Category Archives: environment

LA Auto Show – driving green doesn’t mean giving up fun

German Press and Jetta TDI "Green Car of the Year"

Volkswagen did the unimaginable at the LA Auto Show.  It garnered the “Green Car of the Year”.  VW did it with a diesel, not a hybrid, not some exotic fuel, but a performance oriented turbo-DIESEL.  Hopefully that award will open up a few eyes to the ease one can “go green” and not have to give up any driving fun in the process.  (Snark alert:hopefully once and for all it will undo the diesel myths and damage done by GM with their failed attempt of making the diesel an important part of the US auto scene 30 years ago).

When I first heard it started inside the LA Convention center I knew there was going to be something really special about this car.  It didn’t smoke at start.  Other than a quick clatter when it first started it was silent when running.  It was silent under light acceleration.  The exhaust had a faint smell, not the sweet-sour you associate with a gas car, something more or less “nutty”.  Not objectionable, certainly not visible and something you had to look hard to notice.  That is a huge change from the last round of diesel VW’s we saw here a few years ago.

This years LA Auto Show had a few new wrinkles for press days.  The big one was that the manufacturers ponied up nearly 2 dozen “green cars” for the media to drive.   They were all were nominees for “Green Car of the Year” and represented a broad approach to cleaning up our cars more than they already are.  For my driving I opted for those cars that are more traditional in nature that the average guy would feel right at home in and get great results without having to change their driving habits or style.  (Well, one car was just for kicks and giggles simply because I want one.  You have to read to the end to figure out which one it is I wanted).

Continue reading LA Auto Show – driving green doesn’t mean giving up fun

LA Auto Show opens to public 11/21 at Convention Center

Lincoln MKZ is among 17 cars having its world debut at the LA Auto Show.
Lincoln MKZ is among 17 cars making their world debut at the LA Auto Show this year.

In the not so distance past the LA Auto Show wasn’t much more than the local dealers showing off the new cars and their in-house customization.   The problem was that the LA Show overlapped a few days with the Detroit Auto Show.  All that changed a couple of years ago when the show was moved to November.  

This years LA Auto Show runs November 21-30 and promises to be the biggest yet.  The LA Auto Show this time around will show case more debuts than ever before, certainly befitting our impact and importance in the world auto market.  The scheduling now is so tight the manufacturers are holding “preview” events locally in order to allow the media more time to kick the tires and pick the brains of the teams putting out the debut cars.  (Ford did one on Tuesday which I’ll talk about a bit later in this post).

Some highlights coming our way for the 2008 show:

  • 17 cars will get their world debut including the Lincoln MKZ, G37 Convertible, Mazda 3,Nissan 370Z and the “Mini e” (e for electric)
  • 12 cars will have their North American Debut including the Honda Insight and Ferrari California
  • Awarding the “Green Car of the Year” to those cars that are the cleanest of the clean…big surprise in store for you hybrid fans-among the top cars in the running there is a diesel and a regular gas car.
  • Sneak Preview Night” 11/20 is a tax deductible benefiting Homeless Health Care Los Angeles
For the info on Ford’s Preview day yesterday you have to make the jump. Continue reading LA Auto Show opens to public 11/21 at Convention Center

Help us kill a digital billboard!

flyer about tonight\'s meeting
flyer about tonight's meeting

Do you hate those obnoxious digital billboards as much as I do?

Seeing them on Sunset Boulevard is kind of Bladerunner and okay, but seeing them pop up in neighborhoods is really disgusting to me.

And after being hammered daily with all this Flex Your Power/Reduce Your Carbon Footprint bullshit, am I the only one who’s outraged by this vulgar and wasteful new trend? You tell me to leave the bathroom light off when I pee but you’re running a million candle-power billboard 24/7?

Residents of Silver Lake MAY have the chance to get rid of the eyesore on Silver Lake Blvd. by attending a City Council meeting TONIGHT at 7pm at the Michetorena School on Sunset. Sorry for the short notice but I only just now saw the flyer.

You can also call or email Eric Garcetti’s office (323-957-4500), not that I have any idea how much good that will do.

Please do what you can though – this digital billboard trend needs to be stopped.

We’re f***ed.

A new report on carbon emissions shocks scientists.

Californians sometimes are perceived as being the most eco-conscious in the nation. In Los Angeles, no celebrity worth his or her Trader Joe’s Hawaiian Black Sea Salt doesn’t embrace environmental causes either sincerely or cynically for the publicity it guarantees.

There’s a history of Hollywood liberals’ favorite pet cause that stretches back to the 1960s when the earth movement was formed. Angelenos therefore are alternately held up before the country for praise and ridicule on the subject depending upon your political stripe.

Well guess what? You can drive your Prius, ride your bike, take the Metro or the bus, burn CFL bulbs, purchase Energy Star high efficiency appliances, carry your groceries in canvas totes, use “green” products, buy organic fiber clothes, recycle, march, demonstrate, petition and vote all you want to save the planet.

Then you can kiss the human race’s ass good-by, according to report released by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Researchers found the rate at which humans are polluting is accelerating, not diminishing as was predicted based on the positive impact of a worldwide economic downturn, causing some leading scientists to use words like, “scary” and say things like, “We should be worried — really worried. This is happening in the context of trying to reduce emissions.”

