Slice Of Life: Segways On Parade

The directive came down via email from the corporate tower this morning: close up shop at 1 p.m. and get the hell out and have some fun. So I did. Got on my bike and meandered back across town under a glorious blue sky for my final homeward-bound commute of 2007 (Flickr photoset here). I took the long way home. Jefferson with a stop at The Kobbler King near Crenshaw to pick up a couple peach pies then on to Hoover and up to Adams and over to Figueroa where I wandered into the St. Vincent de Paul Church for the helluvit trying hard to keep my bike shoes from click clacking on the marble as I marveled at the righteous interior. Then hungry I headed up through downtown to the Spring Street Smokehouse in Chinatown hoping they were open. They were. My buddy Lance took care of me with a lunch basket of their savory beef ribs and a couple Angel City Abbeys. And before long I was back on the road tipsy enough to go overt in my magnanimity in wishing three Sherriff’s deputies walking up Spring an overly enthusiastic “Happy New Year!” They returned the greeting with sideways glances but they were on foot and I was riding so I knew I could lose ’em if it came to that. It didn’t and I crossed Temple deciding to stop and grab a photo of the City Hall Christmas tree. And that’s when this happened:

It’s not everyday a parade of nine Segways comes out of nowhere rocking and rolling southbound by you like so many cool and casual ducks in a row, but it happened to me on this last day of 2007, and I share it with you along with my wishes for a safe and happy new year!

Did I say Red Flags were over? Well I lied.

Got the call about the newest Red Flag conditions last night, and by I think 830am I had received this email:

Yet again the Los Angeles Fire Department has called red flag conditions, this time for Tuesday, January 1st, 2008.

The National Weather Service is predicting strong Santa Ana winds for Monday December thirty first, Tuesday January First, and Wednesday January second, 2008. Just got the phone call, although for some reason I didn’t get my usual email too.

So just don’t get drunk tonight and park your car anywhere it might get towed by morning….

As usual, for further information please call 311 or visit www.lafd.org/redflag.

Eminent Domain? Just don’t steal in my name.

Eminent Domain is a hot button and is bound to get hotter. Many cities in the LA Metro area are undergoing a rebirth via use of eminent domain by their redevelopment agencies. This video gives a good start to the discussion. “Eminent Domain is Like Cancer” is the best quote on the topic I have heard in a while.

I like the video and shared with a friend who worked as a paralegal for So Cal Ed for many years. Her take on it, “Of course Anaheim found a way to not use Eminent Domain, they had too. They lost too many cases trying to use it 20 years ago”. Hmmm so all is not good over at the town of Rat after all.

Eminent domain started initially to prevent ones property from being taken without compensation for public use. Intended to provide a mechanism to protect property owners from seizure of their land by a governmental agency, it still allowed some uses like roads, schools or bridges to be built and pay a private property owner a fair use for their property. The problem is that over the last 50 years the courts have consistently held that greater tax revenue is enough to allow eminent domain to be used to take ones home and put up a mall or other business that would generate greater tax revenue for the city.

More after the jump
Continue reading Eminent Domain? Just don’t steal in my name.

A Friendly Warning to the Lovely Ladies of the Fairfax District

WMNYZR Plate

I spotted this guy parked a block off Fairfax while sneaker shopping recently and, given the date, I imagine he’ll be out on the prowl tonight. Luckily for you, judging by the the sorry condition of the late model sedan that was sporting this plate he’s more likely to be knocking back well whiskey at the Frolic Room than scoping out the scene at whatever high-dollar nightclub you’re headed to.

TOR and People’s Republic of Pasadena Round Up

brokenrose2.bmpHere we go another round up of the activities surrounding Pasadena and the Roses Parade.  This year isn’t the first time that political issues in some form or another have entered the otherwise Calm and Festive Rose Parade.  What started a little event, that in the words of the TOR was for “former residents of the East and Midwest eager to
showcase their new home’s mild winter weather” has grown into a world wide celebration of the New Year.  In the process it has become an center where folks with a cause also want to use it to bring their concerns to a bigger audience.  Your list of things going on as part of, or aside to the Big Parade:

  • Pasadena Star News reports Metro will offer free Gold Line rides to Pasadena
  • CBS2.com reports Parade Camping Do’s and Don’ts.
  • Visual Artists Guild asks you to turn your back to the Chinese sponsored Olympic Float Gloat in silent protest.  They are also sponsoring contest for best depictions of the protest.
  • Former Pasadena Mayor, Bill Paparian asks you turn your back on the Chinese Gloat in the Pasadena Weekly article “States of Denial”.
  • CBS2.com reports that a not so silent protest against the Iraq War and calling for impeachment of Bush may take place sponsored by the White Rose Coalition
  • Todd Ruiz from Under the Dome recaps the protests in Paradeageddon a nice play on armegeddon.
  • Pasadena Star News reports Duarte’s last fling at float building was this year in “Pavilion’s last fleet“.

More of the Visual Artists Contest after the jump.

Continue reading TOR and People’s Republic of Pasadena Round Up

7th Day Of Giving: East LA Community Arts and Mural Program

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(Click photo for much bigger/better image.)
Yesterday, El Chavo posted about Giving All Year Long and a person named “Art” commented with a link to ELA CAMP. The East LA Community Arts and Mural Program is “committed to using arts to empower youth and to reclaiming neglected, impoverished, and/or deteriorated neighborhoods by the people of our community.” The program provides creative outlets and inspiring activities for kids while improving neighborhoods with art. (Read their full vision statement here.)

ELA CAMP offers different programs in community murals, youth art projects and neighborhood beautification. Check out some of the photos of the amazing work they’ve done so far here and here.

There is no specific volunteer page but I’m sure you can find out how you can help by contacting
Elwing or Arturo* Gonzalez at (626) 576-1901
or email: [email protected]

Photo from ELA CAMP website depicting one part of the mural painted at the City of Compton Parks and Recreation Department during 2006-2007.

*Hmmm…could this be the same “Art” who left yesterday’s comment?

Countdown to Cab Ride

Los Angeles gets a lot of flack for its crappy taxicab reputation, and rightfully so. They come in a million unrecognizable colors, and you can’t legally hail one anyway. But tonight, aside from the one useful rail line in Los Angeles, it’s all you’ve got.

Bookmark this: taxicabsla.org

You’ll learn about your Bill of Rights as a taxi rider. Did you know you’re legally entitled to a taxi driver that speaks and understands English? You’ll also find that all passengers ride for price of one. Taxicabsla.org has phone numbers for taxis that serve every area from Sylmar to San Pedro. Plus, a handy little map that tells you which number to call by which ‘hood your in.

Tonight, leave the driving to Max.

A Grinch Missed? Public park fees in San Marino

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A friend gave me call the other day and it went down something like this.  “The assholes, did you hear what San Marino did?”

“Nope, now what?” 

“They are charging NON-RESIDENTS fees to use public parks”.  What….and the fume went further.  They had gotten wind that Lacy Park, funded with a lot of state money for parks is charging admission to non-San Marino residents.   They even went as far as to rant that their source, a little old lady in San Marino, was glad it was going to keep the riff raff out of San Marino.  They opined that San Marino was trying to remain lily white within its borders (that’s too late given the large Asian population but that’s another stupid debate for another time).

So after a bit of research I found this interesting op-ed piece in the LA Times titled: “You paid for San Marino to play” by Steve Lopez.  The article confirms the $4.00 fee charged to non-residents to use the park, reportedly to cover the city overhead for maintenance and parking.

US, State and County parks charge fees.  Monrovia charges fees to it’s Canyon Park so the idea of charging at a municipal level isn’t unheard of.

So what do you have to say.  Does a city have the right to charge parking to use public parks?  If so can they designate the fee to only non-residents? 

New Year’s Eve Festivities

Okay. It’s New Year’s Eve…. Still don’t have a plan???

I’m gonna go against my nature and the potential wrath of MFM (My Fabulous Man) who loves this place as much as me, and give up the most super chill club in Hollywood. It turns on every Saturday night at King King and is called Balance.

They’re putting on a really cool event tonight and my absolutely favorite DJ’s,”Groove Junkies” are playing. I’m bummed cuz I’m out of town and they don’t play often…. and when they do I hate to miss them. But if you love to get your groove on, don’t like attitude and want to have a great time, this club is happening. They serve til 2am, but play til 4, so it’s a blast.

