Friday, June 30, 2006

Los Angeles Innovation

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

So, enjoy this true Angeleno innovation:

a wheelchair accessible motorcycle!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Projectile Prevention of Pursuits

Car chases in LA were once common place (as noted just recently). Then, the LAPD ""got smart"...
Still needing to test it further and train officers, the LAPD has a rocket-launched GPS transmitter that they can shoot out of their specially equipped patrol cars from 2 to 32 feet away from a vehicle of which they are in pursuit. It can also be activated remotely if the officer has stepped out of the patrol car during a stop and the suspects take off in their car. The key remote button can activate the "air-gun" to launch the adhesive encrusted GPS chip. It will stick to the targeted car until removed with a special chemical solution, and the position can be tracked remotely from helicopter or a safer distance (command post or even the station). Also, their are two "launches" per "launcher" - a low velocity charge and one with more power to go the farther distance. This will enhance the safety of officers, and the regular citizens by avoiding police chases through the city. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Dave Bullock at Metroblogging links to the details provided in Popular Science online.

Famous Buildings in Los Angeles (City)

Earlier this month, LAist began a series of "Why I want to see LA." On June 19th, they posted a post by JustAGirl from Holland, who asks, "I don't know any famous LA buildings. Are there any?"

To this, there were a few responses in the Comment section:

"smo" writes:
"Frank Ghery's Walt Disney Concert Hall
Frank Lloyd Wright's numerous buildings
All the modern case study homes: Neutra, Schindler, etc...(Los Angeles has the largest concentration of private modern homes anywhere!)
The Bradbury Building
Library Tower (Tallest building in the West)
Getty Center
Capitol Records Building
Mann Chinese Theatre
Watts Towers"

A good start, for sure.

Then, eecue writes,
"Um, City Hall? LA City Nerd where are you?

To that, I respond with the following:

In terms of "famous" Los Angeles Buildings, the above list (plus Dave's obvious City Hall) is a great start. I would also include:

the Theme Building at LAX
the Hollywood Bowl Shell
the Central Library
Union Station
Griffith Observatory
Farmers Market (clock tower)
Shrine Auditorium
Chait Day Building
Staples Center
Memorial Coliseum
Breed Street Temple
Buildings on Olvera Street
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Saint Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Anglino Heights homes
Biltmore Hotel
Bonaventure Hotel
Point Fermin Light House
Playboy Mansion (The late on time Hugh Hefner's home in Holmby Hills)
Scientology Celebrity Center (people know it!)
Mission San Fernando
Disney Concert Hall
St. Vibianas
St. Vincents
Pan Pacific Auditorium (what's left of it)
AAA Headquarters
Bullocks Wilshire
Dodger Stadium
the Magic Castle
the Getty House (official Mayoral Residence)
Theaters on Broadway
Pantages Theater
Wilshire Ebell
Getty Villa (which is Malibu adjacent, not in Malibu)
Sherman Oaks Galleria (culturally speaking)
Paramount Studios (at least the gates)
The Original Tommy's Shack
The Buildings at Heritage Square
The Ambassador Hotel - oh, wait...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Personal Fireworks in LA City: not in over 60 years

Just in case you didn't know:

Since 1943 (see image from the LA Times), it has been illegal to use, possess, and/or transport any kind of fireworks in the City of Los Angeles (without proper & official permits).

And this year, the City has a plan and the resources to deal with you, if you choose to defy the law.

More information on safe and legal Independence Day celebrations in Los Angeles can be found here.

If you are bent on risking injury, damage, and/or death and want to use fireworks, the following cities allow fireworks in Los Angeles County (from

Baldwin Park
Bell Gardens
El Monte
Hawaiian Gardens
Huntington Park
La Mirada
La Puente
Monterey Park
Pico Rivera
Santa Fe Springs
South El Monte
South Gate
Temple City

Besides the City of Los Angeles, unincorporated portions of the County also ban the pyrotechnics, as does:
Agoura Hills
Beverly Hills
Culver City
Diamond Bar
El Segundo
Hermosa Beach
Hidden Hills
La Canada Flintridge
La Habra Heights
La Verne
Long Beach
Manhattan Beach
Palos Verdes Estates
Rancho Palos Verdes
Redondo Beach
Rolling Hills
Rolling Hills Estates
San Dimas
San Fernando
San Marino
Santa Clarita
Santa Monica
Sierra Madre
Signal Hill
South Pasadena
West Covina
West Hollywood
Westlake Village

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Grand Crowd

Downtown Blogger Eric posts about the overcrowding of the Grand Performances downtown at California Plaza.

After offering a few suggestions for improvement, he says:
It's not ok to say that people need to get there earlier if they want to see the show. Downtown's population is growing, and people from elsewhere are continuing to recognize Downtown as a cultural destination. More people will come to these events and there needs to be a plan to accommodate them.
What's interesting to note here is 1) these cultural events are funded through the City's required Arts Development Fees for non-residential construction projects valued at over $500K (these are also the funds used to build MOCA), and 2) the non-profit organization that is Grand Performances has no control over the space - what really could be done? The answer would be simple: move the performances to another venue. That would be contradictory to why these events exist here to begin with.

I like the crowds; it shows success of the arts and places them in demand.

Go see one of the free events - it's worth it!
(It's also number 36 on the list of 225 ways to celebrate Los Angeles' 225th birthday!)

Image from Grand Performances.

City Limits

There is often a question of why the City of Los Angeles has the crazy borders that it does. Some make sense, like the Pacific Ocean or a singular street like Central or Western Avenues. But then, the are others that seem to make no sense.

Recently, there was a post that referred to the Museum of Jurassic Technology (MJT) as being located in Culver City. An easy mistake to make, especially since their website claims the erroneous locale. And though they may proclaim such a fallacy on their website, they are, in fact, in the City of Los Angeles - Palms, to be exact. If you call 911, the operator might be confused as to which Police Department to send, but you better believe when it comes to taxes and permits - it's an LA address.

This mistake is east to make, even for residents. Like other areas in the City, palms has a jagged border. The City, as most people know, has grown since 1850 from 25 square miles to just under 469 square miles today. Sometimes that growth produced some jagged edges. With the most recent border change just last year, areas of greater Los Angeles are still trying to be a part of the City. In fact, the City grew by almost 80 acres since 2000 (though, we did lose just over 30 acres in the same timeframe).

So, what's up with the area around Culver City? First, part of the confusion comes from the fact that the 90232 zip code, which is one of Culver City's two zip codes, includes a small portion of Los Angeles along Venice Boulevard in Palms (which includes the MJT). Also, the City line is not clear cut through streets like "along Venice Boulevard." In fact, in some places, both sides of Venice boulevard frontage are Los Angeles, and Culver City either starts with the parcel behind the first one or a few lots beyond. There are even cases, as with West Hollywood's border with Los Angeles, where lots are split!

