, a daughter is born, and
her name is Paphos. Although she’s just a footnote in classical mythology,
I’d recently written about her, and Graceful Gale brought all this to mind.
As fanciful and farfetched as these perceptions and projections are, that’s
how I saw the character of Graceful Gale. But how does the real woman
behind the makeup see her? I was given the opportunity to find out.
Emerging from the shadows
Her name is Jennifer Hills and behind the scenes she’s as alluring as her
character but more expressive. One interesting thing, amusing in its own
way, is that despite Graceful Gale’s reticience Jennifer talks a mile a minute.
I’ll call her Jennifer instead of Hills, and instead of Graceful Gale, too,
which frankly sounds more like a nickname, not unlike Hammerin’ Hank
or Joltin’ Joe. Sure, she enters like a gentle gust of wind, so the moniker applies,
but I picture her with a far classier name, and we’ll bandy about some
possibilities in a few moments.
This is Jennifer’s fifth year as Graceful Gale, and her seventh year at
“Dark Harbor.” Before that she did dance shows at Universal Studios, parade
shows at Disneyland, and made some appearances on TV. She’s still
taking dance classes, but she’s actually gone back to school to earn a degree
in earth science.
After her first two years at “Dark Harbor,” the characters received a
makeover and Jennifer was given a certain amount of leeway to mold the
character of Graceful Gale. She knew the supposed history of the vanished
passenger, but “obviously she has to be a bit more on the scary side; we’re
here to haunt you, and you need to be able to (convey) a villainous feeling
Gale cont. on page 56
November 2016 • Peninsula 55
Gale cont. from page 55
“She’s from the ‘20s, ‘30s, she’s a first-class passenger,”
Jennifer continues, “so my first thought
was that she was a former entertainer, dancer,
that kind of thing. She has an air about herself,
she conducts herself well, she stands up straight.
In those days things were segregated, so a lot of
times I’ll pass by monsters, when they’re in character,
and just not take notice because back then
people didn’t do that. So I make sure I carry myself
with a certain air.”
The creators now promote the idea that Graceful
Gale is gliding about the ship, searching for
her soulmate. “If you are lucky enough to see her,
she may extend her hand for a dance,” according
to the PR, “but dance with caution [because] in
death she tears apart the living and reassembles
her victims to create the perfect dance partner.”
Well, maybe. My guess is that ghosts or spirits
often hang around because they may not know
or accept that they’re dead, or because on this
plane they have unfinished business. Looking for
a soulmate may play well, but I think that our
young lady would be confused or in denial. And
it would be a sadness that’s closer to profound
grief and melancholy.
While Graceful Gale’s sadness is a given, Jennifer
also sees her as villainous, and possibly deranged.
“People will always comment, ‘Oh, she looks
sad!’ And I’m like, Good! I am, but there’s a
twistedness and it’s like if I turn and look at you,
and I have the black contacts and the makeup
and the cracked face, and I smile at you, it could
On my previous visit to “Dark Harbor” I never
saw Graceful Gale open her mouth, let alone
smile. Even a mannikin shows more life. But because
Jennifer’s character cannot indulge in the
usual jump-and-scare tactics of her confrère
beasties, largely because she’s in heels and clad
in a long, form-fitting dress, she has to be more
subtle. And thus the (evil) smile.
“It’s rare,” she says. “That means I’ve got a victim.
It’s the smile that creeps people out. It’s like
people are afraid of clowns because of that
creepy smile they have painted on their face.”
In other words, the smile only comes out when
she knows it will be effective. One really doesn’t
need to leap up and down and shout. The power
of suggestion can yield the same result. For example,
one of Jennifer’s inspirations for her appearance
came from “Halloween,” with Michael
Myers (the white, full-face mask). “I took a page
out of his book,” she says. “Sometimes silence can
still be the creepiest thing.”
Originally, however, there was less subtlety, as
when Graceful Gale carried around a large dagger.
I’m regaled with one anecdote of how she
caught someone by utter surprise, slowly bringing
out the weapon from behind her back. In the
dark, who can tell if a dagger is razor-sharp or
dull, right? And who wants to find out the hard
In which one Gale meets another
Jennifer appreciates the “Dark Harbor” guests
who know her name and backstory. It shows that
they’re fans or else have done their homework.
But it’s here that I ask her, Would your character
really be named Gale? And if not, what might it
“That’s actually a really good question,” she
replies. “You’d have to think of what names were
popular during that time period. I mean, Graceful
Gale actually flows very well [but] Gale (or rather
Gail) is not a usual name you hear nowadays; it
seems like it would be an older name.”
I point out that the name should not be out of
place in 1930s (as the name Jennifer probably
would), and it should still have a resonance today.
