Thursday, May 31, 2007

Surplus City property for sale... or is it?

Just quickly...

If you want to know what happens to surplus City property, here are some basics:
In the City, the "owner" (the department that claims use of the parcel/structure) of the land (be it the LAFD, Library Dept, Public Works, etc.) has the first right to use it for another facility, office space, storage, etc. if they relocate the existing use to another site. If that department deems it surplus, it is then offered to other departments. The other department would then "purchase" the site by using funds allocated to them and transfer those funds back to the original “owner” of the site. Now, these purchases are all theoretical, as the City still owns the land; but what this does do is allow for different sources of funds (i.e. bond funds) to be used to "acquire" property.

In recent years, there has been a policy to give first priority of surplus land to CRA, the housing department, and other agencies to create affordable housing. (Those agencies can then convey the land to developers - sometimes for less.)

Now, if no department in the city wants/can use the property, it is declared surplus and sent to auction. This doesn't happen all that often, as the City Council usually finds pet uses for the properties as community centers, non-profits, etc. A good example is the Canoga Park Community Center, which is the old fire station (whereas Engine Co. 28 downtown is a surplus property example).

[from my comments based on this CurbedLA post.]

76 Balls on the move

This morning, Donco & Sons was on the move out of LA northbound. Their cargo: a new 76 Ball...

This ball was the new red, not orange, and perhaps on its way to a new home in Simi, Moorpark, Santa Clarita, or beyond.

The driver of the truck seemed cautious of his cargo:

As he left Anaheim, was he aware his cargo was so important to the history of Southern California car culture?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Los Angeles Street was "Negro Alley"

Los Angeles has a "colorful" past, to say the least - and their is irony in its name. Los Angeles was once the cow-capital of the US and was commonly known as a rough-and-tumble "cow town" in its early days as a US city, known for having an average of one murder every day. This reputation was solidified internationally at the start of the municipality as we know it and has been revisited many times in the last 157 years. Remember, before the May 1st Maylee of this year, the Riots of '65 & '92, or the Zoot Suit riots, there was the "Chinese Massacre of 1871."

From the firsthand account of Harris Newmark:

About the twenty-first of October a “war” broke out near Nigger Alley between two rival factions of the Chinese on account of the forcible carrying off of one of the companies' female members, and the steamer California soon brought a batch of Chinamen from San Francisco, sent down, it was claimed, to help wreak vengeance on the abductors. On Monday, October 23d some of the contestants were arrested, brought before Justice Gray and released on bail. It was expected that this would end the trouble; but at five o'clock the next day the factional strife broke loose again, and officers, accompanied by citizens, rushed to the place to attempt an arrest. The Chinese resisted and Officer Jesus Bilderrain was shot in the right shoulder and wrist, while his fifteen-year-old brother received a ball in the right leg. Robert Thompson, a citizen who sprang to Bilderrain's assistance, was met by a Chinaman with two revolvers and shot to death. Other shots from Chinese barricaded behind some iron shutters wounded a number of bystanders.
News of the attacks and counter-attacks spread like wild-fire, and a mob of a thousand or more frenzied beyond control, armed with pistols, guns, knives and ropes, and determined to avenge Thompson's murder, assembled in the neighborhood of the disturbance. While this solid phalanx was being formed around Nigger Alley, a Chinaman, waving a hatchet, was seen trying to escape across Los Angeles Street; and Romo Sortorel, at the expense of some ugly cuts on the hand, captured him. Emil Harris then rescued the Mongolian; but a detachment of the crowd, yelling “Hang him! shoot him!” overpowered Harris at Temple and Spring streets, and dragged the trembling wretch up Temple to New High street, where the familiar framework of the corral gates suggested its use as a gallows. With the first suspension, the rope broke; but the second attempt to hang the prisoner was successful. Other Chinamen, whose roofs had been smashed in, were rushed down Los Angeles Street to the south side of Commercial, and there, near Goller's wagon shop, between wagons stood on end, were hung.

This English account showed that "Los Angeles" was not a city of angels at the time, and further research shows that this tragic event revealed more about early Los Angeles by the location of the incident.

