Thursday, December 28, 2006

My obligatory 2006 Top 10...

I sometimes forget that everyone who reads LA City Nerd doesn't always read every other LA-based or LA-centric website (That's only for the true City Nerds, I guess).

So, earlier in the month, I submitted a list to the LAist called "LA City Nerd's Top 10 Events in 2006 that Impact the Future of the City of Los Angeles."

So, in case you missed it, here it is.

(I still stand by it today, 3 weeks later.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Are you bored this week between Christmas and New Years? No phone calls coming into work? Or, are you just sitting at your computer online waiting to find something interesting to do?

Here's a few things you can do online during this lull week:

1. Watch the Los Angeles Children's Museum being built.

2. Track your favorite flight.

3.Search for Zuma Dogg at Venice Beach's Oceanfront Walk (like Where's Waldo)

4. See if there are any terrorists (or hikers) scoping out the Hollywood Sign

and finally, an activity online that is outside of the LA City limits...

5. Check in on the progress of the Rose Parade Floats being built.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

5 things you don't know about me...

Mack Reed tagged me and then so did Ed, so I guess I have to tell you "5 Things You Didn't Know About Me":

1. My name
2. What I look like
3. Where I live (besides in LA)
4. How old I am
5. What I do for a living

It's amazing how much people don't know.

OK, well, since you really know nothing about me, here are 5 things that are true about me. Consider it a Christmas gift:

1. I've spent time looking down at helicopters in flight from the top floors of downtown skyscrapers.
2. I've been to the four airports within the City limits (including Bob Hope Airport, whose western runway is in Los Angeles).
3. I was on TV as a kid, but not in any way like Wil.
4. I've got a fascination with brick gutters like you can find on Sunset near Marion Avenue (south side) and in Hollywood on Wilcox (the west side) north of Franklin Avenue.
5. I've ridden in a helicopter over LA.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Buried Treasure in City Hall

When people talk about the buried treasure at City Hall, they are often referring to the hidden monies in the City Budget that the electeds use for pet projects. Nothing illegal, just not aired out in front of the public. We can talk about that every time the budget is discussed - especially this upcoming budget year in the City where there will be a $450 million shortfall. But this time, the buried treasure is different - it's real!

Los Angeles City Hall was built as a monument to all to show the importance of the growing metropolis in the 1920s. Completed in 1927, the building has stood almost 80 years as the seat of municipal government. (It actually made money its first years of operation, as it was over-designed which allowed space to be rented to the Courts for 10 years.) It was re-dedicated and fully restored in 2001. Though the City has outgrown it, it is still a tribute to the great city.

Well, back when the building was being completed, the City thought it would be appropriate to insert a time capsule into the cornerstone of the 28 floor building. According to the LA Times:
"Just before the corner-stone was lowered into position, a copper box was placed inside which contained more than a score of historical documents and other articles. Among these was an autographed photograph of Mayor Cryer, his annual message, the charter of Los Angeles, a history of the California pioneers, a copy of the city budget for 1927-28, an account of the discovery of gold in 1848, three gold nuggets and numerous other articles."
"Three gold nuggets?" - that's treasure to me! Mayor Cryer seemed a bit like our current mayor in his placement of a signed photo - even 80 years ago the mayor of LA was a celebrity!

Well, in 2001 when the building was restored, the corner stone was allegedly removed, according to Kevin Jew, Chief Operating Officer of Project Restore. No discovery of a time capsule was made when the corner stone was removed. But who knows: maybe the corner stone we knew about in the late 1990s was different than the one from 75 years earlier. In talking to the Bureau of Engineering's Construction Management Division, which oversaw the restoration, no time capsule was known about at that time and they were not looking for a time capsule.
So, start your digging - maybe we can reduce the budget shortfall a bit this year! That time capsule may still be there - if the City is willing to look for it.

"There's gold in them there walls!"

City Nerd Awards Update

The polls for the 2006 City Nerd Awards will be up later next week, for those wondering. Sit tight, and don't worry: you'll have plenty of time to vote.

