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BMW Loans i3 EV to Los Angeles Police Department for Evaluation

September 14, 2015 in Crime, Driving, environment, News, People, Transportation

A detective loses his Dodge Patrol car with a hemi and cries…

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announce a year long test of a BMW i3 electric vehicle at a City of Los Angeles press conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2015. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announce a year long test of a BMW i3 electric vehicle at a City of Los Angeles press conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2015. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast courtesy BMW PR

I could add a few more snarks, but bottom line a few electric cars in the LAPD make sense in the right applications.  No I can’t imagine them used in a high speed pursuit, but contrary to local TV that is not a constant occurrence.  There’s plenty of things they do that involves just slogging around town and idling in traffic that an electric car and its zero emissions at the tail pipe make sense.  Detectives cold calling witnesses and victims on follow up doesn’t need speed nor lights flaring.  Parking meter slugs idling around town issuing tickets is another area that kinda makes sense.

Regardless of what you think of the EV, they make sense in some applications and if we can save some gas money swapped for electrons cheaper off the grid to power these little beasts its better for the cities bottom line.

Personally, I like the BMW i3,  Drives very much like what you expect from BMW, with its aggressive regeneratvie braking systems a quick lift of the throttle feels more like downshifting a gasser than just idle coasting.  My full review from a few years ago HERE that included an interview with the BMW i project manager.

Free subscription to for the first person who captures a pic of the BMW i3 in action on the streets of L.A.

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Hahamonga and the San Gabriels, discussion tonight

February 19, 2015 in Entertainment, environment, News, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Flyer - click to embiggen

Flyer – click to embiggen

I wish I had more information for you, but I just got notice and no press release with a lot of details.  Altadena Heritage is putting on the discussion with 3 speakers on the importantance of Hahamonga and the Arroyo Seco river system that brings rain water from the San Gabriesl to the ocean.  The speakers are:

  • Dave Douglas, PhD, Geologist and Dean of PCC School of Science and Mathematics
  • Tim Brick, Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation
  • Josephine Axt, Army Corp of Engineers, Planning Division

If interested please RSVP to [email protected]

Deets: February 19,2015 7-9PM Alta Dena Community Center, 730 E Altadena Drive, Altadena CA 91001  MAP HERE

Dogs Are A Crime On The Lake Hollywood Loop

February 15, 2015 in Crime, environment, Hollywood, LA, Pets, Rants

It was with not a little fanfare less than two years ago that the road around the reservoir known as Lake Hollywood was reopened to walkers, runners and cyclists, a scenic route that had been closed since landslides during those crazy rains of 2005.

10978666_10152558232845044_2128577528160986362_nLittle did I know that when my wife Susan and I drove over there this morning and set out with our faithful — and needless to say well-behaved and leashed-up — border collie mix Ranger to explore that roughly 3.3-mile loop for the first time, we would be greeted by this sign at the north gate and again at the east gate:

Being that I’m law-abiding to a fault I dutifully turned us around and we made our way to the far more enlightened Parc du Griffith where dogs are not a crime. Soon we found our way along a loop that included a rigorously vertical set of dirt steps carved into the hillside and leading to the oasis that is Amir’s Garden.

While one part of me is all “Thank you!” to the dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood for allowing us to discover a previously unknown aspect of Griffith Park, the other part is all “You dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood totally suck!” And it was that latter half that got all googly once I got home in searching out the specific statute — LAMC 64.06 — authorizing the prohibition. Turns out it’s an ordinance designed to prevent water contamination that reads a little somethin’ like this (on the other side of the jump):

Read the rest of this entry →

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Final effort for the “No Big Dig” to save Hahamonga

January 28, 2015 in environment, News, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Time is limited and the citizens in Pasadena aligned against the counties plan to rape, scrape and gut the Hahahmonga watershed need your help.  All efforts to bring reason and preserve the area have fallen on deaf ears.

Their “Hail Mary” plan is to resort to litigation and they need our help.  They have a crowd sourced fund raiser going on indiegogo to raise the funds to litigate and bring a stop to the Counties plan.  Please donate today.  They’ve got 9 days left to raise the funds.

