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Sac to LA County and Cities…here is a bill, figure it out

February 20, 2016 in environment, Law, Politics, Social issues, Utilities

LA County Due Bill...click to embiggen

LA County Due Bill…click to embiggen

Where exactly to start.  The California State Water Resources Control Board decided to that LA. County doesn’t do enough to capture rain water and cycle it into our water supply.  Fair enough.  This group of appointees, not elected officials came up with a plan to use “green streets” and parks to capture rain and get it into the ground water tables and our water supply.  The cost?  A tidge more than $20BILLION with no provisioins for funding.  They dropped that bombshell due bill on the county this week and left it as figure out how to pay it.  Full plans HERE

I learned of this from community leaders as it was a topic of conversation at this weeks Council Meetings that my little corner of L.A share of this some $250M.   The city can’t afford it and was told by the county, state board either add it as a tax (Approx $2.000 per household) or as a fee to monthly water bill of $200/mo per household.  Indefinitely.  Needless to say the mayor and council don’t want to do either option.

This affects every homeowner and renter in the county and various cities.  No one was left untouched.  To save you the look up, Los Angeles share is $8.7B and I know Mr Garcetti doesn’t have a slush fund to cover that.

The turds dumping this on us say the normal 2/3 vote required to pass a tax can be circumvented through loopholes provided in State Initiative 15-0116,

I know my corner of L.A plans of fighting this as we just can’t afford it.  I’d imagine other cities and the county will resist as well.  Do check with your city council, representative to see what actions if any they are taking.

 

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Bid for Olympic games includes new logo and slogan

February 17, 2016 in News, People, Social issues, Sports

Logo for the 2024 Olympics

Logo for the 2024 Olympics

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti revealed yesterday the new logo for the cities bid to be the host city for the 2024 Olympic games.

It features and upward stretched angel soaring to the sun in colors of our often magnificent sunrises and sunsets.  The slogan revealed also yesterday is “L.A.’s Brightest Star”

Full article and press conference clip can be found HERE.

I missed the last games and don’t intend to miss this set of games if we get them.   The investment required may seem daunting, but it means jobs while constructing and venues for after the games that will benefit the city.  I’m jazzed at the prospect of them returning, are you?

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Tax seminar for Artists

January 27, 2016 in Art, Events, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Poster for even, click to embiggen.

Poster for even, click to embiggen.

Its that time of year for me. Sorting receipts, wondering what’s deductible or not and what new tax laws affect my art generated income.  If you’re an artist looking for guidance to make sure you get all your deductions and not sure what changes this year took place that could affect you, have I got a seminar for us.

Monrovia Association of Fine Arts as the first installment of its Professional Development Series offers up for artists, members and non-members alike a seminar by Abe Carrow CPA “Tax and the Artist”.  It will be a one day seminar held Saturday February 13 from 10-noon.  The fee is $20 for members, $30 for non-members and $10 for students regardless of membership status and can be paid here.

Deets:  Tax and the Artist.  February 13, 10AM-Noon, Monrovia Community Center, 119 W Palm Ave, Monrovia 91016.

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Helpful Honda guys help my favorite local charity

January 22, 2016 in Media, News, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

How cool is this.  A charity that helps people here in the SGV and is near and dear to my heart got a big help from the Helpful Honday Guys.  The publicity for the brand aside, its nice to see Torrance based Honda and its local dealers step up and help the entire community they do business in.  This is what a good corporate citizen does.  Thanks Honda.

Foothill Unity Center is always in need of some help…you can visit them here for ways to help them out.

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Help the homeless in DTLA with tarps and tents

January 21, 2016 in Downtown, environment, LA, Seasonal, Social issues

Screen grab from the Crowdrise donation page.

Screen grab from the Crowdrise donation page.

Its sorta the lull between storms and the homeless are getting a bit of a break from the rain, but not the cold so much.  I got this email from former BLA’er Dave Bullock and thought I’d share it with you all here.  Its a campaign to raise funds to buy tarps and tents for the homeless on skidrow.  Help if you can.

Hello,

People are dying from exposure in Skid Row and there is something we can do about it.