Now, go spend money within the City limits so the tax revenue goes to Los Angeles City.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Life without the 101 and other holiday tips

I wish I could remember life without the 101. Here's the heart of LA 97 years ago:

Think of the traffic flow - no one would ever imagine ATSAC. And Traffic Officers from LADOT (not LAPD) at 55 intersections - probably not even a glimmer in the eye of the 1909 Christmas shopping season (which was probably mostly done by catalogue - not too far off from what we do with our online purchases today!). It's interesting: the Mayor announced these officers at the 55 intersections around malls, yet for years, the malls have been paying for them to be out there without the Mayor ever announcing it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Elimination of Palm Trees

You wonder why palm trees are not being replaced? Look no further than here. See what the City has to go through once they're grown to keep them alive: patches!

Also, I just wanted to clarify that though palm trees may not be replaced when removed per new policies of the City, it doesn't mean they're "illegal" or will be removed. It'll be decades, if not longer, before (if) palm trees are ever eliminated from the landscape of Los Angeles.

"Patches? We don't need no...." Ah, you know the line.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Los Angeles: when 10 City Halls are not enough...

In 2007, Los Angeles City Hall - the third such building with that name - will be turning 80 years old. When it was built in the years prior to 1927, it was lauded as a building with statewide significance. Sand from every county in the State was brought in and mixed in the concrete to build the structure, which was the tallest building in Los Angeles from the time it opened until 1968.

In 1917, the first "branch city hall" was opened in Van Nuys not far from the Municipal Building built about 15 years later. During the 1920s, under Mayor George Cryer (who was known for wearing suspenders but never a 2-quart hat), the City established "branch" City Hall in San Pedro. (It was a campaign promise of Cryer's to San Pedrans that a local City Hall would be built.) So, branch City Halls in far-flung reaches of the City have not been unheard of. But things are getting a little too politicized, if you ask me...

Earlier this year, on October 20th, Councilwoman Janice Hahn introduced a motion to analyze the need/distance of regional City Halls. The September 26 report shows that there are gaps, but they are not as glaring as they theoretically could be in a City this size. Should the City be spending more resources in this increasingly digital age to build brick and mortar Neighborhood City Halls? Facing a $450 million shortfall in fiscal year 2007/2008, shouldn't we be spending the City's energy on streamlining existing services instead of studying more?

Well, on Monday the Budget and Finance Committee will consider adding another "Branch City Hall" to the collection. The strange part is, this regional city hall will be only 2 miles from the main City Hall. In a city of 465 square miles, wouldn't regionalizing mean something a little different? The Committee will be considering a:
"Department of General Services report, and the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to report, relative to acquisition of the Chicago Plaza Building, located at 2130 East 1st Street, for the Boyle Heights Neighborhood City Hall, in Council District 14."
It will cost $13.6million to acquire, renovate, etc. and will not make that much difference to really bringing services closer to the people. True, there is an opportunity bring in $449,941 in rents from non-city tenants each year, but that is only half the amount needed for the annual debt service of $927,000 each year. And, seeing how long it has taken the City to lease its space (i.e. that in the Braude Center), I wouldn't count on that tenant income for a while. I see this as a waste of resources at this time.

Look at what we have right now in the City: nine existing Municipal Buildings/Regional City Halls:

San Pedro City Hall

Eagle Rock City Hall

North Valley City Hall in Sunland/Tujunga (not to be confused with the area's one-time City Hall, Bolton Hall.)

West Valley Municipal Building

Valley Municipal Building (aka "Van Nuys City Hall")/Braude Center

Mark Ridley-Thomas Constituent Service Center

Westchester Municipal Building

Hollywood Municipal Building

Sawtelle/West LA Municipal Building

Additionally, two years ago, funding had been approved for the design of ANOTHER City Hall in the Valley: in Pacoima.

How effective/full are these "regional City Halls?" The City still rents space throughout the City for offices that could be housed at Municipal Buildings. And there is still much underutilized or empty space at many of these facilities. Why spend more money on another building just to appease a community so that they can claim that they "have one, too"?

Approving further expenditures on a Boyle Heights City Hall is not a good use of City funds.

Nine Crane Salute!

Somebody in Downtown get a camera! I've never been one to be a great photographer, so even though I had a digital camera as I drove up the 110 through downtown today, there's no way I could have captured what I encountered and counted. Just north of Staples, from the 110 looking out over the LA Live project, I saw before me nine cranes at rest. These nine cranes (unless I missed one) were for more than just LA Live, though; they were building the City. Residential construction, entertainment construction, business construction - it was all happening. It was a Nine Crane Salute to the City.