Some will attest that Los Angeles City borders can sometimes be confusing. In 1911 and 1927 when the borders between Los Angeles and Culver City were established, things probably made sense. Times change, so maybe it's time that is confusing... or perhaps, change?

Special Feature:
You can see how & when portions of the city were added to the growing metropolis here.

Free Money for Community Projects!

Starting in July, the City will once again offer applications for Community Beautification Grants of up to $10,000 in a match for money, materials, or labor. This grant program has been going on since 1998 (modified from a program from Seattle, Washington) out of the Office of Community Beautification (formerly Operation Clean Sweep) via the City's Board of Public Works.

These grants are not complicated to apply for; and the paperwork is due in October, so you've got plenty of time. All communities - whether blighted or not - are eligible to apply. The applications are reviewed by others who either perform similar projects or have received grant funding through this program in the past. The best part about these grants is that the group receiving them does not have to be a non-profit. It can be any group of concerned neighbors working to improve their neighborhood. From community gardens to murals to trash cans to art work to map kiosks to pots on the street - these grants have truly empowered neighborhoods and made a lasting difference. This is one program that really makes the public dollar stretch.

Also, their former site has great resources for applicants or anyone wishing to undertake a project in their community.

Workshops to find out more about the Community Beautification Grants and how to complete the applications will be held starting July 18th (as listed below):

Zoning post update...

Sometimes, when a blogger posts, it can be done in haste. I know I always try to share useful, interesting, or new information; but sometimes, the post is done without full explanation (one drawback of being author, editor, and publisher!)
So, last week, I posted a brief blurb about zoning. Sure, I should have explained in more detail the points I referenced, but I didn't.

Thankfully, someone did. So, I give you the Planning Nerd: Mitch Glazer! I say this because he delves into the issue to clarify what I was talking about. Now, a lot of what he said I know, and I am glad that he, a more specific planning expert (as a planner) than I, has spelled out here what it's all about. Hopefully, he can add insight to further posts later on.

Thanks for clarification, Mitch.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Name Game: The Los Angeles Lakers

Lately, there has been buzz about the name of the potentially new NFL team to come - theoretically - to Los Angeles. That question of a new team's name, along with recent criticism of our current hometown team, I had to look to see if the Lakers name is appropriate, and I think it is.

Looking just at the City of LA, we have over 20 lakes and still bodies of water. So, though the Lakers came here from the "Land of a Thousand Lakes," in our urban metropolis having 23 lakes & bodies of water is quite impressive. (Remember, we're not counting all those backyard pools, elaborate fountains [think The Grove], reflection ponds, and coy ponds scattered throughout the City.)

So, below is the list of "lakes" in the City, most of which are either reservoirs or glorified (& enhanced) former swamps and "low spots":

Lake Machado, Harbor City (made popular by the elusive "Reggie the Alligator")

Lincoln Park Lake (formerly East Lake), Lincoln Heights

Lake Balboa, Sepulveda Basin (Encino/Van Nuys)

MacArthur Park Lake (formerly West Lake), MacArthur Park

Echo Park Lake, Echo Park

Stone Canyon Reservoir, Bel Air

Franklin Canyon Reservoir, Los Angeles ("Beverly Hills Adjacent")

Lake Hollywood (Hollywood Reservoir), Hollywood

Eagle Rock Reservoir, Eagle Rock

Los Angeles Japanese Garden lakes, Sepulveda Basin, Van Nuys

Los Angeles Reservoir, Sylmar

Girard Reservoir

Hollenbeck Lake, Boyle Heights

Reseda Park Lake, Reseda

Encino Reservoir, Encino

Ernest Debs Park Reservoir (pond), Montecito Heights

Toluca Lake (there are actually 2 of them: one in the L.A. community of Toluca Lake and a smaller one in Burbank)

Silver Lake Reservoir, Silver Lake (also the Ivanhoe Reservoir adjacent to it)

Del Rey Lagoon

Rowena Reservoir, Franklin Hills

Chatsworth Reservoir, Chatsworth (now dry with a small nature pond)

Pond (in the shape of a "Mexican guitar") from a natural spring at Los Encinos State Park, Encino

Hansen Dam Lake, Lake View Terrace

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More Palms... (love that name!) has an appropriate, yet limited photo tour of one of my favorite communities in Los Angeles: Palms.

I think I would add some of the things I've mentioned in the past...

Palms history
Kings' Daughters school
The intersection of National & National (at the end of the post)
a potential annual celebration

If only all of the City's various communities would have fans like this!

Voice of Los Angeles

Today, LAObserved points out that Al Martinez, longtime LA Times columnist is donating his papers to the Huntington Library. His collection will join that of the late, legendary columnist Jack Smith, whose papers are also there (along with the Times' corporate archive), according to the Huntington's release.

What this brings up is the preservation of the Voice of Los Angeles. It can be said that Jack Smith captured the essence of the City in his columns. Al Martinez picked up where he left off (to a slightly lesser degree) with telling stories that I've read in his collections like Ashes in the Rain. But where are we now?

I would argue to say that Steve Lopez does not quite capture the Voice of Los Angeles. He writes columns that are thought provoking, but they do not encapsulate the essence of the City on June 21, 2006. Looking back ,you can read Jack Smith's Columns of the 1970s and know Los Angeles of that era. In collections of writings on the City, Smith's works are often included to give the modern perspective to that of the historic text of Fr. Crespi's diary. So, who does that today?

Who is telling the City's story today?

Who is our commentator that is objective but honest? Who is the Jack Smith of the 21st Century? Sure, we have blogs like this one, but do they actually tell the story of the City or merely synthesize it. LA Observed does break news for the world on the media comings and goings, but Kevin Roderick isn't capturing the City. Mayor Sam tells of politics, but it doesn't illuminate our City. And our friends at LAist and and - they all have a niche as well. But who tells the story of the City?

Who can tell of Sweet Alice Harris in Watts and Professor Gomez-Quinones at UCLA? What about the Honorary Mayor of Griffith Park, Louis Alvarado and proponents of Equestrian lifestyle in Los Angeles? Sure, Dennis McCarthy will share the inspiring story of a person or group and Steve Lopez points us to the social responsibility of the City - but who captures the essence of the City for us?

In a mere 5 years, who can we look to for answers on what happened today? Not just in the mainstream media, but in the neighborhoods of West Adams or Mid-Wilshire or Beverlywood... or the communities of University Heights, Hermon, Garvanza, Del Rey, and Laurel Grove? What's up in Wilmington? Beyond politics, are we watching our city? We need to capture this city in text - because in 30 ears when the DVDs have morphed into a new form, and the tragic fire takes out this archive or that and the format of the machine that reads the transcripts from "old" websites shifts - we'll only have our books. (Maybe we should look to our Library System. Then again, do the people know that Fontayne Holmes is here to serve the people, too?)