The name of the alley for the infamous first "riot" in LA was called "Nigger Alley" by Newmark but was known by the Spanish as "Calle de los Negros." In researching the name online, "Calle de Los Negros" is translated to mean "Street of the Dark Hued Ones," or "Street of the Black," but other accounts lay the name to refer to the notorious acts that took place there predating 1871.
But in the City, Calle de Los Negros was known as "Negro Alley" and then was changed to Los Angeles Street, as you can see in the name change card below:

The dates are 1877 to 1912 and those in red are removals of the Los Angeles Street name while the black type is where Los Angeles Street was extended or expanded.

This card shows the transition about 5 years after the massacre that the City was taking in bring control back to what would become an international city. (It actually took another 10 years before Los Angeles Street actually assumed its route and Negro Alley reverted to the adjacent property owner - after an additional ten years of litigation.) It needs to be known where we come from in order to move forward. Old street names reveal the City as it was founded, and the incidents of our past should show how we can move forward. Unfortunately, it appears we've still not quite moved forward beyond mobs of racial emotion, even if our street names have been changed.

Changing Street Names
Alley Parking

Sunday, May 27, 2007

LA City Nerd on MySpace

Yep. We finally did it.

We created a MySpace page. We're new to this whole "technological networking" thing, so bare with us.

Here's our lame profile page - how do we make it better? Honestly, why would anyone want to be friends with the City Nerd? Well, at least as of this posting, Tom wants to be our friend.

Cafeterias in Los Angeles

Yesterday, The Southern California Restaurant Historical Society held its fourth event: a "Salute to Cafeterias!" at the historic Clifton's Cafeteria (648 S. Broadway, Downtown LA). The LA Times writes about it, but I think the most fascinating thing revealed at this event was the etymology of the term cafeteria.

Charles Perry indicated that Helen Mosher opened up what was called (and now known as) "The Cafeteria" in 1905. From there, the trend took off. The terms is known today as sliding a try along and picking your food from what's in front of you - all of that came from Helen. She played off the highly romanticized Spanish & Mexican California so popular in the Victorian Era and applied it to her new concept of dining. So, the term may have a Spanish meaning of sorts, but the term Cafeteria as we know it today was "created" as an American term of high quality (she touted all female cooks), efficient food service .

Friday, May 25, 2007

What happened to LA's bloggers?

Here's 4 Nerds we don't hear from anymore at their sites:
Mitch Glazer and his Paradox Unbound?
Memo Pisa el Lodo? (link is not working, but neither is she these days)
Kuaptic Nerd
The Echo Park Nerd

And there are also 7 links I removed at right because the sites no longer work/exist, sadly.

Times are a-changin'!

It's not easy to maintain a blog, but it's sad to see an online neighborhood or community portal evaporate. I wonder what the average life of a blog is? Are there are any new blogs out there that need to be added to the Nerd list at the right?

LAPD Violates Internet Safety guidelines

The LAPD Blog just posted some award-winning essays by 12-year-olds from across the City on Internet safety. It's somewhat ironic that they would publish these kids' full names - clearly they have access to web-based chatrooms like MySpace or AOL Instant Messenger. Now, the predators can take those names and search for the minors online.

I'm sure LAPD was trying to promote Internet safety, but they could have at least just use last name initials. Even more ironic is that, in the essays themselves, the students write about not revealing full names and schools - which is exactly what the LAPD did. It makes you wonder if the person who coordinated the contest even read the essays before having them posted online as such.

My favorite excerpt, though, is from Lucy E.: " is best not to trust anyone on the Internet. "

I concur... especially anonymous bloggers!

First Roller Skating Rink in Los Angeles

Who knew? Back in 1871, roller skating first came to LA and was a hit! From Harris Newmark's first hand account of Los Angeles:
A genuine novelty was introduced in 1871, when Downs & Dent late in February opened a roller-skating rink at Teutonia Hall. Twenty-five cents was charged for admission, and an additional quarter demanded for the use of skates. Ladies and gentlemen flocked to enjoy the new sensation; a second rink was soon opened in Los Angeles and another in El Monte; and among those who became proficient skaters was Pancho Coronel, one of the social lions of his day. In time, however, the craze waned, and what had been hailed as fashionable because of its popularity in the great cities of the East, lost in favor, particularly among those of social pretensions.
So, when people say that roller rinks were a big hit in the '70s, they were right in both decades. I wonder if skating will again be the rage in 2070. (I'll let you know when we get there!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Zell to sell the Times?