What are YOU doing tonight? Share the love and let us know!

Silver Lake Braces For The Invasion Of The Parking Meters

I spotted ’em first earlier this afternoon on the west side of Glendale Boulevard coming up from Fletcher, and then these this evening on the south side of Sunset Boulevard near Parkman…

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The poles themselves are harmless in their present headless state, but it won’t be much longer before that component is attached and once they are woe be them that opt not to feed these hungry beasts. Woe, I say.

Doublechecking End Of Year Donations

For those of you making those last minute tax writeoff donations, but who are not quite sure where the money should go, here are a couple of resources – and Los Angeles charities – to consider.

1) If you are approached by a charity, and want to know if they are legitimate, you can check Guidestar, which confirms a charity’s status and lists their basic info.

2) CharityNavigator was featured on Lifehacker today. This is where I looked up the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, where food levels are down 11% from last year. It’s been a tough year for many people, which has resulted in more demand and less supply, so this is a really excellent place to donate. Also, an amazing 97% of the income goes to the actual program.

3) I also looked up Midnight Mission downtown in Skid Row, and found out that a full 80.4% of their income is dedicated to the program.

Hey, I’m totally with El Chavo on the giving all year long idea, but I also know a lot of people are looking for a quick, last minute, 2007 tax writeoff. If you have another favorite local charity that you’d like to recommend, post it in the comments.

FBI Announces Plans to Contribute to Advertising Blight

ObeyOn the day after Christmas, the FBI announced that it’s installing digital billboards in a number of major cities, including L.A., that it can update on the fly with important news:

The billboards will let the FBI highlight those people it is looking for the most: violent criminals, kidnap victims, missing kids, bank robbers, even terrorists, the FBI said in a release. And the billboards will be able to be updated largely in real-time –right after a crime is committed, a child is taken, or an attack is launched.

I’m sure they have the best of intentions, but something about that news totally creeps me out.

Duarte…the easy alternative to Rose Float Fun

Dlogo.gif With all the Rose Parade activity building to the huge crescendo culminating with the parade Tuesday morning, Pasadena is getting tougher to get into, and tougher for parking. I gave you some options to get in and out of the TOR HERE. Not to steal from our own Jozjozjoz there are a few other alternatives to look at.

Duarte is one of those quiet little gems here in the SGV where there is a large amount of float building activity. For a mere 5 bones you get two days of visiting to watch them build floats. More information about float visiting Duarte City Web or Duarte Rose Floats.

You can also visit the official Tournament of Roses site for their visiting and volunteer requirements.

Leaving My Bubble

Just got back from housesitting with my new special lady friend. The house she was watching is basically across the street from an ex and down the street from another ex.

I don’t go to that neighborhood a whole heck of a lot anymore, but I know it quite well.

LA is so ghetto-ized, in that I generally live in a four square mile bubble that I never leave. And I know that many friends are the same way — Valley people stay in the Valley, etc.

That makes it easy to avoid people you don’t want to run into, but makes it harder to find new people to meet and make connections.

So when I was walking around this familiar neighborhood, I felt like I was trespassing. Like I was violating some unwritten agreement and I was on the verge of being busted by the bubble police. “This is not your area, please return to your zone.”

Thankfully the housesitting gig is over, the bubble police never came, and I’m safely ensconced in my apartment.

Another protest planned prior to the Rose Parade

In looking for an update on all the activities for the Rose Parade I found this bit on CBS2.com . A group calling itself the “White Rose Coalition” announced that they will hold a march down the parade route about 2 hours prior to the parade to protest the War in Iraq. The group reportedly will split and a portion of them going to City Hall about 2 blocks from the parade route to hold a rally. They report In attendance is rabble rouser Cindy Sheehan.

CBS further reports that Pasadena Police just learned of the protest and are looking into the legality of it all. Interesting is that this same City Hall and Police had no problems turning down a group seeking legal permits to march prior to the parade in protest of China’s Human Rights violations. Wonder how they will handle this one. Pity the Peoples Republic of Pasadena as they have quite the dilema or two on their hands.

I’ll update as information arises.