My long time friend, community activist Don Garza, has been walking the streets of Skid Row before and during the rain storms and handing out tarps and tents to the homeless who don’t have adequate protection from the elements. He needs our help to buy more tarps and tents that he can hand out. Please consider donating and sharing to your friends and social network:

https://www.crowdrise.com/TentsAndTarps

Don and I really appreciate your help.

Thanks,

Dave and Don

School v. Tool Revisited

December 20, 2015 in History, LA, Law, Media, News, People, Politics

Screengrab from LATimes.comThis story in today’s Los Angeles Times (link) explores the incident from which I derived a foundation-level disdain for Donald Trump, and I, like much of 1989 Los Angeles, was only all too relieved when his proposed tower plan was killed.

It’s understandable given Trump’s recent and meteoric rise as a politician that the article’s tone is chest-thumpy about how he “got schooled,” but still it’s interesting (and disappointing) given the ultimate loss of the Ambassador Hotel. The irony, of course, is that at the time of the clash the subtext of the LAUSD’s efforts to build public opinion against the project wasn’t just how distasteful it was for Trump to erect a quarter-mile phallic monument to himself, but that the Ambassador deserved the far better fate of being preserved and repurposed as a school, rather than razed in vein for so vain an endeavor.

Here’s a surprise: Turned out school and civic officials were rather disingenuous in their commitment to preserving the historic landmark. And while one could well argue that the new school there now is better than a giant tool and how, what we’ve learned a quarter-century after Donald’s failed deal is that  the Ambassador was doomed to be collateral damage either way.

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Operation Save a Vet launches this Friday – start your Holiday Giving early

November 5, 2015 in Events, LA, News, People, Shopping, Social issues, Weather

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D'Andra Jay

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D’Andra Jay

I met Gayle Montgomery quite a while back and impressed with the depth of concern she has for her fellow human beings.  Through her job she met Sergeant Major Acosta.  A disabled Vet who lost his eyesight during a batle in the Middle East.  Gayle also works on a local committee trying to find solutions to our homeless problem and became aware that a large percentage of our homeless are Vets with no resources to help themselves.  Sergeant Major and Gayle got to talking about the problems the expected El Nino will bring for them.  Here are a few of the things they discussed.

  • Homelessness in Vets was reduced from 4 years ago. Now 1 in 10 who sleep on the streets is a veteran.
  • There has been a 6% spike in the last year of homeless veterans, probably attributable to the spiraling cost of housing in combination with the draw down.
  • The largest concentration of homeless Vets anywhere in our nation is in LA County where there are over 4,000 Vets who sleep on the street.
  • It is the position of the group that has who have joined hands in lockstep across a wide geographical area, that no person who honorably served our nation should have to sleep on the streets.
  • No person who served our nation should have to suffer such adverse weather conditions without supplies and without knowing that, Gayle’s employer is Glad to Be of Service to those who faithfully served us.
  • This project very closely parallels the Soldiers Angels Program which serves those on the battlefield. This project serves those who were on the battlefield, came home, and have had difficulty reintegrating into society.

From that conversation came the idea to create Thank a Vet Inc and their first mission  “Operation Save a Vet”.  It will consist of a multipronged approach to help the homeless vets trying to survive on the streets during the coming rainy season.  First is getting in kind materials donated to them for distribution.  Second is to raise funds for care and shelter for these vets, men and women trying to cope with life outside the military. Read the rest of this entry →

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Fresh & Easy doors closing everything up to 30% off

October 24, 2015 in Food & Drink, Shopping, Social issues

Fresh and Easy, Duarte

Fresh and Easy, Duarte

Well, I suppose its fitting I write the obit for Fresh &Easy  since I announced its arrival here back in May ’07 before they even opened their doors.  I’m going to miss these guys.  They fit the fickle attitudes of my picky eaters as well as my schedule and budget like no other store ever has in the past.  I could always count on them for a good selection of fresh, even organic items at best possible prices.