I don't know the answer, but I know we need one.

Collectively, we must tell the story of the City and be the Voice of LA. But are we? We should.

Once upon a time in Los Angeles...

Photo from the Santa Monica Rotary Club.

"Design Out Crime" revisited

Today's LA Times reports that the LAPD is recommending a special unit to address the design of new buildings "to help prevent crime, including, in some cases, the use of extensive lighting and surveillance cameras."

This is interesting because, in July of 1995, then-Councilwoman Laura Chick presented the same idea and had it approved (and funded for $25,000 to develop the materials) by the City Council. They developed and adopted program guidelines, but they never made it a requirement. The program has had information on the LAPD's website already and a printed booklet, but that's as far as it went.

Part of the approved motion of 1995 was to "direct the Department of Building and Safety, with the assistance of the Police Department, to initiate proceedings to incorporate the provisions of the California Model Building Security Ordinance as shown on the Ccl file, into the City's Municipal Code," but that never came to fruition. Fast forward to 11 years later...

In February of this year, Councilman Tony Cardenas submitted a motion that called for a report back from Building & Safety, LAPD, etc. on the ability to make these design elements a requirement. Hence, the Police Commission has responded with the request for a specialized unit. LAPD has expressed concern that the council won't go for it because it will take officers off the street - my question: shouldn't planners be the ones working with designers and enforcing these codes, not LAPD sworn officers? This is why we have building inspectors and plan checkers. No impact to LAPD.

So, I guess another question would be: why the renewed interest all of the sudden? Or did someone drop the ball with the program over the last 10 years and Asst. Chief Gascon wants to "come up" with the idea again?

It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out in City Council...

Entertainment Capital of LA?

So, as an L.A. City Nerd, I take notice of what things claim to be in relation to the City. Lately, NBC-Universal's Universal Studios Hollywood has been claiming to be the "Entertainment Capital of L.A." Now, I always thought that Hollywood - or maybe Burbank - was the Entertainment Capital. But, maybe Universal City, a mostly unincorporated portion of LA County, is the geographic center of the Entertainment Capital of Los Angeles, and therefore, the world.

What I find disenchanting is the claim that their commercial makes that all of Los Angeles flocks to Universal Studios.

According to Variety, the ad campaign is designed by Brentwood-based firm David & Goliath. From Hollywood (Hollywood Boulevard, Gardner Street) to the Westside (405, PHC) to Downtown (6th Street Bridge over the LA River), people are hitchhiking their way to the Cahuenga Pass Lankershim offramp. I admit I appreciate seeing real Los Angeles locations as they claim geographic superiority to the rest of the region - at least they're not using sets. They are truly marketing to us locals, as AdWeek reveals (subscription required). If that wasn't enough, in their competition with Disneyland, the #1 theme park in the region, Universal will offer a free shuttle from Anaheim to Universal City starting July 1.

I haven't been to Universal Studios in years, and these ads don't make me want to go back. But, they do make me want to further explore the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. I need to take a walk down Hollywood Boulevard again soon... I think it's been a little over a month since I last passed over Carl Laemmle's Star.

Monday, June 19, 2006

LA establishes zoning!

Did you know that Los Angeles was the first large city in the nation to adopt zoning ordinances that distinguish between residential and commercial properties?

Now, if they could only figure out how to stick to the zoning, we wouldn't have issues with variances. Then, everyone would get along, and there would be no need for discussions on inclusionary zoning, eminent domain, condo conversions, etc.

So, if the City invented it, I guess the City can ignore it, too.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

So you wanna be a Sister City?

With the recent (& past) online discussion of Los Angeles' Sister Cities, I thought I'd share with you the official process to become a Sister City to Los Angeles. Here are the 12 steps (yes, this is a 12-step program!) to becoming a Sister City. Right now, Beirut, Lebanon is at about Step 10, and the process should be finished by the end of the summer. When it is complete, it will be the 22nd Sister City to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Sister City Adoption Procedures

Sister Cities are established by City Council resolution. The programs for each sister city are run by volunteer citizens committees whose appointments are confirmed by the City Council. The City's sister city adoption procedures were established by a Council Resolution (Timberlake-Gibson) adopted on October 1, 1964 (C.F. 103,908 Sup. i). There is no City
ordinance, code or Charter provision regarding sister cities. The procedures set forth in the Resolution were based on recommendations of the Town Affiliation Association (Sister Cities International), an organization which helps to coordinate the establishment of sister city relationships. The procedures are summarized below:

1. The Mayor, City Council or other group or agency proposes creation of sister city relationship with a particular city.
2. The proposal is considered by the City Council's Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
3. The Intergovernmental Relations Committee asks the Council to approve the establishment of a steering committee (for each city) whose job it will be to study the proposal and recommend whether or not to adopt a particular city.
4. When the Council authorizes establishment of a steering committee, the Mayor and Councilmembers suggest names of persons for appointment to the steering committee.
5. The Intergovernmental Relations Committee, based on these suggestions, recommends a panel of members for the steering committee.
6. The City Council approves these recommendations and establishes the steering committee.
7. The steering committee reviews the relationships between Los Angeles and the potential sister city. Sister Cities International and the U. S. Information Agency are consulted with for review, advice and to avoid possible duplication in cases where a sister city relationship already exists with another American city.
8. The steering committee reports its findings and recommendations to the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
9. A permanent sister city committee is established in the city wishing to be adopted by Los Angeles (Mayor's letter, 8-1-83).
10. Official acknowledgment is received from the Mayor or governing body of the prospective sister city agreeing to a sister city relationship with Los Angeles. (City Clerk's letter, 7-18-83, C.F. 83-1187)
11. The Intergovernmental Relations Committee recommends adoption of the sister city.
12. The Council adopts a resolution formally agreeing to the sister city relationship and a permanent committee is established in Los Angeles for the sister city. The permanent committee is established in the same manner as the steering committee. The permanent committee develops programs and projects of mutual benefit for Los Angeles and the sister city.

Note: Mayor Sam's Sister City does not follow these same procedures!

Cultural Affairs loses head...

It was only a matter of time...

Back in March, I knew it wasn't the last of the departures.

Late Friday, Department of Cultural Affairs General Manager Margie Reese announced her departure later this summer. Rumor is she is going to be taking a new position with the Ford Foundation working in relation to the Arts in Africa. Could it be she'll be joining Trust Africa?

This leaves yet another GM position for our Mayor to fill. This particular post has always been controversial from the time of Al Nodal due to competing arts interests and the management of a budget that is never big enough. Will they appoint an arts advocate who is "pro arts and culture" only or a department manager who understands the arts but knows how to run a department effectively, regardless of which department? This is the fine line of running a department like Cultural Affairs and could make the appointment more interesting than who takes over DONE, depending on how the Mayor handles it.

