Category Archives: Utilities

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

LA County Due 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.


Solar powered cars – what will they think of next?

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.   Continue reading Solar powered cars – what will they think of next?

Please Don’t Take My Mailbox Away

Too late.

Since leaving my outgoing mail by our house’s mailbox isn’t really an option, I’ve been in the old-school habit going on the seven years I’ve lived here in Silver Lake of walking down to the mailbox at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Parkman.

I did just that this morning. Only this time I did a WTF having found not the familiar blue USPS receptacle, but instead just the air and space that the mailbox now no longer occupies, as pictured at right.

It was a small consolation that I timed my trip just right so as to be able to hand off my mail to the postman making his delivers there, and he said this wasn’t the only box in the area to get the hook. With a smile and a shrug he said the closest box still standing (for now) was nine blocks east at Alvarado.


Any boxes missing in your neck of the hoods?

What’s a California Voter to Do?

In the run-up to the June 8 California Statewide Direct Primary Election, I have been getting bombarded with printed material in the mail, probably three pieces per day on average.  And it’s damned confusing.  A bunch of candidates vying for the same position (such as Assembly Member), often with very similar-sounding positions.  Tit-for-tat attack pieces sent on alternate days by candidates and the special interest groups who oppose them.  What’s a voter to do?

For starters, do a little research.  Check out the websites of the candidates for their stated positions and their records.  See who endorses and opposes them.  Enlighten us here through your comments.  Check out your Voter Guides if you have been sent them.  Then read the fine print on some of those special interest group pieces.  Often, the groups with the loftiest-sounding names (Citizens For a Fair Economy, Moms For Health Care Justice, Girl Scouts for Puppies) are primarily backed by big corporations which may not have your interests in mind.

Continue reading What’s a California Voter to Do?

Photographic History Of LA Street Lamps

Dual Pendant Style

While looking for images of Los Angeles to use for a different post, I ran across The George A. Eslinger Street Lighting Photo Gallery on the City of LA website. Have you ever looked up to see what kind of art was lighting your evening commute? You might now.

On the site you can see images of some of the first street lights used in LA and combo pics of original poles and lights and their updated, more modern replacements. There other street lighting department images, things like crews replacing poles from the early 1900’s and today, fleets of repair trucks then and now, light poles used on bridges and historic night views of LA.

From the main gallery page:

This gallery is a tribute  to George A. Eslinger, former Director of the Bureau of Street Lighting.  Through his dedication, leadership and vision he was responsible for spearheading the implementation of  information technology solutions to make significant operational improvements in the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting.

The George A. Eslinger Street Lighting Photo Gallery

Click on through to see more images from the site.

Continue reading Photographic History Of LA Street Lamps

Electrical Box Art: GPS Edition

As some of you may already know, I’ve been cataloging the painted electrical boxes in my neighborhood. Actually I’m not even sure they’re electrical boxes, or what they’re used for exactly. All I know is that there’s occasionally a guy with a toolbox and a pocket protector standing in front of one with his van parked behind him, peering inside at what appears to be the control panel of the Millennium Falcon.

Today’s example resides at Alexandria Avenue just north of the intersection with Hollywood Boulevard. And you can tell, because there’s a little map on one side letting you know exactly where you are. It’s like the directory at the mall, only at the outdoor border of East Hollywood and Greater Griffith Park, with nary an Orange Julius or Hot Topic in sight.

The little person is the "you are here" stamp. I think I saw that dude's cousin on a men's room door.

These are painted by the dedicated community artists at LA Commons, by the way, which I failed to mention last time. More pics after the jump.

Continue reading Electrical Box Art: GPS Edition

Burbank Residents: Green Your Home and Get Free Stuff

Burbank Water and Power is conducting a beta test of a new residential energy and water savings program, the “Green Home House Call.” They need volunteers, preferably from single-family homes with automatic sprinklers, to help evaluate the program. As part of the test, you will receive free weatherization services, water efficient product installation, energy efficient lightbulbs and more.

If you would like to volunteer to be in the beta test group, please call 1.866.365.7358 to set up an appointment.


Planned SCE Power Outage — Lies, or Simply Cluelessness?

IMG_1655As Jerry Seinfeld would say, “who are the wizards who thought this one up?”  Yesterday, notices were posted at my apartment complex indicating that, this Saturday night/Sunday morning starting at midnight, Southern California Edison plans to shut off power in my neighborhood to perform “routine maintenance.”  The posted message on my building owner’s letterhead, which may or may not have been from SCE talking points, states that “in an effort to minimize inconvenience, the testing will be done during night time hours, when the majority of our residents will be sleeping.”