With the Tribune/Times doing so much in the way of changing the LA Times with the loss of long time institutions as recently as this evening, we'll add to the rumor mill...

Rumor has is that the Zell interests are looking at the Tribune properties in Los Angeles to assess their potential value. So, when we mean sell the times, we actually mean the property on which it currently sits. With the recent sale of the Valley's Times facility, a sale of Tribune-owned property would not be too much of a shock to the City, but it would show a lack of commitment to Los Angeles after over a century of growing with and shaping Los Angeles.

Times are changing, indeed.

You CAN raise chickens in Los Angeles

Did you know that even in the City of Los Angeles, you can raise chickens in a regular, residential zone? You don't need to be located in the agricultural zone (which still exists in many parts of the City) to raise fowl (though there are restrictions for raising horses, goats, etc.). In fact, all you need to do to raise chickens for eggs or other uses is meet a few criteria.

First, the easy one is chickens (hens): they must be cooped at least 20 feet from the owner's dwelling and at least 35 feet from any neighbor's dwelling. Now, for roosters, ducks, and turkeys, you have to keep them in a coop or roost at least 20 feet from their owners swelling and at least 100 feet from the nearest neighbor's dwelling. Pretty simple, right?

I guess the question is: why in some areas do you see chickens roaming the front yards and streets even? If you see fowl or poultry roaming the streets, just call 311 and report what you see so that an animal services officer can come out and assess the situation and make sure the few, simple rules are being followed.

LA Harbor Construction

Wanna see what it's like to have the Port of LA built before the modern marvels of rocket launches from sea?

Check this clip out from 100 years ago. It reminds us all how basic our construction was in the days of yore... and could be today, too.

(Yes, I like old clips as seen here.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

110 years of Bicycle challenges

Will and Spencer are talking about the cons of in-street bike lanes (Class 2 bike paths). Sadly, this is not a new problem. As far back as Los Angeles had cars, buggies, trolleys and interurbans, the battle between bike space and other vehicle space has been an issue. Look no further than this clip from Edison in 1898 - even 110 years ago bike lanes in the street were a challenge.

The issue is: where is there space - today - to build out the appropriate level of bikepaths that are separate and functional?

Monday, May 21, 2007

LA's Tallest Building: a comparison in time

Remember when it was easy to declare what LA's tallest building was?

Now, there is question as to whether the US Bank building - the current reigning champ - will remain as such. The US Bank Building (aka Library Tower due to its use of the Central Library's air rights) is 73 stories and just over 1018 feet tall. It was built in 1989 at the tail end of the 1980s boom in Downtown LA. Second behind it the Aon Center built in 1974 coming in at 62 stories and just under 858 feet. What's interesting is that after that, the buildings vary in floor number and height, so that a building at 55 floors (Bank of America Plaza) is actually shorter than the 52-floor California Plaza. So, floor number and height are not directly related, as often is presumed. The real question is, how long with the Library Tower hold the title?

Here are two great guides to show the comparisons of the leading buildings in LA:


I still like City Hall the best - but I guess that's why I'm an LA City Nerd.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Know your City Councilmember and Neighborhood Council!

For too long, people have had a hard time figuring out who their representative in the City Council was. They also don't often know in which Neighborhood Council their home or business is located.

So, let's make it easy. Just visit the My Neighborhood page from the Bureau of Engineering and type in an address. You don't have to spell it right or even know the whole address - just type in partials using asterisks and select the option you want.

Find out who represents you on the City Council and on your Neighborhood Council - and then get involved and make the City better!

Call to Action #2: Griffith Park

So, as we build an effort as a City to restore a part of us for the future generations, here's the first step: attend a debrief meeting on the fire and the future of the park. From Councilman LaBonge:

Councilmember Tom LaBonge invites you to the
Griffith Park Community Meeting
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 6pm
Friendship Auditorium
3201 Riverside Drive
Los Angeles, CA. 90027

Agenda Items/Informational Update
• Greater Griffith Park Adult Center
• Griffith Park Capital Projects Proposals: 2007, 2008, 2009
• Review of the Griffith Park Fire of May 9, 2007
• Salute to the Fire Department and all Public Safety Officers who served on the fire line.