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Preserving Los Angeles history one building at a time

January 9, 2015 in environment, History, LA, Law, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Vintage

Broadway Arcade in DTLA, click to embiggen

Broadway Arcade in DTLA, click to embiggen

The good folks at Esotouric Bus Tour Adventures, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave do a lot more than give really nifty tours of the city.  They are historians with a major heart on for the city.  In the best way of course.

This weeks newsletter outlined the winners and losers in their efforts to help preserve the cities architectural history.  It outlines 25 things this year, good bad and ugly, that happened in terms of historic preservation.

The most exciting bit was the passing of city ordinance 13-1104 requiring public notification when any building more than 45 years is to be demolished.   Why does this matter?  It will give preservation groups around the city the chance to speak up and stop the destruction of those building with a history or architectural significane from being trashed in the name of progress and a new high density mixed use project.  Not all buildings need to be preserved that are that old, but many should as it is part of the texture and character of the city that shouldn’t be trashed for a new parking lot or apartment jungle.

Pic by me of the Broadway Arcade while on an iphone safari.  Click to embiggen

Hiking Fish Canyon

January 1, 2015 in environment, LA, San Gabriel Valley

2014dec05-9524The water flowing after the first rains of the season in Fish Canyon.Fish Canyon is open, and the waterfalls are flowing.
I want to write that first line in all BOLD CAPS.
Because that hasn’t been said in 30 years.

Fish Canyon, in the San Gabriel Mountains above Azusa and Duarte, used to be humming with people. Cabins were scattered along the trail and hikers posed next to the stunning triple waterfalls.

But the cabins were destroyed in one of the many fires that flash along the mountains, and then the mining company who owns the canyon, closed the entrance to the public.

But in a deal with the city of Duarte, in June of 2014 the Vulcan Materials Company opened access to the valley for the first time since it was closed in the mid-1980’s. I went on this hike in June when it first opened, and it was hot and dry, the only water standing lonely in sad dirty little pools. At the peak of the hike, where the waterfall should be, was just a towering cliff face standing bleak and empty of water in the summer sun.
But now the rains have come and the valley has come alive with the sounds and sights of tumbling, churning, splashing and falling water.

The trail up on the hillside of Fish Canyon in June of 2014.Remnants of the first rains of the season in Fish Canyon.In the summer, when everything was hot and dry, this canyon did not feel so special, but now with the falling water, it’s easy to see why it was once a haven.

It is a wonderful little river valley, with standing oaks, sticky cactus, a gurgling stream and the occasional birdcall.

But the real treat is the waterfall. It falls in three sections…. Read the rest of this entry →

Hike To LA’s Abandoned Dawn Mine, aka, Attempted Murder by Squirrels

December 5, 2014 in environment, History, LA, Photography

dawnhike01 dawnsquirrel07There are three ways to hike to the abandoned Dawn Mine above Altadena.

The first is closed, the second is overgrown, but the third, in a metaphorical bear sense, is just right.

dawnhike03John W. Robinson, in his book “Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels,” calls it “the most storied gold prospect in the front range.”

But that’s not saying much.

Because no one has made their fortune from gold in the mountains overlooking the San Gabriel Valley, that doesn’t mean that a bunch of people haven’t tried.

The prospectors started to scratch the surface of Millard Canyon in 1895, and one of those prospectors, Bradford Peck, named the area near the top of the canyon after a friend’s daughter, Dawn Ehrenfeld.

It wasn’t until 1902 that the real mining began. Michael T. Ryan, an Australian, began the first tunneling into the cliffs on one side of the tiny stream, creating the tunnel that we can still enter.

2014oct31-dawnhike08 dawnhike06 dawnsquirre10But he came across one problem. How to carry the tons of ore, that needed to be crushed to extract the gold? Hiking the two and a half miles down boulder strewn Millard Canyon was difficult and time consuming. So he forged a trail up the side of the mountain to the Mt. Lowe Railway. Once there he loaded the ore onto the Mt. Lowe train and it headed down, via the funicular, to extract that beautiful gold.