Remember, it was the arts community just a few years ago that raised hell for former-Mayor Hahn when they perceived arts funding would be eliminated or reduced in the budget of 2004/2005. What will their reaction be to this Mayor's new GM?

The cost of a Tourist or Convention

Rick Orlov writes this weekend about the Valley getting its share of TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) levied by the City. Councilwoman Wendy Greuel spoke out saying that the $600,000 generated in the Valley should be allocated to the San Fernando Valley Conference and Visitors Bureau, which is currently operated by the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. This would be in addition to the funding that LA, Inc. receives. (They promote themselves as "The Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau" [my italics].)

Two things to note...

First, it's interesting that this article comes out the day the Greuel is being honored as a "leader of the Valley" by the same organization seeking the funding at their annual fundraiser.

Second, what about all the other Convention and Visitors Bureaus that operate in the City of L.A. in support of their particular jurisdiction? Should they get the allocation of their funds separately from that of LA, Inc.'s funding. I guess the bigger question is: Does LA, Inc. utilize their $7.6 million allocation in the best interest of the City and its varied communities?

I wonder, does San Pedro, Hollywood, Chinatown, Venice, Downtownetc. need to have their money given to them for further self-promotion and attraction of visitors? I'm not saying the Valley shouldn't get its fair share of taxes generated, but I question the rationale behind funding LA, Inc. if they can't do the job they are supposed to be doing. If they were, then why would all these other CVBs have to work so hard without funding to do what LA, Inc. should be doing?

A few examples:

On their website, LA, Inc. lists only 4 Valley communities under their "Neighborhoods"” out of the over 20 that exist there; and for each one listed, only a handful of things to do are presented. Based on that, why would anyone want to visit the Valley?

The same is true for Beach Cities, only Venice is listed (no Palisades, San Pedro, Dockweiler, Mar Vista, Palms, etc.). Later, if you go 2 levels down, San Pedro has itineraries on the CruiseLA portal of the site, but not linked to the Neighborhood Itineraries where the rest of them are. Then, to get to "“things to do in San Pedro,"” you have to click on a link that takes you to the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce site. Maybe the funding should go there, instead of LA, Inc?

So, if you want to see arts in LA, their website has an "“Arts" section which suggests the usuals: LACMA, Getty, etc. But no mention of the NoHo Arts District, the Artists District downtown, the Brewery, Gallery Row, or San the Pedro Art Walks to name a few local arts scenes.

The site'’s "“On the Edge"” section has some great suggestions, but they are buried in text that is incongruous for the non-native to really comprehend. It would be frustrating to try to follow these itineraries, even though some decent places are listed.

This is definitely an issue that needs further investigation by the City. Don't even look to our neighbors of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Long Beach to see how effective their CVBs are. (I purposely did not link to them because the services they providbureauour bureua to shame; I mean, Beverly Hills has guided shopping tours through their visitors bureau!)

What could are millions of dollars going to a Tourism Bureau that can't even help the locals and their parents?

(and to put it all in perspective, look what was done to attract visitors in 1915.)

Another Sibling: Beirut!

Over at the LAist last night, Tony Pierce posts a list of Los Angeles' Sister Cities. This list is almost complete, except that Beirut, Lebanon is just about to be a Sister City, too. In fact, from June 29th to July 3rd, Councilmen Dennis Zine & Eric Garcetti will lead a L.A. City delegation to the Middle Eastern city once hailed as the "Paris of the Middle East" to secure the agreement needed to make the Sister City relationship official.

Originally put forth in 2005, the idea to form this Sister City relationship came from Councilman Zine, who is of Lebanese decent, because (as he wrote in his motion):
"Beirut shares many common characteristics with Los Angeles, including its diversity and tolerance for all groups, its great destination as a tourist attraction, its topography and geography with a beautiful rocky coastline, sandy beaches, mountains, rivers, and a climate similar to Los Angeles. These common attributes as well as a rich historic and cultural heritage, make it appropriate to consider making Beirut, Lebanon a sister city to Los Angeles. "

There is an official process to become a Sister City to Los Angeles and Beirut has only two steps to go; it should be official by the end of the summer if the City Council decides to take action on it.

The Steering Committee has set up a site to start to promote the Los Angeles-Beirut relationship. They have already had one official event, and I suspect more are on the way.

I guess the next logical question is: When will the new sign be added to the City's international sign post at 1st and Main Streets? Will the new City be adopted in time for the annual Sister City Festival?

Image above from Public Art in L.A.. Note: This is the second version of this pole sign. Originally, the countries were also listed, but due to issues related to Taipei, Taiwan vs. China.

Summer time city work

As the summer is here with longer days, many Angelenos will find themselves walking in their communities. (Yes, people do walk in L.A.!) As you take your evening stroll at 7 or 8pm while the sun is setting, take note of your neighborhood. Is there a low hanging branch blocking the sidewalk that causes you to duck or walk into the parkway or street? Is there standing water at the curb? Errant markings or graffiti? a sidewalk that needs to be fixed? a stump that needs removal?

Well, take note and report it. You could take your cell phone along and call it in to 311, or just note the location and the issue, and submit it online at the Bureau of Street Services' request page.

Just check the service that is needed and hit submit. You'll get an email confirmation that will allow you to follow-up or track the progress (of the longer term fixes like sidewalk repair and street resurfacing). Here's a tool you can use that is easy and, best of all, allows you to create a paper trail so you know the request was made.

Go ahead; give it a try!

Friday, June 16, 2006

King's Daughters & Las Floristas

In 1944, King's Daughter Nursery School, started in 1891, was the oldest nursery school in Los Angeles.

Today, the last remenants are at Keystone and Regent in Palms (as seen here).

What happened the school from its founding through its disappearance should be interesting, but all I know is that those details are not in any book or database I can find. I can't seem to find anything more than that the Las Floristas supported the King's Daughters Nursery school with their annual floral hat event in the 40s, for sure, and they helped them secure and develop the building & site that now remains in Palms. The Las Floristas still exist and put on their annual event (below), but King's Daughters seems to have fallen out of the picture.

Does anyone have any idea how these two got connected, when they broke apart, and why the old nursery school is now a Montessori School? Is this one of the oldest surviving buildings in Palms? (Most of the original buildings in Palms have been demolished and rebuilt.)

I look to George Garrigues, editor of the Palms Village Sun to hopefully fill in some gaps here. George?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shhh... it's the law!

The Echo Park Nerd (newly added to the "Neighborhood Nerds" on the right side of this page) has posted great (and accurate) information on construction noise and the rules that govern it.