*Refreshments will be served*

For more information contact:
Councilmember Tom LaBonge
Patty Malone, Field Deputy

So, get out there and learn what you can do. You never know, you might even see a City Nerd or two!

Glass in the street is illegal!

As I was driving down one of my favorite streets last week, I saw an accident that had just occurred. Police were there and people were making their statements. (I'm sure it was no one's fault!)

Later that same evening, I drove past the location again and noticed the beautiful shimmer of the forgotten glass. Sure, "forgotten glass" is an effective description in this narrative for its literary value, but it means more than that in this City. See, the people involved in the accident have the legal responsibility to clean up that glass:


The driver of every vehicle, which is involved in any collision, shall remove, or cause to be removed, all glass and other debris which may have fallen upon any public street or alley as a result of such collision, from such street or alley before leaving the place of the collision; and every person hired or employed to move or remove any such vehicle shall remove all glass and other debris which may have fallen upon any public street or alley as a result of the collision in which the vehicle was involved, before removing the vehicle.

Pretty simple. I wonder though, what's the enforcement on this one? Usually, I can find the penalties in the Municipal Code, but I'm not sure there is one for leaving glass and debris.

So, what should the penalty be? (No Annie Lennox jokes, please.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cooking History of Los Angeles

Well Done: The Story of Cookbooks and Commerce

Starting this past Saturday, Heritage Square Museum launched their latest exhibit, Well Done: The Story of Cookbooks and Commerce. From "The Square":
This exhibit, sponsored by Don Francisco Coffee, Union Bank of California, and KABC Radio, looks at history through food: new products affected people’s tastes, cooks and housewives experimented and created their own recipes, in turn creating new demands from consumers. Cookbooks were the means by which these items introduced and promoted. Although people are familiar with books by Betty Crocker or Hershey’s Chocolate, there were perhaps thousands of books published by companies such as Kellogg’s, Crisco, Schilling, Dromedary, Rumford, Sunbeam or Kelvinator. Many of these companies no longer exist, while others remain household names, but they all played a role in developing our cooking and eating habits.

Cookbooks were also produced by companies that did not produce food related products, but saw cookbooks as a promotional device: banks, insurance companies, hotels, railroads. Sometimes well-known artists were engaged to illustrate the books. Cookbooks were created and sold by community organizations as fundraisers. Cookbooks were--and still are--a popular and educational tool.

The exhibit features items dating from the 1880’s though the 1950’s. Food plays so much of our City's development, and it's really the recipes that make the food taste so good [Yes, that was an attempt at humor.]

Also, on June 23rd, Chef Jamie Gwen of 790AM KABC will broadcast live from the exhibit. The Museum is open on Fridays and weekends and the exhibit is included as part of the admission fee. Check out this delicious bit of Los Angeles History!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Zuma Dogg's Father??

Zuma Dogg is a recent (just over a year) fixture at City Hall as a amusing addition to the public comment portion at City Council meetings. But, from this historic photo, it appears we've identified Zuma's ancestry - at least a portion of it. It appears that he comes from a line of Venetians drawn to City Hall to make a point.

Thank you UCLA for sharing these pics with the world! If you have 3million as you allege, let's see what we can do to get them into the public, searchable database, too!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Get your LA City Nerd on!

While this week has been trying for those who have a pasion for the City, this week was a great week online for City Nerds in Los Angeles.

First, the City's website now has SEARCHABLE council meeting videos on demand. Wanna watch a real show? Just type in your favorite topic and see how the City Council debates it (everything from Alex Trebek to The Los Angeles River).

Then, UCLA launched a searchable archive of photos from 1920 to 1990. Now there's a way to travel back to see the City Council's "horseshoe" the way it originally was (with the electeds' backs to the historic equivalent of Zuma Dogg) and a real homeless problem for the City Council. And in these trying times today of the debate of the use of open space, this archive reveals things are not much different 30 years later than they were in 1976 - except today, there's a lot less green to debate.

So, get out there on that web and learn about the City.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Front Yard Parking

A reader writes in: "I received a ticket for parking in my own front yard, clearly completely out of the way of the sidewalk. Is there truly a law against parking in your own yard and how much is the fine?"