Eventually Jennifer says, “All night I’ll be standing
there, all silent: What would my name be?”
She laughs. “What is she thinking about? I’m
thinking about my name!” And then, in a theatrical
tone of voice: “You’ve stumped me, Sir; how
dare you.” More laughter.
Looking at the photographs, what name would
Jennifer Hills, before her ghoulish transformation.
you give her? Margaret? Flora? Emmeline? And
for a last name, maybe something suggesting
wealth or breeding such as Windsor, Dupont, or
Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of Graceful
Gale is the tragedy in her eyes and the running
“She was crying, she’s lonely, and the blackness
under her eyes adds an element of scariness to
it,” Jennifer says. She notes that she’s the only
Graceful Gale wearing full blackout contact
lenses. “It just looks like my eyeballs have melted
into these sockets, and the black coming down is
also part of that.
“She’s also going crazy, too,” hell-bent on finding
her soulmate. “So she’s murdering people,
she’s cutting them up, she’s sewing them back
together and taking parts. And so when you go
through ‘Soulmate’ (the maze at the rear of the
ship that tells her story) you see the madness start
to unfold, and she starts to get crazier and crazier
as she goes.”
If there are spirits or unextinguished life forms,
and we mess with them, could there be repercussions?
“I do want to add that I feel the first year I
played Graceful Gale, she was looking for me, the
real ghost,” Jennifer says. She describes in some
detail an encounter that lacks a sensible explanation,
where “the woman in white,” usually
glimpsed on the former first-class levels of the
ship, came below to see what was going on.
“The fact that she was roaming around the
bowels of the ship where we were scared me to
no end, and I had to say, Ma’am, whoever you
are, I’m not here to make fun of you. I’m merely
here to portray you; I’m so sorry. Ever since then
nothing ever happened, but it was really, really
weird and to this day I don’t know… I felt that
first year that she was checking things out.
Maybe she was making sure that she was represented
well, so I’ve got to make sure I’m doing a
I think this answers the question as to whether
or not Jennifer believes the “Queen Mary” could
be haunted. And why not? Launched in 1936, retired
in 1967. It carried statesmen, starlets, socialites
and all manner of the well-to-do. Its
colorful and diverse history includes the war
years when it was painted grey (“the grey ghost”)
and served as a troop transport. On deck and
below, a lot happened on this floating palace, and
who’s to say a lot isn’t happening still?
Becoming Graceful Gale
After our conversation I found myself in the
makeup room where 200 young people were
being transformed into 200 scary beings by up to
22 makeup artists, and I don’t use the term
makeup artists lightly. These people know what
they’re doing and the effects are largely impressive.
Jennifer Hills applies an undercoating of white
cream that will later give her face an effect resembling
cracked porcelain. Then she sits down
and for the next 30 or 40 minutes goes from being
a student of earth science to a femme fatale and
a wandering lost soul. At first she’s reminiscent
of the mime Marceau Marceau or the harlequin
played by Jean-Louis Barrault in “Children of
Paradise,” but later one is more likely to think of
“Carrie” after her drenching by a bucket of blood.
Having met the live woman behind the dead
woman, was I now disillusioned? I think, subconsciously,
I’d hoped she’d be a little more like her
character, wistful and soft-spoken (but not menacing),
just as one might hope, interviewing Sean
Connery or Daniel Craig, that some of the Bond
persona would emerge. But as soon as Jennifer
was in full makeup and had again become Graceful
Gale I was once more in awe, enthralled, and
It wasn’t hard to recall what Jennifer Hills had
said to me a little earlier:
“Graceful Gale, she’s a silent being. Just don’t
get her mad, though.”
Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor continues
through Halloween night. For complete details
(including zombie protection, I hope), go to queenmary.com/events/dark-harbor.
56 Peninsula • November 2016
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November 2016 • Peninsula People 57
58 Peninsula • November 2016
30946 RUE DE LA PIERRE | RANCHO PALOS VERDES | $2,499,000
2845 VIA SEGOVIA
PALOS VERDES ESTATES
49 SANTA BARBARA
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
5419 MEADOWDALE LANE
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
133 ROCKY POINT RD.
PALOS VERDES ESTATES
980 VIA RINCON
PALOS VERDES ESTATES
129 ROCKY POINT RD.
PALOS VERDES ESTATES
Architect Luis de Moraes sought harmony through design at the western tip of Rancho Palos Verdes
The house at night is well lit with energy efficient lighting and is perched high up on the hill, boasting extensive travertine stone bricks and blocks throughout
its exterior reminiscent of the newer Getty museum.