I couldn't have done it better myself; well done!

He also links to some great resources that I suggest you try out.

San Pedro Nerds...

Well, I guess I asked for it, so hear they are. There is a group of San Pedro Nerds now being linked by this site at the Right hand column. Also, It appears that the Sherman Oaks Nerd has come back from hiatus - welcome to you both!

Original City Halls...

After posting about the original limits of Los Angeles at the time of its incorporation in 1850, I saw there was a question about the original locations of the previous City Halls. There were two locations prior to the curent, restored City Hall location...

According to an Adobe Resource page, during the Early American Period, the first City Hall was located on the west side of Spring Street between present day Temple Street and 1st Street. This building was established after incorporation in 1850 as a place for both the city council and the county supervisors to meet. It was located directly opposite (west) of where today stands the current City Hall. It was originally built as a residence by Antous Jose Rocha, who had come to L.A. from Portugal in 1815.

During the term of Mayor Edward F. Spence (1884 – 1886) a new City hall was built (pictured in the two images below) on Broadway & 2nd Streets. This remained the seat of city government until the current City Hall was opened in 1928.

Note that the logo of the Los Angeles City Historical Society (above) incorporates the footprint of the current and previous City Hall, as well as that of the Plaza Church.

225 Ways to Celebrate: 89 to 102

It's Thursday, so here is the next installment of 225 Ways to Celebrate LA's 225th Birthday:

89. Visit the only Library of Congress site outside of Washington, D.C. at the Disney Concert Hall and see the "Los Angeles Mapped" Exhibit.

90. Pick fruit from limbs hanging over on the public right-of-way to hearken back to the days of our agrarian pueblo.

91. Walk under Bunker Hill via the 3rd Street Tunnel to recall riding the Red Cars under Bunker Hill. (I'd suggest in the daytime.)

92. Visit the Four Corners of the original City of LA. You could try to walk the approximately 20-mile round trip, but traveling by car might be easier.

93. Visit the Museum of Neon Art in South Park.

94. Watch the line of planes come in from the east while driving on the 405 or 110 at night.

95. Take a walking (or any other kind of) tour offered by the Los Angeles Conservancy.

96. Participate in or attend the Dragon Boat Races at the annual Lotus Festival in Echo Park.

97. Climb the rocks at Stoney Point in Chatsworth and envision the old Stage Coach that came in over the Santa Susana Pass.

99. Spend an afternoon in Leimert Park.

100. Drive a guest from LAX down Century Boulevard, then south on the 405 to the Century Freeway to the 110 North to the Millennium Biltmore [10 Centuries] and then across the 10 to Century City & Visit the former 20th Century Fox Studios.

101. Get on the 101 northbound from Franklin eastbound by making an amazing U-turn maneuver.

102. Walk over and around the Shakespeare Bridge in Franklin Hills.

"225 Ways to Celebrate..." thus far:
56-78 (Griffith Park)
79-88 (Eric Garcetti)

Illustration by Michael Klein from "via"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Who we are in 500 years

Yesterday, I posted on the statues and busts of real people here in the City of L.A. I usually don't post a post in response to a post I already posted (follow me so far?), but I wanted to clarify why it's important to see the list of who we've immortalized for eternity. Think what we know of the Romans - we know they honored their leaders with statues and now who was important to them based on the collection left to posterity (us).

So, what does our collection reveal about the City? First we are a City consumed with the entertainment industry and Mexico - the majority of the statues & busts are people affiliated with one of those two categories (and sometimes, both). Then, you can look to one other re-occurring theme: Fr. Junipero Serra. From the Mission San Fernando to Olvera Street to educational institutions across the City, Fr. Serra is the most represented image in statuary in the City. Additionally, there are 2 busts of President Lincoln. By looking at this list, there are some true leaders & trail blazers honored with immortality from Leif Erikson to Columbus to Washington to Earhart to Mayor Tom Bradley. Also noteworthy beyond the Mexican influence, there is an international flair to the various sculptures. In fact, only a few are "home-grown heroes" with most either never setting foot in Los Angeles or being transplants to the City.

So what does this say about who we are as a City?

In a sentence, I would say:
This collection reveals us to be a Mexican-influenced, entertainment-centered, leading, international City.

True, I didn't need statues to tell me that, but in 500 years, they'll know it just by looking at the statues we have left to them.

Now, how do Mr. Mack & Mr. Patsouras - the two most recent Statue additions in the City - fit into this equation? Do they support the sentence above? Who would be next to get a Bust or Statue in this City? Will it be an Eli Broad? A political leader? a large donor to an institution? Will the next 500 of statue making follow the trend established thus far? My guess is that we'll see more celebrities cast in bronze before civic or political leaders.

The Four Corners of the Original City

Los Angeles didn't start out at 480 square miles. No, our fair City started out at a quite modest size of 25 Square miles. And today, you too can feel the smallness of our original City by visiting the four original corners of the City.

With 3 of them marked with plaques, the City's original borders' corners were easy:
Ernest S. Debs Park marks the northeast corner,

Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue mark the northwest corner,

Olympic Boulevard and Indiana Street mark the southeast corner, and

Exposition Boulevard and Figueroa Street mark the southwest corner.

All but the last location have plaques denoting the location as an original City corner by the L.A. City Historical Society.

And then, the City grew and grew and grew...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Life size statues of people in LA

There are a few life-size statues f real people in the City of Los Angeles that are out in public for the whole world to see. Some are prominently featured, some are part of larger collections, and some are hidden away for the viewer to "find." Here's the list of those of which I'm aware. Are there others in the City? in a building? a private collection?

County Court House/Civic Center:
Joseph Scott
George Washington
Christopher Columbus

Staples Center:
Ervin "Magic" Johnson
Wayne Gretsky

Olvera Street:
Fr. Junipero Serra
Carlos III, King of Spain
Don Felipe de Neve

Carthay Circle:
Daniel O. McCarthy, Pioneer

Lincoln Park:
Emiliano Zapata
El Cura Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
Florence Nightingale
Augustin Lara
Benito Juarez
Emperor Cuauhtemoc
Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon

Jeanne d'Arc (at the French Hospital)
Dr. Sun Yat-sen

Amelia Earhart (in North Hollywood Park at the corner of Magnolia and Tujunga, known as Amelia Earhart Square)
Lucille Ball
Jack Benny
Johnny Carson
Jackie Gleason ("smaller than life")

Isaiah (at the Jewish Home for the Aging)

Mission Hills:
Father Junipero Serra (at the Mission)

Charlie Chaplin
Mae West
Dorothy Dandridge
Anna May Wong
Dolores Del Rio
Marilyn Monroe ("smaller than life")

Van Nuys:

Thomas Star Middle School:
Kneeling Native American

Venice High School
Myrna Loy (currently being restored)

