Council District 15: Harbor City, the city not on the harbor
Harbor City, just like adjoining Harbor Gateway, doesn't touch the harbor; it begins at Sepulveda Boulevard, at the southernmost end of the shoestring strip that links the port districts with the rest of Los Angeles. Like the adjacent South Bay city of Lomita, it gets tonier in the portions that climb into the hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Much of the rest is suburban middle and working class, and residents there do their best to fend off the urban challenges that face the gateway area.
It's one of the collections of neighborhoods in Los Angeles' Council District 15, where Police Officer Joe Buscaino and state Assemblyman Warren Furutani are facing each other in a Jan. 17 City Council runoff.
Harbor City makes the news most often on the sports page, in reports on Narbonne High School's football games against rivals in San Pedro and Carson. For three years beginning in 2005, though, the big news was Reggie, an alligator apparently released illegally into Machado Lake at Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park. Reggie was eventually captured and moved to the Los Angeles Zoo.
The park is the remnant of a swampy area once known as Bixby Slough. Oil derricks once covered the area, which now is both valuable wildlife habitat and a pool of polluted urban runoff. It is the subject of a cleanup effort funded by Los Angeles residents through the landmark 2004 measure Proposition O. Today, the park is anchored on the east by Los Angeles Harbor College and on the west by a large Kaiser Permenente hospital and medical campus.
"You really have to live west of Western Ave. in Torrance and use Harbor City as a crime buffer zone. Even the criminals know that Torrance police profile the drivers and their cars."
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-- Robert Greene
Photos: Top, a Harbor City welcome. Credit: Robert Greene / Los Angeles Times. Bottom, then-Councilwoman Janice Hahn greets alligator wrangler Thomas "T-Bone" Quinn before a 2005 attempt to extract Reggie the Alligator from Lake Machado. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times.