Massive retractable glass doors provide an indoor/outdoor experience
for the kitchen and family room areas and the pool is
set up high so swimmers can take in the vast ocean view.
by Stephanie Cartozian
Photos by Walkthrough Productions
Architecture is often said to be an old man’s profession. The skills required
take decades to hone. Luis de Moraes, AIA architect and principal
founder of Envirotechno, is not an old man, and he has defied time with
his design of the “Modern Zen” residence situated at the tip of Vista Del Mar.
“I designed the home to be part of the natural terrain and the orientation of
the house is parallel to its topography,” de Moraes said. “Every room in the
house has an ocean view.”
The kitchen illustrates this design concept. It’s elevated, overlooking the family
room seating area, and faces a massive glass retractable door that opens out
to the ocean.
“You feel like here you are on top of the world,” de Moraes said. “Each room
offers an opportunity and invitation for you to stay and linger.”
The architect’s intention was to create warmth through the use of natural
materials yet maintain a sense of spaciousness. One of the dual kitchen islands
is made of industrial steel and the other is made from granite. Both sit parallel
to each other at bar top height, thus the home’s residents and guests sit high at
the counter when preparing food or eating and enjoy unobstructed scenery. An
infinity pool and outdoor kitchen are within view and are accessible through
yet another massive retractable glass door that rushes in cool breezes and accentuates
the indoor/outdoor experience. When the glass doors are opened, one
is virtually in a comfortable family room setting outdoors. The travertine floor-
60 Peninsula • November 2016
The house is designed to take in the sunsets, the outdoors and the ocean breezes by offering an
indoor/outdoor experience and by incorporating natural elements throughout.
Luis de Moraes.
The commercial-style kitchen offers numerous drawers for storage and dual large parallel islands for
food preparation and dining, all situated on an elevated level to take full advantage of views.
ing is carried through seamlessly from
the inside kitchen and family room
areas to the pool and outdoor kitchen
areas, giving the impression of it being
one capacious open-air space.
When designing this home, de
Moraes envisioned the structure melding
with the surrounding environment,
raising from the ground like a
natural monolith. This massive structure
of towering glass, wrapped in
travertine and topped with painted
metal, is an architectural feat reminiscent
of Ayn Rand’s 1943 novel, “The
Fountainhead” in which the protagonist,
Howard Roark, follows his practice
of modern architecture despite the
pervasive traditionalist views of the establishment.
In Palos Verdes, tradition
is reflected by the pervasiveness of
Spanish and ranch style architecture.
Modern Zen is a clear departure.
Upon entrance into this 6,838 sq. ft.
home, one is met with high expansive
ceilings with an entrancing two-story
foyer and a tongue-and-groove exposed
wood beam ceiling. Floating blocks of
limestone in the main entry staircase
were specially engineered by a steel
stair fabricator. According to de
Moraes, these blocks of stone were exceedingly
heavy; the steel components
that house each step were custom
made and structurally masterminded
by skilled artisans.
The lighting scheme was a likewise
methodical and purposeful exercise in
conserving energy. Skylights are positioned
strategically so that no electricity
is required to illuminate the home
during the day. At night, low profile
lighting is peppered throughout; trimless
LED cans provide ambient lighting,
rather than the spotlight effect
recessed lighting normally imparts.
The Neocon award-winning “Ameba”
entry lighting fixture is aptly named.
Its shape can change, adding or subtracting
appendages, a statement piece
that levitates graciously upon entrance
into the foyer. To the immediate right
is an office designed with grasscloth
walls and a wood-coffered ceiling interspersed
with the same grasscloth
fabric. A fireplace is in the center of
the room, emanating warmth and a
sense of invitation to sit down and stay
a while. De Moraes said he wanted to
create a space for entertaining that
combined “the serene warmth of
woods with other natural elements
from the outdoors.”
A standing seam metal roof and
weight-bearing beams make possible
the home’s expansive ceilings and feel
of loftiness. This type of roofing is parde
Moraes cont. on page 62
The larger purpose of each design element, de
Moraes said emphatically, was to create a home harmonious
with its environment. A bamboo log garden in
the back, enclosed with glass, is visible from inside the
house; aquariums built into walls unobtrusively meld
the home’s surroundings with its adjoining interior.
The original family who envisioned this contemporary
residence with de Moraes in 2007 sold their plans
and dreams to a developer, who eventually financed the
building of the project. De Moraes continued to guide
the project to its eventual completion in 2010. The
home’s exterior is reminiscent of the newer Getty Museum
with its flamed and stacked finished travertine.
These stones are weaved among larger honed travertine
blocks, imparting a contrasting design of contemporarycommercial
similar to the renowned museum’s style.
“Flamed” is a process where the stone is actually heated
The office area is intimate and cozy and is situated off the entry offering clients and
business associates a refuge for discussion.
de Moraes cont. from page 61
ticularly durable and oftentimes used in the past for commercial projects,
but due to its sturdy composition it has become a more common choice
for homeowners as it is also fire retardant. The material’s relative thinness,
compared to wood or shingles, allowed de Moraes to design a higher ceiling
while still conforming with Rancho Palos Verdes’ height restrictions. This
creative roof solution literally took the interior of this home to a new level.
