Thursday, September 06, 2007

What to do this weekend in L.A.

There is a lot going on this weekend; here are two of our favorites for your to do:

Go the LA Greekfest at St. Sophia's in the Latino-Byzantine Quarter all weekend.

Go on a walking tour of Western Heights on Sunday, September 9th.

We're sure there is more to do in LA - what are you going to do?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Free Rosetta Stone Language skills

Everyone knows that a good establishment in the City will be active in the community. Well, Dora Herrera of Yuca's in Los Feliz (and now, in Hollywood) takes it a step further. She has a page on their site that recommends things in the community and that she likes. Well, she also clues in any vistor to her site of a secret in learning languages with the Rosetta Stone method for free:

Do you remember taking languages in high school? Some of us did great with the textbook/classroom method. Others did not do so well. Now, using the power of the internet there is a new way. Rosetta Stone almost tricks you into learning a language quickly and easily. Want to try it out? Well, normally the software would be about $200 per level. However, thanks to our incredible LA Public Library you can use Rosetta Stone for free. What is the catch? All you need is a library card.

To begin, visit, click on “Adult Literacy”, then click “Enter”, and then click on “Learn Online.” Here you will find the Rosetta Stone online program. After you complete the short registration, you will be ready to begin learning German, Spanish, Farsi, Greek, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, English, Pashto and other languages. On this web page you will also find other resources, such as practice exams that are focused in improving your job skills, Plato, a self-paced learning program to improve in math, reading, writing, and social studies skills, amongst many more learning links. Explore the free online resources available through Please also consider supporting the library .

This little tip could save lots of money for folks looking to learn or improve their language skills - especially in our City where multiple languages are spoken in so many communities. Rosetta promotes their library feature, and not having the means to spend hundreds on their full system, we're not sure if what's online at the LAPL is not as good as the home edition. Either way, here is a great resource from the City that everyone should take advantage of. Thanks, Dora, for the recommendation.

Note: if you've not gone to the library in a while, you may want to visit. As of August 1st, they've updated their online system as follows:
Effective August 1, 2007 - Anyone using LAPL online services requiring validation (e-Media, Your Library Account, Databases) will need to enter their LAPL library card number and the last 4 digits of their telephone number, instead of their zip code. If you do not have a phone number in your LAPL library card record, or if your phone number has changed, please visit any circulation desk to update your record.
So, you may need to update your records in person if you've not submitted a phone number when you applied for your library card.

Happy Birthday, LA!

Happy Birthday, Los Angeles!

Yes, today is the City's birthday. (She looks good for 226!) To celebrate, here are a few of our favorite pieces on the City's history. Hope you enjoy them...

The City's Historic-Cultural Landmarks

"In this town, you feel free."

LA's Civic Center PlanS

ZIP Code History of LA

Why Silver Lake is TWO words

First City Hall

First Municipal Services

Recent History (11 years ago)

Here's to another great year in a great City; here's to Los Angeles!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Don't Waste This!

Before LADWP got into some complications with its PR contracting, the municipal utility really spread the good word. You've got to check this out from Franklin Avenue: a 1987 commercial that brings together the day's finest weather folks. (I guess this is before Fritz hit the scene!)

It made us laugh out loud - gotta love this City's history!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

City Nerd Helicopter

I'm not sure why, but starting at the beginning of August, we've had an unusual search term come up as the 2nd most searched term that leads people to this site. The 1st most searched term is simple to understand; it's "LA City Nerd." Makes sense, right? Well, the second most searched terms that leads people to this site: "City Nerd Helicopter." Why? I don't get it.

We did a post on helipad numbering on the tops of buildings in LA back in January, but why now is all the interest in City Nerd Helicopter? Is there something we're missing over here?

If you got here via that search, let us know why that's what you're searching for.

Oh, and no, we don't own a helicopter, but how cool would it be to have a true LA City Nerd Helicopter to report from.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Celebrating LA's Birthday: 226-years-old!

If you recall, last year we ran a series on "225 Things to do in LA to Celebrate LA's 225th Birthday". Well, the year is almost up - how many were you able to do?

About five months after our postings and the City's official birthday celebration on September 4, 2006, LA, Inc (the See My LA folks) launched an LA225 website. Were you able to do and see all of their suggestions?

Well, here we are a year later, and it's time for the LA's birthday celebration once again. Now, the official birthday is September 4, but celebrations last all Labor Day Weekend. Here's what we found is going on this year for LA's 226th Birthday.

The 26th Annual Los Pobladores "Walk to LA" (with Mayor Villariagosa)

The 10th Annual Great Los Angeles Ice Cream Party

Since it's not a benchmark year, not much else is going on. Or, is there something we're missing in honor of the City's birthday?

Picture from last year's celebration.

LA City's Mission Statement

If the City was a business, it would have a mission statement. Well, as it would be be, the City actually doesn't have one mission statement, but many; and none of them are exactly right on. If that sounds confusing, it's ok - it is confusing. As says:
The mission statement should be a clear and succinct representation of the enterprise's purpose for existence. It should incorporate socially meaningful and measurable criteria addressing concepts such as the moral/ethical position of the enterprise, public image, the target market, products/services, the geographic domain and expectations of growth and profitability.

The intent of the Mission Statement should be the first consideration for any employee who is evaluating a strategic decision. The statement can range from a very simple to a very complex set of ideas.
So, the City is an enterprise. If it had an overarching mission statement, perhaps its employees, from the Mayor to the receptionist in one of the DWP offices, would have a clear directive on how to serve the "customers," the people.

So, what does the City has in terms of Mission Statements (yes, that's plural)?

The Department of General Services has one for the Department, and then each division has one, too. The Department of Building & Safety has one, as does ITA, DONE, the Library, Airport Police, the Convention Center, the Urban Forestry Division of Street Services, Animal Services, the Commission on the Status of Women, Department of Aging, LAPD, LAFD, and even the LA Zoo. (All departments have their missions listed in the budget under their respective department heading. Noticeably, the Mayor's office does not have a mission.)

The Bureau of Sanitation seems to get it best, though. Their mission is clear and concise, and all employees will be able to tell you when asked: “Our mission is to protect public health and the environment.” Simple enough yet quite powerful.

So, where is the overarching City Mission? Where is that concise statement that guides every employee and department? Here's really the best we could find for LA City (and we looked!)...

From "Your Government at a Glance" (2004):
Your City government touches your life at more points more frequently than any other governmental agency, be it federal, state, or county. City government furnishes water, supplies electricity, provides ambulance, police, sanitation, and fire services, maintains streets, maintains parks and provides other essential services to citizens. In a very real sense, the City government is a huge corporation with nearly four million stockholders -- the second largest city in the United States. This City, in which you are a stockholder, is engaged in business exceeding several billion dollars a year.
This is nice, but no one employee can remember this. It's not really a mission statement.

