Compiled by Holly Jenvey and Kamala Kirk

Perry “Huba Huba” Hernandez, a local fixture on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, passed away on March 22. Courtesy of Sunil Patel

Venice Beach street performing legend passes away from cancer

On March 22, Venice street performer Perry “Huba Huba” Hernandez passed away from prostate cancer.

Originally from Trinidad, Hernandez entertained visitors and tourists on the Venice Beach boardwalk for close to 40 years.
In a Facebook post, his daughter Andrea Hernandez said, “Today my dad crossed over to paradise. I want to celebrate his life and the strength he exhibited in his last days! God has been so awesome that he gave him one last birthday, which he spent in the company of his loved ones from different parts of the world. My dad loved every one of his children and grandchildren fiercely and we loved him right back. You will be forever embedded in our hearts. I’m so sad right now.”

A memorial service was held on March 28 for Hernandez on the Venice Beach boardwalk, where family members, friends and other street performers came to pay their respects and share their stories.

“Well-known by locals and well respected by other street performers, Perry managed to meld limbo dancing and glass walking into an entertaining and comedic visual spectacle,” shared Michael Simpson, a friend of Hernandez’s. “To say that he entertained thousands upon thousands would be an understatement. I became acquainted with Perry as a result of being one of his many spectators. Over the course of time, as I gradually got to know him and his history, that acquaintance morphed into friendship. I’m proud to have considered him my friend. He arguably possessed the biggest heart of the many street performers that inhabited the boardwalk over the years.”

Vista Del Mar welcomes Karriann Farrell Hinds, Esq. to director role

Karriann Farrell Hinds, Esq. was recently named Director of Government and Strategic Affairs by Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services.

Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services is proud to welcome Karriann Farrell Hinds, Esq. to the newly created position of director of government and strategic affairs.

Building on her multi-faceted career as an accomplished community leader, political appointee, successful attorney and passionate advocate for ensuring justice and equality for the underserved, Hinds will cultivate and champion new opportunities for the social service agency and those they serve.

For more than 100 years, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services has cared for Los Angeles’ most vulnerable children, providing a range of exceptional programs in education, mental health, autism, adoption, residential care, prevention and early intervention. It is one of LA’s most prominent resources for children’s mental health and is a Four-Star Charity Navigator rated organization.

“We are so excited to have Karriann join our Vista Family,” said Craig Prizant, Vista’s chief development and marketing officer. “She brings a wealth of experience to our agency and will help advocate tirelessly for our children, supporting initiatives that will have a positive impact on Vista’s community, short term and long.”

Hinds will work in alignment with Prizant, Vista CEO and president Lena Wilson, and the Government Relations Committee on the Board of Directors under the leadership of Laurie Konheim. Hinds will develop and coordinate government relations and public affairs strategies, monitor legislative and regulatory issues, and analyze pending policy proposals and the impact on Vista’s care community.

She will also fortify significant relationships with local, state and federal governing bodies and representatives, including city, county and school districts, public officials and their staff, national thought leaders and key stakeholders in order to enhance Vista’s partnerships, image and public awareness.

“I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of my mentors and those who walked before and beside me, working boundlessly to give voice, dignity, purpose and meaning to those in the community, too often unseen and unheard,” Hinds said. “I look forward to expanding Vista’s presence locally and nationally, shining the light on their unique and exceptional mental health, education and wraparound support programs and services. The need has never been greater; Vista’s leadership and comprehensive capabilities, never more critical.”

Brush Fire burns at Ballona Wetlands and Playa del Rey oil storage facility

On March 23, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) responded to a five-acre brush fire, which was first reported as a trash fire, at the Ballona Wetlands and Playa del Rey oil storage facility. It moved at a slow rate of speed under low wind conditions.

“A total of 54 firefighters battled through difficult access and heavy brush to extinguish the fire in two hours with no injuries reported,” said Erik Scott, captain and public information officer for LAFD.  “Due to the swift work of Los Angeles firefighters, the fire was held to five acres, kept wholly within the brush area at Ballona Creek.”
LAFD also provided water dropping helicopters and two hand crews to assist with the operation, Scott said. There were no injuries or structure damage reported.

Jonathan Coffin, a volunteer photographer for the Ballona Wetlands, was on site and assessed the damage of the fire. He said that the fire took place a quarter mile away from where RVs and camps are settled along Jefferson Boulevard and below the Playa del Rey Bluffs. He noted that the fire specifically didn’t take place at the corner of 5701.S Lincoln Blvd., but inside the area, where a location can’t be easily communicated.

“I suspect after the smoke has cleared, the fire was human caused, as it usually always is and not a natural occurrence,” Coffin said.

The fire was also near the Playa del Rey oil storage field, Loyola Marymount University and Facebook’s Playa del Rey Campus. The Playa del Rey oil storage field, located in the Ballona Wetlands,  has been a topic of controversy because residents are concerned about a potential blowout occurring in the future. The oil storage field is owned by SoCalGas, the national’s largest natural gas distribution utility, which is being pressured by Culver City’s City Council and Los Angeles City councilmembers to close the facility as it is a threat to the surrounding area.

Following the brush fire, the burn area is being examined by arson investigators to determine the cause.