The report also says the rate that forests and oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide created by humans is falling. Temperature levels could increase by over 11 degrees by 2100 according to the new data on emissions.

With the election and the economic turmoil dominating the news lately, the LA Times article about the report ran on page 22 of today’s print edition. There’s no evidence of it at all on the LAT homepage, but if you click on the environment link it’s the top article on that page.

It belongs front and center.


More Griffith Park Historic Landmark Stuff

This landed in my inbox and I think it’s important to pass along. Wish I had time to distill it down in my own words but today is my “get the first cat of my six-feral collection neutered” day and I am running out to buy a bigger cat carrier that I can’t afford.

Having Griffith Park named a historic cultural landmark has extremely important benefits beyond the designation itself which creates opportunities for additional funding for maintenance and care of the park, and protection and acknowledgement of the special place this park has in Los Angeles’s colorful history. MacArthur Park is already a historic landmark; doesn’t Griffith Park — ALL of Griffith Park — deserve to be?

That said, this application is much bigger than just the designation. The bottom line is that Griffith Park is the front line in the struggle to keep our green space in Los Angeles away from developers and special interest groups. Sadly, Councilmember Tom LaBonge is fighting this application against the wishes of the Griffith Family, his constituents and the vast majority of Angelenos for exactly this reason — if all of Griffith Park becomes a historic cultural landmark, then every special interest project must go through a very public process for approval. No more backroom deals!

The item copied below is a great letter from the GGPNC outlining some of the sneaky ways politicos are trying to derail this application (very important!) and explaining exactly what action steps each of us needs to take to successfully support the Griffith Park application.

I hope everyone can take a few minutes out of their busy days to help support this pivotal application…

…and please share this with message with others.

Kristin Sabo (parks volunteer, and steward-caretaker of Amir’s Garden)

Instructions on how to make your voice heard are behind the jump thanks to the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council.
Continue reading More Griffith Park Historic Landmark Stuff

Landmark about to get demo’d – please send an email

Just got this email about the neat art deco gas station at Glendale and Rowena – it’s the last art deco station in Silver Lake and it’s scheduled for demolition. The good news is you don’t have to be in this district to send your objections to the demo.

Please send our pal Tom Labonge an email asking him to stop the demo – the residents have been fighting this for some time but the developers seem to know every loophole. Deadline is TOMORROW so please take a moment and do this asap.

Too lazy to write your own email? No problem – here’s text for you to copy and send to Tom LaBonge. Remeber to include your name, address, and phone in your email.

Send email to: [email protected]
cc: [email protected], [email protected]

And thank you!

Here’s the letter I got, with the stuff to copy in it (plus a little background):
Continue reading Landmark about to get demo’d – please send an email

Freeways and Khakis: Adventures of the Los Angeles Urban Rangers

The LA Urban Rangers–a collective of artists, city boosters, history buffs, writers and other La City Nerd-types is hosting a salon at Farmlab a week from this Saturday. I’m planning on going.

So what will the salon entail? Chats about their past projects such as weekly field-trip-style tours of the LA County Fair, hosting workshops at architect/urban homesteading artist Fritz Haeg at his Sundown Schoolhouse, a guided tour of Hollywood Boulevard’s flora & fauna, and more neat stuff. Plus a bit about their new urban safari series that explores our local beaches. By approaching their subject matter with the scientific distance and nerdy enthusiasm of your average park ranger, they pull focus back from our usual myopic assessments of our local points-of-interest and help us to view it from a new, more holistic perspective. Which is cool. Drop me a comment if I should look for you there.

Griffith Park: Vote as Historic-Cultural Monument

This came across my desk this morning…I’m running out of town, so I confess to not researching this as thoroughly as I should have. However, it seemed appropriate to get this out here…but I thought the park was already a historic monument? Maybe not? Sorry–I should have been on my way this morning to get here. Will post pics from the road.

Here’s a quick and easy way to support Griffith Park. The LA Daily News is running a poll TODAY ONLY. You can vote to support Griffith Park’s Historic-Cultural Monument designation.

Scroll about half way down the page. It’s on the left side, Friday’s Online Poll.

Please vote to support the park!

Know the password? (pssst… it’s “polycultural evolution”)

Tonite is the summer edition Christine Berry’s “semi-literary” salon, The Speakeasy. Instead of imbibing prohibited alcohol, attendees will learn about an archaic craft rarely practiced by city dwellers: urban gardening.

Come with an open mind and leave with the first seeds of your future urban harvest. We’ll be planting garlic and other such easy-growing candidates for you to take home. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to change your life.

Eco-bloggers/Echo Park residents Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen will be on hand to share tips from their recent book release, The Urban Homestead.

Oh, and in addition to an admission fee, you’ll need a password to get in. This is speakeasy after all. Check the full press release below (or the headline) for the answer.

Full disclosure: my girlfriend is producing the event, and I’ll be keeping my hands free of soil by taking photos all night.

7pm, Mt Hollywood Underground, 4607 Prospect Ave., Los Feliz, Admission: $15.00

Continue reading Know the password? (pssst… it’s “polycultural evolution”)