Then, going back to 2001 from an ITA report, we find this:

In lieu of a City-wide mission statement, this list of City functions describes areas in which the City operates and identifies the major products and services it provides to its customers. This list, which came from the City’s Budget Manual, was adopted as a mission statement for the purposes of this Information Technology Strategic Plan.
1. Community Safety:
Provide for the safety and protection of persons, animals and property against willful or accidental harm, illegal action, fraud or destruction.
2. Home and Community Environment:
Provide for the orderly development and maintenance of our physical environment consistent with the safety, convenience and general well being of the citizenry.
3. Transportation:
Provide for the expeditious movement of people, goods, and vehicles in and out of the City and the parking of vehicles on the public streets and at City-owned off-street parking facilities.
4. Cultural, Educational and Recreational Services:
Provide the public with opportunities to participate in cultural, educational and recreational activities.
5. Human Resources, Economic Assistance and Development:
Encourage trade, tourism and economic development by assisting business expansion or location within the city, financially support events that promote the image of the City and provide employment opportunities for the disadvantaged areas of local government.
6. General Administration and Support:
Provide executive leadership, legislation, policy, management and support services for the operation of City government and its related programs.
As you can see, they clearly acknowledge there is no citywide mission statement. The report goes on, though..
The City of Los Angeles’ Vision Statement shown below, which came from Mayor Richard Riordan’s speech “Capital City of the Future,” was adopted as the City Vision Statement for purposes of this IT Strategic Plan.
The City of Los Angeles will be the Capital City of the Future and will be:
1. a city with the world’s leading 21st century economy,
2. a city that leads in creativity, ingenuity and quality jobs,
3. a city that is the leading trade hub of the world,
4. a city thriving with minority and woman-owned businesses,
5. a city with a flourishing downtown (convention center, sports and entertainment complex, concert hall, cathedral),
6. a city thriving with a manufacturing base making goods for the world to enjoy,
7. a city that prides itself on its diversity, independence and originality,
8. a city where every neighborhood is safe, where streets are clean and graffiti has no place,
9. a city with a government that prides itself on customer services, action and results,
10. a city that works with business and communities to help them realize their dreams, and
11. a city with an outstanding school system where children receive the tools to compete for jobs of the 21st century.

What is clear is that the City does not have a strong Mission Statement like 3M ("To solve unsolved problems innovatively") or Disney ("To make people happy"). The City doesn't have a guiding statement that establishes everything they do. Some say a City like Los Angeles is too big to have one, but if these international, multifaceted companies have them, why not a City?

Perhaps it's time to call on the City leaders to create a vision for the City - a mission statement that guides all actions of every employee in serving the residents, businesses, visitors, and neighbors of Los Angeles.

So, we think a Mission Statement takes some input. Here's our first, feeble attempt which obviously is not perfect. (There are experts out there who are paid lots to craft these statements, so this is just something to get the ball rolling.):
"Provide people with the basic services to allow them to live a culturally rich life"
Again, we're not thrilled by this one, but it's something. What would be a better mission statement for the City of LA?

(The LA City Nerd Mission Statement: "Share the City of Los Angeles with the world")

Monday, August 27, 2007

HIdden Monument

I came across a very special monument a few months ago in Echo Park, and I wanted to post about it. I never got back to snap a photo, and now, Dateline>City of Angels has done it for us all.

Check out the post here that describes the precarious location of this memborable monument - best viewed via car when stuck in morning traffic as one tries to exit the 2 onto Glendale Boulevard. You can note by reading the plaque (or viewing the post by Ed here) that it was erected (two blocks from the actual studio) in conjunction with the 1954 episode of This is Your Life featuring Mack Sennet, for whom the obelisk was installed.

This marker brings back the spirit of the random markers that dot our City, like my true favorites: these four.

Photo by Michael Imlay, 2005 via Dateline>City of Angels.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Quick! What are you doing tomorrow?

Here's something you can do to try to celebrate the City: The Ravenchase "Great L.A. Chase". It appears to be like the Amazing Race, or locally, like Race/LA. It's tomorrow at 2pm (but we're not exactly sure where it starts - unless they contact you once you pay).

For a $30 fee, here's what you get (via their site):
If you've been waiting to run your own amazing race, to find your own grail and to crack your own code, this is the chase for you! Our staff personally greets each group at the start of the race, explains the rules of the game and gives each team a hand made treasure map, clues on parchment scrolls and a bag of cool gadgets (like black lights to see clues written in invisible ink). Teams can travel in any direction they like around the city. Actors are also planted along the course, to interact with and help the teams. All the answers and puzzle pieces along the course will lead them to a secret end location, where prizes are awarded to the top three teams.

It's a beginner/intermediate level, but if you have a group, it could get expensive. Not sure if it's worth it, but it might be cool to check out! (They also do private events: perhaps an LA blogosphere bloggers challenge? Something that Mike may be inclined to help devise.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Do Councilmembers know their own districts?

With the LAist Neighborhoods Project in full swing, we thought we'd check in with the local LA City Councilmembers own web pages and see how well they promote the neighborhoods of their respective districts. This is the way they project what they know about their respective districts and the community's they serve.

On a ten point scale, with ten (10) being "awesome!" and one (1) being "doesn't seem to care about their district's neighborhoods," we evaluated each site on the following criteria with a corresponding point value for each:

1 point for posting a district map
1 point for neighborhood facilities (parks, schools, etc.)
2 points for posting a clear, complete list of the neighborhoods represented/served
3 points for listing the attractions/destinations of the district
3 points for listing the district's neighborhood organizations (Chambers, Neighborhood Councils, etc)

So, here's how each district fared in this cursory review...

Councilmember Ed Reyes, District 1
Ed's welcome page lists the neighborhoods and general description of the district. He has some links that don't work on his My Neighborhood page that could add to value of the site, if they worked. He doesn't easily share much about the rich culture and destinations of his community.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 0 of 3
Total Score: 3

Councilmember Wendy Greuel, District 2
Wendy has a great example of how to promote a district. She has useful links that list all the pertinent information like schools, parks, libraries, Neighborhood Councils, community organizations, and even fun things to do in her district (which is as close as she comes to landmarks/points of interest). She even has an entire maps page that lists her neighborhood councils, schools, and even communities. (She even describes each community she represents.)
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 1 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 2.5 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 3 of 3
Total Score: 9.5

Councilmember Dennis Zine, District 3
Dennis has a District Info page that lists his communities, written out boundaries, many of the district statistics; but it doesn't talk specifically about the actual facilities or sites. He does list his libraries on the services page, and his district map is on his home page.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 1 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 0 of 3
Total Score: 4

Councilmember Tom LaBonge, District 4
Tom lists all of his Neighborhood Councils, has a district map, and deep within his staff page lists the communities served, but only in noting which communities the Field Deputies serve. He lists Points of Interest/Landmarks in his district, but they are either on the Miracle Mile, in Griffith Park, or are at 3rd & Fairfax. there is no mention of the NoHo Theatre and Arts District (which includes the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences), the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Heritage Museum, Campo de Cahenga Museum, Ford Theatre, Runyon Canyon, Paramount Studios, and many other points of interest/landmarks.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 1 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 1.5 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 2 of 3
Total Score: 5.5