This 5 bedroom and 6.25 bathroom home is replete with a wine room,
tasting room and temperature controlled cellar adjoined by an elegant Prohibition
era speakeasy. Vertical wood panel grooves disguise openings, such
as that of the elevator door, and touch latches make the doors and hardware
flush with the wall and invisible to the eye. A secret password for
entry would be fitting with the feel of the spaces. The wine cellar also possesses
Hollywood glamour, with an artful colored glass backdrop, a classy
white couch, and backlit doors. A nice way to wrap up an evening would
be to enjoy a movie in the theatre room after a sunset wine tasting. At the
command of a touch, automatic blackout roll up shades come down instantly,
and a state-of-the-art projector looms, preparing itself to cast the
The dining room area has indirect lighting built into the coffered ceiling and an
aquarium built into the wall as a backdrop melding outdoor and indoor elements.
The master bathroom and suite offers all amenities, including a
laundry chute to dispose of dirty laundry directly to the utility room.
under the highest of temperatures using a controlled
finishing process. As a result, the individual grains in
the stone burst and change color, leading to a rougher
texture and a more muted appearance. These “finishes”
and design concepts are particularly geared towards de
Moraes’s environmentally conscious aim — he is credentialed
as a sustainable designer with the United
States Green Building Council and has also been a design
instructor for the last 25 years at UCLA’s Extension
Design Certificate Program. He possesses the rare combination
of an interior design education (he’s a member
of American Society of Interior Designers) along with
his formal architectural education from Cal Poly
Pomona. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has
been a resident of the Palos Verdes community for the
last 15 years. Having started out young in his profession,
what “old age” holds for de Moraes has yet to be
5 CHUCKWAGON ROAD | ROLLING HILLS
This is truly “One of a Kind” in the gated city of Rolling Hills. There is loads of space for the family and friends in this 5 Bedroom 6 Bath home
surrounded by lush greenery and uniquely designed pool & spa with view. The entrance off Chuckwagon has a custom designed driveway with plenty
of space for additional cars and a 3-car garage with direct access to the home. Other special features of the home include skylights, cam lighting, parquet
wood flooring, inside laundry room with sink and storage galore.
• 5571 sq ft (per assessor)
• 108,225 sq ft lot (per assessor)
• Built in 1987
• 5 Bedrooms
• 6 Baths (Each bedroom has a private full bath plus Powder Room)
• Exquisite wood paneled library with custom bookcases & cabinetry
• Formal Living Room with soaring cathedral ceilings & dramatic fireplace
• Formal Dining Room with French door access to private outdoor patio
• French doors throughout the home leading to professionally
landscaped yard with pool & BBQ area
• Gourmet Kitchen including 3 ovens, 2 dishwashers, warming drawer,
microwave, subzero refrigerator and loads of cabinets & pantry
• Family Room is located adjacent to kitchen featuring fireplace,
professional wet bar and soaring wood cathedral ceiling
• Spacious Master Bedroom features a dramatic fireplace and adjacent
office and Tatami Room. Master Bath includes double vanities, spa
tub, double stall shower and 3 closets.
OFFERED AT $3,999,000
Call Phyllis for All
Your Real Estate Needs!
S P O T L I G H T O N T H E H I L L
Champion of Business award
Richard Lundquist was presented with the
City of El Segundo Champion of Business
award at a dinner this month at Vistamar
School. Over the past four decades,
Lundquist’s Continental Development has
built over five million square feet of office
and retail space, much of it within El Segundo’s
5.4 square miles. Lundquist’s contributions
to El Segundo have been
philanthropic as well. For the past 12 years
he has chaired the El Segundo Education
Foundation. Lundquist recently contributed
$1 million toward the construction of a $14
million aquatic center to be used by the El Segundo
and Wiseburn high schools and the
PHOTOS BY KEVIN CODY
1. Council member Michael Dugan, Mayor Pro
Tem Drew Boyles, council member Don Brann,
Mayor Suzanne Fuentes, LA Rams’ Kevin Demoff,
council member Carol Pirsztuk, Barbara Voss,
economic development manager; Al Keahi, EDAC
chair, Richard Lundquist honoree and President of
Continental Development, Supervisor Don Knabe
and Scott Houston, West Basin.
2. Jeff Wilson, Bill Fisher, Jill Brunkhardt, Steve
Napolitano and Ron Swanson.
