Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation


“I highly recommend Always Best Care for every aspect from the ones seeking care for a loved one or themselves, all the way to the ones seeking an opportunity to care for a senior. I personally worked for ABC, and throughout my years with them I had the pleasure of interacting with the seniors as well as with the amazing caregivers. From the stories of a much more simpler time in the elders life to the reasons from a caregiver wanting to truly care for the seniors. (Most reasons are personal to them that have impacted their life and heart). This is truly a caring company with exceptional professional staff. It's hard to find a company that demonstrates both of those traits....”

Christina H.

“Always Best Care absolutely saved us when my father needed immediate assistance. Maria and team were extremely compassionate, responsive, informative and truly wanted us to feel comfortable with every small detail. The caretakers were all amazing and dependable. I truly cannot say enough positive things about the level of service provided by ABC as they helped us navigate this truly impossible time.”

Sascha B.

“I cannot say enough good things about Always Best Care in the South Bay. I was lucky to be referred to ABC when my Father suddenly needed in-home care several years ago and I hired ABC again a few months ago when my friend needed in-home care. The learning curve is steep when a family member is no longer independent. Having reliable, caring and professional caregivers is invaluable in getting through these challenges. Hiring the caregivers from ABC allowed me to be the "daughter" again. I absolutely could not have cared for my beloved Father or my dear friend without ABC by my side!”

Marta P.

“Always Best Care agency has been wonderful to work with. The caregivers they have provided to stay with my dear friend, who has dementia, have been outstanding. My husband, an MD, and I, an RN, have rather high standards and have found all of the caregivers to be professional, caring and extremely reliable (24/7 care in this case) They go above and beyond expectations. I have felt safe with the caregivers,as they are also down-to-earth; caring people. Dr. David Hart is the main point person in this family-run agency and he is not only a very caring person, he is extremely intelligent in his communication, yet very down-to earth at the same time. He is responsive to any issues that arise immediately…not only for the client, but also to his caregivers, who he genuinely cares about. That is perhaps why he attracts and retains such stellar employees, We feel very lucky to have found ABC Senior Care services. Ilene Watson, RN and Dr. Walter Watson,MD, Manhattan Beach, CA”

Ilene P.

“The senior in-home care was top notch. The caregivers were caring, comforting, and always available even with our requested schedule changes. Definitely would recommend to others in our family.”

D H.

“I attended the free family caregivers seminar presented by Dr. David Hart. The seminar was both informative and practical. Dr. Hart is very knowledgeable and practical as he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimers. He is an unusually caring person who is very approachable. I am grateful to know him and to know he is available whenever he might be needed.”

Ruth O.

“Dr David Hart has given me security to know that I can do it. He has such a caring and approachable demeanor. I feel I can call on him at any time for help with either one of us. Thank heavens he came along in our lives.”

Laurie D.

“My experience with ABC Senior Services has been uniformly positive, starting with participation in their Memory Club several years ago. My wife has Alzheimer's and the challenges are severe. ABC, notably Dr. David Hart, has been a terrific source of support and advice. They take the time to understand your individual needs and circumstances. This is a great resource for those of us in the South Bay.”

Joel T.

“This is a long overdue review and endorsement of Always Best Care-Torrance. My family is forever grateful for all the care given to my father for more than four years. From our initial meeting with Carrie and David to selecting the most wonderful caregiver that was with Dad to the end of his days. The love and support from everyone at ABC was so appreciated especially during some very difficult times. May God bless you always - You are truly special angels. Thank you all!”

Don V.

“I attended one of their monthly caregiver essentials workshop and found it incredibly informative. I now have a much better understanding of the disease progression, and have walked away with so many helpful resources. Attending made me aware that I do not have to struggle alone through this, there are support groups and resources available to assist me. Dr. David Hart is a compassionate person who is genuinely willing to help others navigate the path of caring for a loved one with dementia.”


“Carrie, David, and their team are terrific to work with. Carrie has been a lifesaver by helping us to quickly find a wonderful 24/7 board and care facility for our loved one who is suffering from both advanced dementia and a broken, severe arthritic neck. They have provided very capable temporary care givers to us to help with taking our loved one to doctor's appointments and during the time our loved one was being treated in the hospital. David has thoroughly educated us on all aspects of dementia and counseled the family members to help sort out their emotions during these difficult times. We strongly recommend Always Best Care South Bay to anyone needing advise, help, and services to find care facilities, care givers, and/or counseling.”

Raoul G.

“From the moment I first spoke to Mark Wecker at Always Best Care, he was kind, caring and extremely knowledgeable. He made sure to ask all the right questions to help my siblings and me find the perfect place for our father who had very advanced Parkinson's Disease. He took us to places that fit the high quality we were looking for and in our budget range. Mark showed genuine concern for us and my father. And he helped us navigate through a challenging situation. We made a great decision based on his expert advice. Unfortunately, my father passed away before we could bring him to LA. But I will always be grateful for the detailed attention we received from Mark and Always Best Care.”