Councilmember Jack Weiss, District 5
Jack has a whole page for his district profile, listing his communities served and a map. He doesn't list points of interest, but he does list all his libraries, parks, and schools. His site has a lot of useful information for residents, but doesn't list his community organizations.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 1 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 0 of 3
Total Score: 4

Councilmember Tony Cardenas, District 6
Tony has a lot of information about his district, but does not show any attractions/destinations. He has a few maps, library information and school information. He also lists all the Neighborhood Councils in CD6.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 1 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 0 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 2 of 3
Total Score: 4

Councilmember Richard Alarcon, District 7
Richard has a significant community profile page that includes the communities he serves, some limited points of interest (no Nethercutt Museum or future Children's Museum), and other promotional information about the district. He doesn't list community groups or schools, nor is there a district map posted; but he gets an extra point for painting a clear picture of the 7th District.
district map: 0 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 1 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 0 of 3
extra point for comprehensive district profile
Total Score: 4

Councilmember Bernard Parks, District 8
(site under construction)

Councilmember Jan Perry, District 9
Jan has a prominent district map, but very little else in terms of information about her diverse and exciting district. Unless you viewed the map, read the press releases, or looked at the photo gallery, a visitor would barely know that she represented the heart of Downtown LA and areas south thereof.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 0 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 0 of 3
Total Score: 1

Councilmember Herb Wesson, District 10
Herb has a active site with a scrolling list of his communities served. He features his district map and has links to community organizations and Neighborhood Councils in his district. He doesn't list any destinations or neighborhood venues, though.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 3 of 3
Total Score: 6

Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, District 11
Bill has a strong district profile page with a map, listing of points of interest, and his communities. He also lists all the neighborhood councils. Though the site doesn't list the parks, schools, libraries, etc., it does give a strong district presence online.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 3 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 2 of 3
Total Score: 8

Councilmember Greig Smith, District 12
Greig's page is full of information. Once you get to the About The Councilman section, you can see the communities of the district. He has his district map, and the basic neighborhood information is in his pdf neighborhood guide: schools, Neighborhood Councils, Chambers of Commerce, parks, libraries, senior centers, and much more.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 1 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 3 of 3
Total Score: 7

Councilmember Eric Garcetti, District 13
Eric has a fairly informative site. The District Profile page offers maps, the communities served, and limited points of interest. Though he lists demographic information, he does not list community organizations or neighborhood facilities, but does have a map of Neighborhood Councils.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 1.5 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 2 of 3
Total Score: 6.5

Councilmember Jose Huizar, District 14
Jose has his district map as a link and his communities served listed on the homepage, but his district information doesn't go much beyond that. And even with that list, he doesn't indicate the communities of Downtown that he serves.
district map: 1 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 1 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 0 of 3
Total Score: 2

Councilmember Janice Hahn, District 15
Janice lists the 5 communities of her district in her welcome note on the main page. She does list her Neighborhood Councils, but helpful links page shows a meager start to listing community organizations at the bottom of it. She is on the only Councilmember who does not have a district map on her site.
district map: 0 of 1
neighborhood facilities: 0 of 1
list of district's neighborhoods: 2 of 2
list of attractions/destinations: 0 of 3
list of neighborhood organizations: 2 of 3
Total Score: 4

So, what does this show?
Basically, the Councilmembers don't promote the district they serve on their sites in a way that is easily understood to a first-time or even repeat visitor. Of the 14 that were evaluated, the average was 4.89 with six sites receiving over a 5 and eight sites scoring 4 or below. The breakdown by district is as follows:
[District: Score]
1: 3
2: 9.5
3: 4
4: 5.5
5: 4
6: 4
7: 4
8: N/A
9: 1
10: 6
11: 8
12: 7
13: 6.5
14: 2
15: 4

Clearly there is room for improvement for some of these sites, and others just need to spruce up what they have to rank higher on the promotion of their district.

Maybe when the LAist Neighborhood Project is complete, each Councilmember can link to their neighborhoods' pages on the LAist site.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Heull Huaser's Map of L.A.

As the "King of California," LA City resident Huell Howser - you'd think - would have a decent online map of his favorite local and home: Los Angeles. Well, a map he had, but here's all KCET has to offer in terms of that local, interactive map.

It's a great start, but we know he knows our City; a more complete map would be great from the likes of this booster.

For more maps of Los Angeles, click here.

Image via this site - now defunct.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Free Gift Cards from LA City Housing Department!

The LA City Housing Department wants to hear from renters about their experience as renters. They are holding a focus group meeting on August 23rd at from 6 to 8pm. at their regional office on Van Nuys Boulevard. They want input from renters regarding the future of LA Housing Policy relating to the "Economic Study of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and the Local Housing Market," according to their flyer.

They really must want folks to attend; just look at all they're offering if you do attend (from their meager flyer that doesn't even have a City seal on it):

What do YOU get for participating in this focus group?
  • $25 gift card
  • Parking reimbursed or bus tokens available
  • Refreshments will be provided
  • Opportunity to shape LA City housing policy
They really want you for at least $12 an hour plus snacks!

You must RSVP by August 22 to Sandra Luna at 213-892-0154. (This study is being conducted by the Economic Roundtable and sponsored by the Housing Deparment.)

Sign up today to get your non-descript $25 gift card! (We wonder where it is able to be used?)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Four or More Dogs...

A reader wrote in asking about housing multiple dogs based on our recent article, "Unlimited Cats and Cars":
I need to find out about getting a kennel license and can't find anything about where to go. You mention that the cost is $130. Could you post where someone can go to get one of these kennel license?
Remember the rule of "four or more": if you have four or more dogs at one location ("any lot, building, structure, enclosure, or premises where four (4) or more dogs are kept or maintained"), then you need a Kennel Permit. To get a Kennel Permit to board or breed (or board and breed), just fill out the simple, one page application and send it in for review. (Additionally, all new dog kennels require compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and additional fees may be required.)

So, go get legal if you want to have more dogs than three. Remember: Four or More = permits!

Flickr photo via Matt McGee

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Defining Commerical Vehicles

As we talk about parking restrictions and loading zones, a question that seems to continue to be raised is: what defines a commercial vehicle? Remember, there are special parking zones for loading and unloading of commercial vehicles, and commercial vehicles are restricted from parking on a residential street for more than 3 hours (unless actively conducting businesses). So, is that realtor who has their magnetic advertising decal on the side of their sedan a commercial vehicle? How about a limo or a taxi? Is a personally rented Uhaul considered a commercial vehicle?

As defined by the California Vehicle Code, which is applicable here in the City of Los Angeles:
A "commercial vehicle" is a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.

Under this definition, that realtor's sedan would not able a commercial vehicle, but a truck transporting goods - public or private would be. So, those Uhauls parked overnight on a residential street could be ticketed. A limo, taxi, or plumber's truck cannot park in your residential neighborhood, either. But, that realtor seems to be able to park in their own neighborhoods, as they are personal vehicles advertising (through the 1st Amendment) a service or message. (Those magnetic banners are like large bumper stickers, in a way.) They are not commercial vehicles.