So, quick, someone who's good at these things: go grab a camera, a wide angle lens and a tripod (I assume that's what's needed) and go take a picture of the long-necks in tribute!

(I heard rumors there was a webcam on the LA Live construction, but I can't seem to find it.)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mayor of LA County promotes Orange County

Los Angeles County Mayor Mike Antonovich rides in a lot of Holiday Parades. Apparently, he also is confused about those "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" in Orange County, not LA County....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

One day left!

Only one day left to send in those nominations...

2006 City Nerd Awards

The deadline is midnight on the 15th of December.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tip of the Iceberg: Industrial Zoning

Here's another Tip of the Iceberg for you...

In the City of LA, only 8% of the land is zoned for industrial and manufacturing uses out of 465 square miles which is only 37.2 square miles. It sounds like a lot, but of the 8%, only half is now utilized as industrial and manufacturing - the rest having been allowed to be used for other uses like residential, retail, etc. So, now, we're at 18.6 square miles or only 4% of the second largest city* in the US. Is that the right level to be at to create a sustainable City?

Recently, there has been a movement to allow for more industrial zoned land to be converted to non-industrial uses. This seems to be stemming from the Central City Association and their push for more conversion in the downtown area of industrial zoned properties into residential (and other) uses. There is some concern over the job/housing balance that is essential in a truly livable community. once land is converted from industrial, it almost never goes back to it.

Who are CCA's members these days? Business or residential developers? Should we as a City be creating new zones or removing existing ones which would in turn that take away the opportunity for the job creation that comes with modern industries (not many smoke stacks are built these days; industrial can mean research and development from apparel to media to high tech components)?

*True, the measure of size is based on population, not land area. But we're pretty big in size, too.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

LA's futuristic structures of the past

Recently, there has been some interesting information shared about LA's futuristic structures of the past. These monuments to the future and technology (at the time of their creation) now hold a strange place in the hearts of Angelenos.

There has been some great news as to the future of the Triforium (which was glowing in flashing lights tonight).

Also, there is an interesting interview regarding the Theme Building (with interesting photos and plans) at LAX.

This leads to today's competition about Los Angeles of 2106. The ideas put forth by the architecture & engineering firms looks at a City where - it appears - there is no political conflict. With sweeping new aerial transportation systems to a cloud hanging over the City, these ideas were of the future that looks at the natural environment as a key player in the development of the Los Angeles of the future. It's not so much like the Theme Building of the 1960s or the 1970s' Triforium!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pushing the Button & Signal Sensors

In a post today at BloggingLA, Sean tells the "Lady Standing on the Corner Pressing The Crosswalk Button Hundreds of Times" that she "only need[s] to press it once."

He's right: one push of the button will trigger the mechanism in LA City crosswalks. No need to hit it multiple times. It's like an elevator call button - pushing it multiple times doesn't make the elevator car come faster. And, unlike in New York, pushing LA buttons actually works. See, those that have buttons need them - it holds the "walk" or "PedHead" longer for pedestrians to cross. Sometimes, if the button is not pushed, the "PedHead" doesn't even appear. Those lights that ARE calibrated via the City's ATSAC system don't often have thew push buttons, and if they do, it's worked into the system so that the lights remained calibrated... BUT this might take a few signal cycles to get back into "the loop."

Also, flashing your lights does not effective the signals in Los Angeles. If any sensor exists that controls the signal, it's in the ground behind the crosswalk line. (Those visible in the above picture as loops are counting traffic, not controlling the signal). The weight of a vehicle will trigger the signal to change, so driving over it multiple times does not help - you must let it sit long enough to trigger. True, some of these sensors are sensitive and only trigger when the vehicle is in the exact spot. Sometimes backing up to reposition will work, but it really has nothing to do with the back and forth driving over the sensor.

photo via slimdandy at Flickr

Sunday, December 10, 2006

5 days left for nominations

Only five days left to send in those Nominations for the 2006 City Nerd Awards. They're due on December 15th at midnight - then, the voting and selections begin.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mayor misses the Valley

Today, Mayor Villariagosa announced his team to help reform the three LAUSD clusters he'll oversee come January 1st. He has assembled a 5-member team that "brings nearly 100 years of experience in the area of education." Additionally, and wisely, the Mayor will be working with local universities to look at ways of furthering achievement in the LAUSD. Quoted from the press release (via LA Observed):
"In addition to the new team, the Mayor’s office announced that it work with California State University Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, University of California Los Angeles, and University of Southern California to improve education and reduce the achievement gap in the LAUSD. The purpose of this partnership is to work collaboratively with educators, parents, and the community to ensure that we meet the needs of students and families within the Mayor’s School Partnership for Excellence."