Batsheva F.

“My son and I have received family counseling from Dr. Hart for nearly two years. We both suffer from PTSD, among other mental disabilities, and have been seen by a number of therapists over the years. We have found Dr. Hart’s care to be among the most helpful. He is kind, understanding, and patient. Rather than employing long term, traditional psychotherapy or other limited methods exclusively, he uses different approaches to break through a person’s natural resistance. He suggests interpretations of feelings and actions, asks questions that show real insight, and then gives practical and usually appropriate advice that can be accepted or discussed further. He has treated us with respect and even with a non-intrusive, kind of professional affection. We would recommend him to friends and family without hesitation.”

Andrew L.

“I'm glad I attended Dr. Hart's caregiver support workshop which focused on Alzheimer's disease. I knew then Always Best Care would be the right agency to handle my Dad's care. From the beginning to the end the staff were professional and courteous. My dad unfortunately decided to end services because of his stubbornness. Mark was understanding and expressed his concern for my Dad's wellbeing. He didn't push for us to continue services. I would work with ABC again if my father agrees to resume services. They definitely have your loved ones best interest in mind.”

G S.

“Experienced people, excellent service.”

Elsie M.

“I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Dr. David Hart for your elder-care needs. Dr. Hart is an incredibly knowledgeable and caring person who helped our family beyond measure to provide the best level of care for our mother who has Alzheimer's Disease. We engaged Dr. Hart to 1) conduct his own periodic assessments of our mother; 2) create a forum for our broader family, including our mom, to communicate and ask questions; 3) provide training and resources; and 4) help our family evaluate and implement an interim and long-term care plan for our mother. DR. HART EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS ON EVERY LEVEL. Prior to meeting Dr. Hart we had received a lot of conflicting information and our broader family was experiencing a very high level of stress and frustration. Thankfully, after engaging with Dr. Hart for several months, our family became knowledgeable, we communicated well with each other, and we just implemented a long-term care plan that addresses all of our mom's needs and one that she really enjoys. DR. HART IS THE BEST AND HE TRULY CARES ABOUT HIS PATIENTS AND THE FAMILIES HE WORKS WITH. Thank you Dr. Hart for all of you have done for our family. Words cannot express our gratitude.”

chris B.

“Dr Hart knows so much about dealing with issues that Alzheimer's creates for those who have the disease as well as those of us who are caretakers.”

Kaye T.

“Best in home care company in the South Bay & LA”

Michelle P.

“Mark Wecker provided us with invaluable help both in terms of finding appropriate board &scare homes for our loved one, and explaining how this whole senior placement business works. It turns out we were quite naïve about it being a "service" as it is very territorial! That made us all the more impressed with Mark's unselfish and caring approach to helping us meet our needs. He also took time to really listen to our criteria, asked great questions when he accompanied us to look at the homes, and only showed us places that met our standards. We recommend him highly to anyone!”

Ramona P.

““ I have been very happy with the excellent professional and loving care services ABC has provided for Kathleen who suffers from Alzheimer’s Dementia and the Andreoli family who cares for her. ABC is a full service provider that has also offered free seminars, consultation and information to me and my daughter who are Kathleen’s primary care takers. These have helped us greatly in this daunting task. THANK YOU – Leo Andreoli, Torrance, CA””

Leo A.

“My widowed 80-year-old mother who has Alzheimer's disease has been living alone for 3 years. She has been extremely resistant to having caregivers in her home and my brother and I had all but given up. We have been amazed at the progress we've made since enlisting the help of Dr. David Hart at Always Best Care. In a little over a month, Mom has accepted a caregiver and is considering a move to an assisted living facility. Equally important, the support and assistance we have received in making both large and small decisions has been invaluable and a huge relief. I also highly recommend the Caregiving Essentials class taught by Dr. Hart, which covers everything you need to know in a single 3-1/2 hour "bootcamp" session, including brain science, communication tips, and resources. (GPS shoe insert, who knew?!) The class would benefit anyone who has a friend or family member suffering from dementia.”

Linda S.

“I want to express how helpful Mark Wecker was to me and my family as we were looking for a place for my father to live. We needed to quickly move him from Kansas City to Los Angeles. Mark spent time with us to hear our needs and then appropriately guide us through this new challenging stage in our lives. His advice and dedicated time was so valuable and personable to us, I don't how we would have managed without him. Thank you again, Mark!”

David H.

“Thankful and grateful don’t seem quite good enough to express how I feel about Always Best Care South Bay and all the good work they do. They offer a support group run by Dr. David Hart. That group was my lifeline while I was caring for my husband. When it came time to place him in a memory care facility, they assisted me with that decision also. Dr. Hart and his team are extremely knowledgeable, always professional but most of all genuinely caring.”