The answer is simply: yes, there is a law in Los Angeles that prohibits parking in your own front yard:

No person shall park any vehicle in the front yard of any residential property. “Residential property” shall mean any property used for human habitation and shall include, but not be limited to, any property in the “A” or “R” Zones of the City. The front yard shall consist of that area in the front of the property between the adjacent street and any building or structure thereon, exclusive of any area used as a driveway to access a garage or other parking structure.

So, you can park on your driveway's approach to your garage, but not in the yard. And as for that fine:

1st violation: $45
2nd violation within one year of the 1st violation: $70
3rd & subsequent violations within one year of the 1st violation: $120
(And late fees double the fine at each level.)
So, don't park in your front yard!

Photo of what NOT to do by Nicholas Lopez via Flickr.

Call to Action #2: Restore Griffith Park!

Based on the success of "Call to Action #1," and with the eminent need for action to help restore the charred Griffith Park; LA City Nerd is asking the people of Los Angeles to get involved, roll up their sleeves, and help get Griffith Park back on its feet.

True, fire is a natural occurrence that moves the cycle of nature, but there are some areas and trails that will need to be replanted and stabilized. The plans aer not clear, but stay tuned - we'll need your help.

In the next weeks, a more formal call to action will be issued to rally the troops in an effort to allow people to enjoy the newly defined natural areas of Griffith Park. Let's hope you are one of those who will stand up and be counted to support America's largest municipal park, "the People's Park" (as Tom LaBonge calls it).

Stay tuned...

Griffith Park Fire Equated to Mick Jagger

Leave it to Councilman Tom LaBonge to connect to the masses. He just said that the fire last night in Griffith Park moved "like Mick Jagger dancing across the stage." Wow - now that's a simile worth repeating.

Unlike Mr. Mailander's post at Mayor Sam indicates, LaBonge has the passion and energy to bring attention to the restoration of Griffith Park - there is no one better at getting people excited for the nation's largest municipal park.

Last Night's Update

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Griffith Park Fire: May 8, 2007 (10:08 update)

Griffith Park is on fire, in case you didn't see the news all day. (Even some of your favorite shows were preempted on KTLA5.

One noticable City Nerd observation is the emotional distraught of the ever-passionate Councilman Tom LaBonge. He spoke multiple times about the loss of Dante's View, of which he once was deemed caretaker. There are years of trails and trees lost. More soon, but for now, remember all that Griffith Park had to offer.

Tomorrow will reveal how much more of the park will be lost - let's hope it's not too much more. (Let's hope it's not as bad as Griffith Park in 1933 or 1961.)

Call for Projects "Rainbow Report" released

Metro has released its recommended projects for funding in their annual "Call for Projects" process. The report is here for your perusal to see how the City ranked in relationship to its neighboring cities and county areas. It's called the "Rainbow Report" because the hard copies are color-coded by the area of funding "mode."

So, how many of the recommended projects in the "Rainbow Report" are in the City of West Hollywood (whose sheriff cars have their city seal in a rainbow hue): zero. Go figure.

What's wrong with this picture?

As you can see from this street scene at right (click to enlarge it), it could be at almost any commercial corridor in Los Angeles by one feature or another. Whether it's the faded and only partially painted red curb, the power lines, or the cluster of graffitied newsracks, parts of this scene exist from the Figueroa Corridor to Brentwood to Chinatown to Toluca Lake. This happens to be just off of Sunset on Echo Park Avenue.

Here are things that could be fixed now (if budgetary issues didn't exist):

1. The graffiti on the newsracks could be removed.

2. The red curb could be re-painted to clarify that is does exist (no matter if it's faded - it is still a red curb and a no stopping zone).

3. The powerlines and other utilities could be "undergrounded."

4. The newsracks could be removed (the new law prohibits newsracks within 25 feet of a driveway and a corner)

5. The trash in the street could be cleaned up (technically, the responsibility of the adjacent property owner).

6. The window grate could be removed (because nothing says "welcome" like a window grate).

7. By the looks of the low, cream-colored wall, people set up "shop" against it selling something (probably foodstuffs). This could be dealt with by asking them not to set up there (which is illegal). It's not in the picture, but it's clear that it happens. (So, stopping in that faded red curb to by frutas or some other treat may yield a ticket.)

At least the street is in good condition!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Another new community?

As reported here back in November, the movement to rename the Westlake/McArthur Park district of Los Angeles in honor of the now predominantly Central American community that calls that section of the city home has resurfaced again. The LA Times has an article about it here.