Loyola High School:
St. Ignatius Loyola
Fr. Junipero Serra

Fr. Junipero Serra

Jackie Robinson

Cal State LA:

Tommy Trojan
Fray Junipero Serra

Lafayette Park:
Marquis de Lafayette

Pershing Square:

John Wayne
Jules Bastien Lepage (LACMA)

MacArthur Park:
General MacArthur
General Harrison Gray Otis

San Pedro:
Stephen M. White

Griffth Park:
Col. Griffith J. Griffith

"Movie Cowboy" with lariat

Little Tokyo:
Sontuko (Kinjiro) Ninomiya - Peasant Sage of Japan
Shirnran Shonin
Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara

Besides the full-body statues above, there is a collection of busts of real people, as well, scattered across the City. Again, here is my list below; and again, fill in the missing pieces of real people made into busts:

Exposition Park:
Louis Kossuth (the Hungarian Patriot)

Civic Center:
Abraham Lincoln (Courthouse)
Benito Juárez (City Hall)
Margarita Maza Juárez (City Hall)
John Ferraro City Hall Council Chambers)
Tom Bradley (City Hall Tower)

Lincoln Park:
Abraham Lincoln
General Ignacio Zaragoza
Pancho Villa
Guadalupe Victoria
Lic. Jose Lopez Portillo
Dona Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez
J. Jesus Gonzalez Ortega
Venustiano Carranza
Lazaro Cardenas del Rio
Ramon Lopez Velarde

Griffith Park:
James Dean
Leif Erikson

Transit Gateway Building:
Nick Patsouras

John Marshall High School:
John Marshall

Windsor Square:
Harold A. Henry

Miracle Mile:
Captain Allan Hancock
A.W. Ross
Pierre de Wiessant (LACMA)

Carthay Circle:
Juan Bautista de Anza

Los Angeles Urban League:
John W. Mack

Echo Park:
Jose Marti

Ralph Bunche
Franklin D. Murphy

Rufus B. Von KleinSmid
Andres Bello
Gregor Piatigorsky
Zohrab Kaprelian

NoHo Arts District:
Danny Thomas
Bob Hope
Milton Berle
Red Skelton
Rod Serling
Eric Sevaried
Frank Stanton
Sylvester 'Pat' Weaver
Sid Ceasar
Mary Tyler Moore
Bill Cosby
Norman Lear
Ernie Kovacs
Joyce Hall
Leonard Goldenson
David Susskind
Fred Coe
Paddy Chayefsky
David Sarnoff
William S. Paley
Phil Donahue
Barbara Walters

The Library's site is also a good resource if you're looking for statues in the region.

Updated Links (over there -->)

I did my best to update my links at the right to reflect more accurately the blogs and sites I read. I've added a few that were missing and moved some around, too.

Here are the newest ones on my list:
Metro Rider Nerd
LAPD Nerds
Traffic Sucks Nerd
Kuaptic Nerd
CD13 & CD11 Nerds (both City Councilmen have blogs on their sites that are rather amusing)
LA Fire Photo Nerds
Central City East Nerd
(I also added the Life & Times blog link under Media.)

Sadly, though, I had to delete what I thought would be one of my favorite linked sites: Bob Hertznerd ( - it's dead.

Then, there are a few that promise to return but, for now, have not been updated in a while. I moved them to hiatus...
Los Feliz Nerd
Sherman Oaks Nerd
Valley Days Nerd

Is there any other blog that I should be reading but I'm not?

Also, there seems to be such a large concentration of blogs and LA-centric sites based in the east, central & Westside of the city. Silver Lake to Echo Park to Downtown to Hollywood to Eagle Rock to Lincoln Heights - these communities are well represented. The Valley has it's fair share of representation as well (though not proportionally to its size!), but what's surprising is the lack of sites and posts relating to the areas generally around and south of the 10, except for South Central Farmers, LAX Issues, & the occasional tragedy or film. I do my best to present all of the City, but it's not easy when no one else talks about Willowbrook, Harbor Gateway, Westchester, West Adams, Baldwin Hills, Watts, Athens-on-the-Hill, Wilmington, etc. And we don't hear much from areas like Pico-Union, MacArthur Park, Carthay Circle, etc. either. So, look around our great City and show the fullest picture. And please, let me know if there are blogs or sites out there with regular community updates relating to the other parts of the City.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Natural History Museum moving on...

Recently, there is talk of the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park moving on. It's interesting, though, to note that this wouldn't be the first museum to leave. As you might recall, the City's Art Museum was also once in the park - the birthplace of LACMA.

It would be a shame if the museum left, but like the Children's Museum found out, the only place to find the space enough for the size of the museum needed outside of Expo Park would be in the Valley, which isn't always a bad thing.

If the Museum of Natural History was to move, I would put it in a few potential places:

1. Logically, on Museum Row in the Miracle Mile (the vacant parking lot across Wilshire from LACMA>

2. In Lincoln Heights near Lincoln Park or The Brewery (shared parking?)

3. In the Valley in NoHo (transit hub) or along the Orange Line in Van Nuys near the Valley's Civic Center (land would have to be acquired)

4. In the Westlake/MacArthur Park Area near the Redline Station - a few more parcels added to the existing Metro-owned property would enhance the area and make sense. (Langer's would also get a boost in business, as would Mama's Hot Tamales.) This could also be the impetus to restore the Westlake Theater to its grandeur.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Scooping LAO; and the 51st's 60th!

OK. OK. I know it's lame, but I am a City Nerd. I wanted to scoop something that may be picked up by other blogs before they did. It may be somewhat pathetic, but once in a while, my competative side comes out.

So, here goes:

In media news, it was announced today that Los Angeles will see another newspaper emerge at the end of the month. The Kaplan/Proffer team that brought us the Studio City Sun and then the Sherman Oaks Sun will be launching the Encino Sun on June 24th. This new weekly paper will cover all that is Encino the way that its sister-papers have done in the neighboring communities to the east.

I wonder, though, has K-Rod not reported on this because the Sun Community Newspapers are banner sponsors on his site, Valley Observed (he does disclaim that his site sponsors don't necessarily or automatically get editorial coverage on the site), or does he not consider this form of community newspaper a newsworthy media? Also, did you notice the "Valley Observed" icon and link are gone from LAO's main page (as of 11pm)? I don't know what's going on, but you heard it here first, folks: a new regional newspaper is coming to serve about 20,000 households in the Valley! Well, at least you read it here first... on an LA-centric blog, that is.

And in other (Valley) News, the San Fernando Valley Fair opens Thursday for its 60th Anniversary. I'm not familiar with any other area of Los Angeles having a fair or an Agricultural District, for that matter. (This is the state's 51st Agricultural District!)

Welcome back, EPCC!

