Thursday, March 11, 2010

Long Beach Port Roundup: Top Exec Departs, Park Named for ILWU Leader

After serving just under a year as one of the top executives at the Port of Long Beach, managing director of trade relations and port operations Alex Cherin has announced he will leave the port to form his own law firm. His last day at the port is Friday.

Cherin joined the port in November 2007 as the Executive Officer to the Board of Harbor Commissioners and was appointed to his current position in April 2009. Cherin moved to the port from City Hall, where he served as Assistant City Auditor. Prior to joining the city in May 2006, Cherin practiced trade and maritime law for more than a decade.

In his managing director role, Cherin oversaw the Port's Trade Relations and Port Operations Bureau, which includes the Communications, Trade Relations, Security and Maintenance Divisions. 

Cherin has said he is unsure of what type of law he will practice, but he hopes to open his firm's doors in Long Beach within the next several months.

In other Port of Long Beach news, city and International Longshore and Warehouse Union officials gathered last week to rechristen the Queen Mary Events Park – located on port property adjacent to the RMS Queen Mary attraction – to the Harry Bridges Memorial Park in honor of the legendary ILWU leader. Bridges, a founder of the dockers' union in the 1930s who went on to lead the union for nearly 40 years, helped transform the numerous disjointed maritime unions on the West Coast into one of the most powerful blue-collar unions in the United States.

Also in Port of Long Beach news, it was revealed this week that the same federal district judge who approved a settlement between the port and the American Trucking Associations over the port's Clean Truck Program will hear a challenge seeking to invalidate the settlement. The challenge was brought by the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Economy who have referred to the port/ATA agreement as a "backroom" deal.

The court approved agreement, which removed the port from ongoing ATA litigation against the Southern California ports' Clean Truck Program, allowed the port to move forward with environmental aspects of the truck program but eliminated certain portions of the program objected to and challenged in court by the ATA. The neighboring Port of Los Angeles is still fighting the ATA in court over its version of the Clean Truck Program, a case which heads to the courtroom in April.