They weren’t without their growing pains.  Cheeky “hybrid parking only” signs meant well but drew the ire of a few.  Unions tried to bust them and unionize the workers…who were paid more and had benefits directly from Fresh and Easy at the get go.  Some larger grocers didn’t like the self check out and lobbied to have it such that booze had to be checked out by an employee which did put a slow down on the checking out process.  In the end it came down to a concept us ‘mericans for the most part didn’t get…food shopped fresh daily, quality preservative free prepared meals, sammy’s and salads to go when you don’t have time to cook in a neighborhood market that killed them.  Sad.

I certainly feel for all the employees who suddenly got notice and are now out of a job…at the worst possible time of the year to find a new job.

Today I went through the Duarte store.  The up to 30% off wasn’t on many items.  Everything is off its sale price and listed as full price.  Booze and beer was only 10% not enough to get me into frenzy stock up mode.  Most canned goods were only 10%, Rice/Beans and Jelly were 20% off.  Frozen foods were 30% off and yes, I cleaned them out of every last molten lava cake they had in stock.  Ditto their bulgogi Korean BBQ marinade.

 

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A Walk on Water gets a gift from Dodge

September 18, 2015 in Celebrity, Education, Entertainment, Events, News, People, Social issues

Sometimes it is more than the car, its the  perfect mix of ambition and heart.

Last night started out like any other manufacturer party.  This time hosted by Dodge.  It was different as instead of rolling out a red carpet for a shiny new car, it was to give a gift to suburban Los Angeles based “A Walk on Water“. AWOW for short.

Until last night I hadn’t heard of them or their mission.  AWOW is there to support families with autistic members.  They provide the entire family, not just the person with autism, with the chance to spend a fun day together learning to surf.  They believe in the theraputic powers of the ocean and surfing as a way to bridge the communication gap and give a family with special needs a fun learning experience they can share.

Actor Danny Trejo gave a moving introduction to the group and shared how is own family is affected by autism.  Its just not the person with special needs that needs help, but the entire family that is affected and need help with coping and learning.  The board members of AWOW also shared with us their personal stories on why what they do is important to them and the families they help.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after one board member talked about how his non-verbal son spoke his first words after his first surf ride.  He’s skilled now on the board that he’s ready to be a teacher in the group.  The power in belief in abilities and that you can make always find a way to make a positive out of a challenge.

The big news dropped at the end of the presentations is that Dodge, a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was donating $20,000 to AWOW to kick start their growth and expand beyond the Los Angeles area.  Dodge/FCA together are also pledging an additional $50 for every test drive at authorized dealerships in the coming days up to $5,000 additional for AWOW. (list of authorized dealers after the jump).  It was hinted that Danny Trejo himself will be at some of the dealerships during their day of sponsored test drives to meet and greet those helping out AWOW by taking drive in a shiny new Dodge.

To further sweeten the pot, Nacional Records, our host for the evening festivities, is going to give away 2 tickets per test drive to the October 3 Supersonico Festival at the Palladium.

For the list of  dealerships dates and times you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

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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 blogging.la for the first person who captures a pic of the BMW i3 in action on the streets of L.A.

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What do with the kidlets in the SGV this summer?

June 17, 2015 in Art, Education, LA, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

HINT ITS ART RELATED

Summer Art Lessons flyer...click to embiggen

Summer Art Lessons flyer…click to embiggen

Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia has just the thing to keep kids entertained and busy this summer.  Art classes.  Several to choose from and all expert taught by Lisa Barrios and her loving staff.  Real working pros sharing their talents with kids.  Does it get better than that?

From basic ceramics to Parent and Tot classes its a learning experience and freeing little minds to create.  I really love this stuff.  Most is ages 6 and up, though some are as young as 4, and others you need to be at least 8.  Hard core elementary ages that need some structure and learning activities in the summer…that are fun.

Click the flyer to embiggen and get the full deets on the classes they offer.  Call Lisa Barrios the owner of Paint n Play for the details and to get your kidlet signed up.  You won’t regret it and you’ll be a hero to your kid for doing so.