According to Will Cambell's post about an Echo Park fundraiser, the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce is back! That's exciting to me because they were the ones responsible for the Avenue of the Athletes, so maybe they'll resurrect that project, too. (Now, we just need a website from them!)

I've always enjoyed Echo Park. Here are two more reasons...

1. They have true neighborhood improvement projects like this "de-stucco" seminar. That's what communities need: ways to do things as individuals that will truly improve the neighborhood!

2. They will play host to the City-sponsored Lotus Festival on July 8th & 9th. The Dragon Boat races promise to be as exciting as ever! (Here's a post from last year from - they said they might get a boat this year, but I've not heard anything yet...)

Special Election coming...

With Alex Padilla's 20th Senate District win yesterday, he will vacate - midterm - the Seventh Council District seat taht he filled - midterm - back in 2000. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, current 20th District Senator Richard Alarcon, Alex will leave a seat open for a midterm replacement that will have the opportunity, if successful to serve 10 years on the City Council. You see, term limits allow a maximum of two FULL terms as a City Councilmember. Since this would be half of a term (or rather, a little less that 3/4 of a term), the winner - if they want it and are successful - could run two more times for two FULL terms.

So, it will be interesting to see what unfolds next. Will the City Council try to schedule the special election in November to save money since ballots will already be going out for the general statewide election? Will a slew of candidates vie for the empty seat?

According to blog reports this morning, Assemblywoman Cindy Montenez, who is termed out in December and was not successful in winning the 20th District Senate seat yesterday, has already announced she'll run for the LA City Council Seat. She comes from local politics, having served on the San Fernando City Council before heading to Sacramento 6 years ago. Rumors also swirl that Felipe Fuentes, Padilla Chief of Staff and nephew to Hahn-turned-Villariagosa Board of Public Works appointee Yolanda Fuentes, will also be vying for the seat. Others are also out there considering a run - it should be interesting. This new City leader has a huge job to do for one of the sections of the Valley and City that needs the most attention and care.

Even more interesting to note: Alex Padilla is the last member of the L.A. City Council to serve with the "old guard" (seen in the photo above). He was the last remaining councilmember to serve on the City Council with long-time Councilmembers like John Ferraro & Joel Wachs, upwardly-mobile politicos Jackie Goldberg, Mike Feuer, & Laura Chick, and still others no longer publicly as visible (but definitely around) Mike Hernandez, Rudy Svorinich, & Rita Walters. When he leaves the City Council, he carries with him the memories of the way things used to be... or does he?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Chinese Food in LA

This Saturday, one of the great lectures that the Los Angeles City Public Library offers will be held. From their website, you can check out a bunch; but I want to point out the one entitled:

"The History of Chinese Food in Los Angeles"

It will be this Saturday, June 10, 2006 at 10:30am. It is free at the Mark Taper Forum, but as with all events in LA that you find out about online, I would call first to double check details.

You know, it is said that the Fortune Cookie was not only invented in America, but that it came from - not the streets of Chinatown - but from Little Tokyo by way of Fugetsu-Do, the oldest business in the historic district. I wonder if that will be part of the discussion?

225 Ways to Celebrate: Eric Garcetti Edition

So, as we continue to countdown 225 things to do to celebrate Los Angeles' 225th Birthday, I have asked LA City Council President Eric Garcetti to come up with ten of his suggestions. Here's the ten he sent over which now become numbers 79 to 88 on the list (with my favorite being #82)...

79. Go to the confluence of the Arroyo Seco and Los Angeles River and see where Father Juan Crespi took communion in 1769 and named the river that gave our city its name.

80. Re-enact the Walk of the Pobladores on Labor Day alongside 14th-generation descendants of the original settler.

81. Bike the length of Sunset Blvd. from Downtown to the ocean. [The Councilman is seen riding in the above photo from his website]

82. Get a few hundred friends to dress up; [&] put all the Valley folks in one army and the over-the-hillers in the other and re-enact one of the Battles of the Cahuenga Pass (not a road rage incident).

83. Ride a horse to the top of Mount Hollywood from a stable in Atwater Village.

84. Hike down to the Bat Cave in Griffith Park (bat cape optional)

85. Travel LA's shortest street (13 feet: Powers Street) and its longest street (Sepulveda: 26.4 miles in the city) and its steepest street (Fargo St. in Echo Park) from end to end.

86. Climb up to the Tom Bradley Ballroom atop City Hall around the holidays and see if a guard will let you climb up further to see the lit Lindbergh Beacon swing through the sky.

87. Visit Gage Mansion--the oldest remaining home in Los Angeles County (started in 1795--in Bell Gardens)

88. Eat a kosher burrito.

Thanks, Eric!
Now, he is Council President, so he gets to do what he wants; but for future reference, if anyone else submits suggestions, we're looking for things that are in or directly related to the City of Los Angeles. (#87 is questionable; but since it effects L.A. City, it qualifies for this list!)

So, other City Leaders (be it current or past elected officials, General Managers, or prominent figures), send a suggestion or two (or 10) over - just make sure they don't duplicate what's there. Feel free to email me and ask so we don't get doubles!

"225 Ways to Celebrate..." thus far:
56-78 (Griffith Park)

24 Hours in LA

Mack Reed posts a great opinion about MSNBC's 24 Hours in LA.

My reaction would be first, fly into Bob Hope Airport instead of LAX, which would allow a whole lot more time from a whole different perspective.

If that doesn't work and you have to go to LAX, here's how I would enjoy LA for just one day (this is geared towards someone who knows how to use a map, has a great sense of direction, and has never been to Los Angeles for leisure before)...

1. Plan in advance,
2. spend the time it takes to rent a car,
3. Catch a breakfast at the Firehouse on Rose & Abbott Kinney,
4. then cruise to the Venice Boardwalk; touch the Pacific Ocean,
5. then head north to the Westwood for a late-morning snack at Diddy Reese,
6. drive Sunset to get that "Beverly Hills" feel as well as experience the Sunset Strip (day or night, it's still The Strip),
7. Drive Hollywood Boulevard & do the "Hooray for Hollywood" thing,
8. take Franklin over to Yucca's for a late lunch,
9. Head to Olvera Street/Chinatown/Union Station via Echo Park's Sunset Boulevard (with a brief drive-by detour in Angelino Heights),
10. get some Mochi in Little Tokyo to hold you over,
11. enjoy a performance at Music Center (from the Disney Hall to the Taper, depending on your fancy),
12. catch a late night Tommy's Burger at Beverly and Rampart on the way back west,
13. and finally, lounge at the Encounter until your flight arrives.

Photo of Little Tokyo from the Little Tokyo Service Center

Sign here...