So, if you have a problem of commercial vehicles parking on the street in a residential area overnight or for extended periods of time, just call 311 and let them know; an officer may be out to cite them. If it's truly a problem situation, LAPD may get involved and use the large, commercial tow trucks to remove the commercial vehicle. (We once saw a school bus towed from a small, apartment filled cul-de-sac where it took up four very precious parking spaces on a nightly basis.) You have the power to prevent taxis from taking over your street at night.

Friday, August 10, 2007

City of L.A. to Get Even Bigger?

A reader wrote in that a topic of discussion they'd like bought up is the growth of the City. They write:
"What other cities or unincorporated L.A. county territories would you like to see annexed by the City of L.A.?
(I personally would like to fill in a little bit, you know, Torrance, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Inglewood, and on and on.)"
Now, this is an interesting question, not just because there have been many complaints over the years that the City is too big, but because there is a concerted effort by developer Dan Palmer to add another 555 acres to Los Angeles through his Las Lomas Project. The Las Lomas Project, at the 5 & 14 Interchange, has found some opposition from various sources, as well as some controversy in the City of LA, too. There has also be rumblings that the Universal City development by NBC Universal - most of which is unincorporated LA County territory and not in the City - may want to be annexed to the City of LA, as well.

But the question at hand is: should the City grow via further annexation of unincorporated County area or other Cities? If so, which ones and why?

Our reader thinks we should fill in a little bit - does that make sense in today's political climate or did the City miss it's chance 75 years ago (and as recent as 25 years ago)? Just look at some of the most recent cities to be created in the County: Calabasas(1991), West Hollywood (1984), and Malibu (1991) - all were adjacent to the City of LA but became their own municipalities. And our neighbors to the east in unincorporated East Los Angeles are fighting for their own City, too; and they are also adjacent to the City of LA.

Expanding the City beyond it's limits today doesn't seem to be the trend in this era, but you never know what will happen. Remember, this is Los Angeles!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Send Mickey Packing

Apparently LA is tired of Mickey hanging around the City...

He has apparently been backed in a crate ready for delivery into the O.C.

Or, is this the official, monthly delivery of "Los Angeles" to validate the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." Or maybe, whatever is in the crate is going to save their stadium from being disgusting?

What do you think is in the crate?

From Signs of Los Angeles

Downtown LA Street Poem

Though around for years, the following little poem (or song) is not often given as much screen time online as it deserves. So, commit it to memory, and the next time you're in Downtown LA, you can know exactly the order of the streets.
"From Main I Spring to Broadway, and over the Hill to Olive. Oh wouldn't it be Grand to Hope to pick a Flower on Figueroa!"

The question the begs to be asked is: why does such a verse exist? and why for Downtown LA? Should one not also exist for Hollywood, Eagle Rock, or Van Nuys? Where else should these poems, songs and verses exist that would useful?

There is also a lesser-known east-west version for Downtown we've seen:
"Figueroa is the Flower of Hope on the Grand Olive Hill of Broadway where the Spring flows from the Main Los Angeles Wall to San Pedro Central near Alameda."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Watts Happening in the LAist Neighborhood Project

We really do respect the LAist Neighborhoods Project that is currently underway at one of our favorite City Nerd sites. They are profiling each of the 173 officially designated neighborhoods (and then some) in a way that has offered insight and perspective on the many varied communities of Los Angeles City and beyond.

But the most recent entry - on Watts, a very special place to us- could have show a lot more. With the opportunity to shed insight and perspective, the article perpetuates some stereotypes of an important community in Los Angeles.

We encourage you to read the post here and draw your own conclusions; we've put some basic reactions in the comments of their post for their readers to read (and re-posted them at the bottom of this post).

Essentially, though, the LAist post could don more than recognized the history and current challenges as they did; we were left wanting more. They could have - and should have - also enlightened the online community of Los Angeles about the treasures and attributes of this community that make it unique in many ways, while at the same time similar to so many neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles from Chatsworth to San Pedro. There is more to Watts than gangs, poverty, and the Rodia Towers. I hope LAist will do a "Part Two" sometime to elucidate more of the neighborhood.

With that being said, LA City Nerd is joining the LAist crew to assist, where we can, in this neighborhood project. We don't claim to know every detail of every 'hood, but we know a little bit to make sure the nerdy nooks and crannies aren't overlooked. We love what LAist is doing - if our meager staff was a little bigger, we'd roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves. However, LAist started something special, and we're just rolling up our sleeves and pitching in where we can.

So, let's see if we can help out where needed.

* * * * *

LACN comments from the LAist post:

LAist Neighborhood Project, you know we love you!

But, this post lacks some of the true institutions of Watts, namely the Watts Labor Community Action Committee and all the work they do, as well as the Promenade of Prominence, the many churches, and the true neighborhoods off the main streets.

Watts is a special part of Los Angeles that needs even greater attention to show the parts that are not widely known and not just those common Watts themes: Rodia Towers, gangs, housing projects, & poverty. The Towers have an art center and museum attached that are quite impressive, and the neighborhood has true leaders that need mentioning like "Sweet Alice" Harris. Also, no mention of Ted Watkins or the park named in his honor is hard to fathom as it's one of the most prominent pieces of land in the community.

I can't wait for Watts Part II.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Street Renaming Confusion

With today's article in the LA Times about the name of the street just south of City Hall (is it First Street or Tom Bradley Boulevard, they ask), it's a good time to remember some of the other street naming issues in the city.

Remember this article about street name changes and eliminating confusion? Well, sometimes the City Council gets confused. Our recollection is that it was purely ceremonial. Someone should ask the members that were there, or the Chief Legislative Analyst's (CLA's) office whose job it is to be the institutional, non-biased memory of the City Council.

The person who probably knows exactly the intent is former, long-time CLA Ron Deaton, but he's not quite back to work yet. Someone should ask him, though. He'd know.

Interpretting Parking Restrictions

From a reader in the comments of another post:

Can anyone give me clarity on the three fold signage on Los Feliz?
The top part says 'Anti Gridlock Area'
the middle "No parking from 7-9AM'
the bottom "No stopping anytime."
So you can stop on crazy busy L.F.?
How could that be? What do they mean by 'stop?'

Sadly, this isn't as difficult as it seems. Each sign is merely posting a restriction that allows for citation for different sections of the LAMC. So, no, there is no stopping, but if you stop during 7am-9am AND it happens to be an anti-gridlock zone: Tow Time! The signs allow for a stricter enforcement and penalty beyond the parking ticket. It's true, though: sometimes the parking signs can be confusing. The easy answer is to avoid parking on the street where there are signs. Walking a few blocks never hurt anyone, did it?

And, no, the image above is not of the sign being asked about by the reader- it's just another confusing parking sign.
image by Sherrie Gulmahamad via

Monday, August 06, 2007

LA City Nerd Factiods

Sometimes, others post those City Nerd Factoids that people just love.

Brian Humphrey does well by posting the top 10 busiest fire stations in the City. Check out his list and realize that sometimes, some parts of the City do in fact need more resources than others. (We're looking at you, SFV.)

photo via eecue at flickr

Essential blogs

About 10 days ago, while we guest edited LAist for the day, we made a list of the 10 essential City Nerd blogs we read to get the information we need to stay current on issues of the City that people are talking about. There are over 100 we read, but if we had to read ten, these would be them.