After Mr. Ryan gave up, realizing that he, like the others, was not going to make his fortune, the mine changed hands many times. In the 1950’s the area became derelict, littered with mining equipment and abandoned shacks.

Over the years they became covered with graffiti and run down. Eventually all were removed except an old engine, which still sits as a marker to the mine entrance.

To hike Dawn Mine, drive up the road called Chaney Trail (which is “closed” sunset to sunrise). Chaney Trail tees off West Alta Loma Drive, between Lincoln Ave and Fair Oaks Ave in Altadena.

A section of the trail leading up Millard Canyon to Dawn Mine.Chaney Trail is a small winding road that leads up into the San Gabriels. At the end of this road is a car park — don’t park here, because this is the entrance to the closed section of the trail. Park instead at the highest point of Chaney Trail. It’s where the fire road leads up into the mountains. Parking is a problem, because there are so few spaces. It is usually full on weekends, so if you can, go on a weekday, or pray to the parking fairies.

dawnhike05Hike around the fire road barrier, past the water tank and then make a left after 0.4 of a mile, according to my phone, which obviously knows everything.

The turn is the sign posted for The Sunset Ridge Trail. This trail leads down into Millard Canyon.

Note: There is a fork on this trail, but keep left, down toward the canyon floor. At 1.05 miles from the car park, the path reaches the gently flowing stream at the bottom of the canyon, which was, in this October 2014 drought, really just a trickle. The mine is near the top of Millard Canyon, so head upstream, north, away from civilization.

Note: Downstream from here the trail is closed, which leads to the car park you are not supposed to park in, as the forestry service is attempting to rehabilitate it after the Station fire in 2009.

My first attempt to find Dawn Mine was a failure, because I went the wrongway. Although on the plus side, I did come across a stunningly beautiful three tiered 40-foot waterfall.

Where is went wrong was not making a right turn, although it is probably worth it just to see the waterfalls.bIf you do want to see Dawn Mine make a right 1.25 miles from the parking lot. Or to put it another way, make a right 0.2 miles after reaching the tream; Once making this turn, follow the river another 1.6 miles upstream, or 2.85 miles from the parking lot to the mine itself.Note: Downstream from here the trail is closed, which leads to the car park you are not supposed to park in, as the forestry service is attempting to rehabilitate it after the Station fire in 2009.

My first attempt to find Dawn Mine was a failure, because I went the wrong way. Although on the plus side, I did come across a stunningly beautiful three tired
40-foot waterfall. Where is went wrong was not making a right turn, although it is probably worthnit just to see the waterfalls.

If you do want to see Dawn Mine make a right 1.25 miles from the parking lot. Or to put it another way, make a right 0.2 miles after reaching the stream. Once making this turn, follow the river another 1.6 miles upstream, or 2.85 miles from the parking lot to the mine itself.nAlmost all of this 1.6 miles is hopping over rocks, clambering over boulders, or ducking under fallen trees.

Note: While doing all this hopping, clambering, and ducking, pause for a momentnand enjoy the peaceful miles-away-from-the-city burbling stream, squirrel and bird sounds.

From here on out it is practically impossible to get lost, just follow the stream.nThere are spray-painted arrows along the way, but they are not really necessary; just follow the stream.

Because this is not a well traveled path a number of the stones are loose so be careful of twisting an ankle, but that is not the only danger. When the cliffs were towering on one side of the valley, there was a huge cracking noise 50 feet ahead. A stone the size of my head had fallen from the cliff face and I just saw it bounce and settle with the other stones in the stream bed. Sitting on a tree limb, near where the stone fell, were two squirrels staring at me.

Because I can speak to the animals, here is a translation of what one of them was saying: “Damn it Bob, you pushed it too early, I told you to wait, I get to push it next time, then we get to have hiker for dinner.”

Because of all the clambering the trail seems longer than it is, but keep going, and then eventually there is an abandoned piece of machinery up to your left. It’s an old engine, with a flywheel attached to each side. The entrance to the mine is hidden just the other side of the engine. On hands and knees, the first view into the mine is what everyone expects when looking into a mine, the classic wooden posts holding up a crosspiece. Althoughnlater, thinking about it, I think this is part of a door to keep people out, and just thenjamb is left. But I could be wrong.