3. Christina O’Brien, Bob Tarnofsky and Don
4. Jim and Andrea Sala and Ann O’Brien.
5. Jeff Wilson and Bob Healey.
6. Jeff and Vickie Cutler.
7. Supervisor Don Knabe, Vistamar student Jaxon
Williams-Bellamy and Vistamar Head of School Dr.
8. Economic Development Advisory Council chair
9. Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff.
10. Tim Sirichoke, Kite Pharma vice president of
manufacturing, accepts the Big Ideas Award from
11. Richard Lundquist.
12. El Segundo councilman Drew Boyles.
64 Peninsula • November 2016
CASA DE MARGARITA
In Monte Malaga
Good from year one
1415 VIA MARGARITA, PVE
Refreshed, remodeled and ready for the 21st century! This charming, ocean view 5 bedroom, 4 bath +
family room + den home has been tastefully re-imagined and appointed to fulfill the needs of a growing
family or anyone desiring a “move-in-ready” home. The house has an open, highly functional floor plan of
3,570 sq. ft. and the lot has 103 ft. of frontage and a total of 16,579 sq. ft., with room for a pool. Situated
on a wide, quiet street in the heart of Monte Malaga, this beautiful home is close to shops and restaurants
and award winning schools.
Offered at $1,995,000
n Good Stuff’s Chase Bennett welcomes
guest to the first anniversary of
his Peninsula Promenade restaurant.
The family-owned restaurant group
began on The Strand in Hermosa
Beach, specializing in healthy food
long before the farm to table trend.
Good Stuff has kept up with the times.
It now offers six craft beers on tap.
Photo by Stephanie Cartozian
66 Peninsula • November 2016
57 EASTFIELD DRIVE | ROLLING HILLS
2 BEDROOMS | 2 BATHROOMS | 2147 SQFT | LOT SIZE: 65307
Absolutely fabulous opportunity to own your slice of heaven! This adorable home is all ready to go. Situated in a
very private setting, you can sit on your very private patio and watch the beautiful sunsets and the horses graze. It
has high beamed ceilings, gorgeous crown moldings, hardwood floors, remodeled center island kitchen with breakfast
bar, Viking appliances, wine fridge and bar sink, large laundry room/pantry, remodeled baths, dual paned windows
and sliders, recessed lighting, living room with fireplace and dining room with fireplace, and charm, charm!
Re/Max Estate Properties
Re/Max Estate Properties
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Incoming Special Children’s League South Bay board members (first row)
Maria Ballinger, Jacqueline Dunton, Joyce Komatsu and Michele Dahlerbruch
and (second row) Paula Boothe, Monique Caine and Lori Delgado.
n The Special Children League’s annual benefit will be held November 18 at
the Palos Verdes Golf Club. SCL recently held its installation of officers and
awarded over $86,000 to charities and nonprofits. Recipients included United
Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, PVPUSD Special Education Services, Pediatric Therapy
Network, Ride to Fly, LA Dodgers Foundation - The Miracle League, Golden
Heart Ranch, Camp Paivika and US Adaptive Recreation Center. The SCL South
Bay Committee was founded in 1957 by a group of Palos Verdes women who
rallied around a friend whose child was born with cerebral palsy. They soon
formed an alliance with UCPLA. Some members have been with SCL for over 20
years. Those who have children with disabilities help create a better understanding
and appreciation of the needs of affected individuals and their families.
For more information visit SCLSouthBay.org. PEN
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by Richard Foss
Primo Italia chef Michaelangelo Aliaga. Photo by Brad Jacobson
Chef Aliaga’s in-house pastas and sausages and co-owner Lou Giovanetti’s voice make for magical meals
Somewhere you might go on a whim when nothing in the refrigerator
calls to you. Not all can manage this, of course. Some have too high a
price point or too formal an atmosphere, and others feature a cuisine
so arcane or confrontational that you may appreciate it only occasionally.
The cuisine that is right there at the top when it comes to impulse dining
is Italian. Think of how much money you’d have if you had one penny for
every time anyone in the world said, “I don’t feel like cooking, let’s go out
for pizza.” It’s comfort food even if you didn’t grow up with it, but restaurants
still make a statement about whether they’re special occasion only
with their decisions about ambiance and price point.
The new Primo Italia made an interesting decision in this regard. It looks
like a high-ticket restaurant, complete with a bar full of exotic bottles and
a grand piano in the corner. But just about every entree is below twenty
bucks. We had a large party to celebrate a birthday, so had a chance to order
an array of starters and entrees from across the spectrum.
The cooking by chef Michaelangelo Aliaga is authentic, rustic Italian with
pastas and sausages made in-house. So among our starters, we selected
grilled sausage with roasted bell peppers. I don’t usually order this because
I can make it at home, but that fresh sausage makes a heap of difference.