Ann W.

“The attitude and professionalism of the management of a company is especially important in the field of elder care. I can think of no better way to express my experience with Always Best Care then to say the management and their hands on approach with the care givers they hire is 5 stars”

John D.

“Its always a pleasure working with a team that has their hearts and minds on the patient’s wellbeing. ABC is the way to go.”

David S.

“Always best care saved my life they have a great staff ready to assist 24/7 always available and reliable I highly recommend Always best care.”

Jennifer B.

“This company is very professional. All the staff is very experenced. They provide top notch care..The caregivers are also so professional on time and experenced.”

Christina 3.

“Very professional staff. Also my caregiver was awesome”

Atom F.

“Best In Home Care Company in the Southbay”


“Helpful, compassionate, and always available to assist. I appreciate Always Best Care so much!”


“The staff are friendly and professional every step of the way.”


“Mark Wecker provided us with invaluable help both in terms of finding appropriate board &scare homes for our loved one, and explaining how this whole senior placement business works. It turns out we were quite naïve about it being a "service" as it is very territorial! That made us all the more impressed with Mark's unselfish and caring approach to helping us meet our needs. He also took time to really listen to our criteria, asked great questions when he accompanied us to look at the homes, and only showed us places that met our standards. We recommend him highly to anyone!”

Jack P.

“Dr. Hart has been of monumental assistance to our family during a very difficult time. We first learned of Dr. David’s practice when mom was first diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). His support groups for families and patients offered comfort and practical advice from others going through the same experience. He provided essential information—facts about dementia and lifestyle changes to slow the process—based on the latest research findings, sparing us the time and frustration of navigating the web and sorting facts from myths. But most important to me has been the emotional support Dr. David has personally provided to my sister and I, and the trusting relationship he established with mom. His professional empathy and experience with human behavior as well as his expertise in the field of geriatrics and cognition combine to provide an array of servicesthat will truly make the difference toward a successful transition for elders and their families. I could not recommend Dr. Hart more highly!”

Eileen S.

“Over the last five years always best care has provided Home Care to several of my patients. I appreciate their case management did they include with their service. The patients and families have been very happy with the caregivers. Several have been able to take advantage of the driving service. I have referred numerous people to their caregiving course that is offered monthly.”

nancy G.

“I want to let you know how fortunate I feel that our lives intersected with your company and with those who work there. When I realized that we would be needing a company that provided caring care-providing services, I was hoping and praying that I would find a company like yours. We could not have asked for better with the service Always Best Care provided. Even when the chemistry and/or the timing wasn't quite right, adjustments were made and reasonably so. Carrie, that introductory talk you and I first had and why you started ABC -- I want to let you know that what you created and why you created it is evident. Some of Dad's caregivers go the extra mile and above and beyond and really give of themselves. They are really top notch people. I have heartfelt gratitude for your company and for your employees who cared for my dad during our time of need. Thank you not only for providing the service that your company does, but also and in particular, for the high quality of the service that some of your employees provided.”

Ky S.

“I am so very fortunate to be a part of a professional, caring and supportive company. We are all family here trying our very best to be a family for all the clients we work with. Our caregivers and staff try our best to help those families in need live a peacefully, fulfilling and loving life. If you want to have a dependable, reliable and gratifying career come and work with Always Best Care South Bay!!”

Julie M.

“I've worked for four agencies over the last 16 years but this is the best by far! Personable, supportive, compassionate, knowledgeable, and the greatest staff!”

Debora A.

“Great place to work”

Ruby J.
 In-Home Care Harbor City, CA

How does In-home Senior Care in Harbor City, CA work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Harbor City, CA

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Harbor City, CA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Harbor City, CA gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Harbor City, CA

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Harbor City,CA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Harbor City, CA

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Harbor City, CA

The Quiet Toll of Oil Drilling on Black Los Angeles

When Dominic Gibbs’ family moved to the Harbor City neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1990s, the young child had a lingering question for his mother: What is that massive 20-foot-tall pump next to our house?“I always think about when I first saw the pump, because I thought it was just something that happened in that movie, ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’” Gibbs remembered, referencing a 1960s TV show and 1993 film about a poor rural family that moves to the upscale California city after oil was discovered on ...

When Dominic Gibbs’ family moved to the Harbor City neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1990s, the young child had a lingering question for his mother: What is that massive 20-foot-tall pump next to our house?

“I always think about when I first saw the pump, because I thought it was just something that happened in that movie, ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’” Gibbs remembered, referencing a 1960s TV show and 1993 film about a poor rural family that moves to the upscale California city after oil was discovered on their property.

In fact, the bobbing heads of oil pump jacks can be seen in the midst of many residential neighborhoods across America’s second-largest city. They tower near parks where children play and along the sides of busy streets. Contrary to Gibbs’ childhood belief and popular understanding, LA is home to the largest urban network of oil and gas production in the U.S.