It's interesting that the Mayor seems to have selected 5 leading Los Angeles universities, but fails to select CSUN, whose mission is teacher education and is the largest teacher training institution in the State University System. From their website:
"Cal State Northridge is considered a leading producer of teachers among public institutions in California. It was one of only four universities nationwide recently tapped by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to take part in a landmark initiative designed to strengthen K–12 teaching by developing state-of-the-art programs at schools of education."
Maybe the Mayor's office missed something? Perhaps looking at teachers training should be a part of comprehensive school reform?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Honorary Mayor's of Los Angeles' communities

With the recent post by Independent Sources here, it's time to relate the fun politics of community honorary mayor's of today. Here's who we've got, some serving an annual term, some honorary for a long time:

Chatsworth: Jerry England
El Sereno: Margarita Torres
Encino: Ronnie Schell
Granada Hills: Mike Casey
Griffith Park: Louis Alvarado
Hollywood: Johnny Grant
North Hollywood: Beverly Garland
Northridge: Nancy Cartwright
Pacific Palisades: Gavin MacLeod
Sherman Oaks: Dick Van Patten
Tarzana: Charlie Tuna
Toluca Lake: Fritz Coleman
Westchester: Patricia Morrison Lyon
Wilmington: Mary Gutierrez
Woodland Hills: Michael Miller
Reseda: Kevin Dobson
San Pedro: Anthony Misetich

Who else is there out there in this City serving on behalf of a community?

One famous past Honorary Mayor of a large region in LA was ex-Mayor Sam Yorty.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Owens River Flows Again!

Apparently, Angelenos are unaware that there has been ongoing restoration in the Owens Valley to mitigate the effects of Los Angeles obtaining the water rights and then bringing that water to Southern California 100 years ago. Disputes have been raging for years as to the level of responsibility the City has to that region, of which it owns the majority (but not all) of the land and water rights.

Today, the Mayor was up in the Owens Valley to "release" some of the water back into the Owens River, diverting it from the gravity fed aqueduct system that brings it to Los Angeles. Many say that today the water started to flow, but as this picture shows, six months ago the water was flowing. Yes folks, this is a a photo of the Owens River after some diversion had already started to take place. Today was a photo op and a media event - and sadly, there was no memorable quote like "There it is. take it."

(This is also a good time to remind people that Roman Polanski's 1974 film Chinatown was not related to Mulholland directly, and the facts are nothing like the real ones surrounding building the aqueduct.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Eastside, Westside, all around the town...

There has been an ongoing conversation about where the Westside and Eastside Boundaries are in LA. In the broader scope of things, places like Montebello, Arcadia, and Pasadena are considered Eastside, while Santa Monica, Hermosa, & even Torrance could be considered Westside. But for the sake of this conversation, we're defining it to Eastside/Westside in the City of LA (and those cities that influence the monikers).

So, today, MayorSam writes a post that refers to Mack Reed, a Silver Laker, as an Eastside white guy. Now, just focusing on the fact that MayorSam calls him an eastsider, is he correct?