The texture is lighter, the garlic flavor fresher because it hasn’t oxidized
over time, and it is in every way superior. The sausage had been grilled and
sliced into eight thick coins rather than being sautéed with the peppers, so
there were different flavors to savor.
Our other starters were mussels in broth, grilled octopus, bruschetta, and
an arcane pasta called testaroli with pesto sauce. Testaroli is rarely seen in
restaurants because it is time-consuming to make. A thin batter is poured
into a very hot pan, then another pan is put on top of it very briefly. The
resulting pancake of pasta is then slashed into pieces and briefly boiled and
the result has a slightly rubbery exterior and spongy crepe-like interior. If
you expect standard pasta you may find this texture weird, but give it a
chance -– it’s like nothing else and it grows on you. The pesto sauce was on
the light side rather than a basil and garlic bomb, so you still taste the good
olive oil and wheat flavor.
The octopus was tasty but very misleadingly described. If you expect just
70 Peninsula • November 2016
the usual tentacles on a plate with a little garnish, you will think the wrong
item was delivered. The octopus here is one element of a dish that includes
potatoes, olives, and vegetables, served atop thick slices of red and green
heirloom tomatoes. It’s a well composed salad of hot and cold vegetables
with a fine balance of robust flavors, but people who would like it might
not order it and some people who order it won’t like it. I could have enjoyed
it as an entrée, because there were enough flavors that I could have
just kept eating.
There was nothing conceptually unusual about the bruschetta, though
the fact that they used housemade fresh bread elevated it a few notches.
One slice was topped with tomato slices and herbs, the others with musky
wild mushrooms and a garlicky artichoke heart mix. The mussels were
also exactly what they were supposed to be, a healthy amount of shellfish
in a broth that had some bell pepper and spice, with some more of that
good grilled bread.
We ordered two salads as an intermezzo, a fennel and orange with greens
and red onion and a peach and burrata with balsamic vinegar and olive
oil. Crisp raw fennel is delightful in salads and the orange brought out the
gentle anise-like sharpness. My only quibble is that I would have liked the
fennel pieces a little thinner or smaller so it would be easier to get a mix
of flavors. The peach and burrata salad was polarizing, with some people
at our table liking it as it was and others wishing the balsamic had been
on the side so they could have the exquisitely fresh, creamy cheese and
fruit by themselves. While I was in the former camp I understand the sentiment.
During the brief wait between courses, we enjoyed music by the very
good pianist, who was joined on Broadway standards by crooning co-owner
Lou Giovanetti. Lou is a constant presence and table-hops to say hello to
friends and be sure the service is working, and though his singing is superb
not all staff members have their act together, yet. At both our table and a
neighboring booth silverware was cleared with one course and not brought
with the next one, and the timing on refilling waters and other details was
not well synchronized. It’s a new operation so things will probably smooth
out soon, but for now there is room for improvement.
For entrees, we ordered lasagna, spaghetti carbonara, pappardelle with
wild boar, and veal saltimbocca with sage. Saltimbocca is Italian for “jump
in your mouth,” one of the most poetic food names ever, and this dish delivered.
It’s simple, thinly sliced meat rolled around sage leaves, wrapped
with prosciutto, fried and topped with white wine sauce, but when done
right the salty meats, lemon, and herb is superb. It was served with mashed
potatoes and broccolini, and despite my early fears about petite entrees it
was a fine full meal.
The three pastas all hit the spot, too.The lasagna was a particularly big
hit with everyone who tried it. It’s not the usual heavy, starchy brick of
carbs drenched in sauce. The noodles are thin and the delicate béchamel
sauce and cheese are used moderately. Let your expectations go and enjoy
this, because it’s a winner.
This brings me to the only place where Primo Italia is out of balance:
the wine list. All the pastas we ordered were under $20, and the saltimbocca
is one of the most expensive items at $28, which makes it odd that
the wine list has no bottles under $38 and escalates steadily from there.
Those bottles are superb quality, but there are some very good Italian, Argentine,
and Californian wines that would go well with this food and could
be sold for less. If Primo Italia aspires to be an everyday joy, they might
want to add a few more modest bottles to the list.
We had filled up on our appetizers and mains but had to try some
desserts around the table in honor of the birthday. So tried the tiramisu,
cannoli, bread pudding, and cheesecake. All were good but the cheesecake
was the standout, made with a rich and flavorful cheese rather than the
usual bland stuff. The topping of sliced, toasted almonds and strawberry
sauce with fresh berries made this a must-try item, and whetted my appetite
to sample more.
So is Primo Italia the restaurant that you can stop into on a whim? It’s
still a work in progress, but the outline is clear. They deliver high end food
at medium prices in a classy environment. You wouldn’t feel right there
in shorts and a T-shirt (though I presume they’d serve you), but if you want
to treat yourself just a bit, it’s worth the drive to Hillside Village.