But that will soon change. In a unanimous decision this month, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban the creation of any new oil wells and phase out all oil drilling over the next 20 years. The move comes on the heels of a city ban on gas stoves in new residential and commercial buildings and a state law that requires all vehicles sold in California to be electric by 2035. The changes are an effort to accelerate the country’s shift toward clean energy, a commitment that will come at the expense of a massive source of revenue.

From an environmental and health perspective, the shift will disproportionately benefit Black and Latino Angelenos. Across the city, there are more than 5,000 oil and gas wells, and predominantly Black and Latino communities are home to a higher concentration of them compared to majority-white areas. The Gibbs’ family home, located in a neighborhood that has a Black population four times larger than the city’s average, sits on top of the third-largest oil field in the U.S.

A 2022 study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that the disparities in communities of color are not coincidental. Formerly redlined communities, created to enforce segregation and relegate Black residents to cities’ undesirable areas, are home to roughly twice as many oil and gas drilling sites as non-redlined, predominantly white communities.

Study Finds Oil Drilling Sites Linked to Redlining

The practice continues to disproportionately harm Black residents in other places, such as Kansas City, Missouri, and some cities with large Black populations, like Akron and Youngstown, Ohio, are even poised to expand the practice.

More than 1 million Black Americans are exposed to the invisible forms of pollution from oil drilling, including noise, air, and water pollution. Living near oil and gas drilling sites has been linked to higher rates of cancer, heart disease, severe respiratory illnesses, and depression. It also contributes to a significant health impact affecting Black communities: maternal health. Proximity to oil and gas wells is linked to birth complications, including preterm births, neural tube defects, and adverse reproductive outcomes, such as increased maternal mortality rates.

The decision to ban the long-standing practice is largely due to more than 25 years of community organizing, including a decade-long campaign from the STAND L.A. coalition, a collection of seven LA-based, Black and Latino-led environmental justice organizations.

The state’s oil industry, which has lobbied against the move for years, claims the action will erase a $250 million industry in LA, while negatively impacting 8,000 jobs associated with oil extraction and leaving the state more dependent on imported foreign oil. In October, the California Independent Petroleum Association, representing more than 300 oil and gas companies, wrote a letter to the LA City Council disputing claims of “detrimental health effects” from oil and gas drilling and production operations.

The City Council and community organizers, pointing to multiple studies showing the impacts of oil drilling on human health and the environment, have also highlighted analyses that show a national clean energy transition would create millions of jobs.

Many questions about the city’s ban remain unanswered, however, including detailed timelines of each drilling site’s closure, how land ownership rights will be handled, and, most notably for residents, how oil companies will ensure the proper capping of oil wells.

There are more than 3 million capped and idled oil wells in the U.S., which are collectively responsible for emitting 281,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere every year, a 2020 Reuters investigation found. More than 25% of California’s methane emissions come from leaking oil wells, a 2019 study found. Methane — the second-largest contributor to climate change — warms the planet by 86 times as much as carbon dioxide.

Last week, Capital B traveled through LA’s Black neighborhoods that are home to oil drilling to speak to residents about their experiences living next to oil wells, their expectations for the phasing-out process, and what they want to see replace these sites in the future.

Victoria Richardson, a resident of LA’s Harbor Gateway North neighborhood

Victoria Richardson’s intimate relationship with oil drilling began in 1997 when she moved to her home in LA’s Harbor Gateway North neighborhood, which is 45% Black. The oil well operating next door became quite a nuisance. At one point, heaps of oil poured over her yard from the drill site, ruining her furniture. Richardson says she was compensated for the damages, but some of the more unscrupulous impacts from the site are hard to put a dollar figure on.

“At the beginning, there were a lot of rats that infested my home from the oil field,” she told Capital B as the oil pump dipped up and down beside her home.

“The other major problem was the noise,” she said. “I’ve gotten accustomed to it now, but I still don’t open my windows at times because it’s so loud and the smell can be potent.”

As Richardson has learned about the impacts of oil drilling on human health, she has begun connecting the dots to her own life. Richardson, who has heart murmurs, and her husband regularly experience lightheadedness when the operator removes oil from the site.

“Living here, there are things that you just don’t think about, so it becomes normal, but it’s really not,” she said, referring to her neighborhood’s high concentration of oil wells. “It’s an impact every day, though, when you think about it.”

Looking toward the future, Richardson hopes that the city creates community meetings for residents so they can remain updated on the phasing-out process, with an emphasis on safeguarding current residents from any increased pollution if oil companies attempt to ramp up production before they’re forced to close wells for good. Once the oil wells are closed, she wouldn’t oppose developers building new homes on the land because of the city’s housing and homelessness issues.