Well, then, this weekend, the LA Daily News published Joseph Mailander's list of a dozen political blogs one should read. Half of them were on my list the week before. Mailander was trying to talk about those blogs that reveal the inside of politics, whereas we're looking at them to show the pulse of civic affairs.

Here's Mailander's list:******

Aside from those marked with an asterisk above, the LA City Nerd list included the following four:
Franklin Avenue
View from a Loft
CD13 Blog

We're not a political blog here, so we wouldn't expect to be listed in Mailander's list. But hopefully, if someone has a question about politics (and the patience to wait sometimes a week or more for an answer), they'll ask us. More than likely we know the process behind it or what's really going on.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Soon, we promise...

Seriously, no one thought that there would be a week without posts. We're working on some things that make not come to fruition on this site soon, but hopefully you - the readers - will see them in the near future.

So, for now, know we're coming back soon. We promise.

So, for your fix of LA City Nerdisms, go back and take a look at one of our posts from last week's LAist guest editorship:

Intro Interview
Top Ten City Nerd sites
LAX's Official Song
Tax Dollars at Work
Going BIG in LA

Oh, wait, that was two weeks ago. (Time seems to be melding together!)

See you soon...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Make that 173!

As part of our ongoing effort to document the officially designated neighborhood signs of the City of Los Angeles, we submit to you verification of a neighborhood presumed lost:

Thanks to the expert Photo Nerd in one Malingering, the once-thought-lost community name sign of West Los Angeles has been documented at the southwest corner of Bundy and Ocean Park.

True, we always knew that "West LA" existed - this sign merely proves that the City actually officially designated a community by said name. There are other community name signs that LADOT has claimed to have created, but no one has been able to provide documentation that such signs exist. They are:
Carthay Village
Griffith Park
La Cienega Ctr
La Fayette Park Square
South Park
Western Heights
West Lake
Wilshire District
Wilshire Park Mile

If you can find the location and a picture of one (or any) of the aforementioned signs, please add them to the LA City Neighborhood Signs Flickr Group.

The rest of the known "officially designated communities" are listed here.

Sorry, LAist, for throwing a wrench into your gears. Hopefully this one more won't hinder your progress of the LA Neighborhoods Project (not that you're actually sticking to the original list).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Garcetti-Wakeland Relationship Defended

Council President Eric Garcetti has been in a long term relationship for over a decade with his partner, Amy Wakeland.

Recently, on one of the comment sections of one of our posts, someone alluded to the fact that Eric hasn't married Amy yet because marriage doesn't work in politics (as evident in the recent turmoil in the Mayor's office here in LA, as well as San Fransisco).

To their defense came strong words by someone close to them:
"The comment about why Eric Garcetti still hasn't tied the knot with Amy Wakeland? I know Eric and Amy very well. Eric and Amy always spend their lives in finding and supporting services that will help the better community of LA California. They are each others' support in doing what they truly believe in. Amy and Eric will get married when the right time comes along, but they are more feel in their hearts to help those around them. How do I know these things. I will tell you, I am David Wakeland, Amy's little brother and I am very supportive and proud of Eric and Amy in what they are doing for the people of LA, California."

Here we have a defense of a non-political sibling who happens to be personally connected to a public official. Is such a defense necessary? Furthermore, should people take offense to comments on a blog? We've made it a policy here not to have completely anonymous commenters, whereas Mayor Sam let's anyone comment without an identity. Kevin Roderick removed comments from the LAObserved site long ago, and LAist just started to require registration to comment.

Should commenters be more effectively screened? Should people take offense to another person's opinions or personal, yet public, reactions? Public discourse is good; even online. Better, though, is to take the debates - the comments - to the street. Perhaps an LA City Nerd meet-up is needed to have a public conversation about the hottest LA City topics (like gangs, traffic, and personal lives!)?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Experiencing Little Armenia

On the heels of LAist's neighborhood guide for Little Armenia, LA Commons is hosting an event in Tony Pierce's 'hood this weekend.

From the LA Commons website:

a Summer 2007 Project of LA Commons
July 21st - A Taste of Pomegranate: Sampling Art in Little Armenia

Join us on the afternoon of July 21st in East Hollywood for a celebration of Armenian culture, art and food. The Armenian Center for the Arts, LA Commons and UCLA present "A Taste of Pomegranate: Sampling Art in Little Armenia." The afternoon includes: handwoven tapestries and lace work, traditional and contemporary Armenian music and dance performances, tours of Noah's Ark library, and opportunities to view local art works on display throughout the neighborhood and interact directly with the artists. In addition, a public art project of LA Commons created with artist Gregory Beylerian and youth from the Rose & Alex Pilibos School will be unveiled.
Here's a unique opportunity to not only experience the community of Little Armenia but also the true Armenian culture that inspires such a community. Check out the Free event and take in the sights, sounds and tastes of Little Armenia.

More details from LA Commons:

A Taste of Pomegranate Events:

2:00 to 4:00 PM
Browse booths with traditional tapestries and lace work
Guided tours of Noah's Ark Library
Art Walk around Little Armenia
(Walks depart from Pilibos School to local businesses where you'll have the chance to meet and greet local artists, view their works and sample Armenian snacks along the way.)

4:00 to 7:00 PM
Dance performance by a group from the Nayiri Dance Ensemble
LA Commons public art project unveiling...
Celebrate the incredible work of students from Pilibos School and artist Gregory Beylerian. Unveiling ceremony will take place on the grounds of the Pilibos School starting around 4:15 PM.
Dance to the sounds of world-renowned John Bilezikjian Ensemble
Seating available and plenty of room to dance! Also outside of Pilibos School.

This is a free event open to all ages!

Bring a little cash for food booths and neighborhood eateries.

For more information contact LA Commons at (213) 705-4457, email us at or visit our website at

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Did you know that you can get a ticket if you cross the street against a traffic control device prohibiting such crossing OR mid-block (not at an intersection or marked crosswalk)? Even if the street is empty and you're not stopping traffic, there is a California vehicle code section that prohibits "pedestrians in the roadway." Be aware.

On the flipside, though, any corner to corner crossing is a legal place to cross and the pedestrian has the right of way (unless otherwise posted).

Go figure.

It's the summertime - go play at a City park or the beach.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

LA Archdiocese Jeopardizes Jesus' Star

With this week's news of the multi-million dollar settlement between LA's Catholic Church and victims of clergy abuse, one has to wonder if the LA Archdiocese is putting Jesus' star in jeopardy on the Wilshire Walk of Fame?

Well, for a little more light-heartedness, remember this rendering of Mahony and the LA Cathedral on South Park?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Elephant Walk Causes Concern

Remember that little post about the Circus coming to town? Well, it appears some things have changed.