Deets: Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia 91016  626-256-4648

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Pedal on the Pier – fundraiser to send kids to Summer Camp

May 4, 2015 in Education, Events, Seasonal, Social issues, West Side

Pedal on the Pier Logo, click to embiggen

Pedal on the Pier Logo, click to embiggen

Ok, this is a different event, not bicycles, but stationary bikes ridden 100 miles to raise money to send inner city kids to summer camp.  It’s sponsored by the  Harold Robinson Foundation and will be held May 31st 2015 on SaMo Pier.  Nice setting, fun if you’re into riding bikes that don’t go anywhere. At least some creep racing in a sport sedan can’t run you over, but I digress.  Most importantly this is about raising funds to help underprivileged kids get to summer camp and enjoy all that experience has to offer.

To participate there are a few criteria.  Just having stamina and great gams to sit and bicycle isn’t enough. You  need to have pledges for at least $2,500 to be on one of the stationary bikes on the pier and pedal for those 5 hours.  You also need $250 for an entry fee.  You can start the registration process for you as an individual or a team  HERE.

Full Press Release after the jump: Read the rest of this entry →

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More on the AEA vote and Pro 99 Seat Theatre

March 26, 2015 in News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Theatre/Stage

Ballots will be arriving in the hands of member actors of the Actors Equity Association.  Its important to keep 99 Seat Theatre alive in Los Angeles.  A “NO” vote will insure that the 99 Seat Agreement remains in place and is not changed.

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Einstein is a Dummy opens in Sierra Madre

March 8, 2015 in Education, Entertainment, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

L to R: Tyler Fromson as Albert, Matt Severyn as Constantin, Andrea Arvanigian as Elsa

L to R: Tyler Fromson as Albert, Matt Severyn as Constantin, Andrea Arvanigian as Elsa

Its science to nurture your inner nerd.  It has a message…its ok to be curious, its ok to ask why, its OK to be different. All the issues every kid struggles with to be “popular” and be themselves at the same time is explored in this high energy production that opened at the Sierra Madre Playhouse this weekend.  Think of it as Energy, the good kind like a colorful Saturday morning exploding on stage (and off at times) with the angst of a kid who doesn’t fit in and wants to.

Einstein is a Dummy is written by Karen Zacarias and brilliantly presented under the direction of Derek Manson for the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  Add in the musical score by Deborah Wicks LaPuma and you’ve got a show that kids will enjoy while picking up some lessons on personal identity and real science.

This is repertory theatre. The play has two cast so as to stage it for evening performances as well as matinee’s for schools here in the SGV.  (This play is aimed at the 3rd-8th grade student).  Regardless of which cast you see, you will have fun with your young genius.  I saw the Electron cast, those that have seen the Proton cast were equally amazed at the production.

The play starts with young Einstein talk with a stray cat in advance of leaving for a music recital.  Here we get the first hint at his curiosity and the gift of a compass that started him thinking about and developing his theory of relativity. Its this first bit where we learn that Einstein sees and hears the world differently.    Read the rest of this entry →

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Hold’n Hands, Help’n Hearts to be featured on KNBC Sunday Night

March 7, 2015 in Blogging (in) LA, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Holdn' Hands, Helpn' Hearts flyer

Holdn’ Hands, Helpn’ Hearts flyer

Lisa Barrios, owner of Monrovia’s Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery has been doing this program for several years now.  Holdn’ Hands, Helpin’ Hearts is simply getting the hand print of a child or other loved one with cancer in clay and producing a legacy keepsake for the family.  It started with a special request several years ago from a little boy at the City of Hope with terminal cancer.  Lisa did it, no charge to the family so they would have one last keepsake from their little boy before he passed.

Lisa does this out of the goodness of her heart.  She has done imprints of little ones in morturaries for families who lost a child and she couldn’t get to them fast enough as she wants them to have that one last keepsake of their little hand.  She’s always done it free of charge.  She’s done it countless times.

KNBC’s Angie Crouch heard of the program and interviewed Lisa and some of the families she has helped.  The segment will air Sunday night on KNBC channel 4 on the “Life Connected” show that airs Sunday 3/8 at 11PM.  IT will repeat Monday 3/9 at Noon during the afternoon news.  The story promises to be heart wrenching and enlightening.

If you would like to donate to the program you may do so through the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts that has long been a supporter of the program.  Make your check payable to the Monrovia Assocation of Fine Arts and send it to us at 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016

As a disclaimer, I’m a board member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, and I can assure you the money’s donated go directly to keeping this program going.