"Autograph Collection, Rare Books Department, Los Angeles Public Library..."
Yes, such a collection exists. The Los Angeles City Public Library has a number of special collections, one of which contains over 1,700 autographs. Started by former City Librarian Charles Lummis at the turn of the LAST century, the City's autograph collection includes many that on specially designed stationery Lummis used to get autographs from important people of the era. From local leaders to film stars to authors to artists, Lummis started a collection that would later go on to be one of the most unique in the City. According to the collection's website, "Lummis sent a specially-designed piece of library stationery to all the leading men (and some) women [sic] of the day, asking them to 'improve' the page with a saying, drawing, or other inspiring example of their work." Artists added drawings, some included poetry, and others quips about L.A.

Some interesting notes on the collection...

-The collection has signatures from the past five former mayors except for Hahn (Riordan, Bradley, Yorty, & Poulson).

-It only includes one Councilmember: John Shumacher, who served in the 19th Century.

-335 signatures are not dated, so they can only be known based on they died: it had to be before then!

-Bing Crosby is there, but not Bob Hope (but Dolores, his wife, is!).

-John Muir is in there, as is Luther Burbank, but not Col. Griffith J. Griffith.

-12 U.S. Presidents are included in the collection from Lincoln to both Roosevelts to Nixon.

-A new signature has not been added to the collection since 1999... until now...

In 1907, 100 years ago, there were 213 signatures added, and I think we could add at least that many in 2007. The library could send out 250 letters the way that Lummis did and build this collection by 225 (some won't respond)... they could do it in honor of the City's 225th Birthday!

So, to help them along, here's my suggestions for some new additions based on the rationale of the Lummis collection of "leading" men & women of Los Angeles. These are folks that are still alive as of the time of this posting. Some of them might not meet your standard in terms of their positions on issues, but either now or in the past, they were leading Los Angeles:

Frank Gehry
Rick Caruso
Kevin Roderick
Steve Soboroff
All living Los Angeles City Councilmembers (we lost two last year alone)
James K. Hahn
Ed Roski
Johnny Grant
USC President Steven Sample
Governor Schwarzenegger
Jerry Perenchio
First Lady Maria Shriver
Kent Twitchell
Catherine Mulholland
Walter O'Malley
Eli Broad
Tommy Lasorda
Michael Eisner
Frank McCourt
Lewis MacAdams
District Attorney Steve Cooley
Cardinal Roger Mahoney
The Los Angeles Congressional delegation
Bill Allen
John Mack
Chief William Bratton
Andy Lipkis
Lod Cook

Another approach may be to solicit from the community verifiable signatures of the deceased that have led this city (from Fletcher Bowron to Walt Disney to Bob Hope to Isaac Van Nuys to Lew Wasserman).

...and don't even start on all the celebrities that could be - and should be - solicited.

Of course, as viewed above, Mayor Villariagosa's could be the first signature to be officially added in this new wave of autograph collection additions!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Griffith Park article foretold

Well, the Daily News, without mentioning it, picked up on the buzz surrounding a recent post about the exciting things to do in Griffith Park. Writer Dana Bartholomew touts Griffith Park as a place for all to meet, "the Heart of the City." Well done, I say. Perhaps more people will celebrate the City of Los Angeles this summer because of that article.

Though, I was a little disappointed with the "Interactive Tour of Griffith Park offered via the Daily News site here. It was more of a "passive" tour with screens that show not much more than could be found on a map. With the resources of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, you'd think the DN would really make something special with such an "interactive tour." Apparently not. Well, I offer to assist: Ron Kaye, if you need help creating online material that is useful and would drive more traffic to your site, just let me know!

Getting Keyed: Carlos Fuentes

Today, Mayor Villariagosa is to present Carlos Fuentes with a Key to the City.

This is the second such Key he's given in the last 11 months, according to comments here. Before Mayor Villariagosa, the last Key to the City given out was by Mayor Riordan just before he left office in 2001. (No keys from Hahn.)

So, what determines this Key-giving?

Carlos Fuentes is an author whose lines were quoted by the Mayor in his first "State of the City" speech. The author and his wife had plans to visit with the Mayor earlier this year, as well. Fuentes has been honored many times before, so why now from Los Angeles?

No press has preceded today's scheduled presentation, just a tip from a fellow blogger, who I tend to trust.

Mural Loss: adding insult to injury...

Though it's all over the web already, the L.A. Times yesterday revealed the loss of Kent Twitchell's "Ruscha" mural. I've been saying for a while now our murals need more attention - who knew that it was more than just those on the freeway. Actually, in the past year, two of Twitchell's many famous murals have been moved from the 10 and the 110 to the 5 and the 101, respectively.

This loss to a paint-over, though, is not the first for Kent, but it shouldn't have happened. One before, a Twitchell mural was covered over without notification: the painting over of the Freeway Lady was. Thankfully, there are plans for the Freeway Lady to be recreated in Sherman Oaks via VIVA.

But what irks me is the remark by Arts blogger Caryn Coleman that Los Angeles doesn't appreciate the art of murals, Twitchell, and the man that is Ed Ruscha. Come on, don't try to deride L.A. for the actions of rogue mural destroyers. I know Culver City has a great arts scene, but the insinuation that Downtown LA isn't appreciative enough to receive the renewed mural is somewhat hurtful to a City Nerd like me.

Image of Twitchell painting "Ed Ruscha" from

Friday, June 02, 2006


Finally, someone's listening...

Maybe CD2's staff read this blog when I mentioned trucks covered in graffiti back in April, but Councilwoman Greuel has finally done something about it. On April 28th (coincidentally, 16 days after my post), she introduced a motion directing the City Attorney to draft an ordinance to allow the City to cite vehicles parked on City streets for graffiti violations (which is currently only allowed if the vehicle is parked on private property). According to her recent newsletter, Councilwoman Greuel says...
"In an effort to help clean-up graffiti in blighted neighborhoods, I recently introduced a motion to create a Mobile Graffiti team that would grant the city authority to issue citations to owners of graffiti-covered vehicles parked on public streets. I believe the city should use every resource available to ensure that all communities are able to enjoy a high quality of life."

By the way, when I checked this week, my favorite graffitied truck (above) was still parked on the street... I can't wait for this ordinance to be written, approved, and put into effect.

"Like Sardines..."

Often times, the public transit system in LA is lambasted for being ineffective. I'll admit it: I'm only an occasional subway rider (when I have time to spare). But tonight, I saw a somewhat baffling sight. Not too long ago - about 11:40pm - I saw a Metro bus speeding down Wilshire Boulevard westbound at Doheny that was crammed with people. The standing-room-only bus was packed, and I don't know why. Was it the only bus running so everyone had to use it? Why, at that hour, was it so jammed? Is ridership up, or is this just further proof that the system is not efficient?

Photo from BBC News... not the actual bus I saw.