Dominic Gibbs, a resident of LA’s Harbor City neighborhood

As a child, Dominic Gibbs’ neighborhood was defined by oil, he said. He lives in LA’s harbor area, home to the highest concentration of oil refineries west of Texas and the largest port in North America. Behind his home are railroad tracks that carry dozens of trains to and from the port every week, including oil trains.

At one point, there were more than 60 active oil wells in the half-square-mile community. Today, there are roughly two dozen, as oil pumps in the neighborhood have slowly been capped and idled over the last five years. Roughly two years ago, the oil well beside his home was decommissioned, opening up a number of plans for his family.

Gibbs said they have dreamed about buying the land around the idled oil well to extend the property for extended family. He would also love to see a community park for the neighborhood’s children or apartments to help tackle the area’s homelessness problems. “I feel like we deserve something here for all of us,” he said. “Something for the greater good.”

Like Richardson, Gibbs is especially concerned about the potential impacts of leaks on his community throughout the phasing-out process. An investigation by the FracTracker Alliance, an environmental organization, found that two idled oil wells in his neighborhood were leaking methane in August.

“We live here, and we’re so impacted, so we deserve to be included, especially if there was an instance where methane or something was leaking into the air that could be problematic for us.”

Harbor City Hospital: Beachhead for labor health care

When the Permanente Health Plan was made available to West Coast members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in 1950, it was a classic example of “be careful what you wish for.”The Permanente plan, robustly serving workers and families for Henry J. Kaiser’s home front industries, expanded to the public on July 21, 1945, less than a month before the end of World War II. It was a heady and challenging period, and labor unions were to become major group members of the postwar Permanente. Why? Because, for...

When the Permanente Health Plan was made available to West Coast members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in 1950, it was a classic example of “be careful what you wish for.”

The Permanente plan, robustly serving workers and families for Henry J. Kaiser’s home front industries, expanded to the public on July 21, 1945, less than a month before the end of World War II. It was a heady and challenging period, and labor unions were to become major group members of the postwar Permanente. Why? Because, for the first time, unions could negotiate health coverage.

The key legal ruling was the 1948 decision by the Seventh Circuit United States Court of Appeals in the case of Inland Steel Company vs the National Labor Relations Board. This precedent affirmed the legal obligation of employers in unionized companies to include health and welfare benefits as part of labor negotiations.

In 1950 The International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association requested the Permanente Health Plan provide care for all 22,500 of their workers up and down the West Coast; The ILWU became the first major group enrolled in the Health Plan.

At the insistence of ILWU leader Harry Bridges, Permanente was the only choice for the union members. This exclusivity violated Permanente policy that membership should be voluntary, which understandably caused some dissatisfaction with ILWU members. It wasn’t until 1954 that ILWU members were offered a choice of a second plan after Permanente consultant and economist Avram Yedidia convinced Bridges of the importance of dual choice; only 10 percent would leave Permanente.

But there was a problem with capacity. Bridges brought in thousands of new members to a plan that was recovering from a postwar slump and had limited facilities.

For the major ports of Oakland and San Francisco, where the Permanente hospital and clinics were already established, that wasn’t a problem. Looking north, ILWU members in Seattle got care through an agreement with the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound and other providers while Portland-Vancouver union members were served by Northern Permanente. Southern California would involve an estimated membership of more than 11,000 longshoremen, but the only Permanente hospital was at the Fontana Steel Mill, 60 miles from the ocean. Not exactly longshore territory.

Bridges wanted a Permanente facility in the San Pedro harbor area where there was a high concentration of members. His promise convinced Permanente that this is the time and the place to expand. Enter the Harbor City Hospital, proud pioneer of the Los Angeles South Bay service area.

Temporary facilities began immediately. A history compiled for the 60 th anniversary of the South Bay area described the first San Pedro clinic:

Dr. Ray Kay (founder of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group) and Medical Director Dr. Ira “Buck” Wallin found a working clinic at 599 W. Ninth St. (and Grand Avenue) already occupied by doctors who were, at first, willing to share space. They even agreed to help take care of the longshoremen after hours. That arrangement was short-lived, however. Spooked by the economic threat posed by group practice, the doctors in the community gave the cold shoulder to Wallin’s staff and anyone who associated with them professionally or socially. The 3 fee-for-service doctors with offices in the shared clinic buckled under the pressure and vacated the premises.

Permanente promised the ILWU that they would build a new hospital in the Wilmington-San Pedro area, but progress was slow. The new Kaiser Foundation Hospital in downtown Los Angeles broke ground in late 1951, and drew institutional resources away from the Harbor City facility.

Things came to a head when 5,000 cannery workers in the San Pedro area signed up with the Permanente plan at the end of 1953. The workers’ employers had wanted them to sign up with the California Physicians’ Service, a competing prepaid plan offered through the California Medical Association. This was during the period where the medical establishment disapproved of Permanente physicians, who were barred from facilities such as San Pedro Community Hospital. The ILWU had been waiting more than 2 years for their promised hospital, and were getting cranky.