Primo Italia is at 24590 Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance. Open daily 5
p.m., close 10 p.m. Mon-Thu, midnight Fr-Su. Full bar, parking in lot, some
vegetarian items. Food menu at eatprimo.com, phone 310-378-4288. PEN
November 2016 • Peninsula 71
S P O T L I G H T O N T H E H I L L
PHOTOS BY KEVIN CODY
Knabe thanks Peninsula
Wishes he could do more
There are times I wish I could stay on and be more
helpful,” 4th District Supervisor Don Knabe said
at the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce dinner
at Terranea two weeks ago. But the law says otherwise.
After 20 years as a county supervisor, Knabe
terms out in November. Julie, his wife of 48 years, also
said otherwise. She and her husband have enjoyed an
estimated 12,000 “rubber chicken” dinners during his
36 years of elected service, and that’s enough, she said
at the dinner. (For the record, Terranea served barbequed
ribs with risotto).
One of his proudest accomplishments, Knabe said, is
the Safe Surrender program established in 2001.
“It’s a no name, no shame, no blame. All the
mother or father has to do is bring the child
across the threshold of a hospital or a police or
fire station. They can’t leave the child in the
parking lot. Parents have 14 days to reclaim their
child. I’m so proud of the 142 mothers who have
had the guts to do the right thing,” Knabe said
of mothers who surrendered their children.
He said he is establishing a college scholarship
fund for the surrendered children.
Knabe was presented with the Palos Verdes
Citizen of the Year award, one of dozens of tributes
he has received as his final term winds
1. Peninsula magazine
and Don Knabe.
2. Don Knabe and
3. Don Knabe and
4. Terranea Managing
Director Terri A.
Haack and Don
5. Steve Napolitano
and Sherie Schier.
6. Don and Julie
Knabe (center) with
Kei and David Benoit.
7. Julie and Don
8. Don Knabe with
Chamber CEO Eileen
Hupp and Virginia
9. Julie and Don
Knabe with chamber
board members John
Polan, Teri Haack, Lili
Amino and Allen
72 Peninsula • November 2016
P E N I N S U L A
Continental Gourmet Market
12921 S. Prairie Ave.
NOW SERVING YOU IN 2 LOCATIONS!
With the great goodness of Mama
in Rolling Hills Estates, we now offer
our Cafe’ - a smaller version in Malaga Cove Plaza!
8 Pier Avenue
Specializing in Mama’s Spaghetti & Meatballs with
our newly inspired flatbreads, salads and more!
Join us for Lunch & Dinner Mon-Sat.
• Outdoor Patio Seating • Lots of Free Parking
Pho Hana Restaurant
For a wide variety of Vietnamese and Korean tastes, diners should visit Pho Hana in the
Peninsula Center! Owned and operated by Ruben and his wife, Chef Lisa, this venue offers
delicious noodle soups of ALL types, chicken, pork, seafood and vegetarian dishes. With
indoor and outdoor patio seating, Pho Hana is open 7 days a week. Call now to reserve
space for your holiday get-together! Enjoy their new lounge area!
55B Peninsula Center • Rolling Hills Estates • (310) 541-1227
36 Malaga Cove Plaza
Palos Verdes Estates
815 Deep Valley Drive
Rolling Hills Estates
November 2016 • Peninsula 73
74 Peninsula • November 2016
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
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 www.facebook.com/pvgrill
Authentic Fine Mexican Cuisine
Ask About Our Fresh Daily Specials!
Let Us Cater Mexican Flavor To Your
Home & Office!
Open Tues-Sun at 4pm
2325 Palos Verdes Drive West
Palos Verdes Estates, CA
November 2016 • Peninsula 75
76 Peninsula • November 2016
November 2016 • Peninsula 77
P E N I N S U L A
Continental Gourmet Market
25600 Narbonne Ave.
140 Pine Ave
313 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
PALOS VERDES ESTATES
Mama Terano Café
36 Malaga Cove Plaza
2325 PV Drive West
2325 PV Drive West
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
31250 Palos Verdes Dr. West
1712 S. Catalina Avenue
1701 S. Catalina Avenue
78 Peninsula • November 2016
P E N I N S U L A
Ragin’ Cajun Café
525 S. PCH
ROLLING HILLS ESTATES
El Pollo Inka
550 Deep Valley Dr., #201
815 Deep Valley Dr.
Pho Hana Restaurant
55 B Peninsula Center
Plates - An American Bistro
550 Deep Valley Dr. #145
Frida Mexican Cuisine at
Del Amo Fashion Center
21438 Hawthorne Blvd.
November 2016 • Peninsula 79
P E N I N S U L A
Suzy Zimmerman, Agent
Insurance Lic#: OF71296
4010 Palos Verdes Dr N, Suite
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
Kriss Light, M.F.T
“Working With The Creative
& Family Constellations”
302 W. Grand St. Suite 9
El Segundo, CA 90245
That’s when you can count on
I know life doesn’t come with a schedule.