In having this discussion, here are some points to consider:
1. No matter what boundaries are discussed, there is no real street line that divides the Westside from the Eastside (or any other larger area of the City) - the borders are slightly blurred, depending with whom you speak. (One exception could be argued in that the Valley is clearly the area north of Mulholland.)
2. It is commonly known that Downtown is neither Eastside nor Westside. Downtown can be descirbed as the area north of the 10, west of the LA River, South of the 5/Elysian Park area and east of Alvarado. (This western border may be a sticking point for some - is Echo Park part of Downtown?)
3. The Westside and the Eastside are not the same as "West LA" and "East LA," respectively; we're talking here about the sweeping generalizations of the Westside of Los Angeles and the Eastside of Los Angeles.
4. In an Eastside/Westside conversation, the Valley nor the Harbor area are included in that east/west thing. Also, in terms of the City, the area south of Downtown is known as South LA to about Harbor Gateway (hence the name), as well as the area that makes up Council District 8. So, that area is also not part of the Eastside/Westside topic. (True, there are many communities within this broader "South LA," but that is generally its boundary with only minor conversation of whether to use the 10 as the divider or Washington (see #1).
5. There is an area of Los Angeles known as Mid City that is not Downtown, Eastside, or Westside. It is west of Downtown and includes the places like Miracle Mile, The Grove, & Koreatown.
6. Hollywood is it's own larger moniker that also includes other communities like Los Feliz and Franklin Hills as well, though part of it meshes with Mid City as you move south on La Brea.

So, understanding all of that, here's what I would use to define the Westside and the Eastside of the City:
The Westside
The areas east of (& including) Beverly Hills & West Hollywood are NOT the Westside, and that south of there, La Cienega would be a general dividing line as to what would be Westside. So, the Westside would be the areas west of the Beverly Hills border and La Cienega, in general, to the ocean. No matter how you slice it, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms, Westchester, Westside Village, Rancho Park, Beverlywood, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles, Westwood, Century City, Bel-Aire, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, SoRo, Venice, and Playa Vista are all "Westside" (basically all of CD11, a portion of CD5, and a small piece of CD10.

The Eastside
Again, for the eastside, Downtown & Chinatown are not inlcuded, so you're looking at the LA River east from about the 10 north. This includes Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Montecito Heights, Highland Park, Monterey Hills, Glassel Park, Hermon, Mount Washington, Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, and Garvanza. These ar the areas that are partly in CD14 and partly in CD1.

There is the question as to whether Atwater Village is eastside or not - some might argue not or try to get lumped in with adjacent Silver Lake. Some might even argue it's in the Valley as Glendale - its northeastern neighbor - is. I say: even though it's east of the river, it's not really Eastside, the same way that Silver Lake, Solano Canyon, Elysian Park, Los Feliz, and Griffith Park are not. Heck, Griffith Park used to (and technically still does) extend east of the LA River before the 5 was built. That's all part of the same community of "NoDo" North of Downtown (be it slightly northeast or slightly northwest).

Here is a "just ok" map of the communities in LA - it's not as detailed as I'd appreciate, but it'll have to do. (See how the Atwater delimma occurs?)

Also, here are some facts that may be just confusing the whole Eastside/Westside issue...

The Eastside Market (great meatball sandwiches!) is in Chinatown, which is really known as either "Downtown" or "Chinatown," not the Eastside.

The Silver Lake Film Festival believes that Echo park, Silver Lake, & Downtown are part of LA's Eastside.

The Westside Economic Collaborative defines the Westside as including Hollywood, Korea Town[sic], and the Wilshire District - which is clearly not the Westside.

Westside Rentals lists apartment rentals all across the region, not just on the Westside. doesn't even mention any portion of LA City. (LA.Inc's competition, apparently.)

NOTE: Western Avenue and Eastern Avenue were once the west and east boundaries of the City - not any more...

Speaking of parks...

I just posted a post about giving input to the Recreation and Parks department. Well, here's my first piece of input: update your photos to not include politicians who left office midterm and have since been charged with & convicted of felony conspiracy charges.

Below you will see a screen shot from this page:
Why is Martin Ludlow still featured on a City website?

Input needed on City Parks!!

Not much as been mentioned about this, so I wanted to post a notice about some public meetings in the City regarding the future of our parks. I tried linking to the Rec & Parks blog post, but it wouldn't let me for some reason. So, here's what they post:
Community Needs Assessment meetings in December and January

LOS ANGELES – The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will hold community meetings in December 2006 and January 2007 at which the public can express concerns and give compliments, provide improvement ideas, and participate in determining the future of their local park, recreation center, and/or other Department facilities that serve them.

All citizens are encouraged to share their thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of existing Department services, help develop a mission, and engage their neighbors, businesses, community organizations, and other agencies in building dynamic and creative programs, events, and services through partnerships.