1953 was also the year the scrappy Permanente clinic in Pittsburg, Calif., opened to serve the labor unions and local community.

By early 1955 a site had been purchased, a complex deal involving 3 parcels, each held by different owners. Clarence Mayhew, the most prominent architect of Kaiser Foundation hospitals, drew up plans for a bold and innovative 66-bed hospital. It featured “vast amounts of glass,” separate corridors for staff and the public, and the famous “baby-in-a-drawer.” The groundbreaking ceremony November 4, 1955, included elected officials, leaders of the ILWU, and the PMA.

On January 14, 1957, the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Harbor City at 1100 West Pacific Coast Highway, opened. It was hectic. At a 30-year celebration, Medical Administrator Pat Crowe reminisced “The day before we opened, carpenters were still making last-minute changes and final clean-up was not yet complete. Eighteen patients were admitted that afternoon and evening.” One of them was about to deliver her second child. At 1:54 a.m. on January 15 she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

The ILWU Dispatcher newspaper of February 15 added this under “Local 13 Man Launches New Harbor Hospital”: First patient in the new $1,000,000 Kaiser Foundation Harbor Hospital was ILWU Local 13 member Oscar Roberts, covered through the ILWU-PMA Welfare Program.

As with all the Permanente facilities, demand always pushed capacity. Sixteen beds were added in late 1958, and a 2-story clinic at 1050 West Pacific Coast Highway was built in 1959. Additional expansion happened in 1964, bringing bed capacity up to 121. 1969 saw further clinic expansion. A serious fire destroyed a section of the adjacent Parkview Medical Office Building in 1973.

Harry Shragg, MD, served at Harbor City from 1957 until 1968 as a surgeon, chief of the Department of Surgery, administrator of a community health care program for indigents, and medical director. In his oral history he recounted an epiphanic moment about Permanente medicine:

I was on call in the hospital one evening, and a black girl from Compton — which is a lower socio-economic level area — came into the emergency room with abdominal pain. I think she was 16 years old. And she was seen by a board-certified pediatrician, examined by a board-certified gynecologist, and examined by me, a board-certified surgeon. We took her to the operating room — she had appendicitis — and we operated on her. And the whole sequence of that one episode, to my mind, crystalized the merits, and the value, and the philosophy of this kind of practice, where the issue of whether one could afford it or not never arose… She was just a sick person who came in and needed help, and we just gave her what I thought was outstanding quality care… That was, to me, a very dramatic and very memorable occurrence, and I think that’s what it’s all about.

Service to working communities. Yes, that’s what it’s all about.

Harbor City Locals Create Food Pantry to Feed the Hungry

HARBOR CITY, Calif. – Renting a U-Haul and loading it up at the foodbank of Southern California in Long Beach has become a ritual every Thursday for Tim and Tricia Tucker of the non-profit City Lights Gateway Foundation."You know if you want to lead the people you got to feed the people," said Tim Tucker.Starting a food pantry in Harbor City was a long-time dream of Tricia's as she saw there was a need in their community.RELATED...

HARBOR CITY, Calif. – Renting a U-Haul and loading it up at the foodbank of Southern California in Long Beach has become a ritual every Thursday for Tim and Tricia Tucker of the non-profit City Lights Gateway Foundation.

"You know if you want to lead the people you got to feed the people," said Tim Tucker.

Starting a food pantry in Harbor City was a long-time dream of Tricia's as she saw there was a need in their community.

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"There's nothing local nearby for them to have easy access to food-even though they have churches nearby that does it once a month, but we do it once a week," said Tricia Tucker.

They began feeding the community in October. Once the U-Haul is packed, they leave for their second pickup location at New Challenge Ministries Food Bank in Torrance. This food bank has been around since 2005 and is considered the largest in the South Bay.

Tricia met its founder Pastor John Hernandez, who helps other food pantries with donations.

"I really believe that hunger is more of a crisis than homelessness, nobody's talking about that,” said Pastor John Hernandez.

But both are big problems.

In Council District 15, where Harbor City is located, there was a 47 percent increase in homelessness in 2019. In L.A. County, an estimated 2-million people live with food insecurity.

Tricia and Tim make their way back to their home to unload with the help of volunteers. On Saturday the items will be distributed.

"You see the satisfaction of being able to fulfill somebody's family's needs even though they don't have to tell us what they need but you can see it," said Tricia Tucker.

As Saturday arrives, volunteers pack up boxes, and people start showing up. It is also a time where Tricia gets to connect with members of the community.

"This company is right here in Torrance, it's a local company, let me know how it goes," said Tricia Tucker.