From a reader regarding the "elephant walk":
"They changed the time to 4:45 a.m. on July 17th and 9:30 p.m.on July 22th. Seems they now have to get the animals into the arena by 6:00 a.m. or at least that is what she said. I actually heard that LAPD had a fear that there would be a ton of animal rights activists there so they intentionally made the time inconvenient."
So, as of the time of this posting, the elephants have done their walk (allegedly). Activists have been asking the City not to allow the walk or allow the circus because of the treatment of the animals. They will protest the walk, as they do often; but to complicate matters, some of the activists are known to be confrontational and militant. This poses a problem for controlling any protests of the walk, which are supposed to be occurring. (Did they? No news of them has been found yet.)

Adding fuel to the fire, this follows up to the Bansky exhibit of last year when the painting and display of Tai the elephant brought outcries from the community, and the Department of Animal Services said such exhibit of animals would not be allowed again. The LA Times quoted General Manager Ed Boks at the time saying:

"'This situation is causing the department to rethink its permitting procedures so there will be more scrutiny, so permits will not be issued for such frivolous abuse of animals in the future."
They also quoted him saying he allowed the permits, but not proudly:

Boks found himself decrying the presence of the elephant in the exhibit even though his agency had issued the two permits necessary to have the elephant there - 'to my chagrin,' he said.
It's almost as if he issued them against his will. From a recent version of the Animal Services website, Boks & the Department are also referenced as being against these-types of activity:

"LA Animal Services is against cruelty or exploitation in any legal entertainment venue, event, or sporting activity. This includes but is not limited to circuses involving animals, rodeo, donkey basketball, dog racing and horse racing. We encourage people to attend non-exploitive forms of entertainment."
So, why was this walk allowed?

To make things even more interesting for the City and LAPD, the Animal Rights 2007 National Conference, "the world's largest and oldest animal rights conference," is being held in LA (at Westin LAX) at the same time as the elephant walk, so all the nation's top activists will be in town. Part of their program lists demonstrations being planned (but no mention of the elephant walk specifically).

So, look out at the end of the week when the Elephant Walk and the 2007 Animal Rights convention converge in Los Angeles.
Picture via

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Naming Toluca Lake*

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley Blog presents an interesting history on the naming of today's Toluca Lake. Basically, it was General Charles Foreman of Texas (by way of Nevada) who bought a ranch and named it such (but there's a bit more too it, including some rivalry with JB Lankerhsim and his development to the north of what would become Toluca Lake Park and then, Toluca Lake. Check out the full story here.

Many of the stories of how communities in LA got their names are lost, but it's nice to know some history is carried on.

(Who knew that blogs could be so useful as online archives/museums!?)

I hope they tell us about Moses Sherman and Sherman Oaks, how Reseda was once called Marian (named for the daughter of Valley subdivider Harrison Gray Otis who later married Harry Chandler), how Northridge was once Zelzah and changed to be called North Los Angeles and then Northridge, or how Charles Weeks named Winnetka in an effort to create an utopian community in the West Valley!

Picture of General Charles Foreman from the Natural History Museum slide show on Minerals.

Friday, July 13, 2007

City Historic Landmark Inventory

With the recent approval of yet another Historic-Cultural Monument in the City of LA with the Feliz sign and showroom, it's a good time to remember that there are 873 designated monuments by the City as of May of this year. The first ten being designated in 1962 via a preservation ordinance that predates New York City's. And those first ten designations (in order):

10. The Eagle Rock
9. Shadow Ranch House in Canoga Park
8. Foy House on Carroll Avenue
7. Romulo Pico Adobe (Rancho Romulo) in Mission Hills
6. Bradbury Building on Broadway
5. The Salt Box (Victorian Structure relocated from Bunker Hill and later destroyed by Fire in 1969)
4. Angel's Flight
3. Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles (Plaza Church)
2. Bolton Hall in Tujunga
1. Leonis Adobe at the LA City/Calabasas border

The complete City listing can be found here; and a great way to learn about them is to visit this quite nerdy site (which is fairly awesome!):, where they are going in order through each monument with brief history, photos, and present-day assessments. With about 40 done so far, they are 5% complete, but new structures are being approved every month, so who knows if the site will ever reach it's goal... at least in the near future. We sure hope so!

Now, there may need to be some change to the way Historical Monuments are protected while in the process of application for designation. Remember: just a few weeks ago, while the initial review was being scheduled for the last original house of the town of Van Nuys, the developer demolished it because a structure is not protected (even temporarily) until after the first hearing. So, once an application is submitted, an owner can demolish it before the review hearing without consequence. Something here needs to change, even it requires the City to gaurantee a hearing within 30 days of an application being filed.

Photo ofthe first Cultural Historic Monument from BigOrangeLandmarks

Thursday, July 12, 2007

City's Annual Free-Money Giveaway

It's that time of year again... to start applying for the over $800,000 available in Community Beautification Grants from the City's Department of Public Works. Matching grants of up to $10K are awarded in February/April of next year, but the deadline to apply is October of 2007 The applications and details are available at the official OCB website here.

So what are these grants for, you ask? Beautifying the community (hence the name). Here's a sample of what was funded last year:

$10K to beautify an elementary school lunchroom in Brentwood
$9999.54 for a canopy and sculpture in El Sereno
$4209.47 to upgrade a community garden in East Hollywood
$10K for a church in Sun Valley to add "landscape and concrete for the children to play on"
$9979.97 to replace the Senior Lawn at Grant High School
$10K to create a outdoor children's playground at the Alcoholism Center for Women
$9869 to landscape a median in South LA
$10K for planters on the sidewalks in Leimart Park

An interesting example of how diverse the projects can be: look how much tree plantings are in various parts of the City based on last year's grantees:

$10K to plant 20 trees in the Cahuenga Pass
$9994.41 to plant 57 trees in North Hollywood
$1657.85 to plant 27 trees in the Harvard Heights Neighborhood
$9883 to plant 130 trees in Imperial Highway just south of LAX

Details of last year's grantees are available here.

Apply for a project that has some public benefit to it. The program tries to fund equally throughout the 15 council districts, so if there are less projects from a certain area, you might have a better chance of receiving funds. That's why sometimes the projects are not as available to the public (like those inside schools or non-profits) as others (like medians, planters, street trees, etc.).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Metromix's late night dining ommissions

Here's a new late night dining guide from Metromix Los Angeles. We were hoping for something new or innovative based on Metromix's claims:
Metromix is...
your one-stop local entertainment guide on where to go and what to do, from the hottest restaurants and bars, to the latest in events, music, movies, and more.

With Metromix you can...
search thousands of local hotspots by neighborhood, type of food or music, a specific date -- you name it, Metromix lets you find it fast

uncover a insider’s perspective by finding fresh, new and unexpected ideas for going out

share your experiences and opinions through ratings, reviews, photos, and videos

visit daily as there’s always something new to read, watch, or view -- either from our editors or people like you
But this late night list is the same old list, and incomplete, at that. They actually have 87 places listed on their general 24-hour dining list (not a feature like he link above) including many Tommy's, Norms, and Spires locations, but they're still missing some places. So, here's a few missing 24-hour places that are oft-overlooked and should be a part of any basic late-night LA eating list (and yes, late night means you can cross into other municipalities beyond LA City!):

Piper's (Western/Beverly)

Coral Cafe (Burbank; people say better than it's Bob's Big Boy)

King Taco (4504 E. 3rd St. location only)

What's missing?