Barring entrance to the cave is a small body of water, people had helpfully thrown in pieces of wood and tree branches to create a slippery unstable walking surface. But I was told by another hiker I met that day, when he had visited the mine the
previous year and had decided to not enter as the water was too deep. I don’t know if this was because of the drought, but like those signs at amusement park water rides, You Might Get Wet.

Thirty feet into the tunnel, just past the pond, is a dry area splitting off into two tunnels, with a huge open gallery above. The light grey rock is splattered with yellow, which reflects in the second pond. There are holes drilled for dynamite still visible in the rock.nYou will need a flashlight, as the mine is pitch black even so short a distance inside. I didn’t go any further than this, as mines and underground scare the hell out of me, but just this short distance inside it was cool and peaceful, in a I-might-die-from-a-cave-in, sort of way.

But remember kids, abandoned mines are dangerous, and while I went alone, anfriend knew where I was going, and was waiting for my back-to-civilization text.

Now the facts: Starting elevation: 2000 ft. Ending elevation: 3135 ft. The total time of my hike, from car to car was three and a half hours, with a total of 5.7 miles,
all according to my phone. When hiking up Millard Canyon to Dawn Mine, it feels like sprawling Los Angeles is hundreds of miles away, with the silent trees and the burbling stream and the imposing canyon walls and the murderous chattering squirrels it’s a moment of quiet in a noisy city.

P.S. I mentioned that there were three ways to reach Dawn Mine, and just for balance sake, I will mention the abandoned trail, although I don’t recommend it, unless you like long hikes in the sun and wielding a machete. It is the trail that the Australian forged from the mine up to the Mt. Lowe Railway. Start at the same place, but follow the tarmacked fire road up the ridge of the mountain for three miles. Unlike down in the shaded valley, it is in the harsh sun all the way, but the road is smooth underfoot,neven if it is steep uphill most of the way. After the three miles there is a historical marker pointing out that this was a stop of the Mt. Lowe Railway and passengers used to disembark and hike down to Dawn Mine.

I attempted hiking down the trail, but after 50 feet it was almost completely overgrown and difficult to discern, so I left it for someone else, with an adventurous spirit, and a machete.

Street Seen: L.A. Bus Stops Can Be The Loneliest Places

November 8, 2014 in Art, environment, LA, Mass Transit, Photography, Transportation


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L.A. Auto Show starts in 5 weeks….I’ve got a promo code

October 14, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, environment, Events, News, Shopping, Transportation

L A Auto Show logo...

L A Auto Show logo…

Although I can’t help with a freebie…this promocode AUTOTRADER2014 good through 11/15 will get you discounted tickets good for admission 11/24-27.

I’ll try not to throw too many superlatives at the event, but this year I think they are going to be able to outdo what they’ve done the last several years.

On tap are 60 reveals for this show, 30 of which will be Global Reveals…or reveals for the first time anywhere for the global market.  Those are always pretty spectacular as the manufacturers really want to get our attention.

In addition to the Green Car of the Year, Green Truck of the Year and Green Fleet of the Year awards are going to be awarded at this years Los Angeles Auto Show.  Smell us…we’re really a big deal.

As always I’ll be there for press days and blogging what happens along with the oddities of the day that regular show goers don’t get to see.  I’m even going to a few of the Manufacturer private after parties which are always fun.  Last year Hyundai had Ziggy Marley as the entertainment and the wait staff was all dressed as zombies. Too.  Much.  Fun..

Watch This: I Live In The L.A. River

August 19, 2014 in environment, LA, People

One woman has spent the past 15 years living at the bottom of the L.A. river, this is her story. From the team at BuzzFeedYellow.

Related resources:
Lamp offers mental health care and other services to homeless people.

Friends of the Los Angeles River is a non-profit set up to restore the natural habitats of the river.

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Solar powered cars – what will they think of next?