They will fed nearly 50 families in a day some those shelter, and some who live on the street, but doing their part to keep their community from going hungry.

The food pantry is open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1034 W. 252nd St, Harbor City, CA 90710.

New Harbor City Kaiser hospital features state-of-the-art technology

Awash in soothing shades of cool pastels, the new four-story North Hospital at Kaiser Permanente in Harbor City doesn’t look much like hospitals from earlier decades.The long-anticipated new building at Normandie Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway is set to open in February after nearly three years of construction. It will replace the old hospital building, constructed in the late 1950s, that stands next to the new tower and will come down over the next year to make room for more parking.Spurred on by state mandates that ha...

Awash in soothing shades of cool pastels, the new four-story North Hospital at Kaiser Permanente in Harbor City doesn’t look much like hospitals from earlier decades.

The long-anticipated new building at Normandie Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway is set to open in February after nearly three years of construction. It will replace the old hospital building, constructed in the late 1950s, that stands next to the new tower and will come down over the next year to make room for more parking.

Spurred on by state mandates that have increased seismic standards, along with a need to upgrade technology, the new building is part of an overall campus improvement project at Kaiser Permanente South Bay that is expected to cost about $440 million. Included are new outdoor park spaces, more parking and state-of-the-art medical services.

“Our members’ expectations are changing,” Chief Operating Officer Yvonne Rockwood said during a tour of the new facilities. “They expect the one-person (private) rooms, and they expect the technology.”

The new seismic standards forced hospitals to decide whether to replace or retrofit facilities. In many cases, new construction provided the less costly option, especially when other upgrades were needed anyway.

The new hospital features an expanded 24-hour emergency room with 39 private treatment areas, 140 private patient rooms, a state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging suite (including a digital breast center), the Wave Cafe with indoor and outdoor patio seating, and “room service-style meals” for patients with food made daily by Executive Chef Mitchel Ramos, of the Fig & Olive restaurant in Los Angeles, and his team of cooks.

“Everything in this hospital — from the nurses’ stations to meal service — has been patient-centered in its design,” said Dr. Barbara Carnes, area medical director.

Built to LEED Gold environmental standards, the 280,000-square-foot complex also includes a healing garden and Wi-Fi access for patients and visitors.

Floors are rubberized to provide easier working conditions for medical staff. Nurses’ stations are less centralized, giving staff better eye contact with rooms.

Signs are bilingual and hospital officials are especially trying to spread the word that the ER entrance will now be on Pacific Coast Highway, not at the back of the campus as before.

A surf-and-ocean theme is highlighted throughout the building, with wave, sand, whale and historic images from around the Port of Los Angeles and local beaches displayed on walls and etched into glass.

Specialty services will include an intensive care unit, inpatient dialysis, respiratory services, physical therapy and a bariatric unit with a surgery center.

In addition to meeting seismic standards, the new construction will help with demand, which is expected to grow now that health insurance is mandatory.

Kaiser Permanente South Bay, which is across the street from Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park and Machado Lake, is bordered by Pacific Coast Highway, Normandie Avenue and Vermont Avenue.

It’s the latest construction project to be completed by Kaiser.

In June 2013, a new three-story Kaiser facility was opened in Carson to improve its reach to nearly 200,000 members in the South Bay, Harbor Area and Long Beach.

The 180,000-square-foot Carson building — at 18600 S. Figueroa St. where offices of Nissan North America were — features a state-of-the-art dermatology department and an occupational health wing for those with work-related injuries.

Kaiser Permanente came to the Harbor Area in 1950 to serve longshoremen and their families, who still make up a good portion of the providers’ members.

A firm opening date hasn’t been announced and there is still plenty of work ahead, including transitioning patients and staff. Overseeing that will be Sherry Bearden, who also will direct practice drills as the transition draws closer.

South Bay history: Navigating Harbor City’s Five Points intersection has always been challenging

Head south down Vermont Avenue past Kenneth Malloy Harbor Regional Park, and you’ll soon reach a crossroads that gives you options. Lots of options.Make a hard right onto Anaheim Street and you’ll continue through Harbor City, headed for Lomita and Torrance. Bear right more gently and Palos Verdes Drive North will take you up onto the Peninsula. Bear slightly left and you’ll find yourself on San Pedro’s main drag, Gaffey Street. Finally, a hard left sends you the other way down Anaheim toward Wilmington and Lon...

Head south down Vermont Avenue past Kenneth Malloy Harbor Regional Park, and you’ll soon reach a crossroads that gives you options. Lots of options.

Make a hard right onto Anaheim Street and you’ll continue through Harbor City, headed for Lomita and Torrance. Bear right more gently and Palos Verdes Drive North will take you up onto the Peninsula. Bear slightly left and you’ll find yourself on San Pedro’s main drag, Gaffey Street. Finally, a hard left sends you the other way down Anaheim toward Wilmington and Long Beach.