There will be two meetings in each of four geographic areas; the first session will be for stakeholders to provide input and the second will be when feedback is given. The schedule is:

· METRO: December 7 and January 25 (both of which are Thursdays) at Lincoln Park, 3501 Valley Blvd., Los Angeles, 90031, (213) 847-1726 (contact is Cassandra Bruno).

· PACIFIC: December 13 and January 31 (both of which are Wednesdays) at Exposition Park Intergenerational Community Center (EPICC), 3980 S. Menlo Ave., Los Angeles, 90037, (213) 763-0114 (contact is Kimberly Simonet).

· VALLEY: Thursday, December 14, and Tuesday, January 30 at Valley Plaza Recreation Center, 12240 Archwood St., North Hollywood, 91606, (818) 765-5885 (contact is Caroline Lammers).

· WEST: Tuesday, December 12, and Thursday, February 1 at Cheviot Hills Recreation Center, 2551 Motor Ave., Los Angeles, 90064, (310) 837-5186 (contact is Kelly Werling).

All meetings are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. except December 7 at Lincoln Park, which is set for 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Child care will be provided and refreshments will be served. For more information about the series of workshops, call (213) 485-1310.

I would say everyone should go and give feedback - how often does the City ask for input and then actually have a meeting pre-scheduled in order to respond? Fairly impressive (and gutsy) if you ask me!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

City Nerd Awards...13 days...

There are only 13 days to send your nominations in for the 10 2006 City Nerd Award categories listed here.

Avoid the red flag day and nominate those that shape this City.

Before heading out to a Victorian LA Christmas tonight, jot down those who've made our City better.

Get your North Pole fix at the LA Zoo in the late afternoon and then take the free shuttle through the DWP Light Festival - but first nominate the thing that has impacted this City this year.

And, yes, you can still nominate Fir Chief Bill Bamattre for the #5 Category of "Department Head," even though he's just another one in the list that has "retired" in the 18 months. Look how many have been replaced.

Fire Chief departure is #14

Back in March, when DONE GM Greg Nelson "retired," I warned this might not be just a retirement. (I actually pointed out Margie Reese, who did end up leaving a few months later.)

Now, with the "retirement" of another City GM in Chief Bamattre, that brings the Villaraigosa-filled positions just another tick higher. Since Mayor Villaraigosa has taken office, he has essentially hired (or appointed interim) General Managers for 14 of the 39 non-elected departments of the City over which he has control. That's a lot of change in 18 months.

So, of the 39 Departments, here's where the changes are (marked with an asterisk*):

Airports (LAWA)*
Animal Services*
Building & Safety
City Administrative Officer*
City Clerk
Commission on Children Youth and their Families*
Commission on the Status of Women
Community Development*
Community Redevelopment Agency*
Contract Administration Bureau (Public Works)
Convention Center*
Cultural Affairs*
Department on Disability
El Pueblo*
Emergency Preparedness Department
Engineering Bureau (Public Works)
Environmental Affairs
General Services
Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles
Human Relations Commission
Information Technology Agency*
Neighborhood Empowerment*
Office of Finance
Port of Los Angeles
Project Restore
Recreation and Parks
Sanitation Bureau (Public Works)
Street Lighting Bureau (Public Works)
Street Services Bureau (Public Works)
Water & Power

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Safe Giving in LA

Over at Blogging.LA, Hexodus writes about a nighttime solicitation at his door. He also handily provides a link to a database for legitimate charities in the State.

Well, here in the City of LA, it's the Police Commission that sets the rules for asking for a charitable contribution. They have a number of resources on their site about what a charity must do before asking for money and other rules for actually asking. (In Hexodus's post, he was visited at night - well, if it was after 8pm - that alone is a violation even if the Charity was legit.)

So, if someone asks you for money in the City - ask them to see their Police Commission issued Information Card. And, anyone that is a paid solicitor must have a Solicitors License. The City has a lot of mechanisms in place to prevent fraudulent fundraising. Be aware, though - it's up to the donor to know.

If that sounds like a great protection, here's something even better for all the Seniors out there: you can rest assured that you're safe when you go to Monday night Bingo at the church hall. See, a Bingo operator have to get permission from both the Police Commission and the Fire Department if they want to host a Bingo Game. And to protect you further, the LAPD even has a special "Bingo Gaming Enforcement Unit."