Neighborhood Profiles on LAist

Our friends at LAist are working on Neighborhood Profiles for the 172 officially designated neighborhoods of the City of LA. They launched the Neighborhood Project with Little Armenia, editor Tony Pierce's home community. The photo essay is poignant and light-hearted and reflects most of the neighborhood.

This was an easy one; I'm eager to see what they have to say about Morningside Circle or Vermont Vista.

Who owns the street?

A commenter asks:
"I live on a street with limited parking (one side). I try to park in front of my location, but sometimes, due to other activities on the street, I am forced to park next door or a few houses down. Is there any ordinance/law that gives neighbors the right to assert ownership of the street in front of their house or is it public and I shouldn't worry about the nasty notes I get every time I have to park there?"
The answer is simple: Ignore the notes - there is no ordinance or law that gives ownership to the street fro private use, unless the street has been vacated and withdrawn from public use (which the commenter should know as their property would most likely be behind a gate as is the case with the Laughlin Park community of Los Feliz). Technically, every street is "owned" by the adjacent property owners to the center line (half the street is "owned" by each side), but there is also a City-owned public easement that makes it open and free to the general public. Even so, the property owner must keep is clean and free of obstruction so that the public can utilize it. This also goes for the sidewalk (LAMC 56.08). So, park anywhere on the street you like; everyone has the same right to park on the street unless otherwise officially posted.

This also raises an issue being examined by the Echo Park community: can LAUSD close Marathon Street for the construction of their new school (9a)? Technically, once they own both sides of the street for their new school site, they can petition the City to close it because they "own" both sides. There is a formal "street vacation" process that the City goes through led by the Bureau of Engineering, but the community indicates (with confirmation from the Council Office) that the process has not yet been followed. LAUSD has been temporarily and permanently closing streets relative to school safety and construction for some time, but always with permits. They have the right to do so on Marathon, if they follow the process.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Structure in the 110 Tunnels

We got this email, and thought others may want to know the answer, too:

driving through the 110 fwy tunnels north of downtown a few days ago, I was about to engage in the standard battle of "those who stay in the left lane "vs" those who race to the 5 offramp and cut off 'those who stay in the left lane'"... and I noticed that there's something new in the first two tunnels. mounted to the roof of the tunnels, running the length of the tunnels, is some kind of device directly above the line dividing the left lane from the 2nd lane.

what is it?

Even though this set of tunnels is not maintained by the City any longer (as are the Seven Tunnels of LA), this new structure was Intriguing to us, too. So, after some research and too much driving on the 110 north, the answer revealed itself: new lighting.

The new structures the run the length of the tunnels are new lighting so that the drastic changes from light to dark that can cause accidents are removed. (Roadway experts will tell you that the shift from light to dark like happens in the tunnels can cause visibility and perception issues.) Thanks to Caltrans, the series of tunnels will be safer for that "standard battle" of when to merge to the 5 North.

The lights aren't fully installed yet, but they will be; and those tunnels will be safer for it.

Potholes don't fill themselves

Today, the LAist brings up the point of whether or not the Mayor can recover from the news of the last month. They mention that he's going to announce this week the filling 350,000 potholes in the next fiscal year.

We try our best to stay away from personal commentary, so here are some facts...

Fact: 350,000 potholes would be about 1,000 a day for the next year. (Possible, yes; but...)
Fact: Those crews filling potholes are also the ones who are responsible for sweeping & cleaning streets as well as working on other Bureau services.

Fact: Currently, there are over 200,000 requests for pothole repair are received annually (but not all are technically "potholes").
Fact: Most road erosion or abrasions are not potholes. See this chart for an explanation of a pothole (and what's not a pothole).

Fact: the Mayor has only authorized the Bureau of Street Services (who is responsible for street conditions) $125 million for this fiscal year. (sounds like a lot, but...)
Fact: Street Services needs $300 million per year just to maintain the streets in their current conditions (based on oral reports from the Bureau at various meetings).

Question: Where is the funding and/or personnel coming from to fund the increased number of potholes? This seems like 1) either an announcement of something already happening and being repackaged or 2) a way to avoid actually fixing the problem and literally just patching together a semblance of the nation's largest municipal street system.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Circus is Coming to Town

In some ways, LA is still like a small town.

Plan to attend the Circus Parade from Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey and see how we're just like every other city in America when the circus comes to town.

From the LAPD public assemblage report:
7/22/2007-Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey-OCB/Newton/Central
TIME: 9:30 PM - 11:45 PM
ASSEMBLY: 1111 S. Figueroa (Staples Center)
ROUTE: S. on Figueroa. E. on 11th St. S. on Flower to Pico Bl. E.on Pico Bl then S.on Central to Washington Bl. E/B to S/B Alemeda. E. on 25th St.
CONTACT: Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Briene Finkelstein 818-596-0930

OK, at 9:30pm at night, maybe this isn't the parade that Anytown, USA has. It'll be nice to see elephants walking the street at night on Figueroa - it will be an interesting combination with the other folks that walk Figueroa at night. (though, they're usually south of Exposition Park).

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our Gang (Little Rascals) Reunion & Outdoor Movie

Everyone loves outdoor movies - here's one for the whole family in true L.A. style. From the Heritage Square Website:

Heritage Square’s Silent Movie Nights:
Saturday, July 7 and 21, 2007. Beginning each night at 7 p.m.
Experience a summer night at Heritage Square Museum while watching your favorite old movies and cartoons. On Saturday. July 7, we present a showing of the celebrated “Our Gang” troop in Pigskin Palooka, a classic film released 70 years ago this year. The screening will take place on the lawn near the Palms Depot and on hand for this special screening are members from the original and supporting cast.

The "Our Gang" Reunion and Silent Movie Night screening admission prices are free for museum members and $10.00 for the general public. Heritage Square Museum will open at 7 p.m. for picnics with the show starting at dusk. Guests are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to sit on, picnic, and warm clothing.

So, an LA-style theatrical reunion, a movie, historic homes and buildings - all of this along the historic 110 Freeway. What an LA night this will be!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Has City Hall gone green?

Has City Hall gone green?

That's what Rico wants to know, as he indicates here.

Are we sure it isn't just a weird lighting or is it a visual representation as seen in the past at City Hall... like this?

LA Green Girl has the answer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Los Angeles/Culver City Confusion

The border between the City of LA and Culver City is confusing - there's no question about that. We get questions all the time, though, asking in which City establishments are located. Most often, they're in the Los Angeles community of Palms, like the Museum of Jurassic Technology, even thought they claim Culver City. (We know that JackFM has the same problem of not realizing where they exist.)

But you'd think the Center for Land Use Interpretation would know that they are in the City of Los Angeles and not Culver City. But, they claim the "C.C." designation over the true, LA City address.

Where's the community pride?