Welcome to Five Points, one of the South Bay/Harbor Area’s wackiest intersections.

Archaeological and historical evidence suggests that a large Native American settlement once was situated near the Five Points intersection, and that the area once was a crossing for several major trails used by coastal Shoshonean tribes.

Hopefully, they had fewer gnarly traffic crashes there than did subsequent settlers.

Because of its harbor, San Pedro was among the earliest settlements in the Harbor Area, incorporating in 1888. (It disincorporated itself and became part of the city of Los Angeles in 1909.) Other smaller settlements began cropping up north of San Pedro and south of L.A., but for several decades those areas mostly consisted of farmland.

As Los Angeles Harbor development ramped up in the early 1900s, the need for roads connecting the port and its goods to points north became obvious. Of course, it went both ways, with port workers from cities such as Torrance in need of connection to San Pedro using eastside thoroughfares, such as Western and Vermont avenues

Developing this highway infrastructure that we take for granted today took time.

The last link connecting Western Avenue from Torrance to San Pedro wasn’t finished until 1950. By contrast, the Southern Pacific freight railroad link to San Pedro came early on, in 1881. The Pacific Electric red car began bringing passengers to the port in 1904.

Anaheim Street had been established as an east-west artery between Long Beach and Wilmington in the 1880s. Vermont and Normandie were extensions of major north-south Los Angeles arteries. Palos Verdes Drive North came into the picture with the development of the Palos Verdes Peninsula during the mid-1920s.

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Anaheim St. traffic headed west passes through Five Points intersection, center, as Vermont Ave. traffic waits, left. Palos Verdes Drive North is beyond red traffic lights at right, while Gaffey St. lies beyond more distant traffic signals, center. August 2022. (Photo by Sam Gnerre)

These various planned thoroughfares didn’t start coming together in organized chaos until a series of construction projects received approval in 1929 and began in 1930. These included extending Gaffey Street from Channel Street up north to Anaheim Street and building Normandie and Vermont avenues south from 228th Street to Anaheim.

Work began on paving the Gaffey Street extension from Channel Street north to Anaheim in June 1930 and was completed that September.

North of Anaheim, the plan was for Normandie to veer east and merge into Vermont just north of Anaheim Street. But both had to be extended a considerable distance south first.

San Pedro businessman and land baron George Peck helped out on the extension northward in 1931 by deeding the right-of-way on the land he owned through which the expansion would run.

Traffic was a mess during all this construction, as one might imagine, with some sections of the roads involved, especially Anaheim, being closed for weeks at a time. But with the completion of its extension in July 1932, Vermont Avenue became the first continuous roadway connecting San Pedro to Los Angeles.

The fifth and final of the Five Points, the extension of Palos Verdes Drive North from the Peninsula eastward to link to the intersection, was approved in 1932 and completed in 1934.

It was all well and good for San Pedro to announce in 1936 the installation of a new “Welcome to San Pedro” sign at the gateway intersection. But once construction there was completed, it quickly became clear that traffic controls were what really were needed.

Crashes at the confusing intersection became commonplace.

In 1932, stop signs were installed at Gaffey and Anaheim. Improved lighting was added in 1936 to the formerly dark-at-night intersection, and there was much talk of improving safety there over the next few years.

Somehow, though, traffic signals weren’t installed until the U.S. Army demanded them in late 1943 to protect troops and defense workers trying to safely navigate the crossing. They became operational in January 1944 and seemed to help reduce crashes somewhat.

More attempts to improve the intersection came after the war.

The addition of a nearby bridge on Anaheim and new storm drains were aimed at reducing the flooding from nearby Bixby Slough that occurred at the intersection during rainy weather. Gaffey and Anaheim streets also were widened in 1946 to accommodate the heavy traffic in the area.

Improvements to the difficult traffic problems posed by the converging roadways have continued throughout the years.

The whole intersection might have been altered radically if a 1965 proposal for a coastal freeway through the South Bay had been adopted. The preferred route would have followed Anaheim Street right through the Five Points intersection. It was debated for several years, but the freeway idea was put to rest in the early 1970s.

From time to time, other proposals to improve traffic have been made. The idea of a roundabout, or traffic circle, similar to the Lakewood Boulevard roundabout in Long Beach has been tossed around for years. Detractors have said the Five Points site is too small for one and roundabouts, in general, pose unnecessarily dangerous traffic risks.

For now, Five Points remains a souped up, frequently redesigned, update of the traffic puzzle that first bedeviled traffic engineers – and drivers – in 1934.

Sources: Daily Breeze archives. Los Angeles Times archives. San Pedro: A Pictorial History, by Henry P. Silka, San Pedro Bay Historical Society, 1993. San Pedro News Pilot archives. Torrance Press Herald archives.

Note: Thanks to reader Angel Rodriguez for suggesting this topic.


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