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NAJEE’S NOTES: Benoit family stages Long Beach Jazz Festival

This month’s African-American business spotlight is on Rainbow Promotions, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in business.

Kimberly S. Benoit serves as president of Rainbow Promotions LLC. She is a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills and holds a degree in business.

Benoit oversees the day-to-day details of the company, the all-important following-up on specifics to be sure that all the pieces are efficiently in place. She is instrumental in developing marketing strategies and coordinating all aspects of event planning.

She provides the visionary force behind Rainbow’s projects. Over the years, Rainbow Promotions has set the precedent for keeping jazz alive and increasing public awareness of the art form. The Long Beach Jazz Festival, now in its 30th year, is one of the Southland’s premier music events of the summer.

Oswald Benoit Jr., Kim’s husband, serves as vice president and general manager in assisting in the day-to-day operation of the company. In their joint venture, he brings to the table careful analysis and solutions to artistic and business challenges.

Oswald has a military background, serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. His experience also includes more than 20 years of managerial history with jazz festivals as well as the Birdland West and Jazz Safari restaurant and nightclubs.

He also has previous experience as a network engineer in the telecommunications industry for companies such as MCI Worldcom Communications and Citibank, as well as the aerospace industry for Hughes Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft Companies.

Rainbow Promotions continues to create and maintain high quality in a professionally managed annual program of interactive special events and concerts in Long Beach as well as in other Southern California cities. Rainbow events are designed to ensure the participation of a greater number of local residents and tourists of all age groups and demographics throughout the year.

Rainbow Promotions will continue to be a champion for the preservation of jazz, creating and promoting the best in music concerts, festivals, and special events.

I have attended several Rainbow Promotion events over the last 25 years and look forward along with several thousand South L.A. residents to attending this weekend’s Long Beach Jazz Festival, which is an annual ritual for our community. The festival is Aug. 11-13, featuring jazz royalty that includes Boney James, Racelle Ferrell, Najee, and the legendary Bob James. Congratulation to the Benoit family for 30 years in business.

I was in City Hall this week and received the latest update on a critical community issue that is important to me and many South L.A. residents who live, work or use Los Angeles International Airport. Trying to get too the LAX has been a nightmare for myself and other travelers.

I have missed two flights in recent weeks due to traffic and the increased congestion. But after numerous complaints from travelers and residents, LAX eventually would have to do something. And to their credit, they responded with the Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP).

The plan would utilize an automated people mover that will connect LAX with the regional transportation system, an offsite consolidated rental car facility, as well as several improvements to the streets around LAX.

The rental car facility will cut down on passenger traffic by almost 30 percent in the various terminal areas, which means at least nearly 3,000 shuttle trips a day will not happen around streets surrounding LAX. That would be a welcome relief for travelers trying to make flights.

The LAMP proposal includes creation of viable alternatives to reach the airport. LAMP also will create more than 4,000 local construction jobs, with a commitment to hire one-third of the work force from the areas that are in a proximity to LAX or the city of Los Angeles.

As bad as our community needs more jobs, this LAMP project has been supported by nearly everyone. That includes community groups, labor, elected officials and travelers who use LAX.

With all this support, you would think it would be smooth sailing for the LAMP project. Wrong! The Parking Spot, located at 5701 W. Century Blvd., is trying to stop the LAMP project by misusing a law that is supposed to protect the environment.

The sole operator and owner of the Parking Spot has threatened a lawsuit by using the California Environmental Quality Act. What make this so crazy is that the corporate offices along with The Parking Spot on Sepulveda Boulevard is in support of the LAMP Project. This is nothing but a shakedown by a selfish money-hungry owner who could care less about the LAX community, it’s travelers or employees.

At the end of the day, one man is trying to shut this critical project down. And we can’t let him. More than 4,000 jobs are at stake, along with less traffic congestion. We must take a stand and protest this one man who only cares about making more money for himself. We can’t let him stop jobs or LAX community progress.

I encourage the entire activist community, LAX residents, employees, labor and elected officials to join our protest Aug. 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. at The Parking Spot, 5701 W. Century Blvd., Inglewood.

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