If it goes through, we'll have to update the list of designated communities. What a loss, though, to eliminate Westlake with the theatre sign so proudly heralding the truly historic name to passersby.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Officially Designated Communities of Los Angeles

With the recent conversations about whether or not Lake Balboa exists, it’s perfect timing to release the updated “Officially designated communities of the City of Los Angeles” list. About a year ago, we released a list provided by LADOT of the signs created and placed in the City. There were some questions as to the accuracy of the list. It became evident that the list was not as accurate as it should have been. Some communities with signs that clearly marked them as a community were missing from the list, and other community names long since abandoned still made the list. So, we instituted the LA City Nerd “Call to Action” to help solve the problem of an inaccurate list (and count) of officially designated communities. (By definition for this list, “community” can be any defined area, even as short as a street as is the case as with Tarzana Safari Walk, Thai Town, or most recently, Franklin Village.) The result is a Flickr page that documents all the known designated communities in the City.

In this process of seeking to define the list of those communities that are officially designated, it has become even more evident that designated communities in Los Angeles are arbitrary. Some areas are trying to define themselves as something so they are either not lumped with another community (like South LA or Van Nuys) or so that they become something from nothing (like Little Armenia) to create a sense of community. This sense of community often is one of a cultural community versus a geographic neighborhood community. Whichever the designation, most of the recent names that were adopted have been in the last 15 years (and many effected directly by Tom LaBonge) and have been for the most part politically influenced. That’s why the City had adopted the policy they now have - which was triggered most directly by the first go-around when Lake Balboa tried to define itself as not part of Van Nuys.

And so, in the second largest City in the nation, where there are probably over 200 neighborhoods and communities, there are only 173 known designated communities in Los Angeles as of July 2007. Yes, there are known communities & neighborhoods like Knollwood in Granada Hills, Fletcher Square near Glassell Park, Melody Acres in Tarzana, and Mount Olympus in the Hollywood Hills, but none of those are officially designated by official City Signs.

Here’s the break down of the officially designated 173 communities (and their lingering relatives):

Communities designated by official City signs:
Angeles Mesa
Angelino Hgts
Arlington Heights
Arlington Park
Artist District*
Arts District
Athens on the Hill
Atwater Village
Baldwin Hills
Baldwin Hills Estates
Baldwin Village
Baldwin Vista
Bel Air
Boyle Heights
Brentwood Glen
Brentwood Village
Broadway Square
Broadway Theater District
Cahuenga Pass
Cameo Plaza
Canoga Park
Canterbury Knolls
Carthay Circle
Carthay Square
Central City
Century City
Century Cove
Century Palms
Chesterfield Square
Cheviot Hills
Civic Center
Country Club Park
Crenshaw District
Crenshaw Manor
Cypress Park
Del Rey
Downtown Center**
Downtown Industrial District
Eagle Rock
Echo Park
El Sereno
Elysian Valley
Fairfax Village
Fashion District
Franklin Hills
Franklin Village**
Furniture & Decorative Arts District
Gallery Row
Glassell Park
Granada Hills
Green Meadows
Hancock Park
Happy Valley
Harbor City
Harbor Gateway
Highland Park
Hillside Village**
Historic Core District
Historic Downtown
Historic Filipinotown
Hollywood Heights
Hyde Park
Jefferson Park
Jewelry District
King Estates
La Cienega Heights**
La Tuna Canyon
Larchmont Village
Lake Balboa
Lake View Terrace
Larchmont Village
Leimert Park
Lincoln Heights****
Lincoln Hts****
Little Armenia
Little Ethiopia
Little Tokyo
Los Feliz
Los Feliz Village
Magnolia Square
Manchester Square
Mar Vista
Mariachi Plaza
Marina Peninsula
Melrose Hill
Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile District
Mission Hills
Montecito Heights
Monterey Hills
Morningside Circle
Mount Angelus
Mt. Washington
Museum Row on the Miracle Mile***
NoHo Arts District
North Hills
North University Park
North Village Westwood
Old Bank District
Panorama City
Park Mile
Parkside Manor
Pico – Union
Playa Del Rey
Rancho Park
Rose Hills
Sherman Oaks
Silver Lake
Solano Canyon
South Carthay
South Los Angeles
Studio City
St. Andrews Square
Sun Valley
Tarzana Safari Walk
Thai Town
Toluca Lake
Toluca Terrace
Toluca Woods
Toy District
University Expo Park West
University Hills
Valley Glen
Valley Village
Van Nuys
Vermont Knolls
Vermont Vista
Village Green
Virgil Village
West Adams
West Adams Heights**
West Hills
West Los Angeles*****
West Park Terrace
West Toluca Lake
Westwood Village
Westside Village
Wilshire Center
Wilshire Park
Windsor Square
Windsor Village
Woodland Hills
* Sign exists, though the community has been clarified as the “Arts District”
** Not on original list of June 2005.
*** Green; joint with LA County
**** Lincoln Heights has two version of the sign, but it’s still one community.
*****confirmed July 2007