May 30, 2014 in Driving, environment, Social issues, Technology, Transportation, Utilities

While the rest of the city was chasing #hiddencash I was doing something a lot more entertaining yesterday. I learned about solar powered cars.  Then again, I nerd out on technology and cars so this was a double win for me.

I spent a nice chunk of yesterday listening to Mike Tinskey at Fords Los Angeles Regional office talk about the future of electric cars.  Mike is the Global Director of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure so he knows a few things on the topic.   Read the rest of this entry →

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Camelopardalid Meteor Shower to peak Friday Night

May 20, 2014 in environment, Events, News, Seasonal

Reports on this meteor shower are all over the board.  In short from what I’ve been geeking out over is that this is the first time we will be crossing this debris field from a some forgotten comet.  The potential is that it will exceed 100 meteors hour at its peak here Friday Night.  Maybe even be a full fledged meteor storm, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Venerable JPL in Pasadena is hosting an open house of sorts Friday evening for the public to view it.  Their facebook page HERE.  They predict peak viewing for us will be  Friday 11PM to 1AM Saturday.  The meteors will appear from an area of the barely visibile Camelopardalid constellation.  Easiest way to remember is that this is between the Big Dipper and Little Dipper in the North, North Eastern sky.

Those of you sitting in traffic on points east or on your way to Las Vegas in the middle of the desert may get a great viewing as well. Since I’m in the foothills with no city lights or street lights for that matter, I’ll simply set up some lawn chairs in the front yard and hope for the best.  To add to the nerding out over this…I”ll be out there with a camera hoping to capture one or two of them zipping across the sky.  I’d much rather be out at Joshua Tree for this, but too much is going on this weekend to do that.

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Get your geek on for Earth Day with a #globalselfie

April 21, 2014 in Entertainment, environment, News, Photography, Science

Its a NASA fun event. You know the folks that track a bajillion sattelites in orbit around us taking pictures of us night and day. They have a fun promotion, game if you will for Earth Day today. Take a selfie, post it with the hashtag #GlobalSelfie and they’ll in turn use all of the images into a giant mosaic of earth.

The subject doesn’t matter, mountains, rivers, oceans, forest…just include you with a sign naming your location. The sign can be downloaded in numerous languages HERE. Your snap then can be uploaded to twitter, instagram or google+ with the hashtag and its on it will get captured for the mosaic.

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This is what a drought looks like

March 14, 2014 in environment, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Weather

San Gabriel to embiggen

Things are pretty dire around here.  After several years of not having “normal” rainfall this year was a disaster. Last stat I heard was we only got 1/3 of “normal”.

This morning I took a drive into Azusa Canyon for a walk along the river.  Path was closed due to recent fires and mudslides so I opted to take a drive into the canyons. Gorgeous day for that.  Everything is so clean and green after the storms of 2 weeks ago.

I was really surprized by how empty the dams were.  Worst I’ve seen them in years.  You can see the normal levels way up the sides of what should be big bright full lakes.  In the case of San Gabriel Dam, from the lookout above you can actually see the bottom, and many spots its just muck filled with flotsam and jetsam.  Not pretty at all.  Doesn’t bode well for our summer water needs either.  (Yes I know we don’t get water directly from there, rather water is released to settling ponds to recharge our groundwater). Read the rest of this entry →

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Its just too Damn Big – Hahamonga dredging protest

December 12, 2013 in environment, Events, Politics, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Protest information flyer - click to embiggen

Somehow, somewhere, things have gotten out of hand in the Hahamonga Watershed area nestled below JPL and abutted by LaCanada and Altadena/Pasadena.  After many community meetings, a questional EIR and just plain upset folks it looks like the plan to completely dredge out and obliterate every living thing is moving forward.  An important natural recreation and wildlife spot will be lost if they move through with their plans.

Concerned citizens are being asked to gather on either side of the dam for a holding of the hands protest.  It will take place on Saturday 12/14/2013 at a11AM.  Full details on where to meet up is on the flyer you can click to embiggen.  There is a FB page with more information on the protest as well as the plans by L.A. County Public Works to dredge and expand.  MAP HERE