That’s why at State Farm you can always
count on me for whatever you need –
GET TO A BETTER STATE.
CALL ME TODAY.
Belmont Village Senior Living
serves varying needs
n If you have reached an age to live the life you want, but unexpected health
changes have gotten in the way for you or your spouse, then Belmont Village Senior
Living may offer a solution for you, as a couple. Varying needs, either health
or memory loss, can be challenging for both, but especially for the spouse who
becomes the caregiver. Belmont’s tiered programs allow both partners to interact
with their peers socially and to maintain their own mental and physical fitness, nutrition,
spirituality and creativity. Ask about Belmont Village’s award-winning cognitive
care including Circle of Friends for residents with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
Take a tour or call for more information.
5701 Crestridge Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes
n Whether you are looking for Independent Living, Independent Living with some
services, Assisted Living with full services, or Skilled Nursing with 24 hour custodial
care, you’ll find a warm, inviting and caring community at The Canterbury. As
part of Episcopal Communities & Services, our not-for-profit philosophy guides our
mission to service people of all faiths and backgrounds. We have been earning
our fine reputation for over 30 years with our attention to care and lifestyle. The
happiness of our residents is what has led us to receive numerous awards. Come
and see for yourself why The Canterbury is a great place to live life to the fullest.
Our A-Fitch rating, the highest rating of a CCRC in the state of California, makes
us a superior choice for retirement living with comfort, care and financial security.
5801 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes
Comfort Keepers keeps life
n At Comfort Keepers, nothing is more important than helping people live full, independent
and dignified lives within the comfort of their own homes. Comfort
Keepers is dedicated to providing in-home care that enriches people’s lives and
helps them maintain the highest possible level of independent living and dignity.
Comfort Keepers in-home assistance includes companionship, meal preparation,
transportation to doctor appointments and other commitments. It may also include
personal care such as bathing, dressing and mobility. Families choose Comfort
Keepers for both extensive and short term care.
25124 Narbonne Avenue, Suite 101, Lomita
Kriss Light, LMFT
n There is a gift in the aging process -- the desire (and time) to look within. Parts
of ourselves having been pushed aside with the busyness of life can now show
an emerging desire to be experienced. A deeper look within can improve relationship
with ourselves and others, supporting successful transitions and a greater
ability to tolerate life's ups and downs. Together we create the space for a healing
conversation supporting introspection, self reflection, and a tender and compassionate
curiosity for our unique, one-of-a-kind individuality.
Kdlmft@aol.com. El Segundo. PEN
1101198.1 State Farm, Home Office, Bloomington, IL
80 Peninsula • November 2016
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
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.
at LKM have
over the last two
years about persistence,
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 | lkmlawfirm.com
November 2016 • Peninsula 81
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
"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
Advocacy for victims and families who have
been injured in bicycle accidents has become
a noted niche for the firm and its platform, Cal-
BikeLaw.com. 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,”
The firm also represents victims of injury and
wrongful death in all other types of vehicular accidents,
medical malpractice, elder abuse and
Agnew recently concluded a serious injury
case for a cyclist injured in Palos Verdes, and is
preparing for trial on a wrongful death elder
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
AGNEWBRUSAVICH | 20355 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90503 | (310) 793-1400 | email@example.com
82 Peninsula • November 2016
BETI TSAI BERGMAN
BUILDS PROBATE POWERHOUSE WITH PENINSULA LAW
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
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
by Peninsula Law’s
approach to its
clients. The testimonials
posted on Peninsula
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 | www.peninsulalaw.org
Moore, Bryan, Schroff & Inoue
Combining accomplishment with sensitivity to clients
he founding partners of Chris Moore, Sharon Bryan and Becky Schroff
routinely earn recognition 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 &
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. “I’m humbled
by the honor,” he said.
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 flowchart, 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,” 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 positions.”
* Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization;
** Certified Trusts & Estates Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of
Legal Specialization; + Chosen to 2016 Super Lawyers; ++ Chosen to 2015, 2016 and
2017 editions of Best Lawyers of America ©
Moore credits Bryan with “great instincts” that allow her to handle especially
difficult and emotional custody cases.
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, probate, 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,”
MOORE BRYAN SCHROFF & INOUE LLP | 21515 Hawthorne Boulevard, Suite 490, Torrance | (310) 540-8855 | mbsllp.com
November 2016 • Peninsula 83
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.
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 | www.bakerburtonlundy.com
84 Peninsula • November 2016
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November 2016 • Peninsula 85