No wonder Palms has such a hard time getting on the map. They are often pushed aside as a community for the flashier "Heart of Sceenland." And what pushes this specific CLUI issue even further is that their latest exhibit on Parking is partially funded by the City of LA, not Culver City. Perhaps there needs to be a promotional stipulation that if you receive City funding, you have to list the project as taking place in the City.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Parkinson's Mystery Building

One of the most prolific and highly regarded architectural firms in Los Angeles history is the various iterations of John Parkinson, who was involved with the designing of some of the most significant structures in the history of the City, of which almost 60 still exist downtown. Notable structures include the Alexandria Hotel, Bullocks-Wilshire Department Store, Los Angeles City Hall, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, University of Southern California, and Union Station.

Parkinson also designed the first "Class A" fireproof steel-frame structure in the City in 1896, the Homer Laughlin Building, which is known today as the home of Grand Central Market. He also designed the tallest building standing in Los angeles for 6o years - both of them. First, in 1904, he designed the Braly Block at 4th and Spring, and that was then replaced by his 28-story City Hall until it was surpassed in 1964 after height limits had been lifted in the City.

So, today, the firm is called Parkinson Field Associates, and they have been separated for the last 11 years from the archive that provides such information as referenced above.

The real question and purpose of sharing all this information is this: Do you know what this Mystery Parkinson Building is?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Welcome Perspective...

With only four posts so far, the LA Militant Nerd has already shown some insight and perspective that is fresh to the scene of LA blogs.

We take just the slightest offence at what he/she mentions about other blogs about LA - but, everyone's entitled to an opinion, and we think this one is going to be good.

Check it out; it covers a few LA stories not yet found in the blog mix of LA.

(see "LA Militant Nerd" at right for future reference.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

How to be a legal fruit vendor

In response to this post about cut fruit vendors, "wanabe fruit guy" asks:

"I am trying to open a fruit cart myself. If anyone knows where to get the
licensing for this please let me know. From what I understand you need to have
the cart inspected and then you get a little green sticker to put in front. Any
The input is this: there is no legal way for you to vend fruit or other victuals from the general public right of way in the City of LA.

The City doesn't give permits for such activities, unless you are in the special "vending district." Currently, there are no active "Vending Districts" in the City (the one that was in MacArthur Park is now defunct due to safety issues relating to the vendors being hassled and one being shot). So, push carts, pick-up trucks with fruit in them, and guys on the corner are not permitted for now.

There are some exceptions in regards to catering trucks*; but they are all regulated with time limits and other restrictions (LAMC 80.73). Beyond the traditional roach coach/taco truck catering truck, hotdog carts (not the push-cart kind on the sidewalk, but the trailers attached to vehicles in the street), ice cream trucks, and produce trucks fall into this category. They still need to have city permits and follow the guidelines stated in 80.73 to remain legal.

But, in terms of selling goods from the sidewalk: it's not allowed. No selling peppered mangos, bacon-wrapped hotdogs, or bags of cherries from the sidewalk, freeway offramps, or street corners. "Fruit Carts" are not allowed.

*By City Code, catering trucks are defined as "any motorized vehicle designed primarily for dispensing victuals. For purposes herein, the term 'catering truck' shall include any trailer designed primarily for dispensing victuals but only if attached to a motor vehicle at all times during which victuals are being dispensed. 'Catering truck' shall not include any other trailer or any wagon or pushcart, either propelled or drawn by motorized or other force, or any other vehicle incidentally used for dispensing victuals."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

First House in Van Nuys threatened

This historic house on Sylvan Street in Van Nuys was one of ten built by W.P. Whitsett in 1911 to show those he lured from "over the hill" that the Valley was a place to settle (and buy his plots of land).

But that house is now threatened with demolition, according to a Daily News article today:
"Time is short. The developer, Merabi & Sons LLC of Encino, has pulled a permit to demolish the home to build condominiums.

The article goes on to say the City is working on it:
City officials said they are exploring all legal options to save the house before a formal landmark application can stop demolition.

"I am committed to preserving the unique character of our neighborhoods and am looking into every lawful possibility to save this home," Councilman Tony Cardenas said in a statement."

Hopefully, at today's 10am City Council meeting, Councilman Cardenas will utilize Rule 23 as Councilwoman Greuel did for the Weatherwolde Castle in Tujunga when that structure was in a similar situation back in 2005. (A Rule 23 action means that there is eminent need for the City Council to take action on an item that was raised after the official agenda has been posted.)

I'm stumped

As we often note, an LA City Nerd doesn't know the answer to every question. We try our best to find the answer and often know where to look to to whom to talk, but we're not always successful. Though we've been working on this map, it's not nearly complete yet because not every community is easily defined (which is probably why a map such as this has not yet been attempted).

So, here's a question that needs community support... I got the following email today:

Ever since I hopped off the boat from Chicago in November, I've always had a hard time answering the question "where do you live?"

It's not that I am geographically retarded. In fact, I love maps. Already I am pretty familiar with most of Los Angeles, just through my nerdy love of maps.

But I have absolutely NO idea what my neighborhood is called.


Our building is in Los Angeles. However, we are that little part of LA that juts out West of Cedars Sinai and is completely surrounded by WeHo and Beverly Hills. In fact, just across our building's alley is BH, and WeHo is sort of across the street and to the North.

To make matters easy on people, I usually say I live in West Hollywood (Beverly Hills would be WAY too pretentious). But I want to know where I REALLY live. I mean, what good is moving to Los Angeles if you can't claim a neighborhood?

I know it's in the Mid-City West Neighborhood Council, but the community is not called "Mid-City West." It's clearly not Beverly Hills, and it's not West Hollywood. It's in the 5th Council District.

If we lived there, we would be to refer to it "Mid-City" or "Los Angeles"; this area doesn't have a community name that is known to us.

Are we wrong? Is it a community that remains unknown to the vast City?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rediscovering Hollywood

Ever wondered about some of the things that make Hollywood, well, Hollywood?

Forget all the celebrity you think you know. Here's what makes Hollywood Hollywood:

Mr. Hollywood

Whitley Heights

Politics of the Walk of Fame

Living in the Capital Records Building

KTTV's ZigZag Art

The Hollywood Christmas Parade's last stand

Hollywood Slasher

Defining Halloween in Hollywood

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Unlimited Cats and Cars

In LA, cars are like cats: unlimited.

We got an email from a reader that asked about the number of cars that a person can own:
I want to know what to do about my neighbors who have five or six cars parked on the street, most of them don't work or they are selling them. Meanwhile, my friends and family has to park in the next block and walk down the street at night to the house.
The inconvenience of having a lot of cars owned by one homeowner is similar to the experience of living next to a cat lady: the number allowed is unlimited. In Los Angeles, there is no restriction on the number of cats one can own on one premises (unless it turns into hoarding). But, with dogs, one property can only have 3 dogs on the property/premise without being required to apply for a kennel permit of $130 (and a bureaucratic process of review). With cars, you can own as many as you want as long as you follow the parking and storage rules set forth like not storing a car on the street, or storing on private property within public view or parking in the front yard, etc.

So, how to deal with the car collector/dealer on your street? Contact Building & Safety or the neighborhood prosecutor in your area. They will know how to deal with it in your area.

And how to deal with too many dogs or the hoarding of cats? Call 311 and ask for Animal Services.