Officially designated communities where the signs are missing, cannot be found (have yet to be photographed), or have yet to be installed:
Arroyo View Estates
North Hollywoood
Pacific Palisades
San Pedro
Shadow Hills

As you can see, some of the communities thought to be mainstays in the City vernacular have gone the way of the dodo Sepulveda (which became North Hills). In fact, communities no one knew were gone have lost all demarcation by error or by intent. Something proactively should be done to either restore these communities with at least a few signs or to finally lay them to rest.

Now, the following are community names that no longer make the officially designated list, though they once appeared on LADOT’s list:

Once officially designated by signs, but the signs are no longer posted and the community is now no longer official:
Sherman Village
Twin Plaza District

Signs on the original list provided by LADOT (in 2005) that no longer exist or have not been found yet:
Carthay Village
Griffith Park
La Cienega Ctr
La Fayette Park Square
South Park
Western Heights
West Lake
Wilshire District
Wilshire Park Mile

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Parking in an Alley

A reader writes in: "What are the parking rules in L.A. County regarding 'Alleys'? I have been told that alley parking is only short-term, for businesses (pick-ups and deliveries). But I've never seen this in writing, so I don't know. What about after business hours?"

Well, I can only speak in terms of CITY alleys (of which there are 800 miles). The Municipal Code is fairly clear:


No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle for any purpose other than the loading or unloading of persons or materials in any alley.

This applies at all times. If you are just sitting in your car in an alley - whether it's on or off - you could theoretically get a parking ticket. So, don't stop in an alley unless you're loading or unloading.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

City to Buy Pickle Building

Last week, the City Council considered a motion by Councilwoman Perry to spend $11 million to purchase the historically designated Pickle Works building at 1001-1007 East 1st Street, next to the 1st Street Viaduct in conjunction with the MTA's Goldline Eastside Light Rail Extension Project. The historic building will then have the first 30' or 54' (depending on which alternative is selected) removed and replaced in order to make room for the public transit extension.

From the Engineering report:
The James K. Hill & Sons Pickle Works building is located adjacent to the 1st Street Viaduct western approach. Constructed in 1898, this building was determined eligible under Criterion C as an increasingly rare example of a Victorian-era brick industrial building in the heart of Los Angeles’ former warehouse district. Located in the Flats, this building was one of the four that predated the construction of the 1st Street Viaduct, and it represents the earliest construction in the warehouse district. Significant features of the building include its setting and location, mainly the close proximity to the railyards, and the irregular plan of the building influenced by the location of the tracks. The use of brick as a construction material and the judicious use of ornamentation at the roofline, as well as at the windows, is character defining. The building also retains its original wood sash windows (Parsons-JRP, 2004).

The City would get about 89% of the money they spend (estimated at $14 million) reimbursed, so the expenditure of funds is not a huge issue. But what is concerning is what will be done with the now residential building once the widening and reconstruction are complete. Will the City sell it or hold it as a resource for the emerging residential community? Could this building have been used as a municipal building? Two more are being acquired/developed within a few miles of City Hall - why not another? And since we HAVE to by this one for the Goldline project, why not abandon one of the other two and use this one in its place? The Pickle Works building is just about 1 mile from City Hall, and the impending $18 million Boyle Heights City Hall is just about a mile down the road from the Pickle Works building. It's just a thought. But, once the building is sliced and then repaired, the use of that space should be for some public good. (Perhaps supportive public space for the Arts District?)

You can see in the Google Map image above how the Pickle Works building practically touches the 1st Street Viaduct.