Oh really?  Asleep on a Saturday night at midnight?  I can (and did) assure my building complex’s manager that the majority of us certainly will not be asleep.  Rather, many of us will be engaged in a variety of activities (use your imagination) for which we will want to use our stereos, televisions, lights, or other electrical appliances.  Continue reading Planned SCE Power Outage — Lies, or Simply Cluelessness?

Cartoon Dump!

Photo by gaelenh used under Creative Commons.
Photo by gaelenh used under Creative Commons.

I’ve said it before, and it continues to be true: One of the best parts of living in L.A. is that every night of the week there is something to do that will be fun, interesting, and perhaps more than a little unusual. Case in point, last night’s performance of “Cartoon Dump!” at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

Cartoon Dump! is a parody of a children’s television variety show which centers around some of the worst cartoons ever aired. The show was created by Frank Conniff (formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000) and animation historian Jerry Beck. In addition to the really bad cartoons, there are songs, comedy, puppets, and (at least last night) a juggler.

Follow me past the jump for more about Cartoon Dump! Continue reading Cartoon Dump!

Be a water-miser or pay more

It’s official. According to an email from Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s office that just appeared in my inbox:

The City Council voted 9-2 today to approve a tiered water rate

system in response to the state-wide drought that’s now into its third

year. The plan, which requires heavy-water-users to pay more than

water-misers, takes effect on June 1.

Los Angeles residents who use more than the allotted base amount of water will be charged 44% more for the amount they use over that level. Two months ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for drought-year pricing that decreases by 15% the amount of water that ratepayers can buy monthly at the lowest price tier.

So in effect, the less you use the less you pay.

This all comes on the heals of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California reducing water deliveries by 10% to the region.

Present from LADWP

Present from LADWPWell it’s not so much a present because I’m pretty sure I paid for it already via my past electrical/water bills. Thanks, LADWP!

Even so, it was pretty cool to open the front door and find a little green giftbag sitting there.

The “LADWP giftbag” included:

Did you get one?

Reduce Your Water Use By June 1st or Pay Higher Rates to LA DWP

Dry creek bed in O'Melveny Park, Granada Hills by Jodi
Dry creek bed in O'Melveny Park, Granada Hills by Jodi 02/01/09

For the third consecutive year, California is experiencing a drought, which led to the Governor to declare a state of emergency on February 27th. The proclamation contains several directives for reducing water consumption. The deficient water supply is taking a devastating toll on our agriculture industry and increasing the risk of another significantly destructive wildfire season.

The city of Los Angeles already has a conservation ordinance in place, which includes such rules as no watering the lawn between 9am and 4pm and no automatic service of water to restaurant patrons. To comply with the new state government regulations, the L.A. DWP is implementing “shortage  year water rates,” beginning June 1, 2009.

DWP charges are based on allocations for the amount of water households and businesses use. Every customer’s allotment is being cut by 15%. If you conserve and stay with reduced limit, you might see a decrease in your bill. If you exceed the limit, a premium price is charged for the overage. The L.A. DWP offers more information on rates and  tips for saving water on their website.

Share in the comments any actions you are currently taking to save water. Aside from taking shorter showers, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to do a lot more to see a significant difference in my bill.

LA on your iPhone

Have you ever tried searching for Los Angeles in the iTunes App Store?


I did it sort of by accident and was shocked to see so many options. I picked up LA Traffic Cam because the idea of having all those traffic cams in LA streaming right to my phone just seemed kind of fun. The reality is a bit less glamorous – the video is very choppy and 4/5 cams are offline every time I look. There’s also no shortage of Map apps, but I grabbed Mappity Los Angeles because it seemed to be the most comprehensive. Most people I know carry around Thomas Guides in their car, so having that level of map available regardless of data connection seemed like it might come in handy. There’s a lot of travel guides too, which not being someone who is visiting LA but rather one who has lived here for many many many years are all but useless to me. Also some stuff for sportsfans. Of course these are just the apps with “Los Angeles” in their name, anyone found anything less obvious that comes in handy around LA?

LA Times Tries to Define Los Angeles


When  Jenny Beorkrem set out to make this awesome typographical map of Los Angeles, she was well aware of the politics, insanely intense neighborhood pride, and the death war that is launched when you talk to the wrong person at the wrong bar and refer to Silver Lake as the “East Side.”  So, ideally, the LA Times is taking note of all this as it culls together its “Mapping LA” neighborhood project.

Designed to  be “a tool that will allow reporters and editors to be consistent when describing neighborhoods in news stories in a city that sometimes seems to change the names like most people change socks,” the Times says it’s intent on drilling down, once and for all, who lives where.  It’s a pretty nifty interactive map – probably one of the better things the Times has done lately.

Some quick thoughts on this after the jump.

Continue reading LA Times Tries to Define Los Angeles